Tamil Nadu Police forcibly took away the fasting students #WTFnews


Chennai 11 Mar 2013, http://www.theweekendleader.com/

Posted 11-Mar-2013
Vol 4 Issue 10

The following piece is an eyewitness account of the midnight action of Tamil Nadu police, who forcibly entered a private property at Koyambedu in Chennai, and took away eight students of Loyola College who were on an indefinite fast in support of Eelam.

There were about 120 of us at the venue, where eight Loyola College students had been fasting since last three days in support of their 9-point charter of demands that includes demand for an international inquiry into the war crimes of Sri Lanka and a UN referendum on Eelam.

Eight students from Loyola College in Chennai are on an indefinite fast in support of Eelam

Most protesters were students from Loyola. I am a former student of Loyola from the 2008 batch and I had gone to express my solidarity with the fasting students.

Few students from other colleges were also present at the venue. We were sitting in small groups and discussing on taking the struggle forward.

At about 2 am, there was some commotion near the main gate. Students started running towards the gate. We found some policemen were trying to forcibly enter the premises. Soon, about 70 policemen entered the venue and resorted to a mild lathicharge against those standing near the gate.

When the policemen moved towards the fasting students, the other protesters formed a protective ring around them. But police managed to break the cordon and forcibly took them away.

Students from a city college expressing their solidarity with Loyola students

We started shouting slogans against the police, condemning their highhandedness. After removing the fasting students, the rest of us were put in two police vans and taken to a nearby community hall of the Chennai Corporation.

A couple of representatives from Loyola management tried to reason with the police, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

In the morning, members of the media came to the place where we were being held. Some students spoke to the media from near the gate. But policemen on duty threatened us not to create any trouble.

We tried to find out from the policemen about the condition of the eight fasting students. They assured us their condition was stable. They said that they were being administered drips at the Royapettah General Hospital.

They refused to divulge more details. Until this moment we are not aware when the police would release our comrades.

At 9 am we were released.

Students plan to take the struggle forward by forming a joint coordination committee. It will be purely a student movement with no political affiliation.

 

‘I was discriminated against because I am Muslim’ #humanrights


 

45

Express news service 

In 2008, a youth was arrested from my neighbourhood in Hubli for alleged links with the Student Islamic Movement of India. He was studying to be a doctor and had no history of indiscipline or run-ins with the law. His family was traumatised, and still is, for he continues to languish in jail. If that could happen to a young, educated Muslim like him, it could happen to me, too, I thought then. Five years later, that passing thought became an ugly reality.

On August 29, 2012, a posse of armed policemen barged into the one-bedroom flat I shared with four other boys in Bangalore. They pretended to be looking for my roommate Shoaib Ahmed Mirza, whom they accused of plotting to assassinate some right-wing Kannada columnists. Ironically, they had picked him up from the locality just a while earlier. In our flat, they slapped his brother, Aijaz Ahmed, abused the other three and suddenly handcuffed me too. I pleaded with them to tell me why they were taking me away. I asked one of the policemen, whom I had spoken to earlier when I was a crime reporter with Deccan Herald, what was going on. All I got was a sarcastic look. The brazen manner in which we were picked up was more like a kidnapping than an arrest. With my pleas unanswered, my mind slid into numbness. I went blank. I could not think. The story of that youth kept replaying in my head.

My first night in the cell was the longest night of my life. We kept pleading with the cops, including the junior-most constables, to not destroy our lives. During our 30 days in police custody, the cops abused us in every way they could. One policeman asked me, “So, you work for a Pakistani newspaper?” I don’t even want to get into the nasty things they said about my faith. I was surprised that unlike the others, I was not physically abused. Outside the prison, though, I was planted as the “mastermind”.

When we — the 15 of us arrested in the so-called assassination plot — were shifted to Bangalore Central Jail, for the first two months we were locked inside a separate barrack, which meant we were denied access to facilities available to other inmates, such as outstation phone calls, the gym and the library. Later, when we were shifted out from there, we could avail these amenities, but it exposed us to taunts from others. The prison authorities used to refer to us as the “bomb case people”, and other inmates seemed to believe them. They’d say in Kannada, “Enu ide iwaradu.” (They must have done something wrong.)

