Published: Monday, Dec 3, 2012, 18:06 IST
Place: Chandigarh | Agency: PTI
Bridge the Gap , Bring the Change
05 Dec 2012 Leave a comment
Published: Monday, Dec 3, 2012, 18:06 IST
Place: Chandigarh | Agency: PTI
05 Dec 2012 Leave a comment
in Advocacy, Health Care, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Minority Rights Tags: Brazil, Germany, India, Kolar, Nuclear power, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Radioactive waste, Saint Barbara
05 Dec 2012 1 Comment
Mohammad Aamir, Delhi
Age 32 | Years In Jail 14
Arrested February 1998 | Acquitted January 2012
FOURTEEN YEARS is a long time. Wiping away the tears streaming down his cheeks, Mohammad Aamir recounts his experience of when he stepped out of the Rohtak Jail on 9 January 2012.
“After seeing my mother, I went to see my father’s grave. He died waiting for my release,” Aamir says.
Forgotten by the press during his 14-year incarceration in jails across three states, Mohammad Aamir of old Delhi became their favourite after being acquitted in 18 of 20 cases of terrorism (appeals made in two other cases are pending).
Now, as he sits quietly before a computer in the office of ANHAD, an NGO in central Delhi, Aamir, 32, is penning a memoir of his passage from incarceration to redemption. Fourteen years behind bars have cost him much more than his youth. Not only did he lose his father, his mother was also paralysed in the interim.
In 1996-97, a couple of low intensity blasts had hit the national capital region (NCR), leaving the police in a tizzy. This was the time when the Khalistan movement in Punjab was fading and the Kashmir insurgency was at its pinnacle. The homegrown Indian Mujahideen (IM) was, however, nowhere in the arena. The police had no strong lead to follow. Then, in what looks like a meticulous plan to frame a young boy, the police claimed to have busted a terror module in February 1998.
Aamir was seized when he was returning home after saying Isha prayers. Bundled into a jeep, he was blindfolded before being dumped in an unidentified place for seven days, where he was tortured and made to sign on blank papers.
On 28 February, he was produced in the Tis Hazari court, charged with 17 cases in Delhi, including murder, sedition and waging war against the Indian State. Among the charges were two blasts in Haryana and one in 1996, on the Frontier Mail (train) in Ghaziabad.
“Getting me justice wasn’t easy for my father,” says Aamir. “Lawyers who would agree to fight cases charged a lot of money. Some quit midway after a local paper dubbed me a Pakistani national.
One by one, the prosecution evidence was disproved in the courts. But it was too late,” he rues. “My father died in 2001. The way justice was done only made me realise that I was guilty until proven innocent,” Aamir adds mockingly.
Now, at ANHAD’s office, Aamir hopes to finish his memoir and heads a forum for demanding the rehabilitation of falsely implicated youth.
Explains activist Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD: “Writing a memoir is a healing process for Aamir. He is finishing his BA from IGNOU and aims to study law to help people like him.”
Aamir’s efforts have already started paying off. This is evident from the recently prepared list of 33 young men that now lies with the president.
The CPM demanded compensation for these men, special courts to settle such cases within a year and action against policemen found fabricating evidences.
05 Dec 2012 12 Comments
in Advocacy, Announcements, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law Tags: Crime, Defense (legal), Delhi, Haryana, India, Indian Penal Code, marital rape, Marriage, New Delhi, Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual intercourse
New Delhi, Dec 4/ dainik bhaskar and agencies – In a significant judgement, a court in India has said husband’s forcible sex with his wife does not amount to “marital rape”.
The judgement was passed by District judge of a court in Indian capital, Delhi.
According to media reports, District Judge JR Aryan agreed with the defence counsel of accused Hazi Ahmed Saeed that the Indian Penal Code does not recognise any concept of “marital rape.”
The wife of Saeed had accused her of having forcibly sex with her without her consent.
“Defence counsel has rightly argued that Indian Penal Code does not recognise any such concept of ‘marital rape’. If complainant was a legally-wedded wife of accused, the sexual intercourse with her by accused would not constitute offence of rape even if it was by force or against her wishes,” the court said.
