HR News

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Volume 18                                                         No. 17                                             June 20, 2016

HR NEWS:  JUNE 20, 2016

 (From June 11 to 20, 2016)

 DALITS/SCHEDULED CASTES

1. AAP Approaches Scheduled Castes Panel Over Assault On Dalit Councillor (2)

New Delhi:  A day after its councillor Rakesh Kumar was allegedly manhandled by BJP councillors, the AAP today approached the National Commission for Scheduled Castes demanding strict action under the provisions of the SC/ST Act against those who assaulted him. A party delegation led by AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Dilip Pandey, including Mr Kumar and party legislator Rajendra Pal Gautam, went to the Commission’s office in Delhi. Mr Pandey said since Chairman PL Punia was not in the office, they were assured that the issue would be taken up on Monday. Claiming that the attack was an act of “murder of his human right”, Mr Kumar in his complaint has alleged that he was not only manhandled, but was also hurled with “castiest abuses”. He also demanded protection from the BJP councillors. Later speaking to reporters Mr Pandey said that the alleged attack on Mr Kumar reflected the “anti-minority” and “anti-Dalit” attitude of the BJP. He further alleged that ever since the BJP has came to power, attacks on Dalits and minorities have “increased”.Mr Pandey said the party will also protest outside the BJP office on Saturday morning. Terming the attack as “utterly shameful”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Thursday accused BJP of “assaulting Dalits” all over the country and said the AAP will take up the matter with the President. (NDTV 11/6/16)

2. Over 30 Dalits booked after land dispute turns ugly (2)

Amritsar: Over 30 Dalits were booked after a dispute over land between them and former Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) sarpanch Karminder Singh turned violent on Sunday in Macchi Nangal village of Amritsar. The police allegedly lathicharged the Dalit group after they allegedly attacked Karminder’s family. The Dalits claimed that 10 people were injured in the incident. The police, however, claim that the force reached the spot only after the brawl was over. However, pictures of the clash suggests that the police had indeed resorted to lathicharge.Besides this, the police have also booked an ‘inebriated’ group of Dalits that allegedly attacked Karminder’s family. According to the Dalits, 10.5 kanals shamlat land of the village was allotted to the 32 families of the village back in early 70s by the Centre under a welfare scheme. Each of them were given five marla plot to construct houses. They also claim to own revenue record to prove the allotment. Police, however, claim that the former sarpanch’s family had sufficient legal papers to prove their claim over the land. “We are satisfied with the documents shown by victim’s family about ownership of the land. But the other party is not ready to obey court orders,” said Sukhjinder Singh,SHO Jhander police station. Tarsem Peter, president of the Paindu Mazdoor Union of Punjab, said, “The Dalits could not construct houses on the land for all these years as their financial health was not good. Meanwhile, the family of the former sarpanch illegally took over possession of the land.” Sharing more information he said, “For the past few years, beneficiaries had approached administration to demark the land to construct the houses. Recent application for the same was given on April 18 to the sub-divisional office via Suwidha Centre. Revenue officials came to village and returned after meeting Karminder’s family.” “As the administration was not willing to give the land to Dalits, we decided to take it back on Sunday. But before we could reach the village, there was a strong police force waiting for us in the area. They attacked us when we tried to enter. The police also resorted to lathicharge in which 10 people were injured and they also fired in the air to disperse us,” claimed Peter. The police, however, have a different version of the story. “There was no lathicharge or firing by the police,” claimed Sukhjinder, adding, “A group of around 50 people attacked family members of Karaminder while he was working in the field. The attackers were in an inebriated condition. We reached the spot after the fight was over. Four persons including a woman of the family were injured. We have booked 16 persons by name and 15 unidentified persons for attacking the family under Sections 307, 323, 324, 341, 427, 148, 49, 120 B IPC.” Meanwhile, Sub divisional Magistrate Ajnala Anupreet Kaur when enquired said that she had no first hand information about the dispute nor the clash. (Indian Express 13/6/16)

3. Dalit murder: 9 booked under Goondas Act (2)

Coimbatore: Nine of the 11 accused in the murder of dalit youth Shankar have been booked under Goondas Act on Thursday. The nine include parents of Shankar’s widow Kausalya. The orders detaining them under the Goondas Act were served to the accused who were lodged at the Coimbatore and Trichy central prison.The spine chilling murder had shook the state when a gang intercepted Kausalya and her husband on March 13 on a busy stretch near Udumalpet bus stand and assaulted them with weapons. While Shankar, 21, died on the way to the hospital due to multiple injuries, Kausalya survived. Inquiries revealed that it was Kausalya’s parents who had sent the killers to murder Shankar as he happened to be a dalit. Subsequently 11 people were arrested including Kausalya’s father Chinnasamy, mother Annalakshmi, uncle Pandithurai and his friends.While Pandithurai was lodged in Trichy central prison, another accused Prasanna, a college student was lodged in borstal school at Pollachi and the rest were sent to Coimbatore central prison. The case is being heard at the principal district and sessions court in Tirupur. Police had filed chargesheet in the case in May accusing the parents and Kausalya’s uncle of conspiring and executing the murder. Even as the accused were attempting to secure bail, Tirupur superintendent of police Sarojkumar Thakur recommended detention of the accused under Goondas Act, based on which Tirupur collector S Jayanthi issued orders in this regard. (Times of India 17/6/16)

4. Six Dalits injured after attacked allegedly by GP member, aides (2)

Mandya: Six Dalits, including two women, sustained head injuries when a Gram Panchayat member and his 11 associates allegedly attacked them in Bookanakere village of K.R. Pet taluk late on Friday. Cheluvaiah (55), Kirankumar (19), Thammaiah (38), Shivakumar (21), Thayamma (45) and Kumari (35) — all residents of Dalit Colony in the village — received injuries and were recuperating at the government hospital, K.R. Pet Rural Station police said. The victims were discussing constructing a Ambedkar Bhavan at the village when the group, equipped with rods, sickles and other equipment, attacked them, the police added. According to Mr. Cheluvaiah, the complainant, local GP member Ramesh alias Panchayati Ramesh led the group. The police have registered a case and detained a few persons. (The Hindu 19/6/16)

5. Muzaffarnagar: Case against 3 for raping, murdering Dalit woman (2)

Muzaffarnagar: The 38-year-old woman was working as a labourer in the paper mill where she was allegedly raped and murdered two days ago. (Shutterstock/representative ) A case has been registered against three persons in connection with the alleged rape and murder of a Dalit woman at a paper mill in Muzaffarnagar in UP, police said on Sunday. The accused include the mill director, Arif, and a labour contractor, Samir, police said. Meanwhile, protests broke out near Nagla village as people demanded justice in the case and blocked the Panipat-Khatima highway for several hours with the body of the victim. The 38-year-old woman was working as a labourer in the paper mill where she was allegedly raped and murdered two days ago. Police said the mill was owned by a BSP MLA. (Hindustan Times 19/6/16)

TRIBALS

6. Tribal forum demands PR in Manipur (6)

 NEW DELHI, June 10 – Tribal organisations in Manipur while demanding the imposition of President’s Rule in Manipur have denounced all the tribal MLAs and the lone tribal MP in Lok Sabha for their “silence on such a crucial issue of passing of the three anti-tribal Bills on August 31, 2015”. In a memorandum to President which was made available to newsmen, the Outer Manipur Tribals’ Forum (OMTF) said that the 20-odd tribal MLAs and the lone tribal MP from Outer Manipur, “in spite of the unrelenting” protests and agitations by the tribal people they represent, “have chosen to remain silent on such a crucial issue in passing the three anti-tribal bills”. “We, therefore, denounced them as our representatives since they have failed to truly represent the tribal people of Manipur”, the memorandum said. The OMTF urged the President to initiate the process of impeachment of the 20-odd tribal MLAs and the tribal MP “as we no longer accept them as our representatives,” the memorandum added. OMTF is an apex body of Hmar Inpui, Mizo People Convention, Thadou Inpi, United Naga Council and Zomi Council. It said, with the situation in Manipur deteriorating by the day, the only viable solution now is for the Union Government to interfere directly into the issue by imposing President’s Rule in the State and work towards a solution that is sustainable and acceptable to the tribal people of the State”. The memorandum said that the “All Political Party” delegation led by Manipur Chief Minister is in New Delhi to pressurise the Union Government to give President’s assent to the three anti-tribal Bills. This is in spite of the Chief Minister himself having admitted that the three Bills are the agenda of CorCom, an umbrella of various Meitei militant groups. “These actions of the Manipur Government, its machineries and other non-State agencies clearly expose the deep-rooted nexus between the outlawed Meitei militant groups, the Manipur Government and the Meitei civil organisations like the JCILPS,” it alleged. The memorandum said that with the tribals of Manipur agitating for more than nine months now, refusing to bury the nine “tribal martyrs” who still await justice, and with no acceptable and sustainable solution in sight, and the “dominant Meitei community” pressing for the President’s assent on the three anti-tribal Bills, the hill-valley divide is becoming more pronounced by the day and is now way beyond repairs. – Newmai News (The Assam Tribune 11/6/16)

7. Plight of tribal women forest watchers in Attappadi draws flak (6)

PALAKKAD: THE posting of tribal women as watchers in deep forests of Attappadi by Forest Department sans providing any basic infrastructural facilities has spawned resentment among the tribals. Elucidating the scenario, chairman of the Girijan Sevak Samithi U C  Kunchan said: “When the Attappadi Hill Area Development Society (Ahads) was wrapped up, 93 tribals, who were employed with it, were provided jobs by the UDF Government with the Forest Department.While 50 men were employed with the department, 43 tribal women were employed on deputation with the Agriculture Department (Singapara krishi bhavan) to help out with the farming of crops suited for Attappadi”. He said that on May 11,2016, an order was issued hastily directing the 43 women watchers were to return to their parent department. President of the Thaikula Sangham Bhagavathy said that these women were sent to remote and inaccessible areas of Attappadi like Galasi, Thudukki and Aanavaayi, from where it’s nearly impossible to return home in the evening.  A few women have been posted at the Kuchipara station, which is 20 kms away from the Silent Valley forests. She said that Mannarkad Divisional Forest Officer Raju Thomas was behind this exercise as he was irked by the fact that the adivasi women, who include widows, unwed mothers and women married to drunkards, had lent support to the ‘ussiru porattam’ of the Thaikula sangham. “The Thaikula Sangham had agitated for more than a month and blocked traffic demanding the shifting of the TASMAC liquor outlet  from Aanakatti, just on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border,  and succeeded. The support of these  women to the agitation didn’t go down well with the DFO, which led to the decision,” she alleged. These women were not even provided quarters to stay in the forests. The department officials were feigning ignorance as they believe that the tribals would not protest, she said. The vice-president of the Thaikula Sangham Vanchi said they will petition the CM and  Minister for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Tribes A K Balan demanding the removal of the DFO from Mannarkad. (New Indian Express 14/6/16)

8. Tribal girl raped and killed in Sukma, says activist (6)

NAGPUR: Tribal activist and Aam Aadmi Party leader Soni Sori has alleged that Madkam Hidme, a resident of Gumpad village, was picked up from her home, raped and killed before being branded a Maoist. On June 13, Inspector General (IG) of Police of Bastar range in Chhattisgarh S.R.P. Kalluri had issued a statement claiming that Hidme was a member of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist), and was killed in an encounter with a joint team of the District Reserve Guard and the Special Task Force near Gumpad forest of Sukma district. “Many villagers told me Hidme was raped and killed. I also spoke to some of her relatives on the phone, who confirmed that she was forcibly taken away by the policemen from the village. Some villagers tried to resist but the policemen waved guns at them and scared them away,” Ms. Sori told The Hindu . “She was taken to the forest nearby and raped. Her relatives also told me some of her clothes and smashed ornaments were found in the forest. The police then let out the propaganda that there was an encounter and a Maoist was killed,” claimed the AAP leader. Ms. Sori also alleged that the police stopped her from visiting the village. “My vehicle was stopped at Dornapal, Errabore and I was asked to go back from Injaram village,” said the tribal activist, who sat in front of the office of the SP, Sukma district, throughout Wednesday night in protest. (The Hindu 17/6/16)

9. Stopped from visiting rape victim’s village, Soni Sori threatens fast to death (6)

NAGPUR: Tribal activist and Chhattisgarh Aam Adami Party leader Soni Sori on Friday threatened to go on a fast unto death after she was allegedly stopped — by the police and members of former Salwa Judum militia — from visiting the village of a tribal girl in Sukma district who was allegedly raped and killed by policemen. “The police instigated members of the former Salwa Judum militia to stop me,” Ms. Sori told The Hindu . “They surrounded the rest house in Konta where I was staying with my party workers. They shouted slogans, calling me a criminal and a Maoist sympathiser. The attempt was to stop me from visiting Gumpad village and interacting with family members of [the victim] who was raped, killed and branded a Maoist by the police on June 13. The police told me the situation was spiralling out of hand and that I should not go to Gumpad. From the behaviour of the police, it was clear that [the victim] was raped and killed. Why would they stop me from visiting her village otherwise? We will take this fight to the end. I have decided not to eat anything until I am allowed to visit the village. If [the police] continue to resist, I will give up drinking water too and will go on a fast unto death.”“Chhattisgarh Congress president Bhupesh Baghel has formed a 10-member team that will headed by Bastar MLA Lakheswar Baghel. The team will visit the village and submit its report within a week,” said Congress spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Trivedi in a press statement. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) also demanded a judicial probe into the alleged fake encounter and sexual assault on the tribal girl. The AAP, meanwhile, filed a PIL in Bilaspur High Court demanding another post-mortem of the victim’s body. AAP Chhattisgarh convener Sanket Thakur told The Hindu , “We have requested the court that the post-mortem should be done by a doctor chosen by the victim’s family and not that of the police. We also requested for the formation of a Special Investigation Team headed by an IPS officer from outside Chhattisgarh and Rs. 20 lakh as compensation for the family of the victim.” The court is likely to hear the AAP leader’s plea on June 20. (The Hindu 18/6/16_

10. Draft National Forest Policy sets up another battle over Forest Rights Act (6)

New Delhi: The government has made public its draft National Forest Policy, to replace the one crafted in 1988. Incorporating consequences of climate change but entirely ignoring one of the three forest related laws, the Forest Rights Act, the policy brings new focus to plantations, growing trees outside forest lands and wood industry. The policy continues with the national goal of a minimum of one-third of the geographical area under forest or tree cover. But it does away with the goal for hill and mountainous regions to maintain two-thirds of the geographical area under forest cover. Promising to set up a parallel arrangement to the Forest Rights Act, the policy proposes to launch a new Community Forest Management Mission, bringing government, community and private land under the new proposed management system.  Drafted by the Indian Institute of Forest Management, the research arm of the environment ministry, the policy moots that special communities at the gram sabha (village council) level be created to take over management of forests. The plans prepared by the gram sabhas for their forestlands would also have to be vetted by the forest department based on rules prepared for the same, such as wider management plans the forest department prepares. The policy released for public comments on June 16 for only 15 days ignores that the Forest Rights Act was promulgated in 2006 to take back control from the forest department of traditional forest lands and give these to tribals and other forest-dwellers.  The Act gave communities complete management control over their lands with the forest department’s role substantially diminished. The forest departments had previously, too, run participatory forest management systems but with the final veto of the departments over the lands and the use of the resources, the demand for greater rights to tribals and forest-dwellers had picked pace and found political support during the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. This culminated in the Forest Rights Act during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. …  (Business Standard 19/6/16)

WOMEN

11. Women auto owners against change in colour code (8)

NAVI MUMBAI: It is a case of reverse gender neutrality debate with women auto operators, who purchased their vehicle after getting permits in the new lottery scheme, opposed to a different colour code. In two incidents in Thane women commuters jumping from running autos preceded the state government order, said Vashi Dy (RTO), Sanjay Dole. The rule is applicable to those who got permits in the lottery and want to register their vehicles, but the same operators have the option to drive yellow black autos that are not registered in their name. The imbroglio has led to financial distress for 15 women who have purchased the vehicles and have to pay monthly instalments on the loan. There are 65 women under Vashi Dy (RTO), who have got permits in the lottery. Other women who wanted to buy said a decision in this regard by the state government was imperative or else the vehicles cannot get registered and cannot be plied on roads. Kasam Mulani, president of Navi Mumbai Rickshaw Mahasangh who was present along with women protesters at Shivaji chowk in Vashi, said, “I met the transport secretary last month in this regard. A solution to issue was rather important.”The much vaunted and celebrated lottery scheme of the state government with 5 % reservation in January enabled women with license and badges to get permits. Unions and women auto operators objected to the colour and uniform code change. Mulani said they submitted their objections to the state government suggestion/objections to the colour code issued on April 18. Meera Samuel (an auto operator from Nerul, who is affected due to the imbroglio) said: I am an auto operator and used to drive the yellow black rickshaw, but after qualifying in the lottery scheme, I purchased an auto rickshaw that cost me overall Rs 2 lakh. I have taken a loan and paid one month instalment of Rs 5000. The other one is due shortly. My vehicle is unregistered and parked at home. (Times of India 13/6/16)

12. NHRC notice to Rajasthan on branding women as witches (8)

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued notice to the Rajasthan government on the plight of women branded as witches in the state’s Bhilwara district. Taking sou motu cognizance of the issue through media reports, the commission has learned that most often widows or women without any family support have been branded as witches. “Some of them were tortured brutally or even killed. Some of them were forced to leave their homes, and their properties were grabbed by powerful people,” a statement from the commission said. The state authorities have allegedly not taken effective action against either the offenders or to curb this menace. Accordingly, the commission has observed that the issue if true, raises serious violation of human rights of the hapless and helpless women in Rajasthan. “The notice has been issued to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Government of Rajasthan calling for reports in the matter. They have been asked to indicate the action taken by the law enforcement in each such incident and the steps taken by the State authorities to address the issue,” said the statement. (Business Standard 13/6/16)

13. Squads to patrol city buses, combat harassment of women (8)

Agra: Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) officials will be forming squads to check activities of miscreants in city buses here. The squad will also conduct checks on those who travel without tickets on these buses. The city buses run on MG Road, Kamla Nagar, Bhagwan Talkies, Dayal Bagh, Agra Cantt and various other localities and routes of Agra. But in the past days there have been increasing complaints about ticketless travel and of passengers misbehaving with women as well as bus staff.”We have decided to form squads to ensure safer travel of passengers, particularly women. There will be four teams in Agra and two in Mathura. Our motto is to provide hassle-free travel for citizens and we are working to improve facilities on city buses,” said Rajendra Prasad Giri, managing director of JNNURM here, talking to TOI. “The squad will include an officer in charge of checking, a traffic police sub-inspector, two constables and a woman constable. They will act against anyone creating problems for passengers or flouting rules,” the MD said, adding that the squads will be formed within this month. According to officials, the squads will also act against illegal buses which have contributed to increasing traffic congestion in Agra, particularly on busy thoroughfares. One can spot these buses at Bhagwan Talkies crossing, ISBT, Water Works and Bijlighar bus station in particular. (Times of India 16/6/16)

14. Harassed for giving birth to girls, woman ends life; 4 booked (8)

Thane: A 26-year-old woman allegedly committed suicide after being harassed by her husband and in-laws for giving birth to daughters in Katyachiwadai village of Murbad taluka here, police said today. Ranjana Kashinath Thombre took the extreme step by jumping in a well yesterday on account of alleged torture and frequent harassment by her husband and in-laws over dowry and not being able to bear a son. Ranjana was married to Kashinath Bhau Thombre and the couple lived with their in-laws in Murbad. According to a complaint lodged last night the accused again had an altercation over the victim having three daughters.Kashinath (26), Bhagibai Bhau Thombre (58), Vasant Bhau Thombre (28) and Lata Vasant Thombre (25) were booked by Tokawade police of Murbad taluka under sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 498-A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) rw 34 of the IPC.

