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Karnataka: Dalit teen tied to electricity pole and thrashed on suspicion of theft

The boy’s mother was also assaulted when she tried to intervene

03 Oct 2022

Dalit BoyImage: Twitter


A 14-year-old Dalit boy was tied to an electricity pole in Karnataka’s Chikkaballapur and beaten brutally when people suspected him of stealing an earring. When his mother tried to save the boy, she was also beaten up.

The incident took place at about 9:30 P.M on September 29, when a group of “upper caste” people assaulted the boy. The boy’s mother told NDTV, “Those who beat up my son alleged that he had stolen an earring while playing with other boys and girls. They even said that our caste should be wiped out.” She was also beaten up when she rushed to save her son. Both, mother and son, are now being treated for their injuries at a hospital in Chikkaballapur.

A police official told the publication, “Local residents alleged that the boy had stolen the earring of a four-year-old girl. Investigation is under way.”

The police have now booked 10 people, and a case has been registered under IPC sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault to woman with intent to outrage modesty), 355 (assault to dishonour person), 341 (wrongful restraint), 448 (punishment for false mark), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 149 (prosecution of common object) and under sections 3(1)(r), 3(1)(s) and 3(1)(z) of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2015.

While 10 people have been named in the First Information Report (FIR), three have been nabbed so far and remanded to judicial custody.

This is however not the first such incident. In August, another Dalit boy, also 14-years-old, was similarly tied to an electricity pole and beaten up in Uttar Pradesh on suspicion of theft. According to Times of India, the boy was accused of stealing Rs 600 from a grocery store in Kalaan in Shahjahanpur district.

Targeted Attacks on Dalit students on the increase

The past months have seen a spate of attacks on young Dalit persons, including students, across states, be it Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh. The most recent was the thrashing, by his teacher of 15-year old Nikhit Dohre in Auraiya, Uttar Pradesh that reportedly led to his death ten days later. Before this, in Rajasthan, 9 year old Inderjit Meghwal was also allegedly brutally beaten by his teacher, who has since been arrested. In both these cases, Citizens for Justice and Peace, has filed complaints with the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (NCSCST) urging protection for the family and also monitoring of the Commission, of both the investigations an prosecutions.

Related:

Delhi: 10-year-old boy, allegedly raped by friends, succumbs to injuries

Minor Dalit boy killed, CJP moves NCSC for further protection for family

Varanasi: Martial arts teacher allegedly rapes Dalit girl

Karnataka: Dalit teen tied to electricity pole and thrashed on suspicion of theft

The boy’s mother was also assaulted when she tried to intervene

Dalit BoyImage: Twitter


A 14-year-old Dalit boy was tied to an electricity pole in Karnataka’s Chikkaballapur and beaten brutally when people suspected him of stealing an earring. When his mother tried to save the boy, she was also beaten up.

The incident took place at about 9:30 P.M on September 29, when a group of “upper caste” people assaulted the boy. The boy’s mother told NDTV, “Those who beat up my son alleged that he had stolen an earring while playing with other boys and girls. They even said that our caste should be wiped out.” She was also beaten up when she rushed to save her son. Both, mother and son, are now being treated for their injuries at a hospital in Chikkaballapur.

A police official told the publication, “Local residents alleged that the boy had stolen the earring of a four-year-old girl. Investigation is under way.”

The police have now booked 10 people, and a case has been registered under IPC sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault to woman with intent to outrage modesty), 355 (assault to dishonour person), 341 (wrongful restraint), 448 (punishment for false mark), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 149 (prosecution of common object) and under sections 3(1)(r), 3(1)(s) and 3(1)(z) of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2015.

While 10 people have been named in the First Information Report (FIR), three have been nabbed so far and remanded to judicial custody.

This is however not the first such incident. In August, another Dalit boy, also 14-years-old, was similarly tied to an electricity pole and beaten up in Uttar Pradesh on suspicion of theft. According to Times of India, the boy was accused of stealing Rs 600 from a grocery store in Kalaan in Shahjahanpur district.

Targeted Attacks on Dalit students on the increase

The past months have seen a spate of attacks on young Dalit persons, including students, across states, be it Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh. The most recent was the thrashing, by his teacher of 15-year old Nikhit Dohre in Auraiya, Uttar Pradesh that reportedly led to his death ten days later. Before this, in Rajasthan, 9 year old Inderjit Meghwal was also allegedly brutally beaten by his teacher, who has since been arrested. In both these cases, Citizens for Justice and Peace, has filed complaints with the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (NCSCST) urging protection for the family and also monitoring of the Commission, of both the investigations an prosecutions.

Related:

Delhi: 10-year-old boy, allegedly raped by friends, succumbs to injuries

Minor Dalit boy killed, CJP moves NCSC for further protection for family

Varanasi: Martial arts teacher allegedly rapes Dalit girl

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UP: Yet Again, Children in Faizabad School Served Rice With Salt in Mid-Day Meal

Teachers of the school claimed they had not received the conversion cost under PM Poshan for the past six months.

30 Sep 2022

mid day mealRepresentational use only. Image Courtesy: Flickr
 

Lucknow: In yet another shocker from Uttar Pradesh, students of a government primary school in Faizabad, now Ayodhya district of Uttar Pradesh, are being served salt and rice under the mid-day meal scheme.

Recall that last September, the Narendra Modi government had renamed the mid-day meal (MDM) scheme as ‘PM Poshan’. The aim was to focus more on a child’s nutritional levels rather than just providing a meal. However, the situation doesn't seem to have improved in a year.

As the primary school in Pandey Ka Purva of Bikapur block is close to a village, several students collect their lunch and go home during lunch break. That’s how some parents got to know about boiled rice-salt being served in mid-day meals. Several parents protested against the school, after which  officials from the education department were asked to investigate the whole matter and conduct surprise inspections from time to time.

As per the menu of the mid-day meal scheme prescribed by the UP government, children are supposed to be provided rice, pulses and green vegetables. Milk and fruits are also included in the meal chart on certain days. 

Payal, a student at the school told NewsClick: "This was not the first time we had salt with rice in our lunch due to lack of vegetables or dal."

Santosh, a daily wage labourer, whose two children are enrolled in the same primary school, told NewsClick: "Since the school is five minutes walking distance from our village, most of the children bring the lunch served in school home and they go back after lunch. We were upset after seeing our children having rice without vegetables, instead only salt was served. We had complained earlier to the principal but she turned a deaf ear.

After video of this travesty went viral on social media, the  district authorities called it ‘a serious lapse’ and initiated an inquiry into the incident. The school principal has been suspended.

Ayodhya District Magistrate Nitish Kumar, however, blamed the school management. "As per the orders by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the menu of mid-day meals across the districts is fixed. They are also given fruits and milk on some days. But these incidents happen due to the lapse of principal and supervisory staff,” Kumar told NewsClick.

"We have suspended the principal Ekta Yadav and  assistant teacher Gayatri Devi and an investigation has been launched in the matter. It is true that the students got just plain rice and were forced to eat that with salt for lack of vegetables. This is a serious lapse,” he added.

This is not the first time that children in Ayodhya’s primary school have got this kind of meal that they were entitled to. And it is unlikely that the Ayodhya school is the only one in Uttar Pradesh where this has happened.

Three weeks ago, children were reportedly served plain rice under the mid-day meal in Deoria district. Several children have complained that they were not even getting the “sub-standard meals” for months.

In 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government booked a journalist for exposing corruption in the mid-day meal scheme after he came across students being served roti and salt in Mirzapur district.

Ironically, the Uttar Pradesh police booked the journalist, alleging that he was “hatching a conspiracy to defame the government.” Later, he was cleared by the UP police.

However, teachers claimed that the MDM scheme launched to provide nutritious food to the students studying in the government primary school was running on credit. Teachers are saving their jobs by buying vegetables, pulses, oil, spices, milk, fruits etc. from their own pockets as they have not received the conversion cost since the past six months.

