Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A happy morning - System proposes us with a gift of law for our alleged righteousness- New law proposed to curb ‘honour killings'- THE HINDU

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New law proposed to curb ‘honour killings'
J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI: To tackle the menace of ‘honour killings' in some parts of the country and deal with illegal orders from by ‘khap panchayats,' the Law Commission has proposed legislation to prosecute persons or a group involved in such endangering conduct and activities.
The proposed legislation, ‘The Endangerment of Life and Liberty (Protection, Prosecution and other measures) Act, 2011,' drafted by Law Commission Member and senior advocate R. Venkataramani, has been discussed and approved by the Commission, which is headed by Justice P. Venkatarama Reddi. It is expected to be released shortly for comments.
The Commission has turned down the demand for introducing a clause in Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code (murder) to bring ‘honour killings' under the ambit of this Section. It says: “There is no need to introduce a provision in Section 300 in order to bring the so-called honour killings within the ambit of this provision. The addition of such a clause may create confusion and interpretational difficulties. The existing provisions in the IPC are adequate to take care of the situations leading to overt acts of killing or causing bodily or other acts to the targeted person who allegedly undermined the honour of the caste or community.”
The idea behind the provisions in the draft legislation is that there must be a threshold bar on congregation or assembly for discussing and condemning the conduct of young persons above the age of majority in marrying as per their choice even if they belong to the same ‘gotra' (which is not prohibited) or they belong to different castes or communities. ‘Panchayatdars' or village elders have no right to interfere with the life and liberty of such young couples and they cannot create a situation in which such couples are placed in a hostile environment in the village/locality concerned.
Under the proposed law, “the act of endangerment of life and liberty shall mean and include any manner of acts of threat, encouragement, commending, exhorting and creating an environment whereby loss of life and liberty is imminent or threatened and shall include (a) enforcement of measures such as social boycott, deprivation of the means of livelihood, denial of facilities and services which are otherwise generally available to the people of the locality concerned and (b) directly or indirectly compelling the persons concerned to leave or abandon their homestead in the locality.”
“Further, it shall be unlawful for any group of persons to gather, assemble or congregate with the … intention to deliberate, declare on, or condemn any marriage or relationship such as marriage between two persons of majority age in the locality concerned on the basis that such conduct or relationship has dishonoured the caste or community or religion of all or some of the persons forming part of the assembly or the family or the people of the locality concerned.”
It shall be presumed that any person or persons found to be part of the unlawful caste assembly did so with the intention to act in endangerment of life or liberty. Such an assembly shall be treated as an unlawful assembly and those present in it shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of not less than three years and extending up to five years and a fine of Rs.30,000.
The draft legislation says: “Any person or persons instrumental in gathering of such an assembly or who takes an active part in the execution of the assembly shall also be subjected to civil sanctions,” viz., they will not be eligible to contest any election to any local authority and will be treated as a disqualified candidate.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Honour Killings: Gaurav joins hands with HRT

New Delhi, Jul 18 : Gaurav Saini, husband of Monica Dagar, who was killed for 'honour' by her family members, today joined hands with the Human Rescue Team (HRT), a youth group which has raised its voice against honour killings.

HRT is an initiative launched by Dr Ashu Kumar (AIIMS) and has the support of technocrats from IIT, JNU and other universities.

At a meeting at AIIMS, Gaurav said, ''what the HRT is doing is something before the crime is committed. What I am doing is the legal battle after the crime has been done. Had there been people with me or some kind of support from activists or groups like them, may be this would not have happened. All I now want is that whatever happened with me should not happen to anyone else.'' ''I am, therefore, joining hands with them to help other such victims and form a mass support system.'' Recollecting the events that changed his life, Gaurav said, ''I had pleaded them (members of Monica's family) to sit down and talk. I wanted to tell them why Monica and I had taken this step but they were just not ready to let us stay together.'' Gaurav is now making efforts to move the Supreme Court to get his case tranferred from UP to Delhi, where he feels things will be easier and within the confines of law.

He will also move the Supreme Court for reinvestigation of the case, since he believes Monica is still alive and has been confined somewhere by her family. Also, he will pray for a CBI inquiry in the matter and bring a PIL in the apex court to see a good law passed to curb the menace of honour killing.

