Where khaki makes way for saffron

Where khaki makes way for saffron

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The Sunday Story A series of audacious attacks on minorities and their institutions in Dakshina Kannada indicate police patronage for the perpetrators

There is a significant body of evidence to show that the rampant acts of vigilantism witnessed in coastal Karnataka enjoy police patronage.

Take, for instance, the July 28 Mangalore Homestay attack. While seeking bail from the High Court for journalist Naveen Soorinje, who was listed as an accused by the police, his lawyers played footage of the incident. The footage showed that police were present during the attack but did not act. Instead of arresting the attackers, the Inspector is seen pleading with attackers to leave the spot. Police records show that the men were arrested only 24 hours after the incident. Mr. Soorinje’s lawyer argued that the police acted against the vigilantes only after the media highlighted the outrage.

Although human rights and secular organisations present evidence on saffron groups in coastal Karnataka enjoying some degree of police patronage even in the 1980s and 1990s, the slant became more pronounced after the BJP came to power in May 2008.

A series of audacious attacks on minorities and their institutions in Dakshina Kannada have been recorded after the BJP’s ascent. These included 10 by saffron groups on Hindu-Muslim/Hindu-Christian couples between July and October 2008. In each of these, victims were dragged to the police station by attackers. There, instead of acting against the self-appointed enforcers of societal mores, the police filed cases against the victims under sections of the Karnataka Police Act, like 99 (O) relating to “indecency” and “public nuisance.”

After international condemnation of the September 2008 church attacks and the January 2009 pub attack, the then Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, appointed Gopal B. Hosur as Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) and A.S. Rao as Superintendent of Police for Dakshina Kannada.

Mr. Hosur was given a free hand in the selection of officers down to the Sub-Inspector level. Several officers were replaced. The turnaround was remarkable and the few who dared to breach the peace were dealt with strongly. But when the top officers were transferred in 2011, the old order made a comeback. Suresh Bhat Bakrabail, a 67-year-old PUCL activist who has documented communal violence since 2006, has recorded 41 incidents in 2012 alone, including the infamous July 28 attack on the Homestay.

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Colonial hangover

Colonial hangover

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The Sunday Story India’s police forces are generally hostile and corrupt. They are also often brutal, as the recent beating of unarmed people in Tarn Tarn and Patna demonstrated. The Indian Police Act of 1861, a colonial relic, needs to be replaced with a law that befits a free country.

The former Border Security Force (BSF) Director-General, Prakash Singh, refers to his favourite game of ping pong whenever he has to explain the failure of the Indian political establishment to carry out much-needed reforms to establish a professional police force.

“The Union and State governments have been making clever attempts to legitimise the status quo by just passing the buck when it comes to implementing the landmark Supreme Court judgment of 2006 on police reforms,” says Mr. Singh, who has also served as police chief of Uttar Pradesh and Assam.

It was his decade-long battle, along with the efforts of some civil society groups, that led to the Supreme Court ordering a complete overhaul of the policing system. And since then, he has been campaigning hard to ensure that the court’s directions are implemented in “ letter and spirit.”

Behind the rot is the Police Act of 1861 legislated by the British after the Indian Mutiny of 1857 to impose a police force upon their subjects, which could be used solely to consolidate and perpetuate their rule, says Mr. Singh.

It has been over a century since the need for reforms was initially felt. The first Indian Police Commission of 1902-03 found that “the police force throughout the country is in a most unsatisfactory condition; that abuses are common everywhere; that this involves great injury to the people and discredit to the government; and that radical reforms are urgently necessary.”

“Several commissions and committees have strongly recommended major changes… but the political executive continues to retain its stranglehold on the police. Every successive government finds it convenient to use, misuse and abuse the police for its partisan political ends,” Mr. Singh says.

Significantly, three of the seven key Supreme Court directions in the case were — the States were to establish ‘State Security Commission’ (to insulate the police from political pressure), ‘Police Establishment Board’ (to give autonomy in personnel matters), and ‘Police Complaints Authority’ (to look into complaints of police misconduct).