However, no arrests have been so far. (Deccan Herald 16/6/16)

15. Teams formed to prevent crimes against women (8)

PUDUCHERRY: In an effort aimed at preventing crimes against women, including eve-teasing, the Puducherry police have constituted 15 special teams to nab those involved in the act.Police sources said that women police in plainclothes will inspect crowded places and nab those involved in the act. Each team will have seven women police personnel and two male police personnel. Joining hands with law-enforcement machinery they will work towards safety of women. The teams will function under the direct supervision of Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Rajeev Ranjan. (The Hindu 19/6/16)

CHILDREN/ CHILD LABOUR

16. Nitish announces Rs 25,000 for every rescued child labour (14)

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday inaugurated ‘Child Labour Tracking System (CLTS)’ in order to keep a track of rescued child labour for their proper rehabilitation besides announcing financial help of Rs 25,000 for every rescued child labour to be given from Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Kumar, who was participating at a function on World Day against Child Labour here, also said he had in principle accepted the ‘Charter of Demands’ submitted by the rescued child labour and announced setting up a committee headed by Chief Secretary for implementation of children’s demands. “Every rescued child will be given Rs 25,000 from Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. The money would directly go to their bank account. It (money) would instill a sense of confidence among the children. The money would be given to all those children who will be registered under the tracking system,” Kumar said while addressing the gathering on the occasion. The prominent demands of rescued children are- more schools with all facilities, residential schools for such children, training facilities in order to get job, a year (from Aug 15, 2016 to Aug 14, 2017) be declared and celebrated as child year etc. The main reasons behind the child labour are illiteracy and poverty, he said and emphasised the need for such Child Labour Tracking System (CLTS). Talking about the significance of the tracking system, the Chief Minister said “Even if they are rescued from working as child labour, there is no guarantee that they (rescued child labour) would not be forced to work. So there is need for tracking those children who have been rescued besides, monitoring such children as to what they are doing.” Expressing surprise over the prevalence of child labour, Kumar wondered saying that “there is still child labour despite the fact that government is giving every facility to the needy right from their birth and Anganwadi Kendras. There is mid day meal, uniform, books, cycles etc.” Education Minister Ashok Choudhary, Labour Resources Minister Vijay Prakash, Cooperative Minister Alok Mehta, Social Welfare Minister Kumari Manju Verma, Labour Department secretary Dipak Kumar Singh, Social Welfare Department Principal Secretary Vandana Kinni and other prominent persons also spoke on the occasion. (Zee News 12/6/16)

17. Six held in separate child abuse cases in Malappuram (14)

Malappuram: Six persons were arrested in connection with three separate child abuse cases in the past one week in the district. Parappanangadi police arrested four persons for raping a 16-year-old girl two days ago. It is learnt that two relatives of the girl were also among those who have been arrested. Perinthalmanna and Karuvarakkundu police have also registered two cases under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, last week. The team led by circle inspector of Wandoor under Karuvarakkundu station jurisdiction arrested a man who abused his neighbour, minor girl. Perinthalmanna police held a man for sexually abusing a boy for the past two months. A case has been registered under section 377 (unnatural sex) of IPC. Despite child welfare authorities including Childline and district child protection units being active in the district, child sex abuse cases are still widely reported in Malappuram. The data available with Childline Malappuram showed that neighbours were the culprits in most of the cases related to child abuse. Of the total 146 child sex abuse cases registered between April 2015 to March 2016, victims’ neighbours have been accused in 49 cases. According to district coordinator of Childline, Anwar Karakkadan, issues in parenting was the main reason for the rise in child sexual abuse incidents in the district. He added that the Childline would intensify its campaign against child sexual abuse and other crimes against children. (Times of India 13/6/16)

18. Over 300 child workers rescued in five years (14)

NAMAKKAL: Over 300 child workers who were engaged at various units in the district were rescued in the past five years and were rehabilitated, said District Collector V. Dakshinamoorthy. In an audio released in social media, the Collector said that children were employed in farm, and farm related works. They were also involved in brick kiln units, motorcycle workshops and lorry industries in the district. Poverty, lack of awareness among parents and illiteracy were the root cause for children being sent to work. “Employing children prevents their development,” he added. He said that Factories Act, 1948 and Child Labour – Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986 paves way for initiating action against the employers. If the public come across children being employed, they can inform Childline 1098 so that they can be rescued. More than 300 child workers were rescued in the past five years and they were admitted to special schools run under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP). In the current year, more than 20 child workers were rescued and admitted to special schools. A total of 91 rescued child workers were currently undergoing higher studies, he added. The Collector said that rescued child workers were paid a monthly assistance of Rs. 500. He said that action will be taken against persons who employ children in their units. (The Hindu 16/6/16)

19. 15 child labourers rescued from MIDC company (14)

Nagpur: City police have rescued 15 child labourers from Candico India Limited on Hingna Road in MIDC earlier this week following a tip-off. Around 30 labourers were scanned by police from which the minor ones were shifted to the government shelter home after the raid on Tuesday. MIDC police have now registered an offence against the management of the company. Police sources said the labourers were coerced to operate in the manufacturing unit of the company violating the provisions under Juvenile Justice (Care and protection of children) Act. The labourers, rescued so far, were mainly from Chandrapur, Gondia and Gadchiroli districts. The cops had also summoned the district child protection unit which registered the complaint against the management. The labour contractor too is now under scanner. The minor labourers were also presented before the child welfare committee (CWC) by MIDC police. (Times of India 19/6/16)

20. Underprivileged kids to get their 1st flight experience (14)

Coimbatore: As many as 51 underprivileged children from a home in Coimbatore might be experiencing their first ever flight travel in the next few days. Air Carnival, a Coimbatore-based airlines, that has planned to start its operations by this month end, has announced that they would take the children from Sadhguru Sevasram free of cost on the launch day of the flight services from Coimbatore – Chennai and Coimbtore to Madurai. The joy trip for the children has been planned in association with Lions Club International. “We are also planning to provide clothes free of cost for all the children who would be taken on the flight,” said Suresh Kumar, governor of Lions Club International District 324B1. The joy ride for the children is expected to be flagged off by the airlines’ chief operation officer S I Nathan. Air Carnival’s authorities said that their first aircraft, an ATR 72 – 500 has arrived at Coimbatore and the flight services will commence shortly. They said that the best available talents in the market have been recruited as flight crew for the aircraft which would seek to differentiate itself from rest of the players with its mantra “On time every time”. (Times of India 20/6/16)

MINORITIES – GENERAL

21. Our minorities need no foreign help: Bangladesh Minister (7)

DHAKA: After a Hindu forum leader in that country said the community ‘is vulnerable and … We have high hopes on Narendra Modi’Bangladesh on Monday said it did not need any foreign help to provide security to its religious minorities despite a recent wave of deadly attacks by Islamists targeting Hindus and other communities along with liberal activists in the Muslim-majority country. “The followers of minority religious faiths are being attacked along with other ordinary citizens as part of an orchestrated plot to embarrass the government but these incidents could in no way affect the interfaith harmony in Bangladesh,” Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said. He added, “We don’t need to seek assistance of any foreign country or government for the security of our minority communities, the [Bangladesh] government by principle is secular and it is awake 24 hours.” Mr. Inu heads the left-leaning party, which is a partner of ruling Awami League-led coalition government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.The Minister’s comments came in response to a recent media report that said Hindu community in Bangladesh had sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention for their protection in the wake of the attacks. “The Hindu community, which is the biggest minority community in Bangladesh, is vulnerable in Bangladesh. Fundamentalist and Jamaat forces are trying to wipe out Hindus from Bangladesh,” general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council and noted human rights activist Rana Dasgupta had said in Kolkata. “We feel that India being a Hindu majority country, should do something. We have high hopes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He should act and take up the matter with Bangladeshi government and ensure the safety and security of Hindus,” he said.A wave of recent attacks that left a number of secular or liberal activists and religious minorities dead prompted Bangladesh to launch a nationwide anti-militancy crackdown on Thursday. Police on Monday claimed that 8,569 people were arrested with 34 of them suspected Islamists. According to police, most of the militants detained in the countrywide raid belonged to Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) the banned outfit that is believed to have carried out most of the attacks in the past two years. In June, an elderly Hindu priest, a Hindu monastery worker, a Christian grocer, and wife of a senior police officer, were all murdered. (The Hindu 13/6/16)

22. Minorities singled out in domicile row, say colleges (7)

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday sought the state government’s reply to a challenge to the requirement of domicile certificate (DC) for those applying under the minority quota to management and engineering courses. A bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice M S Sonak heard a plea by the Forum of Minority Management Institutions, in a pending petition challenging the validity of provisions of Maharashtra Unaided Private Professional Educational Institution (Regulation of Admission and Fee) Act 2015. The forum includes 20 management colleges like St Xavier’s, SIES, Anjuman Islam, St Francis, KC, Lala Lajpatrai, Rustomjee, Somaiya, Rizvi and 6 engineering colleges like Don Bosco, St Francis, St Xavier’s and Fr Agnel. Rafiq Dada and S C Naidu, appearing for the forum, submitted that the information brochure this year for the first time makes DCs compulsory for minorities and persons with disability. They said not getting a DC would disqualify a candidate as the merit list will be finalized on June 17. “If he does not produce it, he becomes an open candidate. Minority candidates are singled out while others can produce a birth certificate and school-leaving certificate,” said Dada. Shreehari Aney, appearing for the government, said the candidates who want to take benefit of the minority quota should have applied well in advance after SSC. The forum urged that pending hearing the receipt issued by a tehsildar, accepting application for domicile certificate should be considered for accepting application forms for admissions. But Aney opposed this, saying it will affect other minorities who will be displaced in the merit list if the receipts are considered and subsequently they are not issued domicile certificates. The judges directed the government to file its reply and posted the hearing on June 16. (Times of India 13/6/16)

23. Attack on minorities: Over 1 lakh Bangladesh clerics issue fatwa against extremism (7)

Dhaka: Over 100,000 Islamic scholars and clerics in Bangladesh on Saturday issued a fatwa against violent extremism in the light of brutal attacks by Islamists on minorities and secular writers in the Muslim-majority nation. A total of 1,01,524 Islamic clerics including imams signed the fatwa which was published here. The fatwa titled “the edict of peace for the well-being of humanity” denounces the clandestine attacks on minorities and secular activists. Militants will not get involved in the act of killing people out of the aspiration of reaching to the heaven once they will realise that it is a path of hell, not heaven, Farid Uddin Masoud, Chairman of Bangladesh Jamiyatul Ulama said. “These fanatic militants are not only enemies of Islam and Muslims but also the enemies of humanity,” Masoud was quoted as saying by The Daily Star. The fatwa comes in the wake of continued attacks on religious minorities, intellectuals and secular writers in the country. Masoud was leading an 11-member panel of Alems and Ulamas (Islamic clerics) to declare a set of fatwas against militancy in Dhaka. Calling for peace, harmony and tolerance in the country, the Islamic clerics came up with the anti-terror edicts. Masoud, the grand imam of the country’s largest Eid congregation at Sholakia in Kishoreganj, is also the convener of fatwa for humanity and peace against terrorism and militancy initiative. “Even if the fatwas fail to stop terrorism completely, it will definitely help in curbing violence,” he said. Claiming that a section of criminals is spreading panic in several parts of the country with misinterpretation of the Quran and Hadith, Masoud said law enforcers will not be able to prevent them if the criminals’ misperception is not eradicated. The process to launch the fatwa began in January after the attacks on liberal and secular activists and religious minorities including Hindus and Christian by suspected Islamists sparked an international uproar, Masoud said. Bangladesh is under mounting international pressure to halt the violence, which in the past three years has claimed the lives nearly 50 people – Hindus, Christians, and secular bloggers – many of them by machete-wielding attackers. Though most of the attacks were claimed by the Islamic State or its affiliates and other similar extremist groups, the Bangladesh government has repeatedly dismissed the claims and said the attacks were carried out by homegrown outfits linked to the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Over 11,000 criminal suspects have been arrested this week as part of an intensified crackdown against extremists in the country. (Zee News 18/6/16)

24. Govt to shelter persecuted minorities, says Sushma Swaraj (7)

New Delhi: The government is coming out with a policy on accepting foreign refugees from “persecuted minorities” (in India’s neighbourhood and beyond) and this will comprise not just Hindus but also other minorities like Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday. She made the comment in response to questions on the killings of Hindus and threats received by them in Bangladesh. The minister however, lauded the Bangladesh government for their efforts to tackle the crimes. “The attacks (on Hindus in Bangladesh) are unfortunate,” Ms Swaraj said, adding that “The Bangladesh government is leaving no stone unturned” to tackle these crimes, with about “3,000 people having been apprehended”. She said even Muslim clerics in Bangladesh have condemned the crimes as “un-Islamic.” When asked whether India would open its doors only for persecuted Hindus, Ms Swaraj replied that the government was making a refugee policy that would include all those refugees who belong to “persecuted minorities” in their country and not just Hindus. Speaking on another issue, she said the government was “confident of an internal political consensus” on the river Teesta water-sharing issue between India and Bangladesh. (Asian Age 20/6/16)

MINORITIES – MUSLIMS

25. Muslim students denied EWS certificates, get them after Congress corporator intervenes (7)

Surat: Surat district collector has directed an inquiry after the Udhna mamlatdar refused to give certificates to three Muslim students seeking admissions in higher secondary school under the 10 per cent EWS quota. The mamlatdar wrote a note on their applications that “since the applicant belonged to the minority community their application has been filed”. However, the certificates were issued after intervention by a corporator. Mohammed Zaid Nasimuddin Shaikh, a resident of Limbayat in Surat, had cleared his Class X with 50 per cent this year, along with his cousins, Danish and Zuveriya, who had better scores and applied for admissions to Class XI commerce. Zaid’s father, Nasimuddin, drives an auto-rickshaw to earn a living and has an annual income below Rs six lakh which qualified him for the EWS certificate which mamlatdars have been authorised to issue.Nasimuddin and the father of Danish and Zuveriya filed applications at the City Civic Centre for the EWS certificate on June 7 and were asked to come on June 9 to collect the certificates. When Nasimuddin returned two days later for the certificate, he was told to contact Udhna mamlatdar V D Patel. On Friday, at the mamlatdar’s office, Patel told them that as they were Muslims, they did not fall in the EWS quota. Later, Nasimuddin took a Congress corporator of Surat Municipal Corporation, Aslam Cyclewala, along, who threatened that he would lodge a complaint against Patel. When contacted, Shaikh told The Indian Express, “We finally got the EWS certificate and applied for admissions for Zaid, Danish and Zuveriya. Only after Aslambhai threatened to lodge a complaint that the mamlatdar called up his superior and gave us the certificate in half an hour.” Cyclewala said, “I have been doing such interventions for Muslims and have got EWS certificates earlier. This is the first instance where the mamlatdar has given us in writing that as the applicants are Muslims, they were not eligible. I called up prant officer M M Parghi and complained to him about Patel.” Surat District Collector Mahendra Patel said, “We have ordered an inquiry into the incident and prant officer Parghi is probing it. After primary investigations, we have found that there are some sections in the Muslim community that come under OBC or SC, so I think there was a mistake. Any community already availing benefits of OBC or SC is not liable to get EWS certificate.” (Indian Express 12/6/16)

26. Religious radicalisation among some Muslims could invite backlash to American Sikhs: ASC

AMRITSAR: While expressing grave concern over religious radicalisation of a few Muslims in America, the American Sikh community has expressed apprehensions of backlash on Sikh American citizenry due to misinformation, ignorance about Sikh’s unique identity, their turban and dress. Talking to TOI on Monday, Inderpreet Singh of American Sikh Council (ASC) said that religious radicalisation must be taken very seriously and condemned publicly by all the appropriate national faith organisations. Stating that ASC was extremely distressed by the indescribable act of mass murder at the ‘Pulse’ nightclub in the city of Orlando that left 53 people killed and more than 50 injured, he said, “The fallout and repercussions of violence by radical Muslims especially in America has and continues to have very serious consequences against the Sikh American citizenry through conflation and misidentitification, whether through ignorance or otherwise.” He said an extremely small minority within a very large faith group were maligning the entire faith adding that those few radicals by no means represent the majority. “As a result of such events, religious communities like the Sikh Americans are acutely vulnerable to backlash, and we urge everyone to exercise vigilance and caution during this period of heightened anxiety,” he said. However, he suggested that it was was imperative that the national Muslim organizations not only speak up but reach out to others as well. ASC has also suggested fellow citizens to notify the local law enforcement in case of any threats of violence. “We pray for a speedy and full recovery of the injured. Our prayers are with all the victims, their families, and local community,” he said. Meanwhile, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) informed TOI through an e-mail that they condemned the hateful attack on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Orlando, Florida. “We believe no one should be targeted for his or her race, religion, beliefs or sexual orientation and we stand in solidarity with our LGBT brothers and sisters” said the SALDEF message. It also informed that SALDEF encourages Sikh Americans, especially the community in Florida, to donate blood to save the precious lives. (Times of India 13/6/16)

27. Atleast 50,000 Muslims migrated after Muzaffarnagar riots: Asaduddin Owaisi (7)

Hyderabad: Asaduddin Owaisi, Owaisi, BJP, AIMIM, muslims BJP,Kairana, Kairana exodus, Muzaffarnagar riots, hindu muslim, hindu muslim conflict, india news Owaisi claimed “50,000 people had left their original places where they had lived for generations” after the Muzaffarnagar riots, and termed it as “mass uprooting” of minorities after country’s Independence. Claiming that 50,000 Muslims migrated after the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday asked the BJP if it would send a fact-finding committee there, akin to the one sent by it to Kairana on the issue of alleged migration of Hindus. The Hyderabad Lok Sabha member termed as “bogus” the list of 346 families who are alleged to have “fled” Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, adding that it suited the interests of both the BJP and the Samajwadi Party to create a “drama” over the issue. Owaisi claimed “50,000 people had left their original places where they had lived for generations” after the Muzaffarnagar riots, and termed it as “mass uprooting” of minorities after country’s Independence.“Would the BJP send a fact-finding committee? Would the BJP find some time to send delegation to find out what happened to those 50,000 people who are displaced? (after Muzaffarnagar riots),” he said. “Basically, they (BJP) have no other issue and this (Kairana issue) shows the real face of BJP that all this talk of development, ‘sab ka saath sab ka vikas’, is all a farce…unfortunately, they are being helped by Samajwadi Party,” Owaisi claimed. “It suits both BJP and Samajwadi Party. Politically, BJP wants to create a fear among majority community. Samajwadi Party wants to give a message to Muslims that you are insecure if you don’t elect Samajwadi Party. So, this drama suits both BJP and Samajwadi Party,” he said. When such issue are in the forefront, Samajwadi Party is happy as it does not have to answer questions on their failure to deliver and on “misgovernance”, he said. Owaisi said the AIMIM would contest the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, due early next year, but added that it was too early to give the number of seats that it would contest. He said his party was open to forging an alliance in Uttar Pradesh. “Yes. I have no issue if such a proposal comes. We are open for alliance but we will have to wait and see what happens.” (Indian Express 18/6/16)

28. RSS-run schools see rise in number of Muslim students (7)

Allahabad: Call it quality, or an urge to get good education from wherever it comes, there has been a sharp rise in the number of Muslim students in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-run schools in UP. According to a conservative estimate, the rise in the number is about 30% in the past two years after Modi government came to power at the Centre. Chintamani Singh, Pradesh Nirikshak ( State Inspector) of Vidhya Bharti, which manages about 1200 schools of the Sangh in 49 UP districts, told TOI that nearly 7000 Muslims students enrolled in these schools. A majority of these students are enrolled in schools in rural areas. Authorities at Saraswati Shishu Mandir and Saraswati Vidya Mandir claim that Muslim boys and girl students have been doing pretty well and have brought laurels to their schools in the fields of sports, cultural activities as well as academics. P 5″Our students like Mohammad Aqib, Aftab Alam, Ejaj Ahmad, Gufranuddin and Mohammad Akaram have won medals in Student Games Federation of India. Besides, there are several others who have won in Youth Commonwealth Games and other national competitions,” he says. “They not only attend schools like any other student, but get totally mingled with their peers and follow all rules like reciting slokas and ‘bhojan mantras’ (chants before a meal),” says Singh, adding ” As of now, there 6,940 Muslim students, including 4,672 boys and 2,218 girls pursuing their education up to class XII in around 1,200 schools in 49 districts of the state.” Not only students, Vidya Bharti has recently recruited eight Muslim teachers as well, he says. “Quality of education is the prime reason which has attracted Muslim parents to get their wards enrolled our schools,” Singh adds. A number of parents of these kids TOI woke to accept Singh’s claim. The fact that a most of these Muslims students study in rural schools also reveals that these schools must be the best option for them, says a social scientist. (Times of India 20/6/16)

MINORITIES – CHRISTIANS

29. Christians in India Beaten, Tortured by Hindu Extremists (7)

Religious persecution against Christians in India has increased by an estimated 34 percent since 2013. A group of 29 Christians were just tortured and driven away from their homes in a village near Katholi. Hindu extremists recently tortured, beat and chased off from their homes 29 Christians who refused to deny their faith in Jesus Christ and convert to Hinduism in India. Christianity is expanding in India along with Hindu persecution of Christians. The same attackers also destroyed several homes of Christians, forcing the occupants to flee their village of Katholi, reported The Daily Express. Christianity is India’s third-largest religion with nearly 30 million followers, nearly 3 percent of India’s population, reports Christian Today. Open Doors charity sources indicate extremists insisted one of the Christian’s group leaders in Katholi attend a specially convened meeting with the other Christians. When the Christians refused to convert, they were all beaten up, including women and children. The group fled from the area, and tried to return four days later, according to local sources, but were again driven off by hostile villagers who made death threats. Human rights groups asked government officials to step up its protection of Christians and other religious minorities, though police often are accused of not doing enough to help the victims and refusing to punish the guilty parties, reports The Christian Post.To that end, Katholi police reportedly ordered the Hindu radicals to stop the most recent attack, but Christians in the village continued to be threatened even after the torture incident. This is just one of an increasing number of stories of persecution coming out of India. Open Doors representatives indicate Hindu extremists have been attacking Christians more frequently and violently. Sources believe this type of religious persecution has increased by 34 percent since 2013. “Christians are also finding they are prevented from getting certain jobs, buying land or developing land in certain areas and even distributing Christian literature has led to arrests in cities like Delhi,” Open Doors locals stated, as reported by Christian Today. “The villagers accused them, saying – because of you our god and goddess are fleeing from our village. When they refused to forsake Christ, they began to beat them. Beating them, they drove them toward their houses and threw out their belongings.” Open Doors is supporting Christians who are victims of violence in India through the work of local churches and partner organizations. The charity provides emergency medical fees, clothing, food rations, help with housing and trauma care. In May, a mob of nearly 500 extremists attacked a Protestant church in Jabat, with radicals throwing stones at Christians for allegedly damaging a nationalist flag outside the church. “RSS activists [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Hindu ultra-nationalist paramilitary group ed], the BJP and Bajrang Dal [youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, VHP] led by former district chief, threw stones at members of the community, attacked our women and broke the church lamps,” pastor Emmanuel Ariel said. “All this happened before the eyes of the police officers, who stood by as silent spectators.” (The Gospel Herald 10/6/16)

