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9-year-old Dalit boy dies after teacher allegedly thrashes him; cops deny “caste angle”

Family alleges teacher was enraged and beat up the 9-year-old boy after he touched a pot of water meant for “upper caste” people

18 Aug 2022

Dalit Boy

Indra Meghwal, a 9-year-old Dalit boy who was allegedly beaten brutally by his teacher, has succumbed to his injuries. The boy’s family alleges that his teacher beat up the boy for drinking water from a pot that was only meant for “upper caste” people such as the teacher.

The family hails from Surana village in Rajasthan’s Jalore district and the beating took place on July 20. The boy succumbed to his injuries on August 13 in an Ahmedabad hospital, after being taken to at least six other hospitals in the interim.

“My boy, Indra Kumar, was a student of standard three,” said his father Devaram Meghwal in an interview to NDTV. “He tried to drink water from a pot following which his teacher beat him up. We found out when he came back home and saw the injuries to his ears and face. He said the teacher beat him,” said Meghwal. “The beating was so brutal, it led to hemorrhage and my boy’s limbs stopped working. First, we took him to a local hospital, but had to keep shifting him from one hospital to another in nearby villages and districts. We even went to Mehsana and finally Ahmedabad,” he recalled.

“My nephew died because of his caste. Dalits face inhuman treatment in our region. “Even today, we have to go several kilometres to find barbers who can cut our hair. Ever since we registered the FIR, we have been living in fear for our own safety,” his uncle Kishore Kumar Meghwal told the Indian Express.

The family has pointed fingers at Chail Singh, an “upper caste” teacher who they say was enraged when Indra touched a pot of water meant for the teacher and proceeded to brutally thrash the boy. Singh was arrested on Saturday after the child’s death, and the police have taken statements of his classmates and other students present on that day.

Shockingly, police say they haven’t found a “caste angle” to the death.

Jalore SP Harsh Vardhan Agarwalla told the publication, “We are investigating the allegation that the boy was beaten up because he drank from a certain pot, and are also interrogating people from the school. But our preliminary investigation hasn’t proved this allegation.”

But the family has found support in local political leaders, one of whom, Congress MLA from Baran-Atru, Pana Chand Meghwal, resigned saying he was “hurt at the constant atrocities being committed upon Dalits and the marginalised, even after 75 years of Independence”. Bairwa, another Congress MLA from Baseri in Dholpur, who is also the Rajasthan Scheduled Caste Commission chairman visited the family and now appears less inclined to believe the police’s findings. He told IE, “The police’s factual report that was sent to us said there was no caste angle. But after talking to people here, I know that is the reason… If police are trying to suppress the motive, I will recommend the suspension of the entire police station.”

Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has also demanded justice for the child. In a Hindi language tweet she said, “No amount of condemnation for this heartbreaking act is enough.” She also demanded President’s rule be imposed in Rajasthan, claiming that the Congress government had failed to protect the oppressed and marginalized people of the state.

 

 

Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani has also called out the caste-based crime: 

Jignesh

 

On Tuesday, August 16, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took suo motu cognizance and sent notices to the chief secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP), Rajasthan. The NHRC has sought a detailed report, including present status of the police investigation, as well as action taken against the teacher. A news agency quoted an excerpt from the NHRC’s notice: “Apart from the status of payment of the statutory relief under provisions of the SC/ST Act, the Commission would like to know from the state government as to what steps have been taken or proposed to be taken to ensure that such inhuman and cruel acts are not done with the vulnerable sections of the society, including SC and ST.”

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, met with Jignesh Mewani in Ahmedabad and on Thursday, August 18, announced monetary compensation for the family.   

 

 

 

Related:

NHRC takes suo motu cognizance of 9-year-old Dalit boy’s death

Uttar Pradesh: Dalit man dies by suicide after being allegedly assaulted by policemen

9-year-old Dalit boy dies after teacher allegedly thrashes him; cops deny “caste angle”

Family alleges teacher was enraged and beat up the 9-year-old boy after he touched a pot of water meant for “upper caste” people

Dalit Boy

Indra Meghwal, a 9-year-old Dalit boy who was allegedly beaten brutally by his teacher, has succumbed to his injuries. The boy’s family alleges that his teacher beat up the boy for drinking water from a pot that was only meant for “upper caste” people such as the teacher.

The family hails from Surana village in Rajasthan’s Jalore district and the beating took place on July 20. The boy succumbed to his injuries on August 13 in an Ahmedabad hospital, after being taken to at least six other hospitals in the interim.

“My boy, Indra Kumar, was a student of standard three,” said his father Devaram Meghwal in an interview to NDTV. “He tried to drink water from a pot following which his teacher beat him up. We found out when he came back home and saw the injuries to his ears and face. He said the teacher beat him,” said Meghwal. “The beating was so brutal, it led to hemorrhage and my boy’s limbs stopped working. First, we took him to a local hospital, but had to keep shifting him from one hospital to another in nearby villages and districts. We even went to Mehsana and finally Ahmedabad,” he recalled.

“My nephew died because of his caste. Dalits face inhuman treatment in our region. “Even today, we have to go several kilometres to find barbers who can cut our hair. Ever since we registered the FIR, we have been living in fear for our own safety,” his uncle Kishore Kumar Meghwal told the Indian Express.

The family has pointed fingers at Chail Singh, an “upper caste” teacher who they say was enraged when Indra touched a pot of water meant for the teacher and proceeded to brutally thrash the boy. Singh was arrested on Saturday after the child’s death, and the police have taken statements of his classmates and other students present on that day.

Shockingly, police say they haven’t found a “caste angle” to the death.

Jalore SP Harsh Vardhan Agarwalla told the publication, “We are investigating the allegation that the boy was beaten up because he drank from a certain pot, and are also interrogating people from the school. But our preliminary investigation hasn’t proved this allegation.”

But the family has found support in local political leaders, one of whom, Congress MLA from Baran-Atru, Pana Chand Meghwal, resigned saying he was “hurt at the constant atrocities being committed upon Dalits and the marginalised, even after 75 years of Independence”. Bairwa, another Congress MLA from Baseri in Dholpur, who is also the Rajasthan Scheduled Caste Commission chairman visited the family and now appears less inclined to believe the police’s findings. He told IE, “The police’s factual report that was sent to us said there was no caste angle. But after talking to people here, I know that is the reason… If police are trying to suppress the motive, I will recommend the suspension of the entire police station.”

Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has also demanded justice for the child. In a Hindi language tweet she said, “No amount of condemnation for this heartbreaking act is enough.” She also demanded President’s rule be imposed in Rajasthan, claiming that the Congress government had failed to protect the oppressed and marginalized people of the state.

 

 

Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani has also called out the caste-based crime: 

Jignesh

 

On Tuesday, August 16, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took suo motu cognizance and sent notices to the chief secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP), Rajasthan. The NHRC has sought a detailed report, including present status of the police investigation, as well as action taken against the teacher. A news agency quoted an excerpt from the NHRC’s notice: “Apart from the status of payment of the statutory relief under provisions of the SC/ST Act, the Commission would like to know from the state government as to what steps have been taken or proposed to be taken to ensure that such inhuman and cruel acts are not done with the vulnerable sections of the society, including SC and ST.”

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, met with Jignesh Mewani in Ahmedabad and on Thursday, August 18, announced monetary compensation for the family.   

 

 

 

Related:

NHRC takes suo motu cognizance of 9-year-old Dalit boy’s death

Uttar Pradesh: Dalit man dies by suicide after being allegedly assaulted by policemen

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Two Starvation Deaths in Fortnight Rattles West Bengal

Confusion caused due to overlapping ration schemes and unemployment appear to be direct causes behind the starvation deaths.

18 Aug 2022

Starvation deaths

Kolkata: Two tragic starvation deaths in the previous fortnight during the 76th independence day celebrations have rattled the state. Both the two deaths were reported from backward regions of West Bengal - one from Bhulabheda of West Medinipur district and the other from Kranti block of Malbazar in Jalpaiguri district.

The first incident involves the death of Sanjay Sardar died on August 3 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for days. The family has been in dire straits after he contracted tuberculosis in the month of June and Sanjay, a daily wage earner, could not go to work.

Though on paper there are schemes like Laxmi Bhandar and other schemes; however Sanjay didn't have the required Scheduled Caste (SC) certificate, resulting in his family not receiving the stipulated Rs 1,000.

