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Archives for : March2018

Vilified and humiliated: Family of ‘framed’ accused Kafeel Khan await justice

Kafeel KhanBRD Hospital deaths accused Kafeel Khan

Outside ‘makaan no 172’ in Gorakhpur’s Basantpur mohalla, the scene is rather mundane: houses, grocery stores and small nursing homes stand cheek by jowl in crammed lanes; cows squat languorously on streets dotted with heaps of garbage, and the elderly can be spotted taking in the winter sunshine in the narrow gullies.

But for the Khans, residents of house number 172, life has been far from the mundane since last August. That month, the police had come looking for the paediatrician in the house, Kafeel Khan, in connection with a case registered in the local police station after news of infant deaths at the BRD Medical College and Hospital, allegedly due to a shortage of liquid oxygen, made headlines in the media. The doctor, who worked at the medical college, was one of the prime accused, and they needed to take him away.

Since then, hounded by police personnel and journalists, the family, terrified by the subsequent turn of events and slanderous accusations that came their way, has clammed up.

Today, a little over four months since Kafeel and eight other accused in the case have been languishing in town’s Bichia jail, doorbells at the Khan household are answered with some delay, and visitors, especially journalists, are viewed with some suspicion.

Inside the house, residents say the young paediatrician’s room has been locked, and his wife Shabista, a dentist, is away at her maternal home, along with the couple’s one-year-old daughter.

“What’s there to say? They should have given him bail,” Nuzhat Parveen, the distraught mother says, after she lets us into a cosy drawing room. “I was away on Haj when the episode took place. I just wish and pray for his bail application to be accepted,” says Nuzhat, before retiring into her room.

Kafeel’s older sister-in-law, Ayesha Khan, a trained physiotherapist, explains that the family has kept away from media for fear of jeopardising his prospects of securing bail. “What do we even say, we are just an ordinary middle-class family. Everyone knows the truth (about Kafeel’s innocence). But no one can say anything in our support (due to fear from the administration),” she says.

The family, particularly Kafeel’s older brother and Ayesha’s husband, Adeel Khan, say they have tried appealing to the relevant authorities—including the UP CM Yogi Adityanath—for “justice” for Kafeel, who they claim has been “framed” in the case.

On January 17, however, in the court of the special judge (anti-corruption) Rakesh Dhar Dubey, Kafeel’s bail plea was rejected, sending the mother into another fit of despair.

According to the prosecution, Kafeel, who is said to be the nodal officer in charge of the AES ward (where the deaths took place) did not inform the authorities about the shortage of oxygen supply in the ward. The prosecution also argued that Kafeel was also practicing in the nursing home that was run under his wife’s name, and hence his bail would not be justified. The defence lawyers, however, said that they were not at liberty to disclose the judge’s reaction to the allegations.

Adeel, however, refutes the prosecution’s claims and says the charge that Kafeel was the nodal officer for the 100-bedded AES ward was untrue.

“Kafeel’s official designation was that of a nodal officer for National Health Mission, and a lecturer in the paediatric department. So, how can he be held responsible for this if it was not part of his duties? The nodal officer for that ward is somebody else. He has been let off, as has the department head,” Adeel told The Week. When The Week visited the house of the Khans, Adeel was out of town to prepare for his brother’s bail application at the Allahabad High Court, an appeal that the family is banking on heavily.

Upon Adeel’s return, he shared two documents, part of the hospital’s internal communication (of this, at least one is part of the case charge-sheet too, he said) that clearly mention Kafeel’s designation as ‘nodal officer, National Health Mission’. “During the tragedy, the media referred to him with several false designations; some called him the vice principal, others said he was the head of the paediatric department. All these facts were untrue. No one was bothering to even check his correct designation,” he said.

Adeel says his brother was on leave on the day the oxygen supply dipped (August 10), but once he learnt of the crisis—a WhatsApp group for paediatricians had flagged the message that only 52 cylinders were available, which would be inadequate—just after midnight, he sprung into action and arranged for 250 cylinders each in the next two days.

In days following the controversy, Kafeel was hailed by the local press for arranging several oxygen cylinders, some of which he is believed to have paid out of his own pocket, and the story went viral on social media networks. Subsequently, in a dramatic turn of events in the following days, Kafeel was turned into the “villain” of the tragedy, with the coverage also taking a communal turn.

The chargesheet in the BRD oxygen supply case names Kafeel, along with R.K. Mishra, the then principal of the medical college for “gaban” or embezzlement of government funds and medical negligence. The document invokes sections 409, 308 and 120b of the Indian Penal Code, which, if proved, could mean life imprisonment for the two. However, after investigation, four charges against him were dropped—relating to corruption, of engaging in private practice, IPC 420 (fraud) and section 66 of the IT Act.

At the height of the controversy in August, Kafeel, through a series of videos on Youtube—of which The Week could locate only one—denied the charges levelled against him. In the video, he claimed that contrary to the chief secretary’s version that he had arranged for only three oxygen cylinders, he had, arranged for 200. “Everyone started accusing him of stealing oxygen. But the supply to the hospital is through a pipeline. How can someone steal liquid oxygen out of a pipeline?,” counters Adeel.

But none of their counter versions, appeals or efforts to prove his innocence have had much effect.

A family that was counted among the town’s “elite” was almost overnight a subject of disgrace.

“My grandmother was one of the three girls in this town who cleared high school; the first Muslim woman perhaps to do so. My mother is a graduate, and my father was an executive engineer. We four brothers and two sisters are also well educated…” Adeel says.

