रविवार, 28 सितंबर 2008

Police Theories Encountered


IT'S 11 AT night on September 22. Sombre activity is in progress at the Nizamuddin burial ground, but a stunned, occasionally resentful uncertainty pervades the air. A group of some 150 armed policemen stand round, keeping grim watch over a gathering of over 250 people. Some of those attending the funeral are irate. They are questioning the veracity of the rationale that brings them to the burial of Atif, alias Bashir, and Mohammed Sajid, blamed for the September 13 New Delhi blasts and shot dead three days earlier in a police encounter in New Delhi's Jamia Nagar. Now the two are being buried in the presence of the Shahi Imam of the Delhi Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, local politicians and numerous Muslims visiting the city to mark Ramzan. Speaking at the funeral, Bukhari reiterated what many civil society organisations have been saying since September 19, the day of the encounter: "The police cannot label anyone a terrorist. It's for the courts to decide whether a person is guilty."

There are two versions of the events of that day. Badr Taslim, 48, a long-time resident of L-17, Batla House, the building adjacent to the one where the 'terrorists were holed up', first heard the sounds of gunfire at about 11am and after that a scream. Soon, armed men rushed to the spot and told him to get inside his house. Taslim ran to the flat opposite his and saw two men coming down from the fourth floor of L-18, supporting Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma by his arms. Sharma would die later that night of wounds sustained during the operation. But Taslim is unsure how serious Sharma's injuries were. "A small stain of blood was visible under his right arm," he says. "There was no wound in the front of his body. There was no blood on the staircase either."
Some residents recall the sequence. Several gunshots, the police said 30, audible till about 11:40am. Then, the silence. Finally, the bodies of two 'terrorists' — 23-year-old Atif and 17-yearold Sajid — carted away. Taslim didn't see the police arresting Saif, who is suspected to have planted the Regal Cinema bomb that was defused. Masih Alam, a lawyer who lives in the flat opposite L-18, agrees with Taslim's version.
In the police story, Atif was the Indian Mujahideen mastermind who designed and coordinated the five blasts that went off in three crowded New Delhi shopping centres. Sajid was supposedly Atif's close aide. The police claim the Special Cell team had received information that two of those suspected in the blasts were at Jamia Nagar. At about 10:30am, a subinspector posing as a Vodafone salesman knocked on the door of the fourth-floor flat in L-18 Batla House. The residents of the house said they didn't want the Vodafone offer. As was arranged, the sub-inspector sent a signal to Sharma by giving him a missed call. Minutes after getting the cue, Sharma was up the stairs with six other officers. As he entered the flat, men rushed out of another room and opened fire at him. Sharma fell to the ground, and the bullet aimed at him hit a constable. The shootout continued. Sharma was pulled out and taken to the Holy Family Hospital, closeby. The police later said Sharma was bleeding heavily. By then, the police had taken over the area and cordoned it. Later, the police claimed that the shootout had accounted for three terrorists: two dead, one arrested. The police said two others escaped. An AK-47 assault rifle along with two .30 pistols and a computer were recovered from the alleged hideout, a seizure the police would have to prove once the trial starts.

Over the weekend, the police claimed that two more terrorists were on the run along with the two from Batla House. So, that made it four on the run. The police claimed that an additional four — Zeeshan, Zia-ur-Rehman, Saquib Nissar and Mohammad Shakeel — were arrested by September 21. Zeeshan was the first of these four to be arrested on September 19. But before that, Zeeshan had appeared on a news channel, after he saw his name flash on television as a suspect. On television, Zeeshan said he wasn't involved. Hours later, the police picked him up and claimed he had confessed.

IN THE aftermath, the loopholes in the police theory are becoming evident. Why weren't the policemen in bulletproof jackets? Eyewitness Taslim wonders how the two terrorists who managed to escape got away, considering that L-18 not only has just one entrance and exit, but also has a gap between its terrace and the roof of the next house. "The only option was to jump. Had they done so, they would have died," Taslim says. The alleged terrorists had also applied for tenant verification on August 21, with their personal details, including permanent addresses, driving license details, and the address of their previous residence. "Why would those involved in the Ahmedabad blasts in July and those preparing to bomb Delhi in September give their verification to the police?" asks Asif Mohammad, a former councillor of the area.
Civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is leading an independent fact-finding mission into the incident, feels that the police did not set out for Batla House thinking they were after terrorists. They would have planned the operation better, Bhushan said. And therefore, he says, the police story describing the dead men's role in the blasts is false. "This is clear from several facts. Their tenant verification is authentic. Zeeshan was taking an MBA exam. Atif is a registered Jamia Millia Islamia student. All these point to the fact that there is something amiss in the police theory," says Bhushan.

But the big question is: How did Sharma die? Bhushan says there are three possibilities: those inside the house were armed and fired at Sharma, or he fell victim to a form of 'friendly fire', having been accidentally shot by a police gun. The last and most sinister, utterly cynical possibility is that he was shot by his colleagues, perhaps a bitter fallout of his chequered career.
'cracking' of the terror module, a section of the media and civil rights activists like Shabnam Hashmi, John Dayal and Yogendra Yadav doubt the police theory. For now, there is a demand for a fair, impartial and independent probe into the puzzling incident.

Has A Cover-Up Begun?

AIIMS doctors say crucial evidence may have been lost during Inspector MC Sharma's operation HIS COLLEAGUES call him the bravest. But his death during the Jamia Nagar encounter has raised uncomfortable questions. In a startling disclosure, a senior doctor who conducted the postmortem on Inspector MC Sharma at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences spoke to TEHELKA of the damage to his vital organs. "It was difficult to establish the entry and exit points of the bullet because conclusive evidence had been wiped out by the interventions of the doctors at Holy Family [where Sharma was rushed to]."Once considered the right-hand man of late ACP Rajbir Singh, another encounter specialist, Sharma was instrumental in the killing of 35 alleged terrorists and the arrest of 80 supposed others. It is believed that Sharma also killed 120 gangsters in a career just short of two decades. A close Special Cell colleague said there was a time when Sharma and Singh were measured on the same notoriety scale. "But post-2003, once the two encounter specialists fell out, Sharma sorted his ways." Jamia Nagar residents want to know how a veteran officer could make the mistake of not wearing a bulletproof vest to an encounter site. Senior officers have varying answers. "He probably wanted to garner all the credit," said one, who requested anonymity. According to another, "He was under tremendous pressure as his son was suffering from dengue." Least satisfactory was the response from Deputy Com missioner of Police (Special Cell) Alok Kumar, who said, "He must have wanted to maintain secrecy in a cramped area like Batla House." Why then could he not have worn the vest under his shirt?

(Rohini Mohan contributed to this story)


शनिवार, 27 सितंबर 2008

Students of Jamia take RTI route to dig facts on encounter

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan times

The students of Jamia Milia Islamia are now taking the Right to Information (RTI) route to lay bare the facts about the encounter that took place in Batla House last Friday.
One of the students of Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC), Jamia, has filed four individual RTI applications in various institutions to get a clear picture of the blast and the encounter.
“People have been agitating and expressing their views in violent ways. But I think we have a tool in our hand that was made to create transparency and that’s why I have filed four RTI applications to get actual facts about the incident rather than listening to various versions being given by the police and the government,” said Afroz Alam Sahil, a resident of Batla House.
He is a student of MA Mass Communication, Jamia.
Sahil, a 20-year-old has filed four RTI’s in the Supreme Court, National Human Resource Commission (NHRC), Delhi Police and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
“I have been speaking to a lot of students and the residents regarding the incident. While many of them want to get a clear picture of the encounter but they are scared to the extent that they are shying away from even filing RTI applications lest they might be harmed in some way or the other,” added Sahil who is a native of Bihar.
Sahil has been motivating other students from Jamia also, to use the RTI to get their questions answered.
“I have organised a meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue regarding filing other RTI applications by students as well as residents. There are many unanswered questions about the incident in the residents mind and if we fail to get our queries answered then we will also get to know how efficient is the RTI,” added Sahil.

फर्जी मुठभेड़ ............?

देश की कानून व्यवस्था को बनाये रखने में पुलिस की एक अहम भूमिका होती है। बल्कि इन्हे देश व देश में रह रहे इन्सानों की रक्षा हेतु नियुक्त किया जाता है। लेकिन यह जब रक्षक ही भक्षक बन जाये तो आप क्या करेंगे?

यह सच है कि आज आम जनता आतंकवाद से तंग आ चुकी है बल्कि वह यह भी मानने लगी है कि आतंकवाद को जल्द से जल्द जड. से खत्म कर देनी चाहिए। उन सब को मार गिराना चाहिए जो सैकड़ों हजारों बेकसूरों की जान लेने में नहीं हिचकिचाते। बशर्ते वह वाकई आतंकवादियों हो और उनके आतंकवादी होने का पूरा सबूत भी हो।

पुलिस जिसे अपने कार्य के लिए अत्यंत दयानतदार व इमानदार माना जाता है लेकिन आज कानून व्यवस्था को कायम रखने वाली इस पुलिस के किरदार पर कई सवाल उठ खड़े हुए हैं। इसमें अनेकों विकृतियाँ आ गई हैं। पहले इसका राजनीतिकरण हुआ और अब इसका अपराधीकरण हो रहा है। कानून व्यवस्था को अपने हाथ में लेना और अपने मुताबिक चलाना हमारे देश की पुलिस के लिए कोई नई बात नहीं है, जिस पर आश्चर्य किया जाये। लग-भग हर दिन, हर समय देश के किसी न किसी कोने में पुलिस द्वारा कानून को हाथ में लेने के मामले सामने आते रहते हैं। शातिर बदमाशों तथा आतंकवादियों के साथ पुलिस की मुठभेड़ आम बात है, पर इनमें कितनी जायज और कितनी फर्जी होती है, इसका पता नहीं चल पाता। न जाने अब तक कितने हीं मासूम लोगों को फर्जी मुठभेड़ में मार डाला गया होगा।

श्रीनगर के दैनिक समाचार पत्र कश्मीर टाईम्स के दिल्ली ब्यूरो प्रमुख "इफ्तिखार गिलानी"ने सिहरा देने वाली आपबीती "जेलं में कटे वो दिन" लिखकर देश की पुलिस की हक़ीकत सामने ला चुके हैं। 1968-75 में आई।ए।एस. रह चुकी मैगसेसे अवार्ड से सम्मानित "अरुणा रोय" ने भी अपनी पुस्तक "जीने और जानने का अधिकार" में पुलिस की हक़ीकत को ब्यान कर दिया है। उन्होंने लिखा है, कि "एक नक्सलवादी या आतंकवादी, पुलिस के साथ एक मुठभेड़ में मारा गया" जब हम अखबारों में ऐसे समाचार पढ़ते हैं तो हमें क्या महसूस होता है? बहुत कम ऐसे लोग हैं जो ऐसे समाचार सच मान लेते हैं। ज्यादातर लोग जानते हैं कि "मुठभेड़" का मतलब है "हत्या"

बहरहाल ,पुलिस का यही "मुठभेड़ " एक बार फिर चर्चा में है। हर रोज विभत्स ब्यौरे सामने आने के साथ ही फर्जी मुठभेड़ का मामला राष्ट्रीय विवाद का रूप लेता जा रहा है, जिसके कारण पुलिस का कुरूप चेहरा उजागड़ हुआ है। विभिन्न राजनैतिक पार्टियों के राजनेता भी इस मुद्दे पर अपनी राजनीतिक रोटियां सेकने में पिछे नहीं है। वैसे भी दिल्ली में भी फर्जी मुठभेड़ के मामले आते रहे हैं चाहे वो अंसल प्लाजा का मुठभेड़ हो, कनाट प्लेस या फिर २००२ में ओखला में हुई मुठभेड़ हो। पंजाब, जम्मू व कश्मीर में तो यह घटना लगभग हर दिन होते रहते हैं। गुजरात में सोहराबुद्दीन शैख़ व तुलसी राम प्रजापति के मामले को भी अभी ज्यादा दिन नही हुए हैं। इससे पूर्व भी अहमदाबाद के राजनीतिक संरक्षण प्राप्त और बाद में राजनीतिज्ञों के लिए "बेकाम के" हो चुके अब्दुल लतिफ को फर्जी मुठभेड़ में मार दिया गया था। अहमदाबाद में हीं समीर खान , मुम्बई के उपनगरीय इलाका मुमरा की १९ वर्षीय मुम्बई कॉलेज की छात्रा इशमत जहाँ का फर्जी मुठभेड़ को भी बहुत ज़्यादा दिन नही गुज़रे हैं। अर्थात देश के हर राज्य में इस तरह की कारनामें गठित होती रहती है। वास्वतव में देखा जाये तो फर्जी मुठभेड़ों की संस्कृति, कानून के शासन की पराजय है।

अगर फर्जी मुठभेड़ों के इतिहास की बात करें तो इसका इतिहास काफी पुराना है। लेकिन मुठभेड़ के बहाने अपराधियों को खत्म करने का चलन 1968 में आन्ध्र प्रदेश और पश्चिम बंगाल से शुरू हुआ। आतंकवादियों, माओवादियों, नक्सलवादी के मार गिराने के नाम पर फर्जी मुठभेड़ों का सिलसिला अब भी जारी है।

फर्जी मुठभेड़ क्यों होते है? आखिर पुलिस क्यों इसका सहारा लेती है? ऐसी कौन सी बाध्यता है, जो इनको फर्जी मुठभेड़ के लिए प्रेरित करता है? क्या फर्जी मुठभेड़ का जिम्मेदार सिर्फ पुलिस है, या इनके साथ कोई और भी है?

