Friday, October 29, 2010

Kapil Sibal Moots Neighborhood Book Policy

Pratham Books is a non-profit trust that publishes high quality books for children at affordable prices and in multiple Indian languages. Pratham Books has published over 170 children’s titles in fourteen languages including English, Hindi, Marathi and Kannada. Typically, these books are printed in four colours with attractive illustrations spanning 20-32 pages. Published stories are written by famous authors such as the late Indian President, Dr. Zakir Hussain, Olivia Fraser and Manorama Jafa. Almost every book is under Rs. 25 in order to ensure that each and every child has access to books. Over 7 million books and 9 million story cards have been shipped out across the nation to libraries, schools and other centers. An article is given below Via  Pratham Books/India edunews.
Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Kapil Sibal has mooted that there be a neighborhood book policy in the country.

According to Sibal, the aim should be that in the manner of neighborhood schools, there should be neighborhood libraries and reading rooms. He gave this suggestion to the Task Force that has prepared the Draft National Book Promotion Policy while speaking at a Round Table held to discuss the policy, here today.

He added that "the model of libraries/reading rooms being followed in Tamil Nadu (pointed out and praised by some members of the round table) could be looked at by the Task Force to be incorporated in their report. He also said that state governments would have to be involved for this."

He also asked the Task Force to take a fresh look at the publishing of school text books and whether greater private sector involvement could be looked at here.

He also pointed out to the publishing industry that a huge opportunity awaits them in the publishing of e-books, especially for children's books that can be illustrated. He further added that the vast scope of translations of books in India from one language to the other.

Underlining the need of a policy framework to reach out to potential authors, especially in small places, who find it very difficult to find publishers, the minister asked the Task Force that an idea that could be looked at was the setting up of a national level website, connected to the states and to the districts, so that those who seek to author books can reach out to a committee/committees consisting of government and non-government members. ....Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice--Arundhati Roy

Writer and activist, Arundati Roy, who is facing the threat of being booked for sedition over her statements concerning Kashmir, on Tuesday, Oct 26  Arundhati Roy had been named by Forbes among the world's 30 most inspiring women, a list that also features Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton. Now she issued a statement to defend herself.Stressing that her now controversial speech was "fundamentally a call for justice".She wrote:
Iwrite this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning’s papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.
Yesterday I traveled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir which had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. I met Shakeel, who is Nilofer’s husband and Asiya’s brother. We sat in a circle of people crazed with grief and anger who had lost hope that they would ever get ‘insaf’—justice—from India, and now believed that Azadi—freedom— was their only hope. I met young stone pelters who had been shot through their eyes. I traveled with a young man who told me how three of his friends, teenagers in Anantnag district, had been taken into custody and had their finger-nails pulled out as punishment for throwing stones.
In the papers some have accused me of giving ‘hate-speeches’, of wanting India to break up. On the contrary, what I say comes from love and pride. It comes from not wanting people to be killed, raped, imprisoned or have their finger-nails pulled out in order to force them to say they are Indians. It comes from wanting to live in a society that is striving to be a just one. Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.

Families Voice Issues, Concerns to Army's Top Leaders

Posted on: Tue, 26 Oct 2010 13:46:00 -0500
By Elaine Wilson of American Forces Press Service
Photo courtesy : Military Mamas
WASHINGTON: Military families and the people who support them had the opportunity yesterday to voice their issues and concerns about everything from mental health care to child care directly to the people able to initiate change.
The Army's top leaders, including Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., invited military families to speak up about their most pressing challenges and spotlighted the programs that may offer some relief during a standing-room-only family forum, the first of four to be held during the 2010 Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition here. 
The importance of hearing these concerns and addressing them can't be overstated, McHugh said yesterday in his opening remarks. 
"In order to be effective, we have to make sure we are taking care of those things that the soldier truly cares about," he said. "I've been to Iraq 15 times, [and] I've been to Afghanistan ... four [times]. One of the first things every soldier brings up is how much they care about, how concerned they are for the welfare of those loved ones they left behind. 
"The last thing we want soldiers to be worried about ... is whether or not their families are being taken care of," he added. 

McHugh said he was there to listen and learn, and so he kept his remarks short so he'd have time to take questions from the audience.

The secretary responded at length to a question about the Army's efforts to prevent suicide among family members, acknowledging suicide is a "huge problem" for the Army.

