Sewage-children remark: Plaint reaches chief justice

July 19, 2012

A city NGO has complained to the chief justice of Karnataka high court about the remark of a school association president who compared children of poor families to sewage water.

GS Sharma, president of Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA), had made the comment while talking about children who get admission to schools under the provision of Right to Education Act, which mandates that 25% seats be reserved for children from economically weak families.
Media had quoted him as saying: “The moment sewage mixes into the sea, the whole sea becomes sewage… The practice in private and government schools is different. If poor children join these schools, parents from the upper class will come and take the transfer certificate (of their wards).”

Taking offence to the statement, South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (Sichrem) on Tuesday filed a complaint with the chief justice and gave a copy of the complaint to chief minister, Karnataka State Human Rights Commission, education department.
The complaint letter states that it is this type of discriminatory mindset that contaminates the schools and the students. It is evident that students from upper class families were being fed with these discriminatory thoughts. Education is a constitutional right and any debate over the validity of this right is pointless.
Further, the complaint points at KUSMA’s call for strike, in response of which about 60 schools were closed since Monday.

The complaint states that the association has gone on strike over some issues regarding the RTE and this demonstrates that it is against providing good education to children from poor families. The protest is not only a constitutional issue, but also points at an inherently bad mindset. Students from poor families who have taken admission in good schools under the RTE are facing discrimination.

Source: DNA; Dated: July 19, 2012

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Southern Regional Consultation towards India’s Second Universal Periodic Review – 26 to 28 September 2011 at Bangalore

October 1, 2011

The Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR) and South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) organised a consultation for the southern states of India towards preparing the stake holders’ report to be submitted before the UN for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The consultation for the southern states was the final of the series of five regional consultations held across India. Apart from training participants on UN human rights mechanisms – with a focus on the UPR process – this consultation aimed at gathering testimonies, documentation and information on the most pressing human rights challenges in the southern states. The information collected at this consultation will be included  into a national stakeholders’ report and submitted to Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) by the 7th of November 2011.

There were 35 representatives from different NGOs in the southern states gathered at the consultation to share their experiences and challenges in fighting for rights.

Dr. C.R. Neelakandan, Writer and Human Rights Activist and  Ms. Anuradha Saibaba, Assistant Professor, National Law School of India University presented the Overview of the Human Rights Situation in the South.

On the exercise of assessing the Human Rights Situation of the Region the participants break in to 4 groups on the following Human Rights Themes

  1. Access to Justice
  2. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights & the Rights to Development
  3. Discrimination
  4. Human Rights Defenders
Each group came out with the compilation of the main issues/comments that emerged during their discussions as a way forward to analyze trends and assess how various constituencies are affected.
Mr. Samuel Paul, Founder Director – IIM, Ahamedabad delivered the concluding remark on “Human Rights in the Region: The Way Forward”. This was followed by the responses of Justice S.R. Nayak, Chairperson SHRC, Karnataka and Mr. K.V. Rajanna, Commissioner for Disabilities, Karnataka.

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