Women Burnt With Acid, Kerosene Lack Support To Rebuild Their Lives, Says NGO

Tens of thousands of women are attacked and burned with acid, kerosene, gas or alcohol every year, yet ignorance about the long-term impact of their injuries means few receive support to rebuild their lives, a non-profit said.

The Chennai-based International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC), which works with victims of domestic violence, said burn attacks are one of the worst forms of violence against women.

Not only do many victims suffer deformities and disfigurement, they also face trauma and low self-esteem, and lack the will to continue with their lives, it added.

PCVC said even though victims in India received medical treatment, there was little else in terms of support — leaving many to cope alone with the dramatic changes to their lives.

“With no disrespect to other forms of violence against women, those who suffer from burns suffer uniquely because of overt social stigma and family rejection, many of them doubly so because they are poor, uneducated or unskilled,” said PCVC Founder and CEO Prasanna Gettu.

Ms Gettu, who was speaking at the launch of a handbook and national helpline to support burn victims, said it was essential to provide psycho-social, legal and financial help for victims.

There is no accurate data on the number of people suffering burn injuries in India. A June 2016 medical paper published on the science website, Researchgate, estimates there are seven million injuries every year — resulting in 140,000 deaths.

The paper said women account for 65 per cent of deaths caused by burn injuries. Although some deaths are due to accidents in the kitchen or house fires, many result from domestic violence.

Newspapers often report cases of women being attacked with acid by jilted partners or being doused in kerosene and then set alight by their husbands or in-laws in rows over dowry.

Activists say most attacks against women using acid, kerosene or alcohol are perpetrated by husbands, partners or other families. But they also say some women are driven to self-immolation or suicide by some form of abuse

NGO Deccan Development Society (DDS) – Making waves: First all-women radio station of Telangana

About 110 km from Hyderabad, Pastapur is a small village in Telangana’s Sangareddy district. It is making waves: Running a community radio — run by women, for women and of women belonging to weaker sections.

Billed as India’s first such initiative, ‘Sangam Radio’ covers nearly 150 villages in the district with programmes packed with social messages, folk songs, farming and health tips, skits and information about local festivals and fairs. The two-hour long programme, broadcast from 7 pm to 9 pm every day, is conceived and executed by members of women’s groups, or Sangams, as they are called.

“You can see people in all these villages glued to their radio sets in the evenings to listen to our programmes. We also have an interactive session where callers can share their experiences with us,” says producer H Narsamma, a Dalit woman, the brain behind the initiative. She and her colleagues work in the fields during the day and turn broadcasters by the evening. An all-women bureau of reporters goes out into the field to get stories.

“When we visit a village, we meet different kinds of people and record their observations on various issues, including farming. We also record songs that are sung while working in the fields or during weddings and festivals,” Narasamma says.

Narsamma and Algole Narsamma multitask as reporter, producer, RJ and station managers. Theirs has been an arduous journey. Help came from the local NGO Deccan Development Society (DDS), engaged in rural development, women empowerment and education. It started the project in 1998, but had to wait for nearly 10 years to get a licence from the Centre. It went on air on October 15, 2008.

The DDS works with about 100 Dalit women’s groups (Sangams) consisting of nearly 5,000 members across 75 villages. With the support from UNESCO, it established an FM radio station, a transmission tower and recording facilities in the village. The radio was conceived with the objective of helping the village communities articulate their concerns, give the marginalized a voice and disseminate the traditional knowledge about farming, biodiversity, and public health.

While awaiting the government’s approval, Sangam had in 1999 started narrow-casting in which recordings were made on a tape and was broadcast for a limited audience in a place where the communities could gather. Half-a-dozen women from Dalit, poor, landless families were trained in all aspects of radio programming. The radio now runs with eight reporters and all of them are on the rolls of the DDS. Over the years, Sangam has collected of about 2,500 songs sung by members of the community, often with instrumental accompaniment.

“We were identified as a partner for UNESCO’s ‘Women Speak to Women’ project. As part of this, we established the radio station with the programming content aimed at serving the information, education, and cultural needs of the region,” says Director of DDS, PV Satheesh. The information specific to agricultural needs, education, literacy, public health and hygiene, environmental issues, food security, gender justice and indigenous knowledge systems went into the programming content.

Initially, UNESCO gave Rs 28 lakh to set up the radio station. The funds were utilized for buying land. The transmitter also came in as a donation from UNESCO. The DDS pays for the maintenance and production of programmes which cost around Rs 4 lakh a year. It is currently being assisted by development and communication experts from universities in the region.

NGO Nature Watch India pushes for campaign to save leopards, writes to PM

Concerned over the declining population of leopards, NGO Nature Watch India (NWI) has made a plea for launching ‘Project Leopard’ on the sidelines of ‘Project Tiger’ to protect leopards and save them from extinction.

“The wild life department is capturing and killing leopards without ascertaining whether the leopard is a man-eater or not,” convener of NWI Rajeshwar Singh Negi said and challenged the claims of the department regarding increase in population of leopards.

In a 10-page memorandum sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the NWI said widespread lynching, poaching, capturing and trade of leopard skin and body parts to China and other South Asian countries had driven leopards on the verge of extinction. It was high time that ‘Project Leopard’ was launched to make the state wildlife department follow the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the standard operating procedures and provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act.

Claiming that as per the customs department records, nearly 200 leopard killings were detected every year, Negi said the actual number of unregulated killing of leopards was 10 times more, which implied that leopards would become extinct in the next 15 years.

