HR News

HR NEWS: April 17, 2014

POLICE/ TORTURE/ CUSTODIAL DEATHS

1. Counsel in Pakistan blasphemy case threatened (1)

Islamabad: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has voiced serious concern over threats extended to a senior lawyer representing a blasphemy accused inside a courtroom in the Multan Central Prison. In a statement issued on Thursday, the HRCP said it was extremely concerned about threats in open court to the lawyers of an accused in a blasphemy case, Junaid Hafeez. His lawyers Rashid Rehman and Allah Dad had appeared for a hearing on Wednesday. The case is being heard in Multan Central Jail in view of security concerns. “During arguments for acquittal of the accused, three persons addressed defence lawyer Rashid Rehman, in the judge’s presence and said: ‘You will not come to court next time because you will not exist anymore.’ Mr. Rehman drew the judge’s attention to the threat but the judge is reported to have remained silent. The difficulty that the accused has had in finding and retaining a lawyer is well known and HRCP said it views that as a systematic denial of legal representation to the accused. If this charade continues for much longer HRCP will have no qualms in concluding that it has been decided that the accused would not be allowed legal representation and there is no need to bother with a trial anymore, the statement said. HRCP demands action under the law against the three persons who threatened the lawyer in the case without delay and effective measures to ensure the defence lawyer’s security. In the case of former federal minister Shahbaz Bhatti who was killed in 2011, two eyewitnesses received death threats in February and were told not to give evidence by two terror groups. The trial is underway at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. The witnesses had sought increased police protection and filed a police complaint.  (The Hindu 10/4/14)

 

2. Candidates echo similar promise: Repeal of AFSPA (1)

IMPHAL, April 10: All eight candidates in the fray for the Inner Manipur Parliamentary seat were of one mind regarding their desire to see the Armed Forces Special Powers’ Act repealed. INC candidate Dr Th Meinya who has been the MP for two consecutive terms and aspiring for the third consecutive term spoke about the Act’s repeal even though the AICC leadership has never even mentioned about repealing AFSPA. He was speaking at the “Meet Your Candidates” of the inner constituency for the 16th Lok Sabha Election, 2014 organised by the Editors’ Guild, Manipur under the sponsorship of the CEO, Manipur at the Classic Hotel, today. Trinamool Congress Party candidate Manaobi and Jai Maha Bharat party candidate Jotin Oinam were however, absent from the meet. The interaction was moderated by Impact TV news editor Yumnam Rupachandra. Meinya said he will work for the repeal of the AFSPA and the state territory if elected for the third time. He continued that he has raised the AFSPA issue at the Parliament. BJP candidate, RK Ranjan also spoke on similar lines and on his concern regarding the removal of the Act which was different from the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s view on the subject. Modi had earlier said that AFSPA was still relevant in some parts of the country. Dr M Nara spoke on electoral reform and said it was needed to bring down corruption in the state. The present UPA government follows a pro-rich policy, and if their policies are continued further in the state, than Manipur will suffer more, he observed. This is where a proportional representation is needed in the state, he said. He said he alone cannot bring any change to the conflict situation. However, he has already prepared mentally on what issues to rise inside the Parliament if elected, Nara said. He too spoke on his desire to see the draconian act repealed. The lonely lady candidate of the inner constituency, Oinam Indira reflected on women empowerment. All the male candidates have been serious about the issues confronting the state, she said. However, there has been no woman representation at the Parliament from the state, Indira lamented. She continued she will fight for the unemployed youth and for women’s empowerment to check crime against women. Meanwhile, Manipur democratic people’s front’s candidate Dr G Tonsana said that Manipur is in danger. He will fight for the people of Manipur in the parliament and there are no difference of opinion between Kukis, Nagas, Meiteis and Muslims. (Kangla Online 10/4/14)

 

3. CBI doesn’t want to part with IB report, moves Gujarat HC (1)

AHMEDABAD: After unearthing the role of the Central Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Gujarat Police in the killing Sadiq Jamal Mehtar in the 2003 fake encounter case, CBI now seems to be trying hard to keep the information secret. It has approached Gujarat high court against a special CBI court’s order which instructs the probe agency to part with a classified report prepared by the Maharashtra unit of IB just after giving custody of the Bhavnagar youth to Gujarat Police, sources said. On February 1, special CBI judge C R Thakker asked the reluctant CBI to supply copies of the IB report to the accused cops for a fair trial. The court, however, had permitted CBI not to share certain paragraphs of the report with the accused cops, to conceal certain information which is in the interest of national security as claimed by the central agencies. This document reportedly contains information about the prior custody of Sadiq and how his custody was given to Gujarat Police. However, CBI does not want to part with the report, as the central IB has been insisting upon this since the beginning. The report was generated by Maharashtra IB officer Gururaj Savadatti on January 6, 2003. This document was supplied by the CBI in a sealed cover to the court and, on the basis of this document, the court denied bail to some eight police officials in the case. The accused then sought this document for their defence. This petition may come up for hearing next week. (Times of India 12/4/14)

 

TRAFFICKING

4. 22 Punjabi ‘slaves’ free to leave Saudi Arabian soil (1)

Hoshiarpur: After five months of bonded labour in Saudi Arabia, 22 Punjabi victims of travel fraud and human trafficking are free at last to return home. Three, including one from Hoshiarpur, arrived late Tuesday. Promised work as driver in the Gulf, the young men ended up picking dirt after paying between `1 lakh and `1.5 lakh each to get to the foreign shore. “The travel agents had promised us a monthly salary of 1,500 Saudi riyals (`24,000) but on landing in Riyadh (Saudi Arabian capital) we were pushed into doing hard labour for an unfamiliar company that would pay us the wages of a slave,” said Jagjit Singh, 24, of Gokal Nagar locality here. “The employers said we should pay them 3,000 riyals (`48,000) each, if we wanted work licence. They tore our international driving licences that the agents had given to us in India, saying those were fake. Hired to pick garbage for 1,000 riyals (`16,000) a month, we would get only 200 riyals (`3,200) in hand,” said Jagjit Singh. He remembered the time the employers had asked him to deposit 7,000 riyals (`1.12 lakh) when he had sought permission to visit home to see his ailing mother. “We lived hand to mouth, got nothing of the promised free accommodation and food. Our Punjabi brethren helped us survive,” said Jagjit Singh, remembering the many Punjabi youth stuck there in worse circumstances. It was impossible to get back had the Indian media not reported their plight. “Fearing bad reputation, the main travel agent from Mumbai reached Riyadh to fix things but we insisted he gave us the exit pass. He agreed eventually but said only one at a time could leave,” said Jagjit Singh, adding that Baljinder Singh of Gurdaspur and Jagmit Singh of Kapurthala were also home. Feeling cheated, Jagjit said he would never think of going abroad. “In five months, I did not send home a penny. The loan my parents took to pay the agent still stands. I cannot take any more risk,” he added. (Hindustan Times 10/4/14)

 

5. Two booked under Bonded Labour Act (1)

Bangalore: Two men were on Wednesday booked under Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act for allegedly forcing 11 boys from Jharkhand sell chaat on the roadside in and around Coles Park. Volunteers of a city-based NGO International Justice Mission helped the Anti-Human Trafficking unit rescue the boys. According to the Bharathi Nagar police, the boys were employed by two brothers from Jharkhand. The rescued boys were handed over to Child Welfare Committee for rehabilitation. (The Hindu 11/4/14)

 

6. Infant rescued from disabled beggar at City railway station (1)

Bangalore: Cleaning staff at the Bangalore City railway station on Saturday helped child helpline volunteers rescue an eight-month-old baby boy from the custody of a man with disabilities, who had arrived from Mumbai and was allegedly found making use of the child for begging. The man, who was identified as Devanand, admitted that he had found the baby boy at the Mumbai railway station three months ago and had decided to make use him for begging. The incident came to light when the sweepers at platform no. 10 noticed the baby boy lying next to a beggar with disabilities and crying incessantly. Based on the information, a team of volunteers from BOSCO childline rushed to the spot and took the child and the man to the BOSCO shelter at Chamarajapet and fed the child, and made the man to take bath. The BOSCO counsellors tried to extract information from Devanand to ascertain whether it could be the case of a child trafficking racket, but he reportedly feigned ignorance and behaved as if he was mentally challenged, a staff member of BOSCO Mane said. The child was later referred to the Child Welfare Committee and shifted to Shishu Mandira, while the man was provided with the address of the helpline and asked to report for any help, Executive Director of BOSCO Father P.S. George said. It may be recalled that on April 7, a taxi driver at the City railway station helped the child helpline volunteers to bust a child trafficking racket, which led to the arrest of a 45-year-old ragpicker, who had abducted a 15-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy. The girl and the boy, who were allegedly forced to beg for him for the past one-and-half years, were freed from his captivity. The accused was charged under child trafficking and other sections while the boy and the girl have been referred to State home for boys and girls. (The Hindu 13/4/14)

 