वास्तव में, पुलिस जब अभियुक्त को कानूनी कार्रवाई के तहत दोषी सिद्ध करने में नाकाम साबित होती है तो इन विकल्पों को चुनती हैं। पुरस्कार की चाहत, नाम व शोहरत भी यह कार्य करने पर मज़बूर करता है। बल्कि सच्चाई यह है कि बड़े कुख्यात अपराधियों को भी इसमें दखल होता है। कभी-कभी कारपोरेट जगत भी पूरी तरह हावी रहती है। कोई व्यक्ति यदि परेशान कर रहा हो तो पहले उसकी सुपारी अपराधियों को दी जाती थी, अब यह काम पुलिस वाले फर्जी मुठभेड़ के माध्यम से अंजाम देने लगे हैं।

पुलिस का यह कुरूप चेहरा सिर्फ भारत में ही नहीं बल्कि भारत के बाहर भी कई देशों में फर्जी मुठभेड़ होती है। मानवाधिकार की सर्वाधिक वकालत करने वाला देश अमेरिका भी इस मामले में पिछे नहीं है, अक्सर पद, पहुंच तथा व्यक्तिगत महत्वकांक्षा हेतु पुलिस आधिकारी ऐसे कारनामों को अन्जाम देते रहते हैं।

कहीं न कहीं इन मुठभेड़ों के पिछे राजनैतिक उददेश्य भी छिपे होते हैं। 2002 में फर्जी मुठभेड़ के मुददे को "देश प्रेम " बनाम "देश द्रोह " की कार्रवाई करार दिए जाने के पिछे एक बड़ा कारण गुजरात चुनाव था, जिसका फायदा नरेन्द्र मोदी ने हासिल किया और अब भी स्थिति कुछ वैसी ही है, क्यूंकि कुछ ही महीनो लोकसभा व विधानसभा के चुनाव होने वाले हैं। दिल्ली में शुरू हुआ यह "खेल" देश को किस दिशा में ले जायेगी, यह आने वाला समय ही बतायेगा।तबतक आप मुशीरुल हसन के बयान पर राजनैतिक उठापटक का "खेल" देखते रहीये।

अफरोज आलम 'साहिल'

Some Questions about the Counter-Terror Operation at Jamia Nagar, New Delhi

A team comprising activists, academicians and journalists visited the site of the police operation against alleged terrorists staying in an apartment in Jamia Nagar in the afternoon of 20.09.2008 (Saturday). Two alleged terrorists Atif and Sajid, along with Mohan Chand Sharma, an inspector of the Delhi Police's Special Cell died in the operation while a third alleged terrorist was arrested.

On the basis of our interactions with the local residents, eye witnesses and the reports which have appeared in the media, we would like to pose the following questions:

1) It has been widely reported that in early August this year Atif, who is described by the Delhi Police as the mastermind behind the recent terrorist bombings in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi, underwent a police verification exercise along with his four roommates in order to rent the apartment they were staying in Jamia Nagar. All the five youth living in the apartment submitted to the Delhi police their personal details, including permanent address, driving license details, address of the house they previously stayed in, all of which were found to be accurate. Though the police is now denying the veracity of the verification form, Mr. Rehman, the caretaker of the flat, has vouched, on camera, that he accompanied Atif to the Police Station for the verification.

Is it conceivable that the alleged kingpin behind the terrorist Indian Mujahideen outfit would have wanted to undergo a police verification- for whatever purpose- just a week after the Ahmedabad blasts and a month before the bombings in Delhi?

2) The four-storeyed house L-18 in Jamia Nagar, where the alleged terrorists were staying, has only one access point, through the stair case, which is covered by an iron grill. It is impossible to leave the house except from the staircase. By all reports, the staircase was taken over by the Special Cell and/ or other agencies during the counter-terror operation. The house, indeed the entire block, was cordoned off at the time of the operation. How then was it then possible, as claimed by the police, for two alleged terrorists to escape the premises during the police operation?

3) The media has quoted 'police sources' as having informed them that the Special Cell was fully aware about the presence of dreaded terrorists, involved in the bombings in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi, staying in the apartment that was raided.

Why was the late Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, a veteran of dozens of encounter operations, the only officer in the operation not wearing a bullet proof vest? Was this due to over-confidence or is there something else to his mysterious death during the operation? Will the forensic report of the bullets that killed Inspector Sharma be made public?

4) There are reports that towards the end of the counter-terror operation, some policemen climbed on the roof of L-18 and fired several rounds in the air. Other policemen were seen breaking windows and even throwing flower pots to the ground from flats adjacent or opposite to L-18. Why was the police firing in the air and why did it indulge in destruction of property around L-18 after the encounter?

5) The police officials claim that an AK-47 and pistols were recovered from L-18. What was the weapon that killed Inspector Sharma? Was the AK-47 used at all and by whom? Going by some reports that have appeared (see 'Times of India', 20.09.08), the AK-47s have been used by the police only. Is it not strange that alleged terrorists did not use a more deadly and sophisticated weapon like the AK-47, which they purportedly possessed, preferring to use pistols?

We feel that there are far too many loose ends in the current story of the police encounter at L-18 in Jamia Nagar. We demand that a fair, impartial and independent probe into the incident be initiated at the earliest to answer the above questions as also any other ones that arise from the contradictions of the case.

Signed/- Shabnam Hashmi (Anhad), Satya Sivaraman (Independent Journalist), Manisha Sethi (Forum for Democratic Initiatives) , Tanweer Fazal (Forum for Democratic Initiatives) , Arshad Alam (Jamia Millia Islamia), Neshat Quaiser (Jamia Millia Islamia), Pallavi Deka (General Secretary, JNU Students' Union)

Fact Finding into Jamia Nagar encounter killing .....

Date of first visit to Jamia Nagar area by team 21 September 2008
1. The police sitting outside L-18 say that on the day of the incident 6 companies of police were here. Each company has 72 men.

2. Our observation- Nobody could have escaped from the building – the police in the first statements after the encounter otherwise said (as reported in electronic media) that 2 persons escaped during the encounter. The building has only one entrance and exit and there is a gap between the terrace of this building and next. It appears that this story of there being 5 men/boys is based on interrogation of Saif who was the youth who was arrested while Atiq and Sajid were killed during the encounter.

3. Zeeshan who also shared the flat/room had left at 8 am as he had a test(entrance test of some kind. Headlines Today reported him gone to IIPM for taking some reexaminations there, a Channel apparently has also run a clip of administratives of IIPM attesting to the fact!(More DETAILS?) was arrested later in the night of 19 Sep. According to Ameeque (cousin of Atiq and independent doc. film maker who has worked extensively for Doordarshan and editor of paper Samyik Varta), Zeeshan was wondering what he could do when he heard about the encounter after he got out of his examination and called some people about advice. Some told him to run away- but he didn't want to as he had not done anything wrong. He got the phone no. of the TV Channel 'Headlines Today' and went to their office to give his statement. This was partially aired. As he was coming out of the TV channel's office he was arrested by the police. He too is being called a terrorist.

4. Account of Badr TasleemMr Badr Tasleem (works in Jamia in admn.) who lives in L-17 Jamia Nagar (next door to L-18 where the encounter took place on 4th floor) says that he first thought crackers were being burst but then he had some doubts and came out of his house to see what was happening. The sounds of the gunshots were coming from L-18 – there were already some men, i.e. presumably special cell men and the residents of the house, up there. He heard a scream. The gunshots continued. Then a group of men led by a man in kurta pyjama (who Mr. Tasleem has identified in one newspaper photo- he was possibly a plainclothes special cell person) with guns came running by asking for the way into the building (L-18) and ran up- planning among themselves as to who would "cover" whom (in the event of firing upon them).
Gunfire continued from the top floor of the house. There was no police cordon that he could see around the house or even too much in the lane. At least no one in uniform. After some time they brought down one man who was wearing a white shirt and blue tie- he was supported on two sides by two persons. Mr. Tasleem later learnt that this was Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma. There was no blood on the front of his shirt/clothes when he was brought down, except a small spot or mark on the right of his shirt. (not sure about this at all). The firing continued after that. They then brought down one person but completely wrapped up so he could not see who it was. They then brought another person's body but that was not covered. He could not see whose bodies these were.The first time he came out of his house hearing gunshots (which were already being fired) was around 11 am and they continued till about 11.40. There was no police cordon before the Special Cell people had gone upstairs- ie before the gunfire started. And even when he got out of his house to see what was happening he saw that there were only 5-7 policemen around. There was no barricade at the end of the road either. The full force came only after 11.20 a.m. or so. A very large number of policemen came. Before that there were Special Cell (or STF as everyone here calls them) people in plainclothes but they could not tell.

5. Account of Ex-Councillor Mr. Asif Mohammad(He was independent councilor and won from the entire area – including Sukhdev Vihar, Maharani Bagh etc- i.e not just 'Muslim' areas and had taken up the incident of fake encounter of Abu Samal in the same area in the month of Ramzan in 2002 (check). In that case the police had made two eyewitnesses disappear. The people had held demonstrations in front of police station etc- he was then arrested and detained as a 'SIMI' member for eight and half months in jail and for some more months under NSA as they said he was with LeT. He was implicated in 24 cases and is presently an undertrial.) He arrived on the spot around 11.10 or 11.15 am.
According to him there was police presence in the area from the night. Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was seen at the juice stall outside at 11 pm on the night of 18th Sep. (He heard this from one of the local youths who has been a petty criminal and recognized Inspector Sharma). He says that there are eyewitnesses (who stay in house opposite L-18) who say that police 'Gypsies' went past the house twice at night – once at around 2-3 a.m and once at 4 am. People were awake on account of Ramzan schedule and they saw these. (We found no eyewitness nor much corroboration of this police presence from before. There was of course a lot of checking in the area after the blasts.)He said that these boys had applied in the local police station (PS Jamia Nagar) for tenant verification – and there was a copy of this pending application with him. The application is stamped and received on 21 August 2008. The copy was with the person who was the caretaker of the house Abdur Rahman who works with PWD and lives nearby, who was acting on behalf of the landlord who lives in Ghaziabad (according to rent agreement, landlord's address was Aligarh). Abdur Rahman showed this to some TV channels and after that he was also picked up. Police wanted him to give them the form. They have also picked up his son Zia. They are now trying to say that this form is fake, their stamp on it is fake etc. However various NGOs also can distribute the form, Asif Mohd. said, and also one can download it from the net- they could look different therefore.Atiq who was killed used to earlier stay in Sangam Vihar (??) …If they were planning blasts would they in the application for verification have submitted their original village address (part of driving licence given as proof) – and PS (Sarai Meer, dt. Azamgarh). Also they put in the application after the blasts in July and before the blasts in Delhi. Would they if they were mounting such an attack have given these truthful and original addresses?Also all 5 names of those who were renting the house (Zeeshan Ahmed, Md. Saif, Md. Sajid (24 years) and Md. Sajid (20 years) and Mohd.Khalid) were added on the tenant verification form.
Asif Mohammad knows the area and the PS Sarai Meer in Azamgarh- and knows that the police there have had no complaints regarding the families of these youth.About a week ago one Abdul Rashid Agwan (??), an older man, was picked up from Shaheen Bagh by the Special Cell and interrogated about SIMI – he had been member (?) – he was repeatedly asked to name youth aged between 25-26 who had been part of SIMI whom he knew. He did not know anyone in that age group being an older man, and said so to the Special Cell who let him go with a threat.Asif Mohd. raised questions about how Mohan Chand Sharma died, and says that according to his informal sources he was not hit from the front but from the back.Badr Tasleem who we spoke to before him had said that Sharma had no blood on the front of his body. By the time Asif Mohd saw him (or saw a man) near the Khaliullah mosque – there was a lot of blood on the lower part of his body.At 11.10-11.15 when Asif Mohd came there was nobody from the media barring one man, one Saba Israr (???). They could not tell about how many policemen there were because many were in civilian clothes.

