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Government hospital to compensate for unforeseen death and injury: Madras HC  

The court directed a government hospital to compensate an aggrieved Dalit family, albeit it was not a case of medical negligence

27 Feb 2021

Madras High Court

Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madras High Court has held that the Government is obligated to offer ex gratia payment to an aggrieved party if an injury or death is caused, that is not anticipated in the normal course of nature.

The court directed the State of Tamil Nadu to pay rupees five lakhs to the family of a Dalit girl who died in 2016 after complications from the anesthesia admitted to her before a tonsil surgery.

The petitioner in this case had submitted that his daughter (the deceased) was suffering from tonsil related disease and was admitted in a government hospital for surgery. For preparing the child for surgery, anesthesia was administered but she developed some complications and was shifted to Rajaji Government Hospital, Madurai. Eventually, she went into a coma and passed away in July, 2016.

The petitioner alleged that the death of his child was purely due to medical negligence on part of the hospital and the anesthetist, and filed a writ petition demanding payment of compensation.

Court’s observations

The High Court noted that a drug by the name Propofol was administered to the child which “is not an intrinsically dangerous drug and it is very much administered to children above 3 years of age.”

There was also nothing on record to indicate that she had any mitochondrial disease which was omitted to be noticed by the doctors that could cause any complication. Justice Swaminathan reportedly said, “There are always instances when a drug does not accord with the body of the patient and that leads to unfortunate complications. The case on hand appears to be one such. Therefore, I do not find any ground to hold that the respondent anesthetists have committed any act of medical negligence.”

As the court established that there was no medical negligence, it said that there was no doubt or question about compensation. He narrated the ordeal of the petitioner’s child who “should have been discharged after successfully conducting surgery. But what the petitioner got was only the dead body of her child. Neither the petitioner nor her child was at fault.”

It further held, “When a patient is admitted in a government hospital for treatment and he/she suffers any injury or death which is not anticipated to occur in the normal course of events, even in the absence of medical negligence, the government is obliged to disburse ex gratia to the affected party. In the case on hand, liability has to be fastened on the government.”

The Court registered that Tamil Nadu has created a corpus fund toward which every Government doctor contributes a certain sum of money, and accordingly directed for the compensation of rupees 5 lakhs to be paid to the petitioner from this fund within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of copy of the instant order.

The judgment may be read here:

 

Related:

Jharkhand HC takes suo motu cognisance of burn victim's death

Shrey Hospital Fire: Four months on, no evidence yet!

Another fatal inferno in Gujarat Covid hospital!

Medical negligence, apathy and ostracisation kill more than Covid-19

Government hospital to compensate for unforeseen death and injury: Madras HC  

The court directed a government hospital to compensate an aggrieved Dalit family, albeit it was not a case of medical negligence

Madras High Court

Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madras High Court has held that the Government is obligated to offer ex gratia payment to an aggrieved party if an injury or death is caused, that is not anticipated in the normal course of nature.

The court directed the State of Tamil Nadu to pay rupees five lakhs to the family of a Dalit girl who died in 2016 after complications from the anesthesia admitted to her before a tonsil surgery.

The petitioner in this case had submitted that his daughter (the deceased) was suffering from tonsil related disease and was admitted in a government hospital for surgery. For preparing the child for surgery, anesthesia was administered but she developed some complications and was shifted to Rajaji Government Hospital, Madurai. Eventually, she went into a coma and passed away in July, 2016.

The petitioner alleged that the death of his child was purely due to medical negligence on part of the hospital and the anesthetist, and filed a writ petition demanding payment of compensation.

Court’s observations

The High Court noted that a drug by the name Propofol was administered to the child which “is not an intrinsically dangerous drug and it is very much administered to children above 3 years of age.”

There was also nothing on record to indicate that she had any mitochondrial disease which was omitted to be noticed by the doctors that could cause any complication. Justice Swaminathan reportedly said, “There are always instances when a drug does not accord with the body of the patient and that leads to unfortunate complications. The case on hand appears to be one such. Therefore, I do not find any ground to hold that the respondent anesthetists have committed any act of medical negligence.”

As the court established that there was no medical negligence, it said that there was no doubt or question about compensation. He narrated the ordeal of the petitioner’s child who “should have been discharged after successfully conducting surgery. But what the petitioner got was only the dead body of her child. Neither the petitioner nor her child was at fault.”

It further held, “When a patient is admitted in a government hospital for treatment and he/she suffers any injury or death which is not anticipated to occur in the normal course of events, even in the absence of medical negligence, the government is obliged to disburse ex gratia to the affected party. In the case on hand, liability has to be fastened on the government.”

The Court registered that Tamil Nadu has created a corpus fund toward which every Government doctor contributes a certain sum of money, and accordingly directed for the compensation of rupees 5 lakhs to be paid to the petitioner from this fund within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of copy of the instant order.

The judgment may be read here:

 

Related:

Jharkhand HC takes suo motu cognisance of burn victim's death

Shrey Hospital Fire: Four months on, no evidence yet!

Another fatal inferno in Gujarat Covid hospital!

Medical negligence, apathy and ostracisation kill more than Covid-19

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375 million Indian children to suffer after-effects of Covid-19 pandemic: State of India’s Environment 2021 report

The annual publication by CSE, comprising a 442-page report of news, views and analysis received a huge positive response from journalists and activists for its thorough information.

26 Feb 2021

Image Courtesy:nationalheraldindia.com

India is all set to usher in a ‘pandemic generation’ with 375 million children suffering Covid-19's after-effects such as being under-weight, stunting, loss of education and work productivity, said the State of India’s Environment 2021 report published by the Down To Earth magazine in association with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). This population includes children upto 14 years and over 50 percent of the 500 million children across the globe who had to leave school.

Following the report’s release on February 25, 2021, CSE Director General Sunita Narain said, “Covid-19 has made the world’s poor poorer. The pandemic is a shock response to our dystopian relationship with nature. It has amplified the inequity and deep divisions in our world.”

Narain said that places such as overcrowded settlements with no urban services like sanitation or water supply have become the most vulnerable to the disease. The report says that 115 million additional people globally may be pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic, most likely from South Asia.

Specifically focusing on India, the report ranked the country at position 117 out of 192 nations in terms of sustainable development, placing it behind all South Asian nations except Pakistan. Within the country, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana were the best performing states working on ‘Sustainable Development Goals.’ On the other hand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh were listed as the worst performing states in this category.

During an online event for the report’s release Pondy Citizen’s Action Network’s (PondyCAN) President Probir Banerjee asked officials to include union territories in the report especially following recent actions in the region to assign one pond to each neighboring school and encourage students to conserve local biodiversity.

Attendees applauded this regional effort especially considering that the CSE report stated that the problem of drinking water has long eluded households of rural India.

“11 past deadlines have been missed. The Jal Jeevan Mission’s target to provide drinking water to all rural households by 2024 will need focus on making the water source sustainable; recharge of groundwater and rainwater harvesting will be critical,” said the report.

On a positive note, the report also stated that an average 34 percent of MGNREGA funds have been spent on water-related works, leading to creation of almost 11 million assets in half a million villages, since 2014-15. At the same time, river water quality did not improve significantly during the lockdown. Five out of 19 major rivers, including Ganga river, ran dirtier during the Covid-19 period.

Applauding the detailed report, Prayas Senior Advisor Narendra Gupta from Rajasthan said the next challenge is to discuss these issues to communities whose lives are widely different from the kind of environment experts aspire for.

“We need to think how to showcase [these problems] to people and [explain] how it affects them on a daily basis. Our government gives very little opportunity for the grassroot level to do anything. This became even more pronounced during the pandemic when the Centre took all unrestricted powers in their hand. We need to change the system of governance,” he said.

To Gupta’s point, the environment report stated that out of 88 major industrial clusters in India, 35 clusters show overall environmental degradation, 33 clusters indicate worsening air quality, 45 clusters have water that is more polluted and 17 clusters have worsened land pollution.

The most polluted cluster was Tarapur in Maharashtra, as per the Central Pollution Control Board data. Development and environment journalist Atul Deolgaonkar from Maharashtra said that the zero water months during both rabi and kharif seasons have worsened conditions of state farmers. Around three farmer suicides are reported every day per day in the Marathwada area suggesting “agriculture injurious to health.”

Building on this, Vettiver Collective member Nityanand Jayaraman said that this ecological catastrophe will continue unless politics and business is wedded to environmental sustainability. “Disha Ravi and others who speak for an environmentally sustainable future are brutalised. To save the environment we have to fight to keep hope for democracy,” he said.

Further, social-environmental researcher Leo Saldanha voiced his concern about commodification of natural resources particularly in the farming sector. “This is the message from farmers that they can’t take things lying down anymore. The report should also look at activists who are also suppressed while talking about these problems,” said Saldanha.

Similarly, Society for Social Uplift Through Rural Action (SUTRA) Founder Subhash Mendhapurkar warned that incidents like Chamoli can happen again. “Hydropower projects are consented without considering ecological cost. We should also consider the gender impact of this as women are reported to have migrated to other areas,” he said.

In fact, regarding biodiversity the report said over 11,000 forestland hectares were diverted in 22 states in 2019. Eight coal projects granted clearance in ‘No-Go’ areas will divert 19,614 ha of forestland, fell over 1 million trees, and evict over 10,000 families. Experts also refuted the claim that India’s forest cover grew by 5,188 sq km since 2017 because the Forest Survey of India mistook “trees for forests” including orchards, plantations and even trees along highways as parts of forest and tree cover.

Moreover, India added 714 more tigers in the last four years but stated that the area occupied by tigers shrunk by over 17,000 sq km. Similarly, India’s flora and fauna – 438 plant species (including food crops) and 889 vertebrates and invertebrates – is under threat.

In all 34,671 environmental crimes were registered in 2019, and 49,877 cases are pending trial. To clear the backlog in a year, courts need to dispose of 137 cases a day. As for air pollution, the CSE said it caused the death of 67 million Indians in 2019, with an economic cost of over US $36,000 million, equivalent to 1.36 percent of India’s GDP.

“India desperately needs a vehicle scrappage policy. By 2025, we will have over 20 million vehicles nearing the end of their lives. These will add to the pollution and environmental damage,” said the report.

Commenting on the report, Narain said that the answer to these problems in climate-risked times lies in differently done sewage treatment and mobility systems that will move people, not cars.

Related:

Uttarakhand lost over 50,000 hectares of forest land since 1991: MoEF data
Around 170 still missing in the tragedy in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli
India drops two ranks in the Human Development Index
Gujarat’s environmental group demands cancellation of GPCL’s environmental clearance

375 million Indian children to suffer after-effects of Covid-19 pandemic: State of India’s Environment 2021 report

The annual publication by CSE, comprising a 442-page report of news, views and analysis received a huge positive response from journalists and activists for its thorough information.

Image Courtesy:nationalheraldindia.com

India is all set to usher in a ‘pandemic generation’ with 375 million children suffering Covid-19's after-effects such as being under-weight, stunting, loss of education and work productivity, said the State of India’s Environment 2021 report published by the Down To Earth magazine in association with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). This population includes children upto 14 years and over 50 percent of the 500 million children across the globe who had to leave school.

Following the report’s release on February 25, 2021, CSE Director General Sunita Narain said, “Covid-19 has made the world’s poor poorer. The pandemic is a shock response to our dystopian relationship with nature. It has amplified the inequity and deep divisions in our world.”

Narain said that places such as overcrowded settlements with no urban services like sanitation or water supply have become the most vulnerable to the disease. The report says that 115 million additional people globally may be pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic, most likely from South Asia.

Specifically focusing on India, the report ranked the country at position 117 out of 192 nations in terms of sustainable development, placing it behind all South Asian nations except Pakistan. Within the country, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana were the best performing states working on ‘Sustainable Development Goals.’ On the other hand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh were listed as the worst performing states in this category.

