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Shaheen Bagh: You can’t evict an idea

The protest became a symbol of hope and strength for many

27 Mar 2020

Shaheen Bagh

On Tuesday Mar 24, the Delhi Police snuck into the Shaheen Bagh protest zone and evicted the few protesters on site at that time. They thus, heroically brought to conclusion a situation they had created in the first place by blocking a section of the Delhi-Noida highway, right after the incidents at Jamia in December.

From beginnings in the shadow and support of the protests at Jamia, Shaheen Bagh grew into a full-fledged protest on its own. In the process, it became a symbol of hope and strength for many other such protests, in Delhi and across India, from places such as Turkman Gate and Hauz Rani in Delhi to Park Circus in Kolkata to Ghantaghar in Lucknow.

One can of course superficially compare it to the epicenter of the 2011 Occupy protests at Zuccotti Park in New York, which also set off a movement, first nationwide in the US and then worldwide, involving several local Occupy camps. 

But what set Shaheen Bagh apart right from the beginning was that it was composed and led by women. The Occupy movement, on the other hand, wrestled with issues of gender representation from its inception. 

Of course, as we all know, Shaheen Bagh was a sit-in comprising women, but, as importantly, the participants were Muslim women. Some like to call that conjunction of identities - being women and Muslim - as one of “double oppression.” To anyone who saw the women - and maybe spoke with them - they appeared to be anything but oppressed, doubly or singly. Instead they were determined to double down each new day with double the resolve. Winter had come when the Shaheen Bagh ladies hunkered down and they were ready to slay as many demons and spectres of divisiveness, bigotry and discrimination as possible. 

The important thing to note about Shaheen Bagh - and all the Shaheen Baghs around the country - was that it was community-based and apolitical; it was not doctrinal or rigidly ideological in its tone; and it was very clear and transparent about the reasons for the protest. It was the epitome of a spontaneous people’s protest that activists and progressives deeply yearn to see unfold before their eyes, and consider their life well-lived, if they are witness to one.

It was their clarity of purpose to oppose an existential threat that made them clear-eyed, focused and also determined in their quest. They were protesting the questioning of their Indian identity based on religion, an identity they considered settled, unquestionable and inalienable - and a given, which it always was. An Indian Express report quoted a protester in Wasseypur, Jharkhand as saying, “Maa, mulk nahi badla jata - Mother, motherland cannot be replaced.” Or as a dadi at Shaheen Bagh told an AFP reporter, “I was born in India and I want to die here." 

Other than that, the idea of Shaheen Bagh as a protest, as resistance, was one of putting oneself on the line, as it were. It was the sheer physicality, the undeniable corporeality and the irrefutable solidity of the presence - all with the quiet, resolute, in-your-face frankness - that made each protest a visible redoubt, unshakable and immovable in its foundations. 

It was a live and throbbing symbol, fluid and discrete yet substantial. It was a visible aggregation made up of a mass of seemingly incongruous niqabs, abayas, burqas and hijabs. When you saw them the first time, you almost caught your breath at this well-known, yet unfamiliar sight, and you went, “Of, so it is true!”

It was this everydayness of the people who made up the protests that seemed to baffle and unsettle everyone. It represented the power of the ordinary raised to the levels of the extra-ordinary. Thus, Shaheen Bagh was also us out there - the weak, hesitating, diffident, dithering us, witness to injustice upon injustice but unable to act. It was the actualization of our superhero and superheroine dreams when confronted with injustice, swooping onto the streets to fight the real battle, dressed in our cape and suit, because we had to take matters in our hands to ensure triumph of good over, ahem, evil.

But, this superheroine story did not play out using any stunts, pyrotechnics or physical jousting with the villains. No, therein lay the beauty of this natural outpouring of resistance. This resistance believed in a silent, non-violent and non-flashy doggedness. It was a Chipko of the ground beneath their feet while also holding up more than half the tent and sky above. It was unabashed in its womanness and its Muslimness. By embodying those twin identities with ease and elan, by overturning the “doubly-oppressed” narrative in one fell go, the Shaheen Baghs presented a hitherto “unknown quantity,” not to be pitied for subservience but treated respectfully for some kind of “double strength,” precisely that of their womanness and Muslimness. 

Shaheen Bagh probably meant different things to different people. By itself it always represented opposition to the kala kanoons: the CAA, NRC and NPR. It revealed the hidden, or should one say, the unexpressed strengths inherent the “public,” but more specifically the Muslim woman public. It demonstrated that steadfast, physical protest in the age of outrage-via-social-media was still an immensely effective way of speaking truth to power. Moreover, by maintaining a resolutely non-violent, peaceable and unflappable demeanor, it subverted all attempts at provocations. 

When the various political leaders of the BJP, Amit Shah and Kapil Mishra included, began taking pot-shots at Shaheen Bagh, at this motley group of Muslim women, a contemptible minority otherwise, one could state that the terms of the conversation had been altered. The power equations had been disturbed and the visible frustrations of the BJP leaders was evident. It was as if the mighty Roman empire had trained all its resources on the targeting of the one holdout Gaul village, as depicted in the popular Asterix comic-books, over whom they had not been able to achieve victory despite all their resources. 

Shaheen Bagh proved to us the power in all of us. It was the shattering of stereotypes and the transcending of our limitations and fears. It was working with uncertainty, and without some detailed plan. It was working with just what one had, while discharging all our responsibilities as wife, mother, sister, lawyer, entrepreneur. 

It was putting oneself out there in the open, among the stares, glares and ridicules of the world. It was all of the above simply to express the deepest, purest conscientious objection to what was felt to be wrong. It proceeded from the idea that it is oneself that one has to put on the frontlines, whatever station of life one is in, however vulnerable, incapable and unlikely other people think one to be, despite one’s own doubts. 

In 2016, torch-wielding white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia (UVA) in the US, protesting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements and its actions of taking down monuments to racist civil war figures. Among the slogans they chanted were “White Lives Matter” and “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” the latter employed extensively during the BLM movement. It seems they had to assume the vocabulary of the movement they were opposing to express their own position - such was the hold of BLM and other progressive movements on their imagination.

In similar manner, on Mar 24, after the Shaheen Bagh encampment had been taken down by the Delhi Police, BJP MLA Kapil Mishra tweeted: “Sab Takht Uchal ke Phek Diye/ Sab Tent ukhad ke Phek Diye/Humne Dekh Liya/Sabne Dekh Liya.” Mishra’s impoverished imagination too had to employ Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s  nazm, much reviled by the Indian right, to gloat over the dismantling of Shaheen Bagh. But, with that, unwittingly, he had let Shaheen Bagh have the last word. 

The tent and material trappings of such acts of resistance may eventually come down, as they did for Shaheen Bagh. But Shaheen Bagh as an idea and symbol had found a place in people’s hearts and minds a long time ago. That edifice of protest will continue to remain enshrined in people’s memories. ---

Aviral Anand is a socially-concerned citizen, based in Delhi. He believes in solidarities with global struggles, such as the working class, indigenous and other marginalized peoples’ struggles around the world.

Shaheen Bagh: You can’t evict an idea

The protest became a symbol of hope and strength for many

Shaheen Bagh

On Tuesday Mar 24, the Delhi Police snuck into the Shaheen Bagh protest zone and evicted the few protesters on site at that time. They thus, heroically brought to conclusion a situation they had created in the first place by blocking a section of the Delhi-Noida highway, right after the incidents at Jamia in December.

From beginnings in the shadow and support of the protests at Jamia, Shaheen Bagh grew into a full-fledged protest on its own. In the process, it became a symbol of hope and strength for many other such protests, in Delhi and across India, from places such as Turkman Gate and Hauz Rani in Delhi to Park Circus in Kolkata to Ghantaghar in Lucknow.

One can of course superficially compare it to the epicenter of the 2011 Occupy protests at Zuccotti Park in New York, which also set off a movement, first nationwide in the US and then worldwide, involving several local Occupy camps. 

But what set Shaheen Bagh apart right from the beginning was that it was composed and led by women. The Occupy movement, on the other hand, wrestled with issues of gender representation from its inception. 