Based on a report by a Bengali news daily, a team from the Right to Food and Work Campaign visited Bhulabheda recently and surveyed the condition of people living there. In the fact finding report it is stated that the death of the daily wage earner should be seen in the context of the food crisis that has set in the area. Sanjay’s family admitted to the fact-finding team that getting even one square meal for a day was difficult for them. Moreover as the family didn't have Aadhar card linkage with their ration card, they did not get the stipulated Rajya Khadya Suraksha Yojana (RKSY 2) ration which is monthly 1 kg of rice and 1 kg of wheat.

Sanjay Sardar was a migrant labourer who lost his job during the first lockdown, according to the report. After coming home in March 2020 he did not get any work in the village. Sometimes, he got paid as a farmhand but that was extremely irregular. While the family needed an Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration card, the government instead gave them a RKSY 2 ration card which is meant for relatively better-off persons. It should be noted that in AAY scheme, a family gets 35 kgs of rice and wheat and cereals.

The second starvation death occurred in a closed tea garden where a tea garden worker, Dinesh Orao, lost his life on August 13 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for months.

The name of the tea garden is Raj Project Garden. As the tea garden owner, Dharmendra Thakur arbitrarily closed the plantation on July 10, Orao’s family had been starving for months.

“The owner of the garden is singularly responsible for this death,” family members of the deceased told reporters.

It may be recalled that in the Malbazar area, a number of tea gardens including Nageshwari tea estate, Bagrakote tea estate, Kilkote tea estate and many other tea estates are closed, and this has resulted in widespread hunger among tea garden workers in the area.

Courtesy: Newsclick

Two Starvation Deaths in Fortnight Rattles West Bengal

Confusion caused due to overlapping ration schemes and unemployment appear to be direct causes behind the starvation deaths.

Starvation deaths

Kolkata: Two tragic starvation deaths in the previous fortnight during the 76th independence day celebrations have rattled the state. Both the two deaths were reported from backward regions of West Bengal - one from Bhulabheda of West Medinipur district and the other from Kranti block of Malbazar in Jalpaiguri district.

The first incident involves the death of Sanjay Sardar died on August 3 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for days. The family has been in dire straits after he contracted tuberculosis in the month of June and Sanjay, a daily wage earner, could not go to work.

Though on paper there are schemes like Laxmi Bhandar and other schemes; however Sanjay didn't have the required Scheduled Caste (SC) certificate, resulting in his family not receiving the stipulated Rs 1,000.

Based on a report by a Bengali news daily, a team from the Right to Food and Work Campaign visited Bhulabheda recently and surveyed the condition of people living there. In the fact finding report it is stated that the death of the daily wage earner should be seen in the context of the food crisis that has set in the area. Sanjay’s family admitted to the fact-finding team that getting even one square meal for a day was difficult for them. Moreover as the family didn't have Aadhar card linkage with their ration card, they did not get the stipulated Rajya Khadya Suraksha Yojana (RKSY 2) ration which is monthly 1 kg of rice and 1 kg of wheat.

Sanjay Sardar was a migrant labourer who lost his job during the first lockdown, according to the report. After coming home in March 2020 he did not get any work in the village. Sometimes, he got paid as a farmhand but that was extremely irregular. While the family needed an Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration card, the government instead gave them a RKSY 2 ration card which is meant for relatively better-off persons. It should be noted that in AAY scheme, a family gets 35 kgs of rice and wheat and cereals.

The second starvation death occurred in a closed tea garden where a tea garden worker, Dinesh Orao, lost his life on August 13 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for months.

The name of the tea garden is Raj Project Garden. As the tea garden owner, Dharmendra Thakur arbitrarily closed the plantation on July 10, Orao’s family had been starving for months.

“The owner of the garden is singularly responsible for this death,” family members of the deceased told reporters.

It may be recalled that in the Malbazar area, a number of tea gardens including Nageshwari tea estate, Bagrakote tea estate, Kilkote tea estate and many other tea estates are closed, and this has resulted in widespread hunger among tea garden workers in the area.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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Delhi HC expresses concerns over presence of CSA survivor at the time of POCSO bail hearings

Concerns about the possible impact of such allegedly forced interaction between the survivor and the alleged abuser have been raised by rights groups

16 Aug 2022

 survivor of Child Sexual AbuseRepresentation Image | https://www.scsaorg.org


The Delhi High Court expressed concerns over the potential psychological impact on a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) when they are required to be present in court during bail hearings for the alleged abuser. This is because the arguments often vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity and outright character assassination, even when the survivor is a minor and the alleged abuser is being tried under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), which is the central legislation dealing with sexual offences against children.

The HC was hearing an interlocutory application asking for suspension of sentence of a POCSO accused as he has served a substantial portion of his sentence that was prescribed by the trial court. The court imposed several restrictions on the accused who is the father of prosecutrix (the survivor) such as - that the he shall not visit his family in Rajasthan, that he should visit the police station every Monday, that he shall not contact any members of the survivor’s family.

On receiving some suggested practices from the side of appellant over in light of the fact that many of the victims in POCSO cases were being made to appear physically or virtually in Court at the time of hearing of the bail applications, the court said in its order, “This has led to a situation where the victims are being forced not only potentially interact with the accused person, but also be present in Court when the arguments regarding the offence are being taken up for hearing. The psychological impact on a POCSO victim being present in Court is immensely grave as the arguments vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity, character etc. The prosecutrix/ victim is forced to be present in the Court with the accused that is the same person who allegedly has violated her.”

The court sent the suggested guidelines to Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee (DHCLSC) and Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) for their input.

Section 33 of the act states that the special court that has taken cognizance of an offence, should create a child friendly atmosphere in courts. Section 36 of the act states that the child should not see the accused during testifying or presenting any evidence in the court. This section allows the usage of single visibility mirrors and curtains for the purpose of realising the purpose of the section. It says --

“(1) The Special Court shall ensure that the child is not exposed in anyway to the accused at the time of recording of the evidence, while at the same time ensuring that the accused is in a position to hear the statement of the child and communicate with his advocate.

(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), the Special Court may record the statement of a child through video conferencing or by utilising single visibility mirrors or curtains or any other device.”

 Section 37 of the POCSO Act states that the trials be conducted in Camera and parents or person the child has trust or confidence in, be present. It says-

“The Special Court shall try cases in camera and in the presence of the parents of the child or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence:

Provided that where the Special Court is of the opinion that the child needs to be examined at a place other than the court, it shall proceed to issue a commission in accordance with the provisions of section 284 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)”

These provisions were included in the act so that the child is not put through the trauma once again during the process of trial and a child friendly environment can be created. The case will be listed on 30th August again for further directions.

The full order may be read here: 

Related:

Jubilee Hills gang rape case: POCSO court to begin trial soon

Women and children targeted at public toilets, Mumbai POCSO Court suggests appointing women security guards

Delhi HC expresses concerns over presence of CSA survivor at the time of POCSO bail hearings

Concerns about the possible impact of such allegedly forced interaction between the survivor and the alleged abuser have been raised by rights groups

 survivor of Child Sexual AbuseRepresentation Image | https://www.scsaorg.org


The Delhi High Court expressed concerns over the potential psychological impact on a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) when they are required to be present in court during bail hearings for the alleged abuser. This is because the arguments often vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity and outright character assassination, even when the survivor is a minor and the alleged abuser is being tried under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), which is the central legislation dealing with sexual offences against children.

The HC was hearing an interlocutory application asking for suspension of sentence of a POCSO accused as he has served a substantial portion of his sentence that was prescribed by the trial court. The court imposed several restrictions on the accused who is the father of prosecutrix (the survivor) such as - that the he shall not visit his family in Rajasthan, that he should visit the police station every Monday, that he shall not contact any members of the survivor’s family.

On receiving some suggested practices from the side of appellant over in light of the fact that many of the victims in POCSO cases were being made to appear physically or virtually in Court at the time of hearing of the bail applications, the court said in its order, “This has led to a situation where the victims are being forced not only potentially interact with the accused person, but also be present in Court when the arguments regarding the offence are being taken up for hearing. The psychological impact on a POCSO victim being present in Court is immensely grave as the arguments vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity, character etc. The prosecutrix/ victim is forced to be present in the Court with the accused that is the same person who allegedly has violated her.”

