ILO, UNHRC to take up labour issues at Maruti Suzuki


By Harpreet Bajwa – CHANDIGARH

New Indian Express online, 31st May 2013 

The alleged violence and human rights violation of workers at the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki will be taken up at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva next week by the International Commission for Labour Rights (ICLR).

The special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association,  an independent expert appointed by the [UN] Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country a specific human rights theme, will also look into the matter.

A seven-member ICLR team met the Haryana DGP and other state government officials on Thursday. However, it could not meet Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Maruti-Suzuki management with the latter refusing to meet them.

International human rights lawyer and team member Suzanne Adely said: “We will take this issue of repressing rights of Maruti workers and the state police booking them in different cases with the special rapporteur next week. We will also take up this case with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).” “This company is also planning to set up a plant in South Africa. The labour organisations there will oppose it as our team there was a member from the labour organisations of that country. If Maruti interfered with the workers’ rights to form union of their choice and terminated union members, there are serious violations of international labour norms,”  said Ashwini Sukthankar, an international labour lawyer and ICLR member.

Another team member Kato, a retired International Secretary of the National Confederation of Trade Union of Japan, said: “ We shall build awareness on this incident at the Manesar plant among Japanese workers so we can build solidarity for the Indian workers in Japan and develop a sustained campaign for protection of dignity and labour rights of Indian workers.”

“We will take up the issue of Maruti workers with senators in the US and also advise the industry there not to invest in Haryana,” said Immanuel Ness, professor of political science at City University, New York.

New Trade Union Initiative national secretary N Vasudevan said that the basic issue in the dispute is not allowing the formation of an independent workers’ union.

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


Gujarat EDN

AM 20APR2013

Haryana CM rubbishes Modi’s claim over milk

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

Bhupinder Singh Hooda - India Economic Summit 2010

Haryana had more per capita milk production than Gujarat


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

 

Haryana – Maruti Workers Union on launch of indefinite dharna ( English and Hindi )


March 26, 2013

We are on an indefinite dharna from 24 March 2013, and will go on an indefinite Hunger Strike from 28 March 2013, in Kaithal, Haryana in front of Kisan Bhavan, residence of State Industries Minister, R.S. Surjewala. Please join in solidarity and circulate this message as widely as possible.

Please check http://marutisuzukiworkersunion.wordpress.com/ for regular updates.

Inquilab Zindabad!-

Provisional Working Committee
MSWU

######

Join in Solidarity with our Struggle for Justice!
Support our indefinite Hunger Strike in Kaithal, Haryana against exploitation by the Company management-Government-Administration-Police machinery!

Workers and friends,

As much as the company-state nexus would like to think of us as having crushed our quest for justice, we the workers of Maruti Suzuki, Manesar are continuing with our struggle. You are aware because we raised our voice against exploiutation that 2300 of our fellow workers have been terminated from our jobs, 147 workers continue to languish in jail and have not been granted bail or even parole since 18th July 2012, and 65 of us still have non-bailable arrest warrant against us. Haryana state police are continuing to harass us and our family members and relatives or any pro-worker person who stands with us. Our struggle has continued in these 9 months trying to forge solidarities among other workers and toiling people. So, MSWU Provisional Working Committee member Iman Khan was picked up on 24th January 2013 and all the false cases from murder to looting and arson have also been thrust upon him, while his name did not figure in any FIR, Chargesheet or SIT report. Chief Minister of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda threatened us in our meeting with him on 21st February 2013, that we do another rally like we did on 27th January 2013 in Rohtak or continue with our struggle anywhere, he will arrest all of us and put us behind bars.

This is the award that our ‘democratic’ government gives us for questioning its model of development, and what kind and for whom is this ‘development’ that he is talking about? At the promise of this ‘development’ and ‘employment’, the government grabs the lands of poor farmers cheap and hands it over to companies. But the youth do not get any decent employment. The small numbers of us who do get some jobs, are exploited in horrible working conditions and low wage in the factories. When we spoke out against exploitation in work and even after that, we are thrown out of work and hounded and repressed by police and put in jails. When we ask for justice, the police and ministers arrest some more of us and harass us daily. This is how the Haryana government daily works openly for the interests of the capitalists like Suzuki, and against the interests of workers and peasants.

