Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hanging by a thread

Thursday, July 31, 2008
Hanging by a thread
Silk weavers are struggling to survive as diminishing demand and competition kill off a proud tradition


Mian Ridge
Jul 31, 2008 |

In a dark, windowless hut lit only by the sunlight pouring through an open door, a bone-thin man is bent over his wooden handloom, weaving a shimmering silk sari of violet, turquoise and gold, thread by thread.
The exquisitely beautiful 6-metre cloth will take 10 days to complete and fetch the weaver, 55-year-old Abdul Majid, 600 rupees (HK$110): little more than he would have earned for the same work a decade ago.

Like most of the 300,000 handloom weavers of Varanasi, a city in northern India, Mr Majid is wretchedly poor. Diminishing demand for handwoven saris, coupled with competition from power looms which make several garments a day - in China and other parts of India - has left many once prosperous weavers close to starvation.

About half the city's weavers were now employed in other work, or unemployed, said Siddique Hassan, convenor of the Bunkar Dastkar Adhikar Manch, an NGO that campaigns for them.

Those who are still working in the trade - which is almost invariably passed down through the generations, along with sari designs unique to each family - say their rates have not increased in a decade, while the cost of living, especially at a time of high inflation, has risen steeply.

The Varanasi-based People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights says that a number of weavers and their children have died of starvation in the city in recent months.

"It is so difficult to feed the family," said Mr Majid, who looks dangerously undernourished. When this sari is finished the proud artisan admits that he has no more work. "I don't know what will happen next."

It is not only Mr Majid's labour that goes into making those 600 rupees: beside him, his sweet-faced seven-year-old son, Asalpul, sits helping him weave the leafed pattern running down the sari's edge. Nearby, his 15-year-old daughter is deftly spinning thread on a foot-powered wheel that appears to have been crafted from an upturned bicycle.

Neither child, said Mr Majid's exhausted looking wife, Akhtari Begum, had ever been to school; like most weavers' children, their labour was needed at home.

Varanasi has long been famed for its stunning silk saris. In India, handloom-woven saris are to this ancient city what tea is to Darjeeling or papier mache ornaments to Kashmir. But today, its weavers are typical of the millions of Indians left behind by market forces while elsewhere India booms.

About 90 per cent of Varanasi's weavers are Muslim; the remaining number are low-caste Hindus.

They live hidden away, too, in neighbourhoods reached by narrow, bumpy lanes, out of sight of the tourists who throng India's holiest city, picking up silk handweaves - or machine-made cloth passed off as the real thing - for a song.

As more Indian women wear jeans and business suits, the taste for these intricate weaves is disappearing. The closets of middle- class and upper-middle-class women once burst with handwoven saris in every hue. Today, they tend to buy them only for their wedding trousseaus.

"The new generation is not buying saris - only for weddings," said Mr Hassan.

And even there, the fickleness of fashion has done damage. The extravagant embellishments now in vogue - sequins, crystals and embroidery - are better suited to the plainer silks, woven on power looms, than multi-textured handweaves.

Power looms, which cost at least 150,000 rupees, were unaffordable to most handloom weavers, said Mr Hassan.

The downturn has been exacerbated by a structural failure to adapt to changing market conditions. Many weavers were stuck in hock to traders who may not buy their products, or buy them at a fair price, but stop them selling them to anyone else, said Adarsh Kumar, chief executive of the All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association, a Delhi-based organisation that works to improve artisans' access to markets.

Because hand weavers tend to be grouped in small cliques, along complex village and caste lines, they have not pulled together to find more efficient, lucrative ways of doing business. For example, an entrepreneur who wanted to invest in the work of Varanasi's weavers would find it impossible to bring the necessary number of weavers together to work on a project, said Mr Kumar.

"What we really need is for crafts in India to reposition themselves, like in Italy, where handmade has a high value. That hasn't happened in India yet," he said.

"These skills could have been redeployed into making curtains, for example, but that transition has never been made."

Instead, a different kind of transition is being made: from skilled labour to unskilled labour, such as rickshaw pulling and daily-wage construction work.

Many of the weavers' huts in Mr Majid's neighbourhood, which once thrummed with the click-clack of looms, lie empty now. Inside, those wooden looms lie covered in dust and cobwebs.

Nizamuddin Ansari closed the door on his handloom hut last year and started working as a bicycle rickshaw driver.

As a weaver, he was earning the same 300 rupees a week as he had made 10 years ago - nowhere near enough money to feed his seven children. As a rickshaw driver he earns 125 rupees a day. Both jobs are tough - "rickshaw driving hurts my feet; bending over a loom hurt my stomach" - but he would prefer to be weaving the designs passed down in his family for "hundreds of years", he said.

Abdul Rashid, meanwhile, started working as a daily-wage labourer three months ago.

As a weaver, earlier this year, the father of six was earning 60 rupees a day, "but not every day". As a labourer on building sites, he earns 90 rupees a day. One of his children still works in the business, working for another weaver.

Others have no choice.

Asma, who goes by one name, works with her mentally handicapped son in a small hut, twisting strong white thread on an old wooden frame.

Four days' work, she said, would earn her 100 rupees, paid by a local trader who would sell the thread to a weaver.

Ms Asma is divorced and receives no support from her former husband. Her son is unable to do any other work.

Lying weakly on a charpoy beside her, Ms Asma's 80-year-old mother, who stopped working eight years ago, said that nearly half a century ago she earned only half as much as her daughter makes today. "It is harder for me than my mother," said Ms Asma. She, like others in the business, does not know how long her tiny income will last.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Attempt to kidnap two and a half year old child ?

Attempt to kidnap two and a half year old child ?
Parents say something, SF says something else
By Staff Reporter - Sangai Express

IMPHAL, Jul 28 : This is not something from Ripleys Believe It Or Not, but the news story that follows is something which is hard to believe as well as something hard to dismiss.
Even as numerous protest sittings were staged all over the valley area today against the recruitment of child soldiers/kidnapping of minors by a militant outfit, came the information at the offices of the newspapers that an attempt to kidnapp a two and a half year old child was made at Kha-Sanjenbam under Wangoi police station today at about 12.30 pm.
Reporters who rushed to the spot on receiving the information were informed that the alleged would be kidnappers were personnel of 12 MLI in civvies travelling in two Maruti vans and that they were accosted at Waheng Khuman by the vigilant public.
However on being contacted, the PRO of Assam Rifles, Colonel Pant quoting the findings of the CO of 12 MLI said that nothing of this sort happened.
Quoting the CO of 12 MLI, the PRO informed The Sangai Express that the personnel of 12 MLI were on a recce and when they reached Sanjenbam, some kids pelted stones at their vehicles. The personnel alighted from their vehicles to question why the kids were pelting stones.
The MLI personnel furnished their identity cards and after this the elders of the village came to an understanding with the MLI personnel and they were let off.
It must have been the fear psychosis gripping the mind of the people over the recent spurt in reports of child kidnappings or recruitment, said the PRO and added that when the MLI personnel were accosted they contacted the OC of Bishnupur police and everything was explained to the people.
Even the SP of Bishnupur police had explained the same thing, said the PRO.
However the parents of the child had a totally different version today while interacting with reporters.
Thiyam Ibomcha said that he was bathing in a pond by the roadside while his two and half year old child, Shyam played by the roadside.
Even as he was bathing he saw two white coloured Maruti vans coming on the road and as they approached the place where his child was playing, one of the occupants tried to pull him inside the van.
At this the people around raised an alarm shouting that a child is being kidnapped.
The vans then sped away despite the people trying to stop them, said Ibomcha and added that the people pelted stones at the 'fleeing vehicles.'
The people of Kha-Sanjenbam then alerted the nearby villages of the alleged kidnap attempt and the two vans were ultimately blocked at Waheng Khuman.
It was here that the occupants identified themselves as personnel of the 12 MLI in civvies.
Policemen from Wangoi PS as well as Bishnupur police also arrived at the scene and the MLI personnel were allowed to proceed.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Threat on Journalists and NGOs workers

Dear Friends,
Greetings from PVCHR.

