#India – Tales told by the anti-terrorism squad, signifying nothing #humanrights


 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 IST | Agency: DNA
Jyoti Punwani
It’s tough to deny facts brought to light by modern technology. 
It’s tough to deny facts brought to light by modern technology. The Dhule police were felled by mobile phone cameras showing them destroying unattended stalls belonging to Muslims during the riot that broke out in January. There really was no choice but to take action against them. Now, mobile call records show that the phones of three Muslims accused of having planted bombs in suburban trains on July 11, 2006, were far away from the sites of the bombings.

That wouldn’t mean much if the agency investigating the case hadn’t done its best to prevent this coming out. The conduct of the ATS has been strange indeed. First, it kept on citing the need to go through these call records to get police custody of the accused. But its charge sheet made no mention of the records. Yet, when the accused wanted to have a look at them, the ATS refused, citing a variety of reasons. It was only when the high court dug its heels in on the issue that the prosecution threw in the towel, saying the accused could get the records from the mobile companies, since it had deleted the copies in its possession. No wonder cops hate judges and lawyers!

The mobile companies were also reluctant, first saying it would take months, then asking for Rs34 lakh as costs. Again it was left to the court to put its foot down.

The records corroborate what the three alleged bombers have been saying about where they were when the bombs were placed on the trains. They also seriously dent the credibility of the investigation — for the fourth time since the blasts.

Soon after the blasts, the ATS had gone on an arresting spree, describing every arrest as a “major breakthrough’’, and the man arrested as the “mastermind’’. But within three months, it applied for discharge of three such “masterminds’’, saying they had nothing to do with the blasts.

From Day One, the ATS had blamed Pakistan. But when it came to confronting Pakistan with the evidence, it played coy.

The real shocker came in the charge sheet — not a word about pressure cookers, after describing to a salivating media how the bombs had been assembled in pressure cookers, their make, from where they had been bought…

But even this wasn’t as shocking as the sudden emergence of an alternate narrative two years after the blasts. At a specially convened press conference, the then crime branch chief Rakesh Maria announced that the culprits were another set of boys belonging to the Indian Mujahideen; its co-founder Sadiq Shaikh, had himself confessed to this. The bombs weren’t assembled in a hut in Govandi as the ATS alleged, but in a Sewri flat.

But the ATS, then headed by KP Raghuvanshi, stuck to its story, and three months after his “confession’’, Sadiq Shaikh was discharged from this case at the behest of the ATS itself. Earlier this month, he told the court that the crime branch had tortured him to “confess’’ to the train blasts.

Allegations of torture have dogged this case right from the start, and no less than the PMO had to intervene. Family members of those arrested as well as those wanted, filed affidavits describing their alleged torture at the hands of the ATS, and were taken to meet the PM by Samajwadi Party chief Abu Asim Azmi.

209 innocents died in the serial train blasts. What must their families be thinking every time the investigating agency comes out looking foolish in these last seven years?

The author is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist.

 

Mumbai- Sick treating the sick at Sewri’s TB hospital #healthcare


Probable tuberculosis

 

 

Published: Sunday, Mar 24, 2013,
By Maitri Porecha | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

 

 

After nearly twenty-five years of selfless service at Asia’s largest tuberculosis hospital situated in the heart of Mumbai, Barkhu Pandurang Kharat (53) was perhaps destined to die of tuberculosis (TB). Kharat’s death in January this year raised the number of employees to have died after contracting tuberculosis, at BMC-run Sewri TB Hospital to 42.

“In 2008, my husband started working in the mortuary at the hospital, transporting infected dead bodies from wards to morgue and back. The hospital alone sees close to 150 deaths every month. In 2008, he was first diagnosed with TB. He was hospitalised multiple times as he transgressed to multi drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and later extensively drug resistant TB. His condition worsened by the start of this year and he succumbed on January 30,” said his widow Sunita Kharat.

Kharat is not the only one. Since 2005, more than 70 workers in Sewri TB Hospital have contracted the infection, 42 among them died. Official figures obtained from the hospital state that two employees in their twenties contracted TB within six months of joining service.

Even though the hospital is quoting conservative estimates, unofficial figures of infected employees roll much higher, say sources. BMC has made tall promises to manage TB on a war footing in its 2013-14 strategy on the World Tuberculosis Day but the civic body would do well to introspect on the appalling conditions prevailing in its own backyard. “Of 12 MDR-TB cases amongst the hospital employees, most of them are relapse cases. In case of these patients, tuberculosis has gripped them as many as three times over the past ten to twelve years. After a brief period of treatment, they resume work in the same wards which makes them all the more vulnerable to contracting TB repeatedly,” said a senior labour union member, Sewri TB Hospital.

What’s worse is that even as a large number of employees including doctors and nurses contract tuberculosis rapidly in the hospital, they are not taken care of in the hospital. A disheartening case in point is the treatment meted out by BMC officials to 38-year-old Balaji Amjuri, a permanent employee of the hospital and a TB patient for the past 12 years.