Knowing well that our spirit of struggle for justice is being tried to be extinguished by the corrupt, repressive government-administration which sits on the lap of capitalists, we are taking a pledge to continue and renew our struggle. We will not kneel down before unemployment, hunger and the repression. We will continue this struggle not only for us, but pledge to build and raise a powerful collective voice of workers and toiling people against unemployment, exploitation and repression. Upholding the legacy of Shaheed Bhagat Singh on the 82nd anniversary of his martyrdom day, we are on an indefinite dharna from 24 March 2013 in front of the residence of Haryana Industries Minister, Randip Singh Surjewala and we will go on an indefinite hunger strike from 28th March 2013. We the workers of Maruti Suzuki, with this hunger strike, take a pledge we will struggle continuously, not only for our economic rights but for the rights of all workers, and against inequality and injustice of all kinds in society. That this hunger strike of ours will signal a new unity of workers and toiling people in the country against the exploitation and repression by capitalists and rulers- this is our hope.

Inquilab Zindabad!

Provisional Working Committee

Maruti Suzuki Workers Union

#######

मारुति मज़दूरों के न्याय की लड़ाई में साथ दो!
कंपनी प्रबंधन-सरकार-प्रशासन व पुलिसतंत्र के दमन के खिलाफ संघर्षरत मज़दूरों का कैथल में चल रहे अनिश्चितकालीन भूख हड़ताल का समर्थन करें !

मज़दूर साथियो व नागरिकों,

जैसे की आपको पता है पिछले 8 महीनों में हम मारुति मज़दूरों को किसी भी प्रकार का न्याय नही मिला। 18 जुलाई 2012 में मारुति सुजुकी की मानेसर प्लांट में कंपनी प्रबंधन ने मज़दूरों की जायज मांगों को कुचलने के लिए प्लांट के अंदर गुंडे बुलवाकर उन्हें पिटवाया, साजिश के तहत आगजनी की गई जिसमे एक प्रबंधक की मौत हो गई जिसका आरोप मज़दूरों के उपर थोप दिया गया । इसी साजिश के तहत 546 स्थाई और 1800 ठेका मज़दूरों को बिना कोई जांच करवाये नौकरी से निकाल दिया गया और 147 मज़दूरों पर झूठे मुकदमे ठोककर जेल भिजवाया, जिसमें से किसी कि अभी तक जमानत भी नही हुई है । जेल में भी मज़दूरों के उपर काफ़ी शारीरिक व मानसिक अत्याचार किया जा रहा है । टी. बी., दमा, चर्मरोग जैसे गंभीर बीमारियों के बाद भी उचित इलाज और राहत नही दी जा रही है । इसके अलावा कंपनी की शह पर प्रशासन ने 65 मज़दूरों के खिलाफ गैरजमानती वारंट भी जारी कर रखा है । हरियाणा के गांवों में इन मज़दूरों के घर-घर पुलिस जा कर परिवारों के लोगों के उपर लगातार अत्याचार कर रही है । कभी किसी के भाई तो कभी किसी का रिश्तेदार को उठाकर थाने में ले जाने का सिलसिला चलाया जा रहा हैं । पिछले 24 जनवरी को प्रोविज़नल वर्किंग कमेटी के सदस्य ईमान खान, जिसका नाम किसी भी एफ. आई. आर में नही था, को पुलिस ने गैरक़ानूनी तरीके से प्रेस-वार्ता से गिरफ्तार करके जेल में डाल दिया । हम पिछले 8 महीनों में न्याय की उम्मीद में सरकार और प्रशासन के हर दरवाजे को खटखटाया, मंत्रियों से मिलें और अंत में हरियाणा के मुख्यमंत्री के पास भी गए, मगर हमे निराश हो कर वापस लौटना पड़ा । हरियाणा राज्य के उद्योग मंत्री रणदीप सिंह सुरजेवाला जी ने बोल दिया कि उनका काम पूंजीपतियों को उद्योग के लिए जमीन दिलवाना है, मज़दूरों को नौकरी वापस दिलवाना नहीं । और मुख्यमंत्री जी ने तो सीधा धमकी दिया, अगर तुमलोग रोहतक में फिर कोई कार्यक्रम करोगे तो सबको जेल में डाल देंगे ।

