Freedom Under Fire: 300 Municipal Sweepers Pool in for Kanhaiya’s Fine; AYUSH Minister Says Doctors Advising Against Ayurveda are ‘Anti-national’

A round-up of news, both bad and good, on the rights front from India.

Kanhaiya Kumar with his father in Patna. Credit: PTI

Kanhaiya Kumar with his father in Patna. Credit: PTI

Three hundred municipal sweepers pool in Rs. 10,000 for Kanhaiya Kumar’s fine

Around 300 sweepers, working as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation contract labourers in Mumbai, have collected 10,000 rupees to help JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar pay the fine slapped on him by JNU, The Times of India reported.

The contract labourers were impressed with Kumar’s speech in Chembur last week, where he talked about the injustice faced by contract labourers and said they should be paid minimum wages. “Since his Mumbai visit, Kanhaiya has become their hero,” said Milind Ranade, president of Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh.

“It was a spontaneous reaction from them and not asked by the union. About 300 labourers decided to collect money on their own when they came to know about his fine. Some contributed 20 rupees, some 50 rupees and they have managed to collect Rs. 10,000 in two days. However, it is yet to be decided how to send the money to Kanhaiya,” Ranade added. Most of these workers are Dalits, and the workers do not receive minimum wage.

‘Doctors advising against ayurvedic medicines are anti-national’, says AYUSH minister

AYUSH minister Shripad Yesso Naik on Saturday said doctors prescribing non-ayurvedic medicines are “anti-nationals”, a report in The Times of India says.  “Some ayurveda practitioners have told me that doctors prescribing allopathy medicines often advise patients not to opt for ayurveda. Such doctors are anti-nationals,” said Naik, who was in the city for the inauguration of an ayurveda research centre. “Ayurveda is one of the oldest medical systems in the world and we should be proud of it. How can anyone oppose ayurveda when the whole world is showing interest in it and trying to find remedies of diseases that modern medical science cannot?”

MP minority welfare panel member wants Christians tried for sedition 

Laxmi Yadav, a member of the Madhya Pradesh Backward Classes and Minority Welfare Department who enjoys minister of state status, was present when Bajrang Dal activists stormed into a church in Satna on April 27 and stopped a wedding alleging the couple had converted.

According to a report in The Indian Express, Yadav said: “This is the first case in the country when Christians were caught red-handed converting and marrying OBCs. We will reconvert them, purify them after sprinkling Gangajal and hold a Hindu marriage for the couple. I am seeking legal opinion on whether sedition charge could be invoked against the Christians for waging a war against the country.”

Bajrang Dal leader Rajkumar Mishra, who has led campaigns against conversion, love jihad and cow slaughter and claims to have “saved hundreds of Hindu girls,” led a protest two days after the Church attack where an effigy of the Pope was burnt in front of a leading Catholic school in Satna.

The couple who was going to get married insist they have not formally converted to Christianity, only undergone a “man parivartan (a change of heart)”.

Amid claims and counterclaims over conversion, the police checked the Class VIII marksheet of Subhadra and found that she was ten days short of turning 18. Nine persons, including six pastors and Arun, the boy she was to marry, were arrested and a case registered under the anti-conversion law, prevention of child marriage law and the IPC section related to hurting religious sentiments. They were released on bail late in the night.

“No one misbehaved with me but they pushed Arun around and asked how and why did he convert to Christianity,” said Subhadra. According to Arun, Bajrang Dal men told them, “If you are ready to marry according to Hindu traditions, we will take you to a temple and perform the wedding on a grand scale. If you insist on marrying in a church, we have to take you to the police station.”

Seven-year-old beaten, allegedly by Trinamool activists, after grandfather votes

A seven-year-old girl was injured when she was beaten up allegedly by miscreants allied to West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress after her grandfather, a CPI-M supporter, voted in the fifth phase of the assembly polls in the southern outskirts of Kolkata, NDTV reported.

The victim’s family alleged that the miscreants attacked their house in Haridevpur area of Behala East constituency on Saturday night. “They were angry as my father-in-law cast his vote earlier in the day. The attackers are Trinamool activists,” alleged the child’s mother Basanti Bor.

The child said she was reading a book when she heard people shouting outside. “They were calling for my dadu (grandfather). Then they entered by pushing the gate, which struck me. I started bleeding. When they saw my injury, they hit the same area with a baton, after which I started bleeding heavily,” said the girl.

Eleven children die in government-run home in Jaipur

Eleven children in a government-run ‘institution for the mentally challenged’ in Jaipur have died of infection in the past ten days, triggering allegations of negligence and food and water contamination, a Hindustan Times report says.

The government constituted a three-member committee to investigate the deaths of the children. Eight other children are also in hospital with the same symptoms, of whom three are in critical condition.


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  • Sanjay Kapur

    If we are going to keep alive the scourge of reservations for political manipulation only, we are deliberately keeping alive a physical as well as spiritual divide between “quota people” and “general category”. Our Prime Minister talks proudly of a huge “demographic dividend” that India enjoys in the form of a “young population”. Which is actually no dividend at all in real terms, if the dwindling job opportunities are going to be snatched from one section and presented to another on the basis of a very contentious reservation system – a system sought to be justified by “atrocities of upper caste citizens’ ‘forefathers’ on lower caste citizens’ ‘forefathers'”. By forcing the present youngsters to suffer the effects of reservations at every step of their academic and professional journeys, we lose a golden opportunity contained in the fact that those generations that were brought up being indoctrinated in untouchability and such stuff have now dwindled considerably. Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution had reluctantly agreed for reservations for 10 years only, believing this was enough. But Indian politics being what it is, even this great man’s vision has been twisted and extended unendingly. The surmise is simple. Reservations today are seen as the only way to receive unjustifiable bounties which makes the receivers lazy and dependant on it, and the ones from whom opportunities are snatched away, resenting and frustrated. And all this, for things both sections’ ‘forefathers’ experienced long ago. Our “demographic dividend” is a divided lot, each section led to viewing the others with suspicion and hate. We are perpetuating untouchability in new and dangerous forms. And almost everybody in this affair is a loser.