He said as per the national census of leopards conducted in 2015, their population was 7,000 in and around tiger reserves and about 5,000 across the country. He said a large number of leopards were killed or captured in Himachal by the wild life department and displaced from their natural habitat.

Negi said the NWI would also meet Union Minister Menaka Gandhi in this regard and also raise the issue of constitution of a task force by the Himachal government for culling of monkeys.

Concern over lynching

  • In a 10-page memorandum sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the NWI said widespread lynching, poaching, capturing and trade of leopard skin and body parts to China and other South Asian countries had driven leopards on the verge of extinction.
  • It was high time that ‘Project Leopard’ was launched to make the state wildlife department follow the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Prajwala, an NGO highlights shocking instances of uploading of gang rape videos on Yahoo and WhatsApp messenger services

WhatsApp Inc has told the Supreme Court that it was ready to cooperate with the court-appointed high-power committee, mandated to find a technical solution to block rape videos and other sexually offensive clips on social networking sites.

The top court had on April 11 issued notice to WhatsApp Inc seeking its response. It had said the company could to make a presentation, if possible through video conferencing, to assist the committee.

The company told a Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur that its officials would meet the committee set up by the court to explore ways and means to block such offensive videos.

“We will also be part and parcel of the whole initiative. They (WhatsApp Inc) are sending their people to sit with the committee and explain everything, senior advocate Kapil Sibal told the Bench on behalf of the company on Thursday.

The meeting is likely to be held on April 27.

Sibal said experts from Whatsapp would explain to the panel all the technical aspects, including the encryption technology and assist them in finding a solution to the problem.

The top court had on March 22 constituted a high-power committee comprising senior government officials and representatives from social networking sites to explore technological solutions to rape videos and child pornographic material getting uploaded and circulated on social networking sites.

Headed by Dr Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the committee will have Dr Sanjay Behl of Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, Rakesh Maheshwari, a cyber law and security expert with the government, two representatives of the Ministry of Home Affairs and two representatives each from Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Yahoo.

The Bench had given 15 days to the committee beginning April 5 to meet, deliberate and suggest solutions to the problem.

The Bench said if the committee came to the conclusion that there was no technological solution available to the problem, it should give reasons and explain why it was not possible to block uploading and circulating videos of rape, gang rape and child pornography. It ordered the committee to submit its report in a sealed cover on the next date of hearing.

The court is seized of a PIL filed by Prajwala, an NGO, highlighting shocking instances of uploading of gang rape videos on Yahoo and WhatsApp messenger services. In February 2015, it had taken suo motu cognisance of a letter written by the NGO and converted it into a PIL. The NGO had also sent two gang rape videos with its letter for appropriate action.

Earlier, cyber security experts from the CBI had told the Bench that the Internet was a “wild highway” and blocking objectionable content at the source was a technical challenge for which clear guidelines needed to be issued to stop circulation of such material.

They had told the top court that 50 countries have set up hotlines to stop child abuse in their jurisdiction but India was yet to start such a service.

FREE HEALTH CHECK-UP & GO CASHLESS DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAM BY PRAGATEE FOUNDATION

Pragatee Foundation organized a FREE HEALTH CHECK-UP and GO CASHLESS DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAM on occasion of birth Anniversary of Shivaji Maharaj on 19th February 2017 at Shirvane Village, Senior Citizen Club , Navi Mumbai.

 

Senior Citizen Club is having more than 500 members who benefited through Pragatee Foundation’s Free Health Check-up Camp. Eye check-up and complete body check-up with ECG test were conducted in association with Mumbai’s famous hospital Seven Hills Hospital. Patients who were found with heart problems and health problem would be treated in the hospital free of cost through this medical camp. Cataract Eye Surgery patients were also found and would be treated free of cost in Mumbai’s well-known hospital. All expenses will be borne by Pragatee Foundation.

 

As a part of awareness campaign Pragatee Foundation organized GO CASHLESS DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAM for members of Senior citizen club. Senior scientist Mr. Manas Ray and his colleague Mr. Parag Modi from STPI delivered speech and made a special presentation with practices to present audiences. Pragatee foundation’s Mr. Kiran Rane translated into the local language and trained the audiences about cash less transaction. During this seminar trainer focused on various important topics like Type of Digital transactions, mode of digital payment, available options to perform digital payment, safety and security in digital payment, importance of Aadhar card link bank account etc.

 

Program was co-sponsored by Navi Mumbai’s Vimal Foundation and Govt of India’s STPI. Program was organized by Pragatee Foundation in association with Vimal Foundation & Seven Hills Hospital, cosponsor by ITM Group of Institute, Vimal Catering, YUVA PRAGATEE, and Tulsi herbal product. ITM Group of Institute’s Mr. Manohar Shingate and Mr. Sagar Gole informed audiences about various courses available to HSC passed out students in ITM. Free tea and snacks were provided by Vimal Catering services.

 

Pragatee Foundation’s Mr. Kiran Rane, Mr. Rakesh Wani, Mr. Chinmay Chavan, Mr. Pranay Dhamal, Mr. Hrishikesh Mhatre, Vimal Foundation’s Mr. Prakash Dhasal, Mr. Aakash Dhasal, Mr. Vikas Dhasal, Mr. Jabbar, Senior Citizen club’s Mr. Nemane, Mr. Baile and Mr. Naik were present during this event.

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