A Tribute to Neerja Bhanot – The National Hero.

Neerja Bhanot, the purser on Pan Am flight 73 which was hi jacked to Karachi; laid down her life saving the passengers on the flight, helping them escape through the Emergency Door. She was shot by the terrorists.  She was honored with Ashoka chakara Posthumously her brother Aneesh Bhanot, now a Rotarian in Chandigarh has undertaken to help the Visually Impaired students in Chandigarh; as a tribute to Neerja Bhanot – the National Hero. The Times of India has covered his latest tribute.

Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik (RCS) presented scholarships worth Rs 1.80 lakh to nine visually-challenged college and university students. The funds had been raised through a unique fundraiser, “Rotary Dinner in the Dark”, held in September and October. Part of the funds came through a number of people pledging additional support to RCS for ensuring that visually impaired students were able to complete their education and achieve success in life.

A jury headed by J S Jyara, headmaster, Institute for the Blind, decided to confer the scholarships of Rs 20,000 each. The nine students include Manpreet Kaur (Late Col Harsharan Sandhu Scholarship), Labh Singh (Late H S Malik Scholarship), Yogita (Late Sarabjit Singh Scholarship), Sadanand (Late Santosh Mehra Scholarship), Hussna (Late Bimla Devi Laroia Scholarship), Princy Rani (Late Bimla Devi Scholarship), Prince Wadhwa (Adhiraj and Nandini Scholarship), Sajan Singh (Late Veena Gill Scholarship) and Ravi Paswan (Rama Bhanot Scholarship).

Jyara said while cheques of Rs 10,000 each were handed over to each awardee, the balance Rs 10,000 would be given in the next semester provided the student performed well in academics in the current semester.

Manjit Kaur, president, Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik, said, “We achieved our basic objectives, to ensure that ‘sighted’ people respect the blind by understanding how they smilingly face the problems they face in their daily lives as well as raise funds for providing scholarships. We are making this an annual event and there will be two Rotary dinners in the Dark in the New Year on January 4, which is Louis Braille Day, and on October 15, which is White Cane Day.”

Giving details of the January 4, event, Rotarian Aneesh Bhanot said this would also be a fundraiser for scholarships for the next academic session and would be limited to 50 people on a first-come, first-served basis. As RCS wants to spread the message of ‘Respect the Visually Impaired’ among the youth, there is a special discounted offer for students in the age group of 13-18 years.

The team of visually impaired youth who have selflessly volunteered to be part of RDID included Shiv, Amarinder, Kuljeet, Mohit, Meeta and Soni. They are being assisted by a number of volunteers.

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Law on adultery punishing only men – Under SC Scanner


The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine the constitutional validity of a colonial-era law on adultery which punishes only the man even though the woman, with whom he has had consensual sex, may be an equal partner.

The top court also said if the husband gives consent for sexual intercourse between his wife and another man, then it nullifies the offence of adultery and turns the woman into a commodity, which goes against the principle of gender justice and the constitutional mandate of right to equality.

Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code states that “whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery”.

The offence of adultery entails punishment of up to five years in jain or fine or with both. However, in such cases, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud termed the provision a “prima facie archaic” and said this “tantamounts to subordination of a woman where the Constitution confers equal status”.

“A time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every field. This provision, prima facie, appears to be quite archaic. When the society progresses and the rights are conferred, the new generation of thoughts spring, and that is why, we are inclined to issue notice,” the bench said.

It said it would examine the constitutional validity of the 157-year-old provision and issued notice to the Centre, seeking its response in four weeks.

The court said it needs to examine why a married woman, who may have been an equal partner to the offence of adultery with a married man who is not her husband, should not be punished along with the man.

Secondly, the bench said it will examine if the husband of a woman gives his consent or connives for sexual intercourse with another married man, then does it not turn her into a commodity.

“Prima facie, on a perusal of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, we find that it grants relief to the wife by treating her as a victim. It is also worthy to note that when an offence is committed by both of them, one is liable for criminal offence but the other is absolved,” it said.

The top court said the provision seems to be based on a “societal presumption” and ordinarily, the criminal law proceeds on gender neutrality but in this case, “as we perceive, the said concept is absent”.

“That apart, it is to be seen when there is conferment of any affirmative right on women, can it go to the extent of treating them as the victim, in all circumstances, to the peril of the husband,” the bench said.

