Friday, December 7, 2012

A report on various visits of Lawyers Plus team

Lawyers + team is a group consisting of lawyers as well as non-lawyers who works for a common social cause. The primary motive of the team is to make people aware of their Right to Education (RTE) and Right to Health (RTH), especially the vulnerable section of society i.e., the Slum Dwellers who are seldom aware of their legal and basic rights. This awareness programme is carried out by the Lawyers + Team of Social Jurist led by Advocate Ashok Agarwal by visiting a slum area every weekend. This small but strong & substantial social affair continues for two hours. The team starts its activity at 8.00 am and seeks to cover the large portion of that area and disseminate their objective by interacting with the slum dwellers (door to door) on right to education and right to health. To make it more influencing, hand-bills, postcards and visiting cards of Advocate Ashok Agarwal is circulated all around so that it can have a striking effect on people. Moreover photographs are also captured by the team of the present scenario of that area. The hand- bill exhibits on one side the specific and most important points on RTE & RTH in brief. In addition a list of few contact persons including lawyers & non-lawyers is provided (especially personal & official contact details of Adv. Ashok Agarwal), making it convenient for people to approach them any time in need. The other side of the hand-bill furnishes a list of 46 private hospitals which are constructed on government land and as per the Supreme Court orders these hospitals have to provide free medical treatment to the poor patients (whose family income is below 7254/- p.m). 10% (IPD) bed and 25 % O.P.D is reserved for the poor patients. The post cards are mainly distributed to the school children so that they can write down their grievances highlighting serious violations of right to education regarding their school teachers or any problem related to their school. A brief description of few visits conducted by Lawyers+ Team 1. MADANPUR KHADAR, SARITA VIHAR RESETTLEMENT AREA (Dated: 09/09/2012) The team comprising of around 10-12 volunteers reached the decided place at 8:30 am. Madanpur Khadar, resettlement colony. It occupies a vast area in Sarita Vihar, but the houses in this colony are very closely and compactly built. The visit started by distributing hand-bills and post cards in the usual manner. People were also made aware about their legal rights and the team activity. Thereafter, the Team held a RTE PIL Postcard Campaign meeting with the school going students of the area. Over 200 students of classes V to XII of MCD and Govenment Schools in Madanpur Khadar area participated and 185 students wrote postcards addressed to the Delhi High Court Chief Justice highlighting serious violations of right to education. 2. VASANT KUNJ JHUGGIES (Dated: 16/09/2012) The very foremost thing you get to see on reaching the vasant kunj slum area is- almost whole slum was smothered around the water tankers for filling up their containers. We were guided by Prof. Nalini Juneja who is a resident of Vasant Kunj and very much familiar about the slum. On interacting with them it was found that scarcity of water is a big problem prevailing in that area and to fill water from tankers is a routine work which consumes their lot of time. Literacy rate is very low in this area. Slum dwellers were seem to be least bothered to send their children to school. But, there were few children who were studying in good public schools too. One of the children was admitted to Delhi Public School. There was a boy who was suffering from a skin disease and was unable to treat it properly, though his family was spending lot of money on his daily medicines. The mother was advised and referred to a good private hospital by the lawyers plus team. It was also found that in one slum, a child was missing and according to them there were rise in the kidnapping cases in that area. 3. ANNA NAGAR (Dated: 02/10/2012) The Slum was adjacent to World Health Organization, India separated by a big naala (drainage). There literacy rate decreases as we go inside the slum. There was indication of massive illiteracy. It was found that one NGO was already working there for years and trying to improve the condition of the people in slum. The small portion of that slum is from tamil society whose occupation is mainly rag picking. We have felt that main problem of this tamil community was their poor understanding of hindi (local language) and sanitation problem. There were many children who were in bad habit of chewing gutkas and who were least interested to join any school. 4. OKHLA (Dated: 14/10/2012) Our Lawyer plus team led by Adv. Ashok Aggarwal reached the place with around 10-12 volunteers. We reached by 8.30. and continued till 10.30. There was a media team of AAJTAK, they have covered our activities and have interviewed Advocate Ashok Agarwal to know the programme in a better way. The area was muslim dominated. It was very near to Jamia Milia Islamia University and one Urdu University. But on entering the caves of the slum, the whole light of knowledge disappeared because the slums started crying out of problems within. It’s a big slum consisting of scattered community like rag pickers, Bangladeshi migrants etc. But one common problem all were facing, for e.g. illiteracy, unawareness and unhygienic environment. There were open drains(which become worst during rainy season), garbage , mismanagement of sanitation etc. 5. WEST VINOD NAGAR, MAYUR VIHAR, PHASE-I (Dated: 28/10/2012) The slum is located on the side lane of the main road but still the condition was very poor. It was a mixed community. People were not aware about their rights and there were many legal issues relating to ration card. All problems were due to lack of legal literacy. This community was full of children, so we have found lots of cases pertaining to right to education law. The team has observed that: • There were many cases of corporal punishment. In that sequence one of the child was hit by iron scale leading to a major hurt on his finger, which was still not medically treated. He was suggested a private hospital by team leader. There were some students who said that they are hanged and thrown with the help of their ears. The intense pain was easily expressed by the children of that slum but with a smile. The expression was through the postcards which gives the aggrieved children an opportunity to participate in law implementation. It was provided by the leader of our team. • Good thing was maximum children of this slum were admitted to the school. Everybody told that school is very near to their place, so nobody escape the opportunity. We can deduce from this fact that if the access to basic services is easily available, almost everyone approach it but with legal awareness, all these approaches of welfare State will come true. 6. JANTA COLONY SLUMS, JAFFARABAD, SEELAMPUR: (2-12-12, 9:00-11:00 P.M) We have started our slum visit with a narrow lane which was hap hazarded with lots of people, livestock, garbage, children running by etc. As every slum area has its own character, and among our other visits of slum, this slum was bigger and most narrow and complex with most untidy environment. It was mainly industrial area surrounded by small house structures. The worst thing about these small scale industries was the number of child labours working inside. Many were found illiterate citing economic conditions they were bound to work and loose the hands of education. While going inside the lanes we have found that the children who are with their family they at least send their children to school but there were cases where the children were withdrawn from school and were still struggling for school admission, for e.g. one woman was telling that she took her child to a school but they refused to take him due to age determination certificate. She has revealed that teacher asks for janampatri from her. There were many cases of illiteracy due to child labour in this area. One middle ages person was suffering from some infection in his hand since long but was unable to get right medical treatment; the team leader referred him to good private hospital with no fee as he was coming under EWS. There were lots of children in this area and was showing denial of right to health of children. There were butcher shops with no proper hygiene. As much as we were entering the depth of this slum, we could smell the mismanagement of sanitation. Overall it was children dominated area but with lots of child labour and illiteracy. By: ADVOCATE RAJESH DEOLI PRIYANKA PRASHAR

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