Gujarat HC pulls up state govt on swine flu: why not declare it an epidemic

Ahmedabad, Wed Mar 27 2013, ,IE

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the state government over the prevalence of swine flu in the state and asked why it did not declare the disease “an epidemic”.The court also termed the state government’s report on steps being taken to handle the disease as “an eyewash”.After lashing out at the state government, the court directed the Commissioner of Health to file a detailed affidavit on a variety of issues related to the disease and medical emergency situation in the state by April 9, when further hearing is scheduled.

The court presided over by Justice Anant Dave had, in the last hearing, asked the state government to submit a detailed report related to the disease while acting on certain bail petitions by some undertrial prisoners who had sought bail to attend to their relatives suffering from diseases like swine flu, malaria and dengue.On Tuesday, the state government counsel presented the report before the court and apprised it about the instructions being given to the government hospitals and health centres.

The court, however, was unimpressed. “Instructions do not work. There are no qualified doctors in your CHCs (Community Health Centres). Even for X-ray, patients have to go outside,” the court said.The court said there were norms of cleanliness and hygiene in government hospitals but expressed doubts about how many hospitals were following the same.

Apprising the court about various provisions at government hospitals, the state government’s counsel said they were having rain-basera facilities in major centres for accommodation of relatives of the patients.To this, the court said, “Even for patients there are no beds in hospitals, what rain basera for their relatives? This is an eye-wash. They (relatives of the patients) are sleeping outside the Civil Hospital. And health and hygiene are worst in government hospitals.”

Referring to private hospitals, the court asked the state government if there was any specific requirement for opening multi-specialty and super-specialty hospitals or it was “part of industrial policy (of the state government)”.The court asked the state government counsel why it did not declare swine flu as an epidemic. When the government counsel said it would require a notification to be issues, the court wanted to know about the criteria set to declare a particular disease an epidemic.

On the role of private hospitals in medical emergency situation, the court asked the state government to provide details of provisions under which services of private hospitals could be summoned.It also sought details on what special treatment was being given to pregnant females as they faced increased threat from H1N1 infection.

The HC also referred to an earlier court order under which a committee of lawyers had visited the Civil Hospital after some junior doctors had died of dengue at the hostel and a public interest litigation was filed seeking cleanliness and hygienic conditions at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital.Govt gives figures on swine flu

In its report submitted before the High Court, the state government has given figures of swine flu cases in Gujarat since 2009 while comparing the same with states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. According to these figures, in 2013, Gujarat has so far recorded 689 swine flu cases. The report also gives history of the H1N1 virus in detail. It also contains details of the awareness campaign the state government has launched and various steps taken by the Health Department to mitigate the situation. The report also records that additional ventilators are required to attend critically-ill patients having H1N1 infection.


#India -Dalit’s #gangrape: Police add stringent sections #Vaw

 #India- Chastity, Virginity, Marriageability, and Rape Sentencing #Vaw  #Justice #mustread

ByI P Singh, TNN | Feb 11, 2013, 0

JALANDHAR: Even as a medical board set up to probe the alleged gang rape of a minor dalit girl is yet to finalize its report, police on Sunday added stringent sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, pertaining to ‘aggravated penetrative sexual assault‘, to the FIR.

Sections 5 and 6 of this Act have been invoked even as police officials till Saturday had been looking into “some grey areas” in the statement of the victim’s father. The Act also provides speedy trial by a special designated court.

Meanwhile, three accused arrested in the case after they surrendered before the police on Saturday were remanded in police custody till February 13 by a Nakodar court on Sunday. The three are distantly related to the girl and had pleaded innocence. However, the victim’s family has been holding on to the allegations it levelled on January 6, the day when the girl was first rushed to Lohian Hospital and then to Jalandhar Civil Hospital with life-threatening septicemia.

It was only after being shifted to the hospital that the family had alleged that the girl was raped on the night of January 28 in Mandhala Chhanna village. The girl was finally operated upon in Amritsar where her badly infected and ruptured uterus was removed by doctors to save her life and her intestine was repaired.

The victim’s family also alleged that on Saturday some “anganwari worker” visited their home and rebuked the girl’s mother, who fainted after that. She was rushed to the Civil Hospital in Lohian with the help of police personnel posted in the village on Saturda


Punjab: Woman held captive for one year rescued #Vaw


Press Trust of India | 07-Jan 04:40 AM

Fatehgarh: A 21-year-old Ludhiana based woman, who was allegedly forced into prostitution and spent over a year into captivity, was on Sunday rescued by the police Fatehgarh. The police have booked a man and two other members of his family.

The woman was held hostage in a rented accommodation in Kacha Dalip Nagar area of Mandi Gobindgarh allegedly by one Sahjad Khan and his family members, police said. Neighbours of the woman approached police after suspecting some foul play, as main gate of the house was kept permanently locked, however, the woman lived inside, police said.

After that, the police raided the house and rescued the woman after breaking the lock. The woman told the police that she met the youth Sahjad, who hailed from Malerkotla town of Sangrur district of Punjab, during a train journey around 15 months ago.