According to reports, Saeed’s wife had filed the case in 2007 alleging that after her first husband’s death, Saeed started visiting her and by expressing sympathy, he asked her to marry him.
She had told the court that she married Saeed in February 2006. “Later, I came to know that he had married me only to grab my property, which was then sold by him and his four sons,” she had alleged.
Police in its charge sheet had stated that Saeed had maintained physical relations with the woman after their marriage and it could be a possibility that those physical relations were against her consent and wish.
05 Dec 2012 2 Comments
in Advocacy, Announcements, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Minority Rights Tags: Allahabad High Court, Amar Ujala, Dainik Jagran, Haider, Hizbul Mujahideen, Kanpur, SYED WASIF HAIDER, Tehelka
‘I’m jobless. I can’t start a business also because friends refuse me loans’
SYED WASIF HAIDER, a resident of Kanpur, UP, was jailed for eight years, before the courts finally acquitted him of all charges on 14 August 2009. As a part of the delegation meeting the president on 18 November, he had only one thing to say: “Please stop the media from defaming me. I was declared innocent in 2009. Yet, the local media drags my name in whenever there’s a blast. I’m facing a social boycott. Children in the locality don’t play with a ‘terrorist’s’ daughters. Relatives feel police will hound them for visiting me.”
After his arrest, nine cases, including rioting, waging war against the State, sedition, ferrying arms and explosives were slapped against Haider. Every single case fell apart because the courts either refused to entertain the confessional statement made in police custody (which often found space in the media) or found the witnesses “unable to establish” that Haider had a role in the Kanpur bomb blasts of 14 August 2000 and other offences.
At the time of his arrest, Haider was 29. The only son of his parents, he left behind a pregnant wife and three children, while he spent eight years shuttling between Kanpur Jail, the Navi Central Jail in Allahabad and the Central Prison in Fatehgarh.
TEHELKA met Haider at his lawyer friend’s house in east Delhi. Here, this wellbuilt man in his early forties lives with his memories. Recounting his trauma, he says the police hung him upside down in a dark cell for three days after picking him up. Then they pushed washing powder and water down his nose. Then electricity was passed through his toes till he fainted. His torturers never left any mark on his body because that would have muddied their FIR claims. Interestingly, the interrogation also included questions on what sect of Islam he followed.
“I replied I was a Muslim, but they insisted on sect and ideology. Later I realised if one follows Salafist Islam, it becomes easy for them to label him a Lashkar-e-Toiba loyal. Sunni Barelvi groups would be linked with Hizbul Mujahideen,” Haider says.
Unable to bear it anymore, Haider finally gave in to the torture, agreeing to confess on video camera to whatever the police wanted. In the confession made under duress, Haider said he was trained by the Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir and Pakistan — information that found its way to the media.
“My wife had to sell her jewellery to make ends meet,” says Haider. “Some 38 lakh went into meeting legal expenses (the case went right up to Supreme Court). Today I’m jobless. I can’t start a business because friends refuse me loans. Wherever I go looking for a job, once they learn about my eight years in jail, companies tell me they will get back to me. They never get back.”
Incredibly, even after the courts acquitted Haider, the media did not stop its trial. Thanks to “anonymous sources”, and a total disregard for accountability, some blast or the other was always linked with Kanpur, and not surprisingly, Haider’s name would crop up. For instance, the Dainik Jagran dated 9 December 2010 had a news item on a terror attack that suggested the likelihood of links with Kanpur and mentioned Haider along with others as ‘atanki’ (terrorist).
Holding up the Dainik Jagran dated 9 January 2011 as an example, Haider shows a headline, which after translation reads: “Garbage Overwhelms Basketball Court”. Then he shows the next day’s paper (10 January 2011) which says: “Garbage Being Lifted from Basketball Court”. “This is the impact of the media,” says Haider. “Now imagine how I was demonised.”
