Press Statement

The Delhi Union of Journalists strongly condemns the beating up of journalists and camerapersons who were covering the clashes between the police and supporters of controversial godman Rampal at Hissar in Haryana today. It has been reported that while some journalists have been injured, camera and equipment of photo journalists have been damaged or broken. Even DGP S N Vashisht, confronted with evidence, had to concede a journalist was beaten up and that he will investigate the matter.

The DUJ calls for the institution of a high level enquiry to probe the beatings of journalists. While demanding immediate compensation for those who have suffered injuries and damage to their equipment, the DUJ reiterates its demand that a compensation and insurance cover be put in place for media persons who while covering such conflicts have to face various hazardous tasks.

The DUJ would also like to state that no one is above the law. The use of women and children as protective shields and exposing them to grave risks is highly condemnable and cannot be tolerated.

(S K Pande)
General Secretary Flat No. 29, New Central Market, Connaught Circus, New Delhi-110001.
Phone: 23413459, Email:,


Farhan Akhtar announced as UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia

Actor calls calls on men and boys to join the UN Women's HeForShe initiative, and mobilize for gender equality

(Mumbai, 13th November) UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and women's empowerment, today announced the appointment of actor-filmmaker-singer, Farhan Akhtar, as the South Asia Goodwill Ambassador. Farhan is the first man to be chosen as the Goodwill Ambassador in the organization's history.

An accomplished and well respected actor-filmmaker-singer, Farhan Akhtar has not only made his presence felt in the Indian film industry with his versatility, but has represented the voice of numerous concerned men on the important issue of gender equality and violence against women and girls in India through his MARD campaign.

Farhan will dedicate his efforts as UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia towards the empowerment of women and girls and will serve as an advocate for UN Women's newly launched HeForShe initiative in advocating for gender equality and women's empowerment.

"We are pleased and honoured to have Farhan as our Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia, for we believe his work and values represent the core values of UN Women," stated Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women. "Farhan started his own campaign MARD - Men Against Rape and Discrimination that aims to sensitize men and create awareness about the safety of women. That kind of engagement is essential. We need creative and committed men like Farhan to push the gender equality and women's empowerment agenda. . I am convinced that Farhan's passion and conviction for the cause will galvanize a multiplier effect and reach the hearts and minds of men and boys in South Asia and beyond," added Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The MARD campaign has successfully encouraged many actors to join this campaign and spread awareness. Corporates like Google have also engaged with the initiative to empower women with internet literacy.

"I am honoured to serve UN Women as the Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia. This gives me and our MARD initiative an added impetus to work together towards a more gender equal India and world. I am a supporter of UN Women's HeForShe campaign and the role men and boys can play in stopping crime against women and girls and working towards gender equality. Through this new partnership I want to call on all the men and boys to be a catalyst for change and through our actions create a value system to end gender disparity," said Farhan Akhtar.

Akhtar's appointment coincides with the visit of UN Women's top official to India. Earlier in the week she met with the President of India, and senior ministers of the new government and participated in the 2nd Global MenEngage Symposium, which brought together over 400 NGOs working on gender justice to New Delhi. The visit to India comes as UN Women's global initiative Beijing+20 "Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It" is reigniting a global conversation on gender equality and women's rights in the lead up to the 20th anniversary of the historic 1995 Beijing Conference, which produced what is considered the most comprehensive women's rights agenda, the Beijing Platform for Action.

UN Women's other Goodwill Ambassadors include British actor Emma Watson, Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman and HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand.

About UN Women UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. For more information, visit

About UN Women's HeForShe Campaign

HeForShe is a solidarity movement which calls upon men and boys to stand up against the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally. The campaign strengthens the support for women's rights as human rights by enlisting the support of men and exhorting them to put themselves forward as advocates for gender equality.

For more information, visit

For further information:
Oisika Chakrabarti
UN Women
Saroja Shankaran
Edelman India
+91 9820079804


Illustration workshop for children on 23rd November 2014

Dear All,

The French Book Office in association with Oxford Bookstore invites your children to meet and participate in an illustration workshop with the French author and illustrator Julia Wauters.