NewsClick has earlier written on the crisis, the teachers and , principal have been facing in Uttar Pradesh due to lack of funds.

NewsClick also spoke with multiple rasoiya (cooks) in different districts to understand the ground reality of the MDM scheme. All of them alleged that they were not getting vegetables and pulses to cook. "We have been getting Rs 1,000 per month, less than what a daily wage labourer gets, and all the blame comes on us when food quality is found bad or salt-rice is served. We have not received our monthly honorarium for the past six-seven months, but who cares?"

It may be mentioned that the Central government has not made an increment in the conversion cost under the National Programme of Mid-Day Meals in Schools (NP-MDMS) since 2020. The revised rate of the cooking cost for the primary stage (class 1 to 5) is Rs 4.97 per child, and Rs 7.45 for upper primary (class 6 to 8), which was revised in 2018. 

In the past two and half years, not a single penny has been hiked even though the inflation rate has increased significantly. The cost of the items used in mid-day meals has increased from two-fold to three-fold.

"It doesn’t matter if you change the scheme’s name to PM Poshan from MDM, because until you don't increase the conversion cost and ensure timely payment, how long we will arrange for food from our own pocket,"  a teacher told NewsClick.

According to the government data disclosed in the Lok Sabha on November 25, 2019, Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest number of corruption cases in the midday meal scheme. Out of the total 52 complaints filed in the past three years, 14 were from UP with Bihar inching closer with 11 complaints.

Courtesy: Newsclick

UP: Yet Again, Children in Faizabad School Served Rice With Salt in Mid-Day Meal

Teachers of the school claimed they had not received the conversion cost under PM Poshan for the past six months.

mid day mealRepresentational use only. Image Courtesy: Flickr
 

Lucknow: In yet another shocker from Uttar Pradesh, students of a government primary school in Faizabad, now Ayodhya district of Uttar Pradesh, are being served salt and rice under the mid-day meal scheme.

Recall that last September, the Narendra Modi government had renamed the mid-day meal (MDM) scheme as ‘PM Poshan’. The aim was to focus more on a child’s nutritional levels rather than just providing a meal. However, the situation doesn't seem to have improved in a year.

As the primary school in Pandey Ka Purva of Bikapur block is close to a village, several students collect their lunch and go home during lunch break. That’s how some parents got to know about boiled rice-salt being served in mid-day meals. Several parents protested against the school, after which  officials from the education department were asked to investigate the whole matter and conduct surprise inspections from time to time.

As per the menu of the mid-day meal scheme prescribed by the UP government, children are supposed to be provided rice, pulses and green vegetables. Milk and fruits are also included in the meal chart on certain days. 

Payal, a student at the school told NewsClick: "This was not the first time we had salt with rice in our lunch due to lack of vegetables or dal."

Santosh, a daily wage labourer, whose two children are enrolled in the same primary school, told NewsClick: "Since the school is five minutes walking distance from our village, most of the children bring the lunch served in school home and they go back after lunch. We were upset after seeing our children having rice without vegetables, instead only salt was served. We had complained earlier to the principal but she turned a deaf ear.

After video of this travesty went viral on social media, the  district authorities called it ‘a serious lapse’ and initiated an inquiry into the incident. The school principal has been suspended.

Ayodhya District Magistrate Nitish Kumar, however, blamed the school management. "As per the orders by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the menu of mid-day meals across the districts is fixed. They are also given fruits and milk on some days. But these incidents happen due to the lapse of principal and supervisory staff,” Kumar told NewsClick.

"We have suspended the principal Ekta Yadav and  assistant teacher Gayatri Devi and an investigation has been launched in the matter. It is true that the students got just plain rice and were forced to eat that with salt for lack of vegetables. This is a serious lapse,” he added.

This is not the first time that children in Ayodhya’s primary school have got this kind of meal that they were entitled to. And it is unlikely that the Ayodhya school is the only one in Uttar Pradesh where this has happened.

Three weeks ago, children were reportedly served plain rice under the mid-day meal in Deoria district. Several children have complained that they were not even getting the “sub-standard meals” for months.

In 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government booked a journalist for exposing corruption in the mid-day meal scheme after he came across students being served roti and salt in Mirzapur district.

Ironically, the Uttar Pradesh police booked the journalist, alleging that he was “hatching a conspiracy to defame the government.” Later, he was cleared by the UP police.

However, teachers claimed that the MDM scheme launched to provide nutritious food to the students studying in the government primary school was running on credit. Teachers are saving their jobs by buying vegetables, pulses, oil, spices, milk, fruits etc. from their own pockets as they have not received the conversion cost since the past six months.

NewsClick has earlier written on the crisis, the teachers and , principal have been facing in Uttar Pradesh due to lack of funds.

NewsClick also spoke with multiple rasoiya (cooks) in different districts to understand the ground reality of the MDM scheme. All of them alleged that they were not getting vegetables and pulses to cook. "We have been getting Rs 1,000 per month, less than what a daily wage labourer gets, and all the blame comes on us when food quality is found bad or salt-rice is served. We have not received our monthly honorarium for the past six-seven months, but who cares?"

It may be mentioned that the Central government has not made an increment in the conversion cost under the National Programme of Mid-Day Meals in Schools (NP-MDMS) since 2020. The revised rate of the cooking cost for the primary stage (class 1 to 5) is Rs 4.97 per child, and Rs 7.45 for upper primary (class 6 to 8), which was revised in 2018. 

In the past two and half years, not a single penny has been hiked even though the inflation rate has increased significantly. The cost of the items used in mid-day meals has increased from two-fold to three-fold.

"It doesn’t matter if you change the scheme’s name to PM Poshan from MDM, because until you don't increase the conversion cost and ensure timely payment, how long we will arrange for food from our own pocket,"  a teacher told NewsClick.

According to the government data disclosed in the Lok Sabha on November 25, 2019, Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest number of corruption cases in the midday meal scheme. Out of the total 52 complaints filed in the past three years, 14 were from UP with Bihar inching closer with 11 complaints.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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Mid-day meal-related food poisoning cases at 6 year peak: CAG

An audit by CAG  blame poor infrastructure, insufficient inspections, irregular licensing and limited reporting

27 Sep 2022

Mid-day mealRepresentation Image | Courtesy: The Mint

The Hindu reports that as schools re-opened and students returned to the classroom -two years after the pandemic -- serious cases of food poisoning due to the consumption of mid-day meals have resurfaced, and even grown. In the last 90 days alone as many as 120  students suffered from food poisoning across schools in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.

Last year, in 2022, 979 victims of food poisoning were reported in schools across India, the highest in the last six years. The number declined during the pandemic years as schools were closed. Chart 1 shows the number of food poisoning cases due to the consumption of mid-day meals at schools between 2009 and 2022 (till September 14).

chart1
Chart 1: Courtesy / The Hindu
 

In the last 13 years, data suggest that at least 9,646 such cases of food poisoning were reported. This figure is a conservative estimate based on data from the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme and news reports. As high as  12% of such victims became ill after consuming mid-day meals in which lizards, rats, snakes and cockroaches were found. Chart 2 shows the number of such victims between 2009 and 2022. 

Chart2
Chart 2: Courtesy / The Hindu


Most of the food poisoning cases by consumption of mid-day meals were recorded in Karnataka (1,524), Odisha (1,327), Telangana (1,092), Bihar (950) and Andhra Pradesh (794). Map 3 shows the State-wise split.

map3
Map 3: Courtesy / The Hindu


Bihar has some shocking instances. In Madhubani district of Bihar, 223 students complained of abdominal pain and giddiness after consuming mid-day meals in 2015. In 2016, 247 students fell ill after eating khichdi as their mid-day meal at a Zila Parishad school in a village in Palghar district, Maharashtra. In Belgaum district of Karnataka, 221 students complained of abdominal pain and nausea after consuming Upma as a part of their mid-day meal in 2017. 