05 Dec 2012 Leave a comment
in Advocacy, Health Care, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Violence against Women, Women Rights Tags: Abortion, Africa, Freetown, Health Ministry, IRIN, Princess Christian Maternity Hospital, Reproductive health, Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, 27 November 2012 (IRIN) – The new government is responding positively to health workers and youth groups who have long called for a change in the 1861 law banning abortion except in exceptional circumstances.
A draft law which would make abortion legal under certain conditions, is currently waiting to be passed by parliament following the 17 November elections, according to Sas Kargbo, director of Reproductive Health at the Health Ministry.
“The present laws are outdated and violate the rights of the women of Sierra Leone,” said Al Saccoh, coordinator of a youth network called the National Youth Coalition of Sierra Leone, adding that the current law contradicts international covenants on human rights that Sierra Leone has signed since 1861.
Campaigners say the unavailability of cheap and safe abortions is leading to severe health risks for women and girls and pushing up the maternal mortality rate.
Brima Kamara, advocacy manager at the Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone, told IRIN: “Because there is no legal framework that gives women the right to choice governing abortion, the present law is killing women.”
Sierra Leone has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates: 890 women die for every 100,000 live births.
It is not clear how many women seek abortions in Sierra Leone each year as so many of them do so clandestinely, but reproductive rights NGO Marie Stopes International estimates at least 40,000 women and girls in Sierra Leone had abortions in 2011.
According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), some 250,000 children across the globe lose their mothers to abortion-related deaths.
The problem is most women seeking an abortion will turn to uncertified doctors or quacks who perform cheap abortions, as few can afford the SL 200,000 (US$46) fee that a certified doctor would charge.
Methods used by quacks include giving women detergent to swallow, administering high doses of aspirin or antibiotics, or using native roots and herbs, according to Williamson Taylor, a gynaecologist at the Princess Christian maternity hospital in the capital, Freetown.
Taylor said he often tends to patients who have undergone botched abortions. Most of them arrive in a state of severe pain, or have heavy bleeding, or may have infections linked to perforations of the uterus, intestines or abdominal cavity.
“I have performed many surgical operations due to abortion complications in young girls,” he told IRIN. “Cassava sticks and other objects that they use to abort a pregnancy are a very crude method and usually perforate the womb or the intestines.”
Betty Ranney, a gynaecologist at the Medecins Sans Frontieres-run Emergency Unit Hospital in Bo, in south-central Sierra Leone, told IRIN: “In the most severe cases the womb has to be removed altogether, to save the young girls’ lives.”
Some 4-10 percent of women who have a medical abortion will need to have a surgical procedure following it, to remove the remaining tissue, said Sarah Koroma, delivery manager at the Planned Parenthood Association clinic at West Street in Freetown. Uncertified doctors lack the training or equipment to do this.
But it is hard to find certified doctors who are willing to perform the procedure – many fear legal redress. “The present law does not favour us as qualified doctors. As such, there is constant fear. I perform abortion for humanitarian purposes where the life of the girl or woman is at dire risk. It’s important that the present law is reformed to create accessibility to abortion services as a right, without fear,” Taylor told IRIN.
Most cases require consent from the partner of the woman, or in the case of a minor, her parents, which puts off many would-be patients.
Reproductive health agencies will also perform abortions if the pregnancy is seen to put the life of the patient at risk. A nurse at one practice told IRIN: “It’s not yet legal, so we do it within the parameters of the present law.”
But pressure among many sections of society is mounting for a change in the law. Many doctors who have experienced first-hand the implications of unsafe abortions support a new law. “We have to give people choice. Sex is an unavoidable thing so we must make it safe for people who want to have an abortion in a country like Sierra Leone,” said Taylor.
Ex-Minister of Health and Sanitation Zainab Hawa Bangura would not be pinned down, but told IRIN: “Improvements in laws and policies, and a more responsive approach to the reproductive health needs of women is needed in Sierra Leone.”
