#India- Child marriage averted #goodnews #Vaw


GANESH PRABHU, The Hindu

A 14-year-old girl from a village about 15 km from Udupi district, who feared her parents would get her married, is now in the custody of an institution in Mangalore, thanks to the intervention of Childline.

Rita Madtha, Deputy Director of the Department of Women and Child Welfare, said on Tuesday that the Mangalore Childline had sent a letter regarding the matter to the Deputy Commissioner of Udupi district, M.T. Reju, about a week ago.

Following this, Ms. Madtha, Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) Sadananda and her staff went to the school where the minor was writing an exam. The team spoke to the girl and her parents, who gave a written undertaking that they would not conduct the marriage.

A twist

Mangalore Staff Correspondent writes:

Dakshina Kannada Child Welfare Committee Chairperson Asha Nayak said the girl was found in the Mangalore bus-stand on Monday evening. She was produced before the CWC and they put her in an institution for children. Ms. Nayak said that the girl gave a statement to the CWC giving details of the circumstances that made her leave her house.

Press Release- #India- Legal challenge threatens the release of journalist , Naveen Soorinje


February 8, 2013

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned to learn of a
legal challenge to the decision to drop charges against
http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-condemns-continuing-detention-of
-indian-journalist-naveen-soorinje> Naveen Soorinje, now under arrest for
over three months on charges of involvement in a July 2012 vigilante attack
on a group of partying teenagers in the city of Mangalore, in the southern
Indian state of Karnataka.

Soorinje, who is a reporter for the Kasturi TV channel based in Mangalore,
was alerted to the possibility of an attack by local witnesses and arrived
at the site soon after activists of a group that styles itself as the Hindu
Jagaran Vedike began assembling. According to the testimony he has filed
both before the police investigators and a civil rights organisation based
in Karnataka, he was unsure initially about the intentions of the group that
had gathered. As soon as the attack began, he made efforts to inform local
police authorities, while a cameraman who accompanied him recorded the
violent events – footage that was later used by police to identify the
perpetrators.

Soorinje pleas for bail were rejected and his arrest resulted in widespread
protests in November 2012. In a review of Soorinje’s case on January 31,
the cabinet in Karnataka state decided to drop all charges. But with the
cabinet decision awaiting the signature of the chief minister of Karnataka,
a lawyer based in the state capital of Bengaluru made a plea to the high
court that the decision to drop the charges was illegal.

The high court has since, issued notice to the state government and
suggested that if charges against Soorinje are dropped, the court may order
their reinstatement.

“We are seriously concerned at this move to further detain Soorinje” said
the IFJ Asia-Pacific.

“Journalists cannot be held responsible to stop civil unrest or illegal
activities. To pursue the case against him any further would be a serious
deterrent to journalists in conscientiously carry out their professional
responsibility to report cases of civil unrest or illegal activities.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on  +612 9333 0950

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ifjasiapacific>
@ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific>
www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific

 

Notice to Karnataka govt on withdrawal of case against Naveen Soorinje #mediagag #foe


 

Bangalore, Feb 6 (PTI): Karnataka High Court today ordered issue of notices to the government and a regional television channel reporter on a PIL challenging the withdrawal of case against him in connection with attack on boys and girls in a homestay in Mangalore.

The division bench headed by acting Chief Justice K Sreedhar Rao ordered issue of notices to the government and reporter Naveen Sooringe on a PIL by advocate M P Amruthesh, seeking revocation of the cabinet decision to withdraw the case against Sooringe.

The petitioner said the government “without applying its mind” had withdrawn the case against Sooringe due to media pressure. He contended that there are 44 accused in the case and withdrawing the case only against Sooringe was “illegal and against Article 14 of the Constitution”.

He further submitted that the accused in the case were charged under various sections of IPC, the Indecent Representation of Women Act and Karnataka Prevention of Development and Loss of Property Act.

He also pointed out that the case had been withdrawn despite Sooringe’s bail being rejected by district court in Mangalore and also the High court.

On January 31, the cabinet decided to withdraw the case against Sooringe who is in judicial custody since his arrest on August 27, 2012.

 

CALL FOR ENDORSEMENTS- Defend Women’s and Artists’ Freedom From Fanatics’ Fatwas #VAW #Kashmir #FOE


freedom_of_speech

In Kashmir, young girls who performed in their own rock-band are now silenced by fear, following a fatwa by the Grand Mufti declaring that music, especially for women, is ‘un-Islamic.’ At a time when the whole country has been on the streets demanding women’s freedom to speak, sing, write, live, and love without fear, it is shameful that girls’ freedom of expression is under attack. After the recent ‘raid’ on ice-cream parlours in Mangalore by the Hindutva groups who handed young couples over to the police, we have this fatwa in the name of Islam against young women singers in Kashmir. Misogynist and patriarchal restrictions on women’s freedom, by fundamentalists and fanatics of all hues, must be resisted tooth and nail.

