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Juvenile Justice Bill: Ramdas Athawale claims those with sexual urges should be forcibly married

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“Those who have sexual urges… they should be taught a lesson. They should get married. And if they have sex, then it should be consensual.”

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On Tuesday, veteran lawmaker Ramdas Athawale, the president of the Republic Party of India made some bizarre remarks before passing the Juvenile Justice Act in parliament. He was quoted saying by NDTV, “Those who have sexual urges… they should be taught a lesson. They should get married. And if they have sex, then it should be consensual.”He also used an expletive that was expunged from the remarks. He also claimed that during the times of Shivaji, no one would commit such crimes as their hands and legs were broken and the law should allow a modern democracy like India to do the same. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi thanked the opposition for passing the much-expected Juvenile Justice Bill under which juveniles aged 16 years and above will now be tried under laws for adults for heinous crimes.”This is a Bill that everyone feels strongly about and I am happy that everyone supported it,” Gandhi said as she stepped out of Parliament. Congress leader Renuka Chaudhary said her party was the architect of the Bill in many ways and just wanted an intense debate on various aspects of the Bill. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the walkout by the Left parties was not in protest of the Bill, but because they wanted the Bill to go to a Select Committee so that all aspects are looked into. “If tomorrow you catch hold of a young ISIS terrorist, you will say bring down the age by another two years. The question is not about the age but the kind of crime that has been committed,” he said. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which provides for lowering the age for trial from 18 years, was passed by Rajya Sabha with a voice vote after a walkout by Left parties which wanted it to be sent to a Select Committee. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha earlier.

Juvenile Justice Bill: Here are 7 things you should know about the Bill

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The bill was taken up against the backdrop of uproar over release of juvenile convict in the heinous gangrape-cum-murder of a 23-year-old girl on December 16, 2012.

The juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya rape case has been released.
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dna Research & Archives
Juveniles aged 16 years and above will now be tried under laws for adults for heinous crimes as Parliament today passed a much-expected bill in this regard against the backdrop of a juvenile convict being released in the gangrape-cum-murder case of December 2012.The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which provides for lowering the age for trial from 18 years, was passed by Rajya Sabha with a voice vote after a walkout by Left parties which wanted it to be sent to a Select Committee. The bill was taken up against the backdrop of uproar over release of juvenile convict in the heinous gangrape-cum-murder of a 23-year-old girl on December 16, 2012.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here are 7 salient features of the Bill: 1) The Juvenile Justice Bill was introduced in the Parliament for the first time in 2014. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha earlier.2) The Bill replaces the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 which addresses children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.3) The Bill will permit juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences. 4) Any 16-18 year old, who commits a ‘serious offence’ (not heinous), maybe tried as an adult only if he is apprehended after the age of 21.5) Juvenile Justice Bill and Child Welfare Committees (CWC) will be constituted in each district. The JJB will determine whether to send offender for rehabilitation or will be tried as an adult. CWC will determine institutional care for children in need of care and protection.6) Rules for eligibility of adoptive parents and procedure for adoption have been included in the Bill; Penalties for cruelty against a child, offering a narcotic substance to a child, and abduction or selling a child have been prescribed. 7) This bill is not in accordance with United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), as ratified by India. The UNCRC states that signatory countries should treatevery child under the age of 18 years in the same manner and not try them as adults. It recommends that thosecountries that treat or propose to treat 16-18 year olds as adult criminals, change their laws to align with theprinciple of non-discrimination towards children. 8) The bill faces criticism for the possible violation of Articles 14, 21 and 20(1) of the Constitution.

Nirbhaya rape accused to walk free tomorrow

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The victims’ parents, who were present in the court, were crushed and heartbroken upon hearing the order. Visibly moved with tears in eyes, Asha Devi, the mother vowed to carry on the fight for justice.

Nirbhaya’s mother Asha expresses her disappointment after the Delhi High Court refusal to stay release of the juvenile convict on Friday.

PTI
The juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya gangrape case will walk free on Sunday. The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to extend his stay in the observation home saying the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000 has stipulated the maximum period of three years. “Having regard to the fact that the maximum stay that can be directed in the Special Home under Section 15(1) of the Act is three years and that the respondent No.1 (convict) would be completing the period of three years by December 20, 2015, there cannot be any direction to continue his stay in the Special Home beyond December 20, 2015. Hence, we decline to issue any direction as prayed by the petitioner,” a bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The victims’ parents, who were present in the court, were crushed and heartbroken upon hearing the order. Visibly moved with tears in eyes, Asha Devi, the mother vowed to carry on the fight for justice. BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy, the petitioner in the case, was seen consoling the parents in the courtroom, assuring them that he has not given up. “This fight is not just for your daughter alone, it is now for the nation,” Swamy said. Two days ago, the victims’ parents had staged a demonstration at Jantar Mantar here protesting against the release of the juvenile. At that time, the mother had said she would continue her fighting till the very last moment. In its order, the high court also directed the Juvenile Justice Board to take a final decision on his rehabilitation and the management committee of the Delhi government would keep a watch on him for two years as per the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Rules. The convict, who is now 21, is to release on December 20 after his three years stay in the observation home as part of the sentence for the offence of rape. The bench directed Juvenile Justice Board (JJB-II) shall interact with the juvenile his parents/guardians as well as the officials concerned of the department of women and child development, Delhi government regarding the “post-release rehabilitation and social mainstreaming” of the juvenile and pass appropriate orders in accordance with the provisions of the JJB Act and Rules. It referred to the Rules 55 which makes it mandatory for the Management Committee to consider and review periodically post-release or post restoration follow up. Rule 65 also provides for a detailed procedure of restoration of the juvenile back to the family and the follow-up action by the Juvenile Justice Board. The bench also recorded the Rule which restrains the JJ Board from sending the juvenile to his family in case he is reluctant to go home. According to the Rule, a quarterly follow-up report to the JJB by the concerned Child Welfare Officer or Probation Officer or the non-governmental organization for a period of two years. The bench, however, never closed the petition saying the issue raised by the petitioner is “of public importance” which needs deeper consideration. The court has to ascertain the factum of reformation of the juveniles in conflict with law before they are released from the Special Home on expiry of the period of stay ordered by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB). The court sought response from the Centre and Delhi government to file response on the issue within eight weeks, while posting the matter for March 28, 2016. The court’s order came on Swamy’s plea against the release of the “unreformed” juvenile convict. He cited the Intelligence Bureau (IB) report about him having been radicalised after being shifted with a juvenile apprehended in connection with the Delhi High Court blast case. The Centre had told the court that juvenile’s stay in an observation home should be extended till all aspects including mental health and post-release rehabilitation plans are considered by the authorities. The juvenile, who was under 18 when arrested for brutal rape and murder of a para-medical student on December 16, 2012, was tried under the Juvenile Justice Act. He was ordered to be kept in a remand home for three years.Swamy in his plea asked the court to pass order that “such unreformed juvenile not be released until it is demonstrably assured that he has reformed, ceased to be radicalised and is not a menace to the society”. Meanwhile, a trial court had awarded death penalty to four rapists which was upheld by the high court. Out of the six convicts, prime accused Ram Singh was found dead in Tihar Jail and the juvenile was sent to reform home.The appeals for four convicts are pending before the Supreme Court.

Exaggeration of figures about children benefiting from Mid Day Meal scheme: CAG

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In a report tabled in the Parliament on Friday the CAG also found that often food was being prepared in unhygienic conditions exposing children to health hazards.
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With practices like “fudging” of data and “inflated” costs prevailing, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found there is an “institutionalised exaggeration” of figures about children benefiting from Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme.In a report tabled in the Parliament on Friday the CAG also found that often food was being prepared in unhygienic conditions exposing children to health hazards.The auditor also observed a trend as per which the enrolment of children in schools providing mid-day meals is showing a “consistent” decline which it said indicates that more and more people are seeking better education and not just food.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CAG in the report said the mechanism in place for assimilating data on the number of children availing meals was seriously compromised and the percentage of actual children as gathered from various sources was consistently lower than that furnished by the states to the HRD Ministry.The audit, it said “evidenced an institutional exaggeration of figures” regarding students taking meals, “irregular diversion or theft of grains, inflated transportation costs and fudging of data which point to widespread leakages.”The data it suggested should be examined through independent checks and a system of surprise checks should be introduced.In its report the CAG also said that from 14.69 crore in 2009-10, the number of children enrolled in schools covered by the MDM scheme has come down to 13.87 crore, while enrolment of children in private schools had gone up from 4.02 crore to 5.53 crore.”Clear trends were noticed, which demonstrated that the meal served its purpose only when the expectation of the parents, with respect to good education for their wards, was fulfilled,” the CAG said in its report.The audit also found was that most states had not formulated any criteria to identify poor children belonging to disadvantaged sections, whom the scheme aims to benefit. As a result this objective remained on paper only, it said.

Nirbhaya rape case: Actions that have been taken towards women safety since then

The case garnered a lot of attention and became synonymous with women’s rights for safety in this country as well as outside.

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The 2012 Delhi gang rape or the Nirbhaya rape case brought forth a lot of issues right from the power of youth who unanimously stood up for a cause, to the security of women in the democratic country which boasts of being a female nation.The case garnered a lot of attention and became synonymous with women’s rights for safety in this country as well as outside. However, after all these years, were these issues addressed as they should have been?Our newspapers, today, still show the ongoing discussion and divided opinion on the release of juvenile convict or about Parliament contemplating on criminalising marital rape. However, does a country with a female population of 624 million, feel safe as instances of sexual exploitation make news every morning?<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three years down the line, let us see if things seemed to have changed for better or for worse after the horrifying night of December 16:Positive changes that have been made:The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 which was initially an ordinance promulgated by Pranab Mukherjee on April 3, 2013, after this incident was passed and made into a legislation by the Parliament in March 2013. This legislation was formed after reviewing 80,000 recommendations that were received after wide consultations and research by the Justice Verma Committee. Several crimes like stalking, voyeurism were clearly specified and included in the list of new crimes in this legislation. Acid violence and disrobing, a common crime in India, was further elaborated on with respect to the punishment that should be given to the convict.
Under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the age of consent was increased from 16 to 18.
In order to ensure that victims are not hesitant in filing a complaint, the security blanket that protected public servants and police officers has been removed.
Stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment, which were one considered gender neutral, were changed to offence committed on women.
The law also states that in case of repeated offence of rape or in case where victim has been led to a comatose stage, death penalty can be pronounced on convict. Whereas, there is also an increase in jail term. (Unlike what happened in Aruna Shanbaug case.)
Changes that have not been made yet:
The Juvenile Justice Act which deals with punishment for juveniles accused of heinous crimes is still pending in Parliament.
Marital rape is still legal in the country.
While Ram Singh, a convict, died while he was being tried, the other four Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Thakur were given death sentence by fast track court, which was upheld by Delhi Court, but the Supreme Court has stayed their death sentence.
Juvenile, who was said to be the most brutal, has served his detention period of three years, may be released on December 20, and Women and child development (WCD) may grant him a rehabilitation grant of Rs. 10,000. However, Subramanian Swamy, a BJP leader has filed a PIL, seeking a stay on his release.

Naxals allegedly kill school student, another youth in Chhattisgarh

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1.5 million children in India die due to diarrhoea: Report

The report says that by 2015, the figure of malnutrition should have dropped to 26% as per the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) but the country fell short of the goal by 7%.

