80- year- old raped and 2 -year- old sexually assaulted #Vaw #WTFIndia


RAPE

80-year-old woman serious after rape in Salem

, TNN | May 12, 2013, 03.28 AM IST

 

An 80 year old women was allegedly brutally raped by a 41-year-old man in a village in Salem district late Friday night. The woman, who was seriously injured in the assault, is undergoing treatment at Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College Hospital in Salem. Doctors treating her said her condition is serious but stable.

 

Police arrested the accused, S Palanivel, a vegetable vendor from Veppilaikuttai village in Salem. The incident took place in Gopalapuram area in Malliyakarai village. The woman’s husband V Narayanan had died a few years ago and she was living alone at her house.

At around midnight on Friday, Palanivel came to the woman’s house and asked for water, police said. She shouted at him as he was drunk. “Angered by this, Palanivel pushed her into the house and raped her,” said deputy superintendent of police P Veliappan. “He used to come to her house to sell vegetables and usually met her in the night before returning to his village,” he said.

The neighbours, who heard the elderly woman’s cries, rushed to her rescue. They caught Palanivel, tied him to post and informed police. DSP Veliappan, inspector A Arumugam, sub-inspector Veeramuthu and other police personnel reached the spot immediately.

The woman was lying in a pool of blood after the brutal assault. Police rushed her to Attur Government Hospital in an ambulance. After first-aid, she was shifted to the Salem hospital for further treatment.

“We were sleeping outside our house when we heard the cries. We rushed to her house immediately,” said a neighbor.

Doctors at the Salem hospital said the woman’s condition is stable. “She is suffering from bleeding. But her health condition is stable at present. She was able to converse with others after the initial treatment,” said Dr R Vallinayakam, dean of the hospital.

Malliyakarai police registered a case and arrested Palanivel. He has been charged under Sections 448 (house-trespass), 376 (rape) and 506 (1) (criminal intimidation) of IPC, and Section III of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Act of 1989. He was produced before Attur judicial magistrate and sent to Salem central prison. Police said Palanivel had married twice and had four children.

New Delhi: A two-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a 23-year-old neighbour inside her house, police said on Sunday. The man has been arrested.

The incident was reported from Adarsh Nagar area in north Delhi and occurred when the child was alone at home on Saturday evening. A neighbour, who chanced upon the crime, raised an alarm following which the accused fled.

The girl was taken to hospital where the assault was confirmed. Police said accused Shiva, a labourer, was arrested from his house on Sunday morning.

 

 

How many skeletons can Narendra Modi fit in his closet?


Two biographies of the desperately aspiring Narendra Modi are reminders that Gujarat’s ‘CEO’ can’t hide from his grisly past, argues Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

18-05-2013, Issue 20 Volume

Photo: AFPPhoto: AFP

With a substantial section of the Indian media choosing to hype the upcoming 16th General Election as an American presidential style contest between Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, it is not surprising that popular interest in the controversial leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has grown exponentially in recent months. Predictably, two journalist-authors and their publishers have sought to ride the crest of this wave of interest about a person who is arguably the most divisive and deeply contentious political personality in India at present.

It is, of course, a separate matter altogether that Modi’s attempts to project himself as a potential prime minister of the world’s largest democracy may well come to nought and his endeavours at playing a wider role in national politics outside Gujarat may prove to be more bluff and bluster than hard realpolitik. It is also very likely that if he is indeed sought to be projected as the tallest leader of the BJP, he will run into considerable opposition from not just within his own party, but, more importantly, from within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition headed by the BJP. There is a real and present danger that the NDA may implode if Modi acquires the stature that he apparently seeks, an outcome that would likely result in the coalition’s next largest constituent, the Janata Dal (United) led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, breaking ranks with the BJP.

The Namo Story Kingshuk Nag Roli Books 208 pp; 295The Namo Story
Kingshuk Nag
Roli Books
208 pp; 295

Even more significant is the fact that it will be extremely difficult — rather impossible — for a so-called national political party and one of its important leaders to aspire to lead a heterogeneous country like India on a Hindu nationalist agenda after alienating one out of seven of the country’s citizens who believe in some variant or the other of the Islamic faith. Despite his best efforts at wooing them in his state, Muslims in India have a visceral hatred for Modi and this is hardly a secret inside and outside the BJP. In fact, as many political analysts have argued, the best bet for the Congress is to have a strong Modi in Gujarat, for this automatically ensures that Muslims and a section of ‘liberal’ Hindus remain distant from the BJP.

As Kingshuk Nag points out right in the beginning of The NaMo Story — much shorter and more tightly written than Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay’s Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times — there is perhaps no one in the country who is indifferent to Modi: you either love him or you hate him. His personality is not amenable to dissection in nuanced shades of grey. There are no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ as far as the Gujarat chief minister is concerned. Nag is clear where he stands. He is certain (as is this reviewer, who has been quoted in The NaMo Story) that Modi will never ever be able to live down the fact that he presided over an administration that oversaw the genocide of at least 700 Muslims, most of them in Gujarat’s capital Ahmedabad, in a three-month period between late- February and early-May 2002. The ghosts of the not-too-distant past will invariably return to haunt Modi over and over again, no matter how hard he tries to change his public image to that of a go-getting, pro-business leader, the chief executive officer of an industrialised and commerce-friendly state. Some of his overtures have borne fruit: it is hardly surprising that he is the only leader who has been showered with so many accolades by corporate captains, who otherwise prefer to play coy about disclosing their preferences about political leaders.

Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay Tranquebar 420 pp; 495Narendra Modi: The
Man, The Times
Nilanjan
Mukhopadhyay
Tranquebar
420 pp; 495

Mukhopadhyay is more ambivalent in his condemnation of Modi, although it would be unfair to describe his book as either a hagiography or an authorised biography of Modi. He goes to great length to explain what motivated him to behave the way he did and what went through his brain when he chose to ask certain questions (and not ask others) while he interacted with the protagonist of his book. The author tries hard to establish his credentials as an objective political analyst. Given that he had written an earlier book on the December 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid (The Demolition: India at the Crossroads), he has sought to situate the rise of Modi in the BJP in the broader historical context of the emergence of political Hindutva. That he should describe himself as persona non grata in Modi’s world is more a reflection of the intolerance of the Gujarat chief minister than the author’s attempt to portray the latter’s ‘human’ side.

But what is especially disappointing is that Mukhopadhyay has chosen to either completely ignore or play down substantially the views of certain individuals. Such people include the journalist-activist Teesta Setalvad and dancer-activist Mallika Sarabhai. One may or may not endorse their views, but for them to be ignored altogether in a book about Modi took this reviewer by surprise. Even stranger is the fact that there is hardly a mention in the book of a certain Maya Kodnani, former minister for women and child development in Modi’s government and state legislator from Naroda, who is now behind bars for her abhorrent role in the communal riots — the only woman and the only MLA to be convicted so far.

Nag, on the other hand, has highlighted how the Gujarat chief minister sought to become a votary of economic liberalisation and small government as he rose above his humble, low-caste origins in a relatively underprivileged family. The person who was not a particularly bright student in a nondescript school later became an ardent advocate of the use of ‘hi-tech’ in his election campaigns. From serving tea to wearing designer kurtas, the metamorphosis of Modi from a servile small-time party worker to a egoistic megalomaniac is documented. Nag also points out instances of corruption and crony capitalism in Modi’s government despite his claims of running a squeaky-clean administration.

