Protests erupt in Bangladesh after war-crimes verdict


By Farid Ahmed for CNN
February 7, 2013 — U

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN) — Outraged by a court verdict they considered too lenient, thousands of people took to the streets across Bangladesh on Wednesday demanding the death penalty for an Islamic party leader convicted of war crimes carried out more than four decades ago.

“We’ve taken additional measures across the country to heighten security,” State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Hoque told reporters.

From horror to hope: Boy’s miracle recovery from brutal attack

The demonstrations began Tuesday, when an International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant secretary general for the Jamaat-e-Islami party, to life in prison.

The Jamaat-e-Islami party had called for a two-day general strike across Bangladesh beginning Tuesday, and demonstrators clashed with police and demanded that ruling party officials scrap the trial process.

The government on Tuesday evening called in paramilitary troopers to maintain law and order in Dhaka and elsewhere as deadly protests erupted after the verdict.

Jamaat-e-Islami protested the verdict as demonstrators — including some from ruling party alliances — took to the streets demanding the death penalty for Mollah.

Read more: General strike disrupts life in Bangladesh

“We’ve deployed troopers from the Border Guards of Bangladesh to maintain law and order,” Hoque said.

Hundreds of Dhaka University students took to the streets in the capital’s Shahbagh Square, where they were joined by other city residents in protests that began Tuesday.

Home Ministry officials said security forces were patrolling in Dhaka and other major cities, including in the large southeastern port city of Chittagong, where at least four people were killed Tuesday during clashes between police and supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Police opened fire and shot tear-gas shells to disperse the protesters, who torched and otherwise damaged more than 100 vehicles in major cities.

Jamaat-e-Islami said its members would continue to protest; many of its leaders are behind bars facing charges of murder, arson, looting and rape stemming from the war of independence in 1971.

Read more: Clinton leaves drama in China for turmoil in Bangladesh

They said the war-crimes trials, which began after more than 40 years of independence, was done with “ill political motive.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina showed no sign of backing down, saying the trials would be completed at any cost.

The government, which promised in its election pledges in 2008 to complete the war-crimes trials, set up the tribunals in 2010.

Amid tight security, a three-member panel of judges of the International Crimes Tribunal-2 delivered the judgment against Mollah in a crowded courtroom on Tuesday.

Mollah, 64, was found guilty of five of six charges, including murder.

They included crimes against humanity, tribunal Chairman Justice Obaidul Hassan said.

After the verdict was read, Mollah stood from the chair on which he had been seated and cried, “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Great!)

He declared he was innocent and began to curse the judges and the government.

He then pulled a copy of the Quran from his pocket and held it in front of him, saying that the judges would one day find themselves on trial in accordance with the holy book’s law.

Lawmakers of the ruling party alliance criticized the verdict in parliament and asked the prosecution to appeal for the death penalty.

Mollah, who was the chief of the students’ wing of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1971, is the first Jamaat-e-Islami leader convicted in a war-crimes case by the tribunal.

On January 21, the same tribunal sentenced to death the first war crimes convict, Abul Kalam Azad, alias Bachchu Razakar.

Bangladesh had been the eastern portion of Pakistan until it gained independence in 1971 in a war that killed 3 million people.

 

Violence rocks Dalit hostel as Patna varsity looks the other way


RAHI GAIKWAD, The Hindu Feb 7,2013

  • A portion of the Bhimrao Ambedkar Welfare Hostel of the Patna University where Dalit students are staying. Photo: Ranjeet Kumar
    A portion of the Bhimrao Ambedkar Welfare Hostel of the Patna University where Dalit students are staying. Photo: Ranjeet Kumar
  • A portion of the Bhimrao Ambedkar Welfare Hostel of the Patna University where Dalit students are staying. Photo: Ranjeet Kumar
    A portion of the Bhimrao Ambedkar Welfare Hostel of the Patna University where Dalit students are staying. Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

A mob burst on the scene as night fell. Equipped with hockey sticks, bricks, stones, firearms and crude bombs it prepared for an assault.

“You are Harijans,” it yelled. “You have no right to read and write. Your work is to mend shoes and chappals. We will keep you as servants in our houses. Your ancestors did the same work. You leave the hostel or else there will be a massacre.” This is part of a police statement given by a Dalit student residing in the Bhimrao Ambedkar Welfare Hostel of Patna University (PU) facility.

Last week, the hostel witnessed fierce caste violence in which three Dalit students were injured.

“Around 30 men came shouting Brahmeshwar Mukhiya zindabad, Mukhiya amar rahe [Long live the Mukhiya] and Ambedkar ko phuk do [Destroy Ambedkar]. They stood outside the hostel and started throwing stones. They dragged and beat up a student. Firing shots and bombs rent the air. We ran inside the hostel. All we had to defend against the armed attack were brick pieces used to support the cots in our room,” Satyaprakash, a student at the Ambedkar hostel, told The Hindu.

‘Mukhiya’ refers to the slain Ranvir Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh.

Located in Patna’s ‘coaching district’, the hostel forms part of the Saidpur hostel campus of PU. Facing it is a cluster of five hostels for general category students, collectively called the ‘Saidpur hostel’, which has gained notoriety over the years for nurturing hooligans and becoming a virtual den of anti-socials from the landowning Bhumihar caste, particularly from the badlands of Jehanabad district.

“While students from other castes reside in the Saidpur hostel, since very early days, it has been dominated by the “so-called” students of the landlord caste, mostly Bhumihars. The boys come mostly from Jehanabad, Gaya and Nalanda districts. Though it’s for all students, including those from SC, when students are enrolled, they either belong to the Saidpur hostel or the Ambedkar hostel,” official sources told The Hindu.

