#India- Punyabrata Goon is Doctoring a Revolution


Tehelka

27thApril 2013

As the freemarket takes healthcare beyond the reach of the poor,Punyabrata

Goon is among the few fighting back.

FaisalThe 6 am start is annoying, but necessary. If Punyabrata Goon is to get through the almost 200 patients who will come to the Shramik Krishak Maitri Swasthya Kendra (Worker-Peasant Friendship Hospital) before noon, a morning lie-in is out of the question. Already, his team of health workers, girls from the vicinity of the village of Chengail, where the hospital is located, have opened the doors and begun the process of registering the swelling crowd of patients. The sight of his car causes a flurry of activity. The doctor is in.Stepping on the bridge of protruding flagstones over a puddle caused by the previous night’s rain, Goon points out to me a building in the distance: the Kanoria Jute Mills, whose trade union had started the hospital in 1995, taking inspiration from the Shaheed Hospital in Dalli-Rajhara, Chhattisgarh, where he had worked for close to a decade. The hospital, part of Goon’s Shramajibi Swasthya Udyog (Working Class Health Project), isn’t the only option for the villagers. There are a number of hospitals, clinics and nursing homes on the side of the highway; Kolkata is only 25 km away; and the district town of Uluberia has a large government hospital. However, it is a truth acknowledged by most doctors that the healthcare system in West Bengal, as elsewhere in the country, is exploitative of the poor and poorly managed. In a country where up to 80 percent of healthcare costs are borne by the patient, and where the World Bank estimates that 35 percent of hospitalised people fall below the poverty line as a direct result of their hospital expenses, Goon provides what he calls humanist care: healthcare at prices the poor can afford. The total cost of a visit to the doctor rarely crosses 100. But the hospital isn’t a charitable organisation; barring some equipment donated by well-wishers, it accepts no outside funding, instead using rational practices and common sense to keep costs low.

‘Rationality’ is a favourite word. Goon’s practice of taking detailed case histories is one such manifestation. His health workers — assistants he has trained himself — meet every patient and, through a comprehensive form, ask them questions about their physical and mental health, the languages they speak, their history of treatment and their socioeconomic conditions. This helps the doctors diagnose illnesses without having to resort to expensive (often unnecessary) tests. “Imagine you visit a doctor on a complaint of fever,” he wrote in an article about his initiative. “The doctor gives you a list of tests without enquiring about the history. The list includes blood and urine tests, test for malaria parasite in the blood, widal test for typhoid, culture sensitivity test of urine. In case of a big doctor there will be further tests of blood culture, malaria antigen, blood test for dengue, and so on. These tests are not always recommended in the interest of the patient. Many of us know that the doctors receive commission for recommending those tests.”

Goon meets his patients with a ready smile, without the brusque officiousness they are used to. He makes idle chatter while examining them; he asks one young man how married life is treating him, another whether working conditions in his factory have improved since a recent strike. He is irritated when a woman says she cannot leave her shop to come for her weekly injection. “Once you get sick, how will you work at your shop?” One patient has come from Bongaon, almost 100 km away, because of Goon’s reputation as a skilled doctor who cares for the poor.

In his chamber, with the scowling portrait of Che Guevara — another doctor-revolutionary — looking on, Goon tells me the story of his life in snatches. His politics are a major motivation; Binayak Sen, who worked with him in Shaheed Hospital, says that he is “a political worker whose chosen field of work was medicine”. Graduating from Kolkata’s Medical College in 1983, Goon wasn’t particularly interested in the traditional medical professional curve of post-graduation followed by a profitable practice or a secure government job. He had been deeply involved in student politics, most notably in the junior doctors’ strike of 1982 against the appalling conditions in the Medical College hospital, which is often the only option for quality healthcare for Kolkata’s poor. He describes himself as having been academically average, but committed to the role of medicine in improving society. As part of the Democratic Students’ Association, a politically unaffiliated student party which controlled the Medical College Student Union during the turbulent years from 1977 to 1983 — where “there was turmoil in every sphere of life”— he had spent his college years clashing with university authorities as well as the newly-elected Left Front government, while also providing free medical check-ups in the slums of Kolkata.

His friends Ashish Kundu and Saibal Jana, contemporaries at the National Medical College in Kolkata, had already begun working at the Shaheed Hospital with Binayak Sen and Pabitra Guha. Established by the Chhattisgarh Mines Shramik Sangh (CMSS), a union of iron-ore miners in Dalli-Rajhara, the hospital was unique for being a workers’ initiative after Kusum Bai, a vice-president of the union, died in childbirth due to lack of natal care. Jana, who read an article on the hospital in Sunday magazine and joined in 1982, eventually becoming head of the hospital, says the refusal by the union to seek outside help and run it themselves causes people to think of the hospital as their own. “Trade unions care only about the eight hours that workers spend at work, but the CMSS felt they should take all 24 hours into account.” A portrait of CMSS founder Shankar Guha Niyogi, assassinated in 1991, also hangs at the hospital in Chengail, as do those of Dwarkanath Kotnis, Norman Bethune and Dhiranjan Sen, doctors whose lives have inspired Goon. Also displayed prominently are the credentials of the medical staff, presumably to counter the questions of legitimacy that are invariably asked. Questions that were asked when doctors at Shaheed Hospital noticed a cholera outbreak in 1984, but their claim was rejected by the government, Jana says, because theirs was a workers’ hospital.

It was at Shaheed Hospital that a number of the practices Goon implements in Chengail were first attempted. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had published its first List of Administrable Drugs in 1977, and Dalli-Rajhara became a laboratory for its execution. The list, which specifies a certain number of medicines that are necessary and sufficient to “satisfy the healthcare needs of the majority of the population”, was adopted by the hospital, which only prescribed drugs that were included, mostly in the generic form. The WHO list began a national debate on essential medicines; a number of developing countries immediately banned all other formulations, but India did not, allowing the continued sale (and prescription) of unnecessary drugs. The Indian government would eventually bring out its own National List of Essential Medicines in 1993, but the list merely enumerates which drugs must be accessible, and is rarely enforced. This, Goon says, means that though simple, single-ingredient medicines exist that can cheaply treat most illnesses, they are not always made available, and the patient is forced to buy expensive, unnecessary formulations. The hospital at Chengail, like the one at Dalli-Rajhara, prescribes generic drugs, which cost as little as a tenth of the market price for brand-name pharmaceuticals. “These drugs aren’t different from commercial ones,” he says. “The companies buy the same medicines and mark up the price.”

