Friday, June 28, 2013

ASIA: Narrative of Justice in Sri Lanka

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) announces the publication of Narrative of Justice in Sri Lanka as told through the stories of torture victims. The book contains 736 pages.
This book records the stories of 400 cases of torture out of over 2,000 cases which were researched and published by the AHRC and the ALRC over the last ten years. The victims of torture were interviewed in great detail and assisted to pursue their complaints to the Sri Lankan authorities. The ALRC researchers have studied each of these cases through long years while the victims were pursuing their grievances before local authorities and courts.
"This book tells a grim story of the actual situation and of the way the criminal justice system works, or in fact, does not work in Sri Lanka. Through the stories of torture the victims reveal the extremely cruel and brutal methods used by the police and other law enforcement agencies and what it more striking is the narrative of the utter neglect that seems to pervade the police, who are supposed to be investigators into crime, the Attorney General's Department, which is supposed to prosecute competently and impartially and the judiciary which is supposed to protect the citizens of the country. The weight of evidence that is presented by this book on the complete failure of the system demands a response from the Sri Lankan government as well as its basic institutions such as the police, the Attorney General's Department and the judiciary", said Mr. Basil Fernando, the Director, Policy & Programme Development of the ALRC who is also the editor of this book.
Fernando further said, "No study of human rights in Sri Lanka would be complete without reference to this publication. This is the most comprehensive book, not only on the practice of torture but also the widespread impunity that prevails in Sri Lanka".
He went on to say that the study of law in Sri Lanka requires a change. The legal texts that are supposed to say what the law is should be contrasted with the actual situation that prevails in the country. This book graphically exposes how far Sri Lanka has drifted away from the rule of law and how far the people of Sri Lanka are denied of their basic protection.
Copies of the book may be obtained from the Asian Legal Resource Centre.
# # #
About the AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.
About the ALRC: The Asian Legal Resource Centre is an independent regional non-governmental organisation holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It is the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission. The Hong Kong-based group seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues at the local and national levels throughout Asia.

Secretary of Defense Hagel's Military Profile

Sexual Assault Response Systems Review Panel

Hagel Meets With the Oanel
06/27/2013 01:04 PM CDT
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2013 - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had his first in-person meeting today with a panel that is reviewing the Defense Department's response systems to sexual assaults and related crimes, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
Hagel previously had spoken to Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel members via teleconference, Little said. The Defense Department established the panel in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, he added.
"The panel will conduct an independent review and assessment of the systems used to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate crimes involving sexual assault and related offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice," the press secretary said in a statement summarizing today's meeting. "It will develop recommendations to improve the effectiveness of those systems."
During the administrative portion of the meeting, the secretary thanked the panel members for bringing their expertise to bear in helping the Defense Department address one of its most pressing challenges, Little said.
"Secretary Hagel made clear that his goal is to eradicate the crime of sexual assault from the military, and that he is open to all their ideas on how to accomplish this objective," he added. "He believes the panel's findings and recommendations will play a critical role in ensuring that the department, working closely with Congress, makes well-informed decisions to improve sexual assault response and prevention -- considering all the options on the table."
Hagel asked the panel to work deliberately and carefully, based on thorough research and analysis, but also emphasized the importance of acting quickly, Little said, and he pledged the department's full support for the panel's efforts.
"In addition to today's meeting, Secretary Hagel continues to hold regular weekly meetings of the top civilian and military leadership of the department focused solely on sexual assault prevention and response efforts," the press secretary added.
Chuck Hagel
Related Sites:
Special Report: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I visited the home of Akhtar Mujahid-Subhashini Ali