Dismal scenario

A compliance report by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) paints a dismal picture. It says that though most States have set up the ‘State Security Commission,’ they do not reflect the court’s criteria with regard to composition, function and powers. Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa and Tamil Nadu have not complied with this directive.

Only Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, and Meghalaya are in full compliance with all the criteria laid down by the court for ‘Police Establishment Board,’ while Bihar has been non-compliant.

Ironically, no State government has established ‘Police Complaints Authorities’ at district and State levels that fully comply with the court orders. A significant minority — Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh — have completely ignored the directive.

Another peculiar case is that of the Model Police Bill, prepared in 2006 by the Police Act Drafting Committee (PADC) of the Union Home Ministry, which complements the court’s judgment. The Ministry, which controls the Delhi Police, was to enact the “Model Act” in the National Capital so that it could be implemented by other States (as law and order in a state subject), but the file has been shuttling between North Block and the Delhi government.

Noting that so far only 12 States have enacted their own versions of the new Police Act, CHRI’s Coordinator (Police Reforms Programme) Navaz Kotwal observes: “A cursory look at the recent laws shows that most of these new pieces of legislation are as regressive as — if not more than — the archaic laws that they replaced. New laws are being drafted in complete secrecy by a small lobby of police officers and bureaucrats without involving the public. They give statutory sanction to all the bad practices that existed. Worryingly, these Acts tend to reduce or dilute accountability.”

“The whole system — from recruitment to training, to performance and promotions, to transfers, appointments accountability — has got so eroded and rotten that a complete makeover is needed,” she says

The former Union Home Secretary, G.K. Pillai, says: “Today, less than 30 per cent of those recruited in police have got in through merit. It affects the functioning of the system and is the first source of corruption. The first and foremost is to ensure that those who are recruited come by a transparent merit-based system to ensure that they are not beholden to influence peddlers and have not bribed to get in.”

He further says politicians and political parties feel that the police are an instrument in their hands to further their interests. “The objectives have to change — from being a force responsive to the powers that be to the upholder of the law and human rights; and the feeling that the police are there for the average citizen.”

But Mr. Singh, who now has a website (www.peoplepolicemovement.com) dedicated to creating awareness of police reforms, has some straight questions. “Why can’t the police give a patient hearing to people? Why can’t they register cases?”

“People don’t trust the police as they are rude, badly behaved, corrupt and tend to abuse their power. They need to make conscious efforts to bridge the gap with the public,” reasons Ms. Kotwal.

What are we doing to our kids?

What are we doing to our kids?

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To begin with, hear the story of one child. On 17 December 2012 — just one day after the gangrape of a young paramedic in New Delhi shook the world — a three-and-a-half-year old baby girl returned from school with her clothes streaked with vomit and blood.

Her father, Gagan Sharma (name changed), had moved from Kolkata to a slum in west Delhi in 2003 in search of a better life. The little girl had been listless and reluctant to go to school for weeks. Now, when her mother asked her what had happened, she told the story haltingly, riven by fear.

She spoke of a bald man — the principal’s husband — who had threatened to hang her from a ceiling fan if she dared to open her mouth. She spoke of how he had taken her to the bathroom, made her lie down, and inserted his penis and fingers into her vagina and her anus, blaring music in his room to drown any noise. She spoke of how he had done this to her many times before, forcing her to keep quiet by saying terrible things would happen to her parents if she talked about it.

The girl’s mouth was full of ulcers from a drug the alleged perpetrator — a man called Pramod Malik — had forced her to take to render her unconscious while he raped her.

The fact of the rape is horrific enough. Here’s what came after. According to the parents, it took them 12 hours at the police station to get an FIR registered. They were taunted by a woman sub-inspector for living in a colony of “disrepute”; their own reputation was questioned; the little girl was asked to recount her story in front of three policemen. The woman sub-inspector prefaced the inquiry by telling the little girl: “Tell the truth or insects will crawl all over you and your mother and father will be beaten.”