I did not mingle much with others. I spent time reading the Quran, that my sister and brother got for me during one of their visits, and taught English and Urdu to two of my co-accused. There were times when I ran out of hope, fearing that I may languish here forever. But then, my innocence reclaimed that hope, and I would feel confident that I would be out soon.

Six months later, on February 25, 2013, I was released. But even before I could get over the police hostilities I had endured, I was told about the the media onslaught during my time in jail. I had been dubbed the “mastermind” of the plot. Some of my former colleagues told me that a senior police officer, who was not even investigating the case, misled journalists that I had joined Deccan Herald with the sole purpose of blowing up the Metro station opposite my office. The media blindly, mindlessly, reproduced his words. Similarly, going by the police’s words, the media said “radical literature” was seized from my office computer. That computer had an Urdu poem about Republic Day, written by Sahir Ludhianvi, a Leftist ideologue, who was part of the Progressive Writer’s Association.

Honestly, after our arrest, I was prepared for such reportage. That I was called a “mastermind”, for example, did not surprise me. But some stories were painfully insensitive. A news channel “broke” the story about my father in Pakistan who “guided” me from there. My father died of a heart attack in 2006. I even have his death certificate. Can you imagine how it feels to deal with such bulls**t? Another news channel said I had Rs 50 crore in my bank. If I had so much money, I would certainly have owned a newspaper.

The way the police and the media reacted to my alleged involvement in the so-called plot has convinced me that there is an institutional bias against Muslims. When you put all the facts together — that I was picked up for simply sharing a room with a suspect, that an Urdu poem on my terminal was interpreted as a fanatical text, that so many other Muslim youths have languished in jails for terror-related cases only to be let off for want of evidence — how can you expect me to feel otherwise?

This is not a new feeling. When I was studying journalism in 2009, I had suggested “media coverage of terror suspects” as the subject of my thesis, which my teacher rejected. At that time, Muhammad Hanif, a doctor from Bangalore, was arrested in Australia on terror charges, which were later proved to be false. There were similar arrests for the Malegaon and Mecca Masjid blasts. The media reports sensationalised such arrests, and engaged in character assassination. It was as if they had taken it upon themselves to prove that the accused were guilty. When Hanif was exonerated, the Australian government issued a public apology to him — something the Indian government has not done for so many similar, wrongful arrests.

The media has reacted in the extreme to me — extremely cruel when I was arrested, and now, extraordinarily supportive after my release. I am inundated with phone calls from journalists, asking for my side of the story. Even though I am disillusioned by the media, I have not lost faith in it. That faith comes from some truly fair reporting, specially in the print media. I want to return to work as a journalist. My father, who used to run an Unani medical store, wanted me to become an Unani doctor, but I was good at languages and social science, and began working as a journalist in the Urdu newspaper Rashtriya Sahara in Dharwad in 2007, while doing a PG diploma in journalism. In 2009, I joined Deccan Herald, where I first covered crime, and then education. Journalism has always been close to my heart. But, I have become sceptical of reportage. I will always think twice before trusting a news story. I want to work on the desk and ensure the accuracy of a story.

I do hope to live a normal life. I am overwhelmed with visitors who have been pouring into my home, welcoming me back, and putting an end to my fear of being stigmatised for life. My ex-colleagues are also in touch with me. Throughout my life, I have never been discriminated as a Muslim. I have always believed that Muslims must stop feeling as if they are victims of the system, and must strive towards educating and empowering themselves. But my six months in jail as an educated, empowered Muslim, paints a contrasting picture — that I was discriminated against because I was Muslim. These are two extremities. And though one positive extreme gives me hope, as does my faith in the judiciary and democracy, the other extreme puts me in despair. I am trying to find a middle ground to this dilemma. I have truly experienced the uncertainty of life. I have reflected a lot on my own life, and if something good has come out of this ordeal, it is that I have emerged a better person. Now, I look at the larger picture of life, and can empathise with others’ sufferings.