Another measure that continues in Chengail is the focus on primary healthcare. Goon, who is trained in most complex surgeries, finds general practice much more satisfying. “Surgery is a really romantic thing,” he said in an earlier interview, “You get to go into the operating theatre and come out a hero. But this isn’t what I want to do anymore. There is so much one can do with a rational system of allopathic treatment.” No one is turned away at the hospital — those who can’t pay even the meagre fee he charges are treated for free, while those with ailments for which the hospital isn’t equipped are referred to other centres, where their treatment is subsidised — and days when he works from dawn to midnight are not uncommon.

On this particular day, the crowd isn’t too large, which is just as well, since he has to leave for Jadavpur University in the evening, where his organisation is supporting a student protest calling for the release of Soni Sori, the first street demonstration on the issue in West Bengal. Every free moment is spent calling colleagues in Kolkata, urging them to join the protest. Another phone call has bad news; they won’t be able to carry out their medical camp in strife-torn Lalgarh this week, since the farmers there need to tend to their crops. Before joining Shaheed Hospital, Goon worked in Bhopal, treating victims of the 1984 disaster. When the violence in Nandigram broke out in 2007, his Shramajibi Swasthya Udyog was one of the first on the scene, sending a team of doctors three days after police firing had killed more than 15 people, to assess the situation and provide free check-ups. Their damning report revealed the scale of the violence, which was being downplayed by the government at the time, exposing how many victims, mostly women, had been denied medical aid.

The narrative on rural healthcare today focuses on the question of how to induce young doctors to work in the villages, either through compulsion or incentive. For Goon’s generation of doctors, medicine as public service was as valid an idea as that of medicine as a career choice. One reason, says Piyush Guha, who was incarcerated with Binayak Sen in Chhattisgarh on charges of being a Maoist and is a friend of Goon’s (he was present at the Jadavpur rally), was the influence of politics on student life. “Our generation was politically active. We had role models in the Naxalites, for better or worse, who were willing to give up their lives to work in the villages.” Goon doesn’t see a decline in volunteers, pointing out that the youngest doctor in his organisation is only 19. Jana, though, has had major problems attracting volunteers; just six doctors manage his significantly larger hospital. “Medical education needs to be reformed,” he says. “With the large increase in private medical colleges, students have to spend a lot of money to get a degree and, naturally, they have to earn that money. If we increase the number of government hospitals and give chances to lower middle-class students, many more will come to work in rural areas.” He is, however, against the idea of forcing doctors to work in rural areas, citing his experience of medical students who have “no idea how to treat patients, how to diagnose malaria or diarrhoea. There is no one to train them here. They’re not doing any good, only harming people.”

One initiative that has acquired much traction is the training of quacks in the elements of medical philosophy, something that Goon’s organisation has attempted in a number of places. This sort of training has had a mixed response from the health establishment. The Chhattisgarh government introduced a pilot project in training village youths in basic medicine, which helped to a large extent to fill the vacancies in the state’s community health centres. An attempt by the central government to introduce a Bachelor of Rural Healthcare course, however, was met with protests by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), and other similar associations, which alleged that such a measure undermined a villager’s right to life, and had to be eventually watered down. “Quackery will not change in the near future,” says Jana, “They have a small knowledge base, but if that is sufficient, what is the problem? In any case, a urologist has no knowledge in neurology. Is the IMA in a position to provide doctors to rural areas?”

Even as other doctors choose cushy jobs over public service, Goon continues to live the life of the committed revolutionary. “If what doctors are doing does not challenge the status quo,” he said in another interview, “what is the point of practising medicine?” He has earned the respect of his peers, many of whom periodically come to his hospital to see patients. More important, he says, is the love he has received from the people he serves, and he doesn’t see himself stopping anytime soon.

Chhattisgarh PUCL’s Memorandum to the NHRC


To

The Hon’ble Chairman,

National Human Rights Commission

Camp Raipur.

Sub:   Regarding the Human Rights situation in Chhattisgarh – a Note by the         Chhattisgarh PUCL

Sir,

First of all we welcome the fact that the National Human Rights Commission has, in its present sitting at Raipur, not only taken up several extremely serious cases of human rights violations to which the State Government had miserably failed to respond to so far, but has also invited various non-governmental organizations to share their experiences and suggestions.

On behalf of the Chhattisgarh PUCL, being the Chhattisgarh State Branch of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, we would like to place on record, along with a copy of “Chhattisgarh me Manav Adhikar ki Haqeekat” – a compilation of our Reports over the past two years (henceforth referred to as our Report), the following note delineating some of the serious aspects of the human rights situation in the state, which we believe require deserve the urgent attention of the National Human Rights Commission:-

Aspects of the Human Rights Situation in Chhattisgarh

1.       Widespread displacement of peasants and adivasis from livelihood resources:-

On account of a large number of MOUs (121 as on 30.03.2011 as per the Chhattisgarh government website) to set up power plants, steel plants and cement plants, as well as the grant of a large number of Prospecting and Mining Leases (already more than 2 lakh acres have been covered under 354 MLs as on 30.03.2011),  a large scale transfer of agricultural lands, commons and other livelihood resources – particularly forest lands and water (both surface and ground water) – is occurring from the peasants and adivasis (who enjoyed these earlier both privately and collectively) to private corporate entities. While this phenomenon is visible all across this mineral rich state, it is particularly acute in the districts of Raigarh, Sarguja, Janjgir-Champa and Korba. This is causing a crisis of livelihood among a vast rural population, intensifying earlier trends of migration to brick kilns, human trafficking and other forms of bondedness.

In carrying out acquisitions of land the State Government is misusing its powers of eminent domain in the name of “Public Purpose” whereas the reports of the CAG of the state clearly indicate that in granting such largesse corruption is occurring on a large scale, and private companies are gaining at considerable loss to the state exchequer. The case of allotment of coal blocks is an example in point where the spirit of the Directive Principles of State Policy is being violated.