Despite these threats, the little girl repeated her story exactly as she had told it to her parents. In the magistrate’s court, she was challenged again. She told her story again. The medical examiner, however, ruled out rape and left the report vague. The headmaster was let out on bail on 28 February. On the other hand, Gagan Sharma’s landlord asked him and his family to leave. They are still struggling with the case.

Now, hear the story of a second. Asha, an 18- year-old in Gowandi, a slum in Mumbai, is a volunteer with a community-based NGO called Aastha Parivar that helps slum-dwellers and sex workers — the poor and the marginalised — lodge complaints with the police. One day, her 14-year-old friend Neelima (name changed) complained about being harassed by a boy next door. Emboldened by her training at the NGO, Asha took her friend to the police to complain. They rebuffed the girls rudely. The boy stepped up his harassment, standing at his doorway and masturbating when Neelima passed. Asha went to the police again. This time the cop gave her a scrap of paper with a number: “Jab rape hoga, tab bulana,” he smirked, (“Call us when there’s an actual rape.”)

A month later, Neelima’s naked body was found cut in pieces and dumped in a drain. Her neighbour — the boy she had been complaining about — had disappeared without a trace. Incensed, Asha went to the police again with a description of the neighbour. This time she was ordered to leave the slum and create no more trouble.

Here’s the story of a third. In Ahmednagar, a city in Maharashtra, a 13-year-old girl was forced to inhale chloroform by her own father so he could knock her out and rape her.

And a fourth. In 2010, in Paravoor in Kerala, another father filmed his own 14-year-old daughter taking a bath before he raped her. He then pimped her out to customers across the state, before selling her. Over the next two years, she was raped by 148 men.

And a fifth. In April this year, the 16- year-old daughter of a rich mining baron based in Gurgaon confessed to her teachers and principal that her father frequently took her on “bonding trips” all by herself, raping her in anonymous hotel rooms across the country. Her father also used to beat her mother. A case was filed just as he was going to take her off to Dubai. By the time child welfare groups reached the girl’s home, however, relatives had had their way: the shutters had come down. Though the father had been taken into custody, in the presence of her family, the adolescent refused to speak. Mother and daughter have now withdrawn their story before the magistrate’s court.

And a sixth. A 50-year-old mother from Punjab speaks of how her husband sexually abused their daughter when she was four. He would lock her in a room and tell her that if she made a noise, her stuffed toy lion would eat her up. When she noticed the bite marks on her child, the mother began to ask questions and reported her husband to the police. The case took three years to reach the court. Since there had been no penile penetration, the case was registered under the arcane clause of “outraging the modesty of a woman”; the father was let out on bail within one day. The mother, herself a survivor of childhood sex abuse, filed for divorce. The father agreed not to meet his daughter till she was 13. However, when she turned 15, he petitioned the courts for visitation rights. His daughter testified in court that she wanted to have nothing to do with her father. She is 19 now and still has nightmares.

Hear these stories and then imagine them amplified thousands of times — in every brutal variation — in every part of the country. Imagine 48,838 children raped in just 10 years. Imagine what it means when you are told this staggering figure — which is a National Crimes Record Bureau statistic — is possibly only 25 percent of the actual child rapes going on in the country. And that only 3 percent — a mere 3 percent — of these make it to the police. Imagine what it means when you are told child rapes have seen a chilling 336 percent jump from 2001 to 2011.

My Journey of ASER 2012- by Atul Singh

My Journey of ASER 2012

Written by Atul Singh    Friday, 19 April 2013 13:13

atulsingh.aser2012@gmail.com

Written by Atul Singh    Friday, 19 April 2013 13:13

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After completing my Masters in Economics from Doon University, I just got the opportunity to work with ASER i.e. Annual Status of Education Report 2012, a national level annual report which shows educational status of children in the rural villages of India. There were two more reasons of being happy besides getting an employment after completing the degree. The one reason is that I wanted to work in an educational area while the other was that I love to travel and ASER gives you this chance. In fact in just those few months I travelled so much, sometimes I used to feel that our office runs from the buses of Haryana Roadways.