PVCHR bog highlighted the child soldiers problemin Manipur.Montu Ahanthem from Manipur gave this information.Please visit:

Manipur newspapers published the statement of underground group which is attached as forwarded email. Statement mentioned that The release however said it is confounded by the manner in which the public is making this present issue to be that of kidnapping and abduction of children adding that it appears biased. Many Civil Society Organisations, CSOs and NGOs seem to be seeing through the eyes of the enemy, it said.

There is new threat on Montu,please immediate intervene with Indian Government and condemn the moove of PREPAK.

with warm regards,
Lenin Raghuvanshi
2007 Gwangjoo Human Rights Awardee

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: wide angle
Date: Jul 27, 2008 11:19 AM
To: Lenin Raghuvanshi

PREPAK says party will not make any recruitment till Oct 1
By: Imphal Free Press 7/27/2008 1:58:46 AM

IMPHAL, Jul 26: The banned PREPAK in a press communique today announced that in view of the public outrage and confusion over the issue of child soldiering and kidnapping, it would totally halt any kind of recruitment till October 1. All incidents of kidnapping during this period, it said the public can take it for granted that the PREPAK is not involved.
The release said the party fully respects international norms laid down by the "Convention of the Rights of the Child" signed by 200 countries, and in particular its Protocol (2) which lays down the rights of children to be safeguarded being made party to deadly conflicts.
The release however said it is confounded by the manner in which the public is making this present issue to be that of kidnapping and abduction of children adding that it appears biased. Many Civil Society Organisations, CSOs and NGOs seem to be seeing through the eyes of the enemy, it said.
The fact that Kangleipak was once a sovereign country and now it is under subjugation seems to have been sidelined, it said.
It said it is unable to understand the current outrage, when such outrage was never shown when the Indian army recruits Class VIII pass candidates in its ranks, or when the establishment trains minors in the arts of war through organisations such as NCC, VVF or Boys Scouts.
If these are patriotic exercises, how can training young boys to inculcate patriotism by revolutionaries amount to abduction, it asked.
It said it is known that child soldiers are employed by the state as well as non-state in about 17 states. Among these are Burma, Burundi, Chad, Columbia, Congo, India, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda. In Angola and Columbia thousands and thousands of child soldiers were used.
All these depended on the needs of the hour of the individual countries, it said. The conflict in Kangleipak also has its own peculiar needs.
The statement said PREPAK is saddened by the "holier than thou" attitude of some organisations by fishing in troubled water. There is nothing to be gained from such attitudes, it said.
It said it is everybody's knowledge what role child soldiers took in the liberation struggles of Cambodia, Vietnam, China etc, and if this was the case why is the present case being portrayed in unflattering light as in the Hollywood film "Blood Diamond" it asked.
The statement also said it has never made any demand to any school to give children to be its cadres. School authorities which have claimed this must clarify after the truths have been established, it said.
It said the PREPAK however appreciates the good intentioned advices given to it by senior citizens, civil organisations and individuals. It said the PREPAK never ever forcibly recruited children. There are children who have come to the party voluntarily, and these cases had been duly communicated to their parents or guardians. In some cases however, because of the pressures of the situations, such communications have not been made and it tendered its apology for these.
It said there can be nothing wrong in grooming the children of the place to be responsible and have affinity to the liberation struggle. The party has recruited children, but they would not be made soldiers immediately. They would be tutored and trained to be good, qualified citizens, and if they so wish they can join the revolution. There have been cases where children thus trained have been allowed to return as per their wishes, and there have been others who have joined the armed struggle, it said.
Under the circumstance, the present din over child recruitment seems like the proverbial gaga that opportunist crows make when the cooking pot crumbles.
Further, the statement said there is no faction called PREPAK VC or PREPAK GS as the DGP of Manipur was making it out to be. It took strong exception to the charge by the DGP that the PREPAK was recruiting children because no mature person was willing to join it. It said "slaves" like the DGP who will do any bidding of his masters, will not understand.
It said it is true, children of such men will not think of joining the revolution, but these men will not understand that there are thousands of others living in impoverishment and deprivation who will. Not just 12/13 year old, but 8/9 year old children will also be compelled to rebel someday or the other, it said.
The release said the party has taken notes of those who are deliberately spreading the unrest. To the others, it called for a deeper reflection on the matter.
It also called for the cooperation of the media, asking its members to investigate the news they publish and not to be swept by baseless rumours and propaganda by vested interests

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Människorättsjuristen Parul Sharma presenterar en bild av den värld som vi lever i. Titta noga, det är på riktig.

Opinion: Svältdöden i Moderna Indien
Skrivet av Parul Sharma
Människorättsjuristen Parul Sharma presenterar en bild av den värld som vi lever i. Titta noga, det är på riktig.

Den lilla flickan på bilden har begått många misstag, misstaget att födas i en svältdrabbad by i delstaten Uttar Pradesh är det första. Det andra misstaget är att hon föddes dödligt sjuk och det tredje att hon är ett flickebarn; fel kön. Jag står helt tafatt och undrar ”vart ska jag börja egentligen, vilken fråga och vilket faktum ska jag prioritera?”. Det faktum att flickans mamma blev bortgift när hon själv var en liten flicka hjälper mig inte, eftersom jag gärna vill hitta någon att fördöma. Vems fel är det? Flickans mor vågar inte be sin make om sjukhus pengar eftersom det är deras dotter som det handlar om, hade det varit en son skulle det vara annorlunda.

Frågorna är så många att hantera, extrem fattigdom; med dagliga indicier av barn som dör av svält, barngifte, diskriminering av flickebarn och ett regelbundet förnekande, för att vi befinner ju oss i det ”moderna Indien”, där investeringar och out-sourcing frodas. Att hitta en balans i gråzonernas land Indien är svårt, med det viktiga är nu att belysa fattigdomen och svältdöden, så att den moderna industrialiseringen inte blir den enda verkligheten för åskådarna. När mina medarbetare från People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, PVCHR, frågar familjer hur man hanterar svältproblematiken, får dem som svar ”vi slår våra hungriga barn till sömns”.

