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Author: Fareeha Iftikhar

Delhi Nursery admissions: Govt tightens grip over pvt schools flouting norms

Tightening the noose around the private schools violating norms by setting abolished criteria for the nursery admissions, the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) has started examining the regulations set by such schools.The admission process in the entry-level classes at 1,700 private unaided recognised Delhi schools kicked off on Wednesday. While most of the schools are giving heavy weightage to the ‘neighborhood’ criteria — children residing within the 0-3 km radius, arbitrary regulations issued by several schools are giving nightmares to parents seeking seats for their wards.”We have been receiving complaints against several private schools. We have already started examining the criteria set by these schools and are in the process of sending showcause notices to them,” said Atishi Marlena, Advisor to Education Minister Manish Sisodia.In blatant violation of the DoE guidelines, while some schools, including Mahavir Senior Model School on GT-Karnal Road, are granting extra points to “vegetarian”, “non-smoker” and “teetotaler” parents, some like the Apeejay School in Sheikh Sarai are preferring children/grandchildren of former school promoters or office bearers.Some schools, including St Michael’s Junior School in Prasad Nagar and Vidya Bal Bhawan School in Shakarpur are even violating the Right to Education (RTE) Act guidelines by calling parents and their wards for”interaction”. In another violation of the DoE norms, Abhinav Public School in Pitampura and Sachdeva Public School in Rohini have asked parents to give details of their monthly income, educational and professional qualification in the forms.”Some schools have issued absurd admission criteria which are nowhere mentioned in the DoE’s circular issued on December 19. DoE’s intervention only can stop them from following these unreasonable criteria,” said Ritika Singh, a parent seeking admission for her 3-year-old daughter.Meanwhile, experts have welcomed the government’s decision to intervene.”Schools are not only violating the DoE’s norms but also the RTE guidelines. It is good that the DoE has started looking into the matter,” said Sumit Vohra, founder of www.admissionsnursery.com.VIOLATIONIn blatant violation of the DoE guidelines, some schools, including Mahavir Senior Model School on GT-Karnal Road, are granting extra points to “vegetarian”, “non-smoker” and “teetotaler” parents. Some other schools like the Apeejay School in Sheikh Sarai are preferring children/grandchildren of former school promoters or office bearers.

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Delhi nursery admission: Nursery nightmares begin

With most of the private unaided recognised schools in the national capital giving heavy weightage to the ‘neighbourhood’ criteria — children residing within the 0-3 km radius — arbitrary regulations issued by several schools are giving nightmares to parents seeking nursery admission for their children.In blatant violation of the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) guidelines, while some schools are granting extra points to “vegetarian”, “non-smoker” and “teetotaller” parents, some are preferring children/grandchildren of former school promoters or office bearers.According to the criteria released by Mahavir Senior Model School on GT-Karnal Road, extra five points will be given to non-smoker, teetotaller and vegetarian parents, in a bid to shun “social evils”.”We have included the point just to make people realise how healthy and happy their lives would be if they won’t smoke and drink. We, however, are not asking them to give a certificate as a proof,” said SL Jain, principal of the school.Similarly, in another violation, Apeejay school in Sheikh Sarai is giving 15 points to the “Children/Grandchildren of promoters/office bearers/members of board of governors of the school” in its criteria, the move experts term a “disregard” of the government’s directions. “This is a blatant violation and disregard of the DoE’s regulations. The school is also giving a backdoor entry to the candidates coming from its own play school by giving extra 10 points to the child coming from a lower class at any other Apeejay School,” said Sumit Vohra, founder of www.admissionsnursery.com.”Some schools have issued absurd admission criteria which are nowhere mentioned in the DoE’s circular issued on December 19. Parents like us are really confused. The DoE Should immediately issue notices to such schools,” said Ritika Singh, a parent seeking admission for her 3-year-old daughter.Several schools, including Abhinav Public School in Pitampura and Sachdeva Public School in Rohini have asked parents’ to give details of their monthly income, educational and professional qualification in their forms. “How can our educational and professional qualifications can be the parameters of screening the forms of our children? This is absolutely unfair,” said Sikha Sharma, another parent.Officials at the DoE, however, said that they are receiving the complaints and strict action will be taken against all these schools. “We have received numerous complaints through our grievance portal on the first day. Strict action will be taken against all such schools,” a senior official said.The admission process in the entry level classes in 1,700 private unaided recognised schools in the national capital kicked off on Wednesday. The last date to submit application forms in schools is January 17 and the first list will be released on February 1. The admission process will wrap up by March 31, 2018.

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Delhi Nursery Admisions: School has ‘novel’ way to curb population

Landing itself in controversy yet again, this year as well, the popular Salwan Public School in Delhi has barred parents with more than two children from seeking admission for their wards in nursery. The school will mention this criteria in its admission form, to be uploaded on Wednesday. According to Sushil Salwan, chairperson of the Salwan group, India’s rising population has become a major hurdle in its development and everybody should contribute to help the nation in curbing it. “ It is our way of motivating people to have less children. We have already mentioned this in our admission form, which will be uploaded on Wednesday,” he said.Last year, both branches of the school — Salwan Montessori and GD Salwan — located in Rajendra Nagar in west Delhi, were slammed by parents for mentioning this clause in its admission form, which stated: “Parents having more than two children, including whose admission is sought, need not apply.” The Delhi government had issued a show cause notice to the school.Unfazed by the criticism, Salwan said: “We are ready to take all the media gagging for the sake of our country. We are not afraid. Criticising those who take bold initiatives has become a norm these days.” When contacted, the Delhi government officials said they will take action against the school, if this happens. “Strict action will be taken against any school for setting such unjustified criteria,” said Atishi Marlena, advisor to Delhi deputy chief minister and education minister Manish Sisodia.Experts also slammed the move and termed it “arbitrary”, with no mention in the Directorate of Education (DoE) guidelines. “Last year also, the school had included this clause and faced criticism from parents as well as the government. This is no way of contributing to the country’s development. If the school actually wants to do something for the welfare of the nation, it should provide underprivileged children with more opportunities to study,” said Sumit Vohra of the admissionsnursery.com.Meanwhile, parents who were preparing to apply at the Salwan School, are in a fix. “How can a school accept or reject us on the basis of how many children we have? This is the most bizzare regulation one can put,” said Ankit Saini, a Rajendra Nagar resident.Admissions in entry-level classes in 1,700 private, unaided, recognised schools in the national Capital will begin on Wednesday. Strange solution Salwan Public School in New Delhi has barred parents with more than two children from seeking admission for wards in nursery as a way of motivating people to have fewer children.

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11 Jamia students asked to leave NCC camp for ‘sporting beard’

Eleven Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) students were allegedly asked to leave an ongoing National Cadet Corps (NCC) camp in Rohini for sporting beard. Calling it blatant “discrimination” and demanding that they should be reinstated back in the camp, the students held a protest at the university campus on Monday.According to the agitating students, they were asked to leave the camp on Sunday night after they denied to shave off their beards. “A total of 35 students from the JMI had joined the 10-day camp on December 19, of which, eleven of us sport a beard. We were repeatedly asked to shave to which we denied as it is against our religious beliefs. We were finally thrown out of the camp,” said one of the students, who did not wish to be named due to the NCC protocol.The NCC officials, however, say that the cadets other than Sikhs are forbidden from growing beard during the camps.“It’s a part of NCC’s code of conduct and not any discrimination. Nobody was asked to leave the camp,” a senior official said. Despite several attempts, NCC PRO Colonel Vikas, however, could not be reached for a comment.After staging an overnight protest outside the camp, the students continued their protest at the Jamia campus till Monday evening demanding the suspension of Jamia’s NCC in-charge Rajnish Kumar.“Our university in-charge did not help the students when they were discriminated. Some of the students have been attending the camp for the last two-three years but none of them were asked to shave,” said Aqdas Sami, a third-year Bioscience student.The students also met Vice-Chancellor, Talat Ahmad urging him to take immediate action against Kumar.“The VC assured the students that he will constitute an inquiry committee to look into the matter,” said Meeran Haider from the Jamia Students’ Forum. When DNA contacted Kumar, he denied to make any statement and said that he will submit a report to the VC. A former Jamia NCC in-charge, however, claimed that it never happened during his 30-year long association with the tri-service organisation. “Never before were the students asked to shave during the NCC camps. Ours is one of the best NCC team in Delhi,” he added. A similar issue was raised earlier in August 2015, when Andhra Pradesh Minorities Commission had issued a notice to the Director-General of NCC seeking explanation on a circular issued two years ago which had forbidden cadets, other than Sikhs, from growing beard. Later in December that year, the Commission had asked the Defence Ministry to make the exemption, granted to Sikh community applicable to Muslims, too. The matter, however, is still under examination.

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Parents of kids born on March 31 at their wits’ end

Violation of Delhi government’s Directorate of Education’s (DoE) norms by several private schools in the national Capital is giving nightmares to parents seeking nursery admission for their tiny tots. And for those whose children were born on March 31, the confusion seems to have no end.The DoE had directed all unaided recognised private schools to set the lower age limit for students in nursery, KG, and Class I at three, four, and five years, as of March 31, 2018, respectively. It had also asked them to not implement any upper age limit. Flouting the directions, however, nearly 20 private schools have set an age bar in their criteria for nursery admissions. This has made many children eligible for admission in both nursery and KG.Some schools, including Fr. Peter Mermier Pre-School in Janakpuri, have issued a notice stating that “the child should complete 3 years of age by March 31, 2018. The upper limit is 4 years”. Some, including Venkateshwar International School in Dwarka, have stated that “children whose birth date falls between April 1, 2014 and March 21, 2015 are eligible for admission in nursery”.In the first case, a child born on March 31 will not be able to take admission in nursery. In the second case, the candidate will be eligible. Also, the child who turns four on March 31, 2019, can enroll in KG anywhere.Hassled by this confusing criteria, parents said they don’t know whether they should enroll their wards in nursery or KG. “My son will turn 4 on March 31, which makes him ineligible for admission in nursery in various schools. I don’t know what to do. I can’t enroll him directly in KG,” said Manisha Singh, a resident of east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar.Experts, at the same time, said the schools were not only violating the DoE norms by fixing the upper age criteria but also “misinterpreting” it. “Many schools have failed to comprehend the DoE’s upper age limit guideline set in 2015, which states that the candidate should be less than 4 years of age on March 31 of the year of admission. That makes the child born on March 31 not eligible for a nursery seat,” said Sumit Vohra, founder of admissions nursery.com.When contacted, DoE officials said they were not aware of the development and strict actions will be taken if any such violation of the order is found.THE CASEIn 2015, the Delhi government had declared that it would impose an upper age limit on nursery admissions. This part of the government notification was challenged in the High Court. Earlier this year, however, the court upheld the notification and allowed DoE to fix an upper limit for admission in entry level classes in private recognised unaided schools.

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UGC’s letter on trips to North East upsets Delhi University faculty

A letter from the UGC to the Vice-Chancellors of all the central universities encouraging them to organise excursions to northeast states has created an uproar among the faculty members at the Delhi University (DU) with many of them terming it a “political move”.In the letter, Jitendra K Tripathi, Joint Secretary, University Grants Commission (UGC), directed the universities to implement the ‘action points’ that emerged out of a recent meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the tourism sector. “Universities to be encouraged to organise excursions to the North East,” the letter said. The regulatory body also urged the universities to make tourism a part of course curriculum of students to sensitise them about the sector.University officials, however, said that by mentioning a particular part of the country where the Assembly elections are scheduled next year, in its letter, the incumbent government is trying to”propagate its political agenda”.”I have been teaching in a central university since the last fifteen years but this is the first time that a government is asking educational institutes to take its students on a trip to a prescribed place,” said Rajib Ray, president of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA).Four northeastern states — Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram – will go to the polls next year.

Schools defy DoE order, set age bar for admission

In defiance of Delhi government’s Directorate of Education’s (DoE) order on the upper-age limit, three prominent private schools in the Capital on Thursday set an age bar in their criteria for nursery admissions. The move sent parents into a tizzy as the DoE on Tuesday announced to delay the implementation of upper-age criteria to the academic session 2019-20.The DoE had directed all unaided recognised private schools to set the lower-age limit for students in nursery, KG and Class I at three, four and five years, respectively, as of March 31, 2018. It also asked them not to implement any upper-age limit.The three private schools including Frank Anthony Public School, Lajpat Nagar Cambridge Foundation, Rajouri Garden and NK Bakrodia Public School, Dwarka, uploaded their admission criteria mentioning the upper-age limit.”Age of the child at entry level should be less than four years as on March 31, 2018 as per the orders by the DoE, government of NCT of Delhi,” read the criteria issued by the NK Bakrodia Public School. The principal, however, could not be reached for a comment.In 2015, the Delhi government had declared that it would impose an upper-age limit. This part of the government notification was challenged in high court. However, earlier this year, the court upheld the notification and allowed DoE to fix an upper limit for admission to entry level classes in private recognised unaided schools. The DoE on Tuesday set aside speculation and announced that it would not set a bar.The development has left parents anxious.”My son will turn exactly 4 years one month and 20 days old on March 31, 2018. I have no clue if we will be able to enroll him in nursery this year if other shools will also do the same,” said Ritika Kumar, a parent, who missed getting a seat for her child last year.”Only three schools have come up with their admission criteria and all have put upper age cut off. The DoE should immediately look into the matter,” said Sumit Vohra, founder, admissions nursery.com.When contacted, officials at the DoE said that they were not aware of the development and strict actions will be taken if any such violation of the order is found.NO AGE BARThe DoE had directed all unaided recognised private schools to set the lower-age limit for students in nursery, KG and Class I at three, four and five years, respectively, as of March 31, 2018. It also asked them not to implement any upper-age limit. It also asked them not to implement any upper-age limit.