Of course, as we all know, Shaheen Bagh was a sit-in comprising women, but, as importantly, the participants were Muslim women. Some like to call that conjunction of identities - being women and Muslim - as one of “double oppression.” To anyone who saw the women - and maybe spoke with them - they appeared to be anything but oppressed, doubly or singly. Instead they were determined to double down each new day with double the resolve. Winter had come when the Shaheen Bagh ladies hunkered down and they were ready to slay as many demons and spectres of divisiveness, bigotry and discrimination as possible. 

The important thing to note about Shaheen Bagh - and all the Shaheen Baghs around the country - was that it was community-based and apolitical; it was not doctrinal or rigidly ideological in its tone; and it was very clear and transparent about the reasons for the protest. It was the epitome of a spontaneous people’s protest that activists and progressives deeply yearn to see unfold before their eyes, and consider their life well-lived, if they are witness to one.

It was their clarity of purpose to oppose an existential threat that made them clear-eyed, focused and also determined in their quest. They were protesting the questioning of their Indian identity based on religion, an identity they considered settled, unquestionable and inalienable - and a given, which it always was. An Indian Express report quoted a protester in Wasseypur, Jharkhand as saying, “Maa, mulk nahi badla jata - Mother, motherland cannot be replaced.” Or as a dadi at Shaheen Bagh told an AFP reporter, “I was born in India and I want to die here." 

Other than that, the idea of Shaheen Bagh as a protest, as resistance, was one of putting oneself on the line, as it were. It was the sheer physicality, the undeniable corporeality and the irrefutable solidity of the presence - all with the quiet, resolute, in-your-face frankness - that made each protest a visible redoubt, unshakable and immovable in its foundations. 

It was a live and throbbing symbol, fluid and discrete yet substantial. It was a visible aggregation made up of a mass of seemingly incongruous niqabs, abayas, burqas and hijabs. When you saw them the first time, you almost caught your breath at this well-known, yet unfamiliar sight, and you went, “Of, so it is true!”

It was this everydayness of the people who made up the protests that seemed to baffle and unsettle everyone. It represented the power of the ordinary raised to the levels of the extra-ordinary. Thus, Shaheen Bagh was also us out there - the weak, hesitating, diffident, dithering us, witness to injustice upon injustice but unable to act. It was the actualization of our superhero and superheroine dreams when confronted with injustice, swooping onto the streets to fight the real battle, dressed in our cape and suit, because we had to take matters in our hands to ensure triumph of good over, ahem, evil.

But, this superheroine story did not play out using any stunts, pyrotechnics or physical jousting with the villains. No, therein lay the beauty of this natural outpouring of resistance. This resistance believed in a silent, non-violent and non-flashy doggedness. It was a Chipko of the ground beneath their feet while also holding up more than half the tent and sky above. It was unabashed in its womanness and its Muslimness. By embodying those twin identities with ease and elan, by overturning the “doubly-oppressed” narrative in one fell go, the Shaheen Baghs presented a hitherto “unknown quantity,” not to be pitied for subservience but treated respectfully for some kind of “double strength,” precisely that of their womanness and Muslimness. 

Shaheen Bagh probably meant different things to different people. By itself it always represented opposition to the kala kanoons: the CAA, NRC and NPR. It revealed the hidden, or should one say, the unexpressed strengths inherent the “public,” but more specifically the Muslim woman public. It demonstrated that steadfast, physical protest in the age of outrage-via-social-media was still an immensely effective way of speaking truth to power. Moreover, by maintaining a resolutely non-violent, peaceable and unflappable demeanor, it subverted all attempts at provocations. 

When the various political leaders of the BJP, Amit Shah and Kapil Mishra included, began taking pot-shots at Shaheen Bagh, at this motley group of Muslim women, a contemptible minority otherwise, one could state that the terms of the conversation had been altered. The power equations had been disturbed and the visible frustrations of the BJP leaders was evident. It was as if the mighty Roman empire had trained all its resources on the targeting of the one holdout Gaul village, as depicted in the popular Asterix comic-books, over whom they had not been able to achieve victory despite all their resources. 

Shaheen Bagh proved to us the power in all of us. It was the shattering of stereotypes and the transcending of our limitations and fears. It was working with uncertainty, and without some detailed plan. It was working with just what one had, while discharging all our responsibilities as wife, mother, sister, lawyer, entrepreneur. 

It was putting oneself out there in the open, among the stares, glares and ridicules of the world. It was all of the above simply to express the deepest, purest conscientious objection to what was felt to be wrong. It proceeded from the idea that it is oneself that one has to put on the frontlines, whatever station of life one is in, however vulnerable, incapable and unlikely other people think one to be, despite one’s own doubts. 

In 2016, torch-wielding white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia (UVA) in the US, protesting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements and its actions of taking down monuments to racist civil war figures. Among the slogans they chanted were “White Lives Matter” and “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” the latter employed extensively during the BLM movement. It seems they had to assume the vocabulary of the movement they were opposing to express their own position - such was the hold of BLM and other progressive movements on their imagination.

In similar manner, on Mar 24, after the Shaheen Bagh encampment had been taken down by the Delhi Police, BJP MLA Kapil Mishra tweeted: “Sab Takht Uchal ke Phek Diye/ Sab Tent ukhad ke Phek Diye/Humne Dekh Liya/Sabne Dekh Liya.” Mishra’s impoverished imagination too had to employ Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s  nazm, much reviled by the Indian right, to gloat over the dismantling of Shaheen Bagh. But, with that, unwittingly, he had let Shaheen Bagh have the last word. 

The tent and material trappings of such acts of resistance may eventually come down, as they did for Shaheen Bagh. But Shaheen Bagh as an idea and symbol had found a place in people’s hearts and minds a long time ago. That edifice of protest will continue to remain enshrined in people’s memories. ---

Aviral Anand is a socially-concerned citizen, based in Delhi. He believes in solidarities with global struggles, such as the working class, indigenous and other marginalized peoples’ struggles around the world.

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Covid-19 stigma: Medical professionals ostracized and evicted from rented homes

Medical health professional all over the country are facing discrimination and exclusion for the fear of spreading Covid-19 among the community

27 Mar 2020

health professionals

As if the Coronavirus pandemic isn’t enough of a nightmare for medical health professionals in the country, they are now also becoming the victims of rampant ill-treatment by the public who were just, a week ago, clapping and clanking vessels to laud their efforts of curbing the nationwide spread of the virus.

Facing discrimination and exclusion from the community, many landlords across the country are now evicting healthcare workers from their rental and paying guest accommodations for the fear of being infected and spreading the disease to others.

Seven nurses working at the Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru have been evicted from their Paying Guest accommodation. Speaking to the Deccan Herald a 35-year-old nurse working in the Trauma and Emergency care of the hospital said that she along with three other colleagues were forced out of their PG accommodation in Chamarajpet. She said, “The owner of the PG came to our door one day and said all the inmates in the PG were scared and we have to leave. We tried to explain that such infections will not happen as we take all precautionary steps to check the spread of the disease. They were in no mood to listen and told us to move out immediately.”

What’s unfortunate is that it isn’t just the people out there who are acting with such insensitivity. After the Staff Nurses Association tried to talk to the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) and intervene, asking the institute to provide accommodation to the seven nurses, they are still waiting to hear from the administration. Not just this, the BMCRI has also barred the nurses from entering the dining hall, kitchen or common area saying a separate accommodation was planned for nurses on Covid-19 duty.

At the MGM Hospital in Hyderabad’s Warangal too, doctors were forced out on the streets by their landlords citing that the doctors were ‘dirty’ and that other tenants feared they would spread the Coronavirus in the locality. A student of the MGM Hospital told The Indian Express, “They are recognising us with our lab coats and stethoscopes. Many doctors have been asked to vacate their rented homes by their owners as they believe that doctors staying at their houses may make them more susceptible to COVID-19. One owner even said we were dirty. They asked us to vacate without any notice. Most of the doctors are now on streets and have nowhere to go.”

In Telangana, duty doctors and nurses faced harassment from the police and their vehicles were vandalized too. The News Minute reported Dr. Sidhardha K, a doctor from Osmania Hospital, recalling his ordeal. He said, “I left the hospital at 9 pm. On my way home, I was stopped by police who said I wasn't allowed to be outside. I showed them my identity card in a digital form, but the police officer refused to listen and told me again I wasn't allowed to be outside. They hit me and broke the glass and visor of my bike when I tried reasoning with them.”

