Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 10.05.16

 

The Indian police’s guide to royally screwing up a rape investigation – Quartz

http://qz.com/677697/the-indian-polices-guide-to-royally-screwing-up-a-rape-investigation/

DALITS GASP UNDER ILLEGAL STONE CRUSHER DEBRIS IN CHATRA The pioneer

http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/ranchi/dalits-gasp-under-illegal-stone-crusher-debris-in-chatra.html

Maharashtra: Dalit man digs up new well in JUST 40 days after wife denied water from a well – Abp live

http://www.abplive.in/lifestyle/maharashtra-dalit-man-digs-up-new-well-in-just-40-days-after-wife-denied-water-from-a-well-338555

Dalit unity a dream as egos keep leaders apart – The times of india

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Dalit-unity-a-dream-as-egos-keep-leaders-apart/articleshow/52197935.cms

No bail to accused in Udumalpet murder case – Nyoooz

http://www.nyoooz.com/chennai/458395/no-bail-to-accused-in-udumalpet-murder-case

Jakhar asks Sampla to explain irregularities in Dalit students – India today

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/jakhar-asks-sampla-to-explain-irregularities-in-dalit-students/1/664124.html

Outside JU gates, ABVP threatens to ‘chop off legs of anti-nationals’ – The indiaan express

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/outside-jadavpur-university-ju-gates-abvp-threatens-to-chop-off-legs-of-anti-nationals-2792451/

Simhastha: Now, BJP’s Dalit outreach drive to be a low-key affair – Hindustan times

http://www.hindustantimes.com/indore/simhastha-now-bjp-s-dalit-outreach-drive-to-be-a-low-key-affair/story-Ol4DiMJJLg0yddAmfXOCVO.html

90% will stop drinking, 5% will go to other states, 5% chronic cases will get treatment, says Anbumani Ramadoss – The Indian express

http://www.indiapress.org/gen/news.php/Indian_Express/400×60/0

Life over death – The Indian express

http://www.indiapress.org/gen/news.php/Indian_Express/400×60/0

 

Quartz

The Indian police’s guide to royally screwing up a rape investigation

http://qz.com/677697/the-indian-polices-guide-to-royally-screwing-up-a-rape-investigation/

The body of the 29-year-old lies in a pool of blood in a shack-like house. Thirty deep wounds all over. Private parts slashed over 20 times. Stab wounds on the back of her head, on the chest, chin, and cheek. Intestines pulled out by an iron rod thrust into the vagina, chest torn open by stabs.

And it is not 6 pm yet. She lies dead for over two hours before her mom returned after the day’s labour.

The mother’s blood-curdling cries for help are met with dull thuds—neighbours’ doors being shut. The police do not arrive for another two hours. Once in, they take a look at the body using the light from mobile phones, and leave. The crime scene is not cordoned off. No policeman is posted on guard, no higher official informed.

It is noontime next day before the body is taken for post-mortem. The autopsy is allegedly performed by a student. After the procedure, the body is hurriedly cremated as directed by the police.

This is not a scene from some seedy crime thriller. This rape and murder took place in Perumbavoor, Ernakulam, in the southern Indian state of Kerala on April 28. “Jisha murder”, as it is now known in India, has become yet another case study in how to botch up a rape investigation with brutal insensitivity and criminal negligence.

A day after her killing, local dailies carried the news in small columns in obit pages, revealing her name and other details—evidently fed by the police—but omitting the fact that she was raped. It gained traction in national media the following day after someone noticed chilling similarities with the December 2012 gangrape of 23-year old Jyoti Singh in New Delhi.

Kerala’s Nirbhaya,” they called this one. (The victim in the Delhi bus rape case was called “Nirbhaya” by sections of the Indian media.) Soon, news channels picked it up and social media outrage followed. Once the gravity of the situation was brought out, media coverage turned extensive. More details began tumbling out.

Jisha was a law student, the younger daughter of a single mother. Her sister married away, she lived with her mother in a single-room house—the family’s home for the past 40 years.

