Press Release- Invisible World of Domestic Workers Exposed at the Public Hearing #Vaw


Domestic Workers Demand Their Due Share and Labour Rights

New Delhi, February 11 : The hand that feeds, cares for children, keeps the house clean and shining is often left unattended, uncared for and at times bruised and beaten. That’s the world of domestic workers working in lakhs of Delhi homes, striving to earn a dignified living and raising a family in 21st century rising India. Domestic work, an increasing necessity in this era of globalisation, expanding horizons for women, opening up opportunities but also creating a class of working slaves in mills, offices and homes. The emerging reality is contradictory like capitalism itself where a certain class of women have gained prominence, access to diversified jobs and equality in jobs and pay but on the other hand, the women in domestic work and in the unorganised and unprotected sector have to strive for basic facilities, from minimum wages, fixed hours of work, holidays, to bonus and most importantly value of their work, respect and recognition, something which workers of the world struggled to achieve in the 20th century. These issues were raised by nearly 30 women who deposed before a panel comprising of Kalyani Menon Sen, Kalpana Mehta, Subhash Lomte, Bilas Bhongade, Tarun Kanti Bose, Aneema and Neelima in a public hearing on the theme ‘Women in the Unorganised (Unprotected) Sector in the Era of Globalization’ organised by Shahri Mahila Kaamgar Union, an affiliate of National Alliance of People’s Movements at Indian Social Institute.

 

The hearing was attended by nearly 250 domestic workers from Gautampuri, Rohini, Faridabad,and other colonies of Delhi and some others from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

“I have been working for 28 years and only get Rs. 1200. When I fell sick, my employers did not give me leave to go to a doctor. I am close to 50 years and find it difficult to continue doing this work. I do not get any medical benefits nor pension. What will happen to me I wonder? How will I survive?” asks a disillusioned Asha, one of the deposer’s in the gathering.

 

Anita who is now part of the Shahri Mahila Kaamgaar Union narrated how she was brought to the city by a placement agent. “I come from a poor family. In 2011, a placement agent convinced my parents to send me to Delhi for a better life. I was only 14 years and had to leave school. I did not want to do this work but had no option. Many times I wanted to leave but the agent forced me to continue working. Finally, I was rescued by the Union”

From the panelists, Subhash Lomte throwing light on how young girls are brought from villages to city with the promise of a better life and education said that “we must continue to fight for equal wages and pension”. The minimum wage should be adjusted to inflation and the pension amount should be atleast Rs. 2000. The age for women pensioners should be 50 years and for men it should be 55 years. The pension amount for women should get directly transferred to her bank account so that it is not misused by her husband. He urged the domestic workers from Delhi to all gather at Jantar Mantar on 6th March and raise the issue of a ‘minimum wage’ with the government.

We all have to sell our labour but we cannot sell our labour without your labour “said Kalpana Mehta, a panelist from Indore as she addressed the gathering. “Always remember that the work you do is extremely important without which other homes will not function” she was quoted saying while stressing the need to give value and respect to domestic work.

The gathering passed the following resolutions at the end of the hearing:

A uniform law needs to be made for the welfare of domestic workers. Untill then Minimum Wages Act and other Labour laws must be applied to this category of workers too.

A body comprising of representatives from the government and domestic workers needs to be set up to monitor their real situation.

The minimum wages, working hours and time of remuneration should be fixed for Domestic Workers. Strict measures should be taken against those who flaunt it.

Complete profiles of all urban workers, their employers and all organizations linked to them should be done. A government agency should be set up for this purpose.

Other than weekly, monthly, yearly and sick leave, provisions should be made for emergency leave also for domestic workers. Pregnant workers should be given special leave of three months. All these leaves should be paid.

Strict punishment should be given to all those employers, placement agents and police personnel who subject domestic workers to physical, sexual and other kinds of abuse.

Other than financial aid, the government should provide other kinds of human support to those domestic workers who are crisis-struck.

All kind of middlemen and contractors should be removed between domestic workers and their employers.

To ensure security of livelihood, domestic workers and their families should be given insurance by the government

Along with an annual bonus and future investment options, annual wage increase adjusted with inflation should be given to these workers.