 

 

A paramedic too was beaten up by the police as he was on his way to provide services to those who needed it the most.

 

 

In Pune’s Wagholi, 22 members of staff of a multi-specialty hospital – including doctors, nurses, medical staff, residential medical officer and male nurses, were forced to vacate their accommodations in a nearby society, Krushna Kunj, reason being, they had come in contact with a Covid-19 positive patient.

Speaking to Mirror, one of the doctor’s there said, “An accident victim was admitted to our hospital for three days (March 19-21), and was shifted to a private institute in Pune on March 22. The 41-year-old Sanaswadi resident tested positive for Covid-19 on March 24 and the news went viral in the area. Shortly thereafter, the healthcare professionals were asked by the society residents to vacate the premises over fears of infection. For the past two days, we are living at the hospital itself.”

The hospital’s medical store manager describes the plight that the staff had to suffer. Saying that the society members gathered together, setting the deadline at 5 PM to vacate the flats. “All of us were walking like criminals and the residents looked down upon us through their balconies. Such humiliating behaviour was unexpected from our neighbours who we stayed with for five years. We all walked with our heads down and came to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon.”

The medical director too, like other doctors who have been living in their own accommodations, have been ostracized by other residents asking if the doctors had checked themselves for the virus time and again.

Prior to these incidents, the Resident Doctors’ Association from AIIMS had written to the Home Minister, Amit Shah, asking him to issue an order prohibiting landlords from evicting doctors and other healthcare professionals from their rented homes at such a time.

Then, the Delhi government had issued an order stating that penal action would be taken against landlords and house owners at such a time, for obstructing public servants in discharging their duties.

The Government of Karnataka too has taken a leaf from the Delhi government’s book, issuing an order stating that strict penal action would be taken against landlords and house owners for evicting healthcare personnel and obstructing them from fulfilling their duties.
 

 

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan too had issued a statement request people to not discriminate against the frontline health workers and ostracize them for doing their duty.

 

 

It is unfortunate to see that these healthcare professionals who are hailed as ‘coronavirus heroes’ have been so ostracized by the community. All of these doctors, nurses and other medical staff put their lives at risk, take the due precautions and yet face such discrimination.

Amid the lockdown, these healthcare professionals are already grappling with problems of no transport to medical centres and most importantly, no provisions of ample protective gear.

Yet, not respecting their Hippocratic Oath and boosting their morale at a trying time like this, we hypocritically clap and bajao thalis to thank them as we evict them out of their homes and leave them to their own devices on the streets.

This student of MGM Hospital is looking for an answer when he asks, “Where is the gratitude they showed us Sunday? Why do we have to risk our lives if this is how they treat us?”


Related:

Delhi govt to penalise landlords forcibly evicting healthcare personnel from their homes

Covid-19 Lockdown: Migrant workers begin to leave city in a painfully long walk home

Covid-19: Ventilator, PPE shortages put India’s frontline healthcare staff at risk

 

 

Covid-19 stigma: Medical professionals ostracized and evicted from rented homes

Medical health professional all over the country are facing discrimination and exclusion for the fear of spreading Covid-19 among the community

health professionals

As if the Coronavirus pandemic isn’t enough of a nightmare for medical health professionals in the country, they are now also becoming the victims of rampant ill-treatment by the public who were just, a week ago, clapping and clanking vessels to laud their efforts of curbing the nationwide spread of the virus.

Facing discrimination and exclusion from the community, many landlords across the country are now evicting healthcare workers from their rental and paying guest accommodations for the fear of being infected and spreading the disease to others.

Seven nurses working at the Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru have been evicted from their Paying Guest accommodation. Speaking to the Deccan Herald a 35-year-old nurse working in the Trauma and Emergency care of the hospital said that she along with three other colleagues were forced out of their PG accommodation in Chamarajpet. She said, “The owner of the PG came to our door one day and said all the inmates in the PG were scared and we have to leave. We tried to explain that such infections will not happen as we take all precautionary steps to check the spread of the disease. They were in no mood to listen and told us to move out immediately.”

What’s unfortunate is that it isn’t just the people out there who are acting with such insensitivity. After the Staff Nurses Association tried to talk to the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) and intervene, asking the institute to provide accommodation to the seven nurses, they are still waiting to hear from the administration. Not just this, the BMCRI has also barred the nurses from entering the dining hall, kitchen or common area saying a separate accommodation was planned for nurses on Covid-19 duty.

At the MGM Hospital in Hyderabad’s Warangal too, doctors were forced out on the streets by their landlords citing that the doctors were ‘dirty’ and that other tenants feared they would spread the Coronavirus in the locality. A student of the MGM Hospital told The Indian Express, “They are recognising us with our lab coats and stethoscopes. Many doctors have been asked to vacate their rented homes by their owners as they believe that doctors staying at their houses may make them more susceptible to COVID-19. One owner even said we were dirty. They asked us to vacate without any notice. Most of the doctors are now on streets and have nowhere to go.”

In Telangana, duty doctors and nurses faced harassment from the police and their vehicles were vandalized too. The News Minute reported Dr. Sidhardha K, a doctor from Osmania Hospital, recalling his ordeal. He said, “I left the hospital at 9 pm. On my way home, I was stopped by police who said I wasn't allowed to be outside. I showed them my identity card in a digital form, but the police officer refused to listen and told me again I wasn't allowed to be outside. They hit me and broke the glass and visor of my bike when I tried reasoning with them.”

 

 

A paramedic too was beaten up by the police as he was on his way to provide services to those who needed it the most.

 

 

In Pune’s Wagholi, 22 members of staff of a multi-specialty hospital – including doctors, nurses, medical staff, residential medical officer and male nurses, were forced to vacate their accommodations in a nearby society, Krushna Kunj, reason being, they had come in contact with a Covid-19 positive patient.

Speaking to Mirror, one of the doctor’s there said, “An accident victim was admitted to our hospital for three days (March 19-21), and was shifted to a private institute in Pune on March 22. The 41-year-old Sanaswadi resident tested positive for Covid-19 on March 24 and the news went viral in the area. Shortly thereafter, the healthcare professionals were asked by the society residents to vacate the premises over fears of infection. For the past two days, we are living at the hospital itself.”

The hospital’s medical store manager describes the plight that the staff had to suffer. Saying that the society members gathered together, setting the deadline at 5 PM to vacate the flats. “All of us were walking like criminals and the residents looked down upon us through their balconies. Such humiliating behaviour was unexpected from our neighbours who we stayed with for five years. We all walked with our heads down and came to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon.”

The medical director too, like other doctors who have been living in their own accommodations, have been ostracized by other residents asking if the doctors had checked themselves for the virus time and again.

Prior to these incidents, the Resident Doctors’ Association from AIIMS had written to the Home Minister, Amit Shah, asking him to issue an order prohibiting landlords from evicting doctors and other healthcare professionals from their rented homes at such a time.

Then, the Delhi government had issued an order stating that penal action would be taken against landlords and house owners at such a time, for obstructing public servants in discharging their duties.

The Government of Karnataka too has taken a leaf from the Delhi government’s book, issuing an order stating that strict penal action would be taken against landlords and house owners for evicting healthcare personnel and obstructing them from fulfilling their duties.
 

 

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan too had issued a statement request people to not discriminate against the frontline health workers and ostracize them for doing their duty.

 

 

It is unfortunate to see that these healthcare professionals who are hailed as ‘coronavirus heroes’ have been so ostracized by the community. All of these doctors, nurses and other medical staff put their lives at risk, take the due precautions and yet face such discrimination.

Amid the lockdown, these healthcare professionals are already grappling with problems of no transport to medical centres and most importantly, no provisions of ample protective gear.

Yet, not respecting their Hippocratic Oath and boosting their morale at a trying time like this, we hypocritically clap and bajao thalis to thank them as we evict them out of their homes and leave them to their own devices on the streets.

This student of MGM Hospital is looking for an answer when he asks, “Where is the gratitude they showed us Sunday? Why do we have to risk our lives if this is how they treat us?”