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Out of more than 35 million Indians who are affected by water-borne diseases annually, 1.5 million children die due to diarrhoea alone, a Centre for Science and Environment report revealed on Tuesday. The latest publication ‘Body Burden 2015- State of India’s Health’ which examines the linkage between environment and health quite comprehensively said that a number of public health catastrophes arising out of environmental reasons are staring the people of India in the face.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “The report informs that about 37.7 million Indians are affected by water-borne diseases annually. Around 1.5 million children die due to diarrhoea alone, and 73 million working days are lost due to water-borne illnesses each year. Estimates suggest India loses Rs 36,600 crore every year due to water-borne diseases,” CSE said.Referring to the connection between water and sanitation and malnutrition, the report says that by 2015, the figure of malnutrition should have dropped to 26% as per the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) but the country fell short of the goal by seven per cent. Notwithstanding the progress, CSE said that India still cannot answer why the malnutrition rate among its children is so high. “The world’s largest programme to tackle child malnutrition, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), has been in force in the country since 1975, much before any other country, save the US, introduced measures to tackle the problem,” points out the report. Noting that malnutrition is prevalent in comparatively richer states as well, the report indicates that higher income does not necessarily correlate with better health of children. “India loses over US $12 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies among its population. Malnutrition is not just about access to food. “Children who are constantly exposed to faecal microorganisms demonstrate Environmental Enteric Dysfunction or EED, where the gut becomes permeable and brings microbial products in contact with blood.” “This leads to activation of the immune system which down-regulates the growth factors in the body and leads to stunting. States like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand where more people defecate in open, have more malnourished children, comparatively,” it said.

Muzaffarnagar: 40 children taken ill after consuming poisonous seeds

40 children were taken ill, as they consumed poisonous seeds in the forest.

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Over 40 children were taken ill after consuming poisonous seeds at Sahawli village under New Mandi police station in the district.Police said the children aged between 4 to 12 years had gone to play in a nearby jungle yesterday where they consumed the seeds.They soon complained of headache, vomiting and fever and were rushed to the district hospital, police said.Four of them were referred to Meerut hospital, police sources said.Rest others are out of danger now, they said.

Nirbhaya gangrape case: Juvenile convict won’t be completely free, will be monitored by NGO

The juvenile, who was convicted in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, was to be set free from his prohibition centre this December after his three-year-sentence came to an end. However,  according to Times Now, he will now be closely watched for a year and won’t be set completely free. Sources told the channel that he will be placed with an NGO after he finishes serving his sentence.

NDTV reported that the unnamed convict, who is now a 21-year-old, will receive vocational training at the NGO.

The juvenile convicted in the 2012 gang rape of Nirbhaya in Delhi. ReutersThe juvenile convicted in the 2012 gang rape of Nirbhaya in Delhi. Reuters

The juvenile convicted in the 2012 gang rape of Nirbhaya in Delhi. Reuters

The juvenile was one of the six men who were convicted in the Nirbhaya gangrape case where a medical student was gang-raped and thrown out of a moving bus. The government flew her to a hospital in Singapore for medical treatment but she succumbed to her injuries. Outrage over his release had the government exploring their legal options on whether they can charge him under the National Security Act and keep him in jail for a longer time.

The new decision comes on the heels of Union Minister Maneka Gandhi’s letter to the Union Home Ministry demanding that those accused of sexual abuse and having served a sentence, should be tracked once released.

The parents of the 16 December gangrape and murder victim had recently demanded that the face of the juvenile, who was considered the “most brutal” of all the six offenders, should be shown to the world before he is released as “he is a threat to the society”.

“You know the issue is not of that particular individual, the point is that I have written to the Home Ministry saying that there should a tweaking of the law in which every person accused of sexual abuse, who has served time and has come out should have to report to the police station and he should be monitored,” said Gandhi.

According to a senior official, Gandhi has sought that a registry of sexual offenders be maintained and put in public domain.

Parents of the victim have made representations to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh stating that the juvenile set to be released is a threat to the life and liberty of the common man and that there should be a mechanism to keep a strict check on them so that people are not subjected to any risk of being harmed.

Based on the parents’ complaint, the NHRC has issued notices to the Centre and Delhi government.

The Commission has asked the chief secretary in the Delhi government to inform whether any pre-release and post release plan as per Rule 17(3) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007 has been prepared in the case of the juvenile.

Information has been also sought on whether the juvenile has been recently subjected to psychological or psychiatric assessment for assessing his mental health.

The Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs has also been asked to inform about the action, if any, taken on the representation submitted by the complainants.

With inputs from PTI

Delhi assembly clears 3 major bills to reign in private schools

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the proposed legislations will significantly help slash fees in private schools and if laid down norms.

Three bills, aimed at reining in private schools, doing away with screening process in nursery admissions and scrapping of no detention policy till class VIII besides bringing in overall systemic reforms in education sector, were on Tuesday passed by Delhi Assembly.Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the proposed legislations will significantly help slash fees in private schools and if laid down norms are not followed, then violators will be slapped with hefty financial penalty and jail term. The Delhi School Education (Amendment) Bill (DSEAA) and the Delhi School (Verification of Accounts and Refund of Excess Fee) Bill stipulate hefty fine and imprisonment for violators of various provisions. Ahead of the passage of the bills, two BJP MLAs staged a walk out. The AAP had issued a whip to all its MLAs to vote in favour of these bills.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the DSEAA, offenders can be levied penalty of different grades for taking interviews at the entry levels including the nursery admission and charging capitation fees. Under this amendment, offenders will be liable for a fine which may extend up to Rs 5 lakh for the first contravention and Rs 10 lakh for each subsequent contravention. The Delhi Schools Verification of Accounts and Refund of Excess Fee Bill has a host of provisions aimed at ensuring that private schools show greater accountability in fees accepted and money spent. Erring schools shall be punishable with fine which may extend to 10 times the capitation fee charged or Rs 5 lakh whichever is more, the bill envisages. The repeated offenders may also be imprisoned ranging from 3-5 years.The bill also proposes that the salary and allowances payable to, and terms and conditions of employees of recognised private schools shall be on par with those in government schools. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Delhi Amendment) Bill seeks to do away with the no-detention policy till Class VIII by amending relevant sections of the Right to Education Act, which the government argues, were “prohibiting” quality education in schools.The Delhi government will now send the bills to Centre for its approval. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said private schools will not be allowed to charge excess fee from the parents. Kejriwal rejected Opposition’s claim that the education bills will benefit private schools, saying under existing policy, nobody can run a school honestly. “These bills will remove shortcomings of existing education policy. After new legislation, private schools can be run honestly. Government will form a committee which will get accounts of private schools audited through chartered accountants,” he said. Kejriwal said that management of schools and teachers will have to change their attitude towards education and fraud and bad practices in the name of admission will not be tolerated at all. “In next four years, government will impart good education in government schools besides ensuring good teachers. On paper, salaries of private school teachers are on par with those in government schools but reality is different. “I have got to know that private school teachers only get Rs 4,000 to 8,000, but new legislation will ensure that these teachers get at least Rs 12,000,” he said. Kejriwal said that they will have to introduce new education system under which students from poor and rich families can study together. “I have got to know that some school management prepares bogus bills to evade government’s action. But, one of the education bills now enables government to audit accounts of private schools. If they (schools) do something wrong, we will get to know about it,” he said. Government will also ensure that teachers of private schools get their salaries as per 6th Pay Commission and 7th Pay Commission, he said.A committee shall be constituted for the purpose of verification of the accounts of schools in accordance with the provisions of the proposed Delhi School (Verification of Accounts and Refund of Excess Fee) Bill. It shall consist of a retired high court judge or a retired district judge or a retired officer not below the rank of principal secretary. In the Education Act Amendment Bill, the government has proposed to extend the ambit of the existing law till “elementary level.” “The existing Act does not regulate the admission of children below the age of six-years in the classes including pre-school and pre-primary.”The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Delhi Amendment) Bill, 2015, says “No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education.” 14, 18 and 25 per cent Delhi government school students of class VI failed in 2011-12, 12-13 and 13-14, respectively. In class VII, 14, 16 and 24 per cent and in class IX, 12, 13 and 21 in the corresponding years, as per government data.The RTE came into force in 2010, thus limiting the government’s role to detain them in spite of the students’ faring badly. The amendments to Section 8 and 16 of the Act seek to undo that.

Hyderabad: Class 9 student delivers baby girl in school washroom; headmaster suspended

A 14-year-old girl gave birth in a school washroom in Hyderabad on Saturday. The student of a government high school went to the washroom after complaining of stomach pain while sitting in the classroom on Saturday, Malkajgiri’s Deputy Educational Officer (DEO) A Usha Rani said.

Her classmate reported that the girl had delivered a child, according to a NDTV report. The incident occurred in Madhapur, a suburb in Hyderabad and the girl was said to be ‘tribal’, according to a report by IBNLive.

“After sometime the students and teachers heard cries of a newborn baby and were shocked to find the girl with the baby. Both the mother and the baby girl were handed over to police,” the DEO said, adding, even the girl’s friends said they did not notice her swelled abdomen.

However, a DNA report claimed that the parents were fully aware of the condition of their daughter but had chosen to keep quiet, owing to the ‘stigma’.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The newspaper also quoted a member of the teaching staff saying, “She is very slim and would walk with a dupatta on her stomach and she would sit with her bag on her lap, so we didn’t know.” The girl’s classmates however had stated that the girl was not interested in playing and was beginning to be aloof.

The Madhapur police has registered a case under the sections of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 or Nirbhaya Act and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), following a complaint from the girl’s father, reports  The New Indian Express.

Police have also said it was a completely normal delivery where the girl and her baby are being cared for in a local hospital. According to Madhapur police inspector, K Narasimhulu, the father claims that he was unaware about his child’s pregnancy and the police has identified Dinesh, a canteen worker near the girl’s house near Chandanayak Tanda, as the one responsible for the pregnancy, continues the report.

The headmaster of the school, Basavalingam, is also the Mandal education officer and claimed that the parents did not visit the school even after coming to know of the incident. In a contradictory statement, the inspector is quoted by The New Indian Express as saying, “The girl has no mother and the father has claimed ignorance just like the school authorities. We have a suspect who is known to the girl. We are investigating.”

Ranga Reddy district education officer G Ramesh said that based on the primary investigation, the headmaster was found to be at fault and suspended on orders from regional joint director of school education (Hyderabad) Krishna Rao. All teachers who are teaching Class 9 students have been asked to give a written explanation, said the The New Indian Express report.

The State Council for Protection of Child Rights took up a suo motu case and directed the education and woman & child welfare departments to submit report by 15 December. Bangalore Mirror has reported that a similar incident had occurred in the Nizamabad district in July when a class 10 student gave birth to a baby boy in the toilet and threw it into the fields through the toilet window.

with inputs from PTI

Blockade ‘risk’ to Nepalese children

Shortages of fuel, food, medicines and vaccines put more than three million infants at risk as winter begins in Nepal, the UN warns.

My statement was taken out of context, blown out of proportion, claims suspended BJP MLA

Sharma has already stands suspended for the entire winter session of the Delhi assembly for his remarks against Lamba, while the matter was referred to the house ethics committee on Thursday.

A high drama ensued at the Delhi assembly on Friday with AAP legislator Alka Lamba and five other party legislators walking out demanding fast-tracking of the house ethics committee’s decision on BJP lawmaker O.P. Sharma. Speaking to dna, Lamba said Sharma’s membership of the assembly should be revoked. “He has called me goondi (thug) on several occasions during the session, but the tipping point for was when he questioned my character,”Lamba said, adding that justice should be delivered in this session itself.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Sharma has already stands suspended for the entire winter session of the Delhi assembly for his remarks against Lamba, while the matter was referred to the house ethics committee on Thursday. “He is calling me his sister and on the back foot now, but have not apologised to me. I’m not willing to forgive him,”Lamba said. She further alleged that instead of taking action against Sharma, leader of opposition Vijendra has brought a stop work proposal. “Surprisingly, the BJP MLAs had blamed us for hindering work in the assembly,”Lamba said.However, Sharma said the entire episode in the assembly has been scripted by AAP as part of their preparations for the Punjab assembly elections.The issue of drug abuse is prevalent in Punjab. He says a discussion on the deaths of homeless people’s death was underway at the assembly. “It was on police record that the deaths were due to cold, while Lamba claimed they were a result of drug addiction. She claims to be working for homeless drug addicts late nights, to which I merely reiterated. That particular statement was taken out of context and blown out of proportion,”said Sharma.Asked to explain his ‘goondi’comments, Sharma said they were based on clear CCTV footages on how she bullied the shopkeepers during an anti-drug drive in August this year.The winter session was to end on Saturday, but has now been extended till December 4. 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi assembly are under AAP, while there are just three BJP legislators. Meanwhile, amidst the chaos, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Delhi Amendment) Bill, 2015, was tabled in the house, of which a no detention policy for students up to class VIII is a highlight.

