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बाल श्रम कानून में बदलाव का औचित्य :किशोर

May 14, 2015

Guest Post by Kishore

Photo courtesy : newznew.com

संसदीय कैबिनेट ने १३ मई को बाल श्रम प्रतिबंधन एवं नियमन कानून (CLPRA act) में संशोधन को मंजूरी दे दी. मुख्य सकारात्मक बदलावों में १४ वर्ष की आयु तक किसी भी व्यवसाय अथवा प्रक्रिया में बाल श्रम पर पूर्ण प्रतिबन्ध का प्रावधान किया गया है जो स्वागत योग्य है. साथ ही ज्यादा कठोर सजा एवं जुर्माने का प्रावधान भी किया गया है जो कि सकारात्मक है. हालाँकि अभी भी यह बाल अधिकार समझौते की कसौटी पर खरा नहीं उतरता क्योंकि इसमें १४ से १८ साल के बच्चों को गैर खतरनाक उद्योगों में काम करने की अनुमति दी है पर फिर भी चौदह वर्ष तक पूर्ण प्रतिबन्ध एक प्रगतिशील कदम है.

चौदह वर्ष तक पूर्ण प्रतिबन्ध के बावजूद पारिवारिक व्यवसायों में बच्चों के काम करने को छूट दी गयी है .बच्चे पारिवारिक व्यवसायों में काम कर सकते हैं बशर्ते यह काम बच्चे स्कूल जाने के बाद करते हों. सरकार इस छूट का मुख्य कारण यह बता रही है कि इससे बच्चों को अपने पारंपरिक काम सीखने का मौके मिलेगा.

आइये इस बात की समीक्षा की जाये कि यह कारण कहाँ तक तार्किक है. सरकार पारंपरिक कौशल को लेकर कितनी चिंतित है यह तो पिछले बीस साल में हथकरघा और अन्य पारम्परिक पेशों के लिए बनाई गई नीतियों से स्पष्ट है. कोई उनसे पूछे की पिछले बीस सालो में घरेलू उत्पाद में पारंपरिक व्यवसायों का योगदान किस दर से बड़ा है? अगर सरकार को पारंपरिक कौशल के लुप्त होने का इतना ही डर है तो क्यों नहीं इसे स्कूली पाठ्यक्रम में शामिल करती ? अगर इसे पाठ्यक्रम में शामिल किया जाये तो बच्चे पढाई के साथ साथ व्यावसायिक कौशल भी सीखेंगे जो उनके जीवन में काम आयेगा. साथ ही पढाई के साथ काम सीखने से पढ़े लिखे लोगों में श्रम को नीची नज़र से देखने के नज़रिए पर भी लगाम लगेगी और शिक्षा और शारीरिक श्रम के बीच का फासला घटेगा. Read more…

Statement from Gulflabor.org in solidarity with artists denied entry into UAE for involvement with labour rights

May 12, 2015

Renowned artists Walid Raad and Ashok Sukumaran have been denied entry into UAE for questioning labour practices and boycotting the Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi.

Solidarity Statement
This week, Mumbai-based artist Ashok Sukumaran was denied a UAE visa to travel as an invited speaker and moderator at the March Meeting, an annual gathering of artists in Sharjah. Sukumaran has a long history of artistic work and commitments in the region including at the Sharjah Biennials (2009, 2011, 2013) and at events including Art Dubai and several prior editions of the March Meetings. His visa application by the hosts of this year’s March Meeting, to be held mid-May, was denied three times.While the official reason was given only as “security”, we believe this denial of entry is due to his association with Gulf Labor, a group of artists who have been boycotting the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and asking for better conditions for the workers building museums on Saaidyat Island. Last month, another Gulf Labor associate NYU professor Andrew Ross was denied entry to the UAE for “security” reasons. We believe this is a negative and cynical trajectory in which artists and academics who have a stake in and long-standing concerns for the region, are being excluded from it.

Read more…

Chal Chaliye – Majma

May 11, 2015

For Website

From the website of Majma

Majma is “a platform committed to creating and promoting progressive arts and media”.

Listen to the song Chal Chaliye, a stark, defiant, yet joyous indictment of the Indian “Republic” and the good times it’s going through.

Much Better to Run Over the Poor Than to Speak Up for Them

May 10, 2015

Yesterday, the 9th of May, one day after the court granted what must be the fastest bail and suspension of sentence in the history of India to India’s favourite Dabangg, a diminutive woman stood under the blazing Delhi sun and spoke of her husband who had been in jail for the past one year. In May 2014, lecturer in English at Ramlal Anand College, Delhi University, G. N Saibaba was returning home after evaluating answer scripts when he was abducted by unknown men, who later identified themselves as Maharashtra Police.