6. Account of Masih Alam, advocate, resident of L-17 Jamia NagarAccording to Adv. Masih Alam, he first heard firing from inside L-18 at around 10.45 am. (Ruk ruk ke firing ki awaaz aa rahi thi). He got out of his house to see and saw that there were 2-3 policemen at one end of the road (where the barricades now are) and 2-3 persons on the other side. After about 5 minutes (after 10.45 am) one injured person was brought down on foot supported by police…Then some 4-5 people wearing bullet proof vests went running up and then he heard the sound of 5-7 shots being fired. Then 2 policemen went up with a stretcher and got a body down.There was very little police presence at least in uniform till then. There was no one below the flat for instance. But it would be impossible for anyone to escape from there. He does not know who the boys killed were- he has not been formally shown the pictures of those killed and is unable to say if these boys used to stay or visit there often.
As for the account that there was police and Special Cell presence in the area from the night he did not know much about it. There was a lot of checking in the area since the blasts.Area leader Pervez Hashmi (present councilor?) etc came later around 11.10 am or so along with LN Rao and Karnail Singh of Special Cell (the police say that they had taken him, Hashmi, into confidence).The firing according to Masih Alam continued for about 15-20 minutes.

7. According to other observers while there were very few policemen on the street there was a very heavy outer cordon of police at least by 11.15.

8. Meeting at Jamaat Islami e Hind office, Abul Fazl Enclave-Ameek the cousin of Atiq gave his own background and that of Atif's own eldest brother Raghib Ameen, one of the most senior news camera men in Delhi. They had all studied in Shibli School in Azamgarh- had come to the town to study from their village Sanjarpur in Azamgarh District). Atif asked Raghib's advice about what he could do as an elder in the family and Raghib told him to come to Delhi and take admission in Jamia. Atif wanted to stay with friends close to where he was to study and he asked Raghib and shifted near Jamia. He could not get admission into Jamia and joined B.Sc IT course in a private institute at South Extension. He stayed at that time in a DDA flat in Jasola. Had been in Delhi for 3 years. Just recently in July-August he got admission in PG course in Human Resources Management (?) course in Jamia – and Ameek was aware that he had done so. He had also learnt that Atif had shifted closer to Jamia- he had told his brother that his 20 rupees daily conveyance fare would be saved by shifting to this new locality.Ameek did not meet him very often but happened to meet him 10-12 days ago. Atif asked him about a job or work- saying 'kab tak amma abba ke bharose rahenge'. Ameek told him that once he finished the course he could look for work.Atif was 23 years old when he was killed.

9. Sajid the boy who was killed was just about 16-17 years old. (Ameek first told us about Sajid, then Sajid's brother Arshad came –he was in tears and had just come from Dubai where he works- Sajid is his youngest brother – Sajid and Arshad had two other brothers- Arshad was 17-18 years older than Sajid. Arshad told us and gave us a copy of his Identity card showing that Sajid was born in March 1991- therefore not 20 years old as given in police verification form) Sajid had come to Delhi to try to join Jamia in 11th standard. He had already completed his 11th class in Azamgarh but wanted to come here to better his chances. He did not clear the entrance examination, and was hoping to try again.The family had not been officially informed about his death.

10. Ameek told us about the other two youth whom he knew about who shared the room. Khalid was enrolled in the second year of the BSc MLT (Lab Technician's course) at the Jamia Hamdard University.

11. Saif who is arrested had done his MA in History from a University in UP. Ameek met him when he met Atiq 10-12 days ago – he asked Saif what he wanted to do/be…Saif replied that he wanted to be a pilot- when Ameek asked him why he said that he had always been attracted from childhood when he used to see aeroplanes…

12. Zeeshan who was arrested by the police coming out of the Headlines Today office and shown as being arrested in Jhandewalan – had gone to write an entrance exam…had done a management course at IIPM(????) and had left home at 8 am that day. His father teaches at Shibli college, it is an educated family and like many others his father wanted his son to do well, go to Dubai or somewhere and earn some money, get a good job…and Zeeshan too was trying. His family members and everybody else are shocked.

13. We also got copies of a letter sent by the newly formed Indian Muslims Coordination Committee (formed for aiding in this case) to the Delhi State Minorities Commission in which they have demanded a judicial enquiry into this encounter.

14. We also have a copy of a letter sent by one student Suhaib Akhtar stating that one of his co tenants, one Mohd Rashid, s/o Shiv Murat, a research scholar in JMI was picked up on 18.09.08 by police in civil dress and had not reached the house till 20.09.08- the letter is addressed to the Lt. Governor and asks about the whereabouts of his co-tenant.

15. At the Jamia Nagar Police Station, the SHO Mohd Iqbal had gone to Court (there had been 3 arrests in this connection and hence he had to go to court). The Additional SHO also supposedly was not there/ did not want to speak. The FIR registered into the encounter (against the dead accused and others- we don't know contents) is no. 208/2008.(PS Jamia Nagar- 26943227; 26945563; SHO Mohd. Iqbal- 9313609151; ACP (Sarita Vihar)- 26825588)

शुक्रवार, 26 सितंबर 2008

“It is a Fake encounter”, say the people

Preliminary Statement of the fact-finding team that visited Jamia Nagar, the place of the alleged ‘encounter’ of the police

A team of teachers, students, civil rights activists and intellectuals visited the site of the alleged encounter of the police with the ‘terrorists’ as claimed by them, on the 24th September 2008. The team comprised of Prof. Siddique Hassan, Deputy Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, SAR Geelani, Reader, Zakir Hussain College, Delhi University, Dr. Waqar Anwar, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Dr. SQR Ilyas, Editor, Afkar-e-Milli, Suvojit Bagchi, Journalist, Anil Chamaria, Journalist, Dr. Karen Gabriel, Reader, St. Stephens, DU, Rona Wilson, Secretary (Public Relations), Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), Mahtab Alam, Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), Banojyotsna Lahiri (JNU), Vanessa Chisti (JNU) and Sumati Panikkar (Independent Researcher)

The following is a synopsis of the preliminary findings of the team. This will soon be followed by an exhaustive report of the team after putting together a lot of background information along with more findings and inputs. The exhaustive report will be an elaboration of the following statement of facts with substantive documentation.

Of fear, terror and suspicion
The team started its investigation at 11.30 AM on 24 Septemeber in Jamianagar area under Jamia Nagar police station. Even five days after the encounter the tension was palpable in Jamia Nagar & the adjacent areas. People were seemingly scared to talk to the fact-finding team. The stress & tension, generated after the encounter, was evident. People were nervous and requesting us NOT to mention their names under any circumstances. In the University premises the team had to face hostile queries whether we were from the media. The hostile media trial of the entire Muslim community that accompanied the bomb blasts was visible right from the premises of the university to the area of the encounter where the team visited. We felt, this is largely because of the witch hunt that ensued after the ‘encounter’ story of the police of two students at House No. L-18, Batla House, Jamia Nagar and the scores of arrests of Muslim youth from the vicinity. In fact, the arrests had already started right after the day of the blasts on the 14th.

In such a scenario, to instil confidence in the people was an uphill task, as they were at the receiving end of the state terror out to brand anyone daring to speak in favour of the deceased in the ‘encounter’ as ‘accomplices’ and ‘masterminds’ of the successive blasts in India. The police action followed by the media trial only parroting the ‘official version’ had created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion among the people. Whosoever the team had talked had the stamp of fear on their face.

The team had to keep in mind the feeling of incarceration and isolation not to say the terror of an authoritarian and prejudiced state that was writ large on the locality. There is definitely the palpable fear of the people of anyone and everyone picked up and framed by the police, who have a story for every occasion.

Police Siege and the wages of state terror
To start with, the Gali where the House No. L-18 is located has been barricaded with a huge posse of police laying siege to it and the surrounding buildings. No one is allowed to enter the House No. L-18. The constables of Delhi police told us, albeit politely, that they need to ask for permission from higher authority to let us go close to the building. We are allowed after about 15 minutes. However, we were not allowed to enter the building, L-18. Rather, a man who is a resident of the house was asked to come out and give his version. As we spoke to that man a contingent of police officers, constables, plain clothes officers from special branch were surrounding us. We got this man’s ‘version’ in the middle of all these. We also came to know, the key of the house (L-18) is with the police and they had to go undergo thorough checking whenever they ventured out or returned. Even the people staying in the nearby buildings also had to go through the police scanner. It was as if they were under house arrest. The children in the household were facing trauma-induced depression and had to resort to medical care. We also came to know, the kids missed their all important examination because of questioning by police on 19th September. They get scared of any kind of sound or noise thinking that it was a gunshot. The fear of anyone becoming the target of a vicious police action had taken over the psyche of these young minds. We also came to know two more families residing in L 18 have left the place after the encounter.
On further investigation we came to know that one family which has one woman pregnant left the house, because that woman was getting stressed under the circumstances.
The heavy presence of the police, in uniform and plainclothes, has only aggravated the situation. When we asked police personnel present in and around the area as to why the police is still laying siege to the premises the authority did not have any satisfactory answer.
It is also important to mention here, through out the process, we were followed by special branch officers. Infact, a journalist, who was not the member of the fact-finding team and a member of the team, was routinely questioned about the details of the other team members. Anyone, even from mainstream media visiting the area more than once, is called up by special branch.
The flat where the so-called ‘encounter’ has taken place in still sealed. The alleged seizure of weapons, laptop, etc., from the flat was done without any proper witness to the whole exercise. None of the members of the flat, not to say, of the locality was witness to the high profile ‘seizure’, which the police celebrated in the media. The conduct of the police was and is still shrouded in secrecy and arbitrariness that have only invited further wrath of the people. This in no way will instil confidence among the people. On the contrary, it has added further misery to their lives.

“It is a Fake encounter”, say the people
We could not find a single person in the entire locality who could agree with the story of the ‘encounter’ of the police. There is a complete unanimity in the opinion of the people about the one-sided nature of the firing and the time for which it continued. Further, there are some witnesses, (who would not want their name to be mentioned) who vouched that these youth who had fallen to the bullets of the police were just ordinary youngsters who had taken their career and their studies seriously. These witnesses have said that initially there were gunshots for 15 minutes. Then it stopped for a while. Then after a while the police went on firing intermittently for quite sometime positioned on the terrace and the Gali to show that it was a real encounter. In between, the police went on shouting loudly to create a feeling of real exchange of fire and project a real encounter. Later, the police declared that the encounter was successful. After the firing, the police had destroyed the flowerpots of the L-18 flat and the adjacent flats and used the pieces of the broken pots to break the windowpanes of L-18 to make it look like a REAL encounter.
No one told us about an exchange of fire. It was ‘only one kind of sound’, they all emphasized.
After visiting the rear and the sides of the L-18 flat, no one could have bought the story of someone escaping as there was only a single entrance, which the police had already been covering. It was impossible for anyone to jump from the fourth floor flat, as it would have resulted in near death or fatal injury. It demolishes the theory of police that two of the ‘dreaded terrorists’ have run away. More importantly, one of this ‘terrorists’, Zeeshan, surrendered to Headlines Today Channel, within hours of ‘jumping and running away’ from a fourth floor flat. Why will he do that – the locals ask.
There are also witnesses to three men dragged down from the fourth floor to the ground floor. None of the body of the deceased was shown to anyone. All the bodies were covered by clothes and were kept in a vehicle which was taken inside the porch of the flat.
The people of the locality are asking unanimously: Where have all the bullets gone?
Why Police is NOT allowing media to go inside L 18 and shoot and talk to people even almost after a week? Do they have anything to hide? Normally it is done within a few hours!
Why the police did not try to arrest these ‘masterminds’ alive? This is randomly done in India & rest of the world. In that case it could have helped the administration more. Isnt it?

