Press Release – Struggle for Right to education in Telangana


June 1, 2015

Dear All,

Sub:     Progress in RTE 25% Admissions for Poor Students in Private Schools- Government of Telangana Issues Orders- Struggle of JAC for Total Implementation to Continue

After a struggle of over 2 years by the JAC (Joint Action Committee) for Implementation of 25% Free Admissions for Poor Students in Private schools- comprising of COVA, DBSU, Divya Disha, MAHITA, MSI, MVF, People’s Alliance for Child Rights, UFERWAS and filing of a Writ Petition on 23rd March 2015 in the High Court of Hyderabad, the Director School Education, Telangana State issued a letter to the Regional Joint Director, School Education, Hyderabad and Warangal directing  to take action to provide 25% free admission to the children of disadvantaged groups and weaker sections from next academic year 2015-16.

The members of JAC and representatives of different political parties including CPI, CPM, Congress, Lok Satta. AAP and other addressed a Press Conference in Hyderabad on 1st June 2015 and announced that they would launch a public awareness campaign to enable poor parents to apply for free admissions to private schools as per Rules and if any are denied admissions they would approach the government and the court for redress and proper implementation of the  RTE Act 2009.  Press Note is appended below.

 

Joint Action Committee for Implementation of Model RTE Rules in Telangana State

JAC Secretariat: COVA, # 18-13-8/A/508/B, Bandlaguda, Hyderabad 500 005

Phone :+91-40- 24442984,  Mobile:9346238430 E-mail :  covanetwork@gmail.com

June 1, 2015

PRESS NOTE

Parliament of India enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (Act No.35 of 2009) to provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years and the Act was to come in force from 01.04.2010. One of the key provisions of the Act is Provision of 25% Free Admissions to children from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in all non- minority private schools in the country and the State Governments to compensate the private schools with an annual fee.

Despite many orders and directives from the Central government including the Supreme Court of India in its Judgment delivered on 6th May 2014, not a single child from the Economically Weaker Sections has been admitted to private schools in Telangana of Andhra Pradesh as per Sec 12 (1)(c) of RTE Act 2009.

Many States have implemented 25% Free Admission Rule to some extent except Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Overview of Implementation of RTE 25% Free Admissions in Private Schools in different states is given in the table below:

 Number of seats expected to be reserved in Grade I under 25 percent quota in private schools [calculated from DISE 2013-4 without exempted minority institutions]  Percentage of seats filled in latest available year approximately 

[2013-4 or 2014-5]

Delhi 35,467  92
Karnataka   1,32,654  83
Rajasthan  2,07,353  81
Uttarakhand  30,204  74
Madhya Pradesh  1,68,150 56
Maharashtra  2,57,833  36
Tamil Nadu  1,79,777 32
Gujarat   94,317 0.05
Uttar Pradesh  6,37,150 0.01
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana   1,75,810  0

Information compiled from media articles, websites and other sources: http://www.25percent.in/

Since 2013 the Joint Action Committee has been actively campaigning to inform general public of the provisions of the RTE Act and had been lobbying with the government for implementation of 25% free admissions under the Act.  JAC with the support of political parties organised Roundtable Meetings and submitted representations and Model RTE Rules to all concerned from the President of India to the District Education Officer. COVA, the Secretariat of JAC in association with other members of JAC filed a Writ Petitions in the honorable High Court of AP in on 23rd March 2015 with a prayer to direct the Telangana State Government to ensure implementation of sec 12 (1) (c) of RTE Act 2009 stipulating at least 25% free admissions to children from EWS in private schools in the State at least from the Academic Year 2015-16 commencing from June 2105.

As  a result of  these  efforts  the  Director School Education, Telangana State issued a letter received by JAC on 15th May 2015 to the Regional Joint Director, School Education, Hyderabad  and Warangal,  under intimation to the Principal Secretary to Government  Education (SE) Department, Government of Telangana and COVA  requesting to take action to provide 25% free admission to the children of disadvantaged groups and weaker sections from next academic year 2015-16 as per rules in force and submit report in the matter at an early date (copy enclosed).