7. Action sought against agents for luring Punjabis to US (1)

CHANDIGARH: The North American Punjabi Association (Napa) has sought action against travel and immigration agents who lured over 100 Punjabi youths with dreams of settling in the US but who are now behind bars. The youths, detained in prisons in the US for the past few months, have gone on hunger strike seeking early resolution of their plight, Napa said Monday. In a communication to the Punjab Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Commission here Monday, Napa sought action against travel and immigration agents who lured the youths with big dreams. “I want to bring to your notice the miserable plight of more than 100 Punjabi young men who (after paying lakhs of rupees) are languishing in a US jail on charges of illegal entry without valid visa. “More than 42 undocumented Punjabi youths were arrested on different occasions and detained in the El Paso Processing Centre in Texas, the US. Some of them are on hunger strike since five days. They are demanding early decision of their cases since they are in detention for periods ranging from three months to one year,” Satnam Singh Chahal, executive director, Napa, said. Chahal said in a recent incident a Punjabi youth committed suicide. Napa sent his body to his native village in Punjab for cremation, he added. In another instance, Jarnail Singh, father of a youth Amritpal Singh, claimed he paid Rs 22 lakh in instalments to an immigration agent to help his son migrate to the US. However, the son landed in a Texas prison following his illegal entry via Mexico. Asking for the intervention of the commission and the Punjab government, Napa has sought implementation of the Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Bill, 2010 to save Punjabi youths from fraudulent travel agents and the resultant humiliation and hardship abroad, apart from the suffering their families undergo, Chahal said. Napa said: “It is estimated that 10,000 to 20,000 Punjabis contribute to this flourishing business each year by paying Rs 20-30 lakh on the promise of greener pastures. Punjab has become the hub of this Rs 12,000-crore trafficking racket.” Napa has also demanded a probe into the role of politicians in the trafficking racket. (Times of India 14/4/14)

 

DALITS/SCHEDULED CASTES

8. Tension at Uthapuram as police outpost comes under attack (2)

MADURAI: Tension prevailed at Uthapuram, a village near Usilampatti, where some caste Hindus allegedly pelted a police outpost with stones, protesting revenue and police officials conducting a meeting to allocate time for Dalits to offer prayers in a village temple on Monday. A large posse of police has been deployed in the village, where the district administration in 2008 demolished a “wall of untouchability” that divided the Dalit habitations from the caste Hindu residential area. The Dalits had represented to the Madurai District Police that they wanted to offer prayers at the Muthalamman temple, when the caste Hindus planned for a three-day ‘Panguni’ celebration between April 8 and 10. Following this, Usilampatti Revenue Divisional Officer M. Duraipandian and Usilampatti Deputy Superintendent of Police Saravanankumar held a meeting at the police outpost. “We wanted to know the time at which the Dalits wanted to offer prayers. The meeting was held as the High Court in 2012 ordered that the Dalits be allowed to enter the temple,” the RDO told The Hindu. Even as the talks were going on, scores of Caste Hindus gathered near the temple around 1.30 p.m. “They shouted slogans against allowing the Dalits into the temple. Suddenly, a few stones were hurled at the outpost,” the RDO said. A woman constable was injured, and the windshield of the official vehicle of the Perayur Tahsildar was smashed. One of the Dalit leaders, K. Ponnaiah, claimed that the caste Hindus had threatened their representatives, Sankaralingam and Nagamani, of dire consequences. “The DSP pacified our people, hence we kept quiet.” However, people from both sides started hurling stones at each other, the police said. Superintendent of Police Vijayendra Bidari, who rushed to Uthapuram, said the situation was under control. The constable sustained a minor injury, he said. A case would be registered against the accused. The Dalits entered the temple in 2011 with police protection, after a long-drawn peace process initiated by the then Superintendent of Police, Asra Garg, and leaders of both communities.  (The Hindu 9/4/14)

 

9. 4 years on, Mirchpur village’s Dalits still scared to return (2)

Mirchpur: “Polling station Number 39-Chamar Chaupal,” reads the freshly painted words on the outer wall of a structure that has served as a community building for the lower castes in Mirchpur, part of Hisar, for some years now. On Thursday, when Haryana goes to polls, the polling party manning this booth will await 1,059 voters — all of them belonging to the scheduled castes. All may not turn up. Most of the Dalits left the village after the 2010 caste violence between Jats and Dalits that left an old man and his daughter charred to death. Those who have chosen to stay back are still debating whether going to the Chaupal building in the Jat-dominated side would be a good idea. Villagers say Chamar Chaupal, originally Harijan Chaupal, has served as a polling station for the scheduled caste voters for years. But they admit that while a few Dalits may have cast their votes in the four other polling stations in the village, none from the upper castes have had their votes registered in this particular polling booth. Assistant returning officer Rajesh Koth says, “It is not as if an exclusive booth has been set up for the Dalits of Mirchpur”. “Proximity is the main factor, so that voters do not have to walk far to the polling station. It also creates voter confidence,” Koth says. That the authorities are clearly worried about Mirchpur is evident. Government officials on election duty have been making regular visits to the village. Duty magistrate D L Hansu has also visited all the five polling stations in Mirchpur in the past few days. “Though the booths here fall in the hyper-sensitive category, things appear peaceful,” Hansu says. The village, with a sizeable Jat population, has traditionally spilt its vote between Congress and INLD. The contest for Hisar this time is between incumbent Kuldeep Bishnoi from Haryana Janhit Congress, Dushyant Chautala from the INLD and Sampat Singh from the Congress. But for the Dalits of Mirchpur, Bishnoi appears to have emerged a preferred candidate not only because they think he has worked in the area but also because he is a non-Jat. It’s been two-and-a-half years since a Delhi court sentenced three people to life imprisonment for burning Tara Chand, 70, and his 17-year-old daughter Suman to death following a clash between Jats and Balmikis (Dalits). Time, and even justice, doesn’t appear to have healed Mirchpur’s scars. While everything appears quiet on the surface, the underlying strain between the two communities — despite assertions from Jats that everything is back to normal — is palpable. (Indian Express 10/4/14)

 

10. Uttarakhand village tense after dalits refused temple entry (2)

DEHRADUN: Weeks ahead of Lok Sabha polls, tension gripped the remote Kanora village of Kashipur after a group of Dalit women were allegedly denied entry into a temple to offer prayers. On a complaint from the Dalits, senior police officials rushed to the village and ensured that the “pooja” by Dalit women was performed, in the presence of a police team. Keeping in mind the exigencies of the situation and the Lok Sabha polling here on May 7, a team of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) was stationed in the village. Kashipur police booked members of Saini Samaj under the Prevention of Atrocities against SC/STs Act and arrested one person on Wednesday. “I went there on Tuesday to inspect the situation, and found it under control,” ASP Kashipur Devendra Pincha told TOI. The police official said a group of Dalit women went to offer prayers in the temple on the last day of Navratra, but they were denied entry by members of Saini Samaj. The religious ceremony was later carried out with police presence, he said. The ASP said it did not appear to be a case of deliberate disruption of law and order, but one of personal enmity. “A meeting between the two communities was held and both have been requested to maintain peace and not indulge in any unlawful activity,” said Pincha. A PAC team is stationed in the village as a precautionary measure, and is likely to be withdrawn by Thursday if the tension abates.  (Times of India 10/4/14)

 

11. Dalits, Muslims treated worse than animals in Mumbai slums: Mayawati (2)

Mumbai: BSP chief Mayawati today alleged that poor people, especially Dalits and Muslims of Uttar Pradesh, who have come here in search of jobs and live in slums are being treated “worse than animals”.Addressing a rally here, the former UP chief minister claimed that condition of the state worsened due to successive Congress and BJP governments in the state and people were forced to migrate to big cities like Mumbai. “Before BSP came to power, Congress had ruled the state for many years, followed by BJP. Dalits and poor people were treated in a bad manner. When people did not get an opportunity to earn their livelihood and when they were made victims of atrocities, a large number of people migrated from UP to bigger cities, including your state of Maharashtra in search of employment,” she said. She alleged that people who came to Mumbai in search of employment have been treated in a bad way. “Not only is injustice being meted out to people migrating from Uttar Pradesh, but Dalits and poor people, including Muslims are unhappy. People living in Mumbai’s slums are being treated worse than animals,” she said. Mayawati said if the BSP comes to power in Maharashtra, Mumbai’s slum dwellers would get their own pucca houses. She also attacked BJP leader Narendra Modi. “BJP has chosen a candidate for the PM’s post whose Gujarat government has been blamed for post Godhra riots in 2002. If such a person becomes the prime minister of this country even by mistake, then our country will witness communal riots anytime,” Mayawati said. She said that when her government was in power in Uttar Pradesh, she never let atrocities take place against any particular caste. “Our government did not let any atrocities happen to people of any caste and people who committed any such crimes were put behind bars without delay,” she said. “Once we form a government in Maharashtra, we will provide two rooms, pucca apartments to people who don’t have a proper house, so that our people don’t have to live a life worse than animals,” Mayawati said, adding that while her government was in power in Uttar Pradesh, the BSP made pucca homes available to people who didn’t have proper houses. Criticising the ruling government at the Centre, Mayawati said that even upper caste people have not been doing too well financially, but the government paid no heed to BSP’s requests for special reservation to such people. “We have seen that upper caste people are also financially in bad shape. Therefore, we wrote to the government to give special reservations to them and Muslims, but the government has not respond so far,” she said. “During elections, opposition parties will try and malign BSP’s name. Be careful of them. Also do not get distracted by parties who use the media to show their condition to be much better than they actually are,” she said. (Zee News 14/4/14)

 