It was reported that she was earlier assaulted physically by the brother-in-law of the panchayat (village council) member of her locality. She complained to the police on April 17, 2014, saying she faced a threat to her life. The police claimed she was only verbally abused and her complaints were rejected as baseless.

Today, there is no trace of the murderer or murderers. The police have destroyed all evidence, according to the media. Classic.

The police officers’ insensitivity to Jisha’s plight or her first complaint should surprise no one. She was a Dalit. The family lived in poverty—their house had no toilet and they used a pit dug inside the house to answer nature’s call. They didn’t have enough food.

The mother, though mentally unstable, worked hard to bring up her two daughters. Jisha struggled to earn a degree and practice law. The neighbours weren’t even aware that she was a law student.

Awarded a small plot under a government scheme for the homeless, the mother-daughter duo was building a home for itself—and all by itself. There was no money to hire construction labourers.

Different eras, same mindsets

This isn’t the first time a sexual crime in Kerala has shocked the country. In my early years as a journalist, Kerala’s first ever trafficking case came to light. The victim, now known as the “Suryanelli girl”, was a 16-year-old from Suryanelli, Idukki district.

She was trapped by a bus conductor and made part of a sex racket. Sold to 41 men in 40 days, she and her family have harassment faced ever since.

However, there is a marked difference in public attitudes to the Suryanelli and Jisha cases.

A total lack of middle-class sympathy for the Suryanelli victim was evident from the beginning. Even the courts asked why she didn’t try to escape. Mainstream media and the honourable high court ridiculed her, calling her deviant. A retired judge termed her a “child prostitute”—illegal by the sheer coinageof the term.

There is sympathy for Jisha, though, because she was attacked in broad daylight inside her own home. She was not travelling alone. She didn’t wear revealing clothes.

Yet, two decades later, most other things remain the same.

In the history of the rape cases in Kerala, rarely have the police, judiciary, and media shown compassion for the victims or their families.

One the day the Suryanelli girl went missing—January 16, 1996—her father frantically sought help. Police officials shooed him away saying they had to look for an old jeep that had gone missing on the same day. So the child was not rescued—at least not before she was raped 67 times.

When the culprits did let her go, the police advised her father to withdraw the complaint. He refused. The police turned hostile.

The child was asked to come to the police station to record her statement. Physically and psychologically ravaged, she, along with her father, was kept waiting the entire day even as voyeuristic crowds gathered to take a peek at her. This was repeated over days. The policemen seemed to derive pleasure from the onlookers’ lewd comments.

In Jisha’s case, the police have been slammed for trying a cover up, especially in view of the May 16 state legislative election. No report was filed with the district collector as is mandatory in the event of the death of a Dalit. The haste with which the body was cremated, leaving no scope for a fresh post-mortem, remains unexplained.

Even after 20 years, which saw open discussions on gender justice and women’s rights, misogyny remains deeply embedded in the police.

Why is it that, except for a handful of committed officers, most men in our police force turn so anti-woman, anti-Dalit, and anti-poor? Are they trained this way or do they choose this attitude?

Politicians are no different. They often exhibit savage enthusiasm to turn such cases to their advantage, tarnishing their opponents, who in turn attacked the victims and their families.

For instance, when the Suryanelli victim identified a senior Congress leader—then a minister in the union cabinet—as one of her abusers, she was turned into a political tool to attack the Congress party. So, when the Congress-led government returned to power in Kerala, she was framed in a case involving theft at her workplace and jailed.

In Jisha’s case, too, politicians are busy shedding ritualistic tears. Promises of secure housing and job for her sister have begun pouring in. The Left-led opposition attacked the Congress-led government over police negligence. The Congress-led ruling front attacked the sitting Left front legislator of the area and the Left-controlled panchayat committee for not lending timely help to the family.

Undoubtedly, more than tracing the culprits, mud-slinging is the focus.

Women unsafe

Meanwhile, the number of recorded rapes more than doubled in Keralato 5,918 over the past five years. Besides, the number of sexual harassment cases, too, have shot up to 20,201 from 13,381 in the same period.