Date: Sunday, 23rd November 2014, 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Venue: Oxford Bookstore, N 81, Connaught Place, New Delhi-110001

Age: 6 to 10 years

Registration fee: Rs. 200/- Please register by 21st November : or call Nimisha : +91 8882338116.

Julia Wauters is a French writer and illustrator born in 1982. After studying textile design in Paris and screen printing at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg, she settled in Nantes, near the Atlantic Ocean, where she finds inspiration to write and illustrate children's books, draw illustrations for the newspapers and magazines and animate workshops with children, among other things! Her title Une nuit, loin d'ici (Helium) has been published in English language by Nobrow under the title "One Night, Far From Here".

For more information: or and to follow the news of her studio "radar":


Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House is delighted to share that Neel Mukherjee's The Lives of Others has been shortlisted for the Novel Award in the Costa Book Awards in the UK.

The award will be announce on 5th January in the UK, with an overall Costa Book of the Year chosen on 27th January.

Caroline Newbury
VP Marketing and Corporate Communications
Random House India
Penguin Random House


Research Centre for Women's Studies

The Research Centre for Women's Studies is hosting an international conference entitled " Shifting Countours, Widening Concerns: Women's History, Historiography and the Politics of Historical Representation" from 11-13 February. Attached is the conference brochure.

Please do apply

Dr Veena R Poonacha
Director, Research Center for Women's Studies &
Project Director, Dr. Avabai Wadia Archives
SNDT Women's University
Sir Vithaldas Vidyavihar, Juhu Campus, Juhu Road
Mumbai 400049
Tele: +91 22 26604001



AIDWA is absolutely shocked at the deaths of 8 women at the hands of the health department, Chhattisgarh Government and appalled at the level of negligence that has led to nearly 50 more women being hospitalised and still in serious condition. These women were participating in a family planning camp organised at a private hospital under the National Family Planning Programme, in Takhatpur Block of Bilaspur District on 8th November 2014. All of them were under 32 years of age and had put their lives and their future at the hands of the health department, which the department so negligently snatched away.

It is absolutely deplorable that in complete disregard of the Supreme Court's order, the surgeon performed nearly 83 operations in 5-6 hours. The scale of this incident clearly shows that these operations were not done in clean and sterilized conditions. The quality of drugs and other consumables also come into question. The motivation for such government programmes to be held in private sector hospitals, rather than in government ones is questionable.

This is not the first time that women have been at the receiving end of the government's pro-privatisation, pro-profit, and anti-poor policies in the last few years. In 2012 nearly 7000 women had their uteruses taken out by private hospitals within a period of 30 months in order to profit from the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana package money. From 2011 to 13 more than 80 people lost their eyesight due to botched up cataract operations. This year in Raipur city, more than 30 people died of Hepatitis E outbreak, of which nearly half were pregnant women.

All these incidents reflect the utter callousness of the government of Chhattisgarh in ensuring any kind of health for its people, especially poor and rural women.

The only step that the government has taken on this incident is to announce mere Rs. 4 lakh compensation for the families of the dead and suspension of the Director Health Services, State Family Planning Nodal Officer, BMO, Takhatpur, the operating Surgeon and Bilaspur CMHO. However, such incidents illustrate the systematic failures and the person responsible for taking all the critical decisions, the Health Minister, needs to be removed and legal action taken against him for the criminal lapse.

The 3-member probe team constituted to enquire about this incident are part of the government machinery itself. We fear that like in many previous cases, the enquiry will simply be an eye wash. We demand that the investigating team should include people who are not a part of the health department in Chhattisgarh, and respected experts. All the victims who are currently in serious condition should be given the best of care and it should be ensured that no further deaths occur.

Such 'Camps' keep getting organised daily in various parts of the state. The government gives unwritten targets to all its health functionaries. Sterilizations are often dependent on doctors coming from other blocks, district or the private sector. This leads to huge delays and long waiting period for the women. Many a time the 'camp' has to get cancelled because the doctor does not come or he/she comes only if certain number of cases has arrived. All this leads to extreme harassment of the women patients.

