Monthly Archives: November 2012

Jeannette Rankin Award – – CMPA

Jeannette Rankin Award
For Women Empowerment

 

On November 7, 1916, the first woman ‘Jeannette Pickering Rankin’ was elected to the US Congress. Rankin was born on a ranch near Missoula, Montana Territory on June 11, 1880 and graduated in science at University of Montana. With inborn passion, she moved to New York to become a humanitarian and dedicated supporter of Progressive reforms. She began to advocate for civil rights, women’s rights, and a grassroots democracy that widened its participatory boundaries. She studied social legislation at the University of Washington, where she became involved in the woman suffrage movement. Rankin argued that slum conditions were worsened by women’s inability to vote.


In 1910 she returned to Montana to work for the emancipation of women. She declared that she was suspicious of governmental priorities set without women’s voice and argued that vote-denied women were being taxed without representation, echoing the famous credo from the American Revolution. Her work in the first women’s rights movement is closely linked to her pacifism and dedication to a peaceful foreign policy that would later define her Congressional contributions. She believed, as many women’s suffragists advocated during this period, that the corruption and dysfunction of the United States government was a result of a lack of feminine participation. As she states very clearly at a disarmament conference during the interwar years “The peace problem is a woman’s problem”.

On November 7, 1916 she was elected to the House of Representatives as a Republican from Montana, becoming the first female member of Congress. She vigorously supported women’s suffrage, child protection laws and prohibition. Rankin turned her attention to work for peace also. Rankin used her fame and notoriety in this “famous first” position to work for peace and women’s rights and against child labor, and to write a weekly newspaper column. Jeannette Rankin said “I’m No Lady; I’m a Member of Congress”. Days after taking office, Jeannette Rankin made history in yet another way by voting against US entry into World War I. She violated protocol by speaking during the roll call before casting her vote, announcing “I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war”.  Many people in media and public life attempted to discredit her with charges of Communist intentions.

After the war ended, Rankin continued to work for peace through the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and also began work for the National Consumers’ League. She worked, at the same time, on the staff of the American Civil Liberties Union. Jeannette Rankin passed away at Carmel, California, on  May 18, 1973, after leaving great messages to the women all over the world!

Today, in the world history, Rankin is the most inspiring role models for women empowerment. Rankin remained as active in politics as she could right up until her death. She continued to produce writing promoting women’s rights, peace, child welfare, and civil rights from her home which remained relevant in the civil rights movement of the era. Her career has left behind a legacy of controversy with some viewing her as impossibly idealistic, and others identifying her as an inspiration to be pursued. Her contributions to various feminist movements cannot be ignored, and continue to be relevant today.

In the governing body meeting on November 07, 2012, the Centre for Media & Public Affairs (CMPA) instituted an Award in the name of Jeannette Pickering Rankin which will be presented during January 2013 to professionally accomplished social workers who selflessly campaign for the rights of women.

 
Kindly send your suggestions, inputs and recommendations

V. Venkat Raj

National President

Centre for Media & Public Affairs

via email

The death of Anil Meena

Anoop Kumar : Wed Mar 14 2012, 02:40 hrs

 

Suicides by Dalit and tribal students is a story of discrimination

Merit is important — students have to go through gruelling entrance tests to prove their worth before joining any educational institution to become doctors, engineers, scientists.

In 2010, Anil Meena, from a tribal family of agriculturalists, a school topper, with 75 per cent marks in 10+2, covered the distance of over 500 km from his village in Baran district, Rajasthan, to Delhi. He had again proved his merit in one of the toughest medical entrance exams to become a doctor at one of the country’s prestigious educational institutions — the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

However, within two years of his stay at this prestigious institution, on March 3, 2012, he hanged himself. The reasons, according to the AIIMS administration, are that he was “depressed”, developed “psychiatric” problems because of his inability to cope with the rigorous academic environment combined with his lack of skills in the English language. Anil was 22 years old.

It is mere coincidence that on the same day, March 3, in 2010, Balmukund Bharti,a Dalit student at AIIMS, committed suicide in similar fashion, but this coincidence does not end with the date. A son of a Class III employee, a native of village Kundeshwar, Tikamgarh district, Bundelkhand (MP), one of the most backward regions of the country, Balmukund was also a school topper from Navodaya Vidyalaya and possessed many certificates of academic excellence, including one from the president of India, before getting admission into AIIMS after proving his merit in its entrance exam.

