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March 18, 2013

Swiss woman gang-raped in Madhya Pradesh, India

Swiss woman gang-raped in Madhya Pradesh, India

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Location of Datia district (black) within Madhya Pradesh (red), India.

Police say a Swiss national was gang-raped whilst on a camping holiday with her husband in the Datia district of Madhya Pradesh, India. Madhya Pradesh Police arrested five men yesterday in connection with the attack on the couple, which took place Friday evening.

A gang allegedly beat the woman and her husband, as well as stealing a laptop, a mobile phone, and about 10,000 (US$ 185) in cash. The woman, reportedly age 39, was taken to a nearby hospital in the city of Gwalior. Police said she has not suffered any major injuries and medical evidence confirmed rape.

The Madhya Pradesh Police recovered the stolen laptop and mobile phone. Deputy Inspector General D K Arya said, “We have arrested five persons who raped the Swiss woman and recovered her mobile and laptop”. The accused are named as Baba Kanjar, Bhutha Kanjar, Rampro Kanjar, Gaza Kanjar and Vishnu Kanjar.Police superintendent Chandra Shekhar Solanki said the accused appeared in court with covered faces.

A local police official, S M Afzal, stated the attackers “tied up the man and raped the woman in his presence”. Sub-divisional police officer ML Dhody said, “They were coming from Orchha on a bicycle and they decided to stay in a forest. A lot of tourists throng the area. They were beaten up by a few people who took away their laptops”.

The Swiss ambassador to India, Linus von Castelmur, has spoken to the victim and promised all assistance. The embassy said: “The embassy is most distressed with the gang rape of a Swiss national in Madhya Pradesh. The ambassador has been able to speak to the victim and her partner and has assured them of all possible support. Their health and treatment is the priority of the moment.”

Mamata Sharma, chair of the Indian National Commission for Women, said changes needed to be made in how rape cases are dealt with. She said, “I have said this for the past few days that the crime against women in Madhya Pradesh is increasing and the government should take stringent action to put an end to such incidents […] The accused should be punished and we should see that what kind of image of India we are presenting to the outside world. The government should take a strict action”.

Last December, a gang-rape killed an Indian medical student, which led to mass protests across India for a change in attitudes towards rape and how it is dealt with.



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June 13, 2006

Left parties in India protest fuel price hike

Left parties in India protest fuel price hike

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Left parties, joined by regional forces like Samajwadi Party and Telugu Desam Party, today staged street protests to demand the roll back of the fuel price hike as the Communists said the UPA Government could not take their support for granted. Barring states ruled by the Left and Uttar Pradesh, where the ruling Samajwadi Party’s workers stopped many trains and blocked highways at several places, the protests had little impact. Strikes by truckers against the price hike that coincided with the protests, however, affected transport services in Orissa, Tripura and Madhya Pradesh.

In Delhi, CPI(M) leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury and CPI’s A B Bardhan courted arrest at the Parliament Street police station with a large number of Left activists. Leaders from the Samajwadi Party,Rashtriya Lok Dal and Janata Dal-Secular were also present. They said the protest was meant to mount pressure on the government to reverse its “anti-people” decision and the issue would be raised in the UPA-Left Coordination Committee meeting on Wednesday.

In West Bengal, the ruling Left Front organised sit-ins before the offices of oil PSUs. Normal life in Kerala, another Left-ruled state, was paralysed by a dawn-to-dusk strike called by trade unions. Shops and business establishments remained closed while attendance in government offices was thin. Over 5,000 Left activists, including CPI Secretary D Raja, were taken into custody across Tamil Nadu when they tried to picket Central Government offices and roads.

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April 7, 2006

Indian police break up hunger strike over dam project

Indian police break up hunger strike over dam project

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Friday, April 7, 2006 Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan activist in the ninth day of a hunger strike protesting the Sardar Sarovar Project, is forcibly moved to hospital in New Delhi by police.

On the ninth day of the hunger strike she and two other activists had undertaken to protest the Indian government’s decision to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam across the Narmada river and the lack of progress in rehabilitating people displaced by the dam project, Patkar was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where she was placed under intensive care. Doctors have said that she is conscious and her condition is stable.

Police sources say that Patkar has not been arrested as of now, but an First Information Report has been lodged against her for attempting to commit suicide.

Activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan tried to prevent the police from moving Patkar and some were arrested on rioting charges.

Hunger strike

Patkar, Jamsinh Nargave and Bhagwatibai Patidar began an indefinite fast on March 29, refusing food and medical care. They called on the government to reverse its decision to raise the height of the dam under construction from 110m to 121m and demanded proper rehabilitation for people displaced by the project. Supreme Court rulings of Oct 2000 and March 2005 stated that further construction on the dam (above 110m) was illegal until temporarily and permanently affected families were rehabilitated as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award.

Patkar said “If the construction work for increasing the height of the dam is started, over 35,000 people will lose their land by the month of June.” and that “Yet, most of the villagers living along the Narmada river bank have not been provided alternative land holdings”.

The Indian Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz and other central ministers met the protestors and called on them to end the fast, promising suitable rehabilitation.

“We urge Medha Patkar to break her fast. She is welcome to continue her protest and raise the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, my ministry and the courts,” said Soz.

On April 3rd, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to the hunger strikers to end their fast. Three union ministers are also planning to visit the dam site to personally supervise the rehabilitation work.

The Sardar Sarovar dam project

The Sardar Sarovar Project involves the construction of a series of large hydroelectric dams on the Narmada River in India. Although first conceived of in the 1940s by the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, the project began only after 1979. Officials say that the dam is essential for drought-prone areas in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh but the dam has been mired in controversy over its environmental impact, costs and benefits since the late 1980s.

Local protests have coalesced under the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement) led by Medha Patkar. The World Bank was a funder of the SSP, but withdrew after an independent review in 1990. Indian writer Arundhati Roy has protested the Narmada Dam project.

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