#India – Maternal Health Whistle Blower Arrested #Vaw #Womenrights


madhuri1

Published: Thursday, May 30,2013, , http://www.ibtl.in/
ByDr. Rita Pal

Madhuri Ramakrishnasway, a maternal health activist was arrested on the 16th May 2013 outside the court in Barwani, Madhya Pradesh [MP], India. The police had received a complaint from those in charge of a hospital currently under scrutiny for the alleged mismanagement and neglect of maternal health. The background of this complaint is as follows:- On the night of 11th November 2008, a very poor tribal woman from the village of Sukhpuri came to the Menimata Public Health Centre [PHC] during labour. She was admitted by those in charge who allegedly left her unmonitored all night. The hospital then demanded Rs 100, an amount she could not afford. She was asked to leave and the staff refused to arrange transport. Finally, the patient delivered her baby on the street with the help of the local “Dai” (Traditional Birth Attendant), only covered by a cloth held by her father in law. Having witnessed the event, Madhuri took the patient to another hospital to receive treatment. A protest was launched against the unacceptable incident that appears to have been one of many. This case was also part of the writ petition filed in the High Court of MP, Indore Bench in which the substandard state of maternal health services was raised – e.g. the 26 maternal deaths recorded in Barwani District Hospital in 2010 over 8 months were mentioned. The compounder of the hospital was suspended after repeated demands for action but was soon reinstated. It is notable that no one was subsequently held accountable for the dozens of avoidable maternal deaths that have taken place in Barwani. The picture is similar across the rest of the state. The finer points of the case are discussed in more detailed by an excellent Indian blogger and can be read here . “An investigation of maternal deaths following public protests in a tribal district of Madhya Pradesh” [Reproductive Health Matters] states

“We found an absence of antenatal care despite high levels of anaemia, absence of skilled birth attendants, failure to carry out emergency obstetric care in obvious cases of need, and referrals that never resulted in treatment. We present two case histories as examples. We took our findings to district and state health officials and called for proven means of preventing maternal deaths to be implemented. We question the policy of giving cash to pregnant women to deliver in poor quality facilities without first ensuring quality of care and strengthening the facilities to cope with the increased patient loads. We documented lack of accountability, discrimination against and negligence of poor women, particularly tribal women, and a close link between poverty and maternal death”

This whistleblower’s concerns were not without merit. She was subsequently witch hunted as the hospital in question filed a complaint against her, the patient and the patient’s husband. They received a court notice to appear at Barwani Court regarding this case on the 16th May 2013. Apparently, the police filed a closure report but sadly the court remained unsatisfied with this and the report was refused. Madhuri was arrested from the court and imprisoned in Khargone Women’s Jail. The petition completed by her supporters states

“Although the police had filed a Closure Report, it was refused since “clear reasons for closure had not been stated” and Madhuri did not opt for bail since the charges were clearly false[i]; one Section 148 actually refers to “rioting armed with deadly weapons”! She was sent to judicial custody until May 30th 2013”

It goes onto say

“We find unacceptable that the government targets those who work to protect the rights of the poorest Dalits and Adivasis who are suffering due to poor quality of health services; and we demand accountability from the erring officials who are indirectly responsible for thousands of women dying due to preventable pregnancy related causes”

Madhuri Ramakrishnasway is popularly known amongst the tribals of Barwani as “ Madhuri Ben” .She is a leader of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), a tribal and Dalit Rights Collective. Various advocacy groups under them often hold peaceful protests with a view to raising awareness of the substandard healthcare during pregnancy and labour. She has been involved in developing a grassroots movement demanding good care for rural maternal and child health in some of the remotest parts of the district. In support of Madhuri Ben’s concerns, it is notable that last year :

“The study, conducted on 819 deaths of a total of 1,065 probably maternal deaths reported in Madhya Pradesh between April 2011 and January 2012, suggests 132 women died on their way home or to a health facility” [Source – The Hindu ].

