BHOPAL: At a time when the country has been outraged by the rape of a five-year-old girl in New Delhi, a Madhya Pradesh minister has claimed that the number of rapes in the state is “not that high” when the total population is taken into account.
“Evaluating the population of Madhya Pradesh, the number of rapes is not that high,” Manohar Utwal, minister of state for urban administration and development, told reporters in Jaora town in Ratlam district on Saturday. “In a state where the total population exceeds 7.5 crore, only 4,500 rapes have been reported this year.” Utwal said the rape figures were high because the police diligently recorded every complaint.
Even as the minister spoke, a four-year-old girl from Madhya Pradesh was battling for life in a Nagpur hospital, five days after she was allegedly raped by a youth in Seoni district.
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures show that the largest number of rapes is reported from the state. In 2011-12, NCRB records showed a total 3,406 rapes in the state. Its report for 2001-11 said that of the 48,338 child rapes recorded in the country, the highest were from Madhya Pradesh (9,465).
Utwal’s tactless remark came less than a week after state cabinet minister Vijay Shah was sacked for making sexist remarks against chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s wife while addressing a students’ gathering in Jhabua district.
On Friday, March 15, 2013, six men attacked a Swiss woman aged about 40 and her husband. The Swiss couple was on a three-month holiday in India. They had visited the temple town of Orchha in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Prades. On their way to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, the couple had stopped to camp for the night in the forest near a village in Datia district, Madhya Pradesh, India.
A local police official told the media the gang beat up the husband, tied him to a tree before raping the woman. The gang after assaulting the husband tied him to a tree before raping the woman. The couple was not sure of the exact number of assailants since it was dark. The gang robbed them of their cellphone, laptop, and 10,000 rupees ($185).
On Monday, March 18, 2013, the police produced in court six farmers from nearby villages. Dilip Arya, the deputy inspector general of police of the area, told reporters that the accused had confessed to the charge of gang-raping the Swiss woman tourist. They also face other charges such as robbing the Swiss couple. Police said they recovered the laptop and the cellphone from one of the suspects.
Reacting to the unfortunate incident, the Swiss embassy in India said the health and treatment of the victim was a priority for them at the moment. Distraught over the rape, the Swiss foreign ministry in Bern released a statement on Saturday expressing deep shock at the ‘tragic incident’. They sought a “swift” investigation into the incident so that the victim gets justice.
Last month, the Swiss government issued a travel notice for India that included a warning about “increasing incidences of rape and other sexual offenses in India.” The latest incident could prompt other countries to issue similar warnings as regards to travel within India.
This attack comes just three months after the fatal gang-rape of 23-year-old physiotherapy intern Jyoti Singh on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012, which spurred outrage over how the Indian society treats its women, and the way the Indian judicial system meets out punishment for rapists.
NEW DELHI: Indian sons, and their wives, aren’t treating their aged parents well. A study on abuse of India’s elderly, conducted across 20 cities and involving over 5,500 older people, has found that almost 1 in 3 (32%) have faced abuse. The son has been found to be the primary abuser in 56% of cases, followed by the daughter-in-law in 23% cases.
The study, to be presented to President Pranab Mukherjee on October 1, celebrated globally as the International Day of Older Persons, said more than 50% of those abused had faced it for more than five years. More than half (55%) of those who were abused did not report it to anyone. Around 80% of them did not report the matter to uphold family honour.
Delhi actually witnessed an exponential increase in abuse of the elderly. In 2011, Delhi’s abuse of the elderly rate stood at 12%. In comparison, 29.82% elderly people in Delhi said they faced abuse in 2012.
The study, conducted by Help Age India, found that abuse was highest in Madhya Pradesh (77.12%) while people in Rajasthan (1.67%) were most well behaved with the elderly in their family. Nearly 30% or 1 in 3 elderly persons reported abuse in Maharashtra while the abuse rate was just above 1 in 4 (27.56%) in Tamil Nadu. It was 60% in Assam, 52% in UP, 43% in Gujarat, 42.86% in Andhra Pradesh and 40.93% in West Bengal.