Both authors have written about Modi’s ‘hidden’ wife to whom he was betrothed at a young age, but never lived with. And both books expectedly end somewhat abruptly. For Modi’s story is far from over. Nag rightly wonders if he was prescient when he told a gathering of well-heeled businessmen from across the world that he hoped to be meeting them again in the January 2015 edition of ‘Vibrant Gujarat!’

letters@tehelka.com

Change.org — Cat is out of the Bag


Change.org  Cat is out of the Bag, so let’s stop playing Ping Pong

May 12, Mumbai- Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Kractivism

  Its official now

After months of testing, Change.org is ready to launch a new revenue model that is geared to consumers, not organizations. By targeting consumers, the change.org team expects to pull in steady revenues in smaller dollar amounts. Contributions are capped at $1,000 per user per petition, but beta tests found that 98 percent of contributions were under $100. During the test period, a total of 5800 people contributed to promoted petitions. Read more here Now anyone can sponsor a petition on change.org

This is how petitions can be promoted and sponsored

Promoted Petitions allow anyone to promote their favorite petitions to Change.org users who may not otherwise come across them. Similar to promoted posts on Facebook or promoted tweets on Twitter, Promoted Petitions allows users to pay to feature any petition to other users on the site.

Sponsored Campaigns are similar to Promoted Petitions, but structured slightly differently to help organizations establish long-term relationships with Change.org users who are passionate about their work and sign their campaigns. Each Sponsored Campaign has an opt-in box allowing users to agree to find out more information about the sponsoring organization after signing. Organizations ready to connect with their next generation of supporters can head to Change.org for Organizations to learn more.

My open letter to Ben Rattray, last October, was precisely about this , #India- Open letter to #BenRattray, #CEO, #Change.org – “Et tu Brutus” #kracktivism when they announced change in advertising policies that ,there is no confusion that change.org is  not a business for a social cause but  like any for profit , they are making money on our database.

Now after my expose.#India – Change.org : Campaign Victory’s exposed #Vaw #Socialmedia, wherein I bought to notice two conflicting petitions on the same platform. I did get a reply on a tumblr.com  site ???  Wondering why  change .org  could not the responses  reply on an  official change.org site?  Also the tumblr.com   site with no  option to comment ,   My question,to   India director,  change.org Avijit Michael, that by replying to me, on another change/org staffs personal blog , with no option to comment,   this how change.org proposes to have a public engagement ?

The fact that  it was only after  I  pointed out that  two conflicting petitions, change.org looked into the matter and found that the  petition of voyeuristic  journalists managed  thousands  signatures by fraud  . They  have informed Information and Broadcasting  Ministry . Interesting but what if they would not be informed, will they know will  then and will they take action ?

For once let me make it clear I do not have a personal vendetta against change.org and neither people are confused by allegations they are concerned.

Here is a  Hoot investigative story on  change.org and how it operates  notes , Deconstructing Change.org

Change.org believes that to get the desired impact, online petitions should be supported by on ground action, exposure in local media and interactions with decision makers. However, in many cases, the offline or on-ground mobilisation may be completely missing, thus putting a question mark on sustainability of the impact generated. For instance, a petition by Video Volunteers against a discriminatory practice in a Rajasthan village where a traditional practice of Dalit women carrying their footwear in their hands while crossing the houses of upper caste families garnered 5,480 signatures.

Acting on the petition, the District Collector along with other officials held a meeting in the village apprising them of the law banning caste discrimination and ordered that the practice be disallowed. However, the villagers did not even know that there was a campaign running on this issue and unknown people were playing their saviours over the Internet. The impact has been that the Dalits are now much more scared to talk about the discrimination, as mentioned by this report in Times of India. Herman refutes this claim, saying that the correspondent of Video Volunteers had mobilised Dalit women against this practice and villagers might be scared of talking to the media due to local power equations. However, independent inquiries made by The Hoot confirm that the action taken by the officials was solely on the basis of the online petition and there was no local campaign against the practice.

I will let the responses to my  expose on change.org speak for itself. I got many emails, facebook messages , some of them are below

आपने जो उदाहरण दिया है उससे स्‍पष्‍ट है कि कोई भी चेंज डॉट ओआरजी का दुरुपयोग कर सकता है। वैसे भी ये या तो व्‍यवसाय कर सकते हैं या सामाजिक बदलाव में कोई भूमिका निभा सकते हैं। और किसी को भ्रम नहीं होना चाहिए कि ये प्‍लेटफॉर्म सामाजिक बदलाव के लिए है। it’s really selling you and me on change dot org. –sandeepsamvad, new delhi, emaiil

it is hard to believe that change.org is not selling signatures as you have not completely denied when you said “Kamayani’s claim that we sell email addresses to sponsors is also incorrect. Our business model has been clearly outlined on the site. We allow our users to voluntarily opt-in to receive mailing from organisations via sponsored petitions.”there is a strong reason for not believing your words as in first instance you said in your reply “partly because one of them was the subject to anattempt at fraud and manipulation over the last week — almost 5000 signatures were added by two IP addresses” AND in very next line you say ” We have multiple levels of systemic checks to prevent this kind of abuse and ensurethat the integrity of our platform is maintained. The fraudulent signatureshave already been removed to reflect the count of genuine signatures.” WHAT HAPPEND TO THE MULTIPLE LEVELS OF SYSTEMIC CHECKS when peoples were signing petitions from one IP , in this case you have deleted signatures but how do we believe that other “victories” petitions are signed by individuals ;with this whole incident I think there are strong flaws on change.org , you have believed , trusted and took actions on almost all points Kamayani higlighted and on other hand you said “We completely respect Kamayani’s right to a different view, although we regret that she is spreading misinformation about Change.org”

I would have trusted on your words , if you would have removed this fraudulent signature petition and all other such petitions;I myself have written a petition and I know it is very difficult for us to raise a issue and bring in people to spend a time and sign it ; with this whole incidence of Change.org my belief on online petitions is shattered .lastly I perceive it in this way and that is , I think you also believe less  on change.org , as you chose Tumbler to highlight such a big news about your own website .I am hoping for a fair dialogue about this whole issues with a thread of previous emails and replies on change.org homepage so that truth must come out …

( Rahul Deveshwar on Facebook )

Change.org platform is no longer on the side of justice, but neutral in the fight against oppression, and hence, has actually taken the side of the oppressor…( Aashish Gupta  via email)

The idea that the  change.org makes no judgment on the type of petition seems a bit strange. Do they not have some sort of system of checks and balances? How many people sign things just on trust? I know I have done. To personalise the mistake (if it was a mistake) that they may have made to an individual who points out the inconsistency of their position on a specific petition seems to me a policy of “shoot the messenger” No petition is a trivial issue to those who take the trouble of starting one, or signing one. Motives would seem a significant factor. therefore this personalisation also would appear to have a motive. Is the organisation afraid of criticism? In which case the attack on an individual would seem logical. Why could not have change.org  provided a coherent answer to the inconsistency highlighted and not personalise the matter to an individual. It is those who work on the ground with people who matter, the idea of holding “people power and democracy in high regard” seems to me bullshit, and appears to appeal to interest groups who have a neo liberal agenda of control.
Kamayani I think all such organisations to me are suspect and anyone who points a finger that may expose their inconsistencies would be demonised in some way. specially such democracy movements of recent past seem to have had bloody results when western interests are threatened, Middle East, Pakistan orange revolution etc etc come to mind. There is sometimes more at stake than rights of people and that is the jobs of those who run these corporate “rights” organisations almost across the world and they would always go with their sponser, who would be western based or financed.  Kamayani, May be you have touched a brick that could shake the edifice ? I am frankly unconvinced by Change-org’s response, and as a user of Change in the past, may be forced to rethink my use of this platform. The simple question that bothers me is: how ‘neutral’ can such a platform be? If there is a petition demanding action against, say, Hindutva hate-speech or anti-dalit violence, will Change also host a petition by the same accused persons, as long as the language they use is not ‘hateful’? I would be much more comfortable with a clear, though broad, policy by such a platform.   I have closed by change.org account  (Satish Barot on FB)