But after the accusations against Kafeel, Adeel says the family has been vilified on account of their religion. “People called us ‘chor’, ‘ISI agents’, ‘Pakistani’, all sorts of abuses,” he says. Ayesha says the family discovered that pictures of the doctor, with his wife in her bridal attire, also surfaced on YouTube, along with the accusations.

When the pressure became too much for Kafeel, he had to surrender. ” Police would come and sit at our home for hours in the night. My wife would get scared. My sister and her children were also getting caught in crossfire. It was only due to that pressure that he turned himself in,” recalls Adeel.

Adeel, a businessman who deals in batteries for inverters, feels the targeting is, perhaps, because of Kafeel’s affluent family background. The young doctor in his mid 30s liked to dress nattily, sported a goatee, rode in expensive cars, and possessed an outspoken, frank nature. This, says the brother, generated some resentment amongst his peers. How had a doctor who returned to Gorakhpur after several years in 2013 made it so big, people thought. “That is because of his family economic status. And that’s not a crime, is it? Neither is private practice for government doctors, according to a Supreme Court judgement,” he says.

Kafeel did his MBBS and his MD from Manipal, and had better offers from private hospitals outside of Gorakhpur. “But I insisted he live here with us as our two other brothers, and fulfil the family’s dream of having a big hospital. Now, I regret it,” says Adeel.

The family is now counting on his next bail application. “We try and have Ammi (mother) visit him as often as possible. It’s only that that keeps her going,” says Ayesha, adding that she worries for her brother in law’s health.

As for the doctor, she says, he keeps himself busy with the letters that he writes to his little nephew Abaan, who he has been close to. On a piece of ruled paper from a notebook, he writes how he misses Abaan, how the child should eat “more protein”, focus on his studies and pray that his uncle is out of prison soon. In turn, a young Abaan asks when chachajaani will be home. That question, no one in town has been able to answer, yet.

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Jharkhand lynching -Want Justice not Revenge: Mariam Ansari

Jharkhand lynching victim Alumuddin Ansari’s widow does not want death penalty for convicted Gau Rakshaks

| Ajit Sahi

In an EXCLUSIVE interview Mariam Khatoon, the widow of Alimuddin Ansari who was killed by gau rakshaks on June 29 last year, has said she does not want her husband’s convicted killers to hang.


“Though they murdered my husband I don’t want them to lose their lives,” she told this reporter at her home shortly after a court here found the 11 accused guilty of killing him. “I would prefer the court gave them life imprisonment.”

The court’s guilty verdict for the 11 men is the first conviction in India for Gau Rakshaks, the self-styled  cow vigilantes linked to the RSS-BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal, who have gone on an attack-and-kill spree especially since the BJP-led government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014.

While the 11 men, at least one of whom was a well-known BJP leader in this district, have been found guilty of murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, three of them were additionally found guilty of conspiracy under section 120(B) of the IPC. Sentencing is due on March 21, Wednesday.


Mariam Khatoon implored Prime Minister Modi to put an end to continuing assaults by the Gau Rakshaks on innocent Muslims across India. “There is terror of the gau rakshaks among the Muslims and Mr. Modi should realise it is not good for inter community relations,” she said. “Please, for god’s sake, stop it.”

She also said that the Hindu neighbours in her village were no less supportive of her and her family than the Muslim community. In fact, she said, never had there been any chasm between the Hindus and Muslims in not just the village but in the entire Ramgarh district.

Announcing the verdict in Hindi in open court at about 3.30 pm on Friday, Additional District Judge Om Prakash said that he had considered all evidence and witness statements before ruling the accused as guilty. A full judgement in writing is expected to be delivered along with the sentencing.

Alimuddin was waylaid by Gau Rakshaks at a prominent city thoroughfare on the morning of June 29, 2017, and severely beaten. The Gau Rakshaks accused him of carrying beef in his car. After the police arrived on the scene he was taken to a local hospital where he shortly died of his injuries.

The defendants denied they had assaulted Alimuddin and, instead, claimed he died of in police custody due to police torture. The judge rejected this contention. For hours before the verdict was given the road leading to the courthouse, as well as the court premises itself, was heavily patrolled and guarded by a special police force.

The sprawling lawns of the courthouse teemed with young men in bright saffron shirts, many of whom also sported saffron bandanas around their foreheads, who were obviously supporters of the defendants. Many said they were active members of the Bajrang Dal.

Women and children from the families of the accused crowded the narrow corridor at the end of which lay Judge Prakash’s courtroom. None, however, but the lawyers and a handful of journalists were allowed into the court, right after the 11 accused, their hands tied with a long, single rope, were marched into the massive iron cage inside the courtroom.

Dressed in shirts and trousers, all the accused wore fresh saffron tilaks on their foreheads. This reporter counted at least 22 lawyers on the defendants side, greatly outnumbering the lone public prosecutor flanked by three lawyers that represented Mariam Khatoon’s family.

As the judge pronounced his verdict there was stunned silence all around in the courtroom. In conversations with this reporter before the verdict was read the families as well as the Bajrang Dal supporters had appeared confident that most, if not all, the accused would be acquitted. As the team of lawyers left the courtroom the convicts’ families and supporters crowded around individual lawyers trying to make sense of what had just happened.