The study also brought out some shameful figures for Delhi. While nearly 30% of Delhi’s senior citizens had faced abuse, the primary perpetrator of abuse was the son in 60% cases, followed by the daughter-in-law in 24% cases. In Delhi, 76% of those abused did not report it, while of those who felt abused, 69% had felt disrespected with 35% facing it daily.
Around 86% of elderly felt that the most effective measure to control elder abuse was through sensitizing children and strengthening inter-generation bonding and 14% felt increased economic Independence was the solution.
The study said that in India, the family has been the mainstay of social support. “Even in this age and time, 58% of older persons in India are living with the family. The findings of this report also affirm confidence in the ability of the family to care for its older members,” the report said.
The National Policy on Older Persons has also recognized the importance of family for the well being of older persons and has decided to have programmes to promote family values, sensitize the young on the necessity and desirability of inter-generational bonding and continuity and the desirability of meeting filial obligations.
“State policies will encourage children to co-reside with their parents by providing tax relief, allowing rebates for medical expenses and giving preference in the allotment of houses. The policy also says that short-term staying facilities for older persons will be supported so that families can get some relief when they go out,” the study said.
The report made an interesting recommendation. In order to prevent elder abuse, it said there should be nationwide programmes in schools and colleges for sensitizing children and young adults towards the ageing and the aged, sensitization of healthcare workers to recognize and develop a protocol for treatment, develop a robust social security system that not only ensures income security to the older persons but also gives them opportunities for income generation.
“It’s not for pleasure we are in the sea. This nuclear plant is a curse and nobody is going to benefit out of it. Only a disaster can convince our politicians and the government. Then we won’t be alive to tell that story.” — 15-year-old Rishika Raj.
During the past one year, the villagers living in areas surrounding the Koodankulam atomic power plant launched hunger strikes, tonsured their heads, went to jail, met the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister, and filed cases in various courts with a simple demand — to save their lives, their soil and their water from the killer nuke plant.
However, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission (AERC) has given its consent to loading enriched uranium fuel in the first of the two nuclear reactors at the
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP), and the government has scheduled dates for commissioning the plant.
Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) released the following statement on Wednesday night:
“Today we are surrounded by the police, beaten up, harassed, accused of committing all kinds of crimes, arrested, and above all, mentally, emotionally, spiritually assaulted. We are fisherfolk, shopkeepers, agricultural laborers, beedi-rolling women, working class people. We do not steal public money, we do not amass wealth through illegal business deals, and we do not plunder the nation’s natural wealth. But we are treated like criminals and dangerous to civil society.” (sic)
PMANE also appealed for the support from civil society at large:
“Several people including a baby are missing. Around 53 non-violent protesters have been charged with sedition and are languishing in various prisons in Tamil Nadu. Thousands of families are living in fear and despair. If you think we are your brethren, please join us.” (sic)
Taking a cue from the recent ‘jalsatyagraha‘ (protesting while standing in water) launched by the farmers in various regions of Madhya Pradesh, the villagers at Idinthakarai decided to launch their own ‘standing waist–deep in the sea’ protest against the impending loading enriched uranium fuel at the atomic power plant.
On Thursday, September 13, at 11 a.m., braving the scorching sun, hundreds of men, women and children from Idinthakarai and the neighbouring villages, assembled outside the church of “Our Lady of Lourdes” in Idinthakarai. Led by Reverend Father M. Jesuraj, they walked down to the coast. They raised slogans against police brutality, the Central government and the Tamilndu State government. They waded into the sea about a kilometer away from the nuclear plant. Hundreds of women and children waded into the sea along with the men. They remained there the whole day.
Father Jesuraj remained in the sea with his people for five long hours. He said, “It is not easy to remain in sea for five long hours under the scorching sun. It is not like standing in a lake or a river. The tide is strong. We are forced to do it as the situation is drifting from bad to worse.” (sic)
Coast guards deployed Dornier aircraft for aerial surveillance while the protesters continued their agitation in the sea. They continued their protest till 4 p.m.
They decided to continue the ‘jalsatyagraha‘ until the government shuts down the plant. Pushparayan, a leader of PMANE, told reporters, “Women and men would stand in the sea waters for two hours in turns.”
