3rd Jan 2002
Unidentified assailants shot down three dalits and grievously wounded another during an attack on Yogiraj village in Madhepura district of Bihar, the police said on Wednesday
Talking to journalists here after releasing the NHRC calendar, the first in the eight years of its existence which contains the commission's point of view on various issues, Justice Verma said the NHRC's stand has even been corroborated by the representatives of UNHCR. He said the amended Ordinance still has provisions like those governing the granting of bail and recording of testimonials which could be misused.
The commission has been maintaining that the existing provisions of law are enough to deal with terrorism and there is no need for a new law. Contradicting Poto, he quoted Article 20 of the Constitution and said that it provides for guarantee against testimonial compulsion, while adding that it has been made expressly non-derogable. He further said that the provision for granting of bail should be a real provision.
The provisions governing recording of testimonials should also not violate the protection guaranteed under the existing laws when anti-terrorism measures are applied. Making his stand clear, he said the NHRC has only given its views and it is for the government to take a decision on the recommendations of the commission.
However, the NHRC would not lobby in favour or against Poto. Justice Verma said the war against terrorism has to be won under the rule of law. To combat terrorism, the strategies must not be confined merely to identification of terrorists and their elimination by revenge and not justice, but must extend to diagnosis of the malady and finding a permanent cure, Justice Verma said.
He further said, "It is not necessary to deal at length with the specific provisions of Poto. It is sufficient to refer only to some salient features. The reversal of burden of proof for bail for a period of one year and before filing of a chargesheet is contrary to the basic principle of criminal jurisprudence, apart from the unfair requirement from the accused to perform the impossible task of proving that he is not guilty."
Admissibility in evidence of statement recorded by a police officer for graver offence under the Poto when the Evidence Act continues to make it inadmissible for any offence under the general law, is incongruous, Justice Verma pointed out.
The provision for general immunity for any action taken in the course of any operation directed towards combating terrorism in addition to that under the existing law for bonafide acts of public servants with the need of prior sanction to prosecute, have the propensity to further degenerate the existing tendency of custodial torture.
And then, the definition of the offence is also vague and nebulous, enlarging the scope for misuse of power given the earlier experience under the Misa and Tada."
DH News Service
BANGALORE, Jan 2
Karnataka Slum Dwellers' United Federation (KSDUF) and representatives of various political parties today condemned the Police department's move to photograph and take finger prints of slum dwellers. Representatives of almost all major political parties flayed the decision saying it violates fundamental rights. It is deplorable to bracket the slum dwelling community as breeding ground for criminals and criminal activities, opined the representatives, who had come from all the major political parties. However, there was no representative from the Congress party. Former minister and JD (S) representative H C Mahadevappa said that the move of the police has hurt the sentiments of slum dwellers. Hard core criminals like Shivarasan and Dhanu, who assasinated former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, were not hiding in slums, noted JD (U) Leader PGR Sindhia.
Honorary President of KSDUF N P Swamy said that the government should launch a comprehensive plan to improve slums .
DH News Service
GULBARGA, Jan 2
Around 10,000 Karnataka Dalit Sangarsh Samithi (KDSS - Mavalli Shankar group) members from Gulbarga are expected to participate in the rally to be held by KDSS(M) in Bangalore on January 21.
Announcing this to the press here today, KDSS(M) State Organising Convenor S R Kollur stated that around three lakh KDSS(M) members from the State would be participating in this rally. Prior to the rally, a jatha would be taken form the samadhi site of DSS founder Late Krishnappa at Harihar on January 6, to reach Bangalore for the rally, he added.
Stating that the rally was being held to pressurise the State government into conceding their many demands, he said, they would be asking the State government to conduct a survey of the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and fix the reservations in accordance to their population.
He stated that the population of the SC/ST had increased in the State, and the figure now stood at 25 per cent of the total population. "The State Government should fix the SC/ST reservation at 25 per cent", he said. He also stated that the State Government should go in for the categorisation in reservation, wherein the different castes among the SC should be categorised in accordance to their individual population, as has been done in case of Backward Classes.
The KDSS was also demanding the cancellation of contract labour in the city corporations, he said adding, all the pourakarmikars should be given all governmental facilities. All these issues and others relating to the SC/ST would be discussed at the rally on January 21, he said.
