Haji Ali dargah trustees defends restricting women’s entry, activists protest #discrimination


DON’T COMPARE HAJI ALI WITH MECCA, SAYS TRUSTEE

‘This is a dargah, and women aren’t allowed in cemeteries’

Suhail Khandwani, trustee of the Mahim and Haji Ali dargahs, defends the rule that places restrictions on women

 Nov 6, 2012 Jyoti.Punwani @timesgroup.com , Mumbai Mirror

The decision of the trustees of the Mahim and Haji Ali dargahs to ban women from entering the mazaar (inner sanctum) has drawn a sharp reaction, even from within the community.
“Muftis are turning Talibani,” some sufis who visit dargahs regularly have said, while Islamic Scholar Asghar Ali Engineer has pointed out that no ban on women entering mosques or mausoleums exists either in the Koran or the Hadees. However, Suhail Khandwani,trusteeoftheMahimand Haji Ali dargahs, defends the recent rule that prohibits women from going up to the mazaar, terming it a belated improvement on existing tradition.
Whythisnewrule?
Earlier women were allowed in both Haji Ali and Mahim dargahs right up to the mazaar. Then the management changed. We were informed by our Mufti Mehmood Akhtar Raza thatunderShariahlaw,womenwere not allowed. So we created a space two feet away where women can pray. Seventy to 80 % women have said they are fine with this. I had thoughtpeoplewouldsay:whynot? I’m surprised the question being asked is: why?
But the big question remains – whynow?
Improvements can take place at any time. We tried to implement the Islamic law as soon as we learnt about it.
But Islamic scholars say that there is nothing in the Koran about women not being allowed. In fact, according to Asghar Ali Engineer, Prophet Mohammed has said: ‘Don’t stop the female servants of Allah fromenteringAllah’shouse.’
Is Mr Engineer a mufti who can pronounce a fatwa? And this is not Allah’s house. You can’t compare it with Mecca. This is a dargah. Women are not allowed in cemeteries. We are not forbidding women – we are creating a separate space for them withinthepremises.Thatwayweare also protecting women. Often there’s too much rush, they are forced to mix with men. That’s also notgood.Youknowwomenaresupposed to be accompanied by their sons or husbands when they travel.
In SaudiArabia,not in India…
That’stheShariah,it’snotthatSaudi Arabia has invented it. If somebody starts practising it here, it’s a desirable thing. And the dargah is the right place to implement this.
Women may not find this desirable. In Mumbai, women are used to going to dargahs without men. As a trustee, shouldn’t you be respecting tradition instead of breaking it?
As a trustee, I am improving the existing tradition. And we are not beingrigid.Weareleavingthedecision to women. We are educating them gradually, we have not directly stoppedthem.AndinMahim,wearegetting a good response. People are getting convinced.
There’s a fear that tomorrow some mufti may say that unless you wear a veil, you won’t be allowed. Or that a non-Muslim may not be allowed.
No, nothing like that (will happen). We are a very secular trust. There’s no dress code, except that it must be respectful. Even men can’t go in without a cap.
There are progressive interpretations of the Shariah too. In moderntimestoforbidwomen–isn’tthatgoingbackwards?
If Shariah law does not permit something, we need to correct ourselves. As Muslims, we have to be guided by it.

Suhail Khandwani, trustee of Mahimand Haji Ali dargahs, tells Mirror how banning women from dargahs is justified
Haji Ali dargah restricts women’s entry, activists protest
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, November 06, 2012
Haji Ali dargah restricts women’s entry, activists protest

The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), a women’s group, plans to write to the state authorities over the restricted entry to women at dargahs in the city.

the sanctum sanctorum triggered their survey. Of the 20 city dargahs visited in September, seven did not allow women near the grave.

“When we asked with the trustees, we were told that the decision was taken after the authorities noticed that a woman came inappropriately dressed last year,” said Noorjehan Safia Niaz, founder, BMMA.

The dargah trustees said that the decision at the Haji Ali dargah was taken almost seven years ago.

“Eventually, this will be done in every dargah, as the Sharia law claims that no woman can visit a cemetery or a grave,” said Suhail Khandwani, trustee of the Haji Ali dargah and managing trustee of Mahim’s Makhdoom Shah Baba’s Dargah, where religious leaders have been educating women visitors about the law.