As told to Irena Akbar

 

On a car ride with Mother Courage- Bhanwari Devi #Vaw #Sexualharassment


Independent journalist & radio anchor Vasanthi Hariprakash tells about her date with Rajastan’s firebrand Bhanwari Devi
bangalore Mirror

bhanwari devi

Posted On Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 09:19:45 PM

It is one thing to read about Bhanvari Devi in the papers; totally another to see her, and then realise she is smiling at you with every bit of her warmth even when you are just introduced to her. A woman about whose courage reams have been written, whose grit in the face of gang rape 21 years back by upper caste men in her village had eventually led to the landmark Visakha judgment on sexual harassment of women at the workplace, Bhanwari does justice to that line I had heard sometime, recited on stage as part of a poem: “Rajasthan ki naari hai, phool nahi, chingaari hai” (The English translation of that line would do no justice to the spirit in which it was written: The woman of Rajasthan; she is no flower, she is the spark of a fire.)

Firebrand Bhanwari certainly is, or why would the unlettered woman from the oppressed Kumhar caste have ventured about 30 years back to be a saathin (woman community worker) in her village in Rajasthan? Why would she agree to be a volunteer whose job, as part of the Women’s Development Programme (WDP), was to intervene in child marriages that would mean taking on unrelenting powerful patriarchs?

It was a job that was to cost her very dearly. The year was 1992, village Bhateri, about 60 km from the capital city of Jaipur. And in that part of the country where child marriages are rampant, an uppercaste Gujar household had been getting ready for a wedding. Or more aptly, getting ready for cradle-snatching. The bride was a nine-month-old baby girl; the ‘groom’ all of 1 year!

Bhanwari, who knew what it meant to be a child bride having been one herself, landed up at the house. She tried telling them gently, explaining to them why it was so wrong, “Mat karo chhoti bacchii ki shaadi, bhavishya kharab ho jaati hai ladki ki. (Do not get the child married now, her future will be ruined),” she pleaded.

But when all the Gujar men present there yelled at and taunted her, she revoked the power of being a saathin. “Collector saab has asked women like me to stop the marriage if the bride is a child,” she said. The party was over, even if only for that time — the child’s marriage is said to have taken place a few months down the line.

The male ego and the caste pride were hurt; the price extracted soon enough. One evening, when Bhanwari and her husband were working in their sparse little field, five Gujar men showed up. After picking a fight with him, they took turns to rape Bhanwari.

“Itne chhote chhote thhe yeh sab,” she tells me putting out her hand to describe how small her kids back at home were. The mother of two sons and two daughters decided it was no time to cry. How she then told her husband that she would not listen to him and would go ahead to file a police complaint, how the local primary health centre refused to examine her, how women cops at the local police station took away her ghaghra as evidence leaving her to travel to Jaipur by bus wrapped only in a thin bed sheet, how her first medical examination happened only 48 hours after her rape, and how it was the pressure of women’s organisations that brought the horrific crime to light – these are part of the Bhanwari story now well known, and well documented in newspapers, books as well as online articles.

Bhanwari’s incredible courage pushed her to be an unlikely hero. It won her awards, most famously the Neerja Bhanot award — named after the brave airhostess who died trying to resist a hijack attempt on a Pan Am flight in 1986. It took Bhanwari to international fora and women’s conferences in foreign lands. It also made her the mascot of victory over traumatic circumstances, but back in her own village, little or nothing changed for her, especially socially. Today, while she is the toast of woman power all over the country, to her own fellow villagers in Bhateri, Bhanwari with her family continues to be an ‘outcaste’.

The crippling social boycott that bans any link with her is a hurt she doesn’t express openly, but is evident when she says, “Aas paas ke gaon ki auratein salaah lene aatin hai, mere gaon se ek bhi nahi. (Women from all the nearby villages come to me asking for guidance, not one from my village.)”

Her rapists, meanwhile, were freed long back, after serving barely a year in jail.