Not surprisingly, only 10% or even fewer cases in Kerala see conviction. Denying and delaying justice in epoch-making rape and sexual harassment cases have contributed to the steep increase in such violence—both within and outside homes. Add to that, the assaults under the pretext of moral policing.

It was only in the Soumya rape and murder case that the police, politicians, media, and the judiciary, along with the general public, stood together for justice. Death sentence was awarded to the accused, Govindachami, a one-armed non-Malayali thought to be a beggar initially and later found be a hardened criminal

It is a disturbing thought, though, that had Govindachami been a Malayali, the society may not have stood together.

Is there hope?

It is comforting that the ideas of gender justice and gender equality are slowly seeping in through social media, thanks to the work done by feminist groups and women’s organisations. Let us hope the mindset that sees a rape victim as a subject of mockery and humiliation will change.

Back to Jisha—was it a planned rape, accentuated by her caste and class? Considering that rape has nothing to do with sex, and is all about power, violence, and misogyny, isn’t it horrendous that it is this society that had bred and raised the culprit too? It is scary that he is still out there, free and unknown.

How many such deaths must we witness? What will be left of us to be shocked?

K R Meera is a Kerala-based writer. Her novel, Hangwoman, won the Indian government’s Sahitya Akademi Award in 2015

The pioneer

DALITS GASP UNDER ILLEGAL STONE CRUSHER DEBRIS IN CHATRA

http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/ranchi/dalits-gasp-under-illegal-stone-crusher-debris-in-chatra.html

Cream of crushers is proving louder than voices of hundreds of Dalits residing at Pandeypura village of Huntergunj in Chatra district. If it is not the case, then pleas of Ramvilas Bhuiyan, Panchu Bhuiyan, Rajesh Bhuiyan, Dinesh Bhuiyan, Suren Paswan and the likes of them would not have left unheard even at the top level in the Government.

The trahimam or frantic calls given to the administrative setup starting from Chatra DC to the Chief Minister Office in Ranchi against gross violation of environmental conditions laid to run a crusher however did just one thing.

“Lease holder Kameshwar Singh then had to manage more people, including Mukhiya, Pramukh, local forest officials to keep the illegal stone mining running. We after losing all the resourses available, finally wrote to the CM Janta Darbar on February 18, 2016 but no response came from there,” Malti Devi, panchayat samiti member of Pandeypura Khurd, said.

The villagers mostly belonging to the Dalit community have been opposing stone mining lease given to Kameshwar Singh, a local strongman, who runs M/s Jaishankar Stone Works. As per the lease granted, the operator had to do stone mining at Dalkoma village area on 1.76 acres raiyati land.

“One can see how brazenly he is doing mining at nearby jungles of Newar, Asnaha etc and ruining the flora and fauna there. Besides, Asnaha channel is the natural source of water for the villages of the area which has been blocked by the debris. A high road for transporting the stones to the crusher has been built and far greater number of payloaders, dumpers, poklands, hyvas are running than permitted,” said Baidyanath Singh, a retired teacher and local activist.

Even the crusher of the firm is located just around 50 meters away from the dense human habitation, Pandeypura Khurd, which is clearly on the wrong side of the preconditions set before ‘Consent to Establish’ and ‘Consent to Operate’ (CTE and CTO) given by the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board. Pandeypura Bazar and nearby areas are constantly engulfed under dense dustbowl causing irreparable damage to human and vegetative health.

“As per the permission given, he cannot deposit more than 225 CFT of stone chips, has to make 10 feet high boundary wall around the dump yard, plant trees and contribute to the Gram Sabha fund at the rate of Re 1 per tonne. Nothing of this sort is being done there. The stone dust is being dumped into greenfields, farmlands and very near to the village,” said Surendra Kumar Yadav of the village.

On many occasions, the villagers jammed the Huntergunj-Chatra road and given representations before the DC and the DFO. A plea written to the Mines Director SP Negi in March this year rekindled their hope a bit when the official ordered the Chatra DC to get the matter probed.

