Petition- Odisha -Unjustified police action in violation of women’s dignity by the BDO


 

To

The Home Secretary,

Odisha,

 

Sir,

We are disturbed and outraged at an incident in Odisha’s Kendrapada district, where the BDO of Rajakanika Block made a sexist and derogatory comment against women, and the instead of acting on the women’s complaint, the police force has instead admitted an FIR against a woman activist and is conducting raids to arrest her.
The sequence of events is as follows:

On 8th April, AIPWA’s Odisha Secretary Sabita Baraj along with 60 women activists of Rajkanika block, went to the local block office to protest regarding several local issues on the ‘grievance day’ declared by the local administration and Government. When they reached the Block office they found the gate closed, forcing them to wait outside in the severe heat. After two hours, the Block gate was opened by a peon and all the activists asked the BDO (block development officer) why the gate was closed on ‘grievance day’? The BDO told them, “Being women how can you dare to ask this question?” The women strongly protested this sexist comment by the BDO, and Sabita Baraj filed an FIR against the BDO.

After four hours the BDO filed cases against all the women activists, naming Sabita Baraj and charging them under Sections 506, 142, 148, 149, and 34A. But the police took no action against the BDO, and instead attempted to arrest Sabita Baraj and the other women activists based on the delayed FIR filed by the BDO. The police continues to conduct raids on the homes of CPI(ML) and AIPWA activists, searching for Sabita Baraj, with the SP of Kendrapada taking a special interest in doing so . 

 

We would like to ask:
1) On an officially designated day for local people to raise grievances, why did the BDO keep the Block office gate shut for hours? Why have FIRs been registered against women for having defended their right as citizens to question the BDO about the gate being shut, defeating the purpose of grievance day?

2) What action has been taken against the BDO for insulting women and being derelict in his constitutional obligations to uphold citizens’ and women’s rights?

 

It is shocking and outrageous that a woman activist and rural women protestors are being persecuted with FIRs and threats of arrest, only because they asserted their rights and equality, and confronted the BDO for his shockingly anti-women remarks.

We demand:

1)      The FIR against Sabita Baraj and other women must be withdrawn with immediate effect.
2)      Action must be taken against the BDO without further delay and he should be removed from the post pending enquiry.
3)      The SP of Kendrapada must face disciplinary action for having colluded in pursuing false and fabricated complaints against women and trying to intimidate and terrorise women by seeking to arrest and jail them.
Ranjana, Kavita ,Kalpana, and Kamayani

for
Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression

 

PRESS RELEASE- Police Out to Arrest AIPWA Activist For Raising Voice of Protest against sexist remark #Vaw


Odisha BDO Makes a Sexist Remark Against Women Protestors,

 

On 8th April, AIPWA’s Odisha Secretary Sabita Baraj along with 60 women activists of Rajkanika block, went to the local block office to protest regarding several local issues on the ‘grievance day’ declared by the local administration and Government. When they reached the Block office they found the gate closed, forcing them to wait outside in the severe heat. After two hours, the Block gate was opened by a peon and all the activist asked the BDO (block development officer) why the gate was closed on ‘grievance day’?

The BDO told them, “Being women how can you dare to ask this question?”

The women strongly protested this sexist comment by the BDO, and Comrade Sabita filed an FIR against the BDO. After four hours the BDO filed cases against all the women activists. But the police took no action against the BDO, and instead attempted to arrest Sabita Baraj and the other women activists based on the delayed FIR filed by the BDO. On 11th April, 300 women activists of AIPWA held a protest meeting which was addressed by AIPWA activists. The police continues to conduct raids on the homes of CPI(ML) and AIPWA activists, searching for Sabita Baraj.

 

West Bengal – Octogenarian widow is starving – government apathy #Vaw


 

11th April 2013

 

To

The Hon’ble Chairperson

West Bengal Human Rights Commission

Bhabani Bhaban

Alipur

Kolkata – 27 

 

Sir

 

I want to draw your attention on the impecunious living of an aged woman at the Polta village under Aturia Gram Panchayet. Ms. Madari Dasi Biswas, wife of Late Guricharan Biswas, aged about 89 years, a resident of village -Polta under Aturia Gram Panchayet of Badurai Block and Police Station. She lost her husband years back and now living with her two sons. She lives in a dilapidated hutment with pouring roof. He sons fend themselves by catching fish but not looking after their aged mother. She is now totally dependent on alms from her neighbors. She is unable to work due to her age.