While recent news reports ran headlines about the sudden miraculous “improvement” in mortality rate in the state [ Times of India ], these reports conflicts with a presentation in the previous year on maternal death reviews in MP. Apurva Chaturvedi, State Consultant, National Rural Health Mission, and Archana Mishra, Deputy Director (NRHM), explained that 32 per cent of the reviewed deaths had occurred in district hospitals, 25 per cent in maternity centres, 13 per cent in sub-centres and 6 per cent in private facilities.

“Only 17.7 per cent of the expected maternal deaths are being reported and analysed while the remaining go unreported. Worse, in 37 per cent of the cases the cause of maternal deaths is registered as ‘other’,” they said.

The questionable statistics and the reasons for this was argued well by Sachin Jain. The government’s position isn’t convincing given the reports on the ground. It is therefore time for a legitimate investigation into the serious risk posed to vulnerable mothers in this state. The first task for the government is to cease harassing its whistleblowers who point out their spectacular failings. Then they should apply their minds more constructively to improving healthcare for patients at risk of neglect and death. They may also wish to improve their ability to collect statistics to avoid being embarrassed further. Click here to Sign the Petition

Author : Dr Rita Pal, Follow her twitter.com/dr_rita39

 

PRESS RELEASE- The illegal order remanding Madhuri to Prison


                                                                        25 May, 2013

 

PUCL Takes Serious Exception to Illegal Order Directing Imprisonment of Social Activist Madhuri of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sanghatan and

PUCL Coordinator for Madhya Pradesh

PUCL is extremely shocked and takes exception to the arbitrary, illegal, and capricious manner by which the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Barwani on 16th May, 2013 directed the imprisonment in Central Prison, Barwani of Madhuri Krishnaswamy, a well respected tribal rights activist of the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sanghatan (JADS) and PUCL co-ordinator for MP. PUCL also takes exception to the rejection by the CJM, Barwani of the `Closure Report’ filed by the prosecution in a 2008 case as illegal, violative of established principles, abuse of the process of law and resulting in harassment of accused.

 

Facts of the Case:     The case in which Madhuri was imprisoned on 16th May, 2013 relates to incidents that took place in November, 2008. On 11.11.2008, 21-year old Baniya Bai, wife of Iddiya, of Sukhpuri village, full term pregnant, was brought for her first delivery to Primary Health Centre (PHC), Medimata, after a 15 km journey over bullock cart. The next day, 12.11.2008, the PHC Compounder, VK Chauhan, and nurse Ms. Nirmala, allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs.100/-.  As Baniya Bai and her parents-in-law were unable to pay the bribe, she was thrown out of the PHC. Baniya Bai delivered her child, in public, on the road opposite the PHC gate. A local tribal traditional mid-wife, Jambai Nana, assisted the delivery. Madhuri, who happened to be in the town heard about the incident and contacted the Silawad Child Health Centre, the Silawad Police Station.  Senior health officials at the District HQs at Barwani arranged for a vehicle to transport Baniya Bai and the newly delivered child to Silawad Hospital for further treatment. In the meantime local people gathered and protested about the callous and inhuman treatment meted to Baniya Bai, which was routine in the area.

 

In a bizarre manner, the Silawad police instead of taking action against the PHC compounder, Chauhan and other staff for criminal negligence endangering the life of Baniya Bai, corruption and abuse of office, registered an FIR, Crime No. 93 of 2008 dated 12.11.2008 u/s 353, 332, 147 and 427 IPC and sec. 3 and 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Chikitsak Tatha Chikitsa Seva Se Sambadh Vyaktiyon Ki Suraksha Vidheyak, 2008 at the Silawad Police Station showing PHC Compounder Chauhan as the complainant and naming Bachiya Borla, Bhurelal Borla, Basant Kumar, Kamal, Iddiya (husband of Baniya Bai) and Madhuri as accused. Iddiya was not even in Medimata on the incident day!

 

The offences charged included voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty (sec. 332), assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty (sec. 353), mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs. 50/- (sec. 427), and punishment for rioting (sec. 147).  All the offences carried a maximum sentence of 2 to 3 years imprisonment.  Sections 3 and 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Chikitsak Tatha Chikitsa Seva Se Sambadh Vyaktiyon Ki Suraksha Vidheyak, 2008 provides for imprisonment for a period of 3 months or fine of Rs. 10,000/- or both for act of violence or threat to medical personnel, which is deemed to be a cognisable and non-bailable offence.