Servicemembers and their families are stressed after nearly a decade at war, he said, noting studies have identified a close correlation between rapid, persistent deployments and a lack of sufficient time at home to decompress. Experts say it takes at least two years at home, three ideally, to recover from a yearlong deployment, he added.

"We've been falling short," McHugh said, noting that some career fields have been hit harder than others with a ratio of one year deployed to every year back.

The Army, however, is making progress on that front, the secretary said, with soldiers now home for 15 to 18 months for every year they're deployed. And next year, he added, soldiers can expect to have two years at home for every year they're deployed.

To boost access to care, leaders are working to bring mental health services closer to the soldier even when the soldier is deployed, McHugh said. And, he said, they're working to improve access to mental health services for families as well. He cited the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program, which features online mental health assessments and training modules, as a tool that can help both soldiers and families build resilience.

Building resilience will be key for servicemembers and their families in the years ahead, said Casey, referring not only to suicide prevention but to the everyday challenges military families face.

"The reality is, this is likely to go on for a while longer," the general said. "We have to strengthen ourselves." (Issued on: Oct. 26, 2010)

Casey recalled his younger years as a self-proclaimed Army brat. As Casey and his family moved around the world, he recalled, his mother would tell him, "Make the best of it," no matter what the complaint or concern.

But decades later, it became clear to Casey that the Army couldn't keep asking families to "make the best of it," he said. Instead, the Army doubled the amount of money for military family programs to $1.7 billion, an amount Casey said he's committed to sustaining.

Now, with money in hand, military families have an abundance of programs at their fingertips, Casey said. But programs must be calibrated and customized to ensure they're delivering the right kind of support, he said, and redundant programs must be eliminated so money can be allocated to the ones that work.

While it's comforting to know the programs are there, the Army can't possibly provide all of the support families need, said Casey's wife, Sheila, who accompanied her husband to the forum. Families also must look to what she described as a "community of caring," which includes community members and leaders, corporations and private organizations.

"Our support network is much larger than just us," she said.

The general's wife said she gained new insight into the challenges and difficulties military families face this past year when her younger son deployed with a National Guard unit to Afghanistan.

"His deployment gave me a totally new perspective and education," she said. "It was terrifying that I was no longer in the position to do my most important job as a parent -– protect my child."

Sheila Casey said she found comfort for herself and her son's family by tapping into the Army community, but she also acknowledged that much work remains to be done.

"We've come a long way in understanding and supporting needs of families, but we're not there yet," she said.

The Army needs the input of family members to shape and evolve programs to provide the greatest support, she said.

"Please know you have a voice," she said. "Use it. You will be heard."

As if on cue, a female audience member voiced a concern about the checks and balances for existing programs, calling for an external audit to combat the inconsistency of programs from one installation to another, a comment that was met with resounding applause. The audience members also said spouses are underemployed due to an intrinsic discrimination in hiring practices. Employers don't want to hire military spouses, she explained, knowing they'll be moving on in a few years.

The general's response was decisive. Casey said he would have the Inspector General look into civilian hiring practices across the Army so he could gain insight into the issue.

"The only way we can fix things is to keep shining a light on the issues," he said.

The Caseys also fielded questions about the effectiveness of family readiness support assistants, who offer administrative assistance and logistical support to the family readiness group leader and rear detachment commander.

The general acknowledged the FRSA program is fairly new and he said there's room for improvement. He encouraged people to submit suggestions so the program can evolve. His wife added that in many cases it's not the position, but the person who fills it.

The Caseys were followed by a panel of Army leaders that included Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve; Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. Army Installation Management Command; Maj. Gen. Raymond W. Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard; and Maj. Gen. Reuben D. Jones, commander of the Army's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. The officers each took time to highlight family programs that come under their areas of expertise.

Stultz said the Army Reserve's "virtual installation" program is proving to be a big success. Through the program, three Army Strong Community Centers have been established in remote communities to provide information and resources to reserve-component families. The center in Rochester, N.Y., he said, already has served more than 5,000 families and soldiers with more than 17,000 different types of needs.

The centers not only are helping reserve-component members, but active duty as well, Stultz noted. Fifteen percent of the Rochester center's military customers are active duty, he said, as well as 30 percent of the family members who come there to seek help.

Based on current success, people can expect to see more centers spring up in the months and years ahead, Stultz said.