Mariam Khatoon and her family were conspicuous by their absence from the courthouse, although about half a dozen of their well-wishers from her village were present. After the verdict was given, they quietly hurried out.

The defendants’ lawyer, M. B. Tripathi, told this reporter they will appeal the conviction at the Jharkhand High Court in Ranchi after the sentencing.


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Delhi girl commits suicide over molestation by teachers #Vaw #WTFnews

Father of the deceased student, who belonged to the Ahlcon Public School in Mayur Vihar Phase-I, said that she had accused her social sciences teachers of sexually harassing her

Noida suicide case

A 15-year-old student allegedly committed suicide in Delhi’s Mayur Vihar area on Tuesday. Photo: Shutterstock

In a tragic incident, a 15-year-old girl student allegedly committed suicide here in Delhi’s Mayur Vihar area on Tuesday. The teenage girl had reportedly failed in her Class 9 examinations. The deceased’s father said that she had also accused her social sciences teachers of sexually harassing her and “touching her inappropriately”. A case has been registered in the matter under Sections 306 and 506 of the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).The deceased student belonged to the in Mayur Vihar Phase-I. She reportedly hanged herself on Tuesday evening when she was alone at her home.


The father of the victim has blamed the school for her daughter’s suicide. “She told me her SST teachers touched her inappropriately. I said since I am also a teacher, I can say they cannot do it, might be a mistake but she said, ‘I am scared of them, no matter how well I write they will fail me. Ultimately they failed her in SST. School killed her,” he said.The father of the victim also alleged that earlier, one of the Ahlcon school’s teachers had fractured his son’s hand, after which he had put the child in another school.

1) Case registered under IPC and POSCO: Noida Superintendent of Police (SP) Arun K Singh said a case has been registered in the matter of the suicideunder Sections 306 (Abetment of suicide) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act). Singh added that an investigation has been launched into the 15-year-old girl student’s suicide.

Father has alleged that her daughter was harassed by two school teachers & failed her in exams intentionally. Case registered under sections 306 & 506 IPC & POCSO Act, further investigation is underway. Our officers will also visit the school today: Arun K Singh, SP, City Noida

Two teachers and the school’s principal have been booked by the police after a complaint by the girl’s family, the Hindustan Times reported, adding that the principal has been booked for abetment to suicide.2) Doctor says couldn’t revive girl despite attempts: A doctor at the Kailash Hospital, where the girl was admitted after she was found hanging from a railing, told news agencies that a 15-year-old girl was brought to the hospital and, on arrival, “her pulse and blood pressure were un-recordable”.”We tried to revive her but couldn’t. Cause of death can be known after postmortem,” the doctor said.

15-year-old girl was brought to us, on arrival her pulse & blood pressure were un-recordable, we tried to revive her but couldn’t. Cause of death can be known after postmortem: Doctor, Kailash Hospital, where girl was admitted after she was found hanging from a railing

3) principal says will cooperate in probe: Responding to questions on the 15-year-old girl student’s alleged suicide, the principal of Mayur Vihar-I told news agencies that it was an “unfortunate incident”. He added that the school had been following “promotion policies of CBSE” and that the deceased “had not failed”, instead “a re-test was scheduled”.”We will cooperate with probe agencies,” he said.

It’s an unfortunate incident. School has been following promotion policies of CBSE. Let me make it clear that she had not failed, a re-test was scheduled. We will cooperate with probe agencies: Principal, Ahlcon Public School Mayur Vihar -III

4) Principal denies allegations of harassment: Responding to the family’s allegations of the 15-year-old’s harassment by school teachers, the Principal of in Delhi’s Mayur Vihar-I told news agencies that “such a thing has never happened”.

Such a thing has never happened: Principal of Ahlcon Public School in Delhi’s Mayur Vihar-III on family’s allegations of 15-year-old’s harassment by school teachers.

5) Father alleges daughter was harassed by teachers: The father of the victim hasblamed the school for his daughter’s suicide. “She told me her SST teachers touched her inappropriately. I said since I am also a teacher, I can say they cannot do it, might be a mistake…,” the father said, adding, “… But she said, ‘I am scared of them, no matter how well I write they will fail me. Ultimately they failed her in SST. School killed her.”

Principal of the school assured cooperation with the probe agency. “It’s an unfortunate incident. School has been following promotion policies of CBSE. Let me make it clear that she had not failed, a re-test was scheduled. We will cooperate with probe agencies,” the Principal said

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One of the finest musicians in the world, Ustad Bismillah Khan

All You Need To Know About Ustad Bismillah Khan, The Shehnai Maestro

All You Need To Know About Ustad Bismillah Khan, The Shehnai Maestro

Shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan with his grandchildren

NEW DELHI:  Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan was born as Qamaruddin Khan on 21st march, 1916 in a traditional Muslim family of musicians in Bhirung Raut Ki Gali, Dumraon – in present-day Bihar. He was the second son of Paigambar Baksh Khan and Mitthan. His grandfather Rasool Baksh Khan exclaimed “Bismillah” at his birth and Qamaruddin Khan came to be known as Bismillah Khan.

Born to a family of musicians, he was trained by his uncle, the late Ali Baksh ‘Vilayatu’, who was also a shehnai player and attached to Varanasi’s Vishwanath Temple. His father was a court musician employed in the Dumrao palace by the Raja of Bhojpur. His great grandfather Ustad Salar Hussain Khan and grandfather Rasool Baksh Khan were also musicians in the Dumrao palace.

