[W]e did not develop this medicine for Indians…[w]e developed it for western patients who can afford it.

Pure evil mastermind Bayer Pharmaceutical CEO Marijn Dekkers on his company’s new cancer drug Nexavar

The drug, which is particularly effective on late-stage kidney and liver cancer, costs approximately $69,000 per year in India, so in March 2012 an Indian court granted a license to an Indian company to produce to the drug at a 97 percent discount.

Bayer sued Natco Pharma Ltd., but in March of last year, the High Court in Mumbai denied its appeal. Dekkers called the compulsory license issued by the Indian court “essentially theft.”

Nexavar costs approximately $96,000 per year in the United States, but Bayer assures“western patients” that they can have access to the drug for a $100 copay.

sexgenderbody

loriadorable:

I’ve been linking to this recent study (cited below as “Jana et al., 2013”) a lot in discussions on trafficking and how ‘rescue’ orgs perpetuate violence against sex workers, but I know that it’s behind a pay wall. So I’m posting a summary of what the article said, for those who can’t access it. This is an excerpt from an academic paper I wrote on sex worker organizing in India and how it functions as a form of resistance to interpersonal and structural violence. If you’re going to quote it, link back to me. Thanks. (A link to the other source cited here: SANGRAM/VAMP Team, 2011)

Sex workers in the Sonagachi red light district of Kolkata, West Bengal have been organizing formally since 1995 as the DMSC [Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee], and they’ve been notably successful in helping the trafficked women and children in their midst. (Jana et al., 2013) The group has implemented a total of thirty-three self-regulatory boards, eight in Kolkata itself and twenty-five elsewhere in the state. (Ibid) Through community outreach and careful documentation of the changes that are noted in these outreach efforts, the members of DMSC identify trafficking victims and provide “assistance with reintegration— to return home or find alternative placement.” (Jana et al., 2013:2) Unlike the state, sex worker organizations do not detain or forcibly repatriate victims but provide them with options from among the community’s social and financial resources. (Jana et al., 2013) (SANGRAM/VAMP Team, 2011)

The DMSC also has several programs in place to help prevent trafficking through educational and economic empowerment of women and their children, including “savings and credit schemes [that] have reduced dependency on sex work.” (Jana et al., 2013:1) Further, all of these initiatives protect the privacy of the victims first and foremost, unlike the state-sponsored raids. (Jana et al., 2013) The success of these programs is therefore measurably greater than those initiated by local police and NGO’s: a full 80% of successfully rescued trafficking victims in the state of West Bengal between the years of 2009 and 2011 were rescued by DMSC. (Ibid)

ETA: And here’s why you should start listening to actual sex workers and stop relying exclusively on academia as the only valid source of information, i.e. fuck you and your respectability politics (another excerpt)

There is one final method of sex worker organizing that serves as a form of resistance against violence, and it is often overlooked because the violence it combats is indirect. It is a method of resistance present in both Jana et al.’s study on human trafficking and the case review written by Ahmed and Seshu: getting involved in academic research. Smarajit Jana is a member of DMSC, and Meena Seshu is the head of VAMP. Through their insistence on shaping academic discourse, they are challenging institutionalized prejudices against sex workers and sex work experiences and producing a new scholarly body of knowledge that can affect the amount of funding given to structurally violent governments and NGO’s for the purposes of ‘rescuing’ workers.

Sex workers need to be leading this discourse, and I made damn sure to cite those directly involved instead of perpetuating neocolonialist academic bullshit. The fact that I couldn’t out myself as a sex worker in this paper because of the threat of expulsion was enraging and humiliating, and I wish to god I could call out the whorephobia in that course from a position of authority without risking my education.

In conclusion: FUCK THAT SHIT (Ibid)

India Supreme Court upholds colonial ban on gay sex

December 11, 2013

The Indian Supreme Court has struck down a 2009 ruling by a lower court to decriminalize homosexual sex and will uphold the ban. India’s gay community was “disappointed” by the ruling and declared it was a “black day” for LGBT rights.

In Wednesday’s hearing the Supreme Court said that the Delhi High Court overreached its authority by ruling against the ban in 2009. The Delhi High Court moved to abolish Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which classifies anal sex as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” in 2009. 

"It is for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code," the Supreme Court said on Wednesday. 

Section 377 was introduced into the Indian legal system during British colonial rule in 1861. 

Those found breaking the law banning homosexual intercourse can be punished by a fine and a maximum jail sentence of 10 years. 

Before making the decision, justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya heard the appeals of representatives of various LGBT organizations as well as those of religious groups who decried the previous High Court ruling as against the cultural and religious values of the country. 

LGBT activists who were in attendance at the hearing visibly broke down when the ruling was pronounced and said the verdict had “taken away their right to life,” reported the India Times. 

"Such a decision was totally unexpected from the top court. It is a black day," Arvind Narrain, a lawyer for the Alternative Law Forum gay rights group, told reporters. 

Full article

There’s a rally today against the Section 377 judgement in NYC at the Indian Consulate at 4 p.m.!

Bhopal tragedy anniversary: Protests held to seek justice for victimsDecember 3, 2013
Meetings and protest marches in support of the demands of the victims marked the 29th anniversary of the Bhopal gas catastrophe in Bhopal today.In the world’s worst industrial disaster, the lethal methyl isocyanate gas had leaked on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 from the Union Carbide plant in the state capital leaving over 23,000* dead and around 25,000* people injured in the years after the disaster.At the meeting organised at the Yaadgar-E-Shahjahani Park, the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan said that it would file a petition in the Supreme Court for early hearing on payment of compensation to the gas victims."Our organisation would also approach the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to seek compensation for the damage done to Bhopal by the disaster," Sangathan convenor Abdul Jabbar said on the occasion.Mr Jabbar also said that his organisation wanted the CBI to probe the alleged corruption that had taken place in relief and rehabilitation works for the gas victims."One of the biggest sore points with the victims is the fact that despite a disaster of such a magnitude, no one has so far been sent to jail," he said.The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Bhopal had on June 7, 2010 sentenced a few persons in connection with the disaster but all of them were given bail within an hour of the judgement, he claimed.The Bhopal Group for Information and Action took out a protest march carrying an effigy of Warren Anderson, former Chairman of the Union Carbide Corporation, and demanded that he be extradited to India for facing trial in the case.After the meeting at Yaadgar-E-Shahjahani Park, the members of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan formed a human chain in support of its demands.Effigies of Anderson were also burnt in front of the Union Carbide’s defunct plant.At all the places where protests and meetings were held, it was said on behalf of the victims that neither the Centre nor the state government had done anything for them and both the Congress and BJP had made false promises to them.
Source

Bhopal tragedy anniversary: Protests held to seek justice for victims
December 3, 2013

Meetings and protest marches in support of the demands of the victims marked the 29th anniversary of the Bhopal gas catastrophe in Bhopal today.

In the world’s worst industrial disaster, the lethal methyl isocyanate gas had leaked on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 from the Union Carbide plant in the state capital leaving over 23,000* dead and around 25,000* people injured in the years after the disaster.