Clear evidence of point-blank shots on the head of Sajid
The photographs after autopsy of Sajid (17 year old) show clear marks of 7-8 gunshots on his head from above. These shots, which are at point blank, cannot happen in the case of an encounter. Because in case of an encounter, where the shots are fired from a distance, the wounds would open up.
Police Version of fake Tenant verification disproved
Prominent citizens of the locality have already questioned the story of the police of fake tenant verification. They have said that none of the details provided including the driving license, address, rent agreement paper were forged. The claim of the office stamp of the authority as fake was also disproved by the citizens in a press meet as they showed their own copies of tenant verification which was carrying the same official stamp. The Locals also feel, even if the forgery has been done by the owner and the caretaker of the house – NO INFORMATION GIVEN ABOUT ATIF IS FALSE. Factually, as we came to know from local people, not a single information given – whether it is about his last residence, parentage, driving license or permanent address – proved to be wrong
Mystery shrouding the death of Inspector MC Sharma
No one is ready to believe that Inspector Mr. M C Sharma was killed in an exchange of fire.
There are several witnesses having seen him taken away by two men in plainclothes to a Santro car stationed near the Khalliullah Masjid with bleeding wounds of bullet shots on his shoulder.
It is intriguing to note as to why such an officer of importance for the Special Cell of the Delhi Police went for an operation without any protection and why he was walked all the way to the car. Moreover, the Hospital, Holy Family, which treated Mr Sharma has been told by police not to talk to press or civil society – that what we found out.
The people of the locality are asking: Why would the most dynamic of Special Cell Officers, Mr M C Sharma, would go to an operation – where he may nab the masterminds of deadly blasts – without wearing Bullet Proof Jacket?
Moreover, the police team also made sure that the ‘terrorists’ are hiding in that flat by sending an officer in the guise of mobile salesman, prior to sending the rest of the squad. So after confirming the whereabouts of the ‘masterminds’ how could a senior officer go without any protection?
Simmering tension
Any discerning eye can make out the simmering tension pervading the entire area of Jamia Nagar and its vicinity. Everyday is passing by with a new arrest and yet another story from the side of the police. The role of the media, except a few reports in certain dailies, has more or less demonized the Muslims. More and more Muslim youths are being picked up. Even those who have gone and surrendered before the police or media have been framed under several charges. In these circumstances the people are one in saying that they are being pushed to a situation where they have total distrust of what is becoming in the name of ‘war against terror’.

Our Demands:
1. Immediately withdraw the police siege of Jamia Nagar in general and the Gali where house No. L-18 is situated.
2. Stop harassing Muslim youth under the garb of ‘combating terror’.
3. Initiate a high-level judicial enquiry of the entire episode.
4. Make public the autopsy report of the two youth in the ‘encounter’.
5. Make public the autopsy report of Inspector MC Sharma. There should also be a judicial enquiry into the circumstances leading to his death.
6. Press & civil society should be allowed to talk to doctors/authorities of the Holy Family Hospital
7. The State has to provide for the medical counselling of the residents of Jamia Nagar, who have been affected by this encounter
8. Police should stop releasing selective photos from CCTV cameras to Press to build opinions against Muslims.

बुधवार, 24 सितंबर 2008

RTI applicant in Bihar told to foot bill of Rs 78 lakh

Santosh Singh
When Gupteshwar Singh, a social activist from Agiyaw in Bihar’s Bhojpur district, filed a Right To Information (RTI) plea, he did not bargain for the price he would be told to pay — Rs 78,21,252.
On June 5, Singh filed an application (No. 4,461) seeking date-wise details of the distribution of foodgrains and kerosene under the Public Distribution System in Udvantnagar, Agiyaw, Tarai, Garhani, Sandesh and Sahar — all in Bhojpur district — between 2000 and 2008. He also sought photocopies of dealers’ payment receipts.
On July 18, Bhojpur supply officer Jawahar Prasad wrote to Singh that “all the desired information was ready with details”, but he would first have to deposit Rs 78,21,252 — the estimated cost of photocopying the documents. “If you do not turn up... by the said time (July 25), it would be understood that you do not need information at all,” Prasad wrote.
Applicants under the RTI Act must pay Rs 2 for each document that is photocopied. Singh said he had never asked for photocopies of all PDS documents of the last eight years, and Prasad was being “vindictive”. Prasad was not available for comment.

CIC hauls DU for not implementing section 4 of RTI

Delhi University (DU) and its affiliated colleges have been hauled by the Central Information Commission (CIC) for not implementing section 4 of the Right to Information Act (RTI).
Section 4 of the RTI requires all public authorities to publish manuals, which voluntarily disclose information (under 17 listed points) of general interest and facilitate the process of accessing information.
The affiliated colleges and the varsity itself have not yet been able to accomplish what should have been done within 120 days of enactment of the RTI Act.
The CIC has ordered DU to update all of its online manuals, publish copies for public reference and make sure that all the colleges do the same by November 14, 2008.
The decision was taken by the CIC after an appeal was filed by the Youth Task Force (YTF), which works against corruption and ensures transparency in the system. It filed an appeal for the first time in November 2007 regarding the implementation of Section 4 of the RTI.
Aditya Prasad, Coordinator YTF said, "We had filed similar applications with Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) and Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University and their response to the same was satisfactory. Delhi University's response, on the other hand was vague and the manuals uploaded on its website are incomplete. The situation is worse when it comes to colleges as many don't provide published information or even have an RTI link on their website".
"This is quite subjective. We do not think the information provided is incomplete. We will however, have to update the manuals as per CIC's order and ensure that the colleges comply as well", a varsity official said.

मंगलवार, 23 सितंबर 2008

How qualified is Goa education minister?

By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar

On the verge of announcing its new 'holistic' state education policy, the Goa government has come in for a major embarrassment.
Its lawmakers were caught faking educational details in their affidavits filed before the Election Commission.
A vigilante group in the state brought to light Education Minister Atanasio Monseratte's misinformation while taking oath, Dilip Parulekar, the BJP MLA from Saligao has allegedly furnished fake details on oath.
Nationalist Congress Party state president Wilfred De Souza has demanded Parulekar's resignation for furnishing the fake details.
De Souza claimed that documents sourced by him under the Right to Information (RTI) Act prove that Parulekar could not have secured a B.Com degree from Goa University (GU) in 1988, as stated in his affidavit.
De Souza told the media that GU "did not conduct Third Year B.Com examinations in 1988. In fact, GU's first batch passed out in 1989."
Quoting RTI documents, he said Parulekar did appear for a First Year B.Com course in 1985-86 but failed twice.
De Souza, who was defeated by Parulekar in the last assembly polls, claims his next pit stop is the Election Commission of India, where he would file an official complaint.
When contacted, Parulekar feigned ignorance. "I do not know anything. I have not received any intimation from any authority," he told HT recently.
Earlier, Utt Goenkara, a vigilant group had with the help of documents from Bandra's St Thereza School shown how Monserrate had 'upgraded' his educational qualification in the affidavit filed before the Election Commission to Secondary School Certificate when in effect he had only cleared STD VIII at that school.
Aires Roderigues, spokesperson for Utt Goenkara, claims that these two legislators were not the end of the story. "There is a discrepancy in the information given by two other ministers on the Goa government's official website and in the affidavits filed by them. We are looking it up," he said.

Terrorism is promoted in India by the Government

No law can control terrorism.
While this is not to condone terrorism, I am only trying to explain the mental state of the terrorist.
What is required is a just society ... Where one community does not kill the other community members ... If they kill ...There has to be prompt punishment by the state, through the police and the judiciary.
I personally know, how it is to be harassed by the police & the Judiciary. The anger, hatred and the thirst for revenge makes one feel, life is not worth living, if you cannot fight back.
AND I was put in Jail only for 6 days, handcuffed & family harassed at age 58.
Think about the mental state of young men, with hot heads, who are tortured, their family members killed, wives, sisters and mothers raped. They do not need Mulla's to instigate them. The State has already done 90% of the work of the Mulla's and Pakistani's.
And they do not value their own lives any more, they live only to revenge. And when they cannot strike at Politicians and Police and state, because they have immense security, they target innocents.
If I was an illiterate, unable to fight back, what would I have done. The thirst of revenge was intense ? Even as a literate it is almost impossible to get Justice through the present set up.
Still I had kept a deadline of 365 days. Planned something very drastic by 28th March 2006, ( was arrested on 28th March 2005 ) ... Fortunately for me and all, the Sessions Court decided to pass order on 30th January 2006. Clearly stating that I was wrongly arrested, there was no order to seal the property. AND I was arrested for breaking court seal and tresspassing
Still the Rogue Police and the Rogue state Machinery continues to prosecute and trouble me ...details on Internet, visit http://www.RoguePolice.com/cjapex.htm
At present 3 yrs 6 months later, still fighting the same stupid 2005 false case of tresspassing in 3 courts.
The Investigation Police Officer (EOW) had initiated the FIR with help of a Rogue Corrupt Judge of the sessions court. Now this new Judge at Sessions court though admitted it's wrong, it has no powers to withdraw FIR, for which I had to approach the High Court. ... refer http://www.RoguePolice.com/xnarayana.htm ...
The high court was approached, received interim order from HC "Stop all proceedings in Cr 103/05". Still 2 months later Rogue police filed chargesheet in Magistrates court.
In RTI reply, Khar Police replied "Due to heavy work load IO Inspector Dhatrak did not have time to read HC order, so Chargesheet was filed inadvertently".
Approached HC for action for contempt against police ... BUT Justice Bilal Nazki said "Rightly or Wrongly Chargesheet is NOW already filed, so attend Magistrates Court"... And by now had spent lakhs on lawyers.
For the sake of India, someone must reform all the police and the Courts in India ... And bring them on the right path.
Till that happens, Politicians will continue to instigate riots, police will harass victims and both will move around with immense security, forcing the revenge seeking youth target innocents.
Let us assume, the Government will protect innocents in Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, etc by stationing security personnel and sniffer dogs at every 10 feet. Will innocents then be saved ... NO SIR ... Terrorists will simply target innocents in other cities and towns, and India has 1000s of such easy targets, where innocents will continue to suffer.

I K Chhugani http://www.RoguePolice.com

मोबाइल-091 98201 71571

शनिवार, 20 सितंबर 2008

भूली-बिसरी यादें.......