12. Dalits prevented from voting in Giridih: CPI (ML) (2)

Ranchi: CPI(ML) members have alleged that Dalit villagers were stopped from voting in Jamua in Giridih district in first phase of polling for Koderma constituency in Jharkhand on April 10 by upper-caste landlords and have demanded a re-poll. They alleged that the villagers, including women, were physically assaulted when they arrived at the polling booth. Election Commission officials said they had not received reports that confirmed CPI(ML)’s allegations from their staff. “We received reports that seals were broken and tampered with in two booths in Bagodar and four in Dhanwar and we will hold re-poll there but we did not receive inputs reporting any incident from Jamua,” said Chief Electoral Officer PK Jajoria. “When we reached the polling station, several men attacked us with lathis. One of them assaulted me on the chest and stopped me from casting my vote, ten persons from the village got injured, five were bleeding,” said Uma Devi a Dalit farmer from Gardi village in Giridih’s Jamua block. CPI(ML) Politburo member Manoj Bhakta said the party had registered an FIR against Suraj Narayan Dev who led the men whom he alleged injured 10 villagers. Giridih Superintendent of Police Kranti Kumar refuted the party’s allegation. “According to my staff, the party’s workers and Suraj Narayan Dev have a rivalry and a scuffle broke out between the two groups. We did not receive any such reports of villagers not being allowed to cast their vote,” he said. “There are six assembly seats in the Koderma consituency and six booths were captured. The administration is anti-Dalit and are siding with feudal powers in this area,” alleged CPI(ML)’s Koderma candidate Raj Kumar Yadav. “We were encouraging the villagers to vote as they think right but Suraj Narayan’s goons did not let them,” said Sunil Singh a CPI(ML) worker in Jamua. When the villagers asserted that they would vote for the candidates of their choice, the landlords became angry. For years they had suppressed them and dictated whom they should vote for, he added. (The Hindu 15/4/14)

 

HEALTH/ EPIDEMICS/NRHM

13. Making People With Disabilities Aware Of Their Entitled Benefits (3)

CHENNAI: Local NGOs will now be able to facilitate and increase awareness about the multitude of government schemes in five of the most backward districts of the country, thanks to the `7 crore fund given by the European Union, in a tie -up with the German Leprosy Relief Association (GLRA), towards the Sammalit Vikas Jankari (SVJ) project. At a press conference here on Wednesday, spokespersons from several NGOs claimed that the biggest obstacle to the uplift of the 2,68,10,557 disabled people in the country was the lack of awareness about the schemes launched by the government for their benefit. “At present, the basic public service delivery under The Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 and  poverty alleviation schemes for the disabled in India are weak,” said J Ravichandran, CEO of GLRA India. “Both support agencies and persons with disabilities find it very hard to access information about the services,” he added. The Sammalit Vikas Jankari project will use the local civil society organisations to increase awareness among the most backward districts in Gujarat, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. “Currently, these districts have about 2.7 lakh disabled persons. We will use the funds provided by the EU and the GLRA to strengthen civil society volunteer groups in these localities or in the absence of such a group, we will form one,” said one of the officials working for the SVJ project. “This way, even when the five-year project runs to a close, those districts will have groups that can assist other disabled,” he pointed out. According to the mission statement of the project, its objectives are to increase the quality of delivery of entitled public services to all persons with disabilities, to equip and empower civil society in the form of disabled people organisations, to increase their participation in society, promote accountability in Government of India systems and other service providers, to increase equal opportunities, reduce poverty of persons with disability and enable a better quality of life. Neeradha Chandramohan, director, National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities, and several other representatives from NGOs, who would carry forward the project in the five districts, were also present at the conference. (New Indian Express 10/4/4)

 

14. Diabetics risk losing eyesight (3)

Hyderabad: More than half the patients visiting an eye doctor had had diabetes for over 10 years, 15 per cent of them for 20 years, making them high-risk groups for vision loss, says a multi-city India study on Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). The study, conducted by the Public Health Foundation of India in collaboration with Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says 45 per cent of patients had lost their vision before they knew they suffered from DR. “It’s clear there is a lack of awareness on diabetes and its obvious link to vision loss. Hyderabad is the diabetic capital of South Asia and screening and awareness campaigns should be more focussed,” said director of the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, G.V.S. Murthy told reporters. Interestingly, the study said 40 per cent of the patients in public hospitals, and 13 per cent in private facilities, did not receive any information about diabetes and its complications from care givers. Fifty per cent private eye clinics acknowledged that there was a need to train their health workers on DR. “Public health institutions in India should strive to provide one-stop service to diabetics. Patients should have access to diabetologists, kidney (nephrologist) and eye (ophthalmologist) doctor, foot check-up, dietician, and diagnostic services like urine and blood tests under one roof. There is also a need train personnel to detect DR,” said Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust CEO Astrid Bonfield. The study acknowledged that government-run diabetic clinics did not have services on DR, 70 per cent of the facilities (public and private) had no dieticians, a third of the patients (33 per cent) received no health education on DR and two-third of DR patients did not know that diabetes is the reason for their condition. “Early detection and management is the key to save patients from losing their vision. There is no organised screening and management programmes for DR in India and there is a need to evolve a sustainable model to control DR and reduce its risk by better control of diabetes,” summed up Dr. Astrid. The study was conducted in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Surat, Pune, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar, Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram and Noida and covered a total of 86 eye clinics, 73 diabetic facilities and nearly 850 patients in the last four months. (The Hindu 12/4/14)

 

15. ‘Country needs more health volunteers than doctors’ (3)

Mangalore: United Nations-World Health Organisation Regional Advisor (retd) Derek Lobo has said that to enhance the health sector in the country, India needs more health volunteers than doctors. “India has 360 medical colleges producing 40,000 doctors annually. Still, the infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate could not be checked. As the majority of people who have no access to healthcare are in rural areas, we want more health volunteers to address this grave issue.” Lobo was delivering address at the foundation day celebrations of NGO Health Care Foundation here on Saturday. To substantiate his argument, Lobo said that in many African countries National TB Manager or National Leprosy Manager are non-medical personnel and those countries have a commendable track record in eradicating diseases like Malaria, TB and Leprosy. He elaborated that to cure Malaria, TB and Leprosy, doctors are not inevitable but health volunteers are a necessity. “We should look at health care in a wellness perspective and not illness one. The focus in health care should be on promotion, prevention, curative and rehabilitative aspects. But we are putting all attention on the curative aspect neglecting preventive aspect,” he rued. Investment pour in curative section only with specialty and super-specialty treatments mushrooming all around. Lobo called upon authorities to hike the fund allocation to healthcare from a mere two per cent of the GDP to five per cent. “An affordable and quality medical care accessible to all should be our motto. To achieve this, every stakeholder should sit together and goverment has to evolve a comprehensive plan addressing all vital concerns,” he stressed. Dr Jeelani Qadiri, Dr Udayakumar K, Dr Prashanth Marla and district health and family welfare officer Dr H S Shivakumar participated in the panel discussion on ‘Affordable healthcare: issues and concerns.’  Editor of ‘Issues and concerns’ Jayaram Shriyan, Dr Sushil Jathanna, Dr Edvin Fernandes were present. The news-letter of  health care foundation was released. (Deccan Herald 16/4/14)

 

CORRUPTION

16. No Lokpal for Maha yet (5)

Mumbai: Two months after the passing of the deadline set up by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan regarding implementation of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 in the state, the general administration department of the government of Maharashtra has said in reply to an RTI query that it is still in a limbo regarding whether the Act should be passed in the same format or should it be amended. After the Act was passed in the Parliament in December 2013, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had announced that the Lokayukta Act in the state would be implemented by February 2014. The chief minister had said, “The state government is going to take every step needed to fulfill Rahul Gandhi’s directive on establishing a framework to tackle corruption by the forming of the Lokayukta in Maharashtra.” After the deadline was crossed, an RTI query filed by activist Jeetendra Ghadge found that government officials are making use of the Section 63 of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013, which mentions a one-year deadline for states that don’t have Lokayuktas. The Act is also silent about states that already have Lokayuktas. “Since Maharashtra already has a Lokayukta system in place, the officials are taking advantage of the ‘having no-deadlines’ to enact this Act,” said Mr Ghadge. mAccording to the reply given by A.N. Khot, under secretary of the state, “Lokayukta is already functional in the state since 1971, so there is no need to form a new Lokayukta. However, an amendment or new Act will be considered, but no decision has been taken yet.” This clearly proves that Maharashtra government has not even decided whether to amend the existing Act or make a new one. It shows the callousness of the government led by a party whose leader Rahul Gandhi was claiming it to be a game changer in the history of our country. I don’t see this Act getting passed in the next Assembly session in June this year either,” added Mr Ghadge. Preeti Sharma Menon, spokesperson of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said, “This government knows very well that if this Act is institutionalised properly, then most of the ministers and babus would be behind the bars. Be it Congress or BJP, they would always debate and pass it, but would never endorse it. I am not surprised.”