सरकार इस बात का प्रचार कर रही है की कंपनियों के खिलाफ बोलने से राज्य के विकास पर असर पड़ेगा । मगर क्या राज्य के नागरिकों को यह पूछने का हक नहीं है कि सरकार कैसी विकास और किसके विकास कि बात कर रही है? हरियाणा के किसानों कि जमीन को सस्ते दामों में खरीदकर और यहाँ के गरीब किसानों को बेरोजगार करने के बाद भी यहाँ के लड़कों को काम नही मिल रहा है, और जो भी काम मिल रहे हैं उनमें मज़दूरों की भारी मात्रा में शोषण व दमन हो रही है, जबकि हरियाणा की उसी जमीन से सुजुकी जैसे विदेशी पूंजीपति करोडो का मुनाफा पीट रहे हैं । मज़दूरों-किसानों के निर्मम शोषण पर टिकी हरियाणा सरकार पूंजीपतियों द्वारा मज़दूरों का और ज्यादा खून चूसने के लिए फैलाये जा रहे क्षेत्रवाद का भी समर्थन कर रही है । इसी वजह से पूंजीपति हरियाणा के नौजवानों को रोजगार ना देने की ऐलान कर रहे है ।

जरा सोचिये, आज जब 147 बेकसूर नौजवान 8 महीनों से जेल में बंद है, जब कैथल, जींद, यमुनानगर, रेवारी, करनाल आदि जगहों के गांवों में 500 से ज्यादा परिवार भूख और भीषण आर्थिक संकट का सामना कर रहा है और जेल में बंद दूर-दराज के मज़दूरों के परिजन किराये के अभाव में मिलाई तक नही करने नहीं आ पा रहे हैं और न्याय की प्रतीक्षा में हैं, जब कि सुजुकी कंपनी लगातार धमकी दे रही है कि हरियाणा के नौजवानों को नौकरी में नही लिया जायेगा, तब भी हमारे मुख्यमंत्री जी हरियाणा की पंचायतों तक को मारुति के मसले पर बात उठाने से रोक रहे हैं । मुख्यमंत्री जी का पहले कहना था कि एस. आई. टी. कि रिपोर्ट आने के बाद बचे हुए कर्मचारियों को ड्यूटी पर ले लिया जायेगा । लेकिन अब वे बोल रहे हैं कि न्याय की बात कोर्ट में जा कर करो, हम कोई जिम्मेदारी नही लेंगे । क्या मुख्यमंत्री जी को ये पता नहीं है कि कोर्ट में फैसला होने में बीस-बीस साल लग जाता है? इतने दिनों तक केस खींचना कंपनी के लिए तो आसान है मगर मजदूरों के लिए बीस साल तक क़ानूनी लड़ाई लड़ना सम्भब है? हम देख रहे हैं कि किस तरीके से सरकार जनता के पैसों से करोडो रुपये खर्च करके मारुति सुजुकी कंपनी के लिए वकील की व्यवस्था कर रही है । हमें ये भी दिख रहा है कि कंपनी द्वारा उपलब्ध कराये गए मज़दूरों के नामों की लिस्ट के मुताबिक सरकार एस. आई. टी. जांच की रिपोर्ट तैयार कर नौजवान मज़दूरों को दोषी प्रमाणित करने की तैयारी कर रही है ताकि कोई भी मज़दूर अपने जायज अधिकारों की माँग उठाने बारे में सोच भी ना सके । लोकतान्त्रिक होने का दावा करने वाले सरकार से क्या ऐसी उम्मीद की जा सकती है? हरियाणा सरकार की एस. आई. टी. रिपोर्ट कितना मनगढ़ंत और बेबुनियाद है रिपोर्ट को कोई भी व्यक्ति पड़कर जान सकता है । हम माँग करते हैं कि इस झूठी रिपोर्ट को पूर्णतः ख़ारिज कर नए सिरे से निष्पक्ष व उच्चस्तरीय न्यायिक जांच हों ।