“We will write to minorities minister Arif Naseem Khan, the state minorities commission and the trustees of Haji Ali. They need to take steps to curb such a regressive trend,” said Niaz.

“Managements can’t run dargahs according to their whims and fancies,” said Hasina Khan, Awaaz-e-Nizwaan, an NGO.

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#Mumbai High Court orders probe – Armed men would come, pick women and rape them #VAW


Hours after Mumbai Mirror report…

CM, High Court order probe into horror ‘shelter’

Crime Branch to investigate allegations of rape at Mankhurd women’s home, HC serves notices to state welfare department, police chief

 Yogesh Sadhwani, Mumbai Mirror

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday ordered the Mumbai Crime Branch to probe allegations of rape at the state-run protective shelter in Mankhurd following a Mumbai Mirror report. The Bombay High Court, too, took suo motu notice of the issue and directed various state agencies to respond by November 5.

A Mumbai Mirror report on Monday quoted an inmate of the Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh, a protective shelter for women rescued under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, as saying that the women at the home were starved and often raped by outsiders.

The 24-year-old was one of the 23 women who escaped from the home on Saturday. “The chief minister has ordered a Crime Branch inquiry,” said Amitabh Rajan, additional chief secretary, home department. “I have asked Commissioner Satyapal Singh to investigate and get to the bottom of the case.

Another issue that has come up is the lack of proper supervision at the home.” Rajan said he has also asked Ujwal Uke, principal secretary, Women and Child Development Department, to conduct a thorough departmental inquiry.

The Crime Branch will handle the investigation in a sensitive manner so that the women at the home are encouraged to speak up fearlessly, Rajan assured.

Following the chief minister’s instructions, the Crime Branch has formed a special team, which has been asked to investigate the matter and report to Joint Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy within a week. “We have formed a special investigation team headed by the DCP, detection,” said Roy. “He will be assisted by a team that will include women police officers. They will begin their inquiry immediately and submit a report to me in a week’s time.”

By Monday afternoon, the Bombay High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the case. Court officials told Mumbai Mirror that notices were sent to the Women and Child Welfare Department, city police commissioner, the Mankhurd home’s superintendent and also a High Court-appointed committee.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah will hear the Public Interest Litigation on November 5.

The Women and Child Welfare Department, which did not respond for the report on Sunday night despite repeated attempts, claimed on Monday that the woman quoted by Mumbai Mirror was lying about the conditions at the home.

“The Mumbai Mirror report about the state of the women’s home is based on lies,” a district women and child welfare officer said in a statement. “The report has mentioned that armed men often barge into the home and rape the women. No such incident has happened.

Regarding the conditions, the women in the home get food and tea twice a day, which is in accordance with government norms.”

The inmate, however, said any girl in the home would say the same thing she said as that was the reality. She said she was glad that her revelations led the chief minister and the High Court’s intervention.

“I am glad I was of some help to the other girls,” she said. “I was lucky to have escaped from that hell hole. I only hope that those who are still there get a better life and do not suffer any more.”

#India #Mumbai- Armed men would come, pick women and rape them #VAW


Starved, herded and assaulted at State-run ‘shelter’
‘Armed men would come, pick women and rape them…’
BY- Yogesh Sadhwani @timesgroup.com,  MM, Oct 29,2012

