iGATE terminates employment of CEO Phaneesh Murthy on sexual misconduct charges #Vaw


ET Bureau May 21, 2013
(This is the second time Murthy…)

BANGALORE: Nasdaq-listed iGATE Corporation announced that its board of directors has terminated the employment ofpresident and chief executive officer Phaneesh Murthy as a result of an investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding a relationship that Murthy had with a subordinate employee and a claim of sexual harassment.

The Board has appointed Gerhard Watzinger as President and CEO on an interim basis.

“The investigation, which is ongoing, has reached the finding that Murthy’s failure to report this relationship violated iGATE’s policy, as well as Murthy’s employment contract,” company said in a statement. “The investigation has not uncovered any violation of iGATE’s harassment policy.”

A former head of sales at India’s second largest software exporter Infosys, this is the second time Murthy is getting entangled in a sexual harassment case involving another employee of the same organization. Earlier in 2003, Murthy faced a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by his former executive secretary at Infosys Reka Maximovitch. Maximovitch had complained of sexual harassment and wrongful termination of employment. Infosys, settled the lawsuit out of court for $3 million.

Co-founder and co-chairman Sunil Wadhwani said that the board “deliberated extensively” on the matter

“We recognize the significant contributions Mr. Murthy has provided over the past ten years in helping to establish iGATE as a leader in the IT industry. He has worked hard to improve the value of iGATE, and we greatly appreciate his efforts. However, as a result of this violation of iGATE policy, we asked Mr. Murthy to step down,” Wadhwani said.

The other co-founder and co-chairman Ashok Trivedi said that Murthy’s departure was not related in any way to the company’s operational or financial performance.

Gerhard Watzinger, age 52, has previously worked at iGATE from 1998 to 2003 in a number of roles, including CEO of the iGATE Solutions business. Watzinger returns to iGATE from security software-maker now owned by Intel chip-maker McAfee, where he was EVP and Chief Strategy Officer.

Wadhwani and Trivedi will work closely with Watzinger during his tenure as interim president and CEO to ensure a seamless transition.

A Search Committee within the Board of Directors has been created, which will oversee the process for the identification and selection of a new president and CEO. Watzinger has taken himself out of consideration but he will serve until the selection process is complete.

iGate does not expect to make any additional structural or executive leadership changes in the near future.

 

Supreme Court of India directs registration of over 75,000 cases of missing children




May 21, 2013, New Delhi
: The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India issued landmark directions for the protection of missing children and other child victims of crimes in the country. In a petition filed by Bachpan Bachan Andolan (BBAon the issue of missing children and trafficking, a bench headed by Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir and comprising of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vikramajit Sen and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde issued the directions.

Accepting the contentions made by the petitioner BBA, the Hon’ble Supreme Court issued the following directions including:-

  • All cases of missing children in India to be registered as a cognizable offence (as First Information Report) and investigated.
  • In cases where First Information Reports have not been lodged at all and the child is still missing, an F.I.R. should be lodged within a month – this figure is 75,808 for the period 2009 – 2011 alone.
  • In all missing children cases, there will be a presumption of the crime of kidnapping or trafficking unless proven otherwise from investigation – this is a landmark precedent as for the first time of “presumption of crime” for vulnerable sections of society is recognised.
  • All complaints regarding children (for non cognizable offences), to be investigated after referring them to a magistrate.
  • Each police station should have, at least, one Police Officer, especially instructed and trained and designated as a Juvenile Welfare Officer to investigate crimes against children.
  • National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to appoint para-legal volunteers, so that there is, at least, one para- legal volunteer, in shifts, in the police station to keep a watch over the manner in which the  complaints  regarding  missing  children  and other offences against children, are dealt with.
  • A computerized programme (website), which  would  create  a network between the Central Child Protection Unit as the Head  of  the Organization and all State  Child  Protection  Units,  District Child Protection Units, City  Child  Protection Units,  Block  Level  Child Protection Units,  all  Special  Juvenile  Police  Units,  all  Police stations,  all  Juvenile  Justice  Boards  and   all Child Welfare Committees, etc. to be created as a central data bank.    
  • Photographs of the recovered child to be put up on  the  website and  through the newspapers and even on the T.V. so that the parents of the missing child could locate their  missing child and recover him or her from the  custody  of  the  police. 
  • A  Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) must be developed to handle the cases  of  missing  children and to invoke appropriate provisions of law where trafficking, child labour, abduction,  exploitation and similar issues are disclosed during investigation or after the recovery  of  the  child. 
  • BBA to assist in developing the Standard Operating Procedure (SoP), and also, BBA to be the nodal agency for All India Legal Aid Cell on Child Rights, flagship scheme of NALSA to provide legal aid to any child in need of care and protection in the country.
  • A missing child has been defined as, “a person below eighteen years of age, whose whereabouts are not known to  the parents, legal guardians and any other person, who may be legally entrusted with the custody of the child, whatever may be the circumstances/causes of disappearance. The child will be considered missing and in need of care and protection within the meaning of the later part of the Juvenile Act, until located and/or his/her safety/well being is established.”