आज यह जान कर भी कि न्याय के सारे दरवाजों को हमारे लिए बंद कर दिये जा रहा हैं, हम न्याय के लिए संघर्ष को जारी रखने का संकल्प लेते हैं । हम बेरोजगारी, भूख और शासन-प्रशासन के दमन-उत्पीड़न के आगे घुटने नहीं टेकेंगे । हम सिर्फ अपने लिए नहीं बल्कि सभी नौजवानों के रोजगार के लिए संघर्ष के रास्ते आगे बढ़ना चाहते हैं और सभी जनता को साथ ले कर अपनी आवाज को बुलंद करना चाहते हैं । इसलिए कैथल में, जहाँ हरियाणा सरकार के उद्योग मंत्री का निवास है, हम 24 मार्च, 2013 से अनिश्चितकालीन अनशन पर बैठ रहे हैं । हम मानते हैं कि इस देश का इतिहास सिर्फ अंग्रेजों, उसके दलालों और देशी-विदेशी पूंजीपतियों का इतिहास नहीं है । यह अमर शहीद भगत सिंह, जिनकी शहादत दिवस आज 23 मार्च को है, उनके जैसे हजारों क्रांतिकारियों का भी इतिहास है ।

मज़दूर भाइयों और नागरिकों, न्याय के लिए, नौजवानों का सम्मान के साथ रोजगार के लिए, सरकार की गलत नीतियों के खिलाफ और पूंजीपतियों व सरकार के साठ-गाँठ के खिलाफ आवाज बुलंद करने में तन-मन-धन से हमारा सहयोग करे । हमारी उम्मीद हरियाणा में काम कर रहे लाखों श्रमिकों और हरियाणा के आम मेहनतकश जनता के उपर टिकी हुई है। क्योंकि श्रमिकों और मेहनतकश जनता कि बुलंद आवाज ही इस भ्रष्ट, दमनकारी और पूंजीपतियों के गोद में बैठी सरकार को न्याय के रास्ते में लाने को बाध्य कर सकती हैं। हम मारुति के मज़दूर इस अनशन के माध्यम से यह शपथ लेते हैं कि हम सिर्फ अपनी आर्थिक हितों के लिए ही नहीं, सभी मज़दूरों के हितों के लिए और हर किस्म की गैर-बराबरी व अन्याय के खिलाफ लगातार संघर्ष करेंगे। हमारी यह भूख हड़ताल देश के शासक व पूंजीपतियों के अन्याय और उत्पीड़न के खिलाफ मज़दूरों और मेहनतकश जनता की एक नई एकता की शुरुआत करेगी–यही हमारी उम्मीद हैं।

इंकलाब जिंदाबाद! मज़दूर एकता जिंदाबाद!
23 मार्च 2013
मारुति सुजुकी वर्कर्स यूनियन

मारुति सुजुकी वर्कर्स यूनियन की ओर से प्रोविजनल वर्किंग कमेटी द्वारा प्रकाशित

 

#Haryana: Minor Girl Raped, Mentally Disabled Assaulted #vaw #shame


 

OCT 03, 2012http://news.outlookindia.com

Adding to the spree of crimes against women in Haryana, a minor Dalit girl was allegedly kidnapped and raped in Rohtak, while a mentally challenged woman was sexually assaulted in Jind district.