We are told that he was also “depressed” and committed suicide by hanging himself in his hostel room due to “his inability to cope up with academic performance” demanded by the institution. Balmukund was 25 years of age, and was just a couple of months away from becoming a doctor from AIIMS, something his parents say has not happened in the surrounding areas in the last 50 years.

AIIMS is not a lone institution. There is a long list in the recent past that includes almost all premier educational institutions — various IITs, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, University of Hyderabad and many more, where otherwise brilliant Dalit and Adivasi students, school and college toppers, gave up their hopes and chose to commit suicide.

The conventional wisdom is that these students got admission through reservations with “lesser merit” and gave up their lives unable to match the academic expectations of these premier educational institutions. And the definition of this “merit” is defined strictly in terms of marks at the entrance level, conveniently discounting various other factors like social background, family, medium of instruction in school, the rural-urban divide that play a major role in the performance of the students.

So a student from an urban-based upper-caste/ upper-class background with both parents literate and from much better schools, most often elite private English-medium ones, is considered more “meritorious”, more “deserving” with her 85 per cent marks, than those “quota” students with their 75 per cent marks scored fighting against all their debilitating social realities.

This perceived “lack of merit” among Dalit and Adivasi students and their admissions through “quotas” breeds so much resentment among other students, faculties and college administrations that these students feel totally alienated from campus life, which is dominated by upper-caste students and faculty, and have to go through constant harassment and daily insults in class, in hostels, in playgrounds, in messes.

It is not the academic pressure that these students are unable to cope with; it is the environment of these campuses, with their entrenched casteism that gets displayed in defining “merit”, resulting in caste discrimination from both students and faculty, that Dalit and Adivasi students are not able to deal with.

It is not their lack of efforts in studies that force them to give up their lives after developing “psychiatric” problems, but the feeling of rejection that they experience from these institutions that forces them to take this extreme step.

With their brilliant academic performances in schools, these students enter professional institutions with immense self-confidence and faith in the system that promises a bright future and fair treatment solely based on their academic performances but in reality judges them, from Day One, on their social identities and family background without giving them the chance to prove their merit. That is what shatters them.

In 2006, the Indian government constituted a three-member inquiry committee under the chairmanship of Professor S.K. Thorat, the then UGC chairperson, to look into the complaints of Dalit and Adivasi students of AIIMS.

The first of its kind to probe into caste discrimination in institutes of higher learning, the committee came out with a detailed report and brought out the horrors of caste discrimination suffered by “quota” students on this campus that included physical assaults, boycott by fellow students, deliberate failing by faculties and total insensitivity shown by the AIIMS administration.

The committee also gave various recommendations like establishing equal opportunity cells, transparency in grading, strong punishment for caste discrimination. But the AIIMS administration, rather than engage in introspection, declared the report biased and refuted every allegation of casteism on the campus and even threatened to sue the Thorat committee for bringing disrepute to the institute that promotes excellence and is engaged in the service of the nation.

If one visits the illiterate parents of Senthil Kumar, a PhD student in physics from Tamil Nadu, who committed suicide on February 24, 2008, at the University of Hyderabad, the first thing they produce for the visitors are his certificates that bore the testimony of his merit and his efforts, making him the first from his pig-rearing panniandi caste, the lowest in caste hierarchy, to enter the portals of higher education.

Along with the certificates you can find a diary where Senthil wrote: “I want to bring Nobel prize for my country.” If you flip through its pages, you will also find a picture of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam from a newspaper cutting, with a title in Senthil’s handwriting: “My Role Model.”

These students came up by beating all odds and proved their merit in more than one way. Do our premier educational institutions, AIIMS, IITs and universities, have the required merit and efficiency to be able to teach such brilliant students?

The writer started Insight Foundation, a platform for Dalit and Adivasi youth, focused on higher education issues
express@expressindia.com

 

source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/the-death-of-anil-meena/923471/0

A letter addressing the delegates of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China by S.P. Udayakumar

November 9, 2012

 
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
Idinthakarai 627 104
Tamil Nadu
India
 
The Delegates
18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
Great Hall of the People
Beijing
[Through]
H. E. The Ambassador of China
 50-D, Shantipath
Chanakyapuri
New Delhi-110021
Fax: 91-11-26885486; 24679542
 
Dear Esteemed Delegates:
 
Greetings! We, the Struggle Committee of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), write to congratulate you all on the successful start of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and to wish you all great success with this important meeting.
 
