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‘Asha Kiran’: No Ray of Hope in a government-run shelter for people with special needs in Delhi

"Shockingly, nude women were roaming around in the corridors even as there are CCTV cameras installed there which are being monitored by male staff"- Investigation report of DCW

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A child (representational image), Asha Kiran Website

New Delhi, Feb 7, 2017: The name ‘Asha Kiran’, or ‘ray of hope’ is a government-run shelter for women with mental disabilities which comes under the jurisdiction of Delhi’s social welfare Department. However, the combined negligence of the department and the successive regimes of Delhi towards this facility, has not just shamed the welfare management system but also raised a question over its credibility.

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The investigation report of Delhi Commission for Women reveals the heartbreaking reality of Asha Kiran which I believe has accorded another reason in building unfaithfulness of the people towards government-run welfare programs.

The team of DCW headed by its chief Swati Mittal, went to Asha Kiran for a surprise inspection, and what they witnessed there have taken places in their report as ‘extremely inhumane and unhygienic conditions‘ with ‘several instances of human rights violations on the part of the management’.

One of the most shocking findings of the investigation report is the ‘unreported deaths of 11 women in the past two months at the facility’. Yes, 11 women died in the facility and the concerned management didn’t care to file the report of their deaths.

While the investigation team finds it extremely difficult to understand that not just the management unreported the 11 deaths, but they also didn’t have any reason to support the cause of 11 unreported deaths. The deaths of 11 inmates cannot be a mystery, there have to be some reasons behind their deaths, or did they just succumb to the negligence of the management.

Apart from the unreported deaths, the commission has reported some shocking discoveries about the home. According to TOI, women inmates were made to line up naked before their baths in corridors with CCTV cameras. The CCTV footage was monitored by a male staffer, Maliwal said.

“I, along with other members of the commission, went for a surprise inspection of the home and ended up spending the night there. Among other things, we found the home was overcrowded, with up to four persons occupying one bed. Women were being made to remove their clothes in the open while lining up to take a bath. Shockingly, nude women were roaming around in the corridors even as there are CCTV cameras installed there which are being monitored by male staff,” Maliwal told the newspaper.

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The women were forced to live cheek by jowl because of the overcrowding of the facility. At this point, the only authority which could be accused here is the state government. But what followed next can’t be just blamed on the government alone, the management played equal role as of the government by not adhering to the fulfillment of their obligations.

In addition to the extreme overcrowding of the facility, the children were being made to sleep on the floor without mattresses despite the cold winter. When the DCW asked the staffers about this idiocy, they said this was because they were wetting their beds.

The DCW mentioned the sanitation and hygienic conditions of the facility as utterly deplorable. Toilets, as well as some corridors, were covered in urine, excreta and menstrual blood. Even the rooms reeked of urine as patients relieved themselves and weren’t cleaned, The Times of India report said.

As they weren’t being provided with wheelchairs, several patients with physical disabilities had to crawl up to the toilets in order to relieve themselves.
The report also reveals a shocking incident where a patient was found massaging the legs of a staffer, According to the report, the patients were also made to do chores, including personal work for the staffers.

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The DCW report also mentions the acuteness of medical care and manpower in the facility, with just one ‘house aunty’ was deployed to care for more than 150 patients. The facility provides no clinical psychologist to the patients and has just one psychiatrist, who visits for several twice in a week. There are several vacant positions for doctors in the facility.

The DCW has sent a notice to the Social Welfare Secretary demanding an answer within 3 days regarding the discrepancies in the ‘Asha Kiran’.

According to a reply of an RTI to The Indian Express in 2015, the death toll at the facility has increased by 76% from 2013. According to Hindustan Times, over 600 deaths have been reported at the facility since 2001. According to a comptroller and auditor general report in 2015, 900 patients were living at the facility meant for 350.

The situation at Asha Kiran is becoming volatile day by day and demands the incumbent government to respond swiftly on this matter. The justice should be brought to the patients who have suffered in the past and yet suffering this apathy.

Let’s hope the government answers the unheard plight of the patients at the Asha Kiran, and many more institutions alike.

prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram, Twitter @PhulRetard

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Anti-Punjab Conspiracy: Apologise to Punjabis for Branding them as Drug Addicts, Demands Akali Dal to Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal

A survey by PGIMER had revealed that drugs abuse in Punjab was just around one per cent of the 2.8 crore population in the state

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Punjab
Sukhbir Singh Badal, President of Akali Dal in Punjab. Wikimedia

Chandigarh, Sep 11, 2017: Punjab’s opposition Akali Dal on Sunday said that latest findings of PGIMER survey listing drug addiction in the state at less than a per cent had yet again nailed the “anti-Punjab conspiracy” of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and demanded they apologise to the people.

“The latest comprehensive survey which was carried out in all 22 districts as well as 22 villages in each district, had exposed the anti-Punjab conspiracy of Rahul Gandhi and his team as well as that of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal,” SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal said in a statement here.