Map 4 shows 232 such incidents of food poisoning due to consumption of mid-day meals in schools between 2009 and 2022. 

map4
Map 4: Courtesy / The Hindu

Over the past decade, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has audited several States and thereafter  cited many reasons that could lead to low standards of mid-day meal preparation such as poor infrastructure, insufficient inspections, irregular licensing, limited reporting and absence of feedback mechanisms.

Three years back, in 2019, in Madhya Pradesh, the CAG found that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India did not notify doctors to report food poisoning cases. Worse still, the  Food Safety Commissioner did not have information relating to food poisoning cases that occurred during the 2014-19 period. The CAG found that one such missed instance involved 110 food poisoning cases that occurred in August 2014, in a school in the Hoshangabad district. As data were not collected, action was not taken against Food Business Operators (FBOs) responsible for preparing the meal.

Before that, in 2015-16, in Madhya Pradesh, the CAG found that around 14,500 schools did not have a kitchen shed for preparing mid-day meals. In 2016, in Arunachal Pradesh, 40% of the schools did not have a shed. In Chhattisgarh, a CAG survey between FY11 and FY15 found that the mid-day meal was cooked in open areas in unhygienic conditions in 8,932 schools.

The entire issue of quality of food supplied tot he state mid-day meal schemes, those who are contracted through tenders in public schools run by the municipal corporations and the Zilla Parishads has been one fraught with non-transparency and absence of accountability. Standard procedures and requirem, like for instance the one that required food delivered from centralised kitchens to schools should have a minimum temperature of 65°C when it is served, are often not met. In 2018, during a field visit of schools in Valsad district in Gujarat, the CAG observed that the food served by the NGOs was not hot and none of the schools the CAG had visited had the facility to check the temperature. In five districts of the State, the CAG also found that there was over 80% shortfall in inspections of schools carried out by Deputy Collectors due to a shortage of staff.

In another audit conducted in 2014, in Jharkhand, the CAG found that a grievance redressal mechanism was absent in many schools and so, reports about children falling sick were not addressed and rectified.In 2017, in Himachal Pradesh, the CAG found that license and registration certificates were given to 97% and 100% of FBOs, respectively, without inspecting their premises.

 

Related

UP: Mid-day Meal Workers Not Paid Honorarium For 5 Months, Forced to Borrow for Daily Needs           

Why does the Karnataka government not want children to eat eggs at mid day meals?

 

Mid-day meal-related food poisoning cases at 6 year peak: CAG

An audit by CAG  blame poor infrastructure, insufficient inspections, irregular licensing and limited reporting

Mid-day mealRepresentation Image | Courtesy: The Mint

The Hindu reports that as schools re-opened and students returned to the classroom -two years after the pandemic -- serious cases of food poisoning due to the consumption of mid-day meals have resurfaced, and even grown. In the last 90 days alone as many as 120  students suffered from food poisoning across schools in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.

Last year, in 2022, 979 victims of food poisoning were reported in schools across India, the highest in the last six years. The number declined during the pandemic years as schools were closed. Chart 1 shows the number of food poisoning cases due to the consumption of mid-day meals at schools between 2009 and 2022 (till September 14).

chart1
Chart 1: Courtesy / The Hindu
 

In the last 13 years, data suggest that at least 9,646 such cases of food poisoning were reported. This figure is a conservative estimate based on data from the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme and news reports. As high as  12% of such victims became ill after consuming mid-day meals in which lizards, rats, snakes and cockroaches were found. Chart 2 shows the number of such victims between 2009 and 2022. 

Chart2
Chart 2: Courtesy / The Hindu


Most of the food poisoning cases by consumption of mid-day meals were recorded in Karnataka (1,524), Odisha (1,327), Telangana (1,092), Bihar (950) and Andhra Pradesh (794). Map 3 shows the State-wise split.

map3
Map 3: Courtesy / The Hindu


Bihar has some shocking instances. In Madhubani district of Bihar, 223 students complained of abdominal pain and giddiness after consuming mid-day meals in 2015. In 2016, 247 students fell ill after eating khichdi as their mid-day meal at a Zila Parishad school in a village in Palghar district, Maharashtra. In Belgaum district of Karnataka, 221 students complained of abdominal pain and nausea after consuming Upma as a part of their mid-day meal in 2017. 

Map 4 shows 232 such incidents of food poisoning due to consumption of mid-day meals in schools between 2009 and 2022. 

map4
Map 4: Courtesy / The Hindu

Over the past decade, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has audited several States and thereafter  cited many reasons that could lead to low standards of mid-day meal preparation such as poor infrastructure, insufficient inspections, irregular licensing, limited reporting and absence of feedback mechanisms.

Three years back, in 2019, in Madhya Pradesh, the CAG found that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India did not notify doctors to report food poisoning cases. Worse still, the  Food Safety Commissioner did not have information relating to food poisoning cases that occurred during the 2014-19 period. The CAG found that one such missed instance involved 110 food poisoning cases that occurred in August 2014, in a school in the Hoshangabad district. As data were not collected, action was not taken against Food Business Operators (FBOs) responsible for preparing the meal.

Before that, in 2015-16, in Madhya Pradesh, the CAG found that around 14,500 schools did not have a kitchen shed for preparing mid-day meals. In 2016, in Arunachal Pradesh, 40% of the schools did not have a shed. In Chhattisgarh, a CAG survey between FY11 and FY15 found that the mid-day meal was cooked in open areas in unhygienic conditions in 8,932 schools.

The entire issue of quality of food supplied tot he state mid-day meal schemes, those who are contracted through tenders in public schools run by the municipal corporations and the Zilla Parishads has been one fraught with non-transparency and absence of accountability. Standard procedures and requirem, like for instance the one that required food delivered from centralised kitchens to schools should have a minimum temperature of 65°C when it is served, are often not met. In 2018, during a field visit of schools in Valsad district in Gujarat, the CAG observed that the food served by the NGOs was not hot and none of the schools the CAG had visited had the facility to check the temperature. In five districts of the State, the CAG also found that there was over 80% shortfall in inspections of schools carried out by Deputy Collectors due to a shortage of staff.

In another audit conducted in 2014, in Jharkhand, the CAG found that a grievance redressal mechanism was absent in many schools and so, reports about children falling sick were not addressed and rectified.In 2017, in Himachal Pradesh, the CAG found that license and registration certificates were given to 97% and 100% of FBOs, respectively, without inspecting their premises.

 

Related

UP: Mid-day Meal Workers Not Paid Honorarium For 5 Months, Forced to Borrow for Daily Needs           

Why does the Karnataka government not want children to eat eggs at mid day meals?

 

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MP: Malnourished Child’s Video Goes Viral Amidst Row Over Alleged Fraud in Nutrition Scheme

Opposition demands CM’s resignation over alleged fraud in THR nutrition & distribution scheme; govt report says nearly 10 lakh children malnourished in state.

16 Sep 2022

 Malnourished

Bhopal: A week after being admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Somvati Mawasi, an eight-year-old malnourished tribal girl of Chitrakoot town of Madhya Pradesh's Satna district,  has gained 600 grams of weight. She weighed a meagre seven kg when she was initially taken to the hospital.

She was diagnosed with acute malnourishment and juvenile diabetes, rare in children. According to her doctors, she is 15 kg underweight for her age and her blood sugar level has dropped to 110 which was around 700- seven times higher than the normal for children of her age.

When the doctors inquired about her family, Somvati's aunt Seema, a daily-wage labourer explained, “her father abandoned her mother when she was pregnant. Her mother also abandoned her when she was three-year-old and went away with someone else."

Since then she has been looked after by maternal aunt Seema and grandfather Kaku, a daily-wage labourer. Both failed to look after her as they leave home early morning in search of work while she remained alone at home.

She was also admitted to the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) twice in 2019 and 2020 for 14-days each after she was spotted by a local Anganwadi worker. But she was discharged irrespective of her deteriorating health conditions as per the laid down rules, said a health officer adding that she should have been enrolled on Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) as she was eligible for it.