The legal provisions designed to protect agriculturists and tribals are being systematically violated, bypassed or turned into an empty formality. This is particularly true of the provisions for mandatory consultation with the Gram Sabha under the “Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act” (PESA Act) in the Scheduled Areas. Similarly the provisions for making objections under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act are circumvented by misuse of the provisions for urgent acquisition under Section 17 of the Act.  Despite the law being clear that the consent of both owner and occupier are mandatory for entry into private land for mining by a company (other than a government company under the Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition Act), the State acts on behalf of the private company to present the farmers with a fait accompli of having to accept compensation as if in the case of acquisition.

Almost in all affected villages there have been protests, some sporadic and short lived, others more prolonged and determined, but almost all have faced state repression. The leaders of the protests and often large numbers of villagers have been victims of malicious prosecution by powerful corporates in which the local police and administration have been hand-in-glove. The Chhattisgarh PUCL has documented a few such cases of malicious prosecution of farmers’ leaders, trade unionists and environmental activists at Pages 60-65 of its Report. An extreme example of this is the case of the murderous attempt on the life of environmental activist Ramesh Agrawal at Raigarh by persons associated with the Jindal Steel and Power Limited.

2.       Increasing attacks on dalit communities:-

In the aforesaid scenario, as the pressure on land mounts, we find repeated instances of targeted and brutal eviction of dalit families. PUCL has documented at Page 58-60 of our Report one such stark representative case of 34 dalit families of Village Chichour Umariya, district Raigarh brutally evicted from generations-old occupation of forest land (for which forest rights applications were pending) by the dominant caste community. Even more serious in this case was the absolute failure of constitutional mechanisms to bring relief either through a Writ Petition in the High Court or by a complaint to the State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Private as well as state violence against dalits has been on the increase. PUCL and other human rights groups had also taken up the case of custodial torture of young dalit workers belonging to Village Lailunga, district Raigarh culminating in the death of one, which is reported at Pages 27-31 of our Report. Despite detailed statements by the victims and their families, neither the enquiry of the DSP under the SC-ST (Prevention of) Atrocities Act nor the Magisterial Enquiry has resulted in any action taken against the culprit private persons or policemen.

3.       Conditions of Industrial workers and Contract teachers (Shikshakarmis):-

Chhattisgarh accounts for the highest number of industrial accidents per lakh of workers in the entire country. In the large and ever increasing number of industrial establishments in the state, the labour laws are violated with impunity, 12 hour work day is the norm and even minimum wages – which are grossly inadequate – are not paid. Even permanent, perennial and core production activity is carried out by contract workers who are not even given statutory proof of employment. Precariousness of employment results in extremely poor unionization. Compliance with the ESI and Provident Fund Acts is poor. Recently in the Ambuja Cement Factory at Village Rawaan, district Baloda Bazar (now a unit of Swiss multinational Holcim), the collapse of fly ash hoppers due to gross negligence in design and maintenance of buildings resulted in the death of five workers literally buried in hot cement ash in a confined space. (A fact finding Report by the Building Wood Workers International, New Trade Union Initiative Federation and local unions is available.)

Nearly 2 lakh Shikshakarmis (contract teachers ostensibly employed by the Panchayati Raj institutions) were on strike recently for their legitimate demands of absorption as regular teachers in the Education Department as in fact mandated by the Right to Education Act and the principle of “equal pay for equal work”. 17 teachers and their family members committed suicide/ died unnatural deaths during the agitation in the course of which tens of thousands of teachers were suspended, dismissed, cane charged and arrested.

4.       Jail deaths:-

Chhattisgarh again tops the states in the proportion of overcrowding in its jails, which house prisoners to the extent of between two and three times their capacity.

The PUCL recently filed RTI applications with regard to deaths in jails and discovered shocking facts. At Page 78-81 of our Report, for instance are the details revealed by Central Jail Bilaspur. We see that:-

a)       All 11 deaths were of undertrials, and three of them were held in preventive detention (151 or 107/116 of the Criminal Procedure Code) when they died in jail.

b)       The caste composition of the 11 dead prisoners was – 7 SC, 1 ST, 2 OBC, 1 Muslim.

c)       6 of them died within a short time of being admitted into jail ( 5 days, 16 days, 3 days, 2           days, 2 days, 8 days) which is indicative of either being admitted with serious injuries or           having being subjected to ill treatment in jail.

d)       One died owing to the barrack roof having collapsed and he having sustained head injuries.

e)       In all cases the nature of illness/ cause of death as per the Medical Officer was “serious”.

The documents obtained from Central Jail Jagdalpur show that deaths due to severe anaemia (3.5 grams or 5.0 grams of Haemoglobin) was the commonest cause. Usually blood transfusion could not be arranged in a timely manner and there is nothing on record to show that any efforts were made to contact the family to find a blood donor.

5.       Violence against women:-

Trafficking of young women for work as domestic servants in the metropolises and also in prostitution has been widely reported from the districts of Jashpur and Sarguja and Advocate Sevati Panna, who is also an active member of the Chhattisgarh PUCL, has conducted meticulous research in exposing the so-called “placement agencies”.

The recent cases that came to light regarding sexual abuse of young adivasi girls in State run Ashrams/ hostels has now also been verified by the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights.

Violence against women takes on an even more serious dimension in conflict areas, where it has been observed internationally and also elsewhere in our country that sexual violence is used as a means to subjugate a population. Even today the affidavits of 99 women alleging rape by SPOs, Salwa Judumm and the security forces, which are filed before the Supreme Court in the Nandini Sundar and Kartam Joga cases (challenging the constitutionality of Salwa Judum) remain to be acted upon.

6.       Large number of adivasi undertrials languishing in Bastar jails:-

There are a large number of poor adivasis languishing in the jails of the Bastar region. A recent estimate of the number of undertrials in three of these jails is as follows

Name of Jail Capacity No. of convicts No. of undertrials
Dantewada 250 4 577
Kanker 65 8 217
Jagdalpur 648 573 1120
Total 963 585 1914
963 Convicts + Undertrials  = 2,499

While we can understand and appreciate the complex conditions under which the courts and jails would be functioning in this region, we are concerned at repeated complaints that a large number of these adivasis are being implicated in serious cases without the concerned magistrate exercising his/her judicial discretion in an independent manner. This has resulted in thousands of ordinary villagers, routinely picked up in searching operations, being incarcerated under serious charges. Once, being implicated in a serious offence, and particularly a “Naxal Offence”, the undertrials are not produced in the courts for long periods of time, on account of there not being “sufficient police guard”. Owing to this the trial does not proceed for years together. Out of economic difficulty and for fear of harassment, family members of the undertrials are unable to visit them in jail. Particularly in situations of physical and mental ailments this makes the undertrials even more vulnerable.