A clear topographical division on caste lines thus separates the two hostels. “Yahan par Jehanabad ke khas jati ke khas logon ka dabang hai [A particular caste from Jehanabad wields clout here]. Only a Jehanabad Bhumihar can stay here without being harassed. Others; say a Yadav boy comes along; he is beaten up and made to flee. The miscreants then get their own relatives to stay. Many of them don’t even know where PU is. There is a terrible situation here,” a Saidpur resident told The Hindu on condition of anonymity.

Gangster Guddu Sharma, who was shot dead in Delhi a few years ago, was a product of the Saidpur hostel. In fact, this hostel is one of the reasons why a police check post in the area was converted into a full-fledged police station in 2007.

A common power grid that supplies electricity to the entire neighbourhood is one of the key triggers for such attacks, as it was last week.

“That evening, there was a power cut at the Ambedkar hostel, but not at the Saidpur general hostel. The Ambedkar students went to the electricity office, situated on the same campus, to take stock of the mater. Seeing them, the Saidpur boys hurtled down and started hurling caste abuses, such as ‘Harijans’ ‘dusadhs’ and ‘chamars’ [all lower caste names]’,” as per another police statement of a student.

“When we asked for power supply, they said, ‘Have you ever seen light in your life?’” Satyaprakash recalled.

The official sources said, in a situation where the Ambedkar hostel had power and Saidpur hostel did not, there was immense pressure on electricity officials to cut the supply to the Ambedkar hostel. “Seeing an equal distribution of facilities stokes the caste jealousies of the Saidpur hostellers, Many times fights over power supply take the form of caste clashes,” an official source said.

“There have been times,” said a general student, “when the whole area is plunged into darkness, but only the Saidpur hostel is lit.” Disconnecting water supply to the Ambedkar hostel is another means of showing caste dominance. The tap dries up at 9 a.m. and its water is dirty. At any given point of time, a few students suffer from jaundice.

At the heart of the matter, said students, lies plain caste hatred, “a determined effort to display caste superiority.”

The police have registered an FIR under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act. Five persons — Atul Shekhar, Amit Kumar, Ashutosh Kumar, Nupendra Kumar and Shishuranjan Kumar — are under arrest.

Sources told The Hindu that the police initially arrested 10 persons, but high-level manoeuvring facilitated the release of five of them. There are also complaints that while the real fish get away, “legal students” get wrongly implicated in cases.

So acute is the problem of “illegal occupancy” that even authorities are at the end of their tether. Officials put the size of illegal occupants to a whopping 80 per cent.

“The number is so huge that once even the Special Task Force [personnel] was beaten up by them. The unauthorised boys know nothing will happen. PU does not want to interfere. Perhaps they are scared. You need the Rapid Action Force to crack down. They have been staying there for years,” an authoritative source from the university, who did not wish to named, told The Hindu.

The police, on their part, perceive a limited role for themselves in the matter. “We have raised the matter with the university in vain,” they said.

When asked, PU proctor Kirteshwar Prasad told The Hindu: “We are trying to get them vacated. We are on the job. We had written to the administration. We will write to them, namely the senior superintendent of police and the district magistrate, who are the competent authority.”

The incident received biased coverage in the press, according to the Ambedkar hostel students. “The news report in a leading Hindi daily pinned the blame on us. It said we were the ones to attack. Their numbers are huge. How can we possibly attack them” they asked.

An official source concurred. “That report is totally false. We were on the ground, we know what happened. The report paints an entirely wrong picture. The local media has played a very bad role in this.”

Despite arrests, the trouble is far from being over. There are indications that in light of this incident, the Saidpur hostel is looking at acquiring more arms. Financial contributions collected for the upcoming Saraswati puja could provide the means.

The spectre of routine caste violence looms large over the Dalit students. They dare not take the short-cut to the university, as it passes through the Saidpur hostel.

 

After Mass Sterilization In India, 100 Women Apparently Left In Field To Recuperate #Vaw #WTFnews


More than 100 women in India were apparently left out in a field after a mass sterilization at a hospital in the Malda district of West Bengal, according to multiple reports.

“Helpers” were said to have moved the women — many of them unconscious from anesthesia administered during the invasive medical procedure — from the hospital and laid them out in an open field nearby. Medical officials told Agence France-Presse that there was not enough space at the hospital for them to recover indoors.

“Over 100 women, mostly poor, came to the camp for the surgery. Immediately after the procedure, the doctors asked the helpers to move each of them to the adjacent field,” the state’s director of health services, Dr. Biswaranjan Satpathi, told AFP.

According to the Press Trust of India, the mass sterilization was carried out on Tuesday at the Manikchak Rural Health Center.

Indian TV network NDTV captured footage of the women being carried from the hospital and placed on tarps outside. According to the broadcaster, doctors at the government-run hospital broke several medical rules, such as greatly exceeding the number of procedures that can be performed in one day — said to be set at 25 per doctor. Reports differ on how many doctors carried out the procedures. NDTV, for example, claims only two doctors were responsible for the sterilizations; Tamil News Network says four doctors were involved.

Dr. Bidhan Mishra, the district’s chief medical officer of health, has launched an investigation into the doctors involved, noting that proper post-operation procedures were not followed, the Tamil News Network reports. The National Human Rights Commission is also looking into the incident.

An NDTV reporter at the hospital in Kolkata described the scene, remarking that women were brought out on stretchers and dumped on the ground outside the hospital.