Main accused in both the cases have been arrested.

A 15-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly lured by three women relatives in Kachchi Garhi Mohalla colony of Rohtak and then raped by a youth last evening, police said.

The girl was called out of her house by the accused women and was taken to an abandoned house in a car on the Hisar road on the outskirts of the village where she was raped.

Police have registered a case against five persons, including the three relatives of the victim and also arrested the key accused.

The latest incident occurred in Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda‘s home district Rohtak, where opposition BJP-Haryana Janhit Congress women leaders took out a rally and raised slogans against the Hooda regime for allegedly failing to protect the women of the state.

Yesterday, a mentally challenged woman was allegedly sexually assaulted by a man in Narwana area Jind.

Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today condemned the incidents and said “any culprit, whosoever was involved in such heinous crimes would not be spared at any cost.”

Hooda, who was speaking after presiding over the first meeting of State Police Board here today, said that not only the perception of the police should be good, but it should also be visible and easily accessible.

The chief minister said he had reviewed the working of the police organisation and also various steps taken by it to maintain law and order in the state.

“Detailed deliberations were also held regarding the strengthening and modernisation of the police force,” he said.

Haryana DGP, Ranjiv Singh Dalal said there should be a strength of 82,000 police personnel, but as against it there were only 56,000 at present.

The government has sanctioned to recruit 11,000 police personnel for which the process would soon commence, he said.

Dalal said it was necessary to further improve force multiplying efficiency, for which latest Close Circuit TV cameras were required in towns.

“For this Rs 200 crore have been sought to implement this five-year plan to install cameras as these would further improve efficiency of police and provide vital information as proof in case of any incident,” he said.

Dalal while referring to the recent rape incidents in the state, claimed that a team of National Commission for Women “has expressed satisfaction over the prompt action taken by the Haryana Police.”

He stressed the “need for parents to keep an eye on the activities of their children”.

The DGP said that parents “usually do not give proper attention to the boys and remain unaware of their activities. There had been cases where the young boys consumed liquor in the day and were involved in violent activities. The parents need to take strict note of the daily activities of their children,” he added.

In another incident, a spokesman of Jind district police today said they have arrested four youths, including Amarjeet alias Jeeta, while they were planning to carry out a loot.

Jeeta, during his interrogation, revealed that he was involved in a gangrape of a woman in Jind on August 18. Police had earlier registered a case against the accused in this incident, but the accused were absconding.

Earlier, a rape incident took place in Hisar on September 9, where a Dalit teenage girl was gangraped in Dabra village.

After the Dabra gangrape incident, a married woman was gangraped in a Jind village, a teenage girl was gangraped by some youths in Gohana in Sonepat district while another teenage girl was raped in a moving jeep in Bhiwani distric

 

Press release of protest by families and relatives of Maruti Suzuki workers


Press Release 

On 2nd September 2012, over 400 relatives and families of workers of Maruti Suzuki protested against the arrests, torture and termination of workers, and demanded immediate release and work for all workers. The families and relatives who came from all across Harayana– Hisar, Rohtak, Jind, Kaithal, Narwana, Gurgaon, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, as well as from U.P., Punjab, Himachal, Rajasthan wanted to meet Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, but were dissapointed when the Police Commissioner and a huge contingent of Haryana Police blocked and disallowed us our right to do so. It became clear to all that the government and police is continuing to act against the interests of common people and workers and their families, and acting in complete favour of the Suzuki management. The families gave a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the D.C. Rohtak after demonstrating in front of his office.

In the meeting, workers relatives put across their view. Suresh’s brother said that police torture was meted out to the workers on direction of the management, and asked why the government is acting in the management’s favour. Ramvilas’s uncle Ramesh said even the family members were not spared. Sushma said proper investigation should be done about the management’s role in the incident. Jagbir said how his son was awarded ‘best worker’ twice by the company itself, and now has put him in jail and all workers are being called criminals even when investigation has not taken place. That the government is not giving any respect to workers or their families came out of all the protestors.

