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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Encroachers removed



Encroachers removed

A STAFF REPORTER
More than 400 people who had encroached on a state government plot in Nonadanga, off the EM Bypass, were evicted on Friday to expedite an infrastructure project.
Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) officials arrived at the area, around a kilometre from Ruby hospital, with bulldozers and dumpers around 10am. When the encroachers resisted the drive, police detained at least 50 of them. They were set free in the afternoon after the operation had been completed.
By then, little remained of the shanties, tea stalls, stationery shops and an illegal country liquor store at Mazdurpara colony, which had about 135 households.
"The encroachment affected the bus-railway transit system and the Garia to airport Metro project. Work will now pick up pace," said a senior CMDA official.
"Those evicted had recently settled at Nonadanga. They had been brought to the area by Maoists from Khejuri and Jungle Mahal. We did not evict those who had been living at Nonadanga for more than three years," said state municipal affairs minister and the CMDA chairman, Firhad Hakim.
"It would have become impossible to remove the settlers from the urban development department's property. Many of them had been given flats in the area that they rented out and lived in the shanties," he added.
"We had met Firhad Hakim on Tuesday after the police announced the eviction drive and he assured us that our homes would not be broken," said Purna Mondal, who claimed to have been living in the area for 16 years.
Cops remained in the area till late to ensure that the men did not rebuild their shanties or start a roadblock as they had done last Monday.


Five killed by speeding train in WB



Five killed by speeding train in WB

31 March 2012
Press Trust of India
HOWRAH, 31 MARCH: Five persons, including two women, were today knocked down and killed by a train when they were crossing the tracks at Santragachi railway station in Howrah district.
The speeding Ranchi-Howrah Intercity Express knocked down the five people when they were crossing the tracks instead of using the overbridge at about 2.30 p.m; South Eastern Railway sources said. All the five died on the spot, they said.

Five mowed down by train near Kolkata

Hindustan Times - ‎1 hour ago‎
Five persons were crushed to death by a speeding Express train while they were crossing over from one platform to another at Santragachi station around 10 km from Kolkata on Saturday afternoon. went down on the tracks oblivious to the approaching ...

Four killed by speeding train in West Bengal

IBNLive.com - ‎3 hours ago‎
PTI | 04:03 PM,Mar 31,2012 Kolkata, Mar 31 (PTI) Four persons were knocked down and killed by a train when they were crossing the tracks at Santragachi railway station in Howrah district today. The speeding Ranchi-Howrah Intercity Express which was ...

Five crushed by train near Kolkata

Times of India - ‎3 hours ago‎
KOLKATA: Five people, including two women, were killed when they were hit by the Ranchi-Howrah intercity express at Satragachi station of Howrah district on Saturday, a senior railway official said. "Five people tried to cross over from one platform to ...

Train Crushes 5 People To Death Near Howrah

indiatvnews.com - ‎49 minutes ago‎
PTI [ Updated 31 Mar 2012, 19:13:47 ] The speeding Ranchi-Howrah Intercity Express knocked down the five people when they were crossing the tracks instead of using the overbridge at about 2:30 PM, South Eastern Railway sources said.


War against words



Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 31.03.12

War against words - The Week
http://week.manoramaonline.com/cgibin/MMOnline.dll/portal/ep/theWeekContent.do?contentId=11313797&programId=1073755753&tabId=13&categoryId=-174121
SC/ST
 Commission member visits Betul - IBN Live
http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfeed/news/scst-commission-member-visits-betul/981342.html
Funds crunch hits SC/ST schemes - The Times Of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Funds-crunch-hits-SC/ST-schemes/articleshow/12474392.cms
Unstoppable crusader - Deccan Herald
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/238316/unstoppable-crusader.html
Akali sarpanch booked - The Tribune
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120331/punjab.htm#14
26 villagers acquitted in arson case - The Tribune
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120331/haryana.htm#9

The Week

War against words
http://week.manoramaonline.com/cgibin/MMOnline.dll/portal/ep/theWeekContent.do?contentId=11313797&programId=1073755753&tabId=13&categoryId=-174121

Story Dated: Saturday, March 31, 2012 8:53 hrs IST

Sudhir Dhawale was arrested for alleged Naxal links in January 2011. A Dalit activist and freelance journalist, he wrote and published booklets on oppression of Dalits. He was arrested at Wardha railway station while returning from a Dalit literature conference. When he was in jail, his two sons and wife were dependent solely on her salary as a nurse.

The police said Bhimrao Bhoite, an alleged Naxal, had known Dhawale and gifted his computer to him. Dhawale was booked under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and sections of the Indian Penal Code which deal with sedition and declaration of war against the state. The Mumbai Police raided Dhawale's Byculla house and took away his computer and around 90 books. He has been charged with more cases, making his release on bail difficult.