” I am a little shocked that we bothered Mr. Tumbler. When I think, you own change.org. It would be more official when you post it there. Innit ?” (Harish Iyer, Facebook)

I am frankly unconvinced by Change-org’s response, and as a user of Change in the past, may be forced to rethink my use of this platform. The simple question that bothers me is: how ‘neutral’ can such a platform be? If there is a petition demanding action against, say, Hindutva hate-speech or anti-dalit violence, will Change also host a petition by the same accused persons, as long as the language they use is not ‘hateful’? I would be much more comfortable with a clear, though broad, policy by such a platform.    ( Kavita Krishnan, New Delhi email )

I completely agree that the case of the NALSAR students whose privacy was invaded and who were morally policed by these mediapeople shows exactly why change.orgshould not accept petitions from all sources. Many of us followed Kamayani’s use of change.org because we believed the organization had an explicit pro-justice bias in the campaigns it took on. Having change.org be a neutral platform to be used by anybody, or accepting paid sponsorships means that the platform indeed becomes something like Facebook – a profit seeking platform which we can use but which is not by itself an ally. I urge change.org to discard labels like neutrality, openness and democracy- all of which are used in our current socioeconomic system to mean that those with money will have the loudest voice – and to take an explicit stand on promoting justice through their petitions…( Kaveri, Bangalore )

It is sad that every space has been taken over by the BUSINESS and MONEY MAKERS…. we think we are playing in a free ground but that ground is also owned by the same corrupt minds… Amir Rizvi, Mumbai

It is indeed time that the issue about online petitions was addressed in more detail. Having read your blog and the response by change.org leaves me to conclude that change.org is definitely on the back foot as it has not bothered to explain the selling of email ID’s names etc for proit to other NGO’s. This is the business model of all the online petition sites and that is how they manage to have fancy pay packages for their employees and maintain their infrastructure. Sure, change.org may well be a technology oriented, democratic organization, but that does not absolve it from carrying out unethical practices.

The argument that change.org allows opt-in is not a favor done by the organization towards its users. It is legally mandated that such services should opt-in rather than opt-out services (throw back to Google, Facebook and other litigation’s and their results)

What happens to these online petitions (apart from creating a few seconds of “awareness”) is also debatable. I wonder if change.org has devised any metric to track what effect their online petitions have made. Being a “technology driven” organization, they should have the the means to track the effects of their petitions and should release such audits from time to time to their users.

In summary, the business model of change.org appears to be simply that of any other aggregator/mass e-mailer. To cloak this behind a veil of social consciousness and activism is doing dis-service to others who actually get their hands dirty doing real work and not sit behind computer terminals in air-conditioned offices selling their databases to the highest bidder. (Anuj Wankhede, Delhi)

I am completely with you and also understand the concern you raised in your narration. Media being one of the institutions operated and controlled by capitalist and patriarchal values certainly is not going to take pro-women, pro-equality stand. The argument of change.org that they provide space for ‘activism’ seem to be not true unless they take a critical position on issues being raised in and through their space. What if tomorrow anti-women, anti-dalits, anti-muslims, anti-abortion, anti-poor, anti-rights, anti-tribal, anti-minority people start putting up their petitions through change.org? What would be the position of owners/facilitators of this space?

Request to change.org from my side is to upload their position on many of the issues they feel are the result of inequalities, historic and systemic nature of discrimination, coercive hierarchies and culture of violence. Anand Pawar, Pune

Change.org has crossed the line between change-making and profit-making  .

So people are not confused by my expose ,but more concerned !

When Rape is not Rape #Vaw #Womenrights


 Adrienne Rich`s #Rape- but the hysteria in your voice pleases him best #poem #Vaw

Majlis Team, Mumbai

Sometime around August, 2012* newspapers reported that a 14 year old girl was raped. The girl was 8 months pregnant and had been admitted to hospital. The rapist, a Muslim youth, was arrested. We decided to follow up the case and so approached the concerned hospital but were informed that the girl had been discharged. We then contacted the local police station who directed us to the girl’s  home.

Our first image of Monica was that of a very pregnant, chirpy and vivacious teenager. She was at home chatting with some friends around her own age. Her mother was away at work. Monica lives on the attic of a hutment in the fisherman’s colony, situated in one of the posh areas of South Mumbai. When we enquired about the incident she told us that Iqbal was her boyfriend and that they were to be married. According to her, there was some misunderstanding and Iqbal would be released soon. She seemed quite relaxed and oblivious of the gravity of the situation. Her only request was for us to help her meet Iqbal in the Arthur Road jail where he was lodged.

We introduced our work on socio legal support and as she grew comfortable she revealed her story. Monica’s father had abandoned them and was living with another woman in a slum nearby. Her mother worked a 12 hour shift as a private helper-nurse. Her father continued to visit their place in a drunken state. He would beat up her mother and demand money and sex from her. In her growing up years, Monica had been traumatized by these recurring incidents of violence.

Initially Monica attended a local municipal school but after school hours she had to fend for herself till her mother returned from work. Monica couldn’t cope and so she dropped out of school. She would then spend the entire day with her friends who were also school drop outs.

Soon Monica got into a relationship with Iqbal aged 20. He lived in a nearby slum and worked as a driver earning Rs.15,000 per month. Iqbal would visit Monica at home when her mother was away at work. It was only when Monica visited a public hospital with stomach pains that she realized she was five months pregnant. She had crossed the permissible period for abortion and hence had no choice but to continue with the pregnancy.

Monica’s mother was very upset. She approached Iqbal’s family and proposed marriage. However Iqbal’s family rejected the proposal of marriage of their son to a lowly Christian girl. But Monica was confident of her relationship and convinced her mother that in due course of time Iqbal would surely marry her. Her mother had no choice but to bide time.

As her pregnancy advanced, Monica continued to suffer from acute abdominal pain. It was thus in her eighth month Monica again approached another public hospital. At the registration counter, Monica was asked routine questions about her age and marital status. On realizing that she was 14 and unmarried, the hospital, without her knowledge, contacted the local police and all hell broke loose!

When the police arrived Monica’s mother tried desperately to convince them that they were in a relationship and were to be married soon. But the doctors insisted that it was a case of statutory rape (as Monica was below the age of consent). The police and doctors compelled her to file a criminal complaint.

Iqbal was arrested. The news was splashed in local newspapers and cable networks. Iqbal was immediately sacked from his job. He was the sole earning member of his family, so the family was furious with Monica and her mother and blamed them for his misfortune.

Monica pleaded with us to help her meet Iqbal in jail.  We tried counseling her and placed various options before her. Give the baby up for abortion, pursue her studies.  We suggested her moving to a shelter so that she could distance herself from the situation and reflect and explore her options. Her mother liked the idea, but Monica was not interested. Marriage was the only reality for her. Every time there was a pause in the conversation, she kept asking whether we will help her to meet Iqbal in jail. She had even come with cooked food to take for him.   However the jail authorities informed us that only blood relatives were allowed to meet under trials. The fact that she was carrying his blood in her stomach, did not matter at this juncture!

Then started the legal rigmarole. Iqbal’s family hired an expensive lawyer. Under his advice Monica personally appeared before the judge to plead for the release of Iqbal. They promised to arrange her marriage as soon as he was released. But this strategy did not work and even bail was not granted, so Iqbal remained in judicial custody. Monica attended court on each date to have a brief interaction with Iqbal despite her advanced pregnancy and health issues, but every time the bail application was rejected, his family grew more antagonistic towards Monica.

