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No laxity until the medicine is available: PM on maintaining Covid-19 protocol

Ahead of the festive Prime Minister Narendra Modi warns of a second wave if people get careless. No mention of crimes against women, sinking economy, rising unemployment.

20 Oct 2020

Image Courtesy:rediff.com

As the festive season begins in many parts of India, and as political rallies, and campaigns gather steam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broadcast another address to the nation on Tuesday evening. As thousands watched, the PM subtly warned against a second wave of Covid-19 if people were careless in following the preventive protocol of wearing masks, maintaining distance, and  washing hands. He said, “In many countries we have seen that after a fall in cases, there was a resurgence. We should be careful, and not be callous till the vaccine /medicine was available.”

He added that the lockdown was over but Coronavirus was not, and said that the “Centre is preparing to make vaccine available to everyone”. His protocol reminder comes ahead of Dussehra, Durga Puja, and Diwali, which see massive crowds throng markets, and puja pandals. 

PM Modi said India had done well in managing the pandemic so far and had lesser fatalities as compared to more developed nations, “We have come a long way in our fight against Covid-19,” he said India had a good recovery rate as well and the Covid-19 situation was “stable” and that should be maintained. He added that even though the festive season is here and “markets are bright again” the threat of Covid-19 was still there. He said he had seen images of how “Many people have stopped taking precautions now.” and that it was not right. “If you are careless, walking out without a mask, then you are putting yourself, your family, your family’s children, the elderly in as much trouble,” he added.

This national address on Covid-19 was the seventh by the PM since the lockdown, the last one was on June 30 when he had announced that under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), free ration to the poor will be given till the end of November.

Meanwhile, ahead of the PM’s address which has polar reactions on people, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took to social media asking the PM to tell the nation the date by when he will “throw the Chinese out of Indian territory”. "Dear PM,In your 6pm address, please tell the nation the date by which you will throw the Chinese out of Indian territory. Thank you," Gandhi said.

 

Rahul Gandhi’s dig at the PM not addressing the nation on the China border citation came close to the Congress demands that the PM also speak on the National Plan for tackling Covid-19, money transfer to the poor, and the fragile economy.

 

However the wishlist, as expected, was ignored by the PM who is yet to address the nation on women’s safety, Dalit rights, especially in the wake of the Hathras rape and murder case. None of that featured in his seventh address to the nation, since he suddenly announced the national lockdown on March 24. “It was not an address to nation but a Pravachan in Modi style, as usual. He didn't open his mouth on caste atrocity, caste based sexual assault and economic crisis. Why?”

 

On Tuesday, India’s Covid-19 case count was reported to be 75,97,063, with 46,790 new infections in the past 24 hours, reported The Scroll. On Tuesday morning the Prime Minister had said that India “has one of the highest recovery rates--88 per cent--because it was one of the first countries to adopt a flexible lockdown,” NDTV reported. He had said, "India's size, scale and diversity have always made the global community curious. Our population is almost four times that of the USA. Many of our states are as populated as other nations in Europe and Asia. Thanks to people power and people-driven approach, India kept its COVID-19 death rate very low."

According to the PM, "Today we are seeing a decline in the number of cases per day and in the growth rate of cases. India has one of the highest recovery rates--88 per cent. This happened because India was one of the first countries to adopt a flexible lockdown when the total cases were just a few hundred."

Related: 

Covid-19: NHRC issues advisories to states and UTs
NHRC issues advisories to assess Covid-19 pandemic impact
India Unsafe: The escalating heinous crimes against women

No laxity until the medicine is available: PM on maintaining Covid-19 protocol

Ahead of the festive Prime Minister Narendra Modi warns of a second wave if people get careless. No mention of crimes against women, sinking economy, rising unemployment.

Image Courtesy:rediff.com

As the festive season begins in many parts of India, and as political rallies, and campaigns gather steam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broadcast another address to the nation on Tuesday evening. As thousands watched, the PM subtly warned against a second wave of Covid-19 if people were careless in following the preventive protocol of wearing masks, maintaining distance, and  washing hands. He said, “In many countries we have seen that after a fall in cases, there was a resurgence. We should be careful, and not be callous till the vaccine /medicine was available.”

He added that the lockdown was over but Coronavirus was not, and said that the “Centre is preparing to make vaccine available to everyone”. His protocol reminder comes ahead of Dussehra, Durga Puja, and Diwali, which see massive crowds throng markets, and puja pandals. 

PM Modi said India had done well in managing the pandemic so far and had lesser fatalities as compared to more developed nations, “We have come a long way in our fight against Covid-19,” he said India had a good recovery rate as well and the Covid-19 situation was “stable” and that should be maintained. He added that even though the festive season is here and “markets are bright again” the threat of Covid-19 was still there. He said he had seen images of how “Many people have stopped taking precautions now.” and that it was not right. “If you are careless, walking out without a mask, then you are putting yourself, your family, your family’s children, the elderly in as much trouble,” he added.

This national address on Covid-19 was the seventh by the PM since the lockdown, the last one was on June 30 when he had announced that under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), free ration to the poor will be given till the end of November.

Meanwhile, ahead of the PM’s address which has polar reactions on people, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took to social media asking the PM to tell the nation the date by when he will “throw the Chinese out of Indian territory”. "Dear PM,In your 6pm address, please tell the nation the date by which you will throw the Chinese out of Indian territory. Thank you," Gandhi said.

 

Rahul Gandhi’s dig at the PM not addressing the nation on the China border citation came close to the Congress demands that the PM also speak on the National Plan for tackling Covid-19, money transfer to the poor, and the fragile economy.

 

However the wishlist, as expected, was ignored by the PM who is yet to address the nation on women’s safety, Dalit rights, especially in the wake of the Hathras rape and murder case. None of that featured in his seventh address to the nation, since he suddenly announced the national lockdown on March 24. “It was not an address to nation but a Pravachan in Modi style, as usual. He didn't open his mouth on caste atrocity, caste based sexual assault and economic crisis. Why?”

 

On Tuesday, India’s Covid-19 case count was reported to be 75,97,063, with 46,790 new infections in the past 24 hours, reported The Scroll. On Tuesday morning the Prime Minister had said that India “has one of the highest recovery rates--88 per cent--because it was one of the first countries to adopt a flexible lockdown,” NDTV reported. He had said, "India's size, scale and diversity have always made the global community curious. Our population is almost four times that of the USA. Many of our states are as populated as other nations in Europe and Asia. Thanks to people power and people-driven approach, India kept its COVID-19 death rate very low."

According to the PM, "Today we are seeing a decline in the number of cases per day and in the growth rate of cases. India has one of the highest recovery rates--88 per cent. This happened because India was one of the first countries to adopt a flexible lockdown when the total cases were just a few hundred."

Related: 

Covid-19: NHRC issues advisories to states and UTs
NHRC issues advisories to assess Covid-19 pandemic impact
India Unsafe: The escalating heinous crimes against women

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Mumbai court acquits 20 Tablighi Jamaat members

Court finds no evidence against two sets of ten persons belonging to Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan

20 Oct 2020

Jamaat

On Monday, a Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate’s court acquitted 20 people who had come to attend the Tablighi Jamaat Ijtema that was held in Delhi in February 2020. The people hailed from Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan and had come to Mumbai after the event got over. The court ruled in favour of the accused foreign nationals as the Prosecution failed to provide any evidence of wrongdoing against them.

The accused were being tried for offences under Section 37(3) of Bombay Police Act (Prohibiting assembly for preservation of public order) punishable under section 135 of Bombay Police Act.

They had been accused of spreading infection and charged under various sections of the Epidemic Act, Disaster Management Act, Bombay Police Act and the Indian Penal Code. It is interesting that the charges against both sets of foreigners were almost identical.

On March 29, 2020, an informant who visited Noor Masjid Jamaat Khana in Gaondevi Dongar, Andheri at about 10 A.M, found 10 Indonesians there who he claimed had arrived from the Delhi Markaz on February 22. Shockingly, the same informant then claimed that on the same day, at the same time, he came across 10 Kyrgyz nationals at the Tayyaba Masjid near the Andheri Subway, who had also come to Mumbai after attending the Delhi Markaz on February 22!

DN Nagar police station then registered offences against both sets of foreigners. Initially charges against the foreign nationals were as follows:

· Section 37 (3), Bombay Police Act (Prohibiting assembly for preservation of public order)

· Section 3, Epidemic Act (Disobeying regulation or order) punishable under Section 188, IPC (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant)

· Section 269, IPC (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease danger­ous to life)

· Section 270, IPC (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life)

· Section 14, Foreigners Act (Overstaying Visa)

· Section 51, Disaster Management Act (Obstruct a government official or employee)
 

However, on June 17, 2020, two more charges were added against the accused:

· Section 307, IPC (attempt to murder)

· Section 304(2), IPC (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder)
 

The Sessions Court had granted the accused bail on a personal bond of Rs 25,000/- each and via an order dated September 21, 2020 dismissed charges under Sections 307 and 304 (2) and sent the case back to the magistrate’s court for trial.

But when the prosecution failed to prove that the accused had violated any lockdown protocol and when even the prosecution witnesses themselves admitted that they had not seen the accused contravening directions or orders issued by various authorities, the case against the foreign nationals fell flat.

The order passed by Metropolitan Magistrate RR Khan observes, “The evidence of PW1 PSI Mr. Durgesh Harishchandra Salunkhe at Exh. 16 and P. W. No.2 PI Rajendra Vishwanath Rane at Exh.18 came to be recorded through video conferencing. I have recorded the statement of accused persons under section 313 of Cr. P. C. at Exh.22. They have denied the evidence put forth by the prosecution.”

With respect to witness testimonies and what transpired during cross-examination, the court noted, “In cross-examination by accused, PW1 PSI Durgesh has admitted that the female accused were not in mosque, but, their arrangement was made at separate room. He has admitted that he has not noticed accused persons violating the lock-down or curfew.” The court further noted about the cross-examination of the second witness PI Rajendra Vishwanath Rane, “In cross-examination by accused he has admitted that he has not prepared Spot Panchanama and not recorded statement of Trustee of Masjid and adjacent residents. He has deposed that nobody have informed him that accused committed contravention of lockdown. He has admitted that nobody is harm or died due to accused persons.”

The court concluded, “From the combined perusal of evidences of Police officials of prosecution, it is apparent that both of them have deposed that accused have not committed violation of lock-down or curfew. Additionally, they have deposed that they neither entered into mosque and nor noticed accused contravening the lock-down norms. Ultimately, the prosecution witnesses themselves have clarified the position of accused persons.”

The court further said, “The brief survey of prosecution evidence transpires that none of examined witnesses have an occasion to see the accused persons together in the form of assembly. Per contra the prosecution witnesses admitted that they have not seen accused persons contravening any directions or order issued by authority. The said witnesses were also not found in position to tell where and how the accused person were residing at the time of alleged offence.”

“Thus there is no iota of evidence with prosecution to show any contravention of order by accused persons beyond all shadow of doubt,” concluded the court.