  • Even after recovery of the missing child, the police  shall  carry  out  further investigation  to  see  whether  there  is  an  involvement  of any trafficking in the procedure by which the child went missing. 
  • The State authorities shall arrange for adequate Shelter Homes to be provided for missing children, who are  recovered and do not have any place to go to within 3 months. 

Arguing on the behalf of petitioner Bachpan Bachan AndolanMr. H.S. Phoolka, Senior Advocate said “Every hour 10 children go missing. Out of these only one case is registered and investigated. There is no hope for the poor parents whose children go missing”.

BBA had under taken a pioneering research for three years on the issue of missing children, following which this writ petition (Writ Petition Civil 75/ 2012 – Bachpan Bachao Andolan vs Union of India and Others) has been filed.

As per official government data, in India, during the period from 2009 to 2011 number of children that have gone missing are 2, 36, 014 and out of them 75,808 are still untraced. However, only 34,899 FIRs have been registered in all. These directions from Supreme Court will come as a relief to those hundreds of thousands of parents whose children have been kidnapped and are still untraced without any assistance from law enforcement authorities.

Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, Founder, BBA said “It is a watershed moment not only in our three decade fight in restoring childhood but has also brought a fresh lease of hope for hundreds of thousands of missing children and their hapless parents, whose cries remained unheard due to the absence of legal protection and apathy of enforcement machinery. Our argument that children do not disappear in thin air but go missing because of an organized nexus of traffickers and mafias, has been finally upheld by the highest court of the land today”.

Mr. R. S. Chaurasia, Chairperson, BBA added that, “BBA will rigorously follow the enforcement of this landmark judgment and extends its support to the government in this regard”.

For more information please contact:-

Om Prakash

9015125007

 

Recording of evidence in case against Irom Sharmila pushed to 30 Aug #AFSPA #Vaw


May 22, 2013New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday fixed 30 August for recording of prosecution evidence in a case against rights activist Irom Sharmila Chanu for allegedly attempting suicide during her fast-unto-death in New Delhi in 2006.

The Manipuri activist has been on a fast for over 12 years demanding repeal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in her home state.

Irom Sharmila. ReutersIrom Sharmila. Reuters

Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain, who had earlier scheduled the matter for Wednesday for recording testimony of prosecution evidence, fixed the matter for 30 August after 40-year-old Sharmila could not appear in the court.

The court allowed the plea of Sharmila’s counsel who sought her exemption from personal appearance for today.

Earlier on March 4, the court had put the rights activist on trial after she had refused to plead guilty for the offence of attempting to commit suicide (Section 309 of IPC).

If convicted, Sharmila, who is out on bail in this case, faces a maximum jail term of one year.

Popularly known as the “Iron Lady”, Sharmila had earlier said her’s was a non-violent protest. She has been on fast since 2000.

She had rejected the charge that she had attempted suicide in 2006 and had told the court, “I do not want to commit suicide. Mine is only a non-violent protest. It is my demand to live as a human being. I love life. I do not want to take my life but I want justice and peace.”