Since “Naxal undertrials” are only kept in Central Jails, owing to overcrowding, many of them of them are transferred to Durg or Raipur Central Jails, where they are even more inaccessible, and too far away to be taken to court regularly. PUCL had been sent a list of 79 undertrials facing trials in Kondagaon who were sent to Durg Jail (more than 300 km away) and who had petitioned the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court in 2011 regarding their long incarceration without trial. One undertrial from amongst them Sukdas (32 years) died in jail on 1st February 2010.

Most of the adivasi undertrials are dependent on legal aid lawyers. However more often than not, the legal aid lawyers never go to meet the client or seek instructions regarding the case. Often they are careless in their conduct of cases and are amenable to pressures from the police or prosecution. The vast majority of adivasi undertrials speak only adivasi languages i.e. – Gondi, Halbi etc., however it is shocking that even now Courts in the Bastar region do not have official interpreters/ translators and the adivasis are unable to communicate with the Officers of the Court or otherwise effectively intervene in the judicial process.

On 12th January 2011, 379 adivasi undertrials in Dantewada Jail, alleged to be “Naxalites”, went on hunger strike saying that they had been held falsely, their trials were not being conducted and that they be released on bail.

It is unfortunate that the Nirmala Buch Committee, created in the wake of the abduction of Collector Alex Paul Menon, has neither been able to carry out a judicial review of adivasi cases nor conduct a fact finding mission to find out the actual circumstances of arrest of the large number of undertrials.

Another disturbing aspect of the functioning of the criminal justice system in Bastar is that political opponents or other “inconvenient” persons can easily be implicated in “Naxal offences” thus ensuring that they would be put away behind bars for several years. Page 77 of our Report has a list of all the activists of the Communist Party of India, a registered national political party contesting elections, incarcerated including Kartam Joga who was a Petitioner in the Petition filed in the Supreme Court challenging the modus operandi and the atrocities committed by the Salwa Judum, and was acquitted after being in jail for the past 3 years.

7.       Fake encounters and police excesses in the name of the anti- Naxal operations and failure of the constitutional response:-

Page 7-27 of our Report carries extracts of our Fact Finding Report titled “Just a Little Collateral Damage” which concerned four cases of alleged encounters in areas outside the Bastar region, namely Village Ledgidipa, district Mahasamund; Village Kade, district Rajnandgaon; Jamul, district Durg and Village Sawargaon in the bordering district of Maharashtra and which we found clearly to be cases of fake encounters. The Magisterial Enquiries announced in all the cases appear to have been routinely carried out only to support the police versions of events, and despite our finding that in all the cases local persons were vociferous in their allegations, their versions have never been recorded.

Page 31-36 contains the Fact finding Report of the Chhattigarh Bachao Andolan into the murder of a minor girl Meena Khalkho in Sarguja by the police and security forces in July 2011, again claiming her to be a Naxalite. The Judicial Enquiry announced has not even begun, though again, the family members have been brave enough to submit their affidavits. Similarly an investigation into an alleged encounter at Village Harri, district Jashpur, revealed that the police and security forces had manhandled and beaten ordinary villagers and had been rewarded for their “bravery in Naxal encounter”. The unaccounted funds allotted to Naxal affected police stations and to Naxal- affected districts seem to be an incentive to claim Naxal activity even where there is none.

Page 46-52 contains the Fact Finding Report of the Co-ordination of Democratic Rights Organisation into the fake encounter which occurred on 27-28 June 2012 in the clearing between Villages Sarkeguda, Rajpenta and Kottaguda in district Beejapur. The Magistrate conducting the Enquiry turned down the villagers who had come to depose before him. The Notification for Judicial Enquiry signed in November 2012 was notified in December 2012, and this Notification was not even communicated to the concerned villages. It was only when lawyers associated with PUCL contacted the villagers that they came to know of the Judicial Enquiry. The Terms of Reference made to the Judicial Enquiry Commission have, perhaps deliberately, mixed up this obvious case of fake encounter with two other cases of possibly actual encounters in Village Chimlipenta and Village Silger, both of district Sukma on the same day, to which the villagers have objected. Although the villagers have filed affidavits, the Enquiry does not appear to have started in earnest. In the meantime two villagers arrested from the spot of the encounter continue to languish in jail as “Naxals” and the victims of the encounter have had a string of cases put upon them showing them to also have antecedents of “Naxal cases”, and this includes the 12 year old bright student Kaka Rahul.

A case filed in the High Court in regard to the Singavaram fake encounter and demanding a CBI Enquiry remains pending even after about 6 years, while another filed in the Supreme Court in regard to the killings in Village Gompad also remains pending for the past 3 years. Thus, the people of Bastar have continuously been denied constitutional remedies, which has accentuated their alienation.

The PUCL received by post in the year 2011 a letter from a journalist in Bastar enclosing a list of 135 villagers alleged to be killed during Operation Green Hunt between January 2009 and April 2010. Many of the incidents narrated could be correlated with newspaper reports and some news of protests by villagers. However, we have not been able, through our own investigation, to verify these serious allegations, mainly because there has been a denial of physical access to the entire Bastar division to concerned citizens from other parts of Chhattisgarh or India over the past 3-4 years. This denial has been systematic – whether to an All India Women‘s Team who were trying to meet women who had filed complaints of rape against SPOs (November 2009); or to Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey and other members of the NAPM who were going to join activist Himanshu Kumar in a public hearing in Dantewada to which the Union Home Minister had been invited; or to a team of Gandhians who were on a Peace March (May 2010) including Shri Banwarilal Sharma and Swami Agnivesh who subsequently made efforts for talks with the Maoists. The modus operandi of such denial has been through the mobilization of SPOs and Salwa Judum camp inmates who have organized demonstrations and brickbatted the teams. Individual researchers, lawyers, film makers and journalists have been detained, intimidated or otherwise ―persuaded to leave Dantewada. Even the CBI has not been spared. The acts of burning of the huts of adivasis in Morpalli, Tadmetla and Timmapuram, in regard to which the Supreme Court had, in the course of the Salwa Judum case directed CBI Enquiry, could not be carried out by the CBI, as per their application in the Court, owing to an attack by Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Force (into which the SPOs have been absorbed)!