On Saturday, around 60 women housed in the Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh in Mankhurd, a staterun shelter for women rescued under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, tried to escape after a fight with the caretakers. Of the 36 who scaled the compound wall, 13 were caught while 23 are still at large.
One of them is a 24-year-old from Kolkata (who is not being named to protect her identity) who came to Mumbai four years ago to earn a living. She has a six-yearold son who stays with her parents back home. She was working as a waitress at a city orchestra bar when the police nabbed her in a raid in May this year after which she was sent to the protective home. Mumbai Mirror traced her through a friend who gave her shelter immediately after her escape. In this meeting at a restaurant in a central suburb on Saturday, she spoke about the horrors she lived through at the home.
Iused to work as a waitress in a bar. In May, the police raided the place and nabbed three of us. They took us to the Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh from the police station. On the very first day we realised that the place was hell on earth. Living conditions were pathetic, food was never enough, and the place was overcrowded.
But all that seemed trivial in front of what we witnessed next. Late one night, a group of six to seven drunken men armed with knivesandchoppersbargedintothehome. They randomly picked up a few girls who were sleeping and started kicking them. They then raped the girls. We were all too scared to intervene.
When the girls who were raped told the caretakers the next day, they just shrugged it off like nothing had happened. In the past four months, I have personally witnessed at least half-a-dozen such incidents. Those who are picked have to suffer while the rest just huddle up in one corner and dare not create a fuss.
The boundary wall of the home is porous and men walk inside as they please. The woman constables and a lone male guard posted at the home sit near the main gate. Even if the girls who get picked up in the night cry for help nobody comes to their rescue.
Most nights, we would stay awake through the night fearing that men would walk in and pick us. Not long ago one such group assaulted two girls. When the girls protested they were brutally beaten and then raped. One of the girls was so disturbed after the incident that she started wandering around the house naked. A couple of weeks later, the authorities called her parents and let her go as she had become a liability.
There are over 350 girls in the home at any given time. Recently a large group of girls rescued from a brothel in Grant Road (Simplex)werebroughthere.Theplacewas swarming with women. Of the two toilets in the home, only one is open. The other has been locked ever since a girl committed suicide in it a couple of months ago. Just one toilet for more than 350 women…
The food was equally pathetic. They gave us small portions of dried and stale vegetables for breakfast. Lunch was unheard of. For dinner we got watery dal and rice. If we asked for chapattis we were abused. The ‘kitchen mummy’ would often force us to work for hours without a break. Those who refused to work were beaten with pans.
After a few weeks of torture I realised that there was no point complaining. I just continued to suffer. In the meanwhile, two ofmyfriendswhowererescuedwithmedeveloped severe medical complications — one of them was bedridden and could barely swallow any food or water. Despite repeated pleas for medical help, the authorities never called a doctor or shifted my friends to a hospital.
On Friday night, another group of men armed with knives barged in as usual. They picked up four women and raped them. On Saturday morning, some of the girls decidedenoughwasenoughanddemandedthat the authorities increase security at the home. We told the chief caretaker about the incident. Instead of giving us a patient hearing she said there was little she could do. One thing led to another and in no time we started complaining about food and living conditions. After a while the argument got out of hand.
Just then we realised that the women constables and the lone male guard had come over to the caretaker’s office to check onthecommotion.Wespottedanopening in the fencing above the compound wall and made a run for it. I just ran out on to the main road and got into an auto-rickshaw. Only when I was far away did I ask the autodriver for a phone to call a friend for help.
I will never ever go back to that place. I would rather die than go back there.
This interview was conducted in Hindi

‘We’ve heard about these incidents, but there’s little we can do’

Members of State’s committee to look into conditions at welfare homes say they’ve got little power, no directions

Members of a recently formed special committee to look into conditions at the staterun shelters admitted that though they often hear about inmates being sexually abused and forced to live in sub-human living conditions, there is nothing they can do to address the problem.
There are around 30 such homes in the state that come under the Women and Child Development Department. Living conditions and security in these homes are largely sub-standard and the state has been struggling to address the issue.
Vidya Chavan, Member of Legislative Council and state president, women’s wing, NCP, who is a member of the special committee formed by the Women and Child Development Department to look into the conditions in these homes, said the department doesn’t act despite the repeated occurrence of such incidents.
Aides of Varsha Gaikwad, Minister for Women and Child Development, said the minister was on a break with her family. Repeated calls and text messages to Dr GD Pawar, officer on special duty to the minister, too went unanswered.
When we tried contacting the superintendent of the Mankhurd home, Ashwini Dighe, we were denied entry by policemen outside the home. Repeated calls to the landline numbers of the superintendent’s office went unanswered.
“The department, especially the minister, doesn’t seem to take the issue seriously,” said Chavan. “In the past, we inspected some homes and even gave recommendations to the department. But nothing has changed. I will now take up the issue with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.”
Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena MLC, who is also a member of the special committee, said the committee has not been given a clear idea about its mandate.
“The recently formed special committee is expected to inspect each and every home in the state and suggest measures to improve them,” she said. “The sad part is that we are yet to get a clear idea as to what our role is and how muchwecanintervene.Despiterepeated letters to the Women and Child Development Department, I am yet to get anyclarityontheissue.Iwillraisetheissue in the Legislature.”
Qaiser Khalid, additional commissioner of police, central region, said the scope of the police investigation is limited to the complaint filed by the officials at the home.
“The complaint says some women escaped and assaulted their staff,” he said “The home is maintained by the Women and Child Welfare Department and they have to look into any issue pertaining to the running of the home. However, if during the course of our investigation we find that there are certain problems because of which the women ran away we will certainly initiate action.”

