Letter written by the raped gril to Prime Minister Vajpayee in 2002 ~ ”I have considerable influence with governments. Chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana and Central Ministers come to pay obeisance to me.”

The following letter from a young victim of the Gurmit Ram Rahim to the Prime Minister of India was published in ‘Desh Sewak’ on 09-25-2002. It details the misery these helpless young women live in throughout these deras.

Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister, New Delhi,

I am a girl hailing from Punjab State. I have been serving as a ‘Sadhwi’ in ‘Dera Sacha Sauda’, Sirsa (Haryana) for the last five years. Beside me, there are hundreds of others girl here, who serve for 18 hours daily.

But we are sexually exploited here. The ‘Dera Maharaj’ Gurmit Singh rapes the girls in the ‘dera’. I am a graduate. My family has blind faith in the ‘Maharaj’ (Gurmit Singh). It was at my family’s bidding that I became a ‘Sadhwi’. Two years after I became a ‘Sadhwi’, a special woman-disciple of Maharaj Gurmit Singh came to me one night at 10′ o’ clock and said that the Maharaj had summoned me to his room. I felt elated that Maharaj himself sent for me. I was going to him for the first time. After climbing the stairs, when I went into his room, I saw that he was holding a remote in his hand and was watching a blue film on the TV. Beside his pillow on the bed, lay a revolver. Seeing all this, I was frightened and became nervous. I had never imagined that Maharaj was a man of this type. Maharaj switched off the TV and seated me beside him. He offered me water and said that he had called me because he considered me very close to him. This was my first experience.

Maharaj took me in his embrace and said that he loved me from the core of his heart. He also said that he wanted to make love with me. He told me that at the time of becoming his disciple, I had dedicated my wealth, body and soul to him and he had accepted my offering. When I objected he said, “There is no doubt that I am God.” When I asked if God also indulges in such acts, he shot back:

1. Sri Krishna too was God and he had 360 ‘gopis’ (milkmaids) with whom he enacted ‘Prem Lila’ (love drama). Even then people regarded him as God. So there is nothing to be surprised at it.

2. I can kill you with this revolver and bury you here.
The members of your family are my devoted followers and they have blind faith in me. You know it very well that members of your family cannot go against me.

3. I have considerable influence with governments also. Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana and central Ministers come to pay obeisance to me. Politicians take help from us. They cannot take any action against me. We will get the members of your family dismissed from govt. jobs and I will get them killed by my ‘Sewadars’ (servants). We will leave no evidence of their murder. You know that earlier also we got the ‘dera’ Manager Fakir Chand killed by goondas. His murder remains untraced till this day. The ‘dera’ has a daily income of one crore rupees with which we can buy leaders, police and the judges.

After this, the Maharaj raped me. The Maharaj has been doing this with me for the last three years. My turn comes after every 25-30 days. Now I have learnt that before me too, the Maharaj had been raping the girls he had summoned. Most of these women are now 35 to 40 years old and they are past the age of marriage. They have no other option but to remain in the ‘dera’.

Most of the girls are educated – B.A., M.A., B.Ed, etc. But they are living a life of hell in the ‘dera’, simply because the members of their families have blind faith in the Maharaj. We wear white clothes, tie a scarf on the head, cannot even look at men and as per Maharaj’s commands, and talk with men from a distance of 5-10 feet. To the people we look like ‘devis’ (goddesses), but we are living like harlots. This time I tried to tell my family that all was not well at the ‘dera’. But they rebuked me saying that there was no better place than the ‘dera’ for here they were in the company of God (Maharaj). They said that I had formed a bad notion about the ‘dera’ and that I should recite the name of ‘Satguru’. I am helpless here because I have to obey every command of the Maharaj. No girl is permitted to talk with another, according to the commands of the Maharaj.