In a recent county-wide Ministry of Health-led survey of health workers and legal professionals on attitudes to abortion, most respondents favoured a review of the law, calling for the government to liberalize abortion as part of its commitment to reduce maternal mortality rates.
However, many religious leaders are not in favour, and see imminent change as destroying the moral fabric of Sierra Leonean society. A group of Islamic clerics recently came forward to announce they would accept abortion if it took place within the first four months of pregnancy and if the mother’s life was in danger.
Legalizing abortion, however, is just one step in a much more complicated puzzle, say campaigners and health workers.
Access to family planning services remains very poor for youths, especially girls and women.
Sierra Leone has high teenage pregnancy rates due to poor education standards for girls; initiation rites into secret societies which make even young girls eligible for marriage; high levels of sexual violence; low access to contraception; and low awareness of family planning methods, according to reproductive rights agencies.
A number of agencies (including UNFPA, Marie Stopes, Planned Parenthood, and the UK Department for International Development) are trying to boost access to quality family planning services for Sierra Leoneans of all ages, across the country. UNFPA launched a family planning campaign in July 2012.
But while attitudes towards family planning are shifting, particularly among urban women, say health workers, they will not change their behaviour unless access to services becomes much more readily available. Too often health clinics remain under-stocked, particularly in rural areas.
“The use of contraceptives must be pushed aggressively in Sierra Leone to help reduce the huge number of young girls seeking abortions in secret,” concluded Taylor.
05 Dec 2012 7 Comments
in Advocacy, Announcements, Health Care, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Violence against Women, Women Rights Tags: Blindness, Conditions and Diseases, Delhi, Disability, disabled, discrimination, equality, feminism, gender, Health, Human Rights, India, Monday, Rape, Sexual Assault, Visual impairment, visually challenged, Women Rights
The girl was alone at her home at the time of the attack. She reported the incident to her mother, a domestic help, when she came back to home. The girl’s name has been withheld for legal reasons.
Her attacker, identified as Karan Nepali, 23, raped her at her residence in central Delhi’s Desh Bandhu Gupta Road area on Monday night and fled from the spot.
“A case regarding the incident was registered Monday night and the accused was arrested from his residence in Sarai Rohilla in the early hours on Tuesday,” said Additional Commissioner of Police Devesh Chandra Srivastava.
Nepali lived in the neighbourhood of the girl, but for the past few months he has been residing in Sarai Rohilla area.
05 Dec 2012 5 Comments
in Advocacy, Health Care, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Violence against Women, Women Rights Tags: Chaudhary Devi Lal, discrimination, equality, feminism, gender, Haryana, Hindu Marriage Act, Hindu Succession Act 1956, Human Rights, India, International Institute for Population Sciences, International Institute for PopulationSciences, Khap, Robert Vadra, Rohtak
Dictated by land
Author(s): Richard Mahapatra, down to earth
Date: Nov 30, 2012
It was a season of sons-in-law in Haryana. In October, the
Congress-ruled state government scrambled to clean its records in the
face of alleged undue favours to Robert Vadra, son-in-law of the party
president Sonia Gandhi. That month, khap panchayats, or the
traditional caste panchayats notorious for their diktats in the name
of honouring social customs, also grabbed headlines. They wanted to
regulate the selection of sons-in-law as per their archaic beliefs. On
October 29, leaders of 29 khaps met in Rohtak and demanded banning
same-gotra, same-village marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act.
These seemingly unrelated developments have common roots—land. That
Haryana’s land has turned rare earth is no news. But its repercussion
on society is what the world is discovering now. Vadra, though not a
resident son-in-law, reportedly made windfall gains from land deals in
the state. Analysts say khaps now do not want their resident
sons-in-law to take away the newfound gold. Their obvious targets are
daughters and laws that allow them legal share in ancestral property.
Khaps largely exercise their authority over the Jat community of big
landholders around Delhi, including some districts of Haryana, Uttar
Pradesh and Rajasthan. Traditionally, in these areas marriage is not
allowed within the gotra, which loosely means a sub-caste or clan. But
khaps extend this prohibition to all inhabitants of a village and its
adjacent villages, including individuals from different gotras.
