TIED IN A KNOT- Cross-region Marriages in Haryana and Rajasthan #Vaw


OUTLAWS: Some husbands have broken away from their joint families for their wives' sake

Reena Kukreja and Paritosh Kumar
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
In the last decade and a half, the male marriage squeeze in economically prosperous North Indian provinces such as Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Western Uttar Pradesh has led to men from these states to pay money to marry women, usually from underdeveloped or economically marginalized regions in Eastern India.
This study, focussed on Haryana and Rajasthan as receiving regions, sought to examine the everyday existence of such cross-region brides within the intimacy of the conjugal household and community. Some questions for the study included looking at intra-gender relations within the family, kin network and community; the subject of integration and assimilation of these women; whether their caste status impacted their lives; and what forms, if any, did gender subordination and gender based violence take vis-à-vis such brides.
The research was conducted in three phases in the districts of Rohtak, Rewari and Mewat in Haryana and Alwar and Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan. 226 villages were surveyed with 1247 cross-region brides participating in the survey. Detailed qualitative research followed in 30 select villages with 54 brides participating in it. In the source region of Odisha, research was conducted on a cluster of 10 villages from Bhograi and Jaleswar blocks from Balasore district with 47 families participating in it.
KEY FINDINGS
Shortage of women is not common across all caste groups in the conjugal regions, but is endemic in dominant caste groups ofJats and Yadavs. While the well-off from these caste groups are able to marry within locally, men who are underemployed; poor; have little land; suffer from some deformity; are less educated or are old are the ones most often seeking cross-region brides. This practice, however, is slowly spreading to some lower caste groups and among Muslim communities. It is primarily a rural phenomenon where caste hierarchies and regulations governing marriage are more strictly enforced.
Such marriages are non-customary as the women come from different ethnicity, region and sometimes, even religion. Families of these brides are extremely poor, often falling in the category of BPL (Below Poverty Line); have little or no land assets; and rely on seasonal low-paying agricultural wage work. Inability to meet the exorbitant dowry demands made by local grooms that compels them to long distance alliances is the main reason why they opt for ‘dowry-free, no wedding expenses’ offers made by Haryanvi or Rajasthani men.
These marriages are arranged in four ways with grave consequences for the brides depending on which route they get married through. These are: (a.) Trafficking (b) Alliances through marriage brokers or Dalals; (c) Husbands of brides; and (d) Brides as marriage mediators. Though there is trafficking of women for forced marriages, it isn’t as extensive and rampant as media makes it to be. The largest number of marriages are conducted by the cross-region brides themselves, usually of their female relatives in the immediate family or kin networks. Their motivations aren’t solely monetary as they also seek companionship in a culturally alien environment through such alliances. However, most marriages through all routes involve some degree of deception about the man’s economic ability, social status or health.
The men seek alliances only when other female family members, such as mothers, are unable to support them. The brides are ‘needed’ solely for their ability to perform free reproductive and productive labour. They are also preferred over local women as loosening of natal family connections render them vulnerable to domination and abuse. New forms of gender subordination have emerged within conjugal families as extreme demands are made on the labour time of cross-region brides.
The most disturbing finding of our study has been the widespread intolerance exhibited by conjugal communities in Haryana and Rajasthan towards the cross-region brides. These take a number of different forms, the worst being caste discrimination. Caste councils or Khap Panchayats, though taking a tough stance on inter-caste marriages within Haryana, show a studied silence and tacit acceptance of inter-caste nature of these cross-region marriages.
Oppression and discrimination experienced by the low caste groups and the Dalits from the dominant caste groups gets similarly reproduced within the family bringing in wives from other parts of India. They are segregated, isolated and shunned primarily because of their ‘unknown’ caste status though the families, overtly, insist otherwise.
Furthermore, the caste-based exclusion and humiliation is experienced both in public arena and the private space of the family. Caste discrimination is further amplified by exhibition of deep racism against the women and their natal communities. They are pejoratively called ‘Biharan’: a term implying poverty, desperation, filth and savagery. Their parents and natal communities are branded as ‘thieves’, ‘sellers of daughters’ and ‘primitive savages’. The continual denigration is internalized by the brides leading to lowering of their self-esteem and self-worth. As a survival strategy, they minimize social contact with others with negative impact on their mental health.
Most cross-region brides are victims of colourism (darker pigmentation of their skin). Dark skin leads to their rejection in the local marriage market making them more likely to be offered for long-distance alliance, resulting in dislocation from their culture, community and family. Apart from casteist and racist slurs, these brides are considered and often taunted as ugly and dull in intelligence because of their dark skin tone.
Children of such unions face similar racial taunts from their peers and are not accepted as one of their own. These range from sidelining them in games or bullying them with name-calling. Such incidents were high in Rohtak district of Haryana and in Alwar region of Rajasthan respectively. Some older male children have faced difficulty in finding local girls because of their mother’s ‘questionable’ caste identity. More research needs to be done on this aspect to assess its long-term impact.
The brides are subject to heightened surveillance, which varies from total confinement to restriction of their movement within the village. The degree to which this is enforced depends on the a) mode through which the bride has been sourced, i.e., whether she is trafficked, coerced or married with her parent’s approval; b) duration of the marriage; c) amount invested by the family in the marriage; and d) whether she has children or not from this marriage.
KEY RECOMMENDATIONS
Registration of all marriages, notwithstanding any community or religion, should be made compulsory with the proposed bill on it passed as quickly as possible by the Indian Parliament. It will offer protection of gender rights of cross region brides, in case of trafficking; abuse during marriage; desertion by husband; or claiming maintenance or inheritance rights. The benefits of the marriage registration will extend to their children too.
An intensive and sustained awareness campaign outlining the correct process of registering marriages should be undertaken in both natal and conjugal regions. The benefits of the registration should be spelt out differently to each target group.
Panchayati Raj Institutions in both conjugal and natal regions should be used to discuss cross-region marriages; gendered nature of violence that the brides face; and the need to desist traffickers. At least a minimum of one Gram Sabha, especially in conjugal areas, should be devoted to cross-region marriages and its linkage to girl dis-preference and male marriage squeeze.
Government scheme to encourage inter-caste marriages with a monetary incentive of Rs 50,000 should be extended to cross-region marriages with a clause that the wife has to be a non-resident and of low-caste status. Presently, both spouses have to be residents of the same state to claim the benefit. It will ensure that such marriages are registered by a Marriage Registration Officer; lead to reduction in incidences of trafficking; and offer legal protection of human rights of the brides and their children.
The Centre and State governments should prioritize implementation of targeted and tailored prevention initiatives that address core contributing factors to cross region marriages. These should emphasize poverty alleviation schemes; anti-dowry campaigns; education; access to resources; and job opportunities for vulnerable women. Even though all such schemes do exist, tardy implementation prevents these from reaching those it is intended for.
Partnership between the Civil Society Organisations and the Government in conjugal regions on the issue of cross-region marriages and the treatment of brides should be established to allow tabling and discussion of region-specific strategies to protect human rights of the brides. Workshops specifically on the complexity of such alliances and the gendered nature of violence and discrimination should be held for CSOs in conjugal districts to increase awareness levels and to devise grassroots-based intervention strategies.
Further research should to be undertaken to ascertain whether cross region wives are able to access and obtain the same sets of rights and privileges available to local brides. It will determine whether they face barriers in access to resources, be it property rights or government schemes. Similarly, further detailed and phased research on their children should be conducted to find out whether they face differential treatment in choosing marriage partners, access to resources, education, inheritance rights, amongst others.
Research also needs to be conducted to study the mental health status of cross-region brides and, on the basis of the findings, devise targeted interventions aimed at this group. Since a majority experience loneliness, isolation, psychological abuse and emotional violence, it has led to depression and suicidal thoughts apart from elevated levels of stress.
Business cards with helpline information of local feminist advocacy organisations / AHTUs in conjugal regions should be undertaken in some key source-region languages. These can be distributed by Anganwadi and / or ASHA workers to cross region brides in conjugal communities.
About The Film Maker
Reena Kukreja defines herself as a feminist activist and as an independent documentary film-maker. Committed to ethical filmmaking and humane representation of the people in front of the camera, she is committed to a collaborative filmmaking process in which she dialogues with the people whose voice she attempts to articulate; a technique that she has evolved organically over two decades of her working with grass roots organizations. With over 50 documentaries under her belt, she is an accomplished director, scriptwriter, cameraperson and editor. Her documentaries are often used as tools for grassroots activism by communities and advocacy and human rights groups. To mention some, ‘Seeds of Burden’, ‘ Naka Naka DuPont Naka’ and ‘Whose River Is It Anyways?’ have all been used to focus on issues of girl child labor, environmental degradation or displacement of communities due to Transnational Corporations.

