Pain and suffering in each cancer patient’s case

MUMBAI: “We need to focus on the suffering and pain behind each patient merely represented as a number in the report. Efforts need to be made to reduce that pain not just in analysing the data,” Dr Raj Badwe, director, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai said. Dr Badwe was speaking at a panel discussion after the release of a study – Cancer mortality in India, published in ‘The Lancet’  based on nationally representative survey.

Prof. Prabhat Jha, Director Center for global health research said that while it is a long time before we ‘win over’ cancer, it can certainly be controlled. “The findings in the report suggest that we need to focus on the awareness initiatives so that we don’t let cancer take over the speed of medical facilities. In areas where we have found that women have a high cervical cancer rate, we should use government health workers or NRHM for screening and educating women. The process of vaccination can take longer but spreading awareness and timely detection can reduce the numbers substantially in the next five years.”

According to the study even though the rates of cancer deaths in India are about 40 per cent lower in adult men and 30 per cent lower in women than in men and women in the USA or UK, however the cases of cancer have increased in India, “ In India Cancer is killing younger people, the poor, the lesser-educated are worst hit. There were 5.56 lakh cancer deaths in India in 2010 but what is most alarming is that 71 per cent of these deaths occurred in people aged 30-69. That means our young population is more prone and with the increase in use of Tobacco products, especially non smoking forms, the number is bound to rise,” Dr Badwe added.

According to the report the three most common fatal cancers in men (30-69 years) were oral (23 per cent), stomach (13 per cent) and lung (11 per cent). For women in the same age group, the leading causes of cancer death in women were cervical (17 per cent), stomach (14 per cent), and breast (10 per cent). 42 per cent of males and 18.30 per cent of female cancer deaths were due to Tobacco-related cancers and there were twice as many deaths from oral cancers as lung cancers, in part due to common use of chewing tobacco in men and women.
Another myth buster in the study was that Cancer death rates were two-fold higher in the least educated than the most educated, and (the differences) were similar between urban and rural areas. “Apart from the ‘awareness factor’ one possible explanation would be that chewable tobacco use was higher among the less educated and also that the richer Indians tended to seek treatment earlier,” Prof Jha said. Calling for better health services and vaccines Dhirendra Sinha, Director Surveillance WHO SEARO said the most important message from the study for Indian government is to immediately increase tobacco taxes and prices substantially – which studies have shown to be the single most effective measure to reduce smoking. “Higher tobacco taxes are as close to an effective anti-cancer vaccine as you can get.”.
The study stated that Cervical cancer was around 40 per cent less common in Muslim than in Hindu women, “Although we need o investigate this lot more before we can conclude but this is probably due to high circumcision rates among Muslim men that has a protective effect against human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, a causative agent in cervical cancer,” said Dr Rajesh Dixit, Head of Epideiolmology, Tata Memorial Hospital. The panel of eminent doctors and health experts predicted that if vaccines against infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV) were available for girls and women in India, deaths from cervical cancer would be reduced from 33,000 to 7,000. (Eom)

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A vulnerable vocation

“We always knew that his activism was an eye sore to a lot of people who had access to criminals and money, but we underestimated their audacity,” said Sandeep Shetty as he spoke of his brother Satish’s death.

Satish Shetty was a Right to Information (RTI) activist who exposed many land scams in Maharastra. He was killed by unidentified men while on a morning walk near his house. On January 14, the Bombay High Court, issued suo moto orders to the Maharashtra Government and the State police to probe Satish Shetty’s killing.

“The government announced that it would launch an offensive against land sharks and the land mafia, promises were made but nothing happened. The man who blew the whistle in over 10,000 bogus cases, exposed several land scams was killed in day light — that’s all,” Sandeep added.

Shetty’s case is one of many cases in which RTI activists exposing scams have been attacked or killed in Maharastra. “Premkant Jha, Satish Shetty, Arun Sawant, Vithal Gite, Dattatreya Patil, Irfan Yusuf Kazi and many more….the list is endless!” says Ms. Abdulali, convenor of Movement against Intimidation, Threats and Revenge against Activists (MITRA).