The court sent the suggested guidelines to Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee (DHCLSC) and Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) for their input.

Section 33 of the act states that the special court that has taken cognizance of an offence, should create a child friendly atmosphere in courts. Section 36 of the act states that the child should not see the accused during testifying or presenting any evidence in the court. This section allows the usage of single visibility mirrors and curtains for the purpose of realising the purpose of the section. It says --

“(1) The Special Court shall ensure that the child is not exposed in anyway to the accused at the time of recording of the evidence, while at the same time ensuring that the accused is in a position to hear the statement of the child and communicate with his advocate.

(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), the Special Court may record the statement of a child through video conferencing or by utilising single visibility mirrors or curtains or any other device.”

 Section 37 of the POCSO Act states that the trials be conducted in Camera and parents or person the child has trust or confidence in, be present. It says-

“The Special Court shall try cases in camera and in the presence of the parents of the child or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence:

Provided that where the Special Court is of the opinion that the child needs to be examined at a place other than the court, it shall proceed to issue a commission in accordance with the provisions of section 284 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)”

These provisions were included in the act so that the child is not put through the trauma once again during the process of trial and a child friendly environment can be created. The case will be listed on 30th August again for further directions.

The full order may be read here: 

Related:

Jubilee Hills gang rape case: POCSO court to begin trial soon

Women and children targeted at public toilets, Mumbai POCSO Court suggests appointing women security guards

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Jubilee Hills gang rape case: POCSO court to begin trial soon

12 Aug 2022

Posco

Hyderabad: The trial in the sensational Jubilee Hills minor girl gang rape case is all set to commence in couple of weeks as the special court for POCSO cases has taken cognizance of the charge-sheet filed by the Jubilee Hills police.

In last week of July the police succeeded in filing the 600 pages charge sheet within a span of 56 days. Since the five accused are minors and one is an adult, the police submitted the charge sheets before the Juvenile Justice Board and before the POCSO court.

The police have recorded the statements of as many as 65 witnesses.

On May 28, a minor girl was allegedly gang raped by a group of youths including five minor children and a major youth after a non-alocholic party at a pub at
upscale area of Jubilee Hills.  The police have arrested the youths and also seized their cars.

The investigation into the rape case including the Test Identification parade, recording of the statement of the victim under CrPc section 164 before the magistrate, con ducting of DNA test and forensic examintaion of the car used inthe crime  was completed a chargesheet was filed upon which the POCSO court took cognizance. Soon the charges may be framed against all the accused persons.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

Jubilee Hills gang rape case: POCSO court to begin trial soon

Posco

Hyderabad: The trial in the sensational Jubilee Hills minor girl gang rape case is all set to commence in couple of weeks as the special court for POCSO cases has taken cognizance of the charge-sheet filed by the Jubilee Hills police.

In last week of July the police succeeded in filing the 600 pages charge sheet within a span of 56 days. Since the five accused are minors and one is an adult, the police submitted the charge sheets before the Juvenile Justice Board and before the POCSO court.

The police have recorded the statements of as many as 65 witnesses.

On May 28, a minor girl was allegedly gang raped by a group of youths including five minor children and a major youth after a non-alocholic party at a pub at
upscale area of Jubilee Hills.  The police have arrested the youths and also seized their cars.

The investigation into the rape case including the Test Identification parade, recording of the statement of the victim under CrPc section 164 before the magistrate, con ducting of DNA test and forensic examintaion of the car used inthe crime  was completed a chargesheet was filed upon which the POCSO court took cognizance. Soon the charges may be framed against all the accused persons.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

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UP: No Govt Funds for Mid-day Meals for over 3 Months, Headmasters Forced to Raise Money

The Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of the funds by the state Finance Department.

01 Aug 2022

mid day meal
Image for representational purpose

Lucknow: Government schools in Uttar Pradesh have reportedly not received any money for mid-day meals for the last three months, preventing some schools from serving food to children under the scheme. In a few schools, teachers and gram pradhan (village head) have been spending from their own pockets or buying rations on credit to feed the children. The Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of funds by the Finance Department.

After getting a supply of wheat and rice from food procurement agencies, the schools typically receive compensation for the cooking costs at the rate of Rs 4.97 per student for primary classes and Rs 7.45 for upper primary classes from the state government. The amount is provided to procure ingredients such as pulses, vegetables, oil, salt, spices, turmeric and LPG. The amount of mid-day meals provided to the schools is according to the number of students. Under the national programme, 60% of the cooking cost is shared by the Centre and 40% by the state.

Ajay Singh, a teacher in a Sitapur district school alleged that the government has diverted the funds meant for the midday meal scheme towards some other activity. He claimed that over Rs 2.3 crore meant for the scheme in his district were knowingly diverted by the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state towards other work. 

"The Yogi government has been snatching food from children's mouths and spending money on its image building," a teacher said on the condition of anonymity. Teachers say they are buying food because the people who send their children to school are very poor. In Gonda district alone, the bills have piled up to Rs 2.7 crore.

In 412 schools in the Ghazipur district, a total of 34,7117 students are served meals under the scheme. The outstanding dues of these schools for the cooking costs are over Rs 2 crore in the district.

The village head of Ghazipur's Rajapur, Ashwani Rai, said that they have not received funds after the month of March for providing mid-day meals at his school. Due to this, all the food is being prepared for the children by taking loans from shopkeepers. However, he said that the Education Department has started streamlining things and the funds would be released to the schools in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of the funds by the state Finance Department. Sources in the School Education Department said the bills were submitted to the Finance Department in the last month itself, but the funds had not been released so far.

"This is not just a matter of one or two districts, but the situation is similar in all the government-run schools as every time the budget comes very late from the state. Funds for ingredients have been due for the past several months," Virendra Mishra, national spokesperson of Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM), a national-level outfit of primary school teachers told NewsClick, adding that teachers were spending money from their pocket for the children. 

When asked then how the schools manage to provide mid-day meals to the children, Mishra who is also a headmaster at a primary school in Gauriya Diha in the Gonda district, said, "The village head provides the mid-day meal ration from his own pocket or picking up rations on credit. But in most of the schools, the headmasters manage from their salary or collect funds from teachers as most of the children belong to marginalised backgrounds. We can not send them back empty stomach," he told NewsClick, adding that he draws money from his own salary to provide food to around 217 bonafide students enrolled in his school.

"On average, if 150 children are coming to the school, it cost around Rs 750 to Rs 800 per day for the midday meals. We have been forced to run the scheme from our own pockets, as Basic Education Department threatens to take disciplinary action against us if the scheme stop," he claimed.

Meanwhile, the parents of school-going kids said the authorities concerned should be more particular about the matter so that nutritious food can be provided to their wards and teachers didn’t have to be inconvenienced.

NO INCREASE IN CONVERSION COST AFTER 2020

The midday meal scheme was started in 2001 by the central government to enhance enrolment, retention, and attendance in government primary schools and simultaneously improve the nutritional status of the children. Under the scheme, a student from any government or government-aided primary school is to be served a meal with a minimum content of 300 calories of energy and 8-12 grams of protein a day for a minimum of 200 days.

It must be mentioned that the central government has not made an increment in the conversion cost under the National Program of Mid-Day Meal in Schools (NP-MDMS) since 2020. The revised rate of the cooking cost for the primary stage (class 1 to 5) is Rs 4.97 per child, and Rs 7.45 for upper primary (class 6 to 8), which was revised in 2018. 

MDM

On July 22, Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh wrote a letter to the BJP MP from Dhaurahra and the party vice-president, Rekha Arun Verma, to increase the conversion cost of MDM since inflation has skyrocketed and prices of edible oil, and LGP manifold. 

From September 1, 2004, to August 15, 2016, the conversion cost was Rs 1 per student at the primary level and from October 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, the conversion cost was Rs 2.50 per student at the upper primary level. After this, the conversion cost was increased almost every year relative to inflation. But from July 1, 2016, till December 15, 2018, conversion cost was not least increased not per inflation, the letter reads.

MDM

At last, the conversion cost was increased by the government on July 1, 2020, to Rs 4.97 per student at the primary level and Rs 7.45 per student at the upper primary level. In the last two and half years, not a single penny has increased even though the inflation rate has increased significantly over the last two years. The cost of the items used in mid-day meals has increased from two-fold to three-fold. For example, the cost of mustard oil, which was earlier Rs.70 to Rs.80 per kg, has now gone up to Rs.180 per kg. Similarly, the price of the gas cylinder has increased from Rs.600 to around Rs.1050, that for soybean has increased from Rs 50 per kg to Rs 110 per kg.