After several bail applications were rejected, the lawyer advised Monica  to stop contacting us as they feared that being a women’s  rights organisation our only interest would be to secure a conviction. But Monica’s mother kept in touch. Somehow she felt that we could mediate between the police, the court and Iqbal’s family to secure the future of her daughter.

As the charge sheet was getting filed, Monica delivered a baby girl. The trial started four months later.  Monica came to court carrying her tiny daughter in her arms, both fully covered in a Hijab! Perhaps, she thought, this would give her a semblance of respectability within the court environment or that by accepting the cultural norms of Iqbal’s family she would gain acceptability.

The trial concluded within two hearings. There was nothing much to decide. Monica turned hostile and deposed on oath that she does not know Iqbal, that it was a case of mistaken identity by the police. Everyone cooperated – the Investigating Officer, the woman public prosecutor, the court staff, and even the judge herself! Iqbal was acquitted. We have not been able to contact Monica or her mother thereafter. We do not know whether Iqbal actually married her.

This is a case where a young girl with multiple levels of marginalization tries to find a meaningful resolution on her own terms. She is then caught in a web of state laws and its moral codes. Young girls in consensual relationships, who accidentally get caught in this legal web will have no other option but to turn hostile in court.

More recently, the situation of girls like Monica has been rendered even more precarious. The recently enacted Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 prohibits all sexual activity for children below 18, as consent of children is not recognised. It also introduced the provision of mandatory reporting, hence non reporting of sexual activity of children below the age of 18 has been now rendered an offence.

The Act aims to deal with child marriage, rape and trafficking of children and is based on the  underlying premise that a young girl is incapable of giving valid consent. However these same girl are routinely exposed to discrimination, vulnerabilities and a range of exploitations.  Women’s groups appealed to protect the interest of these children and campaigned, not to criminalise normal sexual exploration during growing up years. But in the fight with a conservative and regressive moral brigade, we lost.

When will state and civil society begin to take responsibility and address marginalities of poor young girls rather than sitting on a moral high ground, and criminalizing its consequences? What is the future that awaits these young girls?

*The names of both the survivor and the accused as well as the month in which the newspaper report appeared, have been changed to protect the identity.

 

Mexican Indigenous Moms Pushed, Pulled by Fertility #Vaw #Womenrights


By Vania Smith-Oka

WeNews guest author

Mexican Indigenous women

 

Credit: Shawna Nelles on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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(WOMENSENEWS)–Most women in Amatlan consider themselves, their neighbors and their friends to be good mothers.

Almost all the women in the community labor in the domestic sphere–they cook the food, wash the clothes and generally look after the house and children. Making lonches — lunches for the men in the fields and for the school-age children — is an integral part of their mothering. A good mother frets about what she is feeding her children. Though the terms the women use to talk about each other’s mothering are similar to the good-bad dichotomy used by the main­stream, their interpretations and the reasons behind their interpretations are more nuanced.

For the state, good mothers follow the rules, have few children and invest in them emotionally; they are also expected to live in a nuclear family. For the women I met, good motherhood entailed a significant amount of investment, but also drawing from one’s extended-kin network to achieve a child’s success; abuelas and ahuis (grandmothers and aunts) were frequently key to the socialization process of any child . . .

Not Suffering in Silence

In Amatlan, many mothers suffer alongside, or because of, their children. While marianismo – -the all-suffering, passive motherhood epitomized in the Virgin Mary — is very present in many corners of Latin America, it is not much in evidence in this region. The mothers who do struggle with their children neither view themselves as martyrs nor do they suffer in silence.

Esperanza often despaired at the laziness of her son Adrian, one day exclaiming, “He is no use to me here. He should go away to work but he doesn’t want to. I don’t know what to do with him.” I suggested, “You should stop feeding him.” She replied, laughing, “That’s true, then he’ll go away. . . . [If he is here] I worry when he doesn’t get back [or] whether he has been beaten or something. But when he is far away I don’t worry. My head can rest.”

All the mothers I spoke with worried about their children’s future. Emma said, regarding one of her sons who was attending university in the city of Morelia, “A student is a lot of money. My son always asks me for money, 70 pesos, or 50, and it is a lot of money. As he doesn’t work. . . . And when there is money we can [help] but often there is none. I tell [my husband] to go to Mexico and to work in a house, or as a bricklayer, to make some money.” She added with a smile, “But he says he is too old.”

Women in Amatlan were the primary caregivers to children, whether their own or their extended kin; their main duties were domestic. Emma’s eldest daughter, Cristina, irritably pointed out that mothers, and women, had to do everything with never any rest.

Exhausting Anxieties

She constantly worried about her children and hoped that they would be able to make something of their lives. But her anxiety was exhausting, as she said, extending her emotion to all aspects of motherhood:

“It’s just that as women we have to do everything, get pregnant and be nauseated for the first few months and when everything makes you feel sick. And [cleaning] the pigsty made me feel so sick. And then in the last [months] it is difficult to stand up and do everything. It is so much trouble. And then the pain of the birth, and to breastfeed, and to get up to change the baby in the middle of the night. Your husband is happily asleep but not you. And then to have to control yourself so you don’t get pregnant. We [women] have to do everything. There is only the condom and the vasectomy for men, but they don’t want them. We have to do it if we don’t want to get pregnant. And well, one has to satisfy the husband and also not have so many children.”

This centrality of women as caregivers and men as providers is echoed in the structure of Oportunidades, a federal social assistance program in Mexico. When some of the men of the village on occasion asked to receive the money alongside the women, they were scolded by the authorities and told that it was only for the women. They were told that they should work, not be lazy and support their families. This response somehow implied that women’s natural job at the home could be rewarded and encouraged with money, but men needed to be out in the public sphere without complaint.

Excerpted from the new book, “Shaping the Motherhood of Indigenous Mexico,” by Vania Smith-Oka, published by Vanderbilt University Press, 2013. Reprinted with permission. For more information:www.VanderbiltUniversityPress.com.

 