At the meeting organised at the Yaadgar-E-Shahjahani Park, the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan said that it would file a petition in the Supreme Court for early hearing on payment of compensation to the gas victims.

"Our organisation would also approach the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to seek compensation for the damage done to Bhopal by the disaster," Sangathan convenor Abdul Jabbar said on the occasion.

Mr Jabbar also said that his organisation wanted the CBI to probe the alleged corruption that had taken place in relief and rehabilitation works for the gas victims.

"One of the biggest sore points with the victims is the fact that despite a disaster of such a magnitude, no one has so far been sent to jail," he said.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Bhopal had on June 7, 2010 sentenced a few persons in connection with the disaster but all of them were given bail within an hour of the judgement, he claimed.

The Bhopal Group for Information and Action took out a protest march carrying an effigy of Warren Anderson, former Chairman of the Union Carbide Corporation, and demanded that he be extradited to India for facing trial in the case.

After the meeting at Yaadgar-E-Shahjahani Park, the members of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan formed a human chain in support of its demands.

Effigies of Anderson were also burnt in front of the Union Carbide’s defunct plant.

At all the places where protests and meetings were held, it was said on behalf of the victims that neither the Centre nor the state government had done anything for them and both the Congress and BJP had made false promises to them.

Source

Germany recognizes a third gender option for intersex childrenNovember 5, 2013
Germany became the first European country to legally recognize intersex children on November 1. Australia, India, Pakistan and Nepal already have some form of legal recognition of a third gender on legal and official documents.
The new German law, intended to ease the pressure on parents and prevent hasty decisions regarding newborn sex-assignment surgery, allows parents to leave gender blank on birth certificates.
The German Interior Ministry also announced that the law will also create a third designation for gender in German passports; alongside “F” and “M,” Germans will soon be able to choose “X.”
Intersexuality describes a group of conditions where an individual’s chromosomes, genitalia or anatomical sex differs from the generally accepted definitions of male or female.
Each year an estimated 2,000 babies are born intersex, a set of over 60 different conditions that fall under the diagnosis of “DSD” (Differences/Disorders of Sex Development), occurring more often than Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis. DSD, however, is not a diagnosis, but an umbrella term used to describe various differences. 
While sex-assignment surgery has been performed on intersex infants in the U.S. since the 1950s, the ethics of the practice (of arbitrarily deciding a sex for a baby, mutilating them and forcing them to perform the corresponding gender) have been questioned in recent years by advocates and some clinical practitioners.
In cases where children are born with mixed or ambiguous markers of biological sex (chromosomes, gonads, internal reproductive system, genitalia), current medical authority supports assigning a child a gender but not performing surgery until the child is old enough for gender identity to emerge and the child and guardians can make the appropriate decisions regarding surgery.  This also includes the choice whether to have any surgery at all, since surgery involves the risk of sterilization and elimination of sexual function.
However, sex-assignment surgery on newborns is still practiced in the U.S. and in other parts of the world—many times with potentially devastating physical and psychological effects on the individual. According to several sources, a person with CAH, a type of DSD, will generally have surgery before the age of two; a majority of those born with AIS, another type of DSD, will have undergone a gonadectomy before completing their teens.
Lawsuits have begun to arise, as surgery is increasingly seen as a choice that should be left to the individual once they are old enough to make it. In the case of M.C., for example, the adoptive parents of an intersex child sued the state for consenting to assignment surgery when M.C. was an infant and under custody of the South Carolina Department of Social Services. In a 2009 case, a German court awarded damages of over 100,000 Euro to an intersex individual, raised as a boy, whose uterus and womb were removed as a teen.
“I think any measure, legal or otherwise, granting a parent of any child more time to carefully consider how best to honor and preserve their child’s emotional and physical health is encouraging,” wrote Jim Bruce, a 36-year-old writer and intersex individual, to ABC News.
However, many activists point out that the German law does not go far enough. According to a 2011 report filed with the European Commission, intersex individuals face unique and especially complex barriers and discrimination in their legal, social and medical lives.
Many point out that this law does not address the most pressing problems faced by the intersex community, namely surgery on infants and discrimination. 
“That we forbid cosmetic genital surgeries for newborns, that is our first demand,” Lucie Veith, leader of the Association of Intersexed People in Germany, said to AFP.
The group, which supports a ban on sex-assignment surgery until the age of 16, said that while the law is a step in the right direction, it is unlikely to put an end to surgery on infants.  
Nelson Jones of New Statesman equates medically unnecessary cosmetic surgery on an infant to the broadly condemned genital mutilation of girls for religious or tribal reasons. 
“Surgical or hormonal treatment for cosmetic, non-medically necessary reasons must be deferred to an age when intersex people are able to provide their own free, prior and fully informed consent,” said Silvan Agius, policy director for ILGA Europe, the European chapter of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, to Deutsche Welle. “The right to bodily integrity and self-determination should be ensured and past abuses acknowledged.”
Other activists recognize that while it is commendable that Germany is at least attempting to address intersex issues, the result of this new law remains to be seen. 
“Whilst this law may be seen to have been enacted from the best of intentions, it doesn’t really address the deeply embedded medical protocols that shadow many of our lives. It doesn’t change how those are engaged at all, but it does give space for parents to learn,” a UK intersex advocate said to Communities. “On the other side of the coin, this law change lays a platform for having an open and honest debate about what happens to us, and issues of self determination and bodily integrity. It gives a greater urgency for the need to educate parents, and wider society about our existence.”
Source

Germany recognizes a third gender option for intersex children
November 5, 2013

Germany became the first European country to legally recognize intersex children on November 1. Australia, India, Pakistan and Nepal already have some form of legal recognition of a third gender on legal and official documents.