 There are so many memories with me while working for ASER. During the ASER we had to travel a lot, if I recall I had to travel through bus at least 8-9 hours a day on an average and it happened for months. One day I started my journey around 6 AM in the morning from Kurukshetra to talk with one of our partner in Sirsa and after that I was to come Delhi and I reached at 11.30 in the night. That day I spent around 17-18 hours under the roof of moving bus. Today it seems unbelievable but it was real and feels amazing today. I must thank Haryana roadways for helping me in doing my duty and I can’t forget those tickets we had to collect to paste in our daily activity logs. The best part of travelling was that I got the chance to travel on each vehicle which I could get and these were bike, auto, bus, train, tractor and even bullock cart and the roof of bus also. Among all memorable experiences the best experience was to visit rural villages and schools and there meet and talk to children studying in primary classes which used to remember me my childhood school days.

During my work I also experienced lot of things regarding our education system, our society and social thoughts going on in the minds of people. Here I am sharing some of them. In ASER we had to make a partner in each district which can be any organization or college to provide volunteers (mostly college students) to conduct survey in villages. Our master trainers used to give training to the volunteers provided by our partner. After the training volunteers do survey in their respected villages and submit their survey data to our trainers. And my work was to finalize partner and monitor all the process and to make sure that the data and survey quality is perfect.

I was in Yamunanagar district of Haryana, and there was a private college partner for our survey. It was my first district where I was to conduct survey. I was talking to one of the NSS coordinator of the college who was a teacher in the college but he was other than previous one with whom I finalized this college for our partner. I was telling him that how our survey help volunteers to understand the educational status in the rural areas. Suddenly I heard a voice of him for me, “Sir, they are habitual of walking bare foot, don’t try to wear them adidas and reebok shoes”. He was talking about our volunteers, the students of the college who were about to do surveys in villages for our report. He meant that students of his college were not suitable for our survey. I was just stunned hearing the thought of a teacher in this manner about his students but my sudden reply was, “I don’t really know about their habits but as much I know they have the right to walk with sleepers”. I meant that no one has the right to raise question on ability as well as the willingness of someone. But we can understand if the mentality of a teacher is like this for his own students then what would have been he teaching and what the students would learn from him.

Once I was doing the survey in a village of Hissar district. Sometimes due to some reasons we had to survey villages ourselves too. In ASER survey, we used to collect educational information of children, their household information and test children in Hindi, English and Mathematics to assess their educational status. I went to one household and started taking the information about the household and education of children from one of the member of that house. In that small house two families were living together. I asked about the number of children, that person told me that there were five children three boys and two girls. Now I asked that which type of school they attend govt. or private? He replied that three boys and one girl go to private school but one girl who was eldest among them goes to govt. school. Just for my curiosity I asked why only that girl goes to govt. school. He said, “This girl study in higher class and you know the fee of higher classes in private school is very high and now we cannot afford the fee of private school of all children and what will she do after school education”. Though, he was little disappointed for her which seemed me that if he could he would also send her in private school. And I asked that what you think about government schools. He said, “Rehne do saab, day has gone years ago when there were education in government schools. Today government schools are opened just for name. Govt. teachers don’t want to teach, they just come to take their salary. Government does not want to teach the children of poor people. If government could provide a better education in govt. schools, the burden could have been reduced from the shoulders of poor like us”. After that I was taking test of children. One boy studying in third standard could not read our English tool properly and then he could not do a division problem. Unexpectedly that person who was talking with me slapped the boy and said, “Can’t you solve these questions, what do you learn in your school?”. I was surprised seeing this. To make atmosphere cool I said to the person, “Don’t do like this, he will learn in future. You can’t teach children with this strategy”. He said, “Saab, we are labors even then we spend half of our income on the education of children and send them in private schools with this belief that they would learn better but if he is not able to do this simple test then what is the benefit of sending him in expensive private school?”. The experience of that house forced me to realize that how education of the children is a heavy economic burden for low and middle level income households although government education is free. Outside of that house I was thinking that no doubt if the government schools provide better education the economic burden of poor and low income families could have been reduced much enough.