UIDAI Lucknow office under Supreme Court panel lens for ‘casteism’ #Aadhaar


Arunav Sinha , TNN | May 12, 2013, 03.48 AM
LUCKNOW: Taking cognizance of complaints of ‘ casteism’ practised allegedly within the precincts of the Lucknow regional office of Unique Identification Authority of India, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes has asked UIDAI’s regional office, Lucknow to submit a probe report and action it intends to take by May 21.
The May 7 letter issued by the NCSC state office for UP and Uttarakhand seeks the response of the UIDAI Lucknow office by May 21, 2013. TOI has a copy of the letter issued by the NCSC.
The letter’s footnote reads further, “National Commission for Scheduled Castes is a constitutional authority. You are expected to respond within stipulated time, failing which the commission will be constrained to invoke constitutional powers to deal with the matter.”
In his 13-point complaint (a copy of which is with TOI) submitted before the NCSC, a former quality control operator at UIDAI, Vijay Kumar, has alleged he was “harassed” as he is a dalit. In one of the 13 points, he states, “Abhishek Mishra, Assistant, had on a number of occasions prevented me from drinking water before others as I am a dalit. Once when I told Abhishek Mishra about the water cooler not functioning properly, he snubbed me saying if the water cooler is not working properly, I should not complain and instead find some other source for drinking water.”
When contacted, ADG CS Mishra confirmed having received a letter from NCSC, and said, “A probe would be conducted and stringent action would be taken against anyone who is found guilty.”
Vijay also claims that nepotism is rampant in UIDAI. “The blue-eyed boys of assistant director generals (ADGs) CS Mishra and Ashutosh Ojha enjoy a comfortable position in office.” He adds, “The two ADGs and Abhishek Mishra call the shots in this office and routinely harass the staffers. It was precisely the reason I did not dare to open my mouth against them, as I was in an extremely defenceless position.”
Expressing his fear, Vijay says, “I fear threat to life from these senior officials at UIDAI’s Lucknow regional office and they may frame false charges against me. Sadly, my tormentor has been asked to investigate and take action. I hope I get justice.”
Adding weight to the claims of Vijay, four other former staffers of UIDAI Lucknow, who were “sacked”, have lodged a complaint before the National Human Rights Commission alleging harassment by the two ADGs and the assistant. TOI has a copy of the NHRC complaint as well. All the complaints are currently under consideration of the NHRC.
Debashish Gargory, one of the five complainants, says, “We have been made to suffer as we did not follow the diktats of these officials, especially Abhishek Mishra, who works at the behest of the two ADGs.” Gargory adds, “We even tried to raise our concerns before the senior officials of UIDAI Headquarter but we did not get any response to our emails. Finally, on April 13, we decided to move the National Human Rights Commission.” He also alleged manipulating of attendance in the office, and ADGs turning blind eye to it.
As if the complaints of alleged harassment were not enough to highlight a seemingly sad facet of the UIDAI, a number of RTIs addressed to the UID headquarters Delhi and Lucknow regional office also indicate that all is certainly not well.
In one of the RTI applications, the applicant has sought information regarding the justification of providing high-end mobile phones and staff cars to officers who are not eligible for the same. Several other questions in the RTI applications (copy with TOI) hint at rules being possibly tweaked in the name of running a “project”.

 

 

#India – Is the Mechanism for Appointment of Judges Working?


May 11, 2013

Supreme CourtBy S Farman Ahmad Naqvi,

The question regarding how to appoint judges at the High Courts and Supreme Court has been bothering not just the top echelons of judiciary in India but the executive too. Though the “collegium system” which appoints judges has been in place for quite some time now, there have been murmurs of dissatisfaction over the practice in different quarters.

The collegium system – which is followed in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts, has recently been challenged in the Supreme Court. The petitioner, Rajasthan-based Suraz India Trust wants the court to declare the system “ultra vires” and “unconstitutional” because the constitution does not mention it anywhere and it has been brought into existence through the judgments of the Supreme Court. The bench, which heard the matter, referred it to the Chief Justice of India for “appropriate direction” as the petition rose “complicated legal issues.” On its part, the government has said that the matter required reconsideration.

Recently on 1st May 2013, in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Minister of Law & Justice, said that representations have been made by various agencies and expert bodies to review/change the present procedure of appointment of judges. Based on the suggestions received, there is a proposal to establish a broad based Judicial Appointments Commission. However, no decision has been taken by the Government so far, Dr. Kumar informed the House. He also informed the house that the appointment of Judges to High Courts and Supreme Court is based on a Memorandum of Procedure for Appointment of Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts* (see at http://doj.gov.in/sites/default/files/memosc.pdf ) prepared in 1998 pursuant to the Supreme Court Judgment of October 6, 1993 read with their Advisory Opinion of October 28, 1998.

How the collegium system came into being is very remarkable. In a decision rendered by a seven-judge Constitution Bench in S.P. Gupta Vs. Union of India (AIR 1982 SC 149), the majority held that „consultation? does not mean „concurrence? and ruled further that the concept of primacy of the Chief Justice of India is not really to be found in the Constitution. It was held that proposal for appointment to High Court can emanate from any of the four constitutional functionaries mentioned in Article 217 – and not necessarily from the Chief Justice of the High Court. This decision had the effect of unsettling the balance till then obtaining between the executive and judiciary in the matter of appointment. The balance titled in favour of the executive. Not only the office of the Chief Justice of India got diminished in importance, the role of judiciary as a whole in the matter of appointments became less and less.

After this judgment, certain appointments were made by the Executive over-ruling the advice of the Chief Justice of India. Naturally, this state of affairs developed its own backlash. In 1993, a nine-Judges Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association Vs. Union of India (1993(4)SCC 441) over ruled the decision in S.P. Gupta. The nine-Judges Bench (with majority of seven) not only overruled S.P. Gupta’s case but also devised a specific procedure for appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court in the Interest of “protecting the integrity and guarding the independence of the judiciary.” For the some reason, the primacy of the Chief Justice of India was held to be essential. It held that the recommendation in that behalf should be made by the Chief Justice of India in consultation with his two senior-most colleagues and that such recommendation should normally be given effect to by the executive. Elaborate reasons were recorded in support of the proposition that selection of judges must be in the hands of the judiciary in this country and how the systems prevailing in other countries are alien to our constitutional system.

One of the judges relied upon Article 50 of the Constitution which speaks of separation of judiciary and executive and excluded any executive say in the matter of appointment to safeguard the „cherished concept of independence.” It held at the same time that it was open to the executive to ask the Chief Justice of India and his two colleagues to reconsider the matter, if they have any objection to the name recommended but if, on such reconsideration, the Chief Justice of India and his two colleagues reiterated the recommendation, the executive was bound to make the appointment.

Reaction to this judicial assertion of power has not been uniform. In short, the power of appointment passed into the hands of judiciary and the role of the executive became merely formal. The 1993 decision was reaffirmed in 1998 [1998(7) SCC 739] in a unanimous opinion rendered by a nine-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court on a reference being made by the President under Article 143 of the Constitution. All the basic conclusions of the majority in the 1993 decision were reaffirmed.

There was, however, some variation. It was held that the recommendation should be made by the Chief Justice of India and his four senior-most colleagues (instead of the Chief Justice of India and his two senior-most colleagues) and further that Judges of the Supreme Court hailing from the High Court to while the proposed name comes from must also be consulted. In fact, the Chief Justice of India and his four senior-most colleagues are now generally referred to as the “Collegium” for the purpose of appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court.

The present collegium system of appointment of judges of Supreme Court and High Courts has resulted in an anomaly in as much as the executive no longer has to share any responsibility in filling up vacancies, the entire responsibility being that of the collegium. It appears that this system had outlived its life and its pessimistically failed to fulfill the aspirations of people.

At the Congress party’s national convention on “Law, Justice and the Common Man”, union urban development minister and party veteran S. Jaipal Reddy raised serious doubts on the Supreme Court’s Collegium system of judicial appointment? “The current system of judicial appointment is faulty; it is faulty because it is opaque. The opacity of this system attracts charges of nepotism and lack of transparency. The government is bringing a legislation (the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill), which should address this sense of grief over the conduct and reputation of judges and the manner of their appointment,” Reddy said. (http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report. Mar 28, 2010.)

Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha and a senior Advocate of Supreme Court Mr. Arun Jaitley said the collegium system was better than executive appointing judges and he would never advocate executive interference in judiciary. “But the collegium system of appointing judges too lacks in terms of quality and integrity. The standard needs to be improved far more,” He said.

“I have always preferred a National Judicial Commission where judiciary has primacy, executive participates and includes some eminent citizens who act in safeguarding public interest,” he added. Time of India Aug 29, 2011.

One of the country’s top legal luminaries Fali S. Nariman while speaking at National Law University (New Delhi) made bold exposure on drawbacks of collegiums-system of appointing judges. The speech delivered in presence of Chief Justice of India directly hinted at personal equations and not merit being followed in recommending elevation of judges at Supreme Court. Eminent lawyer gave two recent examples which echo views of right-thinking persons of the civil society. First was superseding country’s known-distinguished judge Justice A P Shah in his elevation as Supreme Court Judges, who retired in February 2010 from Delhi High Court. Fali S. Nariman justified his comments with example of Justice A.K. Patnaik who after being overlooked three times, was at last elevated to Supreme Court just after retirement of the collegium-member opposing him from the Supreme Court. (http://www.merinwes.com Nov 22, 2009).