Her research interests focus on development, gender issues and migration in South Asia with special emphasis on the impact of globalization and new technologies on the rural poor. She has conducted studies for NGOs in India and in Canada on gender related themes. Her publications also include a detailed work on the portrayal of Muslim women in Indian Cinema. She has given key note addresses and spoken extensively in conferences and seminars on gender issues, conflict and women and ethics in filmmaking.

At present, she divides time between filmmaking, research and teaching at the Department of Film & Media Studies and Women’s Studies at Queens University, Kingston, Canada. She also guest lectures twice a year at the Centre for Conflict and Peace, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Reena holds a degree in Master of Arts in Film and Communication from India.
 A documentary film bearing the same title is also available. Ms. Reena Kukreja who has made this documentary and co-author of this report is currently in New Delhi till 24 March 2013. For those who would be interested in screening cum discussion, you could directly contact her at: reena.kukreja@queensu.careenakukeja@hotmail.com .

Information about buying the DVD of this documentary film would be available shortly on: http://www.tamarindtreefilms.com/
Do disseminate this report in your circle/network and spread awareness about the issues that has been highlighted in this report.

 

‘Probe sexual violence against Tamils in Sri Lanka’ #Vaw


NEW DELHI, February 22, 2013

J. Balaji, The Hindu

File photo of Brad Adams, Asia Director, Human Rights Watch

The Hindu File photo of Brad Adams, Asia Director, Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch’s report to be released on Monday

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), a global human rights organisation, has sought an international investigation into reports of sexual violence, rape, third degree torture against Tamil women and men carried out by the Sri Lankan security forces to get confessions from those suspected to have links with the then Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The HRW, which has prepared a 140-page report, “‘We Will Teach You a Lesson’: Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces,” which is to be released on Monday, provides detailed accounts of 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse that occurred from 2006 to 2012 in both official and secret detention centres throughout Sri Lanka.

While widespread rape in custody occurred during the armed conflict (with LTTE) that ended in May 2009, “HRW found that politically motivated sexual violence by the military and police continues to the present.” HRW Asia Director Brad Adams claimed: “The Sri Lankan security forces have committed untold numbers of rapes of Tamil men and women in custody. These are not just wartime atrocities but continue to the present, putting every Tamil man/woman arrested for suspected LTTE involvement at serious risk.”

Mr. Adams said the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) should direct the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct an independent international investigation. “The government’s response to allegations of sexual violence by its security forces has been dismissive, deeming them ‘fake’ or ‘pro-LTTE propaganda.’ It’s not clear who in the government knew about these horrific crimes. But the government’s failure to take action against these ongoing abuses is further evidence of the need for an international investigation,” he said.

