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India 131st out of 180 countries on child survival rankings: WHO-UNICEF-Lancet report

The report highlights the various contributors – social, environmental and other, that threaten the lives of children everywhere

21 Feb 2020

child health

According to a new WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission report called ‘A future for the world’s children?’ India ranks 131st among 180 countries in the category of child survival.

The report states that no country in the world is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures. It also stated that the health and future of every child is under “immediate threat” from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children.

The report also says that children must be put at the centre of every country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, even though it has been five years since these goals were adopted, “few countries have recorded much progress towards achieving them”.

Health Issues India states that though the country has improved on many counts – it recorded a 30 percent decrease in newborn mortality rates – it still continues to face an evident socioeconomic crisis. While the report states that there are positive examples of how policy changes have worked and how change can be driven through citizen action, India still has a long way to go.

The infant mortality rate in India currently stands at 33 per 1,000 live births, meaning nearly 800,000 to 850,000 infants die every year in India, the average daily number standing at 2,350. Speaking to IE, Lu Gram, India Index developer at the Institute for Global Health, UCL, said, “In terms of basic survival, one-fifth of Indian households still live in extreme poverty, nearly half do not have access to improved sanitation, and over a quarter do not have access to a skilled birth attendant. The government has launched initiatives such as Swachh Bharat, Janani Suraksha Yojana and MNREGA, etc. to deal with these issues, but it remains to be seen whether they will successfully tackle them or not. In terms of children’s ability to thrive, India displays some of the worst indicators on child nutrition in the world, as 28 per cent of children are low birth weight and 42 per cent are stunted. It also has some of the highest rates of intimate partner violence, with 39 per cent of women having experienced IPV in the past (compared to 11-15 per cent seen in high-income countries). Another issue is the high youth suicide rate, as suicide is the most common cause of death for the 15-29 age group.”

India is also riddled with problems of malnutrition, 69 percent of deaths of children below the age of five were caused due to it. Not just this, a contradictory issue of obesity is also on the rise among Indian youth. By 2030, the country is set to be home to 27 million obese children, becoming a major driver of childhood obesity.

The report highlights how children have been adversely hit by marketing, especially through internet and mobile targeting. A public survey conducted between September 2018 and December 2018 showed that 88.8 percent of youth started drinking before the legal drinking age and could procure alcohol without any age check.

A report by the Tobacco Atlas stated that 625,000 children in India ranging from 10 – 14 years of age continue to use tobacco each day. It states that though 0.64 percent boys – a number fewer than other countries smoke tobacco in India each day, the number is still pegged at more than 429,500 boys making the issue a dire public health threat.

Even climate change and environmental pollution – challenge that the country’s government has pledged to overcome still stands to daunt it today.

The report reads, “Children and young people are full of energy, ideas and hope for the future. They are also angry about the state of the world.”

India deals with vast amounts of air and water pollution. In the past, India stood 177th out of 180 countries which were ranked for their environmental performance. Air pollution, the report stated, caused 1.1 million deaths in the country each year and more than 5 cities in India stood in the top 10 list of the world’s most polluted cities.

Anthony Costello, a co-author of the Lancet report said that India faced manifold challenges related to climate change in the near future. “We don’t want to bequeath our children an unsafe world, with increasing heatwaves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, water shortages, population migration and malnutrition. India faces all of these challenges in the near future,” he told Health Issues India, adding that “the Indian government should recognise that every effort to tackle climate change will be good for the health of children and all families: clean air, clean water, better play areas, safer roads, better nutrition, and population stability.”

Citing a National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) case study from India, the WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission report states that state officials and communities have increased public awareness of their rights and empowerment to demand these rights. However it says that more focus needs to be given to data collection as the use of data can effectively contribute to monitoring and planning health policies and programmes, including those relevant to children’s health and wellbeing, and their potential for wider scale-up.

It is the duty of Prime Ministers and cabinets to think across all ministries about the impact on the health of the children and their future, Costello says. The report too emphasizes – “Since threats to child health and wellbeing originate in all sectors, a deliberately multi-sectoral approach is needed to ensure children and adolescents survive and thrive form the ages of 0-18 years, today and in the future. Citizen participation and more importantly, soliciting the inputs of children and adolescents themselves, apart from the contribution of the government is imperative to grant the children the future they deserve.


Related:

India ranks first in child deaths under 5 years of age: UNICEF report               
Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to effects of climate change
Our children’s future

 

India 131st out of 180 countries on child survival rankings: WHO-UNICEF-Lancet report

The report highlights the various contributors – social, environmental and other, that threaten the lives of children everywhere

child health

According to a new WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission report called ‘A future for the world’s children?’ India ranks 131st among 180 countries in the category of child survival.

The report states that no country in the world is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures. It also stated that the health and future of every child is under “immediate threat” from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children.

The report also says that children must be put at the centre of every country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, even though it has been five years since these goals were adopted, “few countries have recorded much progress towards achieving them”.

Health Issues India states that though the country has improved on many counts – it recorded a 30 percent decrease in newborn mortality rates – it still continues to face an evident socioeconomic crisis. While the report states that there are positive examples of how policy changes have worked and how change can be driven through citizen action, India still has a long way to go.

The infant mortality rate in India currently stands at 33 per 1,000 live births, meaning nearly 800,000 to 850,000 infants die every year in India, the average daily number standing at 2,350. Speaking to IE, Lu Gram, India Index developer at the Institute for Global Health, UCL, said, “In terms of basic survival, one-fifth of Indian households still live in extreme poverty, nearly half do not have access to improved sanitation, and over a quarter do not have access to a skilled birth attendant. The government has launched initiatives such as Swachh Bharat, Janani Suraksha Yojana and MNREGA, etc. to deal with these issues, but it remains to be seen whether they will successfully tackle them or not. In terms of children’s ability to thrive, India displays some of the worst indicators on child nutrition in the world, as 28 per cent of children are low birth weight and 42 per cent are stunted. It also has some of the highest rates of intimate partner violence, with 39 per cent of women having experienced IPV in the past (compared to 11-15 per cent seen in high-income countries). Another issue is the high youth suicide rate, as suicide is the most common cause of death for the 15-29 age group.”

India is also riddled with problems of malnutrition, 69 percent of deaths of children below the age of five were caused due to it. Not just this, a contradictory issue of obesity is also on the rise among Indian youth. By 2030, the country is set to be home to 27 million obese children, becoming a major driver of childhood obesity.

The report highlights how children have been adversely hit by marketing, especially through internet and mobile targeting. A public survey conducted between September 2018 and December 2018 showed that 88.8 percent of youth started drinking before the legal drinking age and could procure alcohol without any age check.

A report by the Tobacco Atlas stated that 625,000 children in India ranging from 10 – 14 years of age continue to use tobacco each day. It states that though 0.64 percent boys – a number fewer than other countries smoke tobacco in India each day, the number is still pegged at more than 429,500 boys making the issue a dire public health threat.

Even climate change and environmental pollution – challenge that the country’s government has pledged to overcome still stands to daunt it today.

The report reads, “Children and young people are full of energy, ideas and hope for the future. They are also angry about the state of the world.”

India deals with vast amounts of air and water pollution. In the past, India stood 177th out of 180 countries which were ranked for their environmental performance. Air pollution, the report stated, caused 1.1 million deaths in the country each year and more than 5 cities in India stood in the top 10 list of the world’s most polluted cities.

Anthony Costello, a co-author of the Lancet report said that India faced manifold challenges related to climate change in the near future. “We don’t want to bequeath our children an unsafe world, with increasing heatwaves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, water shortages, population migration and malnutrition. India faces all of these challenges in the near future,” he told Health Issues India, adding that “the Indian government should recognise that every effort to tackle climate change will be good for the health of children and all families: clean air, clean water, better play areas, safer roads, better nutrition, and population stability.”

Citing a National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) case study from India, the WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission report states that state officials and communities have increased public awareness of their rights and empowerment to demand these rights. However it says that more focus needs to be given to data collection as the use of data can effectively contribute to monitoring and planning health policies and programmes, including those relevant to children’s health and wellbeing, and their potential for wider scale-up.

It is the duty of Prime Ministers and cabinets to think across all ministries about the impact on the health of the children and their future, Costello says. The report too emphasizes – “Since threats to child health and wellbeing originate in all sectors, a deliberately multi-sectoral approach is needed to ensure children and adolescents survive and thrive form the ages of 0-18 years, today and in the future. Citizen participation and more importantly, soliciting the inputs of children and adolescents themselves, apart from the contribution of the government is imperative to grant the children the future they deserve.