Now we demand:

  1. Total number of  private schools, including those offering the CBSE and ICSE syllabi  in the State must be identified/ notified and should be asked to reserve the seats, conduct admissions and submit a compliance report to the education department within three months of the commencement of the academic year.2015-16.
  2. Government shall make all efforts (like large scale publicity, house to house survey, ) to identify the children belonging to disadvantaged groups and weaker sections in the neighbourhood to ensure their admissions into private schools as stipulated.
  3. Facilitate parents of the deserving children to fill application forms and ensure that the schools accept all completed forms and issue proper acknowledgement receipts.
  4. In case sufficient numbers of children are not available within 1 k. m. in spite of all the efforts and Admission Committee is satisfied, then the school shall try to identify children from the extended neighborhood (up to 3 k. m.). In any case seats meant for the children from disadvantaged group and weaker section remain vacant, they should not be diverted to general candidate.
  5. Schools shall ensure that the entire process of admission is transparent, unbiased, fair and equitable and should be conducted under the supervision of a government official not lower than the rank of the Vice- principal as is being done in other states.
  6. Entry level  age criteria for  1st std  should be  5 years,  for pre-primary 4 yrs and for  play group 3 years
  7. The Act should be amended with provision of penal action against private schools if they fail to reserve the requisite seats, steps should be taken to withdraw recognition to offending schools.
  8. Government should make sufficient financial allocation and as per Section 12 (2) of the RTE Act, and should reimburse the expenditure incurred by private schools for admitting students free of cost.

 

Representatives of JAC  

 

Azeez Pasha,      Thammineni Veerabhadram        Kodandram,            Mazher Hussain,

Former MP          State Gen Secretary CPM            TJAC                        COVA

Amjedullah Khan,                  D. Ramu,                   Srisailam,                Philips Isidore

Ex-Corporator, MBT              Lok Satta                   AAP                          Divya Disha

Ramesh Reddy                      Swaroop                 B.Venkat Swamy          B.T.Srinivasan

People’s Alliance                  MAHITA               MVF                                 U-FERWAS

for Child Rights

Bro. Francis                           Christine Lazares    V. Sandhya

MSI                                        Former MLA           POW

Campaign for certification of film, “Porkalathil Oru Poo” #Censorship


censor

B103, Media Coop Society, Plot 18/A, Sector 7, Dwarke, New Delhi 110075

Tel: (0) 9818001206, Email: bose.tapan@gmail.com

 

 

To,

 

Mr Pahlaj Nihalani,

Chairperson

Central Board of Film Certification

Bharat Bhavan
91-E Walkeshwar Road
Mumbai 400 006

Email : chairperson.cbfc@nic.in

 

Sub:     Refusal of certificate to film, “Porkalathil Oru Poo”, by Chennai regional office

 

Dear Shri Nihalani,

 

We the signatories to this letter, comprising filmmakers, lawyers and social activists are distressed by the news that the film “Porkalathil Oru Poo” cannot be granted the necessary certificate for exhibition in the country, on the ground that it would strain friendly relations between India and Sri Lanka. (The Hindu May 26, 2015). The film made by Mr. K. Ganeshan is based on the on real life story of a Sri Lankan Tamil television journalist, Ms. Isaipriya. She was allegedly abducted and killed in captivity by members of Sri Lankan armed forces in the final stages of the civil war in 2009.

 

The news story quotes Mr. S. Ve. Shekar, a members of CBFC saying that, if allowed to be screened, the film would strain friendly relations between India and Sri Lanka. This is not a valid reason, as International Human Rights law and the laws of India demand that criminal actions must be exposed, investigated and criminals must be punished. Bringing to light, criminal actions of erring Sri Lankan soldiers, cannot be interpreted as an unfriendly action.

 

As you may recollect, this position was upheld by the Indian government in the past, when it called on the government of Sri Lanka for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of war crimes committed by Sri Lankan soldiers. In 2012, at the UN Human Rights Council, government of India also voted against the government of Sri Lanka for its inadequate progress in fulfilling the promises it had made to the UN Human Rights Council in 2009. India has demonstrated that its friendly relations do not include covering up crimes against humanity.