Girls are not permitted to talk to their families even on the telephone. If any girl talks about the reality of the ‘dera’, she is punished according to Maharaj’s commands. Sometimes ago, a Bhatinda girl revealed the wrong doings of the Maharaj. At this, all the women disciples gave her a sound thrashing. Because of a fracture in the backbone, she is now bed-ridden. Her father gave up the service in the ‘dera’ and went home. For fear of the Maharaj and his own disgrace, he is not revealing anything.

Similarly, a Kurukshetra girl has also left the ‘dera’ and has gone home. When she narrated the events in the ‘dera’ to her family, her brother who worked in the ‘dera’ gave up his job. When a Sangrur girl left the ‘dera’, went home and narrated the wrong-doings in the ‘dera’ to the people, the dera’s armed Sewadars/ hooligans reached the girl’s house and threatened to kill her and warned her not to leak anything about the ‘dera’.

Similarly girls from Mansa, Ferozepur, Patiala and Ludhiana districts are afraid of revealing anything about the ‘dera’. Although they have left the ‘dera’, yet they do not say anything for fear of loosing their lives. Similarly, girls from Sirsa, Hissar, Fatehabad, Hanuman Garh and Meerutdisclose as to what happened to them in the ‘dera’.
If I reveal my name,I and my family will be killed. I want to reveal this truth for the benefit of the common man, because I cannot bear all this tension and harassment. My life is in danger. If a probe is conducted by the press or some govt. agency, 40 to 50 girls living in the ‘dera’ will come forward to reveal the truth. We can also be medically examined to find out whether we are still celibate disciples or not. If we are no longer virgins, the matter should be gone into to find out who has violated our chastity.

The truth will then come out that Maharaj Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh of ‘Sacha Sauda’ has ruined our lives.

 

Triple talaq petitioner Ishrat Jahan faces social boycott, character assassination ~ All the ridicule and criticism has not affected Ishrat Jahan who going to continue her crusade for justice and gender equality ~

~ Kolkata : Ishrat Jahan had thought the Supreme Court’s verdict declaring instant triple talaq unconstitutional will put an end to her ordeals. But little did she know that it will be the start of another fight battling social boycott and insinuations.
The braveheart who fought poverty and criticism to petition the country’s apex court against instant triple talaq is being ostracised by her in-laws and neighbours in Howrah’s Pilkhana.
Ishrat Jahan, who is being hailed as an icon of social justice and gender equality throughout the country, is at the receiving end of a smear campaign, insinuations and character assassination in her own neighbourhood since Tuesday after Supreme Court declared instant triple talaq unconstitutional. Jahan whose husband divorced her in 2014 over the phone from Dubai was one of the five petitioners, whose plea to the apex court prompted the instant triple talaq verdict.
“Ever since the Supreme Court verdict has come in it has opened floodgates of expletives, insulting remarks and comments targeted at my character assassination from my neighbours and in-laws. I have to hear words like gandi aurat (bad woman), enemy of men and unislamic. Many neighbours have even stopped speaking to me,” Jahan told TOI on Thursday.
Jahan stays in Howrah’s Pilkhana near Dobson Road. She has been staying in the house since 2004 that her husband had purchased from the dowry she had brought at the time of marriage in 2004. Her husband’s elder brother and his family also live in the same house.
“I am shocked, sad and I feel unsafe staying in this house. After such a long battle I don’t have any strength left to fight these people. I want to focus on my four children now,” said Jahan who has now mustered the courage to remove her naqab and show her face to the world.