8.       The civil war in Bastar is creating a grave humanitarian crisis:-

The districts of the erstwhile Bastar division in Southern Chhattisgarh are now undisputedly the arena of a civil war and also the region where Operation Green Hunt, as it is still referred to by the police and security forces in Chhattisgarh despite denials by the Union Home Minster, is been carried out with the greatest ferocity. The already heavy deployment of security forces is being continuously reinforced, now the Army has a training camp here and even helicopters of the AIF are being pressed into service. Almost every day there are reports of ambushes and land mine blasts by Naxalites killing security forces; and reports of searching and area domination exercises by security forces with considerable number of Naxalites being killed in encounters and also a very large number of arrests. SPOs and police

informers who are being recruited in hundreds are being targeted by Naxalites.

What is of great concern are the repeated reports and complaints of thousands of adivasis fleeing these areas in several waves since 2005. Indeed at page 39-46 of our Report is a joint write-up of different human rights groups including PUCL into the serious conditions of internally displaced adivasis in Andhra Pradesh. The recommendation of the NHRC in the Enquiry conducted on the directions of the Supreme Court in the Salwa Judum Case, that the displaced villagers be rehabilitated back in their villages, has not been acted upon at all by the State. On the contrary, those NGOs which were trying to assist such resettlement were severely victimized. The  Ashram of Himanshu Kumar, who is also one of the Vice Presidents of the Chhattisgarh PUCL, was demolished and two activists associated with him – Koparam Kunjam and Sukhnath Oyami – active in rehabilitating the adivasis of 10-15, were arrested under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act. Sukhnath was finally acquitted after several years in jail and Kopa Kunjam had to obtain bail from the Supreme Court. The Sarkeguda village was also one such rehabilitated village. Indeed it appears that apart from the counter insurgency strategy of clearing the villages to bring the adivasis to roadside camps, there is a ground clearing motive, possibly connected with mining since 7443 hectares of land in Kanker,  Narayanpur and Dantewada alone have been given out in prospecting leases to various private companies as per the Government website.

Another issue of grave concern is that with the withdrawal of educational and health services of the State as well as ration shops from the so-called “Naxal” stronghold areas, into which a large proportion of the population has fled, a situation has arisen in which several lakh adivasis have been automatically “outlawed”. This population is being deprived of basic needs. Anti Naxal operations in this area could result in a virtual genocide and killings of unarmed civilians and non-combatants on a large scale. Additionally the State programme of bringing children to study in roadside hostels and ashrams and separating them from their families is repeating the “historical mistakes” committed by the Australian government on its indigenous peoples for which the Australian Prime Minister recently rendered a public apology.

The democratic voices in Chhattisgarh have been repeatedly demanding that the way to de-escalate violence in the Bastar region would be to rehabilitate people in their villages, restore the civil administration and whole heartedly comply with the Forest Rights Act and PESA Act to give the adivasis of the area substantial rights. Decisions to carry out large scale mining and set up industries in that area can only be effective if carried out with a genuine consultation with the people and by winning their confidence.

(Sudha Bharadwaj)

General Secretary,

Chhattisgarh PUCL.

 

Mamta Sharma , NCW Chief is worried about dwindling child sex ratio , because MEN will be without BRIDES #WTFnews


2 crore men may soon be without brides: NCW chief

, TNN | Apr 18, 2013,

NAGPUR: Marriageable men in India would soon face difficulty finding brides. Female infanticide in the country has led to skewed gender ratio, National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma said here on Wednesday. “What is more alarming is that gender discrimination is more in urban centres that are supposed to have higher literacy rate than in less literate rural areas,” said Sharma.

“The situation is worse in north Indian States like Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. In South India, the ratio is better but in those states the incidence of domestic violence is high,” NCW chief said. “In near future, NCW is apprehensive that the country will have around two crore bachelors who will face difficulty in finding a suitable match if the trend of female infanticide continued,” Sharma said quoting data with NCW.

The male-female ratio would drop to such a level that it would be difficult to bridge the gap, Sharma said. NCW was intensifying its awareness campaign to stop female infanticide and killing of female fetuses which was rampant in some parts, particularly north. “The practice continues in most state across the country. Even in Maharashtra, it was rampant in district like Beed,” she added.

Asked if recent stringent law against rape would make any difference, Sharma voiced her reservations saying: “A new set of laws would hardly make a difference. Strong laws were already there. What matters more is implementation. There is need for sensitizing the police force as well as judiciary for faster trials and better conviction rates. Victims, mostly from economically poor background, suffer as the police fail to press correct charges and a weak case does not stand in courts,” Sharma remarked.

The NCW chief noted that after the recent awareness campaigns by social organizations have been effective. “But there is a long way to go and there is need for change of mindset to give women the respect they deserve,” Sharma noted. NCW would soon sign an MoU with Western Railway for creating awareness among railway staff on suburban trains in Mumbai on how to treat female passengers and commuters while travelling and also how to protect and help them in distress.

Sharma, who was here for the inaugural function of “Padharo Rajasthan” festival, said NCW was also initiating steps to curb trafficking from Pakistan, Nepal, China and Bangladesh borders. She said NCW would hold meeting with heads of security forces manning borders to discuss measures to check trafficking.

 

DELHI – Protest by women’s groups at Jantar Mantar @April22 #Vaw #Rape


 

Since the December 2012 gang rape case in Delhi, many cases of violence against women and girl are being reported with frightening regularity. The shocking incident of sexual assault and brutalization of the 5 year old girl in Delhi and that of the 6 year old girl raped and murdered in Aligarh are the two recent ones that have been reported. Over and over again, the police has failed to discharge its duties and has proved itself to be corrupt, ineffective and often violent.

In case after case, women, their relatives and supporters continue to be harassed and those protesting inaction of the police are being thrashed. In the Delhi case, we protest the calculated delay in filing an FIR, attempt at bribing the family and the audacity in assaulting the woman protester. We also protest the physical violence perpetrated by the police in Aligarh on women protestors, as well as the insensitive remarks of the SSP (Aligarh), Amit Pathak about the little girl who was murdered. Suspending police personnel is mere eyewash and NOT enough! We have to make sure that all those who have attempted at subverting justice are chargesheeted and dismissed. We have to hold police personnel accountable under the various provision of the newly promulgated Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013. We also demand that police reforms be initiated and put in place.