Related:

India ranks first in child deaths under 5 years of age: UNICEF report               
Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to effects of climate change
Our children’s future

 

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How a child's Slippers were used to terrorize a school: Bidar

21 Feb 2020

bidar sedition

Imagine a posse of policemen led by a senior officer with the rank of a Deputy Superintendent raiding a home looking for evidence in a case of sedition. You would think they were looking for terrorists, or for guns and ammunition or bombs and the material that makes them.

You would be hopelessly wrong. The police were looking for a child's slippers. The child in question was at home, a student in the sixth standard. The bewildered and terrified child dutifully answered the questions they asked: Did you lend your slippers to anyone? If so, to whom? Yes, she had lent her slippers to a friend. Why?

Because she knew her friend was poor and did not have slippers nice enough to wear on stage for a class play. Did you know what they were going to be used for? The child was puzzled. Slippers to wear of course, she wore them and returned them to me.

The child brought out the object of their interest. She watched the policemen smile at each other as they examined her slippers, turned them this way and that. Her slippers were triumphantly wrapped up and carried away by the police, a day's duty done, India saved in the nick of time by yet another act of sedition. Bizarre? Absurd?

Insane? Welcome to the Indian version of a Kafkaesque world, a reality, not a nightmare that you can wake up from and say, oh, thank goodness, it was just a bad dream.

Something like this actually happened on the night of January 31 in the town of Bidar in North Karnataka when a child was interrogated and her slippers taken as evidence in a case of sedition filed by the Bidar police against two women, Fareeda Begum and Nazbunissa.

It all started on January 21 when the children of Class 6 and 7 in the Shaheen School in Bidar performed a skit as part of their class activity on social issues. Discussions on contemporary topics and role play by students is part of the syllabus in most schools.

The developments around CAA are a topic of discussion with a significant number of parents, particularly in minority-populated areas, taking part in the protests. Children have become part of the discussion. There is nothing surprising about this.

We could not have imagined even a decade ago that a teen would shake the world, mobilizing millions of children in the battle against climate change. Here in India, thousands of children have been deeply impacted by the CAA and the hate-filled speeches of our leaders. They watch them, hear their speeches and are filled with dread.

They also have access to platforms like YouTube and TikTok and watch the many shows by satirists and speeches and learn the slogans given by students in colleges and universities across the country against the CAA..."Azadi".

The script for the skit performed by the children was a cut-and-paste job from material in the public domain against the CAA, NRC and NPR. It included slogans, jokes and dialogues. 

A nine-year-old girl played the role of a mother and another played the role of her son. Ultimately in the skit, the mother convinces her son that nothing will happen to them and they will not have to leave the country. In the course of the performance, the mother says, "Yesterday, the boy who was selling tea is now asking for our papers. 

 I ask him, where is he born, where are his documents, if he doesn't show them, I will beat him with slippers...you boil and sell poisonous tea, we put the sugar of love in it. We will not show our documents." The performance was uploaded on a social media platform by a parent who is a journalist. Within a day, a local BJP leader filed a case against the management of the school. 

The police led by the Deputy Superintendent arrived at the school and demanded the children, around seven or eight of them, aged between nine and twelve years, should be called. The children were interrogated not once but five times. In violation of child protection laws, they were intimidated by men in uniform. 

The nine-year-old who played the role of the mother was a special target. On January 26, when the rest of India was celebrating the completion of 70 years of our constitution, in Bidar, two women were arrested - Nazbunissa, the 35-year-old mother of the child actor, and Fareeda, the principal of the school. 

They were arrested on charges of sedition, on charges of propagating communal disharmony between communities and had to spend a fortnight in jail before they were released. Five others, including the Chairman of the Society who was not even present in the town, are also accused. 

It is true that it is inappropriate in a children's performance for words such as "We will beat him with chappals" to be used even though there was no direct naming of the Prime Minister, the dialogue referring to a boy selling tea asking for documents when he could not produce his own educational qualifications was clear enough. 

 At best, the district educational authorities could have taken note and expressed their disapproval. 

In the bail order, the local court, which was given a transcript of the play, has held that there is no evidence in the play of communal disharmony or incitement of hatred against any community. 

 The court also mentions there is no evidence that the women arrested were involved since their names have not been mentioned in the FIR. 

Legal counsel for the women will surely move for cancellation of the charge of sedition in the next hearing. Perhaps it is at that stage that the police will produce their "evidence" – 

a child's slippers! What will the argument be? That the child was wearing slippers because she was intending to actually go to Delhi to beat the PM with those slippers? Or that she wore the slippers to gesture what she would do with them? Would it have been less seditious if she had been barefoot? 

Often, we do not fully realize the enormous cost that common citizens pay in these days of hate-filled politics. Such politics also generates an utter irrationality within the system, when the desire to please the rulers spreads like a plague among all levels of the bureaucracy, leading to the most bizarre actions which even the best satirists could not dream of. 

Such is the role of the police in this Bidar case. The statements of top leaders of the ruling regime inciting hatred, senior ministers like Amit Shah issuing threats every time they speak, have a most damaging impact on society and on systems of governance that impact the day-to-day lives of citizens. 

Apart from everything are the real lives of the women accused in the case. Fareeda Begum, around 50 years old, has worked hard as an educationist and has a reputation as a strict but extremely caring teacher, helping her students get good grades. 

She has been the main breadwinner of her family, bringing up her two daughters. Nazbunissa is a widow and has just this one daughter. Eager to get her a good education, Nazbunissa left her village and started working as a domestic worker in Bidar. 

Such is the intelligence of her daughter that she got through the entrance exam of the school and did well enough to earn herself a scholarship. She is talented in other fields too, which is why her classmates chose her to enact the role of the mother in the play.

 I met the two women in Bidar jail, along with my colleagues in the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA). I also met the child and the teachers and management of the Education Society that runs the school. It was heartbreaking to see the child. 

She was in the care of her mother's employer, a relative of one of the members of the school board. She was stoic; perhaps at this young age and through the hard times of poverty and dependence, she has learnt not to show her emotions in case it displeases those in positions of power over her and her mother. I spoke to her of inconsequential things. 

 But when I asked her whether she liked acting, her little face lit up and she said, "Oh yes, I do, I can act again if I am asked to, but now maybe I will not get that chance." 

The school, a minority-run institution, is most impressive with a socially diverse community of 9,000 students, more than half of whom belong to non-Muslim families. It has won several state awards, most notably for its programme entitled "Academic Intensive Care Unit" where they run an intensive educational programme for dropouts between classes 10-12. Such has been the success of this programme that many of the students have gone on to college where they have got good grades. 

 I was told by local journalists that the charges against the institution were also motivated by rival educational institutions, jealous of its success and recognition as one of the best in the region. 

The hypocrisy and double standards shown up by this case are equally glaring. Just a month earlier in December, after the Ayodhya verdict in the Supreme Court, the students in a school owned by an RSS-leader, the Sri Rama Vidyakendra High School in Kalladka near Mangalore, enacted a play in which the children put up a poster of the Babri Masjid and then tore it, symbolizing the demolition of the masjid amid slogans of "Jai Shri Ram". 

 The chief guests at the function included Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, who tweeted her approval, union minister Sadananda Gowda and many other state BJP leaders and ministers. The video shows the highly communal nature of the play enacting an event called grossly illegal by the Supreme Court. But no action was taken. 

A few weeks ago, the country witnessed slogans to shoot at traitors raised by the Minister of State for Finance in the Modi government. But not even an FIR was registered, not even after there were three actual incidents of shooting, clearly linked to the minister's incitement. 

The child in Bidar may be able to overcome and forget her trauma in the happiness of being united with her mother. But we should not forget. Popular resistance to such authoritarian abominations as the Bidar case, depends on our remembering.

Brinda Karat is a Politburo member of the CPI(M) and a former Member of the Rajya Sabha and the article that also appeared on ndtv.com is being reproduced with her permission

 

How a child's Slippers were used to terrorize a school: Bidar

bidar sedition

Imagine a posse of policemen led by a senior officer with the rank of a Deputy Superintendent raiding a home looking for evidence in a case of sedition. You would think they were looking for terrorists, or for guns and ammunition or bombs and the material that makes them.

You would be hopelessly wrong. The police were looking for a child's slippers. The child in question was at home, a student in the sixth standard. The bewildered and terrified child dutifully answered the questions they asked: Did you lend your slippers to anyone? If so, to whom? Yes, she had lent her slippers to a friend. Why?