Professor Saibaba. Image Courtesy FRS Blog

Professor Saibaba. Image Courtesy FRS Blog

Saibaba was not produced before a magistrate in Delhi but taken directly to Aheri, a small town in Maharashtra and then to Nagpur, to be put in solitary confinement in the famous anda cell of Nagpur jail. Let’s call this cell famous instead of the usual epithet “notorious” because all over the country, children are probably playing with each other right now saying to each other, “saale main tujhe anda cell mein daal doonga“, while their parents look on indulgently, congratulating themselves on the kid’s excellent G.K.

Read more…

Cancer – getting the story right: Harmala Gupta

May 9, 2015

Guest post by HARMALA GUPTA

Despite the almost daily dose of information on some aspect of cancer or the other in the national and international media these days, the confusion around cancer persists. The reports and their headers are calculated to catch the public eye rather than inform: “tetanus shot may boost brain cancer survival”; “extra oxygen could help you fight cancer”, etc. The reality on the ground is far removed and infinitely more complex.

To begin with, cancer is one word used to describe a number of different diseases. Furthermore, despite the progress made, we are still far from curing a majority of cancers, from preventing them or finding them early enough to ensure long term survival. The progress that has been made is largely in the West and can be attributed to screening techniques which are able to detect cancers earlier than they did before. In fact, some would argue, too early.

The question being asked is: should we be meddling with pre- cancerous or early stage tumours that are unlikely to ever become life threatening?  Studies show that in some people, for no clear reason, these tumours do not progress. Once again, the baffling question is: Are these tumours best left alone? And if so, at what stage should we begin to engage with them? Only now are we learning that the mammogram touted as the gold standard for detecting breast cancer works best for women over 50 years of age. Before that age there are too may false positives with their attendant consequences to ethically warrant its regular use as a diagnostic tool. Shame that it took medical science so long to work this out. In the meantime, thousands of women have had surgeries and gone through emotional trauma they could have avoided.

Read more…

Bombay Pavement Dwellers and Olga Tellis – A Quiet Verdict in Ahmedabad: N. Jayaram

May 8, 2015

Guest Post by N. Jayaram

After the order in the case of film star Salman Khan over a 2002 hit-and-run case was delivered by Sessions Court Judge D.W. Deshpande on Wednesday, 6 May 2015, there understandably were divided opinions on whether he deserved to be handed five years in jail.

But the rather more shockingly breath-taking comments from some of his friends in the industry and his fans were to do with pavement dwellers, such as the victim Nurullah Mahboob Sharif.

“Kutta rd pe soyega kutte ki maut marega, roads garib ke baap ki nahi hai (If a dog sleeps on the road, he’ll die a dog’s death. Roads are not poor people’s property)…,” singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya tweeted. “Roads are meant for cars and dogs not for people sleeping on them…,” he said, appealing to the film industry to back the star, whose sentence has now been suspended by the High Court.

Designer Farah Khan Ali chipped in with this:  “No one should be sleeping on the road or footpath. It is dangerous to do that just like it is dangerous to cross tracks.” She quite rightly laid the blame on the state: “The govt should be responsible for housing ppl. If no1 was sleeping on d road in any other country Salman wuld not have driven over anybody.”

Perhaps she had read the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, to which India is a state party. Article 11.1 of the Covenant says: “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right…” Read more…

An Encounter in the Forest: Bharath Sundaram and Nitin Rai

May 7, 2015

Guest post by BHARATH SUNDARAM and NITIN RAI

The labelling of the Seshachalam incident as a ‘law and order’ problem by State actors obfuscates the larger underlying problem deriving from lopsided notions of the human-environment relationship, and flies in the face of ecological concerns and social justice

The massacre of twenty people in the Seshachalam forests in a joint operation by the Red-Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF) of the Andhra Pradesh Police and the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department is reflective of the hegemonic control of natural resources by an increasingly militarised state. It is particularly shocking that such a massacre occurred just as calls are being made nationally for a democratic forest management approach that gives local people more rights and powers to manage forests.

Encounter killings in Seshachalam forests

Encounter killings in Seshachalam forests, courtesy Hindustan Times

While the state has chosen to depict the killing of 20 people in the Seshachalam forests as a response to a law and order issue, such a draconian response to the cutting of trees by peasants is indicative of a much deeper malaise in the governance of natural resources in India. On the evening or night of 6th of April, 2015, twenty people, purportedly smugglers of red sanders, were shot to death by ten officials of the RSASTF and one official from the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department. The shooting and killing (using automatic weapons) was supposedly an act of ‘self-defence’ precipitated by an attack on the officials by more than 100 people who ‘rained stones and hurled sickles’ during the raid. Three days after the incident, ‘country weapons’ and ‘firearms’ were added to the list of weapons used by the smugglers.

Observer accounts mention that several of those killed were shot in the face, chest, or back. Nobody was apprehended in an injured state. Official post-mortem reports of those killed remain unavailable. No government officials were reported injured immediately after the operation, although mysteriously, all eleven officials involved were placed in isolation in the A-Class ward of a government hospital four days after the incident occurred. Human rights activists, led by the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organization have labelled the incident as a staged encounter, questioned the use of brute force, and have pointed out several inconsistencies in the official version of events. Read more…

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