Ustab Bismillah Khan single-handedly transformed how the world looked at shehnai. From being an important folk instrument, it suddenly found a place in the heart of Indian music after Ustad Khan’s performance at Calcutta All India Music Conference in 1937.

One of the finest musicians in the world, Ustad Bismillah Khan played to audiences across the globe. Such was his devotion to his art and music that he referred to his shehnai as “begum” after the death of his wife.

ustad bismillah khan

The maestro was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 2001.

On the eve of India’s Independence in 1947, Bismillah khan performed at the Red Fort in Delhi. He also performed here on the eve of India’s first Republic Day ceremony in 1950. His performance soon became an integral part of the cultural programme during Independence Day celebrations in years to come. Doordarshan would regularly telecast his recital along with the Prime Minister’s address from Red Fort in Delhi.

Apart from shehnai concerts and recitals, Ustad Bismillah Khan was associated with films as well. He acted in Satyajit Ray’s much acclaimed Jalsaghar and played the shehnai in Goonj Uthi Shehnai, a 1959 film directed by Vijay Bhatt. National Award winning director Goutam Ghose directed a documentary on his life titled Sang-e-Meel Se Mulaqat. Most recently his music was incorporated in Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar starring Ranbir Kapoor. AR Rehman, who won the Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, was the music director of the film.

The maestro was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 2001.

Ustad Bismillah Khan’s last wish, to be able to perform at the India Gate as a tribute to the martyrs, remained unfulfilled after he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

A day of national mourning was declared by the government on his death. He was buried along with his shehnai under a neem tree at Fatemaan burial ground in old Varanasi with a 21-gun salute from the Indian Army.

The Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, instituted the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar in 2007, in his honour, which is conferred to young artists in the field of music, theatre and dance.

On his 102nd birth anniversary, Google paid tribute to the musician with a doodle. His music will remain till the end of time, the way he had famously prophesied, “Even if the world ends, the music will still survive.”

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Activists condemn the inhuman treatment of Prof. GN Saibaba by the Maharastra government

Former Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba and four others were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Gadchiroli sessions court in Maharashtra in 2014.


He spent 14 months in jail before the Bombay High Court granted him bail for six months in July 2015 in view of his deteriorating health condition.He had to surrender and again go back to jail in December 2015.


A Supreme court bench in March 2016, acted on a special leave petition challenging the rejection of bail for Saibaba and granted him bail on medical grounds. The Counsel of the Maharashtra government was also reprimanded by the Apex court for being ‘extremely unfair to the accused, especially given his medical examination.’ The Supreme Court had cited his medical condition where he suffers from 90% disability following a childhood polio attack.  He continues to be in the Central Prison Nagpur till date.

Professor Saibaba has 90% post-polio disability and is completely wheel chair bound. On February 22, 2017, Saibaba had complained of chest pains and was taken to a local hospital, where he had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. He was said to have a pancreas infection, besides stones in his gall bladder stones. Doctors had recommended he have surgery in three weeks, after recovering from the infection. In addition to the acute pancreatitis there is a possibility of post pancreatitis abscess which is a medical emergency requiring urgent care. He also has left brachial plexopathy which requires sustained and long term intervention.

Since Prof. Saibaba already has serious disability, it is important that all efforts are made to ensure maximum functional ability of his motor system. This would require long term and intensive medical, surgical and physiotherapy intervention. A 90% disability would also warrant a full time carer to ensure that he is able to perform his activities of daily living with dignity and with minimum distress. Prof. Saibaba’s current incarceration in the Nagpur central jail and deteriorating health condition gives clear indication that he is being denied access to adequate medical care as well as a full time carer.

India has made a commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) with Article 15 (1) stating that “No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’ Article 15 (2) further places the state under obligation to protect persons with disabilities from ‘cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment and punishment’. State parties ‘shall take all effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others, from being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.

In the case of Prof. Saibaba who requires support and assistance for daily living, denying him the right to accessible facilities for personal care and hygiene violates his right to dignity and bodily integrity, both guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and Article 17 of the UNCRPD. It amounts to torture by the government of Maharashtra.

Professor Saibaba requires comprehensive healthcare for all his healthcare needs with a full time carer. For this, and as directed by the Supreme court, the investigating authorities must release him from custody forthwith and carry out any investigations they may require, without infringing on his right to human dignity and fundamental freedoms, and in full compliance with the Constitution and the UNCRPD.


