Shehla Masood case: court reserves order on bail pleas of two accused

My Friend Shehla Masood

My Friend Shehla Masood

Press Trust of India  |  Indore  April 10, 2013 

The special CBI court today reserved its order on the bail applications of two of the accused in the Shehla Masood murder case — alleged shooters Saquib Ali ‘Danger’ and Tabish Khan — till April 12.

Judge Anupam Srivastava reserved the order after hearing the arguments by defence lawyer Pradeep Gupta and CBI’s senior prosecutor Atul Kumar.

The accused had filed the pleas in December.

Advocate Gupta had argued that the trial was underway for over a year and would go on for long, so the accused be given bail. But prosecution argued that final arguments were yet to take place and the bail applications could be considered afterwards.

Five people are on trial for the murder of Shehla Masood, an RTI activist, in Bhopal‘s Koh-E-Fiza locality on August 16, 2011: Zahida Parvez, Saba, Saquib Ali Danger, Irfan, and Tabish.

Zahida Pervez, an interior designer, is accused of conspiring to kill Masood.


Nashik youths develop ‘Me Against Rape’ Android app for women’s safety #Vaw

By , ET
Three Nashik youths have developed an Android app called Me Against Rape that women can use as an emergency alert system. The app allows user to seek assistance from family and friends with just press of a button.
Nashik youths develop 'Me Against Rape' Android app for women's safety

Three youths from Nashik have come with an app that women can use as an emergency alert system alarm and seek assistance from friends or family in time of distress. The software called ‘Me Against Rape’ has been developed in view of the recent incidents of crime against women.

Makers of the app, Gunwant Battashe (23), engineer Anup Unnikrishanan (24) and graphic designer Jayesh Bankar (23) say the Me Against Rape app is available for Android-based smartphones for free.

The app features a one-touch helpline facility, recording facility, and can send location and time details every 10 minutes — including latitude, longitude, address and Google Maps link. The developers of the app believe the app would be very helpful in fighting against atrocities to women.

“If a woman is in any kind of a trouble, she has to just press the help button which will send an SMS to her relative or contact person as registered informing him/ her about her,” say the trio.

The developers also showed off the features of the app to Nashik Commissioner of Police, Kulwant Kumar Sarangal, who said it is an “excellent” option.

There are quite a few similar apps available for smartphone users that can be used as an emergency alert system. Delhi-based security services firm Indianeye Security Pvt. Ltd. has launched a new mobile application called Eyewatch. The app ends multiple messages, images, videos, sound bites and other details such as location status with the press of a button. Users can also press the SOS button to alert contacts listed (maximum three) as the emergency contacts via SMS and e-mail.

There’s also a WhyPoll app aimed at women’s safety. After massive public outrage over Delhi gangrape incidents, a similar Nirbhaya app was launched for smartphone users.

#Srilanka – The killing of a young 12-year-old boy

CALLUM MACRAE, The Hindu FEb 19.2013

  • CHILLING DETAILS: Digital image analysis by an expert for Channel 4 has confirmed that this photograph showing 12-year-old Balachandran Prabakaran before and after he was shot dead, were taken with the same camera.
    No Fire Zone/Channel 4CHILLING DETAILS: Digital image analysis by an expert for Channel 4 has confirmed that this photograph showing 12-year-old Balachandran Prabakaran before and after he was shot dead, were taken with the same camera.
  • CHILLING DETAILS: Digital image analysis by an expert for Channel 4 has confirmed that these this photograph showing 12-year-old Balachandran Prabakaran before and after he was shot dead, were taken with the same camera.
    No Fire Zone/Channel 4CHILLING DETAILS: Digital image analysis by an expert for Channel 4 has confirmed that these this photograph showing 12-year-old Balachandran Prabakaran before and after he was shot dead, were taken with the same camera.
  • CHILLING DETAILS: Digital image analysis by an expert for Channel 4 has confirmed that this photograph showing 12-year-old Balachandran Prabakaran after he was shot dead, were taken with the same camera.
    No Fire Zone/Channel 4CHILLING DETAILS: Digital image analysis by an expert for Channel 4 has confirmed that this photograph showing 12-year-old Balachandran Prabakaran after he was shot dead, were taken with the same camera.