30. Church denies burial to Priyanka’s granny for marrying a Hindu (7)

Kottayam: The relatives of late Mary Akhouri, the maternal grandmother of Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra, are yet to come out of shock after a local church did not allow the 94-year-old’s burial in Kumarakom near here last week. Some of the relatives had flown from the US and the UK to attend the funeral. Mary had wished to be interred in her family vault at the St John’s Jacobite Syrian Church, popularly known as Attamangalam church. However, the managing committee of the church did not allow this. Finally, the body was buried in a public vault in St Thomas Jacobite church at Ponkunnam, a town 45km from Kumarakom, following the intervention of the Kottayam metropolitan Thomas Mor Timotheos. The relatives have accused the church’s managing committee of causing embarrassment and pain to the family.Managing committee member Alen Kuriakose Mathew however said, “There are procedures to be followed for burying an individual who is not a parish member.” He said Mary lost her membership in the parish once she got married and went to live with her husband. “At least her children could have applied for the renewal of membership. We were helpless when they approached us after the lady’s death,” he said. Mary’s cousin Elias Kavalappara said he was “disheartened and disappointed”. Elias, who has been living in the UK for the past 55 years, had come to attend the funeral. “She was a practising Christian all her life. The Church has nothing to do with the issue. It is the managing committee which stopped us from fulfilling her last wish,” said Elias. Another relative, Joseph K Jacob, said that “Mary Kochamma” had personally told the metropolitan about her wish to be buried here during one of her earlier visits to Kumarakom.He also said the managing committee rejected their request despite the metropolitan’s intervention. (Times of India 11/6/16)

31. Muslims help Christians in Pakistan to build church (7)

Islamabad, June 18 (IANS): In a significant display of communal harmony, Muslims in Pakistan’s Punjab province are helping their fellow Christian in raising funds to build a church that was allegedly damaged by a mob. In 2009, Gojra city in near Faisalabad became a fiery furnace after nine people including a bridegroom and bride were shot dead during a wedding ceremony. Some 200 homes and three churches were razed to the ground by a mob that attacked the minority community after local mosques called for retaliation to an alleged blasphemy.The local police, however, had discredited the allegation that torn shreds of the Quran had been used as confetti at a wedding. “I pray that we complete this church. We have had to use different homes for services but our congregation has grown beyond the capacity of such places,” a release from British Pakistani Christian Association quoted a resident, Khalid Aftab, as saying. (Meghalaya Times 18//16)

32. Church demolition triggers protest (7)

Hyderabad: The demolition of a church at Moosarambagh on Thursday led to angry protests by members of the Telangana Christian Council and residents, who claimed that the act was done without serving any prior notice. “The church had been functioning for two decades and there was no reason to demolish it as it did not cause any hindrance to anybody and everything related to the church was perfect,” said K Ermiah, pastor of the church. Members of Telangana Christian Council now demand that the demolished church be rebuilt in the same place as soon as possible. They had planned to stage a dharna against the government and GHMC on Friday, but it did not happen.Defending the demolition, officials of the civic body said that the demolition of this particular church was not sudden and it was on the cards for the last two years. “The church had encroached a 40-feet road. We had received a complaint from residents living behind the church, saying they were unable to use the access road to reach their homes,” said Purushottam Rao, assistant city planner, circle 4. “This church is not used by many people and there are only 10 to 15 worshippers who congregate there to pray on Sunday. It remains locked the rest of the week,” he said. (Times of India 18/6/16)

REFUGEES/ MIGRANTS

33. Families on a lonely search for Europe’s missing refugee children (13)

ATHENS: Syrian refugee children stand in their house in Gaziantep, Turkey, in this May 16, 2016 picture. EU’s criminal intelligence agency Europol said at least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees had vanished after arriving in Europe, at risk of falling prey to trafficking gangs.As many such children move from country to country, coordination is needed at European level, says head of Missing Children Europe. After losing its way in the dark waters of the Aegean between Turkey and the Greek island of Lesbos, the small wooden boat carrying Ghulam Haidar, his young family and nearly 50 other passengers was hit by strong winds and waves. As the boat sank, Haidar managed to save his seven-year-old son, Shahzad, but he lost sight of the others. For the past eight months, he has been in Turkey searching for his wife Shila, his daughter Zahra, 8, and his three-year-old son Behzad.“I’m just living to find my family,” said Haidar, who is from Afghanistan. He has contacted coast guards, immigration officers, international aid groups and the authorities in both Greece and Turkey. But so far, he’s found nothing. His two missing children smile cheekily in a photo posted on the Facebook page “Search and find your family for refugees.” The page posts photographs and information about missing refugees, and has dealt with 172 cases of missing children since September, said its Austria-based founder Jimmy Nagy. It was through this page that the Thomson Reuters Foundation made contact with Haidar, but so far his pleas for information have answered none of his questions about his missing family.“I’ve searched all the hospitals but I’ve found no sign of them or their bodies. That’s why I believe they are alive,” Haidar said by phone from Istanbul. Like Haidar, many other families who have fled war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, are searching for missing children. Without help, they are left to conduct their desperate investigations alone. In January, the European Union’s criminal intelligence agency Europol said at least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees had vanished after arriving in Europe, at risk of falling prey to trafficking gangs. … (The Hindu 12/6/16)

34. UP government orders probe into Kairana ‘migration’ (13)

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh government on Monday ordered a probe in connection with the alleged migration of Hindus from Kairana town in Shamli district in western part of the state. Shamli District Magistrate has asked the SDM and Circle Officer to probe into the allegations that “jihadi elements” had forced migration of Hindus from there, IG (Law and Order) HR Sharma told reporters here. They have been asked to verify the list of 346 families handed over by the local MP who have allegedly migrated, he said.BJP MP from Kairana, Hukum Singh has alleged that 346 families have been forced to flee the town, which has 85 per cent of Muslim population. The state government’s action came after VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain’s today said, “Jihadis are being encouraged to carry out their activities…VHP calls upon the state government to rein in jihadi elements who are responsible for this exodus and tighten law and order in the state.” He termed the migration of Hindus from Kairana as “unfortunate” and said the township, which was a Hindu majority 40 years ago, now has only eight per cent Hindus left. Sharma said further details will be known only after the report is received from the district officials. Replying to a question, he said the state government is yet to receive the NHRC notice in this connection. Last week, National Human Rights Commission had issued a notice to the UP government in this regard. ‘Anti-Hindu mindset responsible for Kairana mass exodus; same ideology parted the country in 1947′. While observing that the allegations made were serious in nature, the NHRC also directed the state’s DIG (Investigation) to depute a team of officers for a spot enquiry in the matter covering all the allegations made in the complaint and submit a report within two weeks. (Zee News 14/6/16)

35. Europe refugee crisis: Charity rejects EU funds over policy (13)

London: One of the largest charities helping migrants across Europe said it will no longer accept funds from the European Union and its member states in protest against the “shameful response” to the refugee crisis. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has long called for the creation of safe routes into the continent and joined countless other humanitarian organisations condemning the deal made with Turkey to detain and deport asylum seekers in Greece, the independent reported. Jerome Oberreit, the charity’s International Secretary General, said: “For months MSF has spoken out about a shameful European response focused on deterrence rather than providing people with the assistance and protection they need.” “The EU-Turkey deal goes one step further and has placed the very concept of ‘refugee’ and the protection it offers in danger.” An estimated 8,000 people, including hundreds of unaccompanied children, are currently trapped on Greek islands under the terms of the EU-Turkey deal, which will see them deported if their asylum applications fail, without legal aid. MSF said their plight shows the “human cost” of the controversial agreement made in March, which is seeing migrants held for several months in overcrowded camps, where fights, fires and violent protests have broken out. The number of people crossing the Aegean Sea in smugglers’ boats has steeply declined since the new rules came into force but asylum seekers, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, continue to arrive. Most of the almost 3,000 deaths recorded this year have been in a succession of disasters on the central Mediterranean route between Libya and Italy. Proponents of the EU-Turkey deal, which the European Commission is considering replicating across more than 16 countries in Africa and the Middle East, argued that it aimed to reduce drownings at sea. “Deterrence policies sold to the public as humanitarian solutions have only exacerbated the suffering of people in need,” Oberreit said. “There is nothing remotely humanitarian about these policies. It cannot become the norm and must be challenged. “MSF will not receive funding from institutions and governments whose policies do so much harm. We are calling on European governments to shift priorities — rather than maximising the number of people they can push back, they must maximise the number they welcome and protect.” A spokesperson for MSF said its refusal of European state funding would take immediate affect and apply to its projects worldwide, condemning the unacceptable “instrumentalisation of humanitarian aid”.The charity accused the EU of setting a dangerous precedent attempting to force people to stay in the countries they are desperate to flee, sparking border closures leading back to Isis territory near Azaz in Syria, where 100,000 civilians are trapped between the closed Turkish border and front lines. “Europe’s attempt to outsource migration control is having a domino effect, with closed borders stretching all the way back to Syria,” Oberreit said. “People increasingly have nowhere to turn.” The organisation has treated an estimated 200,000 people in Europe and in boats on the Mediterranean Sea over the past 18 months and is working with refugees across the continent, as well as in the Middle East and Africa. As well as running clinics at borders and in refugee camps, it operates three search and rescue ships in the Mediterranean that picked up more than 1,300 in just 36 hours last week. The MSF said its rejection of EU funding would not affect patients, and that its activities are already 92 per cent privately-funded. MSF received 19 million pounds from EU institutions in 2015 and another 37 million pounds from member states, as well as working in partnership with Britain and nine other countries. (Business Standard 17/6/16)

36. Carving out a place for themselves far away from home (13)

NEW DELHI: Fatima (name changed) was only 11 when she was raped by two Talibani militants inside the campus of a wrecked Russian Embassy in Kabul. The incident made her realise what it was to be a ‘Hazara’ in Afghanistan, and she decided to stay indoors and learn what her family was best at – making Qalin-bafi (handcrafted) carpets. Seated on a mattress spread on the floor of her one-room ‘home’ (a barsaati) in Jangpura’s Bhogal area, Fatima, now 30, recalls how she landed up in Delhi. “My family was much more harsh than the authorities there. I was sent to school only on the condition that I would wash utensils and clothes, read the Quran on time and make carpets at the same pace as I used to earlier,” she says in fluent English. Fatima was allowed to go to school only when she turned 15, was inducted directly into Class VII and dropped out after Class X as the school “never took girls seriously”. “When I reached Delhi in March 2013, I did not even know how to write my name in English,” she rues. The first thing Fatima did after coming to the Capital was to join English tutorials. Now, whenever she is free, she teaches English to other Afghan refugees. One of her students is Shakeela Zarin, a 20-year-old woman who was shot at in the face by her husband, a Talibani militant, when she was 17. Her fault: she tried to escape the confines of his house in Afghanistan’s Mazar-i-Sharif city. She has a damaged left eye, a disfigured face and no sense of smell, but she says the incident “liberated” her as she was brought to India for treatment. “I have had nine surgeries on my face, but I am glad that I could get out of that hell. For now, all I want to do is learn English,” she says with an innocent smile. Fatima has been an inspiration for several refugee women like Shakeela. She has not only given them hope, but also the confidence to take up new challenges. Now, Fatima is set to become a professional yoga teacher and is already imparting classes on an ad-hoc basis. “I had joined the Mobile Mini Circus for Children in Kabul where I worked for nearly five years. I learnt acrobatics, gymnastic, skating and juggling and that is why in India, yoga attracted me,” says Fatima. She along with several other Afghan refugees is being trained in yoga by ACCESS, a Delhi-based NGO, in collaboration with the UNHCR. Sharing the room with Fatima is 33-year old Aneesa Mohammadi, who prefers not to narrate how she ended up in the Capital with her two children. But she has carved out a living for the three of them by creating beautiful crochets. “She works day and night making designer dresses, caps, bookmarks, decorative items with crochet patterns. Some of them were taken by a big brand and were worn by models at the Lakme Fashion Week,” says Fatima as Aneesa gets busy with her stitching. Over 14,000 Afghan refugees have taken shelter in the country despite the absence of a refugee law and most of these are carving a niche for themselves from whatever minimal resources are available to them. (The Hindu 20/6/16)

RIGHT TO INFORMATION

37. ‘RTI activist murder a message to silence city whistleblowers’ (1)

Chennai: The brutal daylight murder of RTI activist J Parasmal (59), who would target the Chennai Corporation and TANGEDCO, has shocked other activists in the city. They see the murder as a way to silence protesting voice and hence curtailing dissent. “The killing of activists is a warning to common citizens not to fight wrongdoers. The message is simple; just be silent spectators to all the wrongs taking place right in front of your eyes,” said RTI activists D Gopalakrishnan and R Vadivelu. Citizens are an integral part of democracy and it is their responsibility and right to point out flaws in the functioning of the government, the duo said. Parasmal was using RTI to expose the collusion of government officials in construction of unauthorised commercial and residential buildings with the mafia. “This phenomenon is growing like cancer in the city. Occupancy of buildings without obtaining completion certificate is also on the rise,” the duo said. Resident Welfare associations must play a keen role to highlight such discrepancies, they said. Co-convenor of NGO Arapor Iyakkam Jayaram Venkatesan wondered how the unauthorised building owners would have known that the RTIs were being filed by Parasmal as some of them were being filed by associates. “This means there is a chance that the concerned RTIs were leaked from the government offices,” he said. The murder has opened the debate on the Whistleblower Protection Act which sought to protect those exposing corruption in government offices. “The Bill is in cold storage as it has lapsed. The government at the Centre has not taken any action. We are going to petition the chief secretary of the state regarding The Bill,” Venkatesan said. The act is necessary as many complaints have been filed by citizens and many such cases are pending with governments and courts which need speedy disposal, Gopalakrishnan said. “This Bill is also necessary for honest government servants who might want to expose wrongdoing,” he said. (Times of India 11/6/16)

38. Crores allocated, yet no shelters for homeless in Mumbai (1)

Mumbai: Although the monsoon is set to hit the metropolis soon, the Maharashtra government and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai have not constructed any shelters for the homeless in Mumbai as mandated by the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), activist Medha Patkar has revealed. Ms. Patkar leads the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA). The guidelines by NULM under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, mandate construction of a permanent community shelter for every one lakh population by the government. Bilal Khan of GBGBA, said: “Mumbai has a population of 12,442,373 as per 2011 Census and as per the guidelines, at least 124 community shelters were required to be constructed. “But, my RTI query revealed that no new night shelters have been build as per the NULM guidelines.” In its reply to Mr. Khan’s RTI query on June 1, the Public Information officer & Research Officer (Planning) of the MCGM said: “No night shelter has been constructed by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.” Seven night shelters built before the NULM guidelines exist at Khetwadi, Kamathipura, Wankhede Stadium footover bridge, Bandra, Andheri East, and Malad East, which support 333 people presently. Mr. Khan said, “The Supreme Court of India and various High Courts have on several occasions clarified that the ‘right to shelter’ is part and parcel of ‘right to life’. This means that denying shelter to anyone is a clear violation of ‘right to life’. The Supreme Court, in its rulings, has made it mandatory for state governments to construct shelter for the homeless.” The GBGBA also released an affidavit filed by Sailesh Jogiani, Under Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, which reveals that the Centre had allocated Rs. 15,272.72 lakh to Maharashtra for construction of permanent shelters, but the State has not spent any of it. “It is startling to know that not a single rupee has been spent so far by the Maharashtra Government. We urge the government as well as the MCGM to look into the matter with utmost urgency, and provide all the possible relief to the homeless living in Mumbai keeping in mind the possible risk to life during rains,” Mr. Khan said. The GBGBA is scheduled to file an affidavit before the Supreme Court related to this in August when the matter comes up for hearing, he said. (The Hindu 14/6/16)

39. Not a single addict sent by courts to 30 Punjab rehab centres (1)

NEW DELHI: At a time when ‘Udta Punjab’ has put the spotlight on the state’s crippling drug problem, not much is being done to rehabilitate addicts, according to RTI queries. At least 30 rehab centres run by the Punjab government or linked to it have not received a single addict sent on court orders, Punjab’s health department admitted in its response to RTI questions. Sections 27, 39 and 64-A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act give an option to courts and prosecution to send those caught with small quantities of banned drugs for personal consumption to rehab centres. This would allow addicts an exit route, and save them from a jail term. Addicts typically get smaller jail terms, unlike traffickers. RTI queries have indicat ed that Punjab’s crimi nal justice system appears to be geared towards jailing addicts convicted for drug abuse, rather than curing them. The sentences ordinarily vary from 15 days to a year in prison depending on the quantity of drugs found on an addict. The RTI queries were filed by Neha Singhal and Sakshi, senior researchers with Delhibased think tank, Vidhi Centre For Legal Policy. The RTIs sought full details of the number of addicts prosecuted under section 27 of NDPS Act who were referred for rehabilitation by courts. The applications didn’t lay down a time-frame but sought the number of patients who enrolled voluntarily, facilities and treatment available at the centres, the nature of drugs used by patients, disbursement of funds, etc. Section 27 of the NDPS Act says that persons found in illegal possession of drugs in small quantity are liable to imprisonment of up to six months, or fine, or both, which, in respect of hard drugs like heroin, would be up to one-year imprisonment or fine or both.However, the court is empowered to release an addict to undergo treatment for de-addiction on his executing a necessary bond. Meanwhile, two days before its release, a copy of ‘Udta Punjab’ was leaked on torrent websites. A copyright complaint was lodged late on Wednesday even as investigators said the film’s team has removed the leaked version. (Times of India 16/6/16)

40. Uttarakhand activist writes to PMO, gets village digitally connected (1)

DEHRADUN: After several attempts to get his village digitally connected did not bear fruit, an RTI activist finally wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and to his surprise, got a quick response, with a copy of instructions that his village, Dudhali, be provided internet facilities under the PM’s Digital India initiative which aims to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks. The activist, Ajay Kumar, said he never expected such a quick response when he wrote to the PMO on June 1. By June 6, PMO had written to the Union rural development ministry and the Uttarakhand government about his request and also uploaded the response and action on the PMO-PG website. By June 17, Kumar got the response from PMO about the officials entrusted to review the action both in Uttarakhand and the central government. “I had written to the PM demanding internet connectivity, e-smart classes in the schools, e-library and connecting the village with the optical fibre network,” said Kumar. Dudhali village is close to Doiwala where residents still struggle for basic civic facilities. Last week, Kumar was informed by the state government that the information technology department has been instructed to start working on his demands.”I have been informed about the status of my request. To be honest, I had not expected that writing a letter to the PM would be taken so seriously that all the department would start working on the plan,” he said, talking to TOI. He had demanded setting up of common services centre (CSC) in the village to begin internet-based services like issuing of certificates including domicile, caste, birth, death and payment of water and power bills.The village has a population of over 7,000 and is 20 km away from the hill capital. State government officials admitted about the direction from the PMO and said they are now preparing a plan of action. “It is being prepared in consultation with the IT department and the stakeholders including the villagers before we start the work,” said an official here. (Times of India 19/6/16)

RIGHT TO EDUCATION

41. Bihar govt embarks on ‘Operation Clean Education’ (11)

Patna: In the wake of raging Intermediate ‘topper scam’, the state education department has taken up the initiative to start ‘Operation Clean Education’, in which all the affiliated colleges and schools would be inspected phasewise to know the ground reality.This decision was taken at a high-level meeting conducted by CM Nitish Kumar along with senior bureaucrats and state education minister Ashok Choudhary, a couple of days back, but a notification to this effect was issued on Saturday. The minister has asked the DM and the SP of all the districts to do joint inspection of affiliated educational institutions. Talking to TOI, Choudhary said all the 228 affiliated BEd colleges, intermediate colleges and degree colleges would be inspected in phases. “The DM and SP have been asked to inspect BEd colleges and submit reports within 15 days. The two officers will go every college and get detail information such as the number of students enrolled, number of classrooms and the infrastructure available. In case of any irregularity or discrepancy, affiliation of the concerned college would be cancelled, followed by lodging of an FIR,” he said. In the next phase, intermediate colleges would be inspected and finally degree colleges. Even private coaching institutes would be under the scanner of the education department, and it would be checked whether they are following the rules laid out for them or not. The education minister agreed that many of the colleges and schools had got the affiliation by adopting wrong means. “We have also got information that directors and principals of a few colleges have appointed their relatives on the posts of teachers and they are misusing funds, but now they would face the brunt,” said Choudhary, adding, “We promise people quality education. We will go to any extent to achieve that, but we need some time.” After the ‘topper scam’ was exposed by the media last week, there have been reports of affiliated colleges and schools misusing government funds. It is also said that a lot of money changes hands in grant of affiliation and the racket has gripped the entire education system of Bihar. (Times of India 11/6/16)

42. Govt. to down shutters of 144 private schools (11)

VISAKHAPATNAM: In total, 144 private schools in Visakhapatnam district will be closed down for failing to obtain the mandated recognition from the government before the reopening date, which is Monday for most schools. Reviewing the performances of the schools, including the fulfilment of the required infrastructural formalities with the management of the schools in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, HRD Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao, expressed displeasure, as many of the schools do not have the required infrastructure such as playgrounds, proper toilets and laboratories. Speaking to The Hindu , the Minister said of the 144 schools, 57 are primary schools and 87 high schools. And they will be closed down before the reopening date. “I do not understand how the District Education Officer Krishna Reddy allowed these schools to function without being recognised. The schools have to be closed down before the reopening date. We have instructed the DEO to release an advertisement in all major newspapers to publicise the names of the banned schools,” he said. In a similar crackdown the government had downed the shutters of 106 schools last year in the district. “We have initiated a task force under the chairmanship of Joint Collector –II and it will comprise four other members, including a DSP rank officer from the Department of Vigilance and Enforcement,” he said. The task force has been assigned to look into various aspects such as the building norms, fire fighting system, playgrounds, laboratories, toilets, faculty strength and quality and other basic infrastructure. “There are many schools that do not have the basic infrastructure and a few are being run from the third and fourth floor of apartments and are located in main junctions, creating traffic nuisance. The task force has been told to take action against all these schools, which includes a number of junior colleges run by a few corporate groups,” he informed The Hindu . On the fitness certificates of busses, there are about 1,640 school busses and so far only 732 have obtained fitness certificates. The management of the schools have been told to obtain the fitness certificate before the reopening date or not to run the busses till then. Referring to the fee issue, Mr. Srinivasa Rao said there was no mechanism to check the fees being charged by the private schools till now. “We have instructed the schools to publicise the details such as infrastructure and full structure of the fees in the public domain and have told the task force to see that the fees are charged reasonably,” he said. (The Hindu 13/6/16)

