NGO Shakti Vahini’s success against Honour Killings!

SC rules against Khap Panchayats, 'Khaps can't interfere in marriages'
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday frowned on honour killings and ruled any attempt by informal institutions such as khap panchayats to end a marriage between consenting adults is illegal as it violates their fundamental right to choice and dignity. It ordered authorities to take steps to protect inter-caste and inter-religious couples from honour crimes.
“Assertion of choice is an insegregable facet of liberty and dignity. When the ability to choose is crushed in the name of class honour and the person’s physical frame is treated with absolute indignity, a chilling effect dominates over … the society at large,” a bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.
The court asked central and state governments to take preventive, remedial and punitive steps to deter khaps from taking the law into their own hands.They must provide protection to inter-caste and inter-religious couples.

The police chief in each district should oversee the safety of such couples and take the assistance of the court to make preventive arrests to save them from harassment, the court said. There should be dedicated courts to deal with honour crimes and 24-hour helplines for couples to seek assistance, the court said, while directing all states to file compliance reports within six weeks.

The ruling will hold till a law is passed on dealing with honour crimes. The top court was dealing with a public interest litigation filed by NGO Shakti Vahini, which drew its attention to honour crimes prevalent in several parts of the country. At least 288 such cases were reported from Haryana, Punjab, Himachal, Delhi, UP and Bihar and other states between 2014 and 2016, the NGO said.

Feudal perceptions such as clan, caste and honour have to melt into oblivion, the court said in its ruling. “…any kind of torture or torment or ill-treatment in the name of honour that tantamount to atrophy of choice of an individual relating to love and marriage by any assembly, whatsoever nomenclature it assumes, is illegal and cannot be allowed a moment of existence.”

N.G.O Scans Heart of Punjab Police.

Punjab Inspector General of Police, Ms. Gurpreet Deo lead his team for a Heart Care Camp organised by NGO Disha – The Harbinger of Social Change & Development in collaboration with Kare Partners heart centre Chandigarh  at the Sector – 9 Police Headquarters. The Two – Day camp concluded here today.

 

Smt. Simrit Joshan, President and Smt. Lata Dua Secretary of Disha NGO along with the team of Doctors and Technicians from Heart Kare Partners including Gauravjit Singh operation head at  kare partners Dr. Ashootosh Bhardwaj, Dr. Gurpreet and Subash Dadwal with his team; conducted E.C.G and other blood tests of over 200 police personnel, during the two days of the camp.

 

The exercise was undertaken as a preventive measure to create awareness of proper care of heart diseases caused due to sedentary lifestyle and precautions to avoid chronic disorders. The good health of a policeman ensures efficiency and better services to the community.

 

Ms. Gurpreet Deo, IG hoped to extend such programs to the other establishments as well, all over the state.

 

World Social Work Day Celebrated at Panjab University.

 

“Professional Social Workers’ primary role is to bring about Social Change”, said Dr. Sherry Sabbarawal, Chairperson of the Centre for Social Work, Panjab University, while Inaugurating and delivering a Keynote address on the World Social Work Day Celebrations, organised in collaboration with NGO Disha – The Harbinger of Social Change & Development at Panjab University today.

Dr. Monica Munjial presented the Historical perspective of Social Work in India. Smt. Simrit Joshan, president of Disha along with the Chief Guest felicitated the volunteers, donors and supporters, associated with NGO Disha, during the year in organizing various activities like Summer Camp for Children, Health Camps, Awareness Programs; Reading and Recording audio books for the blind; and providing a helping hand to the Disabled as support; were distributed Certificates of Appreciation on this occasion.

A large number of students from the Punjab Engineering College University, Research scholars, Post Graduation Students and Students of Indira Gandhi National Open University took active part in the knowledge sharing session on Professional Social Work and Philanthropy.

 

 

Why middle class India hates NGOs

World NGO Day, February 27, though observed by several agencies and institutions across the globe is yet to adopted as an international day by the United Nations General Assembly.

However, even if it were, middle class India would at best have mixed views about dedicating a day to acknowledging and celebrating the work NGOs do. For, the middle class-NGO engagement is complicated and has a chequered history.

Until the late 1980s, middle class Indians did not particularly mind NGOs, unless its own progeny decided to commit career suicide by joining one. NGOs operated in the peripheral visual field, in villages and slums, and did things it felt petty to question. Organising health camps, teaching children, promoting handicrafts, distributing relief, etc. Orbital overlaps were few – mostly when a donation-seeker appeared at the doorstep – and vaguely amiable. Save for Emergency-era movements, news of NGOs skirmishing with authority was rare, and seen as a little release of steam, nothing to be unduly perturbed about.