Family support must extend beyond branch and component to be truly effective, the general said.

"We're all one family," Stultz said. "We're all sacrificing, [and] we're all making a commitment."

Jones stressed the need for support of special-needs family members through the military's Exceptional Family Member Program. The program, he said, is about providing comprehensive, coordinated support to military families. Yet, some families, he added, have trouble navigating the school system as they move from post to post. The Army is working on this issue, he said, and already has hired 44 systems navigators to work with families.

Many of the questions following the panel focused on special-needs children. One parent called for a buddy system for these children so they don't feel left out of youth activities they're unable to access.

The Army is looking at standardizing programs that can help, Jones said. One post may have a helpful program, he said, but that ceases to be useful once the family moves.

"We will get this problem and situations under control," Jones vowed. "I promise you that."
Army Secretary John McHugh 
Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. 
Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz 
Army Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch 
Army Maj. Gen. Raymond W. Carpenter 
Army Maj. Gen. Reuben D. Jones 
Related Sites:
Association of the U.S. Army
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness 

Monday, October 25, 2010

We Condemn Attack on Shrine of Hazrat Baba Fareed Gunj Shaker (RA)

It is regretted that bomb exploded at the eastern gate of the Baba Farid Shrine in Pakpattan early Monday morning, killing at least six people, including three women and injuring several others. The bomb was planted in a milk container on a motorcycle, city police chief Mohammad Kashif told Reuters by telephone. The attack was the latest in the heartland province of Punjab.

“According to initial reports, two unidentified men dressed in shalwar kameez came on the motorcycle and parked it near the gate just minutes before the blast,” The explosive device was remote-controlled. 

At least a 100 people have been reported to be present at the time of the blast. The injured are being taken to the District Headquarters hospital in Pakpattan. At least eight injured people are said to be in critical condition. According to the Regional Police Officer, the shrine has been shut down and security forces have cordoned off the area. 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack but Taliban militants have in the past attacked Sufi shrines. The chairman of the Ruhat-e-Hilal Committee, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman said that the government had failed to provide adequate security to shrines in Pakistan. In one of the deadliest strikes, a bomb blast in July at the Data Darbar in Lahore killed more than 40 people.Eight people, including two children were killed in an attack at Shah Ghazi's shrine in the teeming port city of Karachi on October 8.

Dear members, Our Group Administration and sympathizers , strongly condemn the attacks on shrines , which is not religion. These respectable saints , are source of Love, Peace and Harmony. Any terrorism at the shrines, any where in the world is not acceptable under any code of ethics. Lets Pray for the departed souls . 

Iftikhar Chaudri ( Creator of the Group)
Journalists For International Peace
Islamabad, Pakistan

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A scientific symposium held on “Revision Total Knee Arthroplasty”

Model of a traditional total knee replacement.
The patella (knee cap) is not shown in this model.
Photo courtesy: 
orthop washington
A scientific symposium on “Revision Total Knee Arthroplasty” was held after the oration under the aegis of Punjab Medical Council. Eminent orthopedic surgeons from the country and abroad with extensive experience in the field participated in the symposium.  Dr Bobby John, Professor and Head, Department of Orthopaedics, CMCH, felt that Revision knee arthroplasty was the need of the hour, as many patients with knee arthritis are undergoing knee replacement surgeries and would somewhere down the line need a revision knee surgery. This symposium was conducted to sensitise the doctors and patients in the region to the intricacies of revision knee arthroplasty. According to Dr Anupam Mahajan, Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, CMCH, the average age of doing a knee replacement is going down as it is getting more acceptance in the society. Many of these patients may require a revision surgery later and it was useful for all to get acquainted with it. 
The XVIIIth Annual function of the Dr L.H. Lobo Memorial Trust was held on Saturday, 23rd October 2010.  It was established in 1983 in memory of late Dr. L.H. Lobo, an eminent renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon and former Professor  & Head of Department of Orthopaedics and Principal of the Christian Medical College, Ludhiana. The aim of the trust is ‘Furtherance of Medical Education’. The oration is held in the specialty of Orthopaedics every other year.  The function was jointly organized this year by the trust and the Department of Orthopaedics, CMC, Ludhiana.  According to the President of the trust Shri S.R. Wadhera and Dr. M.K. Mahajan, secretary of the trust, the function has been held regularly for the past 27 years.
In 1969, Dr. Lionel Henry Lobo took over as Professor and Chairman of Orthopaedics department at Christian Medical College, Ludhiana. Under his dynamic leadership the department excelled in every facet and achieved recognition as a centre of excellence in the country. He was also the principal of CMC Ludhiana. and Hospital from 1971-1982. After his sudden demise in 1983 he is remembered continuously by his students, patients, colleagues, friends, followers and the citizens of Ludhiana for the exemplary ways he guided CMC, Ludhiana.
   Dr. C.V. Ananthakrishnan, Senior Joint Replacement Surgeon, Ex Clinical Associate Professor, Dept. of Orthopaedic surgery, Texas Tech University, School Of Medicine, Lubbock, Texas, USA was the chief guest.  Dr Raj Bahadur, Director-Principal, GMCH, Chandigarh were the guests of honour.  --Rector Kathuria 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Woman about her health