He showed us the cd on a laptop
In the evening of the 24th, June, I visited the home of Akhtar Mujahid along with members of the CPI(M) in Jaunpur District.  Akhtar’s home is in Madiyaun, a kasba of Jaunpur, UP.  We arrived in the evening, following a darkening sky.  Just as we entered his mohalla, the rain came pouring down and we had to run into the narrow lane that led to his house.  Many of his neighbours had collected to welcome us and all of us sat in the small room in the front of the home that he and his widowed mother shared with his Taya (father’s elder brother), Tayi, their son, Shahid, his wife and their two children.
Khalid’s uncle is an extremely dignified man who seems to have aged because of the burden of grief and despair that he has carried since December, 2007 when his nephew was suddenly picked up by an unknown group of people in an unmarked jeep.  This occurred just fourteen days after Khalid’s marriage.
As we sat in the small room, Khalid’s uncle told us about the day when life as they had known it came to a standstill for him and his extended family.  He manages a madarsa and library in the neighbourhood and Akhtar taught there.  It is on record that he attended to his duties on the 16th December, 2007 and was then picked up and whisked away by unknown persons to an unknown place.  His cousin, Shahid, accompanied by a large number of people, went to the police station immediately but his FIR was not accepted.  This was reported in several newspapers the next day and Akhtar’s uncle and others sent faxes to the Chief Minister and others.  On the 18th, the police visited Akhtar’s house and took away some books and papers including a copy of the Koran.  Finally, on the 22nd evening, the police station in charge informed his uncle that he had been arrested that morning from Bara Banki.
Akhtar’s uncle said that a living nightmare for the family had begun.  When he visited his nephew in the Bara Banki jail, there was little said between them but Akhtar managed to give him a small, folded piece of paper.  When he returned home, he read the letter which spoke of indescribably torture and abuse.  The fond uncle could not sleep that night or many nights that followed.
Within a fortnight of Akhtar’s arrest, his wife’s family came to take her away.  His uncle said that the whole family wept as they saw the same vehicle being loaded with all the belongings that the young bride had brought them in to their house just a month earlier.  She left never to return.
The long battle for justice was joined.  Another young man, Tariq Qasmi from Azamgarh, had also been picked up on the 16th of December and then shown to have been arrested with Akhtar in Bara Banki.  After his abduction, members of a local political group had sat on a dharna in Lucknow and, on the 22nd, the Bara Banki story was made public by the police.  Since there were so many who had witnessed what had actually happened on the 16th, there was an uproar and, finally, the Mayawati Government appointed the Nimesh Commission to enquire into the matter.  R.D. Nimesh, a retired judge, submitted his report to the Akhilesh Yadav Government in August, 2012 but it has not been made public since.
Akhtar’s uncles travails, therefore, yielded nothing but took a toll on his health.  He suffered a major heart attack a year ago and was not able to meet his nephew in jail for many months.  He remembers the last time that he met him about 4 months ago.  Akhtar had given up hope on that occasion.
On the 18th of June, 2013, Akhtar was taken to the Faizabad district court from Lucknow.  On the way back, he felt unwell and the police escort with him took him to the district hospital at Bara Banki.  Tariq Qasmi was in the police van.  Within half an hour he was given the news that Akhtar was dead.
Akhtar’s uncle told us that he reached Bara Banki in a matter of a couple of hours and was able to shoot a video of his nephew’s body before the post mortem.  He showed us the cd on a laptop.  Akhtar’s face was swollen and there was dry blood near his nose and ear.  His fingernails were blackish.  His back showed marks of severe beating and there was a large bruise on one side.  After seeing the video, it did not seem credible that he died a natural death.  His post mortem report says – Cause of death, uncertain.
We could not but agree with Akhtar’s uncle that an inhumane State was responsible for the young man’s death in custody.  Had it responded to the Nimesh Commissions’s recommendations, Akhtar would have been released or at least granted bail and would have been alive today.
Akhtar’s uncle then took me to meet Akhtar’s wife and mother.  How can one describe a his mother’s inconsolable grief and unending sorrow.  But her quiet dignity in the midst of such tragedy was heart-rending.  She told me that she had gone to visit her son once in the jail with her sister-in-law and he had told her that while the world was very cruel, he hoped that in the Next world he would find happiness and justice. --Subhashini Ali