“Here the money power came into effect again. Once a signatory on the application to the CM Janta Darbar, Mukhiya Suresh Paswan who connived with Pramukh Priti Kumari and gave a favourable report to the local administration stating that no violation is being done to the terms and conditions put. They cannot look into the eyes of the villagers for selling themselves but of no use,” said the panchayat samiti member.

When contacted, YKS Chauhan, Additional Chief Conservator of Forest, admitted to the unrest. “I held a meeting with DFO and locals on Sunday. Locals were complaining about violation and mining is being done in the forest area whereas the DFO defended the leaseholder. I have told the DFO to verify allegations afresh with maps and all that and shutdown the mining if it is being conducted on the forest land,” said the official, adding that three dumpers have already been impounded for violating the permission limit set.

This has given villagers some respite notwithstanding their resolve to move to the court with a PIL. “Failing to all that we have only recourse left and that is judiciary. Finally, we would move to the High Court in order to save our farmland, forest and future of the generations to come,” said villager Gauri Shankar Paswan.

Abp live

Maharashtra: Dalit man digs up new well in JUST 40 days after wife denied water from a well

http://www.abplive.in/lifestyle/maharashtra-dalit-man-digs-up-new-well-in-just-40-days-after-wife-denied-water-from-a-well-338555

Washim (Maharashtra): When there is a will, there is a way, a Dalit man here has proved this saving correct once again.

Bapurao Tajne dug up a new well in just 40 days after his wife was allegedly denied water from a well. It also shows his love and care for his spouse.

From the well, not only his family fetches water but also those who once used to laugh at him when Tajne said he will dig up a well for his wife.

“People who were laughing at me earlier now fetch water from my well,” said Bapurao Tajne.

The times of india

Dalit unity a dream as egos keep leaders apart

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Dalit-unity-a-dream-as-egos-keep-leaders-apart/articleshow/52197935.cms

When UP chief minister Mayawati spoke in Chennai on Sunday, many in the state recalled that her ascension in 1993 in UP coincided with the dalit upsurge in Tamil Nadu.

In the 1990s, in many parts of the state a restive dalit population was challenging the dominance of the intermediate castes in their area. While Krishnaswamy was leading the pallars, who took on the title of devendrakula vellalars, against thevars in the southern district, Thirumavalavan emerged soon by taking up the cause of paraiyars against vanniars. The trigger for many of these cases was educated dalits who had benefited from reservation coming back to their village to find that caste practices including untouchability were still a feature of rural life.

While Mayawati broke away from the yadav-leaning Samajwadi Party and built her support base in opposition to it by drawing in other communities including upper castes, in Tamil Nadu the main outfits remained circumscribed geographically and within the immediate caste group they represented. With their pockets of influence demonstrated in polls, they soon started aligning with Dravidian parties, striking deals for seats.

It seems coming together of Krishnaswamy’s Pudhiya Thamizhagam and Thirumavalavan’s VCK has never been on the agenda of the two parties – whether in the 1990s or the following decade. “Arundhatiyars, pallars and paraiyars are three different caste groups. The Constitution may have grouped them together because they were considered untouchables. Even if the leaders of the community come together, the caste groups may not join,” says T S S Mani, an activist who was among the early brains trust of Krishnaswamy.

Mani also talks about how Krishnaswamy was the taller leader to begin with and when he sought to expand his base into the paraiyar community, the VCK resisted it. “Any coming together has to be based on a common programme and years of joint action. That is not happening on the ground. One group pulls out if the other takes the initiative on any issue,” he says.

Political analyst T N Gopalan blames it on bloated egos. ” Each leader wants to project himself as the true dalit leader and expects others to follow. This has caused much harm to the dalit movement,” he says.

The dalit parties seem to be waiting for a breakout moment. “Dalit movement is at a nascent stage in the state and elsewhere. It will take a long time before the movement matures, grows in numbers and draws in allies,” says Gnani, another political analyst in Tamil Nadu, the dalit parties have sought to reach out by adopting some core Dravidian movement ideas.