 

In December 2010, Bachiya and Bhurelal Borla were arrested and released on bail by the local court. Madhuri, for the first time in over 4 years, was summoned to appear before court of CJM, Barwani on 16th May, 2013.

 

The Closure Report filed by Prosecution and its Rejection

 

A full 4 years after the FIR registration, on 18.12.2012 the prosecution filed a Closure Report u/s 173 Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC for short) stating that at the end of investigation they did not find enough evidence to prosecute Madhuri and others and seeking the `closure’ of the criminal case. Importantly, the prosecution reported that investigation revealed and established that the incident of 12.11.2008 by which Baniya Bai, was forced to deliver her child on the road outside the PHC had indeed taken place, and that local people had got agitated over the incident but that there was no pre-meditation or plan and it was a spontaneous gathering. Further, the police, on record, concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to establish the allegations of the PHC compounder.

 

In the meantime the case was transferred to the CJM Court, Barwani. On receiving notice, a sworn statement was recorded from the de-facto complainant, VK Chauhan. Chauhan on 5.3.2013, to the effect that the incident as narrated in the FIR did take place. On 20.4.2013, the CJM confirmed the statements of 5 witnesses. Noting that there is corroboration in the statements of all the witnesses regarding the names of the accused, the CJM held that there is no merit in closing the case and closure report cannot be accepted. The prayer for closure was therefore  dismissed and cognisance  taken for offences u/s 332, 353, 147, 427 and 3 & 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Chikitsak Tatha Chikitsa Seva Se Sambadh Vyaktiyon Ki Suraksha Vidheyak, 2008.

 

Importantly, the 2 accused who had obtained bail, Bhachiya and Bhurelal,  were not informed about the Closure Report or the objection of the de-facto complainant and not informed that they had a right to place before the CJM’s court their arguments in favour of the closure report or the de facto complainant’s objections.

 

Why is the Rejection of Closure Report Illegal?

 

The Supreme Court has in numerous cases including `Dhasmana v. CBI’ (2001(7) SCC 536), `Bhagwant Singh v. Commissioner of Police’, (1985(2) SCC 537), `M/s India Carat (P) Ltd v. Karnataka’, (1989(2) SCC 132) held that the Magistrate has the powers to reject the `closure report’ filed by the prosecution and to decide to continue with the criminal case. However the court has to strictly comply with the procedures enumerated in law and clarified by the SC.

 

There are three critical steps: (a) De-facto complainant should be informed to file his detailed objection rebutting  the prosecution decision to close the case. (b) Similarly the accused should also be given an opportunity to oppose the de-facto complainant as their interests will also be prejudiced by the order of the court; and (c) the Magistrate, after study of all relevant facts and materials before the court, should give a detailed reasoned order recording the reasons and explaining why the closure report is being rejected.

(i)                In the present case, the judicial order of the CJM, Barwani rejecting the `closure report’ is mechanical. It would not be out of place to highlight that in the eventuality of rejection of the closure report, the CJM ought to have directed for further investigation u/s 173 (8) or 156 (3) of the CrPC directing the police to examine Baniya Bai w/o Iddiya and her in-laws, who are referred  by the complainant in the FIR, the 161 Cr PC statements, to find out the truth of what happened on 11th and 12th November, 2008. By not doing so it shows a prejudiced mind  of the CJM and also violates their duty under law to do       ” full justice”. CJM also failed to take note of the remark of the closure report in which the incident of denying the PHC facilities to Baniya Bai which forced her to deliver on the roadside opposite the PHC which caused a public outcry. This selective and pick and choose method adopted by the CJM to decide on continuing with the prosecution is seriously objectionable, causes prejudice to the accused and is illegal.

