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Opinion: “India Is In The Hand Of Dictators”

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 The Story Of Dr. Kafeel Khan 

Dr. Kafeel Khan is a 39-year-old pediatrician. He used to work in the BRD hospital, a government hospital in Gorakhpur. The UP government was not paying for the oxygen supply and it resulted in the deaths of sixty children. To save the life of the others, Dr.Kafeel Khan somehow arranged cylinders and saved the lives of children.

This incident occurred on the night of 10th August 2017. Then, on 13 August 2017, he was fired from the hospital as this news spread in the media, and the UP government was blamed for mismanagement due to not making payments.

Then he got lots of hatred, but also support, as AIIMS doctors supported him. On 23 August, an FIR was filed against Dr.Kafeel  Khan, and on 2nd September 2017, he was arrested. On 21 April 2018, he wrote a ten-page letter which indeed justified his innocence. On 25th April 2018, the Allahabad high court granted him bail and stated that he was not needed in custody since the charge sheet had been filed. In June 2018, he revealed something shocking that his brother Kashif Jameel was shot three times and he survived.

This attack happened after the incident in BRD hospital. On September 27, 2019, he was vindicated of all charges in his case. An internal hospital inquiry committee had cleared him from all allegations. On 4 October 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government ordered an examination into his case. 

Rajneesh Dubey, Uttar Pradesh’s principal secretary of medical education told the media that some facts were taken into account and the government is looking into it. 

The Allahabad High Court set aside the National Security Act charges against Dr. Khan terming it illegal and directed the Uttar Pradesh government to forthwith release him from jail.

On 12 December 2019, he delivered a speech at an anti-CAA protest at Aligarh Muslim University. On 30 January 2020, Uttar Pradesh police arrested him from the airport for his speech at AMU. The FIR was filed under IPC Section 153A. On 31 January 2020,  he was imprisoned in judicial custody and was sent to a Mathura jail. On 10 February 2020, he was granted bail by an Aligarh court, but not released from jail. 

On 14 February 2020, charges under the National Security Act were imposed against him. The NSA gives the right to the government to detain people for up to one year without a trial if they are suspected to be a threat to people’s security. 

On 17 August 2020, the UP government extended his detention for three months. 

On 1st September 2020, the Allahabad high court stopped his detention, and finally, Dr. Khafeel Khan was released from jail that night. The court declared him innocent and the court also declared that Yogi Adityanath’s detention was illegal. 

Hathras Case

On 14 September 2020, a 19-year-old Dalit girl was brutally gang-raped in Hathras. She was found in a field of tall millet crops by her mother. It is believed that there were four people in the gang and they were from upper caste Thakurs. Their names were Sandeep, Luvkush, Ravi, and Ramu. She fought for two weeks on 29th September but eventually died in a Delhi hospital.

The family of the victim pleaded a lot for her body, but they didn’t listen and the body was burnt on the same night at around 2: 30 am. The police gave a false statement that it was done with the permission of the family. According to journalist Tanushree Pandey, who was on the ground that night, the police locked the family inside the house at 2:30 a.m, and the house was surrounded by police.

Also, the police did not allow anyone to go near to the body and refused to give any statement. Also, the family was blackmailed to give a false statement. Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi declared that they would go to Hathras as a form of protest. But police stopped them on the Noida expressway and barred them from going further. Also, in Hathras the entire village was sealed at that time.

Also, all the limits were crossed when it surfaced that a PR agency was hired to spread a lie that there was no case of rape and forensic investigation agencies have ruled out the case of rape. Some journalists’ phones were tapped and some were seized. The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a report of the Hathras case in Allahabad high court. On 19th March, there was a hearing. 

Photo: @ambedkariteIND

Protests against the UP government’s handling of the Hathras rape case and for justice.

The Reality Of Yogi Adityanath

Yogi Adityanath is the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He was born on 5 June 1972 in the upper caste (Thakur). There are many allegations against him like charges related to criminal intimidation, charges related to attempting to murder, charges related to the punishment of rioting. 

There are three cases of rioting along with deadly weapons, charges of provoking hate, charges related to mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees, etc. Some truths: In 2005 Yogi Adityanath tried to convert Christians to Hinduism, different sources said that in one session, 1,800 Christians converted to Hinduism at Etah. 

In 2007, there was a fight between Hindu and Muslims during the Muharram procession. It resulted in the hospitalizing of Kumar Agrahari, who later died. Due to this, the district magistrate barred Yogi from visiting the site. But he visited the site and gave a hate-mongering speech, there was a curfew but he disobeyed that and he was jailed. In 2011, he made a statement on raping and killing Muslim women. In 2015  he had spread hate speech and said that if Muslims take one Hindu girl, we will take 100 Muslim girls, and if they kill one, we will kill 100 of them. In 2015, he compared Shah Rukh Khan to a Pakistani terrorist, Hafiz Saeed.

Also, in Hathras’s case as the gang belonged to the upper caste Thakur and as he is a Thakur, he tried to protect the gang. Due to this, the family was blackmailed, the body was burned at 2:30 AM to remove evidence. Also, the Yogi Adityanath government recommended the withdrawal of 38 criminal cases filed against over 100 accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots. Yogi Adityanath became the 1st chief minister in India to withdraw cases against himself. 

Why Are Farmers Protesting?

The farm laws were passed in September. The bill was passed by voice vote, but the opposition insisted on a division vote. In the constitution, it is written that if a member of parliament asks for a division vote, in any circumstances they need to listen.