In the demonstration, banners of ‘Maruti Suzuki workers Union’’s families and solidarity committee were there. Posters and slogans like ‘All workers are innocent, immediately release all workers’, ‘Company-Government-police stop harassment of workers’, ‘Hooda government answer us, respect workers families’, ‘punish the guilty managament of maruti suzuki’ were made.

The demands put forward are-
1. Immediately release all workers arrested from the night of 18th July on.
2. Register cases of conspiracy and death on the management of Maruti Suzuki.
3. Take back to work all 546 terminated workers.
4. Punish the police officials who are harassing and torturing workers and their families.
5. Take action against factory management who are fluting labour laws.

Signed/- Avtar Singh, Kurukshetra and Pramod kr, Sonepat, Haryana

1. Press Release from relatives of Maruti workers (in Hindi)
2. Memorandum submitted by relatives of workers (in Hindi)

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Ringing in change – Haryana’s Olympics #LondonOlympics #Sundayreading


Haryana‘s Olympics

Siddharth Saxena and Ajay Sura | August 4, 2012

Gagan Narang‘s bronze medal – India‘s only London Olympic podium finish at the time of writing – has sent everyone back home into a tizzy. As congratulatory messages poured in, Ajay Maken, India’s proactive Sports Minister offered Narang a post in the Sports Authority of India, equivalent to an IAS-rank. The Hyderabad-based Narang also got a bonanza from an unlikely source. Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda promptly dished out Rs 1 crore from his state kitty to the shooter. The CM lost no time in staking claim on the portly Narang and his achievement once it was pointed out that Narang’s grandparents belong to a village called Shimla, Gulshan in Haryana’s Panipat district. Narang was even born there. The block – Baboli – was promptly identified. Reason enough. On that train of thought, the Hooda administration may well be focusing on the other Hyderabadi with a medal hope this Olympics.

Shuttler Saina Nehwal bowed out to world No 1 Yihan Wang of China in the fight for a place in the women’s singles final. The no-nonsense 22-year-old has always claimed she belongs to the Deccan city having grown up and learnt her craft there. But Hooda will be more interested in the fact that she was born into a Jat family to the most mild-mannered of parents in Dhindar in Haryana’s Hisar district.

Narang and Nehwal aside, our current Olympic contingent’s Haryana connection is a strong one. Nearly 20 of the 81 Indian athletes in London are from Haryana or have roots in Haryana. The tiny state has the largest representation of all Indian states at the Olympics. Nearly 60 per cent of India’s medals at the Commonwealth Games in the Capital two years ago came from Haryana’s sportsmen – or players as they are called in their local lingo. Haryana, alongside its dark and forbidding avatar as perceived by the country, is actually proving to be a wonderful nursery for Indian sports. The landlocked, primarily agricultural – and vegetarian – state is throwing up winners by the dozen.

Narang and Nehwal’s may not be obvious but there’s no ambiguity on the Haryana identity of the others. Bhiwani boy Vijender Singh squeezed out a single-point win over US boxer Terrel Gausha to be one win away from a certain medal, and more largesse from the Hooda kitty.

The handsome son of a Haryana Roadways driver, Vijender is Haryana’s poster-boy, unapologetic about his strong local twang and proud to sport it whenever he gets a public forum. Vijender effortlessly plugs Haryana in the national eye, not just in his boxing, but also by his confident and easy-going posturing.

Many accuse Hooda of trying to gain political mileage, piggybacking on Haryana sportsmen in an election year. Others, however, claim there is a genuine sports lover behind the politician and understanding the nation-building attributes of sport, he has drawn up ambitious long-reaching state-run programmes (See The State of Sports).

Haryana is an intriguing paradox. The story of the Bhiwani Boxing Club has been well-documented over the past four years. But it is the rise of strong-willed women athletes that may have the potential to create an impact in a society where the khap panchayat writ seems to hold greater sway than the law of the land. In a state with horrific female foeticide levels, successful women athletes possibly can swing perceptions where no amount of awareness, counselling or ‘development’ can.