The entire order may be read here:

 

Related:

Tablighi Jamaat case: Bandra Court discharges 12 foreign nationals 

Tablighi Jamaat case: SC slams Centre for ‘extremely offensive and brazen’ response

Bombay HC quashes Tablighi Jamaat FIR;  says trial would be abuse of process of law

Mumbai court acquits 20 Tablighi Jamaat members

Court finds no evidence against two sets of ten persons belonging to Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan

Jamaat

On Monday, a Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate’s court acquitted 20 people who had come to attend the Tablighi Jamaat Ijtema that was held in Delhi in February 2020. The people hailed from Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan and had come to Mumbai after the event got over. The court ruled in favour of the accused foreign nationals as the Prosecution failed to provide any evidence of wrongdoing against them.

The accused were being tried for offences under Section 37(3) of Bombay Police Act (Prohibiting assembly for preservation of public order) punishable under section 135 of Bombay Police Act.

They had been accused of spreading infection and charged under various sections of the Epidemic Act, Disaster Management Act, Bombay Police Act and the Indian Penal Code. It is interesting that the charges against both sets of foreigners were almost identical.

On March 29, 2020, an informant who visited Noor Masjid Jamaat Khana in Gaondevi Dongar, Andheri at about 10 A.M, found 10 Indonesians there who he claimed had arrived from the Delhi Markaz on February 22. Shockingly, the same informant then claimed that on the same day, at the same time, he came across 10 Kyrgyz nationals at the Tayyaba Masjid near the Andheri Subway, who had also come to Mumbai after attending the Delhi Markaz on February 22!

DN Nagar police station then registered offences against both sets of foreigners. Initially charges against the foreign nationals were as follows:

· Section 37 (3), Bombay Police Act (Prohibiting assembly for preservation of public order)

· Section 3, Epidemic Act (Disobeying regulation or order) punishable under Section 188, IPC (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant)

· Section 269, IPC (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease danger­ous to life)

· Section 270, IPC (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life)

· Section 14, Foreigners Act (Overstaying Visa)

· Section 51, Disaster Management Act (Obstruct a government official or employee)
 

However, on June 17, 2020, two more charges were added against the accused:

· Section 307, IPC (attempt to murder)

· Section 304(2), IPC (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder)
 

The Sessions Court had granted the accused bail on a personal bond of Rs 25,000/- each and via an order dated September 21, 2020 dismissed charges under Sections 307 and 304 (2) and sent the case back to the magistrate’s court for trial.

But when the prosecution failed to prove that the accused had violated any lockdown protocol and when even the prosecution witnesses themselves admitted that they had not seen the accused contravening directions or orders issued by various authorities, the case against the foreign nationals fell flat.

The order passed by Metropolitan Magistrate RR Khan observes, “The evidence of PW1 PSI Mr. Durgesh Harishchandra Salunkhe at Exh. 16 and P. W. No.2 PI Rajendra Vishwanath Rane at Exh.18 came to be recorded through video conferencing. I have recorded the statement of accused persons under section 313 of Cr. P. C. at Exh.22. They have denied the evidence put forth by the prosecution.”

With respect to witness testimonies and what transpired during cross-examination, the court noted, “In cross-examination by accused, PW1 PSI Durgesh has admitted that the female accused were not in mosque, but, their arrangement was made at separate room. He has admitted that he has not noticed accused persons violating the lock-down or curfew.” The court further noted about the cross-examination of the second witness PI Rajendra Vishwanath Rane, “In cross-examination by accused he has admitted that he has not prepared Spot Panchanama and not recorded statement of Trustee of Masjid and adjacent residents. He has deposed that nobody have informed him that accused committed contravention of lockdown. He has admitted that nobody is harm or died due to accused persons.”

The court concluded, “From the combined perusal of evidences of Police officials of prosecution, it is apparent that both of them have deposed that accused have not committed violation of lock-down or curfew. Additionally, they have deposed that they neither entered into mosque and nor noticed accused contravening the lock-down norms. Ultimately, the prosecution witnesses themselves have clarified the position of accused persons.”

The court further said, “The brief survey of prosecution evidence transpires that none of examined witnesses have an occasion to see the accused persons together in the form of assembly. Per contra the prosecution witnesses admitted that they have not seen accused persons contravening any directions or order issued by authority. The said witnesses were also not found in position to tell where and how the accused person were residing at the time of alleged offence.”

“Thus there is no iota of evidence with prosecution to show any contravention of order by accused persons beyond all shadow of doubt,” concluded the court.

The entire order may be read here:

 

Related:

Tablighi Jamaat case: Bandra Court discharges 12 foreign nationals 

Tablighi Jamaat case: SC slams Centre for ‘extremely offensive and brazen’ response

Bombay HC quashes Tablighi Jamaat FIR;  says trial would be abuse of process of law

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Varavara Rao’s health deteriorates, wife moves SC for release on medical grounds

His health is very feeble, says Pendaya Hemlatha, wife of the 81-year-old literary critic who was arrested in 2018 in connection with the Elgar Parishad case and is lodged at the Taloja jail since

15 Oct 2020

Image Courtesy:gulfnews.com

Concerned over his sinking health, Telugu revolutionary poet Varavara Rao’s wife, Pendaya Hemlatha, has moved the Supreme Court seeking the release of her husband on medical grounds. The 81-year-old renowned literary critic was arrested in the Elgar Parishad case in 2018, and is still lodged at the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai. 

On Thursday, his wife in her writ petition seeking his release has stated that his continued custody amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment, violating Article 21 of the Constitution of India and is violative of his dignity in custody, reported the legal new portal LiveLaw. Filed on behalf of Senior Advocate Sunil Fernandes, the writ petition preferred under Article 32 of the Constitution states that “Rao's immediate release is pertinent from Taloja Central Jail, Maharashtra as his health condition is very feeble and that he suffers from various comorbidities,” stated the news report.

SabrangIndia had reported in detail when his condition was critical and he had to be hospitalised in July this year. He had also tested positive for Covid-19, and the National Human Rights Commission had even issued notices to Maharashtra Chief Secretary and Director General (Prisons) seeking his health reports.

According to his wife he still may be suffering from the after effects of Covid-19, as he is of frail  health and has various comorbidities.  "....there is no positive treatment for Covid-19 and the infection continues to spread viciously and neither there is any vaccine nor is there any medicine to arrest the said disease," stated the petition, as quoted by LiveLaw. According to the plea, a letter dated September 9 that the family received from co-accused Vernon Gonsalves also stated that Rao’s health was far from normal.

Gonsalves wrote that Rao now lacks bowel and urine control, and has a catheter urine bag attached, he also has to use diapers and is being given swab baths by the co-accused “as he is basically bed-ridden”. The said letter added that when Rao was sent to judicial custody in November 2018, he weighed around 68 kgs and now  weighs 50 kgs only. 

“Thus, there is no purpose in detaining him in prison any further," the plea states. According to LiveLaw, the petition added that Varavarao Rao is now 81 years old and the question that would arise is whether the jail would have necessary facilities to take care of him. "The treatment meted out to Dr. Varavara impairs the Right to Health recognized under Article 12 of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which is read with Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The rights enshrined under ICCPR and ICESCR have to be read with Article 21 and other rights under Chapter III of the Constitution of India", stated the plea.

LiveLaw reports that under the mandate prescribed under Section 21(2) of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, the appeal should be disposed of within three months from the date of its admission. The appeal added that since the “chance of commencement of trial in the immediate future is bleak and charges are yet to be framed and there is no bar to grant bail on health grounds under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or the National Investigation Act, his release can basis temporary bail can be granted.”

"The Respondents are solely responsible for the deterioration of the Petitioner's husband's health by denying timely and proper medical treatment to ensure that there is no deterioration in his condition. The discharge of the Petitioner's husband from J.J. Hospital on 01.06.2020  is itself was wrongful denying him rightful treatment which the Respondents are bound in law to provide," the report quoted the petitioners. Rao’s wife has also sought that he be allowed to travel to Hyderabad to be with his family and loved ones.

Dr Rao, has been accused under Sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 18-B, 20, 38, 39, 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and sections: 121, 121-A, 124- A, 153-A, 505 (1) (b), 117, 120-B r/w 34 of the Indian Penal Code. 

Related:

Sudha Bharadwaj’s heart condition result of incarceration, family & friends urge early 
NHRC demands report on Varavara Rao's health, jail condition
Save his life: Poets and writers appeal to President of India to help Varavara Rao
Varavara Rao tests Covid-19 positive!
Varavara Rao is in hospital today, but the risk to his life is not over: Family
Don’t Kill Varavara Rao in Jail!

Varavara Rao’s health deteriorates, wife moves SC for release on medical grounds

His health is very feeble, says Pendaya Hemlatha, wife of the 81-year-old literary critic who was arrested in 2018 in connection with the Elgar Parishad case and is lodged at the Taloja jail since

Image Courtesy:gulfnews.com

Concerned over his sinking health, Telugu revolutionary poet Varavara Rao’s wife, Pendaya Hemlatha, has moved the Supreme Court seeking the release of her husband on medical grounds. The 81-year-old renowned literary critic was arrested in the Elgar Parishad case in 2018, and is still lodged at the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai. 

On Thursday, his wife in her writ petition seeking his release has stated that his continued custody amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment, violating Article 21 of the Constitution of India and is violative of his dignity in custody, reported the legal new portal LiveLaw. Filed on behalf of Senior Advocate Sunil Fernandes, the writ petition preferred under Article 32 of the Constitution states that “Rao's immediate release is pertinent from Taloja Central Jail, Maharashtra as his health condition is very feeble and that he suffers from various comorbidities,” stated the news report.

SabrangIndia had reported in detail when his condition was critical and he had to be hospitalised in July this year. He had also tested positive for Covid-19, and the National Human Rights Commission had even issued notices to Maharashtra Chief Secretary and Director General (Prisons) seeking his health reports.

According to his wife he still may be suffering from the after effects of Covid-19, as he is of frail  health and has various comorbidities.  "....there is no positive treatment for Covid-19 and the infection continues to spread viciously and neither there is any vaccine nor is there any medicine to arrest the said disease," stated the petition, as quoted by LiveLaw. According to the plea, a letter dated September 9 that the family received from co-accused Vernon Gonsalves also stated that Rao’s health was far from normal.

Gonsalves wrote that Rao now lacks bowel and urine control, and has a catheter urine bag attached, he also has to use diapers and is being given swab baths by the co-accused “as he is basically bed-ridden”. The said letter added that when Rao was sent to judicial custody in November 2018, he weighed around 68 kgs and now  weighs 50 kgs only. 

“Thus, there is no purpose in detaining him in prison any further," the plea states. According to LiveLaw, the petition added that Varavarao Rao is now 81 years old and the question that would arise is whether the jail would have necessary facilities to take care of him. "The treatment meted out to Dr. Varavara impairs the Right to Health recognized under Article 12 of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which is read with Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The rights enshrined under ICCPR and ICESCR have to be read with Article 21 and other rights under Chapter III of the Constitution of India", stated the plea.

LiveLaw reports that under the mandate prescribed under Section 21(2) of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, the appeal should be disposed of within three months from the date of its admission. The appeal added that since the “chance of commencement of trial in the immediate future is bleak and charges are yet to be framed and there is no bar to grant bail on health grounds under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or the National Investigation Act, his release can basis temporary bail can be granted.”

"The Respondents are solely responsible for the deterioration of the Petitioner's husband's health by denying timely and proper medical treatment to ensure that there is no deterioration in his condition. The discharge of the Petitioner's husband from J.J. Hospital on 01.06.2020  is itself was wrongful denying him rightful treatment which the Respondents are bound in law to provide," the report quoted the petitioners. Rao’s wife has also sought that he be allowed to travel to Hyderabad to be with his family and loved ones.