It said when the provision is perceived from the language employed in the section, then the “fulcrum of the offence is destroyed once the consent or the connivance of the husband is established”.

“Viewed from the said scenario, the provision really creates a dent on the individual, independent identity of a woman when the emphasis is laid on the connivance or the consent of the husband”, it said.

During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud observed that at present, the law assumes a “patronising attitude” towards the woman and treats her as a victim which amounts to violation of a fundamental right and gender discrimination.

Advocates Kaleeswaram Raj and Suvidutt M S, appearing for petitioner Joseph Shine, an Indian citizen but residing in Italy, said section 497 was “prima facie unconstitutional on the ground that it discriminates against men and violates Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of”.

He said “when the sexual intercourse takes place with the consent of both the parties, there is no good reason for excluding one party from the liability”.


The lawyer said the provision also indirectly discriminates against women by holding an erroneous presumption that they are the property of men.

“This is further evidenced by the fact that if adultery is engaged with the consent of the husband of the woman, then such act seizes to be an offence punishable under the code,” he told the bench.

He said the said provisions have been treated to be constitutionally valid in three verdicts of the apex court in 1954, 1985 and in 1988.

Raj said that petitioner has also challenged the Section 198(2) of CrPC, which deals with prosecution for offences against marriages.

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School asks parents to pick and drop girls! Psychologists must come forward to curb this sexual perversion in the society!!

Representational image



The La Martiniere For Girls school in Kolkata has banned pool cars for the students and has asked the parents to pick and drop their kids from next month. The development came a few days after a kindergarten student at a top school in Ranikuthi in Kolkata was sexually assaulted by a teacher inside a toilet. The teacher allegedly lured the 4-year-old and took her to the toilet where he reportedly physically abused her.

Even as the CISCE board asked all the schools to install CCTV cameras within two weeks, some of the schools have installed their own safety measures. La Martiniere For Girls is one of them.

The school has issued a notice to all the parents urging them to personally pick and drop their children. Although the school has banned pool cars, it said that even if the parents arrange pool cars for their children, they have to make sure that each child is accompanied by a family member.

“Either the mother or father of the child will drop her and pick her up from January 16, next year,” Rupkatha Sarkar, Principal, La Martiniere for Girls, was quoted as saying by PTI.

Not just pool cars, the escort must also carry an authorization letter with a picture and signature as identity proof.

A 4-year-old student was sexually and physically abused on December 1 by a male teacher in a top Kolkata school’s toilet. When the child returned home, her mother noticed blood stains all over her school uniform. Th kid was also found bleeding from her private parts.

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NGOs & Care Givers resolve to enable the Disabled


The Prominent NGOs of the City working for the Empowerment of the Disabled along with the care givers of the disabled, under different categories; called on the Government and the Society to create the Eco System for upholding the dignity, respect and Honor of the Disabled Persons in the Society by enabling them with facilities and assistive technologies, to bring them at par with their able bodied equals.


The NGOs, care givers and the Disabled were celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the Health Centre, Panjab University Chandigarh organized by Disha NGO – The Harbinger of Social Change & Development and The National Rehabilitation Institute.


Doctor Monica Singh, Centre for Social work and Prof. Renu Gandhi – Centre for Life Long Learning & Extension, PU; Maj. Gen Rajender Nath – President, Institute for the Blind; Sh. Harmesh Kumar – President, Physically Handicapped Welfare Association; Smt. Anu Malhotra – Saksham Trust; Sh. Vinod Chadha – President, National Association for the Blind; Sh. Ajay Sondhi – From Abhimanyu IAS Circle; Sh. Jayara – Principle, Institute for the Blind; Dr. Neena Mehta from Rayat Bahra University; Sh. Charanjeet Bains, ENT Surgeon from Amritsar, Dr. Jaywanti Bakshi and several students of the Equal Opportunities Cell addressed the more than 200 participants.


Dr. Dharmveer and Dr. Sarswati Gupta from the National Rehabilitation Institute and Smt. Jatinder Kaur – Vice Chairman and Lata Dua – Secretary from Disha NGO gave the outlines of the new Rights of Persons with Disabilities act 2016 and the new provisions for the 21 Disabilities covered in the act.