Vishambar jobbade som vävare i byn Shankarpur i Varanasi. Han berättar att han förlorade sitt jobb när industrin valde att byta till maskinellt arbete. Familjen ägde ingen mark eller resurser och Jigna, Vishambars fru, gick med i en såkallad self help group där hon fick ett lån på 2000 INR (ca. 320 SEK). Pengarna användes för att muta en village secretary för att få en liten bit mark tilldelad, så att familjen kan odla något. Dock var den tilldelade marken inte odlingsbar och överhuvudtaget inte användbar. Familjen var nu inte bara arbetslösa utan skuldsatta. Den 16 April 2005, dog Jigna av svält. Inom en månad dog deras 16 åriga dotter och två månader gamla son av hungersnöd. PVCHR och liknande grupper förde aggressiva protester mot den indiska staten, och krävde att staten tog sitt ansvar. Efter mycket påtryckningar kompenserar den indiska staten Vishambar med 20 kg ris, 50 kg mjöl, och 3 liter matolja. Är Vishambar kompenserad? Kan han kompenseras? FN:s Special Rapporteur on Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, lämnade alla diplomatiska formuleringar bakom sig när han förra året besökte Indiens svältdrabbade områden och med egna öron hörde familjer berätta sina förödande historier. Ziegler hade bara ett ord; ”Assassination” (Mord). Detta är inte svältdöd, detta är mord.

2002 hade Indien ett överskott på 65 millioner ton spannmål, trots detta lider 12 miljoner indier av svår brist på vitamin A, 53% av Indiens barn är undernärda, 21% är svårt undernärda, 20% dör innan dem når femårs ålder. Trots spannmålsöverskottet har Indien över 200 miljoner undernärda barn. Varje dag dör barn av svält i det ”moderna Indien”, och varje dag protesterar indiska aktivister för allas rätt till mat. Varje dag tas döende barn till sjukhusen där läkarna klargör att barnen lider av svår näringsbrist och att staten enligt indisk lag faktiskt måste förse dessa drabbade familjer med stöd i mat och näring. Trots detta förnekar välfärdsstaten Indien att landet har en svältdödsproblematik. Då undrar jag, vem är mördaren i sammanhanget?

Jag har sedan några år tillbaka lett ett s.k. right to food initiativ med skilda indiska gräsrotsorganisationer. Ett av våra projekt arbetar med en grupp som kallar sig själva Mushahar, vilket betyder ”folket som lever på gnagdjur”. Att äta möss och råttor var det enda alternativet som fanns kvar för denna svårt svältdrabbade grupp. När statsanställda skogsväktare upptäckte att Mushahar-byar nu försöker livnära sig på gnagdjur började dem statsanställda att hota och kräva pengar varje gång byborna ville in i skogarna för att jaga sitt byte. Korruptionen dog lika snabbt som den kom till eftersom det drabbade Mushahar-folket inte hade pengar att köpa sig ut ur situationen. Ett medeltida mörker råder i dessa byar, som varken har vatten, el eller ett liv som kan kallas mänskligt. Dessa byar och dess folk befinner sig så separat och isolerat från det moderna Indien många av oss vill veta av. Det riktigt ryser i kroppen när man tänker på att det faktiskt rör sig om miljontals människor som bor så här.

Parul Sharma

Jurist specialiserad i mänskliga rättigheter med Sydasien inriktning.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Response of Philipino Government on the isuue of Burma

H.E.Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005

Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

Dear H.E.President Macapagal-Arroyo:

PVCHR welcomes your intervention for the people of Burma but is saddened by how meagre the assistance
the Government of the Philippines ought to provide.

As it has been widely reported, you have already ordered that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Health
(DOH) to create a medical team, which is actually composed of 15-persons, that would proceed to Burma for their medical mission.
The Government of Burma has also been involved in terms of medicines needed which the Philippines could also provide.

While we appreciate your intervention, we feel that there is a huge disparity between what is urgently and practically needed there and
the assistance you have ordered so far. In a place were number of reported deaths soars over 22,000, what this medical team can do is
obviously trivial. It may have been born out of concern but unless the Philippine government and its concerned agencies would do more,
this would have little meaning in addressing the extent of suffering that requires adequate relief. The people of Burma need more than a
medical team and medicines by now.

To give you an example of the extent of damages there; for instance,in the Irrawaddy Delta region, the towns of Bogalay, Laputta and
Pantanaw and its surroundings is amongst the hardest hit place. The extent of devastation was so severe that it has been reported to have been flattened. Based on the available information, the loss of lives and damage in the aftermath of cyclone is so horrible. The calamity in Burma is somehow an experience shared by the Philippines as well.

As a country that experiences calamities and disaster, particularly dozens of tropical typhoons, your country's government agencies may have had skills and knowledge that could be shared with the government of Burma in responding to disasters. Unlike your country
though, the disaster response under the Burmese junta is virtually nonexistent as what has been shown in the aftermath of cyclone. Due to lack of an existing systematic, effective and adequate service on disaster response, the affected people are themselves forced to do the cleanup operation.

As a result of terrible loss of lives, proper identification and burial can't also be expected from a country which actually does not
have adequate expertise on this. This, too, had been problematic as this already threatens the health of those who had survived the
calamity. Several days after the tragedy, there has not been adequate supply of water for drinking and bathing. In fact, there have been
reports of profiteering; for instance, fire brigades are selling water for a huge cost deepening the suffering of the people even

We therefore urge you to do more by sending a substantial number of rescue teams, more medical doctors with expertise on disaster
response and to produce the relief assistance needed. Your country's experience on how to deal with natural disasters would also be a
tremendous help should it be passed on to the Burmese government.These are amongst the much needed assistance the people there require.

You could also help by ensuring that the Burmese government would allow the assistance and relief to reach the needy. We are deeply
concerned over the delays in the delivery of assistance, as it has been reported, over the tightening of control in the process of
delivering the relief by the junta. The rescue of human lives must not be hampered by this.

The Philippine government must also consider accumulating necessary relief and goods required by seeking the assistance of its concerned agencies, particularly the member agencies of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC). The Philippines may have limited resources to offer for the Burmese people; however, it bears a moral obligation in helping people in Asian countries in need.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Lenin (Ashoka Fellow)
Please visit:

My final words of advice to you are educate, agitate and organize; have faith in yourself. With justice on our side I do not see how we can loose our battle.. The battle to me is a matter of joy. The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is battle for freedom. It is the battle of reclamation of human personality….
Dr. B.R.Ambedkar