During an online event for the report’s release Pondy Citizen’s Action Network’s (PondyCAN) President Probir Banerjee asked officials to include union territories in the report especially following recent actions in the region to assign one pond to each neighboring school and encourage students to conserve local biodiversity.

Attendees applauded this regional effort especially considering that the CSE report stated that the problem of drinking water has long eluded households of rural India.

“11 past deadlines have been missed. The Jal Jeevan Mission’s target to provide drinking water to all rural households by 2024 will need focus on making the water source sustainable; recharge of groundwater and rainwater harvesting will be critical,” said the report.

On a positive note, the report also stated that an average 34 percent of MGNREGA funds have been spent on water-related works, leading to creation of almost 11 million assets in half a million villages, since 2014-15. At the same time, river water quality did not improve significantly during the lockdown. Five out of 19 major rivers, including Ganga river, ran dirtier during the Covid-19 period.

Applauding the detailed report, Prayas Senior Advisor Narendra Gupta from Rajasthan said the next challenge is to discuss these issues to communities whose lives are widely different from the kind of environment experts aspire for.

“We need to think how to showcase [these problems] to people and [explain] how it affects them on a daily basis. Our government gives very little opportunity for the grassroot level to do anything. This became even more pronounced during the pandemic when the Centre took all unrestricted powers in their hand. We need to change the system of governance,” he said.

To Gupta’s point, the environment report stated that out of 88 major industrial clusters in India, 35 clusters show overall environmental degradation, 33 clusters indicate worsening air quality, 45 clusters have water that is more polluted and 17 clusters have worsened land pollution.

The most polluted cluster was Tarapur in Maharashtra, as per the Central Pollution Control Board data. Development and environment journalist Atul Deolgaonkar from Maharashtra said that the zero water months during both rabi and kharif seasons have worsened conditions of state farmers. Around three farmer suicides are reported every day per day in the Marathwada area suggesting “agriculture injurious to health.”

Building on this, Vettiver Collective member Nityanand Jayaraman said that this ecological catastrophe will continue unless politics and business is wedded to environmental sustainability. “Disha Ravi and others who speak for an environmentally sustainable future are brutalised. To save the environment we have to fight to keep hope for democracy,” he said.

Further, social-environmental researcher Leo Saldanha voiced his concern about commodification of natural resources particularly in the farming sector. “This is the message from farmers that they can’t take things lying down anymore. The report should also look at activists who are also suppressed while talking about these problems,” said Saldanha.

Similarly, Society for Social Uplift Through Rural Action (SUTRA) Founder Subhash Mendhapurkar warned that incidents like Chamoli can happen again. “Hydropower projects are consented without considering ecological cost. We should also consider the gender impact of this as women are reported to have migrated to other areas,” he said.

In fact, regarding biodiversity the report said over 11,000 forestland hectares were diverted in 22 states in 2019. Eight coal projects granted clearance in ‘No-Go’ areas will divert 19,614 ha of forestland, fell over 1 million trees, and evict over 10,000 families. Experts also refuted the claim that India’s forest cover grew by 5,188 sq km since 2017 because the Forest Survey of India mistook “trees for forests” including orchards, plantations and even trees along highways as parts of forest and tree cover.

Moreover, India added 714 more tigers in the last four years but stated that the area occupied by tigers shrunk by over 17,000 sq km. Similarly, India’s flora and fauna – 438 plant species (including food crops) and 889 vertebrates and invertebrates – is under threat.

In all 34,671 environmental crimes were registered in 2019, and 49,877 cases are pending trial. To clear the backlog in a year, courts need to dispose of 137 cases a day. As for air pollution, the CSE said it caused the death of 67 million Indians in 2019, with an economic cost of over US $36,000 million, equivalent to 1.36 percent of India’s GDP.

“India desperately needs a vehicle scrappage policy. By 2025, we will have over 20 million vehicles nearing the end of their lives. These will add to the pollution and environmental damage,” said the report.

Commenting on the report, Narain said that the answer to these problems in climate-risked times lies in differently done sewage treatment and mobility systems that will move people, not cars.

Related:

Uttarakhand lost over 50,000 hectares of forest land since 1991: MoEF data
Around 170 still missing in the tragedy in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli
India drops two ranks in the Human Development Index
Gujarat’s environmental group demands cancellation of GPCL’s environmental clearance

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Will the two Union Ministers condemn Patanjali?

WHO rejected its claim on Coronil being approved for Covid 19

23 Feb 2021

Image Courtesy:nationalheraldindia.com

When I got a Facebook notification related to the inauguration of Patanjali's Coronil in the presence of two central Ministers, I was surprised. This is because last year, Ramdev claimed that his company has been able to find a medication for Covid 19 after much 'research' and 'testing' on the patients. But later the Ministry of Ayush in the month of June, declined to give him permission to claim it had a vaccine for Corona.

According to a report published in The Hindu, Ramdev says that the daily demand for Coronil is 10 lakh packs a day, but Patanjali is unable to fulfil that as it can only supply one lakh packs a day. Now the question is how can such a product be allowed to be sold in the market?

We all know that Ramdev is using religion and yoga to promote the dubious business, and this government has been more than happy to promote him. Basically, they compliment each other. While one can ignore the other things related to Patanjali which makes tall claims, it is criminal to ignore, promote or encourage senseless or fake claims related to cure of Corona when scientists world over are grappling with it and when the world is fighting against one of the most lethal diseases which threatens humanity.

The shameless and thuggish way that he claimed, in the presence of two ministers, that Coronil has got approval and clearance from the World Health Organisation shocked me! I felt that this government might have used its influence on WHO and probably that is why these Ministers are here. It was shocking to hear and what was a blunder was the presence of the Health Minister who did not utter a word that Coronil is not a treatment or medication to cure Covid 19. Ramdev claiming things in the presence of two ministers and their approval to what he said, suggested that politicians are ready to lose international credibility for the sake of domestic constituencies.

The two ministers, Nitin Gadkari and Harsh Vardhan, became party to a fraud by Patanjali which shamelessly dragged the name of World Health Organisation. Ramdev and his company have flouted rules and regulations without any fear as they know that the ruling party is more than happy to promote and encourage him. This is the best example of how crony capitalism functions and what is the outcome when capitalism and religion mix together.

The Hindutva propaganda media was more than eager to jump on the fallacy of Ramdev Covid vaccination claim. These rogues actually are endangering the lives of millions of people by actively participating in fake news. For their fake nationalism, they are ready to use the fake news without ever checking its credentials. Unfortunately, when the Union Health Minister participates in it then it is seriously the issue of propriety and ethics. Both the Ministers must explain what prompted them to go to participate in the programme launched by Ramdev and why they allowed themselves to be used by him.

Ramdev's fake claims have been rejected by the World Health Organisation. It is surprising for all as to why WHO should give authorisation or certification, but WHO today has become what NASA used to be once upon a time. We must not ignore that once a boy from Balia was congratulated in the UP Assembly in the year 2005 for topping 'International scientist Discovery' conducted by NASA which later found out to be fake news. It is important to know how and why these fake news look 'real' and the answer lies in our 'attempt' to look the 'best' and 'most outstanding'. I know we all love to be famed people, achievable and omnipresent and omnipotent yet there are realities whether we really deserve it without working harder.

It is good that the World Health Organisation issued a clarification that it has not given any certification to Patanjali research. Actually, all the TV channels who have been imposing the thuggish Patanjali on us need to explain their conduct. The shouting brigade of Sharmas, Chaudhries, Chaurasias, Dubeys, Tripathis, Devgans must be asked to explain their shameless behavior and being party to defame our country and dupe the people for buying a fake vaccine.

Indian Medical Association has sought clarification from Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan. IMA is rightly shocked and we are happy that it showed some spine at the moment when the Minister who himself is a well known doctor is seen in promoting a product which is neither certified nor scientific. IMA said, "Being the Health Minister of the country, how justified is it to release such falsely fabricated unscientific products to people of the whole country...can you clarify the time frame, timeline for the so-called clinical trial of this said anti-corona product?"

"The country needs an explanation from the minister. The Indian Medical Association will also write to National Medical Commission seeking suo moto explanation for his blatant disrespect to the code of conduct of Medical Council of India," the IMA said.

We demand a ban on Patanjali products for persistently spreading fake and malicious propaganda regarding its product and violating all the business and medical ethics. The government must investigate the Patanjali products as well as its commercial practices to find whether or not they violate norms and ethics? The two ministers M/s Nitin Gadakari and Dr Harshvardhan must explain their presence at the ceremony and should completely dissociate themselves with such unethical behaviour. Let us see whether the two ministers have the courage and conviction to do so?

Related:

IMA questions Health Minister's support to Ramdev's Coronil

 

Will the two Union Ministers condemn Patanjali?

WHO rejected its claim on Coronil being approved for Covid 19

Image Courtesy:nationalheraldindia.com

When I got a Facebook notification related to the inauguration of Patanjali's Coronil in the presence of two central Ministers, I was surprised. This is because last year, Ramdev claimed that his company has been able to find a medication for Covid 19 after much 'research' and 'testing' on the patients. But later the Ministry of Ayush in the month of June, declined to give him permission to claim it had a vaccine for Corona.

According to a report published in The Hindu, Ramdev says that the daily demand for Coronil is 10 lakh packs a day, but Patanjali is unable to fulfil that as it can only supply one lakh packs a day. Now the question is how can such a product be allowed to be sold in the market?

We all know that Ramdev is using religion and yoga to promote the dubious business, and this government has been more than happy to promote him. Basically, they compliment each other. While one can ignore the other things related to Patanjali which makes tall claims, it is criminal to ignore, promote or encourage senseless or fake claims related to cure of Corona when scientists world over are grappling with it and when the world is fighting against one of the most lethal diseases which threatens humanity.

The shameless and thuggish way that he claimed, in the presence of two ministers, that Coronil has got approval and clearance from the World Health Organisation shocked me! I felt that this government might have used its influence on WHO and probably that is why these Ministers are here. It was shocking to hear and what was a blunder was the presence of the Health Minister who did not utter a word that Coronil is not a treatment or medication to cure Covid 19. Ramdev claiming things in the presence of two ministers and their approval to what he said, suggested that politicians are ready to lose international credibility for the sake of domestic constituencies.

The two ministers, Nitin Gadkari and Harsh Vardhan, became party to a fraud by Patanjali which shamelessly dragged the name of World Health Organisation. Ramdev and his company have flouted rules and regulations without any fear as they know that the ruling party is more than happy to promote and encourage him. This is the best example of how crony capitalism functions and what is the outcome when capitalism and religion mix together.

The Hindutva propaganda media was more than eager to jump on the fallacy of Ramdev Covid vaccination claim. These rogues actually are endangering the lives of millions of people by actively participating in fake news. For their fake nationalism, they are ready to use the fake news without ever checking its credentials. Unfortunately, when the Union Health Minister participates in it then it is seriously the issue of propriety and ethics. Both the Ministers must explain what prompted them to go to participate in the programme launched by Ramdev and why they allowed themselves to be used by him.

Ramdev's fake claims have been rejected by the World Health Organisation. It is surprising for all as to why WHO should give authorisation or certification, but WHO today has become what NASA used to be once upon a time. We must not ignore that once a boy from Balia was congratulated in the UP Assembly in the year 2005 for topping 'International scientist Discovery' conducted by NASA which later found out to be fake news. It is important to know how and why these fake news look 'real' and the answer lies in our 'attempt' to look the 'best' and 'most outstanding'. I know we all love to be famed people, achievable and omnipresent and omnipotent yet there are realities whether we really deserve it without working harder.

It is good that the World Health Organisation issued a clarification that it has not given any certification to Patanjali research. Actually, all the TV channels who have been imposing the thuggish Patanjali on us need to explain their conduct. The shouting brigade of Sharmas, Chaudhries, Chaurasias, Dubeys, Tripathis, Devgans must be asked to explain their shameless behavior and being party to defame our country and dupe the people for buying a fake vaccine.