Because she knew her friend was poor and did not have slippers nice enough to wear on stage for a class play. Did you know what they were going to be used for? The child was puzzled. Slippers to wear of course, she wore them and returned them to me.

The child brought out the object of their interest. She watched the policemen smile at each other as they examined her slippers, turned them this way and that. Her slippers were triumphantly wrapped up and carried away by the police, a day's duty done, India saved in the nick of time by yet another act of sedition. Bizarre? Absurd?

Insane? Welcome to the Indian version of a Kafkaesque world, a reality, not a nightmare that you can wake up from and say, oh, thank goodness, it was just a bad dream.

Something like this actually happened on the night of January 31 in the town of Bidar in North Karnataka when a child was interrogated and her slippers taken as evidence in a case of sedition filed by the Bidar police against two women, Fareeda Begum and Nazbunissa.

It all started on January 21 when the children of Class 6 and 7 in the Shaheen School in Bidar performed a skit as part of their class activity on social issues. Discussions on contemporary topics and role play by students is part of the syllabus in most schools.

The developments around CAA are a topic of discussion with a significant number of parents, particularly in minority-populated areas, taking part in the protests. Children have become part of the discussion. There is nothing surprising about this.

We could not have imagined even a decade ago that a teen would shake the world, mobilizing millions of children in the battle against climate change. Here in India, thousands of children have been deeply impacted by the CAA and the hate-filled speeches of our leaders. They watch them, hear their speeches and are filled with dread.

They also have access to platforms like YouTube and TikTok and watch the many shows by satirists and speeches and learn the slogans given by students in colleges and universities across the country against the CAA..."Azadi".

The script for the skit performed by the children was a cut-and-paste job from material in the public domain against the CAA, NRC and NPR. It included slogans, jokes and dialogues. 

A nine-year-old girl played the role of a mother and another played the role of her son. Ultimately in the skit, the mother convinces her son that nothing will happen to them and they will not have to leave the country. In the course of the performance, the mother says, "Yesterday, the boy who was selling tea is now asking for our papers. 

 I ask him, where is he born, where are his documents, if he doesn't show them, I will beat him with slippers...you boil and sell poisonous tea, we put the sugar of love in it. We will not show our documents." The performance was uploaded on a social media platform by a parent who is a journalist. Within a day, a local BJP leader filed a case against the management of the school. 

The police led by the Deputy Superintendent arrived at the school and demanded the children, around seven or eight of them, aged between nine and twelve years, should be called. The children were interrogated not once but five times. In violation of child protection laws, they were intimidated by men in uniform. 

The nine-year-old who played the role of the mother was a special target. On January 26, when the rest of India was celebrating the completion of 70 years of our constitution, in Bidar, two women were arrested - Nazbunissa, the 35-year-old mother of the child actor, and Fareeda, the principal of the school. 

They were arrested on charges of sedition, on charges of propagating communal disharmony between communities and had to spend a fortnight in jail before they were released. Five others, including the Chairman of the Society who was not even present in the town, are also accused. 

It is true that it is inappropriate in a children's performance for words such as "We will beat him with chappals" to be used even though there was no direct naming of the Prime Minister, the dialogue referring to a boy selling tea asking for documents when he could not produce his own educational qualifications was clear enough. 

 At best, the district educational authorities could have taken note and expressed their disapproval. 

In the bail order, the local court, which was given a transcript of the play, has held that there is no evidence in the play of communal disharmony or incitement of hatred against any community. 

 The court also mentions there is no evidence that the women arrested were involved since their names have not been mentioned in the FIR. 

Legal counsel for the women will surely move for cancellation of the charge of sedition in the next hearing. Perhaps it is at that stage that the police will produce their "evidence" – 

a child's slippers! What will the argument be? That the child was wearing slippers because she was intending to actually go to Delhi to beat the PM with those slippers? Or that she wore the slippers to gesture what she would do with them? Would it have been less seditious if she had been barefoot? 

Often, we do not fully realize the enormous cost that common citizens pay in these days of hate-filled politics. Such politics also generates an utter irrationality within the system, when the desire to please the rulers spreads like a plague among all levels of the bureaucracy, leading to the most bizarre actions which even the best satirists could not dream of. 

Such is the role of the police in this Bidar case. The statements of top leaders of the ruling regime inciting hatred, senior ministers like Amit Shah issuing threats every time they speak, have a most damaging impact on society and on systems of governance that impact the day-to-day lives of citizens. 

Apart from everything are the real lives of the women accused in the case. Fareeda Begum, around 50 years old, has worked hard as an educationist and has a reputation as a strict but extremely caring teacher, helping her students get good grades. 

She has been the main breadwinner of her family, bringing up her two daughters. Nazbunissa is a widow and has just this one daughter. Eager to get her a good education, Nazbunissa left her village and started working as a domestic worker in Bidar. 

Such is the intelligence of her daughter that she got through the entrance exam of the school and did well enough to earn herself a scholarship. She is talented in other fields too, which is why her classmates chose her to enact the role of the mother in the play.

 I met the two women in Bidar jail, along with my colleagues in the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA). I also met the child and the teachers and management of the Education Society that runs the school. It was heartbreaking to see the child. 

She was in the care of her mother's employer, a relative of one of the members of the school board. She was stoic; perhaps at this young age and through the hard times of poverty and dependence, she has learnt not to show her emotions in case it displeases those in positions of power over her and her mother. I spoke to her of inconsequential things. 

 But when I asked her whether she liked acting, her little face lit up and she said, "Oh yes, I do, I can act again if I am asked to, but now maybe I will not get that chance." 

The school, a minority-run institution, is most impressive with a socially diverse community of 9,000 students, more than half of whom belong to non-Muslim families. It has won several state awards, most notably for its programme entitled "Academic Intensive Care Unit" where they run an intensive educational programme for dropouts between classes 10-12. Such has been the success of this programme that many of the students have gone on to college where they have got good grades. 

 I was told by local journalists that the charges against the institution were also motivated by rival educational institutions, jealous of its success and recognition as one of the best in the region. 

The hypocrisy and double standards shown up by this case are equally glaring. Just a month earlier in December, after the Ayodhya verdict in the Supreme Court, the students in a school owned by an RSS-leader, the Sri Rama Vidyakendra High School in Kalladka near Mangalore, enacted a play in which the children put up a poster of the Babri Masjid and then tore it, symbolizing the demolition of the masjid amid slogans of "Jai Shri Ram". 

 The chief guests at the function included Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, who tweeted her approval, union minister Sadananda Gowda and many other state BJP leaders and ministers. The video shows the highly communal nature of the play enacting an event called grossly illegal by the Supreme Court. But no action was taken. 

A few weeks ago, the country witnessed slogans to shoot at traitors raised by the Minister of State for Finance in the Modi government. But not even an FIR was registered, not even after there were three actual incidents of shooting, clearly linked to the minister's incitement. 

The child in Bidar may be able to overcome and forget her trauma in the happiness of being united with her mother. But we should not forget. Popular resistance to such authoritarian abominations as the Bidar case, depends on our remembering.

Brinda Karat is a Politburo member of the CPI(M) and a former Member of the Rajya Sabha and the article that also appeared on ndtv.com is being reproduced with her permission

 

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NRC Assam: Respite for excluded children if parents are in final list

CJP’s IA had secured the order from the SC that children who were excluded from the final NRC list if their parents’ names are in it not be sent to detention centers

14 Feb 2020

Assam NRC

On Tuesday, the Lok Sabha was informed that pending a final decision, the government has decided not to send to the detention centre, children who were excluded from the final NRC (National Register of Citizens) in Assam but whose parents were included in the list.

Nityanand Rai, the Union Minister of State for Home said that the approved standard operating procedures for disposal of claims and objections had specific provision for children who got left out from the draft NRC, while their parents had been included.

In a written reply to the question he said, “Attorney General for India stated on January 6, 2020 before the Supreme Court that the children of parents included in NRC, Assam, will not be separated from their parents and sent to detention centre in Assam pending decision on the application.”

This comes as a big win for Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) who in November 2019 had filed an Intervention Application, in a writ petition case through its counsel Aparna Bhat stating cases of children excluded from the list even when their parents and, in some instances, the relatives/guardians of the children are part of the NRC.

In order to illustrate the severity of the issue, a detailed list of 61 such children excluded from the list, in which their parents were included, was presented to the court.  The case studies of 3 children were also detailed to help the apex court understand the ground realities and sufferings of families separated due to this arbitrary process of NRC.