 

This poor woman was erstwhile getting old age pension and in this connection opened an account in post office in the year 21.1.2008 and received first installment of Rs. 2000 on 24.12.2008, and last on 15.10.2009 of Rs. 400. All of a sudden her pension was stopped by the block administration. She contacted the local panchayet member and pradhan to know the reason, the panchayet members and pradahan not made any heed and directed her to contact the Baduria Block administration. She found the block administration equally unresponsive on her woes. Later, the local panchayet member told her that the age written in her voter identity card (EPIC) is lower and not attract the facilities under old age pension. The aged woman was forced to ferry between the block administration and the member/ pradhan of gram panchayet; while both tried to shirk their responsibility, though she is not in proper physical shape to walk the distance. On 27.07.2011 she made a written complaint to the Block Development Officer; Baduria. Again the Block administration asked her to meet the pradhan of the panchayet. At last she made a complaint to the Sub Divisional Officer; Basirhat on 18.3.2013, but, without any respite.

 

The poor woman has been suffering for the administrative wrongs and mistakes for which she is not distantly related. In the EPIC (Identity Card WB/14/094/426232), her age has been stated as 30 years as on 1.1. 1995, and in sharp contrast, her son Mr. Kartik Biswas’s age has been stated in the EPIC (WB/14/094/426007) as 40 years as on 1.1.1995.  In the voter list of 2011, the gaffe continued, as it shows in part number 127 of Polta, Purba Para, Mouza- Polta, JL No.- 99, Village and Post- Aturia, Police Station- Baduria, the serial no. 452 is of Mr. Kartik Biswas; the son of the victim woman; his age has been shown as 56 years and the serial number 453 is of the victim; her age has been shown as 46 years. So, the mistake was on the part of the administration, and they are duty bound to rectify the same without any delay.

 

In this connection I request and demand to you for:-

 

·       The age dispute of the victim woman should be rectified without delay and during the course, she must not face further harassments and troubles

 

·       The victim must be provided with prescribed assistance or benefits in accordance to the state deliverances; Old Age Pension and Antodaya and Annapurna Yojna

·       The victim should provided with a proper shelter and safety and security of the victim should be guaranteed with due protection measures

·       The irresponsible and delinquent block administration and Panchayet officials should be charged for non compliance of their official duty

·       The responsible authority who made mistake regarding her age in the EPIC must be punished

 

Thanking You

 

(Kirity Roy)

Secretary – MASUM

Inline images 1

Madari Dasi Biswas

Inline images 2

Roof of Madari’s palace

Kirity Roy
Secretary
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
(MASUM)
&
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Balaji Place
Shibtala
Srirampur
Hooghly
PIN- 712203
Tele-Fax – +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail : kirityroy@gmail.com
Web: www.masum.org.in

 

#India- #Chhattisgarh #tribals denied sterilisation for three decades #WTFnews


AARTI DHAR, The Hindu, Oct 31, 2012

Planning Commission asks Chhattisgarh to ensure that they are not denied facility

A three decades-old official order, issued for restricting targeted sterilisation of the primitive tribal groups (PTGs) in Chhattisgarh to check their dwindling numbers, appears all set for a re-look. This follows a Planning Commission directive to the State government to issue clarificationsto ensure that desirous PTGs will not be denied sterilisation facilities.

“It appears that the order has been construed as a blanket restriction on the PTGs, thereby denying them the facility,” Planning Commission Secretary Sindhushree Khullar has written to the government, following a representation by health activists.

The order was issued on December 13, 1979 by the undivided Madhya Pradesh government during the time when targets were set to achieve population control. However, an exemption was made for 26 blocks, which had a high population of PTGs, now re-named Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), as the infant mortality rate was very high in the tribal areas and their numbers were fast decreasing. These groups are Behor, Pahari Korvas, Abhujmadias, Kamar and Baiga.