Indian Medical Association has sought clarification from Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan. IMA is rightly shocked and we are happy that it showed some spine at the moment when the Minister who himself is a well known doctor is seen in promoting a product which is neither certified nor scientific. IMA said, "Being the Health Minister of the country, how justified is it to release such falsely fabricated unscientific products to people of the whole country...can you clarify the time frame, timeline for the so-called clinical trial of this said anti-corona product?"

"The country needs an explanation from the minister. The Indian Medical Association will also write to National Medical Commission seeking suo moto explanation for his blatant disrespect to the code of conduct of Medical Council of India," the IMA said.

We demand a ban on Patanjali products for persistently spreading fake and malicious propaganda regarding its product and violating all the business and medical ethics. The government must investigate the Patanjali products as well as its commercial practices to find whether or not they violate norms and ethics? The two ministers M/s Nitin Gadakari and Dr Harshvardhan must explain their presence at the ceremony and should completely dissociate themselves with such unethical behaviour. Let us see whether the two ministers have the courage and conviction to do so?

Related:

IMA questions Health Minister's support to Ramdev's Coronil

 

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IMA questions Health Minister's support to Ramdev's Coronil

The Association said it was surprised that the Health Minister himself who is a modern medicine doctor by qualification is promoting a drug

23 Feb 2021

coronil

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has issued a strongly worded press Release expressing its utter disbelief that a blatant lie was peddled by Patanjali about ‘Coronil’ being certified medicine, in the presence of Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

Baba Ramdev, founder of Patanjali launched ‘Coronil’ which he claims is the first evidence-based medicine for Covid-19 and that it can be used for prevention, treatment of Covid-19 and in the post-phase treatment as well. As per IMA, he also claimed at the press conference in the presence of Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan that ‘Coronil’ has gotten approval from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) as well as been certified by the World Health organization (WHO).

The WHO on the other hand clarified that it has not reviewed or certified “any traditional medicine” for treatment of Covid-19.

 

 

“The said false and fabricated projection of an unscientific medicine by the Health Minister to the entire country and being rejected by WHO is a slap and insult to the people of the country. This is a blatant deceiving of the people of the country,” the statement reads.

The statement released by Patanjali reads, “Coronil has received the certificate of pharmaceutical product (COPP) from the AYUSH section of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization as per the WHO certification scheme”. The launch event was also attended by Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari along side Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

The statement cites the code of conduct under Medical Council of India Act which states that no doctor can promote any drug with his name, photograph or any manner of advertising. The IMA states that it is surprised that the Minister himself who is a modern medicine doctor by qualification is promoting a drug.

The IMA questions if Coronil is effective for prevention then why is the government spending 35,000 crores for vaccination? The IMA has questioned the false projections, release of falsely fabricated and unscientific product and promotion of the same in an unethical manner by the Health Minister. It also asks about details of the clinical trials conducted to determine the efficacy of this medicine.

The country needs an explanation from the Hon’ble Minister, IMA said. It said that it respects Ayurveda and it should not be adulterated on pretext of market gain for some monopoly corporate.

Last year in July, Patanjali had claimed that Coronil could provide strong protection against COVID-19 but the AYUSH Ministry had issued a clarification that it can only be used as an immunity booster.

The statement may be read here:

 

 

Related:

Bihar Covid data fudged: Opposition demands inquiry

Professor G N Saibaba tests Covid-19 positive in Nagpur jail

Communalisation of COVID-19: A Bebaak Collective report

IMA questions Health Minister's support to Ramdev's Coronil

The Association said it was surprised that the Health Minister himself who is a modern medicine doctor by qualification is promoting a drug

coronil

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has issued a strongly worded press Release expressing its utter disbelief that a blatant lie was peddled by Patanjali about ‘Coronil’ being certified medicine, in the presence of Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

Baba Ramdev, founder of Patanjali launched ‘Coronil’ which he claims is the first evidence-based medicine for Covid-19 and that it can be used for prevention, treatment of Covid-19 and in the post-phase treatment as well. As per IMA, he also claimed at the press conference in the presence of Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan that ‘Coronil’ has gotten approval from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) as well as been certified by the World Health organization (WHO).

The WHO on the other hand clarified that it has not reviewed or certified “any traditional medicine” for treatment of Covid-19.

 

 

“The said false and fabricated projection of an unscientific medicine by the Health Minister to the entire country and being rejected by WHO is a slap and insult to the people of the country. This is a blatant deceiving of the people of the country,” the statement reads.

The statement released by Patanjali reads, “Coronil has received the certificate of pharmaceutical product (COPP) from the AYUSH section of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization as per the WHO certification scheme”. The launch event was also attended by Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari along side Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

The statement cites the code of conduct under Medical Council of India Act which states that no doctor can promote any drug with his name, photograph or any manner of advertising. The IMA states that it is surprised that the Minister himself who is a modern medicine doctor by qualification is promoting a drug.

The IMA questions if Coronil is effective for prevention then why is the government spending 35,000 crores for vaccination? The IMA has questioned the false projections, release of falsely fabricated and unscientific product and promotion of the same in an unethical manner by the Health Minister. It also asks about details of the clinical trials conducted to determine the efficacy of this medicine.

The country needs an explanation from the Hon’ble Minister, IMA said. It said that it respects Ayurveda and it should not be adulterated on pretext of market gain for some monopoly corporate.

Last year in July, Patanjali had claimed that Coronil could provide strong protection against COVID-19 but the AYUSH Ministry had issued a clarification that it can only be used as an immunity booster.

The statement may be read here:

 

 

Related:

Bihar Covid data fudged: Opposition demands inquiry

Professor G N Saibaba tests Covid-19 positive in Nagpur jail

Communalisation of COVID-19: A Bebaak Collective report

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Is there Social Justice in the Digital Economy?

Work from home has become the new normal, but this is a luxury only for those who have computes, smartphones and internet access

20 Feb 2021

social justice

This year the World Day of Social Justice (20 February) is being observed in extremely trying times all over the world. The first signs and cases of the pandemic had already gripped parts of the world in December 2019; but it was not until after the middle of February 2020, did the seriousness of the situation actually set in. Governments everywhere, UN agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), went into a frenzy. The concerted effort was not only to stop the deaths, to contain the pandemic Covid-19 but also to find effective preventives and cures to address what is regarded as the deadliest virus to hit humankind in recent times.

In a matter of time, nations and cities were locked down; international and domestic travel was stopped; factories, offices, educational institutions closed. All normal routine life which most took for granted – was either woefully disrupted or came to a grinding halt. Economies, particularly of the poorer nations, were shattered. For almost a year now a ‘new normal’ began to emerge: it is called ‘work from home’ (WFH); in short, it meant you needed to have a digital device: be it a computer or a smartphone and of course, a good, stable internet connectivity. So, millions of people found some solace in this; students had online classes, discussions and even official meetings took place over webinars.

A whole range of challenges and social concerns thus emerged due to this latest form of work: what about those whose lives and livelihoods are centred on daily physical presence: workers on a building construction site or for that matter, a street hawker? What about those who cannot afford to buy one of these sophisticated gadgets or who do not have access to good internet connectivity? Whilst the pandemic created the environments of remote working by digital platforms, it also caused a digital divide as there were several factors that detrimentally influenced labour opportunities. It is appropriate then that the theme chosen for World Day of Social Justice is A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy’, with a view to address the challenges and concerns.

The introduction to the theme states, “The digital economy is transforming the world of work. Over the past decade, expansion in broadband connectivity, cloud computing, and data have led to the proliferation of digital platforms, which have penetrated several sectors of the economy and societies. Since early 2020, the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have led to remote working arrangements and allowed for the continuation of many business activities, further reinforcing the growth and impact of the digital economy. The crisis has also laid bare and exacerbated the growing digital divide within, between and across developed and developing countries, particularly in terms of the availability, affordability and use of information ICTs and access to the internet, deepening existing inequalities”.

The hi-tech elite will surely point out to the many positives in a digital economy; one can surely go on ‘ad nauseam’ highlighting some of the benefits accrued because of the digital platforms to this modern age. Unfortunately, an objective and a more dispassionate look into reality, will clearly show the negative impact the digital economy has on millions of people: the casual workers, the migrant workers, the small entrepreneurs and other subalterns who have suffered immensely this past year. They have all fallen victims to newer forms of injustice which though not very visible, are as brutal and oppressive as the more traditional and obvious ones.

The ordinary labourer is the most affected by the digital economy. One of the most pathetic sights on the TV screens and the print media was to see pictures of migrant workers from several of the big cities walking back to their homes in the rural areas, in the height of the pandemic.  Many of them, for want of public transportation, had to trudge back miles because of the lockdown. The urban informal sector was badly hit everywhere. These were ordinary men and women, for whom digital platforms mean absolutely nothing. Their work is of a physical nature, most of them are location-based, earn a daily wage, live frugally and save a little for their families who in most cases, live in rural areas. Millions of workers lost their jobs overnight; even on their return, in some states like UP and Gujarat they had to agree to new policies with longer hours of work, with lesser wages and without access to a trade union. The three labour codes, which are blatantly anti-worker, were shoved down by an uncaring Government and their crony capitalist friends during the pandemic.

In his pathbreaking Encyclical of 1891, ‘Rerum Novarum’, Pope Leo XIII wrote “When there is question of defending the rights of individuals, the poor and badly off have a claim to especial consideration. The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor has no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State”. One hundred years later, in 1991, later (now Saint) John Paul II in his encyclical ‘Centesimus Annus’ said, “Justice will never be fully attained unless people see in the poor person, who is asking for help in order to survive, not an annoyance or a burden, but an opportunity for showing kindness and a chance for greater enrichment”.

Last May, Pope Francis spoke very strongly about the plight of the migrant workers saying, “I want to defend all exploited workers and I invite everyone to turn the crisis (the pandemic) into an occasion where the dignity of the person and the dignity of work can be put back at the centre of things.” Fifty years ago, the 1971 Synod of Bishops on ‘Justice in the World’ ushered in a watershed moment for the Church. The Synodal document stated that, “In the face of the present-day situation of the world, marked as it is by the grave sin of injustice, we recognize both our responsibility and our inability to overcome it by our own strength. Such a situation urges us to listen with a humble and open heart to the word of God, as he shows us new paths toward action in the cause of justice in the world." A call so painfully relevant today.

Another dimension which needs to be addressed, where the digital economy is concerned, is called ‘digital fascism’. We are experiencing a painful explosion of this fascism in India in the recent past. It is a fascism which spews hate, is divisive in nature and keeps large sections of the population in a state of impoverishment and with the denial of human rights. In an excellent analytical article in the popular online portal ‘Counterpunch(18February 2021) entitled ‘What Is Digital Fascism?’, authors Thomas Klikauer  and Norman Simms write, compared to the classical type, digital fascism may well be furnished with the greatest propaganda machine the world has ever seen – the Internet. Unlike, classical fascism which used printed newspapers and radio, digital fascism transmits its hate messages through the Internet”; they go on to add, “digital fascism thrives on political half-truths, bull shit, accidental misinformation, deliberate disinformation, apocalyptic end-of-the-white-race delusions, rumours, innuendo, hate campaigns, falsehoods, crank palaver, and, of course, the infamous conspiracy theories which in reality have never been “theories” but are conspiracy fantasies”.