"आज मैंने अपनी ज़िन्दगी का एक वर्ष मुकम्मल कर लिया है यानी आज मै एक साल का हो गया हु , पर आज किसी ने मेरे जन्म दिवस की बधाई नही दी। "
मेरी ये बातें सुन कर शायद आप कुछ हैरान से हो रहे होंगे,पर ये सच है। पिछले वर्ष आज ही के दिन मैंने एक नई ज़िन्दगी पायी थी। वो भी मौत के अपनी आंखों के सामने से देख कर।
हाँ ! मैंने अपनी मौत को अपनी आंखों से देखा है। आज भी मुझे वो तमाम दृश्य याद हैं। सारे के सारे दृश्य किसी फ़िल्म की भयानक सीन की तरह मेरे दृष्टिपटल पे चल रहे हैं। दिमाग कभी हर शॉट को जूम इन कर रहा है तो कभी जूम आउट । कभी आँख कैमरे की तरह पैन करते हुए किसी ख़ास शॉट पर आकर रुक जाती है, और कभी-कभी शॉट इतने जूम आउट हो जाते हैं कि कैमरे की तरह आंखों के सामने अँधेरा छा जाता है।
22 सितम्बर 2007 की शाम ...... रोज़ की तरह आज भी इफ्तार के बाद जाकिर नगर कुछ खाने व मार्केटिंग के मूड में गया था। रात के आठ बजने को थे। मेरे मोबाइल कि घंटी बजती है। देखा तो मेरे दोस्त पुनीत का मैसेज दस्तक दे रहा था। उसने लिखा था-"अबे पत्रकार! कुरान पे लात मारने कि बात सही है क्या....?"
मैं कुछ समझ पाता कि फिर से मेरे मोबाइल कि घंटी बज उठी। राष्ट्रीय सहारा हिन्दी के एक पत्रकार मित्र मुझ से पूछ रहे थे-"बटला हाउस में अभी गोली चली है क्या?"
मैं गलती से बटला हाउस चौक पर ही मौजूद था। मुझे उनकी बातें सुन कर काफ़ी हैरानी हुई। बहरहाल "नही" का जवाब मैंने उन्हें दे दिया। अभी फ़ोन काटा ही था कि फिर घंटी बजने लगी। मेरी एक मित्र मुझसे पूछ रही थी कि तुम कहाँ हो....? मैं कुछ बोलता कि उससे पूर्व उसी ने मुझे ये फतवा सुना दिया कि जहाँ कहीं भी हो, घर जाओ, ज्यादा हीरो बनने कि ज़रूरत नही है....
पटना से मेरी एक दोस्त ने जानना चाहा- " सुना है की जामिया नगर में कुरान की बेहुरमती को लेकर हंगामा बरपा है। तुम्हे इस सम्बन्ध में क्या ख़बर है? मैं क्या जवाब देता। मैं तो ख़ुद बेखबर था।

बात करते करते मैं घर पहुँच चुका था। मेरे फ़ोन की घंटी बार बार बज रही थी। मेरे अखबार के दफ्तर से कहा गया की मैं इसकी रिपोर्टिंग करूँ। दुसरे अखबारों के भी पत्रकार मित्र मुझे फ़ोन कर रहे थे।
मैं इतने में घर से बाहर निकलता हूँ। लोगों की भीड इधर उधर भाग रही थी। तमाम दुकानों के शटर गिर चुके थे। घरों के दरवाज़े बंद हो रहे थे। भागो...... भागो..... ठहरो.....ठहरो....की आवाजें फिजा में गूंज रही थी। लोग एक-दुसरे से पूछ रहे थे की क्या हुआ....? क्यूँ हुआ...? कैसे हुआ...? आदि-अनादी।

"नारे-तकबीर,अल्लाहो-अकबर" की सदा गूंज उठती है। फिजा की कैफियत बदल जाती है। भीड पागल हो चुकी थी। मैं आगे बढ़ने की कोशिश कर रहा हूँ। एक व्यक्ति शफ़क़त भरे लहजे में कहता है- आगे मत बढो...! खतरा हो सकता है। मैं खतरा मोल लेते हुए आगे बढ़ता जाता हूँ। गोलियों के तडतडाहत की आवाज़ साफ़ सुनाई दे रही थी। मैं वापस पीछे की ओर भागता हूँ। भीड से हटने के बाद मैं ख़ुद को आंसुओं में पाता हूँ। आंखों से लगातार पानी गिर रहे हैं। मैं पीछे हटता जाता हूँ। लेकिन आंसों गैस के गोले मेरा पीछा नही छोड़ रहे हैं.........

सैकडो-हजारों लोग सडको पर जगह-जगह तरह-तरह की बातें कर रहे हैं....पुलिस ने कुरान की बेहुरमती की है.... पुलिस ने जान बुझ कर ऐसा किया होगा........ मेरा ख्याल है कि अनजाने में हो गया है ..... सब सरकार करा रही है...... हाँ! तुम सही कह रहे हो, इलेक्शन नजदीक आ रहे हैं.....ये लो नमक! हिम्मत हारने की ज़रूरत नहीं है......लोग पागल हो रहे हैं..... खामोशी के साथ मामले को हल कर लेना चाहिए......
तभी देखता हूँ कुछ लोग एक ज़ख्मी नौजवान को एक ठेले पर भीड़ की तरफ ला रहे हैं। इसे तुंरत नजदीक के एक डिस्पेंसरी में दाखिल कराया जाता है. लोगों की भीड़ उग्र हो चुकी थी. एक पुलिस वाले को पीट-पीट कर अधमरा कर दिया. इलाके के तीनो थाने आग के हवाले थे.

हालात इतने गंभीर हो चुके थे की कुछ कहा नहीं जा सकता। बी.बी.सी. के पत्रकार मित्र (जो उस समय मेरे साथ ही थे) ने कहा की- आप अपना हैंडीकैम ले आओ. फिर मैं एक पत्रकार मित्र के साथ हैंडीकैम ले कर हाज़िर हो गया. तब तक खबर आई की तीन और लोगों को गोली लगी है, उन्हें पास के होली फैमली हॉस्पिटल में भरती कराया गया है. खैर मैं रिकॉर्डिंग करने लगा. मेरे यहाँ का हर शॉट बहुत खास था. कैमरा देख कर लोगों में और जोश भर आया. एक बार फिर नारे लगने लगे थे.

तभी अचानक सैकडो लोगों की भीड़ हमारे तरफ बढ़ने लगी. ..... इससे पहले मुझे दूसरी दुनिया में पहुंचा दिया जाता की कुछ लोग मेरी हिफाज़त में खड़े हो गए. दरअसल, ये मेरे अल्लाह के फ़रिश्ते थे. खुद पीटते रहे, लेकिन मुझे एक खरोंच तक नहीं आने दिया. उधर लोग कुछ ज्यादा ही उग्र हो चुके थे. मारो...... मारो...... जासूस है...... मीडिया का आदमी है...... नहीं! नहीं! पुलिस का आदमी है....... अरे नहीं यार! ये अपना लड़का है..... अरे अपना भाई है.....अरे यहीं रहता है.......नहीं! मारो साले को..... कैमरा छीन लो...... तोड़ दो साले को.... अरे पागल हो गए हो क्या....... ये अपना बच्चा है..... जाओ अपना काम करो...अरे ऐसे कैसे छोड़ दे साले को..... हमारी तस्वीरें ले रहा था हरामी......

मुझे कुछ समझ में नहीं आ रहा था की मैं क्या करूँ।?मेरे पैरों तले की ज़मीं खिसक चुकी थी। दिल की धड़कने अपने-आप रुकने लगी थी. मैं समझ चूका था की आज मैं बचने वाला नहीं.... तरह-तरह के ख्याल दिमाग में आ रहे थे....... या तो मैं बचूंगा या अपने कैमरे की कुर्बानी देनी होगी. फिर अचानक मैं ने अंतिम हथकंडे के रूप अपने कैमरे से कैसेट निकाल कर उनके हवाले कर दिया. जिसका उन्होंने एक-एक एटम अलग कर दिया होगा. फिर सैकडो लोग अपनी सुरक्षा में मुझे मेरे घर सही-सलामत पहुंचा दिया. मैंने खुदा का शुक्रिया अदा किया.

मेरे मोबाइल की घंटी के बजने का एक ऐसा सिलसिला शुरू हुआ,जो छोटे बच्चे की तरह चुप होने का नाम ही नहीं ले रही है। क्या हो रहा है....... हालात कैसे हैं...... ये सुनने में आ रहा है....... वो सुनने में आ रहा है..... अफवाहों का बाज़ार गरम है...... एक टेलीविजन चैनल वाले का कैमरा छीन लिया गया है......एक रिपोर्टर को लोगों ने मार दिया...... पुलिस ने मीडिया को भगा दिया....... तुम कैसे हो...... ज्यादा काबिल मत बनो....... चुपचाप कल की ट्रेन से वापस घर आ जाओ......ज्यादा हीरो बनने की ज़रूरत नहीं है.......

बाहर अभी भी भागो.... भागो....ठहरो....ठहरो....., नारे-तकबीर की सदा बुलंद हो रही थी। पुलिस भीड़ पर काबू पाने में कामयाब हो गयी. सैकडों लोगों को गिरफ्तार किया जा चूका था. जिन में अभी कुछ की तादाद में लोग जेलों में सड़ रहे हैं. हो सकता है की शायद वो निर्दोष हो..... खैर, बटला हाउस का नया मामला अब सामने है। इसलिए पुरानी कहानी को भूल जाने में ही भलाई है।

----अफरोज आलम 'साहिल'

गुरुवार, 18 सितंबर 2008

RTI 'grads' at your service

by Kartikeya
Democracy, as embodied in the average citizen's Right toInformation, is striding ahead confidently. A group of Mumbaikars from various fields, armed with a certificate course in RTI, is ready tocut the masters of red tape to size, to jolt the sultans of sloth and bring the rajas of babudom down to earth.
The 24 men and women who comprise this group have completed acertificate course from a south Mumbai college on how to use RTI professionally—they include businessmen, college professors, retired bankers and chartered accountants. All of them have now mastered the art of framing queries under the RTI Act to goad the civic authorities into action. With time, they hope to become advisors and consultants to the wider citizenry.
"The act is no longer a mystery for us. We now know the process andhow to use it," said Priyavadan Nanavati (73), a chartered accountant.That, according to most participants in the course, has been their biggest gain. Activists like Shailesh Gandhi have taught them thatthey are not ''beggars'' or supplicants for information. They areapplicants for their rights.
"For 14 years, the road outside my factory in Vithalwadi was lying unrepaired. While doing the course I filed a simple RTI query askingthe concerned department about the status of the road and within notime, the repair work started," said Pradeep Raisinghani (39), a businessman. "We now know that getting the required information depends on framing the right questions," said Pervez Homi Lentin (61),a retired professor of physics. Participants realized that vague and abstract questions could easily be turned down by government departments and they have learnt to hone their skills in framin gqueries which will elicit the best response.
"For instance, we now know it's better never to ask the BMC 'when' aparticular piece of work will be completed. Rather, we demandinformation on the funds allocated for it, the officer utilising themand the progress reports submitted by him to his ward office," said Leann Almeida, a law student. Similarly, while seeking information about a file reported as lost, these experts will ask which officer reported it as lost and whether a police complaint was lodged or not."These small things ensure that the officers cannot shirk their responsibility," Almeida added.
Neelima Chandiramani, principal of the K C College of Law whichconducted the course, said that in the long run she expected those whohad done the course to play a larger role in society as specialists onRTI. ''Pleas filed by those who did the course will never be vague orbadly drafted. Moreover, most of them have been professionals in theirown field and know how the system works. They will be able to advise others on how to go about their own queries,'' Chandiramani added.
In preparing for real-life difficulties in getting information from government departments which often try to block it, two of the participants conducted role-play exercises in which they acted as an applicant seeking information and an information officer denying it,while a third participant played out the role of the appellate authority.
They thus re-created situations such as those they would have to face when they filed appeals before an information commissioner. ''Thanks to all this training we now know that we cannot be denied information on frivolous grounds,'' said Khorshed Nayak, a retired bank officer.''A beginning has been made and I will use my knowledge to help others who are made to run from pillar to post because they don't know how tocorner the officials,'' said Najimuddin Chunawala (59), a Dongri-based businessman.

सोमवार, 8 सितंबर 2008

Village women say; We won the battle…

Confidence never bent down. Hard work with strong confidence brings success, proved by the village women of Baharana of Banakhandi GP of Gop Block (Puri Dist).

When the women of Baharana village came to know that Pallisabha is the meeting of all the electorates of a revenue village & they have the right to participate in it, which should be held in their village at least once in a year and more on demand. But till yet no Pallisabha has been organized in their village since some decades.
The team of village women demanded at Block office for a Pallisabha in this village. As per their demand BDO of Gop Block directed concerned official & GP to organise Pallisabha of that village on dt.07.07.08. The Pallisabha was organized on that day & strangely only hundreds women of that village joined in this pallisabha & taken part in different discussion. On that day they came to know that the only village road of their village is going to be constructed very soon by the Gram Panchayat itself. They formed a village Inspection team to supervise the road work & demanded for the estimate copy of the road work. But the Sarpanch played double stranded with them.
They start demanding for the estimate copy each day & stopped the road construction work which was started by the GP within this period. The Sarapanch and the GP Secretary told that the road work has not been pre-estimated but started in advance for the benefit of villagers. They threatened that if the village women will disturb, the road construction work will be cancelled. Then the local touts & contractors started to scold and intimidate to stop their movement. Even they threaten to give false police cases against the women leaders. Also the Sarapanch & local touts used the male villagers to threaten their wives not to take part in this movement.
But the women are never bent. They deposited 5 RTI applications at Gop Block to get the estimate copy of this road work & demanded BDO to postpone the road construction till supply of the estimate copy. After all, the Sarpanch handed over the estimate copy today (08.09.08). The village women have decided to ensure qualitative construction of their village road.
Bhabeni Malika, 72, is an old lady of the village told, “at last we won the battle”.