Ms. Isaipriya was a popular actor and a journalist. She was not engaged in any armed activity. As we know, the Rajapaksha government had claimed the Ms. Isaipriya was a terrorist and was killed during the war against LTTE.

 

Subsequent video footage unearthed by Channel 4 in 2013, from the mobile phones of Sri Lankan soldiers, show Isaipriya in a semiconscious state being dragged  up from a ditch, half naked and being led away. Photos of her dead body taken later, bore visible marks of torture and sexual abuse. You may recall that the Channel 4 film, “No Fire Zone”, though banned by Sri Lankan Government, was broadcast by an Indian TV channel. Headlines Today. Other Indian TV channels have repeatedly broadcast similar pictures of crimes against humanity committed by sections of soldiers of Sri Lanka.

 

Torture and killing of an arrested person and custodial rape of a woman are highly condemnable crimes and are punishable under national and international laws.  Those who perpetrate such crimes must be punished. Attempts to cover up such criminal activities is equally condemnable.

Mr. K. Ganeshan’s film, “Porkalathil Oru Poo”, is not a propaganda film. It is a tragic story of the life of a young TV actor and a journalist. Ms. Isaipriya. Her story deserve to be told. It is also important that those who tortured, raped and killed her should know that the world is aware of their heinous crimes.

 

We urge the CBFC to immediately issue the certificate to the film “Porkalathil Oru Poo” directed by Mr. K. Ganeshan.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Ajay Bhardwaj, <ajayunmukt@gmail.com>,

  1. K. Roy, <qadeeroy@gmail.com>,

Amar Kanwar, <amarkanwar@gmail.com> ,

Ammu Joseph<ammujo@gmail.com>

Amudhan Ramalimgam Pushapam <amudhanrp@yahoo.com>,

Anjali Monteiro <monteiro@tiss.edu>,
Ashvin Kumar <ashvin@alipur.com>

  1. Deenadayalan<ddaaron@gmail.com>

Joshy Joseph <jjoshy@gmail.com>,

K.P. Jayasankar <kpj@tiss.edu> ,

  1. P. Sasi <sasi36@rediffmail.com>,

K.Srilata  <srilata.k@gmail.com>

Laxmi Murthy <murthy.laxmi@gmail.com>

Leela Samson <leelasamson@gmail.com>

Meera Chaudhary <m.ecology@gmail.com>,

Nakul Sawhney <nakulss@gmail.com>,
Nishtha Jain <raintreefilms@gmail.com>,

Nitya Ramakrishnan <nityarkrishnan@gmail.com>

Pankaj Butalia <pankajbutalia@gmail.com>,

Prasanna Ramaswamy <prasannarama21@gmail.com>

Rakesh Sharma <rakeshfilm@gmail.com>,

Rita Manchanda <ritamanchanda2003@yahoo.co.in>

R.R. Srinivasan <rrsrinivasan@gmail.com>,

S.G.Vasudev <sgvasudev@gmail.com>,

Saba Dewan <sabadewan@gmail.com>,

Sadanand menon <sadanandmenon@yahoo.com> ,

Sanjay Kak <kaksanjay@gmail.com> ,
Sreemith Sekhar <sreemithme@gmail.com>,

Simantini Dhuru <simantini.dhuru@gmail.com>,

Suhasini Mulay <suhasini.mulay@gmail.com>

Tapan Kumar Bose   <bose.tapan@gmail.com> ,

Venkatesh Chakravarthy <chaks3@hotmail.com>,

Yousuf Saeed <saeed.yousuf@gmail.com

Dalai Lama Urges Aung San Suu Kyi to Help Myanmar’s Rohingya


Photo

Rohingya migrants cooked at a shelter in Indonesia on Thursday. The Tibetan Buddhist leader told a newspaper that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should be helping the Rohingya people. CreditSergey Ponomarev for The New York Times 

But the country’s harsh treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority, setting off an exodus of people by boat across Southeast Asia, has unleashed a barrage of criticism in recent days aimed not only at the country’s former generals but also at the leader of Myanmar’s democracy movement, the Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader and a fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, was quoted on Thursday in an Australian newspaper as saying that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi should be helping to address the plight of the Rohingya, who number more than a million but are not recognized as citizens of Myanmar, are restricted in their travels and suffer persecution and deprivation.