  1. Sylvia Karpagam, Public health doctor and researcher, Email:
  2. Deepika Joshi, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Chhatisgarh, Email:
  3. Mohan Rao MBBS, PhD, Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, Email:
  4. R Srivatsan, Independent Scholar, Email
  5. Siddharth Joshi, Independent research, Email:
  6. Sana Contractor, Public health Researcher, New Delhi.
  7. Pushpa Achanta, Journalist & Trainer, Bangalore,
  8. Kamayani Bali Mahabal health and human rights activist, Mumbai
  9. G Ravi , Disability Right Activist , Bengaluru.
  10. Karnataka Janaarogya Chaluvali (
  11. Dr B Karthik Navayan, Human Rights Activist, Bangalore
  12. Madhu Bhushan, Independent women’s rights activist, researcher
  13. Shakun M Doundiyakhedis.
  14. Dr Shakeel, Executive Director, Centre for Health And Resource Management, Patna.
  15. Dr Gopal Dabade. Drug Action Forum Karnataka. 57. Tejaswinagar. Dharwad 580002. 9448862270.
  16. Teena Xavier, Public Health activist, Gulbarga
  17. Archana Bidargaddi, Software Engineer, Bergen Norway
  18. Sulakshana, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Chhattisgarh,
  19. Radha Holla Bhar, Independent researcher, Child health and nutrition, Email:
  20. Alwyn Prakash D’Souza, Head, Human Rights and Training Unit, Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru. Email:
  21. Robert Anthony, Surgeon, Bangalore
  22. Amar Jesani, Independent Researcher and Teacher (Bioethics, Public Health)
  23. Sarojini N, JSA, New Delhi.
  24. Pallavi Gupta, Independent Consultant, Public Health,
  25. Vinay K Sreenivasa ,  Advocate,
  26. Bindu N. Doddahatti, Advocate, Alternative Law Forum,
  27. Kshithij Urs, Visiting Professor, National Law School of India. Email:
  28. Ramdas Rao, Member, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Karnataka
  29. Cynthia Stephen, Co-founder Dalit Women’s Network for Solidarity (DAWNS) and/or President, TEDS Trust,
  30. Stanley JG Thangaraj, Hyderabad Email ID:
  31. R.Manohar, Regional Coordinator, South India, Human Rights Defenders Alert(HRDA),
  32. Narendra Gupta
  33. Harsh Mander
  34. Dr. Ravichandran Bathran, Dalit camera
  35. Karthik Bittu
  36. Deepak Malghan, IIIM Bangalore
  37. Jyoti Punwani, Freelance journalist, Mumbai
  38. Dhruva Narayan, Founding Trustee, JANAM Foundation, Patna
  39. Preeti Sinha, Editor, Filhaal, Hindi journal from Patna.
  40.  Dipa Sinha, Ambedkar University Delhi
  41. Deepa V,
  42. Santosh, research scholar JNU
  43. Sebastian Devaraj, Social Activist & Executive Trustee, Fedina, Email.;
  44. Dr. Imrana Qadeer, Delhi
  45. Dr Vikas Bajpai, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  46. Pushkar raj (Author, former National General Secretary PUCL), Melbourne


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Mumbai -Pregnant woman dies outside JJ hospital waiting for doctors for 1hr #WTFnews

  • MLA Eknath Khadse’s intervention couldn’t help Vaishali Nikam
  • She was made to wait outside JJ Hospital in an ambulance
  • Sshe was brought to city from Jalgaon after her health deteriorated
A 23-year-old pregnant woman and her unborn child died in an ambulance that was parked outside the state-run Sir JJ Hospital on Saturday morning. The woman had waited for nearly an hour for doctors and other staff to wheel her inside the hospital and attend to her.

The on-duty medical officer at the hospital apparently cited a shortage of ventilators and said there were no beds in the ICU to keep the woman, Vaishali Nikam, waiting in the ambulance.

Even the intervention of MLA Ekanath Khadse could not save Nikam. Khadse had tried calling JJ Hospital Dean SD Nanadkar, and Medical Superintendent Dr Sanjay Surase, but said their numbers had been switched off. Khadse even raised the issue of Nikam’s death during the ongoing assembly, and said he had struggled to help her.

Khadse said the young mother-to-be had travelled all the way from Jalgaon to Mumbai, but died outside the hospital because of the nonavailability of ventilators.

The Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) has initiated an enquiry into Nikam’s death and accepted that she had been kept waiting outside JJ Hospital.

Journey from Jalgaon to Mumbai

A Resident of Jalgaon, Nikam, who was due for delivery, was initially taken to Jalgaon Civil Hospital after she experienced breathing difficulties. Doctors at Jalgaon Civil Hospital told her husband, Samadhan, that she would have to be shifted to JJ Hospital in Mumbai for the delivery as she needed an ICU. Vaishali was brought to the city in an ambulance and reached the hospital at 5.30 am.

The casualty on-duty medical officer allegedly told Samadhan that the hospital did not have beds in the ICU, and that his wife needed a ventilator, which, too, they did not have.

The casualty medical officer kept telling us that we should take her somewhere else, as they didn’t have empty beds in the ICU. I pleaded with them, but he didn’t come out to see my wife even once.
-Samadhan (Her husband)

“The casualty medical officer kept telling us that we should take her somewhere else, as they didn’t have empty beds in the ICU. I pleaded with them, but he didn’t come out to see my wife even once,” Samadhan alleged.

For almost one hour, Nikam’s relatives struggled to try and get Vaishali admitted to JJ Hospital, but in vain.

“We started calling everyone, so that with someone’s influence my sister would get admitted in the hospital,” said Mangal Gaikwad, Vaishali’s brother. “Luckily, through someone, we got in touch with Eknath Khadse and he tried to help us, but nothing worked, we were so helpless.”

“I told the staff my wife was dying and begged them to take her in, but no one was bothered. The doctors were busy attending to other patients,” Samadhan told Mirror.

An hour later, he said he realised his wife was not responding. “We called the doctor, and this time the casualty doctor came and examined her, and told us she was no more. They could have saved my wife and unborn child, but they didn’t,” Samadhan, who works with a small company in Jalgaon, said.

He said his wife and he were thrilled to be expecting their first child. “But we never imagined this would happen. No one cares for the poor,” he said.

“Vaishali was finally wheeled into JJ Hospital around 6.30 am, where she was declared dead in the casualty ward,” her brother Mangal said.