Victims’ accounts

Quoting from the accounts of a 31-year-old Tamil woman who was picked up from her Colombo house by CID personnel in November 2011, the HRW said: “I was taken to the fourth floor of the CID office in Colombo. I was not given any food or water. The next day, the officials, who included a uniformed armed official, photographed me, took my fingerprints, and made me sign on a blank sheet of paper. They told me that they had all my husband’s details and kept asking me to disclose his whereabouts. When I told them my husband was abroad, they continued to accuse him of supporting the LTTE. I was beaten with many objects. I was burned with a cigarette during questioning. I was slapped around and beaten with a sand-filled pipe. Throughout the beatings, they asked me for my husband’s details. I was raped one night. Two men came to my room in civilian clothes. They ripped my clothes and both raped me. They spoke Sinhala so I could not understand anything. It was dark so I couldn’t see their faces clearly.”

Another 23-year-old male youth, caught in August 2012, said: “They removed my blindfold [and] I found myself in a room where four other men were present. I was tied to a chair and questioned about my links to the LTTE and the reason for my recent travel abroad. They stripped me and started beating me. I was beaten with electric wires, burned with cigarettes and suffocated with a petrol-infused polythene bag. Later that night, I was left in a smaller room. I was raped on three consecutive days. The first night, one man came alone and anally raped me. The second and third night, two men came to my room. They anally raped me and also forced me to have oral sex with them. I signed a confession admitting my links with the LTTE after the rapes.”

Yet another youth, who surrendered before the security forces in May 2009, said: “Two officials held my arms back [while] a third official held my penis and inserted a metal rod inside. They inserted small metal balls inside my penis. These had to be surgically removed after I escaped from the country.” A medical report corroborates his account, said HRW.

The rights body alleged that the victims also described being beaten, hung by their arms, partially asphyxiated and burned with cigarettes. None of those who spoke to HRW had access to legal counsel, family members, or doctors while they were detained. Most said that they signed a confession in the hope that the abuse would stop, though the torture, including rape, often continued. The individuals interviewed were not formally released but rather allowed to “escape” after a relative paid the authorities a bribe.

 

#West Bengal : HC orders CBI probe death of 3 women in gurap shelter home #Vaw #Rape #Murder


Blood lust mars India’s Tiananmen moment #Vaw #delhigangrape

Kanchan Chakrabarty : Kolkata, Tue Feb 19 2013,

Dissatisfied with the CID investigation into the deaths of two women of a welfare home in Gurap in Hooghly district, the Calcutta High Court today handed over the probe to the CBI.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi directed the CID to hand over documents related to the case immediately to the central investigating agency.

The order comes as a blow to the Trinamool Congress government — this is the first time during its tenure that the high court has ordered a CBI probe on a state matter.

In July last year, the body of 30-year-old Guria was found buried in the backyard of Rehabilitation Centre for Mentally Ill Persons (Women) run by NGO Dulal Smriti Samsad. Police initially took up the investigation, which was then handed over to the CID. The CID found that two other women had also died in the home earlier. The bodies were found beside the Damodar river in Jamalpur in Burdwan district.

The CID filed a chargesheet against 11 persons in connection with the killing of Guria, but remained silent on the death of the other two women — Ranjana Devi and Sunita Paswan. A PIL was filed by advocate Basabi Roychoudhury in the Calcutta High Court last year demanding a CBI probe and compensation for the family members of the victims.

During the previous hearing about a week ago, the division bench questioned the state’s counsel on the findings of the CID in connection with the death of Ranjana and Sunita and asked the agency to file a report and case diary in court.

Today public prosecutor Manjit Singh placed the CID report, which did not give any details about the probe into the two deaths. After going through the report, the bench questioned Singh about several aspects of the investigation but Singh failed to reply. Singh said the investigating officer was busy dealing with some important case and he was not in Kolkata now.

At this, the division bench pulled up the CID for not giving due importance to the probe and transferred the probe to the CBI.

Advocate Subrata Mukhopadhyay, counsel of the petitioner, said the women had been tortured and raped in the home. Those who had raised their voice had been killed. The few women of the home who had given statements to the CID said that they had been raped there. But the CID did not investigate this properly, Mukhopadhyay said.

On the plea for compensation, the division bench said it would hear the matter after four weeks. Meanwhile it asked the state to explain its stand on compensation.

 

#India -GM crops will sow food insecurity


KAVITA SRIVASTAVA, The Hindu

Farmers destroying GM crops in Karnataka. GM crops are input-intensive and labour-displacing. — K. Bhagya Prakash

Farmers destroying GM crops in Karnataka. GM crops are input-intensive and labour-displacing. — K. Bhagya Prakash

The recent affidavit filed by the Ministry of Agriculture in the Supreme Court arguing that if India does not walk the path of genetically modified (GM) food, then it will starve, gives a scary picture of how the highest court of the country can be misguided in order to protect global corporate interests.

This is a lie, because the situation of hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity of the people in the country is not due to inadequacy of production (we have had record production in the last three years), but due to distribution and purchasing power. The Indian Government is one of the world’s biggest hoarders of foodgrains, about 667 lakh tonnes as on January 1, 2013. This makes the current stock 2.5 times more than the Government’s own benchmark for buffer stocks. One wonders why our Government continues to insist that lack of food production is the cause for hunger in this country?

The question to ask is, why are these mountains of foodgrains not being distributed to the people when a third of the children are born malnourished, half of children are underweight and a third of the adult population has a body mass index (BMI) of below 18.5, one of the worst in the world.

Corporate interests

The Planning Commission’s estimate of the required subsistence calorie intake for defining the poverty line is set at 2,400 calories per person per day in rural areas and 2,100 calories per person per day in urban areas. Going by that figure, at least 80 per cent of the population in rural areas and 50 per cent in urban areas fall below the required subsistence intake. We stand way down the Global hunger Index at 65th out of 88 nations, worse than many sub-Saharan African countries.