"Rs 4.97 is given per student for six days for food in which we have to give 150 ml milk every Wednesday to each student. If we split the milk cost, Rs 3.57 would be left for the food per student. Since the inflation is so high, edible oil, vegetables, milk, LPG and other ingredients being used for cooking food are expensive. How would we manage all this in just Rs 3.57?" questioned Santosh Maurya, in-charge headmaster of a government school in Chikwanpurwa under Ishanagar block in Lakhimpur Kheri distrcit.

Courtesy: Newsclick

UP: No Govt Funds for Mid-day Meals for over 3 Months, Headmasters Forced to Raise Money

The Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of the funds by the state Finance Department.

mid day meal
Image for representational purpose

Lucknow: Government schools in Uttar Pradesh have reportedly not received any money for mid-day meals for the last three months, preventing some schools from serving food to children under the scheme. In a few schools, teachers and gram pradhan (village head) have been spending from their own pockets or buying rations on credit to feed the children. The Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of funds by the Finance Department.

After getting a supply of wheat and rice from food procurement agencies, the schools typically receive compensation for the cooking costs at the rate of Rs 4.97 per student for primary classes and Rs 7.45 for upper primary classes from the state government. The amount is provided to procure ingredients such as pulses, vegetables, oil, salt, spices, turmeric and LPG. The amount of mid-day meals provided to the schools is according to the number of students. Under the national programme, 60% of the cooking cost is shared by the Centre and 40% by the state.

Ajay Singh, a teacher in a Sitapur district school alleged that the government has diverted the funds meant for the midday meal scheme towards some other activity. He claimed that over Rs 2.3 crore meant for the scheme in his district were knowingly diverted by the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state towards other work. 

"The Yogi government has been snatching food from children's mouths and spending money on its image building," a teacher said on the condition of anonymity. Teachers say they are buying food because the people who send their children to school are very poor. In Gonda district alone, the bills have piled up to Rs 2.7 crore.

In 412 schools in the Ghazipur district, a total of 34,7117 students are served meals under the scheme. The outstanding dues of these schools for the cooking costs are over Rs 2 crore in the district.

The village head of Ghazipur's Rajapur, Ashwani Rai, said that they have not received funds after the month of March for providing mid-day meals at his school. Due to this, all the food is being prepared for the children by taking loans from shopkeepers. However, he said that the Education Department has started streamlining things and the funds would be released to the schools in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of the funds by the state Finance Department. Sources in the School Education Department said the bills were submitted to the Finance Department in the last month itself, but the funds had not been released so far.

"This is not just a matter of one or two districts, but the situation is similar in all the government-run schools as every time the budget comes very late from the state. Funds for ingredients have been due for the past several months," Virendra Mishra, national spokesperson of Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM), a national-level outfit of primary school teachers told NewsClick, adding that teachers were spending money from their pocket for the children. 

When asked then how the schools manage to provide mid-day meals to the children, Mishra who is also a headmaster at a primary school in Gauriya Diha in the Gonda district, said, "The village head provides the mid-day meal ration from his own pocket or picking up rations on credit. But in most of the schools, the headmasters manage from their salary or collect funds from teachers as most of the children belong to marginalised backgrounds. We can not send them back empty stomach," he told NewsClick, adding that he draws money from his own salary to provide food to around 217 bonafide students enrolled in his school.

"On average, if 150 children are coming to the school, it cost around Rs 750 to Rs 800 per day for the midday meals. We have been forced to run the scheme from our own pockets, as Basic Education Department threatens to take disciplinary action against us if the scheme stop," he claimed.

Meanwhile, the parents of school-going kids said the authorities concerned should be more particular about the matter so that nutritious food can be provided to their wards and teachers didn’t have to be inconvenienced.

NO INCREASE IN CONVERSION COST AFTER 2020

The midday meal scheme was started in 2001 by the central government to enhance enrolment, retention, and attendance in government primary schools and simultaneously improve the nutritional status of the children. Under the scheme, a student from any government or government-aided primary school is to be served a meal with a minimum content of 300 calories of energy and 8-12 grams of protein a day for a minimum of 200 days.

It must be mentioned that the central government has not made an increment in the conversion cost under the National Program of Mid-Day Meal in Schools (NP-MDMS) since 2020. The revised rate of the cooking cost for the primary stage (class 1 to 5) is Rs 4.97 per child, and Rs 7.45 for upper primary (class 6 to 8), which was revised in 2018. 

MDM

On July 22, Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh wrote a letter to the BJP MP from Dhaurahra and the party vice-president, Rekha Arun Verma, to increase the conversion cost of MDM since inflation has skyrocketed and prices of edible oil, and LGP manifold. 

From September 1, 2004, to August 15, 2016, the conversion cost was Rs 1 per student at the primary level and from October 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, the conversion cost was Rs 2.50 per student at the upper primary level. After this, the conversion cost was increased almost every year relative to inflation. But from July 1, 2016, till December 15, 2018, conversion cost was not least increased not per inflation, the letter reads.

MDM

At last, the conversion cost was increased by the government on July 1, 2020, to Rs 4.97 per student at the primary level and Rs 7.45 per student at the upper primary level. In the last two and half years, not a single penny has increased even though the inflation rate has increased significantly over the last two years. The cost of the items used in mid-day meals has increased from two-fold to three-fold. For example, the cost of mustard oil, which was earlier Rs.70 to Rs.80 per kg, has now gone up to Rs.180 per kg. Similarly, the price of the gas cylinder has increased from Rs.600 to around Rs.1050, that for soybean has increased from Rs 50 per kg to Rs 110 per kg.

"Rs 4.97 is given per student for six days for food in which we have to give 150 ml milk every Wednesday to each student. If we split the milk cost, Rs 3.57 would be left for the food per student. Since the inflation is so high, edible oil, vegetables, milk, LPG and other ingredients being used for cooking food are expensive. How would we manage all this in just Rs 3.57?" questioned Santosh Maurya, in-charge headmaster of a government school in Chikwanpurwa under Ishanagar block in Lakhimpur Kheri distrcit.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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“Concrete action plan needed to curb child exploitation and labour” Rajasthan HC

“Appropriate action plan is required to be prepared and implemented to prevent such activities so that the children are not put to such kind of exploitative practices as child labour” said Rajasthan HC.

10 Jun 2022

child labourRepresentation Image

The Jaipur Bench of Rajasthan High Court, presided over by acting Chief Justice Mr. Mahindra Mohan Shrivastava and Mr. Justice Sameer Jain entertained the PIL Gopal Singh Bareth V/S State Of Rajasthan in order to institutionalize effective machinery and mechanism for rescue and post rescue rehabilitation of all child labours in the State of Rajasthan.

Background of PIL

The PIL (D.B. Civil Writ Petition (PIL) No. 5383/2020 ) was filled by the petitioner in person, advocate Mr. Gopal Singh Bareth. Rajasthan High Court in his previous order on 17.06.2020 had directed the state to form a high level committee comprising the Secretary, Department of Labour and the Labour Commissioner as Chairman and Secretary of that committee respectively. Further, Detailed directions on September 28, 2020 were also issued by the Court to the state government for enforcing and ensuring child rights to migrant labourers. Rajasthan The high court also directed the state to prepare appropriate action plan with the help of experts/NGOs to ensure that such exploitative child labour practices are put to halt. Gopal Singh Bareth seeking specific directions for the State Government. AG Mr. M.S. Singhvi with Adv. Siddhant Jain and Adv. Priyanka Mali appeared on behalf of the respondents-state government.

Decision of Court

The bench comprising acting Chief Justice Mr. Mahindra Mohan Shrivastava and Mr. Justice Sameer Jain, while hearing the petition observed that a number of child labourers were subject to unfair police actions and were later rescued. Large number of criminal cases have also been registered against those involved in child trafficking and exploitation of children in various small/large scale industrial and commercial activities. The court found that action has also been initiated where a child labourer were found dead

The petitioner sought to formulate and implement an action plan for the rescue and the post rescue care/rehabilitation of child labourers in the State of Rajasthan. On April 27, 2022 High Court pursuing the submissions made by the state government and the report filled by the state government, the Court observed that

“It would be in the interest of the children who are being subjected to exploitation as child labour that the high level committee focuses on this issue and prepare appropriate action plan with the help of experts/NGOs to ensure that such exploitative child labour practices are put to halt. Allowing such activities to first happen and then taking action by registering offence is not enough. Appropriate action plan is required to be prepared and implemented to prevent such activities so that the children are not put to such kind of exploitative practices as child labours”.