Sunday, June 09, 2013

I am Gurpreet Kaur

I am very thankful to god that e sent the angel called Manika 
A person has full right to have dreams and its god’s responsibility to fulfill that
I am Gurpreet Kaur. My father is a common labour and my mother is no more. I have got four siblings who are younger than me. I did my schooling from govt. school o my village.
I was topper at my school. It was my duty to write thought of the day and top news of the day daily. 
One day it was silent, I was writing thought of the day at the board at my school. Suddenly what happened, silent got changed into music of happiness. I saw a headline which will change my life I didn’t know. It was written that a person want to give best education to 2oo students who belongs to poor families, who are brilliant but cannot able to have. A hope of light was arises at my mind. I decided to give my name in these students. I took the permission from the headmistress and went to the school in which the test will be taken place. It was full of struggle for me to do all the formalities because no one with me. I was alone did not have knowledge about anything but I was successful. I passed the exam taken by them. I took admission in the school of my dreams. I always had a dream to study in that school. I never thought that I will be an engineer but now I am.
The person was S. Jatinder Singh Uppal from Australia. Madam Manika is a daughter of S. jatindre Singh Uppal. I did my schooling up to 12 from Jatinder Singh Uppal and for my higher education Manika adopted me i.e. she sponsored me for my further studies. I never thought in my life that I will study in India’s top university. I didn’t know that god has sent an angel to fulfill the dreams of the students like me. Now I believe nothing is impossible.
A person has full right to have dreams and its god’s responsibility to fulfill that.
I am very thankful to god that e sent the angel called Manika .
May god bless Manika.

IHRO International Human Rights Organisation 
H.O.: 210, New Judicial Courts Complex, Ludhiana
M +91 7837500210, 161 5009210
IHRO Chair DS Gill      

I want nothing but justice for Preeti

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 at 9:01 AM
I want an immediate CBI probein Preeti’s acid attack case
Preeti succumbed to her injuries after being attacked with acid. Join me in demanding an immediate CBI probe to find out who attacked her.

Dear Rector -
My daughter Preeti died after she was attacked with acid in Mumbai.
She was attacked in broad daylight at Bandra Station in Mumbai on 2nd May this year. Her eyes were damaged, her liver and kidneys got infected and she endured crucifying pain for almost a month.
She put up a brave fight but eventually gave in to her injuries and infection. She left us after suffering a cardiac arrest on 1st June 2013.
We still don’t know who attacked her. The efforts made by the Maharashtra Government to investigate my daughter’s case have failed.
That’s why I started this petition on asking the Home Minister of Maharashtra, R.R. Patil to order a CBI probe and find out who fatally attacked my daughter. Will you support my petition?
Preeti left Delhi with the hope of starting a new life as a nurse in the Indian Navy. She worked very hard to get this job so that she could support us. But her excitement and enthusiasm was cut short due to an act of madness by a maniac.
The Maharashtra Government offered me a compensation of 2 lakhs which I refused because I want nothing but justice for Preeti. My wife and I want an immediate CBI probein Preeti’s acid attack case and her attacker to be punished.
Sign my petition telling the Home minister of Maharashtra, R.R. Patil, to order an immediate CBI probe in my daughter’s case and punish the culprits. Your support will give us strength and courage in our fight for justice.
Please sign my petition and forward it to your friends too.
Looking forward to your support,
Amar Singh Rathi via

Saturday, June 08, 2013

The First Lady

 Speaks at CBCF Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's (CBCF) 42nd Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner. September 22, 2012

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition

Courtesy Photo
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body temperature reaches above 104 F (40 C). Human body has limited capabilities to sustain extreme high temperature. Exposure to heat can cause the damage to our brain and other essential organs of body. Heatstroke can occur not only due to exposure to high environmental temperatures but also due to strenuous physical activity or by other conditions that raise your body temperature. Whatever the cause, you'll need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or death. It is a common problem in the tropical countries, and with ever-increasing global warming heat related illness are seen more frequently even in temperate climate. In India,
Northern and Western areas experiences extreme high temperatures during summers, which results in high incidence of heat stroke. Heat cramps and heat exhaustion are milder manifestations of heat-related health problems but can escalate to more serious problem of heatstroke.