AAP govt brings Bill to scrap ‘no-detention’ policy in schools

The tabling of the Bill comes a week after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia introduced two other legislations relating to reforms in the education sector, mainly aimed at reining in private schools by doing away with donations and screening process for nursery admissions.

File Photo
Delhi government on Friday tabled a Bill seeking to do away with the no-detention policy till Class VIII by amending relevant sections of the Right to Education Act, which it said are “prohibiting” quality education in schools.The tabling of the Bill comes a week after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia introduced two other legislations relating to reforms in the education sector, mainly aimed at reining in private schools by doing away with donations and screening process for nursery admissions. Tabling the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Delhi Amendment) Bill, 2015, Sisodia cited statistics of children failing in classes VI, VII and VIII.However, they could not be detained due to the said provision of RTE.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The clause, “Provided that if a child has not achieved class appropriate learning level in a class, he may be held back in that class” is sought to be added to Section of the principle Act. “No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education,” it says. The deputy CM also called for systemic overhaul of the teachers’ training programme saying the six months or two years course were not sufficient for them. “Teachers build human beings unlike engineers or doctors who focus on say body parts or machines. “Going by the implications of the policy one feels that it needs to be reviewed. The policy is good but was introduced without preparation which is damaging it. Our government is focusing on preparation before implementing it,” he said.14, 18 and 25 per cent Delhi government school students of class VI failed in 2011-12, 12-13 and 13-14, respectively. In class VII, 14, 16 and 24 per cent and in class IX, 12, 13 and 21 in the corresponding years, Sisodia said. The RTE came into force in 2010, thus limiting the government’s role to detain them in spite of the students’ faring badly. The amendments to Section 8 and 16 of the Act seek to undo that.

Mumbai gangrape: Woman files FIR after video of her niece emerges on WhatsApp

A 15-year-old girl was gangraped by her friend and three others over a fortnight ago. The details of the crime emerged after the girl’s aunt received a video clip of the incident on WhatsApp.

Mid-Day reported that the boys, who were between the ages of 15 and 16, were from the same neighbourhood as the girl and even went to the same school as the survivor. An Asian Age report says that the girl was in class 10.

According to DNA, the boys called her on the pretext of wanting help with studies. However, the Asian Age report states that one of the boys was the survivor’s boyfriend and had called her to his house when no other family members were at home. The boys then took turns raping her, all the while, recording the act on their phone.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The boys then went on to use the clip to threaten the survivor into silence but had then shared it with their circle of friends on WhatsApp. The video reportedly went viral and turned up on the girl’s aunt’s cellphone. The gangrape took place on 8 November.

The aunt who received the video showed it to the girl who then told her aunt about the ordeal she went through. The aunt rushed to file an FIR at the Malad Police Station.

The Asian Age report quotes a senior police inspector at the Malad police, Shashank Shabhor as saying, “All the four accused have been detained now and their medical inspection was conducted on Thursday. The accused are local minor boys, studying in class 9 and 10. These boys are infamous in the area for their bullying activities. As they are minors, they cannot be arrested and after being produced before a juvenile court, they have been sent to Dongri correction home on Thursday where they will be questioned by a Child Welfare Officer.”

According to DNA, the police arrested all the accused of the crime and they have been booked under Section 376 (G) (gang rape) of the IPC and also under certain sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Boys arrested for gang-raping classmate

Four schoolboys in the western Indian city of Mumbai are arrested for gang-raping their classmate, police say.

Ramayana: Indian children playing god with royal patronage

Photographer Saibal Das meets the children who play god in the annual Ramlila festival, based on the Hindu religious epic Ramayana.

Minor raped, cousin killed by neighbour in Delhi

The children were attacked at their rented room which is located in a basement of a building in Swarup Nagar. The basement is divided into two rooms with the other room being rented out by the suspect, identified as on Rahul.

In yet another crime against minors, a 10-year-old boy was murdered and his cousin (17) was allegedly sexually assaulted in North West Delhi’s Swarup Nagar area. The suspect involved in the crime, a neighbour of the victims’ family, is absconding.The children were attacked at their rented room which is located in a basement of a building in Swarup Nagar. The basement is divided into two rooms with the other room being rented out by the suspect, identified as on Rahul.According to police, the incident was reported at around 7am on Saturday after landlady made a PCR call reporting a murder. When police team reached the spot they found both the victims lying unconscious on the floor. The parents were not to be found at the rented accommodation when the crime took place. “The victim’s grandfather had died few days ago and the parents had gone their to perform remaining rituals,” said a police officer.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The family while speaking to dna said that at the time of the incident the girl and her brother, also 10-years-old, were sleeping with another cousin of theirs . It was at this time that Rahul entered the room and first took out the girl’s brother to his room and made him sleep there. Then he proceeded to take out the cousin but the children by then had sensed that something was wrong. The cousin resisted Rahul’s attempt and was was killed in the process.Rahul then allegedly proceeded to sexually assault the girl and escape the place before the matter came to fore.The landlady of the house claimed that she came to know about the incident when the girl’s brother who was sleeping in the room of the accused and told them about her sister.”I thought she had fainted but when I entered the room the whole room was darked then I saw the girl and her cousin lying unconscious in the floor. The scene was horrific,” said the landlady.Police claimed that around seven teams have been formed to nab the culprit. They are raiding all the possible hideout of the suspect. They are also questioning suspect relatives. The girl was taken to a local hospital where she is undergoing treatment.

Congress slams omission of Jawaharlal Nehru’s photo in govt ad

The Rajya Sabha MP charged that the omission of Nehru’s photograph in the advertisement amounted to an insult to the 125-crore people in the country.

Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao on Saturday sat on a dharna as he took exception to the absence of a photograph of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in a Children’s Day advertisement brought out by the Union Women and Child Development Ministry. “The advertisement released by Maneka Gandhi’s ministry (Women and Child Development) in some newspapers had the photos of only the President and Prime Minister. “Nehruji was Prime Minister for 17 years. He was a freedom fighter and went to jail. He initiated public sector companies, irrigation projects and promoted science. They are trying to finish his legacy,” Rao said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajya Sabha MP charged that the omission of Nehru’s photograph in the advertisement amounted to an insult to the 125-crore people in the country. Rao, who at 10 AM began his protest at a statue of Nehru here, said he would continue with his dharna till 5 PM.He added that he would organise protests at all schools if the “practice” continued next year too.

Congress to intensify stir on Andhra Pradesh special status issue

Centre should implement all promises made in the AP Re-organisation Act, he added.

The state unit of Congress on Friday decided to intensify its agitation on the issue of special status for Andhra Pradesh from Monday. The decision was taken at the executive committee meeting of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee under president N Raghuveera Reddy’s chairmanship. C Ramachandraih, the party’s floor leader in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council told reporters about the resolutions passed during the executive committee meeting. “The party would intensify the agitation. The stir would be taken in a phased manner from November 9 till the end of the month over our demand to the Centre to accord special status,” he said. Centre should implement all promises made in the AP Re-organisation Act, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In another resolution, the party condemned the attitude of NDA Government for its attempt to undermine the contributions made by the country’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,” Ramachandraih said. Congress would take up a campaign on November 14, the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, at all the district headquarters, to focus on his contribution to the nation before and after the independence. He said that on that day, a large scale public meeting would be conducted by the party at Guntur.In another resolution, the party demanded that the state government fulfilled all promises made by the TDP during last general elections. “The party feels that the TDP government failed to implement the crop loan waiver to all farmers as well as women under the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWACRA) scheme,” he said.

Supreme Court asks govt to come with SOP on missing children

The bench, meanwhile, asked senior advocate HS Phoolka, appearing for the NGO, to give suggestions on the steps to be taken for implementing the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

The bench had asked the Ministry to inform it about the status of missing children and those recovered in a state-wise tabular chart as on March 31.

File Photo
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to come out with Standard Operating Procedures to trace missing children across the country after taking note of suggestions of NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan. A social justice bench of justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit also asked the Ministry Of Women & Child Development to integrate the functioning of websites — khoyapaya.gov.in and www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in, meant for tracing the missing children.The bench, meanwhile, asked senior advocate H S Phoolka, appearing for the NGO, to give suggestions on the steps to be taken for implementing the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. The senior advocate will have to give his inputs to the Centre on the standard operating procedures as well.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the apex court had slammed the government for its “casual” approach towards missing children and imposed a fine on it for not complying with its directions like providing the status of such children across the country. Imposing a fine of Rs 50,000 on the Ministry, it had also expressed displeasure over non-filling up of vacancies, including for the post of Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The bench had asked the Ministry to inform it about the status of missing children and those recovered in a state-wise tabular chart as on March 31.The bench was hearing a PIL filed by NGO ‘Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (BBA)’ on the large number of missing children across the country.

Former MP Rajaiah’s daughter-in-law alleges harassment in e-mail

Sarika had reportedly mailed Rehana, her advocate in Hyderabad about the harassment she was facing from her in-laws and husband

Sarika and her children (inset)

A trouble for former Congress MP Sircilla Rajaiah, his wife and son who were arrested on Thursday night following their sustained grilling by police in connection with the death of his daughter-in-law Sarika and three grandsons has now increased.The charred bodies of S Sarika and her three children Abhinav (7), and twins Ayaan and Shriyaan (3) were recovered on Thursday morning from the house of the former MP at Hanamkonda.According to reports, Sarika had sent an e-mail to her lawyer, but the cops have reportedly denied having knowledge regarding the email.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A report in Deccan Chronicle states that Sarika had emailed Rehana, her advocate in Hyderabad about the harassment she was facing from her in-laws and husband. She has also mentioned that she was pressurised her to leave the house and were constantly harassed and after Rajaiah became MP, the harassment apparently increased. Sarika also said that her husband Anil was involved in an illicit relationship with another woman and assaulted her over small issues.She also accused the husband of not spending on the education of her children or other needs and had mortgaged her mangalsutra for money.The report adds that Sarika has also alleged that when she became pregnant with her second child she was harassed more. Her mother-in-law scolded her in front of household help and relatives and her children were left to starve on occasions.She has also quoted her father-in-law in the email as allegedly saying, “A number of women are sacrificing their lives for their husband and in-laws. What can you do? If you complain, legally nothing will happen, power is in our hands.”Suicide or Murder?Meanwhile, the doctors have stated that it will take at least 15 days to establish the cause of death.Hanamkonda ACP Shobhan Kumar has told the daily that they will need to see the revenue panchnama report, post-mortem and forensic reports before they can ascertain if it was suicide or murder. But forensic experts have said that the bones of Sarika and her children were broken and their lungs were filled with smoke.

Activists not sure castration will deter child rape cases

Castration is currently allowed for child sex offenders in countries like Russia, Estonia Poland, and several states in the United States, said the judge.