What Are Hunger and Malnutrition?
Everyone feels hungry at times. Hunger is the body's signal that it needs food. Once we've eaten enough food to satisfy our bodies' needs, hunger goes away until our stomachs are empty again.
Malnutrition is not the same thing as hunger, although they often go together. People who are malnourished lack the nutrients needed for proper health and development. Someone can be malnourished for a long or short period of time, and the condition may be mild or severe. People who are malnourished are more likely to get sick and, in severe cases, may even die.
Unfortunately, there are millions of people in the world who don't get enough to eat most of the time and are at risk for malnutrition.
Chronic hunger and malnutrition can cause significant health problems. People who go hungry all the time are likely to be underweight, weighing significantly less than an average person of their size. Their growth may also be stunted, making them much shorter than average. (Of course, people can also be underweight or short because they have an illness or because of their genetic makeup.) Worldwide, as many as 27% of children younger than age 5 are underweight.
What Causes Hunger and Malnutrition?
People who don't get enough food often experience hunger, and hunger can lead to malnutrition over the long term. But someone can become malnourished for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Even people who have plenty to eat may be malnourished if they don't eat food that provides the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Some diseases and conditions prevent people from digesting or absorbing their food properly. For example:
• Someone with celiac disease has intestinal problems that are triggered by a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats.
• Kids with cystic fibrosis have trouble absorbing nutrients because the disease affects the pancreas, an organ that normally produces enzymes necessary for digestion.
• Kids who are lactose intolerant have difficulty digesting milk and other dairy products. By avoiding dairy products, they're at higher risk of malnutrition because milk and dairy products provide 75% of the calcium in America's food supply.
If a person doesn't get enough of one specific nutrient, that's a form of malnutrition (although it doesn't necessarily mean the person will become seriously ill). The most common form of malnutrition in the world is iron deficiency, which affects up to 80% of the world's population — as many as 4 to 5 billion people. Iron is found in foods like red meat, egg yolks, and fortified flour, bread, and cereal.
Who Is at Risk for Malnutrition?
All over the world, people who are poor or who live in poverty-stricken areas are at the greatest risk for hunger and malnutrition. In poor countries, wars and natural disasters such as droughts and earthquakes may also contribute to hunger and malnutrition by disrupting normal food production and distribution.
In the United States, food manufacturers fortify some common foods with vitamins and minerals to prevent certain nutritional deficiencies. For example, the addition of iodine to salt helps prevent some thyroid gland problems (such as goiter), folic acid added to foods can help prevent certain birth defects, and added iron can help prevent iron-deficiency anemia.
Malnutrition affects people of every age, although infants, children, and adolescents may suffer the most because many nutrients are critical for growth and development. Older people may develop malnutrition because aging, illness, and other factors can lead to a poor appetite, so they may not eat enough.
Alcohol can interfere with nutrient absorption, so alcoholics might not benefit from the vitamins and minerals they consume. People who abuse drugs or alcohol can be malnourished or underweight if they don't eat properly.
Children and teens on special diets — such as vegetarians — need to eat balanced meals and a variety of foods to get the right nutrients. Vegetarians and vegans should make sure they get enough protein and vitamins like B12.
Symptoms and Effects of Malnutrition
Malnutrition harms both the body and the mind. The more malnourished someone is — in other words, the more nutrients that are missing — the more likely he or she is to have physical problems. A child who is slightly to moderately malnourished may show no outward physical symptoms.
Indications of malnutrition depend on which nutritional deficiencies a child has, although they can include:
• fatigue and low energy
• dizziness
• poor immune function (which can hamper the body's ability to fight off infections)
• dry, scaly skin
• swollen and bleeding gums
• decaying teeth
• slowed reaction times and trouble paying attention
• underweight
• poor growth
• muscle weakness
• bloated stomach
• osteoporosis, or fragile bones that break easily
• problems with organ function
If a pregnant woman is malnourished, her child may weigh less at birth and have a lower chance of survival. Vitamin A deficiency from malnutrition is the chief cause of preventable blindness in the developing world, and kids with severe vitamin A deficiency have a greater chance of getting sick or dying from infections such as diarrhea or measles. Iodine deficiency, another form of malnutrition, can cause mental retardation and delayed development. Iron deficiency can make kids less active and less able to concentrate. Teens who are malnourished often have trouble keeping up in school.
Treating Children Who Are Malnourished
Fortunately, many of the harmful effects of malnutrition can be reversed, especially if a child is only mildly or briefly malnourished.
If you think your child isn't getting enough of the right nutrients, talk to your doctor, who may perform a physical exam and ask about the types and amounts of food your child eats. The doctor may also:
• measure height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) to see if they're within a healthy range for your child's age
• order blood tests to check for abnormalities
• use X-rays or CT scans to look for signs of malnutrition in organs and bones
• check for underlying conditions that could cause malnutrition
Treatment for malnutrition depends on its cause. A doctor or dietitian might recommend specific changes in the types and quantities of foods your child eats, and may prescribe dietary supplements, such as vitamins and minerals. If there's an underlying problem causing the malnutrition, the doctor will help you find ways to ensure your child gets the necessary nutrients.
Can a Picky Eater Become Malnourished?
Parents often worry that kids who seem to live on peanut butter sandwiches or hide at the sight of vegetables might not eat enough to stay healthy. Few kids in the United States and other developed nations experience severe malnutrition like that seen in Third World countries. Even finicky eaters usually get adequate calories and nutrients.
The best way for parents to ensure that kids are properly nourished is to serve a variety of healthy foods and limit unhealthy snacks. If you're concerned that your child's energy level is lagging or that he or she isn't growing as fast as other kids of the same age, share your concerns with your doctor.
Malnutrition is a major health problem, especially in developing countries. Water supply, sanitation and hygiene, given their direct impact on infectious disease, especially diarrhoea, are important for preventing malnutrition. Both malnutrition and inadequate water supply and sanitation are linked to poverty. The impact of repeated or persistent diarrhoea on nutrition-related poverty and the effect of malnutrition on susceptibility to infectious diarrhoea are reinforcing elements of the same vicious circle, especially amongst children in developing countries.
The disease and how it affects people
Malnutrition essentially means “bad nourishment”. It concerns not enough as well as too much food, the wrong types of food, and the body's response to a wide range of infections that result in malabsorption of nutrients or the inability to use nutrients properly to maintain health. Clinically, malnutrition is characterized by inadequate or excess intake of protein, energy, and micronutrients such as vitamins, and the frequent infections and disorders that result.
People are malnourished if they are unable to utilize fully the food they eat, for example due to diarrhoea or other illnesses (secondary malnutrition), if they consume too many calories (overnutrition), or if their diet does not provide adequate calories and protein for growth and maintenance (undernutrition or protein-energy malnutrition).
Malnutrition in all its forms increases the risk of disease and early death. Protein-energy malnutrition, for example, plays a major role in half of all under-five deaths each year in developing countries (WHO 2000). Severe forms of malnutrition include marasmus (chronic wasting of fat, muscle and other tissues); cretinism and irreversible brain damage due to iodine deficiency; and blindness and increased risk of infection and death from vitamin A deficiency.
Nutritional status is compromised where people are exposed to high levels of infection due to unsafe and insufficient water supply and inadequate sanitation. In secondary malnutrition, people suffering from diarrhoea will not benefit fully from food because frequent stools prevents adequate absorption of nutrients. Moreover, those who are already experiencing protein-energy malnutrition are more susceptible to, and less able to recover from, infectious diseases.
The cause
Individual nutritional status depends on the interaction between food that is eaten, the overall state of health and the physical environment. Malnutrition is both a medical and a social disorder, often rooted in poverty. Combined with poverty, malnutrition contributes to a downward spiral that is fuelled by an increased burden of disease, stunted development and reduced ability to work. Poor water and sanitation are important determinants in this connection, but sometimes improvements do not benefit the entire population, for example where only the wealthy can afford better drinking-water supplies or where irrigation is used to produce export crops. Civil conflicts and wars, by damaging water infrastructure and contaminating supplies, contribute to increased malnutrition.
Scope of the Problem
Chronic food deficits affect about 792 million people in the world (FAO 2000), including 20% of the population in developing countries. Worldwide, malnutrition affects one in three people and each of its major forms dwarfs most other diseases globally (WHO, 2000). Malnutrition affects all age groups, but it is especially common among the poor and those with inadequate access to health education and to clean water and good sanitation. More than 70% of children with protein-energy malnutrition live in Asia, 26% live in Africa, and 4% in Latin America and the Caribbean (WHO 2000).
Interventions that contribute to preventing malnutrition include :
• Improved water supply, sanitation and hygiene.
• Health education for a healthy diet.
• Improved access, by the poor, to adequate amounts of healthy food.
• Ensuring that industrial and agricultural development do not result in increased malnutrition.
WHO. Turning the tide of malnutrition: responding to the challenge of the 21st century. Geneva: WHO, 2000 (WHO/NHD/00.7)
FAO. The state of food insecurity in the world 2000 (FAO, Rome)
See also WHO web site on nutrition
Prepared for World Water Day 2001. Reviewed by staff and experts from the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development and the Water, Sanitation and Health Unit, World Health Organization (WHO).
Rome/New York, June 2, 2008
As heads-of-state and nearly 20 key United Nations officials meet in Rome this week to design a plan to tackle the current global food crisis, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is urging the adoption and rapid scale-up of specific nutritional strategies that target children under two years of age.
Simply expanding existing interventions, which were already not able to address the ongoing malnutrition crisis, will certainly not protect the young children who are most vulnerable to rising food prices, MSF said.
“There is a dangerous double standard in which current food aid and nutrition programs are driven more by cost considerations than by the specific nutritional needs of young children,” said Daniel Berman, deputy director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “The nutrient-rich food that growing children need will only reach them if new approaches backed by increased resources are adopted.”
Rapidly growing children have specific nutritional needs and small stomachs. They require food dense in energy and diverse in nutrients, which is best achieved by providing them animal-source foods such as dairy, eggs, meat or fish. Quality of food is as important as quantity, and therefore policy makers must ensure nutrition security and not only food security. Soaring food prices will exacerbate malnutrition, with families not able to afford food nutritious enough for young children to grow and both avoid and overcome disease.
For regions with long-standing malnutrition problems, conventional food aid does not include specific foods for young children. Milk powder was removed from relief food targeted at children in the late 1980s when milk surpluses subsided. Since then, children have been receiving fortified blended flours that contain no animal-source food – a diet which pediatricians do not recommend for children under two.
“We need leaders to open their eyes to the needs of young children who are most vulnerable right now, and for whom more of the same could put them at risk,” said Dr. Susan Shepherd, nutrition advisor at MSF. “One critical question this week is: will donors change the rules so that appropriate food for young children is added to food aid and nutrition programs?”
MSF is calling for food aid to change and for an energy-dense and nutrient-rich diet to be made available to at-risk children. There are new and innovative ways of delivering all the nutrients children need to recover from or to prevent malnutrition and MSF has been able to reach far greater numbers of children in its field projects with new strategies.
The World Health Organization estimates there are 178 million children that are malnourished across the globe, and at any given moment, 20 million suffering from the most severe form of malnutrition. Malnutrition contributes to between 3.5 and 5 million annual deaths of children under five years of age.
According to MSF estimates only 3 percent of the 20 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition receive the UN-recommended treatment they need. MSF treated more than 150,000 children in 2006 and 2007 in 22 countries with nutrient-rich therapeutic and supplemental food.
MSF Malnutrition Fact Sheet
FAO World Food Summit Rome