VCK, for instance, has made Tamil nationalism its guiding philosophy. It believes that ancient Tamil society did not have rigid caste structures and that caste is a latter day phenomenon. VCK has also been a strident supporter of Eelam, besides campaigning for jallikattu as a native sport.

The party’s fundraising has drawn criticism though it helped it to launch a television channel of its own- Velicham. “We are not a caste-based party and have given tickets to people of many castes. There really are no rigid vote banks and people organize on issues. We have always championed broader ideas from the beginning. In this election, we have done what even Moopanar tried and failed by playing a key role in launching a viable third front. We have made much progress,” says Ravikumar, a dalit intellectual and VCK candidate at Vanur.

Nyoooz

No bail to accused in Udumalpet murder case

http://www.nyoooz.com/chennai/458395/no-bail-to-accused-in-udumalpet-murder-case

Summary: The father, mother and a close relative of an upper caste girl, who allegedly brutally murdered a Dalit boy, with whom the girl had eloped, were denied bail by the Madras High Court. The girl’s father Chinnasamy, mother Annalakshmi and three other relatives, who were hell bent on revenge, traced the couple to Udumalpet and brutally attacked them. The duo eloped and began living in Udumalpet. Kausalya, a major, belonging to the Thevar community, fell in love with Sankar, a Dalit. Rejecting their plea, vacation judge P Kalaiyarasan said that considering the possibility of the accused repeating similar offences and the fact that their release on bail will have its own impact on society, where there are divisions and caste clashes and the possibility of their tampering with the evidence, this court is of the view that it is not conducive to enlarge them on bail.

The father, mother and a close relative of an upper caste girl, who allegedly brutally murdered a Dalit boy, with whom the girl had eloped, were denied bail by the Madras High Court. Rejecting their plea, vacation judge P Kalaiyarasan said that considering the possibility of the accused repeating similar offences and the fact that their release on bail will have its own impact on society, where there are divisions and caste clashes and the possibility of their tampering with the evidence, this court is of the view that it is not conducive to enlarge them on bail. Kausalya, a major, belonging to the Thevar community, fell in love with Sankar, a Dalit. The duo eloped and began living in Udumalpet. The girl’s father Chinnasamy, mother Annalakshmi and three other relatives, who were hell bent on revenge, traced the couple to Udumalpet and brutally attacked them. Court seeks records on 12-yr-old’s death The Madras High Court has called for all the records, including the case diary (CD), relating to the death of a 12 year old boy under mysterious circumstances in January 2015.Justice R Mala gave the direction when the criminal original petition from R Selvi, the mother of deceased Saravanan, came up recently.According to Selvi, a widow and a flower-vendor, some persons entered into her house and threatened her son.

India today

Jakhar asks Sampla to explain irregularities in Dalit students

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/jakhar-asks-sampla-to-explain-irregularities-in-dalit-students/1/664124.html

Jalandhar, May 9 (PTI) Alleging irregularities in scholarships given to Dalit students in Punjab, senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar today asked state BJP chief Vijay Sampla to explain why Rs 772 crore has not been released so far by the Centre among them.

Addressing an event in Kapurthala, he said, “The Centre has not been giving scholarships to Dalit students due to financial bungling by the BJP-Akali government.”

Seeking clarification from Sampla, he asked, “On what grounds has the Central government stopped giving scholarship assistance to these students?”

“Punjab government in a letter to the Centre had earlier asked for an amount of 772.76 crore which was rejected by the central government,” he said, adding Sampla is not only state BJPs chief but also the face of Dalits and so he should answer my queries. PTI SRT AYP SK NSD

The indiaan express

Outside JU gates, ABVP threatens to ‘chop off legs of anti-nationals’

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/outside-jadavpur-university-ju-gates-abvp-threatens-to-chop-off-legs-of-anti-nationals-2792451/

TEMPERS FLARED at Jadavpur University (JU) on Monday as members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), RSS’ student wing, threatened to “chop off the legs of anti-nationals if they step out of the campus” during a protest rally held outside the university’s gates.

