Gujarat- Dalit woman sarpanch who ‘stands against’ predecessors sent to jail #Vaw


Parimal Dabhi : Lakhvad (Mehsana), Thu Apr 18 2013, IE
MehsanaThe main entrance of Lakhvad village, around 3-4 kilometres from Mehsana.

A dalit woman sarpanch from Lakhvad village of Mehsana district, Kamla Makwana, her husband, their son and two others were arrested late Tuesday on the basis of a recent complaint of breach of trust and criminal intimidation lodged by former deputy sarpanch Ratilal Patel. They were later sent to Mehsana district jail after a local magisterial court rejected their bail petitions.She had reportedly filed multiple complaints of harassment against her predecessor from locally dominant Patel community, Prahlad Patel, and his then deputy, Ratilal Patel. Both Ratilal and Prahlad allegedly didn’t want to let Kamla function as the village Sarpanch.

Following the arrest, the jailed woman sarpanch now wants to resign after getting fed up of the harassment she has been subjected to by her predecessors, sources said.

Kamla was elected as the sarpanch of Lakhvad Gram Panchayat in January last year under the Gujarat government’s Samras Yojna where instead of electing, villagers are selecting the sarpanch and other members of the gram panchayat. However, she allegedly started facing harassment at the behest of Prahald who was the Sarpanch of the village before her.

She made a number of complaints to different authorities like the district development officer, state Human Rights Commission and local police. The complaints include evidence to prove that Prahlad had been misusing the old letterheads of the gram panchayat and issuing various certificates to the villagers while forging Kamla’s signature. She also lodged two complaints against Prahald and Ratilal under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

However, on April 3, Ratilal Patel, who was deputy sarpanch in the village when Prahald was sarpanch, lodged a criminal complaint against Kamla, her husband Kachra Makwana, son Bharat, and two friends — Bharat Patel and Ramila Patel — with Mehsana taluka police station.

According to the complaint, the Makwanas wanted to get loan of Rs 1.80 lakh from the Scheduled Caste Development Corporation to buy a rickshaw in 2004. And Ratilal — under the recommendation of Bharat Patel and Ramila Patel — had become a guarantor for the same on the basis of one of his land pieces. He alleges that the Makwanas assured him of paying regular instalments for the loan.

However, the Makwanas alleges Ratilal did not pay the instalments for the loan and in 2013 when he asked them to pay it so that the government dues on his land could be cleared, they allegedly threatened him and did not pay the amount. Ratilal has accused the Makwanas and Patels of breach of trust, criminal intimidation and abetment.

On Tuesday, Sub-Inspector of Mehsana taluka police station, D K Rathod, reportedly asked the five to get their statements recorded in the case and when they went to police, the five were arrested and produced before a magisterial court. Immediately, their advocate, Jayanti Parmar, moved bail petitions. However, Parmar said the petitions were rejected, following which they were sent to Mehsana district jail.

Kamla’s younger son, Manoj (22), and his wife Sonal, are now the only members of the family out. “This entire case has been fabricated to harass my mother as she did not agree to be a puppet in the hands of Prahlad Patel after being elected Sarpanch. The entire state machinery of Mehsana is working against us at the behest of Prahlad who openly boasts closeness to some top politicians in the Gujarat government,” Manoj said.

However, Ratilal denied the allegations and said, “I had mortgaged my land to the Scheduled Caste Development Corporation for this family to buy a rickshaw. They did not pay the instalments of the loan for nine years. And if they do not pay the instalment, it is possible that my land is auctioned by the state government. I asked them repeatedly to pay the amount and when they did not do so, I had to file the complaint.”

The investigation officer in the case, S I Rathod, said the police have acted completely on the merits of the case. Manoj met his mother in jail Wednesday. “She is very disturbed and has decided to resign from the post. She told me that it is better to live a peaceful life than to indulge in public life,” he said.

 

SC slams brakes on Vedanta’s Niyamgiri project #GOODNEWS #tribalrights #PESA


NDTV , April 18, 2013

New DelhiThe Supreme Court has continued a ban on bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha considered sacred by tribals.