According to khaps, they are deemed siblings due to proximity of
residence and are bound by bhaichara or brotherhood. Strangely, their
diktats apply only to women.
They do not oppose men marrying in same gotras or other castes.
Perhaps they cannot afford to do it. In Haryana’s six
districts—Jhajjar, Rohtak, Jind, Panipat, Gurgaon and Sonipat—where
khaps are active, sex ratio is the lowest in the country: there are
850-870 females per 1,000 males. Such is the scarcity of eligible
brides in the state that men now “buy” brides from faraway Odisha,
Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Nepal. According to sociologist Ravinder
Kaur, 37 per cent of eligible men remain bachelor in the state.
Analysts say such woman-centric codes on marriage are to control the
family’s ownership over land (see ‘Khap panchayat’s codes…’). Khap
members have an instilled fear that in case of marriage by choice, the
girl or her husband would stake claim in ancestral property. By
declaring girls and boys of the same village and adjacent villages as
siblings, they lessen the possibility of young individuals getting
into matrimonial alliance. Experience shows, in an arranged marriage,
girls do not demand share in parental property. Moreover, if a girl is
married several villages away, the possibility of her exercising
inheritance rights becomes remote. They also oppose marriage between
majority and minority gotras as the majority gotra administers a
village and owns most of the land.
Khap panchayat’s codes on marriage
Not in same gotra: By banning same gotra marriage in a village, khaps
ensure that married women do not exercise their inheritance rights on
Not in bhaichara: Khaps then extend the diktat to several adjacent
villages by declaring boys and girls from those villages siblings and
ruling out marriage alliance among them
Not between majority and minority gotras: By not allowing girls from
majority gotra to marry into a minority gotra, the diktat protects
land of majority gotras who own maximum land in a village.
According to a study by the International Institute for Population
Sciences, Mumbai, the status of women in the family is worsening with
changing economic structure, reforms and mode of production. This is
more so in the National Capital Region (NCR) where the impact of
economic reforms was first felt. Explains Perianayagam Arokiasamy, who
did the study, “Usually larger landholdings are associated with less
autonomy for women.”
Women rights activist Jagmati Sangwan says khaps create false
impression that they are opposed to same-gotra marriage because it is
incestuous. They actually oppose the woman’s right to choose a life
partner. A study commissioned by the National Commission of Women
found that 72 per cent of the khap-dictated honour killings were
related to inter-caste marriages, while those related to same-gotra
marriages were only three per cent. “As couples are selectively
targeted, it is clear that the real motive of khap panchayats is to
control women’s sexuality to ensure that property remains within the
patriarchal caste domain,” Sangwan adds.
Small wonder khaps have lately been vocal about the two pieces of
legislation that allow a woman to marry as per her choice and secure
her rights over ancestral property: the Hindu Marriage Act and the
Hindu Succession Act. The marriage law does not recognise the gotra or
caste system and thus does not prohibit marriage within the gotra or
in other caste. The Hindu Succession Act, amended in 2005, gives
daughters equal rights in the ancestral property along with sons. It
also gives her the right to seek partition of the dwelling house she
inherits. The previous law gave daughters an equal right only in
self-acquired property of her father and a partial right in ancestral
property. It restricted her right in a dwelling house, in which the
joint family lived. The amendment in 2005 also deleted a section,
which exempted Land Reforms Act, Land Ceiling Act and laws relating to
devolution of tenancies in agricultural land, from the Hindu
Succession Act. These state laws favoured male lineal descendants over
wives and daughters.
Down To Earth spoke to a dozen khap panchayat members in Haryana about
the Hindu Succession Act. None was willing to speak on record, but
said the debate on sharing landholdings with married daughters has
gained momentum since the amendment in 2005. The first such meeting
took place in Rohtak in July 2005, which was attended by 21 khap
panchayats. “The law allows daughters to have rights over property of
their parents, in-laws and also retain individual property. Why does
one need to give so many rights to women?” asks Meher Singh Jhakar,
general secretary of Jhakar Khap, which exercises its authority over
36 villages in Jhajjar district in Haryana. “The new generation has
new expectations that confront the traditional ways. If constitution
of the UK can accept conventions as key provisions why can’t the khap
principles be accepted here?”