Last Friday, members of ABVP and Left-backed student groups had clashed on the campus over the screening of director Vivek Agnihotri’s film Buddha in a Traffic Jam, triggering chaos, during which some girls were allegedly molested.

The rally organised by the ABVP state unit on Monday to protest against “growing anti-nationalism in educational institutions”, accused JU students of targeting a Dalit, Sandip Das, due to his caste.

Das, a ABVP supporter, has been named in the police complaint filed by the JU administration following the clashes. The complaint alleges the involvement of four outsiders, including Das, who allegedly molested girl students in the commotion that ensued after the open-air screening of the film.

“They targeted Sandip Das and asked him what his full name was. When he reluctantly revealed his full name, the students beat him up, saying that a Dalit has no place in Jadavpur University,” said Subir Haldar, ABVP’s state secretary, at the rally that began from Gol Park and concluded outside the gates of JU.

Haldar, who addressed about a hundred ABVP supporters, added: “Our fight against anti-nationals activities will continue. If they step out of the campus, we will chop off their legs.” Another ABVP leader, Suman Dutta, went on to accuse “JU girls” of indulging in “unnecessary drama”. “These girls claim to be molested. Someone should tell them that only girls who have shame can be molested… These girls kiss men openly. This is what they do all day,” he said. Titir Chakraborty, assistant general secretary of JU’s Arts students association, denied all allegations. “After the film was screened, outsiders who came for the screening and identified themselves as ABVP members, started abusing us. Male students were shoved around while women were sexually assaulted. They grabbed us, pushed us, shoved us and manhandled us,” she said. “We managed to catch hold of only four of the hundred-odd people who were there. One of them was later identified as Sandip Das. He was never asked what his caste was. All these accusations are baseless,” said Chakraborty — one of the 10 girl students who got an FIR lodged against the four ABVP members. To avoid any untoward incident, police had put up three barricades outside the campus. The JU students came out of the campus and shouted slogans against ABVP but any untoward incident was averted by police. Meanwhile, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh distanced himself from Haldar’s comments. “The agitation was held to ensure an ideal academic atmosphere in JU. But if Halder has made such comments, we definitely do not endorse to it… The issue is that freedom of speech and expression was for all and not for a particular group and also the need to instil a feeling of nationalism among students who have gone astray,” Ghosh said. State Education Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee refused to comment on the issue. Both Congress and CPM were quick to equate Chatterjee’s silence to the alleged tacit understanding between Trinamool and BJP. “It is a mirror image of what is happening at the Parliament. This tacit understanding is now open for all to see,” said state Congress president and MP Adhir Chowdhury. Claiming that the strength of RSS has increased during Trinamool’s reign, he added: “Mamata has been patronising RSS and VHP for several years now. During her reign, not only RSS has opened unprecedented number of branches in Bengal but its chief Mohan Bhagwat has addressed a rally in Kolkata.” CPM MP Mohammed Selim claimed Trinamool has been allowing RSS to prosper. “During polls, Trinamool made a lot of hue and cry and raised slogans against BJP. But they keep mum at places where there is a need to raise their voices,” he said.

Hindustan times

Simhastha: Now, BJP’s Dalit outreach drive to be a low-key affair

http://www.hindustantimes.com/indore/simhastha-now-bjp-s-dalit-outreach-drive-to-be-a-low-key-affair/story-Ol4DiMJJLg0yddAmfXOCVO.html

Stung by criticism from seers over its plan to have party president Amit Shah take a special bath with Dalit saints at Simhastha in Ujjain on May 11, the Bharatiya Janata Party has scaled down the ‘Samrasta snan’ event.

Earlier, Shah was expected to march about 1.5 km from Valmiki Dham to Ramghat along with Dalit saints and then take a “dip of harmony” in the Kshipra River at the ongoing festival.

However, now the bath will be held at the Valmiki Dham itself which is also situated on the banks of Kshipra River.

Ramghat is the grand and main ghat of Kshipra River and attracts a lot of attention while the ghat at Valmiki Dham is more ordinary in comparison.