During the hearing the respondent's counsel informed the court that she had filed two affidavits which highlighted that after rescue of children, the rehabilitation mechanism is required to take further steps which includes payment of compensation and rehabilitation of children and other rehabilitatory practices.

The Advocate General were unable to find the said affidavits on record, the court asked the respondent's counsel to ensure that copies of the said affidavits are supplied in the office of Advocate General within a period of seven days. The court also directed the Registry to verify whether or not such affidavits have been filed and attach the same with the records of the present case. The court also granted three weeks time to Advocate General to respond to the averments made in the said two affidavits, if filed before the Registry.

Earlier directions of Rajasthan High Court

Rajasthan High Court on September 28, 2020 had directed the state government as follow:

(a) The Department of Social Justice shall issue directions to the child right enforcing officers to carry out the responsibilities strictly in view of the action plan prepared by the State and guidelines issued therein taking the assistance of NGOs working in the said field. We also call upon the said authority to submit before this Court monthly statements, facts and figures of the result (3 of 3) [CW-5383/2020] of such enforcement right as well as steps taken for rehabilitation of any minor who is found to be working.

(b) We also permit petitioner and/or NGOs working for the child right to provide necessary details of the child migrant worker who may have left for his/her State and such information once provided to the child enforcement authority, they in turn on being satisfied of the genuineness of such statements may intimate their counterparts in the respective States to initiate suitable action for taking care and rehabilitation of such child labourers.

(c) We direct the Secretary, Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority (RSLSA) to correspond with the appropriate police officers, who are concerned in the matter and to ensure that necessary financial benefits that are available under the various schemes are made available to such children at the earliest.

Moreover, the court also sought the action so far taken by the high-level committee along with a concrete action plan from the State on the next date hearing.


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“Concrete action plan needed to curb child exploitation and labour” Rajasthan HC

“Appropriate action plan is required to be prepared and implemented to prevent such activities so that the children are not put to such kind of exploitative practices as child labour” said Rajasthan HC.

child labourRepresentation Image

The Jaipur Bench of Rajasthan High Court, presided over by acting Chief Justice Mr. Mahindra Mohan Shrivastava and Mr. Justice Sameer Jain entertained the PIL Gopal Singh Bareth V/S State Of Rajasthan in order to institutionalize effective machinery and mechanism for rescue and post rescue rehabilitation of all child labours in the State of Rajasthan.

Background of PIL

The PIL (D.B. Civil Writ Petition (PIL) No. 5383/2020 ) was filled by the petitioner in person, advocate Mr. Gopal Singh Bareth. Rajasthan High Court in his previous order on 17.06.2020 had directed the state to form a high level committee comprising the Secretary, Department of Labour and the Labour Commissioner as Chairman and Secretary of that committee respectively. Further, Detailed directions on September 28, 2020 were also issued by the Court to the state government for enforcing and ensuring child rights to migrant labourers. Rajasthan The high court also directed the state to prepare appropriate action plan with the help of experts/NGOs to ensure that such exploitative child labour practices are put to halt. Gopal Singh Bareth seeking specific directions for the State Government. AG Mr. M.S. Singhvi with Adv. Siddhant Jain and Adv. Priyanka Mali appeared on behalf of the respondents-state government.

Decision of Court

The bench comprising acting Chief Justice Mr. Mahindra Mohan Shrivastava and Mr. Justice Sameer Jain, while hearing the petition observed that a number of child labourers were subject to unfair police actions and were later rescued. Large number of criminal cases have also been registered against those involved in child trafficking and exploitation of children in various small/large scale industrial and commercial activities. The court found that action has also been initiated where a child labourer were found dead

The petitioner sought to formulate and implement an action plan for the rescue and the post rescue care/rehabilitation of child labourers in the State of Rajasthan. On April 27, 2022 High Court pursuing the submissions made by the state government and the report filled by the state government, the Court observed that

“It would be in the interest of the children who are being subjected to exploitation as child labour that the high level committee focuses on this issue and prepare appropriate action plan with the help of experts/NGOs to ensure that such exploitative child labour practices are put to halt. Allowing such activities to first happen and then taking action by registering offence is not enough. Appropriate action plan is required to be prepared and implemented to prevent such activities so that the children are not put to such kind of exploitative practices as child labours”.

During the hearing the respondent's counsel informed the court that she had filed two affidavits which highlighted that after rescue of children, the rehabilitation mechanism is required to take further steps which includes payment of compensation and rehabilitation of children and other rehabilitatory practices.

The Advocate General were unable to find the said affidavits on record, the court asked the respondent's counsel to ensure that copies of the said affidavits are supplied in the office of Advocate General within a period of seven days. The court also directed the Registry to verify whether or not such affidavits have been filed and attach the same with the records of the present case. The court also granted three weeks time to Advocate General to respond to the averments made in the said two affidavits, if filed before the Registry.

Earlier directions of Rajasthan High Court

Rajasthan High Court on September 28, 2020 had directed the state government as follow:

(a) The Department of Social Justice shall issue directions to the child right enforcing officers to carry out the responsibilities strictly in view of the action plan prepared by the State and guidelines issued therein taking the assistance of NGOs working in the said field. We also call upon the said authority to submit before this Court monthly statements, facts and figures of the result (3 of 3) [CW-5383/2020] of such enforcement right as well as steps taken for rehabilitation of any minor who is found to be working.

(b) We also permit petitioner and/or NGOs working for the child right to provide necessary details of the child migrant worker who may have left for his/her State and such information once provided to the child enforcement authority, they in turn on being satisfied of the genuineness of such statements may intimate their counterparts in the respective States to initiate suitable action for taking care and rehabilitation of such child labourers.

(c) We direct the Secretary, Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority (RSLSA) to correspond with the appropriate police officers, who are concerned in the matter and to ensure that necessary financial benefits that are available under the various schemes are made available to such children at the earliest.

Moreover, the court also sought the action so far taken by the high-level committee along with a concrete action plan from the State on the next date hearing.


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Using children to chant communal hate slogans fosters hate 

A video showing the small boy raising hate slogans in a PFI rally in Alappuzha, Kerala, has raised serious concerns

24 May 2022

PFI
Image: Screengrab

“Keep rice… incense ready stocked in your homes… for last rites. If you want to live in our land you need to live within the limits of discipline… or else…” a basic translation of what a little boy sitting on the shoulders of a man is chanting/ singing, as an anthem at a march called by the Popular Front of India (PFI).

The video showing the small boy raising hate slogans in a PFI rally in Alappuzha, Kerala, has since gone viral on social media. While any such hateful communal slogans need to be condemned by all, this video is now also being shared by the right wing ecosystem as being a ‘threat’ to the community and a preview of ‘Kerala turning into Kashmir’... further stoking communal sentiments. 

According to a report in The News Minute, the march/rally was held as part of the Jana Maha Sammelanam in Alappuzha on Saturday May 21. The young boy has the PFI flag draped around him, while he ‘leads’ the provocative slogans, repeated by the adults around him. The slogans, seen in two videos, according to TNM, “are mostly directed towards ‘sanghis’, asking them to live 'properly' or they will have to get ready for their final rites” Many social media users have also said the slogans refer to items used in funeral rites of Hindus, and Christians, and the slogans are thus a ‘threat’ or ‘warning’ as well. According to news reports, police told the media “a preliminary investigation is underway but no case has been registered so far.”

Meanwhile, the PFI state secretary CA Raoof, reported TNK, circulated “an internal note”, to the media stating, “We have given approved slogans which were to be raised in the public rally at Alappuzha. Thousands of party workers and others joined the rally protesting against the RSS. The visual of a boy raising slogans came to our notice now. Those slogans were not approved or given by the organisers of the rally. It's not the policy of the organisation to provoke or raise provocative slogans." 

However, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has now taken notice of the issue and sought registration of an FIR against those responsible for allegedly letting a child raise provocative slogans during the rally. In a letter to the Kerala police chief, NCPCR said that it has received a complaint over the child shouting slogans in Malayalam.

 

 

According to news reports, a complainant told NCPCR, that the PFI flag “is clearly seen in the video,” and also accused Kerala police of “not taking any action against the parents of the child and the PFI." The NCPCR reportedly wrote to the Director General of Police (DGP) saying, “The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the PFI are using children to spread hatred, enmity and communal violence in the country,” adding that this violated Section 75 and Section 83 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. The commission stated, “In view of the sensitivity of the matter, it is requested that your good offices may kindly look into the matter and initiate necessary inquiry to ensure the welfare and safety of children, by lodging an FIR at the first instance, under Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.” According to news reports, the NCPCR has asked Kerala police for an action taken report, and a fact-finding enquiry report, within seven days of receipt of the letter.

Justice P Gopinath of Kerala High Court had on Monday, two days after the PFI rally had observed while hearing a batch of POCSO cases that children “do not have the legal right to vote or even drive till they are 18. Under the guise of freedom of speech and religion, can they be made to be a part of political rallies or religious rallies? I just want to know whether there is any law which prohibits this.” 

According to a Bar and Bench report, Justice Gopinath, said at a casual exchange with the Bar, that he had seen a "provocative" video of a child "spewing hatred" at a political rally, and said, “Children being forced to take part in political rallies and being made to voice all sorts of provocative slogans. That is some new kind of attraction it seems. How far is that legal?" The judge asked if this was “not fostering a new generation that grows up with this religious hatred in mind? I was just wondering about the fact that when this child grows and he becomes a major, his mind will already be conditioned to this kind of rhetoric. Something must be done."

Justice Gopinath said, “Children must be totally prohibited from taking part in these rallies, sloganeering etc. Using them like this should not be okay. They do not have the legal right to vote or even drive till they are 18. Under the guise of freedom of speech and religion, can they be made to be a part of political rallies or religious rallies? He does not know what he is saying."

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor has expressed shock at the incident saying, “Hate speech and intimidating slogans are deplorable irrespective of the politics behind them or the religion of those using them. Opposing communalism means opposing the communalism of all sides. I unequivocally condemn the threatening and communally charged slogans raised in the PFI rally held in Alappuzha.I urge the state government to take strong action against such miscreants.”

 

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Using children to chant communal hate slogans fosters hate 

A video showing the small boy raising hate slogans in a PFI rally in Alappuzha, Kerala, has raised serious concerns

PFI
Image: Screengrab

“Keep rice… incense ready stocked in your homes… for last rites. If you want to live in our land you need to live within the limits of discipline… or else…” a basic translation of what a little boy sitting on the shoulders of a man is chanting/ singing, as an anthem at a march called by the Popular Front of India (PFI).

The video showing the small boy raising hate slogans in a PFI rally in Alappuzha, Kerala, has since gone viral on social media. While any such hateful communal slogans need to be condemned by all, this video is now also being shared by the right wing ecosystem as being a ‘threat’ to the community and a preview of ‘Kerala turning into Kashmir’... further stoking communal sentiments. 

According to a report in The News Minute, the march/rally was held as part of the Jana Maha Sammelanam in Alappuzha on Saturday May 21. The young boy has the PFI flag draped around him, while he ‘leads’ the provocative slogans, repeated by the adults around him. The slogans, seen in two videos, according to TNM, “are mostly directed towards ‘sanghis’, asking them to live 'properly' or they will have to get ready for their final rites” Many social media users have also said the slogans refer to items used in funeral rites of Hindus, and Christians, and the slogans are thus a ‘threat’ or ‘warning’ as well. According to news reports, police told the media “a preliminary investigation is underway but no case has been registered so far.”

Meanwhile, the PFI state secretary CA Raoof, reported TNK, circulated “an internal note”, to the media stating, “We have given approved slogans which were to be raised in the public rally at Alappuzha. Thousands of party workers and others joined the rally protesting against the RSS. The visual of a boy raising slogans came to our notice now. Those slogans were not approved or given by the organisers of the rally. It's not the policy of the organisation to provoke or raise provocative slogans." 

However, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has now taken notice of the issue and sought registration of an FIR against those responsible for allegedly letting a child raise provocative slogans during the rally. In a letter to the Kerala police chief, NCPCR said that it has received a complaint over the child shouting slogans in Malayalam.

 

 

According to news reports, a complainant told NCPCR, that the PFI flag “is clearly seen in the video,” and also accused Kerala police of “not taking any action against the parents of the child and the PFI." The NCPCR reportedly wrote to the Director General of Police (DGP) saying, “The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the PFI are using children to spread hatred, enmity and communal violence in the country,” adding that this violated Section 75 and Section 83 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. The commission stated, “In view of the sensitivity of the matter, it is requested that your good offices may kindly look into the matter and initiate necessary inquiry to ensure the welfare and safety of children, by lodging an FIR at the first instance, under Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.” According to news reports, the NCPCR has asked Kerala police for an action taken report, and a fact-finding enquiry report, within seven days of receipt of the letter.

Justice P Gopinath of Kerala High Court had on Monday, two days after the PFI rally had observed while hearing a batch of POCSO cases that children “do not have the legal right to vote or even drive till they are 18. Under the guise of freedom of speech and religion, can they be made to be a part of political rallies or religious rallies? I just want to know whether there is any law which prohibits this.” 

According to a Bar and Bench report, Justice Gopinath, said at a casual exchange with the Bar, that he had seen a "provocative" video of a child "spewing hatred" at a political rally, and said, “Children being forced to take part in political rallies and being made to voice all sorts of provocative slogans. That is some new kind of attraction it seems. How far is that legal?" The judge asked if this was “not fostering a new generation that grows up with this religious hatred in mind? I was just wondering about the fact that when this child grows and he becomes a major, his mind will already be conditioned to this kind of rhetoric. Something must be done."

Justice Gopinath said, “Children must be totally prohibited from taking part in these rallies, sloganeering etc. Using them like this should not be okay. They do not have the legal right to vote or even drive till they are 18. Under the guise of freedom of speech and religion, can they be made to be a part of political rallies or religious rallies? He does not know what he is saying."

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor has expressed shock at the incident saying, “Hate speech and intimidating slogans are deplorable irrespective of the politics behind them or the religion of those using them. Opposing communalism means opposing the communalism of all sides. I unequivocally condemn the threatening and communally charged slogans raised in the PFI rally held in Alappuzha.I urge the state government to take strong action against such miscreants.”

 

Related:

Hate Watch: Propaganda website Kreately, was first to mock 'Shivling'

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Over half of Karnataka’s children stunted and anaemic: NFHS

While the NFHS-5 report claims improvement over NFHS-4 report, the numbers raise concern in post-pandemic economy

17 May 2022

childrensRepresentation Image


Over a third of Karnataka’s under-five age children are stunted or too short for their age, while two-thirds of this age group are anaemic, said the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) on May 3, 2022.

The 2019-20 report claims improved statistics compared to NFHS-4 yet shows worrying figures about child development in the state. Particularly, it stated that 35 percent of children under 5 years are stunted, 20 percent are wasted or too thin for their weight and 33 percent are underweight. According to the report, this indicates undernourishment for some time with underweight data considering chronic and acute undernutrition.

“Even during the first six months of life when almost all babies are breastfed, 20 percent of children are stunted, 27 percent are wasted, and 25 percent are underweight,” said the report.

Compared to NFHS-4, while children’s nutritional status in Karnataka has slightly improved. The percentage of children who are stunted decreased marginally from 36 percent to 35 percent in the four years between NFHS-4 and NFHS-5. The percentage of children who are wasted has decreased from 26 percent to 20 percent and children who are underweight decreased from 35 to 33 percent since NFHS-4. However, continuing high levels of undernutrition are still a major problem in Karnataka.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of children aged 6-59 months (i.e less than 5-years-old) are anaemic. This includes 28 percent infants who are mildly anaemic, 35 percent children who are moderately anaemic, and three percent children who have severe anaemia. However, the overall prevalence of anaemia in children increased from 61 percent in NFHS-4.

In terms of gender, 65 percent girls were anaemic whereas 67 percent boys were anaemic in the latest report. Children of anaemic mothers were much more likely to be anaemic.

“Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of children in Karnataka are anaemic even if their mother has 12 or more years of schooling,” said the report.