In a verdict that appears to recognize the rights of forest-dwelling Dongria-Kondh tribals to have a say in  projects that affect their habitat,  economic development and culture,  the Supreme Court has said that it’s up to  the  gram sabhas or local self-governments to decide if the Niyamgiri Hills are home to their deity. They have been asked to share their decision within three months with the union Environment Ministry.

The mining project is  a joint venture between UK-Based Vedanta Resources which is controlled by billionaire Anil Aggarwal  and the state government.  It is meant to supply bauxite, the main raw material for aluminium, to an alumina refinery it has set up  at Lanjigarh in the Kalahandi district, about 450 kilometres from state capital.   The refinery was shut in December because of a shortage of bauxite.

In 2011, the union government had refused environmental clearances to the mining project.

The Odisha government had challenged the centre’s decision in the Supreme Court, because it stood to lose thousands of crores in investment.

 

 

Panel for ban on mining in 37 % of Western Ghats #goodnews


PRISCILLA JEBARAJ, The Hindu

Identifying 37 per cent — or about 60,000 square km — of the Western Ghats as ecologically sensitive, a high-level panel has recommended that “destructive” activities such as mining, thermal power, major construction, and some hydel power projects should not be allowed there.

However, the panel was silent about any restrictions in the remaining 96,000 square km area, thus creating the perception that it had diluted earlier recommendations that the entire Ghats should be declared as an eco-sensitive area.

The panel, headed by space scientist and Planning Commission member K. Kasturirangan, which submitted its report to Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Wednesday, was initially set up to review the more stringent recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) headed by ecologist Madhav Gadgil.

The Gadgil report had wanted the entire area of the Ghats to be graded into three levels of eco-sensitive zones, each of which would have different restrictions. It had faced uproar from State governments and industries which were alarmed by the curbs on development in almost 70 per cent of the biodiverse range of mountains spanning six States.

The new high-level panel has taken a different approach. Taking advantage of Dr. Kasturirangan’s connections with ISRO, it has used satellite data to produce a far more detailed database, with a resolution of 24 square metres as opposed to the 9 square km used by the Gadgil report. It then used remote sensing technology to distinguish between “natural landscapes” and “cultural landscapes” which include human settlements, fields and plantations.

It recommends “a prohibitory regime on those activities with maximum interventionist and destructive impact on the environment” on about 90 per cent of the area of “natural landscapes”. The four major restrictions in this area would be a total ban on fresh mining and a five-year phase-out of current mining, a ban on thermal power, all “red” category industries, all townships and any construction above 20,000 square metres. Hydel power projects will be allowed subject to certain conditions, in stark contrast to the Gadgil recommendations, and a small window of hope has been provided for the future of the controversial Athirapally hydel power project in Kerala. Also, the land-use change restrictions recommended by the WGEEP have been discarded.

Explaining that restraints cannot be imposed on areas where people already live and work, the report argues: “It is not wilderness area, but the habitat of its people, who share the landscape with biological diversity. It is not possible to plan for Western Ghats, only as a fenced-in zone, with no human influence.” Instead, the report called for incentivising green growth in the “cultural landscape” areas.

After submitting the report, Dr. Kasturirangan said the next step must be to focus on the biodiversity that is still left. “It is imperative that we protect, manage and regenerate the lands now remaining in the Western Ghats as biologically rich, diverse, natural landscapes. We have reached a threshold from which we cannot slip further,” he said.

WGEEP panel member and TERI executive director Ligia Noronha feels this is not the right approach. “The Western Ghats are not just about what is left. We should be protecting the whole of the Ghats. That is why we wanted a gradation of zones, a more nuanced approach to eco-sensitive zones. [The Kasturirangan panel] seems to have gone back to the mindset of carving out certain protected areas, rather than keeping the whole ecosystem in mind,” she says.