Dr Rao, has been accused under Sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 18-B, 20, 38, 39, 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and sections: 121, 121-A, 124- A, 153-A, 505 (1) (b), 117, 120-B r/w 34 of the Indian Penal Code. 

Related:

Sudha Bharadwaj’s heart condition result of incarceration, family & friends urge early 
NHRC demands report on Varavara Rao's health, jail condition
Save his life: Poets and writers appeal to President of India to help Varavara Rao
Varavara Rao tests Covid-19 positive!
Varavara Rao is in hospital today, but the risk to his life is not over: Family
Don’t Kill Varavara Rao in Jail!

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Naroda Patiya accused Bipin Panchal dies of Covid-19

Was scheduled for a bail hearing today

14 Oct 2020

Image Courtesy:facenfacts.com

Bipin Panchal, one of the people convicted in the Naroda Patiya case, died on Tuesday reportedly due to complications arising from Covid-19. Panchal was accused number 44 in the case and had been sentenced to 31 years in jail by Special Judge Jyotsna Yagnik in 2012.

A former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councilor and member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Panchal had been convicted on August 29, 2012 along with 32 others including Maya Kodnanai, Babu Bajrangi and Kishan Korani by the special court. This was one of the nine cases being investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) under supervision of the Supreme Court. He was identified in court by a woman witness who used to work as a security guard in Chiloda.

On February 28 when she (the witness) was going to work, her son urged her not to go as the VHP had given a bandh call. But she came out of the house only to know that an armed mob had assembled near Natraj Hotel and was shouting slogans against the minority community. The same witness had also identified Kodnani. Though Kodnani was later acquitted by the High Court, Panchal was not. He had applied for bail and his hearing was scheduled for today.

In 2009, Panchal had also moved High Court to be granted compensation for damage to his auto shop during the riots. He had claimed to have suffered losses of at least Rs 7 lakhs, and in 2010, the court aged to treat him as a victim. At that time Panchal was still an accused and the trial was on in the Special Court. Then Chief Justice S Mukhopadhyay granted Panchal compensation worth Rs 50,000/-.

The order may be read here:

Related:

CJP fights for justice in the Naroda Patiya Massacre
Impunity Punctured: Naroda Patiya Verdict

Naroda Patiya accused Bipin Panchal dies of Covid-19

Was scheduled for a bail hearing today

Image Courtesy:facenfacts.com

Bipin Panchal, one of the people convicted in the Naroda Patiya case, died on Tuesday reportedly due to complications arising from Covid-19. Panchal was accused number 44 in the case and had been sentenced to 31 years in jail by Special Judge Jyotsna Yagnik in 2012.

A former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councilor and member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Panchal had been convicted on August 29, 2012 along with 32 others including Maya Kodnanai, Babu Bajrangi and Kishan Korani by the special court. This was one of the nine cases being investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) under supervision of the Supreme Court. He was identified in court by a woman witness who used to work as a security guard in Chiloda.

On February 28 when she (the witness) was going to work, her son urged her not to go as the VHP had given a bandh call. But she came out of the house only to know that an armed mob had assembled near Natraj Hotel and was shouting slogans against the minority community. The same witness had also identified Kodnani. Though Kodnani was later acquitted by the High Court, Panchal was not. He had applied for bail and his hearing was scheduled for today.

In 2009, Panchal had also moved High Court to be granted compensation for damage to his auto shop during the riots. He had claimed to have suffered losses of at least Rs 7 lakhs, and in 2010, the court aged to treat him as a victim. At that time Panchal was still an accused and the trial was on in the Special Court. Then Chief Justice S Mukhopadhyay granted Panchal compensation worth Rs 50,000/-.

The order may be read here:

Related:

CJP fights for justice in the Naroda Patiya Massacre
Impunity Punctured: Naroda Patiya Verdict

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Covid-19: NHRC issues advisories to states and UTs

Advisories deal with how to assist women, children, prisoners, police personnel, differently abled people and patients with mental illnesses to cope better with the pandemic.

14 Oct 2020

NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is a statutory body under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 that aims to protect and promote the cause of Human Rights in India. It looks into violations of human rights by any State actors, recommend measures for the effective implementation of Human rights, to encourage organisations within the infrastructure in furtherance of human rights agendas, etc. Criticised for not effective action on human rights abuses across the country, it has in the past six months, issued a string of advisories on issues related to food and nutrition, mental health, women and children, childcare workers (ASHA) workers in the unorganised sector etc. Most or all of these have been issued at the tail end of the Pandemic led lockdown (end September 2020 onwards)!

In these unexpected times, the NHRC has appreciated the significance of mental health, right to health, right to food, rights of women, children and informal sector workers, prison conditions and disabilities as important facets of basic human existence with dignity. It has issued advisories on the same themes to engage people in such discussions and promote awareness.

I. Human Rights advisory on Right to Mental Health in context of the Covid 19 pandemic

Latest data released by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) has revealed that more than 1.39 lakh Indians died by suicide in the year 2019, 67 per cent of which were young adults. The NCRB report titled 'Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2019', released shows that of the total 1.39 lakh 2019 suicides, 93,061 were young adults. Compared to 2018 numbers (89,407), youth suicides in India have risen by 4 per cent. The overall suicide figures rose by 3.4 per cent in the same time.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2019-report, India has the highest suicide rate in the South-East Asian region with one person still dying every 40 seconds from suicide with 16.5 suicides per 1,00,000 people, as reported by The Indian Express.

Taking into consideration, the detrimental impact of the lockdown on people’s mental health due to job losses, being trapped in abusive households, uncertainty in exam schedules, crashing job markets, financial crunch, the NHRC issued an advisory to the Ministry of Health and Family welfare on mental health by constituting a committee of experts, civil society organization representatives and elected representatives of relevant department s.

It has highlighted the importance of:

  1. Right to Information (24*7 helpline, information to mental illness patients, caregivers informing family of Covid admitted patients)

  2. Right to access mental health care (enough community health centres, affordable, telephonic services, no discrimination on any grounds, etc)

  3. Covid treatment facilities (proper advice on precautions, recreational activities for patients, proper standard of care prior to testing and hospital admission)

  4. Right to protection from inhuman, cruel treatment (adequate sanitary living conditions)

  5. Right to Confidentiality (respecting the dignity of every Covid patient, sharing the status and test results with family, protect patient from harm or violence)

  6. Promotion of mental health and preventive programmes

  7. Police personnel (training and sensitizing police officials towards mental illness patients with or without Covid)

  8. Post Covid management (counselling with respect to anxiety, fear, apprehensions in precautions, follow up procedures, etc)

The entire advisory may be read here.

II. Human Rights Advisory on Rights to Women in the context of Covid 19.

The NHRC advisory on rights of women, in the context of Covid-19, was issued on October 7, 2020 to the Ministry of Women and Child development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, all States and Union Territories and was based on an impact assessment done by experts.

The NHRC advisory has suggested that sex workers should be recognised as informal workers and temporary documents should be issued to enable them to access welfare measures such as rations under the public distribution system. Ensuring access and maternal health facilities to women and girls from marginalised communities, migrants, nutritional support, continuous supply chain of medicines and equipment’s to manage safe delivery, free contraceptives has been emphasised on.

Steps to ensure access to healthcare facilities and sanitary living conditions, educating them about the pandemic, testing, concept of quarantining for women belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes, women in prison have been crafted by the NHRC. Other recommendations in the advisory include setting up a task force on gender-based violence to coordinate and monitor support and prevention services, providing free contraception and giving moratoriums for all loans taken by women workers.

On the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), anganwadi and sanitation workers, the advisory said the remuneration must comply with the minimum wage standards and overtime work should be compensated.

The entire advisory may be read here.

III. Human Rights Advisory on informal workers during Covid19.

On the rights of informal workers, the NHRC recommended the State Governments to set up Worker Facilitation centres at district and city level for registering all of them, providing information regarding all welfare schemes, job opportunities and skill mapping. It also said every migrant worker returning to their homes should be provided MGNREGA job cards. The Officer at the block level shall ensure safety at the worksite by providing face masks, hand gloves, sanitiser, hand wash facility, helmets (where needed) etc.

Domestic workers are required to be provided relief and be linked to Public Distribution System (PDS) and other schemes by registering them through police verification forms, Resident Welfare Association (RWA) records, and domestic workers' collectives was also suggested by NHRC on their advisory issued on October 5, 2020 to the Ministry of Labour and Employment. A national database (portal) may be set up for all informal sector workers, including intra-state, inter-state and inter-country migrant workers to facilitate information for policy-making was also suggested.

NHRC also laid down that all complaints and cases which have been registered against migrant workers under the Disaster Management Act, for violating lockdown guidelines, may be dropped by the State Governments. In case of any arrests, the workers must be released immediately and in case of any fines, the Government may set up a helpline for restitution.

The entire advisory may be read here.

IV. Human Rights Advisory for Protection of rights of Children in the context of Covid 19.

Commission hereby issues an 'Advisory on Protection of the Rights of Children in the context of Covid-19' on September 29, 2020 to the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Labour and Employment.

NHRC has suggested to:

  1. Explore safe and staggered re-opening of schools in view of the COVID-19 protocols. Till the schools are reopened, children may be taught in small groups; the use of various mass-media to teach children may be explored.

  2. Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed when schools reopen including for schools used as quarantine facility.

  3. Develop state guidelines and regulations that need to be followed by schools delivering online classes. Issue guidelines to regulate digital platforms including education-technology platforms offering online classes; make parents aware of available reporting/grievance redress mechanism to report instances of child abuse, bullying and issues of privacy.

  4. Identify and reach the most marginalised and underprivileged and provide them access to education by employing a combination measures including exploring feasibility of daily distribution of printed material

  5. Ensure health and nutrition requirements of adolescent girls through regular supply of iron supplements, Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) services, menstrual hygiene products, and supplementary nutrition through Integrated Child Development Services.

  6. Reports of sexual violence against children in the quarantine centres are a matter of concern. Necessary child protection protocols need to be put in place at the earliest and its compliant needs to be monitored.

  7. Keeping in mind the vulnerability of and risk faced by street connected children, arrange protective gears and ensure access to health care facilities including testing and quarantine facilities as per the norms and protocols being prescribed.

The entire advisory may be read here.

V. Human Rights Advisory on Business and Human rights in the context of Covid 19.

The Commission issued this advisory on October 5, 2020 to the Ministry of Corporate affairs, MSMEs Ministry and Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises. The NHRC recommended that all companies that have been badly affected due to Covid should be allowed to adjust expenditure on salaries against their corporate social responsibility obligations for 2 years starting 2021-2022.

Businesses should also closely examine their supply chains to ensure labour trafficking is not occurring as part of the creation and distribution of products. Business continuity management as suggested that covers infrastructure, cyber, employee, business, operational and communication risks, with the aim of managing an organisation that has to face new challenges and risks and wants to ensure continuity of operations and production.

In addition to this, employers should ensure that all employees are provided with health insurance either directly or through Government, but companies should have record. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining should be respected, also as a basis for a joint employer - workers response to the crisis. It has also been advised that the employers do not terminate any employee on the ground of him/her being a COVID-19 patient or suspected patient and that the employer may, in principle, allow an employee to work from home.

