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Thursday, May 21, 2015

IAS officer sends gardener to jail as sound of grass cutting 'disturbed' her yoga session

In an ugly display of misuse of power, an IAS officer got a gardener arrested and sent him to jail.

The gardener's fault was that he was cutting grass in the park and this 'disturbed' the officer.

The incident occurred in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Neha Prakash, the IAS officer, who is on probation, and posted as sub-divisional magistrate, got the gardener booked for 'disturbing public order'.

Neha Prakash had gone to the park, where the gardener Vishwanath was busy cutting grass. The 'officer' told him to stop.

However, the gardener Vishwanath told her that he was doing his work. This angered he so much that the gardener was not only taken booked in a false case and taken to police station but was also arrested and later jailed.

Why was Neha Prakash angry?

A large number of people come to the Govind Vallabh Pant park in Gorakhpur for morning walk. The officer had also gone there for meditation. Firstly, if she was 'allergic' to dust, as a report claims, she could have gone to another spot.

As per other version, she didn't the like the 'noise' of the machine. In fact, reports say that the gardener, who is Gorakhpur Development Authority employee had even stopped for a while, when she objected.

But as he again started cutting grass, with the machine, she got angry. Cheap VIPs, huh! Was it her arrogance or contempt for a person doing manual labour, that she not only decided that this was 'disturbing public order', but also got him arrested, and sent him to jail, by falsely implicating him.

'Educated' power drunk officers, Fat egos

Clearly, these officers are no better than the era of British Raj, in their contempt for ordinary Indians. The British were at least foreigners, who came to rule. But these officers, who are supposed to be 'jan sewak' (public servant), act like masters.

This is not acceptable at all. The blatant misuse of authority and flouting rules has shocked people. After TV channels flashed the report, there was public anger against the action.  However, the damage had been done, already.

Vishwanath's colleagues and friends had to arrange money to furnish Rs 1 lakh bail bond to get him released. But not before he spent 30 hrs in the prison. That's not the sole such incident of a bureaucrat misusing authority.

Not the first such incident

Just recently, another officer got a person arrested in similar manner in UP. The officer, Harshita Mathur, was upset when a person who came to hand her a memorandum, took photograph of handing over the memo.

Angry, she called the police. The person was sent to jail. Though political workers often get themselves photographed while handing over memorandums, and it may not be permitted by every officer, but getting someone arrested under section 151, is utterly condemnable.


The incident has been reported in electronic and print media, yet, the government hasn't taken any action in this regard.

The IAS associations are quick to take stand and talk of humiliation when there are transfers of officers, but no word from them when a fellow officer treats an Indian citizens in this way--by misusing authority, shamelessly.

Has UP Chief secretary sought an explanation from Neha Prakash as yet? Has she been sent a disapproval note or any probe initiated? Or it is that they don't even think, it is worth any action. After all, insulting a common citizen or misuse of power by an officer or cops, is the rule in this country!

See the news [video] at this LINK
Read a comprehensive report HERE

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why this Dalit bridegroom was forced to wear helmet while riding horse in his marriage procession?

Do you know why this Dalit man was forced to wear helmet while riding the horse.

The young man--Pawan's marriage was fixed with a girl in Negrun village in Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh.

However, as he belongs to the Scheduled Caste (SC), the local dominant upper caste communities opposed that a Dalit would ride horse in the baraat.

As per the local tradition, Dalits are still not entitled to ride horse in the 'baraat'.

However, when the baraat came, despite opposition, there was stone pelting at the girl's house and also at the 'baraat'.

The local government officials made him wear the helmet so that he didn't get hit. However, officials including a naib-tehsildar was also injured in the stone pelting.

The marriage rituals were later solemnised. The police later swung into action. Over two dozen villagers who opposed the Dalit riding a horse, and resorted to stone pelting, were booked.

The sections meant for atrocities against SC/ST, were also applied. Such opposition to Dalits are common  in Bundelkhand, Chambal and Malwa regions of MP. In rural areas, upper castes still feel that 'lower caste' grooms have no right to ride a horse.