Shahri Mahila Kaamgaar Union also resolved to continue their struggle for decent work and ensure rights of the working women and take forward the recommendations of the public hearing to the authorities concerned.

Anita Kapoor, Poonam, Madeena Begum, Mudra, Lakshmi, Asha, Seela Manswanee

on Behalf of Shahri Mahila Kaamgaar Union

Mob. 09810787686

 

 

#Aadhaar enrollment rejected for being duplicate although that was not the case #WTFnews #UID


 

 

Ashok MR Dalwai Deputy Director General 080-22341622 amdalwai@uidai.gov.in

 

11 February 2013

 

Dear Mr.Ashok Dalwai,

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am writing regarding the Aadhaar card/number of my domestic help, Smt.Chikka Thayamma. She enrolled into the scheme on 10.08.2011 at Mysore, and holds Acknowledge Slip No.1037/11430/03434 with date-time as 12:21:49.

I have checked her enrollment number on internet and received the system response, “Your Aadhaar enrollment has been rejected. As per UIDAI’s records, you were earlier enrolled through another enrollment ID”, even though she enrolled on 10.08.2011 for the first and only time.

I am at a loss as to what to advise her to do, because it appears from the message quoted above, that her biometrics as captured by the system were already present in the system, and her enrollment has been treated as a duplicate (“As per UIDAI’s records, you were earlier enrolled through another enrollment ID”), and hence rejected. Also, the system response is unhelpful as it does not suggest any solution, since she has not been asked to re-enroll as some others have been advised on rejection of their Aadhaar enrollment.

Please immediately advise me whether my surmise of biometric duplication is correct, and if not, what is the cause and what is the remedy. I am aware that the Application Form for enrollment contains a certificate that the applicant has not previously enrolled. Smt.Chikka Thayamma is anxious to avail the subsidy for LPG and has to submit her Aadhaar number by 15 February 2013.

Requesting an immediate response from you in this case,

Yours faithfully,

Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd)

475, 7th Main Road

Vijayanagar 1st Stage

Mysore-570017

Tel:0821-2515187

E-mail:<sg9kere@live.com>

 

 

 

#Censorship row as BBC cuts the Major’s ‘racist’ lines from classic Fawlty Towers episode


  • Viewers complain that only the ‘terminally thin-skinned’ could be offended by the character
  • BBC said it was edited to suit a family audience to reflect changing attitudes

By LAURA COX

PUBLISHED: 23:49 GMT, 22 January 2013 |

It is the episode of Fawlty Towers best remembered for the line ‘Don’t mention the war’ and John Cleese’s silly walk when impersonating Hitler.

The references have proved controversial before, but when The Germans was repeated on BBC2 on Sunday evening it wasn’t our European neighbours that the corporation was worried about offending.

Instead, the episode was edited to omit racist language – only for some viewers to then complain that the BBC was ‘airbrushing history’.

Scroll down to see the clips

'Don't mention the war': John Cleese as Basil Fawlty giving an Adolf Hitler impression to German guests, with Polly in the background played by Connie Booth‘Don’t mention the war’: John Cleese as Basil Fawlty giving an Adolf Hitler impression to German guests, with Polly in the background played by Connie Booth

The Germans episode of Fawlty Towers was voted number 11 in Channel 4¿s One Hundred Greatest TV Moments in 1999The Germans episode of Fawlty Towers was voted number 11 in Channel 4¿s One Hundred Greatest TV Moments in 1999

In one scene one of the hotel’s permanent residents, Major Gowen, uses derogatory terms to describe black people. It was included in the episode’s first airing in October 1975, but this time around the major’s words were edited out.

The scene involves Basil Fawlty and the major, played by actor Ballard Berkeley, exchanging their normal pleasantries before the conversation moves on to Basil’s wife Sybil and women in general.

The major tells Fawlty about the time he took a woman to see India play cricket  at the Oval. He then says: ‘The strange thing was, throughout the morning she kept referring to the Indians as niggers. “No, no, no,” I said, “the niggers are the West Indians. These people are wogs”.’