“Their relatives are massaging their feet, and that’s about all the after-care they seem to be getting after the sterilization operation,” she says during the video clip.

Sterilization is performed to prevent women from becoming pregnant. In India, government policies encourage women to have the tubal ligation procedure as a means of birth control, according to the Earth Policy Institute.

Adequate after-care and hygiene following the routine operation has been an ongoing issue in the country for years. While the U.K. pledged £166 million (about $260 million) to fund sterilization programs, the aid has been used to cover the costs of forced sterilizations of the poor, the Guardian reports.

Click over to NDTV to watch video footage of the women being carted away from the hospital in Kolkata, or watch the clip above.

 

Bhag Modi Bhag: 3 eyewitness accounts from a protest in DU


FEBRUARY 8, 2013
by , KAFILA.ORG

Guest posts by CHANDAN GOMESAKHIL KUMAR and an ANONYMOUS student; photographs by CHANDAN GOMES, SHAFAQ KHAN

Photo credit: Chandan Gomes

No Space for Dissent

by CHANDAN GOMES

On 6th January, 2013 the usually quaint Delhi University transformed into a battle ground of ideologies. The road leading to Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) where Narendra Modi was invited to speak at the Sri Ram Memorial Oration stands witness to all that went wrong day before yesterday.

The heavily fortified road was quiet until 3 pm, when a group of students marched through the faculty of Arts towards the gate opening right across SRCC. They were intercepted by a Delhi Police Unit close to the gate where every effort was made to contain them. In the brief tussle that followed, the DP Unit was overpowered and the protesters spilled onto the road raising slogans against the ‘Hriday Samrat’. Three rows of barricades were placed on either sides and in the middle stood a large number of Delhi Police personals armed with lathis and tear gas shells. By 3:30 the crowds had swelled and one knew that these young men and women will not go down without a fight.

Photo credit: Chandan Gomes

Barricades were rattled and black flags were waved. It was heartening to see so many women at the forefront of the protest. But it was equally disheartening to see them being subjected to sexist remarks by members of the very police force that claims to protect them. I noticed so many police men smirking, cracking indecent jokes and passing lewd comments in murmurs and whispers. And soon they were joined by ABVP/BJP activists who left no stones unturned to intimidate and humiliate those who were protesting.

While Modi supporters merrily loitered in the area where the police forces were stationed, those protesting against him were being subjected to water cannons and lathi charges. Many protestors were detained by the Police, some of whom were dragged over the barricades and shoved into a police van that was surrounded by Modi loyalists who attacked these unarmed, injured men. A young lady was also detained who too bore the wrath of their hatred – she was abused, mocked and subjected to a barrage of obscene comments. And all this was happening right in front of the press who chose to ignore this facet in their coverage of the event.

Yes the protestors were fiery and yes their body language was aggressive, but they did not resort to violence. Most of them were trying to push the barricades to move a little closer to the SRCC main gate. It is sad and shameful that there is no space for dissent for these young men and women in the very University that they belong to.

But there is a silver lining to the darkest of clouds – as these young men and women bore the brunt of mindless police action, they did not forget to help each other. They gave shoulder to those who were injured, they formed human chains. They shared stories and memories. For they knew they were bound to each other by compassion and empathy. Unfortunately our friends with lathis and guns are oblivious to this emotion. And I feel sorry for them.

The same holds true for the Modi loyalists, who touched a new low yesterday. Unfortunately for them, yesterday was also the day when the young men and women of this city touched a new high.

[See more photographs by Chandan Gomes.]

What Went Down at the Anti-Modi Protest at Delhi University

by AKHIL KUMAR

[An excerpt from Akhil Kumar‘s eyewitness account as published in Youth ki Awaaz.]

…The police did not even bother to conceal their support and tolerance for the hooligans of ABVP who even climbed on the water cannon and openly indulged in sexual harassment and violence. They passed lewd comments and made vulgar gestures standing right next to the policemen, I would have clicked pictures had my phone not been rendered useless by the water cannon. I was shocked to see that many teachers from Delhi University also openly threatening the protesters, abusing us with the most horrific expletives while their students brandished pointed sticks saying “khoon kar dunga”! We felt helpless and outraged at the police working hand in glove with the goons. When we broke through the first barricade, the police started bashing us ruthlessly with their lathis in full swing and they enjoyed every moment of it. They laughed, mocked us, hurled vulgar abuses and passed derogatory comments while hitting us. It was clear that they had no intention to disperse or control the crowd, they chased us down and dragged some of our protesters to their side of the barricade and left them at the mercy of the ABVP goons. A few girls fell down in the rush and the police trampled them, one of them was unconscious when we rushed to help and had to be taken to the hospital. The ABVP students openly threatened girls with comments like “Jo Gujrat me hua tha wahi tumhare sath bhi karenge”…

…The police trained their water cannon at us and I cannot forget the smirk on the face of the person who was operating it just before he started aiming at the defenseless protesters. I was caught in the jet and fell face down as it hit me straight on my legs, struggling to get up from the mud. I lost all faith in non-violent protests that very moment. I was hurt, shocked and infuriated; not that this was my first encounter with water cannons but because of the smile on the policemen’s faces as they enjoyed the brutality. When I again went to the barricade, I was beaten up and hit where it hurts the most; the excruciating pain in the knuckles and ankles stand testimony to that. Some of the policemen passed snide remarks and laughed at us all the while…

 

Photo credit: Shafaq Khan

 

The Anatomy of a Protest

by an ANONYMOUS Delhi University student

To say that Narendra Modi is a very divisive figure would be an understatement. A dear friend, who is an SRCC Alumnus, suddenly informed me a couple of days back on 2nd February that Mister Modi has been invited to visit her college to speak at the annual Shriram Memorial Lecture and the annual business conclave. She wanted to know what I thought of it when it was her own anguish that Icould sense in her words at not being able to do anything about this visit. I could not say anything; perhaps my silence conveyed enough of my sadness and helplessness at this. Then today in the morning of 6th February, the day of the visit, I was informed by another friend who is associated with AISA, they are going to register their protest against this visit which was going to take place today at 3 pm, asking me to come and be a part of it. The visit was something that I had conveniently put to the back of my mind, thinking maybe it would go away and was rudely reminded that reality does not afford you such luxury. So I went to attend the Protest and here is a brief account.