Related:

Delhi govt to penalise landlords forcibly evicting healthcare personnel from their homes

Covid-19 Lockdown: Migrant workers begin to leave city in a painfully long walk home

Covid-19: Ventilator, PPE shortages put India’s frontline healthcare staff at risk

 

 

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Covid-19: Ban on fishing, fisherfolk unemployed

The President has also issued a uniform ban on fishing in the East Coast and West Coast for 61 days beginning at different durations for sea safety reasons

26 Mar 2020

Fishing Ban

The Karnataka government advised fishermen of the coastal district of Karnataka to not venture into the sea until the Covid-19 situation improves. In a bid to prevent people gathering at Dhakkes (fish landing points), the Mangaluru Trawl Boat Owners Association President Nithin Kumar told The Hindu that to ensure that gatherings don’t take place, diesel would not be made available to mechanized vessels there.

The Tamil Nadu government too banned imposed a ban on trawlers and fishing boats till March 31. Director of fisheries, KS Sameeran told The Times of India that the boats at sea would be allowed to return but their catch would not be auctioned off as done usually.

This has led to a loss of income for many small-time fishermen said South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association President, K Bharathi. He also mentioned that there was no restriction placed on the number of people visiting fish markets in North Chennai.

In Odisha too, 5,000 fishermen’s lives now hang in the balance as the 21-day lockdown has come into place. Not only have the fishermen been grappling with the problem of dwindling prices, one reason being the ban on public gatherings like marriages, but they also have no option but to sell their catch at low prices due to not having any cold storage options.

The Marine Products Exports Development Authorities told the Hindu Business Line that exports, which were supposed to $7 billion for the country this year, were hit due to the virus scare. The halt of international flights too has added to woes of the industry.

Alex K Ninan, President of Seafood Exporters Association of India – Kerala region, said, “Many of the export markets such as Japan and the US are buying selectively. The European market is totally cut off, while there is only negligible procurement from the Chinese market.”

In such a crisis, with traditional fishermen risking to lose their livelihoods till the time the virus is not contained, it is imperative that the government provide them with financial and other assistance to ensure that their daily lives which depend on fishing, don’t take a hit.

Fishing ban due to security reasons

On March 20, the President of India imposed a uniform ban on fishing by all fishing vessels in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) beyond territorial waters on the East Coast, including the Andaman and Nicobar Island for 61 days beginning April 15 to June 14 and West Coast including the Lakshadweep Islands for 61 days, beginning June 1 to July 31 for conservation and effective management of fishery resources and also for sea safety reasons.

It exempted traditional non-motorized units from this ban.

The Bangalore Mirror had reported that China had begun deploying underwater drones apart from hydrographic survey and oceanic research ships in the Indian Ocean Region. This concerned the Indian authorities as such surveys aren’t just taken for deep-sea mining and other commercial activities, but are also critical for submarine and anti-submarine warfare operations.

 

Related:

Indian churches put anti-Covid measures in place, some move services online

Working People’s Charter demands provisions for the informal sector to fight Covid-19

Covid-19: Ban on fishing, fisherfolk unemployed

The President has also issued a uniform ban on fishing in the East Coast and West Coast for 61 days beginning at different durations for sea safety reasons

Fishing Ban

The Karnataka government advised fishermen of the coastal district of Karnataka to not venture into the sea until the Covid-19 situation improves. In a bid to prevent people gathering at Dhakkes (fish landing points), the Mangaluru Trawl Boat Owners Association President Nithin Kumar told The Hindu that to ensure that gatherings don’t take place, diesel would not be made available to mechanized vessels there.

The Tamil Nadu government too banned imposed a ban on trawlers and fishing boats till March 31. Director of fisheries, KS Sameeran told The Times of India that the boats at sea would be allowed to return but their catch would not be auctioned off as done usually.

This has led to a loss of income for many small-time fishermen said South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association President, K Bharathi. He also mentioned that there was no restriction placed on the number of people visiting fish markets in North Chennai.

In Odisha too, 5,000 fishermen’s lives now hang in the balance as the 21-day lockdown has come into place. Not only have the fishermen been grappling with the problem of dwindling prices, one reason being the ban on public gatherings like marriages, but they also have no option but to sell their catch at low prices due to not having any cold storage options.

The Marine Products Exports Development Authorities told the Hindu Business Line that exports, which were supposed to $7 billion for the country this year, were hit due to the virus scare. The halt of international flights too has added to woes of the industry.

Alex K Ninan, President of Seafood Exporters Association of India – Kerala region, said, “Many of the export markets such as Japan and the US are buying selectively. The European market is totally cut off, while there is only negligible procurement from the Chinese market.”

In such a crisis, with traditional fishermen risking to lose their livelihoods till the time the virus is not contained, it is imperative that the government provide them with financial and other assistance to ensure that their daily lives which depend on fishing, don’t take a hit.

Fishing ban due to security reasons

On March 20, the President of India imposed a uniform ban on fishing by all fishing vessels in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) beyond territorial waters on the East Coast, including the Andaman and Nicobar Island for 61 days beginning April 15 to June 14 and West Coast including the Lakshadweep Islands for 61 days, beginning June 1 to July 31 for conservation and effective management of fishery resources and also for sea safety reasons.

It exempted traditional non-motorized units from this ban.

The Bangalore Mirror had reported that China had begun deploying underwater drones apart from hydrographic survey and oceanic research ships in the Indian Ocean Region. This concerned the Indian authorities as such surveys aren’t just taken for deep-sea mining and other commercial activities, but are also critical for submarine and anti-submarine warfare operations.

 

Related:

Indian churches put anti-Covid measures in place, some move services online

Working People’s Charter demands provisions for the informal sector to fight Covid-19

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Delhi govt to penalise landlords forcibly evicting healthcare personnel from their homes

The government is terming it as “obstruction of public servant in discharging their duty”

25 Mar 2020

coronovirus

Amidst shocking revelations that many landlords in the nation’s capital are allegedly forcing medical professionals to vacate their homes, the Delhi government has decided to take strict action against such landlords.

Our medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, paramedics, pathologists, lab technicians, ward boys, compounders and attendants are at the frontlines of the battle against the coronavirus. While these brave people are risking their lives every day, one would expect society to treat them with a modicum of respect. But it is one thing to clap and beat thalis from balconies, and quite other to let them live with dignity. These professionals are facing social ostracism and suffering the indignity of being forcibly evicted after being accused of spreading the virus.

The Resident Doctors Association of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had written to the Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah. The letter stated, “We condemn such attitude and hereby, request you to release an order, as soon as possible, prohibiting the landlords/owners to evict the tirelessly working Doctors and other healthcare professionals from their rented houses.”

The letter also requested for transport facility for the doctors amid the lockdown in several states requesting a hassle-free movement from their houses to work with the support of administration and police upon showing their identity cards.

Many tweets were also posted about this:

 

 

 

Taking due note of this issue, the Delhi government took the necessary steps to right this terrible wrong. Terming such behaviour as obstruction of public servant in discharging their duty, the Department of Family Welfare of Delhi NCR directed the concerned authorities to take penal action against such landlords and house owners under relevant law.

Now that Arvind Kejriwal’s government has invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act and formulated the Delhi Epidemic Diseases COVID-19 Regulations, 2020, the authorities like the District Magistrate, Municipal Corporation, Police have been empowered to take certain penal actions against people violating the strict guidelines in place.

With the entire country having been put under complete lockdown it is important that the people because of whom our essential services are running and especially health care workers receive more than just symbolic gratitude from the citizens. The only way to deter such unwarranted behaviour is penal action so that our health care workers can do their jobs without the fear or the mental trauma of being rendered homeless.

The order of the Delhi Government can be read here

 

Delhi govt to penalise landlords forcibly evicting healthcare personnel from their homes

The government is terming it as “obstruction of public servant in discharging their duty”

coronovirus

Amidst shocking revelations that many landlords in the nation’s capital are allegedly forcing medical professionals to vacate their homes, the Delhi government has decided to take strict action against such landlords.

Our medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, paramedics, pathologists, lab technicians, ward boys, compounders and attendants are at the frontlines of the battle against the coronavirus. While these brave people are risking their lives every day, one would expect society to treat them with a modicum of respect. But it is one thing to clap and beat thalis from balconies, and quite other to let them live with dignity. These professionals are facing social ostracism and suffering the indignity of being forcibly evicted after being accused of spreading the virus.