Several years ago there were concerns that the episode would never be shown again because of the offensive words. However, recent editions of The Complete Fawlty Towers DVD, distributed by BBC Worldwide, have not been edited and included the segment that was cut by the BBC on Sunday.

Some fans took to the BBC’s Points Of View message board yesterday to say they ‘despaired’ at the ‘unnecessary’ editing.

One wrote: ‘You can’t airbrush history away and I doubt if anyone but the terminally thin-skinned could be offended by the major, a character we’re clearly supposed to laugh at rather than with.’

Ballard Berkeley as the Major Gowen, who makes the offensive remark. Viewers said that the 'bigoted character' was meant to be laughed at - not withBallard Berkeley as the Major Gowen, who makes the offensive remark. Viewers said that the ‘bigoted character’ was meant to be laughed at – not with

Another posted: ‘The point is that the major is a racist old bigot, incongruous with modern society – even in the Seventies. The audience isn’t supposed to agree with him, they’re supposed to laugh at him. The whole episode is about xenophobia in various forms – it’s social satire. I instinctively dislike the airbrushing of history.’

A third viewer wrote: ‘So how sad BBC you have finally succumbed and lost the guts to transmit the episode of Fawlty Towers “The Germans” in its original form. The major’s speech of his experience of going out with a woman to the Oval is one of the funniest things ever.

‘You edited it because it includes the W-word and the N-word. Let’s face it, the whole episode and much of Fawlty Towers is racist by today’s standards and misogynistic, but above all it is hilarious.

‘We are all grown up, you know. We, the vast majority of us, can laugh at this without being racists.

‘It’s about time you grew up BBC, and trusted your audience. We know what is acceptable and what is not and what is funny and why, and the fact it is of a time which is now long past. We understand context, the major is a figure of fun, he doesn’t whip up hatred.’

Fawlty Towers was written by and starred Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth. The Germans was the sixth episode of the 12 that were made and was voted number 11 in Channel 4’s One Hundred Greatest TV Moments in 1999.

The series has continued to entertain families since being made in the 1970s and was in 2000 voted by industry professionals to be the best British series of all time.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We are very proud of Fawlty Towers and its contribution to British television comedy.

‘But public attitudes have changed significantly since it was made and it was decided to make some minor changes, with the consent of John Cleese’s management, to allow the episode to transmit to a family audience at 7.30pm on BBC2.’

CENSORED Cleeses’s ‘Hitler Walk’ was previously deemed one of greatest moments of TV

 

Afzal Guru’s last letter to wife yet to reach her in Kashmir #humanrights


IANS | Feb 11, 2013, 08.07 PM IST

Afzal Guru's last letter to wife yet to reach her in Kashmir
Afzal Guru was hanged for his role on 2001 Parliament attack on February 9 at 8am in the Tihar Jail complex where he had lived in a solitary cell for many years.
NEW DELHI: Hours before he was to be executed, Afzal Guru penned his last letter to his wife, Tihar Jail officials said on Monday. The letter, written in Urdu, was posted on Saturday but is yet to reach his wife in Kashmir.

Speaking to IANS, officials at Tihar jail said that Afzal Guru, convicted for his role in the 2001 Parliament attack, was told on February 8 evening that he would be hanged the next morning.

“When he was told about his execution, he was cool and calm. He just expressed his wish that he wants to write a letter to his wife. The jail superintendent gave him a pen and paper,” an official told IANS under condition of anonymity.

“He wrote the letter in Urdu, which was posted to his family in Kashmir on the same day,” the official said. However, when IANS contacted the family, who live in Sopore, they said they are yet to receive it.

“We haven’t received this letter. Maybe like the letter that we got today about his hanging, we will get it later,” Yaseen Guru, Afzal’s cousin, told IANS on phone.

Afzal Guru was hanged on February 9 at 8am in the Tihar Jail complex where he had lived in a solitary cell for many years.

His family has demanded that they be allowed to conduct his last rites.

“The government will take a decision in this regard,” another official told IANS.