Have a query? Go to new cells of political parties

by Khushboo Sandhu
Looking for legal advice or thinking how toinvest money, political parties in the city have a solution. The parties have various cells catering to voters with diverse backgrounds from various segments.While colony cells for voters in slums and colonies have been known tohave existed for long, new cells targetting the urban voters are being set up.

The Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress has an 'Intellectual Cell'.It comprises professionals from various walks of life includingdoctors, engineers and bankers. The aim is to motivate the educatedyouth of the city to take active part in politics.

President of the cell Anurag Kohli says, "Politics is not a dirtyword, it is the people who make it so. We wanted the message to bepropagated among the youth of the city."Since its inception, the members of the cell have held seminars atregular intervals for the youth. The cell propagates information amongresidents about using the Right to Information Act and also helps hemaddress basic problems like registering FIRs.

Other cells including Sports and Cultural Cell, Legal Cell and DoctorCell are also in operation.

Similar is the case with the BJP that had launched an Investor Cellrecently. Advice would be imparted to help people manage theirinvestments.The party spokesperson informed that the cells facilitate the partiesin getting in touch with people from all segments.

The legal cell, which frequently takes up cases of those belonging tothe poor section of the society, is one such example, added the spokesperson.

रविवार, 7 सितंबर 2008

उम्मीद की किरण.......

मनीष सिसोदिया
जानने का हक आदमी के जीने का हक है. सरकारी संदर्भ को छोड़ कर देखें तो समझ में आता है कि अगर जानने का हक न मिले तो आदमी का वज़ूद ही खतरे में पड़ जाएगा. आदमी की ज़िंदगी और पशुओं की ज़िंदगी में कोई फर्क नहीं रह जाएगा. हम इस मामले में खुद को सौभाग्यशाली समझ सकते हैं कि आज़ादी के बाद बने संविधान में हमें बोलने, यानि खुद को अभिव्यक्त करने और जानने की आज़ादी मूलभूत अधिकार में मिली। इस संविधान को बनने के 55 साल बाद ही सही, लेकिन आज जानने का हक यानि सूचना का अधिकार हमें एक कानून के रूप में मिला है।

एक पत्रकार होने के नाते मुझे हमेशा लगता रहा कि मीडिया लोगों तक सूचना पहुंचाने का काम तो करता है लेकिन वर्तमान में लोगों की जानकारी में किसी घटना, तथ्य या विचार को लोगों तक पहुंचाने में सबसे बड़ी बाधा भी इसी मीडिया ने ही खड़ी की है. कुछ उद्योग समूह या उनके द्वारा व्यापार बढ़ाने के लिए लाखों रुपए के वेतन पर रखे गए लोग यह तय करते हैं कि लोगों को क्या जानना है. महज़ उद्योग को फायदा पहुंचाने वाली सूचनाएं लोगों तक पहुंचाने के इस क्रम में जानकारी के आधार पर होने वाला मानवीय विकास थम गया है. सूचना का अधिकार कानून इस समस्या का कोई व्यापक समाधान तो नहीं देता लेकिन लोकतंत्र प्रणाली को मजबूत करने के लिए लोगों को जिस तरह की जानकारी होनी लाज़िमी है वह इस कानून की मदद से अब फिर से लोगों को उपलब्ध है. सूचना के अधिकार कानून के बाद से अपनी व्यवस्था के बारे में जानने के लिए लोग अब पूरी तरह मीडिया पर निर्भर नहीं रहे हैं. किसी सड़क के बनने के बारे में या किसी स्कूल के खर्चे से लेकर किसी भी योजना के बारे में जानकारी लेने के लिए लोगों को पहले महज़ मीडिया पर निर्भर रहना पड़ता था. अब यह मीडिया कर्मियों की मेहरबानी पर था कि वे उस मुद्दे को खबर बनाएं या नहीं. लेकिन अब अगर कोई इस बारे में वाकई जानने का इच्छुक है तो वह सीधे सरकार से यह जानकारी हासिल कर सकता है. गंभिरता से विचार करते हैं तो समझ में आता है कि यह एक बहुत बड़ा कदम है।

शायद यही वजह है कि आज मेरे जैसे पत्रकारों को लोगों तक सूचना पहुंचाने के अपने नियमित काम की जगह ऐसी व्यवस्था में ज्यादा रुचि हो गई है जो कम से कम सरकारी संदर्भ में सूचना अगर लोगों के बीच किसी माध्यम की मोहताज न हो . यह कहते हुए मेरा दुराग्रह किसी भी तरह मीडिया और पत्रकारों की भूमिका को कम करने का नहीं है वरन नए संदर्भो में परिभाषित करना है जिसमें सूचना का अधिकार महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभा रहा है.

शनिवार, 6 सितंबर 2008

Babus' flights of fancy

by Shyamlal Yadav

India TodayWhen Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently wrote to his cabinetministers, asking them to curtail their expenses on air travel andundertake foreign trips only when deemed "absolutely necessary", itwas widely dismissed as an exercise in futility.

After all, such steps in the past have not exactly produced thedesired results. Indeed, a look at the volume of the babu traffic to overseas destinations suggests that the prime minister's lamentamounts to howling after the horses have bolted the stable.

Following an investigation on frequent fliers in the UPA Government inFebruary this year, India Today filed separate Right to Information(RTI) applications to every Union ministry except the Ministry ofExternal Affairs (MEA) on February 28 this year, seeking details offoreign visits made by officials of the rank of director and above.

India Today has received the information in 1,297 pages. The detailsof trips related to trainings of over one month have been excluded.The information gathered is a result of over 80 applications,clarifications, appeals and reminders. Despite these efforts, theministries of Railways, Earth Sciences and the Department of Personneland Training are yet to give a final reply.

Also, the designations and postings of a few officials may not be thelatest as they may have been transferred or would have retired by now.The information throws light on the fact that 1,576 officials of therank of director and above have travelled more than 5.65 crore km andstayed 24,458 days abroad over the past 40 months (from January 1,2005 to April 30, 2008).

While details about the total expenses incurred were not madeavailable, information received from 45 of the 50 Central ministries(including two departments: atomic energy and space) shows thatofficials from these ministries spent more than Rs 56.38 crore onglobetrotting. In a few cases, costs include expenses incurred ondelegates or companions but disaggregated figures were not provided.

Topping the list of frequent fliers is the Ministry of Commerce whose101 officials have travelled more than 1.12 crore km, covering 5,751days abroad and incurring a cost of Rs 8.99 crore.

This mileage clocked by directors, joint secretaries (JS), additionalsecretaries (AS) and secretaries happens to be more than the oneclocked by ministers from all ministries put together (1.02 crore km)during a period of three-and-a-half years.

This may have been necessary to enable an increase in foreign tradeand bilateral treaties but even then it's hard to justify themagnitude of such trips. It is not as if the babus of the commercedepartment are the only ones who are flying high.

Besides commerce, six other ministries including Water Resources,Finance, Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Agriculture, andScience and Technology have earned the distinction of frequentfliers-each of these ministries have logged 1,000 days or more oftravel abroad.In terms of expenditure, officials of 18 ministries have spent over Rs1 crore each. The number of travellers in each ministry is sizeablewith at least 13 ministries having a minimum of 50 officials whotravelled abroad.

101 officials of the Ministry of Commerce have travelled over 1.12crore km, covering 5,751 days abroad and incurring a cost of Rs 8.99crThese ministries with Defence in the lead (166) include HomeAffairs, Finance, Water Resources, Commerce, Information andBroadcasting, Agriculture, Health and Family Welfare, Labour andEmployment, Communications and IT, Urban Development and Science andTechnology. However, the Ministry of Defence did not reveal the details of expenses incurred on the trips of their officials.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Ministry of Environment andForests where despite the global buzz on climate change, only fiveofficials have travelled, 2.88 lakh km, spending Rs 43.85 lakh andstaying abroad for 111 days.

Thirty five officials of the Ministry of Textiles have travelled more
than 10 lakh km and stayed 559 days abroad spending over Rs 1.32crore.All the ministries have stressed that the trips are "purely official".The Ministry of Finance guidelines state, "No officer should undertakemore than four official visits abroad a year".

And if there is an exception, the proposal is considered by thescreening committee of secretaries for officials of every rank.Restrictions have indeed been placed on the secretaries. For instance,the Cabinet Secretariat circular says, "Secretaries to the Governmentof India should travel only in the most essential circumstances andwhen unavoidable." But such guidelines are observed more in breach.

Information gathered by India Today shows that along with S.N. Menon(37 trips), Chandrapal (9), T.K. Viswanathan (7), P.K. Misra (8), V.Subramanian (10), Naresh Dayal (6), Ranjit Issar (5), M.S. Srinivasan(8), R.V. Shahi (15), Radha Singh (8), T. Nanda Kumar (6) travelledfrequently as secretaries in the ministries of Commerce; Small andMicro Enterprises; Law and Justice; Agriculture; New and RenewableEnergy; Health and Family Welfare; Housing; and Urban PovertyAlleviation; Petroleum and Natural Gas; Power; Agriculture andConsumer Affairs respectively.

When the minister and secretary of a department are required to visitabroad, the prime minister is supposed to be notified. Officialsvisiting foreign shores get a daily allowance of $75 per day incategory A countries in addition to their hotel accommodation.If the food is provided by the Government, the official gets only 25per cent of this amount. Secretary-level officials travel first class,additional secretaries and joint secretaries are entitled to travelbusiness class while officials of lower ranks are entitled to travelby the economy class.Approvals for foreign visits are clearly defined. Travels of officials
up to the level of joint secretary are processed in consultation withthe financial adviser of the concerned ministry while foreign trips ofofficials of the level of additional secretaries and above areprocessed with the approval of the minister concerned and thescreening committee of secretaries under the chairmanship of the cabinet secretary.

RTI activist will be Central Info chief

by Ashutosh Shukla

In what could prove to be a boost for the common man, Right toInformation (RTI) activist Shailesh Gandhi was recently appointed asone of the four Central Information Commissioners (CIC).

Known to be the face of RTI activism in the city, Gandhi consistentlyfought for the act while trying to create awareness about it byorganising lectures and classes. He also unearthed various bureaucratic lacunas in the system.

While outlining his plan of action, Gandhi told DNA, "I categoricallystate that no file will remain with me for more than 90 days. I wantto ensure that there is correct interpretation of the right toinformation and the laws related to it so that there are fewerdisputes. Also, I want to bring about more transparency in thedisbursal system."

Gandhi said that he was also approved for the post by president
Pratibha Patil. "I saw this as a good challenge and accepted it.Normally we just keep criticising the information commissioners fordelays in clearing files and giving judgements. Now that I am in thehot seat, I will either prove that the work can be done efficiently orcompletely fail," he added.

Gandhi has taken the endeavour of serving the office at a salary of Re1.Apart from Gandhi, the other appointments include M Sharma, A Dixitand Satendra Mishra.

Muslims make only 3.3 percent of Maharashtra police

By Khabrein.Info Correspondent (Mumbai)

In Maharashtra the number of Muslims in the police department is not according to their population in the state.At the level of police constable the number of Muslims is 3.35percent. At the level of Superintendent of Police and additional superintendent of police there is only one Muslim out of 115.

Several noted personalities including the editor of communalism combatJawed Anand met state home minister RR Patil and demanded that in theongoing recruitment the Muslim should be appointed according to theirpopulation. According to information taken under RTI it has clearedthat the recruitment of Muslims in Police is zero.

Only those Muslim made it to the police department who got educationthrough Marathi medium. In 2005 only 23, in 2006 only 46 and in 2007only 25 Muslims were recruited in police department.

According to Abu Beg, senior police inspector if a Muslim wants to goin police department he should be aware of Marathi language. Not onlyMarathi language he should also be aware of Marathi culture.