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3 years on, no third gender students in Delhi University’s regular classes

When the Delhi University (DU) decided to add the third gender category in its admission forms for undergraduate courses in 2015, the move was hailed by everyone, especially the transgender students. Three academic sessions down the line, however, not even a single student has enrolled in regular colleges under the category across the university.According to the University’s Department of Adult, Continuing Education, and Extension, no third-gender applicants have joined regular colleges in undergraduate courses as of now. The department had recently written to all colleges to seek related information.The university, however, witnessed a five-fold increase in the number of applications (83) received under the third-gender category, as compared to last year’s 15. “Every year, we receive applications from third gender students, but no one joins regular college. Most prefer DU’s School of Open Learning (SOL)” said Professor Rajesh, a faculty member at the Department.As per a recent research conducted by students on the issue, even if some third gender students study at regular colleges, they are not comfortable revealing their identity. “We came to know that some transgender students attend regular classes but they chose not to take admission under the third gender category,” said Aslam, a PhD scholar.When DNA contacted several third gender students pursuing education through distance learning, humiliation and hesitation emerged as the main reasons behind not opting for regular education. “It’s very difficult for us to attend regular classes. Neither students nor teachers are sensitive about our issues and problems,” said Rehana, 27, a transgender who recently completed her BA (programme) from SOL.Talking about her experience during the weekly SOL classes, she said: “I left attending classes there after facing lewd comments from students. Several other transgender students were also there, but none of them attended classes,” said Rehana, who is now planning to pursue masters from distance learning.Officials at the university, however, claimed that they have a “healthy” atmosphere for such students at their campuses. “We regularly organise interactive sessions to encourage more third gender students to join mainstream education. But more sensitisation is required. We need to take collective responsibility to bridge this gap,” said Anju Srivastava, principal of the Hindu College.Students, however, claimed that the university’s policy regarding name change was yet another hurdle for the third gender students. “I have been requesting the varsity to change my name in my marksheet and certificate for the last three years but to no avail. They say it needs to be changed in school,” said Akansha, a third-year BA (prog) student at SOL. “I became aware of my identity after I finished school,” she added.Recently, a transgender student had moved the Delhi High Court, challenging the DU and the CBSE over their policies on name change. According to the CBSE policy, her lawyer explained, a student has to change his/her name before the results are declared by the board.Experts, however, said an inclusive atmosphere was needed to bring these students to the mainstream right from the school level. “We need to bring attitudinal changes among these students and other stake holders from the very start. It can’t be done at graduation level,” said Professor Rajesh, who has also submitted a report on the issues of transgenders in education and employment to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.THE DISCOMFORTAs per a recent research conducted by students, even if some third gender students study at regular colleges, they are not comfortable revealing their identity. Officials claim that they have a “healthy” atmosphere at their campuses

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Congress leaders take cold comfort in the ‘Fall of Modi’

As initial trends started showing, the Congress being ahead of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the party headquarters at Akbar road was filled with excited supporters from across the country.However, as the day proceeded and the BJP inched closer to the victory, the celebratory mood turned somber with more media persons thronging the office premises. The party’s robust presence in the initial trends was applauded by the senior party leaders with the former president Sonia Gandhi visiting her son and the new party president Rahul Gandhi at his residence.Back at the Congress office, party workers kept on waiting for Rahul throughout the day. He, however, did not turn up and rather made his way to Parliament.Party leaders termed Gujarat election results as the “fall” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reign. “We have got more support this time if we compare it with 2014 Lok Sabha results when the BJP had won all the 26 seats,” said former All India Mahila Congress, President Shobha Ojha.

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No sports facility is 100 govt schools

Ashutosh Kumar, a class VII student at Government Co-ed Senior Secondary School in north-west Delhi’s Rohini, wants to refine athletic skills as he aspires to win an Olympic medal for the country. However, the 12-year-old is not getting the opportunity in the absence of a working sports ground in his school.For Kumar, son of an e-rickshaw driver, enrolling in a private school with a well-equipped playground is a distant dream.”I don’t have interest in studies. I want to pursue sports as a career option. Our school doesn’t have a playground where I can practice. I asked my parents to change my school but they can’t afford it,” he said.Even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government talks about creating a sports university and provide specialised training to tap sports talents, as many as 100 government schools in the Capital do not even have sports grounds, reply to an RTI filed by DNA revealed.Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, it is mandatory to have a playground on school premises. And, in the absence of space, the schools have to make adequate arrangements in a nearby park/playground.”No such effort has been taken by the school authority even as we don’t have a sports ground,” said a faculty member at Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Mangolpuri.The Delhi government recently constructed two new swimming pools – one in Mayur Vihar Phase-2 and another in west Vinod Nagar – and a world-class hockey stadium in Boys Senior Secondary School in Ghumanhera village.”What will they do in the absence of trained teachers? 50 per cent of the sanctioned posts for Physical Education Teachers are lying vacant,” said Ajay Veer Yadav, general secretary, Government School Teachers Association and a physical education teacher at a school in Karol Bagh.As per a recent data, of the 864 sanctioned posts of post-graduate teacher (PGT) Physical Education, 636 are lying vacant. Also, among graduate teachers (TGTs), supposed to teach up to class VIII, of the 2205 sanctioned posts, 901 are lying vacant.Officials at the Directorate of Education (DoE), however, cited lack of space to construct sports grounds in these schools. However, teachers said the government should focus on arranging cluster sports grounds.”The government can make cluster grounds for two-three nearby schools. But no such efforts are being taken at their end,” Yadav added.Around 100 government schools in the capital do not even have sports grounds Of 864 sanctioned posts of post-graduate teacher (PGT) Physical Education, 636 are lying vacant in government schools. Of 2205 sanctioned posts graduate teachers (TGTs), 901 are lying vacant.

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‘Alarming’ transition rate in Delhi govt, MCD schools

Almost half of the students studying in Delhi government schools did not move to the secondary level through examinations between 2015-17, while in primary and middle classes, they were promoted irrespective of their learning levels, states a report released by an NGO on Thursday.“The transition rate of students in state government schools from Class 9 to 10 at 56.95 percent whereas it is 98.55 percent from Class 7th to 8th for the academic year 2015-16 to 2016-17,” says the report titled ‘State of Public (School) Education in Delhi-2017’ which has been compiled by NGO Praja Foundation on the basis of information collected by RTIs and Surveys.Calling the transition rate “alarming”, the report said, “It clearly shows that students were promoted irrespective of the learning levels in the earlier years and the teachers either were ‘callous’ in their approach or the monitoring of RTE norms was not stringent.”Under Right to Education (RTE) 2009, it is mandatory to promote students to higher classes every year till Class VIII. The policy was instituted to check the high number of dropouts, but gradually experts cited it as a reason for high failure and drop-outs in Classes IX and X.“44 percent of the students enrolled in Class 9 in 2013-14 could not reach Class 12 in 2016-17. Similarly, 43 percent did not go to Class 10 in 2016-17 from Class 9,” the report said.However, adviser to the Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia Atishi Marlena said that the transition rate in state government schools have increased after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government came in power.“The failure rate in Class IX was constantly high because of no detention policy until last year as the AAP government has been taking constant efforts to help students,” she said.The report further highlighted the drop in enrollment numbers both in schools run by the AAP-led Delhi government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs), with highest drop of 30 percent being reported in class I, between 2010 to 2017.“Enrollment in class I has gone down from 1,92820 in 2010-11 to 1,35,491 in 2016-17 in MCD and state government schools,” it stated.While Delhi government officials held “deteriorating state” of MCD schools, responsible for the drop in enrollment in class I, officials at the civic bodies cited “insufficient resources” as the reason behind this. “Primary education in Delhi is under the MCDs and the condition of their schools are really bad. Why would anyone prefer to send their children in these schools,” Marlena said.Besides, the overall drop in enrollment was reportedly 7 percent from 2013-14 to 2016-17 in these schools. “Total enrollment fell down by 1,76743 students, including 93,444 MCD students and 83,299 state government students, from 2013-14 to 2016-17,” the Praja report said.Meanwhile, the report also revealed that 85 percent students from Municipal schools and 74 percent from state government schools are taking private tuitions “It shows that the parents are not satisfied with the quality of education being offered in these schools,” it added.

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Family celebrates loss of Max Hospital’s licence

More than a week after one of the newborn twins of a family was erroneously declared dead by Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, the family heaved a sigh of relief on Friday after the Delhi government cancelled the licence of the hospital for medical negligence.The 22-week premature baby had died at a nursing home in Pitampura on Wednesday.The grieving parents of the newborn are now also demanding the immediate arrest of the two doctors involved in the alleged negligence.”We welcome the Delhi government decision, as we were also demanding the cancellation of the hospital’s licence. But why have the two doctors involved in the negligence not been arrested yet, even after being declared guilty by the hospital itself?”asked Ashish Kumar, the child’s father.”We demand the immediate arrest of both doctors. Also, they should be black-listed, so nobody has to go through a similar situation,” he said.Soon after receiving the news of the cancellation, the family members, who have been sitting on strike outside the hospital for the past five days, said that they had never imagined that the government would actually cancel the licence.”It is a historic decision and it will set an example for all those fraudulent doctors and hospitals who have been playing with the lives of innocent people,” said Deepak Kumar, the baby’s uncle.The child’s mother Varsha Bidawat, 21, has still not recovered completely. “It will take a lot of time for her to recover from what she has gone through. She is still feeling very weak both physically and mentally,” Kumar said.The family members said that they will meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday. “We will meet Mr Kejriwal to express our gratitude for his decision,” Kumar added. They will also hold a condolence meet in the memory of their child at India Gate on Saturday evening.Last Friday, the hospital had handed over the twins it had declared dead to the family in polythene packets. One of them was found alive while being taken to the cremation ground.DECEMBER HORRORDec 1 Newborn declared dead by hospital, found alive when taken for last rites Dec 1 Delhi Police registers case of attempt to commit culpable homicide against the hospital. Delhi government orders probe Dec 2 Delhi Medical Council issued show-cause notice to the hospital. Delhi health minister says if found guilty of medical negligence, hospital’s licence could be cancelled Dec 3 The hospital terminates two doctors for negligence Dec 5 Initial probe finds hospital “guilty of not having followed prescribed norms” Dec 5 Delhi govt says it would form a legal framework to track “criminal negligence” cases Dec 6 Newborn passes away Dec 7 Family members continue agitation outside the hospital Dec 8 Delhi government cancels the licence of the hospital after the probe committee finds it guilty of “medical negligence”.

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Living baby declared dead: Family welcomes loss of Max Hospital’s licence, demands doctors’ arrest

More than a week after one of their newborn twins was erroneously declared dead by Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, the family heaved a sigh of relief on Friday after the Delhi government cancelled the licence of the hospital for medical negligence. The 22-week premature baby had died at a nursing home in Pitampura on Wednesday.The grieving parents of the newborn are now also demanding the immediate arrest of the two doctors who were found involved in the alleged negligence. “We welcome the Delhi government’s decision as we were also demanding the cancellation of the hospital’s licence. But why the two doctors involved in the negligence are not arrested yet, even after being declared guilty by the hospital itself?”, asked Ashish Kumar, the child’s father.“We demand immediate arrest of the two doctors. Also, they should be blacklisted so nobody has to go through a similar situation what we have endured,” he added.Also readMax hospital row: Newborn found alive in plastic bag passes awaySoon after receiving the news of the cancellation, family members, who have been sitting on strike outside the hospital since the last five days, said that they had never imagined that the government would actually cancelled the licence. “It is a historic decision and it will set an example for all those fraudulent doctors and hospitals who have been playing with the lives of innocent people,” said Deepak Kumar, the baby’s uncle.The child’s mother Varsha Bidawat, 21, has still not recovered completely. “It will take a lot of time for her to recover from what she has gone through. She is still feeling very weak both physically and mentally,” Kumar said.Also readDelhi government cancels licence of Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh for medical negligence Family members said that they will meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday. “We will meet Mr Kejriwal to express our gratitude for his decision,” Kumar added. They will also hold a condolence meet in the memory of their child at the India gate on Saturday evening.Last Friday, the hospital had handed over twins it had declared dead to the family in “polythene packets.” One of them turned out to be alive while being taken to the cremation ground.

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DU college accused of bias in top post selection

Faculty members of Delhi University’s Deshbandhu College have written to the Vice Chancellor over the discrepancies in the appointment for the post of Principal. The applicants have requested the V-C to look into the matter.According to the complainants, the names of 18 candidates have been “arbitrarily” removed from the list of qualified people released on Monday, despite having more than the required API (Academic Performance Indicator) score.”My name was there in the list of applicants released after a scrutiny on September 10 and my API score was also mentioned in that list. However, the recent list does not have my name but the names of candidates having lesser API than mine,” said an associate professor at Deshbandhu, College who wished to remain anonymous.As per the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines for recruitment on a principal’s post, the candidate needs to be an associated professor or professor with a PhD and 15 years of teaching experience. The candidate should also have minimum 400 API score and published research papers/books.Alleging that the college’s Governing Body, that looks after the entire selection process, has followed “arbitrary” guidelines in violation of the UGC’s norm, another candidate alleged, “There is immense favouritism in the selection process for the top post at Deshbandhu College. Even after having above 1,300 API score, which is much more than the minimum required criteria, my name has been removed from the final list.””We have recently written to the Vice Chancellor and requested him to look into the matter,” he said.
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Yogi Adityanath

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Shush! Students fume as JNU admin ‘mutes’ talk on Ram Mandir