But Harivansh Ji overruled the request for division vote, instead, he said that the division vote is only possible when all the members of parliament would go back to their seats. In short, the farmer bills were passed undemocratically.

Also, then eight opposition MPs were suspended for misbehavior and these opposition MPs sat down at Gandhi Statue in parliament house for protests.

Are The Farm Laws Good Or Bad?

the farmer’s bill was tabled by Narendra Tomar Ji (Union Minister Of Agriculture). According to him, these bills will change the state of farmers and it is a masterstroke.

The government approved three ordinances related to agriculture. According to these ordinances, it would give farmers freedom of choice, they could sell their produce wherever they wish to. These ordinances state that the areas outside the APMCs will have no taxes on sale or purchase.

NEW DELHI, INDIA – 2021/01/26: Farmers’ Tractors Parade seen heading towards the Red Fort during the demonstration. Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana state continue to protest against the central government’s new agricultural Laws. Delhi Police permitted to protest the farmers’ tractor parade on Republic Day. The parade started from Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur border points. (Photo by Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

According to farmers, it will be disadvantageous to them as in APMCs mandis, everything is regulated, transactions are taken into account, and there is a minimum support price. But outside the mandis, MSP is non-existent, with no one to regulate and to ensure that the farmers are treated fairly.

By these ordinances, the corporations would control the agriculture sector of India. Farmers will be easily exploited and will not get adequate money for their hard work and labor.

In short, these ordinances are bad and will not improve the state of farmers. As a result of this, farmers of Haryana, Punjab, Madya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan began protesting. Mostly Punjab and Haryana farmers were protesting because in the previous mandi system they used to earn a good amount of profit. But now, they won’t earn a good amount of profit.

The Farmers Protests

 On November 26, farmers announced an indefinite strike, with the slogan “DILLI CHALO (march to Delhi)”. The government tried their utmost to stop the protests by setting up barricades, making use of water cannons and tear gas, and in places, even digging up the highway to stop farmers.

In many places of Haryana, section 144 was imposed, bus services were suspended, more than 100 farm union members were arrested, and more than 500 farmers were arrested in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Eventually, farmers reached Delhi and carried on with their protest.

Also, the media falsely claims that these farmers are Khalistani, congress has funded them and dubs them anti-national.

This was a massive protest. The government did meetings to amend the law. On 27 November, the Delhi police asked for permission from the Delhi government to convert 9 stadiums into temporary jails where the protestors and farmers could be placed. On 7th December, Kejriwal with his ministers went to support the farmers and on 8th December, he was house arrested.

Declines In Several Indices

The new Women Peace And Security Index report ranks 167 countries for women based on three indicators – inclusion, justice, and security. Norway claims the number one spot which is indeed followed by Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, etc. The lowest are Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, etc, and India is ranked 133 out of 167, which isn’t a good performance. The GDP  of India crashed and it was -23.9% which is the worst performance, some economist believes it is more than less than it and it has not been calculated properly.

When Manmohan Singh was there India had a growth of 10.4% which was the best growth in Indian history even in the Recession, he maintained the growth. India’s democracy index has fallen and is 53 out of 167 countries which is not a good performance. From country 57, they are authoritarian regimes.

From the time BJP came into power, this index has collapsed. Freedom House downgraded India to a ‘partly free’ country as people don’t have freedom of speech and expression. The V-Dem organization downgraded India from a democracy to an electoral autocracy. The indicators say that India is worse than Bangladesh and Nepal in terms of censorship. According to this report, India is in the category of Top 10 worst autocratic regimes in the world. 

Also, The 2021 World Happiness Report by the UN has said that India’s rank in terms of happiness is 139 out of 149 countries. Pakistan ranks 105. It means people in Pakistan are happier than those in India. In the World Press Freedom Index India ranks at 142 from 18o countries. It’s also not a good performance. 

Since Modi Came Into Power…

As we see, since Modi came, all the indexes have come down. Unemployment, poverty, depression, and suicides have increased. A decline in democracy is seen and this is leading to dictatorship.

All the following factors justify this. Yogi Adityanath is stopping testing in UP so that the real numbers don’t come out. The situation in India which was termed as the largest democracy is worst. Also, due to the GNCTD bill, Kejriwal cannot take any decision for Delhi’s administration as this bill has amended the power and given more power to the LG government.

On 23rd April, when Kejriwal did a live telecast of a government meeting, Modi told him, it was against protocol. In my opinion, it seems like BJP has blocked oxygen cylinders that were going to Delhi so that it will result in deaths of people and then BJP will come and rule in Delhi.

The main purpose of the GNCTD bill is to indirectly govern Delhi. Beds are not available in the hospital, oxygen is not available, and GDP is going down. Government is not able to handle that’s why selling shares to private companies. It will result in corruption, inflation, and unemployment. Oil prices are increasing. In all ways, the government is not supporting people and they have also increased taxes. Renowned economists have left the Indian government.

All the decisions were in favor of Hindus and since this term, there was more hate between Hindus and Muslims. Covid was increasing and they were busy campaigning. Also, in Assam, EVM machines were found in BJP cars and the election commission did not take any action. In India, we don’t have free media. In Hathras case to save the upper caste, Yogi Adityanath crossed all limits. The police are puppets.

The farmers are defamed and no one is listening to them. Also, the government is not able to handle COVID so they did lockdown, people are losing money, how will they survive?  Modi is increasing taxes and spreading corruption and propaganda. In the Rafale deal, it was a scam of 21 thousand crores and all the money came into the hands of Modi. India is in the hands of dictators. 

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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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