The new German law, intended to ease the pressure on parents and prevent hasty decisions regarding newborn sex-assignment surgery, allows parents to leave gender blank on birth certificates.
The German Interior Ministry also announced that the law will also create a third designation for gender in German passports; alongside “F” and “M,” Germans will soon be able to choose “X.”
Intersexuality describes a group of conditions where an individual’s chromosomes, genitalia or anatomical sex differs from the generally accepted definitions of male or female.
Each year an estimated 2,000 babies are born intersex, a set of over 60 different conditions that fall under the diagnosis of “DSD” (Differences/Disorders of Sex Development), occurring more often than Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis. DSD, however, is not a diagnosis, but an umbrella term used to describe various differences. 
While sex-assignment surgery has been performed on intersex infants in the U.S. since the 1950s, the ethics of the practice (of arbitrarily deciding a sex for a baby, mutilating them and forcing them to perform the corresponding gender) have been questioned in recent years by advocates and some clinical practitioners.
In cases where children are born with mixed or ambiguous markers of biological sex (chromosomes, gonads, internal reproductive system, genitalia), current medical authority supports assigning a child a gender but not performing surgery until the child is old enough for gender identity to emerge and the child and guardians can make the appropriate decisions regarding surgery.  This also includes the choice whether to have any surgery at all, since surgery involves the risk of sterilization and elimination of sexual function.
However, sex-assignment surgery on newborns is still practiced in the U.S. and in other parts of the world—many times with potentially devastating physical and psychological effects on the individual. According to several sources, a person with CAH, a type of DSD, will generally have surgery before the age of two; a majority of those born with AIS, another type of DSD, will have undergone a gonadectomy before completing their teens.
Lawsuits have begun to arise, as surgery is increasingly seen as a choice that should be left to the individual once they are old enough to make it. In the case of M.C., for example, the adoptive parents of an intersex child sued the state for consenting to assignment surgery when M.C. was an infant and under custody of the South Carolina Department of Social Services. In a 2009 case, a German court awarded damages of over 100,000 Euro to an intersex individual, raised as a boy, whose uterus and womb were removed as a teen.
“I think any measure, legal or otherwise, granting a parent of any child more time to carefully consider how best to honor and preserve their child’s emotional and physical health is encouraging,” wrote Jim Bruce, a 36-year-old writer and intersex individual, to ABC News.
However, many activists point out that the German law does not go far enough. According to a 2011 report filed with the European Commission, intersex individuals face unique and especially complex barriers and discrimination in their legal, social and medical lives.
Many point out that this law does not address the most pressing problems faced by the intersex community, namely surgery on infants and discrimination. 
“That we forbid cosmetic genital surgeries for newborns, that is our first demand,” Lucie Veith, leader of the Association of Intersexed People in Germany, said to AFP.
The group, which supports a ban on sex-assignment surgery until the age of 16, said that while the law is a step in the right direction, it is unlikely to put an end to surgery on infants.  
Nelson Jones of New Statesman equates medically unnecessary cosmetic surgery on an infant to the broadly condemned genital mutilation of girls for religious or tribal reasons. 
“Surgical or hormonal treatment for cosmetic, non-medically necessary reasons must be deferred to an age when intersex people are able to provide their own free, prior and fully informed consent,” said Silvan Agius, policy director for ILGA Europe, the European chapter of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, to Deutsche Welle. “The right to bodily integrity and self-determination should be ensured and past abuses acknowledged.”
Other activists recognize that while it is commendable that Germany is at least attempting to address intersex issues, the result of this new law remains to be seen. 
“Whilst this law may be seen to have been enacted from the best of intentions, it doesn’t really address the deeply embedded medical protocols that shadow many of our lives. It doesn’t change how those are engaged at all, but it does give space for parents to learn,” a UK intersex advocate said to Communities. “On the other side of the coin, this law change lays a platform for having an open and honest debate about what happens to us, and issues of self determination and bodily integrity. It gives a greater urgency for the need to educate parents, and wider society about our existence.”

TW: Rape - Shocking UN report reveals 1 in 4 men admit to raping women for ‘fun’ & because of ‘sexual entitlement’

September 11, 2013

A disturbing new report on sexual assault released by the United Nations reveals that one in four men have admitted to raping a woman once in their lives for entertainment, punishment and revenge amongst the top reasons listed, IBT reported.

The study which was published in the British Medical Journal The Lancet and conducted by the World Health Organization in the Asia-pacific region involved interviewing 10,178 men aged between 18 and 49 years old in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea about engaging in non-consensual sex.

Almost 75 percent of those interviewed said they committed rape because of “sexual entitlement,” or as form of punishment because the man was angry:

“They believed they had the right to have sex with the woman regardless of consent. The second most common motivation reported was to rape as a form of entertainment, so for fun or because they were bored. Perhaps surprisingly, the least common motivation was alcohol,” report author Dr. Emma Fulu said.

The study also highlighted, poverty, personal history of violence and victimization as contributing factors that led to rape crimes.  

Dr. Michelle Decker of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore said the findings should generate global outrage particularly in light of recent high profile rape cases such as the New Delhi student gang rape case in India:

“More than half of non-partner rape perpetrators first did so as adolescents, which affirms that young people are a crucial target population for prevention of rape. The challenge now is to turn evidence into action, to create a safer future for the next generation of women and girls,” she said in an interview with BBC.

The report comes amidst the news that prosecutors of the four men found guilty of the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old in New Delhi, India in December say the men should face the death penalty for the crime that shocked the “collective consciousness,” of the people, BBC News reported.

In an address to Judge Yogesh Khanna, public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said on Tuesday that the “sentence which is appropriate is nothing short of death”.

In December, the female student was tricked into boarding an out-of-service bus by the men before they violently raped and tortured her.  The woman was flown to a Singapore hospital but subsequently died of her internal injuries as a result of the rape.

The incident sparked international outrage and widespread protests across the country calling upon the government to introduce harsher penalties for serious rape cases as well as increasing prison sentences. 

Source

Wear a pink sari & carry a big stick: The women’s gang of India

In March, the Indian upper parliament passed a historic affirmative-action bill. If approved by the lower house, the law would reserve 33 percent of all parliamentary seats for women. You might think this would be well-received by rural women in India. But they long ago gave up on the government and have taken things into their own hands. India is witnessing a rise of vigilante groups, the most sensational of which is the gulabi, or pink gang, operating in the Bundelkhand district of the Uttar Pradesh state, one of the poorest districts of India. Some gangs have started what Indian journalists describe as a “mini-revolution” on behalf of women.


The founder of the gulabis is the fearless Sampat Pal Devi, 40, who was married off at the age of 12 to an ice-cream vendor and had the first of her five children at 15. The gulabis, whose members say they are a “gang for justice,” started in 2006 as a sisterhood of sorts that looked out for victims of domestic abuse, a problem the United Nations estimates affects two in three married Indian women. Named after their hot-pink sari uniforms, the gang paid visits to abusive husbands and demanded they stop the beatings. When obstinate men refused to listen, the gulabis would return with large bamboo sticks called laathis and “persuade” them to change their ways. “When I go around with a stick, it’s to make men fear me. I don’t always use it, but it helps change the mind of men who think they are more powerful than me” says Pal. She has assumed the rank of commander in chief and has appointed district commanders across seven districts in Bundelkhand to help coordinate the gang’s efforts.


Pal’s group now has more than 20,000 members, and the number is growing. Making her way from one far-flung village to another on an old rusty bicycle, she holds daily gatheringsunder shady banyan trees, near makeshift tea-stalls selling the sweet Indian drink chai and other popular village hangouts to discuss local problems and attract new recruits.


Pal has a long list of criminal charges against her, including unlawful assembly, rioting, attacking a government employee, and obstructing an officer in the discharge of duty, and she even had to go into hiding.Her feistiness has secured notable victoriesfor the community, however. In 2008, the group ambushed the local electricity office, which was withholding electricity until members received bribes or sexual favors in return for flicking the switch back on. The stick-wielding gulabi stormed the company grounds and proceeded to rough up the staff inside the building. An hour later, the power was back on in the village.