While the order said an exception should be made for tribal communities whose population was either stagnant or was decreasing and that they should have access to other contraceptives if they required, it was construed as a total ban on sterilisations for these groups and has been implemented as such since then.

The order, nevertheless, said if anyone insisted on undergoing sterilisation, he/she should be provided the services upon permission from the Block Development Officer.

“The State government shall take a call if we have evidence that the reason for which the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups are sought to be protected through the ban on irreversible interventions — namely decline in population — is no more valid,” Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Sunil Kumar told The Hindu. “In any case, to the best of my knowledge there is no ban on practice of other methods like the use of contraceptives, if the PVTGs so choose to space births.”

Rights violation

However, Sulakshana Nandi of the Public Health Resource Network, which took up the issue as a violation of women’s reproductive rights, said studies showed that the fertility rates of these groups were the same and even higher than the rest of the population. But, their mortality rates were several times more than others. “So, instead of trying to decrease the number of deaths in these communities, the government chose to make them have more children. So now the PTGs, along with dealing with the destruction of their traditional livelihoods, poverty and lack of access to services, have to struggle with large families which have been forced on them,” she explained.

Ms. Nandi said there was evidence to show that instead of getting permission from the government officials, they simply changed their names and went to a different block to get the procedure done. The availability of contraceptives and awareness of spacing methods like IUDs were also very low, particularly among women.

Indian tribal women demand their reproductive rights #mustshare


 

Anumeha Yadav

20 September 2012

Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) living in Chattisgarh, India, struggle to provide for their families and are forced to lie about their identity to overcome the sterilisation restriction owing to a three decade old order of the Madhya Pradesh government that restricted PTGs from being targeted during the sterilisation drives of the time.

Sarguja: A three decade-old Madhya Pradesh government order has several adivasi families in Chattisgarh in a quandary. They struggle to provide for themselves but are turned away by government officials if they try to restrict their family size.

“I do not want more children but the ‘mitanin’ (village health worker) says she cannot take me or anyone from my community to the clinic for an operation,” says Phool Sundari Pahari Korva from Jhamjhor village, located in the forests of Sarguja district in north Chhattisgarh. She has five children – her oldest is 18 and the youngest, a daughter, is six months. All of Sundari’s four younger children have frail limbs and bellies swollen by malnutrition; the skin on her younger son’s chest has peeled off due to an infection.

PTGs_India.jpg
Sabutri Bai Korva says the nurse who helped her get sterilisation done was going to be suspended/ Photo credit: Anumeha Yadav/WFS

The reason that Phool Sundari, a Pahari Korva adivasi, was denied sterilisation at a local government clinic: A 1970s order of the Madhya Pradesh (MP) government that restricted Pahari, or Hill, Korvas and four other Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) living in Chattisgarh from being targeted during the sterilisation drives of the time.

The original intent was to protect the PTGs, a term recently amended to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups, from ‘extinction’. The PTGs were adivasi groups dependent on pre-agricultural technologies that had stagnant or declining populations. But 30 years on, the Chhattisgarh government has continued to enforce this anachronistic order adding to the economic burden of these families.

Sabutri Bai, Sundari’s neighbour, recounts that she got sterilisation done after giving birth to her sixth child three years back but was surprised at what followed. “When the staff at the Lakhanpur clinic found out I am a Pahari Korva, they were going to dismiss the nurse who allowed me to get operated,” she says. “It makes no sense. We have 1.5 acres land. How do they expect us to provide for more and more children?” asks her husband, Phool Chand Ram, who used to work under the rural employment guarantee act, MNREGA, two years back but gave it up when he got wages only a year later. Their eight-member family survives by selling firewood, earning Rs 100 (US$1=Rs 55) for every two-day trip they make into the depleting forest.

Over 50 kilometres away, in the villages of Batauli block, the situation is similar. Pahari Korvas struggle to provide for their families and are forced to lie about their identity to overcome the sterilisation restriction. “I stopped producing nursing milk after I gave birth to my fourth child. I could only give my babies rice-water. When I wanted to get the operation done, the malaria link worker (a government health worker) said I should give my caste as Majhwar or else the Shantipada hospital would not do it,” says Mangli Bai Korva of Govindpur village.