2:45 pm
I made my way to the front of SRCC gate and found that there were some media personnel, with their paraphernalia of cameras and other stuff and some other sundry people loitering around and a huge presence of Delhi Police personnel. I was wondering whether how many of these were there to protest this visit. Overhearing some of the conversations, it was clear that some were clearly fanboys of the coming visitor but some were curious to see the visitor and it is here i overhear for thwarting a shoe hurling incident, everyone’s been asked to take off their shoes before going into the auditorium at srcc. Alas, had no means to cross-check it. I am considering whether it would have been more prudent to protest inside SRCC. Some people who appear to be from Bihar by their accents are speaking how it is necessary to make Modi the Prime Minister to save the country from being destroyed by the Congress.

3:00 pm
Delhi Police gets into action and in a jiffy puts up layers of barricades which were already there and fastens up the barricades with a heavy rope on both sides to the university walls. It traps everyone who were till a moment ago thinking they had a good vantage point and are asked to vacate the area quickly, even those who were trying to go home. People are forced to climb over the walls of Arts Faculty and jump to safety on the other side
.
3:02 pm
Suddenly a group of people under AISA’s banner arrives on the scene, shouting slogans to the effect that Modi should go back and are met by the first barricade. The media persons present get into action trying to cover this but it is clear these are the small units, who have been denied entry inside the hallowed portals to cover the visit. The protestors group gets ranged against the barricade and the might of Delhi Police on the other side. This group is joined by more people soon of other leftist groups and slogan shouting, waving of black flags and placards, ensues.

3:12 pm
The restive group starts to push forward, wanting to go ahead, in this melee a female protester tries to get through the gap in the barricade and is manhandled and brutally pushed back by all male contingent of Delhi Police. The Police want to shove batons at the protestors and are continuously reminded by the protestors, they cannot do this. A quick aside, yes all the police personnel on duty were male and no female constable could be sighted till the end of the protest. The female protestor finally manages to push through and is immediately caught hold off by her hair and hauled off for her temerity to do such a thing. I am worried and fearful of her safety.

3:15 pm
This had a ripple effect and suddenly the crowd starts pushing at the barricade but is pushed back by the police by shoving their lathis and manhandling protesters. The barricade which seemed secure, beyond breaching is suddenly getting tilted towards the police. Sensing that they might not be able to hold on for long and it could cause some injury to them, i see a policeman untying and letting go of the rope tying the barricades. The police bandobust decides it wise to move back behind the second barricade. The slogan shouters move forward while very efficiently sidelining the fallen barricades for their fellow protestors. When all this protest started, a female got injured and fainted, had to be carried to the sidelines and it was a while before she was normal.

3:30 pm
Some more protestors join in, the slogan shouting reaches fever pitch. I spot a middle-aged gentleman wearing a devils mask and the famous Modi mukhauta pasted on his chest signifying his real character. His is quite a novelty. Somebody passes me a placard, which says killer Modi Go Back. It is my own for displaying till its end comes when it gets wet and wasted. The right flank of the protesters has females majorly, shouting slogans, holding onto the barricades. These female protestors i learn later took some of the worst abuse from the police and the pro-modi supporters group. People want to cross-over the barricades but cannot do much, except shout slogans to condemn Modi. The Police is saturated around the barricade, so much so that not an inch of light can pass between them it appears and is eyeballing the protesters. Some are abusing, some are asking the protestors to be in limits, some are telling them to go home but all this unsolicited advice has no effect.

3:45 pm
Suddenly a motley group of middle aged people under the banner of some organisation called NDTF arrives on the sight of the protest shouting pro-modi slogans. The protesters realise it is a well designed ploy to distract and divert attention, when the pro-modi protestors were allowed to assemble on the other side of the barricade from where his cavalcade was to come and not on this side. Suddenly a group breaks up and forms a wall of protestors to stop this group from going ahead and a slogan shouting war to out-shout the other ensues. Suddenly this group of NDTF, sees a kashmiri in the midst of the other camp and then the slogans progressively degenerate into ” babar ki auladon wapas jao”, ” Muslims are Terrorists” and much worse and targeted at that kashmiri protestor. Another surprise for me was to spot this group of IAS aspirants who are in delhi to prepare for this exam, who i knew from before and are not part of the university to suddenly emerge and join pro-modi slogan shouting with the NDTF group. There was a Sardarji distributing a pamphlet addressed to the Khalsa College Principal. There was placard asking for justice for Soni Sori too. There were placards asking why there were fixed salaries in academia.

4:00 pm
An anti-riot vehicle comes and stops at the sidelines and then a fire-brigade vehicle fitted with cannon for firing water comes and stops in front of the barricade. It appears inevitable that a drenching was in the works for those who were protesting. So as sudden as was the presence of the water cannon in the midst, so did it let loose a volley of water on anyone who chose to stay in its way or dared to protest. All this happening without provocation from the crowd. The checking of the water nozzle and then getting it ready to fire, seemed like something happening in ultra slow motion in a film, while in reality it was pretty swift. And so we had been all soaked in water for daring to protest.