After the attack on the women artists’ freedom of expression in Kashmir, yet another artist’s freedom has been under attack. The paintings of an artist Anirudh Krishnamani in Karnataka have been taken down from an exhibition because Hindutva fanatics backed by the ruling BJP Government accused them of depicting Indian mythological figures in an ‘obscene’ way.

We condemn the culture cops who try to attack music and art. We stand in solidarity with the Kashmiri all-girl rock band Pragaash, and we are eager to be able to see them perform and hear their music. We stand in solidarity with Anirudh Krishnamani, and are eager to be able to view his paintings.

Kavita Krishnan

Kamayani bali Mahabal

IF YOU AGREE PL ENDORSE IN COMMENTS SECTION

State cabinet withdraws criminal cases against scribe Soorinje #goodnews


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu

Mariam Alexander Baby, Polit Bureau Member of CPI(M), with Naveen Soorinje, at Wenlock Hospital in Mangalore. Photo: H.S.Manjunath
The HinduMariam Alexander Baby, Polit Bureau Member of CPI(M), with Naveen Soorinje, at Wenlock Hospital in Mangalore. Photo: H.S.Manjunath

 

The State Cabinet which met here on Thursday has approved the withdrawal of criminal cases registered against a television journalist-Naveen Soorinje , the minister for law and parliamentary affairs, Suresh Kumar told presspersons.

Mr. Soorinje covering Mangalore district for the channel, was instrumental in exposing the July 28 attack by activists of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike on a group of innocent boys and girls who were celebrating a birthday party at a homestay in Mangalore.

He was arrested on November 7 by the Mangalore police on charges ranging from “rioting with deadly weapons,” criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and using criminal force on a woman with the intention of outraging her modesty. The police also invoked Sections 3 and 4 of The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986.

 

Mangalore vigilantes at it again, #Bajrang Dal #durga vahini #moralpolicing


Mangalore Bureau, The Hindu

ONE MORE INCIDENT: The open terrace at Roxx from where the seven-member group was bundled off to the police station. Photo: R.Eswarraj
ONE MORE INCIDENT: The open terrace at Roxx from where the seven-member group was bundled off to the police station. Photo: R.Eswarraj

Students at lounge harassed by Bajrang Dal activists

Vigilantism raised its ugly head again in Mangalore when members of the Bajrang Dal and its women’s wing, Durga Vahini — accompanied by the police — traumatised a group of seven young people meeting at an ice-cream lounge here Wednesday evening.

The group, all undergraduate students, were hauled off to the Pandeshwar police station after the vigilantes accused them of ‘immoral’ activities. At the station, they were made to wait for 45 minutes before being sent away without being charged.

Open terrace

According to the manager of Roxx, on Attavar Main Road, some 10 Bajrang Dal activists, with two policemen in tow, marched up to the smoking area on the open terrace leading from second floor where the four girls and three boys were, around 5.30 p.m., and asked them to come to the police station for their “immoral” and “uncultured” behaviour. When the young group protested, one of the intruders used foul language against a girl, the manager said, adding that the group were regulars there.

At the police station, the vigilantes, who said they were from the Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini, told reporters there were complaints from neighbours that young people smoked cannabis at the lounge.

No case booked

Commissioner of Police Manish Karbikar said the police went to the spot to defuse the situation. “As smoking on the terrace was not an offence, the police have not booked any case,” he said

To this, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Ivan D’Souza, who visited the police station, countered: “If no case was booked, why bring the students to the police station?”

A constable who accompanied the vigilantes said a Bajrang Dal activist had called the police station about “immoral activities on the terrace”. He said that of the seven young people, three were found smoking while the rest were having soft drinks.

‘A family joint’

B.M. Ashraf, managing director of Roxx, who spoke to the The Hindu on the phone from New Delhi, described the lounge as “an ice-cream parlour, a family joint, a clean place… there is no liquor, nothing of that sort.” He said he was surprised and saddened by the incident. “We don’t know why they had to do that.”

He said he would not take any action or follow up with the police and he didn’t “want to make it an issue”.

 

Mangalore: Bajrang Dal raids ice cream parlour, hands over youngsters to police #WTFnews #moralploicing #Vaw


Jan 30, 67 pm
Mangalore: Bajrang Dal raids ice cream parlour, hands over youngsters to police

Pics: Brijesh Garodi
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore (BG)

Mangalore, Jan 30: Activists of Bajrang Dal on Wednesday January 30 barged into an ice cream parlour at Attavar here, and handed over three boys and four girls to the police.