Amit Bandre
dna
Dismissing a petition filed by a UK national to quash a case of child sex abuse against him, the Madurai bench of Madras High Court recently recommended castration of the accused, citing that it would “fetch magical results in preventing and containing child abuses.”Justice N Kirubakaran, while delivering the judgment, said that “The suggestion to castrate may look barbaric. But barbaric criminals needed barbaric punishment. The very thought of punishment should deter the criminal from committing the offence.”Castration is currently allowed for child sex offenders in countries like Russia, Estonia Poland, and several states in the United States, said the judge.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The case in question is against a British social worker who set up a child-care institute in Chinnammalpuram village, 40km from Tirunelveli. His child-care home, operated by his trust took care of 35 orphans, and would regularly take the children on trips. In 2011, the survivor, a 15-year-old boy, took the courage to go to a local child welfare NGO to complain against his ordeal.Activists and experts, however, are not sure how the judgment will help the situation. Padma Bhate-Deosthali, of Centre for Enquiry Into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT), a health advocacy body working on issues of violence, says that prescribing castration and the death penalty for rape is likely to result in increased murders of rape victims, and in delaying justice. “Grading the severity of the punishment in rape cases will not have any positive results, and there has been no evidence so far from countries that allow severe punishments. Chemical castration reinforces the myth that rape is the result of the sexual urge and needs to be suppressed, when it is actually an act of violence,” said Bhate-Deosthali.Even the Justice Verma Committee, formed in the aftermath of the December 16 gang-rape case, recommended that there should be no death penalty for rapists, and that the punishment should be rigorous imprisonment for seven years to life. It recommended any sexual assault that causes death or a “persistent vegetative state”, should be penalised with rigorous imprisonment for a term not be less than 20 years to life. For gang-rape, followed by death, should be punished with life imprisonment.Child sex abuse, under the The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012, criminalised sexual assaults on children, are punishable between three years to imprisonment for life, depending on the severity of the punishment. In addition to that, the definition of rape, as per the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 extended the definition of rape under section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to include acts in addition to vaginal penetration such as the penetration of any object or any part of the body in the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of the victim.”Rape is now no longer just penile penetrations, and hence, castration is of no significance in the several other cases of sexual assault,” says Padma.Senior advocate CA Sundaram feels that the eye for an eye is not the solution for these cases. “Punishment like this are not viable to the legal structure of India. Will you cut off the hand of a pick pocket, if he is a repeated offender,” said Sundaraman. —With inputs from Prabhati Mishra Child sex cases on the riseThe number of number of such cases has increased from 38,172 in 2012 to 58,224 in 2013 and to 89,423 in 2014 said Justice Kirubakaran. He added that, between 2008 and 2014, only 2.4% of child sex abuse cases have been convicted, while there was a 400% in such cases.

13-year-old rape victim takes revenge by beheading rapist’s 5-year-old son

The half-burnt body was dragged out by a bunch of dogs the next day.

A teenage girl beheaded a five-year-old in Uttar Pradesh’s Khair as revenge, the Hindustan Times reports. According to the report, the girl had allegedly been raped by the child’s father.The murder took place on Tuesday evening. According to Police Inspector of Khair Rajveer Singh, the girl lured the boy to a vacant place when he was playing outside his house and beheaded him there. She also allegedly smashed his body with bricks and set it on fire after wrapping it in a plastic bag.The half-burnt body was dragged out by a bunch of dogs the next day.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During interrogation by the police, the girl reportedly confessed to having killed the boy because his father, Rinku, had raped her.Police said that the girl as well as boy’s father have been taken into custody. The girl’s father also lodged an FIR for rape against Rinku.While the girl was booked under sections of the IPC and SC/SC Act, the boy’s father has been charged with section 376 of the IPC and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act, reported Hindustan Times.

How can I bury them with my own hands, says father of Dalit children burnt alive

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi meeting Jitendra whose house was set on fire by men belonging to the upper-caste community

dna
“How can I bury them with my own hands,” wailed Jitender Kumar, the father of the two Dalit children who were burnt alive allegedly by upper caste men on Tuesday.Kumar, in fact, attended the protest by several hundreds of his community men, who blocked the Delhi-Agra highway for hours demanding suspension of cops who failed to act, as well as the arrest of the accused. Kumar’s family was set ablaze after locking the house from outside, in Sunped village of Faridabad. While his two kids succumbed to injuries, his wife Rekha is still battling for life with 70% burns.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wednesday’s protest, however, started when bodies of nine-month-old Divya and Vaibhav, 2, were brought from the Safdarjung hospital in Delhi to the village where they were to be buried. The victims’ relatives and villagers however stopped at Jat Chowk, which is three kilometres short of their village, and listed their demands in front of the police. They said the children will not be buried until appropriate action is taken against the accused. The protesters also demanded suspension of six cops who were supposed to be posted in the village on the fateful night.The cops have been posted in the village since last year when a violent confrontation between members of Dalit and Thakur communities had resulted in deaths of three upper caste men. Jitender Kumar, the father of the deceased children, soon arrived at the spot where his children were wrapped in plain white cloth. Kumar broke down on seeing his children. The sight of the father weeping while holding his children created quite an emotionally charged environment and agitating protesters soon began to gather around the area where the bodies of the children were kept, raising anti-government slogans.Some of the protesters while talking to dna even said that the Dalit community in Haryana will convert to Islam if their demands were not met immediately. “More than 50 Dalit families of Bhagana village have converted to Islam. Why shouldn’t we do the same if we are being persecuted on the basis of our caste,” said Rohtas Kumar. Five kilometres away from Jat Chowk, hundreds of Dalits from various villages of Faridabad gathered at the bypass road. Sensing a potential law and order crisis, police also resorted to lathicharge following which some of the protesters dispersed from the main road.The situation was only brought under control when senior police officials accompanied by local political leaders pacified the villagers and requested them to return to Sunped village to continue with the pending last rites of the two children.Earlier in the day, Jitender Kumar was visited by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Brinda Karat of the CPM. Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who was expected to meet the family, cancelled his visit due to the protest. His government later stated that the CM has ordered a CBI inquiry into the matter. The union social justice ministry has sought a report from the Haryana government on the episode. Social justice minister Thawarchand Gehlot had spoken to the chief minister on Tuesday night.

More girls are dying before age 5 than boys in India, reveals UN report

United Nations: India is among the countries with the largest surplus of men and a worrying under-five sex ratio with more girls dying before the age of five than boys, according to a UN report on Tuesday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“The World’s Women 2015” report launched said men outnumber women in eastern Asia, southern Asia, Oceania, and western Asia.

The three regions have the highest surplus of men in absolute numbers: 50.5 million in Eastern Asia (mainly due to China), 49.5 million in Southern Asia (mainly due to India), and 12.1 million in Western Asia (mainly due to Saudi Arabia and the UAE).

In absolute terms, countries with the largest surplus of men are China (52 million), in Eastern Asia, and India (43 million), in Southern Asia.

The ratio of men to women and the surplus of men in these two most populous countries largely determine the surplus of men observed at the global level, the report said.

The report said that in India, while sex-selective abortions have been technically illegal since 1996, the law has had “little effect so far on the sex ratio at birth”.

India has the lowest sex ratio in under-5 mortality, with a ratio of 93 (93 boys die before age 5 for 100 girls that die by that age).

“This is also the only country with an under-5 mortality sex ratio under 100 (more girls die than boys),” it said.

India alone accounted for 21 percent of all under-5 deaths in 2013 and this low sex ratio in under-5 mortality is pulling down the average for Southern Asia as a whole and the entire world.

“Higher mortality among girls can be closely related to a general preference for sons in India, which is expressed in special treatment for boys in terms of parental investment in nutrition, vaccinations, access to health treatment and parental care in general,” the report said.

It further said that in China and India, between 1995 and 2013, women’s participation in the labour force declined from 72 to 64 per cent and from 35 to 27 per cent, respectively.

Child marriage is also most common in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with India accounting for one third of the global total of child brides.

PTI

Hyderabad to host International Children’s Film Fest in November

Prime Minister’s favourite programme ‘Digital India’ will be the theme for this Festival and a series of events have been planned for the same.

Representational Image

Children’s Film Society and the Government of Telangana will host the 19th International Children’s Film Festival (ICFFI), also known as Golden Elephant, in Hyderabad commencing on November 14. The week-long 19th ICFFI has many innovations and firsts to its credit like previous editions, according to a release issued by Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI) here said on Sunday. This edition of ICFFI will feature a special section on Asian Films known as Asian Panorama. The festival will open on the Children’s day at Shilparamam – the arts, crafts and cultural village in Hyderabad and will have screenings of children movies in multiple theatres across Hyderabad, Dr Shravan Kumar, Festival Director, 19th ICFFI, Golden Elephant, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “In one of the many firsts, we have received international entries for our Little Directors concept that was introduced as an innovation in the previous edition of ICFFI,” said Dr Kumar. The edition aims to involve government, bureaucracy, film fraternity, celebrities and other eminent people of media and arts from India and abroad towards enhancing children’s participation in film making and thereby exploiting their creative faculties in nation-building, he said. Prime Minister’s favourite programme ‘Digital India’ will be the theme for this Festival and a series of events have been planned for the same. Chairman of CFSI, Mukesh Khanna said, “I am sending my best wishes to the participating Children in 19th ICFFI. They are the future of our nation and such events allow them to receive exposure to global culture.” In the festival, many International Award winning films have been received by CFSI such as “Maya: The Bee” (feature Film from Germany), “Celestial Camel” (from Russia), “Pim & Pom- The Big Adventure” (from Netherlands), “Birds of Passage” (from Belgium), “My Skinny Sister (from Sweden), “Rainbow” (from India) , Dr Kumar said.

School children celebrate Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s birth anniversary with fancy dress in Chennai

Jump to original:  School children celebrate Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s birth anniversary with fancy dress in Chennai

New Delhi: 4-year-old girl raped; accused still at large

There is an eatery in the slum where alcoholics and miscreants assembled late night. It is suspected that the accused could be frequent visitors of those shops, a local youth working with an NGO said.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
A four-year-old girl was allegedly raped by an unidentified accused in a slum dwelling in north west Delhi’s Keshav Puram area, police said on Saturday. The girl was missing from her house since Friday evening. She was later found lying and crying in bushes near rail line by a passer-by, a senior police officer said.The girl, a resident of JJ cluster in Keshav Puram area, was raped as she was bleeding profusely. She was rushed to Mahavir Hospital, from where she was referred to Safdarjung Hospital where she is undergoing treatment, the officer said.”She is admitted in the High Dependency Unit. She is conscious and out of danger but still in pain,” medical superintendent of Safdarjung hospital, A K Rai, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”She was brought to our hospital at around 8 PM yesterday night after being referred by Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital. She had injury on her private parts and doctors operated on her last night,” he said.The girl, whose father is a painter, was playing outside her house when she went missing. Her grandparents tried to search her, but she could not be found, police said.A case under relevant sections of IPC and POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Acts has been registered and a manhunt has been launched to arrest the accused, who are yet to be identified, he said.There is an eatery in the slum where alcoholics and miscreants assembled late night. It is suspected that the accused could be frequent visitors of those shops, a local youth working with an NGO said.”We have zeroed in on some suspects and we are keeping a watch. Once the girl recovers, we will be able to get more clues about the accused,” the officer added.Meanwhile, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal met the victim at the hospital.

After Dadri lynching, Muslim students hop back to schools

Fear factor: After lynching incident only one Muslim student turns up for her class

School has 129 students including 32 Muslim students

As Bisara limps its way back to normalcy, teachers of the lower primary school located in the heart of the village await Muslim students who have not attended any classes since Mohamad Akhlaq was lynched by a mob on September 28.The school has classes up to class V and a total of 129 including 32 Muslims. Poonam Chauhan, a teacher here, was teaching the first standard when dna spoke to her. Her class has 5-6 Muslim students who too have remained absent so far.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, students not attending classes is not the only concern for the teachers of this school. Poonam told dna that after the killing of Akhlaq, the schools remained shut for the next few days giving students ample time to be at home.”The moment the children walked in they started discussing things which they must have been hearing at their homes. I literally had to let them play to take their mind off from what they were talking about,” she said. Poonam also told dna that she would be carefully observing behaviour of her students over the next few days and if she finds something distasteful or alarming, the children will be immediately counselled.”Children are innocent and impressionable. Hence I have decided to tread carefully from now on,”she said. “I hope the Muslim students return soon,” she added.Neesha Akhtar was among the five students who attended the classes on Friday for the first time in two weeks. Her teacher Kanchan, told dna that everything was normal in her class but the fact that there was still tension in the village could not be denied. Kanchan believes that the tense environment finds its way into all corners of the area, including the school.”No doubt parents and elders impact children in many ways but every child is different. For instance the fifth standard which I am teaching at the moment are more mature and they can feel the sensitive time that they are living in. Surprisingly they have shown great maturity,” Kanchan said.Sitting across her teacher was Neesha, busy giggling with another girl before being silenced by Kanchan. When asked if the other girl was her friend, Neesha responded, “She is Shalu, my best friend”.