However, Kasturirangan panel member Sunita Narain, who also heads the Centre for Science and Environment, said that their report was actually “implementable..Senior Environment Ministry officials quietly agreed, expressing the hope that the “more sensible” recommendations would attract less opposition from the States.

Ms. Narain also pointed out that the Kasturirangan panel had left the ball firmly in the Central government’s court.

“We want to ensure effective protection right now, not in ten years’ time,” she said.

 

Wireless messages dent SIT claim on Narendra Modi


New Delhi, April 18, 2013

Vidya Subrahmaniam, The Hindu

 Extracts show violence before and during funeral processions of kar sevaks

In its closure report submitted to the trial court, the Special Investigation Team that probed Zakia Jafri’s complaint against Narendra Modi and 58 others said there was no evidence to prove that the Chief Minister had sent the bodies of the 2002 Godhra victims to Ahmedabad with a view to parading them before the public.

The SIT quoted Ahmedabad Police Commissioner P.C. Pande to back its claim that there was no parading of the bodies.

Not just this. Anyone reading the report would conclude that peace had prevailed through the time the bodies were transported from Godhra to the Sola Civil Hospital on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, and later too, when the bodies were handed over to the next of kin. There is no mention in the closure report of the charged atmosphere in the hospital prior to the arrival of the bodies in the early hours of February 28, 2002. Nor does the report indicate anywhere that huge, violent crowds accompanied the funeral processions of the victims; indeed that the processions became the trigger for the anti-Muslim violence that rocked the city and State in the Godhra aftermath.

The real story emerges in a series of desperate wireless messages sent out by police and intelligence field staff positioned at the Sola Civil Hospital and other locations on February 27 and 28, 2002. The wireless extracts, annexed to a protest petition filed against the SIT’s closure report by Ms. Jafri in a local court, show the following. One, there was a lot of anxiety over the Modi administration’s decision to send the bodies to Ahmedabad. Two, there were repeated pleas for bandobast at the hospital where crowds had gathered in anticipation of the arrival of the bodies. Three, there were attacks on Muslims by crowds accompanying the funeral processions which set the stage for the large-scale violence that followed.

At 12.30 p.m. on February 27, that is just hours after the Godhra train carnage, a State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) officer sent a fax communication to his headquarters saying there were reports that bodies of the kar sevaks were going to be sent to Ahmedabad. He alerted: “So communal violence will occur in the city of Ahmedabad; so take preventive action.”

The warning was repeated in another message which added that kar sevaks were threatening retaliatory violence in explosive interviews given to a TV station in Godhra. In the early hours of February 28, there were two messages (1.51 a.m. and 1.59 a.m.) from a police van stationed at the Sola Civil Hospital, urging “immediate protection from Special Reserve Police platoons and the presence of DCP Zone 1.”

At 2.44 a.m., a message said the motorcade carrying the bodies had reached the hospital. Another message at 4 a.m. said a mob comprising 3,000 swayamsevaks (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh volunteers) had gathered at the hospital. At 7.14 a.m., the police van again relayed the message that a large mob had assembled at the hospital. Three minutes later, a message said a mob of 500 was holding up the traffic.

At 11.55 a.m., there was a message saying “the hindu mob” had become violent and had set a vehicle on fire and was “indulging in arson on the highway.” Another message at the same time said, “Sayyed Saheb, the Protocol Officer” had informed that riots had started in the hospital. A further message said mobs had surrounded the hospital staff.

There were specific messages from the field about crowds of 5,000-6,000 taking the bodies out in funeral processions. A message at 11. 58 a.m. said: “Amrajwadi-1 informed that 10 dead bodies have been taken for cremation ceremony from Ramol Janatanagar to Hatkeshwar Cremation Centre with crowd of 5 to 6 thousand.” Another message said: “Funeral procession allowed at Khedbrahma town in Sabarkantha district. Situation tense, 2 Muslims stabbed at Khedbrahma.”

There was also a message about 150 Bajrang Dal members from Ayodhya reaching Khedbrahma.

