Saturday, February 21, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Uttar Pradesh: State Wide Hunger Strike by VOP
Manoj Kumar Pandey/Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi 15/2/2009 10:38:15 AM(IST)
India is a democratic and welfare State, where the people elects its representatives for the Parliament. These parliamentarians are working on behalf of the people according to the rules and guidelines laid down in the Constitution. To maintain the welfare status the Supreme Court has given direction to the state according to the constitution as the Supreme Court is considered as the guardian of our constitution. The Supreme Court in PUCL vs Union of India declared right to food as fundamental right and it is the duty of the state to ensure the fundamental rights of the citizens. In this case Supreme Court made provisions for ration card i.e. Antyodaya Ann Yojan (red card) and white card, Intregated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), old aged and widow pension, Mid-day Meal scheme, food for work program, Annapurna scheme, National Rozgar Gurantee Scheme (NREGA), and right to information etc. However, in spite of these directions given by the Supreme Court, there is grate lacuna in the implementation of these programs and the officers of the government are not paying heeds towards these developmental issues.
Voice of People (VOP) had written many times to the appropriate authority and government to draw their kind attention on the problems faced by the deprived, marginalized and dalits people. The VOP also tried to draw the attention of government on the corruption rampant in the offices of the government, but it seems that the government is not trying to find out the truth and they ignored most of the applications of VOP. So VOP has decided to start a campaign through peaceful hunger strike after giving ample time to administration, so that the heed of the State Government and administration may be attracted towards the issues related with development. The VOP is struggling with full potential and dedication in 60 blocks of 22 districts through this strike. The main objectives of this hunger strike are to awaken the administration and state government on of development scheme so that the developmental schemes may be properly implemented and the corruption may be routed out from the administration.
As soon as the hunger strike started Keshaw Ram of Pahala Block in Sitapur district has died in the night of the same day i.e.12th February, 2009 when he was raising his demand for red card through this hunger strike. Earlier he had applied for red card but unfortunately the card had not been issued to him till now. So he decided to join the hunger strike of VOP. This is shameful for Indian and state government that a young struggler had died due to hunger in democratic country. When Keshaw Ram died there was not a bit of cereal in his house. He died in hunger and his family had been provided thirty kg cereal and red card has been issued with immediate effect just after his death. The process of allotting land had been started and very soon the family will get the land and residence. He had been provided twenty thousand rupees as emergency relief and rupees one lakh assistance has been recommended from Chief Ministration. There are more than 200 Pasi families in that locality and continuously they are demanding for red card, residence, agricultural land, and other developmental scheme of government, and this was much highlighted issues in that area but the administration was continuously ignoring their demands and never took any action. Even the administration wanted to burn the dead body of Keshaw Ram while the community buries the body to perform funeral. This exhibits the cultural contradictory view of administration which is like a Brahmanical approach. All these are happening when cradle of state lies in the hand of dalit Chief Minister.
The PVCHR and VOP is saluting the sacrifice of Keshaw Ram.
In pursuance of plan VOP members gathered at Pindra Block of Varanasi district, the District Magistrate of Varanasi came and assured to fulfill demand till upcoming Tuesday. The VOP members showed their determination to wait for Tuesday by continuing their strike. Again, ADO Pancahyat has made pressure to break their strike.
In last the Station House Officer (SHO) of Phoolpur police station Mr R N Pandey came at the place and threatened many ways to VOP activists to finish the strike. Mr R N Pandey is the same person who imposed false charges against Dr Lenin and other human right activists on the statement of the person who are notorious and mafia. So it clearly shows his malafide intention towards VOP activists.
The VOP members and activist are trying to awakening the administration by raising their genuine demand in peaceful manner, but the administration and the SHO of Phoolpur police station are causing unnecessary hindrances. It seems that the administration and the police are not willing that the State Government may know about the problems of people and implementation of development scheme.
We are living in free India and the Constitution of India provides right to freedom of speech and expression through article 19 (1) (a). Freedom of speech and expression also enable an individual or group to participate in public activities. This strike is peaceful and intended to make aware the people and awake the administrative machinery.
So the campaign has been started and the people became aware about their rights and the time has come to implement the developmental scheme at ground level and mere declarations are not enough. This is the pious objective of the VOP.