4:15 pm
The protestors now started getting restive. They had been non-provocative but the police had replied with water cannon to get them to shut-up. Suddenly the cavalcade of Modi was visible and a crowd of ABVP supporters running after it. They obviously had a free run for they were supporting him. If this farce of allowing a protest was not enough, the NDTF got reinforcement in the form of SaveIndia.Org. They soon descended upon the scene with fancy placards and posters made out of flex, seemed like they were well prepared for this. This group then tried to make its way to the front of the barricade, continuously pushing and shoving. When they could not, they climbed up the walls which were forbidden for others to climb and made their way to the front from the right flank, manhandling and abusing the female protestors who were already present there.

4:30 pm
The protestors now did not want to wait behind the barricades. They had been patient but it had been tested by the uncalled for water cannoning the first time. Suddenly a group of ABVP protestors appears on the side of the police, unfurling a big poster of their poster boy and egging on the protestors to cross the barricade. These people appear to be special invitees to the protest by the police. No one is stopping them and they are going on, trying to provoke the protestors. Then a pro-modi supporter climbs upon the water cannon, unfurls a poster of mister modi and gives the finger to the protestors behind the barricade before he is asked to come down.

4:40 pm
Some people start pushing at the barricade and want to bring it down but the police will have none of it. All the policemen are holding on to the barricade as if their life depends on it. There is a tug of war happening. The protestors are pulling at the rope holding on to the barricade, hoping to bring it down. Then all of a sudden somebody from their ranks decides it is enough and charges in from the left flank with a baton in his hand. I spot somebody i have known from college in the front and it seems he is hurt, his very pained expression saying it all. This rampaging policeman is surrounded by protestors and sensing danger he stops, he is divested of his baton and is sent back across the barricade to be with his tribe and the baton safely put beneath a car before it can cause more damage.

4:45 pm
The water canon returns. The police have had it with these impudent protestors, who do not appear to have learnt their lesson. They spray and spray and some people again are running to save themselves, while some are facing it on. Now the anti-modi protestors all occupy the front line of protestors. The SaveIndia.Org people have mysteriously slinked back. It is back to sloganeering for registering protest. A pro-modi protestor is confused about the man protesting with the devil’s mask, whether he was on his side or on the other. A sardarji is patiently explaining to him, what his protest is all about, to show modi as a real devil behind the mask. The pro-modi protestor appears quite dazed on hearing this.

5:00 pm
I bump into my AISA friends, hoarse from all the slogan shouting and drenched completely. We are happy to see each other and relieved that they are un-hurt. I also manage to bump into this person who I knew, having seen him with a pained expression and it turns out to be true, he was hurt with a baton just below the eye. Then spot this female, who is limping without footwear as if she has hurt both her feet. I speak to her and ask her what has happened, which leaves me horrified. She was one of those people who were in the front of the barricade on the right flank and they were constantly beaten on their feet by the shoving of batons by the police and hurled the choicest of abuses and had been joined in by pro-Modi supporters. The police never change’s its stripes. Now a group of people from SIO have also arrived and waving their flag and shouting anti-modi slogans.

5:15 pm
Suddenly a contingent of policemen in riot gear has arrived behind the protestors and is standing at a distance. If facing the police from the front was not enough, there are more waiting behind their backs.

 

5:30 pm
People have started leaving now, having registered their protest vociferously and in a dignified manner. The police contingent in riot-gear is closing in now and is standing very close for comfort all of a sudden.

5:45 pm
The protest is officially over and all the protestors are hauled and taken in a procession to the Maurice Nagar Police Station. They are surrounded on all sides by the police and the ABVP protestors as they go to the police station shouting slogans.

Post-Script
A total of 18 people have been taken for a Medical Test( a medical test to ascertain if it is a Medico-Legal Case) because they are injured and Seven people were detained for trying to cross the barricade, who are all released in the end.

It was a smooth protest, done peacefully but how much of an impact it will have, I am not sure. Making our voice heard, registering our protest, yes we did. After all that is what democracy is all about, the right to be heard, the right to protest peacefully, without the fear of molestation or of violence by mobs of men ranged against your protesting. As a friend remarked at the protest, even if we could not make it inside the college, we did show that we did not agree and were not complicit in legitimizing Modi’s visit. Finally, I am left with a question in my head, whether Delhi University will ever be saved from its right-wing moorings.

20130208-011957.jpg

Killers of creativity #Censorsip #FOE


Aranyani Bhargav, The Hindu

Mallika Sarabhai Photo:Thulasi Kakkat

Mallika Sarabhai Photo:Thulasi Kakkat

Dance appears to have escaped censorship, but a very subtle form of censorship disguises itself as a performance licence

Despite what romantics might say, it is not easy to be creative. Creativity is not simply something some people are born with and some aren’t. Creativity is cultivated over many years of training, learning, and experiencing. In other words, it is not an easy task to create something good and meaningful even in the best of circumstances. However, the best of circumstances don’t always present themselves at opportune or frequent moments in time. In fact, many an artist will tell you that the revelations regarding a creative piece of work came at a decidedly inopportune or inconvenient moment!