These included the story of Hasmat Ali who has three minor children. While his and his wife’s name was included in NRC, their children’s names found no place in it and since then he has had to rush from one hearing to another which are held at far-away places, collecting all kinds of documents, incurring large expenses, even taking money on loan, to ensure his children do no end up in detention camp.

The said application prayed the apex court to pass orders to the office of the Coordinator to immediately take steps to ensure that no child is left out of the NRC especially in cases where the parents/guardians/caregivers were included in the list. It also asked that in the interim, the court pass orders directing state of Assam not to take any coercive action against the children or separate them from their families.

In this regard, in its order, given on the January 6 hearing, the Supreme Court directed the Assam government to ensure that no children of parents whose names had been included in the final NRC list be sent to detention centres or be separated from their parents until the said application by CJP was fully considered.

The reply of MoS Home, Nityanand Rai can be read below.

The Supreme Court order may be read below.


Related:  

Rein'state'ed - The case of the 'exchanged' women at Partition
Exclusive! MP to begin Census House listing & NPR from May 1- June 14
Telangana issues Census notification, sparks fear of NPR-NRC

 

NRC Assam: Respite for excluded children if parents are in final list

CJP’s IA had secured the order from the SC that children who were excluded from the final NRC list if their parents’ names are in it not be sent to detention centers

Assam NRC

On Tuesday, the Lok Sabha was informed that pending a final decision, the government has decided not to send to the detention centre, children who were excluded from the final NRC (National Register of Citizens) in Assam but whose parents were included in the list.

Nityanand Rai, the Union Minister of State for Home said that the approved standard operating procedures for disposal of claims and objections had specific provision for children who got left out from the draft NRC, while their parents had been included.

In a written reply to the question he said, “Attorney General for India stated on January 6, 2020 before the Supreme Court that the children of parents included in NRC, Assam, will not be separated from their parents and sent to detention centre in Assam pending decision on the application.”

This comes as a big win for Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) who in November 2019 had filed an Intervention Application, in a writ petition case through its counsel Aparna Bhat stating cases of children excluded from the list even when their parents and, in some instances, the relatives/guardians of the children are part of the NRC.

In order to illustrate the severity of the issue, a detailed list of 61 such children excluded from the list, in which their parents were included, was presented to the court.  The case studies of 3 children were also detailed to help the apex court understand the ground realities and sufferings of families separated due to this arbitrary process of NRC.

These included the story of Hasmat Ali who has three minor children. While his and his wife’s name was included in NRC, their children’s names found no place in it and since then he has had to rush from one hearing to another which are held at far-away places, collecting all kinds of documents, incurring large expenses, even taking money on loan, to ensure his children do no end up in detention camp.

The said application prayed the apex court to pass orders to the office of the Coordinator to immediately take steps to ensure that no child is left out of the NRC especially in cases where the parents/guardians/caregivers were included in the list. It also asked that in the interim, the court pass orders directing state of Assam not to take any coercive action against the children or separate them from their families.

In this regard, in its order, given on the January 6 hearing, the Supreme Court directed the Assam government to ensure that no children of parents whose names had been included in the final NRC list be sent to detention centres or be separated from their parents until the said application by CJP was fully considered.

The reply of MoS Home, Nityanand Rai can be read below.

The Supreme Court order may be read below.


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Illegal and inhuman: Child rights groups condemn Bidar police’s investigation of children

They condemned the interrogation of children and the charges of sedition slapped on parent and authorities

06 Feb 2020

bidar school

Calling the interrogation of children of Shaheen School, Bidar, a blatant violation of the Juvenile Justice Act (2015), child rights groups, teachers and educationists have issued a statement against the illegal and inhumane actions of the Bidar police causing trauma to the children.

On January 21, 2020, the students of Shaheen School enacted a play in which lines allegedly against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) were spoken. A complaint was filed by an ABVP activist on the basis of a video of the play. In the complaint, the school, and a person who shared the video on Facebook have been accused of spreading lies about CAA, NRC and NPR; encouraging seditious thoughts; and making students say that they would ‘beat the PM with chappals’. Each of these statements are false, even going by the video recording of the play that went viral on social media. The FIR has been lodged under sections of the Indian Penal Code for ‘Insult intended to provoke breach of the peace’, ‘Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between Classes’, ‘Sedition’, and ’Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion’.

In the incident, the police have repeatedly interrogated the children of the school, some as young as nine, not allowing the parents to be present during the questioning. The Head Teacher of the primary section and widowed mother of a student who was part of the play, were arrested on January 30.

The statement by the children rights group, teachers and educationists reads, “The interrogation of children goes against one of the closely held tenets of a democratic order, which is that education should be about learning to question the world around you. If we don’t see our schools as training grounds for democracy in which children learn to ask questions and express themselves without being subject to police interrogation, we are sowing the seeds of a conformist society at odds with a Constitution which promises the freedom of speech and expression to all its citizens including its children.”

The group also condemned the invocation of Section 124A of the IPC – the sedition law to arrest the teacher and a parent who were allegedly involved in the play. They say, “This is a clear misapplication of the law which is based on a failure appreciate the fact that India is governed by the Indian Constitution which is the supreme law of the land. This marks a new low in our democracy. Even Gandhiji who was himself a victim of the arbitrary use of the sedition law by the British would never have contemplated that policeman in independent India would use it against those who staged a school play, which expressed an opinion at odds with the Central government position on the CAA/NPR/NRC.

The group said that the Bidar police needed to understand that the people of India did not live in a colonial and despotic state in which staging plays (no matter how distasteful to the government in power) would be a criminal offence. They say, “There is not even the hint of violence which can incite persons to attempt to overthrow the state. The case does not fall within the framework of Section 124 A as delimited by the Supreme Court. Therefore the police must accept the play as a dissenting opinion which is not a fit case for invoking Section 124 A or other provisions of the IPC. The government must learn to tolerate if not accept opinions it may not like as that is a fundamental precept of democracy.

The child rights panel and group of teachers and educationists have demanded the immediate withdrawal of all criminal cases against the women arrested in the Shaheen School case and their immediate release, a review of the procedure – violations of child rights by the Bidar police and the repeal of Section 124A of the IPC.

Current developments in the case

The Sessions court in Bidar has been moved, asking for anticipatory bail for five members of the school management, including the institutions founder Abdul Qadeer. The court on Wednesday adjourned the case and posted the hearing for February 11, 2020.

The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has sought a report from the Bidar SP Nagesh DL with regards to the interrogation of children and also met the 11-year-old student, the daughter of the woman arrested on sedition charges.

Leader of Opposition, Siddaramaiah tweeted, condemning the action taken against the parent and school authorities and demanded their immediate release.

 

 

Related:

Cops question Bidar school kids for fourth time for allegedly offensive statement against PM Modi
Sedition charge on Karnataka school for anti-CAA skit

Illegal and inhuman: Child rights groups condemn Bidar police’s investigation of children

They condemned the interrogation of children and the charges of sedition slapped on parent and authorities

bidar school

Calling the interrogation of children of Shaheen School, Bidar, a blatant violation of the Juvenile Justice Act (2015), child rights groups, teachers and educationists have issued a statement against the illegal and inhumane actions of the Bidar police causing trauma to the children.

On January 21, 2020, the students of Shaheen School enacted a play in which lines allegedly against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) were spoken. A complaint was filed by an ABVP activist on the basis of a video of the play. In the complaint, the school, and a person who shared the video on Facebook have been accused of spreading lies about CAA, NRC and NPR; encouraging seditious thoughts; and making students say that they would ‘beat the PM with chappals’. Each of these statements are false, even going by the video recording of the play that went viral on social media. The FIR has been lodged under sections of the Indian Penal Code for ‘Insult intended to provoke breach of the peace’, ‘Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between Classes’, ‘Sedition’, and ’Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion’.

In the incident, the police have repeatedly interrogated the children of the school, some as young as nine, not allowing the parents to be present during the questioning. The Head Teacher of the primary section and widowed mother of a student who was part of the play, were arrested on January 30.

The statement by the children rights group, teachers and educationists reads, “The interrogation of children goes against one of the closely held tenets of a democratic order, which is that education should be about learning to question the world around you. If we don’t see our schools as training grounds for democracy in which children learn to ask questions and express themselves without being subject to police interrogation, we are sowing the seeds of a conformist society at odds with a Constitution which promises the freedom of speech and expression to all its citizens including its children.”