The state still focuses on the more permanent methods of family planning rather than the temporary methods and subjects especially women to such surgeries. We demand that women be provided with safe choices for contraception. The public health system has to be made to function properly, with quality so that poor people do not get exploited by the private sector.

Sd/-                                                 Sd/-                                     Sd/-
Malini Bhattacharya                      Sudha Sundararaman        Jagmati Sangwan
(President)                                  (Vice president)              (General Secretary)




Following the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, the new Government that has come to power in India is carrying forward the agenda of privatisation and neo-liberalisation, in continuity with the previous government. Further, the way the new government has decided to attack progressive acts, which were made or amended in favour of common people in the last decade, is an indicator that this new Government is also pushing a clear pro-corporate agenda.

A systematic programme to crush voices of protest is simultaneously unfolding. There is a need to protect democratic spaces of protest and dissent, basic human rights and dignity while taking a strong stand against oppression of dalits, adivasis, women, gender minorities, religious minorities and others as also prevent discrimination on the basis of ability and access of any group. Given this situation, we are planning to meet in Delhi on 30th November and 1st December in a People's assembly of about 300 to 500 people. This would be followed by a mass rally on 2nd December, in which over 20,000 people are expected to participate. The programme will bring into focus people's issues and highlight the need for an alternative development model.

Preparatory meetings are being regularly held in Delhi to plan details of the programme. If you would like to attend future preparatory meetings please write back to us.

Meanwhile, please circulate this announcement and help to mobilise people in large numbers in various states.

Contact :, Phone: 08506984500


The 7th Bangalore Queer Film Festival

Call for Submissions Last day for submissions: 15 January 2015

The Bangalore Queer Film Festival is open for submissions for 2015!

Its unbelievable! Its the 7th year and we still can't get enough of your quirky, loving, fabulous queer films. We invite you to send us your short and full-length features, short and long documentaries, animation and experimental films. Please send us your entries and pass this call on to friends, lovers, ex-lovers(!), colleagues and anyone who might want to send in smashing films.

BQFF has brought us some erotic and intense, some funny and moving and some tear-jerking cinematic moments over the years. We have premiered many unusual Indian short films like Snarky Baudelaire, Item Number, Lonely Walls and Raat Baaki; we have shown exceptionally moving documentaries such as How to Survive a Plague, Call me Kuchu, In-between Days, Ebang Bewarish (and the unclaimed), Madame and Lesbian Factory; Cary Cronenwett's re-visioning of the Kronstadt Uprising in Maggots and Men; Ira Sachs' portrayal of love and addiction in Keep the Lights On; Maher Sabry's film about many queer desires from Egypt All My Life; Kortney Ziegler's portrait of black transmen in North America Still Black.

We have showcased amazing work from across Asia, like Khavn De La Cruz's films especially the wild and queer film Mondomanila from Philippines, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy's film on transwomen in Pakistan, the Sri Lankan film about three star-crossed lovers Frangipani by Chandrasekaram Visakesa.

Besides the films, the festival includes an exhibition each year of photographs and artwork. We have had politically engaging artwork by transgender artist Living Smile Vidya, and activist Sylvia Karpagam. We've also had Indu Anthony's ManiFest drag photo project and curations by photographer Akshay Mahajan. Each year our performers live up to their yearly promise and pack the hall with a wildly applauding audience. Once again, with feeling and without institutional funding, with love for cinema, documentary and short film; or just a depraved passion for sitting in a dark hall and feeling and feeling up -- we hope to bring our ever-growing audiences another rollicking festival.

Please submit your films (made in 2013 or after) for preview.

The final schedule of films will be selected in the second week of February 2015.

Email us at:
Our Website:



To Bt or not to Bt? The debate rages again with the government lifting an 18-month freeze and clearing field trials of 13 genetically modified food crops, including the contentious mustard and brinjal.

Suman Sahai, winner of the prestigious Norman Borlaug Award, heads Gene Campaign, an NGO working for sustainable agriculture.