 

Mumbai Man found in Lahore Jail after eight years


Letter from Pakistan – I want to return home

Vile Parle man who went missing in ’05 found in Lahore jail

After his father passed away, Bhavesh left home for Amritsar, hopped on to Samjhauta Express and crossed into Pakistan without any papers

Nazia Sayed, Mumbai Mirror
Thursday, May 03, 2012 at 09:39:40 PM

The man in the photograph is 32-year-old Bhavesh Kumar. He went missing from Mumbai eight years ago. The letter you see is one he wrote to his mother – 57-year-old Hansa Kantilal Parmar – in February this year. She got the letter from a man called from Ram Rajji, who described Bhavesh as being “very quiet”, as being a man who cried when he thought of home but at most times recalled nothing.

Rajji had spent time with Bhavesh in jail; a jail in Lahore, where Bhavesh has spent the last eight years remembering and forgetting the past. For Hansa, the letter has brought fresh hope that she may yet see her long-lost son.

Bhavesh’s and his mother’s story reads like a melodramatic film script, even if no one’s sure how it will end. According to the version the police managed to piece together, Bhavesh had drifted into depression after his father’s death. He stole money from home before boarding a train to Amritsar.

There, though it’s unclear how, he managed to board the high-security Samjhauta Express, and once he got to Pakistan, he was detained because he had neither a visa nor any documents to prove who he was.

It’s hard to believe how smoothly things were going for him back in 2004. A bright student, Bhavesh had graduated from NIIT and landed himself a decent job. He lived with his family in Vile Parle, and like many parents of 24-year-old boys, his were on the look-out for a suitable bride.

Then his father lost a prolonged battle against cancer. “He was very close to his father, and after his death he went into depression,” Hansa told Mumbai Mirror. “He had not only lost his father but a friend as well. After that he also lost his job. The family fell into financial trouble and he blamed himself for not being able to look after us.”

Hansa had gone to her maternal home to perform some rituals when the next tragedy struck.

She got a call from her neighbours saying that Bhavesh had not returned home for a few weeks. Hansa returned immediately and when she couldn’t find him anywhere, registered a missing complaint with the police. “Some people told me he must’ve died or committed suicide, others said he had run away. I didn’t know what to do so I decided to wait,” she said.

She waited four years before she heard about her son: the good news was Bhavesh was alive; the bad news that he was in jail in Pakistan, and that getting him back would not be easy.

“In October 2008, officers from the Mumbai Police special branch came looking for me. They told me my son was being held in Kot Lakpath jail in Lahore,” Hansa said. “The cops also told me that he was mentally unstable, and that all he did was mutter the name of his college and call out for his mother. The police got my address from his college records,” Hansa said.

With this information in hand, she started the long battle to get her son released. She wrote to the Home Ministry and to the Ministry of External Affairs pleading with them to get her son back.

A few months later, there came another glimmer of hope. In July 2009, she got a letter from the Indian High Commission in Pakistan confirming that her son was indeed lodged in one of their jails.

The letter also stated that a team from the High Commission had met him, and that they had confirmed his nationality status to the government of Pakistan. The letter said that they were in touch with the Pakistani government and were seeking Bhavesh’s release and repatriation to India at the earliest.

Once again, Hansa was left with nothing else to do but wait; this time, for another two-and-a-half years (more painful, considering she knew where her son was but could do nothing to help him).

Out of the blue, on February 24 this year, she got a call – not from a police station or an embassy, as she had been expecting. It was from a man called Ram Rajji, Bhavesh’s fellow prisoner who had returned to India bearing a letter from her son.

Unlike Bhavesh, Rajji was the victim of a con. In 2004, an agent in Amritsar had told him he had arranged a job for him in Lahore, and that he would meet his point-of-contact when he reached that city. There was no one waiting for him and Rajji found himself in jail. He was released in February this year as part of a group of 19 Indian prisoners who were sent back home.