43. School notebooks in Vadodara laud ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ (11)

Vadodara: The primary education committee of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has once again waded into controversy by bringing out notebooks with messages promoting the BJP-RSS ideology. This time, the committee is distributing notebooks that laud the slogan ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and have a picture of Bharatiya Jan Sangh ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.In the past too, the committee had brought out notebooks with a picture of Bharat Mata as represented by the RSS. The covers of the notebooks have also shown Modi alongside Swami Vivekananda attempting to draw a comparison between the two. Even school bags with Modi’s photograph were distributed by the committee before few years. The committee chairman, Keyur Rokadiya, said that 1.6lakh such notebooks would be distributed. “There should be no objection to ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. In fact, the quote by Deendayalji on the notebook explains this,” he said. Upadhyay has been quoted on the back cover of the notebooks stating that the foundation of our nationality was Bharat Mata. It adds that without the word Mata, Bharat would merely be a piece of land. Rokadiya added that Upadhyay’s picture was placed on the cover as it was his birth centenary year. The Congress at the other end sees this as an attempt to promote the RSS ideology. “It is an attempt to influence the children to promote RSS views on the Indian culture and history,” said Nilesh Brahmbhatt, Vadodara city Congress spokesperson. (Times of India 16/6/16)

44. Over 28,000 RTE quota seats remain vacant (11)

Bengaluru: As many as 28,530 seats of the total 1.15 lakh under the Right to Education (RTE) Act quota have not been filled in the State this year. While 78,546 admissions were made during the first round, 8,161 students were admitted during the second round. Although 16,802 children were allotted seats, many parents are yet to approach the schools even though the deadline for admissions ended on Saturday. While 1,478 applications were rejected owing to errors in the documents or duplication in the second round, several applicants have decided not to admit their children as the schools allotted to them were not their first preference. “Although the last date for admissions is over, we still have to analyse if there is a need to extend the last date under the second round,” an official in the Department of Public Instruction said. (The Hindu 20/6/16)

RIGHT TO FOOD/ HUNGER

45. State Food Commission coming up (21)

BENGALURU: The decks have been cleared for the setting up of a State Food Commission, a quasi judicial regulatory body, to monitor issues related to the public distribution system, Anna Bhagya scheme of supplying foodgrains at nominal cost, and supply of food to anganwadis under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Announcing this at a press conference here, Food Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said Karnataka was the third State in the country to set up such a commission under the provisions of the National Food Security Act, after Bihar and Haryana. The State Cabinet recently cleared the proposal, and the administrative formalities have been completed with the issuing of a notification in this regard on June 10. It may take three to four months to put the Commission in place, the Minister said. It will have seven members including a chairman and a member secretary. Till then, the State Consumer Forum will double up as the food commission, he explained. The chairman and members will be chosen by a committee headed by the Chief Minister. The selection committee will comprise presiding officers and leaders of the Opposition of both the Houses of the State Legislature and the Food Minister as its members. The general public could take up any issues and grievances related to food in the public sector with the commission. They could also take up issues concerning the orders by the district-level authorities related to their grievances if they were not satisfied with the verdict of those authorities, the Minister said. He was of the view that the commission would strengthen the PDS as well as Anna Bhagya scheme. (The Hindu 13/6/16)

46. Pope criticises obstacles to food aid while weapons flow freely (21)

Rome, June 13 : Pope Francis on Monday criticised as a “paradox” the multiple bureaucratic, political and economic obstacles to the distribution of food aid to the hungry while weapons flow freely around the world. Francis made his first visit to the headquarters of the World Food Programme, the UN agency responsible for the distribution of food aid, and was received by WFP director Ertharin Cousin, Efe news reported. In his address to the WFP Executive Board, the pontiff described as “a strange and paradoxical phenomenon” the web of political decisions, ideological bents and customs barriers hindering aid and development assistance but not the flow of arms. “It doesn’t matter where they come from, (weapons) circulate with boasting and almost absolute freedom in so many places around the world. Thus, it is wars that get nurtured, not the people. In some cases, hunger is used as a weapon in war,” the pope said. “The weakest populations not only suffer from armed conflicts, but also see all kinds of help hindered at the same time. It is urgent to streamline all procedures that prevent humanitarian aid programmes from achieving their goals,” Pope said. The pope said: “Excessive information gradually generates a ‘normalisation’ of misery (and) step by step, we become indifferent to other people’s tragedies and we accept it as something that is ‘natural’”.”Let’s be clear. Food scarcity is not something that is natural, it is not just a piece of information or something obvious, evident. That so many people in the 21st century suffer this scourge is the result of a selfish and bad distribution of resources, and of a ‘commercialisation’ of food,” Francis said. (New Kerala 13/6/16)

47. Tripura Govt blamed for high poverty in State (21)

 AGARTALA, June 18 – Union Minister Anant G Geete on Friday denounced the Left Front Government in Tripura for not being able to alleviate poverty in the State, saying 67 per cent of its population is below the poverty line. “Is it good governance? When the national average of BPL is 38 per cent, in the Marxist ruled State the number is 67 per cent, which is abnormally high. “What is this government doing being at the helm of affairs for the last 23 years? People in this State are getting poorer due to the governance they are being provided,” Geete said at a press conference here. The Union Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister, who visited the State to highlight the achievements of the two-year rule of the Narendra Modi-led NDA Government, said even very poor people in the country were now getting LPG.

“In Tripura, people do not get their proper share of money allocated by the Centre, which is the main reason for poverty and such a high rate of BPL percentage,” he said adding, had there been good governance, the people of Tripura could have caught up with the national BPL average. Attacking the earlier UPA Government, he said the last ten years of the UPA Government were full of scams, and could be termed as government of scams. But, in the last two years of Narendra Modi Government, there is no scam and the coming three years would also be scam-free, Geete claimed. – PTI (The Assam Tribune 19/6/16)

48. 32.59 pc people in state live below poverty line (21)

BHUBANESWAR: DESPITE claims of the State Government that poverty has gone down in Odisha because of  successful implementation of different welfare programmes, 32.59 per cent of the State’s population remains below the poverty line (BPL), which is one of the highest figures in the country. More than half of the districts are also behind the per capita gross domestic product (GDP) which is Rs 27,735 in the State. However, tribal dominated Sundargarh has topped in gross district domestic product (GDDP) followed by another tribal-dominated district Keonjhar. While the total GDDP of Odisha is Rs 129,27,445 lakh, Sundargarh tops the list with Rs 11,32,011 lakh. According to official sources, the GDDP of Keonjhar is Rs 10,41,317 lakh while Deogarh, which is at the bottom of the list, has GDDP of Rs 75,326 lakh. The per capita net district domestic product (NDDP) of Odisha stands at Rs 27,735. More than half of the districts including Sonepur, Rayagada, Puri, Nuapada, Nayagarh, Nabarangpur, Mayurbhanj, Malkangiri, Kendrapara, Kalahandi, Ganjam, Gajapati, Dhenkanal, Deogarh, Boudh, Balangir, Bhadrak, Bargarh and Balasore have low per capita NDDP than the Odisha average. Angul district has the highest per capita NDDP of Rs 53,920 followed by Rs 51,134 of Jharsuguda. While Keonjhar district has per capita NDDP of Rs 50,609, Sundargarh has a per capita NDDP of Rs 42,706. Nabarangpur has the lowest per capita NDDP of Rs 16,195. Nayagarh, Puri and Kendrapara also have NDDP far less than the State average. Official sources said the GDDP of Keonjhar and Sundargarh is more compared to other districts because of trade in minerals. Angul, Jharsuguda, Keonjhar and Sundargarh, who top the list of per capita NDDP, have mines and industries. While the GSDP of Odisha was Rs 3,32,329 crore in 2015-16, it was Rs 2,25,283 crore in 2011-12. (New Indian Express 20/6/16)

LABOUR/ MGNREGA

49. Forced to migrate for work, UP gives ‘jobs card’ to riots displaced men (14)

MEERUT: Hundreds of men displaced by the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2103 that rendered over 50,000 homeless and killed 62 are being forced to migrate from Shamli in UP, where they had been given temporary shelter, to cities as far as Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru in search of livelihood as they have lost all documents in the violence and can’t even get jobs under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the absence of it.Now, though, to ease their hardship the district administration has in a first lot cleared a list of 80 names to be given job-cards under NREGA. “On Friday morning, we received a list of 80 people who had been seeking employment under the NREGA. We asked the applicants to furnish some proof of identity with a photograph. They will have their job cards within the week,” said additional development officer (ADO) Manoj Kumar. Afkar India Foundation, an organisation working for the rehabilitation of riot victims, said that most displaced families lost all their documents after the riots, which made them ineligible for government schemes. As a result, they have had to migrate to other states such as Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan for employment. Some have even gone as far as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as not many jobs can be found in this belt of western Uttar Pradesh. “After the riots, thousands were displaced. Countless others families were uprooted from their homes and wander around. Of these, close to 2,800 families came and settled in the neighbouring Shamli district. Some of these families were from Shamli district itself. It’s been almost three years since the riots and most of these families don’t even have ration cards yet, neither do they have water or power connections. They live in deplorable conditions and they resort to manual labour to make ends meet,” said Akram Akhtar, project manager at Afkar India Foundation, an NGO that works for the rehabilitation of riot victims. Akhtar added, “The authorities have known of this problem for a long time but they only started acting on Friday. To start with, these 80 people, who have some identification at least, have been marked for help. We have been asked to get their documents in place within a week. After that they will be put to work at a pond near Kandhla, which needs cleaning. It’s a good beginning.” (Times of India 10/6/16)

50. Construction workers contest govt over use of welfare funds (14)

NEW DELHI: Representatives of the workers unions in the Delhi Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board are at loggerheads with the government over a proposal to use funds of Rs 900 crore for projects like hospitals, anganwadis and schools. Even as the government claimed that these projects would be used for the welfare of construction workers, the unions said that they won’t have exclusive rights to the facilities that would be opened up for outsiders. In a board meeting held on June 2, the government’s proposal for tentative allocation of Rs 100 crore for schools, Rs 200 crore for hospitals, Rs 400 crore for anganwadis, Rs 200 crore for temporary accommodation and Rs 50 crore towards cycles for eligible registered beneficiaries to commute to their work place, was hotly contested by some of the board members. “We know we cannot divert money and are not doing so. These facilities are being made for the benefit of construction workers — like the Army built the Research and Referral Hospital for its personnel,” said PWD minister Satyendar Jain, who chaired the meeting in the absence of labour minister Gopal Rai. Lata, one of the representatives who has opposed the government’s move, said that none of these schemes was meant specifically for construction workers. “Why are they giving out things like cycles and not safety mechanisms that labourers need? When we created a ruckus, the minister said that our objections should be sidestepped,” she said. “Every government hospital then should be counted under a welfare scheme for us if we can get free or subsidised treatment there. What is so special about the hospitals they are proposing? It is just a ploy to fund government schemes,” she added. Under the Delhi Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board Act, the duty of the board is to “constitute building and other construction workers fund and to utilise the same for providing certain welfare schemes like financial assistance to the families in case of accident, old age pension, housing loans, payment of insurance premium, education, medical and maternity benefits to the workers registered with the board”, among others.An official in the labour department clarified that the board was authorised to decide what constitutes a welfare work and that the schemes for which funds were being sought were still in an initial planning stage. “Construction workers will get priority in these hospitals and schools; but it will not be exclusively for them. In schools, for instance, the government will have to compensate the board for every child who is not from a construction worker’s family. This infrastructure will enhance the facilities we are being able to provide for them at present,” he said. (Times of India 13/6/16)

51. Jharkhand lauded for implementation of MGNREGA scheme (14)

RANCHI: Jharkhand government has bagged appreciation from the union ministry of rural development (MoRD) for its effective implementation of MGNREGA schemes. The centre has allowed 50 more blocks– highest in the country– to be included in CFT project (Convergence of MGNREGS, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and Cluster Facilitation Team (CFT)). Centre directed other states to take lesson from Jharkhand model and implement some of the best practices in their respective states. Joint Secretary, MoRD, government of India Aparajita Sarangi, who was here to conduct three day review of 10 states said that the scheme was rolled out in 10 states of the country and Jharkhand performed best among them, Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan being next two in the merit list. “It was started in 2014 to enhance rural livelihoods through MGNREGA in India’s 250 backward blocks out of which 76 blocks were picked up in Jharkhand. We are now going to allow 50 more blocks to be included under the project,” she said. Each block must have three CFTs and Centre grants Rs. 28 lakh annually for each of the CFT. The three day event in Jharkhand included visit of a 70 member team along with officials from centre under aegis of rural development department, government of Jharkhand to villages in three blocks and study the impact of CFT project. Principal secretary, rural development government of Jharkhand and NREGA commissioner, Jharkhand Siddhartha Tripathy accompanied the officials from ten states which included Bihar, Chhatishgarh, Maharashtra, Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, … (Times of India 15/6/16)

52. Drought-hit areas in Rajasthan to get more work days under NREGA (14)

Jaipur: The Centre on Friday announced that 14,487 villages across 19 districts of state which were declared as drought-affected until July this year by the state government would get 150 work days instead of 100 under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in 2016-17. “In view of the likelihood of increased demand for employment on public works due to the drought situation, it has been decided to provide up to 50 days of additional employment in notified drought-affected districts ,” the letter from the joint secretary of Union department of rural development of the Central government said. (Times of India 18/6/16)

RESERVATION

53. ‘Base quota for Adivasis on population’ (25)

Hyderabad: Reservation for Adivasis should be proportional to total population of the clan in each State, said Faggan Singh Kulaste, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on the Welfare of SCs and STs. Mr. Kulaste was speaking, at the 125{+t}{+h}birth anniversary celebrations of B. R. Ambedkar, in support of raising ST reservation to 9.5 per cent in Telangana at the 125{+t}{+h}birth anniversary celebrations of B. R. Ambedkar. The population of Adivasis in the State had increased from 6 per cent to 9.5 per cent post-bifurcation, he said based on inputs given by Girijan Aikya Vedika. He said Dalit Bahujans accounted for about 75 per cent of the population in the country and hence reservation as per constitutional provisions could be made accordingly. Each of the States could have a different reservation policy based on constitutional provisions, he said. Mr. Kulaste spoke in response to the vedika’s demands to improve reservations and taking up of the matter by parliamentary committee. “The committee will recommend to appoint an ST liaison officer to implement ST reservation in each of the states.” . (The Hindu 12/6/16)

54. Jat quota stir continues, INLD lends support (25)

CHANDIGARH: The fresh phase of Jat quota agitation continued in various parts of Haryana for the tenth consecutive day on Tuesday with the opposition INLD lending support and party’s senior leader Abhay Chautala said he will meet the agitators on Wednesday. The state remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported, officials said here. Mr Chautala, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, said his party favours that reservation given to Jats and five other communities should be maintained. He said that he will visit Rohtak, Jhajjar, Jind and Kaithal districts, where agitating Jats have been holding dharnas for the last ten days in support of their demands. “Right from the beginning, we doubted the intent of the government in giving reservation to Jats and five other communities, which is why the matter has got stuck in the courts,” Mr Chautala said in a statement. Talking abut the agitation, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar saidon Tuesday that the issue could be sorted out through mutual dialogue. He said that administrative officers have started dialogue with the agitators and it is appreciable that they are prepared for talks. “Earlier, a meeting with their leaders was fixed for June 15, but now it would be held on June 17 on request made by them,” Mr Khattar told reporters. He said with regard to reservation, an Act was enacted. “Though the issue is with the High Court, efforts are being made to get the stay vacated,” Mr Khattar said, adding the state government was vigorously defending the case in the court.The Chief Minister said the government has also offered the organisations involved in the current agitation that if they intended to hire their lawyer for pleading the case in the court, the State government is ready to pay the fee.Activists of All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti have been staging dharnas at various places, mostly in Rohtak, Sonepat, Jind and Hisar districts in support of their demands for last several days, with some activists even sitting on fast-unto-death at some places.  (The Hindu 15/6/16)

55. HC directs TN govt to file reply on reservation for SCs, STs (25)

Chennai, Jun 15 () The Madras High Court today directed the state government to file a reply on a PIL seeking proportionate reservation for people belonging to SC and ST community, in rural posts like chairman and vice-chairman in all town panchayats and municipalities in the state. The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, which heard the PIL, directed the Secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department and the State Election Commission to file the reply and also directed the petitioners to file the rejoinder for the response within two weeks. The PIL was first filed in 2006 and in 2011, a miscellaneous petition was filed by Thol Thirumavalavan, founder of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, and two others. The petitioners had contended that an amendment was brought to the Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act 1920 providing for proportionate reservation of seats for persons belonging to SC/ST in every town panchayat. The petitioners had submitted that instead of providing proportionate reservation to the members of SC, ST community, for the post of chairman of town panchayats and municipalities, the authorities are providing reservation proportionate to the general population in all the town panchayats and the municipalities in the state. Stating that it was against the provisions pertaining to reservation stipulated in Part IX A of the Constitution, the petitioners prayed for an early date of hearing of the PIL. The bench after ordering for filing a counter and rejoinders posted the matter for further hearing to August 3. (Times of India 16/6/16)

56. Extend quota for poor students in minority schools, says panel (25)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, in April, 2012, held that the provision did not extend to institutions set by minorities, which are defined as religious and linguistic minorities in India. The draft report on the new national policy on education submitted by a panel headed by T.S.R. Subramanian wants reservation for disadvantaged children to be extended to unaided minority schools. “The committee feels that the larger national obligations to meet the rights of economically weaker sections should extend to all institutions including minority [religious and linguistic] institutions,” the report has recommended to the government. While the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, mandates that even private, unaided schools shall provide admission to children from disadvantaged groups and weaker sections in admission to Class-1 to the extent of at least 25 per cent of the admissions done, private, unaided minority institutions are exempt from this requirement. The Supreme Court, in April, 2012, held that the provision did not extend to institutions set by minorities, which are defined as religious and linguistic minorities in India. The panel report says that “it is now important to reconcile the rights of the economically weaker sections with the rights of the minorities under Article 30 (1), particularly when minority institutions appear to clutch at any prop to ensure that their obligations, met by other aided or unaided schools, are circumvented.” The report calls for further examination of this, saying that it is necessary to ensure that “minority institutions are established only for genuine reasons envisaged by the Constitution…; that they do not use their constitutional privilege to manoeuvre out of national obligations established in overall public interest.” The Right to Education Act includes the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes in its definition of “disadvantaged group” and defines a child belonging to “weaker sections” as one whose parent or guardian earns below a minimum level of income specified by the appropriate government.Meanwhile, the former Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Kamal Faruqui told The Hindu: “Unaided minority institutions are getting nothing from the government and the Constitution is clear they have the right to establish and administer their institutions.” (The Hindu 19/6/16)

HUMAN RIGHTS/ CIVIL SOCIETY/ NHRC

57. NHRC notice to UP government over ‘migration from fear’ (1)

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on a complaint alleging that families of Kashyap caste are leaving Kairana area of western UP due to fear of criminals. It has been further alleged that about 250 families have migrated and left their homes out of the fear of criminals enjoying political patronage. The Commission has observed that allegations made are serious in nature. It has also directed its DIG (Investigation) to depute a team of officers for a spot enquiry in the matter covering all the allegations made in the complaint and submit a report within two weeks. According to the complaint on June 10, a woman belonging to Kashyap caste was abducted, gangraped and killed, yet no action has been taken by the police against the offenders. Then, two businessmen brothers – Shankar and Raju, were shot dead by criminals in broad day light in the market when they did not pay protection money to the criminals. A petrol pump was also looted in the area and when the police took on criminals, they shot dead a constable and managed to flee. NHRC has asked the Chief Secretary of state and Director General of Police to file reports within four weeks.On May 30, BJP MP and former union minister Hukum Singh had alleged that Kairana, a town which was affected by the riots of 2013 in Shamli district, has become a “new Kashmir”, with the exodus of 250 Hindu families over the past two years, after being allegedly targeted and persecuted by another community. “Kairana has become the Kashmir of the late 1980s, when Kashmiri Pandits were targeted by the majority Muslims and forced to flee. Similarly, Hindus here have been targeted by a community,” he had alleged. “Since Shamli came into existence in 2011, law and order has remained an issue. In 2013, a Hindu girl was kidnapped and raped by two youths, but police helped them escape as the then SP was of their community. After the incident we held a mahapanchayat and faced lathicharge,” the MP alleged. He said that governor Ram Naik and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had been informed about the situation. However, NHRC was approached because nothing was done by state government and police. Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device. (Times of India 11/6/1)

58. NHRC notice to Rajasthan on branding women as witches (1)

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued notice to the Rajasthan government on the plight of women branded as witches in the state’s Bhilwara district. Taking sou motu cognizance of the issue through media reports, the commission has learned that most often widows or women without any family support have been branded as witches. “Some of them were tortured brutally or even killed. Some of them were forced to leave their homes, and their properties were grabbed by powerful people,” a statement from the commission said. The state authorities have allegedly not taken effective action against either the offenders or to curb this menace. Accordingly, the commission has observed that the issue if true, raises serious violation of human rights of the hapless and helpless women in Rajasthan. “The notice has been issued to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Government of Rajasthan calling for reports in the matter. They have been asked to indicate the action taken by the law enforcement in each such incident and the steps taken by the State authorities to address the issue,” said the statement. (Business Standard 13/6/16)