Regarding the State government's decision to fill up the backlog of vacancies, Mr Kollur welcoming the decision, however, stated that it was unfortunate that the State Government had decided to fill up the vacancies with those candidates who were between 29 and 40. Also, he stated that a dharna would be staged in front of Chief Minister S M Krishna's house on January 22, demanding the State Government to fulfil the demands of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
K K SINGH
3rd Jan 2002
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
ATNA: The Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes Welfare Committee of the Bihar legislative council has voiced concern over the dual reservation policy for seats in Parliament and state legislatures and suggested reservation of seats in the Rajya Sabha and legislative councils as was being done for seats in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
Apart from that, the committee has also vociferously pleaded before a recent meeting of the welfare committees of SCs and STs in Parliament and state legislatures in New Delhi, for setting up of a all India judicial service commission and state judicial service commissions for appointment of judges. And for this they suggested reservation for SCs and STs in judicial services on the pattern of all India appointments of civil services by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and state public service commissions (SPSCs).
According to the legislative council sources, the committee submitted various other suggestions. Reservation policy regarding jobs for the SCs and STs should also be extended to the private sector by enacting laws.
The committee also lambasted the dual education policy of the Centre and suggested in the meeting that Union human resource ministry should initiate steps for uniform education to all in the country.
Students belonging to SCs and STs are being discriminated. While rich people educate their children in private schools and technical institutions by paying donations, ST and ST people cannot afford it thereby depriving their children of proper education.
The committee pointed out in the meeting that seats were reserved for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, but such facilities were not extended for them in the Upper Houses of Parliament and state legislatures. "Such dual policy is depriving the STs and SCs their say in legislative bodies," the sources said.
Chairman of the Committee Nanda Kishore Ram, who was present at the meeting, informed the meeting about the sad plight of SCs and STs in Bihar. He said that there was an urgent need to increase the literacy rate of women, belonging to SCs and STs in the country, particularly in Bihar. The literacy rate of women in Bihar is around 22.89 per cent in comparison to the national average of 39.27 per cent.
While the literacy rate of women belonging to the SC in Bihar is 7.7 per cent, the rate among STs is 14.75 per cent, which is low in comparison to the literacy rate of women belonging to the SCs and STs in the country.
As far as land ownership is concerned, of the 121.26 lakh hectares cultivable land in Bihar, SCs and STs have ownership of only 7.19 lakh hectares and 3. 27 lakh hectares respectively. "Steps must be taken to provide ownership of lands to SCs and STs for their all round welfare," Ram said. There should be a national policy on land reforms, he added.
TIMES NEWS NETWORK /JAN.04,2002
HYDERABAD: In a major policy move, the state government has decided to spend 21 per cent of the funds available for all programmes at the district level for the benefit of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, with a view to getting back the pro-poor image.
Instructions were issued to district collectors to pool up all the funds.This will be applicable to local bodies also. Orders to this effect were issued by the government two days ago.
According to the government orders, 15 per cent of the funds available at the districts will be compulsorily utilised for the benefit of scheduled castes and 6 per cent for scheduled tribes.The orders of the government will be applicable to all schemes in future and this will come into effect immediately.
A top government official told The Times of India, that the government would monitor spending by the district administration and if the amounts are not spent according to the prescribed formula, the budgetary releases would be held back for the remaining quarters or half year.
The government has also decided to earmark 30 per cent of the Rs 166 crore released under decentralised planning for SC and STs and this amount will be spent only in the localities where weaker sections reside.The works will be taken up without any contribution from them.
Officials say that the decision to spend 21 per cent of the budget compulsorily for SC and STs was taken following recommendations by the cabinet sub-committee which reviewed the programmes and policies of the government following the adverse electoral outcome in the local body polls.
The 16th round of Janmabhoomi, commencing from January 2 is also dedicated to the weaker sections.
The government also plans to construct 10 lakh toilets as part of total sanitation programme being launched by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu at the cost of Rs 250 crore. Initially 3,300 villages will be covered at the rate of three in each mandal.
Ludhiana, January 3
A meeting of the Bhagwan Valmiki Seva Society was held at Habib Ganj here yesterday which was attended by members and others.
Addressing the meeting, the chief guest, Mr Jasbir Kumar Johny, chairman, SC/ST Cell, Punjab Youth Congress, exhorted the Valmiki and Dalit youth to give up the path of social evils and gain knowledge for doing progressive things in life. He said it was their duty to build a better Dalit samaj.
