Bellary Brothers Intimidate Complainants
THINGS HAVE got more tense in Bellary, the hub of illegal mining in Karnataka. On March 29, a gang of eight attacked those mine owners who had filed a case in the Supreme Court on the illegal mining done by the company owned by Janardhana Reddy, the Karnataka Tourism Minister.
The mine owners, T Ganesh and his brothers, were attacked while they waited outside a private hotel to meet a team of the Survey of India. The team was there on the orders of the Supreme Court to see if the Reddys were indeed mining illegally.
The Indian Bureau of Mines, which oversees mining in India, also has a team in Bellary for a fresh survey of illegal mining. A TEHELKA report by Vijay Simha on the mining practices in Bellary (April 3) detailed how things have gone out of control in the southern states.
Ganesh and his brothers are planning to file a fresh appeal in the Supreme Court following the latest attack.
Vaccine Trial Issue to Echo in Parliament
REACTING TO TEHELKA’S cover story ‘Shot Life’ by Shantanu Guha Ray and Kunal Majumder (March 20) on the controversial HPV vaccination observational study in Khammam, Andhra Pradesh, Brinda Karat, MP and CPMPolitburo member, wrote to Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on March 22 demanding an immediate probe into the matter.
She also told TEHELKA on phone from Andhra Pradesh that she is currently touring, and that Khammam was included in her itinerary. “I shall be speaking to the tribal girls who were vaccinated and the parents of the four who died after they allegedly developed complications. I am very serious about this issue and plan to raise it in Parliament,” she added.
Nearly 14,000 girls in the 10-14 age group were administered the vaccine, which its makers claim prevents cervical cancer. A report put out by the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Andhra Pradesh, soon after the TEHELKA investigation says: “Police were clueless about the death of these girls, Sode Sayamma and Kudumula Saritha. They entered in the FIR that both these girls committed suicide by taking pesticide.” The AIDWA report confirms TEHELKA’s findings. It adds that the parents of the girls denied their daughters had committed suicide.
Khap ‘Courts’ Get a Taste of Real Justice
AFTER YEARS of issuing diktats on honour killings for marrying in the same subcastes, the noose finally tightened around Khap Panchayats — the kangaroo courts of north India. On August 15 last year, TEHELKA carried an investigation titled ‘A Taliban of Our Very Own’ by Neha Dixit, that exposed how these parallel courts defy all laws, exiling or killing up to 12 people a month, and promote female foeticide that has reduced the sex ratio to as low as 370 females per 1,000 males. Like the Taliban, they have banned television, music and cricket. A court in Karnal, Haryana, in a historic judgement last week, convicted a Khap leader and six others for killing Manoj and Babli — who had married within the same gotra — and dumping their bodies in a canal. Public prosecutor Lal Bahadur welcomed the decision saying, “This is a strong message to the public and the Khap.”