They developed close relations and Sahjad promised the woman that he would marry her and took her to his house. However, Sahjad and his family members forced her into prostitution, the woman alleged.

She accused Sahjad, his brother Salman Khan and mother Parveen of physical and mental torture, police said. The woman also claimed that some police officers visited the house in Mandi Gobindgarh.

On the statement of the woman, police have registered a case against both the brothers and their mother. The woman told the police that she was kept locked into the house and was not allowed to speak to anyone.

Fatehgarh Sahib SSP HS Mann said on the statement of the girl, the police has registered a case under various sections of Immoral Trafficking Act.

He said the police will not spare any guilty in this case whosoever he is. Mandi Gobindgarh SHO Dalbir Singh Grewal said the police have taken the girl to Civil Hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh on Saturday night but due to absence of concerned doctor, the medical examination of the woman was later conducted at Civil Hospital, Amloh.

The SHO said the youth was already married and the woman also told the police that she was earlier married to a youth of a village near Jalandhar but later they had divorce. He said the police is conducting raids to arrest all the accused. Amloh DSP is investigating the case. Punjab Woman Commission newly appointed chairperson Paramjit Kaur Landran has said the police should immediate arrest all the accused.

Ailing boy among 7 Indian fishermen released #India #Pakistan #Goodnews

October 25, 2012 by Shazia Hasan, Dawn

KARACHI, Oct 24: “I am not a fisherman. I was never meant to be here,” said 17-year-old Kishan Babu before being released from the Malir district prison here on Wednesday.

The young Indian from Gujarat said that he was only on an outing at sea with his fisherman uncle when they found themselves in Pakistani waters where they were taken into custody and their boat seized.

That was in November 2011. And Kishan’s uncle, Dana Bhai, has also been released in the meantime while Kishan himself was declared unfit for travel by doctors despite his name being in the list of prisoners for release as many as four times.

The boy was being treated for brain abscess at the Civil Hospital Karachi with other Indian fishermen confirming the fact that he had water coming out of his ears while on the boat last year.

Kishan’s name first came up for release on May 17, 2012, but it was only now that he was considered well enough to travel in the coach that would take the seven fishermen to Lahore from where they would be handed over to the Indian authorities at Wagah on Thursday morning.

About his impression of the people of Pakistan and their attitude towards him, Kishan, who still looked frail, said that everyone had been very kind to him. “I wasn’t very clear about my future after passing class 10, but now I want to become a doctor like the doctors and surgeons who took care of me here,” Kishan told Dawn.

The other fishermen have been here for six months. Among them was Krishan Soma Saraniya. “I have a wife and six children back home. They hadn’t a clue as to what had happened to me until I sent them a message through another fisherman who was released from here three months ago.

Now my family writes to me. They call, too, but I prefer letters to phone calls because I can’t handle their crying. They always cry when they call,” he said with eyes brimming with tears.

“Now it’s my turn to cry,” he said looking slightly embarrassed at getting emotional on being released.

“There are nine more fishermen who were arrested around the same time as we, but their names didn’t come up this time,” said 22-year-old Vipul. He said he would still be catching fish after retuning to India, but would be more careful next time.

“I have two younger sisters and two younger brothers back home and with them still in school, and me not there, my poor father is finding it very hard to make both ends meet,” he said. “Fishing is what I know. It is what I do.”

All the other men — Ramesh Sagal Chawda, Amrit Lal Badiya, Harshit and Bhagal Bhagvan — were glad to be leaving, too, finally, their bags neatly packed and lined up by a wall in the prison.

A polythene bag on one of the bags had a few juice boxes and biscuit packets.

“They are for Kishan,” said Amrit Lal Badiya. “He has completed his medicine courses but has been advised to take plenty of juices and biscuits to get his strength back,” he added while lending his recuperating friend a shoulder to lean on.

Meanwhile, a few Indian fishermen inmates also came to say goodbye to the seven who were leaving. They also wanted to see them off outside where the wagon arranged by Legal Aid Office, headed by retired Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, stood waiting for them.

“Where do you think you all are off to? Back to your barracks please now. Don’t think you can fool us into getting out. You are in jail. Not even a fly gets out of here without being noticed,” said a jail staffer wagging a finger at the Indian inmates jokingly as the others were allowed to leave.

Pakistan-Nurses ‘poisoning’: Christians call for inquiry


By Our Correspondent

Published: August 1, 2012


KARACHI: Christian leaders have called for an impartial inquiry into the alleged poisoning of nine nurses at a government-run hospital.

Nine Christian trainee nurses at the Civil Hospital Karachi fell ill Sunday night allegedly after drinking poisoned tea prepared at their hostel. They were claimed to have been deliberately poisoned because of their faith.