While framing charges, the court had said, “It is alleged against you (Sharmila)…that you on October 4, 2006 at about 8 PM sat at Jantar Mantar on fast unto death uptil 11.30 pm on 6 October, 2006 and refused to get your medical check up and thereby, committed an act with an intention or knowledge that under such circumstances that death may be caused and thereby, committed an offence under Sec 309 of IPC.”

PTI

 

Dubious role of police exposed in custodial death of terror accused in Uttar Pradesh


Khalid Mujahid‘s tragic story is a litany of irreconcilable facts, right from the day he was arrested by the anti-terrorism Special Task Force of the UP Police in December 2007
Ajit Sahi

Ajit Sahie

FalseTerror1If we accept the official explanation for the death on 18 May of Khalid Mujahid, an under-trial prisoner in Uttar Pradesh accused of terrorism, then India may have just lost a superman. More likely, the police have made up facts and may soon be exposed.

According to the official explanation, Mujahid, 32, was taken ill at 3.40 pm in the eastern district of Barabanki and admitted to a government hospital where he was pronounced dead. This claim was made by none other than the district magistrate of Barabanki, S Minisati, when she visited the hospital. But Mujahid’s lawyer says he had minutes earlier been in another city 65 km away to attend the hearing in one of the terror cases in which he is an accused. “Mujahid left that courtroom at 3.30 pm,” says Randhir Singh Suman, his lawyer. “How did he cover 65 km in 10 minutes?”

Good question. But then, Mujahid’s tragic story is a litany of such irreconcilable facts right from the day he was arrested by the anti-terrorism Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh Police in December 2007. Indeed, the police have been thoroughly exposed as lying about him right from the beginning. Yet, it confounds common sense and offends judicial propriety that successive judges not only did not throw out the case against Mujahid as wholly spurious but also refused to grant him bail that he deserved.

Worse, a trial judge ignored his repeated pleas, including written, that the policemen that ferried him between the prison and the court had explicitly threatened to kill him in an “encounter”, a euphemism for extrajudicial killings by the police. Two months ago, a second lawyer who represented Mujahid in another terror case being prosecuted in Lucknow, Mohammad Shoib, told the state’s jail minister that the several Muslim youths, including Mujahid, being tried for terrorism faced threats to their lives. Shoib was also among the last to see Mujahid alive. “We were together in the court until 3.20 pm,” he says. “Ten minutes later, I saw the police van carrying him leave the court premises.”

And now Mujahid is dead. Here is how the state, its police and the judiciary combined to first frame him and then deny him justice.

On 22 December 2007 police announced the arrest of two “terrorists” from a location 20 km east of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. They were apprehended, police said, from a railway station in the town of Barabanki that is a satellite of the capital. One of the two arrested men was Mujahid, a madrassa teacher in Jaunpur district, 250 km east of Lucknow. The other was Tariq Kasmi, a practitioner of the Unani medicine system in the district of Azamgarh, which is adjacent to Jaunpur.

The police claimed that Mujahid and Kasmi were responsible for simultaneous bombings in the district courts of Lucknow and Faizabad, which is 120 km east of the capital, on 22 November 2007. They said the two men had been arrested with explosives. Subsequently, the two were implicated in three different cases: one each in Lucknow and Faizabad for the bombings, and one in Barabanki for carrying explosives. They were charged with sedition and waging war against the state, both colonial era constructs, as also under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Explosives Act.

Instantly, Mujahid’s family members and well-wishers as well as human rights activists jumped in and demolished the police story. They claimed Mujahid was arrested in broad daylight from a crowded market six days previously, on 16 December 2007. His arrest had sparked protests in his town, Madiyahu, in Jaunpur district. Newspapers had reported both. Local police, civil officials and even the courts were given representations against his arrest. Yet, a judicial magistrate bought the police version that it arrested Mujahid and Kasmi from Barabanki railway station on 22 December 2007.