The SIT’s closure report acknowledged that the bodies of kar sevaks had been handed over to the VHP’s Jaydeep Patel but it placed the blame for the decision on M.L. Nalvaya, the local executive magistrate, and said he had issued a letter to Mr. Patel where he mentioned that 54 bodies were being sent with him on five trucks.

The SIT said the five trucks carrying the bodies reached the Sola Civil Hospital between 3.30 a.m. and 4 a.m. on February 28, and that Mr. Patel handed over the letter from the executive magistrate to the Deputy Collector who was waiting at the hospital with the Collector and other officials.

The SIT blandly recorded that “the relatives of the persons who had died at the Godhra carnage were also present in the hospital. Accordingly, 35 persons were identified and their bodies handed over to their relatives …”

The SIT denied that there had been any parading of bodies, and quoted Mr. Pande to back its claim: “Shri P.C. Pande, the then CP, Ahmedabad city has stated that there had been no parading of dead bodies inasmuch as the trucks carrying the dead bodies under police escort reached Ahmedabad city between 0330 hrs to 0400 hrs on 28.02.2002 which means they had started from Godhra at least three hrs earlier and as such there was no one to see them on the highway at dead of night. Shri Pande has also stated that in Ahmedabad city, the dead bodies were kept in Sola Civil Hospital situated on the outskirts of the city and that most of the dead bodies were handed over to their relations after proper documentation by 28.02.2008 morning.”

As for the funeral processions, the SIT said: “… the dead bodies were moved in vehicles and not by foot as the same would have escalated the tension … R.J. Savani (Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone V) succeeded in persuading the relatives and well-wishers of the deceased to take each body in a vehicle and the funeral procession was guarded by the police up to Hatkeshwar cremation ground … The funeral was over by 1400hrs and the crowd which had gathered on the highway dispersed thereafter.”

No mention of the unrest in the hospital. No mention of arson by protestors. And no mention of the huge crowds that accompanied the funeral processions.

 

Justice A P Shah – “One hardly finds a rich or affluent person going to the gallows” #deathpenalty


Justice Shah talks to AmnestyDeath Penalty in India: “One hardly finds a rich or affluent person going to the gallows”

In November 2012, Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was hanged in the country’s first execution in more than eight years. Three months later, Afzal Guru was executed after his clemency petition was rejected by the President; Guru had been convicted in 2005 of being involved in the 2001 attack on Parliament.

More recently, the government has expanded the scope of the death penalty by amending laws to provide for this punishment in certain cases of rape. The Supreme Court last week also rejected an appeal against the decision by the President to reject Devender Pal Singh’s mercy petition. In a trial that has raised serious fair trial concerns, Devender Pal Singh was found guilty of planning an explosion that killed nine people in 1993. His sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2002 and he has been on death row since.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court is likely to affect at least 17 more prisoners who are asking for commutation of their death sentences on the grounds of delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions by the President. Justice A. P. Shah, a former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, is one of the most outspoken opponents of capital punishment in the country. He shared his views on the death penalty in this interview with Amnesty International.

What is the state of the death penalty in India?

India has carried out only very few executions since the 1990s. However, the brutal gang rape of a 23-year old woman in Delhi last year intensified public calls for the imposition of the death penalty.

Why should India abolish the death penalty?

Whether an accused is sentenced to death or not is an arbitrary matter and depends on a number of factors, ranging from the competence of the legal representation to the interest of the central government in a particular case and the personal predilections of the judges. It is beyond any shred of doubt that in India, it is the judges’ subjective discretion that eventually decides the fate of an accused. Also, confessions and witness testimonies play a more vital role in India than in many other countries, given that forensic and other scientific evidence are not so frequently adopted here. Most death sentences are awarded on circumstantial evidence alone. Even the use of professionally trained witnesses by the police is common.

Why do you say the death penalty is discriminatory?