Dr Pravin Shingare, Director of DMER, said: “Since it’s a maternal death, we have begun an inquiry. Yes, it is true that the pregnant woman was not admitted to the hospital due to the unavailability of a ventilator. We are cross-checking the doctors’ claims of the non-availability of beds and ventilators, and why she was not refereed to another centre in the city.”

Talking to Mirror, Khadse said, “It’s a clear case of negligence. The doctors did’t make any effort to admit her. When I called the medical officer of JJ Hospital to get the number of the hospital’s dean, I was told that due to protocol, they couldn’t share the numbers. When I called the operator to ask for the dean’s number, they too didn’t give it to me. Finally, when I managed to get the dean and the medical superintendent’s numbers, both numbers were switched off.”

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India -What’s next after ‘Acche Din’ in 2019?

‘It does not appear that the campaign of 2019 will be positive.’
‘It is unlikely that there will be an ‘achche din” style slogan either from the government or the Opposition,’ says Aakar Patel.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/


What will be the issue that the 2019 elections will be fought on?

The polls are about a year away and in a few months from now the parties and alliances will have finished positioning themselves.

They will go to advertising agencies and polling agencies and marketing specialists to figure out how to package and distribute the most effective message.

The advertising company Ogilvy & Mather was hired by the BJP for its successful 2014 campaign while the Congress had hired J Walter Thompson.

The first time that an advertising agency was used in Indian politics so far as I can remember was in 1985, when Rajiv Gandhi hired Rediffusion.


This time again, politicians will be in meetings with men in suits making powerpoint presentations that attempt to frame a message that most appeals to the citizen.

Just like yeh dil mange more and yeh andar ki baat hai and achche din aane wale hain, marketing geniuses will produce catchy slogans to dominate the narrative.

The lessons learned from 2014, like the reward of large investments in social media and technology, will be seen in the 2019 campaign. A lot of people will make a lot of money from the elections.

The BJP reported to the Election Commission that it spent Rs 714 crore (Rs 7.14 billion) on the 2014 campaign.

The Congress spent Rs 516 crore (Rs 5.16 billion).

Single state parties like Sharad Pawar’s NCP reported spending Rs 51 crore (Rs 510 million).

Expect these numbers to double or triple in 2019. And this does not include what will be spent in cash by candidates or spent by companies on behalf of the parties (a common practice in India).

The major candidates will easily spend Rs 15 crore (Rs 150 million) each and that does not include the cost of the ticket.

All in all, my guess is that at least Rs 25,000 crore (Rs 250 billion) will change hands before May 2019.

If you think this number is incredible, the Economic Times quoted a study which estimated that Rs 5,500 crore (Rs 55 billion) was spent on the Uttar Pradesh election of 2017.

Newspapers and television channels will get additional income from political advertising, much of it pretending to be news.

Many deals will be done and as the Nirav Modi scandal shows, corruption does not begin or end with a non-corrupt leader.

Political parties will also unemotionally assess and work out what alliances will give them maximum advantage.

Some leaders will leave their options open, giving up advantage in the beginning in anticipation of greater benefit and flexibility later.

The results from four states going to elections before 2019 — Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — will help many regional parties decide how close or how distant to be from Rahul Gandhi.

The reasons for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s spectacular electoral successes over the last six years will now be fully understood by its rivals who have sized the party up properly.

That is what has made the most unlikely of partnerships, such as the one we saw in Uttar Pradesh between Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, possible.

To return to the question we started with, what will be the issue the election will be fought on?

That will depend on who will control the narrative. In 2014, it was the Opposition leader that controlled the narrative and not the ruling party.

The Congress was forced to defend its record on corruption and the BJP batted from the front foot on the presumed capacities of its leader.

In 2009, the BJP hired two agencies Frank Simoes-Tag and Utopia to produce a campaign projecting L K Advani as a strong leader. The slogan was ‘Mazboot neta, nirnayak sarkar‘ to show Manmohan Singh as indecisive, which, of course, he was not.

The Congress in that year hired JWT, which produced the ‘Aam Aadmi‘ slogan, which was later, of course, appropriated by Arvind Kejriwal.

Sometimes the dominant narrative of the campaign does not result in the victory. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 2004 campaign — ‘India Shining’ designed by the agency Grey Worldwide — resulted in a defeat nobody predicted and for reasons nobody still fully understands.

It does not appear to me that the campaign of 2019 will be positive.

By that I mean it is unlikely that there will be an ‘achche din‘ style slogan either from the government or the Opposition.

The economy is not doing anything particularly special and I do not think our lives as citizens are in any noticeable way different than they were in 2014.

I was speaking to a BJP leader a few days ago and was told that the Ayodhya issue will be brought into focus sharply.

At the moment the BJP is not touching it, but that could change very soon.

The Supreme Court is hearing the case and it is possible a verdict will come soon.

A few days ago, the court dismissed the applications of individuals like Subramanian Swamy who were seeking to intervene in this matter.

The court also dismissed the idea of a settlement and wisely said ‘How can a middle path be found in a land dispute?’

A verdict of any kind will likely become the issue of our next election, and I shudder to think of what the campaign messaging will be.

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Rajasthan police bust racket using ‘fake #Aadhaar’, computer hacking to help candidates clear exam

Rajasthan Police entrance exam cancelled over ‘hi-tech cheating’

IANS  |  Jaipur

In a case of a major security breach in Aadhaar authentication, Rajasthan’s special operations group (SOG) has so far identified seven centres where a gang was cloning candidates’ fingerprints to help at least 25 of them to take exams through a proxy (dummy) candidate. Devendra Jat, the mastermind of the whole operation, is a resident of Palwal in Haryana. He has been absconding since the SOG started conducting raids in the case.