Author Dr. Yashpal Singh (CMC)
Severe and prolonged heat exposure can leads to various symptoms’
  • High body temperature 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke.
  • A lack of sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin usually feels moist.
  • Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
  • Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
  • Racing heart rate and strong pulse (tachycardia). Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
  • Neurological symptoms. Headache is one of the commonest and early neurological symptom of heatstroke. You may have more serious manifestations like seizures, loss of consciousness, and hallucinations.
  • Muscle cramps or weakness. Your muscles may feel tender or cramped in the early stages of heatstroke, but may later go rigid or limp.


Heatstroke is the escalation of two less serious heat-related conditions. Recognition and early management of heat cramps and heat exhaustion prevents development of heatstroke:
  • Heat cramps. Initial exposure to extreme temperatures or physical exertion or both can leads to signs and symptoms of heat cramps usually include profuse sweating, fatigue, thirst and muscle cramps, usually in the stomach, arms or legs. This condition is common in hot and humid weather in our country or with moderate to heavy physical activity. You can usually treat heat cramps by drinking fluids containing electrolytes (Shikanji), resting and getting to a cool spot, like a shaded or air-conditioned area.
 Heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is more severe condition occurs when you don't act on the signs and symptoms of heat cramps. Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include a headache, dizziness or lightheadedness, nausea, skin that feels cool and moist, and muscle cramps. Often with heat exhaustion, you can treat the condition yourself by following the same measures used to treat heat cramps, such as drinking cool nonalcoholic beverages, getting into an air-conditioned area or taking a cool shower. If your symptoms persist, seek medical attention immediately.
The cause of your heatstroke depends on the activities you do that bring on your condition. Heatstroke can occur in these ways:
  • Environmental conditionsNonexertional heatstroke is typical in hot weather we are experiencing in this summer. In coming months when weather will be more humid and hot, the incidence of heatstroke will be high. The extreme environment temperatures cause your body temperature to increase. You may be doing some light or moderate activity, but activity is not the primary cause of your heatstroke.
  • Strenuous activity. Exertional heatstroke, caused by strenuous activity that increases your body temperature. You can have exertional heatstroke even if you're accustomed to working or exercising in very hot temperatures, though heatstroke is more likely to occur if you're not accustomed to high temperatures.
  • Dehydration, drinking alcohol can further expose you to develop heatstroke.

Who are at risk

Anyone can have heatstroke, but several factors may place you at greater risk:
  • Young or old age. Heat stroke often occurs in people who are unable to modify their environments: infants, the elderly and bed-ridden people The coping mechanism of body   to sustain in stressful condition is weak in children and elderly. Both age groups usually have difficulty remaining hydrated as well, also increasing risk.
  • Genetic response to heat stress.. Researchers believe that your genes may play a vital role in determining how your body will respond in extremely hot conditions.
  • Hot-weather intolerance. If you're not used to high temperatures or high humidity, you may be more susceptible to heat-related illness if you're exposed to a sudden increase in temperature, as might happen with a heat wave that occurs during late spring. Limit your physical activity for at least several days until you've acclimated to the higher temperatures and humidity. However, you may still have an increased risk of heatstroke until you've experienced several weeks of higher temperatures.
  • Outdoor activities. If you have to work outside, or you participate in school or professional sports that require you to practice outdoors in the summer, you have a higher risk of heatstroke.
  • Certain medications. Some medications are likely to increase   risk of heatstroke and other heat-related conditions because they affect your body's ability to stay hydrated and respond to heat. Be especially careful in hot weather if you take medications that narrow your blood vessels (vasoconstrictors), regulate your blood pressure by blocking adrenaline (beta blockers), rid your body of sodium and water (diuretics), or reduce psychiatric symptoms (antidepressants or antipsychotics). Additionally, stimulants, such as amphetamines and cocaine, increase your body's heat production, making you more vulnerable to heatstroke.


A possible complication of heatstroke is shock, which is a condition caused by severe decrease in of blood flow to body organs. Signs of shock include a very low blood pressure, blue lips and nails, and cool, clammy skin. Shock can lead to permanent damage of vital organs if it's not treated quickly and adequately.