MITRA has sent letters to Home Minister R.R. Patil, listing the attacks suffered by activists in the past few years. “RTI activist are easy to identify, they do not have any security and they usually expose matters that stir the corrupt practices of people with money and power. But the manner in which they are being killed speaks of how confident the criminals are of not being caught,” she adds

“We have seen in many cases that the attacked activist had revealed information that exposes politicians or business men or mafia who are directly or indirectly in a position to ensure that no steps are taken to provide safety,” RTI activist James John said. Mr John was attacked on five different occasions, he laughingly recollects, “In 2008 I was video graphing a staged riot, the goons beat me so bad that I had three fractured ribs, was in ICU was few days and in bed for few months…but I survived.”

“I won’t be surprised if I am killed because of the work that I do. Many people will make a lot of money if people like me do not raise questions about their activities,” 78-year-old HC De’lima said. Mr De’lima, who has been working to root out land mafia’s presence in Andheri, was attacked by sickles near his house in 2005.

Rajesh Darakh, secretary of Whistleblowers India, an action group for whistleblowers in India, used RTI to find out the status of investigations in Mr De’lima’s case. “Even to get a FIR registered you need to know some senior police officer, not that the entire force is corrupt but inaction and lack of conviction seems to encourage such attacks.” He added that criminals take advantage of the slow and faulty justice system.

RTI activist are under attack in large parts of the country for using the act to bring transparency in government functioning but the nexus between mafias, politicians and sections of the bureaucracy makes it difficult for the daily life heroes to stay alive.

“An activist’s job is a thankless one, hundreds of people can identify the culprits of land mafia, land mining mafia but when activists becomes the whistle blowers and when they are attacked there is no support from anyone. Also police protection for activists can only be for a limited period of time and the attention it brings will invite more trouble. We want is a safer environment to work,” Ms Abdulali said.Imageactism

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1.35 kg 24-carat ganesh idol stolen

Vrinda Malik
MUMBAI: Two Armed robbers looted an ancient Ganesh temple and fled with a gold idol, worth over Rs 38 crores, many gold ornaments and Rs two lakh cash from a temple in Dive Agar, over 150 kms form here on Saturday.

 Attempt to stop the loot proved to be fatal for the temple guard Baban Gopal Dhadsi (50) who was stabbed repeatedly; another guard Anant Bapu Bhagat (55) also suffered serious injuries. According to the police, the robbers entered the temple after removing few bricks from the roof top, they collected all the gold ornaments along with the 24 carat gold idol weighed 1 kg and 325 grams. The Raigad police is examining the CCTV camera footage to identify the thieves and has launched a manhunt.

 “From the CCTV footage, we can see that two robbers broke into the temple between 2am and 3am. We have formed police teams to go to various parts of Maharashtra and outside the state to trace them,” said superintendent of police of Raigad district, R D Shinde

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ATS killed one, arrest two alleged terrorist

Vrinda Malik
MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Monday shot dead a suspected terrorist and arrested two accomplices allegedly involved in the 2008 Ahmedabad bombings.

 Confirming the details of the encounter that occurred at Aurangabad, Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria said that Police officials went to arrest the three suspected terrorists who were hiding in Himayat Bagh area in Aurangabad. “The suspects opened fire at the police team injuring one police constable in the shoulder. The ATS team then returned fire, killing Khaleel Khilji and arrested Abrar Sheikh and Shakeel Ahmed.” He added that ATS had been chasing the wanted terrorists for few months.

The encounter occurred near Uddhav Rao Patil Chowk in Himayat Bagh area of Aurangabad around 12.30 pm; while Mohammed Abrar and Khaleel, were arrested in an injured condition after the encounter Police also recovered four 7.65mm revolvers and 90 rounds of bullets from the trio.

 Sources in ATS said that the trio – Abrar Sheikh, Shakeel Ahmed and Khalil Khilji – are accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad (Gujarat) blasts and allegedly belong to the Abu Faisal group from Madhya Pradesh. One of the two arrested was also involved in a case of attempted murder of a Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader Pramod Tiwari and a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activist Bhairo Singh Tak. Mohammad Abrar’s name figured in the chargesheet of the Ahmedabad 2008 blast case and he was in touch with Indian Mujahideen operative Tauqeer along with another alleged criminal Abu Faisal, who is presently in the custody of Madhya Pradesh Police.