[Photo courtesy]

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Good and The Bad about Salman Khan's conviction in hit-and-run case

Bollywood superstar, Salman Khan, has been sentenced to five years in the hit-and-run case that took place in 2002.

Despite all the resources, his celebrity status and top lawyers on his side, Khan has been awarded the jail term.

Though he can go to higher courts, right now he will have to go to jail. Let's have a look at the various aspects of the case.

1. Generally, hit-and-run cases have bad rate of conviction and jail terms are short. Under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the law is not harsh on the errant motorist and the person gets instant bail from the police station (no need to go to court).

2. Under section 304 (A), which is generally used in case of hit-and-run cases, maximum punishment is TWO years. In case of Salman Khan, section 304 II (culpable homicide) was applied. This was apparently because it was a 'high-profile case'. So a VIP is more likely to face the law, is it?

3. One must give credit to Mumbai police, which had registered this case, for some professionalism. Else, it is commonly known how elsewhere in India, FIRs are filed carelessly and case prepared in such a way that they don't stand in the court.

Forget, how the person's drunken status, gets reflected in the medical report. It is rare to see a person getting charged for drunk driving and, even rare that he gets convicted for it. It may be because of lackadaisical attitude of policemen during medical examination, and preparing a shoddy report.

But, in this case, Khan's blood sample was taken for ascertaining drunken status.

Sorry to say, but it is a fact, that in most other states, it is nearly impossible to imagine a celebrity getting hauled to this stage in a case of accidental death. Even if there is a conviction, it would be of 2 yrs under 304 A, and a suspended sentence means, no jail.

4. When there is a poor 'system' [shoddy investigation, cops functioning as per the doctrine 'show me the man and I will show you the rule' and delay in courts], there will be instances when a VIP gets away easily, and also situation when a VIP faces too much scrutiny and gets harsh punishment just because of his status.

5. It is good that a celebrity gets punished for an offence. You can't kill a person by mowing him down with your vehicle and then expect, you will walk away, freely.

Generally, lot of people get away with light sentence or get acquitted but if there is punishment, it should be welcomed. In fact, everyone who kills people in road mishaps, should get similar and exemplary punishment.

6. The law needs amendment, drastically. Road mishaps are the biggest killers in India. A man hits to death, children, and gets bail instantly, without even going to the court. Section 304 (A) is used in case of 'rash driving', which is termed as "negligence causing death''.

7. Salman Khan has a huge fan following. BeingHuman initiative is praiseworthy. This has earned him more support. But a wrongdoing in past can't be undone by it. His good deeds surely bring him support and love. Is that less? To expect that it would help him in his past criminal case, is unjustified.

8. There is an argument that celebrities have it easy in this country. Also, on the other hand, there is greater pressure on courts in such cases. Still, VIPs get support in many ways.

Sanjay Dutt's case is testimony to the fact that despite his involvement in such a serious case, he got political backing and later also, he was released on parole repeatedly. Even, the TADA charges were dropped.

9. In India, politicians have got away easily in cases of mass killings and often got jailed on cases that were just hyped and there was no strong evidence against them. No wonder, people say, that your fate depends on luck. When there is a crumbling system, what else you can bank upon, expect luck!

10. One just hopes that with increasing focus on the need to punish people for their bad deeds, irrespective of their VIP status, the courts would deliver justice in cases of massacres and mass killings too.

There are riots in Assam, UP and many other states in which hundreds get killed but there is no conviction. Hashimpura is the latest example.

One hate preacher gets arrested and jailed for a while, but the other who has been involved in inciting violence for decades, has never been arrested for a day. In fact, cases are filed but, later state governments withdraw them. Courts also don't take cognisance of the miscarriage of justice.

Still, we must not lose hope.

[As far as 'Dabangg' Khan is concerned, he has more to worry. The black buck case is no less serious, as there are even more serious sections against him in that case. Clearly, ]

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Legal activism among Indian Muslims: Need for consistent intervention, raising voice against oppression and fighting for the rights

Every vibrant community should have activists.

Activists are individuals who are passionate about certain thing or issues, keep track of them and raise voice when they find something wrong.