In order to “maintain communal harmony”, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration cancelled all events that were to be held on its campus to mark the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition on Wednesday. This included a talk on the “Ram Janmabhoomi movement” by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and a discussion in which CPM leader Prakash Karat was invited.According to a notice issued by the Dean of Students Umesh Kadam, “The competent authority has cancelled public lectures/talks on the issue of Ram Janam Bhumi and Babri Masjid in the campus on December 6 in order to maintain communal harmony, and peace and stability on campus.Academic discussion on various themes, which contribute to knowledge enhancement and social order, are always permitted .”Also readJNU cancels talk by Subramanian Swamy on ‘why Ram mandir in Ayodhya’Swamy was invited by the Vivekanand Vichar Manch, a group of students, to deliver a talk on ‘Why Ram Mandir in Ayodhya’ at the University’s Koyna hostel. According to the organisers, they wanted to “salute the legendary fighter and martyrs” of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.However, the hostel warden issued a notice on Tuesday night and called off the event.Also readJNU probe: Court dismisses lie detection pleaWhile speaking to media, Swamy, however, said that “JNU is fearful that my ideas will influence the youth. My arguments on Ram Mandir are so powerful that they won’t be able to stand it.”However, JNU Students Union’s event titled “Reclaiming the Republic: In Defence of Our Syncretic Culture, Constitutional Morality and Secularism” where several left-leaders including Karat and Kavita Krishnan were supposed to speak, was not scrapped until Wednesday morning. It was later called off after the administration faced charges of being “biased”.Calling the move a “Tughlaqi farman”, organisers of Swamy’s event said that they received the permission to hold the event four days ago.“The administration would have let it happen if it was a meet on anti-Indian forces where slogans like ‘Bharat tere tukde honge’ would raise,” said Raghavendra Mishra, one of the organisers.JNUSU president Geeta Kumari also termed it as “ideological censorship”. “JNU has been organising programmes on the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition every year. Our programme topic didn’t even mention Babri Masjid or Ram Janmabhoomi,” she said. JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) also condemned the move.Despite several attempts, Dean of Students Umesh Kadam did not respond for a comment.
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Delhi University SOL classes yet to begin, students in lurch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even while the semesters for all the regular courses are over and examination are underway in colleges across the Delhi University (DU), the students of School of Open Learning (SOL) are still waiting for their classes to begin. Adding to their woes, they have not even received the study material yet.SOL is a correspondence option offered by the DU. It admits around 1.5 lakh students in undergraduate courses every year and offers BA, BCom, BA (Honours) Political Science, BCom (Honours) and BA (Honours) English, among others. Every year, the classes for these students begin in the last week of September.Agitated by the delay, hundreds of SOL students protested at the university’s north campus on Tuesday. “This is victimisation of correspondent students. While the students of regular colleges have had their syllabi completed, the SOL students, coming from deprived and marginalised sections, still do not know their syllabi half-a-year after taking admission,” said Ravinder Kumar, a second-year BA (prog) student.The students also submitted a memorandum to executive director (SOL), H C Pokhriyal demanding immediate commencement of classes of all courses.”This is not the first time that the university is giving us this step-motherly treatment. We are always being discriminated in one way or the other,” said Sneha Sharma, a correspondent BCom student.”We are not even provided with an adequate number of classrooms. Last year, as many as 1,000 SOL students used to come for classes at Saraswati College. But we have been provided with only eight classrooms. It’s really difficult to accommodate all the students in them,” she added.Officials, however, assured students that arrangements would be made for their classes shortly.Despite several attempts, Pokhriyal did not respond to the questions.In July this year, the SOL students were at loggerheads with the university when their results got delayed by more than four months. Following which several hundreds of students could not take admissions in the masters courses.TOO MANY GRIPESStudents say they have not been provided adequate number of classrooms
One of them said as many as 1,000 SOL students used to come for lectures at Saraswati College, but they had been given only eight classrooms
The students say they are yet to receive the study material
To air their grievances, the students held a protest at the university’s north campus on Tuesday

4-year-old too young to molest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The shocking incident wherein a four-year-old child was sexually assaulted by her classmate inside a private school premises on Friday has once again raised serious concerns about our society. On the other hand, some experts have said the normal curiosity of a child should not be misconstrued as assault.Medical experts suggested that the accused seemed to be in the ‘oedipal stage of development’, in which kids are eager to identify with a gender. “The age between 3 and 5 years is when the gender identification takes place. Sexual conflict arises during this age, which sometimes leads to such incidents. The question is why did the child get involved in such a crime,” said Dr Sameer Malhotra, senior consultant psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and de-addiction specialist at Max Hospital.Over-exposure of kids through social media or any kind of abuse at home are among the leading reasons behind this kind of hampering. “One needs to understand the reason behind this curiosity. A child needs to go through project testing, in which he can explain whatever is running in his mind through art,” Dr Malhotra added.Explaining the role of parents in such cases, educationist Ameeta Mulla Wattal said they should be “counselled” as well to understand what sexual assault means. “Children in this age are too young to understand the meaning of sexual assault and molestation. They are often curious about each other. Such cases should be handled very sensitively,” she said.She added that such things are very normal at this age and parents should understand that. “A four-year-old molesting another four-year-old is something that is really difficult to believe. Parents should understand the psyche of kindergarten-going children. They should be given proper counselling,” she said.Several principals also backed Wattal’s comment and said that 7-8-year-old children are too young to “molest”. “It’s unbelievable that a four-year-old can molest anyone. Even if such an incident happened, it should not be considered as perversity,” said principal of a private school in east Delhi.According to Nimesh Desai, Director, Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), more watchfulness is required to avoid such incidents. “Crime among children is a multifactorial phenomenon and we can’t hold one or two things responsible for it. Parents, guardians, and teachers have to be more watchful to avoid all this.”

Startup has solution for sewer deaths

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The practice of manual scavenging is banned in India since 1993 and yet over 126 people have lost their lives cleaning sewers and septic tanks since January this year alone. Despite the laws and Supreme Court interventions, manual scavenging continues.However, 25 years after the ban came into force, eight young engineers — all founders of a Kerala-based startup Genrobotics — are working with Kerala government to put an end to the practice.They have designed a robot, chritstened Bandicoot, which literally means a rat, that can enter into the sewer holes and clean it, exatly like a human would do.”We were approached by the state IT Secretary M Sivasankar seeking our assistance in combating the problem through technology. The idea is to replace the term manhole with robothole so that no human life is lost doing this undignified task,” says Vimal Govind, 23, a founding-member of Genrobotics.The Bandicoot has four limbs and a bucket system attached to a spider web looking extension, which can go inside the manhole. One of the four limbs is called a ‘shovel arm’, which can rotate and slide like a human inside a manhole. “Initially, we designed a drone like structure that failed on testing. Then we conducted a month-long research and found that only a robot with human-like features will be able to do the job,” Govind said.After shoveling the heap of garbage at the bottom of the manhole, it will be collected by using the bucket system before lifting upward. The Bandicoot, which is set to be launched January next year, can operate both on manual and automatic mode. It also has Wi-Fi and bluetooth modules to enable communication between it and the user.For 23-year-old Rashid, a resident of Mallapuram district and a member of the design team, Bandicoot is more than just a product. “All of us have left our well-paying jobs to work on this project. We aren’t getting any stipend for this work, but the hope that it will prevent any further deaths is payment enough,” he said.The Kerala Startup Mission, a nodal agency of the state government that supports entrepreneurship development and incubation activities, is supporting team Bandicoot as of now. “We had received Rs 10 lakh from Kerala Startup Mission for our previous project which was an exoskeleton. We are using the leftover money on this project now. We will need more monetary support to give this dream project a global launching platform,” Rashid said.

Invite to UGC’s autonomy event creates uproar in Delhi University

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An invite from the University Grants Commission (UGC) to educational institutes across the country for an orientation programme, to introduce them with its scheme of autonomous colleges, has created an uproar at Delhi University (DU) with officials calling it an attempt of ‘privatisation’ and ‘commercialisation’.In his letter to the colleges, PK Thakur, secretary, UGC, wrote that the commission has been implementing the scheme of autonomous colleges, in order to achieve further qualitative improvement leading towards academic excellence. Officials at the regulatory body said that the programme, which is scheduled to be held on Thursday, will help them to have an idea about the interest of colleges in its scheme that was notified earlier this year.The scheme offers academic and operative freedom to the colleges. It enables a college to design and structure its own courses of study and syllabi to suit the local needs and to devise innovative methods of teaching, examination and evaluation. Any number of colleges under a university, fulfilling a set criteria, can apply for autonomy from UGC under this scheme.However, according to officials at DU, it will give a free hand to the colleges to make changes in its fee structure.”The move will ultimately deprive the students from marginalised sections of society of affordable education, as it can lead to a hike in the fee structure of the colleges,” said Rajesh Jha, member of DU’s Executive Council (EC), the university’s highest statutory body.The EC, however, termed it a”violation”of DU Act, 1922.”UGC sending letters directly to colleges is like the Central government contacting the civic bodies bypassing a state government. Under DU Act, 1922, all such communications should come from the university and not the regulatory bodies,” he said.College principals across the university have also slammed the move.”If the UGC wants to implement the scheme, it should be done with lots of caution considering the after-effects,” said Manoj Sinha, principal, Aryabhatt College.DU faculty members also claim that even if the government gives the colleges a choice to become anonymous, the majority of them will not favour it.”A month-long agitation earlier this year by faculty members and students at St Stephens college against administration’s decision to apply to be an autonomous institution speaks volumes,” said a St Stephens faculty member.AUTONOMY SCHEMEThe scheme offers academic and operative freedom to the colleges. It enables a college to design and structure its own courses of study and syllabi to suit the local needs and to devise innovative methods of teaching, examination and evaluation.

NCR schools open in a haze, parents worried

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While pollution levels remained hazardous on Monday, schools in the national capital reopened, leaving parents anxious about the health of their children.Schools in NCR towns will, however, re-open on Tuesday. Those in Gurugram and Ghaziabad will start two hours late to keep children from the toxic haze. Schools in Noida will not tweak their schedule. Outdoor activities and sports events will, however, remain suspended in all NCR schools.A group of parents wrote to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to voice their concern. “The Delhi government should have shut classes, at least for primary students. I’m really worried about the health of my 7-year-old daughter,” said Shramistha Saini, mother of a Class 2 student at Ahlcon International School.”We can’t force small children to wear masks. I make my 8-year-old son wear a mask but he throws it away. It’s better for him to stay at home,” said Anjana Singh, mother of a Class 7 student.”Primary school children should not get exposed to this smog. The government should order schools to suspend at least primary classes for three more days or the schools themselves should take this initiative,” said Sumit Vohra, founder, admissionsnursery.com.School authorities said that shutting classes is not the answer to the problem. Ameeta Mulla Wattal, principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road, said, “These are just knee-jerk reactions. The government has to look at workable solutions to deal with a problem of this level. Even delaying timings won’t help, as children are used to a body clock.”A principal of a Delhi government school said, “It is difficult to wrap up the syllabus if schools are shut several times. Also, some schools have half-yearly tests going on. Shutting classes will affect the overall schedule as well as the students’ study patterns.””Children should wear masks whenever they go out. While it is not a foolproof method to avoid pollutants, it certainly helps in prevention. Also, fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C should be consumed to combat the ill effects of Delhi’s smog. Immune system boosting herbs like neem, tulsi and haldi also help,” said Dr Mukesh Goel of Apollo Hospital in Delhi.

My husband was an easy target, says arrested conductor’s wife

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than two months after Ashok Kumar was arrested in the murder of a seven-year-old student at the Ryan International School, Gurugram, his family heaved a sigh of relief on Wednesday after the CBI declared him innocent.The family claimed that Kumar was framed in the case because he was an “easy target”.Kumar, 45, a bus conductor at the school, has been in police custody since September 9. “My husband was framed in the case because he was poor and hence an easy target for the Gurugram police and the school authority. He was brutally beaten up by the police for confessing the crime,”said his 25-year-old wife Mamta Dherwal.”We came to know about the arrest of a class XI student in the case through the media only. Police did not inform us about anything. My husband should immediately be released now,” she said.The class II student was found dead inside the washroom of the school on the morning of September 8 with his throat slit and a knife was found near his body. Gurgaon police had initially arrested Kumar in the case alleging that he had tried to sodomise the student and later killed him when he tried to resist. The case was later transferred to the CBI by the state government.The family, however, had maintained that he was framed and urged police to check CCTV footage. “We have suffered a lot in his absence. He’s the sole earner of our family. We are dependent on our neighbors and my family for our meals,” she rues.Surrounded by neighbors and mediapersons, Kumar’s 65-year-old father Ami Chand, fears his son might not be able to work after the “physical torture” he had gone through.

Schools continue classes, parents in a fix

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the Delhi government ordered all primary schools to shut down due to severe pollution, parents of children studying at the branches of DAV Public school were in a fix since they did not receive any notification about classes being suspended on Wednesday.Hassled parents waited for an email or SMS from the school until Tuesday night. “I had to send my seven-year-old son to school as no notification was issued by the authority until Wednesday morning,” said a parent of a Class II student at DAV Public School, Jasola Vihar.Several parents also raised the issue with Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on social networking sites. “Even after the government’s order, DAV Public school, Janakpuri remained open on Wednesday. I’m concerned about my child’s health. Plz do something,” tweeted a parent of a nursery student. There are around 30 branches of DAV school across the city.When contacted the Jasola Vihar Branch, officials claimed that they could not suspend the classes as they did not receive any notice from DAV’s management committee. “We can’t make any announcement until we receive instructions from the head office. Also, there were exams in some classes and we can’t re-schedule them at this short level,” the official said.However, officials at DAV primary school, Daryaganj, claimed that only a handful of students turned up in primary classes. “The strength of students in primary classes was very less. We did not conduct normal classes. Only indoor activities were organised for students,” an official said.According to Dr Nisha Peshin, Director of Public Schools, DAV, the head office had received the orders late on Tuesday.

Note ban: Bloom gone from ‘note garland’ market

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Till last year — before November 8, 2016, to be precise — the narrow alleys of old Delhi’s Kinari Bazar used to be jam-packed during the wedding season.The reason: the market also houses Delhi’s biggest rupee note-garland market, and no north Indian wedding, especially in Delhi, is complete without the bridegroom adorning several of these garlands — the bigger the denomination and number of notes in the garland, the more affluent was the groom’s family.However, one year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came on television screens to declare illegal all existing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 rupee note, the market has lost its sheen.While the wedding season does see rush in some of the shops selling sequined laces, fancy garlands, decorative sheets and other stuff, the demand for ‘noton ki mala’ (garland of money) has ebbed considerably.According to traders, demonetization, followed by “rumours” of police raids and checking, affected their business drastically. Unlike last year, only two shops in the market are displaying the money garlands.”There is still fear among the traders. Only two shops, including ours, are making money garlands in the market that too mostly only on prior demand from customers,” said Pawan Kumar Jain, owner of Prem Collection, a shop that deals with decorative stuff.The new currency introduced by the RBI has not attracted the rich customers of Delhi. The demand of Rs 10, Rs 20 and Rs 50 notes garlands has still not “reduced”. “We have not received any order of garland of new notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2000. Only a few orders of Rs 100 notes have come. This new trend has disturbed our finances and we are not able to make any profits,” he said.Jain recalled how over the period of time money garlands had became a quintessential part of groom’s attire cutting across the religion and communities. “Initially, grooms from schedule castes and schedule tribes used to wear money garlands. Gradually, the trend was picked up bythose from upper caste and soon became a status symbol,” he said, adding customers are now not willing to spend high denomination notes on garlands.A few shops away, Anil Jain, the owner of Divya Palace, echoes the thought. “This is the worst season for money garland makers. They are not getting even one-third of what they used to earn. We have received less than10 orders in this entire wedding season,” he said.But, will things improve? “Who knows? I hope they do. But, since November 8, nothing is sure,” he laments.

