An Year Of Continued Denial Of Justice For Rohith Vemula

januaryphotoAn Year Of Continued Denial Of Justice For Rohith Vemula

Caste Based Discrimination Must End Now In Educational Institutions Towards Equitable Democratic Spaces 

Hyderabad / New Delhi, January 17th 2016 : It’s a year since Rohith Vemula gave up his life in the struggle against caste discrimination and Brahminical prejudices and practices dominating spaces of Higher education in the country. His death caused a major uproar in the country and gave strength to students coming forward resisting the same and to various ongoing agitations across the country in different universities. His words still continue to haunt and remind us of the complex social structures and deep fissures and inherent inequality in the society. He said, “… the value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing…. My birth is my fatal accident….

If we look back, nothing seems to have changed in last year, Najeeb Ahmed remains missing from JNU for more than two months; eleven students remain suspended for raising voice against the administration and teachers are facing action too for supporting students and their voices; in another central university in Hyderabad, EFLU, five Dalit students have been suspended for raising issues of caste based discrimination; in BHU seven students have been rusticated for demanding 24×7 library facilities; women students continue to face restrictive measures across the country in various universities; and the doors for commercialization of the higher education is being opened through the allowing of corporate investments and the dismal status of the primary and secondary education in the country shows no signs of improvement. The rise and growth of ABVP is being supported and facilitated by the government in Centre and State and the agenda of saffornisation of the education and educational institutions is gaining strength everyday. However, the year has also seen an increase in resistance from the progressive forces and students community at large, and Rohith’s sacrifice has united the students community from various varsities resisting the discrimination and brahminical prejudices and practices.

Our collective struggle for #JusticeForRohith remains unfulfilled since past one year as none of the culprits have been punished and in fact government appointed committees continue to peddle lies and half truth about Rohith’s caste and what happened preceding to his death. These are not going to deter the students and Dalits community in their resolve for an equal space within the university campuses and in the society at large. The heightened consciousness and realization today has helped coming together of the students community, dalit struggles and other identity and issue based struggles together to work for annihilation of caste and fight the caste based discrimination. The hidden discrimination in the ‘merit’ based institutions of the higher education, media, other professional bodies, civil society spaces, are constantly being exposed and challenged.

Government on its own part have done and reacted with violence, vengeance and vilification of the struggle and bestowing of rewards on the perpetrators. In HCU, Radhika Vemula, Rohit’s mother, till date hasn’t been able to visit the ‘Rohith Smarak’ inside the campus; Rohith’s friends continue to be persecuted;  and on the other hand VC Prof Appa Rao was recently felicitated. These practices are similar to what’s happening in other universities. Smriti Irani, former minister of HRD was shunted to another Ministry but that hasn’t changed the nefarious design of those in the power. We condemn every such attempt of this government and vow to continue fighting along with others.

We want to reiterate our support for the call of enactment of the ‘Rohith Act’ for ending caste based discrimination within the educational institutions and fasten the investigation into the circumstances which led to his suicide and punish those responsible for it.

National Team of Advisors, Convenors and Special Invitees of NAPM

NAPM : Advisors and Special Invitees

Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy,  Prafulla Samantara, Binayak Sen, Sandeep Pandey, Sudhir Vombatkere, Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan, CR Neelakandan, Anand Mazgaonkar,  P. Chennaiah, Ramakrishnam Raju,  Sister Celia,  Suniti S R, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Anjali Bharadwaj, Kavita Srivastava, Arundhati Dhuru, Kaladas Dahariya.

National Conveners : 2016-2018

Amitava Mitra, West Bengal; Arul Doss, Tamil Nadu; Ashish Ranjan, Bihar; Dayamani Barla, Jharkhand; Dr. Sunilam, Madhya Pradesh; Faisal Khan, NCR & Haryana; Kailash Meena, Rajasthan; Krishnakant, Gujarat; Lingraj Azad, Orissa; Madhuresh Kumar, Delhi; Manesh Gupta, Uttar Pradesh; Mahendra Yadav, Bihar; Meera Sanghamitra, Telangana; Nanhu Prasad, Delhi; Rajendra Ravi, Delhi; Richa Singh, Uttar Pradesh; Sister  Dorothy, Bihar; Suhas Kolhekar, Mahasrashtra; Vilayodi Venugopal, Kerala; Vimal Bhai, Uttarakhand.