The police arrested 10 people in the alleged case of cloning of fingerprints to destabilise the UIDAI’s biometric-based security system. This case reveals the fresh vulnerabilities in India’s Aadhaar project. The Uttar Pradesh police, earlier, announced that they had busted a Lucknow-based gang, which stole the fingerprints of authorised Aadhaar enrolment operators.

The Police Entrance Examination 2018 held recently was cancelled on Tuesday following reports of “hi-tech cheating” during the test, a said.

The decision was at a high-level meeting — chaired by of Police (DGP) O.P. Galhotra — that was attended by several senior officials including Umesh Mishra, (ADG) – (SOG), and ADG (Headquarters) Rajiv Sharma, among others.

The entrance examination was the first leg of the process to recruit 5,290 constables in 

The online examination, held first time in the state for police recruitments, had commenced on March 7. But on March 12 and 14, cases of computer hacking were reported. The police also got information about an organised racket indulging in of biometric identity.

According to reports, they even provided expert proxy examination solvers to answer the papers on behalf of real candidates.

An investigation was launched and 12 persons were initially rounded up. Later, as the probe progressed, more names surfaced. Till now, 27 persons have been arrested by the SOG over the hi-tech fraud.

Around 15 out of those arrested are highly-skilled IT professionals, and have in the past facilitated similar in states like Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh, among others.

According to of Police (IG) Dinesh M.N., accused is a student who adopted similar technique during a National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) in and was arrested by the police. He also has a case registered against him in 

Similarly, his accomplice is an MBBS student in a Rohtak college, while Sandeep Kumar, their third helping hand, is preparing for his in 

The accused said they learnt the art of making thumb-print clone on youtube. “It taught us how to use fish oil, wax and fevicol to make this clone,” one of the accused said. They would apply on applicant’s thumb, put it on warm and soft wax and apply a film of fevicol on reverse finger print to obtain the clone after the fevicol dried.

The expert proxies used the cloned fingerprints to appear for exams. The cloned thumb-print was smartly affixed onto the thumb of the  He could walk into the centre and sit in the examination on behalf of the applicant.

Informed sources said offline entrance examination would most likely replace the

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India -Now, UP Govt Plans To Package And Sell Cow Urine As A ‘Health Drink’ #WTFnews

We examine the ‘science’ behind cow urine as a ‘health drink’

 NEW DELHI: Indians are really taken by cows. I get it, it’s a Holy Animal in Hinduism and gives us milk and deserves reverence, but by all accounts — haven’t we taken our obsession with this animal a little too far? From a steady rise in cow lynching incidents to setting up official cow welfare ministries and gauraksha police chowks … to now packaging and selling cow urine as a ‘health drink’ under a official government banner!

You read all of the above right. While the rest of cow-related developments in the country are gravely serious and perhaps better left to another author and article, I would like to bring to your attention a proposal by the Uttar Pradesh government to collect, process and sell packaged bottles of cow urine as a “health giving drink.”

The bottles will be prepared government Ayurvedic pharmacies in Uttar Pradesh, which supply ayurvedic medicines to government centres across the state.

In fact, the government wants to make cow urine a staple part of people’s every day diets. Dr Prakash Chandra Saxena, principal and superintendent of Government Ayurveda College and Hospital in Pilibhit, is quoted in the TOI saying, “Not just for medicinal purpose, we will promote cow urine as a health-giving drink. We have prepared a plan and will discuss it with Ayurveda department in Lucknow for approval. Drinking 10 ml to 20 ml cow urine daily will act as a preventive against seasonal diseases, like fever, cough and stomach-related ailments. Daily consumption of cow urine will also help increase people’s immunity. Our aim is to make cow urine easily available to common public.”

The several government run gaushalas also are part of the plan, as revealed by Dr. Saxena, when questioned about how such a large volume of cow urine will be sourced. “We are considering to contact dairies and gaushalas (cow shelters) run by the government or NGOs. We will soon discuss with experts and director of the Ayurveda department to chalk out details of the project,” he tells TOI. FYI, the Adityanath government has cleared setting up 1000-capacity gaushalas in seven districts and 16 urban locations in Uttar Pradesh as phase one of what could be a giant project to inundate the state with cow safe-havens.

In addition to cow urine to drink, other products using the supposedly miracle health giving excrement are also in the pipeline. “The state government has placed the order and we will start making medicines using cow urine by this month. These drugs will be used in curing several ailments, including fever, jaundice, piles and stomach- and liver-related diseases. Several researches have shown that cow urine, which is an integral part of ayurveda, is beneficial for health,” Dr Naresh Chandra Gangwar, incharge of the pharmacy, told TOI. “At a later stage, we may plan to prepare medicines using cow urine for other diseases, including cancer and skin-related problems. As ayurvedic medicines have no side-effects, its demand is increasing in the country,” he adds.

The move to sell cow urine as a health drink comes after the government, in 2017, put together a panel to conduct “scientific research” into the health benefits of cow urine. The panel goes by the name SVAROP –Scientific Validation and Research on Panchagavya.

The obsession with cow urine almost makes sense given India’s increasing obsession with cows — and given the nature of other versions of this obsession (such as lynchings) — it’s perhaps the better recourse. But is cow urine actually healthy?