As you are making crucial decisions about the socioeconomic-political future of your important country, may we request you to shun the development of nuclear power as an energy option please. After all, scores of developed and scientifically advanced countries around the world are renouncing nuclear power and going for ‘New Energies’ for obvious reasons.
 
Only our two countries, China and India, are going for major expansion of nuclear power with no concrete plans to decommission the plants or to store and safeguard the nuclear waste. Both our countries also go for major nuclear arms build-up which is not in the best interests of our peoples, regional harmony and world peace.
 
Our countries are working together in several international forums such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Russia-India-China (RIC) troika, and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) economies. We could become a much larger force in the world economy over the next 50 years. In fact, economists predict that BRICS economies could account for over half the size of the G6 (US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, UK) by 2025 and could be larger than the G6 (in US dollar terms) in less than 40 years.
 
But our national growth and progress may mean little if we also engage in nuclear arms race and squander our resources on expensive and dangerous projects such as nuclear power plants that will take enormous amounts of money for decommissioning, waste management and so forth. All our nuclear plants/parks will have deleterious effects on our farmers’, fishermen’s and workers’ rights to life and livelihood; our natural resources; our cattle, crops and seafood; food security; nutrition security; health of our people, and the wellbeing of our progeny.
 
In the larger interests of our own countries and peoples and the whole world, please make a solemn resolve in your historic 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China not to promote nuclear energy in China. Such a thoughtful decision will also help India, Pakistan and other countries shun nuclear power and go for “New Energies.”
 
Looking forward to your timely and wise intervention in the nuclear issue, we send you our best regards and all peaceful wishes.
 
Yours truly,
 
S. P. Udayakumar     M. Pushparayan     M. P. Jesuraj  
 
Fr. F. Jayakumar     R. S. Muhilan     Peter Milton

Condemn the arrest of the General Secretary of ATP and Namakkal district ATP leaders.

 The police has arrested the General secretary of ATHI TAMILAR PERAVAI -ATP-and Namakkal district ATP leaders in connection with the bus burning case against the guidelines given by the supreme court in D.K.BASU CASE IN 1996..WHEN THE BUS WAS BURNING “ALL THE LEADERS WERE IN POLICE CUSTODY” at Nallipalayam Tirumalai kalyana mandapam…This is nothing but to ruin/destroy/annihilate the DALIT MOVEMENTS in Tamilnadu…we will meet the challenges by our vigorous mass struggle and legal battle…….

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

D.K. Basu Case guidelines  for ARREST  -R.VIMALA VIDYA-NAMAKKAL

 

GUIDELINES LAID DOWN BY THE HON’BLE SUPREME COURT IN D.K. BASU CASE-18.12.1996
The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in D.K.Basu Vs State of West Bengal, has laid down specific guidelines required to be followed while making arrests.
The principles laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court are given here under:
  1. The police personnel carrying out the arrest and handling the interrogation of the arrestee should bear accurate, visible and clear identification and name tags with their designations. The particulars of all such police personnel who handle interrogation of the arrestee must be recorded in a register
  1. That the police officer carrying out the arrest shall prepare a memo of arrest at the time of arrest and such memo shall be attested by at least one witness, who may be either a member of the family of the arrestee or a respectable person of the locality from where the arrest is made.  It shall also be counter signed by the arrestee and shall contain the time and date of arrest.
  1. A person who has been arrested or detained and is being held in custody in a police station or interrogation centre or other lock up, shall be entitled to have one friend or relative or other person known to him or having interest in his welfare being informed, as soon as practicable, that he has been arrested and is being detained at the particular place, unless the attesting witness of the memo of arrest is himself such a friend or a relative of the arrestee.
  1. The time, place of arrest and venue of custody of an arrestee must be notified by the police where the next friend or relative of the arrestee lives outside the district or town through the Legal Aid Organisation in the District and the police station of the area concerned telegraphically within a period of 8 to 12 hours after the arrest.
  1. The person arrested must be made aware of his right to have someone informed of his arrest or detention as soon as he is put under arrest or is detained.
  1. An entry must be made in the diary at the place of detention regarding the arrest of the person which shall also disclose the name of the next friend of the person who has been informed of the arrest and the names land particulars of the police officials in whose custody the arrestee is.
  1. The  arrestee should, where he so requests, be also examined at the time of his arrest and major and minor injuries, if any present on his/her body, must be recorded at that time. The ‘Inspection Memo’ must be signed both by the arrestee and the police officer effecting the arrest and its copy provided to the arrestee.
  1. The arrestee should be subjected to medical examination by the trained doctor every 48 hours during his detention in custody by a doctor on the panel of approved doctors appointed by Director, Health Services of the concerned State or Union Territory, Director, Health Services should prepare such a panel for all Tehsils and Districts as well.
  1. Copies of all the documents including the memo of arrest, referred to above, should be sent to the Magistrate for his record.
  1. The arrestee may be permitted to meet his lawyer during interrogation, though not throughout the interrogation.
A police control room should be provided at all district and State headquarters where information regarding the arrest and the place of custody of the arrestee shall be communicated by the officer causing the arrest, within 12 hours of effecting the arrest and at the police control room it should be displayed on a conspicuous notice board.