As the matter was relating to Supreme Court Judge’s appointment and was raised by one of the country’s top legal luminaries Mr. Fali S. Nariman, it caught the eyes of media. However, there are hundreds and thousands of cases relating to appointment of Judges of High Courts either from the higher judiciary or from the bar, where anomalies are abundantly caused but they go unnoticed being found unimportant.

Justice P.N. Bhagwati in conversation with Padmaparna Ghosh while answering the question, “does the collegium system work?” had unequivocally said that “this system does not work satisfactorily. I am not in favour of it. I don’t know that the truth is but going by rumours, bargaining goes on between the collegium judges. People are losing confidence in the mode of appointing judges. Therefore, it is necessary to change it.” (http://indiatoday.intoday.in published on August 29, 2011).

Former Delhi High Court’s Chief Justice A.P. Shah, who could not make it to the apex court, quotes Justice Ruma Pal, formerly Supreme Court judge to say that the process by which a judge is presently appointed to the high court or the Supreme Court is ”one of the best kept secrets in the country”. The constitution dealing with the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court (Article 124) and the high court (Article 217) says that the President would appoint such judges in consultation with other judges. Justice Shah, whose elevation to the Supreme Court was said to have been stalled, says the present system of judicial appointments in the constitutional courts exemplifies the „misalignment? between the core values of judicial independence and accountability. “Our current appointments system is out of step with democratic culture primarily because it lacks transparency, and provides for no oversight. Choosing judges based on undisclosed criterion in largely unknown circumstances reflect an increasing democratic deficit,” Justice Shah points out. He calls for taking lessons from other countries like the UK and South Africa where a transparent process of appointment of judges is followed, while maintaining judicial independence. “International consensus seems to favour appointments to the higher judiciary through an independent commission,” he says. Probably, that is why former Delhi High Court Judge R.S. Sodhi feels the collegium system has not been able to deliver so far. He dubs it as „a total failure?, when it comes to inducting judges of quality. “Keeping the system of appointment of judges within the four walls of collegium has given rise to a lot of criticism like uncle-and-son-syndrome,” Justice Sodhi opines. (http://www.deccanherald.com 20 November 2011).

 

The anomalies are such which ultimately resulting in nepotism, favoritism and casteism although to curb these anomalies? the collegium system was devised in 1993 in the case of Supreme Court Advocates-on-record Association and others Vs. the Union of India and others, by the Supreme Court. The prime reason of Nepotism is unnecessary secrecy adopted in these appointments, and granting free hand to some individuals who are not accountable to any one of their mistakes or calm over mistakes.

Here I deem it appropriate to quote a passage from a judgment of Supreme Court reported in (2010) 7Supreme Court Cases 502 = STPL (Web) 539 SC 7 Hari Singh Nagra Vs. Kapil Sibal where the Court while dealing a contempt plea raised against Sri Kapil Sibal had observed; “There is no manner of doubt that Judges are accountable to the society and their accountability must be judged by their conscience and oath of their office. Any criticism about the judicial system or the judges which hampers the administration of justice or brings administration of justice into ridicule must be prevented. The contempt of court proceedings arise out of that attempt. National interest requires that all criticisms of the judiciary must be strictly rational and sober and proceed from the highest motives without being coloured by any partisan spirit or tactics. There is no manner of doubt that freedom of expression as contemplated by Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution is available to the Press and to criticize a judgment fairly albeit fiercely is no crime but a necessary right. A fair and reasonable criticism of a judgment which is a public document or which is a public act of a Judge concerned with administration of justice would not constitute contempt. In fact, such fair and reasonable criticism must be encouraged because after all no one, much less Judges, can claim infallibility.”

The cases of anomalies in appointment of judges are great in numbers;

I will try to figure it out one by one in the following paragraph.

1. Under Article 124(2) and Article 217(1) of the Constitution, a judge of Supreme Court/ High Court has to be appointed by the President after „consultation? with the Chief Justice of India (CJI). The government was not bound by the CJI?s recommendation. But in 1993, the Supreme Court introduced the collegium system, taking over primacy in appointments to higher judiciary. A nine-judges Constitution Bench in 1998 ruled that “consultation” must be effective and the chief justice’s opinion shall have primacy. Now India is the only nation in the world where judges appoint judges. In 2008, the Law Commission favoured restoration of pre-1993 position. 2. Law Commission of India in its report no.230, submitted to the Govt. of India on 5.8.2009 under the heading “REFORMS IN THE JUDICIARY – SOME SUGGESTIONS” stated in Para 1.3 and 1.4 as under;

1.3 As a matter of practice, a person, who has worked as a District Judge or has practiced in the High Court in a State, is appointed as a Judge or has practiced in the High Court in a State, is appointed as a Judge of the High Court in the same State. Often we hear complaints about “Uncle Judges”. If a person has practiced in a High Court, say, for 20-25 years and is appointed a Judge in the same High Court, overnight change is not possible. He has his colleague advocates – both senior and junior – as well as his kith and kin, who had been practicing with him. Even wards of some District Judges, elevated to a High Court, are in practice in the same High Court. There are occasions, when advocate judges either settle their scores with the advocates, who have practiced with them, or have soft corner for them. In any case, this affects their impartiality and justice is the loser. The equity demands that the justice shall not only be done but should also appear to have been done. In government services, particularly, Class II and upward, officers are not given posting in their home districts except for very special reasons. In any case, the judges, whose kith and kin are practicing in a High Court, should not be posted in the same High Court. This will eliminate “Uncle Judges”. 1.4 Sometimes it appears that this high office is patronized. A person, whose near relation or well-wisher is or had been a judge in the higher courts or is a senior advocate or is a political high-up, stands a better chance of elevation. It is not necessary that such a person must be competent because sometimes even less competent persons are inducted. There is no dearth of such examples. Such persons should not be appointed and at least in the same High Court. If they are posted in other High Courts, it will test their caliber and eminence in the legal field. 3. The above recommendations of Law Commission and other earlier recommendations relating to subject in discussion were neither implemented nor taken care of in future appointments to the post of High Court Judges.

4. Article 217 of Constitution of India fixes no minimum or maximum age of appointment of a judge of high court, except that, he at least ten years held a judicial office in the territory of India? or in case of an Advocate, he should “at least” having ten years practice in a High Court or of two or more such courts in succession. As the Constitution had not prescribed any age limit hence this provision is used or to say misused to the advantage or to disadvantageous to the chosen few. Members of Collegium sometimes chose few individuals by charting their own norms regarding age but when the next collegium is constituted they devise new age barriers as per their own choice. Sometimes the High Court collegium chooses few bracketed in certain age group but Supreme Court finds them not suitable because of lesser in age or crossed the upper age limit, but where is the rule regarding age limit nobody knows. The rule rests with the new incumbent or the person who had divested the office and here comes into play the nepotism, bias, favoritism and predisposition. Nobody can question the choices of diverse ages at different era because there are no universal governing rules or standard guidelines available to do justice to do appointments upon such high judicial office. No clear cut guidelines and norms for selection of persons for the coveted post of High Court Judgeship e.g. no fix minimum or maximum age limits, which result in selection of a candidate of any age at no point and rejection of another candidate who is bracketed in the same age group at another point of time. One group of selectors has one type of rules and the next set of selectors work out their own rules as per their own exigency.

