While I was away and unconnected, several items awaited me in my work inbox. A small sample.
Govt.Girls Middle School, Jaffrabad Extension, Delhi-32, has been charging girl students for using the toilet. Apparently, the toilet is kept locked and those who cannot afford to pay a rupee each time are forced to relieve themselves in the open.
This in a country where millions of girls stay away from school for the lack of toilet and water facilities.
A girl was, in effect, thrown out of school for talking to a boy. According to the legal notice served on behalf of the Class-X-B student, the Govt. Sardovaya Bal Vidyalaya, Vishwas Nagar, Shahdara, "was in two shifts, morning shift for girls and afternoon shift for boys but for the last two years both the shifts were merged and the school was made co-educational. (It is submitted) That on 1st August, 2007, during the recess hours (about 11:30 a.m.), Poonam and Avdhesh (student of class-XI of the same school) were talking in the X-B class room in the presence of about thirty six students. While they were talking, Sh. Dhan Singh, Hindi subject teacher, entered into the classroom and asked Avdhesh to go out of the class. While Avdhesh was moving out, the teacher started beating him. Avdhesh pushed the teacher and run away.... Poonam was called in the principal's room where police and Avdhesh were also present. Sh. Dhan Singh, Hindi subject teacher told the principal that Avdhesh was talking with Poonam. On this, the principal told Poonam that she has been removed from the school and would not be allowed to attend classes anymore."
Seven Dalits ostracized by village for refusing to beat the drums.
Teenager died after spending the night at the police station.
Activists affiliated with the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India celebrated World Breastfeeding Week by burning bottles meant for feeding babies.
Lok Sangharsh Morcha activist Bhikhu Bhai Tadvi was ordered by the Narmada district Collector to leave Narmada, for two years. This order also applies to surrounding districts like Vadodara, Surat and Bharuchh. Bhikhu Bhai is a national secretary of the LSM, and has been charged with instigating the tribals to spread Naxalite activity in the area. According to the press note, this is not the first time the organisation's leaders have been confined. Suman Bhai Vasawa, president of the Gujarat unit of the LSM, had been arrested in 2006 under PASA, a law not unlike TADA, and released after 50 days in detention.
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has allegedly been breaking its own rules by allowing field trials of Bt Brinjal. The press note refers to rules "...which state that large scale trials will not be allowed unless the complete biosafety data has been generated. Bt Brinjal clearly does not fall in this category... In fact, some of the prescribed tests like foliar feeding studies (which have been mandated after reports of animal mortality and morbidity after open grazing on Bt Cotton fields) have not been completed on Bt Brinjal."
The practice of keeping two tumblers — one for dalits and another for others in tea shops — is persistently prevailing in 33 reserved village panchayats in Salem and Erode districts.
Environmental and social activist groups in the country have expressed concerns that Japan may dump toxic wastes into India by takingadvantage of the proposed comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA). The concerns are fuelled by Japan's reputation for dumping poisonous and hazardous waste in the south-east Asian countries with which it has free trade agreements .
A Dalit youth who refused to work - in exchange for the Rs 20 he'd borrowed - was set ablaze.