The activists alleged that ‘immoral activities’ had been going on at the parlour, and claimed that they had acted on a ‘public complaint’ in this regard.

It is said that the youngsters were in the music lounge on the top floor of the parlour. Some people noticed them from the outside and complained to Bajrang Dal.

The Bajrang Dal activists called Pandeshwar police who arrived at the spot. The boys and girls were taken to Pandeshwar police station for questioning.

More details awaited.

 

Is this journalist behind bars because he spoke too often, too loud against communal forces?


Soorinje’s story has been playing out below the radar of national attention

January 24, 2013, Issue 5 Volume 10

IN A week when two national parties have found new helmsmen, a former CM has been convicted to 10 years in jail, another CM has been rapped by his own father for misgovernance, a state government is on the verge of collapse, and a major report on rape laws has been submitted to the home ministry, it might seem a bit odd to devote this column to something else altogether.

But over the past two and a half months, an important story has been playing out below the radar of national attention. It pleads a greater hearing. On 7 November 2012, Naveen Soorinje, a 28-year old reporter working with the Kasturi News 24 channel in Karnataka, was arrested on daunting charges: conspiracy; unlawful assembly; rioting with deadly weapons; criminal trespass; causing grievous hurt; and assault on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty.

Ironically, three months earlier, it was Soorinje’s story that had helped the police book 43 goons from the right-wing Hindu Jagaran Vedike for breaking into a private birthday party in Mangalore and molesting and beating the girls there. Now, in a cruel twist, the police had booked him as the 44th assaulter. In the last week of December, crushingly for Soorinje, the Karnataka High Court struck down some of the charges but still denied him bail. It held him guilty of colluding with the assaulters because he did not inform the police and because, according to the judge’s ruling, he had “encouraged the happening of the incident and assisted in videography of the event, and thereafter facilitated its telecast in television channels, which has caused greater damage to the dignity and reputation of the victims”. Soorinje’s argument that he was outnumbered by the goons and all he could do was record the crime as a journalist has been ignored. He is now waiting to appeal for bail in the Supreme Court.

Soorinje’s story has many disturbing implications for democracy and media freedom. This ruling sets a very dangerous precedent. There have undoubtedly been several cases in the recent past when the media has crossed a grey line and become, in some sense, not a chronicler of events but an uncomfortable magnification. The lumpen moral police, in particular, love the idea of spectacle: they often invite television crews before going on their brute rampage. Should the media report these incidents or should they cut off the vandals’ life breath by refusing to shoot? Should they tip off the police immediately? This must — and should — be subject to an urgent debate. But unless a journalist or media house is accused of actively exacerbating the crime — as in the Guwahati molestation case when the reporter’s role came into serious question — it is outrageous to arrest a journalist on these grounds.

Journalists are sometimes privy to secret information that can make for an exclusive story. It is understandable to expect them to report information of a bomb or a murder plot, a vandal attack or even a potential poaching incident to the police. But if this is stretched further, in the future, can they be arrested for meeting and getting an exclusive interview with a Maoist, insurgent, terrorist or underworld don because they did not tip off the police? Clearly, that would be a frightening absurdity.

In Soorinje’s case, the arguments against him already seem to have seriously skidded off the rails. According to him, he was not tipped off by the goons but by a frightened local he does not want to expose. His call records corroborate that he did not get any call from the goons. He also claims that he did try to call the police — both the Mangalore Police Commissioner (who, it turns out, was out of town) and a local inspector, Ravish Nayak. Neither picked his call or called back. Unfortunately for him, Soorinje’s calls to them, therefore, have not registered in his call records either.

The story gets more darkly ironic because Soorinje, who grew up in an agricultural family, has a track record of exposing the communal forces in Karnataka. According to his peers in the media, it is unthinkable — insupportable — that he would ever be party to such an attack. Many, in fact, suspect his arrest is driven by political vendetta: he was speaking up too often and too loud.

Last week, a small group of journalists went on a hunger strike to protest his arrest. The state home minister promised to intervene. Nothing has happened. The fact that the national media has failed to take up this story of a hinterland peer under assault is only serving to perpetuate the inaction.

Shoma Chaudhury is Managing Editor, Tehelka.
shoma@tehelka.com

 

Indian journalists fight to free jailed reporter who exposed attack on women


 

 

Roy Greenslade

Monday 14 January 2013

guardian.co.uk

 

It might be thought that a journalist responsible for exposing a vicious assault on women would be lionised. In fact, he has been in jail for more than two months.

In July last year, television reporter Naveen Soorinje revealed that a group of Hindu extremists were responsible for an attack on young women at a house party in Mangalore.

