Denying Justice
The Committee for Defence & Release of Dr GN Saibaba condemns the arbitrary manner in which the authorities of Ram Lal Anand College are continuing to deny Dr GN Saibaba his right to resume his duties as an Assistant Professor in the College after he has been released on unconditional bail by the Supreme Court of India in April, 2016.

In response to his request to resume duties, Dr GN Saibaba has been given a letter by the Principal stating that his suspension from services would continue - till the criminal case against him in Maharashtra is settled. The letter also reiterates the decision to curtail Dr Saibaba's entry inside the college till further orders. Worse, the letter declares that "independent disciplinary proceedings are being contemplated under University Act, Ordinance and Rules for your act of unbecoming of a teacher besides other misconducts noticed now".

The contents of the letter make it evident that the Governing Body of the College is trying to frame, criminalize and intimidate Dr Saibaba, who has been an unrelenting and tireless fighter for the rights of the oppressed and the downtrodden. Furthermore, it should be noted that the Governing Body is a truncated one as it has only 5 serving members out of a total strength of 15. Moreover, the University has not appointed teacher representatives in the Governing Body after the term of the former teacher representatives expired a few months ago.

The above-mentioned decisions of the Governing Body were arrived at on the basis of a report submitted by one of its members, Mr Umesh Sharma, who was appointed as a "One Man Enquiry Committee". In its eagerness to punish and victimize Dr Saibaba, the College authorities have violated all procedural norms: (a) The Equiry Committee was set up without any terms of reference? (b) a one-member committee constituted of a member of the Governing Body is in violation of University Ordinances; and (c) the very appointment of membership of Mr Umesh Sharma in the Governing Body of the College was in violation of the University rules as he was simultaneously serving on the Governing Body of four colleges. It should be noted that Mr Sharma has subsequently been asked to step down from the Governing Body, but only after his recommendation that Dr Saibaba's suspension was approved by the truncated Body, which had no representatives from among the teachers of the College.

The fact that the report of the one member committee has still not been made available to Dr Saibaba shows the clandestine and malafide manner in which the College authorities are acting. It should be noted that the decision to conduct disciplinary action against Dr Saibaba is seriously prejudicial to his defence in his criminal case, which is currently sub-judice. Once Dr Saibaba is released on bail and is fit to perform his duties, it is only a matter of routine procedure that he be allowed to join duty as his suspension was predicated on the false FIR (Crime Case Mo. 13/2014) registered against him in Maharashtra, and has no connection whatsoever with his position as a teacher of Ram Lal Anand College.

The Defence Committee demands that the Governing Body of Ram Lal Anand College should immediately to retract the blatanly illegal decisions made by them and reinstate Dr GN Saibaba in his teaching position as per the Central Government Employees Rules and various judgements of the Supreme Court.
G Hargopal, Chariperson,
Hany Babu Mt, Convenor,
Committee for the Defence & Release of Dr G N Saibaba

Lightning Disasters
The recent tragedy of lightning related deaths in which over 100 people died in just 2 days on June 21 and 22 and many others were injured should alert people to the urgent need for several steps for reducing the distress caused by thunderstorms and lightning. Firstly experts in consultation with people of more affected areas should prepare a list of precautions and preparations that are more suitable to Indian conditions, particularly the conditions in rural areas. Secondly in more affected areas the capability of rural and district hospitals to treat lightning victims should be improved. Thirdly the problems that still remain in providing prompt compensatory payment to families of victims of lightning disasters should be sorted out at the government level without further delay.
Bharat Dogra, New Delhi

MTNLl Broadband
I connected at 09.43 but the connection broke at 10.24 and I had to switch off my computer and re-start before re-connecting. In the same way, I had to re-connect at 12.50, 13.38, 14.08 and 14.40.

The computer was switched off at 15.08 and re-started at 18.38. Owing to the connection breaking, I had to re-connect at 19.00, 19.56, 21.26, 21.46, 22.15 and 23.44. Between midnight and 1 a.m., three breaks.

MTNL makes *me* pay for all this work. Damn cheats.
Mukul Dube, Delhi

Prisons of Bihar
The media reported about the deplorable conditions of prisons in Bihar. The news story was based on an exhaustive report titled "Prisons of Bihar: Status Report-2015" prepared by Smita Chakraburty, an activist and researcher. She was assigned a project by Justice Shri V N Sinha, Judge of Patna High Court and Executive Chairman, Bihar State Legal Services Authority, to visit all the 58 prisons of Bihar to study the living conditions.

The story also carried an interview of Justice Sinha besides an article "Neglected Reforms". In a related piece, a reference was made to the initiatives and recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission on the subject of Prison Reforms.

The Commission has observed that although it is not oblivious to the ills plaguing the prison system in the country, the news story discloses gross violation of human rights of the prisoners that are under the care and custody of the State. This is an eye opener which throws light on the denial of basic human rights of prisoners in Bihar and points to the urgent need for prison reforms across the country. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Prisons, Government of Bihar for factual reports.

Reportedly, Ms Chakraburty interviewed as many as 30070 inmates during her study and highlighted the following issues:
o   Complete absence of medical facilities in prisons, particularly for women.
o   Bias against terror accused and undertrials by denying them even the copy of chargesheet in cases against them.
o   Forced Labour by undertrials which is punishable under Indian Penal Code.
o   Punishment of prisoners, under the discretionary powers provided by the Prison Manual Rules without supervision by an appellate body.
o   Denial of free legal aid counsel to undertrials, as very few advocates meet the undertrials in the court and they are not represented when produced before the Magistrates.
o   Condition of women prisoners and need of medical and psychiatric help etc.
NHRC, Delhi

‘‘Fortune Vivo’’
Radio and other advertising for "Fortune VIVO", touted as "India's first diabetes care oil", seeks to establish a connection between diabetes and foods fried in other oils. The words "clinically proven" are used but no supporting evidence is provided. Action must be taken against Adani Wilmar for misleading and potentially dangerous advertising.
Mukul Dube, Delhi

Another ‘‘Encounter’’
On June 13, 2016, one more fake ''encounter" led to the gangrape and murder of Madkam Hidme, an adivasi woman of Bastar, Chatiisgarh. As it happens regularly, the murder is being covered up with the charge that she is a Naxalite. This follows continuous pattern of violence in Chhatisgarh for years.
Dr Punyabrata Gun,
Ms Bharati Dey,
Soni Sori Mukti Morcha

Vol. 49, No.4, Jul 31 - Aug 6, 2016