While the gulabi use a mild level of force, more violent strains of vigilantism have been reported elsewhere in India among dispossessed women. In 2004, a mob of hundreds of women hacked to death the serial rapist and murderer Akku Yadav, after the courts failed to convict him over a period of 10 years. After the deed was done, the women collectively declared their guilt in the murder, frustrating police efforts to charge anyone with the crime. This kind of violence has generated concern among some Indian commentators, who say that while many vigilantes have noble intentions, too many of them are brutally violent.
Full article

Wear a pink sari & carry a big stick: The women’s gang of India

In March, the Indian upper parliament passed a historic affirmative-action bill. If approved by the lower house, the law would reserve 33 percent of all parliamentary seats for women. You might think this would be well-received by rural women in India. But they long ago gave up on the government and have taken things into their own hands. India is witnessing a rise of vigilante groups, the most sensational of which is the gulabi, or pink gang, operating in the Bundelkhand district of the Uttar Pradesh state, one of the poorest districts of India. Some gangs have started what Indian journalists describe as a “mini-revolution” on behalf of women.

The founder of the gulabis is the fearless Sampat Pal Devi, 40, who was married off at the age of 12 to an ice-cream vendor and had the first of her five children at 15. The gulabis, whose members say they are a “gang for justice,” started in 2006 as a sisterhood of sorts that looked out for victims of domestic abuse, a problem the United Nations estimates affects two in three married Indian women. Named after their hot-pink sari uniforms, the gang paid visits to abusive husbands and demanded they stop the beatings. When obstinate men refused to listen, the gulabis would return with large bamboo sticks called laathis and “persuade” them to change their ways. “When I go around with a stick, it’s to make men fear me. I don’t always use it, but it helps change the mind of men who think they are more powerful than me” says Pal. She has assumed the rank of commander in chief and has appointed district commanders across seven districts in Bundelkhand to help coordinate the gang’s efforts.

Pal’s group now has more than 20,000 members, and the number is growing. Making her way from one far-flung village to another on an old rusty bicycle, she holds daily gatheringsunder shady banyan trees, near makeshift tea-stalls selling the sweet Indian drink chai and other popular village hangouts to discuss local problems and attract new recruits.

Pal has a long list of criminal charges against her, including unlawful assembly, rioting, attacking a government employee, and obstructing an officer in the discharge of duty, and she even had to go into hiding.Her feistiness has secured notable victoriesfor the community, however. In 2008, the group ambushed the local electricity office, which was withholding electricity until members received bribes or sexual favors in return for flicking the switch back on. The stick-wielding gulabi stormed the company grounds and proceeded to rough up the staff inside the building. An hour later, the power was back on in the village.

While the gulabi use a mild level of force, more violent strains of vigilantism have been reported elsewhere in India among dispossessed women. In 2004, a mob of hundreds of women hacked to death the serial rapist and murderer Akku Yadav, after the courts failed to convict him over a period of 10 years. After the deed was done, the women collectively declared their guilt in the murder, frustrating police efforts to charge anyone with the crime. This kind of violence has generated concern among some Indian commentators, who say that while many vigilantes have noble intentions, too many of them are brutally violent.

Full article

The People’s Record Saturday protest update
June 29, 2013

Saturday in Turkey (abc)
Thousands of protesters returned to Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Saturday, demanding justice for a demonstrator slain by police fire during demonstrations that have swept Turkey this month. Police later forced the protesters out of the square, pushing them back using their shields.

In the capital, Ankara, police fired tear gas and pressurized water to break up a similar protest by a group of about 200 people, the Dogan news agency reported.

Saturday in Egypt (bbc)
Crowds are gathering in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the eve of a mass rally to demand the resignation of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi.

As darkness fell, thousands of people could be seen milling in the square, focus of the protests which brought down his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.

Saturday in India (THE HINDU)
In an unprecedented protest at Mananchira on Saturday, a group of Muslim women burned the All-India Sunni Jam-Iyyathul Ulema general secretary Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musalyar in effigy for his recent comments supporting a reduction in the legal marriage age for Muslim women.

The women who do not owe allegiance to any party or organization said that they were forced to protest after the many regressive comments from Muslim organizations and clerics supporting the recent circular to legalize marriage of Muslim girls who had completed 16.

This was perhaps the first time that a group of women from the community was protesting against their community leaders, they said. Power to the women!

Friday in Israel (haaretz)
Some 1,500 Palestinians protested in Wadi Ara in northern Israel on Friday against the government’s home demolitions. Protesters blocked a major road, causing heavy traffic in the area; they threw rocks at abusive police as the brutal police pelted the crowd with tear gas and stun grenades.

Two demonstrators were arrested on ‘suspicion of assaulting police officers’.

Follow The People’s Record!
Tumblr | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Minds (Youtube alternative - content coming soon)

Aam Aadmi Party workers today protested outside residences of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and local MLAs on the issues of rising prices of power and water, and women’s safety in the national capital. 
May 19, 2013

While demonstrating outside the CM’s residence, some workers were detained and sent to Tuglak Road Police Station, a statement released by Aam Aadmi Party said. AAP workers claimed that a number of volunteers were injured during police action at the time of the protest. 

"In Shahdara, AAP volunteers, including several women and children, were hurt when they were protesting outside Congress MLA Narendra Nath’s residence. Around 20 volunteers were detained by the police outside his house and taken to Farsh Bazar Station," the statement said. 

When AAP volunteers tried to gherao local MLA and senior Congress leader Kiran Walia’s house in Malviya Nagar, they were detained by police and taken to local police station, it said. Workers, who went to meet area MLA in Gandhi Nagar, were arrested and taken to Kalyanpuri Police station when they tried to confront their MLA, the statement said. MLAs refused to meet the AAP workers, the statement added.

Source

Aam Aadmi Party is an Indian political party launched on 26 November 2012. ‘Aam Aadmi’ in Hindi means ‘Common Man’. The name was adopted by the Party as it aims to represent common Wo/man of India and to bring political power back into the people’s hands. One of the party’s primary vision is to realize the dream of ‘SWARAJ’ or ‘Self-governance’ that Mahatma Gandhi had envisaged for a free India - where the power of governance and rights of democracy will be in the hands of the people of India.

Source

Meet The Red Brigade: formed in November 2011 to fight back against a growing number of sexual attacks on women in the city of Lucknow, India

The male tormentor of the young women of the Madiyav slum did not spot the danger until it was too late. One moment he was taunting them with sexual suggestions and provocations; the next they had hold of his arms and legs and had hoisted him into the air.

Then the beating began. Some of the young women lightly used their fists, others took off their shoes and hit him with those. When it was over, they let him limp away to nurse his wounds, certain that he had learned an important lesson: don’t push your luck with the Red Brigade.

Named for their bright red outfits, the Red Brigade was formed in November 2011 as a self-defense group for young women suffering sexual abuse in the northern Indian city of Lucknow, 300 miles south-east of Delhi. Galvanised by the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi last December and the nationwide protests that followed against a rising tide of rapes, they are now gaining in confidence.

From a core membership of 15, ranging in age from 11 to 25, they now have more than 100 members with a simple message for the men who have made their lives a misery: they will no longer tolerate being groped, gawped at and worse. Their activities are a lesson in empowerment.

Men who fall foul of the Red Brigade can first expect a visit and a warning. Sometimes the Red Brigade will ask the police to get involved, but if all else fails they take matters into their own hands. Their leader, 25-year-old teacher Usha Vishwakarma, has her own experience of the daily danger faced by many young women in the country. She was just 18 when a fellow teacher tried to rape her. “He grabbed me and put his hands round me and tried to open my belt and trousers,” says Usha, sitting in the bare-brick front room of her small house. “But I was saved by my jeans because they were too tight for him to open, and that gave me a chance to fight, so I kicked him in the sensitive place and pushed him down and ran out of the door.”