59. Writer Guna falsely implicated, says human rights group (1)

Trichy: Human Rights Defenders Alert – India (HRDA) has urged the National Human Rights Commission to intervene and investigate the arrest of human rights activists Durai Guna and Bhoopathy Karthikeyan in Pudukkottai district in Tamil Nadu. The duo were arrested on charges of criminal intimidation by the Karambakudi police a few days ago. HRDA said in a letter to NHRC that the human rights defenders had been implicated on false and fabricated charges. National working secretary of the HRDA Henri Tiphagne sought an order for an immediate, transparent, effective and impartial investigation into this incident by a special rapporteur of the commission. He alleged that the complainant in the case, T Sivanandham, was deceived by police personnel in the Karambakudi police station, specifically inspector Sagayam Anbarasu and sub inspector Meiappan.The SI reportedly made Sivanandham sign on a plain sheet of paper, which was later used by the police under instructions from the inspector to forge a complaint against the duo that they had attacked Sivanandham with a knife over an altercation. He sought special action against the medical officer of the Alangudi Government Hospital who admitted Sivanandam and gave a medical certificate stating he had stab injuries. Calling for steps to ensure the immediate release of the two human rights defenders by engaging senior advocates from the State Legal Services Authority, Tipagne said strict action needs to be taken against the inspector and the sub inspector. Further, the district superintendent of police and the medical officer of the Alangudi Government Hospital should be taken into task for forging a false complaint against Durai Guna and Bhoopathy Karthikeyan, urged Tiphagne. (Times of India 16/6/16)

60. Religious tolerance in India deteriorating: Human Rights expert to US lawmakers (1)

Washington: Religious tolerance in India is “deteriorating” while religious freedom violations are “increasing”, a rights expert has told American lawmakers. “In India, religious tolerance is deteriorating and religious freedom violations are increasing,” Robert P George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at the Princeton University and a former chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing. “Minority communities, especially Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs, have experienced numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment and violence during the past year, largely at the hands of Hindu nationalist groups,” George alleged in his testimony before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organisations of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Members of the ruling BJP tacitly supported these groups and used religiously divisive language to inflame tensions further,” he alleged. These issues, combined with longstanding problems of police bias and judicial inadequacies have created a pervasive climate of impunity in which religious minority communities increasingly feel insecure with no recourse when religiously- motivated crimes occur, George told lawmakers yesterday. In his testimony, George said last year, “higher caste” individuals and local political leaders  prevented Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Dalits) Hindus from entering religious temples. The national government or state governments also applied several laws to restrict religious conversion, cow slaughter, and foreign funding of NGOs, he said. Moreover, an Indian constitutional provision deeming Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains to be Hindus contradicts international standards of freedom of religion or belief, George argued. India has been on USCIRF’s Tier 2 since 2009. Given its negative trajectory, USCIRF will continue to monitor the situation closely during the year ahead to determine if India should be recommended to the State Department for designation as a Country of Particular Concern, George said. In his testimony, George alleged that civil society, in particular non governmental organisations, receiving funds from overseas are facing difficulties. In April 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs revoked the licenses of nearly 9,000 charitable organisations, he noted. “For example, two NGOs, the Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), which run conflict-resolution programmes and fight court cases stemming from the 2002 Gujarat riots, had their registrations revoked,” he told lawmakers. Additionally, the US-based Ford Foundation, which partially funds the Sabrang Trust and CJP, was put on a “watch list” when the Ministry of Home Affairs accused it of “abetting communal disharmony”, he said. (Deccan Chronicle 17/6/16)

JUDICIARY/ LAW

61. ”Udta Punjab’ judgement victory for freedom of speech’ (19)

Mumbai, Jun 13 () Calling it a victory for freedom of speech and expression, the legal fraternity here welcomed the judgement of Bombay High Court today, in which it ordered the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to certify Bollywood film ‘Udta Punjab’ within 48 hours. “It is a welcome judgement which advances the cause of freedom of speech and expression,” prominent human rights lawyer Mihir Desai told . Another prominent lawyer Uday Waranjikar said the freedom of speech and expression is not absolute, but regulated. However, if restrictions are unreasonable, then the court of law is the only remedy. “I feel that by virtue of today’s High Court order, the belief of common man in judiciary will strengthen,” he said. “I also feel artists have been given a greater responsibility by the HC order. I am sure artists shall stand up by the Court order,” he said. Noted lawyer Pranab Badheka said, “The High Court order is victory for freedom of speech and expression and freedom of creative ideas of the film fraternity.” The court has upheld the Fundamental Right of freedom of speech and expression and it is a victory for people with creative ideas, he said. The HC today asked the censor board to certify the drug-themed film within 48 hours to enable its release on the scheduled date of June 17. The CBFC’s revising committee had suggested 13 changes to the film before certifying it. However, Anurag Kashyap’s company, Phantom Films, which has produced the movie moved the HC challenging the order. Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device. (Times of India 13/6/16)

62. Neighbour can’t pay for husband’s violence: HC (19)

Ahmedabad: When Bhavna Rajput filed a complaint under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act against her husband Ramesh and her in-laws, a neighbour, Ramila Suthar, was also saddled with court proceedings. Interestingly, lower courts in Mehsana had ordered this neighbour to jointly bear the responsibility to pay for Bhavna’s maintenance and residential accommodation. Bhavna quit her matrimonial home in Kamli village of Unjha, following the incident, and went to live at her parental home in Khandosan village, Visnagar taluka. Bhavna approached a magisterial court in 2013, which ordered the Rajputs to pay Rs2,000 every month towards her maintenance. The order was challenged by both parties in the sessions court, where the amount of maintenance was increased to Rs 4,000 per month besides Rs1,000 for residential accommodation. The court orders were binding upon Suthar, too, because she was also named as a respondent. Her name figured in the complaint, because Bhavna felt that she had a part behind the ill treatment Bhavna faced from her husband and in-laws. When the issue came before the Gujarat high court on Monday, it immediately dropped the case against Suthar. The court also quashed payment orders on the ground that the complaint under the DV Act against a neighbour is “not only unwarranted, but unjustified and illegal”. The HC further said that if there is no relationship between such third person and the husband or spouse, then, any court order under DV laws against third person becomes nullity and they are required to be quashed. The high court criticized lower courts for ignoring settled law that complaints under DV laws are not maintainable against a person who is not part of the family or in relationship with the spouse. “The trial court has failed to restrict such order only against husband and in-laws of the complainant. Unfortunately, similar mistake continued when the appellate court decided the appeals. Again, the appellate court has failed to differentiate the liability opponents No 1 to 5 (husband and in-laws) on one hand and opponent No 6 (Ramilaben) on the other.” (Times of India 15/6/16)

63. Centre, judiciary to lock horns over appointments (19)

New Delhi: With the Supreme Court collegium — headed by the Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur — rejecting most of the Centre’s proposals on the memorandum of procedure (MoP) for the appointment of judges, the Narendra Modi government and the judiciary seem to be heading for a major confrontation. There are more than 400 vacancies in high courts, which have a sanctioned strength of 1,016. This means that most high courts are working at 50 per cent strength. Since there is an inordinate delay in finalising the MoP, the process of filling the vacancies is likely to be further delayed. With the rift wide open, the Centre has now sought the opinion of attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi for getting the MoP finalised after thrashing out the points of difference between the government and the collegium. In 2015, the Modi government enacted the National Judicial Appo-intments Commission law for the appointment of judges. The apex court struck down this law in October 2015, and the MoP was prepared by the law ministry in April 2016. With the collegium having some reservations on certain proposals, the MoP was sent back in the first week of May. The government made some improvements and again sent it on to the collegium for its consent. The collegium again rejected many of the proposals. As a result, the MoP is yet to be finalised, and for the last 10 months, no appointments could be made. Only the confirmation of additional judges are being made. The government wanted to introduce a clause where the judges are appointed/elevated to the Supreme Court on the basis of “merit-cum-seniority” as the sole criterion rather than “seniority-cum-merit”. The Centre also wanted retired judges to be involved in the consultation process. It has proposed to the collegium that during the elevation of judges to the Supreme Court or to the post of chief justice, primacy shall be given to the merit of the candidate rather than seniority alone. This was not acceptable to the collegium as, according to the senior-most judges, it will mean that a senior judge who may not be the chief justice of a high court can also be considered for elevation to the Supreme Court. This also means that the junior judge in a high court can also supersede the senior judge to become the chief justice of the high court. Another proposal that does not find favour with the collegium is the Centre’s insistence on imposing a cap of 10 per cent or maximum three senior advocates from the bar to be directly appointed as a Supreme Court judge. The collegium’s believes it is free to appoint as many advocates as it finds deserving from the bar and cannot be bound by such suggestions by the government. The government also wanted to reserve its right to reject any candidate recommended for appointment as a judge on grounds of “national security”. Under the earlier MoP, the Centre had the right to return a name back to the collegium for reconsideration. But if the collegium reiterates the recommendation, the Centre is bound to accept the recommendation. This happened recently in the case of the elevation of a high court chief justice. Though the collegium approved the elevation two times, the Centre has opposed his elevation and the issue is still pending. (Asian Age 20/6/16)

64. After High Court’s order, IB officer released from illegal detention (19)

NEW DELHI: An Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer detained in relation to a case of smuggling of gold at Goa Airport in 2014 has been released after the Delhi High Court held his detention to be against the law considering there was a delay of nine months in his detention after the issuance of the order. The order of detention -issued in March 2015- was not executed till the detenue surrendered himself before the Goa Police in December last year. The Delhi High Court held that delay in execution of the detention order and non-supply of material relied upon showed that there was no genuine satisfaction on the part of the detaining authority regarding the necessity of immediately detaining the person. The court was hearing a petition filed by the wife of the IB officer (the detenue) seeking quashing of the order of detention. Advocate Pradeep Jain, appearing for the detenue, said that the order was not executed even after the officer had surrendered himself. The court noted that the customs department had relied heavily on CDs and the CCTV footage and was bound to show the entire contents of the same to the detenue as a matter of right under Article 22(2) of the Constitution. As per the petition, the detenue joined the Indian Navy as a sailor in July 1993 and retired in 2008. He then joined the IB and was posted at the Goa Airport. In July 2014, when the detenue was on duty as wing in-charge in the Immigration Department, an incident of arrest of four persons on the allegation of smuggling of 19.4 kg of gold was reported. On August 2, 2014, the detenue was summoned for an inquiry with regard to the incident. His statement was recorded denying any knowledge with regard to the smuggling. Another summon was issued to him asking for certain documents such as his posting order, but he informed the IO that they were in possession of the department. In November 2014, he was transferred to SIB, Orissa. In January 2015, he was issued another notice and allegations were made against him of assisting the accused. He denied all allegations and went on medical leave. Thereafter, he got to know about the publication of the detention order in an English daily in Goa. He moved the Kerala High Court which denied him relief saying he must first surrender. The Supreme Court was of the same view. He then surrendered before the Goa Police. (The Hindu 20/6/16)

POLICE/ AFSPA/ CUSTODIAL DEATHS

65. Sub-inspector among 7 cops accused of sexual harassment, torture (1)

Coimbatore: CBI sleuths filed a chargesheet before the chief judicial magistrate court two days back against seven police personnel, including a sub-inspector of police and two police constables who were attached to the Udumalpet police station, for sexually harassing a woman suspect in a murder case and torturing her brutally in the Udumalpet police station in Tirupur district. Leelavathi, a housewife from Udumalpet was found murdered at her house on August 9, 2014. Udumalpet police picked up Girija (name changed), Leelavathi’s tenant for questioning on August 11. Three days later, Girija was arrested and she was charged with Leelavathy’s murder. She was then sent to Coimbatore central prison. Meanwhile Girija’s daughter P Rajakumari filed a petition before Madras high court, saying her mother was severely tortured during the three days in police custody. She also told police injected a needle into her mother’s fingers and hung her upside down semi nude. The court ordered a CBI probe and asked the state government to provide her treatment. The murder case is still under investigation by the Udumalpet police. (Times of India 11/6/16)

66. Lecturer says police forced him to be spy (1)

PULWAMA: Abdul Rasheed, an English lecturer at the Government College for Women in Srinagar, had a rude awakening on the night of May 26. Army and the police’s Special Operations Group personnel barged into his house with a strange request: to identify houses in the roadside village of Parigaam, which is close to Kareemabad, where 14 youths recently joined the ranks of militants. “It was around 1.30 a.m. I was asleep when the security forces asked me to accompany them. I pleaded with them that I am a lecturer and asked them to spare me. But they paid no heed,” Mr. Rasheed told The Hindu. The Parigaam resident, who is in his thirties, said he was detained up to 3.30 a.m. “The security forces kept asking me to lead them to particular houses, quite far from my home. They wanted me to identify two-storey houses in the village,” he said. “It was scary. What if there were militants hiding in any house. I would have been the first casualty. Also, if any local had identified me with the security forces, I would have been labelled a mukhbir [informer).” Night-long operations have returned to Pulwama’s Lelhaar, Kareemabad and Parigaam areas, where militancy is showing an upward trend with local support. Pulwama Superintendent of Police Rayees Mohammad Bhat denied the allegations. “Such a practice in which civilians are used as shields during operations is not in vogue. In case of a major operation, a village head is asked to accompany the security forces,” he said. (The Hindu 12/6/16)

67. PIL pushes for filling up of 40% police vacancies in Gujarat (1)

Ahmedabad: Gujarat high court has sought a reply from the state government on a PIL seeking police reforms, filling up over 42,000 sanctioned vacant posts in state police department, abolition of fixed-pay structure and outsourcing various tasks to NGOs. HC has asked the government pleader to find out what the state government has to say about this PIL.The petition has been filed by NGO, Swaraj Abhiyan, through its district convener who is an advocate, K R Koshti. The petitioner has requested the HC to direct the state police to fill nearly 40% of vacant posts and regular payment in the civil and armed police forces. There are only 54,955 police personnel against sanctioned strength of 95,979 and 15,011 armed policemen against the sanctioned 20,912. The PIL cites Gujarat’s long coast, safety of fishermen and that the state shares borders with Pakistan to insist for maintaining sanctioned strength of police force. The PIL demands abolition of fixed pay structure because the state government pays a meagre amount, even less than minimum wages, to new recruits – Lok Rakshak jawans – who are inducted under this system. It has also urged to the state government to stop outsourcing services of police department to private agencies. Advocate Koshti stated that the police strength in India is only 1.28, including civil and paramilitary forces, per 1000 citizens as against 3.44 in Malaysia, 2.1 in Brazil, 2.85 in the USA and 2.3 in the UK. According to Interpol’s norms the police-citizen ratio should be 4:1000. The lawyer told the court that the poor strength in police department heightened stress level. The PIL has also quoted examples of police officials committing suicide. The petitioner has claimed that junior-level officials are not even provided official vehicles for patrolling and they have to use their personal vehicles for this. (Times of India 16/6/16)

68. India sees 98 deaths in police custody every year (1)

Bengaluru: As many as 1,275 people died in police custody in India between 2001 and 2013 but less than 50% of custodial deaths led to a case being registered, data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show. The deaths in judicial custody—or in prisons—reported by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) are much higher. About 12,727 people are reported to have died in judicial custody between 2001 and 2010. The data for the later years (2013 onwards) are being compiled, according to the Home Minister’s reply to a Lok Sabha question. Since the turn of the century, the least deaths were reported in 2010 (70), while the most were reported in 2005 (128 deaths). On an average, 98 people die in police custody every year in India.The data do not reflect the “true picture”, according to Torture in India 2011, a report by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), as they do not include deaths in the custody of the armed forces. The report also cites instances where custodial deaths were not reported to or recorded by the NHRC. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat had the most custodial deaths during 2001-2013 while Bihar reported only six such cases.Among the large states, Haryana filed a case for every custodial death during the period. The states of Manipur, Jharkhand and Bihar also registered cases for 100% of custodial deaths, but they had reported only two, three and six deaths, respectively. In comparison, Maharashtra registered cases for only 11.4% of the custodial deaths. It is, however, possible that multiple deaths were clubbed under one case.Only two policemen were convicted for every 100 deaths in police custody — nationally, only 26 police officers have been convicted for custodial deaths.The possibility of police officers being convicted dwindles at the chargesheeting stage itself: 34 policemen are chargesheeted for every 100 cases registered, and 12% of the chargesheeted policemen are convicted. In Maharashtra, only 14% of cases saw policemen being chargesheeted, and none was convicted. In Uttar Pradesh, 71 policemen were chargesheeted and 17 were convicted. In Chhattisgarh, 80% of chargesheeted policemen were convicted. The Prevention of Torture Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha in 2010, has now lapsed. It was introduced in order to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Torture. While the Bill had many problems, including a six-month time limit on complaints and a narrow definition of torture, the opposition had called for its early passage. (Business Standard 17/6/16)

MEDIA/ FREEDOM OF SPEECH

69. Punjab govt not contemplating any ban on ‘Udta Punjab’: SAD (1)

Chandigarh, Jun 11 () The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said the Punjab government was not contemplating any ban on Shahid Kapoor-starrer ‘Udta Punjab’, which is caught in a censorship row, and alleged AAP’s “hand” in the making of the film to defame the state. “I want to make it clear that SAD is not against films, media and creativity. It has always supported freedom of expression and freedom of press. It was the first to launch an agitation demanding freedom of press during Emergency in 1975,” said SAD secretary and spokesman and state Education Minister Daljit Singh Cheema. He said that the impression being created that his party was trying to censor the film was “absolutely untrue”.SAD also sought Election Commission’s (EC) intervention in the matter, urging it to convene an all-party meeting. Cheema asked Aam Aadmi Party convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to accept his party’s “role” in the making of ‘Udta Punjab’ as his “own tweets to welcome the film’s co-producer, Sameer Nair, have exposed the truth that the producer is an ‘active member’ of AAP”.”AAP which is denying any link with the producers of ‘Udta Punjab’ stands exposed with the CEO of Balaji Telefilms turning out to be a senior member of the party’s communication wing,” alleged Cheema. “Now, there is conclusive evidence that an active AAP member had a major role in the production of Udta Punjab,” he added. Urging AAP to stop “defaming” Punjabis, Cheema alleged that the party was all out to prove that Punjab is a drug haven. Urging the EC to convene an all-party meeting on the issue, Cheema said that though prior approvals are needed for every mode of campaigning after the model code of conduct for elections comes into force, this is the first time such an attempt is made to “defame” the state and its people by “financing a three-hour film”.Lashing out at Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh for his announcement to launch uncensored CDs of the film, Cheema said it was “highly shameful” that a senior leader was promoting films that have “vulgar, shameless, indecent and abusive language”. Cheema said the recent developments have proved that SAD’s contention of politics being played on the issue of drugs was “correct”.  (Times of India 11/6/16)

70. ”Udta Punjab’ judgement victory for freedom of speech’ (1)

Mumbai, Jun 13 () Calling it a victory for freedom of speech and expression, the legal fraternity here welcomed the judgement of Bombay High Court today, in which it ordered the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to certify Bollywood film ‘Udta Punjab’ within 48 hours. “It is a welcome judgement which advances the cause of freedom of speech and expression,” prominent human rights lawyer Mihir Desai told . Another prominent lawyer Uday Waranjikar said the freedom of speech and expression is not absolute, but regulated. However, if restrictions are unreasonable, then the court of law is the only remedy. “I feel that by virtue of today’s High Court order, the belief of common man in judiciary will strengthen,” he said. “I also feel artists have been given a greater responsibility by the HC order. I am sure artists shall stand up by the Court order,” he said. Noted lawyer Pranab Badheka said, “The High Court order is victory for freedom of speech and expression and freedom of creative ideas of the film fraternity.” The court has upheld the Fundamental Right of freedom of speech and expression and it is a victory for people with creative ideas, he said. The HC today asked the censor board to certify the drug-themed film within 48 hours to enable its release on the scheduled date of June 17. The CBFC’s revising committee had suggested 13 changes to the film before certifying it. However, Anurag Kashyap’s company, Phantom Films, which has produced the movie moved the HC challenging the order. Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device. (Times of India 13/6/16)

71. Mediapersons come under attack in Palakkad (1)

Palakkad: Three television journalists suffered serious injuries in an attack by alleged BJP-RSS activists on the premises of a magistrate court at Ottappalam, near here, on Tuesday afternoon. Their cameras and other equipment were also damaged in the attack. The activists turned violent when the television journalists attempted to take visuals of three BJP-RSS activists who were arrested in connection with a series of violent incidents at Nellaya, near Cherpulassery, targeting CPI(M) workers on Sunday and Monday. The arrested were being taken to the court when the incident occurred. The attackers, numbering around 15, threatened to murder the journalists. The injured have been identified as Asianet Palakkad bureau chief Shyam Kumar, Reporter TV correspondent Sreejith Kombala and City Channel cameraman V. Anoop. They were admitted to the taluk hospital with multiple injuries. The injured alleged that the police remained mute spectators when the incident occurred. The activists had asked for the identity cards of the television journalists on seeing them taking visuals. When the journalists refused to show it, they attempted to snatch the equipment resulting in the attack.Special Correspondent writes from Thruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has instructed the police to take stern action against the persons who assaulted mediapersons on the Ottappalam court premises on TuesdayA press note issued by the Chief Minister’s Office here said the government had the duty to protect media freedom. Any attempt to breach media freedom would be dealt with sternly. There would be no compromise on this. The incident at Ottappalam did not behove a democratic society, the press note quoted the Chief Minister as saying. (The Hindu 15/6/16)

72. Railways launches integrated social media platform for real-time grievance redressal (1)

NEW DELHI: Railways minister Suresh Prabhu launched integrated social media platform — Facebook & Twitter — for faster and real-time redressal of passengers’ grievances. Launching the service, Prabhu said, “I invite all Facebook users to interact with us on this platform and contribute to improve the services of Railways.” As of now, railways has been successfully handling more than 7000 tweets daily of various nature such as complaints, suggestions or assistance. After its immense success (more than 10 lakhs followers on Twitter), the railways has decided to interact with its fans and followers on Facebook through leveraging IT for prompt and speedy resolution of issues. The integrated social media platform is made functional from Wednesday for the posts received on Twitter and Facebook. The platform is a step forward in integration of various mediums of customer touch-points on Railways. An official said this step will strengthen our efforts of being a responsive and customer oriented organization.Any passenger or rail user can now post his grievance, suggestion or assistance on railways’ Facebook Page (“Ministry of Railways – India”).An official said that a system has been put in place to analyze the Facebook Post and the same will be forwarded internally to the concerned divisional railways manager (DRM) by the staff working round the clock in the social media cell at Railway Board.”Prompt action taken by the DRM on the grievance will be posted on the same page. This will be monitored at the Railway Board level in order to ensure that the grievances are redressed by the respective DRMs satisfactorily,” he added. (Times of India 15/6/16)