State chief minister Prithviraj Chavan could not be reached for his comment. However, Fauzia Khan, minister of state for general administration department (GAD) said, “We have had a few meetings and we are hopeful to push the enactment after the elections are over.” (Asian Age 12/4/14)

 

17. Kejriwal Did Not Act in Haste to Resign As Delhi CM: Shazia (5)

Indore: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, Shazia Ilmi said here today that the party chief Arvind Kejriwal had not acted in haste by resigning as the chief minister of Delhi. “I don’t think that AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal has acted in haste by resigning from the post of chief minister of Delhi on the issue of Jan Lokpal as I was party to the decision and it (Jan Lokpal) is our major issue,” Shazia told reporters. She said had the party remained in power after it was not being allowed to table the Jan Lokpal bill, then media would have said today that he (Kejriwal) was “greedy for power”.Shazia termed as “malicious campaign” the Opposition’s charges, especially that of BJP that Kejriwal has run away from the ground after resigning as the Chief Minister. She said it appears that the party was unable to convince effectively to the people why it had resigned on the issue of Jan Lokpal and also blamed a section of media for it. “It was a matter of principle for us and we thought that people would be happier if we quit on the issue of Jan Lokpal,” she said. Earlier, Shazia addressed a rally in support of AAP’s Indore candidate, Anil Trivedi and questioned the rationale behind raising the slogan ‘Har-Har Modi’ in support of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. She said that people want power, water, roads, health and education and what will they do with “Har-Har Modi”, she asked. Taking a jibe at BJP leaders, Shazia asked, “When they have not spared Bhagwan and Allah, will they spare a common man?” (Outlook 13/4/14)

 

18. ED lens on contractors in multi-crore scam (5)

KOLKATA: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has started probing the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) scam in which funds to the tune of Rs 140 crore were siphoned off. Already, a petition is pending in Calcutta high court for a CBI probe in this case. The ED has already summoned the chairman of SJDA, Gautam Deb, who also happens to be the minister for north Bengal affairs. ED officials said as the chairman did not meet them, they have asked the CEO of SJDA to submit all relevant documents. The scam came to light after Deb became the chairman of the SJDA in March 2013. Deb could not be contacted for a comment. The ED officials are zeroing in on the contractors who got payments without even completing the construction work for three crematoriums. They also allegedly made payments to politicians who were part of the nexus. So, the interrogation of the contractors is going to be vital and their bank accounts are also under watch. “After encashing of cheques, how the cash was used can be a vital clue.” Police have already interrogated Dr Rudranath Bhattacharya, a Trinamool MLA and the former chairman of SJDA, under whose regime the scam allegedly surfaced. Police also interrogated Shankar Malakar, a Congress MLA who was a board member in SJDA, for his alleged links in the scam. In the SJDA scam, IAS officer Godala Kiran Kumar, the district magistrate of Malda, was arrested along with three government engineers. However, Kiran Kumar got bail a day after his arrest on November 30. He is now on leave and is staying in Andhra Pradesh. The government had removed the then police commissioner of Siliguri, K Jairaman, for not taking a nod from it before arresting the accused DM. The state was initially going soft on Kiran Kumar. and allowed his release on bail, as the state did not oppose his bail prayer. Even the state’s chief secretary Sanjay Mitra had stated “It is highly embarrassing and unwarranted.” Now, the state is contemplating to suspend the accused IAS officer and has written to the Centre’s department of personnel and training (DOPT). But, DOPT has asked for the necessary vetting from the law department and wants key statements made by the former DM in this case before processing his suspension. The alleged financial irregularities took place when Kiran Kumar was the CEO of SJDA in 2011. Sharad Dwivedi, who took charge from Kiran Kumar as CEO of SJDA, complained to police in May 2013 alleging misappropriation of funds. He said payments were made to firms violating norms. Major irregularities were found in the construction work of three electric crematoriums and sewerage treatment plants, along with cleaning and de-silting of Jorapani river. He alleged that no work was actually done. Moreover, Rs 10 crore was misused for installing CCTV cameras inSiliguri. There were total eight cases of corruption slapped against Kiran Kumar and the ED officials are processing necessary documents. Investigators said funds to the tune of Rs 140 crore were paid to private firms before the projects were completed. So, ED officials are trying to locate the fund flow to trace the beneficiaries. (Times of India 14/4/14)

 

19. Three more arrested in Shreesurya scam (5)

NAGPUR: Economic offence wing (EOW) of crime branch on Tuesday has arrested three Amravati-based persons, including a father-son duo, for their alleged role as agents for Shreesurya group that has been accused of duping many of several crore rupees. The three had pocketed around Rs 8 crore commission by urging people to invest in Shreesurya’s financial schemes. Mukund Pitle and his son Mohan, who had come to meet a kin at Dindayal Nagar in Nagpur, were arrested here along with accomplice Nitin Keshkar. It is learnt offences had been earlier registered against Pitles in Amravati. The cops in Amravati had also seized properties and frozen their bank accounts, it is learnt. Nagpur crime branch wanted custody of Pitles as a part of their investigation. Roles of six agents are under scanner by cops. Eight persons, including Shreesurya group chief Sameer Joshi and his wife Pallavi, have been so far arrested in the case. Police claimed that 837 have lodged complaint against the group. Police sources claimed most of Pitles’ victims were employees of MSEDCL in Amravati. Pitles and Keshkar, after being produced before a court, have been remanded to custody for four days. (Times of India 16/4/14)

 

TRIBALS

20. Tribals of Danwakheda forest demand voting rights (6)

Bhopal: More than 50 Gond and Korku tribals, under the aegis of the Samajwadi Jan Parishad (SJP), protested at the Betul collectorate in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday to have themselves enlisted as voters. The tribals on Danwakheda forest in Ghodadongri assembly segment of the Betul seat, who subsist on minor forest produce such as mahua and firewood, have been requesting the local administration for voting rights since 2012. However, an enquiry by the collector has deemed them to be residents of neighbouring Chhindwara district and held their settlement to be an illegal encroachment on forest land. Rajendra Garhwal who led the demonstration told The Hindu that these tribals migrated back from Chhindwara to their native village in Danwakheda forest in 2000 due to malnutrition deaths. “They have never voted in their lives, either in Chhindwara or Betul. Anyone who lives in any place for more than six months is eligible to vote there. The collector has not produced any electoral list that has their names on it,” he said. Collector RP Mishra told The Hindu that the tribals were being exploited in lieu of land. SJP’s Fagram is a candidate from the seat. “A report has been submitted to the Election Commission (EC) by its observer Sushil Kumar. No such village exists. It is a forest area, 13 km Rampur Bhatoli panchayat. I visited the area with two divisional forests officers on April 6 and we found only 10 people there. They are actually from Haldumatia in Chhindwara which is 3km from there,” Mr. Mishra told The Hindu. He added that a separate enquiry for deforestation in the area will be conducted. Garhwal claimed that when the collector visited, tribals had gone to collect mahua. It is currently mahua harvest season, an important tradition for adivasis, in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Maharashtra. The SJP is using the cases filed against adivasis for encroachment since 2001 to prove that they are residents here. After their huts were allegedly burnt down by foresters in 2001, an FIR was registered under directions of the EC in 2003. (The Hindu 11/4/14)

 

21. Tribal voters being misguided about NOTA (6)

VAPI: Chellu button NOTA dev nu chey, tey dabavi bija button upper mat apjo atley tamaro candidate jiti jasey (First press the last button..it is of NOTA god and then after press other so that your favourite candidate wins). Kala rang nu chellu button dabavso to current lagsey (If you press the black button, you’ll get an electric shock)  Nota etley Mota dev, button dabavo aney dukh dur karo (NOTA is one of biggest gods, just press and get free from all troubles)… In far-flung tribal areas of Valsad-Dang Lok Sabha constituency, a number of such misinterpretations of NOTA (None of the above) button have been spread, reportedly by politicians in those areas where they fear reverses. The aim is to mislead illiterate voters, especially women, a large chunk of whom are unaware about NOTA, the facility being introduced for the first time in Lok Sabha elections. In areas where a particular political party feels that it is losing ground, its workers are allegedly spreading wrong beliefs about NOTA so that the rival party candidate does not get the votes. “We have been hearing during family discussions that NOTA is God. Every auspicious work should start by taking God’s name and it is good that before voting for our candidate we do the same by pressing NOTA button,” says Babli Mani, 65, living in an interior village of Kaprada, unaware about the actual purpose of NOTA. Similarly, people are being discouraged from using NOTA by telling them that they will be electrocuted. Nayna Halpati from a remote border area of Valsad said, “Many in the village fear that they will get electric shock if they press NOTA button.” Champak Manilal, a skilled labourer in fabrication business from Dhol Dungri village of Dharampur, gives a blank look when asked about NOTA, “I don’t know what it is and how it is supposed to be used.” Sources in Valsad district election office admitted that they have received complaints of people being misguided about NOTA by political parties to suite their convenience. “We have been instructed to strengthen our focus on awareness about NOTA function in tribal area. The main barrier is the language and we have to put in extra effort to explain what it is in their tribal language,” said an official of election officer. (Times of India 14/4/14)

 