Even the government has done little for the welfare of saathins like her, who travel village to village, carrying the word of government schemes for the poor, and risk their life and limbs while trying to intervene in cases of dowry demands, female foeticide and child marriage. “Women workers of Anganwadi, which came in much later after the WDP did, earn much more than we do. From Rs 300 decades back, today it’s barely 1,600.”

And since they are cleverly termed ‘volunteers’, these women retire with no pension, despite having been government servants all their lives. But that lament is only temporary. The positive power of Bhanwari’s persona kicks in, embracing every person she comes in touch with.

At a felicitation function organised on Saturday in her honour by the Kannada Lekhakiyara Sangha (Women writers’ association) in Bangalore’s Chamrajpet, the reed-thin Bhanwari deeply hugs a young girl whose own story of courage had earlier moved the audience to a thunderous applause. That long, deep hug is freely dispensed to every woman, every girl who wants Bhanwari to pose for a picture with her, mostly clicked on mobile phones. Even this writer, meeting her for the first time, is a beneficiary of that embrace.

From Chamrajpet, a couple of women are set to take Bhanwari to an activist’s home in Srirampura near Malleswaram for a simple lunch. Seeing that they are trying to hail an autorickshaw, I ask them if they want to come along in my car. They agree, and soon the middle aged woman in a bright Rajasthani saree, its ghunghat covering her head, is seated in the middle of the backseat next to me. On the other side is her daughter Rameshwari, who has accompanied her on this trip to Bangalore, and earlier Mangalore, where she addressed — and “energised” — a rally of around 4,000 people to mark International Women’s Day, to specially speak out against increasing moral policing in the coastal city.

Rameshwari, who translates Bhanwari’s Rajasthani dialect into Hindi for us, says her mother was thrilled to see so many women come together in the rally. She saw on TV all the “maar-peet” how they dragged girls out of a party, tore their clothes, pulled their hair…

Bhanwari speaks before her daughter can finish that line. “Kisi bhi aurat ke saath aisa hota hai, toh lagta hai mere shareer par atyachar ho raha ho. Bahut zyada dukhi hoti hoon. (Whenever a woman goes through that kind of ordeal, I feel I am violated. It makes me very sad.)”

That sadness, though, is not of the helpless kind. “Suryanelli ki ladki ko itni badi sazaa kyon?” she suddenly breathes fire. Referring to the church’s ban on the Kerala rape survivor, she says, “Why is she being punished? What is her crime? Why can’t all of us behenen (sisters) go there to show our support for her?”

Looking out of the car, Bhanwari lapses into memories of her own struggle, first to get even the complaint against her rapists registered, and then the battle in the courts. “Court mein koi bhi nahi hai garib ki sunne ke liye. Beizzati hoti hai, khilvaad karte hain mahilaaon ke saathh. (There is none in the courts to listen to the poor. There is only indignity and insult for women.)”

Talk then veers to the Delhi girl whose gang rape and death caused such national outrage. I mention the recent American award given in her honour, and Bhanwari retorts, “Puraskaar se pet kaun bhare? Hume puraskaar nahi, nyaay dijiye. (Can an award feed the stomach? Give us justice, not awards.)

Sunny, spirited, sharp and ready with repartees — just what’s the secret source of her mum’s spunk, I ask Rameshwari as the women get out of the car. “Bas, Maa aisi hi hain. Suru se hi. (Mother is always like this. Right from the start). A proud smile later, “Strong. Ekdumm majboot

 

Can the Female Sarpanch Deliver ? #womenrights #reservation


EPW-Vol – XLVIII No. 11, March 16, 2013 | Dhanmanjiri Sathe, Stephan Klasen, Jan Priebe, and Mithila Biniwale

This study examines the impact of mandated reservations for female sarpanch (elected heads of gram panchayats) on perceptions of service delivery and women’s democratic participation. Using survey data from Sangli district in Maharashtra, it finds that the availability of basic public services is significantly higher in female sarpanch villages compared to the male sarpanch villages when the former have been in the job for three to three-and-a-half years. Indeed, reservations have had a significant positive impact on the democratic participation of women in female sarpanch villages though the positive effects in terms of service delivery and democratic participation will take some more time to materialise.