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tara Wilson, center, and German navy Cmdr. Diana Seeman speak with a Guyanese woman about her health Oct. 18, 2010, during a Continuing Promise 2010 medical community service project in Rose Hall, Guyana. Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) are working with partner nations to provide medical, dental, veterinary and engineering assistance in several countries to improve mutual understanding of current medical issues and technology. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher B. Stoltz, U.S. Navy/Released)

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Move Forward

Posted on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 1:30 AM
By David Lloyd 
Family Advocacy Program Office
(Phpto courtesy:NDVSAC)
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2010David Lloyd is the director of the Family Advocacy Program Office of Military Community and Family Policy. In this guest blog, Mr. Lloyd urges victims of domestic abuse to seek help for both themselves and their children.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month:  Looking Back, Moving Forward
More than 20 years ago, the first federal funds were authorized for the establishment, maintenance and expansion of programs and projects to prevent incidents of family violence and provide shelter and assistance for victims and their children.
Congress formally recognized October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month through a congressional resolution, citing the frequency of violence against women by their intimate partners, the universal nature of such violence and the associated abuse of children in homes where domestic violence occurs. The resolution also recognized the importance of nationwide efforts to increase public understanding of domestic violence and the work of advocates to help domestic violence victims leave abusive relationships. 
(Photo courtesy : mccslejeune)
Over the last two decades, the momentum of the domestic violence movement has continued to build. 
The dedication of tireless advocates has helped increase public understanding of domestic violence as a serious public health issue, and driven public investment in the prevention of domestic violence.
The Defense Department has joined this movement. Established in the early eighties, the Family Advocacy Program addresses domestic violence in military families through prevention efforts, early identification and intervention, support for victims and treatment for abusers. This office works with offices and agencies both on the installation and in the civilian community to provide a coordinated community response to domestic abuse incidents.
As recently as 2004, DOD instituted additional measures  to promote a culture shift within the military environment that prioritizes offender accountability and victim safety. DOD's restricted reporting policy enables victims to seek medical care and safety planning without law enforcement notification. For military communities accustomed to command involvement in almost all matters, this measure, in particular, represents profound progress in the effort to keep victims safe and promote help-seeking behavior.
Despite this progress, there is still work to be done, as men and women remain at risk. Nationally, there are almost 4.8 million intimate partner-related violent incidents each year and some of these victims are in military families.
As President Barack Obama emphasized last year when he designated October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this month is a time to "[R]ededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence. By providing young people with education about healthy relationships, and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize that domestic violence can be prevented. We must build the capacity of our nation's victim service providers to reach and serve those in need. Together, we must ensure that, in America, no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone."
So, what can be done to support the ongoing effort to end domestic violence? What can you do? 
-- (Re) Educate Yourself: As Congress emphasized in 1981, domestic violence is universal. It crosses all demographic lines and can affect men and women in all racial, social, religious, ethnic, and economic groups, and of all ages and physical abilities. No one is immune. Domestic violence, now often referred to as intimate partner violence, includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats and emotional abuse.
-- Become Part of the Solution:  Volunteer with an organization that supports victims and works to end domestic violence. Find out how you can become involved in your local Family Advocacy Program's Domestic Violence Awareness Month efforts. Help those you care about, particularly young people who are just beginning to explore romantic relationships, learn about healthy relationships.
-- Recognize the Signs of Abuse: Understand how to recognize the signs of abuse and help a potential victim access the help he or she needs. If nothing else, remember the number: 1-800-799-SAFE, available to serve victims 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you are in an abusive relationship, or if something about your relationship with your partner scares you, get help now. To find a victim advocate, call the installation operator or Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647 and ask for the number of the domestic violence victim advocate.  You also can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline within the United States at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you are outside of the United States, contact the American Domestic Violence Crisis Line by calling the local AT&T operator in your country and asking to be connected to 866-USWOMEN. 
As we look back, we hope you are inspired to help us move forward to promote an end to domestic violence.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Suicide Survivors Turn to TAPS for Support