COMMUNAL RIOTS

73. Forced to migrate for work, UP gives ‘jobs card’ to riots displaced men (7)

MEERUT: Hundreds of men displaced by the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2103 that rendered over 50,000 homeless and killed 62 are being forced to migrate from Shamli in UP, where they had been given temporary shelter, to cities as far as Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru in search of livelihood as they have lost all documents in the violence and can’t even get jobs under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the absence of it.Now, though, to ease their hardship the district administration has in a first lot cleared a list of 80 names to be given job-cards under NREGA. “On Friday morning, we received a list of 80 people who had been seeking employment under the NREGA. We asked the applicants to furnish some proof of identity with a photograph. They will have their job cards within the week,” said additional development officer (ADO) Manoj Kumar. Afkar India Foundation, an organisation working for the rehabilitation of riot victims, said that most displaced families lost all their documents after the riots, which made them ineligible for government schemes. As a result, they have had to migrate to other states such as Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan for employment. Some have even gone as far as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as not many jobs can be found in this belt of western Uttar Pradesh. “After the riots, thousands were displaced. Countless others families were uprooted from their homes and wander around. Of these, close to 2,800 families came and settled in the neighbouring Shamli district. Some of these families were from Shamli district itself. It’s been almost three years since the riots and most of these families don’t even have ration cards yet, neither do they have water or power connections. They live in deplorable conditions and they resort to manual labour to make ends meet,” said Akram Akhtar, project manager at Afkar India Foundation, an NGO that works for the rehabilitation of riot victims. Akhtar added, “The authorities have known of this problem for a long time but they only started acting on Friday. To start with, these 80 people, who have some identification at least, have been marked for help. We have been asked to get their documents in place within a week. After that they will be put to work at a pond near Kandhla, which needs cleaning. It’s a good beginning.” (Times of India 10/6/16)

74. SIT to reopen 75 cases of anti-Sikh riots, complaints against Jagdish Tytler among those to be reinvestigated (7)

New Delhi: Ahead of the Punjab assembly elections early next year, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the central government in 2015 has decided to reopen 75 cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the capital. The decision comes in the wake of a letter submitted by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 6. In his letter to the PM, Kejriwal had termed the investigation an “eyewash” and urged the Centre to look into the matter. “The SIT has failed to reopen even a single case. I urge you to either get your SIT to do something or kindly wind up this SIT and allow the Delhi government to set up an SIT for a proper investigation and get justice for the victims,” Kejriwal wrote. The cases to be reopened include the ones against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, who was given a clean chit on his role during the riots, along with Sajjan Kumar and late HKL Bhagat. A total of 3,325 people were killed in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other states in the riots after the prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984. Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths. The riots are considered to be one of the most violent cases of communal violence after Partition in 1947. The Human Rights Watch (HRW), in its 2011 World Report, had stated: “The government has yet to prosecute those responsible for the mass killings of Sikhs that followed the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Delivery of justice for mass violence against Muslims in Mumbai in 1992-93 and in Gujarat in 2002 has been slow.” The GP Mathur committee, set up by Modi in 2014, had recommended the Centre to look into the various Sikh grievances in its January 2015 report. The committee, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice (retd) GP Mathur, had submitted its report to Union home minister Rajnath Singh and recommended a fresh probe. In February 2015, the Centre constituted a three-member SIT chaired by Pramod Asthana, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1986 batch. District and Sessions court judge Rakesh Kumar and additional deputy commissioner of police Kumar Gyanesh were the other members. The SIT was ordered to submit its recommendations within six months – a deadline that has overshot by almost a year now. In May 2016, the Centre approved increased compensation to 1,020 families, hit by the riots, who migrated to Punjab from different parts of the country. Punjab has been asked to reopen the cases for verification that will allow families to come forward and claim the enhanced compensation of Rs 2 lakh. Delhi had 237 anti-Sikh riot cases that were closed because of non-availability of victims or lack of evidence. After reviewing their documents, it has been decided to re-examine about 75 cases so far. Since the Modi government came to power, different Sikh groups have demanded reopening of cases. It has been 32 years since the riots and 10 commissions and committees have been formed. It was a long-standing demand of the Sikh community that an SIT be set up. The new development may be seen as a bid for one-upmanship between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ahead of the Punjab elections in 2017. (DNA 13/6/16)

75. 11 of 24 convicts in Gulbarg Society massacre sentenced to life in jail (7)

AHMEDABAD: Eleven people convicted of murder in the Gulbarg Society massacre were sentenced to life in jail by a special SIT court on Friday. Of the 13 people convicted for lesser crimes, one was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 12 were given seven years in jail. The court said all the convicts will serve their sentences concurrently. Also, the court didn’t bar the state government from remitting the convicts’ sentences. That means, the convicts could end up serving shorter terms than they were sentenced to. As many as 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri were killed in 2002 in an attack on Gulbarg Society , a Muslim residential pocket here. “They are not a menace to society, the accused can be reformed,” said the court while delivering the sentence. Gulbarg Society, a Muslim residential pocket of about 30 bungalows and 10 apartment blocks in Ahmedabad, was attacked a day after the Sabarmati Express train was torched in Godhra. The massacre was committed on February 28, 2002 when Narendra Modi was Gujarat Chief Minister. This case’s trial lasted seven years and was conducted in front of four different judges. On June 2, the court had convicted 11 persons for murder and other offences, while 13 others, including VHP leader Atul Vaidya, were charged with lesser offences. The court has also acquitted 36 in the case. The 11 who were convicted of murder and who got life in jail are Kailash Dobhi, Yogendra Shekhwat, Jayesh Jinger, Krishna Kala, Jayesh Parmar, Raju Tiwari, Naran Channelwala, Lakhansinh Chudasma, Bharat Teli, Bharat Rajput and Dinesh Sharma. …  (Times of India 17/6/16)

76. Atleast 50,000 Muslims migrated after Muzaffarnagar riots: Asaduddin Owaisi (7)

Hyderabad: Asaduddin Owaisi, Owaisi, BJP, AIMIM, muslims BJP,Kairana, Kairana exodus, Muzaffarnagar riots, hindu muslim, hindu muslim conflict, india news Owaisi claimed “50,000 people had left their original places where they had lived for generations” after the Muzaffarnagar riots, and termed it as “mass uprooting” of minorities after country’s Independence. Claiming that 50,000 Muslims migrated after the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday asked the BJP if it would send a fact-finding committee there, akin to the one sent by it to Kairana on the issue of alleged migration of Hindus. The Hyderabad Lok Sabha member termed as “bogus” the list of 346 families who are alleged to have “fled” Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, adding that it suited the interests of both the BJP and the Samajwadi Party to create a “drama” over the issue. Owaisi claimed “50,000 people had left their original places where they had lived for generations” after the Muzaffarnagar riots, and termed it as “mass uprooting” of minorities after country’s Independence.“Would the BJP send a fact-finding committee? Would the BJP find some time to send delegation to find out what happened to those 50,000 people who are displaced? (after Muzaffarnagar riots),” he said. “Basically, they (BJP) have no other issue and this (Kairana issue) shows the real face of BJP that all this talk of development, ‘sab ka saath sab ka vikas’, is all a farce…unfortunately, they are being helped by Samajwadi Party,” Owaisi claimed. “It suits both BJP and Samajwadi Party. Politically, BJP wants to create a fear among majority community. Samajwadi Party wants to give a message to Muslims that you are insecure if you don’t elect Samajwadi Party. So, this drama suits both BJP and Samajwadi Party,” he said. When such issue are in the forefront, Samajwadi Party is happy as it does not have to answer questions on their failure to deliver and on “misgovernance”, he said. Owaisi said the AIMIM would contest the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, due early next year, but added that it was too early to give the number of seats that it would contest. He said his party was open to forging an alliance in Uttar Pradesh. “Yes. I have no issue if such a proposal comes. We are open for alliance but we will have to wait and see what happens.” (Indian Express 18/6/16)

COMMUNALISM

77. Hindu men, go home and worship your manhood: VHP leader Pravin Togadia (26)

Jambusar : Blaming growing “impotency” among Hindu men for the decline in share of the community in the country’s population, VHP leader Pravin Togadia Friday exhorted them to “go home and worship your manhood”. Addressing a gathering at Jambusar in Bharuch district to induct fresh blood into the saffron outfit, he asked Hindu couples to have more children to counter the growing numbers of Muslims in India. He also blamed “love jihad” and conversion to Christianity for slipping percentage of Hindu population. Amid chants of “Jai Shree Ram”, Togadia said: “Ab to Hindu ghatega nahi, badhega … Dharmantaran ko na, ghar wapsi ko haan; love jihadko na uniform civil codeko haan; Bangladeshi Muslim ko na… Hindu gharon me bachche paida karo (Now, the population of Hindus will rise… say no to conversion and yes ghar wapsi; say no to love jihad and yes to uniform civil code; say no to Bangladeshi Muslims… have more children in Hindu households).”He appealed to the youth to give up tobacco – one of the reasons for “impotency”. Showing a product “prepared” by him, Togadia, who is also a doctor, said, “This is a product that I have created. It is available for Rs 600, but I’m giving out to you for Rs 500 here. Take this to your wife, ask her to mix it with your meals so that you remain potent and continue to produce children.” He also stressed on protection of cows and chose Jambusar — a town where Muslims form 30 per cent of population — to argue his point. “If we (Hindus) increase our number, will anyone in Jambusar have the audacity to slaughter a cow?” Questioning “government’s policy of development without offering protection to Hindus”, the VHP leader said, “You are making bullet trains, smart cities, but who will travel in the trains if there is no Hindu?” At the event, around 50 youths accepted trishuls or tridents, taking a pledge to “never misuse the trishul and use it for protection of the dharma; and to never use it on a fellow Hindu.” (Indian Express 11/6/16)

78. VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi booked in Unnao for hate speech (26)

KANPUR: The Unnao Police on Tuesday registered an FIR against controversial VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi for making derogratory remarks against a particular community.The FIR was registered against Prachi in Sadar Kotwali police station on the complaint of one Sandeep Kumar of Bahujan Mukti Morcha, who stated that Prachi made a statement in Uttarakhand on June 8. Station House officer of Sadar Kotwali Sanjay Pandey told TOI that the FIR has been registered under Section 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 153 B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 504 and 505 of the IPC.Known for stoking controversies, Sadhvi had claimed the mission of a Congress-free country has already been completed and it is now time to make India free of Muslims. “Now that we have achieved the mission of making a India free of Congress, it is time to make India Muslim-free,” Sadhvi had said in Roorkee. Pandey said that though the FIR has been registered in Unnao, it would be transferred to Uttarakhand as the matter belongs to their state territory. (Times of India 14/6/16)

79. RSS training women in lathi and unarmed combat (26)

Agra: After almost a decade, the women wing of the RSS, Rashtriya Sevika Samiti, has organised a self-defence training camp in Agra.About 500 young girls, including techies, MBA and BTech, are being trained to fight with 6 feet long ‘lathis’ and unarmed combat (Niyudh) for self-defence. Talking to TOI, RSS Sevika, Anjula Mahor, said the 18 days camp, which started on June 5, at Saraswati Vidya Mandir had seen participation of 500 women from across western UP and Uttrakhand. She said the participants are in age group of 14 to 45 years and belong to all strata’s of the society.Mahor said that the “path Sanchalan” (training) would be conducted on June 21 and the trainees would publicly display their talent at a function. She said the motive behind such camps is to “empower” the women to protect themselves in adverse situations. Besides, ‘dand’ (lathis) and ‘niyudh’ (unarmed combat), these girls are also being trained for group discussion and other activities so they can easily open up and communicate their thoughts effectively, said Mahor. She said the RSS has been organising such camps every year across the state. (Times of India 17/6/16)

80. VHP survey on ‘decreasing’ Hindu numbers in Uttar Pradesh (26)

Lucknow: AMID THE controversy over the alleged exodus of Hindu families from Kairana, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has started a state-wide survey in UP to identify areas where population of Hindus has decreased in comparison to Muslims over the years. In a three-day meet in Patna beginning June 23, around 225 VHP office-bearers from across the country would discuss Kairana and other areas, where the population of Hindus has allegedly gone down. They would also decide on an action plan to prevent further migration of Hindus from these areas.“The VHP has often raised the issue. But the situation is very serious in UP. Hence, when the Kairana issue was highlighted in the media, all district units were asked to identify areas where the population of Hindus has decreased,” VHP national joint general secretary Surendra Jain said. He added: “Till Saturday, we received a list of 60 areas in western UP where Hindus were in majority 30 years ago. But now, Muslims are in majority there.” In most of these areas — Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Sambhal, Shamli, Amroha, Bijnor and Rampur — Hindu population has come down from 15 per cent to 8 per cent, claimed Jain. Many of these areas are surrounded by Hindu-dominated localities and villages. (Indian Express 20/6/16)

TERRORISM

81. Islamic State claims third attack in week on Bangladesh minorities (12)

Dhaka: Islamic State has claimed responsibility for 21 of the attacks since its first claim in September last year and Al-Qaeda has claimed most of the rest, according to SITE. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of a Hindu monastery worker who was stabbed to death in Bangladesh, a monitoring service tracking militant online activity reported a day after the slaying. It was the third killing of a member of religious minorities in the mostly Muslim country that the group has taken responsibility for in the past week. The claim was carried by Islamic State’s Amaq news agency, Site Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based monitoring service, reported on Saturday. Police said unidentified assailants attacked Nitya Ranjan Pandey (60), while he was walking in the northwestern district of Pabna early on Friday morning. “He was found lying in a pool of blood,” district police chief Alamgir Kabir said, adding that no one saw the attackers. Hundreds of suspects have been held across the country after police launched a week-long crackdown on militants after a wave of gruesome killings. In the past week alone, an elderly Hindu priest and a Christian shopkeeper were hacked to death – both of which Islamic State claimed responsibility for – and the Muslim wife of a counter-terrorism police official was also killed. Militants have killed more than 30 people in Bangladesh, including members of religious minorities, liberal bloggers and academics, since February last year. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for 21 of the attacks since its first claim in September last year and Al-Qaeda has claimed most of the rest, according to SITE. The government denies either group has a presence in Bangladesh and says domestic militants are responsible. Five suspected members of the outlawed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen were killed in shootouts after the woman was stabbed and shot dead on Sunday. Last month, police announced 1.8 million taka ($23,000) in rewards for information leading to the arrest of six militants of Ansarullah Bangla Team, another outlawed group they believe is behind the violence. Analysts say a climate of intolerance in Bangladeshi politics has both motivated and provided cover for perpetrators of religious hate crimes. The government blames the growing violence on political opponents linked to Islamist parties, that it accuses of seeking to create chaos and prevent courts from going ahead with war crimes trials related to the 1971 war of independence. The opposition party denies the accusations. Hindus and Christians make up about 10 percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million population. (The Hindu 11/6/16)

82. Babri demolition, Godhra riots led youths to al-Qaeda: Delhi Police (12)

New Delhi: Indians joining Al-Qaeda were moved by the 1992 Babri mosque demolition and 2002 Godhra riots and were committed to establish base of terror outfit Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) here, Delhi Police has told a court in Delhi. In its charge sheet filed against 17 accused, the Special Cell of the Delhi Police said for the purpose of jihad, some of them had gone to Pakistan and had met Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and several other dreaded terrorists. “While delivering jihadi speeches in various mosques, he (arrested accused Syed Anzar Shah) met Mohd Umar (one of the absconding accused) and they discussed atrocities on Muslims in India, especially Godhra and Babri Masjid issues. Umar was impressed with his jihadi ideology and speeches and committed himself to the cause of jihad and expressed the desire to receive arms/ammunition training from Pakistan,” the charge sheet filed before Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh said. It said that Umar was operating from Pakistan. Police said arrested accused Abdul Rehman had provided safe hideouts in India to Pakistani militants Salim, Mansoor and Sajjad, all members of Jaish-e-Mohammed, who were later killed in a shootout in Uttar Pradesh in 2001. These three Pakistani militants had come to India to take revenge of Babri Masjid demolition and had planned to attack Ram Mandir in Ayodhya but got killed, the charge sheet claimed. The police named in its charge sheet 17 accused, 12 of whom are absconding, for allegedly conspiring, recruiting Indian youths and establishing a base of AQIS here. In its final report, the agency has charged five arrested accused — Mohd Asif, Zafar Masood, Mohd Abdul Rehman, Syed Anzar Shah and Abdul Sami — for alleged offences under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). All the 17 accused were listed in the charge sheet for alleged offences under sections 18 (punishment for conspiracy), 18-B (punishment for recruiting of any person for terror act) and 20 (punishment for being member of terror organisation) of the UAPA. The accused were arrested between December 2015 and January 2016 from different parts of the country. The probe agency has alleged that al Qaeda was trying to set up its base in India under the banner of AQIS and some youths from districts of western Uttar Pradesh had already left India and joined its cadre in Pakistan. It said that one of the modules of the outfit was active in Sambhal district in Uttar Pradesh. It alleged that the accused were in touch with terrorists from Pakistan, Iran and Turkey via social media and mobile phones, and they had visited these countries and had also financed AQIS and motivated the youths for jihad. Besides the five arrested accused, the agency also named in its charge sheet 12 others who are at large and the court had earlier issued non-bailable warrant against them. The absconding accused are Syed Akhtar, Sanaul Haq, Mohd Sharjeel Akhtar, Usman, Mohd Rehan, Abu Sufiyan, Syed Mohd Arshiyan, Syed Mohd Zishan Ali, Sabeel Ahmed, Mohd Shahid Faisal, Farhatullah Ghori and Mohd Umar. The FIR in the present case was registered after arrest of Asif on December 14 last year. (The Hindu 12/6/16)

83. 13 ISIS loyalists killed, seven others wounded in Nangarhar province (12)

KABUL: At least 13 loyalists of the ISIS terrorist group were killed and seven others wounded during the clearance operations in eastern Nangarhar province. The operations were conducted in Achin and Deh Bala districts of Nangarhar province with the support of the Air Force and Artillery units, Khaama Press reported the Ministry of Defence as saying. The operations were conducted in the aftermath of an attack by ISIS loyalists on police headquarters of Haska Mina, which killed the district police chief along with five other cops. The Afghan forces have stepped up counter-terrorism operations targeting the ISIS loyalists as the terror group is trying to expand its foothold in the country. In the meantime, the Afghanistan National Security Council (NSC) approved in principle the strategy to fight the ISIS terrorist group, reports Khaama Press. The NSC has instructed relevant institutions to take all necessary actions to destroy the terror group and prevent terrorist activities in the country. (New Indian Express 13/6/16)

84. 39 Indians kidnapped by ISIS in Iraq are alive: Sushma Swaraj (12)

New Delhi: The 39 Indians, kidnapped by the dreaded ISIS in Iraq in June 2014, are still alive, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, dismissing reports about their killing and insisting that efforts to trace them are on. In her annual press conference, Swaraj said the government was was trying its best to ensure safe release of Judith D’Souza, an aid worker and resident of Kolkata, who was abducted by suspected militants in Kabul on June 9. The External Affairs Minister also said India was in touch with top authorities in Bangladesh after a priest of Rama Krishna Mission in Dhaka received death threat. About 40-year-old Judith, Swaraj said “We are trying our best. The way we are going ahead, I think it will be resolved soon.” Replying to a question on the 39 Indians kidnapped around two years back by ISIS militants from Mosul town, Swaraj said she did not have “any proof of their killing than the statement of Harjit Masih.”Masih, who had managed to flee from captivity of the ISIS, claimed all the 39 Indians had been killed. Swaraj questioned Masih’s claim saying two heads of states in the Gulf region told her, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee that the Indians were alive. “I am not giving false assurance. If I had confirmation that they were killed, then definitely, I would have sought apology from their families with folded hands and said they were killed. Their killing in such a situation in Mosul in Iraq would not have been blamed on me. “When I say they are alive, I have taken on myself a major responsibility of tracing them….Nobody except Harjit Masih said they were killed. I will do injustice to them if I say they have been killed. It is my the responsibility to (find them) and I will not shy away from it,” Swaraj said, adding “I do not abandon any Indian national.” When asked about the death threat to a priest of the Ramakrishna Mission in Dhaka, Swaraj said, “It is very unfortunate. It is painful for us. We are in touch with top authorities.” Replying to a question on a spate of targeted attacks and killings of Hindus and other non-Muslims in Bangladesh, Swaraj said the Sheikh Hasina government is leaving no stone unturned in coming down hard on people who are involved in these incidents. “More than 3,000 people have been arrested. Sheikh Hasina is taking strong action. More than this, I am happy that Islamic clerics and religious leaders have issued a fatwa saying these kinds of activities are anti-Islamic and it has been signed by one lakh religious leaders,” she said. Swaraj said the government was drafting a policy to help persecuted minorities in various countries. She said the government will help people of all religions and not only the Hindus. (Indian Express 20/6/16)

NAXALS/ MAOISTS

85. Chhattisgarh CM becomes ‘personal guide’ for children from Naxal-infested region (12)

Raipur: In a rare gesture aimed at bridging the gap between the VIPs and the common folks, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister became a ‘personal guide’ for around hundred children from Chhattisgarh’s Naxal-infested Kondagaon region and took them for a tour of his residence. He was seen discussing about trees and birds with the children, studying in 6th, 7th and 8th standard. The children, who hail from highly naxal affected district of Bastar, were invited to spend two days in Raipur. The group from Kasturba Vidyalay and Bal Ashram, comprising mainly of girls, were taken to the science city and the planetarium. They were also taken to a shopping mall and to watch a movie. Ironically, 17 of these children are orphans and most of them have left their native villages for the first time. (Indian Express 12/6/16)