IBN Live

SC/ST Commission member visits Betul
http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfeed/news/scst-commission-member-visits-betul/981342.html

PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 30,2012

Betul, Mar 30 (PTI) Bherulal Meena, member of National Commission for SC/ST, arrived here today on a two-day visit to probe the incident of murder of tribal woman, who was killed allegedly because she refused to withdraw the complaint against her daughter's rapists. Meena told reporters here that he will talk to the murdered woman's daughter and also the district officials. He said that Commission Chairman Dr Rameshwar Oraon had asked him to visit Betul. The tribal woman, Imarti Bai, was shot dead allegedly because she had refused to withdraw the FIR against the alleged rapists of her daughter. All the accused in the case have been arrested. The state government subsequently transferred Betul SP, B S Chouhan. According to Imarti Bai's daughter, police did not take any action despite complaint of threats to her mother. PTI COR MAS KRK

The Times Of India

Funds crunch hits SC/ST schemes
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Funds-crunch-hits-SC/ST-schemes/articleshow/12474392.cms

TNN | Mar 31, 2012, 01.01AM IST

BHANDARA: People are deprived of benefits under various welfare schemes for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes due to shortage of funds, said Hansa Khobragade, chairperson of social welfare committee of Bhandara Zilla Parishad.

Khobragade claimed that the government has not given funds for schemes to be implemented in Dalit localities for the last two years. Though the district needed Rs 55-60 crore, only Rs 3 crore were given in the last financial year. This is year is also no different as a meagre fund was sanctioned, she said. 262 proposals were sent to the state government but not a single one was approved. A government resolution has stipulated that Rs 20 lakh be given to a Dalit locality with a population of 250. There are many such areas, but the government is ignoring the demand for funds, Khobragade said.

Self-help groups of SC/ST are formed to work as micro entrepreneur. But nationalized banks are reluctant to finance SHGs so that they do not become financially stronger, she claimed. Crores of rupees are spent on publicity material but there is no fund for construction of Gharkul for SC/ST families. The social justice department gives Rs 65,000 to construct Gharkul. There are 10,000 SC/ST persons who have already applied for it, but funds shortage has made them remain on paper only, sources said.

Deccan Herald

Unstoppable crusader
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/238316/unstoppable-crusader.html

Mar 31, 2012 :
She is a social activist with a clean conscience.  M A Siraj meets Jothi Mani who fought for the cause of the Dalits in her village, and despite the odds, won.

This lanky girl with her large expressive eyes carries a quaint charm about herself. Her manner of speaking with determination and resoluteness is further enamouring.

At 37, this woman political activist from Periya Thirumangalam village of Karur district, Tamil Nadu, is wedded to the cause of changing the way politics is practiced and bureaucracy operates in the country.

A public grievances meeting with the district administration in her village changed the course of her life, hurling her into public life. She cried all night, after listening to a Dalit woman describing her painful experience of fetching water from the public well at the edge of the village's uppercaste habitation. Another Dalit woman had died due to snakebite as she was allowed to draw water only after dusk fell.

"I will not rest content until I wipe the tears off their eyes", she had resolved. Since then she has not looked back. After nearly 17 years of activism, Jothi Mani has mellowed down, but refuses to sit quiet.

Politics for her is the "pursuit of truth". Jothi says, "Politics cannot be taught in Political Science departments of colleges but should be gained through working among people. Money of course, plays a big role. But if you are righteous, people help you to realise both public good and personal ambition."

Having finished her degree from GVG College in Udumalpet in Coimbatore, Jothi Mani plunged straight into social activism. Tamil Nadu was witnessing its first panchayath elections in 1995. Jothi says, "I announced my candidature. I belonged to a feudal uppercaste family in the village, but those Dalit women's grievances were my foremost concern."

She only had Rs. 2,000 with her. Her mother had decided not to spare any money for her venture, although she was supportive otherwise. Ideologically, legendary Congress leader Kamaraj's philosophy, his frugal lifestyle and his concern for the poor were her ideals. "But overall, politics for me was to serve the people," she adds.

Jothi was elected with a thumping margin for the panchayath which had 15 villages under it. Seven of them were Dalit dominated and were without water supply, power lines and all-weather roads.

The panchayath headman and non-Dalit members kept postponing the decision to lay pipelines to the Dalit quarters although water would overflow in other quarters of the village. "This went on for four years. I was being tormented by guilt as people were raising fingers against me for failing to deliver on my promise", observes Jothi.

But she and other supportive members took advantage of the absence of the headman at a particular meeting, pushed the tender for pipes and pumps and were helped by district collector Murganandan in laying the pipeline, fixing pumps and constructing a pump house.  That night when the Dalits received tap water in their section of the village, they celebrated the event the whole night.

"Tears welled up in my eyes, as I saw them dancing till dawn. I had crossed the first milestone, though a full four years after my election", Jothi says.

Jothi's next moment of trial came when she took up the case against the village mafia engaged in illegal mining of sand from the bed of the Amravathi river passing through the village. "They had threatened me of dire consequences and even the Dalit women were refusing to support me as they were getting Rs. 100 a day for sand mining from the mafia lords against Rs. 30 as farm hands," says Jothi. She was helped by a village elder, Sadasivan, a true Gandhian and a Congressman, who she says stood by her through thick and thin and was absolutely incorruptible.

Jothi won two consecutive terms for the panchayath but lost the third time when all forces aligned against her. "When I lost, my supporters came to my doorsteps, cried and vowed to make me successful next time', she observes. But she continued her struggle against the mafia and got a stay from the court.

A fact-finding team from the Perarignar Anna University of Technology in Chennai in its report held the mining responsible for environmental damage. This helped her bring a permanent ban on sand mining, from the court. "Our lawyer was being wooed by the other side by huge sums of money, yet he remained steadfast to help our cause. I came to know how politics was being played and how bureaucracy stonewalled people's voices", Jothi says.