      I was in a village Bhera of Bhiwani district, I was talking with Sarpanch of the village in his house. He became happy listening that this type of educational survey is going to conduct in his village. He was enthusiastic to know the level of education of children of his village. The way he was talking to me about education I could understand that he is really concerned about the education of the children of his village. His concern for education of children I presumed that level of education of children in this village may be relatively better. I told him how survey is conducted in villages and showed him our testing tool which we use to assess children’s educational level. We had just finished our tea; the Sarpanch forced me to go to the govt. primary school nearby his house and asked me to take test of children in the school. I tried to make understand him that we don’t test children in the school. But he didn’t listen my argument and said, “Don’t worry about it, nothing happens”. He started testing children himself which was expressing his interest to know educational level of children. Then I also had to start test some of the children of different classes in the school though I didn’t record them as our survey. But I was surprised that children were coming themselves to give test, they were keen to read our testing tools and they were so good in education. They were easily reading our Hindi and English tools, even they were fighting with each other for reading them and they were comfortable to do our Mathematics tools. I was right what I thought at the house of Sarpanch about the level of education of children in village.

 

    I was in another village named Bakhtawarpura of Bhiwani district at the border of Rajasthan with my companion. At the time of doing survey in the village we witnessed neat and clean environment there and cleanliness of village. We were wondered watching the cleanness of the village. In that village roads were clean and drains were free from filth and dirt. That beautiful environment and management of that village created a picture of village which was contrary of other villages we used to have in our mind. I had visited numbers of villages till then but this village was different from them. When we were surveying village a cloth-seller was also there in village to sell clothes. Cloth seller met with us and he also talked about the clean surrounding of that village. He didn’t stop himself and appraised to one villager that his village is beautiful, clean and well managed. When we were leaving the village, a young boy aged around 24 years was also walking on the road towards outside the village. We started talking with that guy and told about cleanness and beauty of his village. I said that your village is totally different from other villages how do you people make it? He replied, “It is just the result of ours union of young boys”. He told us that they formed a union of young boys in the village. The name of their union was something like ‘Naujawan Sangh’. He further said, “We call a meeting of boys in last week of every month and discuss about the things regarding our village. On one day of that week we also do works related to cleaning of the village”. But these days their union is in weak condition because most of the members of union are out of village due to employment related issues, in the last he told. We have finished our talk and we were now at bus-stop outside the village and after few minutes he caught his bus. In his talk he showed me the brush which painted the picture of village, I could form in my mind and that brush was their young boys’ union. First time I felt in real world with my own experience that if people are unite (for good cause), the society leads to better position.

In whole journey of ASER I found that society is complex in nature. I observed different colors and tones of society. Today people are aware with the power of education. Parents know how a better education of their children can benefit their children in future. That is the reason people accept to send their children in private schools with the hope that they would get better rather than govt. schools. Even though they have to bear the high fee in private schools but not ready to send their children in govt. schools where they don’t have to pay anything. But as the ASER report says itself that the difference of learning level between government and private school children is not much wide. The trend shows, though the enrolment of children in private schools is increasing but the learning level of children is slipping down continuously. Society has made perception that just the word ‘private’ written on the board painted in front of the schools can provide their children a better education. The result of this perception is that this has led to heavy economic burden on the middle and low income society with the fact that to get the right and meaningful education for free is their constitutional right. As I think, most important pillar of the education is teacher. If teacher is concerned about the education and learning of his students then students would definitely learn. What would students learn if the teacher would be like one who met me in Yamunanagar district? ASER report depicts that the facilities in government schools are growing better and government schemes for schools are doing better work. In most govt. schools students are getting mid-day meal properly. The number of schools having facilities like classrooms, playground, toilets etc. is on increasing trend. Even then the trend of learning level of children is decreasing. Now the question arises why? Can facilities deliver better education level? Can a board written with ‘private’ and high fee provide good education? The answer would be simple no. It is the teacher who can help to change the trend. Teachers have to be more concerned about the education of their students. Education is the issue of social discussion and society itself is another pillar of education. If society is concerned with the education and learning level of children, it would also result in the performance of children. Just like the children of that village where the Sarpanch was concerned for the education of children of his village. Where he himself used our testing tool to assess children’s learning level and we found children were relatively better. Society can handle its matters, it just needs social awareness among people like the instance I saw in Bakhtawarpura village where the ‘Naujawan Sangh’ of young boys used to clean the village and think about their village.