Monika Dagar had married Gaurav Saini against the wishes of her family. She was later, allegedly killed and cremated by her family members.

The HRT had recently organised a march against honour killings at Jantar Mantar and has initiated a helpline for the victims of what they defined as a ''blood curling tradition''.

Dr Kumar said the Atharva Veda says that the girl should be provided full freedom to choose her husband and in case of confusion, girl's decision should be respected.

Explaining that medical science speaks of incidence of some extremely rare diseases incraesing due to consanguineous marriage, he added that it can be helped by premarital genetic screening.

The group, under his leadership, is also visiting various villages in UP after they received distress calls on their helpline(9891082685).

The group made an emergency visit to Sikandarpur (Kakauri) village in Ghaziabad to expose the tirade of police-politics nexus and the cultural ignorance among people.

In another case, the HRT had rescued a young widow in Bahuraich, UP, who faced a threat to her life after the village panchayat decided that she be punished for wrong morals and was abused sexually by her husband's family.

The HRT also announced a Commom Alliance for Individual Rescue (CAIR) sharing the information reserve of technocrats, supposed to cover larger spectrum of individual rightrs violation.

They would also be counselling individuals and families who are facing such threats.


News » National

Centre clears caste in Census 2011

Smita Gupta
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An official collects details for census at 
Kutlur village in Mangalore. The Union Cabinet has given its approval 
for including caste in Census 2011. File Photo: Sudipto Mondal
An official collects details for census at Kutlur village in Mangalore. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for including caste in Census 2011. File Photo: Sudipto Mondal
A focussed, stand-alone house-to-house caste headcount will be conducted between June and September 2011, after the National Population Register (NPR) is ready.
On Thursday, after five months of wrangling among political parties, first on whether to undertake caste enumeration or not, and then on the method for doing it, the Union Cabinet, after considering the recommendations of the Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, gave its approval, paving the way for caste being included in Census 2011.
“After considering various options, the option that we have approved is based on the responses of various political parties: that caste must be canvassed and the integrity of the headcount must not be affected,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram told journalists. Every point of view was “accommodated and the timetable drawn up,” he noted.
As for the additional cost for the exercise, he said it would be “assessed” at a separate meeting.
Mr. Chidambaram, however, evaded a question on whether caste enumeration would be merged with the headcount.
Doing so could be contentious, as there are two views on this: those who favour the merger say that correlating the caste identities of people with their educational and economic status will help map the population better, thus facilitating a more accurate targeting of welfare schemes. But who oppose to it fear that making such connections might lead to a demand for larger quotas.
Sources in the government said this would be a “focussed exercise.” They stressed that since the enumerators would be working on a verified data base — the NPR — the integrity of the data would be maintained. Those being enumerated would be asked to name their caste, but they would have the option to say “No caste,” if they so wish, said the sources. Later, the raw data collected would be analysed by an expert group, set up by the Centre.
The Office of the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner would be “legally empowered” to collect caste data by putting in place a suitable legal regime.



Delhi students launch a new movement to boycott caste-based Census

Staff Reporter
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Students from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and various other colleges in the Capital gathered on Saturday to launch a non-cooperation movement against inclusion of caste in census. Refusing to participate in the ongoing Census, the students claimed that they ‘will not be part of an initiative where the Government is actually not allowing overall development but continuing to divide people.'
“The students gathered for the meet at AIIMS to register their protest against the caste-based Census and to gather public support for their movement. The country has to move forward and not get held back by divisions made by such moves by the Central Government, including promotion of the caste-based Census,'' said Dr. Vikas Jain from AIIMS.
Spread awareness
The students have decided to spread awareness about the movement by talking to people, using the Internet and cell phone facilities to reach out to the maximum number of people.
“The Government has failed to take any constructive steps to unite the people of the country. They have, however, by introducing caste-based Census tried to drive home the divide further. The country is facing several crisis today and we urge the Central Government and all other political parties to rise above petty vote-based politics and look at the real problems plaguing the country and its youth,'' noted the release issued by the group.