"The health workers failed to spot her diabetic problem which was the main reason for her deteriorating health even though she was admitted to NRC twice," the officer of the Women and Child Development Department told NewsClick.

"We are giving her insulin for a week as she is showing a sign of improvement," he said. "We are also planning to rehabilitate her as she can't be sent back to her aunt and grandfather who are living in destitute," he added.

The District administration took up the call after a video of Somvati, a resident of Surangi Tola area of Chitrakoot town, created a buzz on social media which was noticed by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and he took cognisance of it.

Her video came at a time when the opposition Congress has been demanding CM Chouhan’s resignation over the alleged fraud of over 110 crore in the Take Home Ration (THR) nutrition and distribution scheme between 2018 to 2021. THR is given to kids between six months and three years of age, out-of-school adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women.

Satna, home to over 6,000 malnourished children, is among the eight districts of Madhya Pradesh where the THR nutrition and distribution scheme was underway and a 36-page government audit detected massive fraud in it.

A fortnight before Somvati was spotted, nine-year-old Sunaina Mawasi, another severely malnourished tribal girl from the Maihar area of Satna district died in the hospital. The girl was admitted thrice to NRC but did not recover. Yet, the health officials claim that she died of a respiratory disorder.

The leaked report of the Madhya Pradesh Accountant General office shows huge discrepancies in the THR component of the supplementary nutrition programme under ICDS run by the Women and Child Development Department- a department headed by CM Chouhan since March 2020. But the state government denies any such fraud citing an incomplete report.

Taking action over the issue, the Satna district administration terminated the services of the local Anganwadi worker and suspended her supervisor. Besides, the Child Development Project Officer of ICDS in the concerned area has been suspended by the Rewa divisional commissioner on the recommendation of the Satna district collector.  

Despite repeated attempts, Satna District collector, Anurag Verma and Chief Medical Health officer 10.32 Lakh Severely Malnourished Kids in MP

In a reply to the question of malnourishment among kids in the assembly in March 2022, the State government said that there are 10.32 lakh malnourished children and of them, 6.30 lakh are severely malnourished.

Replying to the question of BJP MLA Chaitanya Kashyap, the Chief Minister, who holds the Women and Child Development Department portfolio, replied in the assembly. The State has a total of over 65 lakh children between the age group of 0-5 years. Of them, 10.32 lakh are malnourished and close to 6.30 lakh children are put in the severely malnourished category. 

Chouhan affirmed that the situation of malnutrition has improved in districts and added that the state government is making efforts to eradicate malnutrition under various schemes including Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bal Arogya and Poshan Mission.

NFHS -5

Every third kid aged under 0-5 years in Madhya Pradesh is stunted or too short for their age, according to the fifth round of the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-5) released by the ministry of health and family welfare this year.

The survey found that 36% of children under the age of five years are stunted, indicating that they have been undernourished for some time. The survey also pointed out that children’s nutritional status in Madhya Pradesh hasn't changed much by all measures since the previous NFHS-4. Lack of complementary feeding to kids aged above six months is the cause behind inadequate diet causing under-nutrition.

Commenting on it, Amulya Nidhi of Jan Swasth Abhiyan told NewsClick, "corruption is a major reason for prevailing malnourishment in the state. Madhya Pradesh has over 6 lakh, malnourished kids, in 2012 and it's the same even after a year."

Emphasising tackling corruption in children's budget, he pointed out, "Decline in health indicators in various reports suggests that the policies and money government spent to eradicate malnourishment is eating up by corruption. We have seen massive irregularity in the Take Home Ration scheme, this is the tip of the iceberg."

Madhya Pradesh government has set up 313 NRCs in all blocks in rural areas in the state which is the highest in the country for taking care of these kids.

Courtesy: Newsclick

MP: Malnourished Child’s Video Goes Viral Amidst Row Over Alleged Fraud in Nutrition Scheme

Opposition demands CM’s resignation over alleged fraud in THR nutrition & distribution scheme; govt report says nearly 10 lakh children malnourished in state.

 Malnourished

Bhopal: A week after being admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Somvati Mawasi, an eight-year-old malnourished tribal girl of Chitrakoot town of Madhya Pradesh's Satna district,  has gained 600 grams of weight. She weighed a meagre seven kg when she was initially taken to the hospital.

She was diagnosed with acute malnourishment and juvenile diabetes, rare in children. According to her doctors, she is 15 kg underweight for her age and her blood sugar level has dropped to 110 which was around 700- seven times higher than the normal for children of her age.

When the doctors inquired about her family, Somvati's aunt Seema, a daily-wage labourer explained, “her father abandoned her mother when she was pregnant. Her mother also abandoned her when she was three-year-old and went away with someone else."

Since then she has been looked after by maternal aunt Seema and grandfather Kaku, a daily-wage labourer. Both failed to look after her as they leave home early morning in search of work while she remained alone at home.

She was also admitted to the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) twice in 2019 and 2020 for 14-days each after she was spotted by a local Anganwadi worker. But she was discharged irrespective of her deteriorating health conditions as per the laid down rules, said a health officer adding that she should have been enrolled on Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) as she was eligible for it.

"The health workers failed to spot her diabetic problem which was the main reason for her deteriorating health even though she was admitted to NRC twice," the officer of the Women and Child Development Department told NewsClick.

"We are giving her insulin for a week as she is showing a sign of improvement," he said. "We are also planning to rehabilitate her as she can't be sent back to her aunt and grandfather who are living in destitute," he added.

The District administration took up the call after a video of Somvati, a resident of Surangi Tola area of Chitrakoot town, created a buzz on social media which was noticed by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and he took cognisance of it.

Her video came at a time when the opposition Congress has been demanding CM Chouhan’s resignation over the alleged fraud of over 110 crore in the Take Home Ration (THR) nutrition and distribution scheme between 2018 to 2021. THR is given to kids between six months and three years of age, out-of-school adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women.

Satna, home to over 6,000 malnourished children, is among the eight districts of Madhya Pradesh where the THR nutrition and distribution scheme was underway and a 36-page government audit detected massive fraud in it.

A fortnight before Somvati was spotted, nine-year-old Sunaina Mawasi, another severely malnourished tribal girl from the Maihar area of Satna district died in the hospital. The girl was admitted thrice to NRC but did not recover. Yet, the health officials claim that she died of a respiratory disorder.

The leaked report of the Madhya Pradesh Accountant General office shows huge discrepancies in the THR component of the supplementary nutrition programme under ICDS run by the Women and Child Development Department- a department headed by CM Chouhan since March 2020. But the state government denies any such fraud citing an incomplete report.

Taking action over the issue, the Satna district administration terminated the services of the local Anganwadi worker and suspended her supervisor. Besides, the Child Development Project Officer of ICDS in the concerned area has been suspended by the Rewa divisional commissioner on the recommendation of the Satna district collector.  

Despite repeated attempts, Satna District collector, Anurag Verma and Chief Medical Health officer 10.32 Lakh Severely Malnourished Kids in MP

In a reply to the question of malnourishment among kids in the assembly in March 2022, the State government said that there are 10.32 lakh malnourished children and of them, 6.30 lakh are severely malnourished.

Replying to the question of BJP MLA Chaitanya Kashyap, the Chief Minister, who holds the Women and Child Development Department portfolio, replied in the assembly. The State has a total of over 65 lakh children between the age group of 0-5 years. Of them, 10.32 lakh are malnourished and close to 6.30 lakh children are put in the severely malnourished category. 

Chouhan affirmed that the situation of malnutrition has improved in districts and added that the state government is making efforts to eradicate malnutrition under various schemes including Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bal Arogya and Poshan Mission.

NFHS -5

Every third kid aged under 0-5 years in Madhya Pradesh is stunted or too short for their age, according to the fifth round of the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-5) released by the ministry of health and family welfare this year.