“Both leaders and their parties should now tell Punjabis why they branded them as drug addicts and tender an unconditional apology to the people of the state.”

Claiming that the “entire conspiracy was hatched to counter the development narrative of the previous SAD-BJP government”, Badal said though the Congress had succeeded in its goal of achieving power in Punjab, it had caused incalculable damage to its people and its economy.

“Both Congress and AAP played with the lives of the youth and made them virtually unhireable. The image distortion also dented the image of Punjab and Punjabis worldwide,” he said.

Highlighting Rahul Gandhi’s “nefarious role in this sordid chapter of Punjab politics”, Badal said he was “definitely the villain-in-chief”.

“Rahul uttered an utter lie to reap political mileage for his flagging party by claiming in October 2012 at a NSUI function in Chandigarh that 70 per cent of the state’s youth were drug addicts.

“This despite the fact that he knew well that he was reading out a sample survey of drug addicts of which youth formed a big share,” he said.

“During the Punjab assembly campaign this year, he insisted he was speaking the truth and even had the gall to ask Punjabis to admit they were drug addicts. Such behaviour coming from the chosen scion of the Gandhi dynasty is shameful,” he added.

A survey done by a team of doctors and researchers of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research had revealed that drugs abuse in Punjab was just around one per cent of the 2.8 crore population in the state.

Badal said that Aam Aadmi Party leader Kejriwal and “his gang of outsiders had also tried to doom the future of the youth by claiming 40 lakh youth were drug addicts”.

“The PGIMER report puts the entire number of addicts in the state at 2.7 lakh. Other reports, included that conducted by AIIMS, had come out with even lower figures than this,” he added.

A detailed survey by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi had put the drug addiction at 0.84 per cent.

“The Punjab government also got a dope test conducted on 3.76 lakh youth who presented themselves for police recruitment. The test, which was conducted by the Baba Farid Health Sciences University, saw only 1.27 per cent candidates testing positive,” Badal said, citing a survey done during the Akali government last year. (IANS)

 

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If you have Rs 28 lakh in account, only then you are eligible to get an AAP ticket in Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections

The reason behind the eligibility criterion is that the candidate should be financially sound to be able to fight elections

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AAP volunteers oppose opaque political funding
AAP volunteers oppose opaque political funding. Facebook
  • Gopal Rai said that if one wishes to fight the contest Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections on AAP tickets, then he/she should have at least Rs 28 lakh in their accounts
  • Gopal Rai met AAP members on 1 September 2017 to discuss the proposal
  • The candidate should be financially sound to be able to fight elections

New Delhi, September 3, 21017: When Arvind Kejriwal came into politics with Aam Aadmi Party, he promised it to be a clean, corruption free party but all the principles and morals of the party have gone into a drain.

Where have the principles of AAP gone?

The party in recent times has been in the news for all the wrong reasons- allegedly selling party tickets for polls in Punjab, heavy corruption charges, alleged Mohalla Clinic scam. The Party has lost the respect in people’s eyes many times by its shameful activities. AAP is trying hard to win back people’s trust since it lost Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections.

Want an AAP ticket? Got Rs 28 lakh in the account?

The latest reason of AAP’s mockery is the strange clause put forth by Gopal Rai, state in-charge of Gujrat and national leader of AAP. He said that if one wishes to fight the contest Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections on AAP tickets, then he/she should have at least Rs 28 lakh in their accounts. Now, one can’t fight the elections as he is a deserving candidate, have good principles, motives, and ideas or wants to bring a change. But based on the money he/she has in the account, as only those who have Rs 28 lakh and more will be given a chance to contest Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections on AAP tickets.

Also Read: Aam Aadmi Party’s Mohalla Clinics come under scanner: Vigilance Department exposes, Ministers faked the rent amount

When AAP fought Delhi Elections, it was with the donation money they got from people and won the election. But, now AAP has changed its ways.

A need to meet the financial criteria

Gopal Rai met AAP members on 1 September 2017 to discuss the proposal.  According to Ahmedabad Mirror report, a leader who attended the meeting said: “A candidate will need not less than Rs28 lakh to prove that he can pull off the campaign financially in the constituency.”  The reason behind this eligibility criterion is that the candidate should be financially sound to be able to fight elections.

Also Read: Rankings of Aam Aadmi Party Delhi MLAs Drop due to Poor Performance. Praja Foundation publishes Latest Government Performance Report

Talking about the other 2 eligibility criteria, Harshil Nayak, AAP spokesperson said:

  • The candidate should have to be of clean repute and well-networked in his area
  • The candidate should have at least 2 people to support him in managing a booth

The party will launch its campaign on September 17, 2017. One of the party workers said, “A car and a bike rally will be organized at various places. We hope to get the permission, but if we don’t, the date may change. If not from all seats, AAP will fight the elections from at least a few.”


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