Friday, December 01, 2006

Update : Demolition Averted on 26th November

From: Navneet at Digantar
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 3:10 AM
Subject: Update on Bandhyali

Dear Friends,

As you all know that JDA planned to knock down the school on Sunday morning, 26th November 2006. But after a long campaign and meeting people we managed to save the School for to days. We met District Magistrate, Joint Development Commissioner, Ex-Chief Minister Sri Ashok Gahlot, and JDA Commissioner but they expressed their powerlessness. We tried to Contact Ms. Sumitra Singh Ji, Speaker of Rajasthan Vidhansabha and she responded positively and managed to stop the demolition. The District Magistrate new the case and he was also aware about the facts regarding the discriminatory rates of the land. He also told us that the case has been sent to the government for reconsideration.

At 6:30 in the morning on Sunday, students of the school, members of the community, several representatives of various organizations, individuals and media persons gathered there at school on our alarm. All of us were there to protest peacefully against the JDA’s action but when we came to know that JDA has postponed his action, people gathered there organized a meeting. Finally it was decided to have a demonstration in the city under the banner of Bandhyali Bachao Samiti. We will inform you regarding the date and all later.

On 27th November, our case was to be heard in the High Court. But we didn’t get opportunity to be heard. Now the next date is 30th November. We hope to get relief from there.

Navneet Bedar
Todi Ramjani pura,
0141-2750230,2750310 Fax- 01412751268 (Office)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Update: End of Status Quo

School can be demolished any time now!!!

navneet at []
Subject: Urgent: update on bandhyali 25th Nov

Dear Friends,

We have already shared with you the exorbitant price for the land that JDA is demanding from us that is Rs. 78, 24, 650/- per Bigha. We wrote a letter to JDA commissioner requesting reconsideration of rates in the light of the court order dated 03/05/06, which is totally ignored. We also sent them a legal notice for the same. JDA didn’t respond to it as well.

We filed two petitions in the high court, one for contempt, as the court order dated 03/05/06 is not implemented in its spirit, and other for discrimination against Bandhyali School as the price demanded from Digantar is 39 times of what is being charged from Mahima Shiksha Samiti. But the Judge is on leave and no hearing of the petitions could be held till date. The next date for hearing is 27th Nov.

21st was the last day of the status quo granted by the court. Which means the JDA can physically remove the school any time. It is quite possible that they may come to demolish school today or tomorrow (on Sunday). Our petition is coming for hearing on Monday (27th Nov.) and we hope to get the status quo extended. We tried to meet the JDA commissioner but were unable to do so. We are also trying to propagate the case among media persons and planning to distribute pamphlets among the public. School teachers and the community are on alert and hope that JDA will not do anything rash, and if it does, we will certainly be peaceful and keep the children out of action; but will unlikely to allow physical removal of the school. We hope that you all will be present there for protest and support us. We will keep informing you about the status.

Right now we got the information that they may come tomorrow morning for forced eviction and demolition of the school.

With regards

Navneet, Vishwambhar

Navneet Bedar
Todi Ramjani pura,
0141-2750230,2750310 Fax- 01412751268 (Office)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Press Note from Digantar

Press Note

‘Universalization of Elementary Education’ is today an important aim which the nation is aspiring to achieve through various projects and schemes such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. These efforts assume significance in the context of Rajasthan as it is one of the most educationally backward state of the country where the situation of girl child’s education is grim. The Rajasthan Government is claiming that it is making special efforts for the education of the deprived, however, the actions of its departments particularly the JDA are otherwise. Apparently, there seems to be a dichotomy in the character of the state government, one part claims to be a Messiah of the downtrodden and the other part which is ready to crush the efforts being made elsewhere for the education of the deprived.

The Bandhyali School known nationally for its innovative curriculum and pedagogy which Digantar is running was established in 1992 with financial support from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India which continued until 2003. The school was shifted to the present land in 1993 that was decided upon by the village communities of Kho Nagoriyan and Bhavgarh Bandhya. There are 325 children in this free school, more than 200 of them being girls. All of the children are from educationally and socioeconomically disadvantaged sections of society. Digantar had repeatedly applied to the JDA to allot the part of this land to the school from February 1993 to June 2003.

In June 2005 on receiving a half formed proposal from Mahima Shiksha Samiti for establishing a private university, the JDA promptly reserved the land for it, on which the Bandhyali School was running, even before the issue of letter of intent from the government for this proposed university. So, we petitioned to the High Court. Soon after, JDA sent a notice to Digantar asking to vacate the land without mentioning any reasons. Digantar obtained stay order from High Court and continued to run the school there.

JDA’s favouritism towards Mahima Shiksha Samiti for establishing private university and violation of public norms and constitutional values was criticized nationwide. Like-minded citizens joined hands to protest this move to demolish what is in fact a model in accessible education. People expressed their protest against this unethical and discriminatory favouritism of the state through online petitions, letters to Governor, CM, Vidhan Sabha Speaker, writing articles in the newspapers, holding public meetings. However, the government and the JDA remained oblivious to all these pleadings. Fortunately the Bandhyali School was saved by the Hon’ble High Court.

In its judgement on 3rd May 2006, vide PIL 2502/2006 the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan ruled that:

1. Digantar should give an application to the JDA within one week and should also attach all the previous applications and documents.

2. The JDA should allot alternative land to Digantar within 2 weeks of receipt of this application.

3. The JDA should allot this land to Digantar free of cost or at nominal rates.

4. The court also suggested two sites where land could be allotted to Digantar.

The Hon’ble Court gave these orders, recognizing the fact that Digantar is a non profit voluntary organization which is working for the betterment of society.