New photographs of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran’s son just before he was shot dead, obtained by Channel 4 TV, leave more questions for Sri Lanka to answer about war crimes

It is a war that has produced some truly terrible images, but this one is particularly disturbing. A young boy sits looking distressed, like a child who has been lost in a supermarket. He has been given a biscuit or some kind of snack. In the second photograph, he is looking anxiously up, as though hoping to see someone he recognises.

The boy is Balachandran Prabakaran, the 12-year-old son of Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabakaran.

These photographs, which we are releasing today, form part of the new evidence in the forthcoming feature documentary “No War Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,” the culmination of three years of research which will be shown for the first time next month in Geneva, to coincide with the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting. The new evidence in the film is certain to increase pressure on the Indian government not only to support a resolution on Sri Lanka and accountability, but also to ensure that it is robustly worded, and that it outlines an effective plan for international action to end impunity in Sri Lanka.

The new photographs tell a chilling story. This child is not been lost of course: he has been captured and is being held in a sandbag bunker, apparently guarded by a Sri Lankan Army soldier. In less than two hours he will be taken, executed in cold blood — and then photographed again.

Forensic pathologist’s opinion

In these photographs, which digital image analysis indicates were taken with the same camera, we can see he has been shot five times in the chest. Separate video footage, also apparently filmed as a war trophy by government soldiers, shows that alongside him lie the bodies of five men. They appear to have been Tamil Tiger fighters, probably his bodyguards. They have been stripped, bound, blindfolded and then shot in the head.

The new photographs are particularly important evidentially, because they prove that Balachandran was not killed in crossfire, or in a battle. His death was deliberate and calculated. The pictures fill in chilling details on the circumstances of his murder — and leave the Sri Lankan government with yet more questions to answer about just how systematic the executions at the end of the war appear to have been. Last year, we first revealed video footage and stills which showed Balachandran’s body shortly after his execution. These were analysed for us by a respected forensic pathologist, Professor Derrick Pounder, to assess the cause of death.

The professor identified what he thinks is the first of the shots to be fired at the boy: “There is a speckling (on the skin) from propellant tattooing, indicating that the distance of the muzzle of the weapon to this boy’s chest was two to three feet or less. He could have reached out with his hand and touched the gun that killed him.”

The professor said the angle of the shots suggested that after that bullet was fired, the boy fell backwards and was then shot four more times. Unlike the men around him, there was no indication that the boy had been blindfolded or bound, so it was possible that the boy may have been made to watch the execution of his guards before the gun was turned on him.

The new photographs released today give us a chilling insight into what happened before that. They appear to demonstrate that the situation was calm and orderly. Balachandran was given a snack and some water. There was time to take photographs while he was held in the bunker and again afterwards. The forensic analysis report on the photographs concludes that there is “no evidence to indicate fabrication, manipulation or the use of effects to create the images” and concludes that the photographs “appear to be an accurate representation of the events depicted.”

From the separate video sequence recorded later (which has also been authenticated by both digital video analysis), it is clear that there were several military personnel in the area.

Where the trail leads to

It is difficult to imagine the mindset of an army in which a child can be executed in cold blood with apparent impunity. It also raises extremely difficult questions for the Sri Lankan military. With every month that passes, the evidence of systematic execution of prisoners grows. The pattern of apparent sexual violence against female fighters is disturbing in the extreme.

As the respected international human rights lawyer, Professor William A. Schabas, says in our film: “If you look at what looks like the mass execution of naked prisoners, these all add up to possibly the claim that this was in fact systematic — and that could point to the highest levels in the military authority of Sri Lanka as being responsible for war crimes of summary execution, killing and torture.”