In India, it is largely cases involving the poor and the down-trodden – who are the victims of class-bias – which result in an imposition of a death penalty. Here one hardly finds a rich or affluent person going to the gallows. Therefore, it is apparent that the death penalty, as it is used now, is discriminatory. It strikes mostly against the disadvantaged sections of society, showing its arbitrary and capricious nature – thus rendering it unconstitutional. You have expressed concerns about the execution of Afzal Guru, who was convicted of being involved in 2001 attack on Parliament in Delhi Several disturbing trends emerge from his execution, which must be highlighted. For example, the rejection of his clemency petition by the President on 3 February 2013 was kept a secret and was not communicated to his family. Afzal Guru was executed within a week without his family being informed and his body was buried secretly. There are also serious doubts about the quality of evidence and whether he was adequately represented legally during his trial.

What’s the future of the death penalty in India?

The global trend is increasingly and overwhelmingly in favour of abolition. We would be deluding ourselves if we were to believe that the execution of a few persons sentenced to death will provide a solution to the unacceptably high rates of crime. In reality, capital punishment does not have any deterrent effect.

Justice A. P. Shah is one of 14 retired judges who last year called on the Indian President to commute 13 death sentences that, they maintain, were imposed in a manner inconsistent with the law. —

 

Is Maya Modi’s political jaal?


Gujarat EDN

 

DNA 18APR2013

 

Pundits opine demand for capital punishment is mere eyewash to improve his secular image
Roxy Gagdekar @ahmedabad

Probably the state government’s endorsement to SIT’s decision to approach HC seeking capital punishment for Naroda Patia convicts and the Narendra Modi-Nitish Kumar face-off is only co-incidental, but political pundits have raised eyebrows on the timing in which the decision has come.

While Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s unrelenting anti-Modi tirade at the BJP posterboy’s not-so secular image, the endorsement by Gujarat government to the SIT’s proposal to demand gallows for former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, seems a mere eyewash and gimmick conducted mainly to improve Modi’s credentials as a secular leader, observers feel.

If the buzz doing the rounds are to be believed, Kodnani is the state government’s pawn aimed to counter JD(U) leaders, including Nitish Kumar’s allegations that a leader without secular credentials isn’t acceptable to them as the presumptive prime minister of the NDA, which includes his party.

Since 2002 Naroda Patia victims, activists or even their advocates had never demanded capital punishment for any of the accused in the court. They were surprised that despite no demands from them, the SIT has demanded gallows for Kodnani. A victim of Naroda Patia case, Nasir Pathan told dna that every victim is satisfied with special judge Jyotsna Yagnik’s judgment and nobody wants to change it.

Lawyer for the victims, advocate Mukul Sinha told dna that they (victims) are in fact against capital punishment. “We don’t support SIT’s application for punishment enhancement,” he said.

“The same government had rejected SIT’s application to cancel Kodnani’s bail,” Sinha said. Sources close to Kodnani told dna that the she has so far not sought any legal advice to defend state government’s decision.

Human Rights activists, Cedric Prakash said that the decision is a gimmick and smacks of a very clever ploy to defocus from more important issues, like Jafri’s protest petition which names Modi and others as riots accused.

Living Through Terror, in Rawalpindi and Boston


April 16, 2013

By HAIDER JAVED WARRAICH, NYT

BOSTON

I WAS in the middle of having Chinese food with my wife and friends yesterday afternoon when we heard the dull and deathly reverb. The water in our plastic cups rippled. We looked at one another, and someone made a joke about that famous scene in “Jurassic Park.” We tried to drown the moment in humor. But then a rush of humanity descended upon us in the Prudential Center on Boylston Street, right across from where the second bomb blast had just occurred, near the marathon’s finish line.

People gushed across the hallway like fish in white water rapids. It was a blur of bright clothes and shiny sneakers, everyone dressed up for Patriot’s Day weekend on what was moments ago a beautiful spring day. Instantly, images of the shootings in Aurora, Colo., Newtown, Conn., and Tucson came to mind. I felt my thoughts reduced to singular flashes. My life, all of it, was the first. My wife, sitting across me, was the second. I yelled out to her to run, and we did, not knowing what had happened, only that it had to be something terrible.