A number of coherent and strident voices, most headline-grabbing of who was Medha Patkar and the Narmada Bachao Andolan, would change all that. Punching much above their numerical strength, this new breed of NGOs refused to stick to traditional niches and was not to be limited with roles in implementing government programmes either; they were challenging the development paradigm itself.

Patkar and Co, for example, went beyond the fairness of resettlement and rehabilitation packages and questioned the raison d’etre of big dams themselves. NGOs had asked inconvenient questions of the government before too, but this was qualitatively different.

A sub-group, small but forceful, had discarded the gloves and was itching for proper battle.

Always wary of disaffection spread and not as clueless as the middle class about the NGO power, the government retaliated with anti-NGO propaganda. A small group of mischief-mongers was blocking India’s progress march with moral and financial support from foreign powers, it alleged.

Surely, it was anti-development to protest projects meant to deliver power to homes and factories and water to fields and, surely it was treasonous to whine about the nation’s problems in international fora.

Redistribution of government largesse and international embarrassment are among the middle class’s top fears in any context. Unsurprisingly then that this anti-NGO propaganda found greatest resonance among it.

More negative shades came to be added to the portraiture in time.

With new fangled ideas of participation gaining currency in the 1990s and its own personnel not really queuing up for the task of cajoling communities, the government had been prompted to envisage greater roles for NGOs in local planning and implementation.

However not all “partner” NGOs were keen to settle into contractor-type arrangements (read shady quid pro quos) and a handle was needed over them too. So, programme guidelines were drafted such that there was no ambiguity on who was wearing the pants in the government-NGO relationship, and an entire list of sticks assembled to wave as needed.

If NGOs confined themselves to a small area, they lacked scale; if they expanded, they were creating empires. If they developed “models”, they were naïve; if they emphasised nuancing implementation approaches to local contexts, their work lacked replicability.

If they invested too much in community-level processes, they did not understand urgency and lacked outcome orientation; if they invested less in community-level processes, they were taking short-cuts.

For middle class Indians, which had already made the journey from seeing NGOs as woolly-headed do-gooders to development saboteurs, the spin about NGO ineptitude and corruption was easy to accept.

To be accurate, the NGO sector is far from perfect and corruption within it is a genuine problem, but it is clear that a blinkered middle class has focussed largely on the darker end of a large colour spectrum. And the shades have only darkened in these hypernationalistic times.

At the heart of middle class Indians’ contempt for NGOs lies the fear that NGO action may at some point in time achieve the re-setting of power balances and the re-ordering of development priorities it aspires to.

Forward movement on agendas of women’s empowerment, environment, right to information, etc have already confirmed the threat.

The most telling evidence of the middle class Indians’ fears of privilege usurpation lie in its positive image about the new generation corporate philanthropies and foundations – places where the work has the flavours, in some senses, of the old school NGO. Useful work such as building toilets, planting trees, heritage protection, skill training and research happens, but it is work located within a framework set – and consented to – by the elite.

Nobody is washing the nation’s dirty linen abroad. Nobody is losing it in anger. It is all very gentle, very “civil”. Just people like us giving back what we feel ready to give back.

Meanwhile, the fight for a fundamentally better world is happening in messy spaces we have shut ourselves to.

Actor Salman Khan’s NGO facing blacklisting!

 

Bollywood star Salman Khan’s Being Human Foundation, a charity outfit that works for the underprivileged in the education and healthcare sectors, is likely to be blacklisted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for not operating a dialysis centre in Bandra.

After issuing two show-cause notices to the NGO last month, the BMC’s health department is now in the process of blacklisting it.

When contacted, an official with Foundation, who did not want to be identified, said: “We do not wish to say anything.”

Dr Padmaja Keskar, BMC’s executive health officer, confirmed that the Foundation is being blacklisted as it has done nothing to start operations at the centre, which has been lying closed and unused since it was set up and handed over to the NGO in 2016. The centre is supposed to offer the medical facility to citizens at minimum cost.

In July 2016, following a tendering process, the NGO was allotted a 250 square metre space at Bandra’s St John Road to run 24 dialysis machines in a public-private partnership basis. “The project was never been implemented. After we sent them a reminder last December, the Foundation responded saying it cannot run the dialysis centre owing to some difficulty,” said Keskar. “We will now issue a notice to blacklist the Foundation.”

The BMC sent two letters to the Bollywood actor’s NGO, on January 6 and January 18, warning the organisation that it would be blacklisted for “showing negligence” after bidding for the project.

As there has been no positive response, the BMC is now refloating tenders for the dialysis centre. Once the Foundation is blacklisted, it cannot bid for the same project again.