(ii)              The de-facto complainant did not file a `protest petition’ or in any case, in his sworn statement recorded on 5.3.2013 did not explain the grounds as to why the prosecution’s `closure report’ was bad in law and fact. Not specifying the grounds of protest has robbed the prosecution and accused an important opportunity to counter the de facto complainant’s case and thus legally affects the rejection by CJM of the `closure report’.

(iii)            No opportunity was given to the accused in the case, particularly the 2 accused persons released on bail, to oppose the de-facto complainant. This constitutes a serious violation of the `Principle of fair hearing and opportunity’ to be given to the accused and thus invalidates the rejection by the CJM of the `Closure Report’.

(iv)             The SC in `Vasanti Dubey vs State of MP’ (2012) has clearly pointed that the functions of the magistrate are different from the police and reiterated the view that “we cannot impinge upon the jurisdiction of the police by compelling them to change their opinion so as to accord with his view” and that the Magistrate “cannot direct the police to straightaway file charge sheet”.

 

As the SC pointed out, unless the procedures were followed, the orders of the Magistrate to continue with the criminal prosecution would become illegal, and would result in an abuse of process of law resulting in vexatious proceedingand harassment of the accused.

 

Bar to taking Cognisance u/s 468(c) Criminal Procedure Code

We would like to point out that the CJM seems to have ignored the bar imposed by section 468 of the Criminal Procedure Code that no court shall take cognisance of an offence beyond a period of three years if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding one year but not exceeding 3 years. It is to be noted that all the offences charged in the present case impose a maximum sentence of three years. Hence the order of the CJM, Barwani dated 20.4.2013 taking cognisance itself is illegal as it hit by the limitation for taking cognisance imposed by section 468(c) of the Cr.PC.

It also needs to be pointed out that sec. 473 Cr.PC provides for extension of limitation in certain situations; however for invoking this provision the CJM ought to have clearly explained and spelt out in the order dated 20.4.2013, the reasons why the CJM was satisfied that the cause of delay has been properly and satisfactorily explained or that it is necessary to condone the delay in the interests of justice. To our knowledge, the order of the CJM neither explains the reason for the delay in filing the closure report (in effect the police final report u/s 173 CrPC) nor explains the reasons for condoning the delay thereby directing taking of cognisance in the `interests of justice’.

The provisions of sections 468 and 473 are mandatory and non-compliance with them vitiates the order of the CJM dated 20.4.2013 taking cognisance. In effect the order of the CJM taking cognisance of the case in FIR, Cr. No. 93/2008  becomes illegal. It follows that the consequent legal proceedings initiated in the case, including remanding Madhuri thereby imprisoning her, are also illegal.

 

Order of CJM Remanding Madhuri to Prison is Illegal

 

It needs to be pointed out that on 16.5.2013, Madhuri appeared voluntarily before the CJM, Barwani’s court on receiving summons. This clearly establishes her to be a law abiding citizen. It is in this light that PUCL takes exception to the action of the CJM, Barwani remanding and imprisoning Madhuri as being violative of criminal laws and procedures established by the Supreme Court, as being an infringement  of her fundamental right to freedoms to life and liberty under Articles 20 and 21 of the Constitution and being an egregious abuse of power by the Judicial Magistrate.

 

  1. The Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that imprisonment should be resorted to only as a last resort and only in the circumstance when the court feels that the accused will abscond or evade justice or threaten witnesses or tamper with evidence and this fact should be recorded. In all other circumstances, if the accused person will appear on summons, then imprisonment should be avoided.

The material on record indicates that Madhuri is a law abiding person who appeared voluntarily, on being summoned to appear before the CJM, Barwani. Hence the order directing Madhuri’s imprisonment is bad in law, abuse of power of court and an act of judicial excess violative of fundamental rights of Madhuri.

 

  1. The key point to be noted is that there is a difference between the preliminary investigation stage when a FIR is registered to when a person has been summoned to appear and appears in compliance, at the end of investigation. The Supreme Court has said in `Joginder Kumar v State of UP’ (1994), that even at the stage of start of investigation the power to arrest is one thing, but the justification of the arrest is another matter altogether and can be judicially reviewed. Such being the legal dictum at the start of investigation, at the stage of end of investigation, the court will necessarily have to provide sound reasons justifying the need for imprisonment. Not doing so taints the remand order with illegality and unjustness.