Afzal Guru, who used to spend his time in the jail by reading and writing, has left behind many books and hand-written articles.

The family has asked the jail authorities that all his belongings should be returned to them.

“The government will have to take a decision on this issue,” the official added.

 

Indian net service providers too play #censorship tricks


freedom_of_speech

T. Ramachandran,KOCHI, February 9, 2013

The study by a Canadian university has found that some major Indian ISPs have deployed web-censorship and filtering technology.

Your internet service provider (ISP) could be blocking some content. A study conducted by a Canadian university has found that some major Indian ISPs have deployed web-censorship and filtering technology widely used in China and some West Asian countries.

The findings, published on January 15, were the result of a search for censorship software and hardware on public networks like those operated by ISPs.

A research team at Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, found a software-hardware combo package called PacketShaper being used in many parts of the world, including India.

The study identified the presence of four PacketShaper installations on the networks of three major ISPs in India during the period of study in late 2012. These ISPs had been earlier “implicated in filtering to some degree,” the report said.

The deployment of such traffic management technologies by ISPs could threaten privacy, freedom of expression and competition, said Sunil Abraham, Executive Director of the Bangalore-based NGO, Centre for Internet and Society.

He said tools like PacketShaper could be used by ISPs for two types of censorship —“to block entire websites or choke traffic on certain services or destinations in a highly granular fashion.”

The U.S.-based producers of the technology, Blue Coat Systems, are quite open about the product features on the company’s website. They say it could be used to control and weed out undesirable content. It could also be used to slow down or speed up the operation of programmes and content flow to achieve the goals set by the operators of the networks.

Transparency is the key

Technology experts said such products could be used to exercise legitimate control over the internet traffic and prioritise the use of bandwidth and resources, if used ethically.

“If done in a transparent manner that does not discriminate against different actors within a class it does benefit the collective interest of the ISP’s clients. However, it could also be used to engage in hidden censorship against legitimate speech and also for anti-competitive behaviour,” said Mr. Abraham.

The study focussed on countries where concerns exist over “compliance with international human rights law, legal due process, freedom of speech, surveillance, and censorship.”

#1billionrising this Valentine’s Day against abuse #Delhi #Vaw


ByNaziya Alvi Rahman, TNN | Feb 11, 2013, 12.56 AM IST

In the backdrop of Nirbhaya gang rape, campaign’s Delhi-wing, called ‘Delhi Rising’ is already out on its feet mobilizing people for the event that will see flash mobs and mass dance protests at PVR Saket at 11 am and Parliament Street at 5pm.

NEW DELHI: ‘Strike, Dance, Rise’, that’s what one billion people from 199 countries, including India, will do on Valentine’s Day under the campaign – One Billion Rising. The campaign was started by playwright and activist Eve Ensler (known for her play The Vagina Monologues) against all forms of “sexual abuse”. The word “billion”, say the organizers, refers to the one billion women who are survivors of abuse.

In the backdrop of Nirbhaya gang rape, campaign’s Delhi-wing, called ‘Delhi Rising’ is already out on its feet mobilizing people for the event that will see flash mobs and mass dance protests at PVR Saket at 11 am and Parliament Street at 5pm. At noon the group will occupy spaces in different parts of Delhi and express them through dance.

The Delhi wing has been set up by a group of young women professionals who were part of the protests after Nirbhaya gang rape. The girls, however, were inspired to join Ensler’s movement after they heard her talking at Miranda House college in January 2013.

“While we were inspired by Ensler, she said the outrage and protest that followed in Delhi after the gang rape left her inspired. She said she did not expect such a huge movement and unity in Delhi against gender-based violence,” said Sakshi Bhalla (25) a development worker and a dancer, who is a core member of the group. They are now being helped by noted NGOs like Sangat and Jagori to mobilize people for the February 14 event.

“While the NGO’s are taking care of offline mobilizing, we are creating awareness via social media sites… A Facebook page giving details of the movement was created on January 9.

We also uploaded ‘Delhi Rising -I and II’ videos on YouTube,” said Shruti Singh (25), a board game designer and another core member of the movement.