When Mumbai Mirror contacted Rajji, he said that Bhavesh seldom spoke about his home or his family. “For many years, he was very quiet. He used to break into tears when he remembered things from his past but at most times he recalled nothing. On the day I was getting released, he pushed a piece of paper in my hand and told me to give it to his mother. He also asked me to click a photograph of his and show it to his mother as proof that he was alive.”

Rajji was taken aback, mainly because of how quiet Bhavesh had been until then. “But I was moved by his sudden emotional outburst. I promised him that I would personally meet his mother and tell her that her son was alive.”

After receiving the letter, Hansa once again approached the authorities. Vile Parle (East) MLA Krishna Hegde, who is helping Hansa out, said, “I have written to the Ministry of External affairs explaining the situation. We are now waiting for their reply.”

For Hansa, the letter has brought with it fresh strength to fight. “For the first time in eight years my son remembered me. He scribbled his address on a piece of paper, he gave Rajji a message for me.”

And what was the message? “He said he wants to come back home.”

“I ran with my dying wife from Nanavati to Cooper to KEM to JJ “


I ran with my dying wife from Nanavati to Cooper to KEM to JJ

A poor man’s damning testimony of our emergency services

Lata Mishra and Jyoti Shelar

Cover story Mumbai Mirror

This newspaper has run a series of stories on the hit and run accident that led to the death of the wife and unborn child of a construction labour in Juhu.

The circumstances that led to the accident; the police’s hunt for the mystery man who dropped Ram and a bleeding Reena Kutekar to the hospital but fled soon after; and finally, his surrender ten days later at the insistence of his family after they had read about it in Mumbai Mirror.

But there is a larger story that still remains to be told.

Ram Kutekar’s desperate hunt for a doctor and hospital that would save his wife’s life, and his frantic 16-hour journey from Nanavati to Cooper to KEM to JJ Hospital across Mumbai puts the spotlight on everything that is wrong with emergency medical services in the city. And why its poor can never bank on them.

• First, Nanavati Hospital refused Reena the operation she so urgently needed because her husband, a daily wage worker, couldn’t put together a deposit of Rs 25,000 (He was falling Rs 10,000 short, which he promised to raise as soon as he could).

• At Cooper Hospital, the next stop, there was no CT scan facility which meant Reena had to be taken to a private clinic close by leading to precious loss of time. The results showed Reena had suffered serious head injuries and needed urgent surgery.

• But Cooper had no neurosurgeons on call at the time, so Ram was asked to take his wife, battling for her life, to KEM Hospital in Parel.

• At KEM, there were no beds available in the ICU. Ram was told to head to JJ Hospital.

• By the time Reena was put on a ventilator at JJ, it was 11 pm. The neurosurgeon that operated on her told Mumbai Mirror she was in critical condition when she was brought in – “her brain was swollen, her blood pressure had dropped alarmingly”.

Reena – five months pregnant – died three days later. The baby inside her, doctors said, had died one day before her.

“It’s not just that young man who killed my wife,” says Ram Kutekar sitting in a cramped room in a Vile Parle chawl. “The doctors are equally responsible.”

In the Hipporcatic Oath which all doctors have to swear by before their passing out, there’s a line that reads so: “I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.”

There is also a Supreme Court directive that says emergency patients must enjoy all the rights of a consumer even before they pay any money to hospital. Nanavati management, however, insists the hospital flouted no norms, as it was only at the second level of treatment that they asked for the deposit. “We admitted the patient, thoroughly examined her, and concluded she needed ICU care,” Dr Ashok Hatolkar, Medical Superintendent at the hospital, said. “Our policy clearly states that a deposit of Rs 25,000 has to be paid upfront for an ICU admission.”

The distinction between the first and second line of treatment is specious. Reena Kutekar was examined merely physically. There were no tests run to gauge the extent of her concussion. Tests she needed urgently and which, as later events proved, could have saved her time.

“I remember waiting nervously at the reception as Reena was taken for a preliminary examination. Then the doctors told me she would have to be shifted to the ICU. This was at around 8.30 am… the nurse came around and asked for a deposit of Rs 25,000.”