By this time Jothi had ascended to the top echelons within the Youth Congress and had been vice president of the body in Tamil Nadu. She says, Anand Patwardhan's films on public causes left a deep imprint on her mind. Amid all this activism, Jothi went on to complete her MA and then secure an M.Phil.

She has also published a novel, a short story collection, an auto-biographical sketch titled My Experiences and a poetry collection. She was adjudged the winner of the Elakkiya Chananai award for the best short story in 1999.

The Tribune

Akali sarpanch booked
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120331/punjab.htm#14

Tribune News Service
Muktsar, March 30

After Congress MLA Amrinder Singh Warring lodged a protest last night, the police registered a case against an Akali sarpanch and three others for making casteist remarks and threatening a Congress worker.

On a complaint filed by Sukhpal Singh, whose house was demolished yesterday to make way for the construction of a boundary wall at Madhir village, the Kot Bhai police booked village sarpanch Birdevinder Singh, his father Gurdeep Singh, nambardar Baldev Singh and an unidentified person.

The Tribune

26 villagers acquitted in arson case
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120331/haryana.htm#9

Tribune News Service
Assandh (Karnal), March 30

All 26 accused in "Salwan arson" case which rocked the state five years ago were acquitted by a local court here on the ground that charges against them could not be proved.

Mahipal, a Rajput, was murdered in Salwan on February 27, 2007. Members of the Rajput community had allegedly attacked and set ablaze houses of Valmikis while returning from the cremation ground after picking up the ashes on the fourth day .

The police intervened in the matter and some policemen were also injured. As many as 26 persons were arrested in this connection. The assailants had also used objectionable casteist remarks against Valmikis which further provoked them.

The case had been pending in the court of Ravi Sondhi and 70 persons, including the witnesses produced by the prosecution, were examined in the case but the charges were not conclusively proved.



DELHI GOVT MOVES TO RECOVER FROM PRIVATE HOSPITALS UNWARRANTED PROFITS MADE AT THE COST OF THE POOR


DELHI GOVT MOVES TO RECOVER FROM PRIVATE HOSPITALS UNWARRANTED PROFITS MADE AT THE COST OF THE POOR
Delhi Government after Hon'ble Supreme Court upheld Delhi High Court judgment dated 22.03.2007 in Social Jurist PIL on September 01, 2010 has now moved to recover from 43 identified private hospitals unwarranted profits having been made by these hospitals by denying free-treatment to poor patients during the relevant period in accordance with the land allotment clause.
The Directorate of Health Services, Government of NCT of Delhi by its letter dated 06.03.2012 has sought detailed information from all the 43 identified Private Hospitals in the prescribed Proforma within one month in order to determine the amounts to be recovered from each hospital to be used as corpus for the welfare/treatment of the poorest in the Government Hospitals as per the directions of the Hon'ble Delhi High Court.
The Hon'ble Delhi High Court in Order dated 22.03.2007 in Social Jurist amongst others held,
 "There is no justification whatsoever on the part of the General, Specialty or Super Specialty hospitals not to comply with the mandate of the condition. Thus, they would be asked to make good of the non-compliance of the condition and they must repay to the authorities and the society at large for the unwarranted profits, at the cost of the poor, made by them for all these years to the extent of the percentage of free-patient treatment (in terms of money) proportionate to the number of patients treated by them during the relevant period and they must pay that money to the authorities who shall create a central corpus/pool which shall be utilized for the welfare, health-care and treatment of the poorer section of society in Government Hospitals.  A Division Bench of this Court in its order dated 07.11.2002 (referred Supra) had passed such a direction. Despite orders of this Court from time to time, the hospitals which were in default persisted with the same and showed complete disobedience to the orders of the Court. The conduct of these hospitals even during the pendency of the writ petition is not worthy of any appreciation. Rather, it would tilt towards denial of relief on equitable grounds. Thus, we direct that a special committee shall be constituted which shall carry out these directions in its best wisdom and which shall ensure that the directions of the Court are neither diluted nor rendered ineffective by such steps."
It is unfortunate that despite High Court and Supreme Court orders, some of the identified private hospitals like Mool Chand Karaiti Ram Trust and Hospital, St. Stephen's Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre are still not at all providing free-treatment to the EWS patients.  The present step of the Government to recover unwarranted profits from all the erring private hospitals would certainly go a long way in implementation of the Court Orders in accordance with which such private hospitals on public lands allotted to them on highly concessional rates are obliged to provide totally free-treatment to EWS patients to the extent of 10% IPD and 25% OPD.
 
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Advisor, Social Jurist
M-09811101923
31.03.2012 



SEX WORKERS DEMAND LEGAL REFORM; RIGHTS AND RESPECT


SEX WORKERS DEMAND LEGAL REFORM; RIGHTS AND RESPECT


On the occasion of International Day of  Sex Workers' Rights in 2011, the National Network of Sex Workers (NNSW) urged Members of Parliament (MPs) to adopt a fresh outlook towards prostitution and get rid of laws that criminalise their work.  

Having sex in exchange for money is not an offence but everything around this transaction is criminalized under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 ["ITPA"].