Amjuri is an extensively drug resistant (XDR-TB) patient. Such patients are advised complete rest but Amjuri is compelled to do his daily duties including sweeping, disposing garbage, washing infection-laden clothes from the ward, all because he has exhausted his three-years’ worth of sick leave. “The head clerk instructed me that I will not be entitled to any more leave.

Inspite of being an XDR-TB patient I am compelled to work. I have spent more than Rs3 lakhs for my treatment. I have to continue working to support my family,” said Amjuri. “BMC rules for availing leave are the same for all employees. However, we may sanction special leave inAmjuri’s case,” said Dr Rajendra Nanavare, medical superintendent at the hospital.

A measly diet and a defunct operation theatre to perform TB surgeries only add to the woes of the employees and patients at the hospital. In 2012, BMC had assured that the high protein breakfast to be provided to its 1,000-odd employees including doctors and nurses will be adequate and palatable. Workers complain that the diet has fallen short on both these grounds.

“The diet chart clearly mentioned that two eggs and 150ml milk is to be provided. We don’t get more than 50ml of milk and one boiled egg. This is grossly inadequate,” said an employee requesting anonymity.

Doctors have not performed a single surgery since the past two months for the lack of surgical equipments. “The anaesthesia machine is not in place for performing surgeries. The OT is temporarily shut,” added the medical officer.

Doctors say that the high rate of deaths in the hospital occur as early diagnosis of tuberculosis is not possible. “Samples for culture tests or Line Probe Assay (LPA) which confirm if the patient has MDR-TB are still outsourced to JJ or Hinduja Hospital. Basic infrastructure is not in place. It takes up to a month for results to arrive,” said a seniormedical officer at Sewri TB Hospital.

maitri.porecha@dnaindia.net

 

 

 

#Mumbai- Inquiry indicts Hinduja’s Dr Jnanesh Thacker for removing organs from corpse


Probe was initiated after Mirror reported that Hinduja’s Dr Jnanesh Thacker had removed the heart and lung of a cadaver at KEM on the pretext that he was teaching students
By Lata Mishra
Posted On Thursday, December 06, 2012, Mumbai Mirror

 

An internal inquiry launched following a Mumbai Mirror report has indicted a senior cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon and transplant expert of trespassing and illegally removing organs from a corpse at the government-run KEM Hospital.

On November 12, Mirror reported how Dr Jnanesh Thacker, a consultant with Hinduja Hospital, entered the KEM mortuary, where government doctors were performing a post-mortem on a 40-year-old accident victim, and removed the heart and lung. When the government doctors protested, he told them he was there in his capacity as an honorary doctor with another government-run hospital and that he had taken authorisation from their superiors. Unconvinced, the doctors lodged aprotest and an inquiry was commissioned.

Dr Shubhangi Parkar, academic dean, KEM, who conducted the inquiry has now said in her report that had Dr Thacker had no business being in the mortuary, and that his claim that he was teaching students was a lie. Dr Parkar said Dr Thacker’s claim that he was passing by and some student had called him to demonstrate some procedure was not true. Her report said not a single under-graduate student was there as claimed by Dr Thacker.

While resident doctors from the pathology department were around, none of them asked Dr Thacker to teach them anything, the report added. However, it is still not clear why Dr Thacker removed the organs. While Dr Parkar said it was not in her brief to find that out, Dr Thacker did not answer his phone despite repeated calls. In the report submitted to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Hinduja Hospital, Dr Parkar rejected Dr Thacker’s claim that he had authorisation to enter the mortuary.

The report also said no student has come forward to testify that Dr Thacker was teaching them that day and eyewitnesses have corroborated that there were no students with Dr Thacker. “I have forwarded Dr Parkar’s inquiry report to Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar for further action,” said Dr Sandhya Kamat, dean, KEM. “Our enquiry finds Dr Thacker guilty. Eyewitnesses have stated that Dr Thacker was inside the mortuary and removed organs from a body on which a post-mortem was being conducted in a medico-legal case.”

Dr Kamat said the report also debunks Dr Thacker’s claim that Dr Amita Joshi, professor, pathology department, KEM, had given him oral permission to visit the mortuary. “In her statement, Dr Joshi has said that she asked Dr Thacker to approach me for permission and that she never authorised him to go and dissect the body,” said Dr Kamat. “Our report concluded that Dr Thacker entered the mortuary room without any permission when a medico-legal post-mortem was going on.

As per government rules, nobody apart from forensic doctors can enter the mortuary when a post-mortem is going on. And it is clear that he was there, without any permission.” Dr Parkar, in her report, also said that the two doctors conducting the post-mortem, Drs. Ravindra Devkar and Poonam Verma, have confirmed in their statements that he removed organs. Finally, the report said that while Dr Thacker claimed he was an honorary doctor at the Sewri tuberculosis hospital, his stint had in fact ended in September.