About 25,000 migrants left Myanmar and Bangladesh on rickety smugglers’ boats in the first three months of 2015, according to a United Nations estimate.

 OPEN GRAPHIC 

“But in spite of that I feel she can do something,” he added.

The Rohingya are widely reviled in Myanmar, which is overwhelmingly Buddhist and has an influential radical Buddhist political movement. Speaking out for the Rohingya is seen as a form of political kryptonite for any Buddhist politician like Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has offered various explanations in recent years for her reluctance to speak out for the Rohingya, saying at one point that a public airing of her views could further stoke the fires of radical Buddhists, who have ransacked Rohingya villages, displacing more than 100,000 Rohingya.

Jonah Fisher, a BBC correspondent in Yangon, said in a Twitter post on Thursday that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s latest statement on the Rohingya was that it was the government’s duty to solve the issue.

Her critics have said that someone of her enormous moral authority in Myanmar should take a stronger stance.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, another winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, said in a recorded message aired this week that aid donors, including the European Union, should make their funding for the impoverished country “conditional on the restoration of citizenship, nationality and basic human rights to the Rohingya.”

“A country that is not at peace with itself, that fails to acknowledge and protect the dignity and worth of all its people, is not a free country,” Archbishop Tutu said in remarks that were broadcast at a conference on the Rohingya in Oslo this week.

He said he agreed with those who say a “slow genocide” was being committed against the Rohingya.

How Myanmar and Its Neighbors Are Responding to the Rohingya Crisis

Myanmar and its neighbors see the people of the Rohingya ethnic group and the seaborne trafficking of migrants in the region very differently, complicating the refugees’ plight.

At the same conference, George Soros, the financier and philanthropist who for more than two decades has been active in promoting democracy, sent a videotaped speech in which he said he was “growing discouraged” by developments in Myanmar.

Mr. Soros said he visited a Rohingya settlement in January and saw parallels to his youth as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Europe.

“You see, in 1944, as a Jew in Budapest, I too was a Rohingya,” he said.

The Rohingya settlement was a ghetto, he said, an “involuntary home to thousands of families who once had access to health care, education and employment.”

“Now, they are forced to remain segregated in a state of abject deprivation. The parallels to the Nazi genocide are alarming.”

Myanmar officials are scheduled to meet with their counterparts from other Asian countries in Bangkok on Friday for a meeting to address migrants, chief among them the Rohingya, who have been fleeing Myanmar by the thousands.

Myanmar, which changed its name from Burma during the previous military dictatorship and lashes out at governments that continue to refer to the country as Burma, refuses to recognize the term Rohingya and calls the people Bengali instead, suggesting that they come from neighboring Bangladesh.

Officials in Myanmar said they would not attend the government meeting in Thailand if the term Rohingya were used.

Thailand, which has been reluctant to anger its neighbor, agreed to Myanmar’s demands and titled the conference Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/29/world/asia/dalai-lama-urges-aung-san-suu-kyi-to-help-myanmars-rohingya.html?_r=0

#India – 60 year old Tribal man ‘sacrificed’ in Jharkhand for rain #WTFnews


Tribal 'sacrificed' in Jharkhand for rain
Kharia’s family suspects the man was killed by Orkas, a group of oculists in the district, who sacrifice humans and bury their heads in fields before sowing season “to please the rain God”.
RANCHI/GUMLA: A 60-year-old tribal man, who went missing on May 28, was allegedly sacrificed in Jharkhand’s Gumla district for better rainfall and harvest.

Police found Thepa Kharia’s headless body from his house at Kharvadih in the district’s Palkot block, 130km from Ranchi, on Sunday afternoon.