Conclusions

we found that the male sarpanch had somewhat
better economic, social and educational status and better
political connections as compared to the female sarpanch. In
spite of this, the female sarpanch seem to have had interesting
and important impacts.

Equally importantly, we find that the political participation
of the women is a signifi cant causal factor in explaining the
services availability. Additionally, political participation of

women is higher in female sarpanch villages as compared to
male sarpanch villages for elections held both one year back
and three-and-a-half years back and such higher participation,
combined with a female leader, further increases service
availability. Thus, having a female sarpanch affects the political
participation of women in a village positively and it is likely to
be through this channel that the availability of services

improves over a period of three to three-and-a-half years. The
policy implication that comes out of this is that mandated
reservation for female sarpanch would work better if the time
period is increased from fi ve years to (say) 10 years. Thus,
instead of increasing reservation for women to 50% as has
been done, or in addition to it, it may be a good step if the
time period of reservation is increased as well.

 

Read the full study here

Bombay High court issues circular on sexual assault cases #womensday #justice


Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women'...

 

High Court, Bombay
No.RG-1611-
of 2013
CIRCULAR
Directions have already been issued to assign cases involving
sexual assault against women exclusively to the Courts presided over by
women Judicial Officers in your District/ establishment.
It is a settled law that cases involving sexual assault against
women are required to be dealt with greater sensitivity.
In these cases, women are the victims of crime and for the
purpose of enabling victims to give their evidence in a stress-free
atmosphere and without any fear or embarrassment, it is desirable that all
staff members i.e. Bench Clerks, Stenographer, Interpreter, Typist-cum-
Clerk, Havildar/Peons, are all women.

 

8th March being a Women’s Day, the Hon’ble the Chief Justice
has directed that the above instructions be implemented immediately from
tomorrow, the 8 th March, 2013, itself.

( S.B. Shukre )
Registrar General

 

#India- Forced hysterectomies, unscrupulous doctors #Vaw #Reproductiverights


Swapna Majumdar/Women’s Feature Service

Consider this chilling statistic: In the last two years, in various states of India, more than 30,000 women were reported to have undergone hysterectomies.

In 2011, 16,000 women opted for hysterectomies in Bihar; doctors performed about 7,000 uterus removal surgeries over a period of 30 months in Chhattisgarh, while a total of 11,000 such procedures were done over a period of two years in Andhra Pradesh.

Not only is this sudden rise in hysterectomies deeply worrying, even more serious is the fact that 80 per cent of the women who underwent them were between the ages of 20 and 40 years. Health activists contend that rural women living below the poverty line (BPL) are being advised to go under the knife to avail of their health insurance money provided under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY), the union government’s premier insurance scheme that provides health coverage to underprivileged families.

According to reports, in Bihar’s Samastipur district alone, 14,851 BPL women were admitted to 16 private hospitals in the past one year to avail the benefits under the RSBY scheme. In Chhattisgarh, private nursing homes billed the state government Rs 2 crore under the scheme for conducting hysterectomies of 1,800 women over a period of eight months last year. In Andhra, under the Aarogyasri scheme, the state health insurance plan, a sum of Rs 2.9 crore was paid for 656 surgeries carried out in 2009-10.

According to Sulakshana Nandi of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, a collective of over a thousand NGOs working on health rights, “The RSBY and similar health insurance schemes are incentivising unethical practices leading to the large number of irrational and unnecessary surgeries.”

Here’s why health activists are concerned. Under the RSBY, cashless insurance of Rs 30,000 is given yearly to a BPL family – and a doctor can charge a hefty Rs 12,500 for a hysterectomy. In Andhra, for instance, a hysterectomy can cost up to Rs 60,000 – an amount that was reimbursed under the state’s Aarogyasri scheme.