Friends, comrades join the protest organised by women’s groups and progressive groups on Monday 22nd April 2013 at 12.30 pm at Jantar Mantar.

Mobilise and come in large numbers. Bring your banners and placards.

In solidarity,

HUMANS

 

Maharshtra – Aadhaar centres to function only on govt premises #UID


200 px

 

, TNN | Apr 21, 2013, 02.02 AM IST

 

MUMBAI: The state government has now said that no Unique Identification (UID) card enrolment centres will be allowed on private premises, like housing societies or offices, because there are too few resources to register the huge number of people who remain to be enrolled in the city. Instead, UID – or Aadhaar – card centres will be only allowed in government premises, like schools, offices etc, so that the middle-and lower-middle-class population can be enrolled first.Civic officials said members of the middle and lower-middle classes need the UID card first as they are the beneficiaries of various government schemes for which the card will be mandatory.So far, 68% of the 1.25 crore population of Mumbai has been enrolled, which means approximately 70 to 80 lakh of the population has been covered and 45 to 55 lakh remains to be covered. The official deadline for registering the entire population is December 13.

“Now, with the enrolment drive picking up and resulting into a huge backlog due to the limited number of resources, the state has decided not to allow UID camps on private premises,” said a civic official. The state government had allowed setting up UID enrolment centres on private premises earlier so as to cover as much of the population as possible. At that time, the BMC had allowed camps in housing societies and private offices so that people residing or working there could be enrolled.

A UID card that is linked to a bank account would soon be required to avail of several government schemes, including getting a cooking cylinder subsidy, disbursement of provident fund for government employees and receiving free educational items for civic schools.

Currently, there are 145 BMC centres where enrolment is being conducted in the city. All are on government or semi-government premises. Over the next one month, the BMC is going to increase the number of centres to 470, as new vendors have come forward and the BMC has identified spots where new centres can be set up.

A centre in Kherwadi is being touted as the largest centre in the country, with 25 machines working simultaneously and enrolling 2,000 people a day.

The UID project is the brainchild of technocrat Nandan Nilekani. The card is expected to ensure that citizens get access to all schemes of government and local bodies. The government claims that the card will be important in the years to come as, for any dealing with the government, the card would be required to validate identity.

 

 

 

#India – Wife Swapping allegations that have rocked Navy’s Boat #mustread #Vaw


If I didn’t follow their tradition, I’d be thrown out

MIRROR IN CONVERSATION WITH LT KABDAULA’S WIFE WHOSE ALLEGATIONS OF WIFE-SWAPPING HAVE ROCKED THE NAVY’S BOAT

 

Gitanjali.Chandrasekharan, Mumbai Mirror

Posted On Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 01:24:17 AM

 

Three complaints in three cities make you wonder about their authenticity, especially since the 25-year-old complainant has accused Marine Commando officials (an elite unit of the Navy) of wife-swapping. “You can’t file the same FIR in two different police stations,” says the wife of Lt Ravi Kiran Kabdaula, refusing to be identified by her name.

“Call me Mrs Ravi Kiran if you want,” she told this writer, speaking over the phone from New Delhi. Kiran, the daughter of an IAS officer and the niece of a senior IPS official posted in New Delhi, says her complaint against her 26-year-old husband and his colleagues posted at INS Venduruthy, the base station of the Southern Naval Command — she has accused them of beating, molesting, and illegally detaining her and forcibly cutting her hair — was lodged in Delhi on March 1.

“Since my husband and his colleagues are posted in Kochi, and the incident also occurred there, the case was transferred to the local Harbour Police.” The incident Kiran refers to happened in mid-January. A week before that, she alleges that she had discovered her husband in bed with a senior officer’s wife. She also alleges that she was given an injection at the unit chief’s office that left her unconscious. She left the base for New Delhi on the first flight the following day, but left her preparation books behind.

Kiran, a 2008 BTech graduate from IIT (Powai), plans to take her Civil Services examinations next month. When she returned a week later to collect her books, she says she was holed up in a room by her husband and his colleagues, who tied her up, beat and molested her. One officer, she adds, even forcibly cut her hair. “I used to have long hair. Now it is like a man’s,” she rues.

Lt Ravi Kiran Kabdaula when he was
posted in INS Kalinga

HER STORY

This wasn’t the first time she had lodged a complaint. “I had filed one with the Amboli Police Station on February 18, 2012, against my husband, his senior and the senior’s wife,” she says, because the trio had reportedly put up a “bedroom picture” of hers and Kabdaula’s on a social networking platform. The senior and his wife would often make threatening calls, or send her text messages and emails, she says.

When asked why, she replies, “Because I was pressuring my husband and his parents to legalise our marriage.” Kiran married Kabdaula, who hails from Uttarakhand, in a Kochi temple in November 2010, in the presence of his parents. Her parents had passed away earlier that year in a car accident in Bhubaneswar. “My parents knew about Kabdaula — I had been in touch with him since 2008 — and liked him. My brother didn’t approve and argued that Kabdaula wasn’t educated enough.”

Kiran withdrew her complaint and the duo registered the marriage in the following month. However, according to Kiran, the rest of Kabdaula’s family didn’t know of their wedding till December. Was it a stormy courtship? Kiran says no. Kabdaula had contacted her through a common friend on social networking platform, Orkut. He would visit Mumbai to meet her, says Kiran, who was studying at IIT at the time. “He was a good-looking guy and I felt flattered. His parents would also call and talk to me at length. So I felt he was serious about us.”

Kiran moved to the United States in 2008 to study Economics and stayed on as an equity research analyst at Morgan Stanley, New York, but returned to India — once in 2010, to marry Kabdaula, and then for good, in 2011 — to be close to him. While dating, Kabdaula didn’t tell her much about Navy life, she says. “He wasn’t a full-fledged officer till the end of 2011.

Perhaps he didn’t know it himself. Perhaps he knew and he didn’t tell me.” The first time she realised that all was not well was in May 2012, when she was living in Vishakapatnam, while Kabdaula was posted in INS Kalinga. While out for a walk with her dog, she saw an officer getting cosy with another’s wife. Later, she spoke to her husband who, she says, told her to accept it as part of the Navy life. “He didn’t suggest at that time that he was involved”.