The team also came up with an anthem condemning acts of violence against women. The song was sung by Bollywood singers Shilpa Rao and Benny Dayal. “We’re asking everyone in Delhi to join the global strike, reclaim the streets, create a space for dialogue and engage. We’re asking everyone not to forget and continue to intervene in their local area of influence to bring about change,” Singh said.

The video DR-I, which they claim has already got viewership running into a few thousands, share experiences of young Delhi women who have faced all kinds of abuse at home and in public.

“One of the girls talks about how she was molested in a DTC bus but she did not raise voice as being teased is considered acceptable in Delhi. However, now we want to raise our voice against even a minor form of tease,” Singh added.

The second video shows male perspective. “It gives details of how in a patriarchal system we expect men to be stronger than women. It also has experiences of men who after Nirbhaya incident sense an outrage in all women around them and feel ashamed of their so called ‘masculinity’. Men in our group will stand up to redefine the concept of masculinity,” said Sudeep Pagedar (24) a consultant with a government institute.

 

#India- Access to dignity barred for Dalits


Jyotsna Siddharth

Denial of drinking water and toilet facilities in rural areas directly results in increased atrocities against Dalit women

In September last year, 14-year-old Meena (name changed) from the Sansi Dalit caste, was abducted and gang raped by four Rajput men when she stepped outside her house to perform morning ablutions. They later dumped her outside her house before registering an FIR against her name for committing theft in their house. The charges were condemned by the Sansi community and the girl sent to her relative’s place after the medical report confirmed rape.

The incident where this took place, Kalayat in Haryana’s Kaithal district is dominated by the Rajputs with Dalits, particularly Sansis constituting 25 per cent of the village population. Denial of basic facilities such as drinking water or absence of toilets here like several other villages requires minor girls like Meena to walk long distances every day. Dalit women also succumb to atrocities by upper caste communities as most of times the source of drinking water is located in the upper caste fields.

This issue explains the underlying inter-linkages between caste dynamics, lack of basic amenities and the patriarchal character of society. Drinking water and sanitation are the most critical issues that impact women’s lives corresponding to healthcare facilities, education, shelter, livelihood and security. It is the presence and absence of these indicators that symbolises the course of development, especially gender inclusive ‘development’. In most parts of the country, absence of water and sanitation puts women, especially Dalit women, in a vulnerable situation. Walking several miles to fetch water or for toilet often results in incidents of harassment in rural areas.

According to an article by Alexandra Barton on the water project, Indian women in rural regions can walk up to an average of 10 miles a day, carrying up to 15 litres every trip.” The Human Development Report, 2006, states “Women in Africa and Asia often carry water on their heads weighing 20 kg, the same as the average U.K. airport luggage allowance.”

As a society, we are living on a paradox where women continue to invest time and labour but receive the minimum possible returns. The issue gets further complicated when viewed from a marginalised perspective. A report published on Caste Discrimination against Dalits by Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch way back in 2007 described that “Dalits are denied equal access to a spectrum of places and services intended for use by the general public, such as police stations, government ration shops, post offices, schools, water facilities and village council offices. As a result of segregation in water facilities, more than 20 per cent of Dalits do not have access to safe drinking water, only ten per cent of Dalit households have access to sanitation (as compared to 27 per cent for non-Dalit households), and the vast majority of Dalits depend on the ‘goodwill’ of upper-caste community members for access to water from community wells”.

The figures from Census 2011 provide a meaningful insight into current socio-economic scenario of India. Only 43.5 per cent of households have access to tap water and only 32 per cent have water from treated sources while 11.6 per cent continue to draw from untreated sources. Glancing at the Census 2011 data for Scheduled Caste population, it clearly indicates that there has not been much progress in condition of Dalits since 2007. The total population for SC households in rural areas is 32,919,665 of which only 63,48,622 have access to tap water from a treated source. About 4,219,829 SC households till today continue to draw tap water from untreated sources. As far as sanitation in rural SC households is concerned, only 7,520,933 families have latrine facilities within the premises. It is shocking to see that there are about 47,736 households in rural areas and 16,375 in urban areas where night soil continues to be removed by humans.