The survey found that 36% of children under the age of five years are stunted, indicating that they have been undernourished for some time. The survey also pointed out that children’s nutritional status in Madhya Pradesh hasn't changed much by all measures since the previous NFHS-4. Lack of complementary feeding to kids aged above six months is the cause behind inadequate diet causing under-nutrition.

Commenting on it, Amulya Nidhi of Jan Swasth Abhiyan told NewsClick, "corruption is a major reason for prevailing malnourishment in the state. Madhya Pradesh has over 6 lakh, malnourished kids, in 2012 and it's the same even after a year."

Emphasising tackling corruption in children's budget, he pointed out, "Decline in health indicators in various reports suggests that the policies and money government spent to eradicate malnourishment is eating up by corruption. We have seen massive irregularity in the Take Home Ration scheme, this is the tip of the iceberg."

Madhya Pradesh government has set up 313 NRCs in all blocks in rural areas in the state which is the highest in the country for taking care of these kids.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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Child stolen Mathura railway station found at BJP leader’s home

30 Aug 2022

Stolen BabyBaby stolen from Mathura Railway station

Mathura: In a shocking development, an infant who was stolen from Mathura railway station last week, has been recovered from the house of a local BJP leader, who allegedly bought him for Rs 1.8 lakh from a child-trafficker.

The child was sleeping next to his mother on the platform at Mathura railway station on August 24 when he was abducted.

After searching for several days, he was recovered from the house of a BJP corporator from Firozabad, Vinita Agrawal, and her husband Krishna Murari Agrawal, with investigators identifying a racket, headed by a doctor couple from Hathras.

Investigations are on to identify other members of the racket, said police.

Police have arrested the doctor couple – Prem Behari, 38, and his wife Dayawati, 38, who used a hospital they ran in Hathras, Bankey Behari Hospital, as a front for their illegal business – and four of their associates, Deep Kumar, 40, Poonam, 43, Manjeet, 43, and Vimlesh, 38.

BJP corporator, Vinita Agarwal 49, and her husband Krishna Murari, 51, have also been arrested.

Superintendent of Police (SP) for Government Railway Police (GRP), Mohammad Mushtaq, said, “The child was sleeping with his mother on the platform when a man picked up the infant and walked off. A case was registered at GRP Mathura under section 363 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for kidnapping.”

Police traced the movements of Deep Kumar through CCTV footage gathered from nearby districts. “Deep Kumar was seen travelling in roadways bus and the conductor identified him and he was arrested. This opened the case and doctors were traced leading to clues on whereabouts of the child,” said the SP.

The SP said a deal was negotiated for the child at Rs 1.80 lakh and an amount of 85,000 has been recovered.

The official said, “Six teams were constituted to trace the missing child, and a surveillance team was activated to work out CCTV footage available about the incident. The gang operating under a doctor couple of Hathras as a kingpin, has been busted.”

Call details of those arrested after nabbing Deep Kumar gave clues which were assembled and their call details gave police more links of this network spread in Agra, Firozabad, Mathura beside other districts of Agra Zone.

The SP said the doctor couple confessed to running an organised gang involved in the theft and selling of children.

“These children were abducted from railway platforms and bus stands and sold to childless couples,” he said.

“We are also investigating Poonam and Vimlesh as it was revealed that they are working as ANM (auxiliary nursing midwifery) on contract for government welfare schemes. Sections related to the offence of human trafficking are being added to crime,” Mushtaq added.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

Child stolen Mathura railway station found at BJP leader’s home

Stolen BabyBaby stolen from Mathura Railway station

Mathura: In a shocking development, an infant who was stolen from Mathura railway station last week, has been recovered from the house of a local BJP leader, who allegedly bought him for Rs 1.8 lakh from a child-trafficker.

The child was sleeping next to his mother on the platform at Mathura railway station on August 24 when he was abducted.

After searching for several days, he was recovered from the house of a BJP corporator from Firozabad, Vinita Agrawal, and her husband Krishna Murari Agrawal, with investigators identifying a racket, headed by a doctor couple from Hathras.

Investigations are on to identify other members of the racket, said police.

Police have arrested the doctor couple – Prem Behari, 38, and his wife Dayawati, 38, who used a hospital they ran in Hathras, Bankey Behari Hospital, as a front for their illegal business – and four of their associates, Deep Kumar, 40, Poonam, 43, Manjeet, 43, and Vimlesh, 38.

BJP corporator, Vinita Agarwal 49, and her husband Krishna Murari, 51, have also been arrested.

Superintendent of Police (SP) for Government Railway Police (GRP), Mohammad Mushtaq, said, “The child was sleeping with his mother on the platform when a man picked up the infant and walked off. A case was registered at GRP Mathura under section 363 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for kidnapping.”

Police traced the movements of Deep Kumar through CCTV footage gathered from nearby districts. “Deep Kumar was seen travelling in roadways bus and the conductor identified him and he was arrested. This opened the case and doctors were traced leading to clues on whereabouts of the child,” said the SP.

The SP said a deal was negotiated for the child at Rs 1.80 lakh and an amount of 85,000 has been recovered.

The official said, “Six teams were constituted to trace the missing child, and a surveillance team was activated to work out CCTV footage available about the incident. The gang operating under a doctor couple of Hathras as a kingpin, has been busted.”

Call details of those arrested after nabbing Deep Kumar gave clues which were assembled and their call details gave police more links of this network spread in Agra, Firozabad, Mathura beside other districts of Agra Zone.

The SP said the doctor couple confessed to running an organised gang involved in the theft and selling of children.

“These children were abducted from railway platforms and bus stands and sold to childless couples,” he said.

“We are also investigating Poonam and Vimlesh as it was revealed that they are working as ANM (auxiliary nursing midwifery) on contract for government welfare schemes. Sections related to the offence of human trafficking are being added to crime,” Mushtaq added.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

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Karnataka: Police Detain Chief Seer of Lingayat Mutt for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Minors

Two minor girls have accused the seer of 'sexually abusing' them for nearly couple of years and others of allegedly cooperating with the act.

30 Aug 2022

Haryana: Dainik Bhaskar Scribe Held, Another Booked for Publishing ‘Incorrect Place’ of Terrorist Arrest
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: iStock


New Delhi: Police have detained and started investigation against a Chitradurga-based prominent Lingayat mutt seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru on Monday for alleged sexual abuse of minor girls, according to reports. The Mysuru police registered a case under the POCSO Act against the Murugha Mutt seer on Sunday.

The case has been registered at the Nazarbad Police Station in Mysuru, based on a complaint by an officer of the District Child Protection Unit, The Hindu reported. The warden of a hostel run by the mutt was among the five accused, police sources told PTI. The seer was detained after the case was transferred to the Chitradurga police.

The police said the complaint is based on the statement of the two girls who accused the seer of 'sexually abusing' them for nearly couple of years now and others of allegedly cooperating with the act, PTI reported.

The girls reportedly approached the 'Odanadi Seva Samsthe', a Mysuru-based NGO, and narrated their ordeal during counselling on Friday night. Following this, the organisation approached the authorities.

The two girl victims then reached Chitradurga on Saturday night and were placed in the district Bala Mandira and brought to the child welfare committee. Their statement was recorded before the child welfare committee and the district police, following which a medical examination was conducted on them at the district hospital.

According to the police complaint, the girls are aged 15 and 16 and were staying at the hostel run by the Murugha Mutt. The two were sexually abused for over three-and-a-half-years, as per an India Today report.

The Chitradurga police have also registered a complaint against S K Basavarajan, former MLA and administrator of the mutt, on charges of kidnapping the victims and trying to sexually assault a woman warden of the said hostel, The Hindu reported.

The case against S K Basavarajan was registered by the warden of Muruga Mutt at Chitradurga rural police station under IPC Sec 354(A),504,506,363, & u/s 120(B), India Today reported. The warden alleged that the two minor girls from the Muruga Mutt hostel were kidnapped and later found at Cottonpet Police Station in Bengaluru. She alleged that Basavarajan has been accused of sexually abusing the children and the warden from the day he took over as administrator of the Muruga Mutt.