 

  1. The SC has in M/s India Carat (P) Ltd v State of Karnataka (1989(2) SCC 132) and  in `Vasanthi Dubey vs State of MP’ (2012) said that in the event of a rejection by Magistrate of `Closure Report’, the CJM could only have proceeded to continue prosecution case by way of taking cognisance u/s 190(1)(c) or 200 CrPC and order issue of process to accused. In such a case where the accused appears on summons the accused is automatically entitled to bail on personal bond.

 

  1. There was no need for the CJM to have ordered remanding Madhuri to judicial custody as there is no need for `custodial interrogation’, as the case had reached the concluding stage. There are provisions like sec. 88 of the Cr.P.C. for `binding over’ accused to appear in further hearings. Hence it was unjust on the part of the CJM to have remanded Madhuri on 16.5.2013 and the remand order is illegal.

 

We reiterate, `Any order which is passed without adhering to the “procedure established by law” is illegal Further the `procedure’ must be “fair procedure”.

 

In the face of such illegalities committed by the CJM, Barwani in unjustly remanding Madhuri Krishnaswamy to judicial custody and imprisonment and the violation of procedural compliance while rejecting the `closure report’ of the prosecution, PUCL would like to place the following demands before the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shiv Raj Singh Chauhan:

 

1.      The immediate release of Madhuri Krishnaswamy: The State through the Director of Prosecutions must approach the appropriate judicial forum and defend the closure report and challenge the cognizance taken by the JMFC Court of the charge sheet by placing all relevant documents before the judicial forum so that an informed and judicious decision can be taken for closing the criminal case against Madhuri and other tribal people.

 

2.      Appropriate Criminal and Departmental Proceedings against errant PHC Staff: Appropriate criminal and departmental Proceedings must be initiated against the compounder, VK Chauhan, the nurse, Nirmala, and other staff of the PHC who denied the basic medical services to the pregnant woman, Baniya Bai on 11th November, 2008, endangering her life. The issue of limitation in initiating prosecution must be properly explained so that legally, criminal action can be launched against Chauhan and Nirmala and others responsible for endangering the life and health of Baniya Bai, even now.

 

3.      Just and adequate compensation: The State must pay just and adequate compensation to Baniya Bai for the severe physical harassment and mental agony she was forced to undergo in November, 2008, owing to the omissions and commissions of the Staff of PHC, Medimata.

 

4.      Proper Pre-&-Post Medical care for Expecting Mothers and Implementation of NRHM and JSY: The Government of MP must ensure that no woman, in the future, will be subjected to what Baniya Bai and others like her were subjected to, and medical services in maternal cases inter alia must not be denied and must be provided promptly and effectively. Barwani District Administration should ensure proper implementation of the Janani Suraskha Yojana as also the National Rural Health Mission.

 

5.      Protection and Care of Human Rights Defenders: The State government must ensure the protection and care of Human Rights Defenders in the State of Madhya Pradesh from any kind of retaliation, violence, discrimination or any adverse action whatsoever from private or State actors.

 

We would like to point out to the State Government that there has been consistent attempts by the state administration to silence and intimidate Madhuri by `externing’ her from the district and by threatening to arrest her by dubbing her a Maoist. Such intimidatory tactics are a shame and should be immediately stopped. We are also constrained to point out that there are similar attempts to specifically target other social activists like Medha Patkar, Dr. Sunilam and others by falsely implicating them in foisted cases. We call upon the Government of Madhya Pradesh to desist from such anti-democratic and anti-human rights and anti-constitutional practices and remind the government that voicing dissent and opposition are not part of democratic and human rights but in the end, help strengthen democracy.