However, after 20 weeks of this order (As against the Hon’ble High Court’s order of 2 weeks) the JDA sent a letter to Digantar for allotment of land at a rate of Rs. 78,24,650/- per Bhigha (Rs. 2760/- per sq. yards). The very same JDA also sent a letter to Mahima Shiksha Samiti for allotment of land for setting up private university at a rate of Rs. 2,13,783/- per Bhigha (Rs. 70/- per sq. yards) which is about 37 times lesser than the rates being asked from Digantar.

Insertion of Article 21A through 86th Constitutional Amendment has made free education for all children in 6-14 age group a Fundamental Right. The State or any of its agencies is under obligation to ensure that this Fundamental Right is not superseded by any of its decisions or steps in favour of a cause that is not covered by any of the Fundamental Rights. The decision of JDA, therefore, to give greater priority to “Mahima Shiksha Samiti” for setting up a private university than to Digantar for providing free elementary education through Bandhyali School amounts to a major violation of the Constitution, as it constitutes denial of Fundamental Right to education. JDA’s action is further aimed at promoting education as a commodity to be traded in the market, rather than supporting Digantar that has been acting since 1992 to develop education as a means of egalitarian social development in consonance with the Preamble to the Constitution and in fulfillment of Fundamental Right under Article 21A. Moreover the actions of the JDA are violative of the directives and the spirit of the ruling given by the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan.

The vacuous and moribund actions of the instrument of the Rajasthan State Government clearly indicate that the Rajasthan State Government fails to recognize the Fundamental Right to education. The Constitutional obligation of the state government of assigning priority to the Fundamental Right to free education for the children in the 6-14 age group stands blatantly neglected. Digantar and the Bandhyali School cannot afford to buy land from JDA at these rates and neither have the resources to pay an annual property tax of Rs. 30 lakhs. Digantar has no other option but to again seek the recourse of law.

Digantar solicits an active support of all the concerned citizens, organizations and media in this fight against injustice.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Final Court Hearing

Here is an update about the final court hearing and the final court order on May 3rd, 2006 about the land for Bandhyali School.

A compromise was reached in the last hearing. The main points are:
1. Digantar has agreed to take up the option of flat land that is approximately 15, 000 sq. metres, about a kilometre away from their current location but in the centre of two villages - Khatipura and Bhavgarh Bandhaya. This is equal to the area asked for in their initial application for allotment.
2. Digantar has to submit a new application for allotment of this new land attaching the old application with it, within a week.
3. The JDA will allot the land within 15 days. It will consider allotting the land on concessional rates, as much as is possible as per rules.
4. Digantar will have to move within six weeks of allotment.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Update: Court hearings

Email from Jyotsana
Dear all
As you all know we are fighting three cases simultaneously.
1. Our petition in the High Court was rejected on March 7 and we were asked to appeal in the JDA tribunal. We had a hearing in the JDA tribunal today. We have asked for a stay order on the removal of Bandhyali School. We will get to know the decision of the Tribunal on March 24, 2006 i.e. whether we have received a stay order or not.
2. The hearing of the criminal case on Secretary, Digantar in the Court of the Judicial Magistrate is up for hearing on March 25, 2006.
3. Our petition for the contempt of court case was dismissed by single bench of the High Court. We have applealed against the decison in the Divisional Bench of the High Court.
We will keep you informed of further developments.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Cry, my beloved school

A wide-cross section of academicians and civil society organisations have come together to express dissent at the threat of closure of a well known rural school in Bandhyali, Rajasthan. They are demanding that the government honour its own commitments to provide free, good education to all children, reports Deepti Priya Mehrotra.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Protest Demonstration at Rajasthan House on Jan 3rd

A meeting of educationists, students , teachers and social activists was held at ANHAD on 20 December, 2005 to oppose the move of thew JDA to demolish BANDHIYALI SCHOOL. It was decided that a protest demonstration would be held at the Rajasthan House on 3 January , 2005 at 12 pm .It was also decided that a protest demonstration would be held in the first week of January , 2006 in Jaipur. Exact date and venue would be finalised in consultation with Jaipur friends.

It was also noted that the Jaipur High Court has fixed 9 january, 2006 as the next date of hearing of the petition filed by Digantar against the JDA move. Stay has been extended till 9 January.

NAFRE has taken the responsibility to mobilise political support and network related efforts.

You are requested to mobilise support for thse two actions.

In Solidarity,

Amar Negi( DIET),Amitabh Pandey(SPACE),Anshu Sinha( DIET),
Apoorvanand( D.U.), Archana Dwivedi (NIRANTAR),Archana(DIET)
,Asha Jonia( DIET), Asif( SRUTI), Babita Malhan(DIET), Deepika (LSR),Fr. George Kollashany( AMAN BIRADARI , YAR),Ishtiyaque( SRUTI),Jamal Kidwai(AMAN), Jatin Singh( DIET), Kamljeet Kaur(DIET),Khemanand( DIET),Mainak sarkar(NAFRE),Manasi Sharma(ANHAD),Manish Gupta( DIET),Mritunjay(JNU),Mukul Priyadarshini(LSR), Priya Dhawan(LSR), Purushottam Agrawal(JNU) Rajesh Chandra( AMAN BIRADARI),Ranjit Abhigyan, Sadashiv ( Dayal Singh College), Shailnder Singh( NAFRE),Sarita( DIET) Satyam Singh( Aman Biradari), Seema (DIET), Sonika Kaushik(JESUS AND MARY COLLEGE), Sudha Malik(LSR), Sunil Rathi( DIET),Veenu Raghav( DIET)

Bandhyali School Hearing - Next Hearing on Jan 9

The next date for the court hearing is on Jan 9th. The case was not heard on Dec 19th.