Indian Muslims are facing a plethora of social, educational and cultural issues.

There are laws but not all laws are implemented fairly. Hence, it is necessary that there are people who intervene and raise their voice in case of violation of rights.

While peaceful means of protests including demonstrations can have impact to an extent, our system of governance, especially, the bureaucratic maze is such that rules are ignored, misinterpreted and thrown out of the window, and gross injustice is meted out in daily lives.

Such is the situation that one leader may get arrested for a single wrong speech but others who have spent their lives in spreading communalism and mouthing venom haven't been touched by cops. The reason is that cases were filed in police stations (and courts) against the particular person, while few complaints were filed against others.

Recently, Advocate Shahid Ali filed a petition with the Election Commission against Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut for his comment that Muslims should be divested of the right to vote. This is a laudable step.

Ali, who heads United Muslim Front (UMF) plans to approach the Supreme Court too, seeking disqualification of Shiv Sena. If similar cases were filed in the past, the situation won't have deteriorated to such an extent, and many other politicians would have been reined in, long ago.

In fact, Ali has been making intervention in important cases, consistently. He has filed petitions in courts, got notices issued to those involved in human rights violations and has raised important issues concerning the community.

Next month, he would be organising a Mahapanchayat, to press for justice for victims of Hashimpura killings. Also, he went against UP government for not fulfilling their promises and against UGC for removing Arabic and Persian.

The point is that just one individual or organisation can't fight for everyone, and we shouldn't expect others to act on our behalf. People should understand that mere education is not enough, they should be ready to stand for their rights too. 

But this is easier said than done. The reason is people who dare to make intervention, are increasingly facing pressures from different quarters, especially, administration.

It is for this reason that lawyer-activists are more needed in the society. The advocates, because of their profession, knowledge of law, and standing in the society, can get things done much more easily, compared to others.

The officials too tread with caution, in fact, they are wary of taking on lawyers. Lawyers can intervene effectively by filing cases, issuing legal notices and fighting for the rights strongly.

Such action can check biased officials and policy-makers from going all out in implementing their agenda.

Injustice happens all around us. There are denials of facilities, services and amenities to people who are entitled to them. This keeps happening everywhere, all the time, either because of poor governance or biased actions of certain officials and policy makers.

The victims of the 'system' are among all the sections of the society. But the poor, the backward, dalit (SC), tribal (ST) and minority communities are more likely to face discrimination and denial to amenities. Hence, the need for lawyer-activists is increasingly being felt among the community. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

MIM performance in Aurangabad civic polls is yet another warning signal to Congress for neglecting Muslims, failure to redress their real issues

As results of the civic polls in Aurangabad began pouring in on Thursday, it became clear that All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is increasingly cornering Muslim votes in Maharashtra.

Final result (Total 113 seats)

BJP-SS win 51 
[Shiv Sena 28, BJP 23]
MIM 26
Congress 10
NCP 3, BSP 5, RPI 2, Others 16

The trends indicated that MIM was winning at 22-25 places, much ahead of Congress which was poised for victory in 10 wards in the municipal elections.

Though Shiv Sena-BJP combine [mahayuti] is way ahead and emerged victorious, MIM would be a strong block in the opposition. Trends indicate it could have around 25 members in the Aurangabad municipal corporation.

Congress has been routed in the election. The victory of MIM in so many wards at the cost of Congress will lead to fresh charge that MIM's entry divides the so-called secular votes, but the truth is that the party is becoming an option for Muslims outside Telangana too.

From Nanded to Mumbai, everywhere in Maharashtra, large number of Muslims have been voting for MIM. Why Muslims in Maharashtra are voting for MIM, even though they know that a division in non-BJP votes, would help the BJP.

he reason is quite simple. During the last 15 years of Congress-NCP rule, Muslims felt that the so-called secular parties didn't seem serious for the uplift of Muslims.

Congress' dilly-dallying on Muslim issues

From failing to implement Sri Krishna commission report on Mumbai riots to police excesses, refusing to help Muslim youths falsely accused in criminal cases, the Congress-NCP regime was no different for Muslims than the previous BJP regime.