June 3-5, 2008
• The food price crisis has aggravated the chronic crisis of child malnutrition. Malnutrition accounts for 11 percent of the global burden of disease yet this is a crisis that the international community has neglected.
• Malnutrition is an issue of food quality as much as quantity. Rapidly growing children have specific nutritional needs and thus specific nutritional and food aid interventions are needed. In terms of food aid, more of the same will not be enough. Grains, pulses and fortified flours are not sufficient to address the nutrition crisis.
• According to MSF estimates, only 3 percent of the 20 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition each year receive the treatment they need. MSF has successfully used therapeutic ready-to-use food (RUF) to treat severe acute malnutrition and has pilot programs underway with supplemental RUF.
• MSF believes that it is important that both food aid and nutrition programming include interventions that assure the nutrient security of young children in order to avoid malnutrition in the first place.
• Fortified blended flours (FBF) based on wheat or corn plus soya were initially developed in the 1960s with young children’s nutritional needs in mind, and therefore contained dry milk powder. This ingredient was dropped from these flours in the 1980s for reasons that were primarily economic: the end of milk surpluses. FBFs as currently formulated are not found on the market in developed nations because soya flour is an inappropriate food for young children. It contains poor quality protein and far too many anti-nutrient factors that inhibit absorption of essential minerals such as zinc. This is a deadly double standard driven by minimum cost rather than the imperative to meet minimum nutritional standards.
• Nutrition programs have not received the political will and funding required to scale up effective interventions, particularly in food insecure regions. The Lancet Malnutrition Series article 5 states: “Annual funding for basic nutrition programming amounts to at most US $250-300 million per year. Even if this amount were perfectly targeted to the children under two living in the 20 countries that account for 80% of stunting, this would amount to $2 per child whereas effective large scale community nutrition programs are estimated to cost $5-10/child.” This costing does not even include the provision of food. No community education-based nutrition programs have been shown to be effective in food insecure regions.
• In the 2006 publication “Ending Child Hunger and Malnutrition Initiative”, WFP and UNICEF estimate the cost of effectively addressing malnutrition at US $80/family, or US $8 billion for 100 million families. This estimate includes not only health promotion interventions such as clean water and breastfeeding, but also supplementary and therapeutic feeding.
• MSF does not dispute that food aid needs to be supplemented with medium and long term development programing to stimulate economic and agricultural development through national, bilateral, and multilateral agreements and policies, but it urges that these programs should not be implemented at the expense of targeted and immediate solutions.
• Malnutrition is a medical emergency that contributes to at least 3.5 million deaths in children under five each year. The World Health Organization estimates there are 178 million children that are malnourished across the globe, and at any given moment, 20 million suffering from the most severe form. MSF treated over 150,000 children in 2006 and 2007 in 22 countries with therapeutic and supplemental therapeutic food. (document rev. 1 June 2008)

What MSF is calling for:• Ministries of Health and those that support them need to address the critical issues that prevent 97% of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition from getting life-saving treatment.
• Donors need to review the quality of food aid addressed towards malnutrition in children under the age of three, and refocus their efforts away from fortified blended foods towards providing RUF with superior nutrient value, ease-of-use and effectiveness.
• UNICEF and WFP must ensure RUF is available in adequate supplies; this will mean both fundraising and finding solutions for sustainable production.
• WHO must support countries to implement their new growth standards, develop recommendations for effectively treating non-severe malnutrition and promote controlled and operational research to replicate and expand on promising experiences of RUF.
• Ministries of Health, academic nutritionists and other organisations working on malnutrition must implement projects to further document the benefits of therapeutic RUF beyond the treatment for severe malnutrition.
• Researchers, producers and users of RUF must work together to develop new products, adapted for use in the early treatment and prevention of child malnutrition, but also, for other uses such as for maternal nutrition to prevent low birth weight.