Brothels are illegal, as is sex work in hotels, rooms, lodges, streets and nearly all other premises. In the absence of a designated place, sex workers have to solicit business on the streets or gesturing from other conspicuous sites. But this too is punishable with imprisonment for six months and monetary fine. Describing the absurdity of the law, Bharti Dey of NNSW said – "it's like telling a person that you can drink water but you cannot go to the well"

Further still, having no place to service clients, sex workers have to escort them to unknown locations, where their safety is at risk. Meena C Menon, NNSW member from Surat, narrated how since the closure of their chakla in 2004, several of her peers have been brutally injured, gangraped, even murdered when they were out with clients. "Despite facing the worst excesses, sex workers cannot seek legal relief as the Police are either complicit in or indifferent to this violence" – said Tripti Tandon of the Lawyers Collective, an NGO that advocates reforms in the ITPA.

The illegitimacy attached to sex workers hounds their children as well. 16 year old Tanjula Khatoon, who hails from Sonagachi red light area of Kolkata, said "My mother's earnings out of sex work support my education. She is keen that I pursue higher studies and become a professional. But when I turn 18, I will be liable to arrest as living on earnings of sex work is an offence under the ITPA".

On the one hand, the government is concerned that children of sex workers do not enter their mothers' trade but on the other, they incapacitate the means through which they can come out of prostitution.  

"We shared these and other concerns with MPs. They were understanding and supportive" - said Veena, a transgender sex worker, who represents the Bangalore based Karnataka Sex Workers' Union.

Organized by the Lawyers Collective on 1st March in New Delhi, the interaction between sex workers and law makers saw several prominent MPs including Mani Shanker Iyer, Basudev Acharia and Oscar Fernandes express firm support for empowerment and give thumbs down to laws that create fear among sex workers. Echoing the need for reform, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dinesh Trivedi, told the 200 sex workers in attendance - "Many laws, instead of helping, get in the way of progress and welfare, and such laws, I say, must change."   

Describing their meeting with MPs as "positive and encouraging," Bharti Dey reflected – "everyone agreed that sex workers have the right to live with dignity."  While some Parliamentarians like Prof. Sk. Saidul Haque, felt that respect could be accorded by recognizing sex work as work, others like J.D Seelam were of the opinion that dignity means not living a stigmatized life. "But all MPs unanimously stated that criminalization affronts sex workers' dignity and must be done away with." Politicians also observed that while one may consider sex work immoral, that does not make it illegal.

"In her message, Mumbai M.P Priya Dutt addressed us as women with an unconventional job, who are entitled to security, health and livelihood" – exclaimed Kokila, who travelled all the way from Chennai to talk to law makers about her profession.

This approach is in contrast to the recent observations of the Supreme Court that wanted sex workers to give up their work and take up other vocations. "This is feeble sympathy", remarked Veena. "What we need are practical measures that free us from exploitative elements, which are a creation of criminal law itself. If we can't solicit clients without getting arrested, we will naturally rely on pimps to carry on our trade." 

      "We will pursue the suggestions of MPs to raise debate on this complex yet pressing issue" – said Tripti Tandon.  All is not well with the current law and there is a critical need for change. Sex workers have a long drawn battle ahead. This 3rd March, they have made significant strides towards realizing legal rights.

There are a whopping 6,88,751 "registered" sex workers in the country and it's not mandatory for them to have a health certificate on sexually transmitted diseases. Put together, these two pieces of information -- revealed by the government in an RTI reply -- should send the alarm bells ringing as unprotected paid sex is the main driver of the HIV epidemic in India.
 
The reply by the ministry of health and family welfare also reveals that the southern states have the largest number of sex workers, at least on government records. Andhra Pradesh leads the list with more than one lakh registered female sex workers while Karnataka has 79,000. These two states are followed by Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
 
Govt. of India may kindly see for necessary action.
 
Satbir Singh Bedi


Hiranadani’s Special Leave Petition Dismissed by the Supreme Court upholding HC judgement.


PRESS RELEASE New Delhi, March 30
Hiranadani's Special Leave Petition Dismissed by the Supreme Court upholding HC judgement.
"How can you build palaces on land allotted for affordable housing" – Justice Dattu
Today the Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justice H.L Dattu and Justice Chandramauli Kr. Prasad dismissed the SLPs filed by Niranjan Hiranandani of Hiranandani Gardens against the order passed by the Bombay High Court in a bunch of a Writ Petitions including one filed by Medha Patkar for National Alliance of People's Movement & Others in 2008. While dismissing the Special Leave Petitions, the Court observed that the High Court is fully justified in holding that the development in 'Pawai Area Development Scheme' on 230 acres of land was meant for affordable houses i.e. for constructing tenements of 400 Sq. Ft and 800 Sq Ft. as per the Tripartite Agreement in which the State Government and MMRDA were parties alongwith the original landholders. The Power of Attorney Holder for the original land holders i.e. M/s Hiranandani violated with impunity the very public purpose behind the development scheme, on 230 acres of land which was allotted at a pittance i.e price of Re 1 per hectare (40 paisa per acre).
Today the Supreme Court, while dismissing the Petitions, observed that instead of constructing affordable houses, palatial buildings have been constructed which are meant only for those who possess 'Bentley' and 'Ferrari', when in Mumbai there is not a square inch of land and poor people's hutments are seen on the road. How can the property which is acquired and leased out for a specific public purpose of 'affordable housing' by the authorities can be given to the father, mother and relatives leading to amalgamation, which is a complete eye wash. "What is happening in this Country?", the Court remarked with anguish.
Have you constructed even one tenement as per the conditions in the Tripartite Agreement? Justice Chandramauli Kr Prasad quipped. The Court also observed that the High Court has remarked about collusion of the officials of the State as well as MMRDA with the developer and therefore, at this juncture when the High Court is seized of the matter, they will not interfere with the order passed by the High Court. The Court hearing Adv. Mukul Rohatgi and Gopal Subramaniam who vehemently argued in support of Hiranandani's, dismissed the Special Leave Petitions. Shri Shekhar Naphade, Senior Advocate appearing for MMRDA said that his conscience does not allow him to keep quiet and that he would like to state in the Court that the officials of MMRDA were in clear collusion with the developers and that the entire development is in violation of Tripartite agreement. Adv Sanjay Parikh appeared for the Petitioner, Medha Patkar and Adv Ashish Mehta assisted him.
Madhuri Shivkar, Sumit Wajale, Sandeep Yevale
Contact : 9423965153 / 9818905316