“I realised that I am not a victim anymore. I want other women to see me and understand that if an ordinary woman like me can fight for her rights, so can they,” said Jahan, explaining the reason why she decide to remove her naqab.
Even Ishrat’s lawyer Nazia Ilahi Khan is being trolled online for fighting the case successfully. “Mere judgement by a court will not change the society. It will change the attitude of the people. In my case they have become even more hostile mocking and ridiculing me. The change has to come from within the community. When people decide that they are going to help a vulnerable and helpless woman instead of her character assassination, no woman will suffer my fate,” said Jahan.
But all the ridicule and criticism has not affected the braveheart who going to continue her crusade for justice and gender equality. “My children have been out of school for the past four years since I did not have the money to afford their education. I am going to file a case seeking maintenance and expenses for my children’s education. This is the birth right of my children,” said Jahan.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/triple-talaq-petitioner-ishrat-jahan-faces-social-boycott-character-assassination/articleshow/60215712.cms

Historian Romila Thapar is under attack yet again by Sangh Parivar — This time it breathing fire on her latest book on nationalism

In her new book, Ms Thapar has stated that nationalism cannot be reduced merely to waving flags and shouting slogans and penalising people for not shouting slogans like Bharat Mata ki Jai.

Seething over her observations, the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, which described Ms Thapar as “queen bee of highbrow intellectualism of divisive Left,” targeted her saying, “Thapar is far from surprise to those who understand the phoney communist character of her intellectual politics.”

Targeting the latest brand of nationalism, Ms Thapar said, “Sloganeering or flag waving smack of a lack of confidence among those making the demand for slogans.”

Of course this has gone against the nationalist spirit of the Sangh. The mouthpiece said, “This time, she has produced another stinky logic of provincialising the otherwise wide-ranging cultural nationalism or Hindutva.”

Hitting out at Ms Thapar, the Organiser wrote in its cover story — Nation for Naysayers — “In the post-Independence era, historians like Thapar were nurtured by the Congress and were established as intellectuals only to ensure that they echo the political programme of this power mongering party through their divisive theories and intellectual activism so that the most legitimate cultural interests of the Hindu society gets nullified from general cognizance.”

Ms Thapar in her book which is a compilation of essays by Thapar, lawyer A.G. Noorani and cultural commentator Sadanand Menon, has said, “In India we distinguish between secular anti-colonial nationalism that was the mainstay of the national freedom movement and the other movements that called themselves nationalism but were doubtful as such and were correctly religious or communal nationalism that drew their identity from individual religions, such as Muslims, Hindu and Sikh nationalisms.”

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/210816/rss-fumes-over-historian-romila-thapars-new-book.html

It Takes Willful Leaders To Respect Human Rights: Delhi govt imposes blanket ban on manual cleaning of sewers, offenders to be booked under culpable homicide

Delhi social welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam on Monday announced a blanket ban on manual cleaning of sewers and warned that anyone found violating the rule will be booked under culpable homicide.

He also said that a committee had been formed to find out the best possible ways or machines to clean the gutters, within 15 days.

The directions came after Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Monday called a high-level meeting over deaths during sewer cleaning, which was attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi PWD minister Satyendar Jain and Gautam, along with officials of the departments concerned.

“It was decided in the meeting that no person will be allowed to go inside the gutter for sewer cleaning under any circumstances. There will be a complete ban on it. We will also put up hoardings in this regard,” Gautam told reporters.

“It is very unfortunate and shameful that people are losing their lives while cleaning sewers manually in the country’s capital,” the minister said, adding there were “standing instructions” that sewer drains should not be cleaned manually, but people were not adhering to the norms.

“From noow on, if any contractor or the engineer is found getting the sewer lines or tanks cleaned manually, he will be booked under culpable homicide instead of negligence,” Gautam said.

He said that earlier also he had issued instructions for putting up hoardings discouraging manual cleaning of sewers but that was not followed properly and another incident happened.

A man died while cleaning a sewer tank in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital of the Delhi Government on Sunday, while three others were injured. It is the 10th such death in Delhi in just over a month.

The minister also said that a committee comprising CEO-Delhi Jal Board, Chairman-New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Commissioner-South Delhi Municipal Corporation had been formed to find out the best practices adopted or the best machines being used in other countries across the world to clean sewer lines.

“They will submit their report in 15 days which will be tabled before the Lieutenant Governor in the next meeting,” he said.