Ram had around Rs 200 on him, and Siddharth Pandya – the man who had been behind the wheel, and who had dropped them to the hospital – was his only hope. He spent 20 minutes looking for him… in the car park, in the washrooms. By this time, Ram was joined by his brother Sachin, and sister-in-law, who he had asked to rush to the hospital with as much cash as they could manage. “We were still falling short by over Rs 10,000,” he says, “I pleaded with the doctors to not stop the treatment, while I arranged for the money.”

Instead, Nanavati provided Ram with an ambulance – for which he paid Rs 600 – to take them to Cooper Hospital. “By the time we got there at noon, my wife’s condition was deteriorating, I was told that she was bleeding internally, and that the injuries to the head could prove fatal.”

Following the CT scan at a private clinic, which cost Rs 3000, Reena was put on a ventilator and Ram was asked to wait. At around 4 pm, the Cooper authorities said no neurosurgeon was available, and suggested Ram take his wife to KEM Hospital in Parel. “All this time, I kept telling myself that the doctors knew best; that my wife was in safe hands and that she would be alright. I followed their instructions, ran from Nanavati to Cooper to KEM. I told the doctors that they were like gods, and that they had the power to save my wife and our unborn child. They kept saying, ‘don’t worry, just take her to so-and-so hospital’,” he says.

By the time the couple reached KEM, more than eight hours had passed since the accident, and here they encountered the most common problem poor patients face in Mumbai: No beds. “I was told there was a long waiting list, that the ICU was packed beyond capacity. The authorities asked me to try my luck at JJ Hospital,” he says. Yes, the words emergency medical services and luck are closely linked in this city, and unfortunately, the Kutekars had none.

While Reena was operated upon at JJ, she passed away three days later. When Mumbai Mirror spoke to neurosurgeon Velu Varnan, he said she had been brought there in “extremely critical condition”.

Nanavati Hospital authorities say they “sympathised” with the victim’s family, but add that they were “helpless” under the circumstances. Medical Superintendent (Nanavati Hospital) Dr Ashok Hatolkar said, “We never flouted any directive. From our end, we did everything we could to help the victim. We only asked for the deposit at stage two, which is ICU treatment and surgery. It is unfair to blame the hospital for the death. We treat poor patients who ahve requisite documents but can’t treat everybody as we don’t get funds from the government.”

Ram, who earns around Rs 4,000 a month working as a daily labourer, says Reena supplemented the family’s income by working as maid. “Just a few days before the accident, I had told her to stop working as she was more than five months pregnant. In a matter of hours, my family was gone.”

On paper there are several schemes to enable the poor patients to take treatment at the private hospitals. The newest of them all is the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevan Dayi Yojna that promises free treatment for over 972 ailments. The problem is, none of the private hospitals want any part of it. These hospitals feel that the price list offered by the government is extremely low and they want a better price to be a part of the scheme. Medical superintendent of south Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital, SK Mohanty, says, “We had agreed to be a part of the scheme assuming that the rates would be fair if not at par with our charges. But the rates are so low that we would have to bear huge losses if we agreed to be a part of this scheme.”

For instance, the state has set the cost for a bypass surgery at Rs 1.30 lakhs while packages at most hospitals are above Rs 1.65 lakhs. For an angioplasty, the state has set the cost to Rs 50,000 while the actual packages range from Rs 1 lakh and above depending on the make of the stent.

“We need a viable policy or else we won’t be able to run our hospitals with the new scheme. Also, the government should not force us to be a part of this scheme and it should be left to us to sign the agreement or not,” says president of Association of Hospital (AOH), Dr Pramod Lele.

The hospitals say that they already need to keep 10% of their beds reserved under the Bombay Public Trust Act (1950) for the poor. In addition to this, they have to set aside 2% of their revenue as an Indigent Patients Fund (IPF) for subsidising treatment for poor patients. If they are asked to be a part of this new scheme as well, they will not be left with any profits.

The IPF is yet another scheme aimed at benefiting those below poverty line which has hit a roadblock, again due to the negative response from these hospitals.

In this case, private hospitals claim that they were not properly explained the details of the scheme. “We were under the impression that the state will pay us some minimum amount under the scheme for the two per cent indigent patients that we already treat as per the charity commissioner’s rule. However it turned out that we were expected to treat yet more poor patients,” says a senior doctor attached to a private hospital on condition of anonymity. “We will suffer losses running into crores of rupees if we start doing charity this way,” he adds.