India’s role

And in Sri Lanka, of course, the highest levels of the military are virtually the same as the highest levels of the government. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, have some very difficult questions to answer.

They may well continue to simply deny the evidence and cite the undoubted crimes of the Tamil Tigers. But as a defence, it is becoming increasingly threadbare. The crimes of one side do not justify the crimes of another. A government which claims to adhere to international humanitarian law cannot hide behind the brutal suicide bombings or the brutalised child soldiers of the Tigers. But for India there is a dilemma too. Because it matters not just what the answers to these questions are. It also matters who asks these questions. India is central to this.

It has been said before, but it is true, and worth repeating. Without justice there can be no peace and reconciliation, and without truth there can be no justice.

This is not an academic exercise in historical accountability. The men responsible for these crimes are still in charge. They are continuing to brutally repress Tamils in the north and persecute anyone who criticises the government including, as we have seen with the impeachment of the Chief Justice, their own judiciary.

If there is no attempt to address these issues and to bring justice to those who suffered, the fear is that in the short term, political repression in Sri Lanka will increase and that in the long term, history is destined to repeat itself with yet more bloodshed and regional instability.

It seems to most human rights defenders around the world, including those in India, that the only way ahead in this situation is for the creation of a credible, independent, international inquiry into these events, as called for by the U.N.’s Panel of Experts. That inquiry should examine all the crimes committed by both sides.

If India was to declare its support for such an inquiry, many hope it could mark the start of the long, delayed movement towards peace, reconciliation and political justice in Sri Lanka.

(Callum Macrae is director, “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka.”


Safe Pregnancy and Birth mobile app now available for Android phones #Mothersday

In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re proud to announce that our Safe Pregnancy and Birth mobile app is now available for free as a beta release for Android phonesClick here to download it now from the Google Play app store.
  In January, we released our app for iPhones; click here to download it from the Apple store.
If you don’t have an Android or iPhone, you can preview the app here.
Our app is the only comprehensive app on pregnancy and birth developed specifically for low-resource settings. Life-saving information is presented in clear, accessible language rich with illustrations, and an intuitive and friendly navigation—perfect for working with community health workers or midwives with varied literacy levels.  As always, we welcome your feedback.
Hesperian’s other women’s health resources are available in English and Spanish in our bookstore and in our new HealthWiki digital format.
Honor your mother with a Gift of Health

Give a Gift of Health on Mother’s Day. Click here to send free copies of Hesperian health guides to mothers and midwives who cannot afford to buy them.  Include your mother’s e-mail address and we will send her an e-card notifying her of your gift! For mothers who prefer regular mail, let us know by Wednesday, May 9th, and we will send her an illustrated card.

Empowering Mayan midwives in rural Belize

May 7, 2012

I went to Punta Gorda, Belize Central America to train Mayan women to deliver babies in their communities using Hesperian’s A Book for Midwives. Punta Gorda is a town in the southernmost part of Belize with a small hospital. Around the town are numerous Mayan villages. There is a bus service that goes two days a week to most of the villages, but for obvious reasons that is not a reliable way to get to medical help when a woman is in labor. Some of the villages might have one person who owned a truck and they soon became tired of being asked to transport people to town. They were especially leery of women in labor who might deliver in route and make a bloody mess in the process!

The 14 women who attended my training were selected by going to each village and holding meetings. This process took several trips. The first to see if there was an interest and try to set a date and time to return and hold the meeting. The next to actually hold the meeting and then another to follow up. That is if everything went smoothly, which of course was not always the case. In some villages one woman was selected and in others two and in others none. I wanted the women to do the selecting themselves. The midwives would serve their village and I wanted to empower the women by allowing them to decide who they wanted to be trained. Each village ultimately handled this process a little differently. Some wanted men and women to attend the meeting. Some already had selected someone when I returned to meet with them. The village of Jalacte had an especially large turnout and was the only village to hold an election were each women cast a ballot. In the end I had 14 woman who wanted to be in the midwife training.