 The 2008 Ahmedabad bombings were a series of 21 bomb blasts that rocked Ahmedabad July 26, 2008 within a span of 70 minutes. A total of 56 people were killed and over 200 people injured in the blasts blamed on the Indian Mujahideen militant organisation.

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Maval firing or encounter?

MUMBAI: Terming the Maval firing incident as an ‘encounter’, the Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, questioned the state government why no action had been taken against the guilty officers.

A division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and R D Dhanuka was hearing a public interest litigation filed by an activist G Khandewal seeking probe by an independent investigating agency and not the local police as it will not be fair. On August 9 last year, police had opened fire on farmers who had gathered to oppose laying of a closed pipeline to supply water from Pavna dam. Three agitators were killed and 19 were injured in the incident.

“The investigation is going on at snail’s pace in a serious matter like this,” Justice Majumdar said adding that 6 months have been passed since the first information report (FIR)  was registered  however there seems to be investigation in the matter.  The court directed the government to file affidavit, by March 26, explaining whether departmental inquiry has been initiated against the erring police officers who have been named in the FIR.

Rapping the police for not following the proper course Justice Majumdar asked if the police took permission from an executive magistrate before opening fire on the agitating unarmed farmers?  “Firing has to be done in the air first in order to disperse the crowd then on leg…. never on the chest. Was lathicharge done or tear gas used before opening fire?” He questioned.

The court observed that prima facie the case appears to be of  ‘homicidal murder’. The  court asked government to act rapidly to ‘restore public confidence’ and directed the Chief Secretary to see that the matter is investigated seriously and informed the court about progress of the investigation. The matter has been posted for hearing on March 27.

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dustcover over Mumbai

MUMBAI: Mumbai woke up to an unusually dusty morning on Wednesday, thanks to a thick dust cover over the city due to strong winds blowing from Rajasthan. The sandstorm, originated across the Arabian Sea picked up dust from the arid regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan and the winds led it to the city and nearby areas.

According to Indian Meteorological Department, Mumbai, “There is a dustcover enveloping the area because of a dust storm in Rajasthan. The winds are affecting part of Gujarat and north of Mumbai.”

Despite the dusty atmosphere, VK Rajeev, Director of Area Cyclone Warning Centres (ACWC) said that, “the dust storm is actually ‘trivial’. There is no need for any panic; it will get settled by Wednesday evening or Maximum Thursday morning.”(

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Shiv Sena-BJP, MNS pledge support to mill workers

A day after Opposition members stalled the proceedings of the lower House, protesting against the Maharashtra government’s refusal to provide free houses to mill workers, they joined the mill workers in a public protest on Tuesday.

Speaking at the protest meeting on Azad Maidan, Vinod Tawde, Opposition leader in the State Legislative Council, assured the agitating mill workers that their housing issue would be taken up more aggressively with the government. “I am here to tell you that I support your demand and will continue to do so till the last mill worker gets his home in a fair and just manner.”

The rally saw Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leaders assuring the mill workers’ associations of their support. “We object to the manner in which the government has gone back on its promise of providing housing. The plan to give houses to only a few thousand workers and that too by random lottery is ‘betrayal,’ Bala Nandgaonkar of the MNS said.

“So far, 1,26,166 mill workers and 22,701 heirs of the mill workers have applied for houses and they have only 16,000 houses and that too they want to sell at a rate of over Rs. 8 lakh! Doesn’t the government know that the mill workers don’t have that much money? What is stopping it from taking land from the private mills that are anyway lying empty, and construct houses for the poor mill workers whose hard work has made this city the hub of all commercial activity?” Mill workers’ union leader Uday Bhatt said.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday gave a statement in the Legislative Council that 6,248 houses were ready for allotment to the workers of defunct textile mills of Mumbai or their kin. The cost of houses built at suburban Kurla was Rs. 4,81,000 each. The houses already constructed on mill land would be made available at an average price of Rs. 8.34 lakh each for mill workers through an MHADA lottery.