Two children dead, three critical after consuming milk in Uttar Pradesh village

Lucknow: At least two children died in Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur district after consuming milk, authorities said on Monday. Three other children are in critical condition.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Police said the incident happened in Tulsipur village on Sunday after the children belonging to the family of Girdhari Lal Gupta consumed milk, bought from a local dairy.

Soon after they drank the milk, they started vomiting and fell unconscious. Two children, a three-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy, were declared brought dead at a local medical facility.

The three other children are being treated at a community health centre. Doctors said their condition continues to be “very critical”.

Police said they have seized the samples of the milk which the children consumed and have sent it for tests. The dead were identified as Mamta and Vishal while those in critical state were identified as Suman, Ruman and Mamta.

IANS

At least 90 children in Agra fall ill after consuming milk under mid-day meal programme

Agra: At least 90 children were taken ill on Wednesday allegedly after consuming milk under mid-day meal programme at a primary school of Kheragarh town in Agra, police said.

Representational image. Agencies

Representational image. Agencies

Condition of 15 school children of Untgir village is serious, they said.

All of them were rushed to the nearby public health centre(PHC), some to Agra district hospital and the critical ones to the emergency ward of the SN Medical College, police said.

PHC’s doctor incharge Dr Sanjay Solanki said there was something wrong with the milk and therefore the children became victims of food poisoning.

District magistrate Pankaj Kumar has ordered Khairagarh SDM to hold an inquiry.

Senior officials including the SSP Parminder Singh, Basic Shiksha Adhikari and some political leaders reached the school to console parents.

The person who supplied the milk is absconding, they said.

Milk samples have been sent to the laboratory for detailed analysis, they added.

While villagers accused the Gram Pradhan Holi Ram of supplying spurious milk for the mid-day meal and playing with the lives of the children, Ram said he took utmost care.

PTI

Education best way to fight poverty, says PM Modi in Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a day-long tour of his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, on Friday said that our main should be how to make poors of India self-reliant.

File picture

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a day-long tour of his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, on Friday said that main aim should be to ensure poor people of India become self-reliant. Addressing a rally, where he distributed 501 paddle rickshaws and 101 e-rickshaws, Modi said, “The aim of my government is to make poor self-sufficient. For years we have only heard the slogan of ‘garibi hatao’. Our efforts to remove poverty over the years have not yielded the results we desired. The speed (of removing poverty) needs to improve.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi further added, “The biggest weapon one can use to fight poverty is education of children. Every person wants his or her child to lead a life better than what they led. I request you to educate your children. Whatever circumstances are, don’t deprive them of education.”Talking about E-rickshaws, he said that it will change the future of Varanasi & when tourists will come to the temple city, the first interactions they will have will be with rickshaw drivers.”This is the third visit of the Prime Minister to the ancient temple town after assuming office in May last year.Heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces are in place to maintain law and order and control traffic during the nearly seven-hour-long tour of the PM.The BJP, which won 71 out of 78 Lok Sabha seats it contested in UP last year, is likely to lead an aggressive campaign in the state where it will have to take on the formidable SP alongside Mayawati’s BSP in the assembly polls, which are just a little more than a year away.With agency inputs

Hospitals which deny treatment won’t be spared: Arvind Kejriwal on Delhi dengue crisis

After yet another death due to dengue and alleged hospital negligence, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that the Delhi government was taking measures to improve the situation and further said that the hospitals which denied treatment to patients will be punished.

According to TV reports, Kejriwal is conducting surprise visits to the hospitals in Delhi. His statements on the dengue crisis come after six-year-old Aman died of dengue, with his family claiming negligence by hospitals. Last week, seven-year-old Avinash had succumbed to the disease after allegedly being turned away by five hospitals which had driven his parents to suicide.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

“We are planning to come out with a law so that hospitals refusing treatment to an emergency patient can be penalised. In the next couple of days, we will call a special session of the Legislative Assembly to bring in the law,” Kejriwal said. “It is sad that some private hospitals did something so inhuman just for profit…Hospitals which refuse healthcare to patients will not be spared,” he said, referring to the death of two children after they were allegedly denied treatment by hospitals.

However, Kejriwal said the licenses of the hospitals denying treatment could not be cancelled as there would be a shortage of hospitals if that happened. “If we cancel the licenses of those hospitals, there will be shortage of hospitals. But we will punish them,” he said.

“We are arranging extra beds in hospitals to provide more space in hospitals where patients can be treated,” said the Delhi CM.

Kejriwal also appealed to the people of Delhi not to panic. “Government has made arrangements in government hospitals,” he said.

Aman, from Srinivaspuri area of South Delhi, has become the tenth victim of dengue this season.

The Delhi government has also summoned administrators of all private hospitals and nursing homes in the city.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain will hold a meeting with them on Tuesday evening.

“Jain has summoned administrators of all private hospitals and nursing homes of Delhi for a meeting in view of the reports of their refusal to admit dengue patients,” a senior Delhi government official said.

In the meeting, administrators of nursing homes and private hospitals will be given strict orders to not refuse admission to any suspected dengue patient.

As per the corporation’s fresh data released on Monday, 613 cases of dengue have been reported in the last one week and a total 1,872 patients have tested positive for the vector borne disease till 12 September.

(With inputs from PTI)

Hospitals which deny treatment won’t be spared: Kejriwal on dengue crisis in Delhi

After yet another death due to dengue and alleged hospital negligence, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that the Delhi government was taking measures to improve the situation and further said that the hospitals which denied treatment to patients will be punished.

According to TV reports, Kejriwal is conducting surprise visits to the hospitals in Delhi. His statements on the dengue crisis come after six-year-old Aman died of dengue, with his family claiming negligence by hospitals. Last week, seven-year-old Avinash had succumbed to the disease after allegedly being turned away by five hospitals which had driven his parents to suicide.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

“We are planning to come out with a law so that hospitals refusing treatment to an emergency patient can be penalised. In the next couple of days, we will call a special session of the Legislative Assembly to bring in the law,” Kejriwal said. “It is sad that some private hospitals did something so inhuman just for profit…Hospitals which refuse healthcare to patients will not be spared,” he said, referring to the death of two children after they were allegedly denied treatment by hospitals.

However, Kejriwal said the licenses of the hospitals denying treatment could not be cancelled as there would be a shortage of hospitals if that happened. “If we cancel the licenses of those hospitals, there will be shortage of hospitals. But we will punish them,” he said.

“We are arranging extra beds in hospitals to provide more space in hospitals where patients can be treated,” said the Delhi CM.

Kejriwal also appealed to the people of Delhi not to panic. “Government has made arrangements in government hospitals,” he said.

Aman, from Srinivaspuri area of South Delhi, has become the tenth victim of dengue this season.

The Delhi government has also summoned administrators of all private hospitals and nursing homes in the city.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain will hold a meeting with them on Tuesday evening.

“Jain has summoned administrators of all private hospitals and nursing homes of Delhi for a meeting in view of the reports of their refusal to admit dengue patients,” a senior Delhi government official said.

In the meeting, administrators of nursing homes and private hospitals will be given strict orders to not refuse admission to any suspected dengue patient.

As per the corporation’s fresh data released on Monday, 613 cases of dengue have been reported in the last one week and a total 1,872 patients have tested positive for the vector borne disease till 12 September.

(With inputs from PTI)

Mumbai: St Xavier’s principal sent to police custody for allegedly molesting school boy

After a preliminary inquiry, an FIR was registered in this connection and the accused was arrested under section 8 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO).

Image Courtesy: Maitri Porecha

Principal of a school in suburban Andheri was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a six-year-old student.The accused– Rozario Alphonso, principal of St. Xavier’s High School– was arrested on Friday for the alleged crime and was produced in the court later, which remanded him in police custody till September 14. The arrest was made after the parents of the victim registered a complaint with the MIDC police. The incident had taken place on August 31.”The principal touched the boy inappropriately in a school bathroom and sexually abused him. The boy told about the incident to his mother, following which his parents lodged a complaint,” Senior Police Inspector of MIDC police station, Rajaram Mandge said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a preliminary inquiry, an FIR was registered in this connection and the accused was arrested under section 8 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), he added. The victim’s parents said that when their son told them about the incident, they decided to meet the principal.”But, when we went to the school to meet the principal, he was not there, following which we called a child help line and then reported the incident to the police station,” the boy’s mother said.

dna Must read at 6 pm: Stories you must read at this hour

Here is a curated list of top 5 stories at 11 pm this evening.

The following quick read will take you through stories that are making news right now. ​1) Mumbai: Principal of St Xavier’s school arrested for allegedly molesting two studentsPrincipal of St Xavier’s school in Andheri East of Mumbai was arrested on Friday for allegedly molesting two students of Class 1 and Class 3. On Thursday, a group of parents had carried out a protest outside school. The principal was booked under relevant sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO). Read the full story here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Meat ban: BMC blinks, partially revokes order banning sale of meat during Jain festivalThe Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said that the ban on meat will not be in force on September 13 and 18.​ Read the full report here. 3) Six Indians killed in Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen: MEASix Indians have been killed after their boat came under Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen, External Affairs Ministry said on Friday. The six were among seven nationals who were initially reported missing when two boats, ‘Mustafa’ and ‘Asmar’, carrying a total of 21 Indian nationals, came under aerial attack on September 8. Read our complete report here. 4) 2006 Mumbai train blast case: Quantum of sentence to be announced on Monday The Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Friday has held 12 of the 13 accused arrested in 2006 serial train blast case guilty under UAPA, damage to public property, Railways act, Explosives Substances Act and the IPC. However, the one acquitted has been cleared of all the charges. The court will decide on the sentencing on Monday.Read more here: All you need to know about 2006 Mumbai train blasts case5) Hungarian journalist apologises in letter for kicking refugeesA Hungarian camera woman who kicked and tripped refugees fleeing from police this week has said that, as a mother, she regrets her actions, which she said were carried out in panic.​ To read the full story, click here.

Watch: Video footage showing teacher thrashing boy with fractured arm

The footage, shot on mobile phone, shows the teacher beating the boy while asking him whether he was a ‘Brahmin’ or a ‘Kshatriya.

Screenshot of the video

Image courtesy: Youtube
Video footage of a teacher thrashing a student who has a fractured arm has gone viral on social media. A complaint in this regard was lodged at Vittal police station on Wednesday by Dalit Seva Samiti leader Sheshappa with police saying that the incident had occurred a few days back. Sheshappa called for stringent action against Somasundara Shastri, the Veda teacher who is seen beating and abusing the boy. The footage, shot on mobile phone, shows the teacher beating the boy while asking him whether he was a ‘Brahmin’ or a ‘Kshatriya’. The complainant said the boy was reportedly punished for some mischief in class. A copy of the complaint has also been sent to the Women and Children’s Welfare department while police said they have sought more details from the complainant.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Watch the video here:

India considers extending maternity leave to boost child nutrition | Reuters

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – India is considering extending maternity leave to 24 weeks from 12 weeks, a government official said on Friday, adding that it would encourage more women to breastfeed and help reduce high rates of child malnutrition in the country.

“We feel the current three months is not enough time for women to adequately care for their newborns,” said an official from the ministry of women and child development.

“The proposal, if approved, would give working women in all sectors — public, private and even the informal sector such as domestic workers — some kind of protection.”

According to the ministry, an expectant mother needs one month of rest before birth, and seven months after, to adequately nurse her child, said the official, who declined to be named.

India has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world. Forty-six percent of children under five are underweight and 48 percent are stunted, according to the latest government figures from 2005/6.