The government on the other hand had already collected a database of over 2 crore people across the state who will be benefited under the scheme. While earlier, the state had made it optional for the private hospitals to join the scheme, recently they announced a compulsory reservation of beds under the scheme. Early this month, health minister Suresh Shetty requested the chief minister to consider withdrawing the compulsion.

Last year, more than 14,000 people were benefited under the scheme and the state spent over Rs 110 crores. However, the scheme covered only four diseases and several hospitals complained about delay in payments.

(With inputs from Santosh Andhale)

Blind girl drags dad to court for harassment


20-year-old collegian’s mother says her father is impeding her education as he has thrown mother-daughter duo out of their Chembur home

Sunil Baghel, March 22, Mumbai Mirror

At an academic level, collegian Neha Agarwal has chosen ‘gender’ as her thesis subject. In real life, the 20-year-old visually challenged woman is getting a taste of male high-handedness.

Neha’s mother, Pooja, has filed a petition in Bombay High Court alleging that Neha’s father, Uday, has thrown the mother-daughter duo out of their Chembur house in December 2011 and that Uday poses a hurdle to Neha’s education.

The petition states that Neha lost an academic year because of this since a major chunk of her study material has been lying in the house to which the two women have no access.

The petition seeks urgent relief from the court by providing police protection to Pooja so that she can enter the house and collect Neha’s study material and their other belongings from the house.

Neha, a third-year bachelor of arts (TYBA) student of St Xavier’s college in Dhobitalao, has to submit at least one project by March 31, failing which she will not even be allowed for the October exam.

Neha told Mumbai Mirror that she was required to submit two projects, one of which had to be turned in by March 31. “My subject for this project is ‘Gender’. The project is almost ready, but it is lying at our Chembur home,” she said.

Despite her physical challenge, Neha has always been keen to pursue education. “It’s very important to me. I want soar as high as I can. I want to be independent,” Neha said, adding that her father had been constantly warning her and her mother not to approach the police.

The petition also lists other allegations against Uday. It accuses Uday of ill-treating the two women for years and alleges that Uday has links to “criminal elements”.

It also accuses Uday of usurping Pooja’s property. The petition also states that officials of Chembur and Govandi police stations registered their complainant only a month ago after they filed a petition in court a month ago.

The petition also alleges that Uday wields influence on the police, and seeks that the case be transferred to the Crime Branch of the police.

On Tuesday, the court agreed to hear the case on an urgent basis at a request made by Pooja’s advocate Dinesh Tiwari. The petition will be heard today.

Read Mumbai Mirror story here

 

Sudha Chandran- Harassed for her Artificial leg at various Airports


Sudha Chandran has been an example for many. Despite having her right leg amputated, the popular television actress went on to become one of the highly acclaimed of India. However, living with a Jaipur foot is not easy. And the actress has been facing problems during air travel. And it’s not because of any physical discomfort. Mumbai Mirror has learnt that Sudha had been facing problems with the airport officials. The actress had been harassed by the security officials in Mumbai, Trivandrum and Hyderabad airports.

Talking about her experience, Sudha told Mumbai Mirror, “Twice in the last ten days I have been harassed due to my artificial leg. And this has happened despite me carrying my medical certificate along. The certificate has all the details including how many screws are there on my artificial leg etc.”

Her worst experience was however at the Mumbai airport. “They asked me ridiculous questions. When I told them that I was an actress, they said, ‘Arrey pehchaana nahi aapko. Makeup ke bina bahut different lagte ho.’ It was quite embarrassing.”

Describing the recent Trivandrum incident, Sudha said, “I went to Trivandrum on February 14. The security staff at the airport was extremely rude.”

“They asked me to undress. I was wearing a salwar kameez and couldn’t possibly have undressed. There was also no changing room. They wanted me to remove my artificial leg and show. It was very humiliating. The other people present there came and started watching me,” added the actress.

Hoping that security people will understand the humiliation that a person goes through due to such checks, Sudha added, “I agree that not everyone knows who I am. I am not that famous. However, when I show them all the documents, I just wish they dealt with me respectfully. I wonder what would happen to common people who have issues like these.”

 

Mumbai Miirror, March 3,2012

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