25th February 2013, New Delhi : Fishermen from several organisations, National Association of Fishermen, All India Mallar Sangamam, Akhil Bharatiya Lodhi Nishad Bind Kasyap Ekta Samata Mahasabha, to name a few gathered at Jantar Mantar to put forward there demand.
National Association of Fishermen in their letter to Dr. Manmohan Singh demanded to settle the issue of Fishermen regarding International boundaries of fishing with neighbouring countries i.e Sri Lanka, Pakistan & Bangladesh. ” We demand that a National Committee comprising NAF should be constituted by Govt. of India and all castes and sub castes of fishermen’s communities to be included in the Scheduled Caste/Tribe in the respective state” said, M.K Tomar, secretary-general of NAF. He added, ” There should be Ministry of Fisheries at the Central Govt. & State Govt. Level.
S. Varman Mallar, President, All India Mallar Sangamam quoted lines of Bharathiyar, Famous Tamil Poet, “Our Divine Bharatham, Our Esteemed Bharatha Mata gives birth to the brave mallas.The military of Mallas are like an ocean in India. The Mallas only are capable of guarding the Indian Country”. He defines Mallars as the race which dwells near fertile lands near the river bed and participate in wars raising swords to establish “Dharma” and law and order. “The Gods Perumal, Murugan and Chera, Chola and Pandiyas were Mallas” says Mr. Varman.
The protest is likely to continue for two days.
22 February 2013, New Delhi: Railway being the most important factor for development in any region in economic as well as social integration, is almost absent in the state of Odisha as comparison to its neighboring States. To demand for a better rail infrastructure in the state, Odisha Nagarika Samaj(ONAS) had organised a conference at New Delhi.
Although Odisha has only 4 percent infrastructure of Indian Railways(62,215 km) it caters material load of 12 percent of IR and contributes 10 percent of the total revenue profit. Lalit Mohan Patnaik, Working President,ONAS said “Revenue generated by East Coast Railways exceeds Rs 10,000 crore yet its railway budget is lowest; last year being only Rs 714 Cr.; Irony is that Rs 221 crore out of 714 crore has been withdrawn in the year 2012-13”. He further added, “Before Independence Odisha was having two major interstate Rail lines totaling 1200km. In last 65 years of independence, only 1200 km rail line has been added which had no major intersecting lines”.
Facts indicate that Odisha has a rail density (route kilometer of rail line in 1000 sq.km) of only 14.60 as compared to Bihar being 35.90, Jharkhand 25.30 and West Bengal 43.40. “We demand all eight ongoing projects, Seventy eight doubling of line, ten electrification project and Twenty eight line survey work of Odisha should be completed in this 12th Five Year Plan”,said Ramesh Mohanty, another member ONAS.
To achieve this ONAS demanded a budget allocation of Rs 4000 crore every year for the next five years to avoid gross regional disparity and dissatisfaction. Ziauddin Hindustani, Secretary, ONAS said, “We had organised a meeting on ‘Infrastructure in Odisha’ yesterday at Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha. It is regretful that in last 65 years Odisha could not claim the railway ministry snatched away by its neighbours. Outcome being Khurdha Rd- Bolangir and Lanjigada Rd-Junagada railway lines in Odisha were approved much earlier that Muzaffarpur-Sitamari and Sultangunj-Deogarh railway lines in Bihar, but only 10 and 15 percent of these project respectively are complete where as the projects of Bihar have been actualized.”
21 February 2013, New Delhi: Students body, Faculty of different Schools, women organisations and Activists have come together at Jantar Mantar under the theme ‘People’s Watch Over Parliament’ on the eve of 1st day of Budget Session to campaign against sexual violence and Gender discrimination.
The group is protesting against the Government Eyewash Ordinance, and demanding the Enactment of laws against rape and sexual violence on the lines of Justice Verma Recommendations, Budgetary allocation for rape crisis centres and rehabilitation and compensation for survivors of rape and acid attack.
Dheeraj Kumar, Assistant Professor in School of liberal studies at Ambedkar University, who had come to the support along with 25 of his students says “We have joined to strengthen the protest. I have encouraged my students also to participate as this helps them contribute something for the betterment of our civil society”
“The Issue is not related to women alone, We have our own families and we want a safe environment for all of them. You could well see how in December 16 incident state mechanism failed miserably. We are also protesting to repeal AFSPA to ensure that army officers accused of rape cannot hide behind it and claim immunity, as Manorama’s rapists and killers have done since 2004.” says Amlesh Kumar Singh, who is a student of School of International Studies, JNU.