Nandi, who has done four studies assessing the implementation of the RSBY in Chhattisgarh, points out that private hospitals were cherry picking the patients they wanted to treat. “Doctors chose patients who needed high-end surgeries that are more expensive and, therefore, more profitable. For example, a hysterectomy is considered a more profitable surgery compared to a caesarean section. It is ironic and scary that a woman can, in some sense, have easier access to hysterectomy than simple treatment for her problems at an early stage of any uterine infection because of RSBY and other insurance schemes,” she contends.

In Andhra Pradesh, ‘aarogyamitras’, or health helpers, are appointed by private hospitals to scout around for patients who can be enticed to get operated upon in private hospitals, reveals N. Purendra Prasad of the Department of Sociology at Hyderabad University. Prasad, along with research scholar P. Raghavendra, found that “a spurt in unnecessary surgeries had been reported after Aarogyasri was launched. For instance, in district Warangal’s 13 private and five government hospitals, 38,090 cases, of which 3,346 operations related to hysterectomy, were reported from August 1, 2008 to August 21, 2010. As there was scope for quick money to be made in surgeries, private hospitals used registered medical practitioners (RMPs) to refer poor women with gynaecological problems as hysterectomy cases”.

Unfortunately, it is the women who are ultimately paying a very heavy price. When Rajamma of Kannaram village in Andhra’s Medak district went to the doctor complaining of pain in her lower abdomen, she was wheeled in for a hysterectomy. All she was told was that this would help relieve her pain. Rajamma was just 20.

But it was not just Rajamma who went under the knife. Almost all the women in Kannaram village had undergone hysterectomy for routine complaints like abdominal pain or white discharge. This was revealed by the Centre for Action, Research and People’s Development (CARPED), a Hyderabad-based NGO. The 2009 survey found that most of the women in the 125 households in the village had undergone procedures to remove their uterus. This was backed up by a study in the same year by the Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samatha Society, a state government organisation, which found hysterectomy cases in women between the ages 25 and 40 had increased by 20 per cent since Aarogyasri was launched in 2007. Of the 1,097 women surveyed in five districts, 30 per cent reported that doctors had told them that they would die if they did not get operated.

In Chhattisgarh, health activists say that poor illiterate women complaining of back pain were warned that they would contract cancer and die if their uterus was not removed, even as those suffering from excessive bleeding or vaginal discharge too stood no chance of escaping the surgery. While the procedure may have been necessary for some, in most cases it was not required.

According to Dr S.V. Kameswari of Life-HRG, a Hyderabad based NGO providing healthcare to rural women and campaigning against the unnecessary hysterectomies in the state, the reason for the indiscriminate usage of surgical treatment in the state was a combination of the socio- economic and cultural background of the women. “The lack of awareness of the women and the power of the medical practitioners to influence their decision led to the spate of unnecessary hysterectomies,” she contends.

Dr Kameswari, who studied the medical ethics of hysterectomies in rural Andhra Pradesh, found several aberrations. “Instead of following the normal protocols while examining women with complaints of abdominal pain, bleeding or vaginal discharge doctors performed or advised hysterectomies,” she reveals.

Standard protocol demands that women have to be informed about the after-effects of such a surgery. Medical studies have established that those who have undergone hysterectomy face long term health implications, including a higher risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. They are also more likely to become depressed.

At least Dr Kameswari’s study had a positive outcome. “We were called by officials of the Aarogyasri scheme to discuss the data emerging from our study. Other experts were also consulted. Thereafter, revised guidelines were issued banning private hospitals empanelled under the scheme from conducting several surgical procedures including hysterectomies, appendectomy and the removal of the gall bladder,” she states.

While governments of Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have initiated action against erring hospitals, nursing homes and doctors, health activists argue that great damage has already been done. They say that the number of unnecessary hysterectomies conducted may have come down in Andhra after the guidelines were revised in April 2010, but it could not undo the harm done to the thousands of women who were encouraged into removing their uterus.

It cannot assuage the grief of women like Rani whose chances of having a second child have ended because of a callous system. Much to the shock and horror of the 19-year-old who was admitted to a private hospital for a severe stomachache, her uterus was removed instead of being operated for appendicitis, as her family had imagined.