Ansari's novel interprentation of "information"

Rakesh Agarwal (NyayaBhoomi)

Information Commission M.A. Ansari read out section 2(j) to me and said thata Commissioner can decide to allow inspection in lieu of copies ofdocuments. He also said that since Inspection is mentioned in clause (i) andcopies in clause (ii), I should be grateful if he gave me access under the"preferential" clause.

The hearing took place yesterday in a case where Department of Posts hadasked me to deposit more than Rs.1,25,000 as "Labour charges". As halfexpected, he accused me of malafide and said that I cannot expect thegovernment officers to do research for me.

All I wanted was the delivery status of all articles sent through speed postacross the country on one particular day - chosen at random - in order toassess their performance. My speed post articles were being delivered in 3to 10 days within the same city and some articles either went missing orwere delivered to the wrong address. Mr. Ansari said I should visit theiroffices across the country and inspect the status for myself; this is whenhe mentioned the "preferential" clause.

I am preparing a writ for Delhi High Court. This is the 3rd such instancewith Ansari over the last two years.I have immense respect for other ICs but whilst Padma's knowledge of RTI is
elementary, Ansari is an example of how to deliberately and shamelessly killtransparency and accountability.

A copy of Premchand's "Panch Parmeshwar" is on the way to Ansari - with abouquet.

Shrine boards, dargahs should provide employee details: CIC

All public authorities including dargah committeesshould "pro-actively" disclose details of employees and remunerationpaid to them, the Central Information Commission has said.

The ruling came on a petition filed by an individual against refusal
by Dargah Committee Khwaja Saheb in Ajmer for details on employeesrecruited by it.

Central Information Commissioner M M Ansari ordered the Committee toprovide the information within 15 days to the complainant.

Abdul Mugni Chisti had earlier filed an RTI with the Committee forinformation on employees recruitment and payments to them.However, Chief Public Information Officer and the appellate authorityhad refused to furnish the details citing that required informationwas not specified.

The Commission said, "respondent (dargah) should have publishedinformation relating to the details of employees so that theinformation seeker doesn't have to ask for it."The Commission also allowed Chisti to freely inspect the relevantrecords related to details of the employees including theireducational qualification, experience and as well as remuneration paidto them.

गुरुवार, 4 सितंबर 2008

Nyaya Adhikaar Satyagrah: Why….?

Against the injustice and victimization of right less forest villagers of Katerniaghat Wild Life Sanctuary in Bahraich District of Uttar Pradesh in INDIA
Nyaya Adhikaar Satyagrah: Why….?

The Location of the story
The story begins from a cluster of 8 forest villages (The villages inhibited on forest lands.) named- Bhawanipur, Bichhia, Bichhia Bazar, Kailash Nagar, Gokulpur, Mahboob Nagar and Gokulpur (Dafadargaurhi) fall under a forest sanctuary named- Katarnia Ghat Wild Life Sanctury situated at Indo-Nepal border region in Mihinpurwa block of Bahraich district in the Uttar Pradesh state of India.

The Previous History
All these forest villages known as “Vangram”, were inhibited by the British rule in the year of 1865 when the Forest Management was taken over by them to develop forests. At the same time the “Land Sattlement Act” was executed by the Govt. under which all the farmers have to pay the land tax in “cash” instead of grains and it was too high. As result, a big number of small and marginal farmers became land less.
To develop the forests against “no cost”, the British officers have planned to inhibit these landless farmers on forest lands with some terms and conditions like:
they will not allowed for “pucca” houses and cemented constructions but they can built hey-huts and allowed to use forest products for this purpose.
they will do “begaar”(work without any wages) in the projects implemented for the development of forests or when ever it needed.
they will be free to graze their animal in forests, collect fuel wood and wood for necessary furnitures.
they will pay a land tax amount of Rs. 0.39 per beegha or Rs. 1.95 per acre of land to the forest department.
they will provide free calves to British officers at the time of hunting.
they will never be given any govt. facility for the development. And………..
the land will not be transferred to the next generation.

All the landless laborers were helpless to accept these terms and they accepted.
Even after the 62 years independence, all the terms and conditions are continued and all the dwellers of forest villages are living like “slaves”.
The conditions became worst in comparison to British rule after the independence. We can see as under:
All the facilities given by the Britishers were finished by the Indian Forest Department but the exploitation described above was still continued.
In the year of 2000, they were declared encroachers.
No Govt. schemes, programmes or facilities even residence/ caste or income certificates were given to these forest villages.
The intensive prevalence of severe poverty, starvation deaths, malnutrition, seasonal epidemics.
The atrocities were increased by the forest officials on the villagers.
The forest officials started taking grains, milk, milk products and all the agriculture products at the cost of the existence of the family.

The Initiative of Movement
In the year of 2002-03, a study was conducted on this issue by a youth social activist named-Jitendra Chaturvedi whose childhood was passed through the forest villages. After the study, on the basis of the findings he decided to start a movement for the basic rights of the forest villagers.

He motivated them to united themselves in an organization and named it-“Vangram Adhikaar Manch” . All the families residing in the forest villages joined “Vangram Adhikaar Manch”.

Opposition of the violation
All the forest villagers were given trainings on important issues like-Indian Constitution, Forest and Wild Life Protection Acts, IPC/CRPC, Human Rights, Right to Food, Child Rights and leadership development.
After the trainings, the forest villagers became empowered and started to oppose atrocities, taking bribe against using forest products like hey for huts, fuel wood etc., charging illegal money (100 Times more than the legal provisions), “Begaar” (Work without wages) by the forest officials. They have also started to demand their basic rights as all the other Indian citizens are availing by writing demand letters to higher authorities, policy makers and others, demonstrations, rallies and dharanas.

The villagers Initiatives in the protection of Forest and wild life
They also started to protect the forests and wild life through their own interventions like forming “Van evam Vanya Jeev Suraksha Samiti” in each forest villages.
In the mission of protecting forests and wild life they find that the majority of the forest and wild life crime cases are promoted by the forest officials and it is for gaining the money. Actually, this was not new for the forest villagers but before, they were afraid of forest officials that they will demolish them and now they were organized.
They have started to file applications under the Right To Information Act on the provisions of their rights, reasons for the deprivation of forest villagers, informations related to forest villages etc.
They have made the several efforts in which the role of forest officials in the forest crimes and wild life loss was proved. Some examples are given below:-
1. One Watcher was caught with 3 labourers and wood cutter equipments near Katarnia Ghat railway crossing when all making wooden sleepers after cutting a Teek tree on 8th April, 2006 and handed over to SSB.
2. On 20st May-2006, a leopard was killed by the forest officials in the exercise of capturing. This leopard was stalking on the villagers. The whole process was recorded in a video CD by the youths of forest villages. Next day the forest officials file the complaint against 24 villagers in the Sujauli Police station. When we presented the CD in the Police Station as the proof of villager’s innocence, Police decided not to proceed against the villagers.
3. On 27th November 2007, the forest officials cut down 51 green trees of teak and eucalyptus just on 30 meters distance from a forest barrier named-Bichhia under Katarnia Ghat range and a FIR laws against 6 forest officials(Case No. 206).
4. On 4th November, 2007, we have informed forest officials about some unknown suspicious persons inside the forest area at the north bank of river Gerua. But no action was taken by the officials.
On 6th October, 2007, a criminal of Bawaria Poachers Gang caught red handed by the youths of “Vangram Adhikaar Manch” with the organs, meat and skin of a Tiger at Bichhia Railway station.

The Return
Due to these efforts, the forest department started to victimize the forest villagers by filing the fake cases on them.

Mis-use of the legal rights to forest officials

The forest officials are given the right to register the forest cases under Forest Act and Wild Life Protection Act and these cases are directly entertained by the court. They misused this right with vested interest and registered 14 fake cases under Forest Act and Wild Life Protection Act on more than 500 forest villagers along with named 123 all those innocent forest villagers who have taken initiatives in all the efforts mentioned above or opposed the atrocities of forest officials.

4 youths named – Jung Hindustani, Saroj Gupta, Fareed Ansari and Samiuddeen of them are in District Jail, Bahraich since 1 month. They have surrendered in a false case by honoring court and after 23 days the bail was granted by the Honourable Court. But at the same time the forest department pursued the case and issued 4 more warrants in other fake cases time. Hence, the duration of their imprisonment is gradually increasing.

The Previous Efforts against false/fake cases
The forest villagers demanded so many times to higher officials, policy makers, PM and President also for the investigation of all the matters through the Judiciary. But the result was always zero.

The local MLA of BSP Mr. Waris Ali had tried to withdraw the cases through the Chief Minister’s intervention. But the District Magistrate has also sent adverse report without the deep investigation to the Govt. As result, this application has dismissed.
We felt that every official of each sector taking the salary from the Govt. is biased in all the above matters. No body listens to the poor forest villagers. No bail is given by the Judiciary in the cases of forest or wild life act without imprisonment.

And now…………………………..The “Nyaya Adhikaar Satyagrah”
Due to all the above reasons, all the forest villagers have decided to expedite a long movement against this injustice named- “Nyaya Adhikaar Satyagrah” since 1st September, 2008. The programme is as follows:
1. Niraparaadh Atma-samarpan Pad Yatra from Motipur to Bahraich court (65 Km.) will be organized since 1st Sept. 2008. In which, all the 123 innocent forest villagers named under Forest cases along with 500 villagers with the hands bounded with ropes and a black tape on the mouths. The named persons will surrender themselves in the Honorable Court.
2. Dharana and Anshan/Hunger Strike will be organized by the 2000-3000 villagers in Bichhia Bazar for unlimited duration.
3. Evening “Chulha Bandi” [No food taking and cooking in the evening] in all the households in 8 forest villages.
4. Hunger strike by the 123 surrendered persons in the District Jail.

We request you to favor us for Justice. So that all the youths and residents of the forest villages could be mainstreamed with the nation.

On behalf of Forest villagers,

Dr. Jitendra Chaturvedi
Mobile: 094150 54079
E-mail: jitendra_c1@rediffmail.com

Child traffickers become active in Bihar's flood

Even as hapless victims of the Kosi river's fury struggle to stay alive in the flood-hit areas of Bihar, another serious problem seems to be spreading its tentacles, this time around the children.Taking advantage of the vulnerable situation, middlemen have started trafficking children out of the state to metro cities, reports IANS.
A team of volunteers of the Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (BBA), an NGO working on the issue of child rights, this week rescued six children who were being lured away by two men at the Katihar railway station in Bihar."The BBA has its volunteers all across the country. While helping out the victims of the flood in Bihar, some volunteers noticed that many children were roaming around at the railway station with just one or two men, which they found was very suspicious," Kailash Satyarthi of the BBA said.
On enquiring, the volunteers found these men were not relatives of the children and were taking them to Kolkata to make them work in roadside eateries and dhabas, Satyarthi said. "While those children were rescued, there are hundreds of other kids being trafficked by people who are taking advantage of the vulnerable situation there," he said.
The BBA has now written to universities, like Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Patna University for volunteers, who, along with BBA's members, can keep vigilance at the bus and railway stations of Bihar as well as metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, where the kids are taken to.Darbhanga, Bhagalpur, Saharsa, Katihar, Supaul, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, Purnea, Kishanganj and Khagadia are some of the places in Bihar where children are trafficked from.
"We have also contacted Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's office with regard to the issue," he said. We have also urged the railway officials to keep an eye on bunches of kids travelling with just one or two men because in all possibility they are being trafficked," Satyarthi said.

Court tells UPSC to show marks

Delhi High Court today dismissed a plea by theUnion Public Service Commission seeking immunity from an order todisclose key details of civil service examinations that have so farbeen kept under wraps.
The 2006 Central Information Commission (CIC) decision upheld by thehigh court today ordered the UPSC to disclose students' marks andcut-offs for the preliminary stages of its examinations.
The Right to Information Act watchdog had also ordered the UPSC toreveal the scaling procedure used to normalise scores betweendifferent subjects chosen by students — some subjects are more scoringthan others.
Over four lakh students appear annually for the preliminary civilservice exams that are marred by allegations of inaccurate marking orscoring of answer scripts that are never revealed to students.
"This is a major victory for students across India. The UPSC has beenordered to make its heavily guarded system of examinationstransparent. This will affect all students who sit for civil serviceexams in future," Aman Lekhi, the senior advocate for studentschallenging the UPSC petition, said.
But UPSC sources said the commission may appeal against the high court
verdict in the Supreme Court."Our argument remains that the disclosure of this information wouldhurt the exam process and expose it to manipulation," a senior UPSCofficial said.