 

We reiterate that it is a fundamental right of the citizens to be provided corruption-free, good governance, especially in the area of health services; people also have a fundamental democratic right to protest if the government and its functionaries fail to provide inclusive, equitable dignified health and other public services. The MP State Government in particular and all governments in general, also ought to recognise the democratic rights of citizens to seek accountability from state functionaries and to demand transparency, responsibility and open administration. The government ought to understand that a vigilant citizenry demanding good governance is reflective of a vibrant, strong democracy and should not treat them as `foes or adversaries’ who should be silenced and suppressed.

 

 (Dr. V. Suresh)                                   (Kavita Srivastava

National General Secretary                 National Secretary

 

#India – 5000 people on the road to Protest Arrest of Women Health Activist


Massive rally by JADS in Badwani, MP to protest against unjust arrest of Madhuri

madhuriprotest1
As is now widely known, the leading organizer of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, Madhuri was arrested
on 16th May 2013 at Barwani district court. This arrest was made in connection with the protest done by
the Sangathan related to the case of an adivasi woman Baniya bai, who was forced to deliver on the
roadside near Menimata PHC, because she was denied care in the PHC.
In response to this unjust arrest, nearly 5000 people mobilized by JADS, including large numbers of
women, demonstrated on 21st May 2013 in front of the District collector’s office at Barwani. Key
demands of the protesters were release of Madhuriben along with dismissal of all false cases against
various activists, major improvement in public health services, and eliminating large scale corruption in
implementation of the NREGA programme in the district. Major slogans included “Amu akkha kon chhe
– Madhuri chhe, Madhuri chhe” (‘Who are all of us – all of us are Madhuri’), “Aspatal mein loot band
karo” (Stop exploiting patients in Hospitals) and Nyay nahi to jail do” (‘Either give us justice or give us
jail’). The demonstrators from various far-flung areas of the district had gathered from 1 pm to 9.30 pm
in front of Collector’s office, but the collector refused to address the demonstrators or to meet their
representatives.
In this situation of total non-responsiveness of the District administration, JADS activists finally pasted a
notice on the police barricade, addressed to the Chief Minister, giving the warning that if the government
does not release Madhuriben by 30th of May, the Sangathan would mobilise an even larger rally at the
Collector’s office.

madhuriprotest

protest2

 

Press Release- Is organising for proper health services for a poor a `criminal activity’ ? #Vaw #Stateoppression


Release Madhuri immediately

 

New Delhi, May 20th , New Delhi

National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR), a group of civil society organisations from across the country have come together as a broad alliance, that strongly condemn the use of court proceedings against maternal health activist, Ms Madhuri working in Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan(JADS1) who has been arrested on 16th of May 2013. She has been arrested for forcing a pregnant woman i.e. Baniya Bai who was in a critical condition and was in labour to deliver in full public view just outside the Menimata PHC. The case was filed against Madhuri, Baniya Bai’s Husband, Basant and others by the compounder and was registered as FIR No 93 of 2008. This case of Baniya Bai is also part of the writ petition filed in the High Court of MP, Indore Bench in which the status of maternal health services was raised in light of 29 maternal deaths recorded in a span of 9 months in Barwani DH.

Madhuri appeared in the court on 16th May at Shri D.P. Singh Sewach, JMFC and informed, that the police had filed a closure report (khatma) but had not stated clear reasons for the closure and therefore the report was refused. Madhuri was arrested from the court complex and has been remanded in JC till 30th May 2013 and will be placed in Khargone women’s Jail.

As social health activists, many of us are witness to the fact that the area has a history of organised action and peaceful protests for improvement of rural health services, specifically for maternal health services. The details of the case clearly show that Madhuri informed the police officials and helped the pregnant women and newborn to get emergency obstetric care after delivery. However, instead the administration who should have taken a stringent action against the hospital staff (the compounder and the nurse) who forced Baniya to leave the hospital and asked for informal fees from the family members have arrested Madhuri.

We, the civil society groups are extremely disturbed by it and need an answer from the administration as why helping and organising for proper health services for a poor vulnerable family can be construed as a `criminal activity’.