No one at the school took her accusations seriously, telling her to forget it and stop causing trouble. The experience left her traumatized and for two years she did nothing. But little by little her confidence came back. In 2009 she set up her own small school for local girls in an outbuilding next to her family home. Yet all around her, she says, she saw more and more young women suffering the same abuse she had faced. And it was threatening to wreck the chances of her young female students.

"Parents were telling girls to stay in their homes so there would be no incidents. They said, ‘if you go to school, boys will be troubling you, so stay home and there will be no sexual violence’," says Vishwakarma. "But we said no, and we decided to form a group to fight for ourselves. We decided we would not just complain; we would take a lead and fight for ourselves." They bought red kameez (shirts) and black salwar (trousers) and began to plan the fightback. “We chose red because it means danger and black for protest,” says Vishwakarma.

There is much to fight back against. “It is in the minds of men that girls are objects and it has been like that always,” says Vishwakarma. “Religion shows women as very powerless and that whoever is strong can do anything.”

They have started martial arts training so that the men do not have a physical advantage over them. Pooja, Vishwakarma’s 18-year-old sister, laughs as she recalls the reaction of the boy they grabbed in the street when his taunts became too much. “We all stopped and turned round and we surrounded him and grabbed his arms and legs and he thought it was a joke, but we were not kidding and four of us lifted him in the air and the others started to hit him with their shoes and fists,” she says.

The rough justice the Red Brigade metes out might seem extreme to western sensibilities, but many Indian women are making it clear that they are no longer prepared to put up with endemic abuse. That much is clear from the crime figures: reports of molestation in Delhi are up 590% year on year and rape reports by 147%. The rape cases have hit tourist numbers, which were down 25% in the first three months of the year – 35% fewer women are travelling to India. The Red Brigade say sexual abuse is a part of daily life for young women like them. They all have stories of abuse, attempted rapes and daily harassment. “This is what happens in India,” says 16-year-old Laxmi, one of Vishwakarma’s lieutenants. “These things happen all the time. All of us know this, so don’t let anyone say otherwise. This is why we have formed the Red Brigade.”

Seventeen-year-old Preeti Verma nods in agreement. Her family are too poor to have a toilet in the house, so she has to go out into the fields, she says. Every time she went out, the man in the neighbouring house threw stones at her to try to scare her into jumping up. “He wanted to see my body,” she says. “I told him: ‘What are you doing? You are shameless, don’t you have a mother and sister in your house?’ But he replied that his mother is for his father, his sister is for her husband and that I was for him.” She told Vishwakarma, and the man received a visit from the Red Brigade and another from the police. She has had no trouble from him since.

"We’ve caught a lot of men recently," says 17-year-old Sufia Hashmi. "I joined up because men always used to pass comments on me and touch my body, but now we beat them the men cannot do anything and they run away. You feel powerful and you feel good."

On the way back to the slum, the rickshaws pass a public park and for a moment these tough young women show themselves for what they really are – children forced to grow up fast. They beg and plead to stop. “Please, please,” they say, their eyes gleaming in excitement. Shrieking gleefully, they race off towards the swings, slides and roundabouts. Later they stroll back through the market, eating ice-creams, heading for their homes. The sun is low in the sky, the shadows long. The men watch sullenly as they pass. No one risks a word.

Source

Saw this on Al Jazeera this morning. I’m sure it’s gone around Tumblr in some form before.

Farmers protest against corporate power plant & corrupt government partnership hits 1000th day
May 17, 2013

“Lathi maar maar ke utha lehale anshan wahe/ daktar sahib soochna pahuchain naye mukhyamantri se bataiye da/ hum aapan zamin na dewai/ hame na chahi kuch tumhara.” (Translated: Police beat protesting farmers and remanded them/ We heard a new CM is coming to hear us/ Tell him we won’t give up our land/ We want nothing from you.)

These defiant lines in a created mix of Bhojpuri and Hindi are few of the many composed and sung by Anarkali (52), over the last three years. Her songs are meant to inspire a few hundred fellow farmers, who sit attentively with their farming tools each day, listening to her after the day’s work. On Friday, they assembled at Kachari village in the Trans-Yamuna region of this district, for the 1000th consecutive day. A maha-panchayat of villages was held to mark the occasion.

Under the Purnvas Kisan Kalyan Sahayta Samiti (PKKSS), these farmers have been protesting the proposed 1980 MW Karchhana power plant. Through songs, slogans and speeches about government corruption & corporate land development, the farmers wish to keep up the momentum for their daily assemblage. “We apprise them of their rights, how the government cheated us. They are encouraged not to fall for bribes or be intimidated by threats. This is not compulsory yet the farmers come daily,” said Raj Bahaur Patel, president, PKKSS.

The project was conceived in 2007 under the Bahujan Samaj Party government and about 2,500 bighas of land was acquired from 2,286 farmers in eight villages — Devari, Kachari, Katka-Medhra, Dehli, Dohlipur, Bagesar, Kachara and Bhitar. However, the project, handed over to an undertaking of Jaypee Group in 2009, could never take off due to consistent protests by farmers over compensation, leaving one farmer murdered by police repression.

Last April, the Allahabad High Court allowed the farmers’ writ petitions and stalled the project. The Court stipulated that farmers who had received compensation for their land should either return the money and take back the land or willingly hand over the land for the project. Around 140 farmers did not accept compensation. Those who did are in no condition to repay the amount, causing an impasse which the administration is struggling to break through. Ever since the initial violence gripped the area, the protests have been peaceful, but the farmers complain they are being intimidated by local goons and officials to give up their land and discontinue the protests.

"We will shoot you and your family. Just let the power plant come up you will be taught a lesson, they tell us," says Sukhdevi, 65, one of the many protesters.

Many of these threats also come from petty politicians, says Mr. Patel. “They approached us for a compromise, first with bribes. When we declined, they have resorted to fear tactics.” Consequently, the farmers have written to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Chief Minister’s Office, listing their apprehensions and demands. Also, in two letters dated August 8, 2012 and October 10, 2012, the farmers mentioned the threats to their lives, while also promising that they were ready to return the compensation but in installments and on their terms.

When Mr. Patel was called in to receive the response on April 15, the special land acquisition officer O.P Singh only inquired about the land possession of each farmer, completely ignoring the threats to the farmers’ lives. The Hindu has a copy of the document.

The farmers have been demanding: restoration of the fertility of their lands, compensation for the loss of farming over the last five years and losses suffered at the hands of police action during protests, an official inquiry into the violence & threats made against them.

Despite Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announcing that the government would quash all FIRs filed against protesting farmers, eight criminal cases registered against farmers in Karchhana still stand. The farmers, who also reported that their land was wrongfully claimed to be barren, have filed an RTI into it. However, they have received no response yet.