Moreover, there are certain factors in the art world that make the creation of dance (and indeed other forms of art) even more difficult. One is undoubtedly the lack of inspiration. Inspiration can be thwarted by internal factors such as emotional distress or laziness to actually do the hard work that creativity requires, or to go out there and get exposed to other people’s work – in order to draw inspiration from it. Inspiration can equally be diminished by external factors such as the apparent celebration of mediocrity, which may cause disheartening and discouragement; a lack of guidance in the form of a mentor, teacher or colleagues; and the economic factor – which in many ways limits creativity.

Let me explain this further. Money, I think, is the second factor worth mentioning that kills creativity. Of course, this is not unconditionally true. An art-funding body that approves funding for a choreographer’s work can be of immeasurable help to the choreographer because it helps him or her to be able to focus only on creating the work, rather than searching for funding. But there is a flipside to this as well. Work that is commissioned often has restrictions imposed on it by the organization that commissions it. Funds are released on the condition that content, concept, vocabulary and so on – will be determined and restricted – not by the choreographer, but by the person or organization funding the work. In that sense, it does kill creativity.

Restrictions are imposed in other ways too, and this particular one seems obvious as a killer of creativity – censorship. Of course, like all of the above factors, this one is also not an absolute evil. Censorship exists in an ideal world for good and important reasons. But sometimes, it does contribute to the bloodless murder of creative potential.

Censorship doesn’t happen in the world of dance very publicly as it does in some other spheres of art – Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vishwaroopam’ and Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’ are quite openly censored by society. Dance appears to have escaped that censorship but perhaps that is only the case because the world of dance is less in the public eye than Haasan or Rushdie. Censorship does occasionally threaten to kill creativity amongst dancers. Mallika Sarabhai, a dancer and activist in Gujarat, has faced ‘censorship’ of sorts for having viewpoints that didn’t fit well with people in power. On a more ‘aam aadmi’ level, the police now imposes restrictions on dancers who wish to perform publicly. Of course, the banning of live music (which had a profoundly devastating impact on local musicians and bands) in Bangalore as well as the banning of dancing in pubs has caught quite a lot of media attention a few years ago. But even for ‘serious performers of dance’ in India, a very subtle form of censorship disguises itself as a ‘performance licence’. Amongst several things that the performer has to agree not to do, the vague statements could potentially restrict the freedom of any kind of creative expression – the performance must not have “any impropriety of language”, “indecency of dress, dance, movement or gesture”, or “anything likely to excite feelings of sedition or political discontent”. The basis on which impropriety or indecency, or in fact, the expression of political discontent is to be measured is not mentioned anywhere, potentially limiting the creative freedom of a dancer to speak, dance, or dress a certain way.

So, when the best of circumstances do not present themselves to a creative person, these killers of creativity make the creation of art an even more difficult task than it was to begin with.

 

#India- Drugged, raped minor gets Justice #Vaw


Published: Friday, Feb 8, 2013, 9:30 IST
By Mustafa Plumber & Dilnaz Boga | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

 

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court has upheld the conviction of 20 men in the case of a minor who was drugged by her neighbour, raped, and then blackmailed into prostitution in 2005. She was then a Class IX student in Aurangabad.

Those convicted include men who claimed they were unaware of the victim’s age as they took her to be a sex worker, a contention the court refused to accept. Also convicted is one accused who married the victim after he was pronounced guilty by the Aurangabad sessions court.

In a judgment delivered on February 4, the division bench of justices AH Joshi and UD Salvi confirmed the sentences of all those convicted by the trial court, reducing the sentence of eight accused, including the man who married the victim.

Chetan Popatlal Bhalgat, who married the victim in May 2011, prayed for a less than minimum sentence, citing the marriage and the fact he had given her Rs21 lakh in cash as well as a row-house worth Rs13.30 lakh, a shopping premise and a plot of land in Ahmednagar. While he claimed this mitigates the malevolence of the crime, the court only reduced his sentence from 10 years to eight years.

The judges observed, “…the genesis of the culpability of the accused did not spring from the insanity of a lover but was a plain lust supported by pecuniary ability, namely he could pay for what he had craved for”.

As Bhalgat had done something restitutive for the victim, the court reduced his sentence by two years.

The court also accepted the testimony of the victim as reliable and said, “A witness who is very well grown up cannot be expected to give narration of sexual wrongs done to her which are per se traumatic, with minute details or particulars. It shall suffice if she utters the word physical/sexual relationship or rape.”

According to the judgment, the minor was threatened by an accused who is now deceased that photographs of the sexual encounters would be published in local newspapers. Under threat, the minor was coerced to have sex with several men until she was rescued by a local NGO. The girl was taken to people’s homes and to hotels in rickshaws and hired cars, where she was forced to dispense sexual favours repeatedly.

Four men aged between 20 and 25 — Hardeek Lakhamichand Jaggad, Aakash Subhash Rathi, Aatmaram Ramrao Dengale and Ramakant Ramrao Dengale — were sentenced to eight years.

The others who were sentenced to 10 years apart from the man who married her are Balkishan Premraj Goel, Ajay Sudhakar Kate, Aaba alias Dyandev Bhagchand Gondkar, Abdul Haq Fakir Mohammad Kureshi, Rajendra Shivajirao Thorat, Ravindra Shivajirao Thorat, Raghunath Ramnath Zolekar, Vasant Mangu Pawara, Ramrao Moniraj Dengale, Tukaram Gena Misal, Ramesh Rajaram Barkase, Ashok Babasaheb Kasar, Vilas ere Karale, Ruchin Mehta, and Harjit Rajpal.

The court observed in its 126-page judgment that “law takes stern view in the crimes concerning rape not only for the reason of physical harm that it causes to a woman but also for she being left destitute to suffer life-long mental trauma”.