22. Tribals Vote against Mining in Khandadhar (6)

ROURKELA: With the election over, anti-Posco tribal voters in Bonai Assembly seat of Sundargarh district are anxious to know the results. In fact, the BJP and CPM believe the election result would be a referendum on Khandadhar. In the backdrop of the tribals’ vehement protest against prospective iron ore mining by Posco at Khandadhar, both BJP and CPM made it an ‘emotive’ issue to polarise voters in several gram panchayats (GPs) against the Congress and ruling BJD. Reports said the Assembly constituency reserved for Scheduled Tribe witnessed a turn-out of 80.83 per cent of electorate on April 10. Out of above two lakh voters, around 1.62 lakhs cast their votes. In the run-up to the Assembly and Lok Sabha (LS) polls, BJP’s Bonai Assembly seat nominee Luthar Oram backed by the party heavyweight and Sundargarh LS candidate Jual Oram raised the Khandadhar issue vigorously. The CPM nominee and former MLA Laxman Munda was also not left behind. Khandadhar region houses the scenic waterfall and cave abode of tribals’ presiding deity Kanteswari Devi. BJD nominee and former MLA Dayanidhi Kisan claimed that Khandadhar issue did not have polarising effect. But Kisan’s assessment seems misplaced. As polls drew nearer, about 2,500 voters of Talbahali GP which houses Khandadhar decided to boycott election. They voted after persuasion that boycott by one GP would not be fruitful. The anti-Posco sentiment subsequently spread to all 17 GPs of Lahunipara block including Talbahali, Khuntgaon, Kuliposh, Haldikudar, Phuljhor and Mahulpada. Moreover, Khandadhar further impacted sizeable voters of Bonai and Koida blocks. BJP nominee and Khandadhar Suraksha Samiti convenor Luthar Oram claimed that more than 60 village meetings were held with the main agenda of ‘Posco Hatao, Khandadhar Bachao’ and drew overwhelming response. A member of the diminishing Paudi Bhuiyan tribe Kishore Giri said for his tribe and other tribal communities, Khandadhar holds traditional, cultural and religious values. They worked hard to save Khandadhar through their franchise rights, he added. CPM’s Sundargarh unit Secretary Banamali Dhupal also claimed that Khandadhar issue brought voters towards CPM as Congress nominee and sitting MLA Bhimsen Choudhary lost credibility after quitting BJP. He said the ruling BJD was defensive and the Bonai unit of BJP was split with departure of Choudhary. Jual said the BJP is poised to retain the seat amid high turnout of voters and his party is committed to respect local sentiment over Khandadhar. (New Indian Express 15/4/14)

 

23. Distress Sale Leaves Mahua Collectors in Lurch (6)

SAMBALPUR: Despite the fact that Mahua, used to make country spirit, is a big source of revenue for the State Government, dilly-dallying in fixing a proper price of the flower has left the collectors, mostly tribal forest dwellers, in lurch. This has resulted in distress sale of the flower. In non-irrigated areas, people fall back on the forest produce for about six months in a year for sustenance. They engage in collection of non-timber forest produce (NTFP) which includes Mahua and sell them in the market to add to their family income. While the men go out to work, it is mostly women who collect the NTFP. But with prices of Mahua flowers getting slashed by almost half in the market, the toil they put in to collect NTFP is not being recompensed. While the brewed spirit that is prepared with the flower is priced at `50 a litre, the cost of a kg of Mahua flower is not even half of the amount. Normally, a committee is constituted at block level to fix the price of NTFP. The rate fixed is then intimated to the panchayats to inform the collectors. But the information hardly reaches the collectors, making the middlemen take advantage and cheat the collectors. Though price of the flower is yet to be finalised in Jamankira block, collectors have already started selling it at `10 a kg. In Nuapada and Boudh districts, it is being sold at the same price. The weekly haats present a dismal picture with the flowers being sold for as less as `6 to `7 a kg while the damaged flowers are priced at `2 a kg. To add to the woes, there are no storage facilities for the collectors. Urmila Pradhan of Kushadadar village under Khandahata gram panchayat said she hardly manages to get a day’s labour cost as sale proceeds of Mahua. She and three members of her family toil every day to collect and dry the flowers. Ward Member Sudam Gaigaria, belonging to Badbardakata village, said he has moved the district administration several times over the issue but in vain. He said considering the huge profit made by the country liquor brewing unit, the price for every kg of the flower should be fixed at `40. Although the Panchayati Raj Department implemented the Orissa Gram Panchayats (Minor Forest Produce Administration) Rules, 2002 empowering the gram panchayats to play greater role in procurement of NTFP, in absence of infrastructure, bargaining power of the collectors and knowledge of the market price, the poor collectors continue to be exploited. (New Indian Express 16/4/14)

 

MINORITIES, MUSLIMS, CHRSITIANS, COMMUNAL RIOTS

24. Shah moves HC for quashing FIRs (7)

Allahabad:  “The court has directed the state government to produce the CDs in connection with the FIR,” said Shamit Gopal, counsel for the petitioner. “The court has directed the state government to produce the CDs in connection with the FIR,” said Shamit Gopal, counsel for the petitioner. BJP’s UP in-charge Amit Shah Wednesday approached the Allahabad High Court seeking a stay on his arrest and quashing of FIRs registered against him for allegedly giving “hate” speeches at election meetings in Bijnor and Shamli on April 4. A Division Bench of Justices Arun Tandon and Satish Chandra has asked the state government and the Election Commission to ensure that the CDs of the alleged hate speech are presented before it by Thursday. Shah had been booked under Section 125 of the Representation of People Act and Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code, both pertaining to promoting enmity between two communities. Both were registered on April 6 in Shamli and Bijnore. “The court has directed the state government to produce the CDs in connection with the FIR,” said Shamit Gopal, counsel for the petitioner. Election Commission counsel Bhupendra Nath Singh said: “The court asked the EC to produce the CDs. We submitted (before the court) that while we will try to get it in time from our headquarters, the state may be in a better position to do so. The court then asked both the state and the EC to ensure that they are brought before it in the stipulated time.” Gopal said that the petition has sought stay on Shah’s arrest and quashing of the FIRs on the ground that the alleged offence was not made in the speech. “Our contention is that the speech in question was not intended to disturb communal harmony or create a law and order situation. In the absence of intent, the alleged offence is not made. We have also argued that this speech was not made at a rally or a public meeting that is open to all. It was a meeting of limited people who were party workers. Third, our argument is that the speech did not lead to any law and order situation or breach of peace in public and, therefore, it cannot be concluded that it was inflammatory,” said Gopal. In meetings on April 4 in Bijnor, Shamli and Muzaffarngar, Shah had reportedly said it was time to seek revenge by casting vote. “A man can live without food or sleep. He can live when he’s thirsty and hungry. But when he’s insulted, he can’t live. Apmaan ka badla toh lena padega,” Shah had reportedly said. Amid an outcry from political parties, which termed it a tactic to polarise the 2014 elections, the BJP had defended Shah’s statement saying that asking for revenge through vote was not inflammatory. to help us personalise your reading experience. Muzaffarnagar and its surrounding areas had witnessed communal riots last year in which more than 50 people were killed and a large number of victims were rendered homeless. (Indian Express 10/4/14)

 

25. Suspended priest prevented from entering polling station (7)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At Government Lower Primary School, Pozhiyoor, the only signs of an election-related commotion on polling day on Thursday were when the police prevented M.T. Stephen, who was suspended from his priestly duties by the Latin Catholic Church for contesting the polls, from repeatedly entering the polling station. Fr. Stephen, an Independent candidate, argued that he had returned after voting only to help his mother, Thankamma, to cast her vote. “Is this what they call a democratic set-up? Can’t a son help his visually challenged mother to cast her vote?” asked the priest. With the police and the polling officials finally agreeing to allow him to accompany his mother till the door of the booth, he calmed down. Later, Fr. Stephen said the stand-off with the church was just ‘short-term,’ and his attempt was to serve the people. Archbishop of the Thiruvananthpuram Archdiocese of the Latin Catholic Church M. Susaipakiam had suspended Fr. Stephen from priesthood for a year, stating that the latter’s decision to contest the polls was in violation of the laws of the church, and disregarding a directive from the Archbishop. Fr. Stephen had replied that as per the canon law, he did not have to seek permission to contest elections but would only have to seek permission from the Archbishop if he won the polls and had to take an oath of office. (The Hindu 11/4/14)

 

26. Muslims stand united in their demand for a secular government (7)

New Delhi: The streets of Batla House — a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood that has echoed religious polarisation ever since the infamous encounter of 2008 — rang out with impromptu slogans against BJP’s Narendra Modi every now and then amid brisk voting on Thursday. ‘Vote for the Congress, vote for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – vote for anyone you like, brothers and sisters, except Narendra Modi’ went the slogan followed occasionally by whistles. The general issues that had governed their choice, voters admitted, ranged from corruption to inflation, secularism, stability and their say in ensuring a government at the Centre that could promise them security. “Corruption, inflation, secularism and stability are the issues that I voted on. But the most important of these is secularism. I believe I’ve voted for someone who believes in treating people from different religions like siblings, not enemies,” said Mohammad Shariq, 28, a property dealer from Batla House which is a part of the East Delhi constituency. Mujid Ahmed, 42, a central government employee who resides in Jamia Nagar, agreed. “Anti-corruption is a big issue for me since I’m a government employee myself. But so is secularism. I can’t tell you whom I voted for, but who Muslims like me did not vote for is easy to guess.”(Hindustan Times 11/4/14)

 