‘Digital fascists’ are able to plant fabricated yet incriminating ‘evidence’ in the computers of human rights defenders and dissenters. This has been meticulously revealed in the explosive report recently released by Arsenal Consulting, a Massachusetts -based digital forensic company. Arsenal has found that malware was used to insert incriminating letters and other documents into the computer of Rona Wilson, a prisoners’ rights activist. Wilson is one of the sixteen incarcerated in the Bhima -Koregaon conspiracy case. It goes without saying that similar ‘evidence’ is also planted in the computers of the others.  Then we have the other cases of environmental activist Disha Ravi and others who apparently used a ‘tool-kit’ in tandem with Greta Thunberg; suddenly the godified fascist media is all in a frenzy with all kinds of allegations of sedition, anti-national activities and so on. Fascists are also very selective the so-called celebrities who vociferously posted protest tweets prior to 2014 when the UPA Government was in power against the petrol hike at that time- does not dare protest when the price of fuel has reached an all time high of Rs 100/- per litre and at a time when the global prices have plummeted rock-bottom

 

Klikauer and Simms underline this saying, “So far the conflict lies between an open society with free speech at its core, on the one side, and a closed one where right-wing extremists to use the same online platforms to destroy it. These fanatics replace them with anti-democratic and above race-based media remains unsolved. But how this comes about remains an unsolved mystery. Perhaps, it is just as Hitler’s Reich Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, once said, “It will always remain one of the best jokes of democracy, that it gave its deadly enemies the means by which it was destroyed.“ Today, it seems that democracy will give its deadly enemies (digital fascists) the means (e.g., Facebook) which these fascists will use to destroy democracy. Unfortunately, this is no joke”.

The digital economy has therefore thrown up a plethora of justice related issues; a similar reality emerged in the wake of the industrial revolution. What happens to those for whom digital platforms make   no sense?  For many it is not about possessing a mobile phone but if that gadget can earn them their daily wage.  What about those who are selectively targeted by digital fascists? The UN hopes that this year's commemoration of World Day of Social Justice would support “efforts by the international community to search for solutions to achieve sustainable development, poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, universal social protection, gender equality and access to social well-being and justice for all. Consequently, it aims at fostering dialogue with member States and relevant UN institutions and other stakeholders on actions needed to overcome the digital divide, provide decent work opportunities, and protect labour and human rights in the modern era of digital technologies”.

To make this lofty ideal a reality, will certainly need not only a political will but the active collaboration and commitment of all people of goodwill. Given the sad reality that in India and in some other countries of the world fascism is on the rise, the one question which needs to be put and answered on World Day of Social Justice: Is there Social Justice in the Digital Economy?

 *(Fr Cedric Prakash is a human rights, reconciliation and peace activist/writer. Contact: cedricprakash@gmail.com )


More by Fr. Cedric Prakash:

Stand with Stan, Now!

Indian Civil Society is being Murdered!

Is there Social Justice in the Digital Economy?

Work from home has become the new normal, but this is a luxury only for those who have computes, smartphones and internet access

social justice

This year the World Day of Social Justice (20 February) is being observed in extremely trying times all over the world. The first signs and cases of the pandemic had already gripped parts of the world in December 2019; but it was not until after the middle of February 2020, did the seriousness of the situation actually set in. Governments everywhere, UN agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), went into a frenzy. The concerted effort was not only to stop the deaths, to contain the pandemic Covid-19 but also to find effective preventives and cures to address what is regarded as the deadliest virus to hit humankind in recent times.

In a matter of time, nations and cities were locked down; international and domestic travel was stopped; factories, offices, educational institutions closed. All normal routine life which most took for granted – was either woefully disrupted or came to a grinding halt. Economies, particularly of the poorer nations, were shattered. For almost a year now a ‘new normal’ began to emerge: it is called ‘work from home’ (WFH); in short, it meant you needed to have a digital device: be it a computer or a smartphone and of course, a good, stable internet connectivity. So, millions of people found some solace in this; students had online classes, discussions and even official meetings took place over webinars.

A whole range of challenges and social concerns thus emerged due to this latest form of work: what about those whose lives and livelihoods are centred on daily physical presence: workers on a building construction site or for that matter, a street hawker? What about those who cannot afford to buy one of these sophisticated gadgets or who do not have access to good internet connectivity? Whilst the pandemic created the environments of remote working by digital platforms, it also caused a digital divide as there were several factors that detrimentally influenced labour opportunities. It is appropriate then that the theme chosen for World Day of Social Justice is A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy’, with a view to address the challenges and concerns.

The introduction to the theme states, “The digital economy is transforming the world of work. Over the past decade, expansion in broadband connectivity, cloud computing, and data have led to the proliferation of digital platforms, which have penetrated several sectors of the economy and societies. Since early 2020, the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have led to remote working arrangements and allowed for the continuation of many business activities, further reinforcing the growth and impact of the digital economy. The crisis has also laid bare and exacerbated the growing digital divide within, between and across developed and developing countries, particularly in terms of the availability, affordability and use of information ICTs and access to the internet, deepening existing inequalities”.

The hi-tech elite will surely point out to the many positives in a digital economy; one can surely go on ‘ad nauseam’ highlighting some of the benefits accrued because of the digital platforms to this modern age. Unfortunately, an objective and a more dispassionate look into reality, will clearly show the negative impact the digital economy has on millions of people: the casual workers, the migrant workers, the small entrepreneurs and other subalterns who have suffered immensely this past year. They have all fallen victims to newer forms of injustice which though not very visible, are as brutal and oppressive as the more traditional and obvious ones.

The ordinary labourer is the most affected by the digital economy. One of the most pathetic sights on the TV screens and the print media was to see pictures of migrant workers from several of the big cities walking back to their homes in the rural areas, in the height of the pandemic.  Many of them, for want of public transportation, had to trudge back miles because of the lockdown. The urban informal sector was badly hit everywhere. These were ordinary men and women, for whom digital platforms mean absolutely nothing. Their work is of a physical nature, most of them are location-based, earn a daily wage, live frugally and save a little for their families who in most cases, live in rural areas. Millions of workers lost their jobs overnight; even on their return, in some states like UP and Gujarat they had to agree to new policies with longer hours of work, with lesser wages and without access to a trade union. The three labour codes, which are blatantly anti-worker, were shoved down by an uncaring Government and their crony capitalist friends during the pandemic.

In his pathbreaking Encyclical of 1891, ‘Rerum Novarum’, Pope Leo XIII wrote “When there is question of defending the rights of individuals, the poor and badly off have a claim to especial consideration. The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor has no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State”. One hundred years later, in 1991, later (now Saint) John Paul II in his encyclical ‘Centesimus Annus’ said, “Justice will never be fully attained unless people see in the poor person, who is asking for help in order to survive, not an annoyance or a burden, but an opportunity for showing kindness and a chance for greater enrichment”.

Last May, Pope Francis spoke very strongly about the plight of the migrant workers saying, “I want to defend all exploited workers and I invite everyone to turn the crisis (the pandemic) into an occasion where the dignity of the person and the dignity of work can be put back at the centre of things.” Fifty years ago, the 1971 Synod of Bishops on ‘Justice in the World’ ushered in a watershed moment for the Church. The Synodal document stated that, “In the face of the present-day situation of the world, marked as it is by the grave sin of injustice, we recognize both our responsibility and our inability to overcome it by our own strength. Such a situation urges us to listen with a humble and open heart to the word of God, as he shows us new paths toward action in the cause of justice in the world." A call so painfully relevant today.

Another dimension which needs to be addressed, where the digital economy is concerned, is called ‘digital fascism’. We are experiencing a painful explosion of this fascism in India in the recent past. It is a fascism which spews hate, is divisive in nature and keeps large sections of the population in a state of impoverishment and with the denial of human rights. In an excellent analytical article in the popular online portal ‘Counterpunch(18February 2021) entitled ‘What Is Digital Fascism?’, authors Thomas Klikauer  and Norman Simms write, compared to the classical type, digital fascism may well be furnished with the greatest propaganda machine the world has ever seen – the Internet. Unlike, classical fascism which used printed newspapers and radio, digital fascism transmits its hate messages through the Internet”; they go on to add, “digital fascism thrives on political half-truths, bull shit, accidental misinformation, deliberate disinformation, apocalyptic end-of-the-white-race delusions, rumours, innuendo, hate campaigns, falsehoods, crank palaver, and, of course, the infamous conspiracy theories which in reality have never been “theories” but are conspiracy fantasies”.

‘Digital fascists’ are able to plant fabricated yet incriminating ‘evidence’ in the computers of human rights defenders and dissenters. This has been meticulously revealed in the explosive report recently released by Arsenal Consulting, a Massachusetts -based digital forensic company. Arsenal has found that malware was used to insert incriminating letters and other documents into the computer of Rona Wilson, a prisoners’ rights activist. Wilson is one of the sixteen incarcerated in the Bhima -Koregaon conspiracy case. It goes without saying that similar ‘evidence’ is also planted in the computers of the others.  Then we have the other cases of environmental activist Disha Ravi and others who apparently used a ‘tool-kit’ in tandem with Greta Thunberg; suddenly the godified fascist media is all in a frenzy with all kinds of allegations of sedition, anti-national activities and so on. Fascists are also very selective the so-called celebrities who vociferously posted protest tweets prior to 2014 when the UPA Government was in power against the petrol hike at that time- does not dare protest when the price of fuel has reached an all time high of Rs 100/- per litre and at a time when the global prices have plummeted rock-bottom

 

Klikauer and Simms underline this saying, “So far the conflict lies between an open society with free speech at its core, on the one side, and a closed one where right-wing extremists to use the same online platforms to destroy it. These fanatics replace them with anti-democratic and above race-based media remains unsolved. But how this comes about remains an unsolved mystery. Perhaps, it is just as Hitler’s Reich Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, once said, “It will always remain one of the best jokes of democracy, that it gave its deadly enemies the means by which it was destroyed.“ Today, it seems that democracy will give its deadly enemies (digital fascists) the means (e.g., Facebook) which these fascists will use to destroy democracy. Unfortunately, this is no joke”.

The digital economy has therefore thrown up a plethora of justice related issues; a similar reality emerged in the wake of the industrial revolution. What happens to those for whom digital platforms make   no sense?  For many it is not about possessing a mobile phone but if that gadget can earn them their daily wage.  What about those who are selectively targeted by digital fascists? The UN hopes that this year's commemoration of World Day of Social Justice would support “efforts by the international community to search for solutions to achieve sustainable development, poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, universal social protection, gender equality and access to social well-being and justice for all. Consequently, it aims at fostering dialogue with member States and relevant UN institutions and other stakeholders on actions needed to overcome the digital divide, provide decent work opportunities, and protect labour and human rights in the modern era of digital technologies”.

To make this lofty ideal a reality, will certainly need not only a political will but the active collaboration and commitment of all people of goodwill. Given the sad reality that in India and in some other countries of the world fascism is on the rise, the one question which needs to be put and answered on World Day of Social Justice: Is there Social Justice in the Digital Economy?

 *(Fr Cedric Prakash is a human rights, reconciliation and peace activist/writer. Contact: cedricprakash@gmail.com )


More by Fr. Cedric Prakash:

Stand with Stan, Now!

Indian Civil Society is being Murdered!

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Still no respite for Varavara Rao, Bombay HC reserves order

Dr. Rao’s lawyers have argued that he be granted bail and allowed to relocate to Hyderabad with his family for proper care

01 Feb 2021

Image Courtesy:republicworld.com

The Bombay High Court continued to hear Bhima Koregaon accused Dr. Varavara Rao’s bail matter on medical grounds today, on February 1. The Bench has reserved its order and in the interim, Dr. Rao will remain admitted in Nanavati Hospital.

Bar & Bench reported that Justice SS Shinde informed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Counsel Anil Singh, that the medical reports submitted to the court does not clarify whether Rao suffers from dementia or not. Taking into account the medical reports from all hospitals, Justice Shinde remarked, “How can we ignore the reports of JJ Hospital, St. George and Taloja, we can't go by the last report only. St. George’s report from last year mentions dementia.”

Further, Justice Shinde asked Senior Counsel Anand Grover, appearing for Dr. Rao if his relatives were satisfied with the treatment, he has been receiving at Nanavati Hospital and that whether he should be shifted to JJ Hospital since the bail is being sought on medical grounds, tweeted LiveLaw.