Mr. Iftikhar Gilani’s complaint to Justice Katju


 

To

Justice Markandey Katju
Hon’ble Chairman
Press Council of India
New Delhi

At 10:30 a.m on February 9 (Saturday) I was just putting my bag in my car to leave for office, I saw two persons in the compound who enquired about the house of Geelani saab. I asked them which Geelani saab are you searching for, making out they could be from some courier agency to deliver some mail for me? They replied that they are searching for a Kashmiri leader, who lives somewhere in the colony. I told them he lives in the opposite block and tried to give them directions. One of them requested, if I can accompany them.
So I did. On the way, they told me they are from Delhi Special Cell. When we reached at JD18 E block of Khirki Ext. I saw a crowd of plain clothesmen in the gulley. I just pointed out to first floor and told them there lives Geelani saab, you are searching for. As I started to withdraw, they grabbed my hand and said they need few minutes to talk to me. And virtually dragged me to first floor flat, taking away my purse, identity card, keys etc. They could not trace my phone till then, though they were insisting to hand over phone to them. Upon reaching the flat, I saw many more people inside. As they got busy with conversation to some other person, I managed to go to bathroom and sent SMS to my office and some friends. When I was back, they noticed the phone and took it away.
After 15 minutes, I saw my wife also arriving at this house, escorted by two male plain cloth police wala.. My children were alone at my house. I repeatedly asked them to explain reasons behind my detention. All the time, they were very rude, threatening and warning me of dire consequences. I also pleaded with them, even if they want to detain me, why at the house of Syed Ali Geelani and not at my own home or a police station? And why had they kept children away from us?
After five hours, I heard many voices from outside. One officer type person came and shouted that I am free and can leave this house. In the by-lane I saw my office people including bureau chief Saikat Dutta and some other friends including, Aurangzeb Naqashbadni of Hindustan Times. They had used every available contact in home ministry and Delhi police to make them see reason. When I reached my home, some 7-8 strangers were occupying drawing room and living room and they had locked up my children in a bed room that does not have even bathroom facility.
When I reached there with friend, the strangers started leaving one by one. Saying that my children were terrified would be an understatement. They recalled how these people in our absence banged the door and asked them to confine themselves in bed room. They were also shouting at neighbours why they allow person like me to live there.
I have no issue with what government wanted to do to maintain law and order in Delhi or elsewhere. Repeatedly in public domains, I have affirmed that I have nothing to do with the politics of my father-in-law Syed Ali Geelani.
I owe my living to journalism for over past two decades in Delhi. I feel totally distraught with the behaviour of security agencies, particularly special cell of Delhi police. I feel so scared. I try my best to raise my children in an atmosphere of peace and compassion. I have no idea, what should I do to prove myself to be a peace loving and a law abiding citizen.
As Frederick Douglass says, the life of the nation is secure only when the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous. I may add, the subjugation, harassment, and trampling on rights only makes the nation weak and insecure in the long run, though it may address to the rhetorical class and accrue short term gains.

I have a bad experience of the same Special Cell of Delhi Police putting me in Tihar Jails in 2002 on false charges and forging documents of the Defence Ministry to convince the court that I am a Pakistani agent supplying sensitive information to its High Commission. The officials who then raided my house even cooked up my bank accounts to claim I was sending Hawala money to Kashmiri terrorists. Many fictitious stories were also planted by them in media tarnishing my reputation. The cooked-up charges under the Official Secrets Act were withdrawn and I was honourably acquitted by the court, but only after eight months of harrowing custody. At the time of my then arrest in 2002, the Intelligence Bureau also made the Income Tax Department fabricate tax charges against me. I am continuously harassed by the Income Tax Department with recovery notices from time to time despite I moving the Delhi High Court to end my harassment as it keeps on adding penalty and fine for not paying dues that now total up to over Rs 60 lakhs that I just cannot afford to pay with my present salary. I am bringing this fact to your knowledge, just to draw your attention to various ways I am continuously hounded and harassed.

With thanks,

 

Iftikhar Gilani

10 February 2013

 

To

The Home Secretary,

Government of India.