Details of the case are as follows:

A ST resident of of village Sukhpuri, Barwani. Baniya Bai was taken to the Menimata PHC for delivery by her father-in-law, Dalsingh, on the night of 11 November 2008.  They made the 15 km journey on a bullock cart because no other transport was available.  After admitting and taking a cursory look at her, the compounder, V.K. Chauhan, and nurse, Nirmala, left the PHC and went home.

The next morning, Baniya was forced by the compounder and the nurse to leave the hospital.  Her family was asked for Rs. 100, which they did not have and so Dalsing immediately went to get money from their village.  Despite attempts to re-admit Baniya Bai to the PHC, the compounder flatly refused saying that they could not manage the delivery so she would have to go to Barwani DH or Silawad Hospital.

Baniya’s relatives tried to get the Menimata hospital compounder, nurse and staff to call for the Janani Express, but were unsuccessful. The family was told to make its own arrangements to refer to a higher hospital.  When forced to leave the PHC Baniya Bai crawled out of the labour room, on to the road outside the PHC, where she lay down in severe pain.

Eventually, Baniya’s mother-in-law, Suvali Bai, went looking for a Dai in the marketplace and found Jambai Nana, who had come to market collect her wages. After hearing about Baniya Bai’s situation, Jambai agreed to assist her, and at around 12PM, conducted a normal delivery on the road outside the hospital. The father-in-law gave his dhoti (loin cloth) to provide cover for Baniya Bai during delivery. Following this incident, a crowd gathered outside the health centre.

Madhuri was passing by, inquired about what was happening. She then called up the Silawad CHC, the Silawad Police Station as well as health officials from Barwani. Upon being informed, senior officials from the health department ordered for a vehicle to be sent immediately to the Menimata PHC. After being denied emergency obstetric care and being forced to deliver in public view, Baniya Bai’s and her child were taken to the Silawad Hospital for admission. The compounder was suspended after repeated demands for action from JADS, but was soon reinstated.

1 JADS is a membership- based mass organisation of several thousand families, has been campaigning for over 14 years for the realisation of the constitutional and legal rights of adivasis in Barwani, Madhya Pradesh, one of the most backward districts of the country.

contact us —http://namhhr.blogspot.in/

SIGN PETITION FOR MADHURI HERE —http://petitions.halabol.com/2013/05/17/release-maternal-health-activist-madhuri-immediately

 

Tribals protest over Madhuri being sent to Jail for speaking for the ‘right of pregnant women #Vaw


PLEASE SIGN PETITION FOR HER RELEASE HERE

http://petitions.halabol.com/2013/05/17/release-maternal-health-activist-madhuri-immediately

May 18, 2013, 03.55AM IST TNN

INDORE: Tribals from different villages of Barwani are on an indefinite dharna in front of police stations in the district protesting judicial remand of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) leader Madhuri. Different social organizations from the state have come under the banner of Jan Sangharsh Morcha to protest against the development.

Alok Agrawal of Jan Sangarsh Morcha said the incident of sending Madhuri to judicial custody has exposed the ‘Janani Suraksha Scheme’ of Madhya Pradesh government. He said an activist is sent to jail for speaking for the ‘right of pregnant women.’

Har Singh of JADS said, tribals are sitting in front of different police stations of the district including Pati, Silawad, Pansemal and Niwali. He said the protests will continue till fake cases against Madhuri were not revoked and guilty are punished.

Madhuri had refused bail in a five-year-old case registered against her and four other persons at Menimata under Silawad police stations. She was sent to Khargone jail on judicial custody on Thursday.

Social organizations claimed that the incident has once again highlighted the apathetic condition of health services and schemes like rural health mission in tribal areas. A case under sections of 353, 332, 147, 148 and 342 of IPC was registered against Madhuri in 2008 for raising question mark on health service and system.

On November 12, 2008 a pregnant tribal women Baniya Bai of Shukpuri village was forced out of Public Health Service (PHC) of Menimata. Despite repeated request she was not taken in and Baniya Bai delivered her child on the road in front of PHC. Madhuri of JADS was passing by and immediately summoned an ambulance and took the tribal woman to the hospital. Thereafter, she launched a protest against the PHC.