Obsession with land
Jats, the way we see them now, as big landholders, are the creation of
centuries of fight over land (see ‘Nomads to landlords’). They opposed
the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 over and again and used political
leadership to prevent fragmentation of their land.
In 1967, within months of its formation as a new state, Haryana passed
a resolution, requesting the Centre to amend the Act. Punjab followed
suit. The Centre did not oblige. In 1979, the Haryana Assembly passed
a bill, amending the Act unilaterally, and sent it for the President’s
approval. The President did not give his assent. Ten years later in
1989, renowned farmers’ leader from Haryana, Chaudhary Devi Lal,
proposed an amendment to the Act during his tenure as the deputy prime
minister. The demand was dropped following protests.
Haryana and five other states, including Punjab and Rajasthan, which
have active khaps, denied equal inheritance rights for women in
parental property, especially in agricultural land, until the 2005
amendment to the Succession Act.
Going by media reports, khap panchyats did not issue militant diktats
against women until 2005. This is the time the NCR witnessed a boom in
property rate and became the country’s largest residential market.
Currently, it has more housing units than the combined tally of
Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Hyderabad. But since their
opposition to the succession law did not work out, khap panchayats now
focus on the Hindu Marriage Act to bring in provisions to stop
same-gotra marriage to retain land within the family boundary.
Nomads to landlords
Nomads to landlords Once a nomadic pastoral community, Jats settled in
Jhajjar, Rohtak, Jind, Panipat, Gurgaon and Sonipat districts of
Haryana in the early 13th century. Then the land was barren. The
Mamluk, Khilji, Tughlaq, Sayyid and Lodi dynasties that ruled Delhi
during the period introduced rahat, or Persian wheel system of
irrigation, in the area.
This fuelled green revolution and transformed Jat pastoralists into
agricultural peasants. Agriculture in the region became more lucrative
after Muhammand Bin Tughlaq constructed the Western Yamuna Canal. With
this newfound prosperity, Jats organised themselves into a powerful
clan, seeding the khap panchayat concept.
Soon they became the rulers’ revenue collectors and colonised more
land. It is said that Akbar elevated some khap members to the status
of ministers to integrate the Jat community into his empire
05 Dec 2012 Leave a comment
in Advocacy, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Violence against Women, Women Rights Tags: Asia, Delhi, discrimination, equality, Film festival, gender, God Sleeps in Rwanda, Gulabi Gang, Human Rights, India, Kimberlee Acquaro, Mumbai, Pippa Bacca, Sex worker, Women Rights
Highlights from the mumbai edition of
OUR LIVES…TO LIVE
(NO!to gender violence
(films of courage, protest, hope)
7-9 Dec 2013
FD Zone Auditorium, 10th Floor, Films Division, 24 Dr G Deshmukh Marg (Peddar Rd), Mumbai-400026
Selections from WOMEN MAKE MOVIES (WMM) special package
Friday 7 Dec at 12.10 pm
Sarabah (Maria Luisa Gambale, Gloria Bremer / USA-Senegal/ 60 min)
Rapper, singer and activist Sister Fa, a childhood victim of female genital cutting (FGC), travels back to her home village in Senegal, where she fears she and her message against the practice will be rejected. Yet she speaks out passionately to female elders and students alike, and stages a rousing concert that has the community on its feet.
Friday 7 Dec at 6.50 pm
Going Up the Stairs: Portrait of an Unlikely Iranian Artist (Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami / Iran/ 51 min)
When Akram, an illiterate 50-year-old Iranian woman, became a painter unexpectedly, she hid her work from possibly disapproving eyes. Now her children have arranged an exhibition in Paris, but she must obtain permission from her husband in order to attend.