By Elaine Wilson of American Forces Press Service
Posted on: Sat, Oct 16, 2010 at 2:28 AM
WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2010 – I was hard-pressed to hold back my tears last week as I spoke to several amazing women who had lost a military loved one to suicide.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Miranda Kruse attends a Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Suicide Survivor Seminar in Alexandria, Va., with her three children, from left, McKayla, Elizabeth and Tristan, Oct. 8, 2010. Kruse sought help from TAPS following her husband's death in January 2006. DOD photo by Elaine Wilson

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
They told me their stories in a hotel lobby, surrounded by strangers who were rushing past to meetings or hauling luggage to their rooms. But they barely noticed, lost in memories that triggered laughter, and tears, as they scratched away at the surface of their terrible loss.

These women, along with more than 200 other family members, had traveled to Alexandria, Va., for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Suicide Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp. TAPS is a nonprofit organization dedicating to helping survivors of fallen military loved ones.
This seminar is the second one TAPS has dedicated to suicide survivors, and participants range from parent to spouse, sibling to battle buddy, but all lost a military loved one to suicide, some as recently as a week ago.
One of the women I spoke to, Miranda Kruse, had lost her Navy husband to suicide nearly five years ago after a long-term struggle with anxiety and depression. He was the "love of my life," she told me.
After his death, Kruse was gripped by the isolation and loneliness that so often follows a suicide. Her family and friends didn't know what to say to her or how to offer her support. Depressed and alone, she barely left her house for two years.
"Loneliness is so horrible after a suicide," she said, her eyes welling up with tears. "There’s such a stigma and everyone wants to point a finger."
She eventually turned to TAPS, and found the comfort and support she so desperately needed. TAPS is founded on the concept of survivors helping survivors, and trains survivors who are a few years out from their loss to become mentors to others. And seminars, like the one Kruse was attending, offer an opportunity for people to learn coping skills from experts and, more importantly, form lasting bonds and support. TAPS "got me back on my feet again," she said.
Kruse is now committed to helping others avoid the same loneliness she felt in the days, and years, following her husband's death.
As we spoke, one of Kruse's best friends rushed up to her along with Kruse's three children, who picked at the plate of sandwiches and fruit she had gathered for them earlier. They gathered close, a newfound family, and a far cry from the isolation she had described just moments ago.
Near Kruse sat Judy Swenson, who had flown up from Texas to attend the seminar. Like Kruse, Swenson had suffered a similar terrible loss several years ago.
Her son, Army Spc. David P. Swenson Jr., mired in debt and depression, took his own life about five years ago.

The soldier had driven to his sister-in-law's house one night and his superior had called Swenson looking for him. She went to talk to him and explained he'd be absent without leave, or AWOL, if he didn't return that night. He told her he missed his old unit – he had recently transferred to a new one – and was just too tired to return.
Swenson talked to him of duty and responsibility and he conceded and left that night. That was the last time she saw him alive.
"One of the hardest things -- and there are many things that are hard -- is my son begged me, 'Please don't make me go back,' she said, the sadness and regret so evident in her eyes.
Her son shot himself that night.
Swenson was seized by grief and sought help from TAPS. TAPS is her family now, she said.
"TAPS is where I can talk about Davy," she said. "People care; they didn't know him, but they care. It's not just lip service -- it's heart. There's nothing like it anywhere."
Bonnie Carroll, TAPS founder, called the organization a "safe place." "This is our home, our reunion, our chance to be together," she said.
For more on these amazing women and the TAPS seminar they attended, read my American Forces Press Service article, "Suicide Survivors Find Comfort With TAPS."
To comment on this blog, please visit the Family Matters blog. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Amnesty International Urges India to End Routine Torture by Police and Prison Authorities

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 10:29 PM 

Washington, D.C. Amnesty International is today urging the Indian government to help end the routine torture of those held by police and prison authorities by ensuring the new Prevention of Torture Bill in India, 2010 meets international standards before adopting it. 
“If India is serious about its aspiration to be a regional and global power, it needs to address the issue of torture and ensure that the human rights of those it arrests and detains are protected," said Madhu Malhotra, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific deputy program director. 