Health activists believe that unless there is an effective, efficient and accountable public health system, unethical practices will continue. The absence of quality healthcare in rural areas forces women to approach “good doctors” in towns. The doctor’s advice to remove their uterus makes them believe that it will end their medical problems once and for all. What makes the procedure more attractive is that being covered by the RSBY or other government sponsored insurance schemes, it is free. They are neither informed about its long-term consequences, nor the alternative medical treatments available.

Not only is a more robust monitoring of the insurance schemes needed, focused attention on improving basic health services could save women like Rani from losing a second chance at motherhood.

Download Judgement- Rina Mukherjee vs The Statesman #sexualharassment #Vaw


 

The Bengal Network and the Network of Women in Media, India scored a great victory when the labour suit filed by Rina Mukherji against the management of The Statesman, Kolkata, in the Industrial Tribunal was delivered in her favour on February 6, 2013. The Tribunal awarded her reinstatement with full back wages from the time of her termination in October 2002.

Ananya Chatterjee and Rajashri Dasgupta had taken up Rina’s case of sexual harassment at the workplace way back in 2002-03. Rina, who was a senior reporter with The Statesman, Kolkata, faced sexual harassment at the hands of the news co-ordinator of the newspaper. Her services were terminated on flimsy grounds when she dared to protest. Although the efforts of BengalNet and the West Bengal Commission for Women could not get her justice in the sexual harassment case, The Statesman was compelled to set up a sexual harassment complaints committee and institutionalise complaint mechanisms.

Unstoppable Rina has just won the Laadli Media Award (Eastern region) in the web category for her article: ‘Taboos take their toll on women’ written for Just Femme ( http://www.justfemme.in ), a website that is incidentally run by another NWMI member, Padmalatha Ravi.

Rina Mukherjee vs The Statesman: In 2002, Dr Rina Mukherji, then a senior reporter working for The Statesman complained of sexual harassment. Soon she was fired from her job. Statesman refused conciliation proceedings and the labour suit moved to the Industrial Tribunal. In a landmark judgment, the Tribunal awarded her reinstatement with full back wages from the time of her termination in October 2002.

Full text of the judgment

 

Koodankulam – The coast is not clear


Nityanand Jayaraman, Hindustan Times
March 10, 2013

Two years ago, on this day, an earthquake and tsunami wiped out a fair section of Fukushima prefecture. The independent commission appointed by the Japanese parliament to investigate the accident observed that while natural disasters may have triggered the nuclear events, the meltdown itself was    “profoundly
man-made”.

The commission concluded that “the accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties.”

The regulatory and governance deficit is all the more true for India. Take Kudankulam, for instance. Minister of state in the PMO V Narayanasamy has assured us at least 16 times in the last 18 months that the plant will be commissioned within 15 days, after the final nod from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). But the PMO’s statements ignore a crucial fact. Kudankulam plants 1 and 2 do not have valid Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances.

Last November, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) grudgingly admitted to the Supreme Court that the desalination plant was an afterthought, and that it was constructed without the mandatory prior environmental clearance. No clearance was obtained for the already constructed dyke and seawall either.

The missing references in the PMO’s statements to the absent CRZ clearance exposes the scant regard that the nation’s highest office has for our environmental laws. Unmindful of the supersession of the 1991 CRZ Notification by the 2011 Notification, NPCIL has applied post-facto for a prior clearance under the defunct 1991 rules. The application is legally untenable.

CRZ clearance is not a mere technical formality. The Notification is supposed to protect the sensitive coastal region by prohibiting some activities and permitting others, subject to conditions derived from a scientific scrutiny of the impacts of the proposed works. India’s east coast is characterised by the massive movement of sediment up and down the shoreline.

A September 2005 study for NPCIL estimates that there is a net transport of 420,000 cubic metres of sediment towards east at the project site. This littoral drift is what nourishes beaches and maintains the coastline in equilibrium.

Hard engineering structures, especially those like the dyke and seawall, that are constructed without studying and providing for management of impacts, can cause severe beach erosion. Idinthakarai’s disappearing beaches are proof of this. The Pollution Control Board’s Consent to Operate is to environmental due diligence what AERB’s final nod is to radiological aspects. Legally speaking, a company can get this consent only after obtaining all other clearances.