Could this be dismissed as partisan bickering? If yes, then consider this. In response to a plea filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the police station in Mujahid’s township, too, acknowledged that he had been arrested from the market near his house on 16 December 2007. This evidence directly contradicted what the police had told the Barabanki magistrate, before whom the two men had been presented and who had remanded them to a police custody. Mujahid quickly sought to file the RTI reply with various trial courts in Barabanki, Lucknow and Faizabad and press for justice.

But the courts told him that they can’t accept the RTI document until the prosecution had finished its arguments. That was in 2009. It is 2013 now and the prosecution hasn’t yet finished its arguments. So the defence lawyers decided to try their luck with the high court to at least get him bail. They believed that the discordance in the two versions of police should make it an open-and-shut case in their favour. But the High Court said he was accused of a “heinous crime” and could not be bailed.

In fact, eyebrows are also raised at the role of the then Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Barabanki, Anupama Gopal Nigam, who first remanded Mujahid (and Kasmi) in police custody. As per the procedure, the police needed to file an application before the CJM informing of the arrests of the two men and then asking the magistrate to come down to the prison to hear Mujahid and Kasmi’s remand plea because they did not want to bring them to the court for security reasons. “But no such document exists in the court records,” Mujahid’s lawyer, Suman, told TEHELKA from Barabanki. “Did the CJM go to the jail on her own?”

There is more. Suman cross-examined a police officer named Dayaram Saroj when the prosecution called him to depose. As the investigating officer in the case, Saroj should have made that formal request before the CJM. On being cross-examined, Saroj claimed that he himself had handed such an application to the CJM when she visited the prison after the arrests. But in response to an RTI application, prison authorities told Mujahid’s family that Saroj did not visit the prison that day. “This is a serious lapse,” Suman said.

On 19 May, Mujahid’s uncle, Zahir Alam Falahi, filed a First Information Report (FIR) with the Barabanki police alleging that Mujahid had been murdered as a result of a conspiracy. The FIR directly named a total of 42 officers, including a former director-general of police, the highest-ranking police officer in the state, as responsible for it. The question is: why would these police officers want to eliminate Mujahid?

The answer ironically lies in the first real spark of hope for Mujahid. After sustained pressure from human rights groups and various organisations of the Muslims, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s government moved the local court in Barabanki on 3 May 2013 seeking to withdraw its charges against Mujahid and Kasmi. A week later, Additional Sessions Judge Kalpana Mishra of Barabanki rejected the state’s request on a plea from some local lawyers. “These lawyers are from the RSS,” says Suman, referring to the Hindu supremacist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. “She heard them in her chamber and passed the order without the defence being present.”

But the battle may already be tilting in favour of the accused. For three years, a rights platform named Rihaee Manch has vigorously exposed police falsehoods in cases of terrorism in UP and campaigned to seek the release of the accused. The issue picked up steam last year when leading political figures such as Prakash Karat of the CPM, AB Bardhan of the CPI, Bihar politicians Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan, and Congress Rajya Sabha MP Mani Shankar Aiyar came together and demanded an end to what they called the politics of terror against Muslims.

In 2008, then UP Chief Minister Mayawati had asked retired district judge RD Nimesh to probe the allegation that the police had illegally arrested the two men. He finally submitted his report last August. Although Chief Minister Yadav’s government has stonewalled the demands to release that report, it is widely believed that the commission has damned the police for arresting Mujahid and Kasmi and ruled their arrest as illegal.

“The police officers involved in Mujahid’s illegal arrest are obviously worried,” Shahnawaz Hussain, an activist with Rihaee Manch, told TEHELKA over phone from Jaunpur where he had gone to attend Mujahid’s funeral. “Had Mujahid lived, he would have been a prime witness in the case against them and they couldn’t afford that.”

The defence lawyers and rights activists are now worried for the safety of the remaining accused, who include Kasmi and two Kashmiri men, Sajjadur Rahman and Akhtar who were arrested from Jammu and Kashmir on 22 December 2007 and handed over to UP Police a week later. Strangely, the Jammu and Kashmir Police dropped the original charges on which it had arrested the two men before turning them over to UP Police.