86. Naxals urged to surrender (12)

ADILABAD: Adilabad Superintendent of Police Vikram Jeet Duggal on Monday urged naxalites to surrender and join the mainstream. He specifically asked Maoist Area Committee member Athram Shobhan alias Charles, hailing from Rompalli in Tiryani mandal to surrender. The call came when the SP met relatives of the Maoist at their home in the remote village which he visited apart from Thatiguda, Gundala, Mangi, Tokkiguda and Kheriguda. He interacted with Charles’ maternal uncle Parchaki Jaithu and explained to him the rationale behind the surrender. Mr. Duggal was accompanied by a team of doctors besides Additional SP (Operations) T. Panasa Reddy and Bellampally DSP A. Ramana Reddy. The doctors who accompanied the SP gave a check-up to locals in all the villages. Mr. Duggal underscored the need for improvement in relations between the police and the public. He said this would go a long way in controlling Maoism. The police officials broke bread with tribals at Mangi village. At Gundala, he asked villagers to send their children to school and assured free coaching to the eight youngsters from Gundala and Thatiguda who cleared preliminary exam for police constable recruitment. The police party gave away sports kits to youths. They also gave away books and school bags to schoolchildren. (The Hindu 14/6/16)

87. Fact-finding team flags fake encounters in Bastar (12)

NAGPUR: A fact-finding team of the All India People’s Forum (AIPF), which visited four districts of the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh last week, has castigated the State police and security forces for alleged fake encounters, rapes, fake cases, arbitrary arrests and fake surrenders by Maoists. An eight-member fact finding team of the AIPF, led by Kavita Krishnan, the secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association, and assisted by tribal activist Soni Sori, also concluded that the Christian minorities in the region faced communal violence. Listing incidents, the team said: “Three village boys — Dudhi Bhima, Sodhi Moya and Vetti Lachchu were killed in a fake encounter by the police on November 3, 2015 in Arlampalli village of Sukma district. No FIR has been registered in the case yet. Four women — Rame, Pandi, Sunno and Mase were killed in another fake encounter on November 11, 2015 at Nagalguda village of Dantewada district. One of them was raped before being killed. Two small girls — Siriyam Pojje and Manjam Shanti — were killed by the police in cold blood on January 31, 2016 near Palamagdu village of Sukma. Police declared the girls as Maoists. However, villagers say they had no connection with the Maoists. A married couple was killed by the police on May 21, 2016 near Kadenar village of Bijapur district and branded as Maoists. But the couple had left the Maoist movement five years ago, claimed the AIPF fact-finding team in a press statement. The team also alleged that 22 DRG (District Reserve Guard) jawans were decorated and promoted for Nagalguda encounter “in spite of the fact that rewarding jawans for encounters is against NHRC guidelines and Supreme Court guidelines for encounters”.The team also questioned the police version of large scale surrenders in Chintalnar area of Sukma and claimed that most of the cases of surrender in this area were “not genuine”. The team claimed that the villagers resisting violations of the Forest Rights near Raoghat Mines in Kanker district were facing “repression and intimidation”. “Two AIPF teams covered 1,650 km encountering more than 60 police and CRPF camps. But In the 25 villages that the teams visited, the villagers were insecure and suspicious of each other. In these four districts, political groups and other organisations are rather inactive, suggesting that the scope for democracy has shrunk there. Most of the villages were without electricity, without roads and lacking in education and health facilities,” the team said. (The Hindu 14/6/16)

88. 3 ‘senior-level’ Naxals killed in encounter on the Maharashtra-Telangana border (12)

Nagpur: ON HIS fourth day as the new Superintendent of Police of Gadchiroli, Abhinav Deshmukh led an inter-state operation along with the Adilabad police in Telangana to kill three senior-level Naxals in an encounter on the Maharashtra-Telangana border Sunday. The deceased were later identified as Mangi divisional committee member Charles alias Athram Shobhan (31), a resident of Adilabad district, Indarveli area committee member Mukesh (25) and Mangi area committee member Dinesh (18), both from Chhattisgarh. While Charles carried a reward of Rs 16 lakh, while the other two carried that of Rs 6 lakh each, said a press note issued by the Gadchiroli police. “This is a major success for the police, since all three were very senior cadres,” Deshmukh told The Indian Express.“We had intelligence input about movement of a Telangana-based dalam in the Kotapali forest near Vyankatapur in the Aheri tehsil of the district. So, along with the Telangana police, we conducted a joint operation in the area. Around 6 am on Sunday, an encounter ensued between police and the Naxals. After about 40 minutes of gunbattle, the Naxals ran away. But we recovered three bodies from the spot along with an AK-47, an SLR and a .303 rifle,” said the SP. With Sunday’s casualties, the total number of Naxals killed in encounters with the police in Gadchiroli this year has gone up to eight. Earlier this year, five woman Naxal cadres were killed in different encounters in the district. Deshmukh took over as SP from Sandip Patil on June 15. Patil has been transferred to Satara where Deshmukh was his predecessor. (Indian Express 20/6/16)

TRAFFICKING

89. Child rights activists want strict vigil on Patna-Mumbai rail route (1)

MUMBAI: Child rights activists have demanded that monitoring at major stations on the Patna-Mumbai route be beefed up to check child trafficking. On the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour on Sunday, officials of the Mumbai-based NGO, Pratham, which has been working against child labour for years and has been carrying out its activities in Bihar in collaboration with the State government, said vigilance only on the exit and entry points wasn’t enough. Pratham is in talks with the RPF and the railway authorities to tighten vigil at various stations. “There are six major stations between Patna and Mumbai, and a strong vigil is needed on the route. They said traffickers now know the stations where there is a vigil, and board the train, say two stations ahead,” said Kishor Bhamre, director, Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children. He said if there is heavy monitoring at Kurla and Kalyan, traffickers get off with the children at Igatpuri and travel to Mumbai by road. Mr. Bhamre said the other sectors that need strict vigilance are Patna-Secunderabad, Patna-Surat, Lucknow-Mumbai, Gaya-Delhi and Gaya-Secunderabad. “We have presence at Jaipur, Secunderabad and Kurla stations. In between all these stations, the RPF and the GRP should be monitoring trains to check trafficking of children for work.” Other experts said there is a need to sensitise industries against the use of child workers. “There is child labour at garment factories, dhabas , stone quarries and construction sites. All of us have a role to play in this. Besides using labels like ‘Made in India’, it is very important that industries use the label: ‘Not made by child labour’,” said Asha Bajpai, professor of law at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, who is also the author of Child Rights in India . She said joint inspections by labour inspectors and the civil society must be made to rescue child workers and monitor the implementation of anti-child labour laws. (The Hindu 13/6/16)

90. Children trafficked from Bihar rescued at Thane (1)

MUMBAI: A day after the World Day against Child Labour was observed, 27 children from Bihar who were being trafficked to Mumbai were rescued at Thane station on Monday. All the children were aged below 17 years, and with the youngest among them being 10. The children were travelling to Mumbai with 21 adults in the Jansadharan Express from Bihar. Kishor Bhamre of Pratham, an NGO that works on child rights, said: “We got information that around 70 children had boarded the train from Raxaul in East Champaran district of Bihar.” Mr. Bhamre, who is director of Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children, said his team alerted the RPF. A team of Pratham members and RPF personnel landed at Kurla station, the train’s last halt. “Our team of 25 people along with the RPF was waiting at Kurla, but the last halt of the train changed to Thane on Monday. An announcement was made at the last minute, but by the time the team reached Thane, only 27 children were left,” said Mr. Bhamre. Four members of Pratham had boarded the train at Nashik to track these children, but the change in the last halt worked against their plan to intercept them at Kurla. A senior RPF official said: “Pratham got us the information and we assisted them in the rescue. Of the 27 children, in the case of some we could establish their relation with the accompanying adults. In the case of the other children, however, some said they were distantly related to the adults accompanying them or that they were from the same village and were coming to Mumbai for sight-seeing.” However, the authorities are investigating to find out where the children were headed to. Officials said cases against the 14 adults have been registered by the GRP, Thane. (The Hindu 14/6/16)

91. Locals say 100 children missing from Mankhurd, police deny claim (1)

Mumbai: Four-year-old Ganga was playing outside her home near Mankhurd railway station around 10 a.m. on March 6. Minutes later, when her mother Geeta Kesari couldn’t trace her, the family set out on a search. Next morning, Ganga’s body was found at a construction site not far from her home, and investigation showed that she was raped before being murdered. Ganga is merely one of several children who have gone missing from the dense slum pockets around Mankhurd railway station. A local NGO, Navjavan Bharat Sabha, pegs the number of missing children in 2015-16 at an astounding 100, and they suspect that a child trafficking ring is at work in the area. Geeta Kesari says if the police had acted promptly, her daughter would have been alive. “I saw a policeman on the street and approached him for help. But he only directed me to go to the police station,” she says. Ms. Kesari and her family were held up till past midnight, with formalities of a missing complaint before some locals discovered Ganga’s body. Senior Police Inspector Nasir Ahmed Sheikh said the girl had severe injuries to her privates and had died of suffocation. The police rounded up suspects from the area and Ms. Kesari identified a man who had tried to make comments about Ganga, and had offered her chocolates. The suspect was arrested and jailed. A response from the Forensics department over DNA results is awaited. Another four-year-old, Komal Sonkar, has been missing for years. Like Ganga, she was playing outside her home one night, when she went missing. “The police did not do anything except directing us to go to this chowky and that,” said Komal’s mother Soni Sonkar. The case was transferred to the elite crime branch, and has been pending for years. Ms. Sonkar, who sells fish to earn a living, says her kids have become more careful now. She has four children, the eldest being 17, “but my youngest is lost”. Following complaints from a large number of people, Navjavan Bharat Sabha carried out a survey in the area, and found that almost 100 children had gone missing from the area in a year’s time. On Thursday, the group took out a rally to the Mankhurd police station, voicing their demands. … (The Hindu 18/6/16)

92. ‘India needs stringent law to combat human trafficking’ (1)

Bhubaneswar: The Draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2016 released by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development for public opinion may be well-intended but in its present form, it is inadequate and incomplete as a national law, opined speakers in a meeting here. The meeting was organised here by the Odisha Alliance for Child Rights, DUCOM campaign, PECUC, NACG-EVAC, TdH and a host of voluntary organisations and networks. Presiding over the introductory session, OACR chairperson Ranjan Kumar Mohanty said the intention of bringing the draft bill by the Centre was highly welcomed, but the nation needs a stringent legislation to prevent and combat trafficking of persons. Speaking on the occasion, Razia Ismail of India Alliance for child Rights told that it did not define what human trafficking is and it must do so in conformity with internationally accepted interpretation and standards which India has accepted. Participating in the discussion, many eminent dignitaries opined that in seeking public comments and recommendations, the Government should be open to setting up a working group of informed and qualified persons to develop a draft of the standard and substance. The revised Bill should be sent to a select committee of Parliament for due study and assessment too, the participants viewed. The draft bill must adequately address the prevention, rehabilitation and protection issues along with penal provisions, they opined. Among others, former District Judge RS Mishra, CYSD chairman PK Sahoo, CLAP Dr Bikash Das, Harihar Naik of CCRP, advocates Dhaneswar Mohanty, Sidhartha Mishra and Ghasiram Panda of Action Aid spoke. The discussion was co-chaired and facilitated by Prakash Rath and Umesh Purohit. (Pioneer 20/6/16)

CORRUPTION

93. Punjab Medical Council urges PM to combat ‘medical corruption’ (5)

New Delhi, Jun 11 () Terming ‘medical corruption’ as the “worst” form of graft in the country, a top functionary of the Punjab Medical Council has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring in a strong law with strict implementation to curb the menace. In a hard hitting open letter to Modi, G S Grewal, President of the Punjab Medical Council, has said primarily there are three types of medical corruption – exorbitantly priced drugs, cuts and commissions to the referring doctors and referring patients for diagnostic tests and medical examinations without the actual need. Noting that the profession of doctors “no longer” remained noble, Grewal alleged that referring patients for diagnostic tests without any need has given rise to “medical mafia” and politicians have also sided with the erring doctors due to which illegal practices are going on at the cost of the patients. “I want to flag for your urgent attention the ‘medical corruption’ prevailing in the country. While any sort of corruption is disgusting and condemnable, medical corruption is the worst. “The medical corruption is primarily of three types. Exorbitantly priced drug, cuts and commissions to the referring doctors and referring the patients for diagnostic tests and medical examinations without the actual need,” Grewal wrote in his letter to Modi. He said there is a need to purge the healthcare system to make it easily affordable which is quite possible without harming the genuine and justified interests of the medical fraternity. “I request you (Modi) to bring in strong law against medical corruption which is the worst form of all the corruption. Only a strong law with strict implementation can act as a strong deterrent against the medical corruption, cheating and fraud. “Otherwise, desperate and helpless patients will continue to get exploited and fleeced and even dispossessed of their possessions, earnings and savings,” he said. In India, every year three crore people are believed to slip Below the Poverly Line after spending their savings and earning or selling off their assets for medical treatment, which may or may not cure them of their diseases and ailments. (Times of India 11/6/16)

94. CBI files chargesheet against Vyapam scam accused (5)

Indore: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), probing the cases under Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, on Monday filed a chargesheet in a special court here against an accused in connection with the irregularities in Pre-Medical Test (PMT) held in 2009. The chargesheet was filed before the special judge Raghvendra Singh Chouhan against Purshottam Khoiya under various sections of IPC for impersonation, cheating, forgery etc, a CBI official said. Khoiya is accused of sending a dummy candidate in his name to appear for the PMT and securing admission through fraudulent means in the state-run Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College here. The multi-crore rupee professional examination scam allegedly involves several high-profile professionals, politicians and bureaucrats as accused. Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, popularly known as Vyapam, holds examinations for various posts such as teachers, medical officers, constables and forest guards. The instances of irregularities in PMT are probed separately by the state and central agencies. (Business Standard 14/6/16)

95. Delhi BJP asks L-G to file FIR, order probe into tanker scam (5)

New Delhi: A delegation of the Delhi BJP submitted a memo to Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung on Wednesday requesting him to order the filing of an FIR and seeking investigation by either the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) or the CBI into an alleged Rs. 400 crore water tanker scam in the Delhi Jal Board (DJB). The BJP delegation included National Secretary R.P. Singh, the Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, Delhi BJP General Secretary Ramesh Bidhuri and media in-charge Praveen Shankar Kapoor among others. In its memo, the party pointed out that no investigation was done despite a Fact Finding Committee, set-up by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, submitting a report to AAP with all the requisite proofs pertaining to the existence of the said scam in July 2015. The memo added that Water Minister Kapil Mishra had apprised Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal about the scam 11 months ago. “Mr. Mishra had written a letter to the CM in this context and also submitted the report of the committee, but Mr. Kejriwal sat over the file for 11 months. Hence from legal point of view he is guilty of protecting the persons involved in the scam,” the party said in a statement. The party added that the government was yet to even cancel agreements with companies supplying water tankers despite being aware of the scam. Demanding a probe into the scam, the party also demanded that the L-G include Mr. Kejriwal’s name in the FIR so that the investigation agency concerned may probe the reason behind his alleged attempts to suppress the case. (The Hindu 16/6/16)

96. Podi scam: ACB registers FIRs against land records officials (5)

Bengaluru: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has registered FIRs against former Deputy Director of Land Records (DDLR) of Bengaluru Urban Raja Naik and others for irregularities in creating podi of over Rs 100 crore worth government lands. The ACB has registered two FIRs against Naik and other officials of land records department pertaining to grabbing of government lands in Channasandra, Pillahalli and Honnasandra in Bengaluru Urban district. These pricey lands were granted to a few private people after creating fake documents of podi. Subsequently, the mutation was also done in favour of the private persons. The Commissioner (Survey) Munish Moudgil had forwarded the report along with a complaint to the ACB some time ago on the illegalities committed while creating podi of government lands. There have been several reports against Naik, who is presently awaiting posting,  when he was the DDLR in the city. The cases now being investigated pertains to eight acres in Channasandra in survey number 115 (4+4 acres), two acres in Pillahalli in survey number 52, and one acre in Honnasandra in survey number 13. A senior official said that the investigation is still underway as far as the other officials involved in the case. As per the pre requirement before registering a case against a public servant, the ACB had written to the competent authority seeking sanction of prosecution against Naik. The state government has swiftly accorded the sanction to investigate the charges against Naik. However, the sanction is still awaited against certain lower rung officials involved in the cases, an official said. When he was the High Court judge, Justice Rammohan Reddy, who retired recently, had stated in the open court that some members of the public had handed him over a CD about the ‘podi’ irregularities by Naik in Bengaluru Urban district. The observation was made on October 28, 2015 during the hearing of a revenue matter. The judge, however, clarified recently that some people had tipped him of about it, but not handed over the CD. There were several reports against Naik by the previous Commissioner of Survey. It was reported that as DDLR, Naik had recommended before the District Missing File Committee, headed by the Bengaluru Urban deputy commissioner, to re-build the land grant files of the government land which were said to be missing. In most of the cases, the Committee had approved the recommendation and later Naik did the podi. There was also a report that Naik was in touch with V Bhaskar alias ‘420’ Bhaskar, one of the prime accused in the Lokayukta extortion scam who is presently in judicial custody. On February 5, 2015, Bhaskar had made seven calls to Naik on his mobile phone. (Deccan Herald 20/6/16)

ENVIRONMENT/ CLIMATE CHANGE

97. Coca-Cola faces case under SC/ST Act in Kerala (9)

Palakkad: Kerala Police has registered a case against multi-national soft-drink major Coca-Cola for allegedly exploiting and polluting groundwater sources of the backward Scheduled Caste community at Plachimada here. According to the case registered at Meenakshipuram police station here, Coca-Cola’s unit at Plachimada, which after being operational for some years is shut since 2004, had “wilfully polluted” the water sources of Eravalas, one of the most backward Scheduled Caste communities in the region. When contacted, company’s spokesperson said a response on the issue can be given only by tomorrow. Top company officials have been booked for non-bailable offences under various provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, police said. The case has been registered against the company’s all India head at Noida, Regional head at Kochi and the local head of the Plachimada unit, on a complaint lodged by Plachimada Samara Samithi, a public agitation council, police said. Meenakshipuram Principal Sub Inspector V S Syamkumar said the company officials would be summoned, if needed, during the course of investigation. “The case has been registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the offence is non-bailable. A detailed probe and verification of documents is the next step. The company officials will be summoned if necessary,” he told PTI. Though the company’s plant at Plachimada had downed shutters in 2004, the damage it caused to the livelihood of local people, especially the Eravalas, still remains, the complainant said. Coca-Cola closed down its unit at Plachimada in March 2004, following agitation by the locals complaining of environment pollution and over exploitation of groundwater by the company. A high-level committee appointed by the state government to report the loss caused to the people by the company had estimated the amount at Rs 216.25 crore. (DNA 12/6/16)

98. Environment ministry working on ‘remedial plan’ for violating projects (9)

NEW DELHI: The Environment ministry has developed a plan for considering and clearing projects that have started constructions or made expansions without obtaining an environment clearance (EC). It has issued a draft notification recently on “environmental supplemental plan” that will review and clear these projects that have violated the environment impact assessment (EIA) process by ensuring they mitigate the damage done. This because “the government deems it essential to grant environment clearance to entities which were non-compliant to make them compliant,” the draft read. The notification’s purpose is “remedial” the ministry claims. In the new plan, the expert appraisal committee or the state expert appraisal committee will refer such cases of violations to an expert group which will be constituted by the environment ministry. The expert group will prepare an ESP for restoration of the damage caused to the environment. If there is no expert group in a state the project will be appraised by the ministry. The ministry describes the ESP as “an environmentally beneficial project that is not required by law but that an alleged violator of EIA notification 2006 agrees to undertake as part of the process of environmental clearance.” Legal and environmental experts are not impressed. Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon of Centre for Policy Research and Namati Environment Justice Program have sent their comments on the draft notification to the secretary, MoEFCC recently. They pointed that the draft notification “lays out a process, which legally allows for a violator to damage the environment and subsequently obtain an ESP to compensate for the damage. The idea of the ESP is an undue favour to a violator. It will not act as a deterrent, but will encourage the practice of non-compliance as the project proponent is at no point under scrutiny for an “illegal act,” In their mail that lists a number of issues with the notification, they also flagged that the notification negates the purpose of EIAs. “The practice of EIA internationally has been to help make environmentally sound decisions on development. It draws upon strong environmental baselines, good science and informed appraisal so that decisions for economic growth take into account socio-environmental concerns.” The draft notification proposes the “thorough assessment of pecuniary benefits” so that damage to the environment can be restored. “As you are aware, in many instances construction activities that involve felling of trees, blocking of water bodies or restriction of local livelihoods can have irreversible damage and restoration, if even possible, could take decades. Release of toxic materials and activities such blasting can also have long-term impacts on both local livelihoods as well as the ecology. Pecuniary benefits can only calculate the damage in monetary terms, which is an extremely limited form of valuation of environmental loss,” they added… (Times of India 13/6/16)

99. ‘Himalayan nations face likely food crisis, need to join hands’ (9)