We ran out of the food court and onto the terrace overlooking Boylston Street. We could see people fleeing from the finish line even as, in the distance, other weary marathoners kept running unknowingly toward the devastation. What was left of the food court was a land frozen in an innocent time, forks still stuck in half-eaten pieces of steak, belongings littered unattended. I felt fear beyond words.

This was not my first experience with terror, having grown up in Pakistan. But for some reason, I didn’t think back to those experiences. Looking onto to the smoked, chaotic Boylston Street, I forgot about cowering in my childhood bedroom as bombs and gunfire rained over the army headquarters in Rawalpindi, close to our house. My mind did not go back to when I stood on the roof of my dormitory in Karachi as the streets were overrun with burning buses and angry protesters after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. None of the unfortunate experiences of growing up in the midst of thousands of victims of terror, personally knowing some of them, helped me in that moment. Nothing made it any easier.

Perhaps, if I had been thinking more clearly and hadn’t had my wife with me, I might have gone down to try to help the wounded. But at that moment all I could think about was getting us out of there. We lost our friends, then found them again. Our cellphones weren’t working. And then, as we worked our way through the dazed throngs in Back Bay, I realized that not only was I a victim of terror, but I was also a potential suspect.

As a 20-something Pakistani male with dark stubble (an ode more to my hectic schedule as a resident in the intensive-care unit than to any aesthetic or ideology), would I not fit the bill? I know I look like Hollywood’s favorite post-cold-war movie villain. I’ve had plenty of experience getting intimately frisked at airports. Was it advisable to go back to pick up my friend’s camera that he had forgotten in his child’s stroller in the mall? I remember feeling grateful that I wasn’t wearing a backpack, which I imagined might look suspicious. My mind wandered to when I would be working in the intensive care unit the next day, possibly taking care of victims of the blast. What would I tell them when they asked where I was from (a question I am often posed)? Wouldn’t it be easier to just tell people I was from India or Bangladesh?

As I walked down Commonwealth Avenue, I started receiving calls from family back home. They informed me about what was unfolding on television screens across the world. I was acutely conscious of what I spoke over the phone, feeling that someone was breathing over my shoulder, listening to every word I said. Careful to avoid Urdu, speaking exclusively in English, I relayed that I was safe, and all that I had seen. I continued to naïvely cling to the hope that it was a gas explosion, a subway accident, anything other than what it increasingly seemed to be: an act of brutality targeted at the highest density of both people and cameras.

The next step was to hope that the perpetrator was not a lunatic who would become the new face of a billion people. Not a murderer who would further fan the flames of Islamophobia. Not an animal who would obstruct the ability of thousands of students to complete their educations in the United States. Not an extremist who would maim and hurt the very people who were still recovering from the pain of Sept. 11. President Obama and Gov. Deval L. Patrick have shown great restraint in their words and have been careful not to accuse an entire people for what one madman may have done. But others might not be so kind.

Haider Javed Warraich is a resident in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

 

#Chhattisgarh #Andhra – Setback to health insurance


Published on Down To Earth (http://www.downtoearth.org.in)

Setback to health insurance

Author(s):

Kundan Pandey

0 Comments
Author(s): Kundan Pandey
Issue Date: Apr 30, 2013

Private hospitals in Chhattisgarh, Andhra refuse to treat under government insurance scheme

Strengthening primary healthcare facilities would cost one-third of what governments spend on health insuranceStrengthening primary healthcare facilities would cost one-third of what governments spend on health insurance (Courtesy: swasthindia.in)

LAST year when the Chhattisgarh government announced health insurance scheme for people above the poverty line (APL), it was touted as an initiative to improve healthcare delivery in the state. But within a few months of introducing it, Mukhyamantri Swasthya Bima Yojana (MSBY) has turned out to be a political gimmick to capure the vote bank as the government faces elections in October-November.