National Alliance of People's Movements
Central Coordination Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014 Phone : 011 - 2437 4535 Mobile : 09818411417

National Office: Room No. 29-30, 1st floor, 'A' Wing, Haji Habib Bldg, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai - 400 014; Mobile : 9892143242 Email : napmindia@gmail.com | napmindia@napm-india.org
Read NAPM's News magazine, Movement of India @http://issuu.com/MovementOfIndia


MBBS 1st year student bid to end life


Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 30.03.12
 
MBBS 1st year student bid to end life - The Times Of India
Engineering college hauled up by MTU in fee row - The Times Of India
'Made-Snana', Brahmin 'atrocity against Dalits' to be banned: CM - Financial Express
Social security scheme for unorganized workers launched - The Times Of India
 
The Times Of India
 
MBBS 1st year student bid to end life
 
TNN | Mar 30, 2012, 04.06AM IST
LUCKNOW: A first-year MBBS student at Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU) attempted to commit suicide by consuming sleeping pills on Thursday morning, five months after he failed in the physiology paper. The examinationswere held in October and results were announced last November.
 
"He consumed more than 30 sleeping pills which were enough to take his life," said one of the students. The agitated student tried to stall patient care services at the Trauma Centre, however, the services were restored after police intervened. CSMMU spokesperson Dr Abbas Mahdi, said, "He (Neeraj) is stable and undergoing treatment at the medicine department emergency of Trauma Centre."
 
According to Neeraj's friends, the first year final examination were held in September 2011. But as he was not well, he took the supplementary examination in October. When the results were declared in November, he failed to clear the physiology paper and was one of the 18 students who were not promoted to the second year.
 
The 20-year-old went into depression, his friends said, adding that he also started skipping classes. On Thursday, when he didn't turn up for the class, some of his friends went to his hostel room to check. They found him in an unconscious state in his hostel room. Seeing strips of an anti-depressant littered around, the students informed their seniors and rushed him to Trauma Centre of the university. Timely medical intervention saved his life.
 
The incident turned serious as Neeraj belongs to the reserved category student (Scheduled Caste). This revived the issue of alleged caste based discrimination by teachers in the institution. When asked to comment in this regard, CSMMU vice-chancellor Devendra K Gupta said, "Though the real cause is still not known, we presume that he was depressed over his failure. However, as far as the allegation of discrimination is concerned, I am sure that there has been no discrimination of any sort at any level."
 
Neeraj's classmates described him as a bright student. "He cracked the CBSE medical entrance exam and was among top 30 students in his category. Even in the first year examination, he topped in anatomy and secured first division marks in biochemistry. So, it sounds strange that he could not clear physiology paper," his batchmate Irfan said. Another batchmate Mithlesh Kumar said, "Neeraj faired well in high school and intermediate. In both the exams, he secured more than 85% marks. He cracked medical entrance exam in the first attempt," said Mithlesh.
 
More than 18 students failed in physiology in the first year exam this year and those failing for several years have also fallen prey to this subject. "There is something wrong with the system," alleged Subrat Gupta, a final year student.
 
The V-C said, "We should not mix the two issues. The case of students failing for several years is different from the case of Neeraj and those who failed for the first time. About 10-15% students fail in all subjects. Our system is fair and transparent. The copies are bar-coded and the answer-sheets are centrally examined."
 
Did V-C scold Neeraj?
Lucknow: Some batch mates of Neeraj claimed that he was scolded by 'V-C sir' on March 22. "He looked tensed, when he returned after meeting the V-C. In fact, it appeared that he had lost all hopes," recalled a student. Neeraj had reportedly gone to find out the progress of a settlement finalised before SC/ST Commission of India, Delhi on March 13.
 
However, as per claims, the V-C pulled him up 'for daring to spearhead a campaign for wrong people.' He allegedly scolded him to 'stay within limits' and even threatened him of consequence including ruining the career.
 
When asked to comment, V-C Prof DK Gupta said, "Neeraj was very much there before the commission. He subsequently came here (to the V-C office) also and we had a heart to heart discussion. (He had come along with many other students not alone) And they all were happy. But, I think there is a group of students in this university who had been misguiding them."
 