Saturday 8 Dec at 4.10 pm
Heart-wrenching and inspiring, this powerful film is a reminder of the brutal consequences of the Rwandan genocide, and a tribute to the strength and spirit of the women who are moving forth.
Saturday 8 Dec at 8 pm
Scarlet Road (Catherine Scott/ Australia/ 70 min)
Sex worker Rachel Wotton specializes in a long overlooked clientele – people with disabilities. Working in New South Wales, where prostitution is legal, her philosophy is that human touch and sexual intimacy can be the most therapeutic aspects to our existence. She fights both for the rights of sex workers and for access to sexual expression for the disabled through sex work, bringing together these two marginalized groups.
Sunday 9 Dec at 6 pm
Orchids: My Intersex Adventure (Phoebe Hart/ Australia/ 57 min)
Phoebe Hart knew she was different growing up – but she didn’t know why. This award-winning documentary traces Phoebe’s voyage of self-discovery as an intersex person, as she embarks on a road trip with her sister to meet other intersex people and hear their stories.
CONTEMPORARY CLASSICS FROM SOUTH ASIA
Friday 7 Dec at 8.05 pm
The Sari Soldiers (Julie Bridgham/ USA-Nepal/ 92 min)
An extraordinary story of six women’s courageous efforts to shape Nepal’s future in the midst of an escalating civil war against Maoist insurgents, and the King’s crackdown on civil liberties.
Sunday 9 Dec at 11.50 am
How Green Was Our Valley (Fereshteh Joghataei/ Iran/ 32 min)
A dam has been built and the water is rising. 63 villages will be flooded and the residents must be uprooted. People wait for a miracle at a holy shrine.
Sunday 9 Dec at 2.15 pm
Something Like a War (Deepa Dhanraj/ India/ 52 min)
This celebrated documentary traces the history of the family planning program and exposes the cynicism, corruption and brutality which characterizes its implementation.
from SPECIAL FOCUS ON WOMEN & PUBLIC SPACES
Friday 7 Dec at 4.30 pm
My Letter to Pippa (Bingöl Elmas/ Turkey-France/ 60 min)In 2008, Pippa Bacca embarked on a hitch-hiking expedition
from Rome to the Middle East to promote world peace. She disappeared outside Istanbul. Her raped body was
later recovered. In this road documentary, Kurdish director Bingöl Elmas undertakes to continue the journey.
INDIA PREMIERES AT THIS FESTIVAL, ALSO SHOWING IN MUMBAI
Gulabi Gang (Nishtha Jain/ India- Norway- Denmark/ 107 min) (India premiere was at the Delhi edition of this festival on 25 Nov; screened in Mumbai at the launch on Wednesday 28 Nov)
In Bundelkhand, the pink sari-clad women of Gulabi Gang travel long distances by tractor and train to wrest justice for women and Dalits, undeterred by sneering policemen and condescending bureaucrats. They encounter resistance everywhere, as whole villages connive in protecting the perpetrators of violence.
Sunday 9 Dec at 3.10 pm
Can We See the Baby Bump Please? (Surabhi Sharma/ India/ 49 min) (India premiere was at the Delhi edition of this festival on 23 Nov)
The global reach of medical tourism and commercial surrogacy has spawned a range of clinics and practices across big cities and small towns in India. The film meets with surrogates, doctors, law firms,agents, and families in an attempt to understand the context of surrogacy in India.
INDIA PREMIERE IN MUMBAI
Sunday 9 Dec at 7.45 pm
FACING MIRRORS (Negar Azarbayjani/ Iran/ 102 min) CLOSING FILM
With her husband in prison, Rana drives a taxi to support herself and her young son. During a journey to drop Adineh far outside Tehran, Rana makes a discovery that horrifies her. A story of prejudice, friendship and redemption.
OTHER MUMBAI PREMIERES
Friday 7 Dec at 11.15 am
A Day in the Life of Rahela (Dil Afruz Zeerak/ Afghanistan/ 27 min)
PART OF AN AFGHAN PACKAGE AT OUR LIVES…TO LIVE
13-year-old Rahela lives on one of the steep hillsides in Kabul. Every day she hauls up canisters of water from the plains to help support her family and pay for her schooling.