The Resident Doctors Association of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had written to the Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah. The letter stated, “We condemn such attitude and hereby, request you to release an order, as soon as possible, prohibiting the landlords/owners to evict the tirelessly working Doctors and other healthcare professionals from their rented houses.”

The letter also requested for transport facility for the doctors amid the lockdown in several states requesting a hassle-free movement from their houses to work with the support of administration and police upon showing their identity cards.

Many tweets were also posted about this:

 

 

 

Taking due note of this issue, the Delhi government took the necessary steps to right this terrible wrong. Terming such behaviour as obstruction of public servant in discharging their duty, the Department of Family Welfare of Delhi NCR directed the concerned authorities to take penal action against such landlords and house owners under relevant law.

Now that Arvind Kejriwal’s government has invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act and formulated the Delhi Epidemic Diseases COVID-19 Regulations, 2020, the authorities like the District Magistrate, Municipal Corporation, Police have been empowered to take certain penal actions against people violating the strict guidelines in place.

With the entire country having been put under complete lockdown it is important that the people because of whom our essential services are running and especially health care workers receive more than just symbolic gratitude from the citizens. The only way to deter such unwarranted behaviour is penal action so that our health care workers can do their jobs without the fear or the mental trauma of being rendered homeless.

The order of the Delhi Government can be read here

 

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Shaheen Bagh protest sites cleared by Delhi Police, Graffiti and art installations torn down

25 Mar 2020

Shaheen Bagh

More than a 100 days after it all started, The Shaheen Baug protest site, where hundreds and thousands of women sat to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA 2019), has been cleared by the Delhi Police amid Delhi Lockdown over Coronavirus. 

Shaheen Bagh has not only been the inspiration to other major sit-in peaceful protests, led by women, all around the country but also endured threats, major attacks and survived. Recently, during the times of social distancing, triggered by the CoVid-19 pandemic, the Shaheen Baug women made adjustments. They reduced in numbers and made alterations to the site to meet sanitary requirements. Still, in the wee hours of Tuesday the 24th March, they were removed from the protest site forcibly. According to some protesters, there were thousands of police officials who threatened to arrest them if they didn't disperse. Complaints of protesters being forcibly removed by male officials, have also emerged. 

Interestingly, after clearing the protest site, Delhi Police dismantled all art installations, and graffitis around Shaheen Baug and Jamia Millia Islamia. In similar manner, other protest sites like Hauz Rani and Turkman Gate where the protests were called off earlier due to the coronavirus scare, the police dismantled all structures.

Even though the Supreme Court issued a statement saying that the fight against Coronavirus should be the priority and appealed to the administration and the protesters not to do anything further that will aggravate tensions, the prompt action to steer clear of all materialistic reminders of countless protests and agitation over the last four months is ominous and makes one wonder if the Government is scared of the rise of the protests again, post the CoVid-19 Pandemic.
 

 

 

 

Shaheen Bagh protest sites cleared by Delhi Police, Graffiti and art installations torn down

Shaheen Bagh

More than a 100 days after it all started, The Shaheen Baug protest site, where hundreds and thousands of women sat to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA 2019), has been cleared by the Delhi Police amid Delhi Lockdown over Coronavirus. 

Shaheen Bagh has not only been the inspiration to other major sit-in peaceful protests, led by women, all around the country but also endured threats, major attacks and survived. Recently, during the times of social distancing, triggered by the CoVid-19 pandemic, the Shaheen Baug women made adjustments. They reduced in numbers and made alterations to the site to meet sanitary requirements. Still, in the wee hours of Tuesday the 24th March, they were removed from the protest site forcibly. According to some protesters, there were thousands of police officials who threatened to arrest them if they didn't disperse. Complaints of protesters being forcibly removed by male officials, have also emerged. 

Interestingly, after clearing the protest site, Delhi Police dismantled all art installations, and graffitis around Shaheen Baug and Jamia Millia Islamia. In similar manner, other protest sites like Hauz Rani and Turkman Gate where the protests were called off earlier due to the coronavirus scare, the police dismantled all structures.

Even though the Supreme Court issued a statement saying that the fight against Coronavirus should be the priority and appealed to the administration and the protesters not to do anything further that will aggravate tensions, the prompt action to steer clear of all materialistic reminders of countless protests and agitation over the last four months is ominous and makes one wonder if the Government is scared of the rise of the protests again, post the CoVid-19 Pandemic.
 

 

 

 

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Shaheen Baug Graffiti Destroyed by Delhi Police

Sabrangindia 25 Mar 2020

The Shaheen Baug protest site has been cleared after 101 days citing Corona Virus even though the protestors had been maintaining social distancing. The first step by Delhi Police was to clear the graffiti on the walls. What is the Government scared of?

Shaheen Baug Graffiti Destroyed by Delhi Police

The Shaheen Baug protest site has been cleared after 101 days citing Corona Virus even though the protestors had been maintaining social distancing. The first step by Delhi Police was to clear the graffiti on the walls. What is the Government scared of?

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Shaheen Bagh, the mother of them all

Protest site dismantled, 10 protesters including six women detained

24 Mar 2020

Shaheen Bagh

“...lab azaad hain tere…”, a daily wage worker has painted over the first two words sprayed on one of the beams of the footbridge that straddles a Delhi road that will forever be known as the place where women started a revolution. 

Bol, ki lab āzād haiñ tere,” meaning ‘Speak, for your lips have freedom,’ is the first line of poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The graffiti was visible from the site of the over 100-day anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) protest led by the women of Shaheen Bagh. The movement had been recognised the world over for the unique way it managed to peacefully protest a law that they say threatens their identity and rights as Indians. 

Early on March 24, a humid Tuesday morning, a large police posse, dressed in riot gear, with an addition of masks and gloves for many, accompanied heavy earthmoving machinery and swept through the road. They dismantled the stage from where poetry was recited, songs sung and speeches made, the wooden cots the women had been sitting on once the protest went symbolic in view of the Covid-19. 

Shaheen Bagh

According to eyewitness accounts, the stage was dismantled and the iron framework taken away by gloved workers, perhaps daily wagers hired by the police that looked on. The artwork and posters were damaged and removed including the installation that was the map of India. “There were so many policemen and women crowding the area. What happened to large groups being a Coronavirus hotspot,” mumbled an eyewitness, “there are more cops here than protestors.”

Around 10 protesters including six women were detained at Shaheen Bagh. The detention was later reported as being confirmed by the area, Deputy Commissioner of Police (southeast) R P Meena, by Indian Express. The report also quoted a volunteer, who said, “There were only 8-10 women at the site Tuesday morning. At 7 AM, the police removed them. There is a very heavy police deployment in Shaheen Bagh.”

According to local residents the deployment continued well after the area was cleared.

The Shaheen Bagh sit-in was led by the feisty daadi ammas, or grandmothers of the neighbourhood, who had seen the area they live at grow from a small residential area nearly on the outskirts of what was then the city of Delhi, to a buzzing neighbourhood with shopping complexes, the ultra modern metro line and a road that was wider than all the lanes of the colony put together. They sat on one side of the road and were joined by others from their neighbourhood and outside. They sat through bitter Delhi winter nights, braved allegations that they were ‘paid protestors’. Bemused, they watched as the media lenses zoomed in and news reports shared their message with the world. And the authorities watched them with greater intensity and built pressure to make them move out of the protest and retreat into their kitchens. They were being called ‘anti national’ and were asked to go back. 

Not once did they entertain that thought. Instead they invited the politicians to ‘come sit with us’, and see for themselves the truth of the protest. 

The grandmothers inspired other protests that sprung up across the countries as if daughters from the area had taken the revolution as they moved out and set up home elsewhere. Mini-Shaheen Bhaghs came up in other parts of Delhi, and across the country. Each protest came to be known as the “Shaheen Bagh of…” the place it was situated at.  

As the winter of 2019 melted into the spring of 2020, the attempts made by the government authorities to heckle, scare, persuade, even force the thousands of women who gathered, to retreat from the protest, intensified steadily as days passed. Smaller protests were forced shut as the tents were dismantled and the protestors evicted. In the days that followed, North east Delhi was singed by the worst anti-Muslim pogrom in February 2020 ever seen in the National Capital. 