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Human Rescue Team to the rescue again
Staff Reporter NEW DELHI: The Human Rescue Team helpline launched to address rising cases of honour killings across the country has come to the rescue of another couple whose inter-caste marriage recently was threatened by the girl's family.
The couple, both of whom are over the legal marriageable age, hail from Patna. The girl belongs to the Kurmi caste and her family was opposed to their marriage. She came away with the boy, who is from the Dhanu caste, to Ghaziabad where the two got married at a quiet ceremony at Vedic Hindu Sabha on July 16. The girl's family filed a case of kidnapping against the boy in Patna and allegedly threatened his family with dire consequences if she was not returned to them.
The husband called up the Human Rescue Team, supported and run by persons from the AIIMS, IITs, JNU and many other universities and groups across the country. “We couldn't stay in Patna. There was no opposition to the marriage on my husband's side. I knew my family was opposed to it, but I never thought things would come to this,” said the girl who sought the help of HRT. Her husband, who works for the Indian Army, is posted in Jodhpur and was in constant touch with HRT.
“We will approach the court first,” said Dr. Ashu Kumar, coordinator of the Human Rescue Team. His team alerted the local media in Patna and advised the girl to file a complaint at the Ghaziabad police station asking for protection.


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NGO challenges ‘honour killings'
Staff Reporter
“These [killings] are spreading like an epidemic”
NEW DELHI: Protesting against the spate of “honour killings” across the country, youth group “The Human Rescue Team” discussed the cases it has handled so far to help victims of this heinous crime and raised questions challenging the existence of these killings.
The Human Rescue Team launched a helpline a few days ago with the support of individuals from AIIMS, Indian Institutes of Technology, Jawaharlal Nehru University and many other universities and groups across the country.
Speaking at a press conference organised at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences on Sunday, Dr. Ashu Kumar, coordinator of the group, said “these [killings] are spreading like an epidemic”.
Talking about same gotra marriages being forbidden in Hindu scriptures being cited as the reason behind these killings, Dr. Ashu said, “ Vedas do not mention prejudice of gotra anywhere, except the Rigveda that mentions gotras with respect to the rishis who spoke respective chapters regarding their specific progeny. However, there is no written proof of samgotra marriage prohibition,” he said. He cited some of the cases that the group has solved through its helpline. In one of the cases, a couple's life was threatened by the husband's family members after one and a half years of their being married. The team made a visit to village Sikandarpur (Kakauri) in Ghaziabad, and found that the situation was a conspiracy of village politics and police, made worse by cultural ignorance of the villagers.
He said his team used the theories of neo-informatics to achieve the success it has so far, and also that he hoped to continue the fight against these brutalities.
The initial helpline numbers are 09891082658, 09015216082, 09650537374 and email : aiims.ashu@gmail.com.


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A new helpline for victims of caste violence
Bindu Shajan Perappadan NEW DELHI: Standing up for the youth of the country living under the fear of being murdered in the name of “honour”, doctors, engineers, scholars and socialists from various educational institutes including the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi University, Indian Institute of Technology and Jawaharlal Nehru University have come together to set up a 24-hour helpline offering support to victims of this heinous crime.
“This pro-active group has a dedicated round-the-clock helpline number, e-mail and postal support,” said team member Dr. Ashu Kumar from AIIMS on Friday.
“Through this group we are keen to work with the local public and administration. There is also a need to create a legal helpline for threatened individuals. We want to save every individual who is threatened and appeal to the public to join us in the endeavour,'' he said.
Numbers at service
The group, ‘Human Rescue Team', has put forward the initial helpline numbers -- 09891082658, 09015216082, 09650537374 -- and e-mail: aiims.ashu@gmail.com.
“The people who have dared to swim against the tide have been attacked by extremists brutally. We have to reach out to them. Moreover, the law has to become stringent with such criminals. Another important area is arrangement of counselling for such families who come under the influence of social extremists and exercise brutality on their own loved ones. The media and local activists too play a very important role in spreading the message,” noted a release issued by the group.
The group is working to create awareness against social evils that are caste-based. “According to rough statistics, about a thousand young people have been killed for saving the honour of castes in the last year in the country and the number, along with the cruelty of these murders, seems to be ever increasing,'' added Dr. Ashu.