The group also condemned the invocation of Section 124A of the IPC – the sedition law to arrest the teacher and a parent who were allegedly involved in the play. They say, “This is a clear misapplication of the law which is based on a failure appreciate the fact that India is governed by the Indian Constitution which is the supreme law of the land. This marks a new low in our democracy. Even Gandhiji who was himself a victim of the arbitrary use of the sedition law by the British would never have contemplated that policeman in independent India would use it against those who staged a school play, which expressed an opinion at odds with the Central government position on the CAA/NPR/NRC.

The group said that the Bidar police needed to understand that the people of India did not live in a colonial and despotic state in which staging plays (no matter how distasteful to the government in power) would be a criminal offence. They say, “There is not even the hint of violence which can incite persons to attempt to overthrow the state. The case does not fall within the framework of Section 124 A as delimited by the Supreme Court. Therefore the police must accept the play as a dissenting opinion which is not a fit case for invoking Section 124 A or other provisions of the IPC. The government must learn to tolerate if not accept opinions it may not like as that is a fundamental precept of democracy.

The child rights panel and group of teachers and educationists have demanded the immediate withdrawal of all criminal cases against the women arrested in the Shaheen School case and their immediate release, a review of the procedure – violations of child rights by the Bidar police and the repeal of Section 124A of the IPC.

Current developments in the case

The Sessions court in Bidar has been moved, asking for anticipatory bail for five members of the school management, including the institutions founder Abdul Qadeer. The court on Wednesday adjourned the case and posted the hearing for February 11, 2020.

The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has sought a report from the Bidar SP Nagesh DL with regards to the interrogation of children and also met the 11-year-old student, the daughter of the woman arrested on sedition charges.

Leader of Opposition, Siddaramaiah tweeted, condemning the action taken against the parent and school authorities and demanded their immediate release.

 

 

Related:

Cops question Bidar school kids for fourth time for allegedly offensive statement against PM Modi
Sedition charge on Karnataka school for anti-CAA skit

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CJP's big win: SC hears petition, orders no children be sent to detention camps in Assam

CJP’s application sought directions from the apex court that drew attention to the Constitutional, legal obligations and prayed, specifically that no child excluded from the NRC is either sent to detention camps nor separated from their parents in Assam.

06 Jan 2020

Supreme Court

In November 2019, CJP (Citizens for Justice and Peace, Mumbai) had filed an Intervention Application for Directions in a writ petition case, Assam Public Works vs. UOI (274 of 2009). This application filed by CJP, through its counsel Aparna Bhat, in representative capacity concerns cases of children even when their parents and, in some instances, the relatives/guardians of the children are part of the NRC. Ms. Bhat appeared in the matter in the Supreme Court.  In view of the points put forth by CJP, the apex court considered the issue and in the interim of giving a final decision in the Intervention Application, directed Assam government to ensure that children whose parents names are included in the NRC in Assam are not sent to detention camps.

What the application says

Through this application, CJP sought to bring to the notice of the Supreme Court that Assam is in a state of humanitarian crisis as a direct result of mass exclusions from the final list of NRC published on August 31, 2019.

CJP even submitted that almost 100 persons have lost their lives as a direct result of the citizenship issues involved in the publication of the NRC which include 27 recorded deaths in Assam’s Detention Camps, which has now risen to 29 recorded deaths.

CJP brought to fore the point that children have been excluded from the NRC Final List even when their parents are included which amounted to direct contravention of the State’s obligation towards children as envisaged under Article 15 (3), Article 39 (e) & (f), Article 45 and Article 47 of the Constitution of India, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Along with the Application was also attached a list of 61 of such excluded children.

In order to illustrate the severity of the issue, a detailed list of 61 such children themselves excluded while parents were excluded. The case studies of 3 children were also detailed to help the apex court understand the ground realities and sufferings of families separated due to this arbitrary process of NRC.

These included the story of Hasmat Ali who has three minor children. While his and his wife’s name was included in NRC, their children’s names found no place in it and since then he has had to rush from one hearing to another which are held at far-away places, collecting all kinds of documents, incurring large expenses, even taking money on loan, to ensure his children do no end up in detention camp. Each of the 61 children excluded from NRC have a similar story of struggle and financial distress from which it will take a much longer time to recover.

To strengthen their point CJP also cited the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which India has ratified which makes it obligatory under Article 8 for all State Parties to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference. Also, Article 9 holds State Parties responsible for ensuring that a child is not separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child.

Relief sought

The said application prayed the apex court to pass orders to the office of the Coordinator to immediately take steps to ensure that no child is left out of the NRC especially in cases where the parents/guardians/caregivers are included in the list. It also asked that in the interim, the court pass orders directing state of Assam not to take any coercive action against the children or separate them from their families.

SC’s order

In its order, given on the January 6 hearing, the Supreme Court directed the Assam government to ensure that no children of parents whose names have been included in the final NRC list be sent to detention centres or be separated from their parents until the said application by CJP is fully considered.

CJP’s Assam connect

In the said application, CJP has made a mention of their campaign in Assam to help those affected by NRC process. About the NRC final list, it says, “the Final List published on 31.08.2019 has unreasonably and unfairly excluded the names of certain sections of persons which essentially results in violation of the basic principle of family unification by excluding members of a family.”

CJP’s work in Assam includes attending to calls received on a toll-free helpline number created by CJP so people can reach out to them for help. It is because of the inaccessibility of the topography of the State to vast sections of the marginalised and agrarian population that the idea of a Toll Free Helpline number was conceived.  CJP’s on-ground work continues on a month to month basis under difficult circumstances which amounts to providing para-legal aid to marginalised sections of the rural population, 62% of the affected being women.

The Supreme Court order may be read here.

The Intervention Application may be read here.

 

Related:

CJP in action in Assam: Reaching remote villages to render counselling and aid
Person with two names confuses NRC officials
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CJP in Action: CJP moves NHRC against police excesses in Daryaganj
CJP in Action: NHRC takes note of complaints, issues notice to UP police chief
Teesta Setalvad addresses massive crowd on CAA, NPR-NRC
CJP continues building grassroots movement against NRC-NPR and CAA

CJP's big win: SC hears petition, orders no children be sent to detention camps in Assam

CJP’s application sought directions from the apex court that drew attention to the Constitutional, legal obligations and prayed, specifically that no child excluded from the NRC is either sent to detention camps nor separated from their parents in Assam.

Supreme Court

In November 2019, CJP (Citizens for Justice and Peace, Mumbai) had filed an Intervention Application for Directions in a writ petition case, Assam Public Works vs. UOI (274 of 2009). This application filed by CJP, through its counsel Aparna Bhat, in representative capacity concerns cases of children even when their parents and, in some instances, the relatives/guardians of the children are part of the NRC. Ms. Bhat appeared in the matter in the Supreme Court.  In view of the points put forth by CJP, the apex court considered the issue and in the interim of giving a final decision in the Intervention Application, directed Assam government to ensure that children whose parents names are included in the NRC in Assam are not sent to detention camps.

What the application says

Through this application, CJP sought to bring to the notice of the Supreme Court that Assam is in a state of humanitarian crisis as a direct result of mass exclusions from the final list of NRC published on August 31, 2019.

CJP even submitted that almost 100 persons have lost their lives as a direct result of the citizenship issues involved in the publication of the NRC which include 27 recorded deaths in Assam’s Detention Camps, which has now risen to 29 recorded deaths.

CJP brought to fore the point that children have been excluded from the NRC Final List even when their parents are included which amounted to direct contravention of the State’s obligation towards children as envisaged under Article 15 (3), Article 39 (e) & (f), Article 45 and Article 47 of the Constitution of India, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Along with the Application was also attached a list of 61 of such excluded children.

In order to illustrate the severity of the issue, a detailed list of 61 such children themselves excluded while parents were excluded. The case studies of 3 children were also detailed to help the apex court understand the ground realities and sufferings of families separated due to this arbitrary process of NRC.

These included the story of Hasmat Ali who has three minor children. While his and his wife’s name was included in NRC, their children’s names found no place in it and since then he has had to rush from one hearing to another which are held at far-away places, collecting all kinds of documents, incurring large expenses, even taking money on loan, to ensure his children do no end up in detention camp. Each of the 61 children excluded from NRC have a similar story of struggle and financial distress from which it will take a much longer time to recover.

To strengthen their point CJP also cited the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which India has ratified which makes it obligatory under Article 8 for all State Parties to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference. Also, Article 9 holds State Parties responsible for ensuring that a child is not separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child.