 

NHRC GUIDELINES REGARDING ARREST

(National Human Rights Commission)

 

Need for Guidelines

Arrest involves restriction of liberty of a person arrested and therefore, infringes the basic human rights of liberty. Nevertheless the Constitution of India as well as International human rights law recognise the power of the State to arrest any person as a part of its primary role of maintaining law and order. The Constitution requires a just, fair and reasonable procedure established by law under which alone such deprivation of liberty is permissible. Although Article 22(1) of the Constitution provides that every person placed under arrest shall be informed as soon as may be the ground of arrest and shall not be denied the right to consult and be defended by a lawyer of his choice and S.50 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr. PC) requires a police officer arresting any person to  “ forthwith communicate to him full particulars of the offence for which he is arrested or other grounds for such arrest”. in actual practice these requirements are observed more in the breach. Likewise, the requirement of production of the arrested person before the court promptly which is mandated both under the Constitution [Article22(2)] and the Cr. PC (Section 57] is also not adhered to strictly.  

A large number of complaints pertaining to Human Rights violations are in the area of abuse of police powers, particularly those of arrest and detention. It has, therefore, become necessary, with a view to narrowing the gap between law and practice, to prescribe guidelines regarding arrest even while at the same time not unduly curtailing the power of the police to effectively maintain and enforce law and order and proper investigation.  

PRE-ARREST

Ø The power to arrest without a warrant should be exercised only after a reasonable satisfaction is reached, after some investigation, as to the genuineness and bonafides of a complaint and a reasonable belief as to both the person’s complicity as well as the need to effect arrest. [Joginder Kumar’s case- (1994) 4 SCC 260).  

Ø Arrest cannot be justified merely on the existence of power, as a matter of law, to arrest without a warrant in a cognizable case.

Ø After Joginder Kumar’s pronouncement of the Supreme Court the question 54 whether the power of arrest has been exercised reasonably or not is clearly a justiciable one.

Ø Arrest in cognizable cases may be considered justified in one or other of the following circumstances:

(i) The case involves a grave offence like murder, dacoity, robbery, rape etc. and it is necessary to arrest the suspect to prevent him from escaping or evading the process of law.

(ii) The suspect is given to violent behaviour and is likely to commit further offences.

(iii) The suspect requires to be prevented from destroying evidence or interfering with witnesses or warning other suspects who have not yet been arrested.

(iv) The suspect is a habitual offender who, unless arrested, is likely to commit similar or further offences. [3rd Report of National Police Commission]

Ø Except in heinous offences, as mentioned above, an arrest must be avoided if a police officer issues notice to the person to attend the police station and not leave the station without permission. (see Joginder Kumar’s case (1994) SCC 260).

Ø The power to arrest must be avoided where the offences are bailable unless there is a strong apprehension of the suspect absconding .

Ø Police officers carrying out an arrest or interrogation should bear clear identification and name tags with designations. The particulars of police personnel carrying out the arrest or interrogation should be recorded contemporaneously, in a register kept at the police station.

 ARREST

Ø As a rule use of force should be avoided while effecting arrest. However, in case of forcible resistance to arrest, minimum force to overcome such resistance may be used. However, care must be taken to ensure that injuries to the person being arrested, visible or otherwise, is avoided.  

Ø The dignity of the person being arrested should be protected. Public display or parading of the person arrested should not be permitted at any cost.

Ø Searches of the person arrested must be done with due respect to the dignity of the person, without force or aggression and with care for the person’s right to privacy. Searches of women should only be made by other women with strict regard to decency. (S.51(2) Cr.PC.) 55

Ø The use of handcuffs or leg chains should be avoided and if at all, it should be resorted to strictly in accordance with the law repeatedly explained and mandated in judgement of the Supreme Court in Prem Shanker Shukla v. Delhi Adminstration [(1980) 3 SCC 526] and Citizen for Democracy v. State of Assam [(1995) 3 SCC 743].