Nutritional difficulties among women

As many as 48 percent women in Karnataka had anaemia, including 22 percent with mild anaemia, 23 percent with moderate anaemia, and 3 percent with severe anaemia.

“The condition is particularly high among rural women and scheduled caste women, but at least two-fifths of women in every group have anaemia. Anaemia among women has slightly increased by 3 percentage points since NFHS-4,” said the report.

Meanwhile, only 20 percent of men in Karnataka were anaemic. Men between ages 15-19 years and men with no schooling are particularly likely to be anaemic.

Overall, 47 percent women and 45 percent men were either too thin or overweight or obese. More men and women are overweight or obese than thin, which is similar to the pattern observed in NFHS-4. As many as 17 percent women and 14 percent men were too thin. 30 percent women and 31 percent men were overweight or obese.

Gynaecologist and trainer in child protection at Bengaluru’s Acura Hospital Dr S. Saldanha told Deccan Herald that the data indicated long-term malnutrition. Covid-induced increased prices of nutritious foods like pulses, oils, and plant and non-vegetarian foods, further accentuated chronic malnutrition, said the article.

Similarly, public health activist Dr Sylvia Karpagam told DH that chronic under-nutrition is likely to have worsened in the state after the pandemic and the lockdown. The main causes are the loss of livelihood, displacement, shutting down of public transport, access to basic healthcare and breakdown of social security schemes like ICDS and mid-day meals.

She called for better decisions on food and nutrition based on data from NFHS, CNNS and similar studies.

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Over half of Karnataka’s children stunted and anaemic: NFHS

While the NFHS-5 report claims improvement over NFHS-4 report, the numbers raise concern in post-pandemic economy

childrensRepresentation Image


Over a third of Karnataka’s under-five age children are stunted or too short for their age, while two-thirds of this age group are anaemic, said the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) on May 3, 2022.

The 2019-20 report claims improved statistics compared to NFHS-4 yet shows worrying figures about child development in the state. Particularly, it stated that 35 percent of children under 5 years are stunted, 20 percent are wasted or too thin for their weight and 33 percent are underweight. According to the report, this indicates undernourishment for some time with underweight data considering chronic and acute undernutrition.

“Even during the first six months of life when almost all babies are breastfed, 20 percent of children are stunted, 27 percent are wasted, and 25 percent are underweight,” said the report.

Compared to NFHS-4, while children’s nutritional status in Karnataka has slightly improved. The percentage of children who are stunted decreased marginally from 36 percent to 35 percent in the four years between NFHS-4 and NFHS-5. The percentage of children who are wasted has decreased from 26 percent to 20 percent and children who are underweight decreased from 35 to 33 percent since NFHS-4. However, continuing high levels of undernutrition are still a major problem in Karnataka.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of children aged 6-59 months (i.e less than 5-years-old) are anaemic. This includes 28 percent infants who are mildly anaemic, 35 percent children who are moderately anaemic, and three percent children who have severe anaemia. However, the overall prevalence of anaemia in children increased from 61 percent in NFHS-4.

In terms of gender, 65 percent girls were anaemic whereas 67 percent boys were anaemic in the latest report. Children of anaemic mothers were much more likely to be anaemic.

“Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of children in Karnataka are anaemic even if their mother has 12 or more years of schooling,” said the report.

Nutritional difficulties among women

As many as 48 percent women in Karnataka had anaemia, including 22 percent with mild anaemia, 23 percent with moderate anaemia, and 3 percent with severe anaemia.

“The condition is particularly high among rural women and scheduled caste women, but at least two-fifths of women in every group have anaemia. Anaemia among women has slightly increased by 3 percentage points since NFHS-4,” said the report.

Meanwhile, only 20 percent of men in Karnataka were anaemic. Men between ages 15-19 years and men with no schooling are particularly likely to be anaemic.

Overall, 47 percent women and 45 percent men were either too thin or overweight or obese. More men and women are overweight or obese than thin, which is similar to the pattern observed in NFHS-4. As many as 17 percent women and 14 percent men were too thin. 30 percent women and 31 percent men were overweight or obese.

Gynaecologist and trainer in child protection at Bengaluru’s Acura Hospital Dr S. Saldanha told Deccan Herald that the data indicated long-term malnutrition. Covid-induced increased prices of nutritious foods like pulses, oils, and plant and non-vegetarian foods, further accentuated chronic malnutrition, said the article.

Similarly, public health activist Dr Sylvia Karpagam told DH that chronic under-nutrition is likely to have worsened in the state after the pandemic and the lockdown. The main causes are the loss of livelihood, displacement, shutting down of public transport, access to basic healthcare and breakdown of social security schemes like ICDS and mid-day meals.

She called for better decisions on food and nutrition based on data from NFHS, CNNS and similar studies.

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Orissa HC grants bail to child in conflict with law after three years in custody

The Court pulls up investigating agency for it ‘Lackadaisical Attitude’

16 May 2022

Orissa HC

On May 12, 2022 the Orissa High Court presided by Single-judge Bench of Justice V. Narasingh granted bail to a Child in Conflict with the Law (CCL) who had been under custody for almost three and a half years. The Court does not want the accused child to suffer because of apathy of investigating agency.

While hearing the bail application of the CCL, the Bench came down heavily on the investigating agency for its apathetic approach and said, “Proceedings of the High Court cannot be held hostage to the whims of the investigating agency and for their lackadaisical attitude, rights of an accused cannot be marginalized, needs no emphasis.” The Court even suggested for the necessary corrective action to be taken to make the Police machinery more responsive to the needs of Justice.

In this case, the Child in Conflict is an accused in a murder case which is registered with the Bijepur Police Station in Bargarh district. She had filed the Bail Application in Orissa High Court in 2021.

Brief background of the case

The CCL, an accused in a murder case registered at Bijepur police station in Bargarh district, was arrested on December 8, 2018. Since then, she has been under custody. She was charged under section 450, 307, 302, 34 and 120B of Indian Penal Code.

The accused had filed her bail application before the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Court at Bargarh, which was rejected by Additional Session Judge-Cum-Special Judge, on July 23, 2019. In challenge to the POCSO Court Order, the CCL had filed Bail Application in the High Court of Orissa on June 22, 2021.

This High Court presided by Justice Dash had passed an Order dated, June 24, 2021 in which he directed the Learned Council for the State to obtain the case diary and the report related to the conduct and behaviour of the child in conflict with law during her stay in the observation home for the period, by next date. Since then, the adjournments were sought to produce the case diary.

Court’s Observations

After the Order passed by the High Court dates June 24, 2021, numerous adjournments were sought by the Advocate for the state to produce the case diary.

The Court observed that two letters were sent from the office of the Advocate General dated June 24 and June 28, 2021 to the IIC Bijepur District Bargarh to inform about the production of the up-to-date Case Diary. The concerned authorities did not respond.

Similar letter was sent from the office of the Advocate General dated November 6, 2021 to the Superintendent of Police Bargarh and IIC Bijepur in the District Bargarh. But till date the up-to-date Case Diary was not submitted to the Court.

The Court thus observed, “As noted petitioner is in custody since 08.12.2018 and cannot be allowed to suffer because of the apathy of investigating agency.” The Court also held the investigating agencies responsible for the delay in the matter and stated, “Proceedings of the High Court cannot be held hostage to the whims of the investigating agency and for their lackadaisical attitude, rights of an accused cannot be marginalized, needs no emphasis.”

The Court on observing the repeated adjournments and the Investigating officers were seen not following the Court Orders held, “It is indeed disconcerting that the concerned District police administration have scant regard for the orders passed by this Court and have chosen to disregard repeated communication from the office of the Advocate General for submission of Case Diary for which the Case has to suffer adjournments.” The Court, considering the age of the Petitioner and the time she had spent under custody, constrained itself from granting any further adjournments to the State’s Counsel.

The Court further stated, “It is fervently hoped that necessary corrective action shall be taken so as to make the Police machinery more responsive to the needs of administration of justice.”

Court’s Judgment

On May 12, 2022 while granting bail to the child in conflict with law after perusing the materials on record, the Bench stated, “On a conspectus of the materials on record this Court directs the petitioner to be released on bail on such terms to be fixed by the learned Court in seisin over the matter.”