Relief sought

The said application prayed the apex court to pass orders to the office of the Coordinator to immediately take steps to ensure that no child is left out of the NRC especially in cases where the parents/guardians/caregivers are included in the list. It also asked that in the interim, the court pass orders directing state of Assam not to take any coercive action against the children or separate them from their families.

SC’s order

In its order, given on the January 6 hearing, the Supreme Court directed the Assam government to ensure that no children of parents whose names have been included in the final NRC list be sent to detention centres or be separated from their parents until the said application by CJP is fully considered.

CJP’s Assam connect

In the said application, CJP has made a mention of their campaign in Assam to help those affected by NRC process. About the NRC final list, it says, “the Final List published on 31.08.2019 has unreasonably and unfairly excluded the names of certain sections of persons which essentially results in violation of the basic principle of family unification by excluding members of a family.”

CJP’s work in Assam includes attending to calls received on a toll-free helpline number created by CJP so people can reach out to them for help. It is because of the inaccessibility of the topography of the State to vast sections of the marginalised and agrarian population that the idea of a Toll Free Helpline number was conceived.  CJP’s on-ground work continues on a month to month basis under difficult circumstances which amounts to providing para-legal aid to marginalised sections of the rural population, 62% of the affected being women.

The Supreme Court order may be read here.

The Intervention Application may be read here.

 

Related:

CJP in action in Assam: Reaching remote villages to render counselling and aid
Person with two names confuses NRC officials
CJP reaches out to a declared foreigner whose brothers declared citizens
CJP in Action: CJP moves NHRC against police excesses in Daryaganj
CJP in Action: NHRC takes note of complaints, issues notice to UP police chief
Teesta Setalvad addresses massive crowd on CAA, NPR-NRC
CJP continues building grassroots movement against NRC-NPR and CAA

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Breaking! SC on CJP petition: No children be sent to detention camps in Assam

06 Jan 2020

NRCImage Courtesy: thenation.com

The Supreme Court has directed the Assam government to ensure that no children of parents whose names have been included in the updated list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be sent to detention centres or separated from their parents until an application filed by the Citizens for Justice & Peace, Mumbai is fully considered. CJP had filed an Intervention Application in the ASSAM NRC matter (Assam Public Works v/s Union of India) pointing out that hundreds of not hundreds of thousands of children had been excluded from the NRC when their parents had been included. The IA Nos 181511/2019 was filed in late November 2019, details a sample list of 61 such names of children from various districts in Assam. The IA has prayed for directions from the SC that “the Coordinator to immediately take steps to ensure that no child is left out of the NRC especially in cases where the parents/guardians/caregivers are in the list and that pending hearing and final disposal of the present Application, pass orders directing the Respondent State not to take any coercive action against the children or separate them from their families.”  

Breaking! SC on CJP petition: No children be sent to detention camps in Assam

NRCImage Courtesy: thenation.com

The Supreme Court has directed the Assam government to ensure that no children of parents whose names have been included in the updated list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be sent to detention centres or separated from their parents until an application filed by the Citizens for Justice & Peace, Mumbai is fully considered. CJP had filed an Intervention Application in the ASSAM NRC matter (Assam Public Works v/s Union of India) pointing out that hundreds of not hundreds of thousands of children had been excluded from the NRC when their parents had been included. The IA Nos 181511/2019 was filed in late November 2019, details a sample list of 61 such names of children from various districts in Assam. The IA has prayed for directions from the SC that “the Coordinator to immediately take steps to ensure that no child is left out of the NRC especially in cases where the parents/guardians/caregivers are in the list and that pending hearing and final disposal of the present Application, pass orders directing the Respondent State not to take any coercive action against the children or separate them from their families.”  

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Kota infant death case becomes NHRC’s first case of the year

The infant death toll reached 107 after NHRC took suo moto cognizance of the case and asked for a detailed report.

04 Jan 2020

Infant death

Image Courtesy: thehindu.com

The National Human Rights Commission has started the year by taking suo moto cognizance of the deaths of over 100 infants in a hospital in Kota, Rajasthan. This large scale death of babies reflects the deplorable neglect of healthcare in Rajasthan’s state-run JK Lon hospital in Kota.

The death toll of infants has reached 107 within a month’s time. Death of 10 children within 48 hrs between December 23 and 24 highlighted the issue and was brought to the fore by the opposition parties in Rajasthan. Additionally, four children died on December 30 while five on December 31, all mainly due to low birth weight, hospital superintendent Dr Suresh Dulara said.


The incident even triggered a visit by a team from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Furthermore, a team of doctors from AIIMS, Jodhpur and some health economists have reached the Kota hospital to take stock of the situation. The high-level team has been sent by the Centre to assess the infrastructural gaps and measures to be taken to prevent further deaths and to ascertain how much funds will be required for strengthening the hospital’s infrastructure.

In its press release, the NHRC has taken note of news reports stating that over 50 per cent of the gadgets installed in the hospital are defunct and the hospital is lacking cleanliness and basic infrastructure including oxygen supply in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for infants.

In this regard, the NHRC has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan to submit a detailed report, within four weeks including the steps being taken to address the issue and to ensure that such deaths of the children do not recur in future due to lack of infrastructure and health facilities.

Statistics quoted by state authorities state that 963 children have died in the year 2019 at J.K. Lon government hospital while this figure was above 1000 in the preceding years.

Related:

In 2019, NHRC fights the good fight
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Sultanpur Rape Case: NHRC pulls up Uttar Pradesh police for negligence

Kota infant death case becomes NHRC’s first case of the year

The infant death toll reached 107 after NHRC took suo moto cognizance of the case and asked for a detailed report.

Infant death

Image Courtesy: thehindu.com

The National Human Rights Commission has started the year by taking suo moto cognizance of the deaths of over 100 infants in a hospital in Kota, Rajasthan. This large scale death of babies reflects the deplorable neglect of healthcare in Rajasthan’s state-run JK Lon hospital in Kota.

The death toll of infants has reached 107 within a month’s time. Death of 10 children within 48 hrs between December 23 and 24 highlighted the issue and was brought to the fore by the opposition parties in Rajasthan. Additionally, four children died on December 30 while five on December 31, all mainly due to low birth weight, hospital superintendent Dr Suresh Dulara said.


The incident even triggered a visit by a team from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Furthermore, a team of doctors from AIIMS, Jodhpur and some health economists have reached the Kota hospital to take stock of the situation. The high-level team has been sent by the Centre to assess the infrastructural gaps and measures to be taken to prevent further deaths and to ascertain how much funds will be required for strengthening the hospital’s infrastructure.

In its press release, the NHRC has taken note of news reports stating that over 50 per cent of the gadgets installed in the hospital are defunct and the hospital is lacking cleanliness and basic infrastructure including oxygen supply in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for infants.

In this regard, the NHRC has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan to submit a detailed report, within four weeks including the steps being taken to address the issue and to ensure that such deaths of the children do not recur in future due to lack of infrastructure and health facilities.

Statistics quoted by state authorities state that 963 children have died in the year 2019 at J.K. Lon government hospital while this figure was above 1000 in the preceding years.

Related:

In 2019, NHRC fights the good fight
NHRC receives complaint on police excess in Daryaganj
NHRC pulls up UP police for complaints on rights violations, deaths by police firing
Investigate Hyderabad encounter: CHRI
Hyderabad police ‘encounters’ intervention from NHRC, HC
Sultanpur Rape Case: NHRC pulls up Uttar Pradesh police for negligence

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No benches, no drinking water for 400 students of BMC-run school

However, parents prefer the Jarimari Municipal Urdu School for its proximity and efforts taken by teachers

03 Jan 2020

jari Mari school

While New Year was celebrated the world over, 2020 did not bring any good news to this 20x20 ft room BMC-run Jarimari Municipal Urdu School in Kurla, Mumbai. Established in 1971 and housed in a donated building, the school has around 400 pupils who learn a hard lesson every day, sitting on the floor with no benches and even no drinking water being available for them.

The kids also have to use a single washroom and face frequent power outages making them suffer more than they already do in poorly ventilated rooms. Mumbai Mirror reported that the school houses grades 1 to 4, with three divisions each, in the first shift from 7:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. and three divisions of grade 5 from 12:45 P.M. to 5:30 P.M., in three rooms. Speaking to the paper, L-Ward Administrative Officer (schools) Saile Surve said that the acute space crunch did not allow them to put benches. “On the floor, we can accommodate 35 students. With benches, the capacity will go down to 20”, she said adding that they couldn’t decline education to anyone as the school was established to impart education to kids from the local community. “Benches will force us to restrict the enrolment of students,” she said.