The next hearing in the original case in Barabanki will be held on 31 May 2013. The defence lawyers say they would move the court to ensure that the lives of the other accused are not endangered. “Ironically though, greater security would mean a greater threat to their lives as it is the police who want them eliminated,” Suman said.

 

The last rites of sick units


Workers wait long enough to get dues after liquidation proceedings

M J Antony  May 21, 2013 BS 

M J Antony

Winding up an industrial unit is usually followed by a swarm of creditors. Financial institutions have the stamina to withstand the laborious procedures under various statutes. But the lifespan of workers is limited. Their families are crushed under the weight of the institutional creditors. Though various laws give workers primacy in the creditors’ queue, it takes them decades to get their dues.

Early this month, the Supreme Court dealt with a case in which the company closed down in 1992, and litigation over the last rites was going on till now. The story has not ended yet. The 50-page judgment ended thus: “The Bombay High Court judgment is set aside. The Debt Recovery Tribunal and the official liquidator shall proceed further now concerning workers’ dues as indicated in this judgment.”

This case, Bank of Maharashtra vs Pandurang, ascended the judicial ladder to reach the Supreme Court, where it was gathering dust since 2005. Half a dozen statutes had to be trawled and, therefore, a larger bench was necessary. The main question was “whether the claims of workers who claim to be entitled to payment pari passuhave to be considered by the official liquidator or by the tribunal”.

The Court set 12 rules as guidelines for the future. They were largely in favour of workers – putting them at the head of the creditors’ queue. Since the tribunal and the liquidator were reviving the proceedings regarding the workers’ dues after more than two decades, the moot question is how many of the workers would be able to enjoy the benefit of the final order if it was in their favour.

This case is not unique. Many such disputes are still at the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) or the tribunal stages, and have a long way to reach the high courts or the Supreme Court. A few weeks ago, a similar dispute over the claim of workers was decided after a decade. The court ruled that their dues under the Industrial Disputes Act and the Payment of Gratuity Act shall have preference over that of the state financial corporation (Karnataka State Finance Corporation vs Industrial Workers’ General Union). Though the authorities allowed their claims, the labour commissioner, suspiciously, did not take action for a long time and the corporation sold the assets, leading to appeals up to the Supreme Court.

There are several statutes involved in such disputes. Though the Companies Act grants high priority to workers’ claims, Sections 529 and 529A dealing with disbursement of sums from the sale of assets of a failed company are couched in complex clauses, leading to long-winded litigation. Then, there are laws like the Insolvency Actthat have to be taken into account. In the constant tug of war between workers and the secured creditors, courts sway. In one case, Jitendra Nath vs Official Liquidator, the judges were divided 2:1. The Jharkhand High Court gave its judgment in favour of the banks and financial institutions. The workers moved the Supreme Court. It allowed their appeal. Hoping to end such disputes, the Court laid down a four-point formula.

Then, there are laws like the Sick Industries Act, under which the BIFR has been set up. While the board tries to revive sick units, payments of dues are usually suspended till a final decision. The law and its implementation are prone to gross misuse of various kinds, and the Act itself was supposed to give place to a new one. But the old law continues to burden the courts and the parties involved. The shrewd ones manipulate the provisions to their advantage.

Earlier judgments of the court have not put an end to the priority issue. In NTC Workers’ Union vs P R Ramakrishnan, the court had stated that there was an obligation to see that “no secured or unsecured creditors, including banks or financial institutions, are paid before the workmen’s dues are paid”. But this view was seen to have been diluted by a later judgment in the case, Andhra Bank vs Official Liquidator. That judgment stated that an earlier judgment in the case of Allahabad Bank vs Canara Bank did not lay down the correct law and its propositions were at best “stray observations”. The recent judgments show that there are several loose ends to the problems raised in winding up proceedings, amalgamation and transformation.