The state launched MSBY on the lines of the Centre’s Rastriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), which caters to people below the poverty line (BPL). It provides cover for hospitalisation cost up to Rs 30,000 for a family of five on floater basis. The state has roped in the 350 private hospitals under RSBY for its MSBY scheme. But the hospitals are not willing to admit APL patients under the scheme, saying the insurance amount is too less.

Like RSBY, MSBY sets down the amount a hospital can charge for the treatment of a particular disease. For example, hospitals under the scheme can charge Rs 3,500 for treating pneumonia or malaria and Rs 9,500 for jaundice. The private hospital authorities say they treat BPL patients at such low rates as a welfare scheme. It would be difficult to provide the care to all at such low fees.

Ajay Sahay, president of the Chhattisgarh chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA), says, “We have informed the government about our demands to increase the insurance amount to somewhere between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh.” On April 4, a group of private hospital authorities held a meeting with the state’s health minister, principal secretary and other government officials to discuss their grievance. “Instead of proper solution, they proposed increasing the cost of one treatment and reduce that of the other. They also said that we would have to treat MSBY beneficiaries, if we want to treat people under RSBY,” says Sahay. “We are now left with no option except refusing BPL patients as well.” Sahay alleges that the government did not consult the private health sector while planning MSBY, but now it wants the sector to implement the scheme before the elections.

Can private players help?

In December last year, the Chhattisgarh government had tried to outsource diagnostic facilities for government hospitals to strengthen its public healthcare system. But no private party showed interest to provide diagnostic facilities in remote areas of the state.

“It is not strange or unexpected,” says T Sundararaman, executive director of National Health Systems Resource Centre, a technical support institution with the National Rural Health Mission. Private sector works for the maximum margin and is demanding just that, he adds. But increasing the insurance amount is not the solution, Sundararaman says, citing the example of Andhra Pradesh, where the private health sector is demanding an increase in the insurance amount from the existing Rs 1.5 lakh.

Private hospitals in Andhra Pradesh have threatened to discontinue providing treatment under Rajiv Arogyasri scheme for BPL category from May 3 if their demands are not met. Every year about 200,000 patients undergo surgery under the scheme for 938 listed diseases.

B Bhaskar Rao, president of Andhra Pradesh Specialty Hospitals Association (ASHA) says the government launched the scheme six years ago. But there has been no hike in the amount despite requests by the private doctors’ association. “We demand that the government raise the insurance amount by 30 per cent and thereafter increase it by 5 per cent every year,” says Rao.

To achieve universal healthcare, senior public health specialist Sakthivel Selvaraj, says governments should focus on strengthening primary healthcare facilities. After all, this would cost one-third of what they spend on insurance, he says, adding, “We have never invested sufficiently in public health system which can solve the problem.”

 

#Gujarat- Death for Kodnani move to warn Advani, deflect Zakia?


Gujarat EDN

TOI 18APR2013

Turmoil In State Sangh Parivar

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government’s clearance on Monday of the file put forth by the special investigations team that recommended death penalty for former minister Maya Kodnani, instead of a life term, in the Naroda Patia massacre of 2002 has brought about turmoil in the entire Sangh Parivar in Gujarat. The file had been submitted to the legal department in September 2012 and the timing is most discussed.
In an interview to BBC on January 28 this year, BJP president Rajnath Singh had said that Maya Kodnani is innocent and the party will fully support her in the legal battle. But the move on Monday against Kodnani is now being seen with suspicion by even Parivar insiders because Kodnani’s loyalties lie with L K Advani.
Kodnani’s parents, who have a strong Parivar background, had met RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat in Ahmedabad last fortnight and requested him to use his good offices to help Kodnani. Many local RSS stalwarts had supported the impassioned plea from the family.
The timing of the clearance of the file is important as it comes seven months after the SIT submitted the report and deflects attention from Zakia Jafri protest petition against chief minister Narendra Modi with thousands of pages of wireless messages and call data record as evidence that Modi government knew about the violence in advance. Also, it comes on the heels of a section of the BJP and NDA favouring Advani as PM.
The change in government’s stance is stark. In 2009, when Kodnani was granted bail and SIT wanted bail cancellation, the Modi government replied to SIT that Maya is innocent and denied permission. Even during trial, Kodnani was not arrested.
Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years in jail August 2012 with 30 others for their role in the Naroda Patiya massacre. Kodnani, a three-time Naroda MLA, was identified in the court by 11 survivors as a mob leader.
Kodnani, a gynaecologist inducted as minister of state for women and child development by Modi in 2007, is the first former minister to be found guilty in any case relating to the riots.
VHP opposes move
Ahmedabad: The VHP leadership in Gujarat is up in arms against the state government’s decision to seek death penalty for former state minister Maya Kodnani and nine others in the 2002 Naroda Patia massacre case.