The entire advisory may be read here.

VI. Human Rights Advisory on the Rights of Prisoners and Police Personnel during Covid19.

This was issued on October 5, 2020 to the Ministry of Home Affairs. On NHRCs advise, the prisoners should be provided with food to increase immunity, healthcare and testing. With respect to the Police the suggestion provided statistics. Over 1.24 lakh police officials have contracted Covid as on September 28, 2020. So, masks, gloves should be provided and lengthy conversations with motorists should be avoided by the Police. It also included advice on mental health issues that could come up recommending a well-being programme with deep breathing, yoga and nutrition.

Ensuring the availability of thermal scanners and non-contact thermometers for prompt and early detection of the contagion, especially at entry and exit locations and times was suggested to curb the spread. In particular to periodically check the health of vulnerable inmates, who are old or suffering from co-morbidities from the general population. These inmates must be identified with their individual health histories recorded and assisted to be away from the general population as well as given assistance if found ill.

For Police officers, the sanitisation of police stations, adequate supply of hygiene and safety supplies at all levels, necessary safety equipment’s based on the nature and place of duty, communicating with police persons’ families was suggested.

The entire advisory may be read here.

VII. Human Rights Advisory on Right to Food security and Nutrition in context of Covid 19.

This NHRC advisory was issued to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Women & Child Development, Ministry of Education, all States and Union Territories on September 28, 2020. Recognising the shortage of food and basic amenities due to the Global Pandemic, the NHRC had a list of suggestions for child care like:

  1. Expand Public distribution system to include nutritious food like pulses, edible oil, eggs, and sugar.

  2. Timely distribution of food grains must be ensured.

  3. Ensure that sufficient quantity of dry rations (food grains, eggs, milk powder and medicines, etc) and take-home rations are made available to children under three years, as well as pregnant and lactating women.

  4. Wherever possible reopen creche and day care facilities under national creche scheme, with proper monitoring of safety guidelines as per Ministry of Women and Child Development, so that children are protected and cared for, as poor families re-join the workforce for their incomes and sustenance.

  5. Urgently restart growth monitoring and immunisation services, tracking of malnourished and SAM (Severe Acute Malnutrition) children, provide additional nutrition and energy DENSE food for severely malnourished children, supplementary nutrition/mid-day meals for children, pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls.

  6. Ensure mid-day meals to children who usually reside in social welfare hostels, tribal welfare hostels etc. but are now at home due to closure.

The entire advisory may be read here.

VIII. Human Rights Advisory on Right Health in context of Covid 19.

This advisory issued on September 28, 2020 by the NHRC to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare suggests access to transport, cashless payments, testing for all Covid and non-Covid patients, treating dead patients with dignity and respect, maintain confidentiality of all patients, safety and support to old, minors and women, counselling to home isolating patients, a grievance redressal mechanism at all levels, blood transfusion services, defined and humane working hours for healthcare givers, protection of all doctors and nurses and timely payment of salary etc.

The entire advisory may be read here. 

IX. Human Rights Advisory on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in context of Covid19.

The Commissioned had issued an advisory for differently abled people on September 28, 2020 to the Ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Heath and Family Welfare, Education and Consumer affairs, Public Distribution System.

The NHRC has suggested that National Crime Records Bureau must record the number of People with disabilities in all states and union territories, deaf and deafblind people should be communicated about covid guidelines, inter departmental taskforce should be set up to ensure proper coordination of all rehabilitation measures for PWDs, specific appointments to be fixed for people with autism and other learning disabilities, livelihood support for all PWDs who have lost their jobs due to the Pandemic and to ensure that District Disability Rehabilitation centres must be manned with professionals for better guidance in all States and Union Territories and proper supply of food and ration to each house with PWDs.

The entire advisory may be read here.

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Covid-19: NHRC issues advisories to states and UTs

Advisories deal with how to assist women, children, prisoners, police personnel, differently abled people and patients with mental illnesses to cope better with the pandemic.

NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is a statutory body under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 that aims to protect and promote the cause of Human Rights in India. It looks into violations of human rights by any State actors, recommend measures for the effective implementation of Human rights, to encourage organisations within the infrastructure in furtherance of human rights agendas, etc. Criticised for not effective action on human rights abuses across the country, it has in the past six months, issued a string of advisories on issues related to food and nutrition, mental health, women and children, childcare workers (ASHA) workers in the unorganised sector etc. Most or all of these have been issued at the tail end of the Pandemic led lockdown (end September 2020 onwards)!

In these unexpected times, the NHRC has appreciated the significance of mental health, right to health, right to food, rights of women, children and informal sector workers, prison conditions and disabilities as important facets of basic human existence with dignity. It has issued advisories on the same themes to engage people in such discussions and promote awareness.

I. Human Rights advisory on Right to Mental Health in context of the Covid 19 pandemic

Latest data released by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) has revealed that more than 1.39 lakh Indians died by suicide in the year 2019, 67 per cent of which were young adults. The NCRB report titled 'Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2019', released shows that of the total 1.39 lakh 2019 suicides, 93,061 were young adults. Compared to 2018 numbers (89,407), youth suicides in India have risen by 4 per cent. The overall suicide figures rose by 3.4 per cent in the same time.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2019-report, India has the highest suicide rate in the South-East Asian region with one person still dying every 40 seconds from suicide with 16.5 suicides per 1,00,000 people, as reported by The Indian Express.

Taking into consideration, the detrimental impact of the lockdown on people’s mental health due to job losses, being trapped in abusive households, uncertainty in exam schedules, crashing job markets, financial crunch, the NHRC issued an advisory to the Ministry of Health and Family welfare on mental health by constituting a committee of experts, civil society organization representatives and elected representatives of relevant department s.

It has highlighted the importance of:

  1. Right to Information (24*7 helpline, information to mental illness patients, caregivers informing family of Covid admitted patients)

  2. Right to access mental health care (enough community health centres, affordable, telephonic services, no discrimination on any grounds, etc)

  3. Covid treatment facilities (proper advice on precautions, recreational activities for patients, proper standard of care prior to testing and hospital admission)

  4. Right to protection from inhuman, cruel treatment (adequate sanitary living conditions)

  5. Right to Confidentiality (respecting the dignity of every Covid patient, sharing the status and test results with family, protect patient from harm or violence)

  6. Promotion of mental health and preventive programmes

  7. Police personnel (training and sensitizing police officials towards mental illness patients with or without Covid)

  8. Post Covid management (counselling with respect to anxiety, fear, apprehensions in precautions, follow up procedures, etc)

The entire advisory may be read here.

II. Human Rights Advisory on Rights to Women in the context of Covid 19.

The NHRC advisory on rights of women, in the context of Covid-19, was issued on October 7, 2020 to the Ministry of Women and Child development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, all States and Union Territories and was based on an impact assessment done by experts.

The NHRC advisory has suggested that sex workers should be recognised as informal workers and temporary documents should be issued to enable them to access welfare measures such as rations under the public distribution system. Ensuring access and maternal health facilities to women and girls from marginalised communities, migrants, nutritional support, continuous supply chain of medicines and equipment’s to manage safe delivery, free contraceptives has been emphasised on.

Steps to ensure access to healthcare facilities and sanitary living conditions, educating them about the pandemic, testing, concept of quarantining for women belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes, women in prison have been crafted by the NHRC. Other recommendations in the advisory include setting up a task force on gender-based violence to coordinate and monitor support and prevention services, providing free contraception and giving moratoriums for all loans taken by women workers.

On the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), anganwadi and sanitation workers, the advisory said the remuneration must comply with the minimum wage standards and overtime work should be compensated.

The entire advisory may be read here.

III. Human Rights Advisory on informal workers during Covid19.

On the rights of informal workers, the NHRC recommended the State Governments to set up Worker Facilitation centres at district and city level for registering all of them, providing information regarding all welfare schemes, job opportunities and skill mapping. It also said every migrant worker returning to their homes should be provided MGNREGA job cards. The Officer at the block level shall ensure safety at the worksite by providing face masks, hand gloves, sanitiser, hand wash facility, helmets (where needed) etc.

Domestic workers are required to be provided relief and be linked to Public Distribution System (PDS) and other schemes by registering them through police verification forms, Resident Welfare Association (RWA) records, and domestic workers' collectives was also suggested by NHRC on their advisory issued on October 5, 2020 to the Ministry of Labour and Employment. A national database (portal) may be set up for all informal sector workers, including intra-state, inter-state and inter-country migrant workers to facilitate information for policy-making was also suggested.

NHRC also laid down that all complaints and cases which have been registered against migrant workers under the Disaster Management Act, for violating lockdown guidelines, may be dropped by the State Governments. In case of any arrests, the workers must be released immediately and in case of any fines, the Government may set up a helpline for restitution.

The entire advisory may be read here.

IV. Human Rights Advisory for Protection of rights of Children in the context of Covid 19.

Commission hereby issues an 'Advisory on Protection of the Rights of Children in the context of Covid-19' on September 29, 2020 to the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Labour and Employment.

NHRC has suggested to:

  1. Explore safe and staggered re-opening of schools in view of the COVID-19 protocols. Till the schools are reopened, children may be taught in small groups; the use of various mass-media to teach children may be explored.

  2. Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed when schools reopen including for schools used as quarantine facility.

  3. Develop state guidelines and regulations that need to be followed by schools delivering online classes. Issue guidelines to regulate digital platforms including education-technology platforms offering online classes; make parents aware of available reporting/grievance redress mechanism to report instances of child abuse, bullying and issues of privacy.

  4. Identify and reach the most marginalised and underprivileged and provide them access to education by employing a combination measures including exploring feasibility of daily distribution of printed material

  5. Ensure health and nutrition requirements of adolescent girls through regular supply of iron supplements, Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) services, menstrual hygiene products, and supplementary nutrition through Integrated Child Development Services.

  6. Reports of sexual violence against children in the quarantine centres are a matter of concern. Necessary child protection protocols need to be put in place at the earliest and its compliant needs to be monitored.

  7. Keeping in mind the vulnerability of and risk faced by street connected children, arrange protective gears and ensure access to health care facilities including testing and quarantine facilities as per the norms and protocols being prescribed.

The entire advisory may be read here.

V. Human Rights Advisory on Business and Human rights in the context of Covid 19.

The Commission issued this advisory on October 5, 2020 to the Ministry of Corporate affairs, MSMEs Ministry and Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises. The NHRC recommended that all companies that have been badly affected due to Covid should be allowed to adjust expenditure on salaries against their corporate social responsibility obligations for 2 years starting 2021-2022.

Businesses should also closely examine their supply chains to ensure labour trafficking is not occurring as part of the creation and distribution of products. Business continuity management as suggested that covers infrastructure, cyber, employee, business, operational and communication risks, with the aim of managing an organisation that has to face new challenges and risks and wants to ensure continuity of operations and production.

In addition to this, employers should ensure that all employees are provided with health insurance either directly or through Government, but companies should have record. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining should be respected, also as a basis for a joint employer - workers response to the crisis. It has also been advised that the employers do not terminate any employee on the ground of him/her being a COVID-19 patient or suspected patient and that the employer may, in principle, allow an employee to work from home.

The entire advisory may be read here.