Ø As far as is practicable women police officers should be associated where the person or persons being arrested are women. The arrest of women between sunset and sunrise should be avoided.

Ø Where children or juveniles are sought to be arrested, no force or beatings should be administered under any circumstances. Police Officers, may for this purpose, associate respectable citizens so that the children or juveniles are not terrorised and minimal coercion is used.

Ø Where the arrest is without a warrant, the person arrested has to be immediately informed of the grounds of arrest in a language which he or she understands. Again, for this purpose, the police, if necessary may take the help of respectable citizens. These grounds must have already been recorded in writing in police records. The person arrested should be shown the written reasons as well and also given a copy on demand. (S.50(1) Cr.PC.)

Ø The arrested person can, on a request made by him or her, demand that a friend, relative or other person known to him be informed of the fact of his arrest and the place of his detention. The police should record in a register the name of the person so informed. [Joginder Kumar’s case (supra)].

Ø If a person is arrested for a bailable offence, the police officer should inform him of his entilement to be released on bail so that he may arrange for sureties. (S.50(2) Cr.PC.)

Ø Apart from informing the person arrested of the above rights, the police should also inform him of his right to consult and be defended by a lawyer of his choice.  He should also be informed that he is entitled to free legal aid at state expense [D.K. Basu’s case (1997) 1 SCC].

Ø When the person arrested is brought to the police station, he should, if he makes a request in this regard, be given prompt medical assistance. He must be informed of this right. Where the police officer finds that the arrested person is in a condition where he is unable to make such request but is in need of medical help, he should promptly arrange for the same. This must also be recorded contemporaneously in a register. The female requesting for medical help should be examined only by a female registered medical practitioner. (S.53 Cr.PC.)  

Ø Information regarding the arrest and the place of detention should be communicated by the police officer effecting the arrest without any delay to the police Control Room and District / State Headquarters. There must be a monitoring mechanism working round the clock.

Ø As soon as the person is arrested, police officer effecting the arrest shall make a mention of the existence or non-existence of any injury(s) on the person of the arrestee in the register of arrest. If any injuries are found on the person of the arrestee, full description and other particulars as to the manner in which the injuries were caused should be mentioned in the register, which entry shall also be signed by the police officer and the arrestee. At the time of release of the arrestee, a certificate to the above effect under the signature of the police officer shall be issued to the arrestee.

Ø If the arrestee has been remanded to police custody under the orders of the court, the arrestee should be subjected to medical examination by a trained Medical Officer every 48 hours during his detention in custody by a doctor on the panel of approved doctors appointed by Director, Health Services of the concerned State or Union Territory . At the time of his release from the police custody, the arrestee shall be got medically examined and a certificate shall be issued to him stating therein the factual position of the existence or nonexistence of any injuries on his person.  

POST ARREST

Ø The person under arrest must be produced before the appropriate court within 24 hours of the arrest (Ss 56 and 57 Cr.PC).  

Ø The person arrested should be permitted to meet his lawyer at any time during the interrogation.  

Ø The interrogation should be conducted in a clearly identifiable place, which has been notified for this purpose by the Government. The place must be accessible and the relatives or friend of the person arrested must be informed of the place of interrogation taking place.  

Ø The methods of interrogation must be consistent with the recognised rights to life, dignity and liberty and right against torture and degrading treatment.

ENFORCEMENT OF GUIDELINES

1. The guidelines must be translated in as many languages as possible and distributed to every police station. It must also be incorporated in a handbook which should be given to every policeman.  

2. Guidelines must receive maximum publicity in the print or other electronic media. It should also be prominently displayed on notice board, in more than one language, in every police station.

3. The police must set up a complaint redressal mechanism, which will promptly investigate complaints of violation of guidelines and take corrective action.

4 The notice board which displays guidelines must also indicate the location of the complaints redressal mechanism and how that body can be approached.

5. NGOs and public institutions including courts, hospitals, universities etc., must be involved in the dissemination of these guidelines to ensure the widest possible reach.

6. The functioning of the complaint redressal mechanism must be transparent and its reports accessible.

7. Prompt action must be taken against errant police officers for violation of the guidelines. This should not be limited to departmental enquiries but also set in motion the criminal justice mechanism.

 

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