Across town, the Shaheen Bagh women bravely held their ground and found solidarity in volunteers, artists, peace and civil justice activists from across the country. 

It was only when the Covid-19 pandemic began spreading in India that the situation began to change. As large public gatherings were now dangerous and vulnerable to the virus the anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protests across the city suspended their movement in the larger interest of public health. “Ladai jaari hai, lekin ehtihaad baratni hai! Inquilab Zindabad!” was the voice of most protestors who had suspended their movements to help flatten the Coronavirus contamination curve. 

The Shaheen Bagh protest too went symbolic by Sunday and only five women remained at the site. Strict hygiene protocols were also in place. “But we will not go home. Our protest has to continue,” they said. 

Delhi is under strict lockdown; public movement is restricted and section 144 has been invoked. The police are reported as enforcing this. However, there was no directive against removing any art, or grafitti. Still more labourers were sent to paint over and erase the vibrant artwork outside the Jamia Millia Islamia university even though the students have already suspended their protest against police violence they faced, and the CAA. The revolutionary artwork they had left behind on the walls was a reminder of their story.

By late afternoon the skies darkened as storm clouds gathered, thunder roared and rain lashed Delhi. “Symbolic,” said many. The sun does shine after it rains. It is the darkest before dawn breaks. It is now important to see what comes next for those who survived and lived to tell the tale.

Shaheen Bagh, the mother of them all

Protest site dismantled, 10 protesters including six women detained

Shaheen Bagh

“...lab azaad hain tere…”, a daily wage worker has painted over the first two words sprayed on one of the beams of the footbridge that straddles a Delhi road that will forever be known as the place where women started a revolution. 

Bol, ki lab āzād haiñ tere,” meaning ‘Speak, for your lips have freedom,’ is the first line of poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The graffiti was visible from the site of the over 100-day anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) protest led by the women of Shaheen Bagh. The movement had been recognised the world over for the unique way it managed to peacefully protest a law that they say threatens their identity and rights as Indians. 

Early on March 24, a humid Tuesday morning, a large police posse, dressed in riot gear, with an addition of masks and gloves for many, accompanied heavy earthmoving machinery and swept through the road. They dismantled the stage from where poetry was recited, songs sung and speeches made, the wooden cots the women had been sitting on once the protest went symbolic in view of the Covid-19. 

Shaheen Bagh

According to eyewitness accounts, the stage was dismantled and the iron framework taken away by gloved workers, perhaps daily wagers hired by the police that looked on. The artwork and posters were damaged and removed including the installation that was the map of India. “There were so many policemen and women crowding the area. What happened to large groups being a Coronavirus hotspot,” mumbled an eyewitness, “there are more cops here than protestors.”

Around 10 protesters including six women were detained at Shaheen Bagh. The detention was later reported as being confirmed by the area, Deputy Commissioner of Police (southeast) R P Meena, by Indian Express. The report also quoted a volunteer, who said, “There were only 8-10 women at the site Tuesday morning. At 7 AM, the police removed them. There is a very heavy police deployment in Shaheen Bagh.”

According to local residents the deployment continued well after the area was cleared.

The Shaheen Bagh sit-in was led by the feisty daadi ammas, or grandmothers of the neighbourhood, who had seen the area they live at grow from a small residential area nearly on the outskirts of what was then the city of Delhi, to a buzzing neighbourhood with shopping complexes, the ultra modern metro line and a road that was wider than all the lanes of the colony put together. They sat on one side of the road and were joined by others from their neighbourhood and outside. They sat through bitter Delhi winter nights, braved allegations that they were ‘paid protestors’. Bemused, they watched as the media lenses zoomed in and news reports shared their message with the world. And the authorities watched them with greater intensity and built pressure to make them move out of the protest and retreat into their kitchens. They were being called ‘anti national’ and were asked to go back. 

Not once did they entertain that thought. Instead they invited the politicians to ‘come sit with us’, and see for themselves the truth of the protest. 

The grandmothers inspired other protests that sprung up across the countries as if daughters from the area had taken the revolution as they moved out and set up home elsewhere. Mini-Shaheen Bhaghs came up in other parts of Delhi, and across the country. Each protest came to be known as the “Shaheen Bagh of…” the place it was situated at.  

As the winter of 2019 melted into the spring of 2020, the attempts made by the government authorities to heckle, scare, persuade, even force the thousands of women who gathered, to retreat from the protest, intensified steadily as days passed. Smaller protests were forced shut as the tents were dismantled and the protestors evicted. In the days that followed, North east Delhi was singed by the worst anti-Muslim pogrom in February 2020 ever seen in the National Capital. 

Across town, the Shaheen Bagh women bravely held their ground and found solidarity in volunteers, artists, peace and civil justice activists from across the country. 

It was only when the Covid-19 pandemic began spreading in India that the situation began to change. As large public gatherings were now dangerous and vulnerable to the virus the anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protests across the city suspended their movement in the larger interest of public health. “Ladai jaari hai, lekin ehtihaad baratni hai! Inquilab Zindabad!” was the voice of most protestors who had suspended their movements to help flatten the Coronavirus contamination curve. 

The Shaheen Bagh protest too went symbolic by Sunday and only five women remained at the site. Strict hygiene protocols were also in place. “But we will not go home. Our protest has to continue,” they said. 

Delhi is under strict lockdown; public movement is restricted and section 144 has been invoked. The police are reported as enforcing this. However, there was no directive against removing any art, or grafitti. Still more labourers were sent to paint over and erase the vibrant artwork outside the Jamia Millia Islamia university even though the students have already suspended their protest against police violence they faced, and the CAA. The revolutionary artwork they had left behind on the walls was a reminder of their story.

By late afternoon the skies darkened as storm clouds gathered, thunder roared and rain lashed Delhi. “Symbolic,” said many. The sun does shine after it rains. It is the darkest before dawn breaks. It is now important to see what comes next for those who survived and lived to tell the tale.

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NPR: Jharkhand passes resolution, TN demands watered down version

​​​​​​​Jharkhand government wants NPR as per 2010 format, in TN, AIADMK wants to avoid too many personal questions

24 Mar 2020

NPR

The government of Jharkhand is the latest to pass a resolution against the National Population Register (NPR) demanding that it be conducted as per the previous 2010 format. It has also asked the central government to scrap the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The resolution was passed via voice vote.

The 2010 NPR had fewer questions and did not require information on the place of birth of one’s parents. It also did not ask for mobile number, passport number or Aadhaar number. Several privacy concerns have been raised about this. While Delhi, Bihar, Punjab, Kerala and West Bengal and many other states have passed similar resolutions, there is a concern about conducting the exercise amidst the Covid-19 pandemic even among states that have not passed a resolution against NPR or NRC. However, no official announcement has been made against scrapping the exercise or postponing it so far.

Meanwhile in Tamil Nadu AIADMK head honchos, Chief Minister and party co-coordinator, Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister and party coordinator, O. Panneerselvam have requested the central government not to include too many personal questions in the NPR. Addressing a joint press conference, the duo, often called EPS and OPS, said, “Details regarding mother tongue, family head's father, mother, their place of birth, date of birth and details like that, mobile phone numbers, Aadhaar details, voter ID and driving licence details should be avoided in the 2020 census.” 

Related:

Delhi Assembly passes resolution against NPR

Tribals urge Odisha CM to pass resolution against CAA-NPR-NRC

Bihar: Remove new questions; update NPR as per 2010 data

 

NPR: Jharkhand passes resolution, TN demands watered down version

​​​​​​​Jharkhand government wants NPR as per 2010 format, in TN, AIADMK wants to avoid too many personal questions

NPR

The government of Jharkhand is the latest to pass a resolution against the National Population Register (NPR) demanding that it be conducted as per the previous 2010 format. It has also asked the central government to scrap the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The resolution was passed via voice vote.

The 2010 NPR had fewer questions and did not require information on the place of birth of one’s parents. It also did not ask for mobile number, passport number or Aadhaar number. Several privacy concerns have been raised about this. While Delhi, Bihar, Punjab, Kerala and West Bengal and many other states have passed similar resolutions, there is a concern about conducting the exercise amidst the Covid-19 pandemic even among states that have not passed a resolution against NPR or NRC. However, no official announcement has been made against scrapping the exercise or postponing it so far.