Several office bearers of different NGOs, care givers connected with the disabled and student volunteers participated to lend a helping hand.

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Crowd funding for Acid Victims by NGOs


Having completed treatment, Lalita is now happily married


mid-day exclusive Zakira Shaikh is not the only acid attack victim who feels exploited by the NGO Make Love Not Scars. After mid-day’s report on the matter, yet another victim has come forward with allegations that the NGO used his patient’s picture and story to raise funds without consent. What’s more, neither the patient nor the hospital got a single penny from the money raised by the NGO.

Five years ago, Lalita Benbansi, 25, suffered nearly 80 per cent burns after her 15-year-old cousin threw acid on her after a petty argument. The Asangaon resident’s father supported the entire family on a salary of Rs 3,000, and the family could not afford to pay for treatment. At the time, Dr Ashok Gupta had provided full treatment to her free of charge at Bombay Hospital. This included 65 reconstructive surgeries.


However, Dr Gupta says he was surprised when he came across a crowdfunding campaign by Make Love Not Scars, claiming to raise funds for Lalita’s treatment. Neither he nor Lalita had been informed about this, nor had they received the $1,718 (approximately Rs 1.1 lakh) collected by the NGO.

‘Didn’t get any money’
“Ria Sharma’s NGO, Make Love Not Scars, did not give a single rupee to the hospital that provided quality treatment to the victim free of cost. It is their regular practice to collect money in the name of acid attack victims and not to transfer the full amount to the hospital carrying out the treatment,” said Dr Gupta.

After multiple surgeries, Lalita’s face was reconstructed and she got back on her feet. She is now happily married. She told mid-day, “I was not aware that money was raised in my name. I did not get any money. People should not play with the emotions of victims.”

Investigate the NGO
The matter is currently being investigated by the Byculla police, after Zakira’s family submitted a written complaint to them. Dr Gupta, who is a Padmashri awardee, said he is ready to provide details of Lalita’s case to the cops as well, demanding that the culprits be booked.

In June, Dr Gupta had also written to the charity commissioner in New Delhi, seeking his intervention in the matter. He wrote: “While surfing the Internet, I came across the NGO Make Love Not Scars, claiming to have collected a huge sum of money in US dollars towards the treatment of these patients. I was surprised to read the names of two patients who were treated by me at Bombay Hospital, for whom the NGO had raised $9,000 and $1,500.”

He suggested that there should be strict monitoring of such donations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Dr Gupta also wrote to Vijaya Rahatkar, chairperson of the state women’s rights commission on the matter.

‘Dr Gupta is credit-hungry’
Ria Sharma, founder of Make Love Not Scars, rubbished the allegations levelled by Dr Ashok Gupta, saying he is hungry for credit. She said, “Dr Gupta had told me that he was looking for financial aid for Lalita. He sent me her details and photographs, which were later used to raise money through crowdfunding. I have email evidence to show Dr Gupta is lying. That money is still with Indiegogo (the crowdfunding platform) and we have not used it for our own purpose.”

Asked why the funds were not transferred to Lalita, Sharma said, “A few things went wrong between me and Dr Gupta; he did not take my phone call, and hence, the money was never transferred.” Sharma added, “Dr Gupta is a credit-hungry person. He is targeting me for no reason.”

Sharma hit back at Dr Gupta, stating that he has withheld funds they raised for another victim, Reshma Qureshi. Qureshi told mid-day, “Dr Gupta is not polite with his patients and he has not released the Rs 2 lakh that was raised for my treatment. I need the funds for an eye operation.”

Not all experiences are bad
Who: Sushmita Murthy, 30, writer
Funds for: Heart surgery
Platform: Ketto
The process of making an account on Ketto was easy. Once I submitted the necessary documents, my campaign was live in two days. I raised Rs 1.04 lakh in five days. Since the patient needed the funds urgently, I shut down the campaign prematurely. The donations that came in rupees got transferred to my account in a couple of weeks. The foreign currency came by cheque and took a lot longer to process. I got a notification every time someone donated, so I could keep tabs on how much money was being raised. In the end, Ketto took a cut of 8-10 per cent as mentioned on the site. – As told to Aastha Atray Banan

Rs 3 lakh
The compensation awarded by the state government for acid attack survivors

Portion of the total donations raised that Ketto had withheld from Shabbo Shaikh

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