Despite repeated Supreme Court orders regarding distribution of foodgrains to the poor at Antyodaya prices, the Government does not comply and refuses to allow food to be distributed through the public distribution system (PDS), although clandestine ways are used to export the grain abroad. And now we have this attempt of the Agriculture Ministry with its GM promotion to push for global corporate interests by riding on the backs of our starving millions. It is important to ask whether GM crops are a solution much worse than the problem that is being sought to be addressed.

The decision of bringing in GM food may not only harm Indian agriculture overwhelmingly but also push a majority of people to the brink of starvation. GM crops are an extension of input-intensive and labour-displacing model of industrial agriculture. Hence, they would harm small and marginal farmers and farm labourers, majority of whom are women. It is important to observe that agriculture, unique among sectors of production, plays the dual role of providing an enormously important source of livelihood and of producing the means of life.

Output Mirage

To link GM to increased food production, and hence food security, is a fallacy. Evidence is emerging that food security indicators have not improved but only deteriorated in countries that have adopted GM crops elsewhere in substantial areas. A recent letter from hundreds of Indian scientists, sent to the Minister for Environment and Forests, presents clear and strong evidence on this.

From our experience with Bt cotton it is clear that cultivation of GM crops, though it failed to increase yields, definitely increases input costs because of the royalty attached to seeds. It also includes increased irrigation and agrochemical requirements. Food security also means availability of safe food. There is growing scientific evidence questioning the safety of GM food. This shows the irresponsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture towards the people of this country, in advocating the introduction of yet-to-be-proven-safe technologies with several potential hazards as a part of our food systems.

Comprehensive provisions

Hunger and malnutrition are the greatest threat to India’s national security. The National Food Security Bill is a crucial opportunity to address this. We hope that this will not be missed when Parliament deliberates the report of the Standing Committee on Food and Consumer Affairs on the National Food Security Bill 2011. The present Bill and the Standing Committee recommendations have undermined the issues of farmers and consumers, by not recommending measures to ensure sustainable food production, guaranteeing MSP at real input costs, or providing safe food which is free of contamination from GMOs or agrochemicals.

Instead, the committee has recommended the provisioning of fortified foodgrains andatta (flour) under the PDS which opens the door for commercialisation of both agriculture and the food system; fortification of food grains could also open the doors for GM technologies.

The committee’s recommendations have also undermined the right to food of children, by provisioning maternal entitlements for only the first two children, thus denying the exclusive breast feeding rights of subsequent children born to the family and also not providing legal cover to the Anganwadis. It has undermined the vulnerable people’s right to food by not bringing Community Kitchens under the law, and undermined nutritional security by only talking of distribution of cereals.

Further, it falls far short of providing adequate food to all (universal) through the PDS, by only covering 67 per cent of the population with as little as 5 kg of cereals per head per month. It, finally, has not provided for criminal penalties or independent grievance redressal systems, essentially diluting the legal guarantees given by the Supreme Court in the “right to food” case. We hope that Parliament will undo what the Ministry of Agriculture is trying to do through the courts and bring in the wisdom that food security must address issues related to access to resources (land, forests and water), provide for revival of agriculture, protect livelihoods of food producers, especially small & and marginal farmers, and preserve local food systems.

In order to ensure that we are a society free of malnutrition and hunger, the need of the hour is to immediately legislate a truly comprehensive food security Bill rather than the myopic one that is being proposed.


By arguing that GM crops are essential to food security, the Government seeks to conceal the underlying reality.


(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 20, 2013)

 

Assam court moved over woman activist’s disappearance #Vaw


By IANS – GUWAHATI

20th February 2013

  • Two Assam-based NGOs have approached the Gauhati High Court seeking details of the
    Two Assam-based NGOs have approached the Gauhati High Court seeking details of the “disappearance” of a woman rights activist. PTI file photo

Two Assam-based NGOs have approached the Gauhati High Court seeking details of the “disappearance” of a woman rights activist, about whom police claimed that she has joined banned militant outfit ULFA.

Women in Governance (Wing-India) and Women Alliance for Violence Against Women (WAVAW) filed a habeas corpus petition in the court seeking the details Majoni Das, 30, and also asked the United Liberation Front of Asom to make it clear whether Majoni has joined the outfit.

The NGOs claimed Majoni Das’s “disappearance” was one of the many cases of “forced disappearances” that take place in the northeast region.

They demanded the police to step up investigation about the whereabouts of Majoni and disclose the facts.

The woman, a teacher and a rights activist hailing from Demow in Sivasagar district of Assam, left her home to meet the superintendent of police (SP) of Sivasagar district on Feb 10. She was summoned by the police chief. Majoni has remained untraced since then.

“When the family members approached the police the next day, the police informed them that Majoni had joined the ULFA and that she had left for Nagaland,” Bondita Acharya of the Wing-India told reporters here.

The police chief also informed the media the same day that Majoni had joined the militant outfit and circulated her photographs to the media.

“The SP of the district also asked the family members of Majoni Das to go to Nagaland and bring her back. The police claimed that they had proof that Majoni had joined the outfit,” said Acharya while pointing out to the mental harassment on the family members.

“We don’t think that Majoni has joined the outfit. She left home to meet the SP and went missing since then. How can the police ask us to go to Nagaland and find out my sister? Is it not the duty of the police to find out Majoni after we lodged a missing person complaint?,” asked Majoni’s sister, Bharati Hazarika.

“When we approached the police seeking the details of Majoni, the police refused to divulge any details to us,” said Acharya while adding that the NGOs have filed a habeas corpus petition in the Gauhati High court seeking the details of Majoni.

“Police have also refused to inform us as to why Majoni was summoned by the SP. The police claimed that they are aware that Majoni will join the militant outfit and leave for its camps in Myanmar through Nagaland – in that case, was it not the duty of the police to stop her from joining the outfit?” said Acharya.