The original order, passed on December 13, 1979, identifies PTGs, including Pahari Korvas, Baigas, Abujhmaria, Birhor and Kamar tribes, in 26 blocks in MP to be excluded from sterilisation but allows them access to contraceptives. “You have been given district-wise targets for sterilisation. An exception should be made for tribal communities whose population is stagnant or decreasing… they should have access to other contraceptives if they require. …Everyone except these communities will be encouraged to get sterilised…,” reads the two-page order.

Adivasi families in Sarguja, however, say they have never heard of temporary or permanent contraceptive methods such as birth control pills, condoms, or the copper-T, an intrauterine device. Further, while the order permits PTG families to go in for sterilisations after procuring a certificate from the Block Development Officer, neither health workers nor tribals are aware of this provision and most have no direct access to block officials.

A discussion among Pahari Korvas in Batauli, on whether or not the government should allow the operation, generated diverse reactions. While the youngsters burst into giggles, Shri Ram Korva, who has six children, wonders loudly with faultless logic, “If the thought is to preserve our population, then that is good. But if we are forced to say we are Majhwar or Oraon at the clinic, won’t we stop being Korvas anyway?” Jhoolmati Korva, a village elder, has the final word, “If the couple wants it, they should be able to get the operation even after giving their correct name.”

Sarguja has over 4,500 Pahari Korva families. Since 1996, they have been the focus of several development schemes, which promote agriculture, animal husbandry and horticulture, executed through the Pahari Korva Development Agency. But despite good intentions and adequate resources – last year, the agency had a budget of Rs 3.72 crore – district officials admit not much has changed. “Schemes do not get implemented properly because there is little coordination among various departments. We are now trying to involve the Pahari Korva Mahapanchayat in planning the use of funds,” says R. Prasanna, the District Collector. “Maybe if the Mahapanchayat made a collective appeal, the government will reconsider the sterilisation order,” he adds.

In the three decades since the order has been in force, the PTG population has increased but their access to health and nutrition has stayed as uncertain as ever and it is this fact that is central to the debate over the restriction. National Family Health Survey-3 data shows that compared to the national average of 46 per cent of underweight children, 70 per cent children born in PTG families are underweight. Malaria and diarrhoea epidemics are frequent every monsoon. In the instance of Pahari Korvas, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is 166 deaths per 1000 live births, more than double the national average, says a 2007 study by researcher Sandeep Sharma. The study also records the crude death rate as well as birth rate among these adivasis – more children are born, but many more die.

So, is the government hiding dismal malnutrition and high mortality numbers with a sterilisation ban? “Independent surveys show the government undercounts the level of malnutrition. For three years between 2007 and 2010 the state reported zero deaths from malaria and diarrhoea to the central Ministry for Health and Family Welfare,” says Sulakshana Nandi, a public health activist based in Raipur. “Block and district clinics in Raipur and Mahasamund were out of stock of contraceptives when we visited this January. PTGs are in a bind because they neither get adequate nutrition nor access to contraceptives,” she adds.

The ban has been a matter of public debate in the state since an investigation by journalists in Kawardha district last year traced how dalals (middlemen) from MP were luring Baiga tribals across the border for sterilisation for Rs 1,000, ironically as part of MP government’s continued sterilisation drives. Since then PTG communities such as Kamars in Gariaband district and the Baigas in Kawardha have organised public meetings demanding that the government remove the ban and focus instead on improving access to public services. “Baigas want to restrict their family size for their well-being, not because of Rs 200-300 that we could earn as incentive for sterilisation in clinics in MP,” asserted Bhaigla Singh Baiga, a community leader while addressing the Baiga Mahapanchayat meeting in Taregaon in May 2012.

Government officials have taken notice of these demands. “I agree that the demographic situation has changed and that informed choice should be available to everyone. It is, however, incorrect to blame high mortality on the failure of state services; ‘anganwadis’ can provide only supplementary nutrition, substantive nutrition has to come from the household,” says Kamalpreet Singh Dhillon, Director-Health Services in Raipur.

But nutritious food continues to be elusive for the Pahari Korvas living deep inside the Mainpat and Khirkhiri hills. Today, they wait for both their right to food and their freedom to decide family size.

SOURCE: Women’s Feature Service

 

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