Describing the “Navy life”, she says there are regular parties at the base and a junior officer often makes a round of everyone’s houses, outlining a dress code. Sometimes it would be ‘wear short above-the-knee dresses’, and sometimes it would be ‘sleeveless’. Yet, Kiran admits that she only attended two parties — in May 2012 and March 2013. Then, in January this year, she returned home to find her door locked.

“My husband never locks the door, so I entered the house from the rear and found him with a senior officer’s wife. I cried and abused them, but once again he said this was common in the Navy and that I’d have to do it too. The woman said that if I didn’t follow their tradition, I’d be thrown out.” Kiran alleges that when she threatened to call in the cops, they started beating her. Asked how she made an allegation of wifeswapping based on this incident, she replies, “I could make out what’s happening. Young officers (spend time) with married officer’s wives when the seniors aren’t around.”

THE SPLIT

Soon after the incident, Kiran telephoned the Defence Minister AK Antony’s office and wrote to the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral D K Joshi and the chief of the Southern Naval Command, Vice-Admiral Satish Soni. She complained that she was being forced into sexual relations with her husband’s seniors. The FIR she filed accuses three senior officers, two colleagues, the wife of one officer, and her fatherin- law, mother-in-law and sisterin- law of dowry harassment.

Kabdaula filed for a divorce on March 28, claiming mental and physical torture. “He must have done that under the order of his seniors. I am 5’1” and have never weighed more than 45 kg. How can I cause him any harm?” It is his physical abuse, she alleges, that has left her with a damaged left ear drum and a broken tooth. “Who is he to divorce me?” she asks challengingly.

Kiran doesn’t see any chance of reconciliation. “I want to see all the accused arrested. My husband has got an anticipatory bail but what is stopping the Harbour Police from arresting the others?” The Navy denied the allegations and issued a statement which said, “In cases of marital discord, there is bound to be bitter acrimony and mutual accusations and counter-accusations. Such issues need to be dealt with sensitivity and as per laws of the land.”

A spokesperson said that the officers were being unfairly dragged into the matter and that they had only tried to resolve problems between the couple. The spokesperson also alluded to a prior instance, where the Navy Wives Welfare Association intervened and sent the couple to a marriage counsellor.

However, Kiran emphatically denies that. “I have never been to a counsellor or a marriage counsellor. To get an appointment from the Navy Wives Welfare Association (NWWA), one has to write an application and submit it. When I never wrote one, how would there have been any counselling session?”

Meanwhile, the Southern Naval Command has begun an internal inquiry, and Antony asked officials to take serious note of the allegations, after a previous allegation of wife-swapping — also squashed by the Navy — surfaced in 2011 in Kochi. Sitanshu Kar, Additional Director General (Media & Communication), said that two inquiries are on in the case.

“The Kerala police inquiring into it and the Navy is also conducting its own inquiry. The final decision can be taken only after reports come in.” He refused to entertain any other questions regarding the matter. There are also many within the Navy who are raising questions about the truth of Kiran’s allegations.

They wonder how a Marine Commando — known for being highly disciplined and hard working — would be involved in such an act. The Marcos is a highly elite section of the Indian Navy. Many who volunteer for this branch of the Navy don’t last the rigorous year-long training, which involves swimming several miles, going without sleep for days on end, and sometimes, spending time in the ocean without supplies.

#India – No country for kids” 336% hike in child rapes in 10 years #Vaw #WTFnews


336% spurt in child rape cases between 2001 and 2011

, TNN | Apr 21, 2013,

CHILDRAPE

 the heinous nature of the five-year-old child’s rape, an independent report, based on National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures, shows that India is no country for children. The report says a total of 48,338 child rape cases was recorded between 2001 and 2011, and the nation saw an increase of 336% of such cases from 2001 (2,113) to 2011 (7,112).
The report by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), however, warns that this is only the “tip of the iceberg” as the large majority of child rape cases are not reported to police while children regularly become victims of other forms of sexual assault too.Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of child rape cases with 9,465 cases between 2001 and 2011, followed by Maharashtra (6,868), Uttar Pradesh (5,949) and Andhra Pradesh (3,977). Delhi, which reported 2,909 cases, ranked sixth on the list.

The report, “India’s Hell Holes: Child Sexual Assault in Juvenile Justice Homes”, which has been submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, says that many of the cases take place in juvenile homes.

“It will not be an understatement to state that juvenile justice homes, established to provide care and protection as well as reintegration, rehabilitation and restoration of the juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, have become India’s hell holes where inmates are subjected to sexual assault and exploitation, torture and ill-treatment apart from being forced to live in inhuman conditions. The girls remain the most vulnerable. It matters little whether the juvenile justice homes are situated in Delhi or in mofussil towns,” said Suhas Chakma, director, ACHR.

The 56-page report also highlights 39 cases of systematic and often repeated sexual assault on children in juvenile justice homes. Out of the 39 cases, 11 were reported from government-run juvenile justice homes, while in one case a CWC member was accused of sexual harassment during counselling sessions. The remaining 27 cases were reported from private or NGO-run juvenile justice homes.

 

Far from Delhi- 4 year old Rape victim , battling for Life #Vaw


Four-year-old Seoni rape victim airlifted to Nagpur

, TNN | Apr 21, 2013,

JABALPUR: With her sexually brutalized four-year-old granddaughter Rani (name changed) battling death for 48 hours in ICU on Saturday afternoon, after having been raped on April 17 night by a 35-year-old in Ghansaur village ofSeoni district, 180 km from Jabalpur, Himma Baifervently asked God to grant her just one wish – send down a helicopter to fly the child off to Dilli.And even as her family, especially Rani’s mother Ramkumari did not share such optimism, Himma Bai’s wish came true.

Facing flak, the government airlifted the girl to Nagpur for better treatment.

As the issue threatened to snowball into a major embarrassment for the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, putting a big question mark over his much hyped image of the savior of girl child, state government decided to alirlift Rani from Jabalpur to Nagpur, 280 km away, by late night.

Meanwhile, the police have arrested accomplice Rakesh Chaudhary while main accused 35-year-old welder from Jhabua Power Plant, Firoz Khan, is still at large. Teams have been sent to Bihar his home state and Delhi to trace Khan, Sanjay Jha, inspector general of police (IG) Jabalpur, told TOI.