Parliamentarian Saleem Khokhar, while speaking to The Express Tribune, called on the government and the police to launch a joint investigation to find out the actual cause of poisoning. While rumours initially floated that the poisoning took place as the nurses were drinking tea when their Muslim colleagues were fasting, Khokhar ruled that out, saying that the incident took place late night when everyone had broken their fast.

Condemning the incident, Christian leader Michael Javed went a step ahead and asked for a judicial investigation.

Claiming that the society has become extremely intolerant and was not allowing the minorities to live in peace, the former MPA requested the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the incident. “The government has turned a blind eye to the persecution of minorities; our girls are being [forcibly] converted and our churches are being attacked,” he lamented. Javed said that it was unfortunate if the nurses were really poisoned because the religious minorities also respect the Muslim faith and refrain from drinks and food in front of them. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Abdul Hai also expressed concern over the incident. “A large number of nurses are Christians and are [already] subjected to ill-treatment and prejudice,” he added.

Lambasting the incident, the Christian community members also organised a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday.

William Sadiq, the coordinator of a welfare organisation working for minority women, was suspicious of the hospital administration and alleged that they were hiding the real matter. She suspected some other girls in the hostel may have poisoned the students over some rivalry.  “It could even be religious targeting,” said Sadiq. The Christian leaders also shouted slogans outside the Karachi Press Club against the hospital’s administration and the rising religious intolerance.

The Civil hospital medical superintendent, Prof Saeed Quraishy, ruled out the involvement of anyone from the hostel, however. “They made the tea themselves, how can there be someone else involved,” he said.

He added that the hospital has registered a case at the Eidgah Police Station and tea samples have been sent to the Aga Khan University Hospital for toxicology tests. He confirmed that except for one student who is still admitted to the hospital, all ‘poisoned’ nurses were discharged.

According to one of the affected nurses, a colleague had made the tea after 10pm and immediately after drinking the liquor they fell ill. They were taken to the Civil hospital’s emergency and sent back after treatment. But the students developed complications in the morning and had to be taken to the hospital again.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.



Two more deaths again in Assam tea garden


Image via Wikipedia

The Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) has learnt about two more deaths in the Bhuvan valley tea garden of Cachar district in Assam. According to information, a 7 days old baby and about 70 year old Balaram Bauri of North Bank Division of the tea estate died on 6 and 7 March, 2012 respectively. Now the toll stands at 14 according to the confirmed information available with the BHRPC.

This tea garden owned by a Kolkata-based private company was closed from 8 October, 2011 to 8 February, 2012 and the labourers were abandoned by the owners. About 500 permanent labourers and more than this number of casual workers had not been paid their outstanding wages for 9 weeks, bonus for years and other statutory benefits including provident fund dues. There were no facilities of health care, drinking water and sanitation. Government public distribution system and other welfare schemes including Integrated Child Development Schemes were virtually non-functional. These circumstances led the labourers in a condition of starvation and malnutrition resulting in several deaths.

The BHRPC reported (the report at hungeralert1) 10 deaths on 1 February following its fact-finding study and claimed that the underlying and contributory causes of all deaths were starvation, malnutrition and lack of medical care going by the definition of starvation and malnutrition provided in the National Food Security Bill, 2010 drafted by the National Advisory Council and the Starvation Investigation Protocol prepared by the Supreme Court Commissioners on the right to food. The BHRPC again reported (see the report at serious health condition of 43 other people of the tea estate on 11 February. Two people among them Belbati Bauri and Jugendra Bauri later died on 18 and 22 February respectively. This was also reported (see the report at by the BHRPC on 23 February.

The deceased 7-days-old baby was daughter of Nikhil Bauri and Duhkia Bauri. After re-opening of the garden on 9 February, the garden hospital run under the National Rural Health Mission was revived but no qualified and permanent doctor and nurse have been appointed. There is also no electricity and water available. The Bauris had to go to the Primamry Health Centre at Sonai, a place about 20 km away from the garden, where Dukhia delivered an underweight baby and she fell seriously ill, according the garden sources.

Deceased Balaram Bauri, aged about 70, was a retired permanent worker of the tea estate. He became weaker day by day and his body got swollen. His son Ranjit Bauri is a permanent labourer. Ranjit claims after re-opening of the garden on 9 February he was paid only Rs 60/- and was provided with 2 kgs of rice, 1.2kgs of flour per week at Rs 0.54 per Kg and additional amount at Rs 10/- per Kg. He said that he could feed his family 6 properly during the 4 months of the closure of the garden and even thereafter. According to him, his father died in condition of starvation and for lack of proper medical care.

It is to be noted that the Arunodoy Sanga, a non government organisation based in Silchar, held a health camp in the garden on 4 March. A team of 5 doctors from Civil Hospital, Cachar Cancer Hospital and Kalyani Hospital who reportedly examined around 500 patients of the tea garden corroborated the phenomenon of malnutrition stalking the workers and their families. Doctors recommended for immediate supply of nutritious food and sustained treatment of the labourers. No visible and reasonable steps have been taken by the authorities in this regard.

10 March, 2012, Silchar, Assam

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

+91 94019 42234


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