Saturday 8 Dec at 11.15 am
Fragments of a Past (Uma Chakravarti/ India/ 54 min) ACADEMIC-TURNED FILMMAKER WITH A MEMORABLE FILM
The ephemeral nature of memory and the importance of keeping alive our histories are both underlined in this film essay as it retraces the political journey of activist and writer Mythili Sivaraman.
Saturday 8 Dec at 12.45 pm
Conversations For The Dark Side Of The Moon: Two Sisters & Shilpi (Putul Mahmood/ India/ 20 min)
INTERVIEWS THAT QUESTION OUR ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS
A dialogue with two sisters who are inmates of the Lumbini Park Mental Hospital in Kolkata; a conversation with Shilpi about her unnerving experiences with psychiatrists.
Saturday 8 Dec at 3.35 pm
Kusum (Shumona Banerjee/ India/ 11 min)
SHORT FICTION BY AN SRFTI STUDENT THAT IS ALREADY A RUNAWAY SUCCESS
Transvestite sex worker Kusum gears up for a regular night. Enter Purab, a troubled English literature teacher who speaks no Bengali. All hell breaks loose as the two struggle to negotiate the night in each other’s presence.
Saturday 8 Dec at 5.55 pm
Invoking Justice (Deepa Dhanraj/ India/ 86 min)
ACCOMPLISHED FILMMAKER’S RECENT FILM, MUCH-AWAITED IN MUMBAI
In Tamil Nadu, family disputes are settled by all-male Jamaats which function without allowing women to be present. A group of women have established a women’s Jamaat, which works to reform a system that allows men to take refuge in the most extreme interpretations of the Qur’an to justify violence towards women.
MORE FILMS BY WELL-KNOWN FILMMAKERS FROM INDIA
Friday 7 Dec at 2.35 pm
The Ghetto Girl (Ambarien Alqadar/ 37 min)
In what is also known as India’s “Little Pakistan” in New Delhi, a girl searches for a lost home movie. The search takes her into the mapless lanes of the place she calls home.
Friday 7 Dec at 5.50 pm
Beyond the Wheel (Rajula Shah/ 59 min)
The film takes a look at three women in Indian pottery, across rural-urban and modern-traditional divides, with reference to the taboo of the wheel.
Saturday 8 Dec at 2.30 pm
Shit (Amudhan RP/ 25 min)
A street in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. A woman who sweeps up all the shit. Her name is Mariammal and she does this every day of her life. The film raises critical questions about caste, working conditions, the indifference of the Municipal Corporation, and people’s lack of civic sense.
Sunday 9 Dec at 11.00 am
Goddesses (Leena Manimekalai/ 43 min)
Three ordinary women who live extraordinary lives, surviving the darkest of times by going against society’s norms to live and work according to the rules they have set for themselves.
…MANY MORE FILMS AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING PANELS AND DISCUSSIONS ON THE MULTIPLE SITES AND FORMS OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
05 Dec 2012 3 Comments
By PTI – NEW DELHI
05th December 2012 04:30 PM
The much-delayed Koodankulam nuclear power project is expected to be commissioned by the end of this month, the government today told the Lok Sabha.
“The Unit-1 is likely to be commissioned by the end of December 2012,” Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said in a written reply.
He said the fuel has been loaded in Unit-1 and it has been made ready for approach to first criticality or the start of the nuclear fission chain reaction.
“The process of criticality in Unit-1 would start after the stage-wise clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB),” he said.
The AERB had given its nod to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to load 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel in the first reactor on September 18.
This was done after the NPCIL complied with all the conditions laid down by AERB in its August 10 sanction order.
The fuel loading process was completed on October two.
NPCIL is setting up two 1,000 MW VVER reactors at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district with Russian collaboration.
The nuclear power project is an outcome of an Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, the construction began only in 2001.