Senior Counsel Grover told the Division Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale that the fact that the State is arguing for Dr. Rao’s admission in JJ Hospital, it is clear that they accept Taloja jail’s incapability to take care of him.

According to LiveLaw, Anand Grover argued that it was “torture” to keep Dr. Rao in JJ Hospital, a hot bed of infections, especially when Nanavati Hospital’s report says that indoor management is not required. He said, “He is neurologically compromised. The best treatment is with friends and family.”

As Justice Shinde wondered about the suggestion that Dr. Varavara could be released on bail but only in Mumbai, Anand Grover contended that his family is based out of Hyderabad and that it would be more appropriate if he is allowed to go to Hyderabad only for three months. He argued that the jailed poet has had “exemplary record” and for the serious charges against him in 24 cases, he has stood trial. He further argued that he has either been acquitted or discharged except in three pending cases, reported LiveLaw.

Chief Public Prosecutor for the State, Deepak Thakre opposed the prayer to send him to Hyderabad and submitted that it was not about Taloja Jail’s lack of medical facilities, but the kind of monitoring being sought that cannot be fulfilled. Hence, the State prayed for him to be shifted to JJ Hospital.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, representing Dr. Varavara Rao requested the court to observe that he is still an undertrial and that his continuing incarceration is incompatible to his health, tweeted Bar & Bench. “This is a victimless crime; death penalty will not be attracted as he has not killed anyone. While stating that his crimes were serious, what were his crimes? Some evidence was found in a co-accused’s electronic files which mentions his names. But that is also a purported conspiracy”, she submitted orally.

Jaising further reiterated that the care provided to him by his family in Hyderabad will be unmatched to any care and treatment elsewhere in the country. Bar & Bench also reported that Senior Advocate Jaising referred to the case of a 38- year- old UAPA accused Kanchan Nanaware, who died on January 24, after six years of incarceration, before the trial against her could begin and before her medical bail could be decided.

She concluded by remarking, “Life is dear to everyone, including a prisoner, and the court is here to protect it. The record speaks for itself, out of 365 days in a year he has spent 149 days in hospital.”

The court then reserved his bail matter for orders.

Related:

Varavara Rao bail: Bom HC questions if keeping him in custody will be detrimental to his health
Varavara Rao seeks temporary bail, State suggests transfer to JJ Hospital

Still no respite for Varavara Rao, Bombay HC reserves order

Dr. Rao’s lawyers have argued that he be granted bail and allowed to relocate to Hyderabad with his family for proper care

Image Courtesy:republicworld.com

The Bombay High Court continued to hear Bhima Koregaon accused Dr. Varavara Rao’s bail matter on medical grounds today, on February 1. The Bench has reserved its order and in the interim, Dr. Rao will remain admitted in Nanavati Hospital.

Bar & Bench reported that Justice SS Shinde informed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Counsel Anil Singh, that the medical reports submitted to the court does not clarify whether Rao suffers from dementia or not. Taking into account the medical reports from all hospitals, Justice Shinde remarked, “How can we ignore the reports of JJ Hospital, St. George and Taloja, we can't go by the last report only. St. George’s report from last year mentions dementia.”

Further, Justice Shinde asked Senior Counsel Anand Grover, appearing for Dr. Rao if his relatives were satisfied with the treatment, he has been receiving at Nanavati Hospital and that whether he should be shifted to JJ Hospital since the bail is being sought on medical grounds, tweeted LiveLaw.

Senior Counsel Grover told the Division Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale that the fact that the State is arguing for Dr. Rao’s admission in JJ Hospital, it is clear that they accept Taloja jail’s incapability to take care of him.

According to LiveLaw, Anand Grover argued that it was “torture” to keep Dr. Rao in JJ Hospital, a hot bed of infections, especially when Nanavati Hospital’s report says that indoor management is not required. He said, “He is neurologically compromised. The best treatment is with friends and family.”

As Justice Shinde wondered about the suggestion that Dr. Varavara could be released on bail but only in Mumbai, Anand Grover contended that his family is based out of Hyderabad and that it would be more appropriate if he is allowed to go to Hyderabad only for three months. He argued that the jailed poet has had “exemplary record” and for the serious charges against him in 24 cases, he has stood trial. He further argued that he has either been acquitted or discharged except in three pending cases, reported LiveLaw.

Chief Public Prosecutor for the State, Deepak Thakre opposed the prayer to send him to Hyderabad and submitted that it was not about Taloja Jail’s lack of medical facilities, but the kind of monitoring being sought that cannot be fulfilled. Hence, the State prayed for him to be shifted to JJ Hospital.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, representing Dr. Varavara Rao requested the court to observe that he is still an undertrial and that his continuing incarceration is incompatible to his health, tweeted Bar & Bench. “This is a victimless crime; death penalty will not be attracted as he has not killed anyone. While stating that his crimes were serious, what were his crimes? Some evidence was found in a co-accused’s electronic files which mentions his names. But that is also a purported conspiracy”, she submitted orally.

Jaising further reiterated that the care provided to him by his family in Hyderabad will be unmatched to any care and treatment elsewhere in the country. Bar & Bench also reported that Senior Advocate Jaising referred to the case of a 38- year- old UAPA accused Kanchan Nanaware, who died on January 24, after six years of incarceration, before the trial against her could begin and before her medical bail could be decided.

She concluded by remarking, “Life is dear to everyone, including a prisoner, and the court is here to protect it. The record speaks for itself, out of 365 days in a year he has spent 149 days in hospital.”

The court then reserved his bail matter for orders.

Related:

Varavara Rao bail: Bom HC questions if keeping him in custody will be detrimental to his health
Varavara Rao seeks temporary bail, State suggests transfer to JJ Hospital

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How the Covid-19 pandemic was communalised: Report by Bebaak Collective

Covering seven Indian states, the report said that the pandemic’s communalisation shaped and impaired Muslims' access to livelihoods, space, education, healthcare and relief.

22 Jan 2021

bebaak

While the pandemic rages and continues to take lives, the measures to control it have starkly highlighted the various inequalities existing in the country, says the Communalisation of Covid-19 report published by Bebaak Collective, an umbrella body of various women’s groups.

According to authors Hasina Khan, Khawla Zainab and Umara Zainab, the report that covers seven states of northern, western and central India documents the synchronised working of the media, police and state authorities as the primary force which allowed for the discrimination, violence and exclusion faced by Muslims during the pandemic.

During a virtual conference on January 21, Khan said the Collective felt a need for such a report following the Tablighi Jamaat incident in March 2020. Muslims were quickly equated with the ‘virus’ and the ‘disease’ itself and feared, hated and contained.

“Pandemics are used in history to target socio-economically suffering sections of society. There have been historical incidents wherein vulnerable communities were targeted for pandemics such as Nazi Germany accusing Jews or the targeting of the queer community for the rise in AIDS cases,” she said.

The community suffered several hate crimes and discriminatory incidents that further eroded their rights as citizens. Interviews of various civil society organisations, student activists, human rights lawyers, other individuals and groups working on the frontlines showed the pattern of anti-Muslim violence used against the community members.

The report markedly talked about the impact of fake news and hate speech against Muslims on social media. Khan said the manner in which the media discussed the Tablighi Jamaat incident was concerning and begged a reason for the politicisation of a pandemic, especially considering the lack of responsibility taken up by the administration.

Moreover, real-world experiences of Muslims, who survived communal slurs and palpable hate-defined interactions, reflected this vitriol against Muslims in neighbourhoods, communities and workplaces.

In fact, Umara Zainab said that pre-existing notions against Muslims amplified the idea of Muslim spreading the virus.

“The language of spreading Covid-19 and its prevention fit the Muslim stereotype of enemy of nation. This hate speech is responsible for many incidents of violence against Muslims,” she said.

She talked about a relief worker in Malegaon, Samar, whose neighbour celebrated every new coronavirus case involving a Muslim and about Lucknow relief worker Zohra whose Hindu neighbour called passing Muslims as “corona.”

In another instance, she talked about a group of labourers who hesitated to identify as Muslims fearing they would not be allowed to board the special train for migrant workers. The report also stated that people both working as relief workers and receiving relief were discriminated against. Zainab talked about a group of seemingly aloof labourers who hesitated to accept relief from Muslims due to prevailing rumours.

Similarly, the report observed a dual impact of the February pogrom in Delhi and the March lockdown on the people of north-east Delhi on the rehabilitative process that had just begun. The Eidgah camp was closed due to the lockdown forcing displaced riot victims to fend for themselves or return to their charred and burnt homes or take refuge in the homes of willing neighbours.

“A result of being blamed for the pandemic was that Muslims internalised the fear of being mistreated and mistrusted by people and the administration. They did not trust anyone to look after them and were apprehensive of seeking help,” said Zainab.

Bhopal especially seemed like two nations, she said wherein the Muslim area was contained and patrolled after every 500 metres. Every house was separated, people were not allowed outside their house while pregnant women were asked to approach hospitals at different times as they might be carriers.

Co-author Khawla further stated that Muslims took on a double brunt of performance as the most secular initiatives of the pandemics were started by Muslim groups to dispel the idea that they spread the disease.

There were also several cases of violent incidents of social boycott largely in the informal sector where more than half of the Muslim population is employed. Residential colonies barred entry of Muslim vendors.

She spoke of an incident where Muslims girls in Baroda, Gujarat tried to get admission in local schools through NGOs. However, one school told the NGO workers that admitting 10 Muslim girls “is simply too much.” Another school said that Muslim girls will spread coronavirus in the school. Workers eventually admitted the girls to a farther and less desirable school.

In light of such incidents, the report recommended:

  •  An effective overseer over media that fail to follow journalistic ethics;

  •  Intervention of the Press Council of India and NBSA;

  •  Introduction of a religion-based anti-discrimination law similar to the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act;

  •  Mental health support to Muslims who faced widespread stigma, hatred and discrimination;

  •  Implementation of the Sachar committee recommendations especially the Equal Opportunity Commission and Diversity Index;

  •  Supreme Court cognisance of this gross hate propaganda.

 

Related:

Communalisation of COVID-19: A Bebaak Collective report

A 2020 Report of 10 Worst Victims of Apathy: India’s Migrant Workers

Inequality has gotten sharpened in India: Teesta Setalvad

Migrant Diaries: The story of Zia ul Sheikh

How the Covid-19 pandemic was communalised: Report by Bebaak Collective

Covering seven Indian states, the report said that the pandemic’s communalisation shaped and impaired Muslims' access to livelihoods, space, education, healthcare and relief.

bebaak

While the pandemic rages and continues to take lives, the measures to control it have starkly highlighted the various inequalities existing in the country, says the Communalisation of Covid-19 report published by Bebaak Collective, an umbrella body of various women’s groups.

According to authors Hasina Khan, Khawla Zainab and Umara Zainab, the report that covers seven states of northern, western and central India documents the synchronised working of the media, police and state authorities as the primary force which allowed for the discrimination, violence and exclusion faced by Muslims during the pandemic.

During a virtual conference on January 21, Khan said the Collective felt a need for such a report following the Tablighi Jamaat incident in March 2020. Muslims were quickly equated with the ‘virus’ and the ‘disease’ itself and feared, hated and contained.

“Pandemics are used in history to target socio-economically suffering sections of society. There have been historical incidents wherein vulnerable communities were targeted for pandemics such as Nazi Germany accusing Jews or the targeting of the queer community for the rise in AIDS cases,” she said.

The community suffered several hate crimes and discriminatory incidents that further eroded their rights as citizens. Interviews of various civil society organisations, student activists, human rights lawyers, other individuals and groups working on the frontlines showed the pattern of anti-Muslim violence used against the community members.

The report markedly talked about the impact of fake news and hate speech against Muslims on social media. Khan said the manner in which the media discussed the Tablighi Jamaat incident was concerning and begged a reason for the politicisation of a pandemic, especially considering the lack of responsibility taken up by the administration.