But the lack of CRZ clearance has not stopped the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) from issuing consents for units 1 and 2. Legally speaking, the TNPCB should have revoked the Consent to Operate, and the PMO should have stated that the plant will be commissioned only after all clearances, including CRZ, are obtained.

But nobody is keen to make any pronouncements on Kudankulam’s legality. Perhaps, they are praying that AERB will give its final nod.  After that, all those who are “legally speaking” can deal with the fait accompli of a radioactive reactor.

Nityanand Jayaraman is a Chennai-based writer and volunteer with the Chennai Solidarity Group for Kudankulam Struggle. The views expressed by the author are personal.

 

#Delhigangrape: Prime cused Ram Singh Commits suicide in Tihar Jail #Vaw


:Who was Ram Singh?

Delhi, Posted on Mar 11, 2013 a

New Delhi: Ram Singh, who was found hanging at 5 am on Monday inside his cell in the Tihar Jail, was the main accused in the Delhi gangrape-murder case in which a 23-year-old paramedical student was gangraped inside a moving bus and her friend was beaten up. He was the driver of the bus in which the girl was gangraped on December 16, 2012.

Ram Singh had refused to undergo a test identification parade after he was arrested soon after the brutal gangrape. He had also allegedly expressed apprehensions about getting justice in Delhi and wanted the trial to be shifted out of the national capital.

Ram Singh, along with other four accused in the case, was charged with murder, gangrape, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy, dacoity, unnatural sex and common intent in the case. Ram Singh was lodged in Jail No. 3 of the Tihar Jail and was reportedly under suicide watch.

His lawyer, VK Anand, said Ram Singh was under no stress and was happy with the way the trial was going. Ram Singh was not under mental stress. I do not think there was any reason for him to commit suicide.” “I am shocked to hear this news. There were security concerns, so we wanted the case to be transferred out of Delhi, but Ram Singh was not under stress,” Anand added.

#India- Semi-nude protest: police register cases #Odisha #Vaw #WTFnews


 

PTI

Women protesters during a demonstration in Posco project area. File photo: Special Arrangement
The Hindu Women protesters during a demonstration in Posco project area. File photo: Special Arrangement

 

Two days after the semi-nude protest by anti-Posco agitators, Odisha police has registered a case against three women and president of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) Abhaya Sahu on charge of obscenity in public.

“The case has been registered at Abhaychandpur police station under section 294 (a) and other sections of the IPC,” Jagatsinghpur Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi said on Saturday, adding that appropriate action will be initiated against the women and Sahu.

Meanwhile, the women belonging to both pro and anti project groups, held separate meetings to chalk out their respective strategies.

PPSS’s women’s wing — “Durga Bahini”, at a meeting this morning resolved to take extreme steps to ensure withdrawal of Posco project.

“Now we can go to any extent to ensure stopping of the project on our fertile land,” said Durga Bahini chief Manorama Khatua, who was among the three women against whom the case had been registered. She said the women would henceforth guard the entry gate to Dhinkia area with their male counterparts to ensure no more demolition of betel vines.

The pro-project group of women at a separate meeting condemned the semi-nude protest by members of the Durga Bahini. They demanded immediate arrest of PPSS leader Abhaya Sahu accusing him of instigating innocent women to strip in public.

The meeting chaired by Anju Dalei said the women of the entire district hung their heads in shame for the semi-nude protest by a group of women belonging to Durga Bahini.

Meanwhile, there was calm in the area as the administration had stopped land acquisition activities for two days.

Though police was deployed at a distance from the proposed plant site area, the agitators feared that the personnel might target Dhinkia village, the epi-centre of anti-Posco agitation.

Jagatsinghpur District Collector who had been directly monitoring land acquisition activities, claimed the state government had been taking possession of land with mutual understanding of the dispossessed. He blamed vested interests for misleading the innocent farmers.

“Appropriate action will be taken against the mischief mongers under the law,” he said.

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