Meanwhile in Tamil Nadu AIADMK head honchos, Chief Minister and party co-coordinator, Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister and party coordinator, O. Panneerselvam have requested the central government not to include too many personal questions in the NPR. Addressing a joint press conference, the duo, often called EPS and OPS, said, “Details regarding mother tongue, family head's father, mother, their place of birth, date of birth and details like that, mobile phone numbers, Aadhaar details, voter ID and driving licence details should be avoided in the 2020 census.” 

Related:

Delhi Assembly passes resolution against NPR

Tribals urge Odisha CM to pass resolution against CAA-NPR-NRC

Bihar: Remove new questions; update NPR as per 2010 data

 

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Tribals urge Odisha CM to pass resolution against CAA-NPR-NRC

Jharkhand gov’t passes resolution against NPR-NRC

24 Mar 2020

odisha

Under the aegis of social organizations like Campaign for Survival with Dignity (CSD), Odisha Nari Samaj and Jan Jagran Abhiyan, many tribals held around 402 gram sabhas and passed resolutions urging the state government to halt the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NRC) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Odisha, reported the The Daily Pioneer. Out of these 402, at least 65 gram sabhas were held in Ganjam, CM Naveen Patnaik’s home turf, followed by 56 in Sundargarh and 53 in Malkangiri district.

The gram sabhas were held in 15 districts - Ganjam, Gajapati, Sundargarh, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Balangir, Bargarh, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj, Jharsuguda and Jajpur. This was the first time such resolutions were passed by Gram Sabhas in Odisha. CSD convening body member Narendra Mohanty said that post the passing of the resolutions in the villages, a memorandum was sent to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the district Collectors of 15 districts.

Calling the CAA, NPR and NRC as “anti-tribal and anti-people”, senior member of the CSD, Pradeep Sahoo demanded that the Odisha government pass a resolution in the Assembly against the “regressive decisions of the Central Government.”

Jan Jagran Abhiyan’s President, Madhusudan Sethi said, “STs and SCs constitute 40 per cent of Odisha’s population. The Dalit and tribal communities have faced a long-lost battle with displacement for the sake of development, landless problems and natural disasters like Cyclones Phailin and Titli. So, providing birth certificate and land documents is a major issue to prove citizenship.”

The publication reported that Karmi Besra of Odisha Nari Samaj; Anna Kujur of Athakosia Sangathan of Sundargarh; and Bhisma Pangi of Malkangiri and Bijay Swain of Ganjam Zilla Gramsabha Samiti played a significant role in convincing and getting the gram sabhas to pass these resolutions.

Jharkhand passed resolution against NPR and NRC

After the Pathalgadi tribals wrote to Jharkand CM Hemant Soren last week, asking his government to stop the implementation of the CAA, NPR and NRC in the state, the Jharkhand government has now passed a resolution against the NPR and NRC, reported The Hindu.

 

 

“In the present format having 15 points, people will be asked about date and place of birth of parents. Most of people in Jharkhand will not be able to answer these questions. In Jharkhand, most people even don’t know their own date of birth,” Alamgir Alam, Jharkhand Rural Development Minister and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, told The Hindu.

The move was also the result of the heavy criticism against Soren by the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM) which came down heavily on him for his silence on the matter. In a letter to the Jharkhand CM, activists had said, “The main purpose of the NPR is to lay the ground for NRC. The NRC is a wasteful exercise that is bound to lead to exclusion and harassment of a large number of people especially poor as has already happened in Assam. It will wreak havoc on the poor of Jharkhand especially tribals, Dalit, Muslims and women. The combination of CAA and NRC could easily become a weapon to reduce many Muslims to second-class citizens.”

How the CAA, NPR, NRC will affect tribals

In the letter to the CM, the Pathalgadi tribals outlined four reasons how the NRC would affect the lives of Adivasis and Moolvasis, National Herald repoted.

 

 

The tribals and Adivasis area community which strive hard to make ends meet and depend on nature for their lives and livelihoods. Most of them do not have documents by birth and the implementation of the NRC will only compel people to run from pillar to post to gather documents leading to a loss of time and money.

With land being their major asset, Adivasis have to unfairly suffer the arm-wringing of corporates and the government who illegally acquire their land. Land documents are a must to be shown in the NRC. For tribals who have lost their lands to the government, how will they prove their citizenship?

The Ghaghra Gram Sabha which wrote on behalf of the Pathalgadi tribals also alleged that the implementation of the CAA-NPR-NRC would make the exploitation of Adivasis much easier and asked it to focus on the implementation of the Fifth Schedule and Panchayat (Extension of Scheduled Area) Act.

Ramji Munda, a member of the Ghaghra Gram Sabha said, “In most of our villages, people do not have birth certificates, so how are we going to produce them now. In our Adivasi villages, we know all of our neighbours, but how will we be able to prove to the government that we are residents if we don’t have documents. We have never had any documents. The land we live on is ours and it falls under the fifth schedule.”

He also added how the implementation of the NRC would pose a problem for most women in India. Saying that most women changes villages after marriage, he asked, “How will they prove their residency. They never had documents either in their own village or here. The NPR and NRC will cause immense displacement and pain to Adivasis, in addition to targeting Muslims, Christians and Dalits in the villages.”

Forest-dwelling communities, apart from women and minorities, will be the worst-affected by the CAA-NPR-NRC. They have a history of having lost their land and forests for the sake of development projects which has led them to migrate to remote settlements. Entire villages have disappeared in such displacements and these will not come up in the system even if they manage to name it.

Most people from the earlier generations don’t have birth certificates. Most forest dwellers do not have Aadhaar cards.

Speaking to The Citizen, Aloka Kujur, a Jharkhand-based Adivasi rights activist explained that the 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) do not have any documentation as they reside in isolated and remote areas. Furthermore, she explained that most of the Adivasi population had become Christian. But groups like the Sarna Dharmik group and the Bhisai Dharma practiced by the Munda community have not been recognized by law.

How then will the government’s decision of implementing the CAA and granting citizenship by religion not affect these indigenous Adivasis and tribals who devoid of documents will not even be able to fathom the legal implications of the Act?


Related:

NRC to hit India’s informal labour force

Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019: The Fire that consumes India

Tribals urge Odisha CM to pass resolution against CAA-NPR-NRC

Jharkhand gov’t passes resolution against NPR-NRC

odisha

Under the aegis of social organizations like Campaign for Survival with Dignity (CSD), Odisha Nari Samaj and Jan Jagran Abhiyan, many tribals held around 402 gram sabhas and passed resolutions urging the state government to halt the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NRC) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Odisha, reported the The Daily Pioneer. Out of these 402, at least 65 gram sabhas were held in Ganjam, CM Naveen Patnaik’s home turf, followed by 56 in Sundargarh and 53 in Malkangiri district.

The gram sabhas were held in 15 districts - Ganjam, Gajapati, Sundargarh, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Balangir, Bargarh, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj, Jharsuguda and Jajpur. This was the first time such resolutions were passed by Gram Sabhas in Odisha. CSD convening body member Narendra Mohanty said that post the passing of the resolutions in the villages, a memorandum was sent to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the district Collectors of 15 districts.

Calling the CAA, NPR and NRC as “anti-tribal and anti-people”, senior member of the CSD, Pradeep Sahoo demanded that the Odisha government pass a resolution in the Assembly against the “regressive decisions of the Central Government.”

Jan Jagran Abhiyan’s President, Madhusudan Sethi said, “STs and SCs constitute 40 per cent of Odisha’s population. The Dalit and tribal communities have faced a long-lost battle with displacement for the sake of development, landless problems and natural disasters like Cyclones Phailin and Titli. So, providing birth certificate and land documents is a major issue to prove citizenship.”

The publication reported that Karmi Besra of Odisha Nari Samaj; Anna Kujur of Athakosia Sangathan of Sundargarh; and Bhisma Pangi of Malkangiri and Bijay Swain of Ganjam Zilla Gramsabha Samiti played a significant role in convincing and getting the gram sabhas to pass these resolutions.

Jharkhand passed resolution against NPR and NRC

After the Pathalgadi tribals wrote to Jharkand CM Hemant Soren last week, asking his government to stop the implementation of the CAA, NPR and NRC in the state, the Jharkhand government has now passed a resolution against the NPR and NRC, reported The Hindu.