Several prominent seers including Shankaracharya Swaroopanand and Akhara Parishad president Narendra Giri had strongly opposed the ‘Samrasta snan’ saying that there was no caste among saints and organising such an event would only divide the society.

They had said caste of a saint or pilgrim is not asked during any Kumbh and anyone could take a holy dip. The BJP should not eye political gains, the seers had warned.

The plan to organise a ‘Dalit Bhojan’ where Shah was expected to share a meal with the Dalits was also scrapped.

However, the plan to honour Valmiki Dham’s head saint Umeshnath Ji and other invited saints before having the bath remains.

BJP state spokesperson Roop Pamnani said according to a message received from the state president, all other lecture programmes on social issues have also been cancelled.

“No reason has been communicated by the state office,” Pamnani said adding that the cancelled programmes were to be held at the camp of Deendayal Vichar Manch which publishes party mouth piece ‘Chereivati’.

A senior party leader, on the condition of anonymity, said the party did not want to invite any new controversy during the Simhastha Kumbh so it was decided to dilute the scope of the event.

Dalits are crucial in the BJP’s scheme of things as the party plans to expand its footprint across India.

The Indian express

90% will stop drinking, 5% will go to other states, 5% chronic cases will get treatment, says Anbumani Ramadoss

http://www.indiapress.org/gen/news.php/Indian_Express/400×60/0

What makes you different from J Jayalalithaa, M Karunanidhi and Vijayakanth, the other three CM candidates?

Jayalalithaa is intelligent, I agree. Among the four, I am the only one without a background in the film industry. I am the most qualified and educated among the four — I have an MBBS degree, I have completed a short course from London School of Economics, won four international awards and visited 50 to 60 countries. The other three are physically incapable, they can’t even stand or walk around… That is going to be my strength because youngsters want a change, a vibrant leader.

Why do you think youngsters will vote for you?

There are about 5.79 crore voters in Tamil Nadu, 60 per cent of them neutral, 40 per cent cadres of various parties. I hope that around 2.5 crore voters including youngsters wish for change, a party with a new ideology to come out of the clutches of these two Dravidian parties. They have been ruling and ruining the state for the last 50 years. I am the only candidate who fits in with the aspirations of the youth.

You have sounded so confident about enforcing prohibition. Will it be that easy?

My party was formed about 26 years ago but the party founder, my father Ramadoss, has been campaigning for prohibition for 34 years. Fighting a case in Madras High Court and Supreme Court, we already managed to close down some 600 liquor shops along the highways. So there is not doubt about our credentials.

Still, to many people, your plans to enforce prohibition enforcement come across as unrealistic. Aren’t they?

We have a clear plan. If we are elected to power, we will ban the sale and consumption of liquor. We will have a toll-free number where the public can give tip-offs on people selling or consuming liquor. The identity of our informers will be kept secret. If the information is true, they will be given a reward of Rs 10,000, the respective panchayat leader and the local police sub-inspector will be suspended and a black mark will be put on the service books of the DSP and the SP of that region. We will seal all state borders to prevent smuggling of illicit liquor and we will run awareness programmes on TV. Even if it is a brother or a husband or a father who drinks, relatives can alert us and we will put an end to their drinking habit. Police will be in absolute control of the enforcement plans and there will be rehabilitation centres in all taluks.

Immediately after prohibition, 90 per cent will stop drinking, 5 per cent will go to other states to drink — but for a maximum of five months before they quit. The remaining 5 per cent may be chronic cases, who will be given treatment at government cost and whose families will be given financial assistance during the period. Also, some 30,000 liquor shop employees will be given government jobs and young widows of alcohol victims will be rehabilitated. Special fast-track courts will be set up for trial of violators and all trials will be completed in six months, arrests will be non-bailable and the convicts will get life imprisonment for selling illicit liquor.

What made you to take up prohibition as a major issue this election?