Jailed Prof. Saibaba’s wife refuses monetary help

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seven months after Delhi University English professor G N Saibaba, who is 90 per cent disabled, was sentenced to life imprisonment, his wife AS Vasantha on Sunday refused to accept monetary help of Rs 45,826 from supporters across the country. The money was collected as part of a social media initiative in the last two days.The wheelchair-bound professor was arrested on May 9, 2014, for his alleged Maoist links. He and four others were sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in March this year. “Some of his friends and supporters in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, who were aware of our financial situation, undertook an initiative on Friday and posted a message on the social media. They requested people to support Saibaba’s family by contributing Rs 500 in my account,” Vasantha said.She further said that though the support was overwhelming, she wanted to request people to not deposit any more money in her account. “I was not aware of the initiative. Otherwise, I would have made this request earlier. I am going to handover this money to the Saibaba Defence committee, which has been taking care of our family since my husband were framed,” she said. The Committee, which was set up in 2013 after Saibaba was arrested for the first time, consists of professors, artists, and authors.“It’s really heartwarming to receive such support and love from across the country. But, I can’t accept even a penny at an individual level as our fight for justice has always been collective,” Vasantha said.In the last seven months, Vasantha has got to visit her husband only three times. In his latest letter to her, he wrote: “I am not going to survive the coming winter.” “I’m going to meet him on November 14. His condition is deteriorating by the day. He is not even receiving his basic medicines,” she said.HELD IN MARCHProfessor GN Saibaba and four others were sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in March this year .
In the last seven months, Vasantha has got to visit her husband only three times.

Sanskars, not drugs, will cure depression

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A research conducted at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Centre for Sanskrit Studies has claimed that inculcating moral values will help get rid of mental illnesses, as psychiatry and medicines are only deteriorating patient conditions”Listening to bhajans and kirtans at an early age will act as a stress buster,” it says. It’s the first-of-its-kind research conducted at the Sanskrit Centre, said Sudhir Kumar Arya, a professor who teaches Vedic literature at JNU.The research, based on puranas — Bhagavata Purana and Agni Purana, claims those taught moral values at early stages will not face anxiety, stress, depression or other mental issues. Yoga, too, can also do wonders, it says.”The medical treatments available can only cure physical problems, not mental issues,” says the research.”More people are suffering from these issues in modern countries in comparison to traditional ones like ours,” said Nandini Das, who conducted the research.Das, who recently completed her M.Phil, said, “We generally consider mental health a very recent and foreign concept, but it has been thoroughly mentioned in puranas and vedas,” said the 25-year old student.Elaborating on the role of “devotional activities” in maintaining good mental health, she said, “During this research, we found that traditional practices, including listening to bhajans and kirtans, are actual stress busters. And, it should be introduced in our lives at a very early age.””All medical treatments available can only cure physical problems. They cannot help in curing issues related to mental health,” the research says.”People suffering from mental issues are labelled as mad in our society and then they are being taken to the those practicing psychiatry these days. The only treatment they know is to give sleeping pills to patients,” said Arya, the supervisor of the research.The research further revealed that modern concepts like nuclear families and single child are also causing depression and stress among youngsters. “People who live in nuclear families are more prone to mental issues as they don’t learn how to live a disciplined life. They lose control over their moral sense,” Arya said.The students at the Centre are also conducting other researches on the role of yoga, devotion and moral education in curing health issues, he added.JNU STUDYThe research claims that those taught moral values at early stages will never face anxiety, stress, depression or any other mental issue. Yoga, however, can do wonders.
It also reveals that concepts like nuclear families and single child are also causing depression and stress among youngsters.

Hosteliers say poster with threats against Najeeb Ahmed put up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Residents at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) Mahi Mandvi hostel, from where 27-year-old student Najeeb Ahmed had gone missing in October last year, claimed to have seen a poster which made “threatening” remarks against Ahmed at the hostel premises on Thursday night.Due to this recent turn of events, the atmosphere at the hostel remain charged up on Friday.According to hosteliers at Mahi Mandvi, a piece of paper was pasted by the hostel’s managing committee at the entrance to write Diwali greetings. But instead, they said, “threats” and “taunts” about Najeeb were found written on it.”The paper was removed from the entrance after several students had objected to it. We have sent a picture of that to the CBI investigating officer looking into Najeeb’s case,” said Shahid Raza, second-year Mphil student and a resident of the hostel.Amid multiple Diwali greetings, some students wrote #BringbackNajeeb on the paper. “Some students intentionally tried to create tension and wrote comments like ‘nahi layenge’ (will not bring) and ‘kya ukhaad logey’ and ‘kaat denge’ after it,” he added.Raza was one of the eyewitnesses of the alleged scuffle that took place between Najeeb and RSS-backed ABVP members, a night before he went missing.Some students also claimed that another piece of paper, that read “Jai Jai Hindu”, was pasted on those “comments”, hours before it was removed. “Some right-inclined students are intentionally trying to spread communal hatred on the hostel premises. Mahi Mandvi is the only JNU hostel where large number of Muslim students reside,” said another resident, who wished to remain anonymous.The hostel committee members, however, claimed that the poster was immediately removed upon receiving the complaint and no formal complaint has been made in this regard. “The atmosphere at the hostel is alright. Some students are trying to politicise the matter,” said acting hostel president Adarsh Garg.Despite several attempts, JNU Registrar and hostel warden did not respond.CAUSING A STIRLast year, after Najeeb’s disappearance, some students had spotted ‘Muslims are terrorists’ written on the table of the common room of Mahi Mandvi hostel.

1 yr on, no clues in Najeeb case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fatima Nafees’s world turned upside down on October 14, 2016, when she received the phone call. It was her son Najeeb informing her that “something very wrong had happened to him on campus.”Hours later, a panicked Fatima rushed to campus, along with other family members, but it was too late. Her son Najeeb Ahmed, a lodger at JNU’s Mahi Mandvi hostel, had vanished. And no one could tell her where he was.A year later, it is the same story. The family is fighting with the authorities for any information about their son but so far no one has been forthcoming. But sitting outside the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters in Lodhi road, in a protest that has lasted for more than 24 hours, Nafees, 48, refuses to give up hope.”CBI officials told us that they have not received any lead in Najeeb’s case as of now. They said they are still searching for clues. They are still on ground zero,” Nafees told the media after meeting CBI officials.”My heart skips a beat every time I receive a call from an unknown number thinking it could be Najeeb or someone informing me about his whereabouts. It will be an year since he had gone missing on Sunday and we are in the same place we were on October 15, 2016,” she says.Ahmed, 27, a first-year MSc student at JNU, went missing under mysterious circumstances after he allegedly got into an fight with members of the RSS-backed Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on the hostel premises. The case was handed over to the CBI in May, after the Delhi police failed to find any breakthrough. But even then nothing has changed Hailing from Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district, the family say they have been running from pillar to post for help. And despite financial hardships, they remain resolute in their fight for justice, “You have got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen,” the mother says.Nafees, who is known as Ammi amongst all the students at JNU, has become the face of the “Justice for Najeeb” protests.”My younger son says that he will compile videos of all these protests to show it to Najeeb’s children. He says that he will tell them how I fought to bring back their father. I hope that day comes soon,” she said.Despite their never-say-die spirit, there is no denying that the family has suffered over the last year.”People have started forgetting about Najeeb now. Most of our relatives and close friends also turned their back on us during this hard time,” he adds sadly. However, on a more optimistic note, he says that the students from JNU and other universities have continued to give strength to the family in its fight to find his brother.Meanwhile, in JNU, Najeeb’s roommate Qasim still waiting for him to come back. “The hostel authorities had tried to allot the room to someone else but we did not allow them to do so. The room is still allotted on Najeeb’s name and he will live in it once he is back,” he says.STILL MISSINGOct 14, 2016 Najeeb gets into alleged scuffle with ABVP activists at Mahi Mandvi hostel at JNUOct 15, 2016 Najeeb goes missingOct 16,2016 A case is registered at Vasant Kunj police stationOct 20, 2016 Special Investigative Team (SIT) formed to trace him.Nov 11, 2016 Crime branch takes over the caseNov 26, 2016 Najeeb’s mother moves the Delhi High CourtJan 21, 2017 Reward for any information raised to Rs 10LMay 16, 2017 HC transfers the case to CBI

A bomb has fallen on our trade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As soon as the Supreme Court (SC) declared a ban on the sale of fireworks in Delhi-NCR this Diwali season, traders in wholesale markets threatened to go on a strike, if they are not given relaxation to clear their existing stock.”If we are not allowed to sell our stock in our shops, we will sit on pavements and take to the streets. We will not be able to make up for the loss of hundreds of crores. The government should give us some relaxation, at least 10 days, to clear this stock,” said Harjit Singh Chhabra, Head of the Sadar Nishkarm Welfare Association.Sitting on a pavement right in front of his closed shop, Chhabra and other traders of the locality claimed that they will suffer a loss of at least Rs 1.2 crore altogether. “Nearly 24 traders in our locality were issued licenses to sell fireworks till October 21. So, we stocked up accordingly. Now, this sudden decree by the Apex Court has fallen on our business like a bomb,” he rued.According to traders, their losses are higher than expected due to “28 per cent GST on crackers”.Rajiv Saxena, another trader, said: “My losses will be three times more. I had bought 600 kg of crackers, worth Rs 25 lakh.” A group of youngsters had visited his shop minutes before the Delhi Police personnel locked it down.”I did not know that was my last sale this festive season. What will I give to my workers now? They look forward to the extra income during festivals,” Saxena added.His sentiments were echoed by Mohammad Arif, a labourer. “I have been working as a labourer in Sadar Bazar for the last 20 years and this is the time of the year for people like us. Now, what will I do when the business is completely shut down?How will I pay the school fee of my kids now? The only option left for me is to burn myself with these crackers,” he said.Meanwhile, shops of several traders at the Jama Masjid area remained open until Monday evening, even as they claimed that they were harassed by the police. “The police are making rounds of the locality to harass us. We are not going to shut down our shops until we finish this stock,” said a license holder in the locality.

Reconsider regularising guest teachers: L-G to govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a fresh tussle between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal, the latter on Tuesday wrote to the state government to “re-consider” the Cabinet’s decision of introducing a Bill to regularise 15,000 guest teachers, citing constitutional limitations.The move comes a day before the Delhi government was all set to table the Regularisation of Services of Guest Teachers and Teachers engaged under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Bill, 2017, in the legislative Assembly on Wednesday.As per the Bill, all guest teachers and teachers hired under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, who have been engaged for at least 120 days after April 1, 2016, and fulfill the required educational qualifications, would be eligible for permanent jobs.Citing the fact that the introduction of the Bill is not in accordance with the constitutional scheme of governance of NCT of Delhi, Rules, 1993, Baijal said the “procedure requires mandatory consultation with the Law Department as to the competence of the Legislature of the Capital to enact the measures proposed.”According to a statement issued by the L-G’s office, as per a Delhi High Court (HC) judgment dated August 4, 2016: “Matter related to ‘Services’ falls beyond the legislative competence of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi. It should be approved by the L-G before being tabled in the Assembly.”Officials in the Delhi government, however, begged to differ, saying that the regularisation of teachers falls under the ambit of state’s Education Department. “As per the law, the Bill will be tabled in the Vidhan Sabha and then be sent for the L-G’s approval. In any case, the decision cannot be taken without the L-G’s approval,” a senior official said.Reacting to L-G’s statement, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said: “Last month, the Delhi Cabinet took a decision to regularise Kashmiri Migrant teachers and the L-G approved that decision. Why can’t it take a decision to regularise guest teachers?”According to sources, the Cabinet will now meet on Wednesday before the special one-day session to discuss the points raised by Baijal.THE BILLGuest teachers engaged for at least 120 days after April 1, 2016, are eligible.
Nearly 15,000 guest teachers and teachers under SSA to become permanent.
Regularisation will be done against sanctioned posts.

2-day seminar to promote Sanskrit in Nov

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to promote Sanskrit language in the education sector, the Bhartiya Bhasha Manch (BBM), an autonomous organisation, along with RSS-backed Bhartiya Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas, will organise a two-day seminar in the national Capital in November.Among the major issues to be raised during the seminar titled ‘Rashtriya Sanskrit Sammelan’, to be held on November 25 and 26, are increasing demand for foreign languages in schools as an option under the three-language formula and the decline in the enthusiasm about the Sanskrit language among the youth.”It’s alarming that the children and their parents these days choose foreign languages such as French and German, instead of Sanskrit, under the three-language formula. Through this event, we will create awareness about the language among common people and also submit a memorandum with the CBSE to promote Sanskrit in its schools,” said Bhartiya Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas’s Delhi coordinator Sanjay Swami.Under the National Education Policy, students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern Indian language — apart from Hindi and English — and in non-Hindi-speaking states, they should learn Hindi along with the regional language and English.Swami further said that the youth has a “very wrong” perception about the language. “We need to tell the young minds how NASA is conducting research in Sanskrit language, knowing the fact that it is the origin of most languages in the world,” he said.According to Vrashabh Prasad Jain, national coordinator of BBM, it is the first time that “valuable” inputs of common people are being collected for an “intellectual” event like this. “We are conducting a survey throughout the country, wherein we are asking people about their views and expectations from the Sanskrit language. We are receiving a very good response,” he said.During the event, teachers, students, and language enthusiasts will come together from across the states. “We are trying to make it a platform where teachers and scholars from both regular and Sanskrit schools will join hands to give the language a push,” Jain added.

‘Swachh Bharat’ anniversary: A tale of two colonies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 10.30 am on Sunday, a busy group of residents of Valmiki Colony, located in the Mandir Marg area, could be seen making arrangements for a wedding. The task seemed more onerous than usual as they were also ensuring that there was no littering on the streets, at least on the third anniversary of Central government’s Swachh Bharat Campaign.The colony, mostly occupied by sanitation workers, had made headlines in 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had wielded the broom on its streets and kicked off the campaign.“That’s the exact spot where the Prime Minister had wielded the broom. I saw that on television as we were not allowed to step out of our houses during his visit,” pointed out 42-year-old Shanta Devi, as she weaved another flower in a string.Gareeb Das, another resident, said: “Sanitation has never been an issue in our locality. It has always been clean like this. Where sanitation workers live, the area will be automatically clean.”Some residents, however, claimed that things actually changed just in the last three years. “Earlier, people used to throw garbage on roadsides but now we have dustbins placed on the streets. Also, municipality vehicle comes to collect garbage every morning,” a resident said.According to locals, municipal workers have been sweeping the streets both in the morning and evening for the last three days. “This is happening because of the Swachh Bharat Campaign anniversary. Generally, they come only once a day or sometimes in a couple of days,” said Shankar Das, who works at a pan kiosk.Just a few kilometers away, in east Delhi’s Vinod Nagar area, the situation was a study in contrast. Around 1 pm on Sunday, dump yards in the locality were overflowing and an unbearable stench overwhelmed the surroundings.“Half the day has passed but no one has come to clean the dump. There is no Swachh Bharat Campaign in our locality,” rued Sandeep Das, a resident.The locals said that at a time when dengue is on a rise in the national Capital, the absence of any cleanliness drive in the area was dangerous as more and more people were falling prey to the disease. “There is a serious problem of mosquitoes in the locality. It’s so dangerous to let our children out to play on the streets,” Das said.The garbage piles also attract cattle from neighbouring villages, creating more problems for residents. “Cattle keep on roaming near our houses throughout the day. Sometimes, they block our gates,” complained Sheila Devi. Her house is located right in front of a dump yard.“I request the Prime Minister to visit our locality as well. Otherwise, I don’t think the authority will look at us,” she said.