5. Although for appointment of High Court Judges no reservation rules apply as are applicable upon other services, because it is a constitutional office, but it appears that while panel is being prepared equilibrium tried to be struck between upper castes, OBCs, SCs. NO guiding features are available anywhere to apply the reservation in appointment of High Court Judges. Interestingly Chapter V of Part VI of Constitution does not prescribe any such condition to be followed. But it is a regular feature that relaxations of various natures are being granted to the persons belonging to the above reserved categories. Although Apex Court as well as High Courts is very strict in implementing back door entries in Public Services (Uma Devi’s Case is the latest such law laid down by Supreme Court) where rules were not followed and appointments are made at the whims and fancies of persons sitting at the helm of the affairs.

6. In Para-32 of Special Reference No.1 of 1998 RE, (1998) 7 SCC 739 the Supreme Court lays down,

“Similarly, if in connection with an appointment or a recommended appointment to a High Court, the Views of the Chief Justice and senior judges of the High Court, as afore stated, and of Supreme Court judges knowledgeable about that High Court have not been sought or considered by the Chief Justice of India and his two senior most judges, judicial review is available. Judicial review is also available when appointee is found to lack eligibility.”

7. The dictionary meaning of word eligibility is “allowed by rules or laws to do something or to receive something”. As stated earlier the only eligibility criteria laid down for appointment to High Court is about practice or held a judicial office for ten years under Article 217 of Constitution of India which fixes no minimum or maximum age of appointment of a judge of High Court, except that “he at least ten years held a judicial office in the territory of India” or in case of an Advocate, he should “at least” having ten years practice in a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession. It means the only qualification required, by the Constitution, for the appointment upon the post of Judge of a High Court is that if someone attains ten years of practice or holds a judicial officer’s post in a State deserves to be appointed as judge of High Court. But some other eligibility criteria are also there which are not written anywhere but are religiously practiced; here lies the legroom for compromises which generate suspicion in terms of integrity and quality, as expressed by Jurists like Fali S Nariman etc. There are no written guidelines for undertaking the exercise. If the same would have been there the doubts could easily be rebutted as just tomfoolery.

8. The administrative burden of appointing judges without a separate secretariat or intelligence-gathering mechanism dedicated to collection of and checking personal and professional backgrounds of prospective appointees lacks any scrutiny.

9. Collegium is a closed-door affair without a formal and transparent system.

10. The limitation of the collegiums? field of choice to the senior-most judges from the High Court for appointments overlooking several talented junior judges and advocates.

Farman NaqviThe author is practicing lawyer at Allahabad High Court, can be contacted at naqvifarman@yahoo.com

 

Indian Film on Tarapur Nuclear Project “High Power’ nominated for Yellow Oscar #mustshare


Documentary on Tarapur Nuclear Project affected people

‘High Power’ nominated for Yellow Oscar

World Premier on 23rd May at Rio-de-Janerio, Brazil

About 50 years ago India’s first nuclear power plant established at Tarapur. In the emotional patriotic feelings the locals happily gave their fertile lands. Today after 50 years we heard some news that the second generation of those patriotic farmers are agitating at Tarapur for their basic amenities. We the city dwellers read such news and forget next day. But what exactly happened in Tarapur in last 50 years in Tarapur? What happened to the dreams which were shown to them in those days? That’s is untold. To enlighten the world outside about the dark sorrows of the villagers whose village is now producing light, a documentary was planned, which further named as ‘High Power’. The film which was made to give voice to the pains of those thousands of people is produced through people’s participation. Then some veteran artist from Hindi, Marathi stage and cinema world came forward to mix their voice with these people. The National Award winner actor Vikram Gokhale and leading Marathi actress Ila Bhate narrated for Marathi version of the film and senior actor from Hindi and English film and stage Tom Alter and Shivani Tibarewala narrated the English version of   film. Along with these celebrities few technicians and producers from film industry helped a lot to make this film happened.  Now the film is translated in seven languages which includes some foreign languages like French, German, Japanese, Chinese and Portuguese along with Hindi and English. So now the film is truly International and now set to talk to global media and audience, but as the Censor Board has raised objections film cannot be released in India.

Though the project is named as Tarapur, it is not standing on the land of Tarapur village. Few villages in the vicinity of town Tarapur were displaced about 50 years back. Their issues related to rehabilitation are still pending, they lost their traditional business of fishing at the same time they did not get new jobs in this project, there are very serious issues related to their health like cancer, TB, kidney failures and also impotency. A protagonist is roaming in villages and whatever he sees there that is the film. The film never talks on this issues or gives its comments but as per the common middleclass mentality film only suggests what a common, middleclass person can do at his best.

The film High Power is sent to participate in different International Film Festivals and it was a great pleasure that it got nominated for ‘Yellow Oscar’. Every year in the city of Rio-de-Janerio of Brazil an International Uranium Film festival calls nuclear related films from all over world. This year more than 150 films participated in this festival, out of which 48 got selected in three sections of feature film, short film and animation film, in which High Power selected in short film section of 19 films. Today High power is within best eight of entire festival. On 23rd May High power will be screened in festival at rio-de-Janerio and it will be its World Premier. To be present in this world premier and the festival, film director Pradeep Indulkar and one of the displaced fisherman from Popharan village Chandrasen Arekar are going to Brazil. This is an opportunity for the representative of displaced people Arekar to talk to the global media and the international audience.

For this trip the expected expense is around two and half lakh rupees. The team High Power appeal the city dwellers who are using the power of Tarapur Nuclear Plant from last 50 years and those who really feel that the local people who scarified their land, homes and in some cases lives should be heard, could take the burden of this expenditure together and the sensitive people could come forward to bear this expenses. Those who wish to contribute for this venture can drop a cheque in favor of High power – Big Dreams at the address 29, Kaushik, Shreenagar, Sector-1, Thane – 400 604 along with their name and address or transfer the fund through net banking in A/c No 003120100013362 (High Power-Big Dreams) in Thane Janata Sahakari Bank’s Naupada, Thane branch (IFS Code-TJSB0000003) and inform us on e-mail highpower.bigdreams@gmail.com

 

 