CSMMU spokesperson AA Mahdi also rubbished the claim saying, "This is a baseless allegation. Some wrong persons are trying to take advantage of the situation by planting such stories." He added that the settlement contains eight points of which two are crucial. One of them relates to re-evaluation of answer books in the presence of external observers, while the other is about promoting students to second year.
 
"With regard to the issue of re-evaluation, it has already been clarified that there are no provisions in the university rules that allow a re-check. A high court order bans re-evaluation as well. Still, we have written to the chancellor to take a call on the issue. Lack of rules/provisions is the problem, in case of the demand for promotion to second year. So, we have asked the students to submit a representation to us and we would put the matter before the Medical Council of India. Based on MCI's direction, the future course of action would be decided," said Dr Mahdi.
 
It may be noted that the students want another high court order that promoted a student to the next class to be taken as the base for their promotion as well. The university says that it is not possible to go their way. "The judgment came in an individual case and cannot be replicated," said an official in CSMMU.
 
The Times Of India
 
Engineering college hauled up by MTU in fee row
 
Aniruddha Ghosal, TNN | Mar 30, 2012, 04.52AM IST
NOIDA: A private college in Greater Noida affiliated to Mahamaya Technical Universityhas come under the scrutiny of both the university and district administration after it allegedly admitted students belonging to the SC/ST quota after taking the complete fees from them. There are special provisions for such students who are exempt from paying the regular fees.
 
District administration officials said DIT College of Engineering made the SC/ST students pay fees usually due from students of the general category. "This amounts to a violation of the Harijan Act and we have filed an FIR against the college in Kasna police station in Greater Noida," said an official.
 
The matter was brought to the notice of the university, to whom the college is affiliated, and officials sent a letter to the erring institution on March 19 demanding an explanation. "The college was told that they had one week to reply and explain the circumstances that prompted them to take the complete fees from the SC/ST students," said an MTU official.
 
The college replied to the university on March 24 claiming that the students had 'voluntarily' paid the fees and they had not been pressured by the college. According to senior MTU officials, the matter is still under investigation with senior university officials describing the explanation as 'weak'.

"We are taking the matter very seriously. Violation of the dalit Act is a serious offence and we will be taking action against the college if the matter is proven to be true," said a senior MTU official.
 
The Pioneer
 
 
Thursday, 29 March 2012 21:29
Pioneer News Service | Lucknow
 
In the first incident of caste conflict in the present SP dispensation, beligerent groups of Thakurs and Dhobis came to a head over collecting potable water from a handpump in Etah on Wednesday evening. The incident culminated firing which left a Thakur dead and another with serious injuries.
 
As per reports, Nanhe Singh, Kallu Singh, Budhpal Singh and two others went to a handpump installed by the state government at Nagla Danda village of Jaithara police circle around 7 pm on Wednesday. As they neared the pump, they saw another group 9Mostly of Dhobi caste) pumping out water from the source. As the other group continued to collect water without making way for the socially dominant group, the latter got irritated and started hurling expletives at the former. This led to an altercation and culminated in a free for all.
 
Meanwhile, Bhaiyalal, Nanhe and Dhara Singh of the first group managed to lay their hands on country made pistols and fired at the Thakurs from close range. The firing resulted in serios injuries to Kallu Singh and Budhpal Singh of the other group. As the locals stated converging on the site, the assailants fled the scene. The injured were taken to the district hospital where Kallu Singh was declared dead upon arrival. The condition of Budhpal Singh deteriorated during treatment after which the doctors attending on him referred him to the Agra Medical College.
 
Surprisingly, when village pradhan Mukesh went to the Jaithara police station to enquire about the incident and  well being of the victims, the cops took him into custody claiming that he was the mastermind of the bloody attack. His only fault was that the pradhan happened to be of the same caste as that of the absonding accused. Later a case was registered and the police was trying to trcak own and arrest the three prime accused.
 
Financial Express
 
'Made-Snana', Brahmin 'atrocity against Dalits' to be banned: CM
 
Agencies
 
Posted: Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 2005 hrs IST
 
Bangalore: After months of public debate, Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda today announced that 'Made-Snana', a controversial ritual practised in some temples of the State for centuries, would be banned in two months.
 
"The practice of Made-Snana will be stopped within two months," Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said in a suo motu statement in the Legislative Council, where Tontadarya (BJP) raised a question on various temple superstitions being practised in the State.
 
Made-Snana is a ritual where people roll on plantain leaves off which Brahmins have had their meals, to fulfil 'Harake' (an offering made for a wish) and also with the belief that it would help in curing skin diseases.
 
The practice, particularly in Subramanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district, has become an issue of intense debate in the state, with sections of the society seeing the ritual as an "atrocity against Dalits", while supporters maintain that people perform it voluntarily with certain beliefs, which can't be questioned.
 
About 100 swamijis heading various mutts in the state had congregated at Freedom Park earlier this week to protest against age-old superstitions, especially Made-Snana, and demanded a ban on them.
 
Informing the House that he has already started a dialogue with people concerned, the Chief Minister said he is in contact with pontiff of Pejawar mutt Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji and others in an attempt to stop the ritual.
 
The Times Of India
 
Social security scheme for unorganized workers launched
 
TNN | Mar 30, 2012, 06.55AM IST
PATNA: State government launched the Unorganized Sector Workers and ArtisansSocial Security Scheme at a function organized on Thursday to mark Bihar centenary. CM Nitish Kumar said people, aged between 18 and 65 years and working in unorganized sectors, will be covered under this scheme.
 