बुधवार, 3 सितंबर 2008

आख़िर क्या है चंदे का फंडा....?

अफरोज आलम 'साहिल'

सदियों से हिन्दुस्तान की जनता की किस्मत बही-खातों और फाइलों में कैद रही है। बही-खातों व फाइलों के घपलों का खुलासा अब तक 'आफिसियल सीक्रेट एक्ट-1923' के बहाने रोका जाता रहा है। जनता और शासक के बीच जनता के नाम पर शासन करने वाले लोग अंधेरगर्दी मचाते रहे हैं, पर सूचना क्रांति के इस युग में भारत सरकार ने शायद गलती से ही सही जनता के हाथों में सूचना के अधिकार के रूप में एक ऐसा हथियार मुहैया कराया है जो इन बही-खातों और फाइलों के बीच के
घपलों को जनता के बीच लाकर इन तथाकथित जन-सेवकों की असलियत जनता के सामने रखने लगी है। इसने अब तथाकथित जनसेवकों के चेहरों का नकाब उतारना शुरू कर दिया है।

माया की मोह में किसी व्यक्ति, का रमना और फंसना कोई नई बात नहीं है। लेकिन किसी
विचारधारा की पार्टी का माया के जाल में गोता लगाना हमें विचलित जरूर करता है। भारतीय जनता पार्टी 'पार्टी विथ द डिप्रफेंस' का नारा देती रही है। लेकिन जब 'सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम-2005' के माध्यम से राजनैतिक पार्टियों के दानदाताओं की सूची से राज खुला तो ' पार्टी
विथ द डिप्रफेंस' की भी पोल खुल कर रह गई। विचारधारा,दृष्टिकोण और नीतियों की पार्टी अर्थात भारतीय जनता पार्टी कभी भोपाल गैस कांड के दोषी कम्पनी की घोर विरोधी थी, पर लगता है अब विरोध खत्म हो चुका है। इसलिए उसने यूनियन कार्बाइड के
नए मालिक 'डाओ केमिकल्स' से भी चंदा लेने में कोई परहेज नहीं किया। इन्हें तो बस पैसा चाहिए। पैसा कहां से आता है, कौन देता है, इससे कोई मतलब नहीं।

भोपाल गैस कांड पीड़ितों के लड़ाई के दो दशक हो चुके हैं। ये पीड़ित अब तक अधिक मुआवजा
देने की मांगों को लेकर कई महीनों से जंतर-मंतर के फुटपाथों पर जिंदगी बसर कर रहे थे । इधर भारतीय जनता पार्टी ने भी इस मुद्दे पर कांग्रेस को बहुत प्रभावी ढंग से घेरा था, बल्कि पिछले प्रांतीय चुनाव में इसने कांग्रेस को 'डाओ केमिकल्स'
का हितैषी भी बता डाला। पर अब भारतीय जनता पार्टी का चुप रहना ही बेहतर होगा। क्योंकि अब यह एक लाख रुपये में बिक चुकी है। ऐसा नहीं है कि कांग्रेस दूध की धुली है। सच्चाई तो यह है कि 'हमाम' में सभी नंगे हैं, क्या कांग्रेस और क्या भाजपा?
राजनैतिक पार्टी के दानदाताओं की सूची न सिर्फ विचलित करने वाली है, बल्कि कई संवेदनशील सवाल भी खड़े करती हैं। इस सूची में देखा गया कि कई औद्योगिक घराने और व्यापारिक प्रतिष्ठान व समूह जैसे आदित्य बिड़ला समूह से संबंधित जनरल इलेक्टोरल ट्रस्ट, गोवा की
डेम्पो इंडस्ट्रीज वीएस डेम्पो, डेम्पो माइनिंग, सेसा गोवा, वीएम सालगांवकर एंड ब्रदर्स आदि ने भाजपा और कांग्रेस दोनों ही पार्टियों को चंदा दिया है। सिर्फ ये ही नहीं, बल्कि कई माइनिंग कंपनियां, प्रापर्टी-रियल एस्टेट कंपनियां, ट्रस्ट, रेजिडेंट वेलफेयर एसोसिएशंस, निर्यातक व बहुराष्ट्रीय कंपनियों के साथ-साथ शिक्षा के मंदिर कहे जाने वाले प्राइवेट स्कूल व शैक्षणिक संस्थान भी दानदाताओं में शामिल हैं।
उद्योगपति, व्यवसायी व बिल्डर माफिया तो इन राजनैतिक पार्टियों को परंपरा के मुताबिक हमेशा से चंदा देते आए हैं, पर अब अकीक एजुकेशन सेन्टर का सच हमारे सामने है, जहां
न कोई शिक्षा है और न ही शिक्षा देने वाला कोई शिक्षक और न ही उसकी हालत चंदा देने लायक है। ये तो एकसाधारण् सा घर है। पर इसने भाजपा को एक ही बार में नौ चेकों की मदद से 75 लाख रुपये दे डाले। इसके पिछले वर्ष भी यह 66 लाख रुपये चंदा भाजपा को दे चुकी है।
आखिर राजनैतिक पार्टियों को चंदा क्यों दिया जाता है? इसका रहस्य हमसे या आपसे छिपा नहीं है।

परंतु कौन से लोग कितना चंदा देते हैं और कब देते हैं, इसका विवरण अब तक देश की वोट देने वाली
आम जनता की पहुंच से बाहर था लेकिन 'सूचना के अधिकार' के आ जाने के बाद अब यह दिलचस्प व रहस्यमयी विवरण भी आम जनता की पहुंच में है। ये अलग बात है कि कुछ महीनों पूर्व जब सूचना के अधिकार के दायरे में राजनीतिक पार्टियों को भी
लाने की बात की गई तो इन तथाकथित जनसेवकों की टोलियों ने काफी हाय-तौबा मचाई और सीधे तौर पर उन्होंने उस प्रजा को अपनी पार्टी के आय-व्यय का ब्योरा देने से मना कर दिया जिसकी बदौलत ही वे राजा बने बैठे हैं। उन्होंने ऐसा क्यों किया,
ये सच अब हमारे सामने है। पर वो भूल गए कि आम जनता भले ही इनके खर्च के ब्योरे का पता न लगा सके, लेकिन आय की जानकारी का पता (भले ही वह अधूरा ही क्यों न हो) तो निर्वाचन आयोग से लगा ही सकती है, जिसे वह फार्म-24
ए भरकर निर्वाचन आयोग को उपलब्ध कराते हैं।

हमने भी सूचना के अधिकार का प्रयोग करते हुए निर्वाचन आयोग से कांग्रेस, भाजपा और बसपा को मिलने वाले पिछले तीन वर्ष के चंदे का विवरण मांगा तो आयोग ने अपने जवाब में बताया कि बहन मायावती की बसपा ने
आज तक फार्म-24ए भरा ही नहीं है। यही नहीं कांग्रेस व भाजपा ने भी वित्तीय वर्ष 2007-08 में फार्म 24ए भरना मुनासिब नहीं समझा। इस प्रकार मुझे सिर्फ दो वर्षों का विवरण ही हासिल हो सका।
दिलचस्प बात तो यह है कि इस देश में 920
रजिस्टर्ड राजनितिक पार्टियाँ हैं, जिन में से केवल 21 पार्टियाँ ही ऐसी हैं जो अपने चंदे और आमदनी से संबंधित विवरण आयोग को सौंप रहे हैं।
फार्म 24(ए) नही भरने वालों में सिर्फ़ बहन मायावती ही नही बल्कि चाहे रेलमंत्री लालू प्रसाद यादव का राष्ट्रीय जनता दल , रामविलास पासवान की लोक जनशक्ति पार्टी , करुणानिधि के नेतृत्ववाली डीएमके , शिबू सोरेन का झारखंड मुक्ति मोर्चा या अन्य प्रमुख राजनीतिक दल हों, इन दलों ने चुनाव आयोग को अपने दानदाताओं के बारे में दिया जाने वाला ब्यौरा उपलब्ध नहीं कराया है।
बहरहाल, जिन 21 पार्टियों ने फ़ार्म 24(ए) भरा है, उनकी सूची से सरसरी तौर पर इस विवरण से कोई स्पष्ट निष्कर्ष तो नहीं निकाला जा सकता, लेकिन आंकड़ों का विश्लेषण और चेक दिए जाने का समय अगर उद्योगपतियों की स्थिति उस वक्त के घटना के मद्देनजर देखी जाए तो अभी कई और रहस्यों से पर्दा उठ सकता है। लेकिन इतना तो तय है कि राजनीतिक पार्टियां चंदा लेते समय
अपनी विचारधारा, दृष्टिकोण व नीतियों आदि को खास अहमियत नहीं देतीं। उन्हें तो बस दान चाहिए, चाहे वह दानदाता किसी भी विचारधारा का क्यों न हो, और वैसे भी दानदाता की अपनी कोई विचारधारा नहीं होती, उन्हें तो बस अपने हितों से मतलब होता है। वो तो बस
अपना हित साधना चाहते हैं। इस प्रकार उनके द्वारा दिया गया चंदा एक प्रकार का रिश्वत ही होता है। कितना दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण है कि देश को चलाने वाले ये जनसेवक पैसे के चलते उसूलों को ताक पर रखते हुए व्यापारिक समूहों के हितों के गुलाम बना कर रह गएहैं।
दिलचस्प बात यह है कि भाजपा के नियमित दानदाता बहुत कम हैं। अर्थात जो एक बार दे दिया दुबारा देना मुनासिब नहीं समझता। पार्टी के अपने लोग भी चंदा देने में पीछे ही हैं। पार्टी ज्यादातर अपना चंदा देश भर के बिल्डर और उससे जुड़े उद्योगों, व्यापारियों और
एजुकेशन सेन्टर से ही प्राप्त करती है। यदि कभी सच सामने आ सके तो यह जानना दिलचस्प होगा कि जिस-जिस साल में जो बड़ा व्यापारी चंदा देता है, वह उस साल क्या फायदा हासिल करता है? बात अगर कांग्रेस की करें तो पार्टी से जुड़े लोग दिल खोल कर चंदा देते हैं और खूब देते हैं। खुद सोनिया गांधी ने दो वर्षो में 67467 रुपये और डा. मनमोहन सिंह ने 50 हजार रुपये चंदा दिए हैं। इसके अलावा इनके दानदाताओं में पब्लिक स्कूलों की भी अच्छी खासी तादाद है। वीडियोकान कंपनी द्वारा एक ही दिन 50-50 लाख के 6 अलग-अलग चेक देना, आदित्य बिड़ला समूह का 10 करोड़ का चंदा दिया जाना कुछ सवाल तो खड़े करता ही है। ये ऐसे सवाल है। जिनका जवाब शायद अभी न मिले, लेकिन जनता के बीच यह आंकड़े पहुंचा देना ही सूचना के अधिकार की सबसे बड़ी जीत है।

बात यहीं खत्म नहीं होती, क्योंकि इनके अलावा भी अंदरूनी तौर पर न जाने कितने चंदे हासिल किए जाते होंगे, जिसका अंदाजा लगाना हमारे व आपके बस की बात नहीं।
आख़िर क्या है फ़ार्म 24(ए)....?
रिप्रेज़ेंटेशन ऑफ़ पीपुल्स एक्ट (1951) में वर्ष 2003 में एक संशोधन के तहत यह नियम बनाया गया था कि सभी राजनीतिक दलों को धारा 29 (सी) की उपधारा-(1) के तहत फ़ार्म 24(ए) के माध्यम से चुनाव आयोग को यह जानकारी देनी होगी कि उन्हें हर वित्तीय वर्ष के दौरान किन-किन व्यक्तियों और संस्थानों से कुल कितना चंदा मिला.
हालांकि राजनीतिक दलों को इस नियम के तहत 20 हज़ार से ऊपर के चंदों की ही जानकारी देनी होती है.