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SC pulls up Centre on public places not being disabled-friendly

JK has not even identified such buildings

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, July 25: The Supreme Court Wednesday pulled up the Centre over non-compliance of its last year’s verdict on providing safe access to transportation, buildings and public places to differently-abled persons and said that the government has to follow the law and its order.

The top court had on December 15 last year said that the right to dignity, which is ensured in the constitutional set up for every citizen, applies with much more vigour in cases of persons suffering from disability and it was the duty of the state and public authorities to lay down proper norms in this regard.

It also expressed annoyance over the states not complying with its order and warned that respective chief secretaries will be summoned to explain the delay.

 

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan asked the Centre to file a detailed reply in four weeks on the steps taken so far and the timeline to comply with the direction of the court.

“Everything we said in the judgement of December 15, 2017, already existed in the statute. It is not something which is a creation of court. It was your (Centre) law and we just asked you to comply with it. It is your job.

“The government has to tell us the deadline for complying with the directions of the court. We are not running the government. You have to comply with the directions and the law,” the bench said.

It said that the deadline set by the Accessible India Campaign (AIC), to make 20-50 important state government buildings in 50 cities fully accessible, has not been met and all that was done is identification and audit of the buildings.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, said that several of court’s direction has been complied with and the government will file an affidavit bringing the exact position before the court.

Advocate Rajan Mani, appearing for petitioner Rajiv Raturi, said that court had passed 11 directions, but only the basic things have been done and most of the directions are yet to be complied with.

He said that states like Assam, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Dadar and Nagar Haveli have not even identified the buildings.

The bench asked the counsel for Assam and other states and Union territories to file a detailed affidavit in four weeks on the steps taken so far, and warned that it may call chief secretaries to explain the delay in complying with the directions.

The bench fixed the matter for further hearing on September 5.

The top court, in a fresh interlocutory application seeking to make judiciary disabled-friendly, especially for visually impaired people, issued notices to the registrar generals of all the high courts and the secretary general of the Supreme Court.

The apex court had on December 15 last year passed 11 directions which include making public institutions, transport and educational institutions disabled-friendly.

The top court passed a slew of directions, including all government buildings providing any services to the public be made fully accessible to differently-abled persons by June next year as per provision of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

On the issue of making 50 per cent of all the government buildings in the national capital and all state capitals fully-accessible by December this year, the court said though deadline for identifying such buildings was fixed as February 28 this year, only seven states have done this as per a status report of August this year.

It had directed the remaining states to identify the buildings by February 28 this year and said that it is made clear that no further time on this behalf shall be granted.

As deadline for retrofitting is concerned, the work should be completed by December this year, the court had said.

It also directed the states to identify 10 most important cities or towns and complete the accessibility audit of 50 per cent of government buildings at these places by February 28 and complete the retrofitting work by December next year.


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Kashmir

APDP’s 2019 Calendar: An old plea in a new year: Where are our loved ones you took?

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By Tabish Shafi

Srinagar, Jan 15: For the third straight year, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) Tuesday released a calendar reiterating the forced disappearances of the thousands of people during the last three decades of political conflict in Kashmir.

A group of people, longing for their snatched loved ones, displayed the calendar at Srinagar’s Pratap Park; their silence asking the same questions they have been asking for years now: How long do we wait? Where is our kin? Are they dead? Can we, at least, get their bodies back?

 

The title page of the calendar bears a moving illustration by the noted sketch-artist, Suhail Naqshbandi: A female clad in red pheran, half of her face mournful and weary, the other half worn down to bare bones as she holds a photo of the disappeared person she has been longing for. A few shades of dark and grey that look like a cloud form the background.

Inside are 12 leaves, each carrying a sketch of the disappeared person, with a brief bio of the person–where, when and in what circumstances the person was taken.

Among the parents of the disappeared ones is Ali Mohammad Dar from Noorpora Magam.

His 18-year-old son, Ghulam Mohiuddin, was picked up by the government forces in 1991, never to return.

Dar says the calendar made him realize that he was not the only one who lost his son.“There are hundreds of parents like me,” said Dar, whose forehead was strapped with a bandage as he had recently met with an accident.

Chairperson APDP, Parveena Ahanger—whose own son is among the victims of forced disappearance––said that coming out with the calendar was an attempt to keep alive the stories of the missing ones.

“There have been so many disappearances in Kashmir that two calendars could not feature them all. We released the third one and will continue to feature all others too in the coming years,” she said.

Parveena said that APDP was planning to send the calendars out of Kashmir too, especially to the educational institutions, so that the people and students outside the valley know about the tragedies that have befallen the families of the disappeared.“It has been 29 years now since our loved ones disappeared. I ask both the government of Jammu and Kashmir, and India that if they deny our beloved ones’ disappearances then where are they? At least, handover their dead bodies if they aren’t alive!” a teary-eyed Parveena pled.