Malnutrition getting worse in India
By Damian Grammaticas
BBC News, Madhya Pradesh

Lying on a bed is a tiny malnourished child. Her limbs wasted, her stomach bloated, her hair thinning and falling out. Her name is Roshni.
She stares, wide-eyed, blankly at the ceiling. Roshni is six months old. She should weigh 4.5kg. But when she is placed on a set of scales they settle at just 2.9kg.
Roshni is suffering from severe acute malnutrition, defined by the World Health Organisation as weighing less than 60% of the ideal median weight for her height.
There are 40 beds in this centre. On every one is a similar child. All are acutely malnourished. Wailing, painful, plaintive cries fill the air. This is the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre in the town of Shivpuri.
You might think we are somewhere in Africa. But this is the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh - modern India, a land of booming growth.
"The situation in our village is very bad," says Roshni's mother, Kapuri.
"Sometimes we get work, sometimes we don't. Together with our children we are dying from hunger. What can we poor people do? Nothing."
Typical symptoms
The lunchtime meal of boiled eggs, milk and porridge is handed out.
Another mother is cradling her daughter, trying to feed her. The girl's name is Kajal. She is two-and-a-half years old and so weak she can hardly eat.
Her mother tries to spoon some milk into her mouth. It dribbles down her chin. Kajal barely even opens her eyes.
Kajal's skin is pale. Her breath comes sharp, shallow and fast. She too is suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Her weight is 6.7kg.
The nutrition centre here was set up by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).
Doctor Vandana Agarwal, Unicef's nutrition specialist for Madhya Pradesh state, points to Kajal's swollen little feet.
"There is oedema on both the feet, scaly skin on her legs, even her respiration rate is high," Dr Agarwal says.
"The child is in a lethargic condition, her hair is thin, sparse, lustreless, easily-pluckable. These are the typical symptoms of protein energy malnutrition."
India has some of the highest rates of child malnutrition and mortality in under-fives in the world and Madhya Pradesh state has the highest levels in India.
There are around 10 million children in the state. A decade ago 55% were malnourished. Two years ago the government's own National Family Health Survey put the figure for Madhya Pradesh at around 60%.
So why is it going up?
"It's basically inadequate access to food, poor feeding practices, poor childcare practices," says Dr Agarwal.
In Madhya Pradesh the situation is compounded by two significant factors. For four years in a row the rains have failed, so food crops have failed too. And now global food prices have risen, stretching many families beyond breaking point.
"In the past year food prices have increased significantly, but people's incomes haven't improved," says Dr Agarwal. "Like wheat, earlier they used to buy it at eight rupees a kilogram, now it's 12 rupees."
"Because of the increase in food prices a mother cannot buy an adequate quantity of milk, fruits and vegetables. So their staple diet has become wheat chapattis," she explains.
"A child cannot survive on wheat chapattis alone. About 80% of mothers and children are anaemic because they can't get good quality food."
To see why things are so bad, we headed out into the villages around Shivpuri. The drought zone stretches across this part of central India. The land is parched and barren. The air hot and heavy.
The village of Chitori Khurda is a ramshackle collection of 80 stone and mud huts on a rocky plain. The villagers here come from the bottom rung of India's social scale.
Among the lowest of the low in India's caste system are the Scheduled Tribes, just above them come the Other Backward Castes.
Together they make up 95% of the population of Chitori Khurda.
Worst hit
Even here, in this desolate spot, caste matters consign the lowest to the harshest existence.
Chitori Khurda village has no water supply. There are four wells in the fields around, but all belong to higher caste owners who often refuse to let the villagers use them.
So these are the people worst hit by rising food prices. They have little land of their own. What they do have is the least fertile, sometimes far away. Without water they cannot irrigate, so they cannot feed themselves.
And out here there is not much in the way of work either.
The men of Chitori Khurda get odd jobs labouring for higher castes or just play cards all day. The women sit outside their houses sorting green leaves they have gathered into small bundles. The leaves are sold to make local cigarettes. But it does not earn much.
So in almost every home people are going hungry. Unicef says 79% of the children in this village are malnourished.
Siya showed me her house, crouching to get in through the low door, we entered a stifling-hot, single room where the family of six live.
Siya picked up the can where she keeps her flour. It should hold enough for a week's supply. There were just a few cupfuls left.
Her two youngest children, seven-month-old Anjali and two-year-old Aseel, are both severely acutely malnourished. The family can afford to eat only twice a day. The children chewed slowly on a few chapattis flavoured with a tiny bit of onion and ground chillies. It is all they have to eat.
Getting worse
Siya's husband works as a bonded labourer. He is still trying to pay off a loan he took out 15 years ago.
In theory the government provides 30kg of subsidised flour a month to every poor family. But corruption and inefficiency mean the system often does not work.
Even with the full allocation a family like Siya's would have to buy an additional 90kg of flour a month at a cost of more than 1,000 rupees.
Siya says several days a month the family has to go to bed hungry.
"The children cry and create a commotion," she tells me. "I go door-to-door until somebody gives me a little."
Every lunchtime the children of Chitori Khurda gather at the Anganwadi centre in the village. It is where nutrition and health services are provided at village level.
On the day we visited, each child was given two puris (small bread puffs fried in oil) along with some sweet porridge. The allocation is 80g of food a day per child.
The children ate it, then sat hoping for more, but there was none.
Madhya Pradesh is trying hard to tackle the problem of malnutrition, but it is getting worse, not better.
Corruption and inefficiency hamper the system. Some Anganwadi workers skim off food to sell. Others refuse to give food to lower-caste children. Many simply do not turn up as they are not paid much for the job.
Add to that high food prices and the poorest are sliding into hunger.
Back in Shivpuri, two-and-a-half-year-old Kajal had to be transferred to hospital. Her condition was so serious, she was so anaemic and her haemoglobin levels so low that she had to have an emergency blood transfusion.
Lying in her hospital bed Kajal was reviving, slowly. Her mother, anxious, looked on, a pressing question weighing on her mind.
Kajal should survive, but how will she feed her child?
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/06/10 11:36:03 GMT


Monday, July 21, 2008

Child soldiers

Child soldiers recruited by the underground being paraded in military attire before mediapersons at the the outfit's general headquarters somewhere in the Jungles of Chandel district bordering Burma on Friday.