He said the dependents of a worker who dies in an accident will be given Rs 1 lakh and Rs 75,000 in case of injury leading to disability. Rs 30,000 will be given in case of natural death. He also announced that the children of those working in 88 types of unorganized sectors will be given a monthly stipend of Rs 1,200 to study in industrial training institutes (ITI) or polytechnics.
 
Earlier, CM said, the state had a policy to provide ex-gratia in case of accidental death of a non-resident Bihari workers in unorganized sectors. But, now, even injured workers would get help. Bihar is the only state which is taking care of its non-resident workers, he said. CM recalled that in 2007 in Punjab, a policy of work permit for non-resident labourers had been introduced which had been opposed by workers from Bihar and UP. Acting on the reports, he spoke to the then Punjab CM Captain Amrendra Singh and sent a team of legislators and officials there. The government withdrew the policy under pressure, he added.
Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said there were a lot of agencies taking care of the workers in organized sectors but nobody is bothered for the large army of workers in unorganized sectors. Labour resources minister Janardan Singh Sigriwal said the scheme would benefit about 50,000 labourers engaged in construction works, he added.
 
The dignitaries as well as the participants lit candles in the hall for a few moments and chanted the song, 'Le mashal chal pare hai log mere gaon ke' (villagers have started moving with torchlight in their hands). Principal secretary of labour department Vyasji and labour leader R N Thakur also spoke on the occasion.
 

-- 
.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
...................................................................
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and  intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC. 


Parties against nuclear plant in Haryana



 

Parties against nuclear plant in Haryana

RAJESH AHUJA 

Opposition parties in Haryana have once again criticised the move to set up a nuclear power plant at Gorakhpur village in Fatehabad district of Haryana and extended support to the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti which has been spearheading the agitation for over 20 months.
State CPI (M) secretary Inderjit Singh told The Hindu that the Congress regime led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda has become "insensitive'' as it is going ahead with the "process of land acquisition despite resistance from farmers and safety concerns expressed by the residents of adjoining villages.''
He asserted that the concerns voiced by the people had "credibility and genuineness'' in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster a year ago.
The State and the Central governments should put the proposal on hold and give serious consideration to the opinions of experts who have openly favoured non-nuclear power as a better option, he said, adding that the CPI(M) would participate in the protest being held in Fatehabad on March 30.
The proposed plant is to come up on 1,313 acres of land spanning Gorakhpur, Kajalheri and Badopal villages in Fatehabad district.
Adopting a strident stand, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) secretary-general and MLA Ajay Singh Chautala warned that the powers that be would not be allowed to set up the proposed nuclear plant and INLD workers were even prepared to "face bullets in this endeavour''.
However, Hisar MP and Haryana Janhit Congress chief Kuldip Bishnoi while accusing the INLD of merely shedding "crocodile tears in a bid to extract political mileage'' claimed that he and his late father former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal had vociferously opposed the setting up of the nuclear plant.
"My father and I physically participated in the ongoing dharna and raised our voices in the Haryana Assembly and the Lok Sabha even though the INLD, with 30 members in the Vidhan Sabha, never raised the issue,'' he claimed.
Mr. Bishnoi reiterated that the Government should scrap the project and in a lighter mood asked why Mr. Hooda did not shift it to his home constituency of Kiloi to ensure further "development'' of the Rohtak belt.
Former Haryana Finance Minister Sampat Singh and Nalwa MLA, who after a long stint with the Devi Lal clan joined the Congress a couple of years ago, however, gave yet another "perspective'' to the issue.
He recently revealed that "public posturing apart'', several political stalwarts, be it the late Bhajan Lal or the late Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, had pleaded with the Centre during their respective tenures as Chief Ministers for setting up of a nuclear plant in the State to meet the "perennial power crisis''.
Mr. Sampat Singh, a former Power Minister, asserted that setting up of the nuclear plant was in the best interests of not only Haryana but even neighbouring states like Punjab and Rajasthan.


PM resists clamour to sack army chief VK sees hand of ‘rogue elements’


http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120331/jsp/frontpage/story_15317480.jsp#.T3cTzWFa7rk

PM resists clamour to sack army chief 
VK sees hand of 'rogue elements'