On Thursday, the Supreme Court refused to enforce stay on loading fuel at the Kudankulam plant. However, the judges agreed to examine the risk associated to the project and added that the safety of the people living in its vicinity concerned them.
Now, more than 4,000 police personnel reinforced by Rapid Action Force, continue to maintain strict vigil after having sealed the entire Kudankulam area.
The water level in the Omkareshwar dam has already risen to 190.5 meters. It has affected the crops in Ghogal, Kaamankheda and 30 other villages. People use boats to cross the river as foot bridges are now submerged.
According to the members of the ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’, the state government’s decision without rehabilitating people residing in low-lying villages violates the Supreme Court order, that states the villagers should be rehabilitated no less than six months before enforcing this sort of decision.
The health of the protestors is deteriorating, but the government so far has not offered any medical help. No one from the local administration has visited the protesters. The district-level authorities in their capacity have agreed to give in to some of their demands. However, these do not include their two main demands namely, reduce the water level of the dam to 189 meters, and proper implementation of the land for land compensation.
Heavy rainfall has been reported across Madhya Pradesh over the last 24 hours. The Bhopal-Indore-Khandwa state highway is closed. The Narmada River is flowing above the danger level in Omkareshwar and Khandwa. The government has opened all the gates of the Omkareshwar dam to maintain steady water levels. This comes as a setback to 30 villages in Khandwa district that are already submerged.
This is a gruesome scene photographed on May 2012.
About half of the worlds estimated 3,200 tigers are found in dozens of Indian tiger reserves set up since the 1970s.
In mid May 2012, while international and national Tiger conservationists, NGOs, and many others were busy in Delhi, counting the world’s tiger population, discussing and deliberating over cocktails in 5-star venues, poachers after trapping and killing one more tiger cut it into pieces.
Now, Maharashtra has declared war on animal poaching to curb rampant attacks against tigers, elephants and other wildlife. They have issued a “Red Alert” in the State anticipating such incidents of tiger poaching. Nevertheless, the poachers have defied them and have enacted this heinous act.
On April 26, a tiger was found killed and another seriously injured in the Tadoba reserve.
On May 18, this tiger was found cut into pieces by poachers believed to be of Bahelia community of Katni, Madhya Pradesh. The poachers took with them the head and paws of the tiger and had left the remaining body.
On May 20, three leopards were found killed. They might have died of electric shock.
After these incidents of carnage, Patangrao Kadam, the state’s Forest Minister said that the high-powered committee of forest officers took the decision to empower their state forest department guards with logistic support and orders to shoot poachers on sight in Maharashtra’s four tiger reserves. He also announced that 523 new guards will be recruited soon and deployed at four forest reserves of the state – Tadoba, Pench, Melghat and Sahyadri.
“Killing poachers won’t be considered a crime and no case will be registered if the forest staff catch them in the act and open fire. The guards have been provided with state-of-the-art arms. They will also be given 100 vehicles. The department has been given more funds for hiring informants,” Kadam said.
Further, Minister Kadam said that a CID will probe the death of two tigers at the Tadoba reserve to find out whether they were electrocuted or poached. A committee of four forest officers will conduct a parallel inquiry in to the death of the tigers.
The Maoist rebels who abducted Alex Paul Menon, the District Collector of Sukma, Chhattisgarh on April 21, did not allow the two mediators selected by them – B.D. Sharma, former IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer and Professor G. Hargopal of Hyderabad – to meet him.
The two mediators met the rebels on Saturday (yesterday) in the Tadmetla forest. They stayed overnight and briefed the Maoists on their talks with the government elected mediators, Mr. S.K. Mishra, former chief secretary of Chhattisgarh and Ms. Nirmala Buch, former Madhya Pradesh chief secretary.
They returned yesterday (Sunday) morning from the forest area with a reply from the Maoists, but refused to divulge what transpired during their meeting. The two mediators said: “Collector Menon is safe, we will share our discussion with Maoists only with the government-mediators in Raipur.”
“As someone who has served in the Tamil Nadu cadre of the Indian Administrative Service, I feel worse than miserable reading and hearing of Collector Alex Paul Menon’s ordeal. But unlike Alex, who has put his life on the line, I have never had to face personal or physical danger in the course of official duty,” said Gopalkrishna Gandhi.