 

#Odisha – Campaign on policy intervention for Women land rights #womenrights


 

The situation of Dalit, tribal & marginalize women in needs special attention. They are one of the largest socially segregated groups anywhere.  However, women facing multiple oppressions that violate their fundamental rights. Now the real situations of Dalit, tribal & marginalize women are threatened by rape as part of collective violence by in physically, socially politically and economically. However, today this violence is increasing in society. And these women are ignorance to accesses their rights of life, livelihood and dignity.

Our country is a Part of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Civil and Political Rights. & also a Part of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). This treaty not only identifies a range of economic, social and cultural rights, but it also requires that all peoples enjoy these rights, without discrimination.

But the ground reality that the women face sees a complete negation and violation of women’s human rights. These women are the poor, illiterate and powerless with neither access nor control over land & natural resources. They have been victims of structural and social violence making them easy targets for sexual harassment. Atrocities and violence against women are both a means of sustaining systemic discrimination, as well as a reaction when caste and gender norms are challenged.

 

Prospective of women land rights

The principle in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 1948) that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. World without poverty, inequality and social injustice; where all individuals are free and empowered to live in dignity and peace. This is mining less for women without land rights. Land ownership is the only way to women empowerment, dignity, social security, livelihood & human rights.

Discrimination and women Rights over land & natural resources is one of the most complicated issues that are today faced with. As such this is not a new question; however the current format is a relatively newer one. There are specific reasons and compulsion for raising this question at this juncture of history as the betrayal of the betrayed continues for centuries unknown till today. Dalit, tribal & marginalize Women have been active throughout history.  They were actively involved in the land & forest protection Movements & today also they are the strongholds in thousands of villages. They continue to play a critical role in the movements for land rights. For them, land, forest is not only property it is the identity & relationship of the human and mother earth. They have been 78% participation in the land protection, promotion & agricultural production. Which is a great contribution on GDP growth .but However, they are unable to put an end to the structural discrimination and exclusion.  And impunity is used to keep them in their place. It has caused them to start building their own praxis, identity and agency, and build an effective nonviolence struggle to restoration of their relationships with land &forest. That is clearly need in its place is an articulation base on the consciousness of the mother land.

Women need to develop a wider understanding and proper perspective about the diverse dynamics of women rights. One needs an understanding of the logic of the underlying forces that govern the current pattern of ownership. Access to land entitlement is deeply important for Dalit community especially women, where the incidence of poverty is highly correlated with lack of access to land are also an imperative for food security. Without land security and land Bess livelihood efforts to use natural resources in a sustainable manner may not be fruitful. Land ownership is a powerful tool that allows the Dalit community to escape extreme poverty especially women. Secure land right to increase nutrition, school enrolment and reduces the conflict of the community. Hence the crisis of Dalit women and rights over natural resources has to be understood in its historical perspective.

Why this campaign

In the process of life struggle, women were realized their relationship with land and forest. and the obstacles of women empowerment  so they are being initiated in the country by various land rights movement in the women’s perspective.  Govt. also takes some important decision in fever of women like joint entitlement. But in reality it was the partnership not to ownership. Also that not to be changes of the mindset of the society and system also the policy of land reform & women empowerment in women prospective of security & dignity.

So there is a strong need to space for women’s perspective and leadership for land and natural resource rights to consolidate our strategies toward claiming, retaining, distribution and development of land ownership in the name of women for the future generations. As women we have a greater responsibility towards achieving this cause.

The national task force initiated by the government of India is in place for addressing the land question in India. The process is already started. Perhaps this is an opportunity for all of us & the right time to share women’s perspectives with the government of India & state govt. to addressing the land rights in name of women. We shall have more information & experience on women land rights struggle which we send our recommendations and demand about women land rights in ground level women opinion.  Also take as an issue in coming election.

ODWF Action in Odisha

Odisha Dalit women forum is a collective power of Dalit women in Odisha, an initiative to strengthen leadership of dalit, tribal & marginalize women and to build their capacities, knowledge and skills. Which raise their voice & concerns, on security, livelihood and dignity with campaign on women land & natural resources rights in a nonviolence action process ODWF create a mass opinion against violence, discrimination on cast, class, and gender.

As the continue process of our women land rights campaign it is a opportunity for ODWF  to initiate this mass awareness about the recommendation to national taskforce process for land reform policy to get more accountable of govt. for women dignity and security. So ODWF group decided that initiate this mass campaign for more participation of women in this national policy intervention process.

 

Objective of the campaign:

  • Create awareness about Importance of Land Rights among all women.
  • To reduce conflict in the society by enabling women to gain access and ownership over mother earth and natural resources.
  • To create awareness among the tribal, Dalit women on their rights over life and livelihood and sensitize the people on different legal aspects related to land, forest and natural resources.
  • To build up a relationship of women for their common action to achieve land rights.
  • To make accountability the Government for proper implementation of the women Land Rights Law & sensitize the administration.
  • Awareness to Collection of signature and demands for women land rights and to send the national and state govt.

This programme will sensitize to understand the land and mother relationship and linkage established with state, national and global movement and generates a support for women land rights prospective. This understanding will help to develop sustainable livelihoods of society to peace and justice that build to protect towards both, violence as well as the Risks of Globalization.