New Delhi

 

Dear Sir,

 

I am forwarding to you an email I have received from Mr. Iftikhar Gilani, Asst. Editor DNA, who is a Government of India accredited journalist and former Vice President of the Press Association.

I have carefully perused the email he has sent me and I have also read the news item in the front page of today’s The Hindu newspaper. They reveal great high handedness and outrageous behaviour by the Delhi policemen concerned in harrassing and tormenting Mr. Gilani and his family, including his small children. These were the undemocratic and abhorrent methods of the Gestapo during Nazi rule.

If these allegations are correct, the concerned police officers, who committed these high-handed illegal acts, as well as those higher ups who were instrumental in ordering these shameful and odious acts are prime facie guilty of serious crimes under sections 341/342, as well as other provisions of the Indian Penal Code and are also guilty of gross and blatant abuse of their powers.

 

Hence, if the allegations in the email of Mr Gilani are correct, I call upon you to do the following acts within 48 hours :

 

(i) immediately charge sheet and place under suspension all police officers responsible for these high handed and illegal acts including those higher ups who gave the orders for them

 

(ii) immediately institute criminal proceedings against such officers under the relevant provisions of IPC and other statutes.

 

(iii) immediately sanction adequate and suitable compensation to Mr Gilani and his family and convey an apology to him

 

(iv) I am informed that Mr. Gilani is still being harassed and surveillance is being done on him and his family. This is a clear violation of the decision of the Supreme Court in Kharak Singh Vs State of UP and other  AIR 1963 S.C.1295,1964 SCR (1) 332, as well as violation of the right to privacy , which has been held to be part of Art 21 of the Constitution of India. Police surveillance seriously encroaches upon privacy of the petitioner and his fundamental rights under Art 21 vide 1999 (24) All Cr. R. 815 (817): 1999 (11).

I may mention that in the Nuremburg Trials held in after the Second World War the Nazi War Criminals took the plea that orders are orders, and that they were only obeying the orders of their superior Hitler. This plea was rejected by the International Tribunal which held that those orders were illegal orders and hence should have been disobeyed. Consequently many of the accused were hanged.

Hence all policemen in India are hereby warned that they should not carry out illegal orders of their superiors otherwise they will be charged for serious crimes, and if found guilty, severely punished.

Justice Markandey Katju

Chairman, Press Council of India

In Tihar, officials feel ‘tinge of sorrow’ #Afzalguru #deathpenalty


10 February 2013 , By Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar , tehelka

‘Al vida’, said Afzal Guru to his executioner, who had himself bid him good bye with the same words a few seconds earlier. And then as the executioner pulled a lever, Afzal’s frame hung from the gallows.

“He was dead in a minute, though”, as per the jail norms, the body was kept hanging for a full half hour, said an official who witnessed the hanging. Thereafter Afzal’s body was taken down from the gallows and buried with full religious rites near Jail No. 3, right next to the grave of Kashmiri separatist Maqbool Butt who too was hanged in Tihar.

“But there is a difference between the two. While Butt was a separatist leader, Afzal never spoke about secession of Kashmir from India. In fact, he used to tell us that he had been unnecessarily dragged into this. In fact, he actually believed in ridding India of corruption,” the official added. He spoke to The Hindu on condition he not be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

While right-wing activists across the country celebrated Afzal’s execution, in the jail itself there was no celebration. Rather, the staff appeared glum. “He was a pious soul and was extremely well behaved. Even as he was being taken to the gallows, he greeted the jail staff he knew by their first names. The only thing he requested before the hanging was that ‘mujhay ummeed hai aap mujhay dard nahin karaogay’ (I hope you will not cause me pain). And he was assured by the executioner, who himself was overcome with emotion as he kept looking into his eyes as the black cloth was drawn over them, that it would be a smooth journey. And so it was.”

Contrary to some media reports, Afzal was told of his impending execution on the actual morning and not the previous evening.

“The only thing he had in the morning was a cup of tea. But that is because he was not offered any food. Otherwise, he was so normal that he would have had that too.” Initially Afzal was wearing a pheran, or Kashmiri gown. He later took bath and changed into a white kurta-pyjama and offered namaz.