I started with the first chapter of A Book for Midwives and worked my way through the book. Most of the women in the class were not midwives but wanted to learn. A few had helped at a small number of births. Alfonza, the oldest in the group, had been to lots of births but was afraid to say so at first not knowing if she might get into trouble. As time went on I gained her confidence and we became fast friends. I especially liked it when she would contribute to the discussion and it would be something that we both had experienced at a birth.

I often made comments such as, “This is what I was taught” or “This is what I have seen,” then I would ask if they had a different way of doing it or a different understanding. I felt like it was important to not make the women feel like I thought I was smarter or better than them. I think that this was a good approach and that the women opened up to me and trusted me.

In this part of the world, women are not given a lot of power. Many of them were not used to making decisions for themselves. They were often told what to do by their husbands and people in power. I found the chapters on step-by-step thinking, intuition, creativity and thinking about risks and benefits to be very helpful in teaching them to make decisions.

Many of the women had very little understanding about how their bodies work and how things look on the inside, so the chapters that covered those subjects were also very valuable.

In addition to class room time, I set up a schedule to go to each village and do prenatal checkups with the students and the pregnant women of the village. When I arrived for the first prenatal in the village of San Pedro I was met by two of my students who came running to my jeep waving their arms and shooting, “She is in labor, she is in labor, come quick!” We proceeded to the home of one of the women who we were supposed to be doing a prenatal exam on and sure enough, she was in good strong labor. Instead of a lesson in prenatal care, we had a lesson in childbirth! She delivered a healthy baby boy a few hours later to everyone’s delight.

At our next day of class all the women were abuzz with the story about the birth. We were off to a great start.  The subject for this class was danger signs to watch for during pregnancy, like the signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia. At the end of class, one of the women came to me and told me about a woman in the village neighboring hers who she was worried about. She was expecting her 9th child and was “all swelled up.” We decided to go to her village next. It turned out that my student was correct, the pregnant woman did have a lot of swelling, her blood pressure was very high, she was experiencing headaches and to make matters worse, it had been raining so much that the road to her village was almost impassible. Soon buses and cars would not be able to get to her village. We decided that the best thing to do would be to transport her.  The hospital decided to do a cesarean section and delivered a 9 pound baby (see the photo of the mother and her newborn baby above).

I heard many stories about breech babies dying while I was in Belize. Often the baby was alive when the feet and body were born but those in attendance would watch as the pink, kicking, limbs turned blue and stopped moving. The head was entrapped and by the time they were able to free it the baby was dead. I knew that the women of the villages would not call the midwives for the easy normal deliveries but would call them when there were problems. For this reason I thought that it was especially important to teach how to handle complications and how to deliver twins and breeches.

Eulaya in the village of Jalacte, which is located far from the hospital, was one of the Mayan women that I trained. The first two babies that she delivered were breech. Both babies survived. Eulaya has gone on to deliver many babies and to be looked up to by the women in her village.

Vicenta loved her copy of A Book for Midwives which soon became dog eared from studying it. She called me one day because she needed help transporting a women who was not due for another month but her water had broken and labor had not started. She was concerned that infection would set in if something wasn’t done. She had to walk from her village where there was no phone to the neighboring village to make the call. At first the hospital would not send an ambulance to pick up this woman so Vicenta called me to see what I could do. With some persuading I was able to convince the hospital to send an ambulance to pick up the pregnant woman and bring her to the hospital. Sure enough, Vicenta was right, the water was broken. At the hospital her labor was started by induction and mother and baby both survived.

One week later another woman in Vicenta’s village started bleeding early in her pregnancy. The bleeding was more than usual and wouldn’t stop. Vicenta again walked to the next village and this time when she called the hospital they knew who she was and they went right away to transport the woman who was bleeding. By this time the woman had lost so much blood that she was barely conscious, and needed a blood transfusion as well as a D&C.

I think that there is a great need for trainings like this one and that A Book for Midwives is an excellent manual for traditional birth attendants and community midwives.

Deborah Flowers CPM, RN

Read original article here


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