The Campaign had artistic display of its theme all around the place. Posters, Placards, and Leaflets were being distributed among the spectators encouraging them to join the cause. Several Colleges of Delhi participated including Maitreyi college, St Stephens, Hindu to name a few.
A special performance by the student from Theatre Group named ‘Abhivyakti’ of Maitreyi College gathered a lot of appreciation. The groups theme was based on sexual harassment, domestic violence and portrayal of women as a commodity. Shefali Chadha pursuing Eng. Hon. says “We were helped by Mr Amir Aziz, a theater artist of repute in scripting our play”. “To connect with the people was an amazing feeling” says Sakshi Sood, another member of Abhivyakti. Payal Bose,2nd year, BA tells this correspondent, “People have also given us negative comments about the portrayal of all women as righteous. We have taken those comments positively.” Garima Bawa, a physics hons. student in her 2nd year seemed excited to speak about their group, “Abhivyakti (expression) has been an active group of theater enthusiasts, who practice theater and appreciate it for the humanizing value that it has for individuals and society. This society has been running successfully since 1999, participating in campus theater as well as seeking opportunities outside so as to reach out to a larger audience.”
The campaign also protested against gender neutrality of the accused in the rape/sexual assault law. The activists are dismayed by the ordinance’s move to automatically brand consensual sexual contact between young people between the age of 16-18 as ‘sexual assault’. Activists have also demanded the deletion of Section 377 that criminalizes same-sex relationships. The Campaign with a tagline ‘Freedom Without Fear’ has touched the hearts of all section of society which was seen by the gathering.
21 February 2013, New Delhi : Rohit Vikram, a Gorkha, sitting at Jantar Mantar for the last 26 days feels the heat of neglected attitude towards them. He says “Our demand for Gorkhaland is the oldest issue which is 107 years old; We are different races on the basis of language, culture and social status from Bengal’s mainstream, still we are denied our basic right; Neither the center nor the Bengal Govt is considering our demands”.
Rohit is one of the many student leader of Gorkha Jan Mukti Vidyarthi Morcha who have come from Darjeeling to the capital with a determination to protest here till a resolution is taken in the Budget session of Parliament. These students have shaved their head in protest against the statement of Mamta Banarjee which claim Darjeeling to be a part of bengal. “Darjeeling was never a part of bengal” says Rohit.
The Central committee members of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, Gorkha Nari Janmukti Morcha and Gorkha Jan Mukti Vidyarthi Morcha are raising the voice of Gorkhaland in accordance to the Article 3(A) of Constitution of India. They put the fact Late Ari Bahadur Gurung, one of the signatories during introduction of Indian Constitution enumerated by Dr. Baba Sahib Bhim Rao Ambedkar was present to sign in the Book of Constitution and his descendants have failed to achieve Gorkhaland in accordance with the framework of same. constitution(Article 3A)
They argue that area demanded for Gorkhaland is sensitive zone boarded by Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and China and therefore creation of Gorkhaland is crucial for National Security.
Asha Gurung, Central Core Committee member of Gorkha Jan Mukti Nari Morcha and wife of Bimal Gurung, leader of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in her inspiring words says ” Gorkhas have made great sacrifice for Independence of India and had fought battle of freedom, still fighting in L.O.C with extremists and intruders.” She adds ” We Gorkhas are very simple people, for which we are being exploited from last 107 years. We are denied financial and educational rights. Its a shame that we are sitting here on our 26th day but still we haven’t received any media coverage neither has any authority come to talk to us”. Hurt by alleged statements by politicians, She says “Dare not call us Nepalis, Chinese or Bangladeshis, we are Indians. Some people call us chinkis but remember if our demands are not met,we will really turn into one and then don’t come to us in the name of National security.
Taking to this correspondent she says ” Gorkhas in Bengal are deprived from political security as well as national identity. Therefore, Gorkhas living in different parts of India have raised voices of Gorkhaland. Darjeeling, Tarai and Dours are enough space for Gorkhaland. The population and Geographical features are also favourable to create Gorkhaland. It would be impossible to maintain peace in the region unless and until the Gorkhas have their separtate state which is our Birth right”
The Gorkhas have planned to meet Jaswant singh of Bharatiya Janta Party and MP from their state Darjeeling to put forward their demands. ” We have come with a mindset to even fast unto death if this time our demands are not met”, says Mrs. Gurung.