It is well known that there is a general dilution of labour laws in recent decades. The old and existing laws have not received a second look for long – either due to other preoccupations like rushing to the well of the Houses, or as a result of malign neglect. The fluctuating judicial decisions regarding workers’ dues when an industrial unit closes down add to their woes.

source-

 

Woman Activist lands in jail for protesting lack of health facilities in tribal district five years ago


Author(s): Kundan Pandey
Date: May 18, 2013

People picket police stations; fellow activist claims case is baseless

Madhuri Krishnaswami had protested the treatment meted out by a health centre to a poor woman in labour. She has also exposed corruption under MGNREGAMadhuri Krishnaswami had protested the treatment meted out by a health centre to a poor woman in labour. She has also exposed corruption under MGNREGAMadhuri Krishnaswami, a health activist working with tribal communities in Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh, was sent to jail on May 16 after she turned down the court’s suggestion to take bail. The court ordered her arrest in connection with a five-year-old case  registered in 2008 against Krishnaswami and others for their protests against the deficiencies in public healthcare facilities in the state.

People protesting against Krishnaswami's arrest People protesting against Krishnaswami’s arrest

Residents of the area have been on sit-in protest in front of six police stations in the district since Friday, demanding the activist’s immediate release.

Krishnaswami is the head of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), a non-profit that works on various matters, including healthcare for tribal people and marginalised communities. She has been sent to Khargone women’s jail on 14 days’ judicial remand.

Harassed for exposing corruption

Social activist Chinmay Mishra, who is closely associated with the case, in an interview over the phone, said Krishnaswami has played a significant role in exposing corruption worth several hundred crore in development schemes under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the district. The local administration is quite annoyed by her activities and had earlier ordered her externment. However, after protests by locals, the administration cancelled the order. This step (of arresting Krishnaswami) has been also taken for the same reason, adds Mishra.

The 2008 case was registered against Krishnaswami for protesting the treatment meted out to a pregnant woman in labour. Baniya Bai was refused admission by the compounder at the Menimata public health centre, Vijay Klumar. The woman delivered her baby on the road. Krishnaswami, who was in the area, intervened and sent the mother to hospital, and protested her ill-treatment.

Kumar later lodged a complaint against Krishnaswami, Baniya Bai’s husband Basant and other protesters. A case of rioting and assaulting a public servant under sections 353, 332, 147, 148 and 342 of the Indian Penal Code was registered against Krishnaswami and other protesters in 2008. Five years later, police filed a closure report (April 30, this year).

But the court refused to close the case and ordered notices to be served on the parties on May 2, says Mishra. The notice was not served on Krishnaswami, he adds. The activist appeared in court voluntarily to justify her actions. She was informed that the police had filed a closure report but had not stated clear reasons for the closure and so the report was rejected, adds Mishra.

The court suggested that Krishnaswami take bail, but she refused, quoting Mamatma Gandhi, “Jail is rightful place for independent persons of slave country.”  She demanded that the case be revoked and the doctor and compounder responsible for Baniya Bai’s ordeal be punished. Krishnaswami was subsequently placed under arrest on court’s order.

Mishra says that the case is baseless, and was filed with malafide intention.

Baniya Bai is also a party to the writ petition filed in the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, in which the status of maternal health services in the state was questioned. Twenty-nine maternal deaths have been recorded in a span of nine months at Barwani district hospital.
 

 

Press Release- Jharkhand Officials summoned for child right violations


PRESS NOTE
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has summoned concerned
officers of Government of Jharkhand to appear before it on 21st May, 2013 for non compliance
with some recommendations of the Commission pertaining to child rights violations in the State.
Ms Mridula Sinha, Principal Secretary, Department of Social Welfare & Women & Child
Development, Government of Jharkhand has been summoned for non-compliance with some of
the recommendations made by the Commission on 8.10.2012 for State level actions, such as, to
tackle the situation of malnutrition, functioning of ICDS Centres, non-availability of pediatric
medicines at AWCs, Observation Homes/Special Homes and issues related to child trafficking.
Shri K. Vidyasagar, Principal Secretary, Department of Health & Medical Education, has
also been summoned for hearing on the same date in the matter of an illegal sterilization surgery
of a 16 year old boy in Kanke Public Health Centre in Ranchi District.
Dr. M. Tamil Vanan, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP),Khunti has also been
summoned on the same date in the matter of killing of a 17 year old boy by CRPF and Police
jawans under Karra Police Station in Khunti District

 

Mix-up cloud on tribal deaths – Cops unable to establish Maoist link of Bastar casualties


JAIDEEP HARDIKAR, The TTellegraph
Edakmetta villagers after the anti-Maoist operation. T-News Bhadrachalam

Nagpur, May 19: Eight tribals, including three children, were killed by security forces in what was supposed to be an anti-Maoist operation on the intervening night of Friday-Saturday in Chhattisgarh’s restive south Bastar.