In my ASER journey I found that ‘It is the society only which can change the society’.

 2012-11-20-164

After completing my Masters in Economics from Doon University, I just got the opportunity to work with ASER i.e. Annual Status of Education Report 2012, a national level annual report which shows educational status of children in the rural villages of India. There were two more reasons of being happy besides getting an employment after completing the degree. The one reason is that I wanted to work in an educational area while the other was that I love to travel and ASER gives you this chance. In fact in just those few months I travelled so much, sometimes I used to feel that our office runs from the buses of Haryana Roadways.

Read more about My Journey of ASER 2012 | Education – My Journey of ASER 2012 User Rating: / 6 PoorBe… by lokkatha.com

After completing my Masters in Economics from Doon University, I just got the opportunity to work with ASER i.e. Annual Status of Education Report 2012, a national level annual report which shows educational status of children in the rural villages of India. There were two more reasons of being happy besides getting an employment after completing the degree. The one reason is that I wanted to work in an educational area while the other was that I love to travel and ASER gives you this chance. In fact in just those few months I travelled so much, sometimes I used to feel that our office runs from the buses of Haryana Roadways.

 There are so many memories with me while working for ASER. During the ASER we had to travel a lot, if I recall I had to travel through bus at least 8-9 hours a day on an average and it happened for months. One day I started my journey around 6 AM in the morning from Kurukshetra to talk with one of our partner in Sirsa and after that I was to come Delhi and I reached at 11.30 in the night. That day I spent around 17-18 hours under the roof of moving bus. Today it seems unbelievable but it was real and feels amazing today. I must thank Haryana roadways for helping me in doing my duty and I can’t forget those tickets we had to collect to paste in our daily activity logs. The best part of travelling was that I got the chance to travel on each vehicle which I could get and these were bike, auto, bus, train, tractor and even bullock cart and the roof of bus also. Among all memorable experiences the best experience was to visit rural villages and schools and there meet and talk to children studying in primary classes which used to remember me my childhood school days.

Hey Atul, thanks a lot for sharing your experience! It was both touching and informative.

Quick, save your food

Quick, save your food

The Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) bill has been introduced in Parliament again.[1] This dangerous bill will create a body that will single-handedly allow the entry of genetically modified (GM) crops into our country.

We’ve stopped this bill for three years, and now the government has introduced it on the sly. Our demand is the same. Minister of Science and Technology, Jaipal Reddy, who introduced this bill, needs to drop this bill right now.

You should ask Jaipal Reddy to drop the BRAI bill because it poses a threat to our food safety.

Farmers, scientists and over four lakh people have been opposing the BRAI bill. Opposition was seen inside Parliament as well. Minister Jaipal Reddy is receiving fax messages already and soon he’ll start getting your emails with the same demand. All this will encourage him to act.

The BRAI bill is riddled with faults.[2] There is no provision for proper a safety assessment of GM crops. It overrides the Right to Information Act and does not allow people to question its decision. It looks like BRAI is being created to shove GM food onto our plates.

This fight to keep our food safe has been won by us before. We’ve been successful in keeping away GM food from our country for ten years! Our massive opposition resulted in a moratorium on Bt brinjal.[3] We even stalled BRAI for three years. So let’s do this once again.

Ask Minister Jaipal Reddy to drop the BRAI bill now!

click below site :

http://links.mailing.greenpeace.org/ctt?kn=2&ms=NDEzODQyMzcS1&r=NDU5MTQwMzE5NgS2&b=0&j=MTg2MDEyMTI2S0&mt=1&rt=0