27. Gujarat conjures up a minority commission (7)

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government has not set up any state minority commission for the redressal of issues concerning the minority communities. It does not even dispute it. But in a handbook, it claims to have set up a commission for minorities and provides a contact number for the same. In a handbook published for Children Protection Committee, the state department of social justice and empowerment has provided various contact numbers and addresses for the redressal of various issues. This handbook has contact numbers of state/national minority commissions on its list of institutions. While the Centre has one such commission in place and this handbook bears its address, the book also contains the number of state’s commission with the address of ‘Gujarat Minority Finance and Development Corporation, Jivraj Mehta Bhavan, Gandhinagar’. Social activist Mujahid Nafees wanted to know whether any such commission exists and the details of its office-bearers. To his RTI application, the department of social justice and empowerment replied that no such commission exists. Nafees said this handbook has been published by the government in collaboration with NGO, ‘Save The Children’ and Unicef. “This gives a clear message that the Gujarat government has got an organization in place to take care of certain issues of the minority communities, but it has got no power to address the issues that a commission is empowered to do,” he said. The social activist said he has asked the international organizations to throw light on the issue as to how such mistake has taken place. “I am waiting for their answer. But I am going to write to all three parties involved in the publication to correct this mistake,” he said. (Times of India 11/4/14)

 

28. ‘Pre poll survey unethical’ (7)

Mangalore: Union Minister for Minority Affairs K Rehman Khan has termed pre poll survey as immoral and unethical at a time when the electioneering process has already commenced in the country. It is an attempt to influence the voters indirectly.  Addressing a press meet here on Tuesday, he said that the 16th Lok Sabha poll is a battle between the forces of secularism and communalism. “We are confident that people will vote for secularism. We are seeking votes based on the achievement of the UPA government. All of us want India to remain a secular country. However, disturbances caused by communal forces to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere and endanger the secular fabric are a threat to democracy.” The Union Minister said that the opposition are accusing the Congress of not implementing Sachar C  ommittee recommendations. The government has implemented 66 recommendations of the committee. If the UPA III comes to power, then all the minorities who are entitled for scholarship will get it. What is Gujarat model BJP Prime Ministertial candidate Narendra Modi is talking about: Gujarat was a developed state when he became the CM. He had just carried forward the development. No new refineries were set up after he became the Chief Minister. Godhra riot occurred during his tenure as a CM. Owning moral responsibility, he should have tendered resignation. If he becomes the PM, then it would be the darkest day in the history of the country. Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has said that there is no terrorist activities in Kerala. “It was Modi’s view that Kerala is nurturing terrorist activities. Kerala police are active and the State is safe.” Maoists have made their presence felt in four to five districts in Kerala. Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu officials are working out a strategy to contain the Maoist activities. Stating that restoring secular fabric of the country is need of the hour, he said Modi and RSS are trying to weaken the secular fabric of the country. People will not tolerate autocratic way of functioning of Modi. (Deccan Herald 15/4/14)

 

29. Some apprehension among Muslims vis-a-vis Modi: Kalbe Jawwad (7)

Lucknow: Maulana Kalbe Jawwad today said there was some fear among Muslims as far as BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was concerned. Maulana Kalbe Jawwad today said there was some fear among Muslims as far as BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was concerned. Prominent cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad today said there was some fear among Muslims as far as BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was concerned, but its national president Rajnath Singh’s image was emerging like former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “There is some apprehension among Muslims vis-a-vis Modi. They feel Rajnath Singh will prove better. They used to apprehend that if BJP comes to power, something could happen. But the ground reality is that the best relations with Pakistan developed when Vajpayee was the External Affairs Minister,” he said. Jawwad, however, said his meeting with Rajnath, who is contesting from Lucknow, last night was not political, but personal. “I don’t consider this meeting as political, but personal. We had been meeting earlier as well. When he was the Chief Minister, he used to meet us. He used to come and greet us when Namaz of Eid was held. From this point of view we have old relations…this meeting was not political, but personal,” he said. On being asked about the manner in which he had given a statement against Congress and whether he would give a statement in support of BJP, Jawwad said, “We don’t intend to issue any statement in the favour of any party. Whatever Rajnath has told us, we will keep it before our community.” “There is no compulsion from our side…It’s up to them (Muslim community) as to whom they wanted to vote,” he said. Asked whether he would issue any ‘fatwa’ (diktat) in favour of BJP, he said, “Fatwa is never political, it is always related to Shariyat.” On Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s meeting with Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Jawwad said, “The basic difference is that Bukhari went to meet Sonia, whereas Rajnath came to us on his own.” To a question whether Rajnath would get the same support as Vajpayee got in Lucknow, Jawwad said, “Rajnath’s image is growing fast. In fact, he is reaching the same level (as that of Vajpayee).” (Indian Express 16/4/14)

 

WOMEN

30. Honour Killing lands In-laws Behind Bars (8)

In yet another case of suspected honour killing, a 22-year-old woman was brutally murdered by her in-laws who force-fed her poison after tying her up. According to police, Boobathi, daughter of Chellapillai from Pudukottai, belonging to the Udayar community, fell in love with Satish Kumar, son of Kannan from the Thevar community in Bodinayakanur, while they were working in a textile outlet in Chennai.   Despite strong opposition, the two got married on April 18, 2013 in Bodi and approached the police for protection.  Later, the police called members of both the families for talks, during which the girl’s family severed their relationship with Boobathi. The marriage also brought disappointment to Sathish ’s mother Sulochana, who was expecting huge dowry as Sathish was her only son. The couple was living with Sathish’s parents. Sulochana allegedly took away Boobathi’s earnings and tortured her for more dowry.  She also forced Boobathi to undergo abortion when she became pregnant the first time and also planned to marry off her son after separating the couple. On April 4, Sulochana and her husband Kannan tied Boobathi’s hands and force-fed her poison. Sulochana then made the death appear as suicide, but police developed suspicion over the injury marks on the victim’s hand and mouth and grilled Sulochana. Finally, she confessed to her crime and both Sulochana and her husband were arrested. A Kathir, executive director of Evidence, a Madurai-based human rights organisation, said that so far 25 honour killings had been reported in Tamil Nadu in the past 18 months. (New Indian Express 10/4/14)

 

31. Fury at Mulayam rape remarks (8)

Lucknow, April 10: Mulayam Singh Yadav today alleged that innocent men were being sentenced to death in false rape cases and asserted that when his party came to power, it would change the new anti-rape law and punish women who make false rape charges. He also asserted that rapes sometimes happen because “boys make mistakes”. “Rape ke liye phaansi dena galat hai; ladkon se galti ho jaata hai; hum satta mein aaye to kanoon mein badlav karenge (It’s wrong to hang people for rape; boys make mistakes; if we come to power we shall make changes to the law),” the Samajwadi Party chief told a rally in Moradabad. “Often boys and girls have differences although they may be in a live-in relationship. The girl makes a false statement saying she has been raped…” Mulayam had begun before appearing to switch the context. “And then, poor fellows, three of them were sentenced to death…” he added. The veteran politician seemed to be referring to the Shakti Mills double gang rape in Mumbai that led to three repeat offenders being sentenced to hang this month. “Should rape cases be punished with death? Two or three were sentenced to death…. We will change such laws. We will make a provision for punishing those making false statements,” he said. Last year’s criminal law amendment, following the furore over the brutal December 2012 bus gang rape in Delhi, brought in the provision for repeat rapists being punished by death or with a life term. The Shakti Mills trio are the only rapists sentenced in India to hang despite their victims being alive. S.D. Hasan, the Samajwadi candidate for whom Mulayam was campaigning and who was present on the dais, said Mulayam was expressing “his genuine sense of anger at men being implicated in false rape cases and awarded the death sentence”. He struggled to explain the context of his leader’s outburst. “He (Mulayam) was speaking about his commitment to farmers and Muslims. He was telling us that a leader like Narendra Modi should not become Prime Minister. He was speaking about justice for all and, in this context, took up the defence of innocent men implicated in rape,” Hasan said. But Bhukkal Nawab, a Samajwadi MLC, told reporters: “Mulayam Yadav is expressing anger because Muslim youths are being falsely implicated in rape cases.” The Samajwadi election manifesto, released on April 2, had alleged “large-scale misuse of… (the) new anti-rape law that came into existence after (the) ‘Nirbhaya’ rape case”. But it had added: “We are in favour of implementing the new law strictly and at the same time will initiate strict action against those misusing them.” Women’s activist Ranjana Kumari said the Election Commission should take cognisance of Mulayam’s remarks, lodge an FIR and arrest him, for “calling rape a small mistake is directly encouraging rape”, a PTI report said. The agency quoted former National Commission for Women chairperson Poornima Advani as saying: “A public apology is the least. The Election Commission should take up this matter. This is a negative and useless election stunt that is going to hit him (Mulayam) hard.” The Congress said Mulayam’s remarks were “unfortunate”. The BJP’s Subramanian Swamy accused the Samajwadi leader of playing “minority politics” against the backdrop of the recent Muzaffarnagar riots in which many women were allegedly raped, PTI added. After television aired Mulayam’s remarks, the Samajwadi chief became a target of attacks on the Internet. (The Telegraph 11/4/14)

 