Last 48 hours since they found a profusely bleeding Rani abandoned in the village crematorium clearly showed on Ramkumari when TOI contacted her in the private nursing home in Jabalpur. Watching the team of doctors flitting in and out of the room on Saturday afternoon Ramkumari looked totally lost. Apart from lacerations, tears and bruises, the child, according to attending gynecologist Dr Pragya Dheeravani, had suffered hypoxia of brain induced by suffocation. Already on life support system her condition was fast deteriorating.

While the state government has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh, the cost of treatment is being borne by Jhabua Power Plant where the accused is working.

The main accused was known to her brother Shyam and frequented her house. So the woman had found nothing unusual to see Khan chatting up with Rani on Thursday evening. Panic struck when the child failed to turn up till late evening even as her younger brother “gone to buy biscuits with Khan” arrived home.

The family launched a hunt and finally found an unconscious Rani lying in the cremation ground. With the man of the house Ghassi Yadav, a construction worker in Pune, away, it was Shyam who rushed her to the village dai and was told the girl was raped and must be taken immediately to Jabalpur medical college. They could reach Jabalpur medical college after two hours of road journey and Rani was brought to the emergency. But soon they had to move to a private hospital.

The young mother continued to look morose and troubled as she reluctantly accompanied the sinking Rani along with the medical team to the airport to board the chopper. Reason? She has two more girls back home in Ghansaur who need to be guarded.

 

Haryana CM rubbishes Modi’s claim over milk- ” Delhiites drink tea made of milk from Gujarat”


Gujarat EDN

AM 20APR2013

Haryana CM rubbishes Modi’s claim over milk

Bhupinder Singh Hooda takes dig at Modi’s claim that  Delhiites drink tea made of milk from Gujarat”

Bhupinder Singh Hooda - India Economic Summit 2010

Haryana had more per capita milk production than Gujarat


NEW DELHI Questioning the Gujarat model of development, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday said the per capita income and investment in his state is better than that in Narendra Modi’s state.
He also took a dig at the Gujarat Chief Minister for his comments made at SRCC college in Delhi University recently regarding dependence of Delhiites on milk sourced from Gujarat.
‘WE ARE ON TOP’
“I don’t know what is Gujarat model. I only know Haryana model. We are on top,” Hooda said at the HT conclave on investment opportunities in Sonepat-Kundli.
He was replying to a query whether Haryana has any plans to adopt Gujarat model on solar energy.
“If you talk about Gujarat model, please talk about the basic parameters of that,” he said.
HoodanotedthatHaryana is ahead of Gujarat in terms of per capita plan expenditure, per capita income, per capita investment and resource mobilisation.
He took a dig at Modi’s claim that Delhiites drink tea madeofmilkproducedinGujarat,sayingHaryanahadmore per capita milk production than Gujarat.
“When my friend Mr Modi cametoSRCCinDelhiUniversity, I heard him saying that anybody in Delhi who takes a cup of tea, he drinks milk from Gujarat. My dear, per capita production in Gujarat is hardly 500 grams and per capita productionofmilkinHaryana is 780 grams per person,” he said.
PARAMETERS PARAMOUNT
Hooda emphasised that one should come to the conclusion of best model of development on basis of some parameters.“Resources
mobilisation… it is 96.5 per cent in Gujarat, in Haryana it is 192 per cent (in 11th Plan). Per capita income also, we are aheadofGujarat.Percapitainvestment also, we are ahead of Gujarat,” the chief minister claimed. PTI

 

Indian woman raped, enslaved in Britain for years #Vaw


Indo-Asian News Service | Updated: April 20, 2013

Indian woman raped, enslaved in Britain for years: report

London: A 40-year-old woman, said to be an “illiterate” Indian, was beaten, raped and given out-of-date food and passed between three middle-class families as a domestic worker for many years in Britain, a daily reported.The woman made desperate pleas for help to Hertfordshire police as well as charities and other state agencies. But when police officers spoke to her, one of her “powerful and well-connected abusers” was used as an interpreter, the paper Independent said.

The woman was handed back to the man, and she was again attacked and threatened that she would be buried in the back garden of the man’s luxury home for ruining his family name.

Three people – an optician, a butcher and a secretary – were convicted of her abuse that spanned more than three years.

The woman was passed between the families, kept like a prisoner, given virtually no money and had her passport confiscated, the report said.

However, when she fled, her pleas went ignored by police and other organisations on at least 12 occasions, according to court documents.

The woman’s ordeal ended only after she was taken in by a migrant workers’ charity and human rights’ group Liberty took up her case.

“Various state agencies failed her, ignoring her repeated pleas for help, not adhering to their own investigative practice and it could be said ignoring the obvious,” Caroline Haughey, counsel for the prosecution, told the Croydon crown court.

The woman came to Britain in 2005 to try to make a better life and to send money to her family in India’s Hyderabad city.

When she sought help, she was threatened by her keepers. In one case, a professional interpreter told police that the woman was “telling a lot of lies – it’s common in her country”, the court heard.

She was first taken to hospital in 2006 with a gashed foot after her “employer” named Shamina Yousuf, 33, hurled a cup at her.

However, no action was taken after she was bullied her into not pursuing matters, the report said.

The woman fled after more than two years but returned to work for other relatives of the family to try to secure the return of her passport.

The court heard that the woman stayed in a one-room flat in St John’s Wood, and was raped by a butcher, Enkarta Balapovi, on several occasions.

The woman finally moved to the home of an acquaintance, Shashi Obhrai and her IT consultant husband Balram, who lived in Middlesex. She was forced to work seven days a week, 17-hours-a-day, cooking and cleaning for eight family members.

She escaped and her case was passed to Scotland Yard’s trafficking unit.

Obhrai, 54, of Moor Park, Middlesex and Yousuf, 33, of Edgware, north London, have been convicted of assault. Obhrai, an optician, was additionally convicted of threats to kill.

Balapovi, 54, of St John’s Wood, northwest London, was convicted of rape.

They will be sentenced next month. Two other defendants were acquitted.

The victim, who was not named for legal reasons, has been left in a wheelchair in part because of the injuries sustained at the hands of her abusers.

 

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