Protests in City

The city saw two different protests seeking justice for the seer and the victims, according to The Hindu's report. While one group comprising some seers and politicians protested the seer's arrest and claimed that allegations against him were false and baseless, the other group of protesters held a demonstration before the child welfare committee and demanded a fair and transparent probe. Some protesters belonging to the latter group also demanded a judicial probe into the case citing a lack of confidence in the local police. 

There is a possibility of the provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities against SC/STs Act being invoked against the seer because one of the victims is from the Scheduled Caste.

Meanwhile, Murugha Sharanaru has responded to the allegations claiming they were a part of a “big conspiracy” against him, according to The Hindu.


Courtesy: Newsclick

Karnataka: Police Detain Chief Seer of Lingayat Mutt for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Minors

Two minor girls have accused the seer of 'sexually abusing' them for nearly couple of years and others of allegedly cooperating with the act.

Haryana: Dainik Bhaskar Scribe Held, Another Booked for Publishing ‘Incorrect Place’ of Terrorist Arrest
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: iStock


New Delhi: Police have detained and started investigation against a Chitradurga-based prominent Lingayat mutt seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru on Monday for alleged sexual abuse of minor girls, according to reports. The Mysuru police registered a case under the POCSO Act against the Murugha Mutt seer on Sunday.

The case has been registered at the Nazarbad Police Station in Mysuru, based on a complaint by an officer of the District Child Protection Unit, The Hindu reported. The warden of a hostel run by the mutt was among the five accused, police sources told PTI. The seer was detained after the case was transferred to the Chitradurga police.

The police said the complaint is based on the statement of the two girls who accused the seer of 'sexually abusing' them for nearly couple of years now and others of allegedly cooperating with the act, PTI reported.

The girls reportedly approached the 'Odanadi Seva Samsthe', a Mysuru-based NGO, and narrated their ordeal during counselling on Friday night. Following this, the organisation approached the authorities.

The two girl victims then reached Chitradurga on Saturday night and were placed in the district Bala Mandira and brought to the child welfare committee. Their statement was recorded before the child welfare committee and the district police, following which a medical examination was conducted on them at the district hospital.

According to the police complaint, the girls are aged 15 and 16 and were staying at the hostel run by the Murugha Mutt. The two were sexually abused for over three-and-a-half-years, as per an India Today report.

The Chitradurga police have also registered a complaint against S K Basavarajan, former MLA and administrator of the mutt, on charges of kidnapping the victims and trying to sexually assault a woman warden of the said hostel, The Hindu reported.

The case against S K Basavarajan was registered by the warden of Muruga Mutt at Chitradurga rural police station under IPC Sec 354(A),504,506,363, & u/s 120(B), India Today reported. The warden alleged that the two minor girls from the Muruga Mutt hostel were kidnapped and later found at Cottonpet Police Station in Bengaluru. She alleged that Basavarajan has been accused of sexually abusing the children and the warden from the day he took over as administrator of the Muruga Mutt.


Protests in City

The city saw two different protests seeking justice for the seer and the victims, according to The Hindu's report. While one group comprising some seers and politicians protested the seer's arrest and claimed that allegations against him were false and baseless, the other group of protesters held a demonstration before the child welfare committee and demanded a fair and transparent probe. Some protesters belonging to the latter group also demanded a judicial probe into the case citing a lack of confidence in the local police. 

There is a possibility of the provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities against SC/STs Act being invoked against the seer because one of the victims is from the Scheduled Caste.

Meanwhile, Murugha Sharanaru has responded to the allegations claiming they were a part of a “big conspiracy” against him, according to The Hindu.


Courtesy: Newsclick

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UP: Boy allegedly thrashed by teacher over fee payment, dies

The boy allegedly died due to severe internal bleedings, caused by injuries during the incident.

19 Aug 2022

ChildRepresentative Image

Bahraich: A 13-year-old boy died in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district almost nine days after he was allegedly thrashed by his teacher.

The boy allegedly died due to severe internal bleedings, caused by injuries during the incident.

Rajesh Vishwakarma, the victim’s brother, told reporters: “My brother was beaten up by his teacher because of school fees of Rs 250 per month. I had paid it online but the teacher did not know and brutally beat up my brother.”

The victim’s uncle has now lodged a complaint with the Sirsiya police.

The incident has taken on a casteist colour with the boy’s family claiming that the victim was thrashed as he was a Dalit while the teacher belonged to the upper caste.

Shravasti SP Arvind K. Maurya said that a case has been registered and investigations were underway.

Last week, a nine-year-old Dalit boy, who was allegedly thrashed by his school teacher in Rajasthan, for touching a drinking water pot, also died.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

UP: Boy allegedly thrashed by teacher over fee payment, dies

The boy allegedly died due to severe internal bleedings, caused by injuries during the incident.

ChildRepresentative Image

Bahraich: A 13-year-old boy died in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district almost nine days after he was allegedly thrashed by his teacher.

The boy allegedly died due to severe internal bleedings, caused by injuries during the incident.

Rajesh Vishwakarma, the victim’s brother, told reporters: “My brother was beaten up by his teacher because of school fees of Rs 250 per month. I had paid it online but the teacher did not know and brutally beat up my brother.”

The victim’s uncle has now lodged a complaint with the Sirsiya police.

The incident has taken on a casteist colour with the boy’s family claiming that the victim was thrashed as he was a Dalit while the teacher belonged to the upper caste.

Shravasti SP Arvind K. Maurya said that a case has been registered and investigations were underway.

Last week, a nine-year-old Dalit boy, who was allegedly thrashed by his school teacher in Rajasthan, for touching a drinking water pot, also died.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

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9-year-old Dalit boy dies after teacher allegedly thrashes him; cops deny “caste angle”

Family alleges teacher was enraged and beat up the 9-year-old boy after he touched a pot of water meant for “upper caste” people

18 Aug 2022

Dalit Boy

Indra Meghwal, a 9-year-old Dalit boy who was allegedly beaten brutally by his teacher, has succumbed to his injuries. The boy’s family alleges that his teacher beat up the boy for drinking water from a pot that was only meant for “upper caste” people such as the teacher.

The family hails from Surana village in Rajasthan’s Jalore district and the beating took place on July 20. The boy succumbed to his injuries on August 13 in an Ahmedabad hospital, after being taken to at least six other hospitals in the interim.

“My boy, Indra Kumar, was a student of standard three,” said his father Devaram Meghwal in an interview to NDTV. “He tried to drink water from a pot following which his teacher beat him up. We found out when he came back home and saw the injuries to his ears and face. He said the teacher beat him,” said Meghwal. “The beating was so brutal, it led to hemorrhage and my boy’s limbs stopped working. First, we took him to a local hospital, but had to keep shifting him from one hospital to another in nearby villages and districts. We even went to Mehsana and finally Ahmedabad,” he recalled.

“My nephew died because of his caste. Dalits face inhuman treatment in our region. “Even today, we have to go several kilometres to find barbers who can cut our hair. Ever since we registered the FIR, we have been living in fear for our own safety,” his uncle Kishore Kumar Meghwal told the Indian Express.

The family has pointed fingers at Chail Singh, an “upper caste” teacher who they say was enraged when Indra touched a pot of water meant for the teacher and proceeded to brutally thrash the boy. Singh was arrested on Saturday after the child’s death, and the police have taken statements of his classmates and other students present on that day.

Shockingly, police say they haven’t found a “caste angle” to the death.

Jalore SP Harsh Vardhan Agarwalla told the publication, “We are investigating the allegation that the boy was beaten up because he drank from a certain pot, and are also interrogating people from the school. But our preliminary investigation hasn’t proved this allegation.”