He added that on several occasions, it was found that people privately hired labourers to clean sewer tanks at their houses or at shopping malls and mishaps occurred.

“I have asked the authorities concerned to make a proper list of such people who manually clean sewer. I have also ask the Jal Board to display a contact number on the hoardings, so that people can call on that number and ask for help if any sewer line or tank is to be cleaned instead of directly hiring the labourers,” Gautam said.

On 12 August, two brothers died of suffocation while cleaning a septic pit at a mall in Shahdara in east Delhi. On 6 August, three persons died after inhaling toxic gases while cleaning a sewer in Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi.

On 15 July, four persons had died after inhaling poisonous gases as they entered a water harvesting tank in Ghitorni in south Delhi.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/delhi-govt-imposes-blanket-ban-on-manual-cleaning-of-sewers-offenders-to-be-booked-under-culpable-homicide-3958201.html

The Barbaric Act Of Female Genital Mutilation Exists In Kerala, India’s Most Literate State

One might’ve thought Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is not prevalent in India anymore but as it turns out, that’s far from true.

Girls as young as 6-9 years of age are forced to go through the painful, life-threatening procedure. In India, only the Dawoodi Bohra community was believed to be practicing this ancient technique. But a recent investigation by Aarefa Johari and Aysha Mahmood from Sahiyo, a collective fighting against FGM, revealed that a community in Kerala has been following this practice as well.
Sahiyo found a medical clinic in Kozhikode (Calicut) where two doctors admitted that they perform the procedure of ‘sunnath’, or circumcision, on both boys and girls. The investigation was conducted when Sahiyo got a tip about the clinic.

The procedure is performed by an ‘ozathy,’ a traditional cutter without proper medical training or sanitization. According to the report, a small clinic in Kozhikode, run by a doctor known for performing male circumcisions, admitted to practicing ‘sunnath’ on girls as well.
During the investigation, a woman from Sahiyo posed as someone who was in need of ‘sunnath’. Upon reaching the clinic, she asked if they perform it. The lady doctor at the clinic admitted to the availability of such a procedure. She also added:
“The practice involves ‘cutting the foreskin of the clitoris’ to increase sexual pleasure, and that it is ‘good for married life.’ It is not compulsory, but if your mother-in-law has told you to do it, then it is compulsory for you, you have to get it done.”

When they spoke to the male doctor who performs ‘sunnath’ on young girls, he said:
“The practice is mentioned in four or five Hadiths, or Islamic texts containing the teachings of the Prophet. You should read up about it, this is also done in Saudi, Egypt and Africa.”
“But these days a lot of women prefer to get it done for themselves immediately after delivering their baby when they’re also getting other stitches to their vagina. That way they have to deal with two pains in one go,” he added.

The investigation brings to light the fact that an archaic tradition which was on the decline is now widely being practiced in India’s most literate state.
According to WHO, the partial or full cutting of the clitoris such as the practice of sunnath falls under Type 1 form of FGM, also known as clitoridectomy.
The community that practices the illegal procedure claims there are major health benefits, including increased sexual pleasure. But in reality, it interferes with the natural functioning of a woman’s body and puts her at risk of various infections throughout her life.

The practice is deep-rooted in religious beliefs and the five Hadiths that the male doctor mentioned during the investigation. Since the texts were written in ancient times, no pronouns were used. Therefore, it became applicable to both men and women and has been used to support FGM as well.
According to the hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari (5889) and Muslim (257) from Abu Hurayrah, the Prophet said:
“The fitrah is five things – or five things are part of the fitrah – circumcision, shaving the pubes, cutting the nails, plucking the armpit hairs, and trimming the moustache.”

No one knows how much of it is actually an ancient text supporting a ridiculous practice like this. However, many Islamic scholars and leaders have denied, and on multiple occasions, condemned it. But a lot of communities practice FGM regardless.