Child malnutrition is an underlying cause of death for 3 million children around the world every year – nearly half of all child deaths – with most dying from preventable illnesses due to weak immune systems, says the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Those who survive, grow up without enough energy, protein, vitamins and minerals, causing their brains and bodies to be stunted which means they cannot fulfill their physical, academic or economic potential.

The World Health Organization (WHO) – which recommends exclusive breastfeeding for babies up to six months old – says breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has proven health benefits that extend into adulthood.

Yet only 47 percent of Indian mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months, compared with 70 percent in neighbouring Nepal and 76 percent in Sri Lanka.

Gender experts say extending maternity leave will also encourage more women to return to work and close the gender gap in the labour market. Many women reluctantly drop out of work because they need more time for their newborns, they say.

At around 33 percent, female participation in the workforce in India is well below the global average of 50 percent, a March report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.

During to a visit to India in March, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the gender disparity in the labour sector was a “huge missed opportunity”.

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla. Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Infant’s nose bitten by rat; action against 2 hospital staff

The baby’s nose was bitten by the rodent two-three days back, but the matter came to light on Thursday after action was taken against the hospital staff.

Representational Image
File Photo

A month-old baby boy was bitten by a rat at the district hospital here, prompting the authorities to suspend a staff nurse and terminate services of the baby’s caretaker. The baby’s nose was bitten by the rodent two-three days back, but the matter came to light on Thursday after action was taken against the hospital staff. The child was born at a private hospital about one-and-a-half month back, but after his health deteriorated his parents admitted him in Dhar district hospital and later disappeared, civil surgeon Dr CS Gangrade said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> During treatment at the district hospital, a rat bit the baby’s nose in the Children’s Intensive Care Unit, he said. Gangrade said that taking serious note of the matter, he suspended staff nurse Sonali Bhide and terminated the services of caretaker Asha Rathore on Thursday. In a similar incident, a ten-day-old boy had died after being bitten by rats in the intensive care unit of Guntur Government General Hospital in Andhra Pradesh last month.

Neighbours in Guwahati still remember Indrani Mukerjea as Pori

She added that Upen Bora, Pori’s father, helped the young couple get on their feet by funding an eatery, but that did not work too well. “After that, Pori left one day, leaving the children to be taken care of by the grandparents,” she added.

Amit Bandre
dna
Putting all speculations to rest, Sheena Bora’s father Siddharth Das appeared in front of the media in Kolkata, accepting that he was the biological father of both Sheena and Mikhail. Saying that Sheena’s death pained him, he wanted “those who have done this to be hanged”. He said that the children were born out of his relationship with Indrani between 1986 and 1989, and that they were never married. “I met Indrani while she was in college in Shillong, and we lived together for a few years. The last I saw her was in 1989, and I have not been in touch with her since,” he told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Neighbours and friends remembered Siddharth and Pori, as Indrani was known then. “After they came back from Shillong to Guwahati, Pori and Siddharth stayed in her father’s house in Sundarnagar. They would often go around town in a Kinetic bike with Sheena, who was around two years then,” said a neighbour, who said that Indrani grew up in front of her. She added that Upen Bora, Pori’s father, helped the young couple get on their feet by funding an eatery, but that did not work too well. “After that, Pori left one day, leaving the children to be taken care of by the grandparents,” she added. On Tuesday, covering his face with a handkerchief and a helmet to avoid letting out his identity as he is now settled in Kolkata with his wife and son, Siddharth said that he is willing to co-operate with investigations and that he is “100% ready” to undergo a DNA test to confirm his paternity claim. He told reporters that the reason why he did not raise the children was because the grandparents did not want him to. In fact, Upen Bora has confided the same to a close friend of Mikhail. “Koka (Assamese for grandfather) told me once when we were in Mikhail’s house that he did not approve of Siddharth, and that they preferred that the children live with them instead. Also, Siddharth did not have a stable job then,” said the friend, who was also Sheena’s classmate, and wanted to remain anonymous. While Siddharth may have told the media that he had met the children only once, friends of both Sheena and Mikhail said they have seen him at various times. “I think Siddharth also took care of them financially when the children were very young. And we saw them during PTA meetings a few times,” says Indrajit, Sheena’s former classmate. “I even met him once when I went to meet Sheena. We were in the seventh standard then.” Even the friend who requested anonymity said that one of Mikhail’s classmates met Siddharth while they were in the sixth standard. Teachers in Disneyland School, now named Sudarshan Public School, confirmed that Siddharth had come to the school. “He had attended PTA meetings when the children were very young. And when Indrani wanted to submit fresh birth certificates, where the grandparents were named the children’s parents, we were surprised. They said that it was to ensure that the children are not embarrassed,” said Madhuchanda Deb, vice-principal. On asked whether Indrani was capable of murdering Sheena, Siddharth said that “there is a chance” and that “she was money-minded”. “She always wanted a high society life, which I could not provide for,” he said. Siddharth said that Sheena’s birthday was February 11, 1987, and Mikhail was born on September 9, 1988. He said that he was barely in touch with Mikhail, but he spoke to Sheena. “We were on good terms, and we would talk. I last spoke to her when she was in the tenth standard, and she hid from me that she was in touch with her mother then,” said Siddharth. Siddharth’s wife, however, said that she had no idea of his past. “The first time I got to hear this was when my mother-in-law called us that day. I live a happy life with Siddharth, and we have a 17-year-old son, and I have nothing more to say,” she said.

If Indrani killed my daughter, I want her hanged, says Sheena Bora’s father Siddhartha Das

A week into the increasingly convoluted Sheena Bora murder mystery, her biological father Siddhartha Das has been tracked down and finally spoke up. In a brief interview with Times Now, Das opened up about Indrani Mukerjea, his children, and his relationships with all three of them.

In response to a question about whether he thinks Indrani was capable of killing Sheena, he said it was possible, citing her penchant for the “high life”.

“There’s a chance (she did it),” said Das, adding, “She was money-minded of course. (She) always had ambitions for better living and high society.”

Siddhartha Das. Ibnlive imageSiddhartha Das. Ibnlive image

Siddhartha Das. Ibnlive image

In an interview to NDTV, Das said that if Indrani had killed Sheena, “she should be hanged”.

Over the course of the interview, he also mentioned that it has been around 26 years since he last spoke to Indrani.

Das said, “Indrani left in 1989, and I never saw her again. Maybe she was not satisfied with my status. I had no job.”

He said he had met her while they were in college, and they had two children together. Describing it as “partly a mistake”, he said, “I was immature; I was not even settled at the time.”

He reiterated that he has never denied that he was the father of Sheena and Mikhail Bora.

“I have never denied being Sheena’s father… I am also Mikhail’s father,” he said, adding that both children were born out of wedlock when he was living with her.

“Whatever they have given in the newspapers is totally wrong — Sheena’s date of birth is 11 February, 1987 and Mikhail’s is 9 September, 1988,” he said.

When asked about why he didn’t try to keep custody of his children, Das said, “The children stayed at my in-laws’ place and they wanted to keep them. I wanted to take care of them but my in-laws never gave me a chance”.

When asked about his relationship with his children, Das said that he had not met Mikhail since he was nine months old (in 1989), and he last spoke to Sheena when she was in Class 10 (circa 2003-2004). “Sheena knew I was her father. She used to tell me that she quarreled regularly with Indrani,” Das said, simultaneously describing the nature of his conversations with his daughter as “very general… How are you? I am fine (types)”.

Over time however, they grew apart. “I didn’t maintain touch with my family because I had no job… I realized I could not maintain the kids with their new (social) status”. And so they drifted apart.

Regarding the murky mystery unravelling at present, it appears Das is as much in the dark as the rest of us.

“I didn’t know she (Shena) was introduced (to people) as Indrani’s sister,” he said, adding, “Sheena told me she had no connection with her mother. But she was regularly in touch with Indrani, and hid it from me.”

Das maintained that the Mumbai police has not contacted him, but he is willing to cooperate with them.

“I am 100 percent ready to take a DNA test,” he asserted.  Whether or not the police takes him up on his offer will become clearer in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Das’ wife claimed that she had no knowledge about the past life of her husband — who now lives in Dum Dum on the outskirts of the city.

“I have been married to Das for 16-17 years. I didn’t know anything about his past and I have nothing to do with his past,” she said.

With inputs from IANS

Paid to poo: Combating open defecation in India

Indian scheme aims to encourage better toilet habits

Gangrape of minor: Father gets life, youth given 12 years jail

A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for gangraping his nine-year-old daughter, by a Delhi court which refused to take a lenient view observing that he gave his daughter such a betrayal of faith of relationship that would really be difficult for her to forget.

A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for gangraping his nine-year-old daughter, by a Delhi court which refused to take a lenient view observing that he gave his daughter such a betrayal of faith of relationship that would really be difficult for her to forget.The court also awarded 12 years rigorous jail term to Akash, a 20-year-old accomplice of victim’s father, observing that “the accused despite being the father of the victim has not only sexually assaulted her but also allowed another boy to sexually abuse his daughter”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Children are entitled to expect the best from their parents, in terms of care and parental love, that they can possibly receive. But the convict gave her daughter such a betrayal of faith of relationship that would really be difficult for her to forget,” Additional Sessions Judge Gautam Manan said.The court said that the nature of offence committed by the convicts does not demand any leniency while holding them guilty under section 376(2)(g)(gangrape) of IPC.The court also imposed fine of Rs 5,000 each on them and directed the District Legal Service Authority (North) to give the victim Rs one lakh as restorative and compensatory justice to her.”The concept of welfare and well-being of children is basic for any civilized society and this has a direct bearing on the state of health and well-being of the entire community, its growth and development,” the court said while awarding the compensation for the victim’s rehabilitation.While holding the duo guilty, the court relied on the testimony of the victim and her medical report which proved she was raped.”In the present case, the victim has been consistent on the material particulars with regard to the incident of sexual assault on her,” it said.A complaint was lodged by the victim’s mother against her husband and the youth in May 2012 alleging that they raped her daughter after intoxicating her.

Delhi: 34 students fall sick after eating mid-day meal, Sisodia orders testing of samples

New Delhi: 34 students of a government school in Jahangirpuri area in New Delhi were taken ill on Monday after consuming mid-day meal, prompting Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to order testing of the samples served.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Expressing concern over the quality of mid-day meals, Sisodia, who is also the Education Minister said, “quality of Mid Day Meal is a serious concern for us. I will make sure to provide better quality of food to our kids. Actually, providing Mid Day Meal is a social work. But some ‘thekedar’ type elements make this as profit making business”.

“Our Government is working on the whole system of Mid Day Meal. Very soon people of Delhi will see drastic change in this system,” Sisodia said in a series of tweets.

“The samples have been sent for testing at FICCI Research and Analysis Centre and the same has been made available to SHO Jahangirpuri. The SDM has been ordered that the samples from the same canteen will be checked for five days and action will be taken on basis of the report,” he added.

The students of A-Block Girls School in North West Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, complained of stomachache and vomiting after eating rice and daal served as the mid-day meal following which they were rushed to nearby Babu Jagjiwan Ram Hospital.

“We got a call from the school and were informed that more than 30 students are complaining of stomach pain after eating the mid day meal. We immediately admitted all the girls and started the treatment. It was a case of food poisoning,” said Dr Amareshwar Narayan, Medical Superintendent Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital.

While 25 students were discharged after preliminary treatment, nine of them are still under observation.

Police said they received a call at the PCR about the incident and an FIR has been registered in this connection.

“An FIR has been registered under IPC sections 284 (negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance) and 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others) against unidentified persons. Further investigation is underway,” a senior police official said.

The Education Department authorities, however, said the samples of the meal served today have been sent for testing.

“The same meal was served to 564 students of the school. However, since these students complained of stomachache after consuming it, we have sent the samples for testing,” Padmini Singhla, Director of Education told PTI.

Earlier this month, nine girls of a government school in East Delhi’s Seelampur area had taken ill after consuming mid-day ill.