Unlike previous years, when the farmers abandoned farming on the proposed site, they have engaged in some cultivation this season. Yet they remain fearful of violent retribution by goons and intermediaries. “We live in uncertainty. What if they destroy our crops and start the plant? We cannot afford further losses,” says a farmer.

The proposed land includes a large portion of the common property resources in the villages, like the ponds, rearing grounds, connecting paths and grain storage houses.

Notably, the region is turning into a hot-bed for famers’ protests against power plants. In Bara, while farmers have given up on their demands for higher compensation, they are on the verge of launching a movement against the excess extraction of water from the Yamuna.

The farmers have also demonstrated that “men of authority” are trying to create a rift among them to break down their movement. “They are creating false news that there is in-fighting among the farmers,” says Mr. Patel, citing a news report in a highly circulated Hindi daily.

Source

Dr. Vandana Shiva: the “GOLDEN RICE” hoax - when public relations replaces science to promote a technology for creating Vitamin A deficiency
May 15, 2013

Golden rice has been heralded as the miracle cure for malnutrition and hunger of which 800m members of the human community suffer.  Herbicide resistant and toxin producing genetically engineered plants can be objectionable because of their ecological and social costs.  But who could possibly object to rice engineered to produce vitamin A, a deficiency found in nearly 3 million children, largely in the Third World?

As remarked by Mary Lou Guerinot, the author of the Commentary on Vitamin A rice in Science, one can only hope that this application of plant genetic engineering to ameliorate human misery without regard to short term profit will restore this technology to political acceptability. Unfortunately, Vitamin A rice is a hoax, and will bring further dispute to plant genetic engineering where public relations exercises seem to have replaced science in promotion of untested, unproven and unnecessary technology.

The problem is that vitamin A rice will not remove vitamin A deficiency (VAD).  It will seriously aggravate it.  It is a technology that fails in its promise. Currently, it is not even known how much vitamin JA the genetically engineered rice will produce.  The goal is 33.3% micrograms/100g of rice.  Even if this goal is reached after a few years, it will be totally ineffective in removing VAD.

Since the daily average requirement of vitamin A is 750 micrograms of vitamin A and 1 serving contains 30g of rice according to dry weight basis, vitamin A rice would only provide 9.9 micrograms which is 1.32% of the required allowance.  Even taking the 100g figure of daily consumption of rice used in the technology transfer paper would only provide 4.4% of the RDA.

In order to meet the full needs of 750 micrograms of vitamin A from rice, an adult would have to consume 2 kg 272g of rice per day.  This implies that one family member would consume the entire family ration of 10 kg. from the PDS in 4 days to meet vitaminA needs through “Golden rice”.

This is a recipe for creating hunger and malnutrition, not solving it.

Besides creating vitamin A deficiency, vitamin A rice will also create deficiency in other micronutrients and nutrients.  Raw milled rice has a low content of Fat (0.5g/100g).  Since fat is necessary for vitamin A uptake, this will aggravate vitamin A deficiency.  It also has only 6.8g/100g of protein, which means less carrier molecules.  It has only 0.7g/100g of iron, which plays a vital role in the conversion of beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A found in plant sources) to vitamin A. Superior Alternatives exist and are effective.

A far more efficient route to removing vitamin A deficiency is biodiversity conservation and propagation of naturally vitamin A rich plants in agriculture and diets.

The following is a list of sources rich in vitamin A which are used commonly in Indian foods. (microgram/100g)

(Amaranth leaves) Chauli saag= 266-1,166 -

(Coriander leaves) – Dhania = 1,166-1,333 

(Cabbage) Bandh gobi = 217 

(Curry leaves)-Curry patta = 1,333 

(Drumstick leaves)-Saijan patta1 = 283 

(Fenugreek leaves)-Methi-ka-saag = 450 

(Radish leaves)-Mooli-ka-saag = 750 

(Mint)-Pudhina = 300 

(Spinach)-Palak saag = 600 

(Carrot)-Gajar=217-434 

(Pumpkin (yellow))-Kaddu = 100-120 

(Mango (ripe))-Aam = 500 

(Jackfruit)-Kathal = 54 

(Orange)-Santra = 35 

(Tomato (ripe))-Tamatar = 32 

(Milk (cow, buffalo))-Doodh = 50-60 

(Butter)-Makkhan = 720-1,200 

(Egg (hen))-Anda = 300-400 

(Liver (Goat, sheep))-Kalegi = 6,600 - 10,000 

Cod liver oil = 10,000 - 100,000

In spite of the diversity of plants evolved and bred for their rich vitamin  A content, a report of the Major Science Academies of the World - Royal Society, U.K., National Academy of Sciences of the USA, The Third World Academy of Science, Indian National Science Academy, Mexican Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Brazilian Academy of Sciences - on Transgenic Plants and World Agriculture has stated, Vitamin A deficiency causes half a million children to become partially or totally blind each year.

Traditional breeding methods have been unsuccessful in producing crops containing a high vitamin A concentration and most national authorities rely on expensive and complicated supplementation programs to address the problem.  Researchers have introduced three new genes into rice, two from daffodils and one from a microorganism.  The transgenic rice exhibits an increased production of beta-carotene as a precursor to vitamin A and the seed in yellow in colour. Such yellow, or golden rice, may be a useful tool to help treat the problem of vitamin A deficiency in young children living in the tropics.

It appears as if the world’s top scientists suffer a more severe form of blindness than children in poor countries.  The statement that “traditional breeding has been unsuccessful in producing crops high in vitamin A” is not true given the diversity of plants and crops that Third World farmers, especially women have bred and used which are rich sources of vitamin A such as coriander, amaranth, carrot, pumpkin, mango, jackfruit.

It is also untrue that vitamin A rice will lead to increased production of beta-carotene.   Even if the target of 33.3 microgram of  vitamin A in 100g of rice is achieved, it will be only 2.8% of beta-carotene we can obtain from amaranth leaves 2.4% of beta-carotene obtained from coriander leaves, curry leaves and drumstick leaves.  Even the World Bank has admitted that rediscovering and use of local plants and conservation of vitamin A rich green leafy vegetables and fruits have dramatically reduced VAD threatened children over the past 20 years in very cheap and efficient ways.  Women in Bengal use more than 200 varieties of field greens. Over a 3 million people have benefited greatly from a food based project for removing VAD by increasing vitamin A availability through home gardens.  The higher the diversity crops the better the uptake of pro-vitamin A.

The reason there is vitamin A deficiency in India in spite of the rich biodiversity a base and indigenous knowledge base in India is because the Green Revolution technologies wiped out biodiversity by converting mixed cropping systems to monocultures of wheat and rice and by spreading the use of herbicides which destroy field greens.

In spite of effective and proven alternatives, a technology transfer agreement has been signed between the Swiss Government and the Government of India for the transfer of genetically engineered vitamin A rice to India.

The ICAR, ICMR, ICDS, USAIUD, UNICEF, WHO have been identified as potential partners.  The breeding and transformation is to be carried out at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack and Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and University of Delhi, South Campus. The Indian varieties in which the vitamin A traits are expected to be engineered have been identified as IR 64, Pusa Basmati, PR 114 and ASD 16.