Dyal Singh suspends prof over FB post

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a case was registered against an assistant professor of Delhi University’s Dyal Singh College for posting an objectionable statement about Goddess Durga on Facebook, the college administration suspended him and set up an internal inquiry committee to look into the matter.The decision was taken during a Governing Body Meeting held on Monday.”The college has suspended Kedar Kumar Mandal till the internal complaint committee submits its report. He has also been barred from entering the college premises till then,” Governing Body Chairperson Amitabh Sinha said.”A four-member committee has been constituted, which includes principals of both Dyal Singh evening and morning colleges. It will submit its report on the matter soon,” he said.Mandal, who teaches Hindi at the college, had posted a derogatory statement about the Goddess on Saturday. The post was shared multiple times and nearly 100 people had commented on it before it was removed from his account. Afterwards, the BJP-backed National Democratic Teachers’ Front filed a police complaint against him.Earlier, college Principal IS Bakshi wrote to Mandal, directing him to contact the Governing Body before 4 pm and submit copies of all previous posts that he uploaded on Facebook. According to the college administration, Mandal is a regular offender in such cases. “When the college administration checked, several other such posts were found on his Facebook profile,” Sinha said.Accepting that he posted the statement, Mandal sent a written apology to the Principal on Sunday. He also made a request for leave. “He had sent a letter apologising for the post but the college has rejected it,” Sinha said.Despite several attempts, Mandal could not be reached for comments.THE CASEKedar Kumar Mandal, who teaches Hindi at the college, had posted a derogatory statement about the Goddess on Saturday.
The post was shared multiple times and nearly 100 people had commented on it before it was removed from his account.
Afterwards, the BJP-backed National Democratic Teachers’ Front filed a police complaint against him.

Admission process for DU’s medical courses delayed by two months

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The process for admission to undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Ayurvedic, Unani and Homeopathic medicine at the Delhi University (DU) has been delayed by more than two months, reportedly due to some “confusion” over communication received from the AYUSH Ministry on July 4, 2017, the varsity officials said.Following the declaration of results for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to undergraduate medical courses, the Ministry had on July 3, 2017, sent a letter to all state authorities, stating that a “common counselling session” would be held for admission to both undergraduate and post-graduate courses in academic session 2017-18. The Ministry looks after education and research in Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, and Homeopathy, among other subjects.In another letter sent the very next day, however, the Ministry asked the authorities to keep the earlier order in “abeyance”. “It has been directed that the letter dated July 3, 2017, may be kept in abeyance till further order of the Ministry,” the letter read.Copies of both letters are with DNA.According to officials at the varsity’s Department of Medical Sciences, there has been no communication from the Ministry since then. “The university authorities were under the impression that some notification will be received regarding the admission process. We have written to the Ministry twice since then, but to no avail,” a senior official said.The Ministry officials, at the same time, claimed that all other universities and institutes have already begun their admission process and there must be some “confusion”. “All other universities and colleges are about to wrap up their admission process in these courses. We have no idea what made the Delhi University wait for so long,” a senior AYUSH official said.Meanwhile, to avoid any further delay, the DU has decided to conduct its own counselling session. “In a meeting held last Friday, officials at the Department of Medical Sciences decided that the varsity will begin its own admission procedure,” Imtiaz Ahmed, a member of the Admission Committee for Medical Sciences, said. The department has also issued a notification and forms in this regard on its website.The DU offers Bachelor courses in Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS), Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), and Homeopathy (BHMS) courses, for which the admission process begins in August every year.Calling the Ministry’s directions a “threat” for the university’s autonomy, the Delhi University’s Executive Committee member and Assistant Professor Rajesh Jha said: “Decisions related to the admission should be taken independently by the universities as any interference by the Centre will create confusion that can hamper the admission process in future as well.”

Urdu slowly dying in Delhi govt schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tasneem Khan (name changed), MA in Social Science, is a busy woman these days. She has been studying Urdu books, so as to teach students at the Government Boys Senior Secondary School (GBSSS) in south Delhi. Being the only teacher in her school with some knowledge of the language, she has been given the additional charge of teaching students from Class 6-8.”How can we expect students to develop an interest in the language, without providing them with a skilled teacher,” rued Khan, who had last studied Urdu during her school days.Commenting on the issue, Atishi Marlena, Advisor to Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia, said, “The process of hiring Urdu and Punjabi teachers for Delhi government schools has begun. The matter has been handed over to the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB). We have made it mandatory for every government school to have a post for these two languages.”For the last five years, in the absence of teachers, the GBSSS has been arranging faculty for the discipline from other sources. “We have sent multiple requests to the Directorate of Education (DoE) to hire an Urdu teacher for our school but to no avail. We were left with no option but to assign a teacher who was acquainted with the language,” the school principal said, requesting anonymity.And this is not a one-off case.Nearly 100 Delhi government schools are facing the same problem. “For around 1,700,000 students in 1,024 government schools across 12 districts, there are only 269 Urdu teachers, of whom only nine have a post-graduate degree. In comparison, there are 1,895 Sanskrit teachers,” reply to an RTI application filed by DNA revealed.Government schools offer Urdu as an option under the three-language formula, along with Sanskrit and Punjabi, even as classes are held in only 30 per cent of the schools because of the “lack of demand”.According to the National Education Policy, however, a school has to provide a teacher for a subject, in case more than six students opt for it. “Nearly 83,000 Class 6 students in government schools opted for Urdu last year. That means there is only one teacher available for nearly 309 students,” a senior DoE official said. However, the Urdu Academy has objected these claims.In December 2016, AAP had announced to hire 610 permanent Urdu teachers but the plan is yet to see the light of the day.What is Three Language formula?Under the National Education Policy, students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern Indian language (22 languages under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution) — apart from Hindi and English. In non-Hindi-speaking states, they should learn Hindi along with the regional language and English. The formula is applicable till Class 8.

Ousted scholar says Jamia punished her for activism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) has cancelled the admission of a second-year research scholar for allegedly indulging in “campus activism”, without given her “a prior notice about the move”.According to an order issued by the university on Tuesday, the admission of Dhrupadi Ghosh, who was pursuing PhD in Sociology, was being cancelled. “In the light of the office order dated September 7, 2017, issued by the Registrar, JMI, the admission of Dhrupadi Ghosh is being cancelled from PhD in Sociology,” it read.The order was marked to four people, including the Head of the Department of Sociology, and Ghosh’s supervisor. The student, however, got to know about it only on Friday. “I came to know about it on Friday. This is a direct attack on me for raising my voice against various issues and fighting for democracy on the campus,” she said.Ghosh is a member of student group Dayar-I-Shauq Students’ Charter (DISSC), which recently came in the spotlight for organising a cultural evening at the university’s central canteen in August last week, to which the administration had objected. The event was “abruptly” called off and the participating students were allegedly manhandled by the proctorial office staff. Ghosh, along with some other students, had also held a protest at the campus over the issue.”The democratic space at Jamia is shrinking day after day, with the administration trying to mute the voices of those who dissent. I have been singled out for raising my voice against various issues,” Ghosh said.The university authority, however, denied the charges and termed it an “academic” decision rather than an “administrative” issue. “Ghosh’s PhD admission does not comply with the university guidelines. She did her masters’ in fine arts, which is not allied with Sociology in Jamia,” a senior varsity official said.”Why would the university single out a student? She was not the only one who particpated in several campus protests,” the official added.

Alert teacher rescues Class VI student from playing the Blue Whale Challenge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In another case of the Blue Whale challenge, a Class VI student of a private school was rescued from the clutches of the dreaded game on Tuesday after his teacher noticed a ‘fish-like’ figure on his arm.At around 9 am, the teacher overheard the 12-year-old discussing the game with his classmates. He was showing them the image of a whale drawn on his arm. “The teacher brought him to my office. When we asked the child about the image, he said that he drew it as he was playing the Blue Whale game. We immediately informed the police and his family about it,” said Anuradha Govind, Principal, JM International, Dwarka.”We received a call from the school when teachers heard some students discussing the Blue Whale game. One of them also had images on his hand made with a sketch pen, which was initially mistaken to be inflicted injuries. The child is being counselled,” said DCP (Southwest) Shibesh Singh.School authorities learned from the boy’s parents that he had been inquiring about the game in the last few days. They, however, ignored his queries.The browser history on the boy’s smartphone’s history confirmed that he had been searching for information on the game since the last few days.The student underwent a counselling session in the presence of his parents. According to school authorities, during the session, the teenager revealed that he learned about the game through media reports. “We think he was just curious to know about the game and that’s why he started playing it,” the principal said.Experts, however, have a word of caution. “Many a time, people who are drawn to play such games are going through psychological issues and behavioral challenges. Parents need to monitor their children closely in this internet age as children are more vulnerable to fall in these traps,” said Dr Jateen Ukrai, SR Psychiatry at Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital.

Ryan flouted Haryana police’s safety guidelines

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The tragic incident at Gurugram’s Ryan International School could have been avoided, if only the school authorities had properly followed the safety guidelines laid down by the Haryana Police.According to the Haryana Police guidelines, there should be separate toilets for girls and boys, for teachers, and for support staffers. The support staffers, in particular, should not be allowed to use toilets meant for students.At the Ryan International School, however, the accused conductor, Ashok Kumar, was using the students’ toilet.”My son, who studies at the same school, told me that conductors, sweepers, and drivers were using the same toilet as students. How can the school authorities allow this to happen?” a parent, Mahesh Rawat, rued.The guidelines further stated: “The access for bus drivers and conductors, whether employed by the school or hired on a contract, must be limited to just the bus area. Toilets should be provided in that area to avoid entry of staffers in the school premises.”Parents and locals, however, claimed that no such arrangement was there in the school and these people were regularly spotted roaming in the campus.The guidelines also make it mandatory to install CCTV cameras in all critical areas of the premises, including entrances to toilets, and to assign a vigilant officer to keep a check on all security arrangements.Confirming these major security breaches at Ryan, Gurugram Police Commissioner Sandeep Khirwar said: “There is no separate toilet for support staffers in the school. Even though there are CCTV cameras, they are not adequately installed,” he said, adding that police have no details about any vigil officer being appointed by the school, as of now.Besides, the school violated other norms as well, such as the one that states the walls around a school must be high enough to prevent any scaling. Ryan, in fact, has no boundary wall on its back side. The 300-metre stretch has been unguarded for the last two years, locals said.Close to this broken wall is an operational liquor shop, though sale of liquor within 150 m of the main gate of schools and colleges is prohibited. This shop was set ablaze by agitating parents on Sunday.

School’s ‘negligent’ attitude shattered swimmer Riya’s dreams

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The callousness of school authorities have shattered the dreams of many and Riya Gupta, who has been confined to a wheelchair since 2007, is testimony to it. A swimming champion, who had won laurels for her school in several competitions, suffered a fracture in spinal cord that led her to a medical condition called quadriplegic in which one has no control over the legs, finger muscles and bowl movement.Gupta a Class 8 student of Remal Public School, in Rohini, had gone to school for the swimming practice when her instructor forced her to enter the pool in the shallow water. As she resisted, the instructor yelled at her and she was made to jump into the pool.”All I remember is that my head hit the floor and I felt a severe pain around my neck,” Riya said, adding that very moment had changed her entire life. She is now working as a ground staffer at IGI airport.Expert says that the condition is incurable. “I wanted to be an international level sportsperson, but now, I can’t even walk,” she said. The recent death of a seven-year-old boy at a school campus brings back the horrifying memory in her mind. “Whenever I hear something like this it sends shiver down my spine. It reminds me of the fateful day that had changed my entire life.”Ten years on, the school still maintains that it was an accident. “We conducted an internal inquiry in the matter. It was an accident. The school management had paid the expenses for her treatment at the hospital. We stood with the family throughout,” said a senior official at the school.However, Riya’s father Manoj Gupta asserted that it was an act of “sheer negligence”. “First of all the school did not provide her a first aid. Had they put a color around her neck immediately, the condition would have deteriorated. If the physical teacher would have be trained enough to know the difference between shallow water and deep water, my daughter would have been leading a normal life,” he said.In 2010, the family had approached the Delhi High court and filed a petition against the school seeking damages of Rs 21 lakh. However, the school had paid only Rs 10 lakh to the family, after two-year long legal battle. No action was taken against the school and the instructor.Meanwhile, the family had suffered a lot for Riya’s treatment. “We sold our house in Rohini and shifted to a rented place. We had to move our two sons to a government school as were not able to pay the high fees of private schools,” Gupta said.For Riya, her own school had deprived her of from living a normal student life.”I have never got a chance live a normal school and college life. I had dropped two years after the incident due to my treatment. Then completed my education through distance school. Now, I’m working as a ground staffer at the IGI airport and pursuing graduation through distant learning simultaneously,” Riya said.