Though the Jarimari School isn’t the only Urdu school in the area, it is preferred by parents for its proximity. A senior teacher told the Mumbai Mirror, “There are two Urdu primary schools run by the BMC – Kajupada BMC Urdu School and Gulshan-e-Millat Urdu High School – but ours is more popular. Most parents are engaged in household work in this area and like the idea of their children being close by. They fear for their safety and want to be available at all times.”

While the Right to Education (RTE) Act makes it compulsory for school to provide imperative infrastructure like all-weather buildings, a library, separate toilets for boys and girls, drinking water and playgrounds, the headmistress of the Jarimari School manages to only buy five liters of drinking water from school funds and has not been able to do much about the common washroom for staff and students that leaks every monsoon.

While local activists say that they have pleaded with the BMC to help out with the situation, the BMC has washed its hands off all responsibility. Mahesh Palkar, BMC education officer said that the school building was neither owned by the BMC nor came under its jurisdiction. He said, “It’s a rented building, so we cannot renovate the space. Besides, there is no space in the neighbourhood to construct a new school. We are doing our best with limited resources.”

However, the pitiable infrastructure notwithstanding, it is heartening to see that the parents and teachers have forged a good bond. The teachers have waxed eloquent about the students and the parents have praised the teachers for stepping out of their comfort zones and imparting education for the children.


Related:

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No benches, no drinking water for 400 students of BMC-run school

However, parents prefer the Jarimari Municipal Urdu School for its proximity and efforts taken by teachers

jari Mari school

While New Year was celebrated the world over, 2020 did not bring any good news to this 20x20 ft room BMC-run Jarimari Municipal Urdu School in Kurla, Mumbai. Established in 1971 and housed in a donated building, the school has around 400 pupils who learn a hard lesson every day, sitting on the floor with no benches and even no drinking water being available for them.

The kids also have to use a single washroom and face frequent power outages making them suffer more than they already do in poorly ventilated rooms. Mumbai Mirror reported that the school houses grades 1 to 4, with three divisions each, in the first shift from 7:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. and three divisions of grade 5 from 12:45 P.M. to 5:30 P.M., in three rooms. Speaking to the paper, L-Ward Administrative Officer (schools) Saile Surve said that the acute space crunch did not allow them to put benches. “On the floor, we can accommodate 35 students. With benches, the capacity will go down to 20”, she said adding that they couldn’t decline education to anyone as the school was established to impart education to kids from the local community. “Benches will force us to restrict the enrolment of students,” she said.

Though the Jarimari School isn’t the only Urdu school in the area, it is preferred by parents for its proximity. A senior teacher told the Mumbai Mirror, “There are two Urdu primary schools run by the BMC – Kajupada BMC Urdu School and Gulshan-e-Millat Urdu High School – but ours is more popular. Most parents are engaged in household work in this area and like the idea of their children being close by. They fear for their safety and want to be available at all times.”

While the Right to Education (RTE) Act makes it compulsory for school to provide imperative infrastructure like all-weather buildings, a library, separate toilets for boys and girls, drinking water and playgrounds, the headmistress of the Jarimari School manages to only buy five liters of drinking water from school funds and has not been able to do much about the common washroom for staff and students that leaks every monsoon.

While local activists say that they have pleaded with the BMC to help out with the situation, the BMC has washed its hands off all responsibility. Mahesh Palkar, BMC education officer said that the school building was neither owned by the BMC nor came under its jurisdiction. He said, “It’s a rented building, so we cannot renovate the space. Besides, there is no space in the neighbourhood to construct a new school. We are doing our best with limited resources.”

However, the pitiable infrastructure notwithstanding, it is heartening to see that the parents and teachers have forged a good bond. The teachers have waxed eloquent about the students and the parents have praised the teachers for stepping out of their comfort zones and imparting education for the children.


Related:

Poverty forces Kerala children to eat mud to survive
UP: Days after milk adulteration scandal, vermin found in Mid-Day Meal dal

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Did UP police sexually torture minors in custody?

Reports of teenage boys being admitted in hospital with what could be sexual injuries

03 Jan 2020
UP Police
Representation Image


If the assault on an elderly cleric in Muzaffarnagar wasn’t bad enough, this horror story just got an even more sickening turn. Turns out that not only was the 66-year-old Maulana stripped and beaten brutally, many of the minor inmates of the orphanage that he ran, were also not only detained but also allegedly sexually tortured in custody. Some of these boys had to be admitted to hospital with cases of rectal bleeding.

Trouble began on December 20 last year, when Maulana Asad, a teacher at the Saadat Madarsa and caretaker of the orphanage, was beaten with a baton and dragged out of the hostel after violence at an anti-citizenship act protest nearby. The Telegraph reported that Asad has told his family he was kept for over 24 hours in a dark room at the Civil Lines barracks, where he was stripped in the biting cold and beaten. A relative of Asad told the newspaper, “He is mentally scarred. He told us the police made him wish he were dead. He was humiliated so much that he is refusing to show his face to relatives coming to see him. He sobs even in his sleep.”

The Telegraph also reports that in an adjoining room students and inmates of the orphanage, boys ranging in age from 14 to 21 were abused through the night. Salman Saeed, local Congress politician told the paper, “The boys were denied access to the toilet at times, and some of them suffered rectal bleeding from the torture.”

Another hostel resident told NewsClick, “While beating us, they abusively told us ‘this is the azadi (freedom) that you wanted’. Some of them asked us to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’. Meanwhile, one student fell unconscious.” Muzaffarnagar Superintendent of Police Satpal Antil reportedly justified the police’s actions saying they entered the orphanage chasing armed vandals. He told NewsClick, “When the police entered the campus, they were fired upon. Left with no option, we had to retaliate. The policemen — perhaps in fit of action — could not differentiate between vandals and students. As a result, some students too were beaten up.”

In a country that has no dearth of people who promote the retributive brand of justice over reformative by demanding death penalty in cases of rape, we wonder how they would want to treat instances of possible sexual violence committed by uniformed men upon minor boys while in police custody. Can we chalk up the deafening silence to protest fatigue or do Muslim lives don’t matter any more?

Did UP police sexually torture minors in custody?

Reports of teenage boys being admitted in hospital with what could be sexual injuries

UP Police
Representation Image


If the assault on an elderly cleric in Muzaffarnagar wasn’t bad enough, this horror story just got an even more sickening turn. Turns out that not only was the 66-year-old Maulana stripped and beaten brutally, many of the minor inmates of the orphanage that he ran, were also not only detained but also allegedly sexually tortured in custody. Some of these boys had to be admitted to hospital with cases of rectal bleeding.

Trouble began on December 20 last year, when Maulana Asad, a teacher at the Saadat Madarsa and caretaker of the orphanage, was beaten with a baton and dragged out of the hostel after violence at an anti-citizenship act protest nearby. The Telegraph reported that Asad has told his family he was kept for over 24 hours in a dark room at the Civil Lines barracks, where he was stripped in the biting cold and beaten. A relative of Asad told the newspaper, “He is mentally scarred. He told us the police made him wish he were dead. He was humiliated so much that he is refusing to show his face to relatives coming to see him. He sobs even in his sleep.”

The Telegraph also reports that in an adjoining room students and inmates of the orphanage, boys ranging in age from 14 to 21 were abused through the night. Salman Saeed, local Congress politician told the paper, “The boys were denied access to the toilet at times, and some of them suffered rectal bleeding from the torture.”

Another hostel resident told NewsClick, “While beating us, they abusively told us ‘this is the azadi (freedom) that you wanted’. Some of them asked us to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’. Meanwhile, one student fell unconscious.” Muzaffarnagar Superintendent of Police Satpal Antil reportedly justified the police’s actions saying they entered the orphanage chasing armed vandals. He told NewsClick, “When the police entered the campus, they were fired upon. Left with no option, we had to retaliate. The policemen — perhaps in fit of action — could not differentiate between vandals and students. As a result, some students too were beaten up.”

In a country that has no dearth of people who promote the retributive brand of justice over reformative by demanding death penalty in cases of rape, we wonder how they would want to treat instances of possible sexual violence committed by uniformed men upon minor boys while in police custody. Can we chalk up the deafening silence to protest fatigue or do Muslim lives don’t matter any more?

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Poverty forces Kerala children to eat mud to survive

An alcoholic husband has pushed Sridevi and her six kids to this situation

04 Dec 2019

poverty

Talking about dire poverty in the country and living in dire poverty are two completely different things. An example of this came to light when Kerala woke up to reports of a woman whose children were found to be eating mud out of sheer hunger.