“The family is worried as they about 10 years back lost their son Diganta Das in a similar mysterious disappearance case. The question arises whether police are responsible for the sudden disappearance of Majoni or was it her choice?” she said

 

Why India Needs The Death Penalty


CARTOON COURTESY: FACEBOOK
OPINION
India is not a weak state. This is not about Politics but Justice. Justice must not only be strong but also seen to be strong.

So, The Law has been taking its Own Course, without any help from the political bankruptcy of the Kangress party. The Law took its Own Course and hanged Ajmal Kasab before a Parliament session and co-incidentally Afzal Guru before another Parliament session. The Law’s Own Course is stranger than the river Kosi which changes direction at will (actually, even the Kosi river changes directions because of corruption in the unnecessary embankments the Bihar government builds).

Criticism that the United Progressive Alliance government helped the Law take its Own Course has been taken too personally by the otherwise thick-skinned government. So personally that they even have a response! There’s been unfounded criticism  that Afzal Guru was unfairly targeted to deprive the BJP of a stick they’d been beating the Kangress with, to play to the gallery, to appear strong, pro-active and to prove that we indeed have a government in place. But you can’t please everybody. For instance, Omar Abdullah, otherwise a good boy, had the gumption to ask the Gandhi Party to ‘prove’ that Afzal’s was not a selective execution.

The Collective Conscience of Society, by which we mean the evil side of Rashtrapati Pranab Poltu Mukherjee, Misses Sonia Gandhi, Dr Manmohan Singh and Shri Sushilkumar Shinde, has thus been awakened. Replying the critics is easy. We can just hang a few more people. There are so many to hang, where do we start? Let’s dispense with some non-Muslims for a change? After all, Rarest of the Rare happens Every Third Day. Let’s find someone who’s not a political hot potato. No Khalistanis or Tamil nationalists please, we can only hurt Kashmiri sentiments because Misses Gandhi is 50% Kashmiri and Rahul baba 100% only. Rajiv Gandhi’s killers have already been forgiven by Priyanka didi.

And so they found four guys who killed 22 people in a landmine blast. Five of themwere policemen. Waging war against the state, killing policemen. When policemen kill people we say “Law and Order” or “Encounter”. That’s exactly also what we can say when we hang killers of policemen!  These four guys were with that bandit Veerappan, the Collective Conscience only wishes he was alive so we could feel rejoice with the thought of him choking to death. But since we killed him in an encounter long ago, we could kill these four. Killing people who kill people is the best form of reforming killers. If Sharia states do it why can’t we? We are the land of Due Process and self-multiplying Gandhis.

Killing those four in return will definitely establish that India is a country where the Rule of Law Prevails. That will leave only 472 more Rarest of the Rares to be despatched.  God knows how many political crises the United Progressive Alliance government will face until elections come. How many more chopper purchase scams, how many more exposes by whatshisname Kejriwal, how many more people taking exception to rape and demanding stupid committee reports to be implemented as if these people own the country! Not even Digvijaya ji’s personal Swami and astrologer can tell the embarrassment that’s in store when there will be assembly elections in five states later this year. Some irritants will ask for food security bill and some will say budget is not good and inflation is too much and cash is not transferring through Nandan Nilekani’s nose. Every time the ungrateful aam aadmi whines like a cry baby, show them the Collective Conscience. Hang some bastard and the camel will come under the hill!

There may be some teething troubles like lack of rope but rest assured the Planning Commission will do something and we’ll pull off the Great Indian Rope Trick just as well as we pulled off the Commonwealth Games.

So what if a little bit of lying is needed? Lying for a good cause is as good as speaking the truth, as Advani ji, Narendra Modi ji and George Orwell ji always say. Why can’t the Kangress take the best of Hinduism from the Hindutvawaadis? To give you the example of lying for the good of the Collective Conscience, Chiddu had said Afzal was not being hanged because executions are by Serial Order. Much older mercy petitions have not been disposed off, he had argued, so why are you harping on Afzal? If anyone now asks what happened to Chiddu’s Serial Order theory, we can just say he was a bit over-influenced by Nandan’s UID numbers. He now looks after the fiscal deficit, Shinde is da man.

Similarly, don’t let these four Veerappan guys meet their lawyers once Poltu da rejects their mercy petition. If they can’t meet lawyers how will they sign on affidavits asking for judicial review? See how smart we are! Don’t reveal the date on which we want to hang them, we’ll decide depending on when Arnab Goswami is particularly angry with us. If somebody goes to the Chief Justice asking him to stay the execution, he can always say what proof they are going to execute the next day?! Pray tell, when there is no baans how will anyone play thebansuri.

But listen, we can’t hide from the public that we’ve rejected their mercy petitions. Such special honour is only reserved from Pakistanis like Ajmal Kasab and Kashmiris like Afzal Guru. That’s because Kashmiris are an integralpart of India,and Pakistanis our estranged brothers (Sardar Patel ji and Nehru ji helped create Pakistan.) Letting the public know that we’re going to hang the four Veerappan guys, they may go to the court and delay their execution by arguing that we delayed it! Just like that Saibanna character.

To help the Law take its Own Course, we must always hang people in secrecy, not give the losers time to cry before their families or write long last letters or god forbid, meet their lawyers to file review petitions! Already that Saibanna escaped our rat trap and went crying to the court, arguing that he should not be hanged just because we took so long to decide to hang him. What hypocrites these human rights types? Don’t those they killed have human rights? First these people complain like cry babies that the Law takes too long to take its Own Course, and when the Law takes its Own Course they still complain and say want the Law to take even more time to take its Own Course! Do they believe in the Constitution of India? Are they Maoists or what?