29 February 2013, New Delhi : The Welfare Association of B.K Dutt Colony organised a dharna to protest against the misuse of order of Hon’ble Delhi High Court to construct the boundary wall on demarcated sites in B.K. Dutt Colony.
“Governement of India had allotted the land in the colony to the Refugees from Pakistan in 1960. There is a Masjid and a Park in it. Since our kids are no longer playing in the park, which currently lies abandoned, it is eyed by the land mafias and land grabbers” says Jaspal singh Kalkat who lives in H-30 of the colony.
He adds, “We are in legal battle for the last 7 years; Delhi high court has raised questions on our authorisation to fight for the land; Land belongs to the govt and since land owning agencies L&DO and DDA and care taking agencies are not coming forward to protect their respective land sites, we cannot allow the land to fall in wrong hands”.
The residence allege that an organisation named Anjuman Haidri is trying to acquire the land by means of force. There has also been alleged cases of violence between the group and the residents. “We have been beaten up several times and false FIRs have been launched against us but still we are fighting for saving the land. ” said a resident on the condition of Anonymity.
The welfare association strongly demand restoration of their rights to use these spaces and warns the Govt. agencies not to get involved in any kind of deals with the land mafias.
20 February 2013, New Delhi: The All India Asha Bahu Association is organizing a three day protest at Jantar Mantar Road from 20 – 23 February in an attempt to put forward their miseries in front of Government ahead of Pulse Polio program scheduled on February 14.
The Asha Bahu program is implemented under National Rural Health Mission. Mira Singh, President of the Association who belongs to UP says, “From last 6 years we have been working tirelessly in rural areas providing health facilities and we get a meager sum of just Rs 200-500 a month.”
Puspa from Fatehpurs Hatgam Block is worried, “Since the start of the 108 Ambulance service, villagers dont ask for us anymore which is worsening our condition.” She futher adds “One Asha bahu is appointed for a population for one Thousand but still our pay is not according to our work”.
Speaking with this correspondent, Asha singh, Pradesh Mahasachib demands “We demand the Health ministry and government to give us a monthly pay of Rs 10,000, Insurance coverage for we asha bahus and better training facilities.” Mira singh interrupts, “Asha bahus across the countries from Bihar, MP, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and UP have come for the protest and if our demand is not fulfilled we will be bound to boycott the Pulse polio program on February 24.”
20 February 2013, New Delhi : On the eve of National Kuli Diwas, thousands of Coolli (licence porters) have gathered today at Jantar mantar to carry out a Railway Kuli Maharali in order to express the injustice done and rights taken away from them.
The gathering organised by Jan Shakti Railway Kuli Union will have Ram vilas Paswan as their chief guest. Talking to this correspondent/blogger Narendra Guru from Jodhpur Rajasthan who belongs to Coolie Batch No 86 says “Lalu jii during his tenure as Railway minister had announced on 26th Feb 2008 that all coolies will be given job in Group D and this was implemented also. But when Mamta Banerjee came into power, this process was stopped and we are suffering because of this”
Ramkali Sau, another coolie from the Asansol, West Bengal has reached Delhi this morning to join other in the protest. “If a coolie gets medically unfit or dies, his son or kin is entitled to get a job in his position. Since my father died 4 years back, I am doing circles around Station Manager of Asansol Station. I have given him my ‘Jati Praman Patra, Voters list and lawyer affidavit, Yet my medical certificate remains pending with him and my name has not been registered in his list” says Ramkali who fears that someday he may be thrown out of his cooli job because of this registration issue.
“I am still wearing my fathers dress for 3 years. Until my name is registered I wont be able to get tradition Red Cloth of my size and Pass for 2nd class travelling” says Ashok Kumar working in Sialdah. Allah Baksh, a 42 years coolie from Jodhpur, came down in tears ” I was declared medically unfit in 2008 and that made my carrier end. The job has not yet been given to my son and I get no pension. Life has become very difficult for me”
The group is demanding more Employment in the Group D of railways, Selection on Merit basis, a second chance to those declared unfit in medical examination, Registration of name in their station and a regular pension facility scheme.