In a personal account on Sahiyo, a Bohri woman recounts how she was circumcised at the young age of 5. It’s not only barbaric but inhumane and a violation of basic human rights. There are women across the globe who’ve been through the same ordeal just because some religious text was twisted to suit the interests of a few men.
It’s a heinous crime against women, and it’s time we ended it.

https://www.scoopwhoop.com/female-genital-mutilation-kerala-report/#.k96sdavvc

Independence. Really? Telangana woman stood up for Dalits, pays price: fine on anyone who speaks to her

The land is located between fields owned by Reddy landlords, who objected to a Dalit walking through their fields. “Elders of the Reddy community exerted a lot of pressure on me to revoke the lease,” Indira said.

For the last three weeks, a woman has been socially boycotted by the Reddy community in her village after she gave a statement to police in favour of a Dalit farmer in a case under the SC/ST Atrocities Act. The woman, Sama Indira, herself belongs to the Reddy community. The Reddy Sangam of Mallaram village in Rajanna Sircilla district, Telangana, has reportedly imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone who speaks to or interacts with Indira, who lives alone.

When her brother Venkat Reddy came to meet her a few days ago, the Reddy Sangam allegedly intimidated him and forced him to pay a fine of Rs 20,000 for defying its diktat. Indira’s troubles began after she had given a portion of her land on lease to a Dalit farmer, Kompalli Lakshmi. The land is located between fields owned by Reddy landlords, who objected to a Dalit walking through their fields. “Elders of the Reddy community exerted a lot of pressure on me to revoke the lease,” Indira said.

“They harassed me mentally. saying that as a Reddy I should keep the community’s interests above anything else. I refused, saying Lakshmi and her family have been taking my land on lease for 10-12 years, and that they were close to me. I gave this particular piece of land on lease recently, and some of the Reddy landlords are objecting because they have land surrounding it. When I refused to cancel the lease, they issued a diktat to boycott me. Since then no one in the village has spoken to me or come to my house. The Reddys have stopped inviting me to their functions and religious ceremonies. Members of other communities, including SC/STs, too are avoiding me for fear of offending the Reddy Sangam. I cry every day because of this isolation and mental torture.”

Two weeks ago, Lakshmi’s paddy crop on one acre was ready for harvest when someone cut and destroyed the entire crop and buried the paddy about half a kilometre away. When Lakshmi and her family found out, they went to village sarpanch Venkatesh Goud’s office. Indira, who accompanied her, alleged that Reddy Sangam members abused Lakshmi in the name of her Madiga caste, also abused Indira, and asked them to get out of the panchayat office.

Lakshmi lodged a police complaint under the SC/ST Atrocities Act, alleging that she was targeted and abused particularly because of her caste. “When police came to inquire, I gave a statement how they abused Lakshmi and her caste. They claimed I was working against my own community and issued the diktat to boycott me,” Indira said.

Indira lodged a police complaint Saturday against the fine being imposed on anyone talking to her. Circle Inspector of Vemulawada Rural C Madhavi said that based on Indira’s complaint, they have registered a case against nine persons of the Reddy Sangam. “We have seized from them Rs 20,000 that they had taken as fines and deposited it in court. Three FIRs have been issued — one under the SC/ST Atrocities law, one for destroying the crop of the SC family and one lodged by Indira against the boycott diktat,” Madhavi said.

“While the law will take its course, we have issued a strong warning to the Reddy Sangam members to revoke the boycott and stop harassing the woman. We are arranging a meeting of both parties with Revenue Divisional Officer (Sircilla) to discuss and sort out the issue amicably.” The village, 4 km from Vemulawada, has about 300 members of the Reddy community and 400 of other communities.

Reddy Sangam’s president Sangireddy Tirupati Reddy says Indira deliberately gave a piece of her land that was between Reddy fields to an SC family to instigate and insult the Reddy owners of surrounding fields. “Although the one acre belongs to Indira’s family, it was in dispute for some time. To get back at two Reddy landlords, she deliberately gave it on lease to a Madiga family knowing that it would cause problems,’’ Tirupati Reddy said.