His report on Kasturi TV, which included film of the assaults as the women ran into the streets, led to the eventual arrest of 43 people. On 7 November, Soorinje became the 44th person to be detained, provoking outrage among the journalistic community.

Accused of abetting the crime, he faces a range of charges from “rioting with deadly weapons,” criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and using criminal force on a woman with the intention of outraging her modesty.

Soorinje, who strenuously denies all charges, claimed his arrest was politically motivated because he had exposed the local administration’s failure to deal properly with cases of so-called “moral policing” and attacks on minority communities by right-wing Hindu groups.

The state of Karnataka is ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and there is a suspicion that there was tacit political support for police to detain the messenger for his unwanted message about extremist behaviour by Hindus.

“Police have no business to arrest him,” said M Saldhana, a retired high court judge and human rights activist in the state capital, Bangalore. “He was just discharging his professional duties. The arrest sends bad signals on how the local police are mixed up with right-wing organisations.”

Television footage – taken by Soorinje and a cameraman with Sahaya TV, Sharan, who was arrested late last week – showed men chasing girls and boys and beating them up. Some of the attackers were seen groping a traumatised girl.

The accused defended the attack by arguing that it was a rave party (and, by implication illegal). But police described it as a birthday party attended by students. No drugs were found.

Though some members of the Karnataka state government initially gave broad assurances that the charges against 28-year-old Soorinje would be dropped, his continued imprisonment led to a three-day hunger strike last weekend by fellow journalists.

Dozens of senior editors, reporters and photographers gathered at Freedom Park in the state capital, Bangalore, to show their support.

One of the demonstrators, HR Ranganath, editor of Public TVtold Coastal Digest: “Through this arrest, the state government is sending a message to the journalist fraternity that they will be punished for anti-establishment reportage.”

And Arvind Narrain, a member of a lawyers’ collective based in Karnataka, told the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists: “There is consensus across activists and journalists that Naveen is innocent. He’s one in a million for fearlessly exposing the Hindu right.”

But a Mangalore court denied Soorinje’s request in late November for bail. And a further request was denied on 26 December by the Karnataka high court.

Sources: CPJ/Tehelka.com/BBC/Coastal Digest/DNA India

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE-Statement of Support for Release Naveen Soorinje, – NWMI, Mumbai


 

The Mumbai Chapter, of   The  Network of Women in Media, India, released a statement   of support for Release of Naveen Soorinje

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE; JAN 6,2013
We are shocked at the continued incarceration of Managalore-based
television journalist Naveen Soorinje by police and demand both his
immediate release and the dropping of charges  against him forthwith.

Naveen Soorinje was arrested on November 9, 2012. His bail application was
rejected on December 26, 2012.

The Mangalore district reporter for Kasturi Newz24, Naveen Soorinje was
instrumental in exposing the July 28 attack by activists of the Hindu
Jagarana Vedike on a group of innocent boys and girls who were celebrating
a birthday party at a homestay in Mangalore. He was arrested by the
Mangalore police on charges under various sections of the Unlawful
Activities (Prevention)Act, the Indian Penal Code from “rioting with deadly
weapons,” criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and using criminal force
on a woman with the intention of outraging her modesty. The police have
also invoked Sections 3 and 4 of The Indecent Representation of Women
(Prohibition) Act 1986.

Soorinje’s report, titled ‘The Talibanisation of Mangalore’, was actually
vital evidence of the brutality of the attack and the molestation and
assault on the youth. Instead, he was charged with the same offences as
that of the attackers. The police arrested 31 people in connection with the
attack and Soorinje was lodged in the same sub-jail as them until a protest
from the Mangalore Union of Working Journalists forced police to lodge him
separately.

In his order rejecting Naveen’s bail application, the Karnataka High Court
judge, Keshava Narayana, relied on police evidence that Naveen was
absconding, when in fact, he was very much present in the area and had
covered important and routine assignments between July and November,
including the visit of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to the area.

In the short span of seven years, Soorinje had made a mark as a journalist
in the region for his coverage of powerful groups including Hindutva
organizations, the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Popular Front of India, the pontiff
of Pejawar Mutt Vishveshateertha, who is the guru of former Madhya Pradesh
CM Uma Bharti, and the powerful head of the Dharmasthala temple, the
Dharmadhikari Veerendra Heggade, among others. Besides, he wrote exposes on
corrupt policemen and even exposes on journalists taking gifts in return
for favors.

Clearly, the arrest and charges against him smack of vendetta and designed
to work as a ‘chilling effect’ on independent reportage in this region. His
continued incarceration cannot and must not act as a deterrent to fair and
accurate journalism and we demand that he be released forthwith and the
charges against him dropped.

 

 

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