But the family has found support in local political leaders, one of whom, Congress MLA from Baran-Atru, Pana Chand Meghwal, resigned saying he was “hurt at the constant atrocities being committed upon Dalits and the marginalised, even after 75 years of Independence”. Bairwa, another Congress MLA from Baseri in Dholpur, who is also the Rajasthan Scheduled Caste Commission chairman visited the family and now appears less inclined to believe the police’s findings. He told IE, “The police’s factual report that was sent to us said there was no caste angle. But after talking to people here, I know that is the reason… If police are trying to suppress the motive, I will recommend the suspension of the entire police station.”

Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has also demanded justice for the child. In a Hindi language tweet she said, “No amount of condemnation for this heartbreaking act is enough.” She also demanded President’s rule be imposed in Rajasthan, claiming that the Congress government had failed to protect the oppressed and marginalized people of the state.

 

 

Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani has also called out the caste-based crime: 

Jignesh

 

On Tuesday, August 16, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took suo motu cognizance and sent notices to the chief secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP), Rajasthan. The NHRC has sought a detailed report, including present status of the police investigation, as well as action taken against the teacher. A news agency quoted an excerpt from the NHRC’s notice: “Apart from the status of payment of the statutory relief under provisions of the SC/ST Act, the Commission would like to know from the state government as to what steps have been taken or proposed to be taken to ensure that such inhuman and cruel acts are not done with the vulnerable sections of the society, including SC and ST.”

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, met with Jignesh Mewani in Ahmedabad and on Thursday, August 18, announced monetary compensation for the family.   

 

 

 

Related:

NHRC takes suo motu cognizance of 9-year-old Dalit boy’s death

Uttar Pradesh: Dalit man dies by suicide after being allegedly assaulted by policemen

9-year-old Dalit boy dies after teacher allegedly thrashes him; cops deny “caste angle”

Family alleges teacher was enraged and beat up the 9-year-old boy after he touched a pot of water meant for “upper caste” people

Dalit Boy

Indra Meghwal, a 9-year-old Dalit boy who was allegedly beaten brutally by his teacher, has succumbed to his injuries. The boy’s family alleges that his teacher beat up the boy for drinking water from a pot that was only meant for “upper caste” people such as the teacher.

The family hails from Surana village in Rajasthan’s Jalore district and the beating took place on July 20. The boy succumbed to his injuries on August 13 in an Ahmedabad hospital, after being taken to at least six other hospitals in the interim.

“My boy, Indra Kumar, was a student of standard three,” said his father Devaram Meghwal in an interview to NDTV. “He tried to drink water from a pot following which his teacher beat him up. We found out when he came back home and saw the injuries to his ears and face. He said the teacher beat him,” said Meghwal. “The beating was so brutal, it led to hemorrhage and my boy’s limbs stopped working. First, we took him to a local hospital, but had to keep shifting him from one hospital to another in nearby villages and districts. We even went to Mehsana and finally Ahmedabad,” he recalled.

“My nephew died because of his caste. Dalits face inhuman treatment in our region. “Even today, we have to go several kilometres to find barbers who can cut our hair. Ever since we registered the FIR, we have been living in fear for our own safety,” his uncle Kishore Kumar Meghwal told the Indian Express.

The family has pointed fingers at Chail Singh, an “upper caste” teacher who they say was enraged when Indra touched a pot of water meant for the teacher and proceeded to brutally thrash the boy. Singh was arrested on Saturday after the child’s death, and the police have taken statements of his classmates and other students present on that day.

Shockingly, police say they haven’t found a “caste angle” to the death.

Jalore SP Harsh Vardhan Agarwalla told the publication, “We are investigating the allegation that the boy was beaten up because he drank from a certain pot, and are also interrogating people from the school. But our preliminary investigation hasn’t proved this allegation.”

But the family has found support in local political leaders, one of whom, Congress MLA from Baran-Atru, Pana Chand Meghwal, resigned saying he was “hurt at the constant atrocities being committed upon Dalits and the marginalised, even after 75 years of Independence”. Bairwa, another Congress MLA from Baseri in Dholpur, who is also the Rajasthan Scheduled Caste Commission chairman visited the family and now appears less inclined to believe the police’s findings. He told IE, “The police’s factual report that was sent to us said there was no caste angle. But after talking to people here, I know that is the reason… If police are trying to suppress the motive, I will recommend the suspension of the entire police station.”

Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has also demanded justice for the child. In a Hindi language tweet she said, “No amount of condemnation for this heartbreaking act is enough.” She also demanded President’s rule be imposed in Rajasthan, claiming that the Congress government had failed to protect the oppressed and marginalized people of the state.

 

 

Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani has also called out the caste-based crime: 

Jignesh

 

On Tuesday, August 16, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took suo motu cognizance and sent notices to the chief secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP), Rajasthan. The NHRC has sought a detailed report, including present status of the police investigation, as well as action taken against the teacher. A news agency quoted an excerpt from the NHRC’s notice: “Apart from the status of payment of the statutory relief under provisions of the SC/ST Act, the Commission would like to know from the state government as to what steps have been taken or proposed to be taken to ensure that such inhuman and cruel acts are not done with the vulnerable sections of the society, including SC and ST.”

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, met with Jignesh Mewani in Ahmedabad and on Thursday, August 18, announced monetary compensation for the family.   

 

 

 

Related:

NHRC takes suo motu cognizance of 9-year-old Dalit boy’s death

Uttar Pradesh: Dalit man dies by suicide after being allegedly assaulted by policemen

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Two Starvation Deaths in Fortnight Rattles West Bengal

Confusion caused due to overlapping ration schemes and unemployment appear to be direct causes behind the starvation deaths.

18 Aug 2022

Starvation deaths

Kolkata: Two tragic starvation deaths in the previous fortnight during the 76th independence day celebrations have rattled the state. Both the two deaths were reported from backward regions of West Bengal - one from Bhulabheda of West Medinipur district and the other from Kranti block of Malbazar in Jalpaiguri district.

The first incident involves the death of Sanjay Sardar died on August 3 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for days. The family has been in dire straits after he contracted tuberculosis in the month of June and Sanjay, a daily wage earner, could not go to work.

Though on paper there are schemes like Laxmi Bhandar and other schemes; however Sanjay didn't have the required Scheduled Caste (SC) certificate, resulting in his family not receiving the stipulated Rs 1,000.

Based on a report by a Bengali news daily, a team from the Right to Food and Work Campaign visited Bhulabheda recently and surveyed the condition of people living there. In the fact finding report it is stated that the death of the daily wage earner should be seen in the context of the food crisis that has set in the area. Sanjay’s family admitted to the fact-finding team that getting even one square meal for a day was difficult for them. Moreover as the family didn't have Aadhar card linkage with their ration card, they did not get the stipulated Rajya Khadya Suraksha Yojana (RKSY 2) ration which is monthly 1 kg of rice and 1 kg of wheat.

Sanjay Sardar was a migrant labourer who lost his job during the first lockdown, according to the report. After coming home in March 2020 he did not get any work in the village. Sometimes, he got paid as a farmhand but that was extremely irregular. While the family needed an Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration card, the government instead gave them a RKSY 2 ration card which is meant for relatively better-off persons. It should be noted that in AAY scheme, a family gets 35 kgs of rice and wheat and cereals.

The second starvation death occurred in a closed tea garden where a tea garden worker, Dinesh Orao, lost his life on August 13 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for months.

The name of the tea garden is Raj Project Garden. As the tea garden owner, Dharmendra Thakur arbitrarily closed the plantation on July 10, Orao’s family had been starving for months.

“The owner of the garden is singularly responsible for this death,” family members of the deceased told reporters.

It may be recalled that in the Malbazar area, a number of tea gardens including Nageshwari tea estate, Bagrakote tea estate, Kilkote tea estate and many other tea estates are closed, and this has resulted in widespread hunger among tea garden workers in the area.

Courtesy: Newsclick

Two Starvation Deaths in Fortnight Rattles West Bengal

Confusion caused due to overlapping ration schemes and unemployment appear to be direct causes behind the starvation deaths.