Of course, there still are groups of elders who continue to frown upon women taking up sport (see box). But the emergence of towering personalities like Krishna Poonia, a discus thrower with a mean arm, a judoka-first in Garima Chaudhary, Geeta Phogat, the first Indian woman wrestler at the Olympics, is pushing limits: there’s hope that things could be looking up for Haryana’s women.

It’s not been easy for the fathers of these girls who fought against the odds to train their daughters. Maha Singh, Krishna’s father, recounts how he faced the wrath of his family as well as his village’s chiefs when his daughter practised on the village road in tight sports slacks. In Agroha, a nondescript village in Hisar district, Maha Singh lost his wife when Krishna was just nine, but he raised her without bothering about what people said. “Today I am being called by these khaps along with my daughter to honour us. Certainly the glory and glamour attached to sports has changed the entire perception, ” he says.
Says local woman activist Ritu Jaglan: “Earlier, a girl was thought just a matter of honour. The outside world was not for them as parents had a lot of apprehensions about their security. Now, all that is changing. ”

Ritu, a pioneering 26-year-old English graduate from Kurukshetra University, who took on the task of training women to speak up at khap panchayats, feels sport can help change the mindset towards women. “Most importantly, girls are increasingly realising their own importance in society. That is the most crucial transformation. People too are realising that women can do well, ” she says.

Take the case of Gyanna Devi. The sprightly 82-year-old – Geeta Phoghat’s grandmother – today is chuffed that her granddaughter is in a foreign country competing against the best in the world. In a lighter vein, she also claims to have imparted wrestling tips to Geeta before she left for London, but it was an entirely different story a decade ago. “When Babita was born, she slapped her forehead and exclaimed, ‘Lo, ek aur aa gayee’, ” says a Phogat family insider. That Babita, like Geeta, went on to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Delhi two years ago scarcely hides the fact that their father, Mahaveer, first fought battles of equality with his own mother before he could muster the courage to take on the villagers.

In those two years, since the CWG medals, there has been a rise in khap-related crimes. These may be unrelated, but you cannot ignore the ironic coincidence.

“These khaps exist, these social decision-making groups have been in our society for generations now. Even I follow them. If, among a group of five men, one commits a mistake, we sit him down and explain that what he’s doing is wrong. Hum aisa koi kaam na karen ki mere khap ki badnaami ho, ya mere kaam ki badnaami ho, ” says Mahaveer.

Then he adds: “I have arranged a match for Geeta, but if our plans are to participate in the next Olympics too (Rio 2016), marriage can wait. ”

GO PLAY, GET A JOB
There is another simpler reason for the greater acceptance of sports: It helps you get a job. Take the case of talented teenaged boxer Sumit Sangwan, unlucky to bow out in the first round in London, due to some dodgy refereeing. The idea to take up boxing came when the family in Sekhpura Sohna realised that they could not afford to raise two sons on the produce of their land alone. An enterprising uncle recognised a latent spark in Sumit and took him to a boxing academy in Delhi. Older brother Amit had to forgo his nascent boxing dreams. There was room and money for only one. While they still till the land, parents Surender and Anita realise there’s a better opportunity in the making.
But let’s hear it from the spunkiest daughter of Haryana. “Bhai, main poori tarah se Haryana ki hoon, ” announces Karnam Malleswari. Originally from a coastal village near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, Malleswari married into a Jat family in 1999. In Sydney 2000, the lifter won bronze, to date India’s only woman Olympic medallist.

“The promise of jobs for sportsmen by the Haryana government is a great incentive, ” says Malleswari. “They must be lauded for inculcating a sporting culture in the state. You can see small stadiums sprouting all across the state. Coaches are being employed either in short-term capacities or a permanent basis, ” she points out.