VI. Human Rights Advisory on the Rights of Prisoners and Police Personnel during Covid19.

This was issued on October 5, 2020 to the Ministry of Home Affairs. On NHRCs advise, the prisoners should be provided with food to increase immunity, healthcare and testing. With respect to the Police the suggestion provided statistics. Over 1.24 lakh police officials have contracted Covid as on September 28, 2020. So, masks, gloves should be provided and lengthy conversations with motorists should be avoided by the Police. It also included advice on mental health issues that could come up recommending a well-being programme with deep breathing, yoga and nutrition.

Ensuring the availability of thermal scanners and non-contact thermometers for prompt and early detection of the contagion, especially at entry and exit locations and times was suggested to curb the spread. In particular to periodically check the health of vulnerable inmates, who are old or suffering from co-morbidities from the general population. These inmates must be identified with their individual health histories recorded and assisted to be away from the general population as well as given assistance if found ill.

For Police officers, the sanitisation of police stations, adequate supply of hygiene and safety supplies at all levels, necessary safety equipment’s based on the nature and place of duty, communicating with police persons’ families was suggested.

The entire advisory may be read here.

VII. Human Rights Advisory on Right to Food security and Nutrition in context of Covid 19.

This NHRC advisory was issued to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Women & Child Development, Ministry of Education, all States and Union Territories on September 28, 2020. Recognising the shortage of food and basic amenities due to the Global Pandemic, the NHRC had a list of suggestions for child care like:

  1. Expand Public distribution system to include nutritious food like pulses, edible oil, eggs, and sugar.

  2. Timely distribution of food grains must be ensured.

  3. Ensure that sufficient quantity of dry rations (food grains, eggs, milk powder and medicines, etc) and take-home rations are made available to children under three years, as well as pregnant and lactating women.

  4. Wherever possible reopen creche and day care facilities under national creche scheme, with proper monitoring of safety guidelines as per Ministry of Women and Child Development, so that children are protected and cared for, as poor families re-join the workforce for their incomes and sustenance.

  5. Urgently restart growth monitoring and immunisation services, tracking of malnourished and SAM (Severe Acute Malnutrition) children, provide additional nutrition and energy DENSE food for severely malnourished children, supplementary nutrition/mid-day meals for children, pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls.

  6. Ensure mid-day meals to children who usually reside in social welfare hostels, tribal welfare hostels etc. but are now at home due to closure.

The entire advisory may be read here.

VIII. Human Rights Advisory on Right Health in context of Covid 19.

This advisory issued on September 28, 2020 by the NHRC to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare suggests access to transport, cashless payments, testing for all Covid and non-Covid patients, treating dead patients with dignity and respect, maintain confidentiality of all patients, safety and support to old, minors and women, counselling to home isolating patients, a grievance redressal mechanism at all levels, blood transfusion services, defined and humane working hours for healthcare givers, protection of all doctors and nurses and timely payment of salary etc.

The entire advisory may be read here. 

IX. Human Rights Advisory on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in context of Covid19.

The Commissioned had issued an advisory for differently abled people on September 28, 2020 to the Ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Heath and Family Welfare, Education and Consumer affairs, Public Distribution System.

The NHRC has suggested that National Crime Records Bureau must record the number of People with disabilities in all states and union territories, deaf and deafblind people should be communicated about covid guidelines, inter departmental taskforce should be set up to ensure proper coordination of all rehabilitation measures for PWDs, specific appointments to be fixed for people with autism and other learning disabilities, livelihood support for all PWDs who have lost their jobs due to the Pandemic and to ensure that District Disability Rehabilitation centres must be manned with professionals for better guidance in all States and Union Territories and proper supply of food and ration to each house with PWDs.

The entire advisory may be read here.

Related

NHRC issues advisories to assess Covid-19 pandemic impact

NHRC demands report on Varavara Rao’s health

Does India uphold prisoner’s right to health

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Tablighi Jamaat case: Bandra Court discharges 12 foreign nationals 

Court notes that the Indonesian men didn’t disobey orders or negligently spread Covid1-19

13 Oct 2020

Tablighi jamaat

Twelve foreign nationals from Indonesia who had come to India in February this year to attend the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi were discharged by the Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court on September 29, 2020. The Foreign nationals had filed a discharge application through their lawyer Ishrat Khan before the Court on September 8.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jaydeo Y. Ghule noted that nothing reveals that theaccused had deliberately disobeyed the order duly promulgated by the Public Servant as well as negligently, they were acting in the manner as was likely to spread the infection of the disease dangerous to life." The court also directed the accused to be discharged from all charges levelled against them, to return their seized passports with due identification and cancel their bail bond.

In August, the police had submitted a chargesheet against them and dropped the more serious sections under Indian Penal Code sections 304 (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 307 (attempt to murder). The less serious charges under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Foreigners Act, and Disaster Management Act were however retained.

The discharge plea stated that the delegates had arrived in Delhi in different batches on February 29, March 2 and March 6, 2020. Thereafter, all the accused left Delhi by train and reached Mumbai on March 7, 2020. At the time, all those who had assembled at the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz in Delhi’s Nizamuddin were tested when they reached the other places across the country. Some of them tested positive for Covid. Likewise, when the 12 members arrived in Mumbai, they were also sent to a quarantine centre in Mumbai and tested for the virus where 10 were tested negative and two were found positive for the virus.

The Counsel relied upon the ruling of Bombay High Court in the case of Konan Kodio Ganstone and ors. v. State of Maharashtra [Criminal Writ Petition No. 548/2020] and submitted that the Bombay High Court discharged the accused of the same offences in the said matter, after giving detailed reasons.

The court observed that even the Investigating Officer in Form 5E has acknowledged that the accused were not liable in spreading Covid or caused the death of any person. Under section 14(b) of the Foreigners Act, the court also noted that the accused were not responsible for any breach of their VISA condition.

The news about Tablighi Jamaat attendees’ irresponsible behaviour in the pandemic has been doing the rounds since March but the Hon’ble High Courts have offered some glimmer of hope.

Bombay High Court

On August 21, 2020 the Division bench of Justices T.V. Nalawade and M.G. Sewlikar quashed FIRs registered against 29 foreign nationals and six Indian citizens. The court said that though certain restrictions are put on the foreigners who come to India on tourist visas, there is no restriction on them to visit religious places to attend the normal religious activities like attending religious discourse. It further noted that all the foreign nationals entered India on a valid tourist visa in February or in March, but before March 10. “Activity of Tablighi Jamaat got stalled only after declaration of lock down in Delhi and till then it was going on. There is nothing on the record to show that this activity is prohibited permanently by the Government. These things need to be kept in mind while considering the cases filed against the petitioners,” noted the court.

The court also recognised the criminalisation of foreign nationals through news platforms and the malicious intent behind the FIR’s. “There was big propaganda in print media and electronic media against the foreigners who had come to Markaz Delhi and an attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading covid-19 virus in India. There was virtually persecution against these foreigners. A political Government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them scapegoats,” the Bench commented.

A broader and more detailed analysis of this judgment may be read here.

Madras High Court

On June 12, 2020 the Madras High Court granted bail to 31 participants and directed to release the petitioners on their own bond that can be submitted online before a magistrate. The applicants were arrested in April for participating in the religious congregation in violation of the lockdown. The Single Judge Bench of Justice G.R. Swaminathan said that “They are normal human beings. They are now stuck in alien surroundings. The petitioners came here propelled by a sense of religious idealism. But their mission went awry. They are now eager to go back to their families.” Noting the petitioners have been in prison for more than two months, the bench remarked their “acts have not prejudiced public tranquillity.”

Allahabad High Court

On June 9, 2020 the Allahabad High Court granted interim Bail to six Bangladeshi nationals while granting permission to reside at the place mentioned in the tourist Visas and were given liberty to receive disclosed financial support from their relatives in Bangladesh or anyone in India and if necessary, directed the government to provide them financial support. The court also suggested that the Centre enter into a dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh and decide upon the criminal case without having to resort to a criminal trial, to avoid the same.

On October 5, 2020 the Allahabad High Court had ordered that the criminal cases against members of the Tablighi Jamaat registered in different districts of Uttar Pradesh be heard by three Chief Judicial Magistrates (CJM) of Lucknow, Bareilly and Meerut. In an order passed by a Division Bench comprising Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Shamim Ahmed, the court observed that all the cases against the Jamaat members be heard and decided by the three CJM courts within eight weeks. The Bench ordered that the Registrar General monitor the progress of the cases transferred to the CJMs and submit a report within three months to the Allahabad High Court Chief Justice as reported by The Indian Express.


The order may be read here:

 

Related:

Tablighi Jamaat members still under the scanner

How courts rescued Tablighi Jamaat members from further hatred

Tablighi Jamaat: HCs come to rescue of foreign nationals, grant bail

Tablighi Jamaat case: Bandra Court discharges 12 foreign nationals 

Court notes that the Indonesian men didn’t disobey orders or negligently spread Covid1-19

Tablighi jamaat

Twelve foreign nationals from Indonesia who had come to India in February this year to attend the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi were discharged by the Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court on September 29, 2020. The Foreign nationals had filed a discharge application through their lawyer Ishrat Khan before the Court on September 8.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jaydeo Y. Ghule noted that nothing reveals that theaccused had deliberately disobeyed the order duly promulgated by the Public Servant as well as negligently, they were acting in the manner as was likely to spread the infection of the disease dangerous to life." The court also directed the accused to be discharged from all charges levelled against them, to return their seized passports with due identification and cancel their bail bond.

In August, the police had submitted a chargesheet against them and dropped the more serious sections under Indian Penal Code sections 304 (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 307 (attempt to murder). The less serious charges under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Foreigners Act, and Disaster Management Act were however retained.

The discharge plea stated that the delegates had arrived in Delhi in different batches on February 29, March 2 and March 6, 2020. Thereafter, all the accused left Delhi by train and reached Mumbai on March 7, 2020. At the time, all those who had assembled at the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz in Delhi’s Nizamuddin were tested when they reached the other places across the country. Some of them tested positive for Covid. Likewise, when the 12 members arrived in Mumbai, they were also sent to a quarantine centre in Mumbai and tested for the virus where 10 were tested negative and two were found positive for the virus.

The Counsel relied upon the ruling of Bombay High Court in the case of Konan Kodio Ganstone and ors. v. State of Maharashtra [Criminal Writ Petition No. 548/2020] and submitted that the Bombay High Court discharged the accused of the same offences in the said matter, after giving detailed reasons.

The court observed that even the Investigating Officer in Form 5E has acknowledged that the accused were not liable in spreading Covid or caused the death of any person. Under section 14(b) of the Foreigners Act, the court also noted that the accused were not responsible for any breach of their VISA condition.

The news about Tablighi Jamaat attendees’ irresponsible behaviour in the pandemic has been doing the rounds since March but the Hon’ble High Courts have offered some glimmer of hope.

Bombay High Court

On August 21, 2020 the Division bench of Justices T.V. Nalawade and M.G. Sewlikar quashed FIRs registered against 29 foreign nationals and six Indian citizens. The court said that though certain restrictions are put on the foreigners who come to India on tourist visas, there is no restriction on them to visit religious places to attend the normal religious activities like attending religious discourse. It further noted that all the foreign nationals entered India on a valid tourist visa in February or in March, but before March 10. “Activity of Tablighi Jamaat got stalled only after declaration of lock down in Delhi and till then it was going on. There is nothing on the record to show that this activity is prohibited permanently by the Government. These things need to be kept in mind while considering the cases filed against the petitioners,” noted the court.