Tamil Nadu tops in the consumption of alcohol. It is shameful to say that one-third of our revenue comes from liquor sales. We top in road accidents, which are mostly due to drunken driving, we top in the number of young widows, and we have the highest suicide rates and liver disease cases. Moreover, we have plenty of viral videos of four-year-old boys or school-going children drinking. The revenue loss due to prohibition (around Rs 25,000 crore) will be recovered from regulating the sand, beach sand and granite mining sectors — that alone will get us Rs 85,000 crore annually. Streamlining the collection of commercial tax, which will bring around Rs 15,000 crore, and fighting corruption would together help us generate a total Rs 1.5 lakh crore a year. We won’t give any freebies and all that money will be saved for free education of CBSE standards, free healthcare and opening of medical colleges in all 32 districts.

The campaign of your party is still limited to the northern districts. How do you plan to address the image of being an anti-Dalit casteist party, S Ramadoss’s anti-Dalit remarks, the Dharmapuri riots?

Look, we are not a casteist party. The PMK is a political party contesting all 234 constituencies. After the Dharmapuri riots, Karunanidhi sent a fact-finding team to Dharmapuri but he has never sent a team to southern Tamil Nadu where caste murders are happening almost every day. My father’s remarks were not intended to be anti-Dalit. We cannot have made such statements, he never used the word Dalit in his so-called anti-Dalit statement, he was actually quoting something said by someone. I myself played a role in conducting at least 10 inter-caste or inter-religious marriages of my friends.

You have become the face of your party now. When you seek to shed your party’s casteist image, isn’t it a brand rebuilding?

Yes. People have accepted me now; huge gatherings turn out at all my rallies. They want Anbumani. Youngsters see me like that, like a brand, like they voted for Modi or Kejriwal or Mamata. So it is not the PMK, but Anbumani who is facing the people.

The Indian express

Life over death

http://www.indiapress.org/gen/news.php/Indian_Express/400×60/0

The Death Penalty India Report (DPIR) prepared by the National Law University, Delhi, provides compelling evidence for the abolition of capital punishment in the country. Though the report skirts the moral questions, the comprehensive data reveals major structural anomalies in the legal system, which could be causing the miscarriage of justice. Nearly two-thirds of the persons on death row — there were 385 of them as on January 2015 — belonged to the backward classes, religious minorities, Dalits and Adivasis. Two-thirds of the convicts facing death belonged to the economically vulnerable sections and over 80 per cent of them had not completed school. A large majority of the prisoners had undergone custodial torture and most of them claimed they had confessed to the crime in police custody. Less than half could understand legal proceedings and nearly 70 per cent of them said they hardly had any interaction with their lawyers when their cases were in the higher courts.

Clearly, class, caste and education levels influence legal outcomes and these categories overlap in the Indian context. The findings of the DPIR confirm that the criminal justice system is disproportionately harsh on the poorer, less educated and socially backward sections. That less than five per cent of the death sentences given by lower courts were confirmed by the Supreme Court stokes the suspicion that the lower judiciary is not sufficiently diligent in following the principle of pronouncing death only in the rarest of the rare cases. Read with this, the data that only eight per cent of the individuals on death row had a prior criminal conviction against them and that 25 per cent of the convicts were juveniles or very young, underlines the concern that judges seem to pronounce the death penalty far too often because they are unduly influenced by public opinion. At the very least, a moratorium on capital punishment is called for until the justice system is overhauled.

Once the death penalty is given, there is no scope for remedial action if flaws in the investigative or judicial process are revealed or fresh evidence is produced after the execution of the punishment. The finality of capital punishment is one reason — besides the moral argument that it amounts to revenge and retribution — why at least 120 countries have done away with it. Moreover, there is insufficient evidence that supports the efficacy of the death penalty in preventing heinous crime. Jurisprudence the world over is moving towards a more humanistic view of justice that focuses on reformation. In India, individual MPs have introduced private members bills seeking an end to capital punishment. Last August, the Law Commission of India proposed the abolition of the death penalty in a phased manner and, as a first step, recommended that it be given only in terrorism-related offences. It is a suggestion that needs to be discussed seriously.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

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