Sridevi, who lived with her six kids in a makeshift shanty of 50 sq. ft on railway land, around 3 km from the State Secretariat at Kaithamukku in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, made a distress call to the toll-free helpline of Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW) on December 1 after she couldn’t bear the plight of her children anymore.

Reports by The Times of India say that the incident came to light when the headmistress of the government school where the eldest child is enrolled, asked him about his living conditions.

The headmistress states that the boy, aged seven, told her that their alcoholic father would physically abuse all of them, beat them and smash their heads against the wall. He spared the two youngest children who are still being breastfed. He also allegedly would throw mud into their food or leave them and their mother starving, the neighbours told TOI. However, Sridevi hasn’t spoken a word about this.

The school then promptly alerted Childline that works for the welfare of children across the country.

The KSCCW general secretary S P Deepak who visited the family found their situation shocking. He said, “The kids only had water for the past two days. One boy was seen eating mud out of hunger.”

The KSCCW then asked Sridevi if she was willing to hand over the children to them for better care and she agreed. Now, the four kids – two boys aged seven years and five years and two girls aged four and two, will be under the care of the government. The other two kids who are still being breastfed, will be provided for by the government as well.

Thiruvananthapuram Mayor K Sreekumar has offered Sridevi a temporary cleaning job at the Corporation office and a house being constructed under the Corporation’s housing scheme Life Mission, will also be provided to her and her kids. She also didn’t have a ration card, which was just provided to her by the state in a haste. In the interim, she has been shifted to the MahilaMandiram at Poojappura with her kids. Sridevi will now earn a daily wage of Rs. 650, Manorama Online reported.

Health Minister KK Shailaja told the media that all the four kids, whose medical examination will be conducted at the SAT Hospital soon, will be under the protection of the government. Many voluntary organizations have also come out in support of the family.
 

Poverty in Kerala

According to the World Bank Report of 2017, Kerala has experienced a steady decline in poverty since 1994. According to the report, after 2005, Kerala grew and reduced poverty faster than many states, but while it is home to a smaller share of the poor in the country, there are pockets within the state that have recorded a higher incidence of poverty.

According to the State Planning Board, in Kerala, factors such as land reforms, public distribution systems schemes, Kudumbashree and Planning schemes have effectively brought down poverty ratios. In 2011-12, Kerala’s poverty stood at 7.1%, second only to Goa at 5.1%.

Yet, Kerala, in the recent years has always been battered by floods and other natural calamities that has resulted in loss of lives and livelihoods. Tracking the current rate of poverty in India is difficult because there are no statistics available after 2012.

However, going by the numbers we have, it looks like Sridevi was one of the unfortunate ones bereft of the social benefits provided by the state.


Domestic Violence and violence against children in Kerala

According to a report by the National Commission of Women (NCW) 2005, almost 80% of the victims of domestic violence were in the age group of 20-40 years and only 68% of women in the 14 districts sampled had secondary / higher secondary education.

67.1% respondents did not have life savings and in 57.9% households, the family affairs were controlled by the husband. 75.4% of the husbands in the households were alcoholics and almost half, 48.7% respondents stated the ‘alcoholic nature’ of the husband as the first cause of domestic violence.

Literate Kerala has also seen an upsurge in crimes against children with the number going up from 549 in 2008 to 4,008 in 2018. (The New Indian Express). Most of these crimes have gone unreported because they have been committed by people known to the children. Though the Kerala government also put up neighbourhood vigilance schemes in 2013, they do not seem to have worked.

It is ironical that Kerala, a state that takes pride in its progress, cannot protect its children. This battle that Sridevi is fighting is not just against poverty. It is a multi-layered issue involving destitution, social benefits, violence and the security of children. She was rescued from her situation because she finally wrestled her way out of it for her children by contacting the government. But there are many others who do not have the knowledge or the means to get them out of such situations. Then, will the government of Kerala, for that matter the government of India take stock of the matter and bring the neglected into their fold before matters get worse?


Related:

Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to effects of climate change
Criminal Callousness of Modi Government in Hiding Data
38% Of Indian Children Under 4–Poor And Rich Alike–Are Stunted: Study

 

Poverty forces Kerala children to eat mud to survive

An alcoholic husband has pushed Sridevi and her six kids to this situation

poverty

Talking about dire poverty in the country and living in dire poverty are two completely different things. An example of this came to light when Kerala woke up to reports of a woman whose children were found to be eating mud out of sheer hunger.

Sridevi, who lived with her six kids in a makeshift shanty of 50 sq. ft on railway land, around 3 km from the State Secretariat at Kaithamukku in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, made a distress call to the toll-free helpline of Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW) on December 1 after she couldn’t bear the plight of her children anymore.

Reports by The Times of India say that the incident came to light when the headmistress of the government school where the eldest child is enrolled, asked him about his living conditions.

The headmistress states that the boy, aged seven, told her that their alcoholic father would physically abuse all of them, beat them and smash their heads against the wall. He spared the two youngest children who are still being breastfed. He also allegedly would throw mud into their food or leave them and their mother starving, the neighbours told TOI. However, Sridevi hasn’t spoken a word about this.

The school then promptly alerted Childline that works for the welfare of children across the country.

The KSCCW general secretary S P Deepak who visited the family found their situation shocking. He said, “The kids only had water for the past two days. One boy was seen eating mud out of hunger.”

The KSCCW then asked Sridevi if she was willing to hand over the children to them for better care and she agreed. Now, the four kids – two boys aged seven years and five years and two girls aged four and two, will be under the care of the government. The other two kids who are still being breastfed, will be provided for by the government as well.

Thiruvananthapuram Mayor K Sreekumar has offered Sridevi a temporary cleaning job at the Corporation office and a house being constructed under the Corporation’s housing scheme Life Mission, will also be provided to her and her kids. She also didn’t have a ration card, which was just provided to her by the state in a haste. In the interim, she has been shifted to the MahilaMandiram at Poojappura with her kids. Sridevi will now earn a daily wage of Rs. 650, Manorama Online reported.

Health Minister KK Shailaja told the media that all the four kids, whose medical examination will be conducted at the SAT Hospital soon, will be under the protection of the government. Many voluntary organizations have also come out in support of the family.
 

Poverty in Kerala

According to the World Bank Report of 2017, Kerala has experienced a steady decline in poverty since 1994. According to the report, after 2005, Kerala grew and reduced poverty faster than many states, but while it is home to a smaller share of the poor in the country, there are pockets within the state that have recorded a higher incidence of poverty.

According to the State Planning Board, in Kerala, factors such as land reforms, public distribution systems schemes, Kudumbashree and Planning schemes have effectively brought down poverty ratios. In 2011-12, Kerala’s poverty stood at 7.1%, second only to Goa at 5.1%.

Yet, Kerala, in the recent years has always been battered by floods and other natural calamities that has resulted in loss of lives and livelihoods. Tracking the current rate of poverty in India is difficult because there are no statistics available after 2012.

However, going by the numbers we have, it looks like Sridevi was one of the unfortunate ones bereft of the social benefits provided by the state.


Domestic Violence and violence against children in Kerala

According to a report by the National Commission of Women (NCW) 2005, almost 80% of the victims of domestic violence were in the age group of 20-40 years and only 68% of women in the 14 districts sampled had secondary / higher secondary education.

67.1% respondents did not have life savings and in 57.9% households, the family affairs were controlled by the husband. 75.4% of the husbands in the households were alcoholics and almost half, 48.7% respondents stated the ‘alcoholic nature’ of the husband as the first cause of domestic violence.

Literate Kerala has also seen an upsurge in crimes against children with the number going up from 549 in 2008 to 4,008 in 2018. (The New Indian Express). Most of these crimes have gone unreported because they have been committed by people known to the children. Though the Kerala government also put up neighbourhood vigilance schemes in 2013, they do not seem to have worked.

It is ironical that Kerala, a state that takes pride in its progress, cannot protect its children. This battle that Sridevi is fighting is not just against poverty. It is a multi-layered issue involving destitution, social benefits, violence and the security of children. She was rescued from her situation because she finally wrestled her way out of it for her children by contacting the government. But there are many others who do not have the knowledge or the means to get them out of such situations. Then, will the government of Kerala, for that matter the government of India take stock of the matter and bring the neglected into their fold before matters get worse?


Related:

Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to effects of climate change
Criminal Callousness of Modi Government in Hiding Data
38% Of Indian Children Under 4–Poor And Rich Alike–Are Stunted: Study

 

Related Articles


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