Kodnani seeks suspension of sentence

Former minister and a convict in the Naroda Patia massacre case, Maya Kodnani has requested the Gujarat high court to suspend the sentence against her and to release her on bail till her appeal against the conviction is decided.
Special judge Jyotsna Yagnik sentenced her to 28-year imprisonment after holding her guilty of participation in the killing of 97 people on February 28, 2002. The court held that she was the kingpin of the massacre and had incited the mob to resort to violence. She was sentenced on August 31 last year.
Kodnani has sought suspension of her sentence mainly on the ground that her appeal against conviction is not likely to be heard soon. Moreover, she has also contended that her appeal has good merit and there is likelihood of her succeeding in it. She has stated in her petition that the lower court had not evaluated evidence in proper manner and ignored constant improvisation on part of witnesses. She has also questioned the lower court’s decision to admit the electronic evidence in form of the sting operation, which contains extra-judicial confessions of Kodnani’s co-accused like Babu Bajrangi and Suresh Langdo.
Demanding bail, Kodnani has contended that she has deep roots in society and is not likely to abscond. TNN

Sanction to SIT a clever ploy: Activist
S ocial activist Cedric Prakash has dubbed the sanctio n granted by the state government to the SIT for seeking harsher punishment for Maya Kodnani and others in Naroda Patia case as “a very clever ploy to defocus from more important issues”. “The ruse now is to deflect from the protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri, which definitely names people and the events during the carnage,” he stated, adding that the state government had in fact promoted Kodnani to the ministry even after knowing her role in the massacre. TNN

 

#Delhi- In 24 reports Gang Rape, sodomy and molestation


Class 10 girl raped by 3 men in Delhi

RAPE

, TNN | Apr 18, 2013,

NEW DELHI: In the first incident, a 15-year-old girl studying in a government school was allegedly abducted from east Delhi by three property dealers in an SUV, taken to a flat at Sarojini Nagar and raped for over three hours. The brutalized girl was then dumped near the Sarojini Nagar market around 1pm, after being warned that her family will be murdered if she approached the police.While the main accused – Pradeep, 28, a father of two – has been arrested, the two others, Rahul, 23, and Amit, 24, are absconding. A case of gang rape and kidnapping has been registered at the New Ashok Nagar police station. Police said the victim, a resident of Dallupara in the New Ashok Nagar, was on her way to school on Wednesday morning around 7am when three men in a black Scorpio stopped her. Since the victim knew Pradeep, she stopped to speak to him. “The accused reportedly took the girl to a flat in Sarojini Nagar, where they raped her one by one,” said a senior district police officer. The victim reached home in an auto and reported the matter to her parents.The second crime was also reported from east Delhi. A 5-year-old boy, enrolled in a private school in Govindpura near Jagatpuri, has alleged that his teacher had sodomized him inside the school. Police said the lower KG student returned home compaining of pain on Tuesday. “The parents reached the school on Wednesday where the boy identified the aggressor as a teacher named Pramod, 32,” police officer said. The accused has been arrested.

Two teenagers, including a Class 10 student, were apprehended for allegedly molesting a 27-year-old woman tutor in a moving bus in northwest Delhi’s Rohini on Monday evening. The cops nabbed the duo who, they said, were over 18 years old. While one of the two studies in Class 10, the other works as a labourer.

 

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