Moreover, real-world experiences of Muslims, who survived communal slurs and palpable hate-defined interactions, reflected this vitriol against Muslims in neighbourhoods, communities and workplaces.

In fact, Umara Zainab said that pre-existing notions against Muslims amplified the idea of Muslim spreading the virus.

“The language of spreading Covid-19 and its prevention fit the Muslim stereotype of enemy of nation. This hate speech is responsible for many incidents of violence against Muslims,” she said.

She talked about a relief worker in Malegaon, Samar, whose neighbour celebrated every new coronavirus case involving a Muslim and about Lucknow relief worker Zohra whose Hindu neighbour called passing Muslims as “corona.”

In another instance, she talked about a group of labourers who hesitated to identify as Muslims fearing they would not be allowed to board the special train for migrant workers. The report also stated that people both working as relief workers and receiving relief were discriminated against. Zainab talked about a group of seemingly aloof labourers who hesitated to accept relief from Muslims due to prevailing rumours.

Similarly, the report observed a dual impact of the February pogrom in Delhi and the March lockdown on the people of north-east Delhi on the rehabilitative process that had just begun. The Eidgah camp was closed due to the lockdown forcing displaced riot victims to fend for themselves or return to their charred and burnt homes or take refuge in the homes of willing neighbours.

“A result of being blamed for the pandemic was that Muslims internalised the fear of being mistreated and mistrusted by people and the administration. They did not trust anyone to look after them and were apprehensive of seeking help,” said Zainab.

Bhopal especially seemed like two nations, she said wherein the Muslim area was contained and patrolled after every 500 metres. Every house was separated, people were not allowed outside their house while pregnant women were asked to approach hospitals at different times as they might be carriers.

Co-author Khawla further stated that Muslims took on a double brunt of performance as the most secular initiatives of the pandemics were started by Muslim groups to dispel the idea that they spread the disease.

There were also several cases of violent incidents of social boycott largely in the informal sector where more than half of the Muslim population is employed. Residential colonies barred entry of Muslim vendors.

She spoke of an incident where Muslims girls in Baroda, Gujarat tried to get admission in local schools through NGOs. However, one school told the NGO workers that admitting 10 Muslim girls “is simply too much.” Another school said that Muslim girls will spread coronavirus in the school. Workers eventually admitted the girls to a farther and less desirable school.

In light of such incidents, the report recommended:

  •  An effective overseer over media that fail to follow journalistic ethics;

  •  Intervention of the Press Council of India and NBSA;

  •  Introduction of a religion-based anti-discrimination law similar to the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act;

  •  Mental health support to Muslims who faced widespread stigma, hatred and discrimination;

  •  Implementation of the Sachar committee recommendations especially the Equal Opportunity Commission and Diversity Index;

  •  Supreme Court cognisance of this gross hate propaganda.

 

Related:

Communalisation of COVID-19: A Bebaak Collective report

A 2020 Report of 10 Worst Victims of Apathy: India’s Migrant Workers

Inequality has gotten sharpened in India: Teesta Setalvad

Migrant Diaries: The story of Zia ul Sheikh

Related Articles


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Sabrang

Communalisation of COVID-19: A Bebaak Collective report

Human rights defender Teesta Setalvad and feminist historian Uma Chakravarti applaud the initiative and discuss the rampant communalism observed during the coronavirus pandemic.

21 Jan 2021

Image Courtesy:mhi.org.in

The Bebaak Collective, an umbrella body of several women’s groups published the ‘Communalisation of Covid-19: Experiences from the Frontline’ report on January 21, 2021 during a virtual conference to highlight the rampant communalisation during the coronavirus lockdown.

The report, covering seven states from northern, central and western India, documents the discrimination and violence faced by Muslims due to communalisation of the pandemic. Authors Hasina Khan, Khawla Zainab and Umara Zainab interviewed various civil society organisations, student activists, human rights lawyers, other individuals and citizen groups working on the frontlines, and used media reportage to reveal the pattern of anti-Muslim violence during the pandemic.

Moreover, the report recommended measures such as: 

  • an effective overseer over media that fail to follow journalistic ethics
  • intervention of the Press Council of India and NBSA
  • introduction of a religion-based anti-discrimination law similar to the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act
  • mental health support to Muslims who faced widespread stigma, hatred and discrimination
  • implementation of the Sachar committee recommendations especially the Equal Opportunity Commission and Diversity Index
  • Supreme Court cognisance of this gross hate propaganda.

In response, renowned journalist, activist and SabrangIndia co-founder Teesta Setalvad congratulated the Collective for taking up the initiative. She reminded the audience that the grievances suffered by Muslims, migrant workers, adivasis and other marginalised communities were the result of growing schisms in society that amplified institutional failures.

Further, she said, “We respond to moments of crisis rather than continuums of crisis. We need to seriously think about institutional lacunae and the short memory of the administration that fails to deliver its services.”

Setalvad warned that the dangers of amplification have become much more severe in times of social media. But still these “agents” did not work before. She said that the growing misinformation and manipulation of history demands a better understanding of historical events to solidify future actions, especially in the case of young activists.

Accordingly, she referenced interviews of Arundhati Roy that talked about communalisation of the pandemic and similar documentaries for a more comprehensive perspective.

Regarding Muslim ghettoisation, she said that real estate prices have soared to keep Muslims from affording houses in specific neighbourhood. However, less mixed neighbourhoods endanger all conversations from all perspectives.

“When we get limited to silos then these problems get much worse,” she said.

Taking this idea of silos a step ahead, Setalvad talked about the Wall Street journal article that talked about the giant corporate allying with powerful governments. Such partnership restricts communication between differing groups, meaning that Facebook algorithms circulate the same message in the same group.

Referring to the Global Dissemination report by Oxford, the activist said that Facebook and other social media platforms give us a false assurance that they are open. As such she recommended that the Collective’s report include a need for supporting independent media platforms.

“How do alternate media platforms function without the support of such groups? Without that support you cannot expect voices to carry on further,” she said.

Referring to Bebaak’s report, Setalvad said that while the report talks about High Court verdicts favouring minorities, it also needs to consider speaking order.

She told the audience that 205 FIRs were filed against 2,765 foreign nationals in 11 states of the country as reported by SabrangIndia. Yet every single one of these foreign nationals was exonerated.

Setalvad argued that the most important verdict was that of the Nagpur bench on August 21, 2020 that pulled up police and media for the actions against the community. She emphasised that unless the order is speaking, there is very limited relief, and pointed out that there was a lack of judicial action against hate speech.

“Nowhere do you have constitutional courts actually questioning the dangers of hate speech. I ask you all to visit Citizens for Justice and Peace website that shows five dozen complaints against the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting against digital and institutional platforms. We need to understand the relation between hate and media,” said Setalvad.

She referred to the growing hate as state project and the journalism as genocide and called for a more severe look at the way journ is progressing especially of online news and media channels.

Setalvad gave two examples of this point by referring to local newspaper Vijaya Karnataka that continues to spread hate speech and India Today’s coverage of the Tablighi Jamaat incident that campaigned Muslims as “corona spreader and super spreader.”

“Persons in positions of power need to be penalised for hate speech. Article 19 is not touched by hate speech. If an already organised community is targeted by repeated hate by people in power then Article 19 and 20’s non-discriminatory rights are affected,” she said.

Similarly, feminist historian Uma Chakravarti built on the notion that people in power sell hatred. However, she further added that “we have to promote humanity.”

Remembering the killing of Mahatma Gandhi, she said, “We need to consider the history of who we are and as citizens what kind of society we will build. After Gandhi’s murder, everyone wanted a society where all people have rights and securities. When I went to school in the south, I never saw any disc. The hatred seen now was never seen in the public sphere,” she said.

Chakravarti argued that the reason for this stark difference is that nowadays hatred rather than love, humanity, citizenship has been normalised.

“Hatred has been made legitimate. Hate speech is almost normal. What might have been said behind closed today is said on the public podium,” she said pointing out that one only needs to look at the family WhatsApp group to understand this.

She raised concern about the growing acceptability of hatred and people’s lack of reaction to hate speech seen on social media. Chakravarti emphasised that free speech and hate speech require a balance where generating hatred against a community is understood as violence.

“Today we have labelled the hatred corona but even before that such hatred had already begun,” she said.

Chakravarti said that before the coronavirus pandemic there was a political pandemic and referred to the citizenship amendment in 2003. The amendment created a bond between her and others such as Shaheen Bagh icon Bilkis Bano who claimed that she could tell the history of seven generations of her family but could not produce a document to prove it.

She lauded the anti-CAA protests and the farmers’ struggle that recorded two great public outpourings. Similarly, she praised women student Pinjra Tod activists who understood that “pinjras” (cages) existed outside hostels as well. She also highlighted that recent protests had recorded a large number of women activists being picked up and thrown in jail.

She ended by saying that she still hoped for a better India illustrating a secular example wherein a Muslim labourer got off a truck taking him home to stay with a dying Hindu labourer. The Muslim person ensured a proper funeral for the fellow worker personifying Chakravarti’s hope that, “We can still build a better India.”

Related:

A 2020 Report of 10 Worst Victims of Apathy: India’s Migrant Workers
Inequality has gotten sharpened in India: Teesta Setalvad
Migrant Diaries: The story of Zia ul Sheikh
Activists denounce Babri Masjid demolition judgment

Communalisation of COVID-19: A Bebaak Collective report

Human rights defender Teesta Setalvad and feminist historian Uma Chakravarti applaud the initiative and discuss the rampant communalism observed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Image Courtesy:mhi.org.in

The Bebaak Collective, an umbrella body of several women’s groups published the ‘Communalisation of Covid-19: Experiences from the Frontline’ report on January 21, 2021 during a virtual conference to highlight the rampant communalisation during the coronavirus lockdown.

The report, covering seven states from northern, central and western India, documents the discrimination and violence faced by Muslims due to communalisation of the pandemic. Authors Hasina Khan, Khawla Zainab and Umara Zainab interviewed various civil society organisations, student activists, human rights lawyers, other individuals and citizen groups working on the frontlines, and used media reportage to reveal the pattern of anti-Muslim violence during the pandemic.

Moreover, the report recommended measures such as: 

  • an effective overseer over media that fail to follow journalistic ethics
  • intervention of the Press Council of India and NBSA
  • introduction of a religion-based anti-discrimination law similar to the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act
  • mental health support to Muslims who faced widespread stigma, hatred and discrimination
  • implementation of the Sachar committee recommendations especially the Equal Opportunity Commission and Diversity Index
  • Supreme Court cognisance of this gross hate propaganda.

In response, renowned journalist, activist and SabrangIndia co-founder Teesta Setalvad congratulated the Collective for taking up the initiative. She reminded the audience that the grievances suffered by Muslims, migrant workers, adivasis and other marginalised communities were the result of growing schisms in society that amplified institutional failures.

Further, she said, “We respond to moments of crisis rather than continuums of crisis. We need to seriously think about institutional lacunae and the short memory of the administration that fails to deliver its services.”

Setalvad warned that the dangers of amplification have become much more severe in times of social media. But still these “agents” did not work before. She said that the growing misinformation and manipulation of history demands a better understanding of historical events to solidify future actions, especially in the case of young activists.

Accordingly, she referenced interviews of Arundhati Roy that talked about communalisation of the pandemic and similar documentaries for a more comprehensive perspective.

Regarding Muslim ghettoisation, she said that real estate prices have soared to keep Muslims from affording houses in specific neighbourhood. However, less mixed neighbourhoods endanger all conversations from all perspectives.

“When we get limited to silos then these problems get much worse,” she said.

Taking this idea of silos a step ahead, Setalvad talked about the Wall Street journal article that talked about the giant corporate allying with powerful governments. Such partnership restricts communication between differing groups, meaning that Facebook algorithms circulate the same message in the same group.