He lamented that the present state government had done very little for the welfare of the Dalits. He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, had failed to keep his 1997 promise of providing jobs to Dalit youth. He criticised the state government for stopping even scholarships for Dalit students.
Mr Jasbir Kumar further said the ?shagun? scheme under which Rs 5,100 was to be given by the government for the marriage of a girl had turned out to be a farce. He said instead of decreasing the power bills of the Dalits, the Badal government had increased the same.
Among others who attended the meeting were Mr Ram Lubhaya Bains, Mr Jasbir Bittu, Mr Janak Raj, Mr Ajved Kumar Nahar, Mr O.P. Rahi, Mr Dharam Pal Bali, Mr Pawan Kumar Pammi, Mr Bhagwan Dass and Mr Vicky Sahota.
TIMES NEWS NETWORK /JAN.04,2002
MUMBAI: A rag-picker (name withheld) is filing her nomination for the civic elections from ward number one, the upmarket Colaba-Cuffe Parade constituency. The reason --the ward has been reserved for a woman belonging to the Other Backward Class (OBC) community and her party could not find a better candidate. In the nomination form, the party is contemplating to describe her as a solid waste management expert!
? Kalbadevi, a commercial area, heavily populated by Jains and Gujarati businessmen and Bengali labourers too has been reserved for the OBC. Various political parties are on the look out for a candidate who fits the bill.
? Although former mayor R.T. Kadam's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is happy with his performance as a corporator from Tilak Nagar, the party cannot field him there this time. For his constituency, too, has been reserved for a woman from the OBC category.
? Ward no. 14 in the upmarket Malabar Hill area has been reserved for the OBC and most parties are frantically looking for nominees who belong to the OBC category.
These are just a few examples of the problems that political parties are facing while fielding candidates for the civic elections to be held in February. In many cases, parties are being compelled to look for suitable candidates from the adjacent wards, since they cannot find one who fulfills the criteria in a reserved ward.
The reservation system adopted by the state election commission has raised several questions. Is the system actually ensuring social justice? Does the public really benefit from such a reservation system? Corporator Puran Doshi feels that the ultimate losers in such a set-up are the people.
Although officially, his party, Congress claims it has no problems with the reservation system, Mr Doshi says that personally, he is not in favour of such a system. Citing the example of his ward (No 1) which has been reserved for a woman OBC candidate, Mr Doshi says, `` There are many women who have worked for the upliftment of the people, but since they do not come from OBC groups, they cannot contest from my ward. My area has an elite population, which demands an educated woman as its elected representative. Let's face it, we, in our party, do not have many educated women from the OBC category. So political parties are propping up a person who is not educated. Ultimately the loser is the public.''
Although having represented ward 1 for five years, he is now compelled to stand for elections from a neighbouring ward. And he admits that it is unfair deal for the citizens if their representative is not from their locality. NCP corporator Ravindra Pawar adds, `` Seventy-six wards have been reserved for women and the male corporator who had worked here is compelled to give way for a woman. In many wards we will have to field candidates from other constituencies, which I think is risky as not many people might know the candidate.''
Mr Pawar cites another example. `` Our corporator, Vishnu Gaikwad's Dharavi constituency was earlier an OBC ward. But now it is reserved for a woman OBC candidate. Mr Gaikwad has really worked for his voters in the past five years, and the residents want him again as their corporator but we are forced to put someone else in his place.''
Another problem parties are facing is that this time sitting women corporators are demanding tickets from open categories as they claim to have groomed their wards and do not want to be shunted out. Mr Pawar says, ``Women, despite reservations, are allowed to contest in open categories. This is creating much strife within parties.''
City president of Samajwadi Party (SP), Abu Asim Azmi is confronted with similar problems. Mohammad Ali Road was represented by SP corporator Waqarunissa Ansari but she cannot contest the elections from here as the constituency has been reserved for an OBC candidate. Though Ansaris are Muslim OBCs, the corporator herself does not belong to the OBC category. `` Not only we, but almost all parties are looking for a good OBC candidate to field in Mohammad Ali Road,'' says Mr Azmi.
However, joint assessor and collector in-charge of civic elections, Narayan Mundle claims that no party has made any official complaints in this regard. ``Individually many complain against the reservation policy, but at the party forum, everyone speaks of social justice. If they are indeed facing problems let them lodge complaints.''
Mr Mundle adds, ``Since all parties know about the reservation policies, they should have groomed representatives from all castes and genders, as they claim in their manifestoes.'