20 imagesA photo essay about the people's struggle against the POSCO project and large-scale forced acquisition of lands by the State for the proposed POSCO steel plant in the region. The majority of these villages are not ready to leave the forest lands on which they have been cultivating betel vines and cashew for centuries because it will destroy their livelihoods. Large scale tree clearance under strong and armed paramilitary supervision is also under way. The SP also maintained that the police would continue assisting the tree clearance operation till all the POSCO lands were cleared. In other words, this clearing operation was being conducted in complete disregard of the wishes of the local communities. Even the so-called "Pro-POSCO" villagers living at the transit camp setup by POSCO admit that POSCO will bring complete ruin to these villages. The displaced people in the transit camp are living under inhuman conditions. The people in this transit camp are clear victims of the same State-Corporate nexus that is breaking up of communities in this area, leading to loss of homes, lands, and livelihoods. Photo essay done with PUCL, Karnataka chapter.
30 imagesIn August of 2010, Bangalore witnessed the tragic death of over 40 inmates at the "Beggar's Home" on Magadi Road. The home was overcrowded with an estimated 2500 inmates squeezed into infrastructure that was meant to accommodate about 500 people. Reports indicate that contaminated food served (ironically) on Independence Day, triggered the incident. Five months later and the Beggar's Home has been sanitised. The number of inmates is somewhere in the vicinity of 300. The walls are freshly painted, the floors look clean but there still remains a vacant stare in the eyes of the inmates. The incident in August turned the spotlight onto the issue of how the state is criminalising poverty. The Karnataka Prohibition Of Beggary Act, 1975 makes begging a crime. What's written between the lines of the act is that poverty is a crime, particularly if you are in state of absolute poverty. The sentence for the crime of poverty is custodialisation (read as jail sentence). There is a process laid out in the law to make the arrest and pass sentence. In actual practice the process is followed superficially. Most inmates can't defend themselves either because they can't speak the language or do not understand what is happening to them. For example, there are innumerable cases of people having been picked for "looking poor". Inmates that the journalist met and spoke to come not only from parts of rural Karnataka but also from areas such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odissa, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. There is a common thread of destitution and poverty in their journey lines. It's not laziness that they are being punished for, it's their poverty. Many of these inmates are mentally challenged and are being pushed over the brink by the process of custodialisation and being jailed like a criminal.
13 imagesCerebral palsy is a condition caused by damage to the brain, occurring before, during or shortly following birth. "Cerebral" refers to brain and "palsy" to a disorder of movement or posture. It is neither progressive nor communicable. It is not "curable" in the accepted sense, although education, therapy and applied technology can help persons with cerebral palsy lead productive lives. It is not a disease and should never be referred to as such. It can range from mild to severe. The causes of cerebral palsy include illness during pregnancy, premature delivery, or lack of oxygen supply to the baby; or it may occur early in life as a result of an accident, lead poisoning, viral infection, child abuse, or other factors. In many nations, children suffering with Cerebral Palsy are marginalised because society is unable to address their special needs. Lives of parents are dislocated as they try and find a way to address the special needs of their children. In this scenario, parents have come together to find support, learn from each other's experiences and create mechanisms that address the dislocation of their normal lives. PAPCP (Parents Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy and Associated Disorders) is an organisation based in Bangalore, India. It is run by parents whose lives have been dislocated by their children's medical condition. They came together to create an environment that provides strength to each other and help impart life skills to the children. Many children will continue to depend on their parents and caregivers for even the most basic of tasks, like picking up a glass of water, for the rest of their lives.