32. IOC welcomes Saudi end to girls’ sports ban (8)

GENEVA: The International Olympic Committee on Sunday urged the Saudi government to push forward with moves to lift a ban on sports in girls’ state schools. The conservative Muslim kingdom’s consultative Shura Council last week recommended an end to the ban, which was relaxed in private schools last year, state media reported. “We welcome this development and look forward to approval by the Education Ministry,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said in a statement. The ministry must officially lift the ban as the council is influential, but only advisory. Adams noted that IOC president Thomas Bach had raised women’s involvement in sport when he visited Saudi Arabia. “On the IOC President’s visit to Saudi Arabia last week the National Olympic Committee outlined plans to increase women’s participation in sport in the kingdom at university level, which we fully support,” Adams said. “And following participation by female athletes from Saudi Arabia at the Olympic Games in London and the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore this would be a further step towards full participation by girls and women at all levels of sport in the country,” he added. All education in Saudi Arabia is single-sex, but sports in girls schools remains a sensitive issue in a country where women have to cover from head to toe when in public. The kingdom bowed to international pressure and sent its first ever female participants to an Olympics at the 2012 London Games. The IOC agreed to allow the two Saudi women — a judo player and a middle-distance runner — to compete with their heads and bodies covered in deference to the Islamic dress code enforced at home. Human rights campaigners say that millions of Saudi women remain effectively barred from sports. Saudi authorities shut down private gyms for women in 2009 and 2010, and women are effectively barred from sports arenas by strict rules banning men and women mixing in public. The kingdom follows a strict interpretation of Islamic law, forbidding women to work or travel without the authorisation of their male guardians. It is the only country in the world that bans women from driving. “Saudi Arabia has a long way to go to end discriminatory practices against women, but allowing girls to play sports in government schools would move the ball down the field in ways that could have major long-term impact,” said Human Rights Watch on Saturday. (Times of India 13/4/14)

 

33. Quick justice will curb crime against women: SC judge (8)

HYDERABAD: Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhyaya of the Supreme Court on Saturday urged AP Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta to give general instructions to all judicial officers in the state to fix a stipulated time frame to resolve cases of violence and discrimination against women so that it can lead to a fall in the crimes against women. Addressing the Motilal Setalvad – Vasudev Pillai Endowment Lecture at the AP Judicial Academy on how judiciary can help women victims, Justice Mukhopadhyaya said that speedier delivery of justice will serve as an effective solution to the increasing crimes against women. From 1953 to 2011, rape cases all over the country went up by 873 per cent, he said, adding that the only way left before us is to deal with the problem effectively, expeditiously and in a stipulated time frame to drive home a strong message that the judiciary will respond seriously against all such crimes. Explaining how relief can be accorded to women under legislations like the domestic violence prevention Act and anti dowry Act, the SC judge asked all subordinate court judges to deliver instant justice to women caught in matrimonial violence and economic abuses. Make dispossession of women from their in-laws’ homes very difficult and instead, you can ask the men to stay away from the house where the victim is residing irrespective of the ownership of the house, Justice Mukhopadhyaya said. All evictions of women should be in accordance with the law and until then men may be asked to stay away, he added. Making it clear that he is alive to the ground realities prevailing in our society which is overwhelmingly male dominant, the judge said the only way available is to change the male mindset and hoped delivery of instant justice would go a long way in this. He, however, added that the change should start at the family level. We must treat our women with respect and due recognition, he said. Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta, Justice K C Bhanu and several judges of the AP high court participated in the programme. Congratulating M Rajender, director of AP Judicial Academy, for organizing the session, he added said that the change should start at the family level. (Times of India 13/4/14)

 

34. Parties have similar solutions to gender-based aggression (8)

Women’s empowerment rocketed to the top of India’s national agenda in December 2012 with the globally reported rape of a medical student on a New Delhi bus. Unprecedented coverage of sexual violence sparked agitation in India and worldwide for more efficient police investigations, stronger penalties for assailants and improved security for women. This year, for the first time, every major party included women’s security in its platform. But parties offer very similar solutions to gender-based aggression. They also posit plans to increase women’s access to education and job training – currently just 19 percent of the formal workforce and 43 percent of classrooms are female. Women even hold leadership positions in every major party. So if female Indians are to vote based on “women’s issues,” stances will have to be more specific. “There is no doubt that there is a rising incidence of violence against women in this country,” said Meera Sanyal, the Aam Aadmi Party Lok Sabha candidate for Mumbai South. “All of India, across all political parties, realize that this is not a good thing. I can’t imagine there is any political party that says violence against women is a good thing.” The AAP, formed in Delhi in 2011, won headlines for picketing the city’s police in 2013. Unique in their manifesto is a call to disqualify from campaigns the Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) who have been charged with violence against women. A 2012 study found this rule would indict 44 current MLAs and MPs, as well as 327 candidates who contested in 2009. Sanyal said, “Twenty-nine percent of MPs are heirs. Thirty percent have criminal charges against them. There is no one else to vote for [other than AAP].” But, of course, there are other parties to vote for. The ruling Congress Party and its lead opponent, the Bharatiya Janata Party, hope to empower women by increasing their access to political power. Congress claims credit for a 2009 act requiring local panchayats to reserve 33 percent of their seats for women. In 2011 an amendment increased reservations to 50 percent. And Congress promises that, if elected, it will guarantee passage of the national Women’s Reservation Bill. The Rajya Sabha approved the bill in 2010, but it has been stalled in Lok Sabha for four years. Just four of 21 candidates in Mumbai are women — 19 percent — yet it’s the highest proportion among Indian states. BJP staff member Kushal Mehra said, if women want to vote for a party that gives women power, they should look to his. “BJP is the only party in India that has actually given 30 percent representation to female representatives in its parliamentary body, even to the board level,” Mehra said. (Indian Express 16/4/14)

 

TERRORISM

35. Sri Lanka Arrests 65 LTTE Members (12)

Colombo: Over 60 LTTE cadres, including 10 women, have been arrested for trying to revive the banned terror group in Sri Lanka, police said today. “We arrested 65 of them over the last month. Five of them later came to be released due to lack of evidence,” police spokesman and Superintendent Ajith Rohana said. They were nabbed for their terrorist financing and related activity aimed at reviving the LTTE, he said, adding that 10 of them were women. The 60 are currently being detained in gazetted detention centres of the government. “They have access to all the facilities under the law,” Rohana said. Sri Lanka has raised alarms over attempts by the LTTE to regroup just five years after they had been eliminated in a ruthless military campaign which ended in May 2009. Last month, the government announced a list of designated terrorist groups and over 420 individuals allegedly engaged in terror financing. The 16 listed organisations included the LTTE and several key Tamil diaspora groups such as the Global Tamil Forum and the British Tamil Forum. The diaspora groups are being described as the fronts for the LTTE in the Western world and seen as playing a key role in influencing the governments of countries like the US and the UK. Sri Lanka views the US-led three successful UN Human Rights Council resolutions on its alleged human rights abuses as an act of favouring the LTTE. Since the end to the conflict, Sri Lanka rehabilitated at least 11,000 LTTE members who had surrendered at the final battle. Up to 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed at the end of the nearly three-decade-long separatist war, rights groups and experts have said. (Outlook 10/4/14)

 

36. 2 cops killed in militant attack in J&K (12)

SRINAGAR: Two police personnel were killed on Sunday when militants opened fire at the house of a ruling National Conference youth leader in Pulwama, the first terror attack targeting election activities in Jammu & Kashmir this year. The security forces eliminated one of the two assailants in the ensuing gunbattle. Shohda (martyrs’) Brigade, believed to be a shadow outfit of militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba, claimed responsibility for the attack. Militants opened fire at the residence of Yawar Masoodi, who is organiser of NC’s youth wing in South Kashmir, at Khrew in Pulwama, 35 kms from here, this afternoon, police said. Two policemen — head constable Abdul Hamid and constable Vinod Kumar — posted on guard duty were injured in the attack. They were rushed to a nearby hospital where they were declared dead on arrival. The attack took place when Masoodi was holding a party meeting at his residence, a spokesman for National Conference said. The security forces chased the militants and engaged them in nearby fields, police said adding one militant was killed. The other militant involved in the attack was still holding up till last reports came in, the police said. This is the first militant attack targeting election-related activity in Kashmir since the schedule for Lok Sabha polls was announced by the Election Commission.  (Times of India 13/4/14)

 

37. Militants killed after 22-hour gun battle (12)

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir police on Monday killed two militants of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in a 22-hour gun battle at Ahmadnagar on the northern outskirts of Srinagar. Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Abdul Gani Mir told TheHindu that the two militants, who had injured two head constables, were identified as Abu Hufeza and Chhota Hafiz of the LeT. They are believed to be Pakistani nationals, but their belongings, including two AK rifles and some incriminating documents, are still under scrutiny, the IGP said. Two CRPF personnel were also reportedly injured in the operation. The IGP said the militants had taken a family captive and it took the security forces around 12 hours to evacuate the hostages. “When we swooped down on the locality on a tip-off last evening, the militants entered a house and held the inmates hostage at gunpoint. Our first priority was to ensure that there was no civilian casualty. We launched the assault only after we succeeded in rescuing all the family members,” Mr. Mani said. The local residents, however, said no one was taken hostage by the militants. Meanwhile, a valley-based militant outfit — Jamiatul Mujahideen — claimed that the two slain militants belonged to its outfit. The group, however, did not give their identity or residence particulars. The encounter in Srinagar took place four hours after two LeT militants, identified as Usman Gauri and Abu Zarr of Abbottabad, Pakistan, were killed by the army and police in a joint operation near Khrew on Sunday.  They were intercepted while fleeing from Khrew after launching an attack on the house of Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge Justice Hasnain Massodi, whose son Yawar is a leader of the ruling National Conference’s youth wing. Mr. Yawar, who, according to the police, was the target had a narrow escape as he escaped from the rear exit. (The Hindu 15/4/14)

 