We ourselves had to stop that Rajoana‘s execution because the Sikhs don’t want it. Arey, is Collective Conscience of Society not applicable to the Sikhs? Are the Sikhs not an integral part of India like the Kashmiris? Why is the BJP not demanding Rajoana’s execution? This is why we hate hypocrites and always ask people to vote for Kangress. This is why the Kangress is a Secular party.

These human rights types, who think only humans have human rights, don’t realise we are in the new India – India After Rahul Gandhi. They give silly arguments from Old India. They cite some Kehar Singh vs Union of India (1989) and B P Singhal vs Union of India (2010) to say the orders of the President under Article 72 of the Constitution are subject to judicial review. Arre, what is the point of giving Rashtrapati ji the power of mercy if it is still to be subjected to judicial review once the Law has taken its Own Course.

Didn’t the Law take its own Course when three thousand trees were cut to make up for the big tree fell in 1984? Didn’t the Law take its own Course when Gujarat played Holi with Muslims? In Bhagalpur, Kokrajhar, Khairlanji and so on, didn’t the Law take its Own Course? So why are these hypocrites defending Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru and those Veerappan’s buddies?

Just as promises are meant to be broken, mercy is meant to not be given. India is not a weak state. This is not about Politics but Justice. Justice must not only be strong but also seen to be strong. Those who confuse Justice with Politics and claim that Law has taken some course other than its very Own, forget that as Misses Gandhi once said, Yeh janta hai sab jaanti hai.

All these people need to understand that we are not like any other banana republic. We are our own indigenous Hindu banana republic with secular values, democracy, freedom of speech, rule of law, independent Kangress-friendly media, Kashmir, ten per cent growth rate. (Ok, Montek ji will double check the latest growth rate and let us know.) Other banana republics don’t have these things.

We the Mango People of Banana Republic, let us hang the guilty, Parliament session by Parliament session. Let us bang our heads on the wall and say Jai Hind! Jai Sonia! Jai Hind!


This was first published in Kafila

 

Have sought accreditation to assess Nuclear Power projects: EIL to GPCB


Nuclear Power Corporation of India

 

 

 

Adam Halliday: Ahmedabad, Indian Express, 23 February 2013

The consultants for the proposed Mithi Virdi nuclear power project have told the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) that they have applied to be registered as qualified assessors for nuclear power projects, said GPCB officials.

Officials said the public hearing for the project will therefore be held as scheduled on March 5, even as environmentalists have petitioned Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan to cancel the hearing because of the issue. They said they have not received any response from the ministry. “The public hearing will be held as scheduled on March 5,” said Bhavnagar District Collector V P Patel.

The GPCB had last week asked the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to clarify why it had hired an unqualified consultant to assess its proposed 6000 MW project. The NPCIL had referred the matter to the Engineers India Limited (EIL), the consultants, to respond directly.

At the end of the draft environment impact assessment report for the project, EIL, a public-sector undertaking, has attached a copy of its QCI-NABET certification in which it shows it has been given conditional accreditation to assess category B thermal power plants.

Category B Thermal Power Plants are those with a capacity of 500 MW or less, which can be cleared by state authorities. Category A power plants, on the other hand, refers to plants of higher capacities, and need clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). All nuclear power plants fall in category A.

No consultant in the country has been accredited to assess nuclear power plants, although the NPCIL already runs six such units with a total capacity of 4,780 MW generated from 20 reactors.

The proposed plant at Mithi Virdi in Bhavnagar district will be the first such project built using American nuclear technology.

 

 

 

Open letter to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi #Rape #Vaw


English: Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, United Pro...

Dear Mrs. Gandhi,

On behalf of more than 9,000 people that have called for Mr. P J Kurien, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha to lose his prestigious post, we urge you to act for the rights of women and force him to step down until a full and fair inquiry has been conducted into the gang rape charges against him.

The text of the petition addressed to Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, now signed by over 9,048 people from across India reads:

“Right now, political leaders have a vital task to end India’s rape epidemic. But too many politicians are compromised because they themselves face ongoing rape and sexual assault investigations. We demand you act on the Verma Committee’s recommendations and remove your party support from all politicians and candidates who face rape or sexual assault charges. As an immediate first step, please remove P J Kurien, suspect in the Suryanelli gang rape, from the Deputy Chairmanship of the Rajya Sabha before the start of the coming session of Parliament.”

You can see our campaign here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/no_chairs_for_rape_suspect_kurien_/

This petition demonstrates that a mass of ordinary citizens, with no political vested interests, are very concerned that Parliamentarians who face outstanding rape and sexual assault allegations are the wrong people to lead on crafting anti-rape laws. At the heart of lawmaking on rape should be a burning commitment to ending the rape epidemic, not the same sort of anti-women, anti-victim thinking that results in a woman being raped every 22 minutes in India. If Mr. Kurien is truly innocent, instead of allowing his allies to blame the rape survivor, he should welcome a full investigation.

True justice is yet to be done. The survivor of the Suryanelli gang rape case has said repeatedly that the police were under pressure during this investigation to suppress evidence against Mr. Kurien because of his political power. The same Supreme Court that Mr. Kurien uses in his defence as having cleared him has now quashed the lower court order in this case.

The Congress Party cannot really claim to stand for the rights of women when their own partymen are accused of such serious crimes against women. This is the moment to stand with rape survivors across the country and show that the Congress Party is serious about protecting all women.That’s why we urge you to do the right thing and use all your leadership of the Congress Party to take the Deputy Chairmanship away from accused rapist Mr. P J Kurien.