The court also recognised the criminalisation of foreign nationals through news platforms and the malicious intent behind the FIR’s. “There was big propaganda in print media and electronic media against the foreigners who had come to Markaz Delhi and an attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading covid-19 virus in India. There was virtually persecution against these foreigners. A political Government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them scapegoats,” the Bench commented.

A broader and more detailed analysis of this judgment may be read here.

Madras High Court

On June 12, 2020 the Madras High Court granted bail to 31 participants and directed to release the petitioners on their own bond that can be submitted online before a magistrate. The applicants were arrested in April for participating in the religious congregation in violation of the lockdown. The Single Judge Bench of Justice G.R. Swaminathan said that “They are normal human beings. They are now stuck in alien surroundings. The petitioners came here propelled by a sense of religious idealism. But their mission went awry. They are now eager to go back to their families.” Noting the petitioners have been in prison for more than two months, the bench remarked their “acts have not prejudiced public tranquillity.”

Allahabad High Court

On June 9, 2020 the Allahabad High Court granted interim Bail to six Bangladeshi nationals while granting permission to reside at the place mentioned in the tourist Visas and were given liberty to receive disclosed financial support from their relatives in Bangladesh or anyone in India and if necessary, directed the government to provide them financial support. The court also suggested that the Centre enter into a dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh and decide upon the criminal case without having to resort to a criminal trial, to avoid the same.

On October 5, 2020 the Allahabad High Court had ordered that the criminal cases against members of the Tablighi Jamaat registered in different districts of Uttar Pradesh be heard by three Chief Judicial Magistrates (CJM) of Lucknow, Bareilly and Meerut. In an order passed by a Division Bench comprising Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Shamim Ahmed, the court observed that all the cases against the Jamaat members be heard and decided by the three CJM courts within eight weeks. The Bench ordered that the Registrar General monitor the progress of the cases transferred to the CJMs and submit a report within three months to the Allahabad High Court Chief Justice as reported by The Indian Express.


The order may be read here:

 

Related:

Tablighi Jamaat members still under the scanner

How courts rescued Tablighi Jamaat members from further hatred

Tablighi Jamaat: HCs come to rescue of foreign nationals, grant bail

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Remembering T Peter: Trade unionist and leader of India’s fishworkers

The man who helped stranded fishermen get home amidst the Covid-19 pandemic succumbs to the disease himself

09 Oct 2020

Image Courtesy:thehindu.com

T Peter, General Secretary of the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF), had used the Covid-19 lockdown to work even more than humanly possible for those he called “my people”. Thanks to him, and the NFF, information about stranded fishworkers along the coast of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and the Gulf Countries reached the national media. Many returned home to their waiting family, thanks to the man who worked day and night, collecting, translating, disseminating information about the fishworkers, and preparing documents with his team to be shared with the authorities and media.

This, in addition to the scores of reports and policy papers he would read and with the eye of an editor and the soul of the trade unionist, pick out any anti-worker policy that the authorities may have hidden in jargon. Ever the gentleman, he would always return missed calls from reporters, including the SabrangIndia team, with an apology. “Sorry I did not take your call, I was in a webinar,” was the reason he would start with, “but I want to thank you for your report. No one listens and shares the voice of fishworkers like SabrangIndia does,” he would say and patiently proceed to decode some jargon filled policy the Union Ministry would have just passed. He would then send a detailed press note the next day, “just in case I missed anything”. “We should write a book on the struggles of the Fishworkers sir,” this writer once told him. “Yes yes, let the lockdown end, we at NFF must meet with team SabrangIndia”. 

T Peter passed away on October 8, succumbing to Covid-19 related complications in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He was 62 years old. The video of his last journey sent by a friend shows the pallbearers observing full Covid protocol, of protective body suits, and physical distancing of the mourners, however one can hear the wails and cries of the men and women T Peter fought for all his life. As the ambulance bearing his mortal remains drove through the streets of the state capital, towards the designated graveyard, a eulogy of the man who the fishworkers called their ‘chettan’ or big brother, was broadcast on loudspeaker.

Peter fought for more than three decades, as a full time activist and union organiser, to empower India’s fishing communities, stated his colleagues, and comrades in a statement. He played a critical role in advancing their struggles from  the margins into the political mainstream. They shared his work live bio stating that he joined the Kerala Independent Fishworkers Federation (KSMTF) in the early 1980s as a  young organiser in the “fight against trawlers which were destroying both the fragile  coastal ecosystems and traditional livelihoods”. 

He rose through the union ranks, became a district-level leader and then the state president, he was a cultural activist long before he became well known as a socio- political activist. Even after he passed on the state leadership mantle to the next generation, Peter spent his next years playing a creative and active role at the national and international levels. 

After he became the General Secretary of National Fishworkers Forum (NFF), Peter was immersed in organising  fishworkers’ unions across the coastal states, and working towards protecting the livelihoods of traditional and  small-scale fishworkers from the destructive impacts of large development projects and market driven globalisation.

He was an executive member of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP), and was instrumental in raising fisher concerns at global fora. As shared by his NFF colleagues, Peter was central to the organising of the 7th General Assembly of WFFP in New Delhi in November 2017 which drew participants from across the  world.  

Peter believed “in solidarity amongst various social, workers and environmental  movements” he constantly worked to forge alliances across a number of people’s platforms in India. He played an active role in the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) and  worked closely with groups such as the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), Coalition for Environment Justice in  India (CEJI) and Forum for Trade Justice, stated his colleagues.  

According to his friends Peter was politically astute, and had worked with leaders like Fr. Thomas Kochery, Harekrishna Debnath, Matanhy Saldanha and Ram Bhau  Patil. His vision was to always protect the rights of fisher  folk of India, and to protect India’s coastal areas. He ensured that the NFF and KSMTF were active participants in many joint struggles against special economic zones, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), free trade agreements  (FTAs), industrial corridors, nuclear parks and port expansion. Peter was also chief editor of  ALAKAL, a fortnightly magazine published by KSMTF since 1985. 

Peter even used the Covid-19 lockdown for upgrading his own technical skills, and was soon online researching, connecting with people the world over, and his latest love of international webinars was becoming well known by the fact that he would send a text or email in the wee hours, almost as if he was running on an international clock. Of course, with all attention on the job at hand he would not take calls whenever a webinar was on. Perhaps he was just too polite to use the mute button online

Few knew that when his home Kerala was hit by floods in 2018, Peter played a pivotal role in mobilising fishworkers and  their boats in rescue and relief operations. A fact just shared by his colleagues. Peter would never ever talk about his own achievements.  According to his colleagues, just before he fell ill he was busy mobilising the community to oppose the  pro-corporate draft of the 2020 National Fisheries Policy and the West Coast Shipping Corridor  being pushed unilaterally by India’s Central Government.  

His colleagues, today, fondly remembered the unassuming man who  “would unhesitantly walk into any Ministry to push the public cause, just as he would walk  into any fisher home to extend solidarity or lead a protest or a rally asserting traditional fisher  rights.” 

“His trademark all weather light blue half-sleeve shirt and white mundu (dhoti) with a  cotton cloth bag on the shoulder, is how we will always remember Peteretan- as he was known  to his younger friends,” stated his colleagues. Many of whom lined the streets to pay their last respects. 

Peter’s sudden passing is indeed an irreparable loss to people's movements in India and globally. His colleagues state that Peter's life’s mission “to work with commitment and for solidarity action towards  justice and equality for all”  will continue in their actions now. “Peteretan will always be with us to inspire us in our struggles for a better world,”  the statement were signed by National Alliance of People Movements (NAPM), Delhi Forum, Delhi Solidarity Group, Chennai Solidarity Group,  Coastal Action Network, SNEHA, LAW Trust,  Pakistan India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD), Third World Network, Environment Support Group, Coalition for Environmental Justice in India, Programme for Social Action (PSA), Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), Focus on the Global South, and Forum for Trade Justice among others.

The National Fishworkers Forum [NFF] in a separate statement deeply mourned  the demise of “our beloved leader and one among the tall stalwarts of the fishworkers movement – Comrade T Peter”. They recalled that he, the son of Thomas and Clarie Bell hailing from a fishing village, “dedicated his life and defined his role of engaging with and for the struggling communities.”

Narendra R Patil NFF Chairperson stated, “As we all are coming to terms with this untimely loss, NFF also stands with Peter’s family and  remembers them for their dedication in giving us Peter to take forward the aspirations of the fishing  communities. It will be from Peter’s energy, optimism and politics of ‘a new world is possible’ that  will lead and help us to carry the aspirations and vision of the fishworkers forward.” 

Related:

EXCLUSIVE: 820 TN fishermen trapped in Iran send SOS videos
If fish dies it is GDP, if fisherman dies it is ex-gratia
Gov't risking lives of fishermen by letting them venture rough seas
Fishing for trouble, or troubling the fishworkers?
I don't have 100 dollars to reach the port: Indian fisherman in Iran

Remembering T Peter: Trade unionist and leader of India’s fishworkers

The man who helped stranded fishermen get home amidst the Covid-19 pandemic succumbs to the disease himself

Image Courtesy:thehindu.com

T Peter, General Secretary of the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF), had used the Covid-19 lockdown to work even more than humanly possible for those he called “my people”. Thanks to him, and the NFF, information about stranded fishworkers along the coast of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and the Gulf Countries reached the national media. Many returned home to their waiting family, thanks to the man who worked day and night, collecting, translating, disseminating information about the fishworkers, and preparing documents with his team to be shared with the authorities and media.

This, in addition to the scores of reports and policy papers he would read and with the eye of an editor and the soul of the trade unionist, pick out any anti-worker policy that the authorities may have hidden in jargon. Ever the gentleman, he would always return missed calls from reporters, including the SabrangIndia team, with an apology. “Sorry I did not take your call, I was in a webinar,” was the reason he would start with, “but I want to thank you for your report. No one listens and shares the voice of fishworkers like SabrangIndia does,” he would say and patiently proceed to decode some jargon filled policy the Union Ministry would have just passed. He would then send a detailed press note the next day, “just in case I missed anything”. “We should write a book on the struggles of the Fishworkers sir,” this writer once told him. “Yes yes, let the lockdown end, we at NFF must meet with team SabrangIndia”. 

T Peter passed away on October 8, succumbing to Covid-19 related complications in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He was 62 years old. The video of his last journey sent by a friend shows the pallbearers observing full Covid protocol, of protective body suits, and physical distancing of the mourners, however one can hear the wails and cries of the men and women T Peter fought for all his life. As the ambulance bearing his mortal remains drove through the streets of the state capital, towards the designated graveyard, a eulogy of the man who the fishworkers called their ‘chettan’ or big brother, was broadcast on loudspeaker.

Peter fought for more than three decades, as a full time activist and union organiser, to empower India’s fishing communities, stated his colleagues, and comrades in a statement. He played a critical role in advancing their struggles from  the margins into the political mainstream. They shared his work live bio stating that he joined the Kerala Independent Fishworkers Federation (KSMTF) in the early 1980s as a  young organiser in the “fight against trawlers which were destroying both the fragile  coastal ecosystems and traditional livelihoods”. 