Public clamouring for Aadhaar cards enrolled several months ago #UID


11 May 2013, 1618 hrs IST
Kerala News: P H Kurian, IT principal secretary to the state government had told ‘Express’ on Thursday that out of the 3.25 crore Aadhaar cards needed in the state, 2.42 crore have been generated.
But it is learnt through officials in Akshaya state-level office, which oversees the generation of Aadhaar cards and other e-district activities, that there is a telling difference, in particular months, between the number of Aadhaar cards Akshaya State office and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) say have been generated in the state, and the actual figures.
The public is approaching Akshaya centres to know the status of their Aadhaar card for which they enrolled several months ago, with the need for Aadhaar cards increasing day by day, so as to avail direct subsidy scheme through Aadhaar-linked bank accounts.
For instance, in the month of October 2012, a PDF file in the UIDAI site says 5,12,977 cards were generated that through the Akshaya Centres in the state, but the state Akshaya office says that the Bangalore Data Centre (BDC) of the UIDAI, has sent them the figure of 3,02,596 for the total number of cards generated in the state; the difference being 2,10,381.
“Only the UIDAI knows about this difference . We have written to BDC officials about the discrepancy. But, ultimately the figures will be tallied in the coming months. We are receiving money for the generated cards as per the UIDAI data. From this amount, money is allotted to the concerned Akshaya entrepreneurs, as per the BDC figures,†said a higher official who in the accounts section of Akshaya. He also said that the ‘surplus’ money allotted by the UIDAI is being kept under the state Akshaya Office.
No Variation
Akshaya entrepreneurs, who have been managing Aadhaar enrolment with other agencies such as the Keltron, have made allegations of financial misappropriation. “There cannot be such variation in the figures. Both the BDC and UIDAI are doing the same work and the BDC, which provides technical support to the UIDAI, cannot give a separate figure. Each of our operators has a separate login id and the number of cards they generate can be clearly found in the UIDAI server. Generated figures are shown less to prevent the entrepreneurs from getting their due payment.
What Akshaya does with the ‘surplus’ UIDAI payment, need to be observed closely,†said a state-level functionary of Akshaya Entrepreneurs Association. Going by just the October data, Akshaya has kept apart as much as Rs 73,63,335 because of the discrepancy in figures. And the total ‘surplus’ money, from September to December 2012, which could be easily calculated by visiting the UIDAI and Akshaya websites, is Rs 89,25,140, entrepreneurs noted.
P H Kurian, IT principal secretary to the state government had told Express on Thursday that out of the 3.25 crore Aadhaar cards needed in the state, 2.42 crore have been generated. He said that it would not be possible to make cards available to all before July this year.
The Indian government has approved Rs 3,436.16 crore for Phase IV of the UID (Aadhaar card) scheme. This fund includes Rs 1,600 crore to cover the cost of enrolling an additional 40 crore residents, Rs 490 crore updation services, Rs 1,049 crore for printing and dispatch of Aadhaar letters and Rs 247.16 crore towards additional cost for construction of buildings for headquarters, data centers and non-data centers of UIDAI. According to the government report, Phase IV is to commence immediately. The time period to be covered by the funds released is not clear.
The government informed that around 31 crore UID numbers have been issued since September 29, 2010 and it hopes to release another 40 crore numbers by the end of March 2014.
Aadhaar Project Funding
On November 2009, the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) had approved Rs 147.31 crore to be issued during the Phase I of the scheme to meet expenditure in the first 12 months. In Phase II, Rs 3,023.01 crores was approved by the CC-UIDAI on July 22, 2010 to issue 10 crore UID numbers through multiple registrars, other project components and recurring establishment costs up to March 2014. On January 27, 2012, Rs 5791.74 crores was approved by CC-UIDAI for Phase III to issue UID numbers to 20 crore residents through multiple registrars up to March 2012, technology and other support infrastructure costs for creation, storage and maintenance of data and services for leveraging the usage of Aadhaar for the entire estimated resident population up to March 2017.
Aadhaar rollouts till now
It is worth noting that Aadhaar numbers have already been made mandatory including several departments such as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the revenue department. Plans are also being made to integrate issue of ration cards and passports also to individual Aadhaar numbers. In December 2012, five Indian banks had launched an instant prepaid card service called the Saral money service allowing users to open a bank account using their Aadhaar card for know your customer (KYC) validation. UIDAI has further partnered with 15 more banks to use Aadhaar as KYC validation.
In November 2012, Indian Government had announced plans to roll out an Aadhaar based Direct Cash Transfer initiative from January 1, 2013. Following this, all government departments who were transferring cash to individual beneficiaries, will transition to this electronic transfer system based on Aadhaar Payment Platform. This includes all subsidy transfers like education loans, scholarships, MNREGA payments, old age pension, PDS subsidies, LPG subsidies, Indira Awaas Yojna subsidies and fertilizer subsidies.
In October 2012, the government had launched Aadhaar enabled service delivery platform for citizens to access services of various government schemes such as wage payments, payment of social security benefits such as old-age payments, among others. In the same month, Vodafone had also launched a pilot project in Hyderabad using Aadhaar to verify and activate new prepaid and post paid connections.
However, the goofs up in the Aadhaar project also continue. In April 2013, we had reported that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has apparently issued around 3,858 Aadhaar letters with photos of trees, animals or buildings in place of the photos of individuals. In April 2012, UIDAI had apparently issued an Aadhaar card to a fictitious Mr Kothimeer (coriander) with a photo of a mobile phone. In May 2012, the Indian Postal Department had apparently sent back around 50,000 Aadhaar cards issued in Hyderabad, back to the UIDAI due non-existing addresses on the envelopes.

 

Equality fight in an unequal world #Feminisn #bookreview #SundayReading


By Deepti Menon, New Indian Express

12th May 2013 12:00 AM

  • Protests by women fighting for their rights have been part of a long history of feminist struggle.
    Protests by women fighting for their rights have been part of a long history of feminist struggle.

Feminism is not being part of an organisation; rather it takes inspiration from past heroines, aiding women to feel a continued responsibility, explains Nivedita Menon’s Seeing Like a Feminist. The title is inspired by James Scott’s Seeing Like a State, where the state “seeing” is all powerful, compared to the marginal position of the feminist.

This is a book about women and patriarchy, and about how the feminist views the operation of gendered modes of power. It is divided into six chapters, which deal with vital, interrelated themes.

Efforts have always been made to shield the institution of the patriarchal heterosexual family. Couples who choose inappropriate marriage partners come under the scanner. Women have been relegated to domestic work, which is less valued and unpaid, despite the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976. Domestic work is more demeaning and exhausting than that of a sex worker, probably why 71% of ‘servants’ have moved voluntarily to sex work.

In North India, a woman has no rights in her natal home after she moves to her husband’s home. In Kerala, only vestiges of the matrilineal system are seen. The Hindu Code Bills empowered Hindu women to choose their partners, and marry outside their caste. The Hindu Women’s Right to Property gave widows rights to their husband’s property, but the Hindu Succession Act nullified the position of daughters under matrilineal laws, by granting equal inheritance rights to sons. The three interlinked features of the Indian family are patriarchy, patriliny and vivilocality.

Dowry has spread its tentacles almost everywhere, as women go to their husband’s homes to survive with limited rights, despite the Dowry Prohibition Act which deems both giver and taker guilty. Women, right from childhood, prepare for marriage, which sometimes leads to the ‘implosion of marriage’, when young girls refuse to conform to docile roles of wife and daughter-in-law. The author avers that feminists need to build up the strength to live in ways in which marriage is voluntary, and create alternate non-marriage communities.

In ancient times, the universality of gender as a social category was challenged in African and the North American countries, and even in the lives of the Bhakti saints. But the creation of a distinction between sex and gender is intrinsic to feminism, as from childhood onwards, girls and boys pick up gender-specific forms of behaviour, training to conform to set roles.

In the 1990s, the media began airing sexually explicit images, through cable and television channels. Questions on homosexuality and issues revolving around the civil liberties of eunuchs, bisexual and transgendered people have all been viewed through the lens of the feminist here.

Patriarchal forces call rape a blot against family honour, while feminists denounce it as a crime against a woman’s bodily integrity. The Pink Chaddi protest was a non-violent gesture of ridicule against intolerance. The modern slut walks are the latest chapter in a long, powerful history of inspirational feminist struggle.

Caste politics and patriarchy have stalled the passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill to reserve 33% of seats in Parliament for women.

There is mention of the commoditisation of the female body, through advertisements showing scantily clad bodies and pornography. Feminists expose how this outlook can be transformed by thinking of women as consumers instead of victims.

Pregnancy and child bearing are the sole responsibility of the woman. The ideal feminist world is one in which women can control when and under what circumstances they deliver their children. Sexual harassment charges against celebrities, the ban of the veil in France, forcing women badminton players to wear skirts and queer politics have all been touched upon in this revealing book.

Thus, for Nivedita Menon, feminism is not about one triumphant moment against patriarchy, but about the ongoing shift that enables young women to say, “I believe in equal rights for women, but I’m not a feminist.” Many new positions, energies and challenges have transformed the feminist field over the years, and this book takes a bold look at these.

“It comes slowly, slowly, feminism does. But it just keeps on coming!”

 

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