Irked over a compounder of PHC Menimata Vijay Kumar filed a complain under a non- bailable offence against the social activist Madhuri.

 

Immediate Release–Externment orders should be given to the District administration not to Madhuri bhen


May 25, Badwani, Madhya pradesh

We as tribals and as members of Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sangathan strongly condemn the externment(zilla badar) notice given to Madhuri bai, a senior activist of our Sangathan.

The extermnent orders should be given not to Madhuri Bai, but to the corrupt administration  that is functioning under the leadership of the Collector, SP, CEO  of the Zillapanchayat, which is sucking the blood of us adivasis and usurping our rights by siphoning of crores of rupees that have been alloted for our development.

The notice issued points out many criminal cases against Madhuri Bai. But the fact remains that she has been exonerated and acquitted by the court in all the mentioned cases. This notice also mentions 5 cases, which the police has been investigating for the past 2 to 6 years. All these cases are baseless and false and are an obvious and clear attempt to crush the voices that we have been raising against the corrupt practices and the dereliction of duty on part of the district administration in order to get our health rights, forest rights and just labour wages.

It is written in Madhuri bai’s extermnent notice that we have been “obstructing” the development work of the administration. But far from obstructing, our struggle has always been to make government schemes work properly and weed out corruption and dereliction of duty. Our entire movement has been for ensuring  that the benefits of these schemes reach the adivasis who are the rightful beneficiaries. The Sangathan has been working towards making people aware of their rights and ensuring that there is no corruption in the implementation of schemes meant for us.

The notice also states that there is an atmosphere of fear among the government functionaries because of the Sangathan and Madhuri Bai. We would like to ask:  our demand has always been that the law and government schemes be properly implemented – why then are they afraid of us?  In fact they are scared because neither do they want to follow the law and properly implement schemes, nor do they want an aware and alert  public who can keep a vigilant eye on their work and demand answers for corrupt practices. If they are scared of and unable to answer valid questions of the people they serve, then they should give in their resignation

What kind of democratic government is this, which is scared to face the people.? To organize and agitate for our rights is a right given to us by the Constitution, it cannot be taken away by the collector.

We know that there are many political leaders who are involved in this conspiracy to repress our sanghatan. They have  publicly voiced the demand of “ Zillabadar” of Madhuri bai several times in the past. Now they should come together with us and demand that this Zillabadr notice is revoked or else they will have to pay a heavy price in the coming elections.

We are never given our wages on time, neither are we given our due ration or forest rights certificates. There is regular violation of our gram shaba resolutions. Illegal liquor and gambling has been going openly and unchecked. But when we campaign on these basic issues and demand that the law should be followed it is us who are labeled as criminals.   What have we adivasis seen  in the past 60 years: only loot, violence, hunger and fear. When we have got together to fight for our legal rights against the misrule and corruption , there has been a constant effort of the corrupt vested interests to crush us by slapping false cases on us.  In this situation we have to ask- Is our country really independent and what is this freedom that we talk about?

This attack is not on Madhuri Bai but on the whole adivasi and laboring community.  The BJP and the Congress elected representatives have never supported the peoples demands or raised the problems of the people. Instead they have always gone against those who have demanded a solution to the problems of the people. Madhuri bai has stood by us and given us the support that should have been given to us by our elected  representatives.

If Madhuri bai is an antisocial criminal then the many thousands of adivisis of our sanghatan and their families are also anti social criminals. Thousands of us along our families should also be given “ Zillabadar” notices. She is not alone in this struggle.

This kind of mis treatment of people who are fighting for up holding the constitution  and law of the country , makes it clear that our country is not free and we are now fighting for true independence. Our movement is a part of  the second struggle of independence.

In the past adivasi freedom fighters like Khaja Nayak, Bheema Nayak and Nimjya Nayak were hanged by the British. In the same way all of us adivasis who are fighting for our freedom from  corruption and against the marginalization of our rights, should also be hanged. Then you can peacefully loot the country and sell it to thecompanies.

Har singh Jamre          Bilatibai Sulya               Layabai Jamre          Valsingh Sastia

 

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