Take the case of Muslim reservation in Maharashtra. If Congress wanted they could have brought the ordinance long ago. But it was just before the end of their term that they brought it.

And after a court order on Maratha-Muslim reservation, when the bill was brought afresh, the BJP government had come to the power and they went ahead with just reservation for Marathas (not Muslims).

In fact, while the Mumbai high court had stayed reservation, it had allowed 5% reservation to Muslims in educational institutes.

It was tenable and the BJP, as expected, didn't bring the bill in the house and only went ahead with Maratha reservation, but what about Congress?

Congress clearly took the decision with polls in sight, as it had realised there was strong anger against it. But the ploy didn't work.

Congress lost the voter. With MIM emerging as an alternative, Muslims who were most loyal to the Congress and kept supporting it for decades are now voting for MIM, despite the fact that it will consolidate BJP-Shiv Sena vote.

Views, apprehensions on MIM's emergence as an alternative and competitive communalism

While many Muslims talk about MIM as an alternative, there is also a section which feels that the Hyderabad-based party would get a few seats here and there, but its presence will damage Muslims in the long run, as there will be more competitive communal rhetoric.

But increasingly, many Muslims cite the example of Uttar Pradesh. Of late, one has routinely heard the following sentence:

"Even though there are 70 Muslim MLAs in the Assembly (mostly SP), none raised the issue of Muzaffarnagar riots, so what's the use of 70 silent legislators. Let's have just 5 or 10, but those who are not dumb, who will speak for the community and who won't have to look at their party leader before opening their mouths".

Congress will be the loser if MIM contests in other states

So there is a section among Muslims that wants MIM to contest elections in other states like UP and is inclined towards the party's style of politics. How far the MIM will go and how much it will help or harm the Muslim community, electorally, we can just speculate.

But, Congress will clearly be the loser. Similarly, other non-BJP parties that get Muslim votes will also feel the pinch. This will surely be advantageous to BJP. However, after decades of feeling cheated and denied basic development and focus on their issues, a lot of Muslims seem to be in a mood to try the alternatives.

They seem prepared to look beyond the fear that BJP will be benefited if Muslim vote gets divided. After all, BJP has been in power at the centre, and in many states for decades. Will Muslims vote for MIM only in selected states and cities that have large Muslim population, or this trend will pick up across India, has to be seen.


Check the links to read about the reasons Muslims in Maharashtra have been bitter about their experience with Congress. Maharashtra has just over 10% Muslims but 30% prisoners in jails are Muslims.

The false promises, the failure to act on Sri Krishna panel report, the police excesses in Mumbra and Dhule, the arrests, failure to take action against guilty policemen who implicated Muslims, killing of Mohsin Sheikh in Pune--the list is long and endless. Do read:

*Illegal detentions, excesses, police harassment in Maharashtra
*Arrogant, apathetic Congress bites the dust in Maharashtra
*Why Muslims not willing to vote for Congress anymore?
*No condemnation on Mohsin Sheikh's killing, no word of consolation by Mah CM

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wrestling in India: 'Kushti' craze draws thousands to watch wrestlers' fight

The scene was terrific. Wrestling enthusiasts had come from far and wide to watch the bouts.

Wrestling or 'Kushti', as it is commonly known as, is a sport loved by everyone in rural India.

No wonder, the atmosphere was electric in this dusty town in Bhind district in Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh.

The spectators were sitting on the ramparts of the old, crumbling fort.

They were on the temple premises, on the ground, on the roofs of the houses, on the tree branches and everywhere around. Nearly 200 bouts were held during the wrestling competition, for winners in three categories.

Two finals turned out to be draws. In the third event, Jamil Pahalwan defeated his rival and was declared winner. The event was held at the 'Chhainkur Wale Hanuman Mandir Temple' in Gohad (Bhind), MP. But this was no exception.

'Kushti' remains one of the favourite sports of Indians. More than cities, it is in towns and rural areas where people gather in large numbers of watch the fights. The 'pehelwans' get respect and rewards. Unfortunately, 'kushti' has been neglected in India.

[Photo courtesy: DainikBhaskar]