Referring to the Global Dissemination report by Oxford, the activist said that Facebook and other social media platforms give us a false assurance that they are open. As such she recommended that the Collective’s report include a need for supporting independent media platforms.

“How do alternate media platforms function without the support of such groups? Without that support you cannot expect voices to carry on further,” she said.

Referring to Bebaak’s report, Setalvad said that while the report talks about High Court verdicts favouring minorities, it also needs to consider speaking order.

She told the audience that 205 FIRs were filed against 2,765 foreign nationals in 11 states of the country as reported by SabrangIndia. Yet every single one of these foreign nationals was exonerated.

Setalvad argued that the most important verdict was that of the Nagpur bench on August 21, 2020 that pulled up police and media for the actions against the community. She emphasised that unless the order is speaking, there is very limited relief, and pointed out that there was a lack of judicial action against hate speech.

“Nowhere do you have constitutional courts actually questioning the dangers of hate speech. I ask you all to visit Citizens for Justice and Peace website that shows five dozen complaints against the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting against digital and institutional platforms. We need to understand the relation between hate and media,” said Setalvad.

She referred to the growing hate as state project and the journalism as genocide and called for a more severe look at the way journ is progressing especially of online news and media channels.

Setalvad gave two examples of this point by referring to local newspaper Vijaya Karnataka that continues to spread hate speech and India Today’s coverage of the Tablighi Jamaat incident that campaigned Muslims as “corona spreader and super spreader.”

“Persons in positions of power need to be penalised for hate speech. Article 19 is not touched by hate speech. If an already organised community is targeted by repeated hate by people in power then Article 19 and 20’s non-discriminatory rights are affected,” she said.

Similarly, feminist historian Uma Chakravarti built on the notion that people in power sell hatred. However, she further added that “we have to promote humanity.”

Remembering the killing of Mahatma Gandhi, she said, “We need to consider the history of who we are and as citizens what kind of society we will build. After Gandhi’s murder, everyone wanted a society where all people have rights and securities. When I went to school in the south, I never saw any disc. The hatred seen now was never seen in the public sphere,” she said.

Chakravarti argued that the reason for this stark difference is that nowadays hatred rather than love, humanity, citizenship has been normalised.

“Hatred has been made legitimate. Hate speech is almost normal. What might have been said behind closed today is said on the public podium,” she said pointing out that one only needs to look at the family WhatsApp group to understand this.

She raised concern about the growing acceptability of hatred and people’s lack of reaction to hate speech seen on social media. Chakravarti emphasised that free speech and hate speech require a balance where generating hatred against a community is understood as violence.

“Today we have labelled the hatred corona but even before that such hatred had already begun,” she said.

Chakravarti said that before the coronavirus pandemic there was a political pandemic and referred to the citizenship amendment in 2003. The amendment created a bond between her and others such as Shaheen Bagh icon Bilkis Bano who claimed that she could tell the history of seven generations of her family but could not produce a document to prove it.

She lauded the anti-CAA protests and the farmers’ struggle that recorded two great public outpourings. Similarly, she praised women student Pinjra Tod activists who understood that “pinjras” (cages) existed outside hostels as well. She also highlighted that recent protests had recorded a large number of women activists being picked up and thrown in jail.

She ended by saying that she still hoped for a better India illustrating a secular example wherein a Muslim labourer got off a truck taking him home to stay with a dying Hindu labourer. The Muslim person ensured a proper funeral for the fellow worker personifying Chakravarti’s hope that, “We can still build a better India.”

Related:

A 2020 Report of 10 Worst Victims of Apathy: India’s Migrant Workers
Inequality has gotten sharpened in India: Teesta Setalvad
Migrant Diaries: The story of Zia ul Sheikh
Activists denounce Babri Masjid demolition judgment

Related Articles


Theme

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Videos

Archives

IN FACT

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Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

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Sabrang

To be food secure, India must grow its own food grains: JNU professors

Professors Utsa and Prabhat Patnaik talk about the impact of India’s food security schemes and the insensitivity of the current government in passing the three farm laws.

20 Jan 2021

Prabhat patnaik

The three farm laws passed by the central government threaten the food procurement and distribution system of India, said Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Professors Prabhat Patnaik and Utsa Patnaik on January 9, 2021 during a virtual conference on Farm Laws, Food Security and PDS.

Prabhat talked about the importance of Minimum Support Price (MSP) procurement operations and Public Distribution System (PDS) in preventing severe famines and the introduction of such schemes in India.

He said that peasants are often left to the mercy of open markets due to huge price fluctuations in agriculture. This means that when prices of agriculture produce crash, the general effect passes on to farmers while when prices increase, farmers do not enjoy the corresponding profit.

He referred to the large masses of peasants who suffered serious debt during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

“Once you get into debt, peasants become unviable. They have to service the debt and in the process, they lose the land. Debt is a means of destitution,” he said.

To address this plight of the peasantry, the post-Independence Indian government resolved to always provide some kind price support even for cash crops. These remunerative prices helped launch the Green Revolution in the 1960s, explained Prabhat.

Accordingly, the Indian government continued to provide support prices despite imperialist pressure and kept the country in good stead by protecting farmers from price fluctuations and huge debts.

“The BJP government is deciding to give up this previous arrangement. It has a kind of inconsiderateness which is unmatched in terms of post-independence Indian history. It's reminiscent of colonial times,” he said.

Talking specifically about MSP, he agreed that it has not been adequate in the past. During the time that MSP remained stagnant, peasants struggled to meet higher input costs because of subsidy withdrawal as well as privatisation of education and health that made life expensive further pushing them into debt.  Nonetheless, he insisted that MSP performance helped the country stand its ground over the years.

Regarding the on-going struggle, Prabhat said that farmers are playing an important role for the economy and food security of the country.

“From every point of view of food security, of ensuring farmers’ livelihood, dispersion of economic power, it is essential that we actually maintain the arrangement that has brought us so far and prevented famines,” he said.

He argued that a country of India’s size should remain completely independent in terms of food security and suggested change in agronomic practices to consider the ecological aspect of agriculture.

He also said that India must grow its own food to be food secure and as such the laws do not benefit any part of the food system.

Professor Utsa Patnaik voiced the same sentiment while talking about the international dimension of the three farm laws. She said that the three laws aim to free trade of agriculture products outside mandis welcoming not only domestic private companies but foreign businesses as well.

She reminded the audience that advanced countries such as the EU, Canada and other advanced industrial countries are limited to producing a small range of crops. They have a surplus production of these limited products and so have to find export markets. Meanwhile, their population demands a range of tropical and sub-tropical goods such as tea, coffee, cocoa and a whole range of vegetable foods.

Utsa said that the demand for perishable products has gone up due to better transport of produce in recent years and so the demand for Indian land has increased. Accordingly, foreign companies pressure India to give up the system of public procurement and distribution of food grains.

“They say that our comparative advantage lies in growing tropical and sub-tropical plants. Buy your food grain requirements from us. This argument about comparative advantage is complete nonsense. It necessarily assumes you can define cost of production. In the developed industrial world you cannot even define the cost of production of tropical products because the output there due to climatic reasons is zero,” she said.

Utsa argued that foreign countries are looking for the recreation of colonial division of labour. During the colonial period, more land was diverted accordingly resulting in lesser food supply in the domestic market. Accordingly, peasants would be heavily taxed to decrease their income while dealing with measures that changed cropping patterns away from locally-consumed food grains.

The professor also talked about the mid-1990s when the US, Canada and the EU launched a fresh drive to pressure developing countries to wind up food procurement and distribution systems such as PDS.

“Indian PDS is heavily dependent on Punjab, Haryana, western UP – the granary of our country. So, if we do not ensure viability of farmers in Punjab and other areas then we simply cannot maintain viability of PDS. It will collapse,” she said arguing in favour of the farmers’ struggle.

She said the new attack in the form of the three laws allows an entry point for agri-business corporations and absolutely undermines public procurement from farmers. She warned that once you let agri-activities take place outside regulated mandis then no check at all.

“Foreign firms will begin contracting with farmers. Powerful agri-businesses will come in who won’t follow the contract if it suits them. They might not procure from farmers or give lesser prices. Our farmers have made it clear that they do not want contract farming,” she said.

January 20 marks Day 57 of the nationwide farmers’ struggle against the three farm laws – the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act – forcibly passed by the central government.

 

Related:

Regulated markets and MSP ensure not just farmers’ security but food security: Experts

Do farmers’ demands benefit India’s hungry population?

Farmers organisations begin maintaining record of the fallen

Jan 15 talks inconclusive: Centre and farmers remain at loggerheads

Maharashtra organisations declare protests marches from Jan 23-25

BKU President Bhupinder Singh Mann quits SC-nominated Committee for farm laws

To be food secure, India must grow its own food grains: JNU professors

Professors Utsa and Prabhat Patnaik talk about the impact of India’s food security schemes and the insensitivity of the current government in passing the three farm laws.

Prabhat patnaik

The three farm laws passed by the central government threaten the food procurement and distribution system of India, said Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Professors Prabhat Patnaik and Utsa Patnaik on January 9, 2021 during a virtual conference on Farm Laws, Food Security and PDS.

Prabhat talked about the importance of Minimum Support Price (MSP) procurement operations and Public Distribution System (PDS) in preventing severe famines and the introduction of such schemes in India.

He said that peasants are often left to the mercy of open markets due to huge price fluctuations in agriculture. This means that when prices of agriculture produce crash, the general effect passes on to farmers while when prices increase, farmers do not enjoy the corresponding profit.

He referred to the large masses of peasants who suffered serious debt during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

“Once you get into debt, peasants become unviable. They have to service the debt and in the process, they lose the land. Debt is a means of destitution,” he said.

To address this plight of the peasantry, the post-Independence Indian government resolved to always provide some kind price support even for cash crops. These remunerative prices helped launch the Green Revolution in the 1960s, explained Prabhat.

Accordingly, the Indian government continued to provide support prices despite imperialist pressure and kept the country in good stead by protecting farmers from price fluctuations and huge debts.

“The BJP government is deciding to give up this previous arrangement. It has a kind of inconsiderateness which is unmatched in terms of post-independence Indian history. It's reminiscent of colonial times,” he said.

Talking specifically about MSP, he agreed that it has not been adequate in the past. During the time that MSP remained stagnant, peasants struggled to meet higher input costs because of subsidy withdrawal as well as privatisation of education and health that made life expensive further pushing them into debt.  Nonetheless, he insisted that MSP performance helped the country stand its ground over the years.

Regarding the on-going struggle, Prabhat said that farmers are playing an important role for the economy and food security of the country.

“From every point of view of food security, of ensuring farmers’ livelihood, dispersion of economic power, it is essential that we actually maintain the arrangement that has brought us so far and prevented famines,” he said.

He argued that a country of India’s size should remain completely independent in terms of food security and suggested change in agronomic practices to consider the ecological aspect of agriculture.

He also said that India must grow its own food to be food secure and as such the laws do not benefit any part of the food system.

Professor Utsa Patnaik voiced the same sentiment while talking about the international dimension of the three farm laws. She said that the three laws aim to free trade of agriculture products outside mandis welcoming not only domestic private companies but foreign businesses as well.

She reminded the audience that advanced countries such as the EU, Canada and other advanced industrial countries are limited to producing a small range of crops. They have a surplus production of these limited products and so have to find export markets. Meanwhile, their population demands a range of tropical and sub-tropical goods such as tea, coffee, cocoa and a whole range of vegetable foods.

Utsa said that the demand for perishable products has gone up due to better transport of produce in recent years and so the demand for Indian land has increased. Accordingly, foreign companies pressure India to give up the system of public procurement and distribution of food grains.

“They say that our comparative advantage lies in growing tropical and sub-tropical plants. Buy your food grain requirements from us. This argument about comparative advantage is complete nonsense. It necessarily assumes you can define cost of production. In the developed industrial world you cannot even define the cost of production of tropical products because the output there due to climatic reasons is zero,” she said.