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Four get bail in Adarsh case

A special Central Bureau of Investigation court on Tuesday granted bail to the former Congress MLC, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, his son Vishal Gidwani, CBI counsel Mandar Goswami and a tax consultant J.K. Jagiasi in connection with the Adarsh land scam.

They were granted bail for a surety of Rs. 50,000 each. They were warned not to tamper with evidence and to cooperate in investigations and appear before the CBI regularly in connection with the case.

They were arrested by the anti-corruption branch of the CBI in connection with the payment of an alleged bribe to dilute the Adarsh Cooperative.

According to the CBI, K.L. Gidwani paid Rs.1.25 crore to Jagiasi by illegal means to influence CBI officials to grant favours to him and his son in the Adarsh scam case.

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‘scam of fake-whatever-you-want’ exposed by Mumbai Police

Mumbai: The Mumbai Police, on Monday unearthed a major fake document racket that has been running for over five years, providing over 37 types of fake documents of ‘excellent quality’.

Terming the scam as a ‘scam of fake-whatever-you-want’ Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy said that the police team was amazed at the painstaking attention to detail. “There is mastery in the manner in which certificates, documents, I cards were made and everything from the paper, to ink, style and lamination was executed to perfection” Holding a pile of papers that looked like old faded stamp papers he said, “These are brand new- made to look like 20-30 years old court papers which could be used of anything!”

Two agents Parvez Makrani (32) and Dharamjit Mishra (43) are under arrest and the police is hopeful of unearthing the entire network. According to Police, 42 year old Dayanand Vijay Bansi, the master mind of the operation was parlayed five years ago during which the former graphic designer never met or spoke to anyone and created fake documents of amazing accuracy. Despite being a 12th standard drop out he is said to have had experience in graphic designing and digital printing. “He was never in public eye, the entire operation was run via agents who met people and informed him what needed to be made” Mr Roy added. Police is yet to arrest Dayanand Viajy Bansi, “He has been paralysed for the last five years and we need to consider his health condition before we arrest him.”

After interrogation the two agents told the police about the location of the printing press machinery used to print forged documents like birth certificates, Death Certificates,  Stamp Certificates, Stamp Papers, Pan Cards, Election Cards, School leaving certificates, Electricity Bills, Phone Bills, Driving license, Bank Stamps, SSC certificates, Ratio cards, Slum rehabilitation Allocation (SRA) etc, “a total of 37 different kinds of documents and I-cards, the most interesting of them being a Mumbai crime reporters I card, issued by Mumbai Police” Mr Roy added.

“He actually had copies of Govt of Maharashtra gazettes where he would simply insert an entry of change of name,” The cost of getting a fake document did not depend on the time or effort involved in making it but the value of the certificate. While a school leaving certificate was for Rs 5,000-10,000, a certificate for a auto loan etc was over Rs 25,000.

Mr Roy added that, “This has been going on for over five years and this is only the tip of the ice berg; we are yet to find out the entire list of beneficiaries and agents. Also in cases of bank loans the lack of physical verification will also need to be checked.” (Eom)

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Mhase’s voice sample mismatch:CBI

MUMBAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Bombay High court, on Monday, that forensic analysis did not confirm the role of Manish Mhase, accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 30 lakh for getting a favorable order from the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.

The CBI told the court that the telephone conversations between the accused and the complainant have not matched to Ms Mhase’s voice sample. Basing its case on a telephonic conversation, CBI had arrested Manisha, daughter of retired high court judge and chairperson of the Maharashtra Consumer Redressal Forum S B Mhase and two others for accepting a brie to get a favourable judgement from the forum.
“No person has the right to take bribe in the name of judges. It is bad in nature. The judiciary system is getting polluted by such persons,” a division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and R D Dhanuka said while hearing public interest litigation, seeking court supervision in the matter.

“We have sought a second report from the forensic lab. Investigations are almost over and a chargesheet would be filed in eight weeks,” CBI lawyer S S Shinde told the court. The court has directed the petitioner to approach the Bar Council within four weeks and asked the Bar Council to investigate into the allegations independently.

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