Starvation deaths

Kolkata: Two tragic starvation deaths in the previous fortnight during the 76th independence day celebrations have rattled the state. Both the two deaths were reported from backward regions of West Bengal - one from Bhulabheda of West Medinipur district and the other from Kranti block of Malbazar in Jalpaiguri district.

The first incident involves the death of Sanjay Sardar died on August 3 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for days. The family has been in dire straits after he contracted tuberculosis in the month of June and Sanjay, a daily wage earner, could not go to work.

Though on paper there are schemes like Laxmi Bhandar and other schemes; however Sanjay didn't have the required Scheduled Caste (SC) certificate, resulting in his family not receiving the stipulated Rs 1,000.

Based on a report by a Bengali news daily, a team from the Right to Food and Work Campaign visited Bhulabheda recently and surveyed the condition of people living there. In the fact finding report it is stated that the death of the daily wage earner should be seen in the context of the food crisis that has set in the area. Sanjay’s family admitted to the fact-finding team that getting even one square meal for a day was difficult for them. Moreover as the family didn't have Aadhar card linkage with their ration card, they did not get the stipulated Rajya Khadya Suraksha Yojana (RKSY 2) ration which is monthly 1 kg of rice and 1 kg of wheat.

Sanjay Sardar was a migrant labourer who lost his job during the first lockdown, according to the report. After coming home in March 2020 he did not get any work in the village. Sometimes, he got paid as a farmhand but that was extremely irregular. While the family needed an Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration card, the government instead gave them a RKSY 2 ration card which is meant for relatively better-off persons. It should be noted that in AAY scheme, a family gets 35 kgs of rice and wheat and cereals.

The second starvation death occurred in a closed tea garden where a tea garden worker, Dinesh Orao, lost his life on August 13 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for months.

The name of the tea garden is Raj Project Garden. As the tea garden owner, Dharmendra Thakur arbitrarily closed the plantation on July 10, Orao’s family had been starving for months.

“The owner of the garden is singularly responsible for this death,” family members of the deceased told reporters.

It may be recalled that in the Malbazar area, a number of tea gardens including Nageshwari tea estate, Bagrakote tea estate, Kilkote tea estate and many other tea estates are closed, and this has resulted in widespread hunger among tea garden workers in the area.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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Delhi HC expresses concerns over presence of CSA survivor at the time of POCSO bail hearings

Concerns about the possible impact of such allegedly forced interaction between the survivor and the alleged abuser have been raised by rights groups

16 Aug 2022

 survivor of Child Sexual AbuseRepresentation Image | https://www.scsaorg.org


The Delhi High Court expressed concerns over the potential psychological impact on a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) when they are required to be present in court during bail hearings for the alleged abuser. This is because the arguments often vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity and outright character assassination, even when the survivor is a minor and the alleged abuser is being tried under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), which is the central legislation dealing with sexual offences against children.

The HC was hearing an interlocutory application asking for suspension of sentence of a POCSO accused as he has served a substantial portion of his sentence that was prescribed by the trial court. The court imposed several restrictions on the accused who is the father of prosecutrix (the survivor) such as - that the he shall not visit his family in Rajasthan, that he should visit the police station every Monday, that he shall not contact any members of the survivor’s family.

On receiving some suggested practices from the side of appellant over in light of the fact that many of the victims in POCSO cases were being made to appear physically or virtually in Court at the time of hearing of the bail applications, the court said in its order, “This has led to a situation where the victims are being forced not only potentially interact with the accused person, but also be present in Court when the arguments regarding the offence are being taken up for hearing. The psychological impact on a POCSO victim being present in Court is immensely grave as the arguments vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity, character etc. The prosecutrix/ victim is forced to be present in the Court with the accused that is the same person who allegedly has violated her.”

The court sent the suggested guidelines to Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee (DHCLSC) and Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) for their input.

Section 33 of the act states that the special court that has taken cognizance of an offence, should create a child friendly atmosphere in courts. Section 36 of the act states that the child should not see the accused during testifying or presenting any evidence in the court. This section allows the usage of single visibility mirrors and curtains for the purpose of realising the purpose of the section. It says --

“(1) The Special Court shall ensure that the child is not exposed in anyway to the accused at the time of recording of the evidence, while at the same time ensuring that the accused is in a position to hear the statement of the child and communicate with his advocate.

(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), the Special Court may record the statement of a child through video conferencing or by utilising single visibility mirrors or curtains or any other device.”

 Section 37 of the POCSO Act states that the trials be conducted in Camera and parents or person the child has trust or confidence in, be present. It says-

“The Special Court shall try cases in camera and in the presence of the parents of the child or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence:

Provided that where the Special Court is of the opinion that the child needs to be examined at a place other than the court, it shall proceed to issue a commission in accordance with the provisions of section 284 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)”

These provisions were included in the act so that the child is not put through the trauma once again during the process of trial and a child friendly environment can be created. The case will be listed on 30th August again for further directions.

The full order may be read here: 

Related:

Jubilee Hills gang rape case: POCSO court to begin trial soon

Women and children targeted at public toilets, Mumbai POCSO Court suggests appointing women security guards

Delhi HC expresses concerns over presence of CSA survivor at the time of POCSO bail hearings

Concerns about the possible impact of such allegedly forced interaction between the survivor and the alleged abuser have been raised by rights groups

 survivor of Child Sexual AbuseRepresentation Image | https://www.scsaorg.org


The Delhi High Court expressed concerns over the potential psychological impact on a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) when they are required to be present in court during bail hearings for the alleged abuser. This is because the arguments often vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity and outright character assassination, even when the survivor is a minor and the alleged abuser is being tried under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), which is the central legislation dealing with sexual offences against children.

The HC was hearing an interlocutory application asking for suspension of sentence of a POCSO accused as he has served a substantial portion of his sentence that was prescribed by the trial court. The court imposed several restrictions on the accused who is the father of prosecutrix (the survivor) such as - that the he shall not visit his family in Rajasthan, that he should visit the police station every Monday, that he shall not contact any members of the survivor’s family.

On receiving some suggested practices from the side of appellant over in light of the fact that many of the victims in POCSO cases were being made to appear physically or virtually in Court at the time of hearing of the bail applications, the court said in its order, “This has led to a situation where the victims are being forced not only potentially interact with the accused person, but also be present in Court when the arguments regarding the offence are being taken up for hearing. The psychological impact on a POCSO victim being present in Court is immensely grave as the arguments vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity, character etc. The prosecutrix/ victim is forced to be present in the Court with the accused that is the same person who allegedly has violated her.”

The court sent the suggested guidelines to Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee (DHCLSC) and Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) for their input.

Section 33 of the act states that the special court that has taken cognizance of an offence, should create a child friendly atmosphere in courts. Section 36 of the act states that the child should not see the accused during testifying or presenting any evidence in the court. This section allows the usage of single visibility mirrors and curtains for the purpose of realising the purpose of the section. It says --

“(1) The Special Court shall ensure that the child is not exposed in anyway to the accused at the time of recording of the evidence, while at the same time ensuring that the accused is in a position to hear the statement of the child and communicate with his advocate.

(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), the Special Court may record the statement of a child through video conferencing or by utilising single visibility mirrors or curtains or any other device.”

 Section 37 of the POCSO Act states that the trials be conducted in Camera and parents or person the child has trust or confidence in, be present. It says-

“The Special Court shall try cases in camera and in the presence of the parents of the child or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence:

Provided that where the Special Court is of the opinion that the child needs to be examined at a place other than the court, it shall proceed to issue a commission in accordance with the provisions of section 284 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)”

These provisions were included in the act so that the child is not put through the trauma once again during the process of trial and a child friendly environment can be created. The case will be listed on 30th August again for further directions.

The full order may be read here: 

Related:

Jubilee Hills gang rape case: POCSO court to begin trial soon

Women and children targeted at public toilets, Mumbai POCSO Court suggests appointing women security guards

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