In accused’s village, locals say that he’s "innocent"

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mamta Devi’s world turned upside down when she received a call on Friday evening informing her that her husband has been arrested in a murder case of a seven-year-old boy at Ryan International School, Gurgaon. Claiming that her husband is “innocent”, the 25-year-old has demanded “strict” action against the school authorities.Her husband Ashok Kumar, who had allegedly murdered a class II student after slitting his throat, was sent to a three-day judicial custody on Saturday. However, the family members and the neighbors at his village Ghamroj have vowed that he is “innocent” and denied to accept the fact that someone as “kind” as Kumar could have done such a thing.”If my husband had committed the crime, he would have fled from the spot rather than helping the school staff in rushing that poor kid to hospital,” said the inconsolable Devi.Among hundreds of locals gathered in the courtyard of Kumar’s house on Saturday, was Birwati, a grocery shop owner, who said, “I have been watching him since the last 15 years. He is a very quiet man who does not talk to anybody.”Villagers also said that the police should have visited the family to take their statements as well. “Police should have come and inquire about Kumar from his parents and locals. Why are they doing a one sided investigation in the matter?” asked a neighbour.Kumar, 45, who is the sole earner of his family, has two children aged 7 and 8. He lives with his aged parents while four of his sisters have got married. He used to drive a local bus until he lost his license in 2015. He then started working as a conductor in a school named Vivek Bharti, where wife is also employed as a cleaner.”He worked at our school for around 4-5 months during which we did not receive any complaint against him. He used to be a very calm person back then,” said Prabha Rani, a coordinator at Vivek Bharti School.According to Kumar’s family, he started working at Ryan earlier this year as the school was offering decent money for the job. “One of my children had injured his leg last year and bled profusely. My son had fainted seeing the blood. He is so kind hearted,” said Kumar’s mother Kela Devi.The village Sarpanch Nirmala Devi also extended her support to the family saying, “The family has a very good image in the village. They are very sober people. I am sure Ashok could not have done that.”

JNU polls: Tough fight for top post

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chants of azadi and the serenading sound of daflis and ‘conch shell’ marked polling day for Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) polls on Friday which recorded a voter turnout of 58.69 percentage, a drop of 0.3 per cent from last year.”The polling process went off peacefully. Of 8,045 students registered on this year’s electoral roll 7,904 were declared valid. Of this 4,637 have cast their votes,” said Ishita Mana of Election Commission for JNUSU polls.As polling began at around 9:30 am, all the presidential candidates and their respective parties started taking out processions, shouting slogans and distributing pamphlets among voters in their last effort to woo their votes. The polling, which began on a slow note in the first half of the day, gained momentum in the second leg as students queued up to exercise their votes.Members of the Visually Challenged Students’ Forum in JNU were also seen assisting visually impaired students in casting their votes. The contest for the top post will be tough this year with a remarkable rise in the popularity of Ambedkarite student group Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) at the campus this time.Among the freshers, BAPSA’s presidential candidate Shabana Ali was considered as a new “hope”. “BAPSA is trying to build a new form of politics which is very hopeful,” said Kaustubh Naik, a first-year MPhil student.Former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, who has been campaigning for AISF and its presidential candidate CPI leader D Raja’s daughter Aparajitha Raja, said that there was a “lack of excitement” among students. He, however, also said that there will be neck-to-neck competition for the top post. “Students are disappointed with the outgoing union despite of their constant efforts to fight attacks on campus’ democratic space,” he said.Six candidates are competing for the top post this year with three leftist groups– All India Students Association (AISA), Students Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Students Federation (DSF)— fighting together this year to beat the RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).Meanwhile, the differently-abled, independent candidate Farooque Alam, who stole the show in this year’s presidential debate on Wednesday, said, “I’m sure students will chose me over those who play identity and caste based politics at campus.”The counting for the polls began late on Friday night and the final results are expected to be announced by Sunday morning.

JNUSU prez debate: Fiery candidate steals the show

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of student union polls, the Jawaharlal Nehru University organised the much awaited presidential debate late on Wednesday night, with a differently abled independent candidate Md Farooq Alam outshining others with his satirical attacks, doted with one-liners on all student political groups for doing “petty” politics at campus.At around 9:30 pm, the entire stretch to Jhelum lawns from Ganga dhabha was flooded with students as they were heading to hear what all the presidential candidates had to say. Amid the thrilling sound of dhaflis and tambourine, conch shell was also played each and every time a candidate delivered some catchy one liner.Seven candidates are competing for the top post of the JNU Student Union (JNUSU) for which polls are scheduled on Friday. Alam’s turn, however, came after three candidates but he left audience in fits of laughter as he ripped apart all left, right and Ambedkarites. “Five years back when I joined JNU, left showed me a dream of azaadi. But, when I actually started speaking about it, I was told not to expect to turn that dream into a reality,” Alam said.He also lambasted Ambedkarite student group Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) and RSS-affiliated ABVP. “BAPSA played ‘Shakuni mama’ in JNUSU movement throughout the year and the ABVP has taken a charge to issue certificated of ‘nationalism’ at the campus,” Alam said, with supporters cutting across all political groups gave him standing applause.Among the major issues raised in the debate that went on till 1 am, was missing student Najeeb Ahmed, seat cut in research courses, fund cuts in central university’s and the rise of “saffron forces” across the country. Geeta Kumari, the presidential candidates of the left alliance– All India Students Association (AISA), Students Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Students Federation (DSF) — and BAPSA attacked ABVP for indulging in violence in Najeeb issue.Amid slogan, taken from a bollywood movie ‘Naam Shabana’, BAPSA’s Shabana Ali traded guns at the left alliance for indulging in “castiest” politics. Presidential candidate of AISF, which is a part of alliance, CPI leader D Raja’s daughter Aparajitha Raja raised issues of Tamil Nadu farmers, Chattisgarh adivasis and murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

DUSU polls: ABVP fields controversial candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The only woman candidate fielded by RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for the much-hyped Delhi University Students’ Union polls had allegedly hit a teacher during the violent clashes at Ramjas college.Various student organisations and teaching faculty have criticised the party for choosing Mahamedha Nagar for the post of Secretary in the polls scheduled for September 12.Nagar, a student at University’s law faculty, had allegedly assaulted Abha Dev Habib, an Assistant Professor at Miranda House early this year during the clash.”This is a new low in the history of Delhi University. Those who assaulted their teachers in the name of ‘nationalism’ are being promoted by the ABVP,” said Habib.Violent clashes broke out at Ramjas College between two groups of students on February 22 leaving several students, teachers and journalists injured. The clashes followed the cancellation of invitation to JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid Shora at an event a day before.Mocking the manifesto released by ABVP on Tuesday, Habib said “They are promising violent free campus when they themself are fielding someone who is audacious enough to hit her teacher,” Habib said. The manifesto released by the student political party focussed on having a ‘fear-free’ campus.Irked over her selection,the members of left-backed All India Students Association (AISA) are planning to write to the Vice-Chancellor and the election committee. They also claimed that Nagar’s name was mentioned in the PIL filed by a section of students in the Delhi High Court seeking action against those involved in the clash.”We had submitted pictures and videos where Nagar was seen hitting the teacher,” said Kawalpreet Kaur, president AISA, DU.However, ABVP’s national media convenor Saket Bahuguna claimed that all these are mere allegations and nothing has been proved against Nagar.”Those who are alleging that she had assaulted a teacher could not prove anything against her. According to Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations, a student can not compete in elections if she or he has faced some disciplinary action. However, there no such action has been taken against Nagar,” he said.

Noida schools flout rules, grill nursery students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Delhi government has tightened its grip over private schools and laid down strict rules for admissions to nursery, private schools in neighboring Noida are blatantly violating Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, by conducting interviews of students, as well as their parents, for admission.Admission tests and interviews are considered as tools for profiling children and their families, therefore, conducting such a process are prohibited. Section 13(1) of the RTE Act, provides that while admitting a child, no school or person shall subject the child or his/her parents to any ‘screening procedure,’while section 2(o) of the Act defines the term as the ‘method of selection for admission of a child, in preference over another, other than a random method.’However several parents, who had been denied nursery seats for their three-year-olds in prestigious schools in Noida, alleged that in contravention to the rules, children were asked asked to identify fruits, colours and flowers. They were also asked to recite poems during the “interaction.””My son was asked to identify geometrical shapes and colours during his interview at two private schools in Noida. Despite giving all the answers correctly, his name was not there in the list of selected candidates of both the schools,” said a parent, who did not wanted to be named.Some parents also alleged that schools have been asking “inappropriate” questions like their financial status, working hours and lifestyles.”I was asked about my working hours during the interview in Bal Bharti School. I was then told that I won’t be able to take care of my child’s studies as I work for long hours,” said another parent whose daughter was also denied admission in at least three schools.However, Asha Prabhakar, the Principal of Bal Bharti School, denied the allegations saying, “those who could not get admissions are levelling false allegations against the school. We have limited seats and can’t give admission to everyone.” She, however, did not deny the fact that interviews were being conducted.Explaining the reason behind these irregularities, Sumit Vohra who runs an admission portal, said, “In the absence of any regulatory body in Noida and Ghaziabad there is no fixed criteria of admission in these schools. There is no fixed age bar, calender and fee refund process. Every school is setting its own rules. Most of these school do profiling and screening of parents and children which is against the RTE Act.””There is an immediate need of a regulatory body to fix the admission norms here. Otherwise parents continue to suffer,” he added.

On Teachers Day, students ask teachers what they were like as kids in school

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At around 9:30 am, inside a hall turned activity center, Jai Kumar, a Class XI student, was nervously sitting in a gathering consisting of both teachers and students for an informal talk-session. This was a first for the 17-year-old where he was sharing a common space with the teachers to have a discussion apart from school. However, the one-hour long meeting eventually turned out to be a life changing experience for him.Kumar and other students were part of unique initiative on Teacher’s Day. Instead of organising the usual celebrations, this Delhi government school Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, in Lajpat Nagar, held a special ‘teacher-student Samvad’ to bridge the existing communication gap between them this year. During the session, around 50 students in three groups were provided with an opportunity to know “how their teachers were as students”.The students were initially reluctant to ask teachers about their personal lives. “I had never participated in any group discussion before as I have always been very shy. Until last night, I was contemplating on what to ask and what not to as I didn’t want to sound stupid in front of others. But after today’s discussion, I have started feeling confident and a little more articulate,” Kumar said.Principal BK Sharma said that the move was aimed at making students comfortable with their teachers so that they take more interest in their classes. “Many of our students come from very humble backgrounds.They feel hesitant while talking to their teachers as they are not used to of friendly conversations at home. Through this session, we wanted to make them understand the importance of regular dialogue between students and teachers,” he said.”We discussed everything ranging from our aims and aspirations, friends and life struggles with our teachers and asked them about theirs as well. They also told us not to fall for social media traps like the Blue Whale challenge,” said Kumar.Another student Kapil Chawdhary, who used to be known for bunking classes said, “I used to be scared of my teachers and that’s why I would bunk classes. After this session, I have started feeling comfortable with them. I vowed to be regular in classes now.””In classes we can teach students about the lessons mentioned in books. But through such sessions we can teach them about life. Today, was the best teacher’s day of my life as I discussed real life with my students,” said Soni, a yoga teacher at the school.The school is now planning to hold more such sessions in the coming months.BE COMFORTABLEPrincipal BK Sharma said that the move was aimed at making students comfortable with their teachers so that they take more interest in their classes.

JNU has stooped to caste politics, rue freshers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For Shashank Singh, a first-year MA student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the present political environment is nothing even close to what he had expected to witness on the “liberal” campus. The 22-year-old Political Science student was surprised to see that instead of political ideologies and agendas, students have been talking in terms of “caste”.The battle lines for this year’s JNU Student Union (JNUSU) elections were drawn on Wednesday, when the election committee announced the candidates’ names. This time, however, the narrative was completely different. Giving the traditional Left-Right political rhetoric a miss, the student leaders were found engaging in caste and identity politics.”I did not expect that student leaders will engage in petty caste and identity politics on one of the most liberal campuses in the country. I thought that student politics here was about ideas and struggle for legitimate causes,” Singh rued.He is not alone. Several hundreds of students are confused as the three Left groups — All India Students Association (AISA), Students Federation of India (SFI), and Democratic Students Federation (DSF) — which had joined hands to beat the RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) are instead engaging in spats with Ambedkarite organisation Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association (BAPSA).The polls in the university are scheduled for Friday.BAPSA, which had emerged as a contender just last year, has been slamming the former AISA-SFI-led student union, stating that its members were “Savarnas” (upper caste), who were “suppressing” the real “anti-brahminical” struggle on the campus.BAPSA’s Presidential candidate Shabana Ali said: “How can one differentiate identity from politics when it is responsible for the discrimination against and oppression of those coming from the marginalised sections of the society? It is important for the oppressed to raise their issues themselves rather than letting the privileged students speak for them.”Calling it “petty” politics, however, former JNUSU Joint Secretary Tabrez Hasan said: “The BAPSA members have been ridiculing the union members for having surnames such as ‘Pandey’ and ‘Chakraborty’. They called former JNUSU leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Shehla Rashid privileged. The kind of identity politics that they are now doing on the campus is highly condemnable.”Earlier, BAPSA members were at loggerheads with the JNUSU during the movement for missing student Najeeb Ahmed. “We were betrayed by the JNUSU during Najeeb movement as they had nothing concrete to bring him justice,” Ali said.Meanwhile, many students are of the opinion that the leaders should let these issues be and think about more pressing matters related to the campus.

Woman files plaint after husband gives her instant talaq

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after the Supreme Court (SC) struck down the validity of the practice of talaq-e-biddat, which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives instantly by uttering the word ‘talaq’ thrice, a woman on Monday registered a police complaint against her husband in Greater Noida.In her complaint, the woman, 36-year-old Rehana Begum, said her husband of 15 years, Waseem, granted her instant talaq after she came to know of his extra-marital affair. Rehana said Waseem, a mechanic by profession, divorced her in the presence of her in-laws and a neighbour at his paternal house in Meerut on August 17.The complainant, who hails from Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district, said they have four daughters. The couple had been living in the Dadri area of Gautam Budh Nagar for the last one year.”My husband had been in a relationship with a woman for the last few months. He had stopped giving money to me and my daughters. When I questioned him a few days ago, he gave me triple talaq,” Rehana said.”I was asked to immediately leave my in-laws’ house and was abused and threatened,” she said, adding that as soon as she got to know about the Apex Court’s verdict, she decided to file a police complaint in the matter.”How can this talaq be valid when the SC itself has scrapped it? I will never accept it and I request the police to take strict action against my husband. Where will I go with my four daughters? We demand justice,” Rehana added.According to the police, no FIR has been registered in the case but they have started an investigation into the matter. “We have visited the in-laws of the woman and they are ready to let her stay at their house. Waseem, however, is still absconding and the police are trying to trace him,” a senior police officer said.He added: “We need to hear Waseem’s side before lodging an FIR in the matter. If charges levelled by the woman are found to be true, a case will be registered against him in Meerut, where the incident took place.”