Recently, a RTI query had revealed that the quality testing of the food served under the midday meal programme in Delhi Government schools is on hold since four months due to non-empanelment of testing labs.

PTI

Two killed, six injured in grenade blast in Jhansi

The grenade was picked up by children rag pickers.
Representational Image

Two children were killed and six others were injured in a grenade blast in an army practice area near the Babina Field Fire Range in Jhansi.The grenade was picked up by children rag pickers. The injured children have been admitted to a local hospital for treatment.Further details are awaited.

Principal of Bengaluru school arrested following sexual assault on three-year-old girl

Bengaluru: Principal of a Bengaluru school was arrested on Thursday according to initial television reports after a three-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by the school’s watchman on Monday, triggering protests by parents and students.

The principal has been arrested as no verification was done before recruiting the accused watchmen.

A representational picture of the July 2014 protests in Bengaluru. PTI

A representational picture of the July 2014 protests in Bengaluru. PTI

“We have arrested the watchman who was involved in the act, and in the course of investigation we have come to know that verification was not done before hiring the watchman. We had issued a nine-point guideline for verification,” said a police official in a television report.

The watchman was arrested on 4 August following a complaint filed by the parents of the victim, who had identified the assaulter.

“The victim’s mother had seen the watchman making her daughter sit on his lap, hugging her and offering chocolates,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) N Satish Kumar had said.

The girl’s parents had come to know about the incident when she complained of pain in her private parts after returning from school on Monday afternoon.

She was taken for medical examination at government-run Bowring Hospital on Monday evening and a case was registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

Asked about the alleged lathicharge against protesting parents, Kumar had said in fact some protesters had beaten up the police. “We did not resort to lathicharge against the protestors. On the contrary, one of our sub-inspectors and another policeman were beaten up,” he said.

The incident is a grim reminder of a series of sexual assaults on minor girls in upscale schools in the city last year, raising questions about safety of girls in schools.

Prompted by the recurring incidents, police had issued safety guidelines for schools, which in many cases have been found to be observed in the breach.

With inputs from PTI

15-year-old girl allegedly gang-raped by six persons in Mumbai, police arrest all accused

Mumbai: A 15-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped by six persons at a shop in suburban Chembur in the wee hours of Wednesday and all the accused were arrested, police said.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

According to police, the incident took place around 2.30 am inside a lottery shop named ‘Harsha Enterprises’ located in Pestom Sagar Colony in Chembur.

The lottery shop, which was opened on Monday, is owned by underworld gangster Chhota Rajan’s associate Vimal Rattesar, they said, adding that one Rajesh Rajusth is the caretaker of the shop.

The alleged crime came to light after a rickshaw driver, who dropped a customer at a building located opposite the lottery shop early Wednesday morning, informed the police.

“When the driver heard a woman’s cries coming from inside the shop, he alerted the police and told them that something fishy was going on inside,” Senior Inspector of Tilak Nagar police station Bhagwat Sonavane said.

A police van, which was on the night patrol in the area, rushed to the shop and caught all the six accused from the spot, he said.

During the course of investigation, police found that Rajusth had thrown a party late last night for his bodyguards and other people working for him to celebrate the launch of the lottery shop.

The arrested accused had also brought liquor and made the minor victim consume alcohol and asked her to dance on some film numbers before sexually assaulting her, police said.

“Police are trying to find out whether the girl had gone to the shop with one of the arrested accused, whom she knew,
or whether she was forcefully brought there with the intention to gang rape,” Sonavane added.

Rajusth, along with his bodyguard Vinod was also present inside the shop till 1.30 am and police suspect their involvement in the crime. “Police are on the lookout for Rajusth and his bodyguard Vinod,” Sonavane said.

The victim has been admitted to Rajawadi hospital in Ghatkopar East and the accused were arrested under relevant sections of the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act.

All the accused are residents of Lal Dongar area in Chembur Naka.

Further investigation in the case on, police said.

PTI

15-year-old girl allegedly gang-raped by six persons in Mumbai, all accused arrested

Mumbai: A 15-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped by six persons at a shop in suburban Chembur in the wee hours of Wednesday and all the accused were arrested, police said.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

According to police, the incident took place around 2.30 am inside a lottery shop named ‘Harsha Enterprises’ located in Pestom Sagar Colony in Chembur.

The lottery shop, which was opened on Monday, is owned by underworld gangster Chhota Rajan’s associate Vimal Rattesar, they said, adding that one Rajesh Rajusth is the caretaker of the shop.

The alleged crime came to light after a rickshaw driver, who dropped a customer at a building located opposite the lottery shop early Wednesday morning, informed the police.

“When the driver heard a woman’s cries coming from inside the shop, he alerted the police and told them that something fishy was going on inside,” Senior Inspector of Tilak Nagar police station Bhagwat Sonavane said.

A police van, which was on the night patrol in the area, rushed to the shop and caught all the six accused from the spot, he said.

During the course of investigation, police found that Rajusth had thrown a party late last night for his bodyguards and other people working for him to celebrate the launch of the lottery shop.

The arrested accused had also brought liquor and made the minor victim consume alcohol and asked her to dance on some film numbers before sexually assaulting her, police said.

“Police are trying to find out whether the girl had gone to the shop with one of the arrested accused, whom she knew,
or whether she was forcefully brought there with the intention to gang rape,” Sonavane added.

Rajusth, along with his bodyguard Vinod was also present inside the shop till 1.30 am and police suspect their involvement in the crime. “Police are on the lookout for Rajusth and his bodyguard Vinod,” Sonavane said.

The victim has been admitted to Rajawadi hospital in Ghatkopar East and the accused were arrested under relevant sections of the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act.

All the accused are residents of Lal Dongar area in Chembur Naka.

Further investigation in the case on, police said.

PTI

Bengaluru: 3-year-old girl sexually assaulted at school; parents demand action against culprit

A case has been booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

Parents protest outside school premises.

Team iamin
A three-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted at her school in Indiranagar on Tuesday, police said. Parents of the child came to know of the incident when their daughter complained of pain in her private parts after returning from school on Monday afternoon, following which they informed the police.”The girl has been admitted to Lady Curzon and Boring Hospital. She is three years old and it will be difficult for her to identify the culprit. We have to follow many procedures,” said a police inspector.A case has been booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and investigation is on, the police said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parents of the students from the school staged a silent protest outside the school building, in front of Holy Shepherd Education Society in Indiranagar. Parents protesting the incident are mostly from Manipur. They staged a protest demanding action against the culprit of the alleged sexual assault.Meanwhile, police beefed up security near the school to maintain law and order. Policemen from other police stations have been deputed to the spot to prevent any untoward incident. According to Michael of Thadou Students Association, the school management has denied the alleged sexual assault. “They claim that they had installed CCTV cameras in the school and wanted us to go by the footage of CCTV cameras. We want the guilty to be punished,” said Michael.With inputs from PTI.

Supreme Court irked over Centre’s reply on monitoring of Integrated Child Protection Schemes

Supreme Court also asked the ministry to consult experts and formulate road map for implementation of welfare schemes postulated under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
File Photo

The Supreme Court on Friday expressed its anger over the Centre’s reply on issues including monitoring mechanism of Integrated Child Protection Schemes (ICPS), meant to improve conditions of children observation homes and Juvenile Justice boards across the country.”You (Ministry of Women and Child Development) have to start working at some point. Enough is enough,” the social justice bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said. It also asked the ministry to consult experts and formulate road map for implementation of welfare schemes postulated under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The law requires a review of issues concerning “setting up of the Juvenile Justice Boards, establishment of the Child Welfare Committees, establishment of Special Juvenile Police Unit, functioning of child care institutions and functioning of adoption agencies.”Earlier, the court had asked the Centre to file an affidavit “indicating the monitoring mechanism proposed under the ICPS and the methodology that will be required for carrying out the concurrent monitoring audit under the ICPS….This is just a paper work. The work should get reflected on ground. You (Centre) just say that we will do this, we will do that, but don’t do anything,” the bench today said.”You are the one who had framed the law. Either enforce it or scrap it,” it said, adding, “the government is good at working out plans but you are not good at implementation,” it said. The bench is hearing a 2007 PIL on various issues concerning welfare of children across the country. During the earlier hearing, the court had rapped the Centre for not conducting statutory “social audit” of funds disbursed to states under ICPS.”We are extremely shocked at this disclosure made today by the Additional Solicitor General. The Rules came into operation some time in 2007 and what is stated before us is that not even a single social audit has been conducted in the last seven years. Rule 64 of the Rules postulates the central government or the state government shall monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act on an annual basis,” it had said.

SC warns govt of contempt action for giving ‘misleading’ information on missing children

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Friday warned the government it would initiate contempt proceedings against an official for giving “misleading” information on the number of children missing across the country, saying the figure given in a Minister’s reply in Rajya Sabha was different.

SC warned the government of contempt action for allegedly giving misleading information on missing children. Reuters

SC warned the government of contempt action for allegedly giving misleading information on missing children. Reuters

“We are not going to tolerate this. Either Navin Yadav, Under Secretary (the Ministry of Women and Child Development), is misleading the court or the Hon’ble Minister is misleading the House.

“There cannot be any explanation. Ideas can change but the numbers cannot. Somebody is misleading. I don’t think the Minister is misleading. It seems Yadav is misleading this court,” the social justice bench, comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit, said.

The court’s observations came when a lawyer, representing NGO ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’ who has filed the PIL on the issue of missing children, pointed out that the Minister, in reply to a question in the Upper House, had said that “79,721 children have gone missing during 2013-2015”.

However, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, in its affidavit filed in the apex court on 27 April, said that 25,834 kids went missing during 2013-15, he said, adding that the difference is “glaring”. This was acknowledged by the court.

During the hearing, the bench also expressed displeasure over the government for not being able to implement the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

“This is a clear indication of a complete lack of sensitivity and the apathy that the Ministry has for children and also a complete disregard for the law enacted by the Parliament. We expect the Ministry to wake up and take stock of the law enacted by the Parliament,” the court said.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, sought some more time to respond to the pointed queries of the bench.

The court then adjourned the hearing to 7 August, but asked the Centre to pay Rs 25,000 as fine to the Supreme Court Legal Services.

Earlier too, the apex court had slammed the Centre for its “casual” approach towards missing children and imposed a fine on it for not complying with its directions like providing the status of such children across the country.

“Children are missing in the country and you (Centre) cannot be so casual in your approach. Your secretary is just writing letters. We are extremely dissatisfied,” it had said.

Imposing a fine of Rs 50,000 on the Ministry then, it had also expressed displeasure over non-filling up of vacancies, including for the post of Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

The bench was also critical of the fact that despite its direction on setting up of Advisory Boards under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act in various states and Union Territories, nothing was done by the Centre.

The court is hearing a PIL filed by ‘Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (BBA)’ on the large number of missing children across the country.

PTI

5-year-old girl raped by neighbour in Faridabad

Police have started investigations in the matter, said investigating officer ASI Indubala.

A five-year-old girl was allegedly raped by her neighbour in Faridabad, police said on Thursday. The girl’s mother lodged a complaint with police saying that on Wednesday, while she was busy with her daily routine work, her daughter went to play at their neighbour’s house. The girl’s father returned home and asked about her whereabouts following which he went to their neighbour’s place where he found his daughter crying at the doorstep, police said.The complainant then asked his neighbour Dilshad (17), as to why the girl was crying.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Instead of replying to the question, Dilshad tried to flee from the spot after which the girl’s parents along with their neighbours caught hold of him and locked him up in a room, they said. The girl then narrated the incident to her parents and a case was registered with Surajkund Police Station, Faridabad under section 363 (kidnapping), 366A (procuration of minor girl) and 376 (rape) of IPC and section 6 of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act).Police have started investigations in the matter, said investigating officer ASI Indubala.

New adoption guidelines; centralised database of children

NRIs will be treated on par with domestic adoptive parents, and a child of below five years, will be given up for adoption 60 days after being cleared for adoption. A child of above five years will be given up for adoption 30 days after clearance.