Asked about the inquiry by High Court and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) regarding the disappearances, Ahanger said: “Court (referring to judiciary) only does ‘inquiry’ and avoids our cases by directing them to SHRC. When court, which is the highest authority, is not able to deliver justice, what can we expect from SHRC?”

Parveena said she did not trust the politicians who “claim to help but in reality are interested in gaining power”. “I trust my Lord. We APDP) will continue this movement till our last breath and will ensure that none from the younger generation suffers like we did.”
APDP is an organization that was begun as a one woman endeavour.

Parveena, who had lost her son in the ‘90s, strived to mobilise and provide support to other such families, who had lost their loved ones to enforced disappearances.

Her aim: to put pressure on the authorities to investigate the estimated 8000-10,000 cases of involuntary and enforced disappearances in Kashmir.

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Kashmir

Rajouri set to become J&K’s first district to fully comply with JJA norms

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RAJOURI, JAN 15: Rajouri will soon become the first district in the State to be fully complying with all the laid down provisions of Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) and having all the structures and institutions provided under the Act.

This was stated in a meeting chaired by Chairperson Selection Committee, Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi which was also attended by District Development Commissioner Rajouri, Aijaz Asad.

The Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board, District Child Protection Unit and the Special Juvenile Police Unit are already in place in the district.

 

The district is in process of setting up Village Level Child Protection Committees (VLCPCs) and Block Level Child Protection Committees (BLCPCs) in accordance with rules/guidelines by February 15, 2019.

The setting up of VLCPCs and BLCPCs will give the necessary impetus to full implementation of Juvenile Justice Act in the district. It has been already announced that an effort would be made to have VLCPCs and BLCPCs in place in the State by March 31, 2019.
MD ICPS G A Sofi, SMD and Member Secretary ICPS would coordinate with District Administration and oversee the creation of proposed structures.

Meanwhile, Justice Masoodi accompanied by Members SCOC– Rajiv Khajuria, Dr. Rouf — and ICPS officers on a day-long visit to Rajouri, inaugurated two-day capacity building workshop for the Juvenile Justice stakeholders in collaboration with ‘Save the Children’.

Earlier, the meeting decided to explore the possibility of shifting CCI (Girls)/Nariniketan from the present rented building to any other suitable place. The meeting was informed that the District administration has already identified a plot of land measuring 15 kanal at Rajouri for construction of CCI for Girls which will be replete with all modern facilities.

Chairperson CWC Mohammad Iqbal Shawl was asked to coordinate with District Administration for prompt possession of identified land for CCI construction.

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Congress will give top priority to trade, commerce and tourism: Mir

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Jammu, Jan 15 : While speaking in a programme of Trade, Commerce & Tourism wing of Congress to access the difficulties, problems and ground realities of the people of this line ,which was participated by the representatives of that wing from the whole J&K state, G A Mir President PradeshCongress Committee who was Chief Guest on the occasion besides congratulating Rakesh Wazir for his new assignment as head of this wing of Congress for J&K State said that Trade, Commerce & Tourism would be the top priority of Congress if it comes to power in the next elections.

He said that Youth of the Country and J&K state in particular want employment and that cannot be generated until unless we focus our all energies for the revival of Trade, Commerce and more particularly the Tourism in our state which provides maximum job opportunities to the people of our state and which had got neglected miserably in the previous regime of BJP-PDP combine which in fact had no policy or concrete thinking with regard to that and this could be judged from the fact that Tourists which were there at its peak in J&K in 2012 when Congress led government was there in power in the state reached to the lowest level in last six years in 2017 when BJP-PDP government was in power and this downward trend is going on like that and as a result most of the people of the state became un employed and are now running for their survival.

He said that people of the state want jobs and not mere slogans and since the things were not tackled properly as a result leaving aside new jobs even the people who were working became un employed and thus it is very important that a concrete policy for the revival of Tourism which is decreasing with every passing day and as such revival of Industry, Trade & Commerce besides Tourism in the state is the need of hour which are major job providers in the state and can act as major source of livelihood of the people of the state.

 

Rakesh Wazir President Trade,Commerce & Tourism wing of Congress while speaking on the occasion besides thanking the organization for giving the responsibility of heading such an important wing of the party said that he will leave no stone un turned for the upliftment of Trade, Commerce & Tourism of the state because these are the back bones of economy and employment of any state and until unless focused approach is not adopted towards this sector employment cannot be generated and more particularly when state is passing through a turmoil and condition & situation of the state is becoming from bad to worse as for as arrival of Tourists, and coming of new industries and trade is concerned and thus consolidated approach towards these sectors with the help of all can only bring the things on track.

He further said that very soon with the active guidance, help and approval of the leadership this wing after having full state body, will have organization at district and then up to every small or big town or village level so that ways and means of employment are generated at every nook and corner of the state and proper policy and programme is chalked out with rightful and clear aim in mind.

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