He rose through the union ranks, became a district-level leader and then the state president, he was a cultural activist long before he became well known as a socio- political activist. Even after he passed on the state leadership mantle to the next generation, Peter spent his next years playing a creative and active role at the national and international levels. 

After he became the General Secretary of National Fishworkers Forum (NFF), Peter was immersed in organising  fishworkers’ unions across the coastal states, and working towards protecting the livelihoods of traditional and  small-scale fishworkers from the destructive impacts of large development projects and market driven globalisation.

He was an executive member of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP), and was instrumental in raising fisher concerns at global fora. As shared by his NFF colleagues, Peter was central to the organising of the 7th General Assembly of WFFP in New Delhi in November 2017 which drew participants from across the  world.  

Peter believed “in solidarity amongst various social, workers and environmental  movements” he constantly worked to forge alliances across a number of people’s platforms in India. He played an active role in the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) and  worked closely with groups such as the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), Coalition for Environment Justice in  India (CEJI) and Forum for Trade Justice, stated his colleagues.  

According to his friends Peter was politically astute, and had worked with leaders like Fr. Thomas Kochery, Harekrishna Debnath, Matanhy Saldanha and Ram Bhau  Patil. His vision was to always protect the rights of fisher  folk of India, and to protect India’s coastal areas. He ensured that the NFF and KSMTF were active participants in many joint struggles against special economic zones, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), free trade agreements  (FTAs), industrial corridors, nuclear parks and port expansion. Peter was also chief editor of  ALAKAL, a fortnightly magazine published by KSMTF since 1985. 

Peter even used the Covid-19 lockdown for upgrading his own technical skills, and was soon online researching, connecting with people the world over, and his latest love of international webinars was becoming well known by the fact that he would send a text or email in the wee hours, almost as if he was running on an international clock. Of course, with all attention on the job at hand he would not take calls whenever a webinar was on. Perhaps he was just too polite to use the mute button online

Few knew that when his home Kerala was hit by floods in 2018, Peter played a pivotal role in mobilising fishworkers and  their boats in rescue and relief operations. A fact just shared by his colleagues. Peter would never ever talk about his own achievements.  According to his colleagues, just before he fell ill he was busy mobilising the community to oppose the  pro-corporate draft of the 2020 National Fisheries Policy and the West Coast Shipping Corridor  being pushed unilaterally by India’s Central Government.  

His colleagues, today, fondly remembered the unassuming man who  “would unhesitantly walk into any Ministry to push the public cause, just as he would walk  into any fisher home to extend solidarity or lead a protest or a rally asserting traditional fisher  rights.” 

“His trademark all weather light blue half-sleeve shirt and white mundu (dhoti) with a  cotton cloth bag on the shoulder, is how we will always remember Peteretan- as he was known  to his younger friends,” stated his colleagues. Many of whom lined the streets to pay their last respects. 

Peter’s sudden passing is indeed an irreparable loss to people's movements in India and globally. His colleagues state that Peter's life’s mission “to work with commitment and for solidarity action towards  justice and equality for all”  will continue in their actions now. “Peteretan will always be with us to inspire us in our struggles for a better world,”  the statement were signed by National Alliance of People Movements (NAPM), Delhi Forum, Delhi Solidarity Group, Chennai Solidarity Group,  Coastal Action Network, SNEHA, LAW Trust,  Pakistan India Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD), Third World Network, Environment Support Group, Coalition for Environmental Justice in India, Programme for Social Action (PSA), Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), Focus on the Global South, and Forum for Trade Justice among others.

The National Fishworkers Forum [NFF] in a separate statement deeply mourned  the demise of “our beloved leader and one among the tall stalwarts of the fishworkers movement – Comrade T Peter”. They recalled that he, the son of Thomas and Clarie Bell hailing from a fishing village, “dedicated his life and defined his role of engaging with and for the struggling communities.”

Narendra R Patil NFF Chairperson stated, “As we all are coming to terms with this untimely loss, NFF also stands with Peter’s family and  remembers them for their dedication in giving us Peter to take forward the aspirations of the fishing  communities. It will be from Peter’s energy, optimism and politics of ‘a new world is possible’ that  will lead and help us to carry the aspirations and vision of the fishworkers forward.” 

Related:

EXCLUSIVE: 820 TN fishermen trapped in Iran send SOS videos
If fish dies it is GDP, if fisherman dies it is ex-gratia
Gov't risking lives of fishermen by letting them venture rough seas
Fishing for trouble, or troubling the fishworkers?
I don't have 100 dollars to reach the port: Indian fisherman in Iran

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NHRC issues advisories to assess Covid-19 pandemic impact

Deeply worried about the effects of coronavirus in India, the NHRC’s committee recommended advisories to assess the impact of the pandemic and lockdown on marginalised sections.

08 Oct 2020

covid

The National Human Rights Commission issued advisories to concerned ministries and States/UTs in context of the Covid-19 pandemic on October 6, 2020.

The Committee of Experts on Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Human Rights and Future Response recommended Human Rights Advisories for rights of prisoners, police, informal workers, businesses and future response teams.

Among the aforementioned, workers were the most talked-about topic during the lockdown as thousands of people from the informal sector migrated from urban areas to their villages – a phenomenon widely reported by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) in its Migrant Diaries series. After the lockdown, the Centre failed to present relevant data to assess the impact of the pandemic on the informal sector.

Similarly, police and medical workers laboured as the forefront warriors during the pandemic. However, the government said it did not record data on the death of medical workers or sanitation workers. There were also reports of political prisoners being denied bail despite the vulnerable situation in prisons.

The NHRC created the Committee to assess the impact of the pandemic on these people and other marginalised sections that were affected disproportionately. As public servants, it is the responsibility of the government to assess the effects of the pandemic on the country.

Accordingly, the Commission also requested concerned ministries to implement the advisories’ recommendations and send a report detailing so to the NHRC. The Commission recently expressed deep concern about the rights of the vulnerable and marginalised sections of the society affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown.

Related:

MHA: Over 200 still detained under PSA in J&K

Now, Smriti Irani says no data on anganwadi workforce!

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

MGNREGS under microscope: Members of Parliament ask for detailed performance report of scheme

NHRC issues advisories to assess Covid-19 pandemic impact

Deeply worried about the effects of coronavirus in India, the NHRC’s committee recommended advisories to assess the impact of the pandemic and lockdown on marginalised sections.

covid

The National Human Rights Commission issued advisories to concerned ministries and States/UTs in context of the Covid-19 pandemic on October 6, 2020.

The Committee of Experts on Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Human Rights and Future Response recommended Human Rights Advisories for rights of prisoners, police, informal workers, businesses and future response teams.

Among the aforementioned, workers were the most talked-about topic during the lockdown as thousands of people from the informal sector migrated from urban areas to their villages – a phenomenon widely reported by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) in its Migrant Diaries series. After the lockdown, the Centre failed to present relevant data to assess the impact of the pandemic on the informal sector.

Similarly, police and medical workers laboured as the forefront warriors during the pandemic. However, the government said it did not record data on the death of medical workers or sanitation workers. There were also reports of political prisoners being denied bail despite the vulnerable situation in prisons.

The NHRC created the Committee to assess the impact of the pandemic on these people and other marginalised sections that were affected disproportionately. As public servants, it is the responsibility of the government to assess the effects of the pandemic on the country.

Accordingly, the Commission also requested concerned ministries to implement the advisories’ recommendations and send a report detailing so to the NHRC. The Commission recently expressed deep concern about the rights of the vulnerable and marginalised sections of the society affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown.

Related:

MHA: Over 200 still detained under PSA in J&K

Now, Smriti Irani says no data on anganwadi workforce!

No data, so no compensation: Centre’s shocking revelation on migrant labourer deaths!

MGNREGS under microscope: Members of Parliament ask for detailed performance report of scheme

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The driver had it: Uma Bharti tests Covid +ve, admits self to hospital

The senior BJP leader just concluded a pilgrimage to Kedarnath, Badrinath, before she got tested, but says she wants to appear for the Babri Demolition case verdict due on Wednesday.

28 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:news18.com

After tweeting short videos, and photos from her personal visit to the Kedarnath shrine on September 21, where she says she offered prayers “following all safety norms”, and only took off her mask to talk to the media, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Uma Bharti (61) announced that she had tested positive for Covid-19 on September 27. She had also visited Badrinath shrine in Chamoli district on September 24. She said she had slight fever for a few days and got herself tested because of that.

 

 

She then updated to say she had got herself admitted to hospital in Rishikesh on Monday September 28, and listed reasons why:  "I just got admitted into the AIIMS hospital in Rishikesh. There are three reasons - (1) Dr Harsh Vardhan (Union Health Minister) is very worried, (2) my fever spiked last night and (3) if I get a good report from the hospital, then I want to appear before the special CBI court day after tomorrow." 

 

The former Union Minister, and former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh said she probably got the infection from her driver, and denied news reports that suggested she had met many sadhu’s in the mountain shrines and that could be a possible source of her getting infected with Covid-19.

However, Uma Bharti was quick to add that “she wants to be present in a court in Uttar Pradesh for the mega verdict in the Babri Masjid case,” that is due in two days. The 28-year-old case of the demolition of the 16th century mosque has Bharti and 27 other accused including BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh. They are all accused of a criminal conspiracy that led to the demolition of the Babri mosque in December 1992. A special CBI court in Lucknow will pass its verdict on Wednesday. In July, Uma Bhati had told NDTV: "If I am sent to the gallows, I will be blessed. The place where I was born will be happy." 

The case is separate from the Ayodhya land dispute case, and is being heard by a special CBI court in Lucknow; Sabrangindia had reported extensively on this  recently. While the Ayodhya land dispute was a civil suit, the Babri Masjid demolition case is a criminal case related to the conspiracy behind the demolition.

The case that is being heard by a Special CBI Court in Lucknow, has had a tortuous journey with conspiracy charges having been dropped earlier. However, in April 2017, the Supreme Court restored the conspiracy charges when it allowed an appeal by the CBI against a discharge given by the Allahabad High Court.  LK Advani’s statement was recorded via video-conferencing in July this year. This is significant given how it was Advani’s Rath Yatras that had helped build support for the Ram Temple movement in the 90s, sowing the seeds for othering and alienation of minorities.

At the time of delivering the verdict in the civil suit pertaining to the Ayodhya land dispute, the SC had observed that the destruction of the Babri Masjid was a violation of the law. The 16th century mosque was allegedly razed by ‘kar-sevaks’ and sundry members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal on December 6, 1992. What followed was nationwide communal violence, and a divide between the majority and minority communities… a divide from which India didn’t quite emerge unscathed.

Related:

Babri Masjid demolition case: Verdict likely on September 30
The State has no religion
Babri Masjid demolition vs pulling down of statues of racists in the US
Newsrooms, Living Rooms and Class Rooms: Evolution of the Ayodhya Narrative
Court begins recording statements of Babri demolition accused

The driver had it: Uma Bharti tests Covid +ve, admits self to hospital

The senior BJP leader just concluded a pilgrimage to Kedarnath, Badrinath, before she got tested, but says she wants to appear for the Babri Demolition case verdict due on Wednesday.

Image Courtesy:news18.com

After tweeting short videos, and photos from her personal visit to the Kedarnath shrine on September 21, where she says she offered prayers “following all safety norms”, and only took off her mask to talk to the media, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Uma Bharti (61) announced that she had tested positive for Covid-19 on September 27. She had also visited Badrinath shrine in Chamoli district on September 24. She said she had slight fever for a few days and got herself tested because of that.