From Montu Ahanthem from Manipur

Crime and Indian politics: The Nation at Cross Roads

Crime and Indian politics: The Nation at Cross Roads
Data on Criminals in the Indian Parliament
Pawan Rana/Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi 20/7/2008 11:33:31 PM(IST)

The Nuclear deal has once again raised curtain from the National Political character. The debate, on such a crucial issue, has taken a backseat. To Seek or to let Not seek the Trust vote, mud throwing has come to the forefront. All dirty tactics/ politicking are being openly attempted. Jailed MPs are being bailed out to participate in the Trust vote. The nexus between Corporates and the Political parties has surfaced. Deliberately or ignorantly where are we heading to? What traditions are we establishing? The nation is at Cross-Roads.

In such a political scenario, we need to re-look into composition of our Lok Sabha. Such retrospection would only provide direction to our future politics.

Presently, out of the total 543 MPs, 120 or 22.1% have criminal cases pending against them. Among major parties, the BJP has 29 MPs with a criminal record, the Indian National Congress (INC) 24, the SP 11, RJD 8, CPM 7, BSP 7, NCP 5 and CPI 2. Of them, Six (6) are in Jail, charged with heinous crimes such as murder and kidnapping.

The number of cases of serious crimes is 333, with several MPs having multiple cases. If we look at violent crimes like murder, attempt to murder, robbery, dacoity, kidnapping, theft and extortion, rape, other violent crimes like assault using dangerous weapons or causing grievous hurt, the Samajwadi Party (SP) leads with 80 cases, followed by BSP 43, BJP 17, INC 16, RJD 9, CPM 5, CPI 1, NCP 2. Other crimes like cheating, fraud, forgery, giving false oaths to public officials and so on have BSP 23, RJD 22, INC 21, BJP 11, SP 11 and CPM 6.

In addition, few more, while serving the nation as MPs, were caught for inhumane crimes such as women trafficking, following corrupt practices for raising questions in the Parliament, etc, etc.., which definitely is not a indicator of any better situation.

The ‘National Election Watch Network’ urges all political parties to put up cleaner and more capable candidates to enable voters to choose from.

The Election Watch Network, as part of All India level campaign, will continue to disseminate information on present MPs and Candidates for the forthcoming General Elections.

In this national campaign, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) gives a call for cooperation to all intellectuals, social workers and citizens of the country. So that the country’s electorate be empowered to check increasing criminalization and corruption in Politics. And, lay the foundation of clean politics in the country

Saturday, July 19, 2008

11 children hospitalised for malnourishment in Varanasi

11 children hospitalised for malnourishment in Varanasi

Express News Service

Posted online: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 at 0249 hrs IST

Varanasi, June 02
A day after two-year-old Shahabuddin of Dhannipur village died due to malnutrition, 11 more malnourished children were admitted at the Varanasi District hospital on Sunday evening.

The 11 children from Dhannipur village include Sabina (5), Shalmin (3), Gulfam (4), Nur Mohd (3), Soni (3), Imran (3), Ahmad Raza (2), Israq (2), Gulfam (4 months), Shahid (4 months) and Nur-ul-Hasan (6 months).

Chief Medical Superintendent of District Hospital, A P Singh said some of the 11 children were suffering from protein-energy malnutrition, while others were suffering from other diseases.

Human rights activists led by PVCHR convener Lenin Raghuvanshi, meanwhile, begged alms as a symbolic protest against malnutrition in weaver-dominated areas of Lohta.

"We begged Rs 402 from shops outside the district hospital for the children in the hospital," said Raghuvanshi.

"We will not let the children fall prey to malnutrition just like Shahabuddin," said Raghuvanshi claiming that he has started requesting funds online to help the children from Monday.

"An NRI lawyer, Parul Sharma, in Sweden has immediately contributed Rs 5,000 towards this cause," said Raghuvanshi.

Earlier, Varanasi District Magistrate A K Upadhyaya had visited Dhannipur village on Sunday after Shahabuddin's death.

Chief Medical Officer Abdul Halim, however, denied that a two-year-old had died due to malnutrition. According to him, he fell prey to pneumonia.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Uttar Pradesh:Voice of voiceless torture victim

Uttar Pradesh:Voice of voiceless torture victim

Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi 18/7/2008 11:12:17 AM(IST)

Victim Jaswant Kumar Son of Rampati is inhabitant of plot No- 218, Nai Basti, Lahartara, Police Station- Manduadih, Varanasi is a Hindu and belongs to schedule caste community. He is 30 years old, his wife’s name is Mrs. Indu Devi, his younger brother’s name is Mr. Virendra Kumar, and his younger brother wife’s name is Mrs.Usha Gautam. Jaswant’s has two children’s Ravikant (8) and Rahul (5). From last 6 years Jaswant’s entire family member are combinely doing business of computer under banner of M.J.V Computers.

On 15.04.04 Banwari Lal S/O Puttan Ram inhabitant of D65/24 Lahartara. Banwari with involvement of many other people illegally entered in Jaswant’s house and trying to burn and loot the entire things which were present in the house. Then Jaswant’s wife was lodged FIR against Banwari and other at P.S Manduadeeh under section 103/04, IPC 143, 447, 448, 323, 504, 342, 452, 427, 339. On same day her case was registered and perpetrators were sent to jail. Banwari Lal released on bail.

On 09.01.07 Banwari Lal and others second time illegally entered in Jaswant’s house and badly beat to Jaswant and his family members. Jaswant informed to P.S Manduadeeh but his FIR was not registered, there after on 08.03.07 court ordered that under section 156(3) CrPc, his F.I.R should be registered.

On 08.03.07 Court ordered to police station to lodge FIR however police station did contempt of court and FIR was lodge after three month from the date of order i.e. on 15.06.08, under case crime number 225/07, IPC 323,452,325,504.

There after on 24.08.07 S.O and S.I of P.S Manduadih planned a conspiracy against Jaswant and his family members, they registered a fake FIR against Jaswant and his family members at P.S Manduadih under crime section 329/07 IPC 420,467,468,471. Jaswant took the evidence about his blamelessness to prove that he is innocent.

Mean while Jaswant, his wife Indu, younger brother Virendra and younger son Rahul was in Allahabad district. They get telephonic information that Banwari Lal registered a fake case against him and his family members. Yet Jaswant’s father was illegally detained by S.I Rajendra Prasad prosecuted and sent to jail.

When Jaswant knows about his FIR, then Jaswant’s, wife and his brother filed appeal in Allahabad court for interim relief of stay order.

On 20.09.07 with the help of Jaswant’s relatives his father got bail and on 21.09.07 he came back to his home.

That time Jaswant, his wife Indu, brother Virendra and younger son Rahul were living at Allahabad then on dated 03.10.07 S.I Rajendra Prasad again came in Jaswant’s house and abused his father Rampati Ram and told that immediately called to your son otherwise he will finish your entire family and land.

After pressure of S.I Rajendra Prasad Jaswant’s father firstly sent Virendra wife’s to his paternal house and requested to his neighbor Bhanu Prakash’s wife Mrs. Bela Devi to take care of his house, shop as well also gave responsibility of Jaswant’s elder son Ravikant and went to Allahabad.