Senior police officers today admitted, but refused to be quoted, that those killed in Bijapur’s Edakmetta village had no links with the CPI (Maoist). Yesterday, police had first let out information that they killed a Maoist while losing a COBRA jawan in the operation. The death of the tribal villagers started trickling in late on Saturday evening.

“Three of the eight were children aged 10, 12 and 15. We know civilians have been killed but we don’t know whose bullets got them,” said a senior police officer of Bijapur. It is not clear if the eight were killed in indiscriminate police firing as claimed by the villagers or were caught in a crossfire between the security forces and the Maoists.

Bijapur district collector Mohammad Jazim Abdul Haq told local reporters a mandatory magisterial inquiry into the incident has been ordered and “some civilians may have been killed”. In Raipur, chief minister Raman Singh announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased.

The CRPF’s Combat Battalion for Resolution Action (COBRA), Chhattisgarh Armed Force and district police had started combing the area following a tip-off on the heavy presence of Maoists, sources said.

The troops came under attack a little after Friday midnight, killing the COBRA jawan. This led the forces to retaliate, yesterday’s police statement said.

“But the intelligence input might not have been reliable. Sometimes they are planted so that the operation takes place and the Maoists can take advantage of the unrest that follows,” the officer said.

Edakmetta villagers told journalists today that they had congregated for Beej Pandum, a festival announcing the beginning of the farming season, when they heard the firing. The villagers assemble late in the evening for the rituals that run late into the night.

More than 20 villagers had been missing since that night. The eight bodies were found yesterday morning, but all through the day the forces would not let journalists enter Edakmetta. Some people are still missing, the villagers said.

The police today shifted the bodies to Gangaloor, 20km from Edakmetta, for post-mortem amid protests from villagers who refused to take back the bodies.

The district police said the raid followed intelligence reports about Maoists holding a meeting in the village. They said the ambush, in which one of their jawans died, lent credence to the presence of rebels in Edakmetta. The police also claimed that they had recovered some weapons from the spot.

The villagers told journalists that the COBRA jawan was killed in the cross-fire of the security forces. The forces, they told journalists, had encircled them and fired indiscriminately.

Last year, in the same district, security forces were accused of killing 17 villagers mistaking them for Maoists. Former high court judge V.K. Agrawal is probing the incident. Agrawal will also probe Friday’s killings.

 

Chhattisgarh – Carrying bodies, tribal women of Bastar lead protests against cops


Ashutosh Bhardwaj : Gangalur, Ehadsameta , Mon May 20 2013,
BasterAn injured outside Gangalur police station. (IE Photo)

Bastar has seen several protests but rarely have tribal women come out and beat their breasts, shouting slogans. Surprisingly, men tried to calm them down, pull them away but these women continued to scream and hurled stones at the Gangalur police station and nearby CRPF camp.Old and young women were protesting while carrying bodies of their husbands and sons, handed over to them around 1 pm on Sunday. They knew only Gondi and Halbi but managed a few Hindi abuses. “Wapas jao… wapas jao..,” they shouted at the CRPF camp as they laid down the bodies at the thana gate and tried to break open its lock. Two old women rattled barbed fencing of the CRPF camps and threw stones at the personnel on guard, forcing them to run for cover. “Raman Sarkar murdabaad, murdaabaad.” Some of them hurled utensils inside the thana. “Stop killing tribals; kill us now, if you dare.”

All the deceased were men; two of them father and sons — Karam Joga and his son Badru (13), Karam Pandu and his son Guddu (14). The other minor boy killed was Punem Lakhu (15).