With hope and determination,

 

Avaaz members in India

 

 

 

 

#Delhigangrape: poor coordination within police, Usha Mehra Commission #Vaw


Edited by Shamik Ghosh | Updated: February 22, 2013 , NDTV

Delhi gang-rape case: poor coordination within police, says Usha Mehra Commission

New DelhiA government commission appointed to study the fatal gang-rape of a medical student in Delhi has blamed the capital’s police for poor coordination, allowing the bus on which she was attacked to remain on the roads months after it failed to get important clearances.Amid the massive protests that followed the savage attack on the student on the moving bus in December, Retired High Court judge Usha Mehra was asked to review the police’s role. Six suspects have been arrested for the  gang-rape and murder.

Justice Mehra has pointed out that the bus had been fined several times for different violations, and was refused basic clearances and permissions in March, but was not impounded. She said this proves a huge and dangerous gap between the transport police and other sections of the force.

However, she found that after the attack, when the student and her male companion were spotted bleeding on the road by a passer-by, a police van responded within six minutes to a call for help. On this front, she said, the police should not be faulted.

Justice Mehra indicted the thin public transport system in Delhi, stressing that more government-operated buses should run at night.

Calling for reforms that include training policemen to handle complaints of rape more sensitively, she said that even after December’s attack, the response of the police to women remains “callous.”

After December’s attack stirred anger and a national debate on women’s safety, the government appointed  the Usha Mehra Commission to study the incident; three legal experts formed the Justice Verma Commission, which suggested changes needed urgently to laws that deal with crimes against women.

Some of the Verma Commission’s recommendations were included in a new set of anti-rape laws cleared by the government, which must be approved by Parliament within six weeks.

 

Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us #healthcare


By Feb. 20, 2013
brill.pill9.indd

1. Routine Care, Unforgettable Bills
When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.

Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.

Stephanie was then told by a billing clerk that the estimated cost of Sean’s visit — just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised — would be $48,900, due in advance. Stephanie got her mother to write her a check. “You do anything you can in a situation like that,” she says. The Recchis flew to Houston, leaving Stephanie’s mother to care for their two teenage children.

About a week later, Stephanie had to ask her mother for $35,000 more so Sean could begin the treatment the doctors had decided was urgent. His condition had worsened rapidly since he had arrived in Houston. He was “sweating and shaking with chills and pains,” Stephanie recalls. “He had a large mass in his chest that was … growing. He was panicked.”

Nonetheless, Sean was held for about 90 minutes in a reception area, she says, because the hospital could not confirm that the check had cleared. Sean was allowed to see the doctor only after he advanced MD Anderson $7,500 from his credit card. The hospital says there was nothing unusual about how Sean was kept waiting. According to MD Anderson communications manager Julie Penne, “Asking for advance payment for services is a common, if unfortunate, situation that confronts hospitals all over the United States.”

Sean Recchi 

CLAUDIA SUSANA FOR TIME 

Sean Recchi
Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 42. Total cost, in advance, for Sean’s treatment plan and initial doses of chemotherapy: $83,900. Charges for blood and lab tests amounted to more than $15,000; with Medicare, they would have cost a few hundred dollars

The total cost, in advance, for Sean to get his treatment plan and initial doses of chemotherapy was $83,900.

Why?

The first of the 344 lines printed out across eight pages of his hospital bill — filled with indecipherable numerical codes and acronyms — seemed innocuous. But it set the tone for all that followed. It read, “1 ACETAMINOPHE TABS 325 MG.” The charge was only $1.50, but it was for a generic version of a Tylenol pill. You can buy 100 of them on Amazon for $1.49 even without a hospital’s purchasing power.

(In-Depth VideoThe Exorbitant Prices of Health Care)

Dozens of midpriced items were embedded with similarly aggressive markups, like $283.00 for a “CHEST, PA AND LAT 71020.” That’s a simple chest X-ray, for which MD Anderson is routinely paid $20.44 when it treats a patient on Medicare, the government health care program for the elderly.

Every time a nurse drew blood, a “ROUTINE VENIPUNCTURE” charge of $36.00 appeared, accompanied by charges of $23 to $78 for each of a dozen or more lab analyses performed on the blood sample. In all, the charges for blood and other lab tests done on Recchi amounted to more than $15,000. Had Recchi been old enough for Medicare, MD Anderson would have been paid a few hundred dollars for all those tests. By law, Medicare’s payments approximate a hospital’s cost of providing a service, including overhead, equipment and salaries.

On the second page of the bill, the markups got bolder. Recchi was charged $13,702 for “1 RITUXIMAB INJ 660 MG.” That’s an injection of 660 mg of a cancer wonder drug called Rituxan. The average price paid by all hospitals for this dose is about $4,000, but MD Anderson probably gets a volume discount that would make its cost $3,000 to $3,500. That means the nonprofit cancer center’s paid-in-advance markup on Recchi’s lifesaving shot would be about 400%.

When I asked MD Anderson to comment on the charges on Recchi’s bill, the cancer center released a written statement that said in part, “The issues related to health care finance are complex for patients, health care providers, payers and government entities alike … MD Anderson’s clinical billing and collection practices are similar to those of other major hospitals and academic medical centers.”

The hospital’s hard-nosed approach pays off. Although it is officially a nonprofit unit of the University of Texas, MD Anderson has revenue that exceeds the cost of the world-class care it provides by so much that its operating profit for the fiscal year 2010, the most recent annual report it filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was $531 million. That’s a profit margin of 26% on revenue of $2.05 billion, an astounding result for such a service-intensive enterprise.1

The president of MD Anderson is paid like someone running a prosperous business. Ronald DePinho’s total compensation last year was $1,845,000. That does not count outside earnings derived from a much publicized waiver he received from the university that, according to the Houston Chronicle, allows him to maintain unspecified “financial ties with his three principal pharmaceutical companies.”

DePinho’s salary is nearly triple the $674,350 paid to William Powers Jr., the president of the entire University of Texas system, of which MD Anderson is a part. This pay structure is emblematic of American medical economics and is reflected on campuses across the U.S., where the president of a hospital or hospital system associated with a university — whether it’s Texas, Stanford, Duke or Yale — is invariably paid much more than the person in charge of the university.