The Bill, which is expected to be considered by the Select Committee of the Upper House (Rayja Sabha) of the Indian Parliament on October 17, 2010, will address many forms of torture routinely employed by Indian police and prison officials. The Bill was passed by the Lower house (Lok Sabha) on May 6,  2010. 
Amnesty International says the bill must be amended to bring it in line with international standards, including limiting torture to practices causing physical suffering, keeping a six-month deadline for making complaints about torture and not annulling current provisions which allow law enforcement officials and security forces virtual immunity against prosecution for perpetrating torture and recommends solutions. 

Torture in state detention is endemic in India, involving a range of practices including shackling, beatings and the administration of electric shocks. Disadvantaged and marginalized groups including women, Dalits, Adivasis and suspected members of armed opposition groups are those most commonly abused. 

According to official reports, 127 people died in police custody in India in 2008-09, although the figure could be higher since several states failed to report such deaths. 

Torture is also reportedly widespread in prisons. The National Human Rights Commission registered 1,596 complaints of torture of prisoners in 2008-09. The number of deaths due to torture is not routinely reported. 
The vast majority of cases of torture inflicted on detained people in India are unlawful and punishable under current Indian law, however prosecutions are extremely rare. 
Law enforcement personnel enjoy virtual immunity from prosecution for torture and other human rights abuses, and prosecutions remain sporadic and rare. In ‘disturbed areas’, such as Jammu and Kashmir and the north-eastern states where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is in effect, Armed Forces personnel enjoy additional immunity protection and there is virtually no accountability for violations. 
In 1996, the Indian Supreme Court issued specific guidelines to authorities safeguarding detainee’s rights in all cases of arrest or detention, however they are seldom enforced. There is also a lack of effective systems to independently monitor the conduct of the authorities with regards to torture and other forms of mistreatment. 
The Prevention of Torture Bill in India is meant to bring India closer in line with the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. India signed the Convention in 1997 but has yet to ratify it. 
“The Indian government should adopt this Bill to help address key issues, but more needs to be done to ensure India is able to meet international conventions against torture," said Malhotra. “The Indian government further needs to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture ensuring people are no longer mistreated while they are detained." 

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. 

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Doctor Nancy Hansen

Doctor Nancy Hansen, left, the only board-certified clinical anaplastologist in the Department of Defense, and Air Force Col. Alan Sutton, maxillofacial prosthetics fellowship program director, fit medically retired Army Staff Sgt. Shilo Harris with wax models of prosthetic ears at MacKowan Dental Clinic on Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 5, 2010. Harris was wounded in Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 2007. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett, U.S. Air Force/Released)

The amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor

 U.S. Navy Seaman Rachel Mackey steers the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) through the Philippine Sea Oct. 7, 2010, while forward deployed with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Richard Doolin, U.S. Navy/Released)

Electronic Attack Squadron

 An EA-6B Prowler aircraft assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 130 catches an arresting wire while landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) on Oct. 4, 2010. The ship is deployed in the Arabian Sea supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. DoD photo by Seaman Apprentice Tyler Caswell, U.S. Navy. (Released)

Mooring the ship

U.S. Navy sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) haul in a mooring line while mooring the ship in Faslane, Scotland, on Sept. 30, 2010. The Bainbridge is preparing to participate in Joint Warrior 10-2, a multinational exercise designed to improve interoperability between allied navies and prepare participating crews to conduct combined operations during deployment. DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Molly A. Burgess, U.S. Navy. (Released)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Jessica Simpson, an actor and singer,learning to fire

U.S. Navy Chief Gunner's Mate Keith McGinley prepares Jessica Simpson, an actor and singer, to fire a .50-caliber machine gun during Simpson’s USO and Navy Entertainment sponsored visit aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Oct. 1, 2010. Simpson visited Truman to meet and greet Sailors and Marines during the ship’s deployment in the Arabian Sea. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Tyler Caswell, U.S. Navy/Released)