ODWF Coverage area

Sl. No. District Nos. of coverage Villages No of peoples participation Campaign in charge
1 Baleswar 14 217 Ms. Charubalajena
2 Balangir 10 168 Ms. Nirupama mahar
3 Bhadrak 7 145 Ms. pritirekha jena
4 Cuttack 9 146 Ms. Nayana nayak
5 Dhankanal 10 170 Ms. Rasmirekha
6 Jagatshingpur 5 90 Ms.Bijayalaxmi
7 Nayagad 10 160 Ms.sumitra nayak
8 Khordha 40 680 Ms. Nalininayak
9 Kalahandi 60 970 Ms. Sakuntala harpal
10 Rayagada 14 260 Ms. Nurjahan pani
 11 Nabarangpur 10 136 Ms. Swapnalata babu
12 Malkanagir 15 340 Ms. S .susan
13 Koraput 10 180 Ms. Nalin khemund
14 Kaujhra 15 245 Ms. Kanak nayak
15 Maurbhanja 17 350 Ms. Minati sahoo
16 Sambalpur 5 150 Ms. Anita bag
17 Kandhamal 20 350 Ms. Antima nayak
18 Gangam 25 420 Ms. S .jamuna
19 Gagapati 11 180 Ms. Anusaya sabhapati
20 puri 6 150 Ms. Swati
21 Baragad 5 125 Ms. Jogeswari
22 Subarnapur 10 170 Ms. Mamdodari  chatria
23 Baudh 10 190 Ms. Sebati  behera
24 Jajpur 10 210 Ms. Nerupama naik
25 Debgarh 7 120 Ms. Mamuni sarbhang
26 Nuapara 8 150 Ms. Suravi seth
27 Kendrapada 10 170 Ms. Kausalya mallik
28 Sundargarh 10 190 Ms. Anna kujur
373 6832

 

ODWF also collaboration with other women forum for this campaign and send their recommendation to stat & national govt. from their respective area of Odisha.

 

Campaign Action

Organize rally, awareness yatra, foot march, mass meeting, signature campaign, media mobilization; give memorandum through local authority to stat CM & PM of India

Appeal

At this occasion we welcome & appeal all the women and community to come together and articulate a clear demand and peoples plan for achieve the women land rights ,for secure our mother, family community &Society.

 

Mother earth call to mother come together achieve to rights over me for security, dignity& empowerment of mother hood.  We believe change the world.

                  JAY BHEEM

 

                                                Sandhya Devi

                             ODISHA DALIT WOMEN FORUM

                        At- Banpur, Dist- Khurda, Odisha, 752031

                      Ph- o6756-223439 (o), 9437140550, 8280056895

             Email-odwforissa@yahoo.in  & savetribal@yahoo.com

 

Nine students booked for anti-Modi protests at DU #wtfnews #UAPA #draconianlaws


Published: Thursday, Feb 7, 2013, 23:35 IST
Agency: IANS

Nine students have been booked for breaking law and order during a protest against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at Delhi University‘s Shri Ram College of Commerce, police said Thursday.

The police resorted to lathi-charge and water cannons to disperse members of Left-wing students unions Wednesday as they tried to pull down the barricades and gain entry into the college where Modi was addressing a students meeting.

They have been booked for unlawful activities during their protest outside SRCC, said a police officer.

The students have been identified as Saurabh, Vijayan, Deepak Kumar Mishra, Safi Khan, Surender Mishra, Piyush Raj, Vishmery Basu, Raghu Keshwan and Miss Chintu.

“Around 150 students of Left-wing had tried to pull down the barricades and gain entry into the college where Modi was addressing students Wednesday,” said the officer.

The police had to resort to lathi-charge and water cannons to disperse the protesting students.

 

#India Supeme Court ‘male child’ reasoning a khap dikatat ? #WTFnews #Vaw #Patriarchy


By , TNN | Feb 7, 2013,

MUMBAI: Legal experts and human and women’s rights activists have expressed dismay over a reasoning given by the Supreme Court while upholding a death sentence in a 2007 case of kidnapping and murder of a boy. One of the “aggravating factors” to justify the death sentence was the fact that killing of a male child would lead to an end of the family lineage, stated the SC.The legal fraternity reacted sharply to the development. A retired judge of the Bombay high court, B H Marlapalle, who now practices in the Supreme Court, said on Wednesday from Delhi: “The reasoning that murder spelled an end of the family lineage and thus requires death sentence for the killer is not justifiable to bring the case in the rarest of rare category. Yes, there were other factors that the court has listed and the sentencing is based on the facts of each case, but does it mean that a male child has more value or is more precious than an only female child, who cannot take forward a family’s lineage?”

The SC had said: “Purposefully killing the sole male child, has grave repercussions for the parents… Agony for parents for the loss of their only male child, who would have carried further the family lineage, and is expected to see them through their old age, is unfathomable. Extreme misery caused to the aggrieved party, certainly adds to the aggravating circumstances.”

Senior criminal counsel Nitin Pradhan said: “The reasoning that the misery caused by death of the only male child, which brings an end to the family name, would be an added aggravating factor to justify capital punishment for the killer has no standing in logic or law. It reflects the mindset of the majority in a patriarchal society.”

Feminist advocate Kamayani Bali Mahabal said: “The apex court is reinforcing patriarchal values in its judgment. How can they do that when all of us (activists) are trying to demolish it. Is the agony of losing an only male child more than losing an only female child, merely because the son would have carried forward the family lineage? The judgment may come as a huge leap back for the women’s movement.”

Retired Supreme Court judge B P Singh said the judgment would not be a “precedent for future cases when an only male child is killed”. Citing a 1956 SC judgment, Singh said: “Inferences drawn in one criminal case is not binding precedent in successive cases. The findings in criminal cases are on the facts and circumstances of that case. Rarity depends on how cruel, heinous and barbaric the act of murder is, how beyond the ordinary it is.”

 

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