Dr. M.S. Swaminathan has been identified as “God father” to ensuring public acceptance of genetically engineered rice.  DBT & ICAR are also potential partners for guaranteeing public acceptance and steady progress of the project.

Genetically engineered vitamin A rice will aggravate this destruction since it is part of an industrial agriculture, intensive input package. It will also lead to major water scarcity since it is a water intensive crop and displaces water prudent sources of vitamin A.

The first step in the technology transfer of vitamin A rice requires a need assessment and an assessment of technology availability.  One assessment shows that vitamin A rice fails to pass the need test. The technology availability issue is related to whether the various elements and methods used for the construction of transgenic crop plants are covered by intellectual property rights.  Licenses for these rights need to be obtained before a product can be commercialized.  The Cornell based ISAAA (International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Application) has been identified as the partner for ensuring technology availability by ensuring technology availability by having material transfer agreements signed between the representative authority of the ICAR and the “owners” of the technology, Prof. I. Potrykus and Prof. P.  Beyer.

In addition, Novartis and Kerin Breweries have patents on the genes used as constructs for the vitamin A rice. At a public hearing on Biotechnology at U.S. Congress on 29th June 2000, Astra-Zeneca stated they would be giving away royalty free licenses for the development of “Golden rice”.

At a workshop organized by the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Dr. Barry of Monsanto’s Rice Genome initiative announced that it will provide royalty-free licenses for all its technologies that can help the further development of “golden rice”.

Hence these gene giants Novartis, Astra-Zeneca and Monsanto are claiming exclusive ownership to the basic patents related to rice research.  Further, neither Monsanto nor Astra - Zeneca said they will give up their patents on rice - they are merely giving royalty free licenses to public sector scientists for development of “golden rice”.  This is an arrangement for a public subsidy to corporate giants for R&D since they do not have the expertise or experience with rice breeding which public institutions have.

Not giving up the patents, but merely giving royalty free licenses implies that the corporations like Monsanto would ultimately like to collect royalties from farmers for rice varieties developed by public sector research systems.  Monsanto has stated that it expects long term gains from these IPR arrangements, which implies markets in rice as “intellectual property” which cannot be saved or exchanged for seed.  The real test for Monsanto would be its declaration of giving up any patent claims to rice now and in the future and joining the call to remove plants and biodiversity out of TRIPS.  Failing such an undertaking by Monsanto the announcement that Monsanto giving royalty free licenses for development of vitamin A rice like the rice itself can only be taken as a hoax to establish monopoly over rice production, and reduce rice farmers of India into bio-serfs.

While the complicated technology transfer package of “Golden Rice” will not solve vitamin A problems in India, it is a very effective strategy for corporate take over of rice production, using the public sector as a Trojan horse.

Source

Photos Source

TW: Rape, Violence: 4-year-old Indian girl raped, left with severe brain injuries in critical conditionApril 24, 2013
A 4-year-old Indian girl who was raped last week is currently in critical condition, having sustained severe brain injuries after allegedly being suffocated.
The unnamed child was reportedly raped in her village in Madhya Pradesh on April 17, according to Press Trust of India.
The girl’s family found the child, who went missing on Wednesday, the next morning lying unconscious and profusely bleeding near a crematorium in her village, according to The Times of India. She had lacerations, tears and bruises on her body, and had allegedly been suffocated, which caused serious brain injuries.
Firoz Khan, a 35-year-old welder, is accused of raping the 4-year-old. His alleged accomplice is accused of using chocolate to lure the girl from her home, NDTV reports.
“The condition of the 4-year-old child, who was found unconscious in a field in Ghansur town of MP, is still critical. She is totally unconscious from the time she was brought to Nagpur,” a doctor told The Hindu. “We have done all the examinations including MRI brain and EEG which indicates gross damage to her brain. Her brain’s functioning has reduced to an abnormal level. This is hypoxic brain damage which means inability of brain to work due lack of oxygen supply.”
“She has been put on a life support system and is being treated by a team of senior doctors. Nothing else can be said about her situation now” he added.
Police are still searching for Khan, who may have left the country, according to NDTV. The other suspect has been arrested.
News of this horrific incident comes in the midst of fury over the rape and torture of a 5-year-old girl in the Indian capital . The girl was found Wednesday in a New Delhi apartment building and doctors discovered a candle and a bottle of hair oil inside her little body.
Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in the wake of the crime, alleging that police did not respond to the tragedy.
"The police must be held accountable for their shocking levels of apathy. They urgently need to review police processes to ensure that all cases of rape and sexual violence – not just those highlighted by the media – are fully and promptly investigated,” G. Ananthapadmanabhan, who heads the India chapter of the human rights group Amnesty International, said, according to the Associated Press. “Those who fail to do their job must be held accountable.”
Two suspects — aged 19 and 24 — have been arrested in connection with the rape, according to the report.
Source

TW: Rape, Violence: 4-year-old Indian girl raped, left with severe brain injuries in critical condition
April 24, 2013

A 4-year-old Indian girl who was raped last week is currently in critical condition, having sustained severe brain injuries after allegedly being suffocated.

The unnamed child was reportedly raped in her village in Madhya Pradesh on April 17, according to Press Trust of India.

The girl’s family found the child, who went missing on Wednesday, the next morning lying unconscious and profusely bleeding near a crematorium in her village, according to The Times of India. She had lacerations, tears and bruises on her body, and had allegedly been suffocated, which caused serious brain injuries.

Firoz Khan, a 35-year-old welder, is accused of raping the 4-year-old. His alleged accomplice is accused of using chocolate to lure the girl from her home, NDTV reports.

“The condition of the 4-year-old child, who was found unconscious in a field in Ghansur town of MP, is still critical. She is totally unconscious from the time she was brought to Nagpur,” a doctor told The Hindu. “We have done all the examinations including MRI brain and EEG which indicates gross damage to her brain. Her brain’s functioning has reduced to an abnormal level. This is hypoxic brain damage which means inability of brain to work due lack of oxygen supply.”

“She has been put on a life support system and is being treated by a team of senior doctors. Nothing else can be said about her situation now” he added.

Police are still searching for Khan, who may have left the country, according to NDTV. The other suspect has been arrested.

News of this horrific incident comes in the midst of fury over the rape and torture of a 5-year-old girl in the Indian capital . The girl was found Wednesday in a New Delhi apartment building and doctors discovered a candle and a bottle of hair oil inside her little body.

Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in the wake of the crime, alleging that police did not respond to the tragedy.

"The police must be held accountable for their shocking levels of apathy. They urgently need to review police processes to ensure that all cases of rape and sexual violence – not just those highlighted by the media – are fully and promptly investigated,” G. Ananthapadmanabhan, who heads the India chapter of the human rights group Amnesty International, said, according to the Associated Press. “Those who fail to do their job must be held accountable.”

Two suspects — aged 19 and 24 — have been arrested in connection with the rape, according to the report.