I got the idea for this article when I was visiting Rice University last year. As I was leaving the campus, which is just outside the central business district of Houston, I noticed a group of glass skyscrapers about a mile away lighting up the evening sky. The scene looked like Dubai. I was looking at the Texas Medical Center, a nearly 1,300-acre, 280-building complex of hospitals and related medical facilities, of which MD Anderson is the lead brand name. Medicine had obviously become a huge business. In fact, of Houston’s top 10 employers, five are hospitals, including MD Anderson with 19,000 employees; three, led by ExxonMobil with 14,000 employees, are energy companies. How did that happen, I wondered. Where’s all that money coming from? And where is it going? I have spent the past seven months trying to find out by analyzing a variety of bills from hospitals like MD Anderson, doctors, drug companies and every other player in the American health care ecosystem.

When you look behind the bills that Sean Recchi and other patients receive, you see nothing rational — no rhyme or reason — about the costs they faced in a marketplace they enter through no choice of their own. The only constant is the sticker shock for the patients who are asked to pay.

(iReport: Tell Us Your Health Care Story)

Gauze Pads 

PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK VEASEY FOR TIME 

Gauze Pads: $77
Charge for each of four boxes of sterile gauze pads, as itemized in a $348,000 bill following a patient’s diagnosis of lung cancer

Yet those who work in the health care industry and those who argue over health care policy seem inured to the shock. When we debate health care policy, we seem to jump right to the issue of who should pay the bills, blowing past what should be the first question: Why exactly are the bills so high?

What are the reasons, good or bad, that cancer means a half-million- or million-dollar tab? Why should a trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turn out to be indigestion bring a bill that can exceed the cost of a semester of college? What makes a single dose of even the most wonderful wonder drug cost thousands of dollars? Why does simple lab work done during a few days in a hospital cost more than a car? And what is so different about the medical ecosystem that causes technology advances to drive bills up instead of down?

Recchi’s bill and six others examined line by line for this article offer a closeup window into what happens when powerless buyers — whether they are people like Recchi or big health-insurance companies — meet sellers in what is the ultimate seller’s market.

The result is a uniquely American gold rush for those who provide everything from wonder drugs to canes to high-tech implants to CT scans to hospital bill-coding and collection services. In hundreds of small and midsize cities across the country — from Stamford, Conn., to Marlton, N.J., to Oklahoma City — the American health care market has transformed tax-exempt “nonprofit” hospitals into the towns’ most profitable businesses and largest employers, often presided over by the regions’ most richly compensated executives. And in our largest cities, the system offers lavish paychecks even to midlevel hospital managers, like the 14 administrators at New York City’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who are paid over $500,000 a year, including six who make over $1 million.

Taken as a whole, these powerful institutions and the bills they churn out dominate the nation’s economy and put demands on taxpayers to a degree unequaled anywhere else on earth. In the U.S., people spend almost 20% of the gross domestic product on health care, compared with about half that in most developed countries. Yet in every measurable way, the results our health care system produces are no better and often worse than the outcomes in those countries.

According to one of a series of exhaustive studies done by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, we spend more on health care than the next 10 biggest spenders combined: Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia. We may be shocked at the $60 billion price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy. We spent almost that much last week on health care. We spend more every year on artificial knees and hips than what Hollywood collects at the box office. We spend two or three times that much on durable medical devices like canes and wheelchairs, in part because a heavily lobbied Congress forces Medicare to pay 25% to 75% more for this equipment than it would cost at Walmart.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 10 of the 20 occupations that will grow the fastest in the U.S. by 2020 are related to health care. America’s largest city may be commonly thought of as the world’s financial-services capital, but of New York’s 18 largest private employers, eight are hospitals and four are banks. Employing all those people in the cause of curing the sick is, of course, not anything to be ashamed of. But the drag on our overall economy that comes with taxpayers, employers and consumers spending so much more than is spent in any other country for the same product is unsustainable. Health care is eating away at our economy and our treasury.

The health care industry seems to have the will and the means to keep it that way. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the pharmaceutical and health-care-product industries, combined with organizations representing doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, health services and HMOs, have spent $5.36 billion since 1998 on lobbying in Washington. That dwarfs the $1.53 billion spent by the defense and aerospace industries and the $1.3 billion spent by oil and gas interests over the same period. That’s right: the health-care-industrial complex spends more than three times what the military-industrial complex spends in Washington.

When you crunch data compiled by McKinsey and other researchers, the big picture looks like this: We’re likely to spend $2.8 trillion this year on health care. That $2.8 trillion is likely to be $750 billion, or 27%, more than we would spend if we spent the same per capita as other developed countries, even after adjusting for the relatively high per capita income in the U.S. vs. those other countries. Of the total $2.8 trillion that will be spent on health care, about $800 billion will be paid by the federal government through the Medicare insurance program for the disabled and those 65 and older and the Medicaid program, which provides care for the poor. That $800 billion, which keeps rising far faster than inflation and the gross domestic product, is what’s driving the federal deficit. The other $2 trillion will be paid mostly by private health-insurance companies and individuals who have no insurance or who will pay some portion of the bills covered by their insurance. This is what’s increasingly burdening businesses that pay for their employees’ health insurance and forcing individuals to pay so much in out-of-pocket expenses.

1. Here and elsewhere I define operating profit as the hospital’s excess of revenue over expenses, plus the amount it lists on its tax return for depreciation of assets—because depreciation is an accounting expense, not a cash expense. John Gunn, chief operating officer of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, calls this the “fairest way” of judging a hospital’s financial performance

SOUND OFFAre Medical Bills Too High? Tell Us Why

 

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