Schools refund fees after govt issues show-cause notices

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after the Delhi government issued show-cause notices to 449 private schools for charging “unjustified” fees from students, as many as 100 schools have started refunding the “excess” money with some of them even publishing notices in newspapers asking parents to collect their amount.”In compliance of the DoE order, the school is refunding the excess tuition and development fee and building fund. Students who were enrolled in the school 2009-10 and 2010-11 can collect the refund from the school immediately,” read the notice issued by Oxford Public School, Nehru Nagar.Similarly, Ambience Public School, Safdarjung Enclave, sent letters to parents to collect their cheques from the school. “In compliance of the order of Justice Anil Dev Singh’s committee… You are requested to collect the cheque from the school during working hours against the receipt of the refund,” the letter read.The 449 schools, including some of the top private schools, were identified by a committee appointed by the Delhi High Court for ‘overcharging’ parents on the pretext of implementing the sixth pay commission after some parents had approached the court in 2009.The schools were issued show-cause notices by the Court on Monday to return the money within two weeks. Overwhelmed by the move, thousands of parents hailed the government for tightening its grip over private schools.”We are happy to get our money back. These schools have been charging us unjustified amounts since 2009 and it’s after the AAP government’s intervention that they are returning it now,” said Ritika Chopra, said a parent.Calling it an encouraging move, government officials said, “It’s good that some of these schools have started the refund process. We hope that all 449 schools do the same.

After nearly a year’s delay, wait is over for JNU’s gender panel elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The elections for Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) gender panel — Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), that deals with complaints of sexual harassment, will finally be held in the latter half of September, after facing a delay of more than a year.Elections for the two posts of student representatives in GSCASH are conducted in April every year. The polls, however, could not be held in 2016 following the sedition row leading to arrests of three students and a spate of controversies on the campus. The student union members and the administration have been at loggerheads since then over the delay in conducting polls.”It is unfortunate that elections for one of the most crucial bodies on campus were delayed by more than a year due to the tussle between the administration and the students following the February 9 incident,” JNUSU president Mohit Pandey said.”We held several meetings with the administration and it has been decided that the polls for the post of students representatives of GSCASH will be conducted after the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) election in the latter half of September,” he added.The panel will have four student-elected representatives from this year as per the new guidelines issued by the GSCASH, “It will help the panel reach out to more students across the University and address their issues more effectively,” said Geeta Kumari, a student representative of the panel.Kumari, a member of left-affiliate All India Students’Association (AISA) along with Aishwarya Adhikari from the Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF) were elected as its students’ representatives in 2015. “I have been working as the only student representative for the last one year as Adhikari had passed out from the University in 2016,” she said.The panel, which has been working as an autonomous body since 1999, plays a crucial role as the university received more sexual harassment complaints in comparison to any other institute in Delhi in the last few years. “The figure has been high because we provide a better platform to students to speak out,” Kumari said.Meanwhile, a section of JNU teachers and students question the timing of announcement of the election. “Student bodies discuss GSCASH only ahead of JNUSU elections. Otherwise nobody talks about it,” said a second year research scholar.

Will take over private schools if extra fee not returned: Delhi Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Clearing its stance on ‘taking over’ 449 private schools, which were served show cause notices for charging extra fee from students, the Delhi government on Friday said that the step will be taken as the ‘last resort’, only if they fail to return the amount.”Private schools are the integral part of our education system. The Delhi government has no intention to interfere in their functioning but we, as a responsible government, will surely ensure discipline in these schools,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.The 449 schools, including some of the top private schools, were identified by a committee appointed by the Delhi High Court and headed by Justice Anil Dev Singh for ‘overcharging’ parents on the pretext of implementing the sixth pay commission after some parents had approached the court in 2009. The committee had recommended that the hiked fee be refunded to parents along with a 9 per cent interest.”Some of these schools are doing good work. But if they don’t implement the recommendations of the Justice Anil Dev’s committee and return the fees, then we will take them over as a last resort,” Kejriwal said.The schools have been served with show cause notices with a deadline to respond within two weeks on why they should not be taken over by the government. “I hope we don’t have to take over. The managements of these schools should immediately implement the Justice Anil Dev Singh’s recommendation,” he said.The private schools, on the other hand, said that there are several ‘lapses’ in the calculation of ‘extra’ money by the committee. “Several schools have grievances with the committees recommendation. We have received complaints from 25-30 schools saying the calculations done by justice Dev committee are incorrect,” said SK Bhattacharya, president of Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private School.According to officials at Bal Bharti School, Rohini, they have been asked to return 60 lakh rupees, which is around Rs 40 lakh more than the actual amount. “Schools should refund the extra money, but the Delhi government and the court should consider their grievances,” Bhattacharya said.On Wednesday, the Delhi government had apprised the Delhi HC that out of the 544 schools, identified by Justice Anil Dev committee to refund the excess fees, these 449 schools had not given money back to the parents.According to Delhi government the schools have to have to refund over Rs 300 crore to the parents.

For hand-to-mouth ragpickers, Independence Day means little

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While it was Independence Day for many, for Raveena Kumari, it was simply a Tuesday as she neither got a day off work nor attended any sort of celebration. The 15-year-old ragpicker spent the country’s 71st Independence Day doing what she does daily to make ends meet.“Do you think we are independent? We are still enslaved by poverty and inequality. If I had attended the flag hoisting event being organised in the society where my aunt works, I would have lost a day’s income,” said the resident of makeshift jhuggis under the iconic iron bridge of north-east Delhi’s Seelampur area.Kumari was denied admission in a government school for not having a birth certificate. “People told me my mother died while giving birth to me in a jhuggi here. Still, the government wants me to give my birth certificate. I once asked my aunt to give them my mother’s death certificate,” the sombre teen said.Away from the fervour and the festivities, thousands of such homeless ragpickers spent their day doing their daily chores. “How would hoisting flags and celebrating Independence Day change our lives? It does not make us less patriotic. We also love our country and want to do something, only if we get a chance,” said 14-year-old Karan, while standing in a queue to collect water from a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) tank. “Who would have collected our share of water for the day? We would have spent a waterless day instead of Independence Day,” Karan said, bursting into laughter. He has been selling balloons on Delhi streets since the age of five.

Delhi jeweller, Pakistan prof help each other find link to pre-Partition past

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seventy years ago, for a 14-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh, her recent wedding had been the most important event of her life. It all changed in the blink of an eye, as the country witnessed a bloody Partition that tore thousands of families apart.Salma Bibi, the new bride, had to leave everything familiar, including her family, behind to migrate to newly-formed Pakistan with her husband and in-laws.Amid the bloodshed and the paranoia, stories of Indians and Pakistanis helping each other through the difficult time also poured in. It seems not much has changed since then. Thanks to this mutual affection and a sense of a shared history among the citizens of the neighbouring countries, and, of course, technological advancements, Bibi finally managed to contact her long-lost family.Bibi, now 85, had made peace with her fate and the dream of reuniting with her family had started fading. Just then, Delhi-based jeweller Harvinder Singh came into the picture as a bearer of good tidings.Singh, whose family met with a similar fate during Partition and migrated from Pakistan to India, had been trying to locate his ancestral home in Pakistan’s Punjab province when he came in touch with Bibi’s grandson Israr Ahmed, a professor, on social media.The two had coincidentally joined the same social media platform meant for people trying to locate their lost families in the two countries.”Both of us had joined a social media group meant for people searching for their near and dear ones in neighbouring countries. Technology turned out to be a blessing for us. We found each other at a time when we were searching for the same thing — our lost identities. One day, I messaged Ahmed and sought his help in finding my home, as he was also from the same place, Sialkot in Punjab,” Singh said.After months of searching, Ahmed finally succeeded in locating Singh’s home in the Bhopalwala town of Sialkot. “He sent me some pictures and videos of my ancestral house. It was an overwhelming moment for me and my family,” Singh said, adding that he then realised that it was his turn to help Ahmed find his own family in India.”He told me that his grandmother’s family used to live in a small town in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district. After putting in some effort, I finally located one of her brothers, now living in Islamnagar,” he said.Back in Pakistan, a few months ago, Bibi’s family received the long-awaited call. “We never saw her as happy as she was when her brother called her. We will always be grateful to Singh bhaiya,” Bibi’s daughter-in-law Tyabba Saeed told DNA over the telephone.The two families have been in constant touch ever since. “We call each other frequently. Bibi’s family treats me like one of their own. I am planning to go for her grandson’s wedding, scheduled for next year. I want them to wear jewellery from my store,” Singh said.”Despite constant tension between the two countries, people on both sides are friendly and want to live in peace,” Tyabba said.

Controversial Bastar ex-IGP cancels JNU visit due to ill health

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Bastar IGP SRP Kalluri, who was to attend an event at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on the occasion of Independence Day, will not be able to come due to health issues. The event, which could have sparked a fresh round of agitation at the campus, has now been postponed by the organisers.”We have postponed the event scheduled for August 15 due to the critical health condition of Kalluri. He is admitted to a Gurugram hospital and will undergo a kidney transplant on Tuesday,”ABVP member and convenor of the event, Srikant, said.DNA had earlier reported that a section of Right-inclined faculty members and students had invited Kalluri to the event. The move might have led to students protest as his visit to the neighbouring Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) for a seminar in May this year had faced huge criticism from JNU students.The organisers, however, claimed that the event, wherein Kalluri was to address students about “his contributions in fighting Naxalism in Chhattisgarh”, will be organised in the coming months. “We will definitely decide a date, once he gets well,” a senior faculty member said.A 1994-batch IPS officer, Kalluri was sent on a leave in February, following allegations of human rights violation and has not been given a new position yet. He was charged with threatening journalists and human rights activists in Bastar and was also summoned by the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) over alleged hostility and abuse of power against the human rights defenders in November last year.During his visit to IIMC, he, however, had claimed that he was constantly “presented as a villain and devil in the public domain by Maoists and intellectuals across the country”….& ANALYSISJNU is no stranger to controversy but Kalluri’s visit would have led to a fresh round of agitations at a time when students are already protesting over several issues.
JNU would have witnessed a controversial Independence Day as a section of Left-inclined students and teachers were not in favour of the visit.

Lives choked in dirty drains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Preeti Kumari’s world came crashing down when two policemen came to her house on Sunday morning and informed her about her husband’s death. The 21-year-o ld is now staring at an uncertain future, with two children, including a three-month-old daughter, to raise.Her husband Mohan, 25, was among three contractual sanitation workers who died as poisonous gases choked them inside a sewer they were cleaning in south Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar area. “He lost his life for just Rs 300… he had not been provided with even a mask,” she says while fixing her white veil with her henna-dyed hands.“He used to tell me that all they got him was a rope, a stick and a basket to do his job. He never mentioned about gloves, masks or boots,” Preeti says. “He never told me much about his work. He used to avoid any discussion around how he did what he did,” she says. The families of the two other victims were also not aware about the nature of their jobs and the working conditions. “He would often tell me that he was employed with the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) as a safai karamchari. It was only after his death that I came to know how hard he used to work to earn a living,” says an inconsolable Rekha Kumari, wife of another victim, Annu (29).Annu’s brother, who works at the Aligarh Muslim University as a cleaner, however, understands the reason behind his brother’s ‘mysterious’ work life. “Do you think his 5-year-old son would have liked to know that his father used to pull out rubbish and excreta from drains?” he asks.Despite the government’s ban on manual scavenging in India, around 250 sanitation workers, employed with Delhi’s three municipal corporations and the DJB, do the dirty, inhuman and risky job. Most manual scavengers are employed officially to clean silt from small drains, but are regularly made to enter and clean sewers because of ‘emergency’. “There are strict laws against the practice, but there is always a demand for manual scavengers and there are people available (willingly or otherwise) to do the job,” says a sanitation worker employed with the DJB that manages the city’s water supplies and sewage.Recently, the Delhi High Court pulled up the Delhi government, asking what steps it has taken to eliminate the “evil practice”.(Preeti Kumari (in white) with her late husband Mohan’s photograph outside her makeshift jhuggi in East Delhi’s Kalyanpuri —BB Yadav/DNA)No safety gearIt takes five-six hours for 35-year-old Sunil Kumar of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) to clear filth from a drain. “We do not get any safety gear. No masks, no gloves or boots. Sometimes the silt contains pieces of glass,” he says, showing a deep gash on his palm.“All we get is a bamboo stick tied to a basket, and a ladder to go deep into drains. The smell is unbearable,” he says.According to the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, the entry of humans into drains and tanks to clear them of waste is prohibited, except in an emergency. Under the latter case, the law directs the employer to provide safety gear to workers. “We should at least get masks for emergency,” says Joginder Kumar, a sewer cleaner employed with the DJB. “And even if there are boots or gloves, they are either small or oversized. If they will give you knee-length boots, how are you supposed to work wearing them? We eventually will prefer working without them,” he says.Officials, however, deny the charges, saying their sewer stores are full of safety gear that are always provided to sanitary workers. “We don’t allow our sanitary workers to enter manholes and drains. Everything is mechanised now. Only in unavoidable situations, they are asked to enter drains and that too with all safety gear,” a senior DJB official says.Officials at the EDMC, however, say that a lack of funds means no safety gear to sanitation workers. “How can we give them proactive gear when we don’t have funds to give them salaries on time?” asks a senior EDMC official.“Even if we provide them with masks and gloves, sewer cleaners don’t use them as they are not used to working with them,” he says.The three corporations — East, South and North — have around 2,500 sewer cleaners. The corporation pays Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 to its permanent workers even as no health benefits are given to them. The law, however, mandates the use of machinery to clean drains, sewers and tanks. The civic bodies hire cheap manual labour through contractors and they are paid Rs 250-Rs 300 a day.Most workers enter sewers after consuming alcohol or cheap intoxicated substances to keep themselves distracted. “It’s so difficult to stand the unbearable stench down there. Alcohol helps us carry on,” says EDMC worker Jagdish Kumar. This makes life even more dangerous. “Under the influence of alcohol, they can’t react promptly during an emergency,” says Mukesh Vaidya, president of All Municipal Corporation Sanitation Supervisors’ Union.Workers also claim that they suffer from problems of heart, lungs, skin and eyes. “I stopped cleaning sewers after repeated infections. My condition had become so bad that I could not step out of my house for months,” says Kallu, 38, a resident of East Delhi’s Kalyanpuri. He now works at a tea stall.Kallu’s uncle Sushil suffered a heart attack after being choked by poisonous gasses while cleaning a sewer line in 2012. He, however, returned to the practice. “I tried convincing him to start doing something else but he said that he won’t be able to do anything else now,” he says. Kallu is the first in his family to quit the profession.“We don’t know any other work. From where will we earn our living if we stop working as sewer cleaners,” asks Sushil, a contractual worker.The health risks are enormous. “Many of my friends in the profession died of tuberculosis before reaching the age of 60,” he says.Caste curseBezwada Wilson, a Magsaysay award winner for his efforts to fight against manual scavenging and the national convener of Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), says, “Sanitation work in India is caste-based work. We talk about Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but does anyone think about those involved to make it work?” “99 per cent of these workers are Valmikis (Dalits) and employers consider it their right to make them clean the filth,” he says.Echoing the sentiment, Shambhu, 22, who wanted to continue his studies after school, says, “I wanted to do something respectable but since we are Valmikis, we don’t have many choices.” He is working as a sewer cleaner. “When I got a job in the Delhi Jal Board in 1995, I thought it would change my life but I ended up cleaning drains,” says Joginder Kumar, adding all Valmikis employed with either DJB or MCDs are working as safai karamcharis and sewer cleaners.“People from other communities are doing more dignified jobs like those of guards and peons,” he says. DJB officials, however, deny the allegations, saying they don’t hire people based on caste.Deaths and compensationAccording to data compiled by SKA, as many as 81 sanitation workers died in Delhi and NCR due to poisonous gases in drains and sewers. “Out of which, 14 deaths occurred this year itself,” Wilson says.In 2014, the Supreme Court awarded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of manual scavengers who died while working after 1993. “Only a few families received the amount in Delhi,” he says.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also announced Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the sanitation workers who died on Sunday. “We are banking on the money. I will use it to first rent a proper house for my children,” says Preeti, sitting in her makeshift jhuggi in Kalyanpuri.Blame gameWhenever such an incident happens, DJB and corporation officials blame contractors. “There is a huge informal sector operating. These contractors risk the lives of sanitation workers for their own profit,” a senior DJB official says. “Sometimes, they even intoxicate workers to make them operate in inhumane conditions,” he says.The Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD), however, claims that it does not have sewers under it. “We maintain some storm-water drains. But because of a poor sewerage system, they have sewage stuck in them. These drains are not too deep, but we make sure contractors use all precautions such as masks and gear. We can take action against contractors for violating safety norms,” says PWD’s chief engineer Sarvagya Srivastava.126Sewer deaths (From January 1 to August 6)States: Delhi, Rajasthan UP, MP, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Punjab, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.14Of these deaths reported from Delhi, NCRWhat is sewer gas?It is a mixture of toxic gases produced in sewage systems by the decomposition of organic waste. It includes methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and nitrogen dioxide