Jaswant father went to Allahabad district in that time Jaswant'''s family were busy and trying to receive Stay Order in Allahabad High Court. They filed Writ Petition at Allahabad High Court when case date was finalized then they came back to Varanasi.

On 17.10.07 when Jaswant’s father reached to his home then he saw that with the help of S.I Rajendra Prasad his house and ferm were illegally possession by Bela Devi, Banwari Lal and many others people.

When Jaswant’s father asked his neighbor Mrs. Bela Devi about his grandson “Ravikant” then she told that when S.I Rajendra Prasad illegally possessed your home then she gave your Grandson to Banwari Lal and he took Ravikant with him. Jaswant father gave his this information to Jaswant through phone.

In between Jaswant’s father informed to SO Manduadih, and C.O Bhelupur about the kidnapping of his grandson (Ravikant) as well as illegally possession of his ferm and house, but police had not been taken any type of action. Jaswant’s father sent an application to Inspector General of Police (Varanasi Zone), Varanasi.

On 01.11.07 Allahabad High Court gave stay order under crime number 329/07 to Jaswant and he return to Varanasi. Jaswant continuously sent application to many higher authorities.

On 22.11.07 I.G Zone directed to P.S Manduadih to lodged FIR about illegally possession to Jaswant’s house, ferm as well as kidnapping of his son (Ravikant) also.

Until and unless Jaswant’s family has not been received any type of relief and his son is also not found. No action taken by any police personnel’s or any higher authorities. This show the negligence of higher authorities and Jaswant’s family is in living their life fear of police and influenced people.

Banwari Lal is a B.S.P leader and Uttar Pradesh present Government is also B.S.P. Jaswant sent a lot of RTI and letters about the progress of his case and asking several questions to higher relevant authorities.

In present time this case is highlighted by electronic media (ETV) in wee Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Ms. Mayawati directly intervened this case and demands investigation report of Jaswant case from Home Ministry Uttar Pradesh.

Jaswant's case is one of the selected cases of Peoples Tribunal in Uttar Pradesh under EU-FNSt-PW NPPT project and advocated by PVCHR by testimony and honoring of victim with collaboration of RCT.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Indian activist: G8 called to outline "future development of peoples"

» 07/07/2008 12:59

Indian activist: G8 called to outline "future development of peoples"
Nirmala Carvalho
In an interview with AsiaNews, Lenin Raghuvashi considers the G8, the global food crisis and inflation, the emergence of India and China, the prophetic words of the pope. And the problems of India, which spends more on its public debt than on health and education.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - "This G8 meeting taking place in Japan is very important as it is a very powerful decision making body, and also involves the world's leading charities". The difficult situation of India, the global economic crisis, the "prophetic" appeal from Pope Benedict XVI: an exclusive interview with Lenin Raghuvanshi, well-known activist and winner of the prestigious Gwangju Prize for human rights.

According to Mr Raghuvanshi, "The G8 encompasses all spheres of influential policy making bodies of the world, like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and other major bodies. These are important times, when there is a serious issue of inequalities in the world - inflation (food and fuel crisis), climate change, environmental degradation, poverty eradication and social conflicts - in this context, we need to examine the role and policies of this powerful body (G8).

"Human rights defenders like me have three major concerns with reference to this important meeting: inequalities in the world created because of the food and fuel crisis; social degradation due to poverty and environmental degradation, consequences of big dams and urban policies which compound the pollution to the environment; and climate change.

"Terrorism is an issue of grave importance, but how will the G8 address terrorism arising out of social conflict - what will be their role on the issue of social conflict? The world needs social justice, peace, and religious freedom, and the lack of this gives rise to social conflict.

"India pays more than 26% of GDP on debt, while our education budget is 5%, and 1% for health. India is paying most heavily on its military and returning interest on debt. Such gross allocation of funds is a strain on the economy, and results in severely curtailing welfare schemes and has a direct effect on poverty eradication programmes, hurting most the needs of the weakest and poorest populations.

"The G8 must pay attention to more than just economic and military questions. The G8 club are the elite 20% of the world, using 80% of world resources and responsible for 78% of pollution, hence these G8 people have to engage in serious dialogue with nation states.

"Given that third world countries and poorer nations are in the debt trap of the IMF and World Bank, however, the World Bank and the IMF while giving loans to the poorer nations dictate terms to them controlling their policy making bodies, especially in the agriculture sector, textile policies and other major policies. Pope Benedict is prophetic in sending a message to the G8 in Japan hoping that generosity and farsightedness may help lead to decisions capable of relaunching a fair process of comprehensive development, in protection of human dignity. His predecessor Pope John Paul II during the Jubilee year 2000 spearheaded the request for the G7 nations to wipe out the debts of the African nations. The contours of the world economy have changed dramatically over the last decade, and China and India wield substantial clout in the global market. And today the G8 is compelled to acknowledge that the global balance of power is changing. The G8 must reconsider the pressing matters of poverty alleviation, rights of the common people, inequity in the world, social conflict, the common good of every human being on this world today, to ensure sustainable development and the human dignity of our future generations".

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

More than 1,500 people die of torture in Indian prison, human rights activist says

» 07/01/2008 15:02

More than 1,500 people die of torture in Indian prison, human rights activist says
Nirmala Carvalho

Commenting data from a report released this year on violence in his country, Lenin Raghuvanshi slams the arbitrary use of force by law enforcement to extract confessions. In the five years covered by the report, from 2002 to 2007, almost 7,500 died in custody.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – “Torture is legalised state terrorism,” said Lenin Raghuvanshi, director of the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) as he commented a report by the Asian Centre for Human Rights titled Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial which found that 7,468 persons, at an average of 1,494 persons per year, died in prison and police custody between 2002 to 2007. An equal number of persons, if not more, were killed by the army and state paramilitary forces custody in insurgency affected areas, a large number of these deaths the result of torture.
In the country’s 12,000 police stations all over the country there is frequent use of torture and use of deadly force at local police stations in India.

India has the highest number of cases of police torture and custodial deaths among the world's democracies and the weakest law against torture.

The police often operate in a climate of impunity, where torture is seen as routine police behaviour to extract confessions.

The report analyses patterns and practices of torture in police custody with special focus on torture by prison guards, the military, armed opposition groups like the Naxalites (Indian Maoists) in north-east India, other public officials and non-state actors like upper castes, recovery agents of the Banks, Panchayats and so-called civil society organisations.

Lenin Raghuvanshi, recipient of the 2007 Gwangju Prize for human rights, stressed that reported cases of abuse is highest among Dalits, Tribals and minority communities.

The Indian system based on castes is diabolic and perpetuates discriminations and crimes against the weakest.

The system is guaranteed by collusion between police and upper castes, which favour the stronger according to a semi-feudal order of things.

“India,” said the activist, “has to immediately ratification the UN Convention Against Torture,” but sadly it wants to preserve the “nexus between police and feudal of upper-caste.”

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


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