Utsa argued that foreign countries are looking for the recreation of colonial division of labour. During the colonial period, more land was diverted accordingly resulting in lesser food supply in the domestic market. Accordingly, peasants would be heavily taxed to decrease their income while dealing with measures that changed cropping patterns away from locally-consumed food grains.

The professor also talked about the mid-1990s when the US, Canada and the EU launched a fresh drive to pressure developing countries to wind up food procurement and distribution systems such as PDS.

“Indian PDS is heavily dependent on Punjab, Haryana, western UP – the granary of our country. So, if we do not ensure viability of farmers in Punjab and other areas then we simply cannot maintain viability of PDS. It will collapse,” she said arguing in favour of the farmers’ struggle.

She said the new attack in the form of the three laws allows an entry point for agri-business corporations and absolutely undermines public procurement from farmers. She warned that once you let agri-activities take place outside regulated mandis then no check at all.

“Foreign firms will begin contracting with farmers. Powerful agri-businesses will come in who won’t follow the contract if it suits them. They might not procure from farmers or give lesser prices. Our farmers have made it clear that they do not want contract farming,” she said.

January 20 marks Day 57 of the nationwide farmers’ struggle against the three farm laws – the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act – forcibly passed by the central government.

 

Related:

Regulated markets and MSP ensure not just farmers’ security but food security: Experts

Do farmers’ demands benefit India’s hungry population?

Farmers organisations begin maintaining record of the fallen

Jan 15 talks inconclusive: Centre and farmers remain at loggerheads

Maharashtra organisations declare protests marches from Jan 23-25

BKU President Bhupinder Singh Mann quits SC-nominated Committee for farm laws

Related Articles


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Covid Vaccination: Are Indians being made guinea pigs?

Efficacy report pending, yet government greenlights use of indigenously developed Covaxin

16 Jan 2021

covid19

Even as India kickstarts its nationwide Covid vaccination campaign, a new controversy has erupted over the approval to use Bharat Biotech’s indigenously developed Covaxin, whose efficacy data is still awaited.

Concerns are being raised about granting emergency use authorisation to Covaxin, an indigenously developed vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biocon, even though the third phase of its trial isn’t completed and its efficacy data is not yet available. In fact, the authorization was granted “in clinical trial mode”, which raises even more questions.

There are at present two vaccines that are being offered; Covishield developed by a team from Oxford University in association with pharma major Astra Zeneca, and Covaxin, an indigenously developed Covid vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biocon in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). However, unlike Covishield where trial data and efficacy studies are available, in case of Covaxin they are missing. In fact, the Third Phase of the vaccine trial is currently underway; the first dose has been administered and the second dose is yet to be administered. Yet the Indian government has granted emergency authorization to Covaxin. Scientists and medical professionals are asking why the vaccine is being rushed through without following proper procedure?

Now, All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) has written to the government demanding an explanation for what it means when authorization is granted “for restricted use in clinical trial mode.” The letter says, “There is no official communication providing details about how restricted emergency use in clinical trial mode will be implemented.” The letter also asks the government to ensure that Bharat Biotech’s ‘protocol for rollout’ is shared in the public domain. AIDAN also raises concerns over the ambiguity between full license and restricted use license.

The entire letter may be read here:

covid19

covid

covid19

Malini Aisola, Co-Convenor of AIDAN told NDTV, “There will be more vaccines in the pipeline. The regulators should not have taken a hasty decision.”

Meanwhile, in a statement released, the All India Peoples Science Network (AIPSN) said, “AIPSN expresses shock and urges Central Government, State Governments and Regulatory authorities to ensure Covaxin is not deployed without clinical trial data being made public.” It has further urged, “All doses of Covaxin distributed to states so far be held in stock by them and not administered till greater clarity is given by the government or till CDSCO/SEC approval conditions are amended based on efficacy data from Bharat Biotech-ICMR as promised.”

 

 

In an exclusive interview to India Today Dr. Krishna Ella, CMD, Bharat Biocon, attempted to allay fears about Covaxin saying, “I’m ready to take the vaccine. I’ll make my grandson part of the program.” He admitted that while the efficacy data wasn’t available as the third phase of the trial was still ongoing, it will be available soon. “By March, I will have efficacy data,” said Dr. Ella. He asserted that all procedures laid down by law were followed to obtain the emergency use license.

Interestingly, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) admits that license is only granted after the drug regulator examines efficacy data. In a series of tweets, the MoHFW said, “The safety and efficacy data from clinical trials of vaccine candidates are examined by our country’s drug regulator before granting the licenses.” It added, “Yes, the vaccines introduced in India are as effective as other countries. Various phases of vaccine trials are undertaken to ensure their safety and efficacy.”

 

 

But therein lies the problem. The efficacy report of Covaxin is not ready yet. Then why did the government grant it emergency approval? In fact, the government appears to be indirectly promoting the home-grown vaccine. In a tweet from its official account, the GoI said, “India has time & again guided the world towards a better tomorrow. Now in these testing times, from developing & manufacturing our own vaccines, India is on the way to yet again 'save humanity', this time against the COVID-19 infection.”

 

 

On Tuesday, while addressing the media, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog further tried to allay fears about Covaxin saying, “Both the vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) have been authorized for emergency use and there should be no doubt about their safety. They have been tested on thousands of people and side-effects are negligible. There is no risk of any significance.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi kickstarted the vaccination campaign on January 16 in New Delhi amidst much fanfare:

 

 

In the first phase frontline and healthcare workers are to be vaccinated. Vaccination is said to be voluntary and is likely to be offered next to the elderly and people with major comorbidities.

Once again, highlighting the “Indianness” of the vaccine, Modi said, “Ordinarily it takes years to develop a vaccine. But we have developed two made-in-India vaccines in such a short span of time.” This is strange considering that the Covishield vaccine is developed by a team from Oxford University in association with pharma major Astra Zeneca and that only clinical trials were held in India (along with many other places across the world).

Meanwhile, according to a report in The Telegraph, it appears people won’t really have a choice as to what vaccine will be administered to them. The report says, “The Union health ministry has not explained the criteria adopted to decide how the 11 million doses of Covishield and 5.5 million doses of Covaxin that have been ordered to initiate the vaccination campaign would be split between the states or between the hospitals within a state.” It reports that there are fears that “the home-grown vaccine, which is yet to prove its efficacy, is being sent to public institutions that have fewer opportunities to question the decision.”

It, therefore, appears that choice might just be an illusion and the vaccine taker’s privilege is likelier to determine what vaccine is administered to them.

Related:

Covid vaccination drive to kick off on January 16

Covid vaccine trials in Bhopal without participants’ informed consent?

Battling Covid: New vaccines, new concerns

After trial Covaxin shot, Haryana health minister Anil Vij test Covid-19 positive

COVISHIELD vaccine trial participant sues Serum Institute

Covid Vaccination: Are Indians being made guinea pigs?

Efficacy report pending, yet government greenlights use of indigenously developed Covaxin

covid19

Even as India kickstarts its nationwide Covid vaccination campaign, a new controversy has erupted over the approval to use Bharat Biotech’s indigenously developed Covaxin, whose efficacy data is still awaited.

Concerns are being raised about granting emergency use authorisation to Covaxin, an indigenously developed vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biocon, even though the third phase of its trial isn’t completed and its efficacy data is not yet available. In fact, the authorization was granted “in clinical trial mode”, which raises even more questions.

There are at present two vaccines that are being offered; Covishield developed by a team from Oxford University in association with pharma major Astra Zeneca, and Covaxin, an indigenously developed Covid vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biocon in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). However, unlike Covishield where trial data and efficacy studies are available, in case of Covaxin they are missing. In fact, the Third Phase of the vaccine trial is currently underway; the first dose has been administered and the second dose is yet to be administered. Yet the Indian government has granted emergency authorization to Covaxin. Scientists and medical professionals are asking why the vaccine is being rushed through without following proper procedure?

Now, All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) has written to the government demanding an explanation for what it means when authorization is granted “for restricted use in clinical trial mode.” The letter says, “There is no official communication providing details about how restricted emergency use in clinical trial mode will be implemented.” The letter also asks the government to ensure that Bharat Biotech’s ‘protocol for rollout’ is shared in the public domain. AIDAN also raises concerns over the ambiguity between full license and restricted use license.

The entire letter may be read here:

covid19

covid

covid19

Malini Aisola, Co-Convenor of AIDAN told NDTV, “There will be more vaccines in the pipeline. The regulators should not have taken a hasty decision.”

Meanwhile, in a statement released, the All India Peoples Science Network (AIPSN) said, “AIPSN expresses shock and urges Central Government, State Governments and Regulatory authorities to ensure Covaxin is not deployed without clinical trial data being made public.” It has further urged, “All doses of Covaxin distributed to states so far be held in stock by them and not administered till greater clarity is given by the government or till CDSCO/SEC approval conditions are amended based on efficacy data from Bharat Biotech-ICMR as promised.”

 

 

In an exclusive interview to India Today Dr. Krishna Ella, CMD, Bharat Biocon, attempted to allay fears about Covaxin saying, “I’m ready to take the vaccine. I’ll make my grandson part of the program.” He admitted that while the efficacy data wasn’t available as the third phase of the trial was still ongoing, it will be available soon. “By March, I will have efficacy data,” said Dr. Ella. He asserted that all procedures laid down by law were followed to obtain the emergency use license.

Interestingly, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) admits that license is only granted after the drug regulator examines efficacy data. In a series of tweets, the MoHFW said, “The safety and efficacy data from clinical trials of vaccine candidates are examined by our country’s drug regulator before granting the licenses.” It added, “Yes, the vaccines introduced in India are as effective as other countries. Various phases of vaccine trials are undertaken to ensure their safety and efficacy.”

 

 

But therein lies the problem. The efficacy report of Covaxin is not ready yet. Then why did the government grant it emergency approval? In fact, the government appears to be indirectly promoting the home-grown vaccine. In a tweet from its official account, the GoI said, “India has time & again guided the world towards a better tomorrow. Now in these testing times, from developing & manufacturing our own vaccines, India is on the way to yet again 'save humanity', this time against the COVID-19 infection.”

 

 

On Tuesday, while addressing the media, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog further tried to allay fears about Covaxin saying, “Both the vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) have been authorized for emergency use and there should be no doubt about their safety. They have been tested on thousands of people and side-effects are negligible. There is no risk of any significance.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi kickstarted the vaccination campaign on January 16 in New Delhi amidst much fanfare:

 

 

In the first phase frontline and healthcare workers are to be vaccinated. Vaccination is said to be voluntary and is likely to be offered next to the elderly and people with major comorbidities.

Once again, highlighting the “Indianness” of the vaccine, Modi said, “Ordinarily it takes years to develop a vaccine. But we have developed two made-in-India vaccines in such a short span of time.” This is strange considering that the Covishield vaccine is developed by a team from Oxford University in association with pharma major Astra Zeneca and that only clinical trials were held in India (along with many other places across the world).

Meanwhile, according to a report in The Telegraph, it appears people won’t really have a choice as to what vaccine will be administered to them. The report says, “The Union health ministry has not explained the criteria adopted to decide how the 11 million doses of Covishield and 5.5 million doses of Covaxin that have been ordered to initiate the vaccination campaign would be split between the states or between the hospitals within a state.” It reports that there are fears that “the home-grown vaccine, which is yet to prove its efficacy, is being sent to public institutions that have fewer opportunities to question the decision.”

It, therefore, appears that choice might just be an illusion and the vaccine taker’s privilege is likelier to determine what vaccine is administered to them.

Related:

Covid vaccination drive to kick off on January 16

Covid vaccine trials in Bhopal without participants’ informed consent?

Battling Covid: New vaccines, new concerns

After trial Covaxin shot, Haryana health minister Anil Vij test Covid-19 positive

COVISHIELD vaccine trial participant sues Serum Institute

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