Months on, monkey catchers show no interest in govt job

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Months after the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) announced that it will hire monkey catchers on a payroll, the simian menace is still baffling the civic body as very few people turned up for the job.According to officials, despite giving advertisements and fixing the monthly salary at Rs 15,000, few people showed interest in the job. “We thought if we hired a dedicated team to handle the work, the number of complaints would drop. But hardly four-five people have applied for the positions till now,” a senior SDMC official said.”Earlier, we used to hire monkey catchers on a contract basis and used to pay Rs 1,200 per monkey. But it was extremely difficult to retain any of the catchers for even a year at a stretch,” he added.When DNA contacted some monkey catchers or ‘qalandars’ to understand their side of the matter, most of them said that in the past, activists have taken them to police stations, and people have slammed them for hurting their “religious sentiments”.”It had become really difficult for us to catch monkeys as people in several areas of Delhi took offense. A group of activists once took me to a police station, while I was doing my job in the Parliament Street area,” Salauddin, a resident of north-east Delhi’s Dilshad Garden, said.Echoing the sentiment, monkey catcher Irfan, who hails from Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district, said: “It becomes so difficult to do our job as a lot of people have their religious sentiments attached with monkeys. I was threatened by a group of residents in north Delhi once. I never visited the area again.”The civic body has been grappling with the simian problem for years now. Not just residential buildings, the monkeys have not spared even government organisations such as courts, office buildings, or the Parliament House itself. Recently, two monkeys had strayed into the multi-storeyed headquarters of the civic bodies and left several Councillors of north and south civic bodies stranded for hours.At the same time, several monkey-catchers have started freelancing. “After 0the government imposed a ban on using langurs to catch monkeys, it became difficult for us to work. We now have to use sound techniques to nab them, which is a tedious process and requires more time. The municipal corporation used to pay me only Rs 850-1,200 for a monkey. Now, I am catching stray monkeys on my own and charging Rs 2,000 for one,” Akram said.No response from other statesThe south corporation officials have said they have made multiple requests to the Chief Wildlife Wardens of the Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan, to provide then with monkey catchers but there has been no response.

Ramjas row to set tone for DUSU elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Months after the Ramjas college incident rattled the entire University, it will now set the tone for this year’s Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) elections. The Student wings of all the major political parties — that have already been milking using the incident as a protest plank — are set to draw their manifestos revolving around the incident. The ABVP, which drew criticism for ‘instigating’ the clashes in Ramjas, will float “nationalism” as its main campaign theme.”There will be no compromise with our nationalist ideology. We can never allow anti-national elements or slogans at our campus,” said Saket Bahuguna, National media convener, ABVP.”ABVP will try to polarise students on the Ramjas issue, but we need to make students aware of the misinformation that was fed to them.Delhi police also informed the court recently that the footage of the alleged anti-national slogans were doctored,” said Kawalpreet Kaur, President, AISA, Delhi. The student wing of Congress — National Students Union of India (NSUI) — which is set to give a cut-throat competition to ABVP, will also tow the Ramjas line.”We will soon start a campaign titled ‘Take back DU’ wherein we will ask DU students to help us fight ABVP’s hooliganism,” said Akshay Lakra, President, NSUI, Delhi.Meanwhile, Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti, the student-wing of the Aam Aadmi Party will once again not contest in the DUSU polls.”We may contest in college-level elections. We can’t be a part of DUSU polls knowing that it is contested on money, muscle power,” said Anmol Panwar, Spokesperson, CYSS.In the pastIn February, violent clashes broke out in Ramjas College when several students with left-backed AISA and RSS-backed ABVP attacked each other.The clashes followed the cancellation of an invitation to JNU student leaders Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid at a seminar after ABVP objected.

No Congress presidential candidate in DUTA polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following two defeats in a row, the Congress party’s teachers unit, Indian National Teachers Congress (INTEC) will not field any presidential candidate in the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) elections this year.Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president Ajay Maken recently announced the candidates for the Executive Committee of the teacher’s body but no one was named for the top post. “We have decided not to field any presidential candidate. The decision has been taken by the INTEC members keeping in mind our ‘poor’ performance in the last year’s election,” Maken said while speaking to DNA.”We, however, will focus on getting a majority in the Executive Committee and work for the cause of teachers in DU,” he added.Earlier in 2015, the Left-affiliated Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) candidate Nandita Narain won the election bagging 2,390 out of total 6,068 votes polled followed by NDTF candidate VS Negi who got 2,165 votes. INTEC candidate Sanjay Kumar got only 536 votes.The election for the office of president and 15 members of executive committee for 2017-2019 will be conducted on August 31. The DUTA president is elected for a single two-year term.Taking a swipe at Congress’ decision, members of BJP-backed teacher’s wing National Democratic Teachers Front (NDTF) said that the former had already conceded their defeat.”By not fielding any candidate for the top post Congress-backed INTEC has already accepted their defeat. It clearly shows that they don’t have teachers support at the campus,” said AK Bhagi, NDTF president and an assistant professor at Dyal Singh College.INTEC president Ashwini Shankar, however, denied their claims and said the decision had been taken to avoid electoral division. “By not fielding any presidential candidate we have not accepted any defeat. The decision has been taken in a bid to avoid electoral division. The opposition will +soon realise our motive behind the move,” he said.”We will support whosoever will get elected and work for the regularisation of ad hoc-teachers, promotion and pension of permanent teachers among other issues,” said Surendra Kumar, General Secretary INTEC and its candidate for DUTA’s Executive Committee.CriticismTaking a swipe at its decision, members of BJP-backed teacher’s wing NDTF said the Congress had already conceded defeatNDTF president even stated the move showed Congress didn’t have support of teachers on campusINTEC president, however, denied the claims, saying the decision had been taken to avoid electoral division.

South Corporation to introduce nursery classes in 90 schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a first, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) is all set to introduce nursery classes in 90 out of a total of 518 primary schools operating under it from the next academic session.The schools working under the SDMC offer classes from Class I to V. “Getting a nursery seat is a very difficult task in Delhi. Parents have to run from pillar to post to get their children enrolled every year. So, we are going to introduce nursery classes in around 90 schools operating under SDMC initially,” said Kamaljeet Sehrawat, Mayor, South Delhi.”It will be a big relief for parents as now they will not have to admit their children in other schools for nursery class before enrolling them in SDMC schools,” she added.The south civic body has also been conducting trial classes since the last one year in a bid to get the hang of it. “We have also conducted several trial classes in the last one year to understand the working and requirements of nursery classes. After successful feedback, we have decided to introduce nursery in around 90 schools first and then extend it to all the schools of the corporation,” Sehrawat said.”We have also written to the Delhi government to provide us around 4,500 teachers for nursery classes,” the mayor added.The SDMC has been consistently taking efforts to improve the quality of education being offered in its schools. Last year, the south corporation started smart class facility in some of its schools in a bid make learning more interesting and tech savvy for students.According to officials at the south corporation, it is also planning to introduce e-reading and learning facilities in its schools. “We are soon going to set up e-reading material library in our schools to provide meaningful education to children,” a senior SDMC official said.

L-G directs civic officials to act quickly

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lt Governor Anil Baijal, on Saturday, visited several areas of the Walled City and was apprised of the status of the revamp plan of the area by civic officials.He visited all the prominent areas of old Delhi including the iconic Town Hall, Chandni Chowk, Hanuman Mandir area and Yamuna Bazaar, after which he instructed officials to work on a complete traffic circulation plan of the area.Baijal emphasised on the need for the creation of new parking lots and upgradation of existing ones by the corporation to cater to the growing requirement of the area and also for ensuring proper day-to-day cleanliness and sanitation. “During his visit, he was informed that there was a proposal for construction of two multi-level stack parking lots in the area and for installation of one flower waste processing machine near the temple premises,” the L-G’s office said in a statement.Built in the 1860s, the Town Hall, a landmark building, was the seat of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi from 1866 till 2009. In 2012, the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated and the area fell under the NDMC.The L-G also directed the North MCD to coordinate with other agencies like the Traffic Police and PWD for preparation of a complete Traffic Circulation Plan of the area and ensure regulated plying of registered e-rickshaws. “For beautification of the area, the L-G directed certain measures should be expedited for ducting of electrical wires, hanging over the roads and lanes,” the statement added.Baijal visited the Walled City after holding a meeting with all stakeholders including Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation to review the project, earlier this month.

Plans to revamp Walled City still on hold

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ambitious Shahjahanabad redevelopment project, meant to revamp the Walled City area while preserving monuments, is expected to take some more time to see the light of the day as the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC), responsible for the development work of the area, is a non-staffer since its formation in 2008.”The involvement of multiple agencies is severely affecting the re-development work in the Walled City. The SRDC, which was formed to look after the development work, does not have adequate staff. Currently, it is working without a chairperson and a managing director. How then can we expect it to work efficiently?” asked Chandni Chowk MLA, Alka Lamba.”There are more than 20 positions lying vacant in the SRDC. The corporation requires engineers, architects and archaeologists to move forward but the files of their appointments are pending to be cleared by the LG office,” she added.Earlier, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal used to head the SRDC. The responsibility was later given to the Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and subsequently to the Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Satyendar Jain.Jain, had however, appointed PWD engineer-in-chief Sarvagya Srivastava in February last year. But the then LG subsequently struck down Srivastava’s appointment as PWD secretary “There is ambiguity as to who will head the SRDC. Due to this, development work has been affected in my constituency,” said Lamba.Recently, the Delhi High Court had pulled up the SRDC and asked it to remove all illegal encroachments from the Chandni Chowk area. Following this, Lt Governor Anil Baijal also sought a status report from the Delhi government on the development work.According to officials at North Municipal Corporation (NDMC), the iconic Town Hall, which was the seat of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi from 1866 till 2009, will soon be revamped under the Shahjahanabad redevelopment project.”A craft bazaar, a dancing fountain, a maze, light and sound programmes, street food, children activity area, digital library and lecture rooms will be constructed there as per the development plan,” a senior NDMC official said.& AnalysisMany beautification programs have been promised with regard to the Capital’s many monuments.But thanks to apathy, lack of a concrete plan and multiplicity of agencies, such projects have remained stalled.

Teen artist seeks prosthesis under RTE

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sitting in his poorly-lit, one-room house in old Delhi’s Sadar Bazar area, 15-year-old Ritik Kohli aspires to become an artist. His humble circumstances, however, are least of his worries. For Kohli was born with a rare medical condition — congenital amputation. As a result, both his arms are deformed.But the zealous teen has decided not to let adversity trample his dreams. Ritik has knocked on court’s door, seeking prosthetic limbs under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 and the Disability Act from the state government.Under the RTE Act, students with special needs are entitled to government aid for their medical and educational needs. According to senior lawyer Ashok Agarwal, this will be the first case of its kind.”This will be the first time that a student is seeking enforcement of his RTE as well as the disability right,” he said.”Even the Supreme Court had upheld the RTE Act in 2011 and made it clear that the government has to remove all obstacles coming in between a child and his right to quality education,” Agarwal added.Ritik was born to Ramwati and Mahendra Kumar, a daily-wage labourer, in 2002. “When I saw him for the first time, my world turned upside down. I could not believe that my child will have to live his entire life with deformed limbs,”said Ramwati, who had to give up her work as a domestic help after Ritik’s birth. He is third of her three children.”For the last 15 years, I have been washing and feeding him, changing his clothes, and dropping and picking him from school. I am tired now,” she said. For the last eight years, the family has also been making rounds of private as well as government doctors, hoping for a cure to his condition.”We have been told that Ritik can’t be operated upon. A surgery will damage his nervous system and affect the functioning of his brain. They told us that prosthetic limbs is our only resort and will cost more than Rs 15 lakh. We can’t afford that,” Ramwati said.There has, however, been one silver lining. Over the years, Kohli has learned creating beautiful portraits with his feet.”I started practicing drawing when I was in Class V. Gradually, I learned making decent sketches,”he said, while proudly showing a sketch of lord Shiva.”I love to make pictures of lord Shiva as I draw strength from them,” he added. “I want to pursue higher education, play cricket, and ride bicycle like normal children. I don’t want to bother my mother and sister anymore,” he added.”We have come to know that we can seek government help under the RTE and Disability Acts. We are going to file a petition in Delhi High Court,” Ramwati said.

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