JUDICIARY/ LAW

38. SC stays HC order on go-ahead for nursery admissions in Delhi (19)

New Delhi: The Delhi HC had in a recent order asked the govt to process the nursery admissions as per the Feb 27 notification of the Lt Governor. Legal row over nursery admissions in the national capital witnessed yet another twist on Friday with the Supreme Court staying the Delhi High Court order on going ahead with the admission process without considering the points for inter-state tranafers. A bench led by Justice H L Dattu issued a notice to the Delhi government, which is currently under the President’s Rule and the Lt Governor is the administrator. The Delhi High Court had in a recent order asked the government to process the nursery admissions as per the February 27 notification of the Lt Governor. It had said that the controversy over five points for inter-state transfers will be decided later and hence the schools had to make admissions on the basis of 70 poin criteria. The Delhi High Court has to hear the case next on April 16. (Indian Express 11/4/14)

 

39. Over 30,000 cases pending in UT court (19)

PUDUCHERRY: More than 30,000 cases have been pending in the Union Territory for the past five years, and to clear them, on average, each officer of the court disposes of 20 cases a month, Chief Judge of Puducherry C.S. Murugan said on Saturday. “To ensure proper dispensation of justice, however, it is vital that witnesses understand the importance of court and take their responsibility seriously. No matter how much investigation is done by the police, it is difficult to deliver a proper verdict without the cooperation of witnesses,” he told journalists at the end of a Mega Lok Adalat. During the Lok Adalat, 10,000 cases were presented, and 6,468 were dismissed. The settlement amount of all the cases was Rs. 9,87,96,664. Of the total, there were 219 accident settlements amounting to Rs. 4,35,63,000, 154 cases under the Negotiable Instruments Act (mainly dealing with bounced cheques) with settlements amounting to Rs. 1,42,40,720, he said. These apart, 3,822 petty cases, 1,569 criminal cases, 486 pre-litigation cases, 17 Family Court cases, 195 civil cases and six labour cases were dismissed. The previous Lok Adalat was held on November 23 last. It heard over 18,000 cases and the settlements exceeded Rs. 25 crore. During the Lok Adalat, ordered by the Madras High Court, three Bench were set up, each comprising two judges and one advocate. (The Hindu 13/4/14)

 

40. Supreme Court calls for scientific methods in crime detection (19)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked investigating agencies to adopt scientific methods in crime detection to save the judicial system from low conviction rates. “The criminal judicial system in this country is at a crossroads,” a Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A.K. Sikri said. “Reliable, trustworthy, credible witnesses to the crime seldom come forward to depose before the court and even hardened criminals get away from the clutches of the law. Even reliable witnesses for the prosecution turn hostile due to intimidation, fear and a host of other reasons. Investigating agency has, therefore, to look for other ways and means to improve the quality of investigation, which can only be through the collection of scientific evidence.” Writing the judgment, Justice Radhakrishnan said there was a need to strengthen forensic science for crime detection. The judiciary needed to be equipped to understand and deal with such scientific materials. “People think that practices and principles that served in the past must give way to innovative and creative methods, if we want to save our criminal justice system. Emergence of new types of crimes and their level of sophistication have made traditional methods and tools outdated,” he said. The Bench gave this ruling while modifying the death sentence awarded to Dharam Deo Yadav, who murdered Diana Clare Routley, a 22-year-old girl from New Zealand who visited Varanasi in 1997. The trial court had awarded death sentence and it was confirmed by the Allahabad High Court. The Bench said: “We have no eyewitness version in the instant case and the entire case rests upon circumstantial evidence. Due to lack of any evidence with regard to the manner in which the crime was committed, the case will not fall under the rarest of rare category. “So far as this case is concerned, the DNA sample from the skeleton matched with the blood sample of the father of the deceased and all the sampling and testing was done by experts whose scientific knowledge and experience have not been doubted in these proceedings. The prosecution has, therefore, succeeded in showing that the skeleton recovered from the house of the accused was that of Diana, daughter of Allen Jack Routley and it was none other than the accused who had strangulated Diana to death and buried the dead body in his house.” Consequently, the Bench said that it was commuting the death sentence to life and awarding 20 years of rigorous imprisonment, over and above the period already served by the accused, without any remission. “This in our view will meet the ends of justice,” the Bench added. (The Hindu 15/4/14)

 

41. Foreign divorce decree not conclusive for cases in India: HC (19)

CHANDIGARH: Deciding a divorce case of an NRI couple, the Punjab and Haryana high court has ruled that any judgment passed by a court of another country in a matrimonial dispute would not be considered “conclusive” in relation to the same matrimonial dispute pending before an Indian court. The court has held that couples who have tied the knot in India and migrated to foreign lands would be governed by Indian laws only and the matrimonial decree passed by a foreign court would be binding only if the orders are passed as per the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA). A single bench headed by Justice Rajiv Narain Raina had passed these orders while dismissing a petition filed by one Rupak Rathi, who had challenged the divorce petition filed by his wife Anita Chaudhary as the couple had already got divorce in a UK court on the grounds of “irretrievable breakdown” of marriage. Dismissing Rathi’s petition, Justice Raina held, “Since irretrievable breakdown of marriage is not available in HMA, the foreign court decree would neither be binding in India nor recognized.” The complexity of the matter had come to the fore during divorce proceedings initiated by Rathi in Brantford County Court (BCC) in the UK on March 17, 2011. While those proceedings were pending, Chaudhary filed a divorce petition in a Panchkula court under Section 13 of the HMA on grounds of cruelty by Rathi. Both the proceedings carried on simultaneously for sometime before the English court passed a decree of divorce on January 31, 2012, on the ground that the marriage had “broken down irretrievably”.Following the divorce in UK, Rathi moved the Panchkula court seeking rejection of Chaudhary’s divorce petition on the ground that the UK’s divorce decree was binding. He also argued that the Panchkula court has no jurisdiction to entertain the divorce petition. Chaudhary, however, contested that the UK had no jurisdiction to pass the decree of dissolution of marriage on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, which is not available in HMA. HC has now dismissed Rathi’s objection petition and the divorce would be decided by the Panchkula court.  (Times of India 15/4/14)

 

AGRICULTURE/ FARMERS SUICIDES

42. Uddhav appeals to rain-affected farmers to not commit suicide (20)

Aurangabad, Maharashtra, Apr 10 : Shiv sena president Uddhav Thackeray appealed to the rain-affected farmers in the state to not take extreme steps like suicide and pull down the present government who was the responsible for it. Addressing an election campaing rally last night at Parbhani in support of party nominee and sitting MLA Bandu Jadhv, he said the panic stricken farmers who lost their crops in the recent havoc of hailstorm rains in the region as well as in the state committed suicide for being debt ridden. He charged that when the farmers were committing suicide in the past months Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was busy in election campaign instead of helping them. He said the people of the Parbhani always had love for Sena and so he appealed to the voters once to vote in favour of Mr Jadhav. In the history of Parbhani Lok Sabha election those candidates who were elected on Sena tickets were later deserted from the party and joined Congress and NCP. They are Suresh Jadhav, Tukarm Rege-Patil and Ganesh Dudgaonkar were now working hard for NCP nominee Vijay Bamble. Hence, he called Mr Jadhav and asked him to take an oath in front of voters that he will not quit the party. (New Kerala 10/4/14)

 

43. 79 debt-ridden farmers commit suicide in Marathwada region (20)

Aurangabad, Maharashtra, Apr 11 : Frustrated over their inability to repay loans after their standing rabbi crops and horticulture were destroyed in recent unseasonal rains and hailstorm, 79 debt-ridden farmers, including women, have committed suicide through different means in the Marathwada region of the state.

Following reported destruction of at least 8 lakh hectares of standing crops due to the hailstorm, 79 suicides by panic stricken farmers, including women, have been registered with concerned officials at different places in the eight districts of the region, sources in the divisional commissioner’s office here today said. According to statistical data, the Beed district has the highest number of suicides registered at 16, followed by 14 each in Nanded and Osmanabad, 11 in Hingoli, 9 in Latur, 8 in Aurangabad, 5 in Parbhani and 2 in Jalna. Of the 79 cases, inquiry into 48 cases had been completed by the administration, while 31 are yet to be completed. Meanwhile, even after the Election Commission’s nod and subsequent announcement of relief package for the affected farmers by the state government, the concerned farmers are yet to recieve the package amount in their respective bank accounts in Aurangabad, rued the affected farmers. (New Kerala 11/4/14)

 

44. FIR against Raj Thackeray for urging farmers to ‘kill than die’ (20)

YAVATMAL: An FIR has been registered against MNS chief Raj Thackeray for allegedly making a provocative statement at an election rally held here in support of his party candidate. While canvassing for MNS’ Raju Raje Patil on April 7, Raj allegedly exhorted farmers “not to commit suicide but kill those who have done injustice”.During the speech, the MNS chief read out a purported suicide note left behind by a farmer, urging people not to vote for the Congress-NCP as the leaders of those parties were responsible for him taking the extreme step. Raj appealed to the farmers that they should not end their lives because of the burden of debts. “Don’t commit suicide. It is not a solution to your problems. If at all you want to die, first kill those who have done injustice to you,” he reportedly said at the meeting. The FIR was registered by the legal cell of police at the City police station on Saturday. “So far, 51 cases have been filed, including the one against Raj Thackeray,” said returning officer Narendra Fulzele, without elaborating. (Times of India 13/4/14)