New Delhi: The Himalyan countries, including India, are likely to face an unprecedented food crisis unless they strengthen regional collaboration for the development of inclusive climate resilience in the region, experts have warned. The collaboration needs to be strengthened to address the food, water and energy issues in the Himalyan region, they say. “We need to work hard to make sure that mountain issues and their downstream linkages are well reflected in regional and global discussions. We need new knowledge in this area to guide us in the development of effective adaptation strategies in the region,” said David Molden, Director General of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), based in Kathmandu. He was speaking at the ‘Knowledge Forum on Climate Resilient Development in Himalayan and Downstream Regions’ in New Delhi, which concluded on Sunday. The event was jointly organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, ICIMOD, and New Delhi-based Institute of Economic Growth (IEG). The event brought together policy-makers, scientists and development practitioners from the Himalayan and downstream countries, including Bangladesh, China, India and Nepal. The challenge to food, water and energy security is immense in Himalyan region countries as more than 40 percent of the world’s poor live there and about 51 per cent of their population is food-energy deficient. “Feeding more than 700 million people in the Himalyan region, about two-thirds of the world population, is something we need to think about very seriously,” ICIMOD’s livelihood expert Golam Rasul said. IEG Director Manoj Panda said regional collaboration is needed on knowledge in specific sectors and research on single issues. “Climate change is not uniform in the region and might be very diverse and the impact is more on low-income areas of all nations,” Panda said. “Hill people have managed their resources in micro-watershed for centuries despite absence of appropriate administrative units in watersheds. We must communicate knowledge of the mountains and hills to downstream region,” Indian Institute of Public Administration Director Tishyarakshit Chatterjee said. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, a leading economist of Bangladesh, said the region needs to build social capital institutionally and individually at the local, regional and national levels. “We need equity and equitable development that lets all men, women and children benefit equally,” he said. Australia’s High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu said her country is ready to share its experience and expertise in three Himalayan river basins of the Ganga, Indus and Brahmaputra to address the issue. Molden said he hoped that the region will one day have its own ‘Himalayan Council’, like the Arctic Council, a notion echoed by Ahmad and Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Secretary Ajay Narayan Jha. (Business Standard 19/6/16)

AGRICULTURE/ FARMERS SUICIDES

100. OHRC seeks report on Kalahandi farmer deaths (20)

BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has sought a report from the State Government on farmers’ suicide in Kalahandi district. Acting on a petition filed by coordinator of Bhubaneswar-based Lohia Academy Trust Ajay Kumar Jena and and trustee Debaprasad Mohapatra, the human rights panel has asked the Principal Secretary of Agriculture Department, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) and district Collector to conduct an inquiry and send their respective reports within six weeks. The petitioners alleged that due to failure of paddy and cotton crops during the kharif and rabi seasons in Kalahandi district, the number of farmer suicides has gone up to six including the latest incident in which one Purna Chandra Bhoi of Golamunda block ended his life by consuming pesticides. The deceased farmer is said to have taken the extreme step as he was unable to bear crop loss and repay loan amount of `60,000 along with interest, the petitioners said and claimed that more farmers are committing suicides in different parts of the State for similar reasons but unfortunately, the State government has been refuting such incidents.  Besides appealing for award of compensation of `5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased farmer, the petitioners demanded compensation for other farmers who committed suicide due to crop loss in the tribal-dominated district. The loans incurred by farmers should also be repaid by the Government, they demanded. The Commission has fixed the next date of hearing on July 25. (New Indian Express 13/6/16)

101. Unemployment hitting farmers hardest: Bodies (20)

Bathinda: The farmer organisation BKU Ekta Ugrahan, protesting at Bathinda for the last 20 days demanding agri loan waiver, has termed the rising unemployment as one of the biggest reasons behind rising debt on farmers, apart from expenses on agriculture related activities. Farmers asserted that they spend large amounts on educating young sons and daughters, and when the youngsters fail to get employed it directly affects the farmer and his family. They added, “This makes paying back the loans difficult and pushes them towards suicide.” The farmers had started protest for debt waiver and survey of suicides after 2010 on May 24 and completed 20 days of protest on Sunday. BKU Ugrahan general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri said that though the unemployment was affecting every individual in the state but the farmers were hit the hardest. They took loans to educate their children and when educated youth failed in getting any employment, the families were devastated. The Bathinda police on Saturday resorted to lathi-charge thrice on unemployed teachers and others. Three different cases too have been registered against 25 persons, including half a dozen women under sections 283(obstruction in public way), 427(mischief causing damage) and prevention to damage to public property Act, and the highway Act. (Times of India 13/6/16)

102. Police collating data on suicide of farmers between 2011-2016 (20)

Madurai: The Tamil Nadu police are collating details of suicides committed by farmers across the State between 2011-2016 (till May) along with reasons attributed for taking the extreme step. The Director General of Police has instructed the Commissionerates and District police units to gather details of the suicides of farmers reported during the six-year period. The police have also sought details of reasons for committing suicides including debts, crop loss and personal issues. In the run up to the Assembly elections, AIADMK leader and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had said that fewer farmers had committed suicide in the last five years as opposed to 2006-11 when the DMK was in power. She had accused the DMK of indulging in “false propaganda” and finding fault with the AIADMK regime for increase in price of fertilisers and farmers’ suicides. (The Hindu 15/6/16)

103. Farmers harvest nothing but debt, finds Government survey (20)

NEW DELHI: If a government survey is to be believed, forget making money to sustain the family, an agricultural household is accumulating Rs 3,000 debt every month. The Agricultural Household 70th Round Survey of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), conducted during July 2012–June 2013, has found that the total income of an agricultural household per month was Rs 6,426. However, the total expenditure, including household and expenses on crop production, was Rs 9,502. “This shows why farmers are committing suicide,” says Kishor Tiwari who has been championing farmers’ cause in Vidarbha. “The situation is even worse in at least 18-19 districts and farm income is less than shown in the survey. Why do you think small and marginal farmers are migrating to cities? If I pick up the survey figure, a farmer is collecting Rs 36,000 in debt every year and cannot sustain the family. There is a need to increase farm income,” Tiwari told Express. As per the government’s own figures, as many as 116 farmers had committed suicide due to agrarian reasons till April 2016. According to the survey, the average monthly consumption expenditure per agricultural household during July 2012-June 2013 was Rs 6,223 and average monthly expenditure on productive assets used for farm and non-farm business during the same period was was Rs 1,087. The average monthly expenditure on crop production by a cultivating agricultural household during July 2012-June 2013 was estimated as Rs 2,192. The total expenditure by the household was Rs 9,502 per month. The report says about 52% of the estimated 90.2 million agricultural households in rural India reported outstanding loans. About 60% of these loans were taken from institutional sources like banks and government and 26 per cent from agricultural or professional money lenders. “Successive governments have kept farmers in this country impoverished,” observes Devinder Sharma, a well-known agricultural policy expert. The report further suggests farmers are earning the entire monthly income through agriculture. It says nearly 60% of the average monthly income per agricultural household (Rs 6,426) was estimated to have been generated from farm business, including cultivation and farming of animals, and about 32 per cent from wages or salary and 8 per cent from other non-farm business. “A farmer is making money through MNREGA. For small farmers, it could be labour work,” says Sharma. (New Indian Express 17/6/16)

104. Farmers block road in Bathinda (20)

Bathinda: Angered by the state government’s silence on the issue of giving compensation to the family of farm hand Ralla Singh, who had died at the dharna venue on Friday, farmers on Sunday blocked the road near Bathinda bus stand for over two hours. They lifted the blockade after an assurance from government officials. The farmers had at that time protested for debt waiver and a survey to identify families of farmers who committed suicide after 2010 (Tmes of India 20/6/16)

LAND ACQUISITION/ DISPLACEMENT

105. Social impact survey for Kovvada plant soon (4)

SRIKAKULAM: A notification for conducting social impact survey is expected to be issued in a couple of days. The survey is aimed at knowing the socioeconomic conditions of people living in Kovvada and the surrounding areas, where the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is going to establish India’s biggest atomic power plant. The survey is considered a crucial step in taking things forward for the establishment of the project in which U.S. companies are going to invest over Rs.1.5 lakh crore. Land survey, which was taken up on May 18, will be completed by Monday, according to revenue officials. The notification will be given after the report on land issues is ready. The government is considering enlisting the services of the Hyderabad-based Environment Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI) for conducting the survey, which is compulsory under the New Land Acquisition Act-2013. “We will complete the social impact survey by the end of July. Then, we will approach the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. After that, a public hearing will be conducted,” a senior official told The Hindu .NPCIL senior officials, including Kovvada Project Director G.V. Ramesh, are currently in Mumbai and will stay there for a couple of weeks for completion of talks with delegates of the American company, Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse Electric, which will supply reactors for the atomic power plant. The representatives of the company recently visited the Kovvada site discreetly and reportedly expressed their willingness to join hands with the NPCIL for the construction of the nuclear power plant. “Both the Union and State governments are very keen on the project, particularly after the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States. With the directive from the governments, we are going to complete land survey and acquisition very soon. We request the people to accept the package, which is the best in the country. They should not compare rates with Bhogapuram, where an international airport is going to come up,” said a senior official. (The Hindu 11/6/16)

106. RSP oustees to intensify agitation to get back land (4)

ROURKELA: ARMED with the report of the National Commission for Schedule Tribes (NCST), the displaced persons of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) on Sunday resolved to build up pressure on the State Government and the RSP to act on the NCST recommendations, including return of su rplus land to original owners. A meeting of the displaced persons’ association, RSP and Marshalling Yard Displaced Persons Committee (RSPMYDPC), led by president Lachhu Oram, decided to submit a representation to the Rourkela Additional District Magistrate (ADM) on June 20 to redress grievances of land oustees as per the commission’s recommendations. The house threatened to intensify its agitation in August if the administration and the RSP fail to fulfil their demands. The meeting decided to rope in two other factions of displaced persons, all political parties, seven MLAs and two MPs of Sundargarh district, including Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, for taking up their case. Among other demands, they insisted on return of about 5,000 acres of surplus land to original owners, jobs in RSP to displaced families on the lines of the Central PSU Coal India Ltd (CIL), dismissal of impersonators working in RSP as land oustees and other rehabilitation measures. Lachhu Oram claimed that his family had lost 53 acres of land decades ago. Making mockery of the rehabilitation package, they were offered low amount of compensation. While his family was denied employment benefit, in lieu of their land, barren wasteland was allotted at about 150 km away at Aamgaon in adjacent Deogarh district. They are yet to receive record of rights (RoR), he alleged. Mangra Oram said his eight acres of land were acquired and later five acres were surrendered by the RSP only to set up the Plant Site police station there. His family is yet to get compensation. Rama Oram claimed that of his 17 acres, only five acres of land have been in occupation of RSP. But there is no effort to return the surplus vacant land to him, he added. Tribal leader Manilal Kerketta alleged that the RSP had acquired vast tracts of tribal land in the area by paying negligible amount of compensation (New Indian Express 13/6/16)

107. ‘Development has displaced more people than war’ (4)

JAIPUR: Academic Shiv Visvanathan set something of a record at the Jawab Do Dharna on Wednesday by delivering his speech in English. Aruna Roy of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan said his native tongue was Tamil, and since few understood it, he will speak in English. She then stepped in to offer an eloquent translation not only in Hindi but also in the local dialect. “Development has caused many more people to be displaced in India than war – while four crore people have been displaced by ‘development’ projects, about one crore have been rendered homeless by communal riots,” he said. Visvanathan said that at a recent meeting with Medha Patkar who led the Narmada Bachao Andolan, he heard her lament that people had forgotten all about the massive displacement that occurred with the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat. “There is a civil war in the country, between democracy and development. Our Constitution was made for democracy. There are now theories of science and development that will destroy you – to give you just one example, it was decided in the 1960s that only those languages that have a script will be recognized as official languages. At one swoop, 2,000 languages were just written off. And there are over 1.5 lakh varieties of rice grains in the country. But if the Green Revolution were allowed full play, there would be about 10 left.” Visvanathan said that at the Baba Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, each time a leak needs fixing, it is not experts that are called in but local villagers, who fix the leak only to die a miserable death afterwards from radiation exposure. “Development is murder sanctioned by law,” Visvanathan said, adding that this aspect of what is called development is not peculiar to India. “In France the nuclear leaks are fixed by students, in the US blacks are used for the purpose; in Germany, old people.” Gujarat-based rights activist Sagar Rabari too spoke at the dharna on Wednesday. “While our political leaders claim the state has made massive strides in development, the standards of education and healthcare have seen great decline. Gujarat now ranks among the lowest states where education is concerned. The hospital in Bhuj that was reconstructed with funds from the PM’s Relief Fund after the earthquake in 2001 has now been handed over to the Adani group. Those who speak of development seem not to care for common people,” Rabari said. (Times of India 17/6/16)

RIGHT TO HEALTH

108. Infant mortality rate has dipped in Karnataka, says dept of planning principal secretary (3)

Mysuru: The infant mortality rate in the state has come down by almost 10 percent in the last two years, said Uma Mahadevan, principal secretary, Department of Planning, Programme, Monitoring and Statistics. She was speaking at the valedictory of the workshop on ‘Policy Analysis and Evaluation’ organized by the Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement in association with Cornell University (USA) at Vivekananda for Leadership Development (V-LEAD) here on Friday. She said, the infant mortality rate that indicates the number of infant deaths per 1,000 births, has come down to 28 in 2015-16 from 31 in 2013-14. She also said students and the parents have given thumbs up to the Ksheera Bhagya scheme under which school children get free milk every day. The government is now planning to improve it further, she added. She said, Karnataka is really progressing in all departments and doing well especially in education and health sectors. Dr Balasubramaniam, founder of V- LEAD, mentor Arun were also present. As many as 22 persons from across the country had participated in the workshop. (Times of India 11/6/16)

109. 3 lakh children to be vaccinated after polio strain found in sewage (3)

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Health plans to urgently immunise around 3 lakh children against the crippling polio virus after a strain of the highly contagious disease was detected in sewage in Hyderabad. India was declared polio free by the World Health Organization in March 2014 after an almost two-decade long, multi-million dollar effort — lauded as one of the country’s biggest public health achievements in recent times. A health ministry statement confirmed media reports that a strain of the virus was discovered in a sewage sample taken near Hyderabad’s Secunderabad railway station, but said that no children in area were found to be affected. “India continues to be polio free as the country has eradicated wild polio virus and the last case was seen on 13th January, 2011, and it is more than five years that no wild polio virus has been detected,” the health ministry said. The statement said a recent survey of the area found 94 percent of children had received at least three doses of the oral polio vaccine and therefore transmission was unlikely. However “as a precautionary measure” a special immunisation drive would be held from June 20 in the high-risk districts of Hyderabad and Rangareddy, targeting around 300,000 children between the ages of six weeks and three years, it said. Vaccination booths will be set up, the ministry said, and parents encouraged to get their children injected with the Inactivated Polio Vaccine which will provide additional protection against all types of polio. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only countries left in the world where the virus remains endemic. The polio virus attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours of infection. It often spreads in areas with poor sanitation, and children under five are the most vulnerable. India – where more than 50,000 children were once afflicted with the virus every year – was considered one of the toughest places in the world to eradicate polio. Millions of health workers were involved in India’s mammoth drive to immunise children by giving them polio drops. They targeted migrant families at bus stations, on trains and at festivals. Some used motorcycles or trekked to reach villages. … (Times of India 15/6/16)

110. More girls than boys die in UP before they turn five (3)

Lucknow: If Uttar Pradesh is known for its people’s bias against the girl child and preference for sons, the latest bulletin of Sample Registration Survey (SRS) has just reinstated the fact. The bulletin which examined the infant mortality rate for the state showed that more girls than boys died before they turned five. What comes as a bigger shock is that the ‘bias’ was more marked in urban areas than in rural areas. An infant is a child between 4 to 52 weeks old while infant mortality rate (or the number of infants dying among every 1,000 live births) is an important health, social and development indicator. The bulletin showed that the total IMR for UP was 48. It was found to be 47 among males and 50 among females. A rural-urban comparison however exposed the gender bias. In rural areas, 51/1000 boys and 52/1000 girls died before they could turn five. In urban areas, however, 31/1000 boys and 43/1000 girls couldn’t survive. “This means that against 31 boys, 43 girls died within 52 weeks of birth. The difference proves the fact that the health of girl child remains neglected and she is not given the required care she deserves. It also suggests that preference for the male child is no myth,” said Neelam Singh, who has been crusading against sex selective abortions for the past 25 years. She added that the bias also reflects in findings from the Annual Health Survey as well. On comparing state’s data with other bigger states, one can easily conclude that a UP-like trend was not seen elsewhere. Chhattisgarh was closest to UP with IMR of 30 for boys against 39 for girls in urban areas. Health activist Vishwajeet Kumar shared that preference for sons was deeply rooted in UP. “So deep is the bias that no one expects you to celebrate the birth of girl child. This is what happened with me as my wife delivered our second daughter,” he said. …  (Times of India 18/6/16)

111. Doctor suspended, two Burla hospital staffers sacked for alleged transfusion of infected blood (3)

Bhubaneswar/Sambalpur: The state government on Saturday suspended a doctor and sacked two employees of VSS Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR) at Burla in connection with alleged transfusion of infected blood to two persons in the hospital recently. The health and family welfare department in a statement said Dr Rajendra Patnaik, in-charge of blood bank at VIMSAR, was suspended. A laboratory technician and a data entry operator working at the blood bank were removed from service for administrative lapses. The government action follows allegation of infected blood, one HIV and another hepatitis C, being transfused on two patients, which came to light on June 15. VIMSAR, however, ruled out hepatitis C infection citing results of its ELISA test on the donor’s sample, results of which came on Friday. There is no clarity on HIV infection as yet. VIMSAR superintendent Braja Mohan Mishra, said, everything will be clear by Monday. (Times of India 19/6/16)

HIV/AIDS

112. Sex workers, HIV patients to get rice at Rs 2 per kg in Bengal (3)

KOLKATA: In a first, the West Bengal government has decided to provide rice at Rs two per kg to sex workers and poor HIV patients in the state. “This project is the brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. For the first time in the country, a state government has decided that sex workers and poor HIV patients will be given rice at Rs 2 per Kg,” state Food and Supplies Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick told PTI here. Poor leprosy patients, deaf and dumb children in various homes will also be included in the scheme and in the first phase, about one lakh beneficiaries from across the state will be identified for the purpose, the minister said in an interview. The state food department, he said, is all set to start a survey in a few days to identify sex workers and HIV positive patients in the state. “The survey will be completed in the next six months and the implementation of the project will start from January next year,” Mullick said. “We have seen how old and ill sex workers suffer at times. So this project of providing them rice at a subsidised rate will help them to some extent. The same applies for poor HIV patients in the state,” he said. The survey would be first carried out in the red light areas of the state such as Sonagachhi in the city. It would be done by officials of the food department in coordination with local authorities. “To identify HIV positive patients, we will appoint a food department official in all the state-run hospitals. We will collect the data from the hospital and send those details to the health department for further verification,” Mullick said. Once the verification is complete, ration card numbers of the HIV positive patients will be put into the data bank of the food department so that they can avail rice at Rs 2 per Kg from nearby ration shops, he said. (New Indian Express 12/6/16)

113. 26 years on, women in Assam still ‘ignorant’ about HIV (3)

Guwahati: Even after 26 years since the first case of AIDS was reported in Assam comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS among women in the age bracket between 15 to 49 years of age is minimal as per the latest National Family Health Survey (2015-16) report that was released recently. The NFHS report in one of its key indicators under the Knowledge of HIV/AIDS among adults, reported that 9.4 per cent of women between the age group of 15 to 49 years of age had comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS. The term ‘comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS’ as per the report is defined as knowing about reducing the chance of getting HIV/AIDS through consistent use of condoms in every sexual occasion, and having just one uninfected faithful sexual partner. The report also defines it as having knowledge that a healthy-looking person can have HIV/AIDS, and rejecting the two most common misconceptions about transmission or prevention of HIV/AIDS. The 9.4 per cent figure appears minimal when compared to that of 29.0 percent of women in Andhra Pradesh in the same age bracket having basic knowledge on AIDS, 34. 6 percent in Goa, 28.2 percent in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 40.7 percent in Manipur, 25.5 percent in Sikkim, and 28.0 percent in Tripura. “I think the 9.4 percent figure is a bit much. In reality the picture is more shocking. It is said that 70 percent of the AIDS budget is spent on awareness. Where is the money going? It is shameful that even after close to 30 years of the AIDS scourge only 9.4 percent of women are aware about it,” said Jahnabi Goswami, AIDS activist and the first women in the region to publicly declare her HIV positive status. Even though Assam is categorised as a low HIV prevalence state the annual HIV new infections has risen at an rate of 2.5 percent from 1219 in 2007 to 2408 in 2011. Till 31st December, 2014 a total of 9991 HIV positive cases were detected out of which 3445 were females.States like Bihar and Meghalaya with 10.1 percent and 13.3 percent respectively haven’t performed well either when it came to women having comprehensive knowledge on HIV/AIDS. “There is an acute shortage of manpower and resource in the health department overseeing HIV/AIDS scenario in the state. The figure appears shocking and it is not good. It needs serious thinking and introspection to do. There has been an ongoing fund crunch for AIDS from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO),” said a source at the health department.Till September, 2015 38 percent of HIV positive cases were detected from Kamrup (metro) followed by Cachar, Dibrugarh, Nagaon districts. From Kamrup (metro) district alone 4268 HIV positive cases were detected till September, 30, 2015. (Times of India 15/6/16)

114. HIV patients cry foul over govt apathy (3)

DEHRADUN: Over 7,500 HIV-infected patients in Uttarakhand say that they have been overlooked by the state which despite 16 years of its formation has not crafted even a single scheme for them.At a conference in Dehradun this week organized by NGO Mamta-Vihaan and Uttarakhand State AIDS Control Society (USACS), the patients said that they face a major problem while travelling to and from Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) centres in the state which has led many patients to stop the treatment altogether. Talking to TOI, one of the HIV patients who attended the conference, said, “The state has crafted no scheme to rehabilitate HIV patients and is not concerned about mothers who are HIV-infected. Uttarakhand has recorded over 420 pregnant women with HIV and the future of their newborns remains in dark due to health department’s apathy.” Sukhwinder Singh, HIV and TB coordinator, Mamta-Vihaan, said, “The need is to provide free travelling facility to these patients followed by implementation of schemes which are present on government papers, but not in actuality.” Talking to TOI, director general, Dr Kusum Nariyal said, “We will certainly come up with schemes for AIDS patients in the near future. The provision of cost-free travelling should also start from this year hopefully.” (Times of India 18/6/16)