The agony did not end with their death. The bodies were lying in open field, under 45 degree sun, decomposing, badly swollen and emanating unbearable smell. CRPF men, face covered, guarded them with X-95, AK-47 with an Under Barrel Grenade Launcher.

“Jara pet par chira laga,” a doctor said. He too had his face covered. A man, Suklu, came forward and cut open a naked body. Red worms protruded out from stomach. “Dead bodies become like balloon. When you cut them, they produce fart like sound,” a CRPF cop explained. Relatives of the deceased held the bodies as the doctor examined the bodies with a stick, from a distance.

“Don’t you have another blade, a new one,” Civil Surgeon Dr B R Pujari asked his colleagues. Only two blades were used so far, and five bodies had been cut open from various sides, the doctor thought of changing the blade. But there was none. Suklu did not change surgical gloves through the process.

Pujari admitted that it’s against the law to conduct postmortem in open, that too in police presence, and the entire process was probably illegal. “Under certain conditions, an officer with rank of SDM and above can give permission to conduct it otherwise,” he tried to explain.

SDM Virendra Bahadur Panchbhai said: “The only requirement for postmortem is of adequate light. Other things can be relaxed in special situations.”

An hour later, their women relatives were protesting outside the thana for justice. They had arrived here on Saturday evening when police forcibly brought the bodies along, but now after nearly 24 hours men convinced them to take the bodies back home. The administration arranged for a tractor, but the terrain was difficult and it left them in between. And then began a two-hour-long journey to carry the bodies on shoulders.

Two bodies, father and son Joga and Badru, were kept on the same logs and cremated together. “It’s not unusual among tribals. When a person loves someone a lot, we cremate together,” said a tribal.

– See more at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/carrying-bodies-tribal-women-lead-protests-against-cops/1118025/0#sthash.5gBvcRXp.dpuf

 

Unions, left-wing outfits demand release of Maruti workers


BS Reporter  |  New Delhi  May 20, 2013 Last Updated at 12:28 IST

Slam Police lathi-charge on demonstration by families of 147 workers arrested last July for Gurgaon violence

Police action against protesting workers of Maruti Suzuki in Kaithal in Haryana during the weekend has drawn criticism from trade unions and some left wing organisations, who have renewed demands to free the 147 workers arrested in July last year after the violence in the Gurgaon plant.

Police lathi-charged a demonstration of workers’ families outside the residence of Haryana Industry Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala and arrested about 100 workers and their family members from the dharna site at the Kaithal mini secretariat on the night of May 18. Workers had given an ultimatum on may 8 to release all 147 Maruti workers arrested after the July violence. They had threatened to demonstrate outside the house of Surjewala on May 18.

The workers and their family members have been sitting on a dharna at the Mini Secretariat from 28 April demanding release of the 147 workers in Gurgaon Jail and reinstatement of the workers, both permanent and contract, terminated without enquiry following the 18 July incident.

Said a senior trade union leader from All India Trade Union Congress: AITUC has expressed solidarity with the protesting workers.

He said that the unions formed at these factories are not affiliated with any central union and have been supported by various organisations including local political parties.

According to the New Trade Union Initiative a workers organisation that weaves together small groups and unions,  84 Sarpanches from across Haryana had extended their support to the Maruti Suzuki workers struggle at the last demonstration of the workers at Kaithal on 8 May, The Haryana Government has stopped the funds to these Panchayats. Thus it is using both brute force and its fiscal powers to obliterate the struggle of the workers and put down the solidarity and support mobilised by the Sarpanches across the state, NTUI said.

“We continue to stand in solidarity with the struggle of the members of Maruti Suzuki Workers Union and their demand for a fair inquiry, release of the arrested workers and reinstatement of the workers terminated after the 18 July 2012 incident. This struggle against capital and the complicit state is a critical turning point in upholding democratic rights of the working class,” a joint statement by four different organizations supporting Kaithal workers said. These are NTUI, Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Association for Democratic Rights and People’s Union of Civil Rights.

 

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