The Reddy Sangam president and vice president, Sama Malla Reddy, refused to discuss allegations about the social boycott of Indira and abuse of Lakshmi and her family. The investigating officer in the social boycott case, sub-inspector K Rajasekhar, said nine persons have been named in the FIR including the Reddy Sangam president and vice-president. “The case is under investigation and no arrests have been made yet,” he said. The SC/ST Atrocities Act case is being investigated by deputy SP A Chandrasekhar.

Telangana woman stood up for Dalit, pays price: fine on anyone who speaks to her

This is how educated leaders react to tragic events : Delhi CM called for review meeting of all Delhi government hospitals

New Delhi: According to a Delhi Government source, the CM has called the meeting after the Gorakhpur tragedy, which claimed the lives of over 60 children in a government hospital. Kejriwal has summoned the Medical Superintendents (MS) of all Delhi government hospitals from across the national capital to his office on Wednesday and asked them to present a status report.

“The CM has asked the MS of each government hospital in Delhi to remain present in the meeting at his office on Wednesday. He has also asked them to present a status report on the stocks of medicine and equipment, including oxygen cylinders, available with the hospital and mention the reason if the stocks are not adequate. He has sought a report on the condition of the patients, whether enough beds are available and whether patients are facing any problems. This will be a comprehensive review of healthcare in the state of Delhi,” a government source said.

According to reports, at least 60 children have died in Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Hospital due to a crippling shortage of oxygen tanks. On Saturday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath denied allegations of families that the children had died due to a “shortage of oxygen”. On Sunday, the UP CM, along with Union Health Minister JP Nadda visited the BRD Hospital, after which he said, “Nobody can be more sensitive towards those children than me. We are waiting for the report of the committee constituted by our government. I would urge everyone to wait for that report. Not just in Gorakhpur but across the state, if any death is caused by the negligence of the hospital authorities the government will take strong action against the guilty.”

http://www.news18.com/news/india/in-wake-of-gorakhpur-tragedy-kejriwal-calls-review-meeting-of-delhi-hospitals-1490371.html?google_editors_picks=true

Indian diet not good enough for body’s protein requirement – Indian Dietician Association.

As the government continues to initiate various programmes to meet nutrition deficiency-related issues, the Indian Dietician Association (IDA) on Tuesday revealed that the Indian diet has 50 % inadequate protein pattern.

The fact, also supported by the Protein Foods Nutrition Development Association of India (PFNDAI), makes it necessary for people to have extra intake of protein-related food since vegetarian diets alone would not fulfil the protein requirement of the body. According to experts, the issue is a matter of concern as pregnant women would not be able to achieve optimal protein intake with exclusively vegetarian diets until they add milk to the diet.

“Proteins from different sources complement each other. Even with a ratio of 5:1 cereals and pulses combination, the protein quality in terms of digestibility and bio-availability is only around 65 per cent when compared to milk protein,” said B. Sesikeran, a pathologist. He was speaking at the launch of The Protein Week, an initiative aiming to educate people against the myths and realities of proteins.

According to experts, Indians lack awareness about good quality sources of protein. Protein requirement in the second growth spurt during pregnancy is twice of a toddler’s and this requirement is heightened by almost 20 gm per day in the third trimester compared to an adult woman.

Neelanjana Singh, President of IDA, Delhi Chapter, said, “Quality-based protein is as important as quality of protein taken. For effective utilisation of protein, it is necessary to also include adequate calories in one’s diet.” Under the initiative, the IDA and the PFNDAI aim to hold educational seminars engaging key opinion leaders across the country to spread awareness and discuss the protein-related issues.

Update From Hindustan Times
http://www.hindustantimes.com/health/indian-diet-not-good-enough-for-body-s-protein-requirement/story-yMtbcQmWQZyWtLd35pKGsI.html