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Officer Narendra Kumar Singh, Who Took On The Mining Mafia Killed… How Many More?

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By Nitum Jain:

An Indian Police Service officer Narendra Kumar Singh, posted in the Morena District of Madhya Pradesh, met with a tragic end yesterday. The incident occurred this afternoon when Singh noticed a stone-laden tractor-trolley while patrolling in his jeep, he overtook it and tried to get the driver to stop the vehicle. After one unsuccessful attempt, the 30-year-old officer overtook the heavy-duty vehicle again and this time stood in front of it to make the driver, identified as Manoj Gurjar, bring it to a halt.

IPS officer Narendra Kumar Singh

However, Gurjar instead accelerated and ran over him, crushing the IPS officer under the wheels. Singh was rushed to the hospitals but was declared dead on arrival.

The young officer had been known to take on the mining mafia in the region head-on since his posting in the region last month. He had been working to eradicate the illegal mining practiced in the area by seizing several trucks carrying illegally mined stones and sand. Speculations and allegations suggest that the entire episode was premeditated and the mining mafia had him purposefully ‘removed’ to continue their ‘business’.

Gurjar has been arrested and a case has been registered against him under section 302 in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

This is not the first time that the mafia have killed someone acting as a road block for them. In November 2003, a project director of the National Highways Authority of India, Satyendra Dubey was killed by the road mafia for not letting them operate their business properly. An year before this, Navleen Kumar, a human rights activist in Maharashtra was killed by the land mafia for fighting to protect the tribal rights.

In a similar case in 2005, a marketing manager for the Indian Oil Corporation, Shanmugam Manjunath was killed by the oil mafia in for ordering the sealing of 2 petrol pumps selling adulterated fuel in Lakhimpur Kheri.

Just like the above, this is one of the many such cases we hear in the passing and soon forget. The Indian Police is infamous in the citizens’ eyes as the most corrupt section of the country’s system after the politicians; this incident just proves that true by simply highlighting the fact that the honest ones do not survive for long.

A law enforcement officer is not just the upholder of law but also the guardian of the people of the nation, cases such as this show how the guardian himself is not protected enough by the state, there is not much hope left for the everyday citizen of this nation. Narendra Kumar Singh is just one of the many names that have fallen victim to the crime in the country and the mafia bosses continue to conduct their activities as India is yet to take into serious consideration the protection of its law enforcement units or take initiative when it comes to crimes against them.

Taking example of the United States of America, a country with the crime rate ever increasing, we see the importance that is given to the cases of assault or killing of a police officer. Such cases become top priority during investigation and the jury system of the country ensures a harsh punishment for the felony. The country is clear when it comes to the protection of its protective forces, be it by supplying all kinds of protective equipment for their use or by leaving no stone unturned to catch and prosecute the perpetrator of a crime against the law enforcement. The nation has an online page by the name of Officer Down Memorial Page where each officer who died in the line of duty is not only honoured, but this page can also be used by the public wherein they are informed about which of the criminals in such cases have a parole hearing coming up soon, and an option of submitting an online “NO PAROLE” petition is provided to all citizens.

The point here is that an example is to be set in all seriousness about how big a crime it is to launch any sort of attack on a police officials, or any whistleblower in that case. To discourage any person from committing a crime there needs to be a system that instils in him the fear of the law; the law enforcement is that system. The system itself can’t be vulnerable to the criminals to be of any effect and there needs to be a stronger protective mechanism developed in our nation to provide safety to the officers so that they can carry out their duties efficiently without the fear of being slaughtered in the process. Dirty politics often brings suffering to the whistle-blowers and the honest men in the system like Officer Singh; they are usually effectively purged out of the system and are lost to the piles of pending cases in the Indian courts while the perpetrators walk among us.

The need of hour thus becomes to create a special provision for cases such as these, to conduct more thorough investigations and to not let the case to be discreetly brushed under the carpet by some influential person on the top level of the political food-chain.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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