 

 

She then updated to say she had got herself admitted to hospital in Rishikesh on Monday September 28, and listed reasons why:  "I just got admitted into the AIIMS hospital in Rishikesh. There are three reasons - (1) Dr Harsh Vardhan (Union Health Minister) is very worried, (2) my fever spiked last night and (3) if I get a good report from the hospital, then I want to appear before the special CBI court day after tomorrow." 

 

The former Union Minister, and former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh said she probably got the infection from her driver, and denied news reports that suggested she had met many sadhu’s in the mountain shrines and that could be a possible source of her getting infected with Covid-19.

However, Uma Bharti was quick to add that “she wants to be present in a court in Uttar Pradesh for the mega verdict in the Babri Masjid case,” that is due in two days. The 28-year-old case of the demolition of the 16th century mosque has Bharti and 27 other accused including BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh. They are all accused of a criminal conspiracy that led to the demolition of the Babri mosque in December 1992. A special CBI court in Lucknow will pass its verdict on Wednesday. In July, Uma Bhati had told NDTV: "If I am sent to the gallows, I will be blessed. The place where I was born will be happy." 

The case is separate from the Ayodhya land dispute case, and is being heard by a special CBI court in Lucknow; Sabrangindia had reported extensively on this  recently. While the Ayodhya land dispute was a civil suit, the Babri Masjid demolition case is a criminal case related to the conspiracy behind the demolition.

The case that is being heard by a Special CBI Court in Lucknow, has had a tortuous journey with conspiracy charges having been dropped earlier. However, in April 2017, the Supreme Court restored the conspiracy charges when it allowed an appeal by the CBI against a discharge given by the Allahabad High Court.  LK Advani’s statement was recorded via video-conferencing in July this year. This is significant given how it was Advani’s Rath Yatras that had helped build support for the Ram Temple movement in the 90s, sowing the seeds for othering and alienation of minorities.

At the time of delivering the verdict in the civil suit pertaining to the Ayodhya land dispute, the SC had observed that the destruction of the Babri Masjid was a violation of the law. The 16th century mosque was allegedly razed by ‘kar-sevaks’ and sundry members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal on December 6, 1992. What followed was nationwide communal violence, and a divide between the majority and minority communities… a divide from which India didn’t quite emerge unscathed.

Related:

Babri Masjid demolition case: Verdict likely on September 30
The State has no religion
Babri Masjid demolition vs pulling down of statues of racists in the US
Newsrooms, Living Rooms and Class Rooms: Evolution of the Ayodhya Narrative
Court begins recording statements of Babri demolition accused

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Does GoI have 80,000 crores to buy, distribute Covid-19 vaccine?

Serum Institute of India, CEO Adar Poonawalla has asked this, igniting a debate, but no one seems to know the govt’s plan of action

26 Sep 2020

Image Courtesy:india.com

In his own words, it was meant to be a quick question, however Serum Institute of India (SII) Adar Poonawalla’s has ignited a massive debate over the Covid-19 vaccine which the Union Health Minister had recently said, will be available as early as next year. On Saturday, Poonawala asked a question the Minister should really address soon. 

Poonawala has asked “will the government of India have Rs 80,000 crores available, over the next one year?” That, he explained, is what it will cost the Union Health Ministry  to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. 

 

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is collaborating with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to manufacture and distribute the Covid-19 vaccine in India. Perhaps after a deluge of replies, divided between the entitled who said they did not need a ‘free’ dose of the vaccine and could afford to pay for it, to those who questioned the government's plan of action for mass vaccinations, Poonawala elaborated his intentions of asking the question. Or perhaps it was advice from his communications team that led him to further state that, “I ask this question, because we need to plan and guide, vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution." 

According to a report by India Today, the clinical trials for Covishield, the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca in collaboration with SII have begun in Mumbai's KEM and Nair hospitals. The report added that trials are likely to begin at a state-run hospital in Pune soon. The Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) had revoked its order suspending any new recruitment for phase-II and phase-III of the clinical trials of Covishield, earlier this month as was reported widely. 

The Serum Institute of India has been issued a notice after vaccine trials were paused. According to multiple news reports, the Drugs Regulator General of India questioned why the Serum Institute of India “even progressed with the trials and why it has not sent a detailed report about the patient in the United States.”

"As I'd mentioned earlier, we should not jump to conclusions until the trials are fully concluded. The recent chain of events are a clear example why we should not bias the process and should respect the process till the end. Good news, @UniofOxford," Adar Poonawalla had tweeted after the revocation of DGCI's order, stated news reports. According to India Today, after examination, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca received a go-ahead from authorities in the UK to resume clinical trials for Covishield. The SII has, in fact, also partnered with Novavax for the manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVXCoV2373, it added.

However, according to a Hindustan Times report, Adar Poonawalla had already warned that there won’t be enough vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for everyone in the world till the end of 2024. 

The SSI, is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, and Poonawalla its CEO has estimated that the world will need around 15 billion doses of the Covid-19 shot if it is a two-dose vaccine. “It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” Poonawalla was quoted by the Financial Times. The Pune-based pharma firm has committed to producing one billion doses, of which it has pledged half to India.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus cases in India have gone well past the 59 lakh-mark with the latest spike of over 85,362 new coronavirus cases on Friday. On Saturday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said, “7,02,69,975 samples have been tested up to September 25 (Friday) for Covid-19. Of these, 13,41,535 samples were tested on Friday.” According to news reports India is now second in the world with the most number of coronavirus cases after the United States, which has over 70 lakh confirmed cases so far.

Among the states, Maharashtra continues to top this list. It has alone contributed more than 17,000 new cases followed by Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with more than 8,000 and 7,000 cases respectively.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/6f1kSjTevA3Lx-jY8XEv0AjVqAA65en1l357PIUJ-R_UUdFc4SQN-O6JuZZlEfVWucM__C9ushl_cFpbuIbeW0Y3CNI8Iket5ULfeNinH2i7QgDiACdY4tuwl2cb_VvX1kzsSZYj

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan led health ministry continues to talk about the total number of tests having crossed 7 crore, and added that 10 States/UTs account for 75% of the new confirmed cases. Around 1,089 deaths have been registered in the past 24 hours. And according to the health ministry 10 States/UTs account for 83% of the deaths in the last 24 hours due to Covid-19. Maharashtra reported 416 deaths followed by Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh with 86 and 84 deaths, respectively.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/z6gAKBoVCmJTKs0sB38LPnaLYH8LCW9Z8KyrqnYsnpDXsfaeRCHedUVNA0iuy9nSB346-eCcsMwnO9JgTNO60GuaLAisAuaolfxOjtt6G5sTW4FnIWGf93vGmEpbGM4uUsCVWPtR

Related:

Covid-19 vaccine hits road bump, as India speeds towards 100,000 daily cases
Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!
Medical negligence, apathy and ostracisation kill more than Covid-19

Does GoI have 80,000 crores to buy, distribute Covid-19 vaccine?

Serum Institute of India, CEO Adar Poonawalla has asked this, igniting a debate, but no one seems to know the govt’s plan of action

Image Courtesy:india.com

In his own words, it was meant to be a quick question, however Serum Institute of India (SII) Adar Poonawalla’s has ignited a massive debate over the Covid-19 vaccine which the Union Health Minister had recently said, will be available as early as next year. On Saturday, Poonawala asked a question the Minister should really address soon. 

Poonawala has asked “will the government of India have Rs 80,000 crores available, over the next one year?” That, he explained, is what it will cost the Union Health Ministry  to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. 

 

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is collaborating with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to manufacture and distribute the Covid-19 vaccine in India. Perhaps after a deluge of replies, divided between the entitled who said they did not need a ‘free’ dose of the vaccine and could afford to pay for it, to those who questioned the government's plan of action for mass vaccinations, Poonawala elaborated his intentions of asking the question. Or perhaps it was advice from his communications team that led him to further state that, “I ask this question, because we need to plan and guide, vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution." 

According to a report by India Today, the clinical trials for Covishield, the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca in collaboration with SII have begun in Mumbai's KEM and Nair hospitals. The report added that trials are likely to begin at a state-run hospital in Pune soon. The Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) had revoked its order suspending any new recruitment for phase-II and phase-III of the clinical trials of Covishield, earlier this month as was reported widely. 

The Serum Institute of India has been issued a notice after vaccine trials were paused. According to multiple news reports, the Drugs Regulator General of India questioned why the Serum Institute of India “even progressed with the trials and why it has not sent a detailed report about the patient in the United States.”

"As I'd mentioned earlier, we should not jump to conclusions until the trials are fully concluded. The recent chain of events are a clear example why we should not bias the process and should respect the process till the end. Good news, @UniofOxford," Adar Poonawalla had tweeted after the revocation of DGCI's order, stated news reports. According to India Today, after examination, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca received a go-ahead from authorities in the UK to resume clinical trials for Covishield. The SII has, in fact, also partnered with Novavax for the manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVXCoV2373, it added.

However, according to a Hindustan Times report, Adar Poonawalla had already warned that there won’t be enough vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for everyone in the world till the end of 2024. 

The SSI, is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, and Poonawalla its CEO has estimated that the world will need around 15 billion doses of the Covid-19 shot if it is a two-dose vaccine. “It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” Poonawalla was quoted by the Financial Times. The Pune-based pharma firm has committed to producing one billion doses, of which it has pledged half to India.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus cases in India have gone well past the 59 lakh-mark with the latest spike of over 85,362 new coronavirus cases on Friday. On Saturday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said, “7,02,69,975 samples have been tested up to September 25 (Friday) for Covid-19. Of these, 13,41,535 samples were tested on Friday.” According to news reports India is now second in the world with the most number of coronavirus cases after the United States, which has over 70 lakh confirmed cases so far.

Among the states, Maharashtra continues to top this list. It has alone contributed more than 17,000 new cases followed by Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with more than 8,000 and 7,000 cases respectively.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/6f1kSjTevA3Lx-jY8XEv0AjVqAA65en1l357PIUJ-R_UUdFc4SQN-O6JuZZlEfVWucM__C9ushl_cFpbuIbeW0Y3CNI8Iket5ULfeNinH2i7QgDiACdY4tuwl2cb_VvX1kzsSZYj

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan led health ministry continues to talk about the total number of tests having crossed 7 crore, and added that 10 States/UTs account for 75% of the new confirmed cases. Around 1,089 deaths have been registered in the past 24 hours. And according to the health ministry 10 States/UTs account for 83% of the deaths in the last 24 hours due to Covid-19. Maharashtra reported 416 deaths followed by Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh with 86 and 84 deaths, respectively.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/z6gAKBoVCmJTKs0sB38LPnaLYH8LCW9Z8KyrqnYsnpDXsfaeRCHedUVNA0iuy9nSB346-eCcsMwnO9JgTNO60GuaLAisAuaolfxOjtt6G5sTW4FnIWGf93vGmEpbGM4uUsCVWPtR

Related:

Covid-19 vaccine hits road bump, as India speeds towards 100,000 daily cases
Strike 2: Centre now says no data on Covid-19 deaths of medical staff!
Medical negligence, apathy and ostracisation kill more than Covid-19

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