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10 March 2016 – Protests in Delhi

Fishworkers Protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Fishworkers from several parts of the country gathered at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi to protest against the government’s policies towards the fisherfolk in the coastal regions of India. They demanded a separate ministry for fishing and criticized the government for allowing the constructions of innumerable ports without looking into the environmental hazards they pose.

Tibetans in Delhi protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Tibetans observed the 57th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day which took place on this day in 1959. The protesters called for global intervention in Tibet to save Tibetan Lives and send fact finding delegations in Tibet to access the real situation of the Tibetans living there under the Chinese regime.

Dalit Christians and Muslims Protests at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. National Council of Dalit Christians, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, National Council of Churches in India strongly condemned Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thawar Chand Ghelot for his offensive statements. The protesters demanded to grant SC status to Dalit Christians and Muslims in India.

Updates on protests: 6 Jan. 2016

* Gujarat Cong leaders, workers arrested ahead of massive rally: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/521441/gujarat-cong-leaders-workers-arrested.html
* Shadows Rescue Sita From Ravana’s Sundara Kanda: http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/Shadows-Rescue-Sita-From-Ravanas-Sundara-Kanda/2016/01/06/article3213091.ece
* Left not keen on Congress tieup: http://www.asianage.com/india/left-not-keen-congress-tieup-157
* Protesters in no mood to give in: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/protesters-in-no-mood-to-give-in/article8071419.ece
* Media junction: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/media-junction/article8071130.ece
* Trade unions come up with combined demands: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/trade-unions-come-up-with-combined-demands/article8070568.ece
* Face and Voice of ‘Pembilai’ Fall Apart: http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/Face-and-Voice-of-Pembilai-Fall-Apart/2016/01/06/article3213555.ece
* ‘Pembilai Orumai’ Unveils Logo: http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/Pembilai-Orumai-Unveils-Logo/2016/01/06/article3213488.ece
* Tea workers threaten to go for hunger strike: http://www.thedailystar.net/city/tea-workers-threaten-go-hunger-strike-197185
* सफाई कर्मियों की नियुक्ति में आरक्षण का विरोध: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/hathras/hathras-hindi-news/protest-for-reservation-hindi-news-2/
* शेखा झील का नाम बदला तो अनशन: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/aligarh/protest-againt-name-changing-proposal-of-shekha-lake-hindi-news/
* मांगों को लेकर शिक्षकों का धरना: http://rajasthanpatrika.patrika.com/story/rajasthan/protest-of-teachers-1561039.html
* प्लास्टिक थैलियों पर प्रतिबंध के खिलाफ प्रदर्शन: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/deoria/deoria-hindi-news/protest-for-van-on-polithin-bags-hindi-news/
* आपत्तिजनक टिप्पणी के विरोध में प्रदर्शन: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/barabanki/barabanki-hindi-news/protest-against-objectionable-comment-hindi-news/
* आतंकवादियों का पुतला फूंका: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/rampur-uttar-pradesh/rampur-uttar-pradesh-hindi-news/protest-against-alankvad-hindi-news/

दैनिक जागरण
* स्टेडियम के समीप खिलाडि़यों ने किया सड़क जाम: http://www.jagran.com/bihar/saran-protest-by-players-13398748.html

दैनिक जागरण
* सर्किल रेट में वृद्धि के खिलाफ भाजयुमो का प्रदर्शन: http://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-bjpum-activist-protest-against-increase-the-circle-rates-13402163.html

दैनिक जागरण
* महाराजगंज में मंदिर की ज़मीन के लिए बाजार बंद कर जताया विरोध: http://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/lucknow-city-protest-for-land-of-temple-13402410.html

* तीन घंटे तक कंट्रोल रूम में रिसीव नहीं हुई एक भी कॉल: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/yamuna-nagar/yamuna-nagar-hindi-news/protest-of-civil-hospital-workers-hindi-news/

Updates on protests: 5 Jan. 2016

* Villagers bring out jallikattu bulls to stage protest: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/Villagers-bring-out-jallikattu-bulls-to-stage-protest/articleshow/50432758.cms
* Parents fast over fee hike: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1160105/jsp/jharkhand/story_62099.jsp#.Voto9bZ94_4
* Plea to disburse terminal benefits: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/plea-to-disburse-terminal-benefits/article8067388.ece
* TU Leader Makes Film Against Hartals: http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/TU-Leader-Makes-Film-Against-Hartals/2016/01/05/article3211550.ece