 

Top surgeon accused of illegal autopsy, he says he was ‘teaching’

Dr Jnanesh Thacker from Hinduja allegedly removed a lung and heart from the body of an accident victim at KEM; hospital authorities said he wasn’t even authorised to enter the mortuary

 

Posted On Tuesday, November 13, 2012  Mumbai Mirror

 

Monday afternoon saw plenty of drama at Parel’s KEM Hospital, where one of the city’s top surgeons has been accused of illegally entering the mortuary and removing organs from a corpse.

Dr Jnanesh Thacker, consulting cardio thoracic surgeon at Hinduja Hospital, has been accused of opening up the body of a 40-year-old accident victim, and removing a lung and the heart, before he was ‘caught’ around 2.30 pm.

The hospital has submitted a complaint against Thacker to the dean, Dr Sandhya Kamat, but there has been no police complaint. The hospital also said Thacker may have opened up the body for “personal research”.

In his defence, Thacker said he had a meeting with a friend working at the KEM mortuary, and a few students there requested him to teach them some aspects of human anatomy dissection. “I wasn’t aware that the body was of an accident victim and a medicolegal case. I was merely trying to help the students,” he told this newspaper.

The KEM officials, including the dean, said no permissions were granted to Thacker to enter the mortuary, leave alone access the body which is classified as a medico-legal case.

Dr Ravindra Devkar, assistant professor, KEM Forensic Department, said he and his colleague were scheduled to conduct the autopsy on the body. “I was shocked when I saw Thacker inside the room. He had already removed a lung and the heart, and had begun dissecting the body,” he said. Devkar asked the hospital security to ensure Thacker was not allowed to leave the premises, and alerted other officials. “He didn’t have a piece of paper on him to prove that he was authorised to touch the body, leave alone opening it up,” Devkar said, “The equipment he used to open up the body didn’t belong to KEM.” Thacker said he was authorised to enter the mortuary by Dr Amita Joshi, head of the hospital’s Pathology Department. However, Joshi denied having issuing any permission, saying she didn’t have the authority to issue such sanctions.

“It’s a clear case of trespass,” said the KEM Forensic Department head, Dr Harish Pathak, “Thacker is a senior doctor who is well aware that no-one can enter the mortuary without permissions. We all are deeply offended by his actions, and have urged the dean to take action.”

Kamat said she would speak to the Hinduja Hospital director before deciding on action against Thacker.

“Even if he had approached me, I wouldn’t have allowed him inside the mortuary,” she said. “We are recording the statements of the eyewitnesses, and those who granted him access to the mortuary will not be spared either.”

Regarding Thacker’s claim that the students at KEM had requested him to help with dissection, Pathak said Thacker was “lying”. He said, “The students learn at the anatomy department, not in the mortuary. Besides, why would they learn about dissection from a cardiovascular thoracic surgeon?“

 

Three Women Prisoners assaulted in Mumbai Jail for raising issues


‘Published: Monday, Apr 23, 2012, 8:30 IST

By Dilnaz Boga | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Three suspected women Maoists sympathisers lodged in Mumbai District Women’s Prison in Byculla have alleged that the jail authorities had assaulted them for highlighting the prison’s problems. They have filed a complaint in the sessions court at Sewri.

Angela Sontakey, 42, Sushma Ramteke, 22, and Jyoti Chorghe, 19, were arrested by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) in April last year under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The three have pleaded for a thorough investigation into the assault incident of April 2. They want their statement to be recorded and the police register an FIR.

They have alleged that in a bid to alienate them the jail authorities directed the volunteers of the NGOs not to talk to them and they were denied admission to computer classes run by an NGO. The trio alleged that the authorities even confiscated Mahatma

Gandhi’s biography and a jail manual they had brought with them to share with other prisoners about prison rights.

On March 31, the trio saw some inmates being beaten by the authorities. When they tried to intervene, they were attacked by the jail employees, the complaint stated. The three were accused of instigating inmates. The inmates protested by refusing food and demanded an apology from the administration.

Two days later, Sontakey, Ramteke and Chorghe were sent to solitary confinement. “No complaint was registered before punishing us. No doctor came. No medical tests were done before the confinement and after,” the application said.

The trio then went on a hunger strike for six days. The complainants claim that they had been targeted by the authorities. “We had always raised our voice against the corrupt practices of the jail. Bribe is taken for giving requisition for your guards, for getting things, to go to JJ Hospital and for making false medical record.”

The three complained that the jail inmates are so “terrorised” by the jail’s Reform and Rehabilitation Centre that they fear to seek help. The other inmates approach them for writing applications and counselling. “This has alarmed the authorities as they feel that their importance is diminishing,” says the complaint.

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should be not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones,” the complaint quotes from South African leader Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.

IG Prisons Surender Kumar said, “There are three or four people from that group who have been creating trouble in the jail by demanding different things. We had complained about them to the judge. I’m not aware about the assault incident but I don’t think our officers would have resorted to such tactics.”

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