There’s been little solid research into the matter, and where it does exist, the results are pretty worrying. A 1975 study on mice found that Jersey cow urine causes death in high doses. A similar 1976 study on dogs showed that repeated administration of Jersey cow urine concoction as used in Nigerian folk medicine, resulted in hypotension and tachypnea, and also death. A 2001 study found prions in detectable amount in the urine of Jersey cows suffering from bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Of course, there are several Indian “studies” that state that cow urine has benefits, but a closer link will reveal that the evidence is purely anecdotal and doesn’t match scientific rigour.

All said and done, I guess when it comes to the right-wing’s obsession with cows in the country, I rather politely decline a misleading “health drink” than fight off a mob of gau rakshaks… so let’s leave it at that.

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The Looming Perils Of Child Marriage In India

A teenaged pregnant girl is five times more likely to die in childbirth.

Child bride Krishna, 12, plays on an improvised swing outside her house in a village near Baran, located in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, July 30 , 2011.

Long before the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act in 2006, Child Marriage was forecast as a social menace and The Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 (also known as the Sarda Act), attempted to outlaw child marriage in the British India Legislature. However, it lacked implementation, largely due to the fear of British authorities losing support from communalist groups.

Over seventy years later, India still struggled with the issue, subsequent to which, solemnisation of child marriage was prohibited under The Child Marriage Act of 2006.

But are we really abiding by the law yet? Out of every 28 child marriages that occur per minute in the world, more than two take place in India. According to data, everyday 3,603 new cases of child marriage were still being added to the existing number.

The geographical pattern on the prevalence of child marriage in India shows that rural areas accounted for 75 per cent of the total child marriages as on 2011 and a state-wise assessment shows huge inter-state variation. The seven states (Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh) together account for 70 per cent of child marriages in the country.

Despite various legislations, India continues to turn its back on the perils of child marriage – both legally and socially. Even till date, seen as a panacea to secure their future, girls from poorer homes, scheduled caste and tribes, and with lower education are married off at a young age. NFHS -3 data from 2005-06 revealed that 47.4% women aged 20-24 years were married before the age of 18, while the latest NFHS-4 data (2015-16) shows a significant decline to 26.8%.

While there is a substantial drop in the number of boys and girls married off early, national and state averages mask realities, since states with low indices have belts with a high prevalence rate and the practice is still rampant. Moreover, going by absolute numbers, based on a sizeable population, India has the most number of child marriages, making it home to about one-third of global number of children getting into union before legal marriageable age.

The End of Childhood report 2017 by Save the Children indicates for the period 2011-2016, 21.1% adolescents between the age of 15-19 years were getting married and these estimates do not include consensual unions. India ranked an astounding 116 out of 172 countries on the Complete End of Childhood Index, where child and adolescence marriage have had a domino effect on children out of schools, adolescent birth rate, victims of extreme violence, severe malnourishment and mortality rates.

Going by absolute numbers, based on a sizeable population, India has the most number of child marriages, making it home to about one-third of global number of children getting into union before legal marriageable age.

The Imminent Dangers

Early marriage has devastating consequences on a child’s life, effectively ending childhood by forcing them into adulthood and motherhood for girls before she is physically and mentally ready. For as many boys get affected by child marriage, a girl child, raised to be homemakers eventually, has restricted educational opportunities, which creates a vicious cycle for the next generation of girls.

According to Census 2011 data, India had nearly 12 million Indian children married before they turned 10. And of the ten million, 5.4 million were illiterate, and 80% of them were female. Furthermore, almost 13 % of girls between 15-19 years of age are subjected to sexual violence by their husbands, which gets overlooked due to societal pressures of adhering by the union.

Consequentially, due to lack of education, girl brides face the perils of teenage childbearing, unaware of the ill effects on health –both on self and the child. A teenaged pregnant girl is five times more likely to die in childbirth. Those who survive, face exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, due to poor knowledge of sexual health.

There is also a substantial number of similar cases among the unaccounted group of children and adolescents – those living on streets.

A teenaged pregnant girl is five times more likely to die in childbirth.

A good word

Child marriage is a grave violation of child rights and the UNCRC framework protects children from abuse, exploitation and violence. More so, the girl child is at a detrimental crossroad of being a girl and a child, which makes her protection needs more crucial and needs multidimensional.

Civil society, government bodies, and concerned individuals are consistently and diligently working together to fight child marriage, mapping out-of-school children, providing gender-sensitive material and reaching out to them. While the government is taking immediate steps to value children, their right to flourish and be protected from detrimental factors needs to be implemented more effectively.

And there needs to be a commitment to ensure that the SDG targets are met incorporating all people and more importantly – all segments of society. This will require governments to take some key pledges towards bettering children’s lives to ensure no child is robbed of childhood due to child marriage, has indiscriminating access to quality education and sexual and reproductive health information.

To achieve these marks, the government has to increase income generating activities to improve household resources, which in turn, will provide security to childhood.

The proliferation to boost awareness against this childhood ender is being multiplied, and going by key indicators in NFHS-4, the results are encouraging. However, we need to further diminish the numbers. India seems committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals including Goal 5 and sub target 5.3 that focuses on elimination of all harmful practices such as early and forced marriage; to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

To achieve this by 2030, the country needs societal support to change perceptions and empower the next generation of girls in their fight against cruelty, injustice and ignorance while we ‘Leave No One Behind’

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