* Budget 2016-17: Agri bodies seek more allocation & soft loans for farmers: http://www.business-standard.com/budget/article/budget-2016-17-agri-bodies-seek-more-allocation-soft-loans-for-farmers-116010400508_1.html
* Unions pay tributes to Bardhan: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/unions-pay-tributes-to-bardhan/article8067614.ece
* Adopt a people-friendly budget, BMS urges Centre: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/adopt-a-peoplefriendly-budget-bms-urges-centre/article8067612.ece
* Integration process begins in medical college: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/integration-process-begins-in-medical-college/article8067017.ece
* Trade Unions slam govt for using labour reforms to ease ‘hire and fire’ : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/trade-unions-slam-govt-for-using-labour-reforms-to-ease-hire-and-fire/articleshow/50446172.cms

* FM holds pre-budget talks with farm sector and trade unions: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/FM-holds-pre-budget-talks-with-farm-sector-and-trade-unions/articleshow/50446197.cms?
* TU Leader Makes Film Against Hartals: http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/TU-Leader-Makes-Film-Against-Hartals/2016/01/05/article3211550.ece
* भूख हड़ताल पर बैठे तीन युवकों की हालत बिगड़ी: http://naidunia.jagran.com/chhattisgarh/bilaspur-three-young-men-sitting-on-hunger-strike-health-deteriorated-617664

* ग्रुप डी के अभ्यर्थियों ने तीसरे दिन भी जारी रखी भूख हड़ताल : http://hindi.news18.com/news/chhattisgarh/group-d-candidates-continued-for-the-third-day-of-hunger-strike-1210522.html
* बलात्कार का प्रयास, विरोध पर पिता को पीटा: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/jhansi/jhansi-hindi-news/attempted-rape-the-father-beaten-to-protest-hindi-news/
* पंजाब पल्लेदार यूनियन ने निकाला रोष मार्च: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/bathinda/bathinda-hindi-news/punjab-porter-union-protest-hindi-news/
* पुतला फूंक हमले का किया विरोध: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/mirzapur/protest-over-pathankot-attack-hindi-news/
* 15 प्रतिशत बढ़ोतरी पर नहीं, बोर्ड बोली लगाकर देगा अपनी जमीन: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/sonipat/sonipat-hindi-news/protest-hindi-news-42/
* बेरोजगार अध्यापक यूनियन का रोष प्रदर्शन: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/bathinda/bathinda-hindi-news/unemployed-teacher-union-protest-hindi-news/

Press Release: 31 Years after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy –

Press Release

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy – 31 years of injustice – ​​Don’t forget the martyrs of the Bhopal gas Tragedy
December 03rd, 2015 | New Delhi:

Over 60 people gathered in Jantar Mantar today to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. After 31 years of the largest industrial disaster in the world. The victims and survivors of Bhopal remain without justice. Generations have felt the impacts of the gas, as its impacts are being passed down genetically. The compensation provided has been paltry and rehabilitation minimal. The result of studies on health impacts remain secret, health treatment has been denied and even cleaning up of the toxic waste at the plant has not taken place. On the other hand, Union Carbide and now Dow Chemicals, continue to enjoy impunity and continue their operations. The successive governments have not created any substantial policy changes to address, prevent or prepare for such future disasters, Rather they keep promoting greater investment in dangerous and toxic chemicals and nuclear energy.

Speaking at the protest, Usha Ramanathan pointed out that there is still no law established, which fixes corporate accountability in case of such accidents. Moreover the current Govt. is calling investors from across the world and giving away our land, water and forests, the only thing left now to give away are people’s lives! Usha Ramanathan, Kavita Krishnan, N.D Jaiprakash Dr. Sunilam and Kumar Sunderam stressed on how rather than ensuring industrial liability and people’s safety, the State has created and maintains a special security force for industrial protection! Geeta Ramkrishnan from Tamil Nadu pointed out how workers face the brunt of industrial accidents across the country, with absolutely no consequences for the companies. Kumar Sundaram also spoke to on behalf of everyone present to say that country cannot afford more such disasters, which is imminent with the current push for nuclear energy.
The survivors of Bhopal demand an urgent and unified action from the citizens of the country and ask the State and Central Governments to answer to them.
For more information contact Shabnam@ 9643349452 and Kumar Sundaram @9810556134