“The idea that sports can be a source of livelihood is a great motivator. And that is also helping change mindsets towards sports in Haryana too. Parents are beginning to understand this, ” she says.
But Malleswari didn’t have to face any opposition from her parents in Andhra when she began. “We never had such a culture where our parents thought of our interest in a sport as awkward or as something which brought dishonour. ”

Malleswari’s Olympic bronze medal at the turn of the century, in fact, went a long way in changing the mindset towards women in sports. “There has been a sea-change in the sports culture in the country on the whole, ” she says.

Whether the rise of sportswomen in Haryana is helping change the attitude of the state’s men towards them is still a matter of debate. “I am in no position to explain what really happens in the rural interiors of Haryana, but I feel kaafi awareness aa gayi hai, ” Malleswari says, adding “Itna bhed-bhav nahi hai. ”

Earlier the main worry of parents was who would marry their daughters who wrestled or lifted barbells. Today, like Geeta Phogat’s mother proudly says, ‘ab toh ladkon ki line lag jayegi’.

(With inputs from Sukhbir Siwach)

Haryana to launch Urban Health Mission


Chandigarh, Fri Feb 10 2012,

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday announced that a State Urban Health Mission would be launched to provide comprehensive health services particularly targeting the slum areas.

The Chief Minister also announced that under the Indira Bal Swasthya Yojna (IBSY), free treatment would henceforth be provided to all children.

Earlier, free treatment was being provided to only children hailing from Below Poverty Line families, an official release said here.

Hooda announced these decisions while presiding over a meeting with senior officers of Health Department here.

The State Urban Health Mission will seek to set up Urban Health Centres over a population of one lakh which would provide curative, promotive and preventive health services.

Besides, poly-clinics and dispensaries will be operationalized in many cities.

Outreach services will be provided through health officials and community health motivators. This mission will be implemented in a phased manner initially focusing on urban areas with large slum population.

Hooda said that so far the Rural Health Mission launched by the central government had largely catered to the need of rural population but in view of rapid urbanisation in Haryana, there was an urgent need to address the health needs of a large section of the population residing in urban slums who were vulnerable to higher disease burden and were likely to have poor health indicators.

Under the Urban Health Mission, government would also upgrade its district hospitals located in major towns and provide additional hospitals in cities having more than five lakh population.

The objective of the programme is to provide affordable and accessible basic healthcare facilities near the place of residence for the poor who are otherwise forced to spend a large part of their income on health care.

Under IBSY, free treatment would include surgical intervention, implants, aids and medicines in government institutions at the district as well as the tertiary level institutions like PGIMER and AIIMS.

Protest against the Forcible Land Acquisition for Nuclear Power Plant


Bhupinder Singh Hooda,
Chief Minister, Haryana
Chandigarh

Jan 16, 2012

Re: Forced Land Acquisition for Gorakhpur Nuclear Power Plant, Fatehabad

Dear Mr. Chief Minister,

It was with gravest concern and misgivings that I heard of Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, being issued in Fatehabad, Haryana, to forcibly acquire land for the proposed Gorakhpur Nuclear Power Plant Project. This action by the Harayana State Govt. is completely unacceptable on the following two counts:

Farmers of Gorakhpur and nearby villages have been sitting in continuous opposition to the proposed nuclear power plant from August 2010. They are fighting for their right to life, livelihood and to safeguarding their fertile and irrigated, three-crop land, all of which will be severely threatened if the project were passed. The fact that a community is in such a long drawn and strong opposition to this project, is of crucial concern and cannot be ignored arbitrarily or repressed in democracy.

Further, a new Land Acquisition Bill draft is being considered currently by the standing committee in the Parliament. It would thus be presumptuous and premature of the Haryana State Govt. to push through forceful land acquisition, using the old act, before the parliament has an opportunity to pass the new Act.

I request you to immediately withdraw the land acquisition notice for the project, and as the head of your State, initiate dialogue with the protestors so that you may address their concerns without resorting to a draconian use of an ancient and unreasonable act.

Sincerely,

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