A centralised databank of adoptive children, allowing single parents looking to adopt, and, treating non-resident Indians (NRIs) on par with Indian citizens are some of the revamped guidelines of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) introduced by the union ministry of women and child development, on Monday. The guidelines will be effective from next month.Under the new guidelines, an e-governance measure that will hasten the adoption process, and make it transparent by putting up the data of the adoptive children online, has been brought up. The Central Adoption Resource Information Guidance System (CARINGS), a centralised system that collates the data, will be connected to the district child protection units.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NRIs will be treated on par with domestic adoptive parents, and a child of below five years, will be given up for adoption 60 days after being cleared for adoption. A child of above five years will be given up for adoption 30 days after clearance.The new guidelines have also made it possible for single parents to adopt. While single mothers can adopt children of either gender, single men can only adopt male children. The minimum age difference between child and parent cannot exceed 25 years under the new guidelines.The revamped guidelines were originally mooted in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014. But the Bill, introduced in the Rajya Sabha, has been pending for a year and a half. And WCD minister Maneka Gandhi wanted to a hassle-free adoption process, said a ministry official. In 2013-14, 3924 children were given up for adoption within the country, while 3988 children were given up in 2014-15. There were 422 inter-country adoptions in 2013-14, and 374 in 2014-15.

Infographic: 60 lakh Indian children are out of school with 77% in rural areas

It has been six years since the Right to Education Act has been enacted and yet recent data shows that more than 60 lakh children in India are out of school.

Data from the ‘National Sample Survey of Estimation of Out-of-School Children in the Age 6-13 in India’ by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan for 2014 shows that around 3 percent of the 20.4 crore school-going children in India are deprived of the access to schools.

The survey took into account 99,929 households in 640 districts from across India, and focussed on the gender and community of unschooled children. While  77% of the children out of school are from rural areas, about 49% belong to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Interestingly, the survey shows that more boys weren’t in school as compared to girls.

For the complete highlights of the survey, take a look at our infographic:

School1School1

Ashramshalas in tribal areas worse than jails

Activists say that with no proper accommodation and lack of teachers, students of night hostels continue to suffer

In absence of proper facilities, tribal school students continue to suffer

With over hundred children dumped in one room to sleep, tribal students of ashramshalas in Palghar district are surviving in conditions worse than those in jails. Activists lament that considering that the minister for tribal affairs and development hails from the district, more was expected from the state government.”Power failures are frequent and the rooms have no proper ventilation. Children then opt to sleep outside below trees, which is equally dangerous. These tribal areas have thick forest cover and snakes and wild animals could often enter the hostels,” said Vijay Raut, a social activist working for the development of tribal kids and families in Kasa.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Palghar district has 63 such ashramshalas, with over 20,000 students. Lack of teachers has been making it more difficult for the children. The worst-affected areas are Jawahar, Wada and Mokhada, which have the most number of malnourished kids.A student said, “We are given low quality food, besides being made to sit in hordes in a single classroom.””Mosquitoes and other insects give us sleepless nights and we are often forced to sleep without food,” alleged another.Raut said, “As per rules, one classroom should have only 50 students. But in these ashramshalas, a single teacher has to handle more than 150 students, and that too in rented premises. Even though the government has allotted acres of land, no building has been constructed yet.”Confirming the sorry state of affairs, Palghar district collector Abhijit Bangar said, “We have written to the ministry of tribal affairs about the plight of these ashramshalas. The governor of Maharashtra monitors the ministry, we are not directly involved in the development of ashramshalas.”Former tribal affairs minister Rajendra Gavit blamed the lack of development in the region on corrupt babus and netas. “We have always been at the forefront when it comes to the welfare of tribal kids, and have worked on various projects for their development,” he added.”There are acres of land vacant, but this government is not interested in developing these plots, as a result of which the students are suffering.”Accepting that tribal schools are poorly equipped, state minister for tribal affairs and guardian minister for Palghar district Vishnu Savara said, “We have several problems in ashramshalas, aided as well as unaided, including lack of infrastructure and quality of education. We are trying to resolve it all at the earliest.”

Home ministry rejects Khobragade’s plea of dual citizenship for her children

New Delhi: The home ministry has rejected IFS officer Devyani Khobragade’s plea of dual citizenship for her children, who are American nationals, saying Indian law does not allow this.

Khobragade, who was arrested in the US in 2013 when she was India’s Deputy Consul-General in New York on visa fraud charges, had approached the Home Ministry officials recently and requested them to consider her plea of dual citizenship for her two daughters.

Devyani Khobragade. PTIDevyani Khobragade. PTI

Devyani Khobragade. PTI

“We have conveyed to Khobragade that her children are not eligible for dual citizenship and hence her plea cannot be processed,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

Her daughters were born in India but took US citizenship as Khobragade’s husband is an American national. The IFS officer is accused of suppressing this fact to her employer (Ministry of External Affairs). The children had Indian passport too.

After coming to know that Khobragade’s daughters were having US passport, the MEA had revoked the children’s Indian passports and they challenged this in the Delhi High Court.

Government took the action as the provision of dual citizenship is only applicable to those children who were born outside India and as Khobragade’s daughters were born in Mumbai, they are not covered by this provision.

Children of foreign diplomats, who are born in India, are also given dual citizenship till the period of their parents’ service in India.

Government had recently told the Delhi High Court that Khobragade obtained US and Indian passports for her two daughters in violation of law and without informing the MEA, which raises serious questions about her “trustworthiness and integrity”.

“Devyani Khobragade’s submission that the US passports were only used for travel to USA does not in any way dilute the gravity and seriousness of her misdemeanour and are blatant violations of Indian Passports Act,” it had said.

The IFS officer’s father Uttam Khobragade too wrote a letter to the home ministry with the request to consider the plea of dual citizenship for his grand daughters. The senior Khobragade even conveyed to the home ministry that its stand on the issue was “shocking”, an official said, and termed the tone of his letter “very harsh”.

The home ministry officials have suggested to Devyani that she can apply for the Overseas Citizenship of India card for her daughters.

PTI

Successful career over happiness: Study decodes what Indian parents want for their kids

Are Indian parents obsessed with their kids studying engineering and MBAs and being successful in their careers? Turns out they might be. A new global survey by HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management found out that in India, 23 percent parents want their children to be engineers and 22 percent want them to be MBAs.

The report called ‘The Value of Education: Learning for Life’, spoke to parents from many countries across the world and the findings were fascinating. Chinese parents give priority to the health of their children (72%) while in US and Canada they think their kids being happy is most important.

In many emerging economies, parents hope for their children to be successful in their career almost as strongly as they do for them to be happy in life, the study showed. So in India, parents want their kids to be successful in their careers (51%) more than even having a a happy life (only 49% wanted that for their kids). Even health is a relatively lower concern for Indian parents.

Reuters image.Reuters image.

Reuters image.

The study further found that a job in engineering is the most preferable for almost a fifth of parents in Brazil (18%), Malaysia (18%), the UAE (16%) and Mexico (16%), compared to just 5% of parents in Australia, Singapore and Taiwan. Parents in India – a country renowned for its emerging technology sector – are more than twice as likely as the average to want their children to go into a job in computer science.

Making a difference to society is important to two in five (38%) parents in Indonesia and to just under a quarter (22%) of parents in Turkey and India. To get their sought-after careers, 88% Indian parents feel that postgraduate or masters degree is important, While 91% are happy with undergraduate courses.

An interesting find by the study was related to additional tutoring. The study said 74% of Chinese parents would not mind paying  for additional tutoring for their children. India and Indonesia tie for the second place with 71%.

The desire for children to achieve the highest possible academic qualifications is strongest in the UAE, where a third (33%) of parents say this is an important goal for their children, as it is for parents in Malaysia (29%) and India (28%).

Parents were also found to more likely to want their daughters to go into medicine (22%) than they are for their sons (15%). They are, however, more likely to want their sons to go into engineering (15%, compared to 6% for daughters) or computer science (10%, compared to 5% for daughters).

This is true regardless of parents’ own gender, the study further added.

Source: HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth ManagementSource: HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management

Source: HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management

Many parents think students work too hard and so are concerned their children do not have enough time to develop the softer skills they need to succeed in the job market. In Asia and the Middle East, this imbalance is particularly pronounced. In the UAE, 39% of parents think their child spends too much time on independent study at university, compared to only 5% who think they do not spend enough time. There is also a wide gap in Indonesia (36% compared to 10%), Singapore (30% compared to 10%), India (29% compared to 17%) and Hong Kong (42% compared to 26%).

In contrast, parents in France are more likely to think their child does not spend enough time on independent study at university (30%).

Gujarat tourism was pro bono so why is Big B fleecing Kissan Channel of Rs 6.3 cr?

On 17 July, 2015, the media was abuzz with the news that Prasar Bharti, which runs bouquet of Doordarshan channels including the recently launched kisan channels, had paid Amitabh Bachchan, the matinee idol of yesteryears, a whopping Rs 6.30 crore for being the brand ambassador of the Kisan channels.

It is not the first time he has pocketed such a huge sum for his services but the indignation was at the fact that the payment had been made from public money. Cadbury or Nestle paying him in crores of rupees had been a talking point in the past but nothing more because if the managements and shareholders of these companies thought nothing of it, why should the public?  Prasar Bharti may have been carved out into a separate corporation but it operates out of public money. The anger is therefore justified.

A year or so ago, Prime Minister Narender Modi told the viewers of television that the Gujarat Tourism did not pay him anything for being its brand ambassador. In other words, he did the job pro bono. If he had such a large heart, why did he fleece another government instrumentality given the fact that the nascent channels’ budget is a tiny fraction of what has been paid to him. In fact, the question should be addressed to Prasar Bharti.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

In every financial walk of life, one makes a bang for bucks calculation. In the advertising world, this is known as A to S ratio i.e. advertising to sales ratio. More scientifically it should be the incremental sales as a result of the ad spend. It is impossible to find out how much of the incremental sale was on account of the fortune paid to a celebrity given the fact that sale is after all a function of so many diverse factors like price, quality, competition, lack of substitute etc including saturation advertising. That being the case, the A to S ratio is at best an unscientific and crude measure of an ad’s success. Be that as it may.

And when it comes to measuring the heightened farmers’ consciousness thanks to Big B’s exhortation, one would be virtually up against the wall because being a public interest broadcast, there is no revenue involved. At a sentimental level, devoid of financial calculations, it is said Amitabh is heard with rapt attention by everyone in this country, young and old alike, because of his affability and baritone he is endowed with.

So much so he can sell noodles, sway the farmers and their reluctant sons, launch a car successfully and root for our kabbaddi team. If listening is indeed the issue, people listen to Prime Minister Modi with rapt and worshipful attention given that he is a demagogue and pedagogue rolled into one.

After all he was the one man army that ran over the opposition in the 2014 general elections. To be sure, he cannot endorse commercial brands but this one is an awareness campaign targeting the blighted farmers.

I understand the American advertising standard at some point of time proscribed celebrities from promiscuously endorsing more than one brand at a time. It is time we did the same in our country lest Amitabh fatigue sets in if it hasn’t already. He may remember all the brands he endorses but the viewers are simply bamboozled by his all pervasive presence during the commercial breaks so much so that they remember him and forget the brand as humorously but pertinently pointed out by the ad guru Ogilvy while holding forth on the dangers of celebrity advertising.

Kissan channel is not a product or service amenable to pester power either, a factor that goes into roping in a celebrity. Children insist on a soft drink endorsed by say the cricketer Tendulkar but neither the product/service nor the age of the target audience of kisan channels justify the roping in of the superstar for such an outrageous sum.

To be sure, a celebrity plays and sticks to the script but the insincerity and superficiality of his utterances are not lost on everyone. The opposition may not gun for the Modi government on this issue given that the superstar of yesteryears is a master of hiding his political affiliation and hobnobs with everyone who matters.

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