Source

On New Delhi street, protest simmers nonstopMarch 31, 2013
The massive protests that swept India after the gang rape of a paramedical student in the capital last year may seem to have disappeared from the headlines here.
The young woman who was assaulted died; the government gave her family a new apartment and financial compensation. The accused are on trial, and a new law has toughened the penalties for sexual assault.
But on one street in New Delhi, the movement — dubbed the 16 December Revolution after the date the gang rape occurred — is still alive, kept in the public eye by bandanna-wearing, placard-wielding activists who sleep in plastic tents and hold daily candlelight vigils.
Jantar Mantar, the capital’s official protest street, is the place where much of the anger and dissent in this teeming democracy finds a voice. On Friday, the anti-rape protesters sat in the rain next to people demanding cleaner rivers, affirmative action, pension funds, disability grants and a corruption-free government.
When it comes to grievances, India is a buffet. And anybody with a cause can find slogan-shouting time and space at Jantar Mantar — as powerful an advertisement for free speech as Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, only more crowded and more littered.
As public outrage over corruption and sexual violence grew in the past two years, it appeared for a while as if the India Gate boulevard that runs past Parliament, the prime minister’s office and the president’s residence would again become the demonstration hub it had been until the 1980s. But the protest-wary government imposed curfews on India Gate and herded activists back into the tiny street, named Jantar Mantar after the nearby 18th-century astronomical observatory of the same name.
Protesters describe Jantar Mantar evocatively. “Temple of democracy,” one said. Another likened it to the bell that citizens rang to alert the king of their grievances in olden times. One man said it was like the “anger palace” of the Hindu epics to which queens withdrew to indicate to the king that they were sulking.
But Ram Shankar Ojha, 56, who was protesting the condition of the city’s polluted Yamuna River, said the street could also be seen as “a jailhouse for protesters.”
“The government has set aside this street for us to come, shout, vent our anger and leave,” he said. “The government wants to contain our anger within Jantar Mantar so that it does not spill out into the rest of the city.”
Anti-rape protesters said they will not leave the street until all those accused in the Dec. 16 incident, including the juvenile defendant, are hanged.
“The so-called fast-track court is taking too long,” said Mohammad Faiz Khan, 32. “Today it is three months since the woman died.”
In another tent, a mother was protesting on behalf of her daughter, who she said was raped by a policeman in the northern state of Punjab in 2010.
“The police have not even filed a complaint,” said Mahinder Kaur, 60. “It has been nearly three years.” Buoyed by the anti-rape protests in the capital, Kaur and her daughter have camped in Jantar Mantar since January. Activists helped her write letters to the government’s human rights panel and women’s commission.
Policemen stand around on the street all day, keeping an eye on things & plainclothes intelligence officers speak to protesters in the evening and take notes.
Meanwhile, ideas and activists circulate and sometimes meld.
Several auto-rickshaw drivers demanding speedier vehicle registration and a new fare schedule wore white caps bearing the slogan “I am the common man,” the signature protest prop of the anti-corruption movement that began in Jantar Mantar two years ago.
One driver said he had volunteered at the office of the anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal, who is now on a hunger strike in a distant slum to protest electricity prices. Kejriwal was invited to speak a few days ago at the Jantar Mantar protest tent of activists demanding a separate state for the ethnic Gorkha community in eastern India.
“He said he supports our cause for a separate state because of our distinct Gorkha ethnic and linguistic identity,” said Bhushan Rai, 37.
A law student protesting against rape said he had also taken part in the anti-corruption drive: “In a way, the anti-corruption movement gave me the first exposure to activism, then the rape protests took place and I went to that, too,” said Mohit Ranjan, 21. “I am still here because I don’t want that spirit to die out.”
Source

On New Delhi street, protest simmers nonstop
March 31, 2013

The massive protests that swept India after the gang rape of a paramedical student in the capital last year may seem to have disappeared from the headlines here.

The young woman who was assaulted died; the government gave her family a new apartment and financial compensation. The accused are on trial, and a new law has toughened the penalties for sexual assault.

But on one street in New Delhi, the movement — dubbed the 16 December Revolution after the date the gang rape occurred — is still alive, kept in the public eye by bandanna-wearing, placard-wielding activists who sleep in plastic tents and hold daily candlelight vigils.

Jantar Mantar, the capital’s official protest street, is the place where much of the anger and dissent in this teeming democracy finds a voice. On Friday, the anti-rape protesters sat in the rain next to people demanding cleaner rivers, affirmative action, pension funds, disability grants and a corruption-free government.

When it comes to grievances, India is a buffet. And anybody with a cause can find slogan-shouting time and space at Jantar Mantar — as powerful an advertisement for free speech as Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, only more crowded and more littered.

As public outrage over corruption and sexual violence grew in the past two years, it appeared for a while as if the India Gate boulevard that runs past Parliament, the prime minister’s office and the president’s residence would again become the demonstration hub it had been until the 1980s. But the protest-wary government imposed curfews on India Gate and herded activists back into the tiny street, named Jantar Mantar after the nearby 18th-century astronomical observatory of the same name.

Protesters describe Jantar Mantar evocatively. “Temple of democracy,” one said. Another likened it to the bell that citizens rang to alert the king of their grievances in olden times. One man said it was like the “anger palace” of the Hindu epics to which queens withdrew to indicate to the king that they were sulking.

But Ram Shankar Ojha, 56, who was protesting the condition of the city’s polluted Yamuna River, said the street could also be seen as “a jailhouse for protesters.”

“The government has set aside this street for us to come, shout, vent our anger and leave,” he said. “The government wants to contain our anger within Jantar Mantar so that it does not spill out into the rest of the city.”

Anti-rape protesters said they will not leave the street until all those accused in the Dec. 16 incident, including the juvenile defendant, are hanged.

“The so-called fast-track court is taking too long,” said Mohammad Faiz Khan, 32. “Today it is three months since the woman died.”

In another tent, a mother was protesting on behalf of her daughter, who she said was raped by a policeman in the northern state of Punjab in 2010.

“The police have not even filed a complaint,” said Mahinder Kaur, 60. “It has been nearly three years.” Buoyed by the anti-rape protests in the capital, Kaur and her daughter have camped in Jantar Mantar since January. Activists helped her write letters to the government’s human rights panel and women’s commission.

Policemen stand around on the street all day, keeping an eye on things & plainclothes intelligence officers speak to protesters in the evening and take notes.

Meanwhile, ideas and activists circulate and sometimes meld.

Several auto-rickshaw drivers demanding speedier vehicle registration and a new fare schedule wore white caps bearing the slogan “I am the common man,” the signature protest prop of the anti-corruption movement that began in Jantar Mantar two years ago.

One driver said he had volunteered at the office of the anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal, who is now on a hunger strike in a distant slum to protest electricity prices. Kejriwal was invited to speak a few days ago at the Jantar Mantar protest tent of activists demanding a separate state for the ethnic Gorkha community in eastern India.

“He said he supports our cause for a separate state because of our distinct Gorkha ethnic and linguistic identity,” said Bhushan Rai, 37.

A law student protesting against rape said he had also taken part in the anti-corruption drive: “In a way, the anti-corruption movement gave me the first exposure to activism, then the rape protests took place and I went to that, too,” said Mohit Ranjan, 21. “I am still here because I don’t want that spirit to die out.”

Source