Cooling your body to a normal temperature as quickly as possible is the aim of treatment, in order to prevent or reduce damage to your brain and vital organs. To do this, your doctor may:
  • Immerse you in cold water. Your doctor may immerse your body in a bath of cold water or ice water to quickly lower your temperature.
  • Use evaporation cooling techniques. Your doctor mists cool water on your skin and fans warm air over your body to evaporate the water on your skin.
  • Pack you with ice and cooling blankets. Another method is to wrap you in a special cooling blanket and pack your groin, neck, back and armpits with ice packs to lower your temperature.
  • Stop your shivering. If any treatments to lower your body temperature make you shiver, your doctor may give you a muscle relaxant, such as a benzodiazepine. Shivering increases your body temperature, making treatment less effective.

Prehospital remedies

Heatstroke is a medical emergency. You shouldn’t try to treat it at home.

However, if you notice signs of other heat-related illness before any noticeable signs or symptoms of heatstroke appear, you can take action to lower your body temperature and prevent your condition from progressing to heatstroke. In a lesser heat emergency, such as heat cramps or heat exhaustion, you can take the following steps for yourself and others:
  • Get to a shady or air-conditioned place. Remaining in the heat will worsen your condition. If you don't have air conditioning at home, go someplace that is air-conditioned, such as the mall, movie theatre or public library.
  • Cool off with damp sheets and a fan. If you're with someone who's experiencing heat-related symptoms, cool the person by covering him or her with damp sheets or by spraying with cool water. Direct air onto the person with a fan.
  • Take a cool shower or bath. If you're outdoors and nowhere near shelter,  soaking in a cool pond or stream can also help bring your temperature down.
  • Rehydration. Keep in mind that the symptoms of heat-related illnesses are caused not only when you become dehydrated, but also when you lose salt through sweating. Some sports drinks will replenish both water and salt. The amount you'll need to drink to rehydrate varies from person to person, so sip slowly and call your doctor if you're concerned. And, if you're on a low-sodium diet, be sure to check with your doctor before consuming drinks with a high salt content.
  • Don't drink beverages with alcohol or caffeine for fluid replacement. These drinks may interfere with your body's ability to control your temperature.

Prevention of heat related illness

Heatstroke is serious but easily preventable condition. We can prevent   heat-related illness by practicing simple precautions during hot weather condition
  • Wear loose fitting, lightweight clothing. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won't allow your body to cool properly by allowing your sweat to evaporate.
  • Seek a cooler environment. A good way to start cooling off is to get to a cooler environment, like an air-conditioned building or a shady spot.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Take extra precautions with certain medications. Several medications can affect your body's ability to stay hydrated.People who are taking many types of blood pressure, allergy, or depression medication may also be particularly at risk and should avoid hot environments
  • Avoid being inside a hot car. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 F (more than 11 C) in just 10 minutes. Never leave children or anyone else in a parked car in hot weather for any period of time.
  • Avoid strenuous activity in the heat. It's best not to exercise or do any strenuous activity in hot weather, but if you must, follow the same precautions and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. Taking breaks and replenishing your fluids during that time will help your body regulate your temperature. People like coaches, trainers, and lifeguards and lifeguards should be trained to specifically recognize signs of heat illness and what preventive measures to take.
·         When to see a doctor
If you think you have heat cramps or the beginning signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, first try to cool yourself and replenish your water and salt levels. If your condition has progressed past heat cramps and heat exhaustion and you feel any of the symptoms of heatstroke, seek immediate medical attention.
Heat related illnesses are important medical emergencies which are often misdiagnosed and mismanaged. The incidence of heat stroke is increasing with increased global warming. Greater awareness among general public and special groups who are exposed to high temperature regarding heat related illness will
Help in recognizing and treating these disorders at an early stage. Heat stroke is a preventable fatal condition and high index of clinical suspicion in appropriate setting can save the patient from more serious outcomes. Public education on heat illnesses is need of hour. Simple measures like restricted use of alcohol, enforced rests and increased and regular fluid intake, availability of cooling facilities for people working in hot areas will help in decreasing the effect of high temperature.

Dr. Yashpal Singh
Deptt of  Neurology
Christian Medical College and Hospital

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari

Interacting with the students
The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari interacting with the students from the University of Houston, USA, in New Delhi on May 31, 2013. (PIB)            31-May-2013