The Court further requested the Registry to send a copy of this order to Principal Secretary Home Government of Odisha, Director General of Police, Range DIG and the concerned Superintendent of Police for their knowledge and necessary action.

The entire Judgment may be read here: 

 

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Orissa HC grants bail to child in conflict with law after three years in custody

The Court pulls up investigating agency for it ‘Lackadaisical Attitude’

Orissa HC

On May 12, 2022 the Orissa High Court presided by Single-judge Bench of Justice V. Narasingh granted bail to a Child in Conflict with the Law (CCL) who had been under custody for almost three and a half years. The Court does not want the accused child to suffer because of apathy of investigating agency.

While hearing the bail application of the CCL, the Bench came down heavily on the investigating agency for its apathetic approach and said, “Proceedings of the High Court cannot be held hostage to the whims of the investigating agency and for their lackadaisical attitude, rights of an accused cannot be marginalized, needs no emphasis.” The Court even suggested for the necessary corrective action to be taken to make the Police machinery more responsive to the needs of Justice.

In this case, the Child in Conflict is an accused in a murder case which is registered with the Bijepur Police Station in Bargarh district. She had filed the Bail Application in Orissa High Court in 2021.

Brief background of the case

The CCL, an accused in a murder case registered at Bijepur police station in Bargarh district, was arrested on December 8, 2018. Since then, she has been under custody. She was charged under section 450, 307, 302, 34 and 120B of Indian Penal Code.

The accused had filed her bail application before the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Court at Bargarh, which was rejected by Additional Session Judge-Cum-Special Judge, on July 23, 2019. In challenge to the POCSO Court Order, the CCL had filed Bail Application in the High Court of Orissa on June 22, 2021.

This High Court presided by Justice Dash had passed an Order dated, June 24, 2021 in which he directed the Learned Council for the State to obtain the case diary and the report related to the conduct and behaviour of the child in conflict with law during her stay in the observation home for the period, by next date. Since then, the adjournments were sought to produce the case diary.

Court’s Observations

After the Order passed by the High Court dates June 24, 2021, numerous adjournments were sought by the Advocate for the state to produce the case diary.

The Court observed that two letters were sent from the office of the Advocate General dated June 24 and June 28, 2021 to the IIC Bijepur District Bargarh to inform about the production of the up-to-date Case Diary. The concerned authorities did not respond.

Similar letter was sent from the office of the Advocate General dated November 6, 2021 to the Superintendent of Police Bargarh and IIC Bijepur in the District Bargarh. But till date the up-to-date Case Diary was not submitted to the Court.

The Court thus observed, “As noted petitioner is in custody since 08.12.2018 and cannot be allowed to suffer because of the apathy of investigating agency.” The Court also held the investigating agencies responsible for the delay in the matter and stated, “Proceedings of the High Court cannot be held hostage to the whims of the investigating agency and for their lackadaisical attitude, rights of an accused cannot be marginalized, needs no emphasis.”

The Court on observing the repeated adjournments and the Investigating officers were seen not following the Court Orders held, “It is indeed disconcerting that the concerned District police administration have scant regard for the orders passed by this Court and have chosen to disregard repeated communication from the office of the Advocate General for submission of Case Diary for which the Case has to suffer adjournments.” The Court, considering the age of the Petitioner and the time she had spent under custody, constrained itself from granting any further adjournments to the State’s Counsel.

The Court further stated, “It is fervently hoped that necessary corrective action shall be taken so as to make the Police machinery more responsive to the needs of administration of justice.”

Court’s Judgment

On May 12, 2022 while granting bail to the child in conflict with law after perusing the materials on record, the Bench stated, “On a conspectus of the materials on record this Court directs the petitioner to be released on bail on such terms to be fixed by the learned Court in seisin over the matter.”

The Court further requested the Registry to send a copy of this order to Principal Secretary Home Government of Odisha, Director General of Police, Range DIG and the concerned Superintendent of Police for their knowledge and necessary action.

The entire Judgment may be read here: 

 

Related:

Delhi Violence: Delhi HC issues notice in Gulfisha Fatima's bail plea

Jahangirpuri violence: Delhi Court refuses bail to eight accused

Cruel, diabolic, barbaric, gruesome and inhuman: Allahabad High Court on Lakhimpur Kheri massacre

Delhi HC adjourns hearings in bail pleas of Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam

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Child sexual exploitations cases drop, as do convictions

While the data shows a decline in sexual abuse cases, it misses out on other crimes against children

02 Apr 2022

Child sexual exploitations Representation Image

The Modi Government on April 1, 2022 reported a sudden fall in the number of child sexual exploitation cases from 2019 to 2020 while answering questions on the same during Parliamentary proceedings.

Referring to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, Union Minister Smriti Irani said child sexual exploitation cases went down from 1.48 lakh (1,48,000) registered cases in 2019 to 1.28 lakh (1, 28,000) registered cases in 2020. However, following the same trend, persons convicted for these crimes also declined from 15,902 persons in 2019 to 11,145 persons in 2020. The highest number of convictions in the latest year were in Uttar Pradesh with 15,271 registered cases whereas the highest cases were registered in Madhya Pradesh (17,008 cases) that reported 1,400 convicted persons. Ladakh was the only region to report no conviction in 2020 despite two registered cases in the same year.

Significantly, while the questioning BJP MP Ramcharan Bohra asked about incidents of abuse, violence, sexual exploitation against children, the Ministry only talked about the latter. The response is conspicuous by its silence on child marriage cases that shot up from 523 cases in 2019 to 785 cases in 2020. Further, the data does not talk about the 2,222 cases of child trafficking and 54,785 cases of kidnapping that were reported in 2020.

Similarly, Irani failed to answer TMC MP Sougata Ray’s question about fewer convictions of persons accused of atrocities against women despite a large number of registered cases.

““Police” and “Public Order” is a state subject in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and the responsibility to maintain law and order, protection of life and property of citizens including investigation and prosecution of crimes against women rests primarily with the respective state Governments,” said Irani.

NCRB recorded crimes against women at a significant 3.78 lakh (3,78,000) in 2018, 4.05 (4,05,00) lakh in 2019 and 3.71 (3,71,000) lakh in 2020. However, NCRB, again conspicuously did not provide data on convictions in these cases during the same period.

Related:

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Child sexual exploitations cases drop, as do convictions

While the data shows a decline in sexual abuse cases, it misses out on other crimes against children

Child sexual exploitations Representation Image

The Modi Government on April 1, 2022 reported a sudden fall in the number of child sexual exploitation cases from 2019 to 2020 while answering questions on the same during Parliamentary proceedings.

Referring to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, Union Minister Smriti Irani said child sexual exploitation cases went down from 1.48 lakh (1,48,000) registered cases in 2019 to 1.28 lakh (1, 28,000) registered cases in 2020. However, following the same trend, persons convicted for these crimes also declined from 15,902 persons in 2019 to 11,145 persons in 2020. The highest number of convictions in the latest year were in Uttar Pradesh with 15,271 registered cases whereas the highest cases were registered in Madhya Pradesh (17,008 cases) that reported 1,400 convicted persons. Ladakh was the only region to report no conviction in 2020 despite two registered cases in the same year.

Significantly, while the questioning BJP MP Ramcharan Bohra asked about incidents of abuse, violence, sexual exploitation against children, the Ministry only talked about the latter. The response is conspicuous by its silence on child marriage cases that shot up from 523 cases in 2019 to 785 cases in 2020. Further, the data does not talk about the 2,222 cases of child trafficking and 54,785 cases of kidnapping that were reported in 2020.

Similarly, Irani failed to answer TMC MP Sougata Ray’s question about fewer convictions of persons accused of atrocities against women despite a large number of registered cases.

““Police” and “Public Order” is a state subject in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and the responsibility to maintain law and order, protection of life and property of citizens including investigation and prosecution of crimes against women rests primarily with the respective state Governments,” said Irani.

NCRB recorded crimes against women at a significant 3.78 lakh (3,78,000) in 2018, 4.05 (4,05,00) lakh in 2019 and 3.71 (3,71,000) lakh in 2020. However, NCRB, again conspicuously did not provide data on convictions in these cases during the same period.

Related:

Still no move on marital rape by the Centre

4,328 children to get benefits under PM CARES

Sharp spike in cases of child marriage and child trafficking in 2020!

In 6 years, Centre sanctioned scholarships worth ₹ 15,785.36 cr

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