They could not find the severed head, which villagers believe has been buried. Police ruled out role of Maoists or criminals in the murder after preliminary investigation.

Kharia’s family suspects the man was killed by Orkas, a group of oculists in the district, who sacrifice humans and bury their heads in fields before sowing season “to please the rain God”.

But FIR lodged by Jatru Kharia, nephew of Kharia, against unknown killers does not have any mention of Orkas, said police.

“The villagers believe that Orkas have killed him. It is mysterious because Kharia did not have enemies and did not work for the police or Maoists. He was a landless farmer and chances of murder for property is also little,” said Palkot police station in-charge Ajay Kumar Thakur.

“In case of human sacrifice, the body is offered to a deity and rituals are followed. Orkas, however, function differently. They sever the head and bury it in fields,” he added.

Kharia lived alone as his son works in Goa. “He was last seen on Thursday evening. When villagers did not see him for two days, they went to his house and found his headless body,” Mayawati Devi, the mukhiya of Bilingbira panchyat, where the “human sacrifice” took place, said.

“People in Gumla are very superstitious. The villagers are saying the Okras have killed him. He was an innocent man and no criminal or Maoist will kill him,” she added.

Jharkhand has been reeling under extreme heat for the past two weeks with some parts of the state recording temperature as high as 47°C.

Though weather predictions show sign of early monsoon, farmers in the state are sceptical after drought-like conditions in many districts, including Gumla, over the past two years.

Terming human sacrifice as a “heinous crime”, former Gumla MLA Bairagi Oraon said the practice is age-old in the district. “Such incidents happened earlier too. It is believed that human sacrifice to rain God brings good rain and better harvest. It is done before the farmers start sowing paddy. But the tradition has almost vanished now.”

Gumla SP Bheemsen Tuti said unless strong evidence was found to show involvement of Orkas, he would not comment. “The case is under investigation and so far no strong evidence has been found in connection with the murder,” Tuti said.

Human sacrifice is common especially in backward districts like Khunti, Gumla and Lohardaga. In March 2012, a man was arrested in Lohardaga for “sacrificing” his wife.

 

IIT Bombay forms Ambedkar-Periyar-Phule Study Circle


AMBEDPERI

Protests against the decision of IIT Madras administration to ban the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) spread to Mumbai on Monday with over a hundred students from different institutions staging a rally at the Dadar station here.

“We see nothing wrong with what APSC has done. It is not a new group. We condemn the decision to ban it. Even if you think they did something wrong, they should have been given a fair hearing. This is just one visible instance of the administration’s autocratic behaviour. This issue is not limited to IIT Madras alone. Across IITs, there are various problems, such as poor implementation of the reservation systems, absence of Dalit faculty and so on. What does it mean when they say IITs are not political? Everything is political. To be political is my right,” Kranthi Kumar, a Ph.D. scholar from IIT Bombay told The Hindu.

In response to the ban, students from IIT Bombay have formed an Ambedkar-Periyar-Phule Study Circle, which staged its first protest on campus on Sunday.

“Even though we stood silently with posters, the IIT security personnel, administration and the police threatened us with adverse action. We were told to remove the mention of the HRD Ministry from our posters. So the message is ‘don’t say anything against the government’. It is very important for students across campuses to come together,” Paanki Agrawal from IIT Bombay said.

Protesters chanted the slogans such as, ‘when will achche din come?’, ‘long live Ambedkar and Periyar’, ‘down with casteism’ and demanded a revocation of the ban.

“We express our solidarity with the study circle and with the aim of annihilation of the caste system. Silencing of voices is a dangerous step,” said Bodhayan Roy from the Marxist study circle at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

“Such bans,” pointed out Sunija M.V. from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), “will obstruct the support system of marginalised students on campuses. As a result you will see more student suicides.”

Students also questioned the irony of demonising the ideas of Dr. Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution.

“Are we living in dualism?” asked Jackson Khumukcham from TISS. “It is time to think about the kind of education we want to impart. ” he said.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/iitm-ban-protests-spread-to-mumbai/article7272310.ece

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