“There have been about 25 executions in Tihar and senior officials [here] have witnessed the last 10, but never have they seen a man so calm and composed on learning the news of his impending death.”

In the last couple of hours of his life, Afzal had the company of some jail officials. And he narrated to them his thoughts about life and death. “He spoke of universal brotherhood and oneness of the mankind; how no human being is bad and how the soul in each one was a creation of the same God. He believed that if you moved on the path of truth, that was the biggest achievement.”

In fact, Afzal was so calm in the morning that he even penned down some of his thoughts, put the date and time on the paper and signed it.

When asked by the jail staff about his last thoughts of his family, on who would take care of them, Afzal said “it was God who looks after each one of us and so would be the case now”.

“His strength came from his spirituality. He was a learned man; as well versed in Islam as with Hinduism. Often, he would tell us about the similarities in the two religions. Some time ago he had read all the four Vedas. How many Hindus have actually done that? You normally rejoice at the end of evil, [but] when a pious soul goes away, it leaves behind a tinge of sorrow,” the official said.

Recalling, how all through Afzal was “joyful” as also “cool and calm”, the officials said in the past they have seen people shiver at being told about their being taken to the gallows. “But here it was just like what we had heard about people going to the gallows smiling.”

Another difference between Afzal and others who were executed for terrorist crimes terrorists, the official said, was that while almost all others had made religious or political cries before being hanged, Afzal just walked the last 100 steps from his cell to the gallows as he normally would and went away wishing those around him.

 

Some Questions for Comrade Karat on Afzal’ Guru’s killing #deathpenalty


To,
Shri Prakash Karat,

General Secretary,

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Dear Comrade,

Afzal Guru was hanged yesterday in utter secrecy, denied in his last moments the right to meet his wife and children one final time. Denied to him also was the ultimate judicial resort, due to every condemned convict after his/her mercy petition has been rejected.

The entire legal proceedings against Afzal were shot through with contradictions, fabrications and travesties of legal procedure. The Supreme Court bench that finally sentenced him to death did so to ‘appease the national conscience’ despite inadequate evidence of his role in the Parliament attack case.

And yet this is what your colleague in the Polit Bureau Sitaram Yechury had to say to the media on this issue, “I think, the law of the land with all its provisions has finally been completed as far as the Afzal Guru case and the attack on the Indian Parliament is concerned. The issue which had been lingering for the past 11 years has finally completed its due course.”

‘Law of the land’ has ‘completed its due course’? Is this the official stand of the CPI(M) on the Afzal Guru case? Or is it just Com. Yechury trying to ‘appease the national conscience’ and joining the UPA in harnessing the ‘Hindu vote’?

Surely you and your colleagues in the Polit Bureau have heard that Afzal was unrepresented from the time of his arrest till he made his alleged ‘confession? You may have also perhaps heard of the letter that Afzal wrote to the Judge pleading he had no faith in the lawyer appointed for him by the Court, asking to be represented by any from a list of four lawyers he named. The Court records show that two of these lawyers refused to represent him but there is no information whether the other two on the list were even ever asked.

A lawyer, who had never met Afzal, admitted documents in court incriminating him. Or has your Polit Bureau been watching too many telecasts of his ‘confession’ – considered inadmissible in any court of law – as damning evidence of his guilt?

But never mind. Lack of legal representation for your Party does not seem too major an obstacle in implementing the ‘due course of law’. When elections are looming on the horizon, and your Party’s mass base is dwindling, a little injustice – like the murder of an innocent man- does not matter of course.

If the Congress is fast becoming the B Team of the communal Hindutva brigade should the CPI (M) try to become the C Team? Has your Party learnt nothing from the defeats it has suffered due to similar unprincipled stands it has taken in the past? Are we being completely delusional in expecting a Party named with grand terms like ‘Communist’ and ‘Marxist’ to take a stand different from that of political formations taking the nation fast forward towards all out Fascism?

Sincerely,

Satya Sivaraman

Manisha Sethi

 

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