The process of allowing Bt brinjal was halted because the scientific community was not able to make a case for it. Then, in 2012, Basudev Acharya's Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture report also concluded that we are not prepared. How can the government disregard the parliamentary committee completely?

The other question is who asked for GM crops. Is it the farmers or consumers? After China, India is the biggest producer of brinjal and we have no insurmountable problems with it.

Read Dr. Suman Sahai's interview:


Consultative Committee of Ministry of Women and Child Development holds its first meeting

The Committee discusses adoption related issues & challenges and proposed reforms

The newly constituted Consultative Committee of the Parliament attached to the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development held its first meeting in New Delhi today. The meeting was on 'Adoptions, Adoption Processes and Reforms that are required' and was chaired by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi. In her introductory remarks, the Minister highlighted the reforms being carried out in the system of adoption to make it easier for parents to adopt a child. The Minister said that major reforms which are being carried out, will enable the prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) to get a child within a period of maximum of 4 months. To increase transparency, the entire process is now made online and a time limit has been defined for each step involved in the process of adoption, she added.

Smt. Maneka Gandhi said that these reforms are sought to be carried out with the help of the Juvenile Justice (Protection and Care of Children) Bill 2014 which has already been introduced in the Parliament. Apart from the Bill, the adoption guidelines are also being modified. The Minister explained that it would be possible for each of the PAPs already registered with CARA to get a child by April, 2015, once these reforms are carried out.

The Members of the Consultative Committee pointed out the various difficulties and lacunae and lack of transparency in the adoption process which has delayed adoption in several cases for up to 4 years. They also highlighted the need for a close post-adoption follow up. The Minister appreciated the suggestions by the Members and assured that these suggestions will be incorporated.

Among the Member who attended today's meeting include Smt. K Maragatham(MP), Smt. Pratima Mondal (MP), Smt. R. Vanaroja(MP), Smt. Bimla Kashyap Sood (MP), Smt. Kanak Lata Singh (MP), Smt. Sarojini Hembram (MP), Smt. Sasikala Pushpa (MP).

(Release ID :111492)


16 Days Activism

On the occasion of the 16 Days Activism - Global Protest Fortnight on Violence Against Women from 25th Nov. to 10th Dec., 2014, Men Against Violence & Abuse (MAVA), through its 26 trained student-actors from 10 colleges across Mumbai, would like to put up a street-play for different groups in the city.

'Chuppi Todo, Jor Se Bolo' (in Hindi) / 'Maun Sodaa… Chavhatyavar yaa…' (in Marathi) is a 16 to 20 minute gripping play that has evolved through a 4-day intensive workshop organized by MAVA recently. The play, as a part of MAVA's 'Say NO, Accept NO' Campaign, depicts the various situations in which girls / women find it uncomfortable to say 'No', how they should assertively say 'No' and how boys / men should accept the 'No' by a woman. Trained by communications expert Raju Inamdar and activist Harish Sadani, the student-actors (male and female) from 10 colleges are now excited to perform for the masses through various groups - women's and youth organizations, colleges, communities and local mandals across the city.

I am writing, to specially request you to kindly support our cause in arranging the play for audiences you think would be feasible through your contacts. We would appreciate if you could suggest to the potential organizers to pay a small honorarium of Rs.1500 that could be given collectively as a token of appreciation to performing students to cover their conveyance and refreshment costs.

I would also urge you to explore possibility of organizing a 4-5 hour Workshop on Gender-Sensitization for your students. The workshop would cover participatory exercises like group discussions, film-screenings followed by interaction. The topics covered would be on Understanding, Gender, Sexuality, Health and Violence. You could think of organizing the Workshop and Street-Play on the same day.

Looking forward to your support and encouragement.

Harish Sadani
Founder-Member & Chief Functionary,
Men Against Violence & Abuse (MAVA), Mumbai
T: +91 9870307748 |
Web: Facebook:


home | link up with wfs | theme of the month | ngo newswfs services | archives | conferences | about us