Updates on Protests: 23 October, 2015

* Maggi comeback: Goa examining whether to lift ban on ‘2-minute’ noodles: http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-maggi-comeback-goa-examining-whether-to-lift-ban-on-2-minute-noodles-2137554

* Punjab calm, paramilitary forces conduct flag marches: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-calm-paramilitary-forces-conduct-flag-marches/article7794073.ece

* तस्वीरें: विसर्जन के दौरान मूर्ति टूटने से मचा बवाल: http://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/samachar/national/protest-in-gorahkpur-during-murti-visarjan/

* कृषि फार्म के पास मिला युवक का शव, हत्या के विरोध में जाम : http://www.patrika.com/news/states/man-body-found-near-agricultural-farms-protest-against-the-killing-1125000/

* मंडी व्यापारियों ने कारोबार ठप किया: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/baghpat/protest-for-demand-of-trade-hindi-news/

* सुनपेड़ की घटना के विरोध में प्रदर्शन, जाम: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/kurukshetra/kurukshetra-crime-news/sunped-the-protest-demonstration-jam-hindi-news/

* रेलवे ने उठाई दीवार तो भीड़ ने रोक दी ट्रेन: http://inextlive.jagran.com/train-protest-rajdhani-express-detain-96811

* अतिक्रमण के विरोध में मौन धरना आठवें दिन जारी: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/pilibhit/pilibhit-hindi-news/silent-protest-against-encroachment-continues-eighth-day-hindi-news/

* पक्के पल्लेदारों की हड़ताल पर आढ़तियों ने बढ़ाया मेहनताना: http://www.amarujala.com/news/city/budaun/budaun-hindi-news/work-pay-increased-after-the-protest-of-labours-hindi-news/

* पुलिस टॉर्चर से नाबालिग की मौत, परिजनों ने शव सड़क पर रख लगाया जाम: http://www.bhaskar.com/news/c-85-1145472-pa0363-NOR.html

Delhi citizens protest against complete breakdown of health services

PRESS RELEASE: Delhi citizens protest against complete breakdown of health services and apathy of private hospitals

Mass organisations, public health activists and civil society groups demand Delhi Govt. to declare dengue an epidemic and ensure that no hospital refuses to admit dengue patients

Members of over 16 mass organisations, public health and civil society groups came together at the Delhi Secretariat today to protest against the rapidly deteriorating health situation and apathy of private hospitals. The city has been witnessing a spate of tragic dengue deaths where private hospitals have been refusing to admit desperate patients and public hospitals are overburdened and under-prepared. Dengue has now reached epidemic proportions in Delhi as also experienced for the last decade.  The number of reported cases so far is a record high (over 2500 cases by 19th Sep), though the actual number is likely to be much higher than what is being reported.

Despite it being a known fact that Dengue generally peaks during the post monsoon season (during the months of August to October), the lack of preparedness of State agencies, the negligence and extremely weak response,  blatant denial of health care reflect the apathy of the State and its disregard for people’s health rights and lives.  The stories of Avinash Rout and Aman Sharma are unfortunate illustrations of this – they were citizens who had fallen prey not only to the disease, but also to the heinous acts on the part of the (only for profit) private health care institutions, and to the non-vigilance and non-preparedness of the State.

Annie Raja of NFIW demanded that the Delhi Government declare an epidemic and action a comprehensive epidemic control and response plan especially for the needy, economically weak and vulnerable communities. Joe Verghese of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan said ‘there is an urgent need for a citizen’s fact finding commission lead by public health experts to understand and draw wider attention to the systemic issues that lead to collective failure to manage the recent dengue epidemic in the state.’  Prof. Dinesh Varshney of Delhi University spoke of the corruption involved in medical education pointing out that ‘the Vyapam scam is happening in every state, not just in Madhya Pradesh’. He also stressed the need to declare an epidemic and immediate measures be taken including stringent action on private hospitals that are not adhering to rules. ‘In several countries around the world, it is compulsory for private hospital doctors to treat patients in public hospitals in an epidemic situation’, he said.

Citizens gathered protested against the extremely disorganised response by the state machinery which has only been passing the buck between state and central government and municipal agencies. A delegation of four representatives met the Health Minister Satyendra Jain with a memorandum of demands (attached) including long-term commitments to ensure fundamental and structural changes in the uncaring, inhumane and profit-driven health system.

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