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
VK Singh addresses a conference in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)
New Delhi, March 30: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and defence minister A.K. Antony are holding out against overwhelming opinion in the Union cabinet that favours strict action against army chief Gen. V.K. Singh.
Powerful sections in the government want Gen. V.K. Singh removed despite a placatory statement from the army chief today.
"Rogue elements are trying to create a schism between the defence minister and the army chief. We need to guard against rogue elements. There is no schism between us," Gen. V.K. Singh said.
The army chief did not identify these "rogue elements" but had yesterday said that there were efforts by unnamed people "to tar my reputation".
Despite the statement, the government is still finding the army chief an "embarrassment". Defence minister Antony yesterday said in his media conference that he was most concerned about the image of the army. He did say that the service chiefs have the confidence of the government.
But the trust deficit in the government between the political leadership and the army chief is mounting. The government is under pressure from within to remove Gen. V.K. Singh from his office despite the army chief's statement. This clamour is also echoing from among non-Congress leaders Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U). (The BJP today demanded the resignation of defence minister Antony).
But Manmohan Singh and Antony have been urging their colleagues to wait out the two months left for the army chief to retire. The memory of the sacking of then chief of naval staff, Adm. Vishnu Bhagwat, in December 1998 continues to cast a shadow on political-military relations.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA was at the Centre and George Fernandes was the defence minister then.
Gen. V.K. Singh is due to retire on May 31. Lt Gen. Bikram Singh, the army chief-designate, has been in the capital for briefings this week before taking office. The lieutenant general is currently the eastern army commander based in Fort William, Calcutta.
In his statement, the army chief said the issue of the attempt to bribe him on behalf of Tatra had arisen now because the person involved had made insinuations against him.
The army chief was referring to retired Lt Gen. Tejinder Singh. The retired officer, who has filed a defamation case in court, was alleged by the army in a March 5 statement to have attempted to bribe.
The army chief, who had yesterday called the leak of his letter detailing deficiencies in the military to the Prime Minister "high treason", said: "Institutional corrective steps were taken earlier after talks with defence minister A.K. Antony. Selective leaks culminated in airing of letter to the Prime Minister. We are duty-bound to serve the country and protect the integrity of the army even if we sometimes have to look within. We need to look within the confines of the system and law. Frivolous and uninformed comments should not be made on military matters."


Sword of saviour falls on small papers


http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120331/jsp/frontpage/story_15317512.jsp#.T3cTVWFa7rk

Sword of saviour falls on small papers

ARNAB GANGULY AND BARUN GHOSH
Calcutta, March 30: The Mamata Banerjee government has suspended advertisements for publications published in districts and sub-divisions, a lifeline squeeze that belies the chief minister's avowed objective of helping small newspapers by banishing others from state-assisted libraries.
"….Publication of the government's 'display' advertisements in district/subdivision publications will be suspended for the time being till further orders," according to an order issued by the director, information, on March 23 to all district information and culture officers.
The state government later sought a list of such publications from the districts to "scrutinise" and decide which among them deserve advertisements.
Almost all newspapers and periodicals are small and depend on government advertisements for their survival.
Their circulation ranging between 200 and 1,000 copies, they fall into the "small" category that Mamata said she wanted to help when she defended the library services department's order to restrict their subscription to 13 newspapers.
Among the 13 are some run by Rajya Sabha MPs elected on Trinamul tickets. The Telegraph, Anandabazar Patrika, both published by the ABP Group, and Bartaman are among those kept out.
Last night, speaking to a group of TV channels, Mamata had said: "We will promote local and small newspapers. Big houses do not need our support. This is our policy."
The chief minister's willingness to stand up for the weak and the downtrodden is well documented. Yet, her government has gone against that grain by suspending advertisements to small publications — an inexplicable decision but for a curious factor.
State Congress leader Abdul Mannan, who publishes a fortnightly called Satkahan from Hooghly, said: "In the March 1 issue, which had been given an advertisement by the state government, I published an article by our PCC general secretary Krishna Debnath. Titled Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, the article compared Mamata's Ma-Maati-Manush government to Jyoti Basu's government. The reason for this was Mamata's indifference to the Park Street rape case, just the way Basu had failed to react to the rape and killing in Bantala in 1990."
In her article, Debnath had written: "Today's chief minister of the Ma-Maati-Manush government is treading Basu's path. Because we don't find anything new in this government in the last nine months. We are seeing the shadow of Jyoti Basu everywhere across Bengal after the Ma-Maati-Manush government was installed."
She was referring to Mamata's reaction to farmer suicides and crib deaths across Bengal, besides the Park Street rape case.
Mannan said that when his representative went to collect another advertisement from the district information officer for the March 16 issue, he was turned down.
He said the advertisements have been stopped to "punish" publications for airing dissent against the state government. "The idea behind scrutinising the list is to prune out those publications that have in any way said anything adverse about the government," Mannan said.
"In the scrutiny that is being undertaken by the state government, I am sure thatSatkahan would be struck off the list of those entitled to government advertisements because we have been critical of the chief minister," he added.
However, Umapada Chatterjee, the information director who issued the March 23 order, defended the decision to suspend advertisements to district publications.
"A month ago, we had received complaints from some districts that a number of newspapers and periodicals had no subscription base and were published to get the money from government advertisements. All the districts were asked to submit a list of newspapers and periodicals published. We are in the process of scrutinising the list."
Some papers might have been misusing the facility but the government order has affected all publications in the districts.
M. Akhtar Ali, who has been publishing the fortnightly Meghla Akash for the past 45 years from Cooch Behar, said: "It is important to get advertisements from the state government as it helps in meeting our expenses. The existence of several such local periodicals would be threatened if the government stops issuing us advertisements."
Sources in the information and cultural affairs department said that the list of newspapers and periodicals published from Bengal's small towns had around 470 titles.
"The state government provides financial support in the form of advertisements to the small newspapers and periodicals in the districts," a senior official said. "A rotational policy is followed in issuing advertisements to them."
A senior official in the information and cultural affairs department said: "In 2010-11, the budgetary allocation for advertisements released for district newspapers and magazines was around Rs 40 lakh. The allocation has been almost the same for the present year during which only three advertisements were issued on the Jal Dharo, Jal Bharo programme (rain water harvesting) and one each on the 150th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda. The entire amount could not be spent."
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AVIJIT SINHA IN SILIGURI