 

 

“In the present format having 15 points, people will be asked about date and place of birth of parents. Most of people in Jharkhand will not be able to answer these questions. In Jharkhand, most people even don’t know their own date of birth,” Alamgir Alam, Jharkhand Rural Development Minister and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, told The Hindu.

The move was also the result of the heavy criticism against Soren by the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM) which came down heavily on him for his silence on the matter. In a letter to the Jharkhand CM, activists had said, “The main purpose of the NPR is to lay the ground for NRC. The NRC is a wasteful exercise that is bound to lead to exclusion and harassment of a large number of people especially poor as has already happened in Assam. It will wreak havoc on the poor of Jharkhand especially tribals, Dalit, Muslims and women. The combination of CAA and NRC could easily become a weapon to reduce many Muslims to second-class citizens.”

How the CAA, NPR, NRC will affect tribals

In the letter to the CM, the Pathalgadi tribals outlined four reasons how the NRC would affect the lives of Adivasis and Moolvasis, National Herald repoted.

 

 

The tribals and Adivasis area community which strive hard to make ends meet and depend on nature for their lives and livelihoods. Most of them do not have documents by birth and the implementation of the NRC will only compel people to run from pillar to post to gather documents leading to a loss of time and money.

With land being their major asset, Adivasis have to unfairly suffer the arm-wringing of corporates and the government who illegally acquire their land. Land documents are a must to be shown in the NRC. For tribals who have lost their lands to the government, how will they prove their citizenship?

The Ghaghra Gram Sabha which wrote on behalf of the Pathalgadi tribals also alleged that the implementation of the CAA-NPR-NRC would make the exploitation of Adivasis much easier and asked it to focus on the implementation of the Fifth Schedule and Panchayat (Extension of Scheduled Area) Act.

Ramji Munda, a member of the Ghaghra Gram Sabha said, “In most of our villages, people do not have birth certificates, so how are we going to produce them now. In our Adivasi villages, we know all of our neighbours, but how will we be able to prove to the government that we are residents if we don’t have documents. We have never had any documents. The land we live on is ours and it falls under the fifth schedule.”

He also added how the implementation of the NRC would pose a problem for most women in India. Saying that most women changes villages after marriage, he asked, “How will they prove their residency. They never had documents either in their own village or here. The NPR and NRC will cause immense displacement and pain to Adivasis, in addition to targeting Muslims, Christians and Dalits in the villages.”

Forest-dwelling communities, apart from women and minorities, will be the worst-affected by the CAA-NPR-NRC. They have a history of having lost their land and forests for the sake of development projects which has led them to migrate to remote settlements. Entire villages have disappeared in such displacements and these will not come up in the system even if they manage to name it.

Most people from the earlier generations don’t have birth certificates. Most forest dwellers do not have Aadhaar cards.

Speaking to The Citizen, Aloka Kujur, a Jharkhand-based Adivasi rights activist explained that the 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) do not have any documentation as they reside in isolated and remote areas. Furthermore, she explained that most of the Adivasi population had become Christian. But groups like the Sarna Dharmik group and the Bhisai Dharma practiced by the Munda community have not been recognized by law.

How then will the government’s decision of implementing the CAA and granting citizenship by religion not affect these indigenous Adivasis and tribals who devoid of documents will not even be able to fathom the legal implications of the Act?


Related:

NRC to hit India’s informal labour force

Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019: The Fire that consumes India

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United against Hate condemns implication of Khalid Saifi and Ishrat Jahan in false charges

Saifi and Jahan were arrested during the anti-CAA protest in Delhi and were later falsely charged for being masterminds of the Delhi violence

23 Mar 2020

khalid saifi

The Karkardooma Court of Northeast Delhi granted bail to former Congress councilor Ishrat Jahan and three others who were arrested from an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest site at Khureji Khas in February.

However, activist Khalid Saifi’s bail application was dismissed. The bail orders came late and the court cited that he could not get bail due to pending investigation against him.

Surprisingly though, during this while, the special branch of the Delhi police filed another case against both, Saifi and Jahan stating that they were the masterminds of the Delhi communal riots that took place in February. Both were then produced before the Patiala House Court without the presence of a lawyer post which a Special Cell of the police decided to remand them to a custody of six days.

In light of this, United against Hate put out a statement condemning the false charges invoked against Khalid Saifi and Ishrat Jahan and demanded their immediate release. The organization has also demanded that an independent investigation team under the guidance of the Delhi High Court be instituted to probe into the Delhi violence.

The Jagatpuri police had arrested Saifi on February 26 and brutally tortured him at the police station. Due to this, he suffered a fracture in his leg and is now moving around in a wheelchair. He is a diabetic and now his health is deteriorating day by day. Even then, the Delhi police is accusing Saifi of lying saying that if he was hurt why he didn’t say so during his first court appearance. However, the fact is that Saifi’s first appearance in court was not in the court room, but at the parking lot of the premises where lawyers were not allowed entry.

In its statement, United against Hate has said that the Delhi police is avoiding nabbing the right-wing extremist elements who perpetrated the violence in Delhi during February 23 – February 25 and falsely implicating social and human rights activists in these cases.

Their statement read, “We oppose such false, offensive and fake actions of the Delhi Police, because due to this the real culprits are still being allowed to roam free while people who work for the betterment of the society are being ill-treated.”

“At a time when the country is going through a severe health crisis, when people are being prevented from going to public places and the courts are working at minimum capacity, it is shameful to see that at such a time too, human rights and social workers are being wrongly arrested by the police and not even being provided adequate judicial facilities for their protection,” the statement added.


Related:

Delhi violence: Volunteers submit memorandum of demands to Delhi gov’t about relief and rehabilitation 

Doctors need more protective gear now, before COVID-19 cases explode

Covid-19 update: Positive cases over 400, 7 deaths; lockdown in 75 districts

United against Hate condemns implication of Khalid Saifi and Ishrat Jahan in false charges

Saifi and Jahan were arrested during the anti-CAA protest in Delhi and were later falsely charged for being masterminds of the Delhi violence

khalid saifi

The Karkardooma Court of Northeast Delhi granted bail to former Congress councilor Ishrat Jahan and three others who were arrested from an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest site at Khureji Khas in February.

However, activist Khalid Saifi’s bail application was dismissed. The bail orders came late and the court cited that he could not get bail due to pending investigation against him.

Surprisingly though, during this while, the special branch of the Delhi police filed another case against both, Saifi and Jahan stating that they were the masterminds of the Delhi communal riots that took place in February. Both were then produced before the Patiala House Court without the presence of a lawyer post which a Special Cell of the police decided to remand them to a custody of six days.

In light of this, United against Hate put out a statement condemning the false charges invoked against Khalid Saifi and Ishrat Jahan and demanded their immediate release. The organization has also demanded that an independent investigation team under the guidance of the Delhi High Court be instituted to probe into the Delhi violence.

The Jagatpuri police had arrested Saifi on February 26 and brutally tortured him at the police station. Due to this, he suffered a fracture in his leg and is now moving around in a wheelchair. He is a diabetic and now his health is deteriorating day by day. Even then, the Delhi police is accusing Saifi of lying saying that if he was hurt why he didn’t say so during his first court appearance. However, the fact is that Saifi’s first appearance in court was not in the court room, but at the parking lot of the premises where lawyers were not allowed entry.

In its statement, United against Hate has said that the Delhi police is avoiding nabbing the right-wing extremist elements who perpetrated the violence in Delhi during February 23 – February 25 and falsely implicating social and human rights activists in these cases.

Their statement read, “We oppose such false, offensive and fake actions of the Delhi Police, because due to this the real culprits are still being allowed to roam free while people who work for the betterment of the society are being ill-treated.”

“At a time when the country is going through a severe health crisis, when people are being prevented from going to public places and the courts are working at minimum capacity, it is shameful to see that at such a time too, human rights and social workers are being wrongly arrested by the police and not even being provided adequate judicial facilities for their protection,” the statement added.


Related:

Delhi violence: Volunteers submit memorandum of demands to Delhi gov’t about relief and rehabilitation 

Doctors need more protective gear now, before COVID-19 cases explode

Covid-19 update: Positive cases over 400, 7 deaths; lockdown in 75 districts

Related Articles


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