Thursday, June 30, 2011

More urgency needed on transition: Afghan official

More urgency needed on transition: Afghan official

KABUL | Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:46pm EDT

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's government and its international backers need urgently to put Afghans in charge of security and governance by a 2014 deadline, one of the officials in charge of the protracted handover said on Thursday.

Ashraf Ghani, the former finance minister who is chairman of the security transition, dismissed fears that plans for a NATO-led coalition to bring troops home would echo the hasty Russian withdrawal in 1989 that started a slide to civil war.

He also said most of the seven areas chosen to kick off the transition would be largely under Afghan control by the time of official handovers scheduled for late July.

"We must introduce a sense of urgency both among the Afghan government ourselves, and the Afghan people and on the part of the international community," Ghani told a news conference at the end of a two-day transition conference.

The conference was held just days after a brazen assault on Kabul's Intercontinental hotel, that lasted five hours, and ended with 12 dead. The Taliban said Afghan officials attending the transition meeting were among their targets.

NATO air power had to be called in to end the attack, which raised questions about the readiness of Afghan forces to fight the battle-hardened insurgency, but Ghani said the departure of foreign forces would not be a trigger for war.

"One point must be very clear, this transition is not similar to the transition that was carried out at the time of Dr Najib, the last communist president and people should not be concerned about this," he said.

The long-term framework for cooperation with the international community, the huge investment in the police, army and intelligence services, and their growing capacity, all gave him confidence they could secure the country, Ghani said.


The meeting tackled security concerns and the thornier issues of government provision of services like education and healthcare.

In many parts of the country these are funded and run in part by the foreign countries with troops fighting there, and the security transition is supposed to be matched by a parallel civilian transition to central government control.

The details of that change worry foreign observers because they are critical to Kabul's credibility, particularly in areas where the Taliban claims to provide key services like justice.

The security transition has been thoroughly rehearsed, with many of the areas chosen for the first phase ones with few security concerns and a correspondingly low foreign military presence, like the anti-Taliban Bamiyan and Panjshir provinces.

Other areas, like the city of Lashkar Gah in the insurgent stronghold of Helmand province, have had priority on the best trained and equipped of the new security forces.

There the handover of checkpoints and other security infrastructure will go on for weeks before the ceremony, which officials say will likely be very low key.

"The exact day (for the handover) is the last week of Saratan, although this is a formality," Ghani said, speaking through a translator, and referring to the Afghan month that ends on July 22 in the Western calendar.

(Writing by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Michael Roddy)

Is Aung San Suu Kyi rethinking her tactics?India Puts Security, Trade With Burma Ahead of DemocracyJune 21, 2011

June 21, 2011

India Puts Security, Trade With Burma Ahead of Democracy

Indian Foreign Minister S.M Krishna (file photo)
Photo: AP
Indian Foreign Minister S.M Krishna (file photo)

India's foreign minister is in Burma for meetings with top leaders that are expected to focus on security and trade. New Delhi says the trip, the first since a civilian government took office, is an opportunity to "further vitalize" the relationship.

S.M. Krishna’s visit is India’s first high-level engagement since the country’s military government was replaced with a nominally civilian leadership in March.

India says the two sides will discuss security cooperation as well as trade and investment.

Krishna is not scheduled to meet with opposition and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was banned from participating in the election.

India was once a vocal Suu Kyi supporter but changed its policy in the early 1990s in order to have better cooperation with the military government.

Professor D.S. Muni at Singapore's Institute of South Asian Studies says India realized there was a heavy security cost for supporting Aung San Suu Kyi and calls for democracy in Burma.

“Certainly as a result of change in New Dehli’s policy there has been considerable cooperation on the border, for instance," Muni said. "Lot of northeast insurgencies which have been earlier taking shelter in Myanmar - the Myanmar government’s cooperation is forthcoming.”

Muni says although there is cooperation, India has not been entirely satisfied with Burma’s border security and hopes to improve communications with the new government over the issue.

Critics say Burma’s controversial November election merely gave a civilian face to continued military rule.

A quarter of all parliament seats were reserved for the military and the military party won by a landslide amid widespread reports of voter fraud and intimidation.

Muni says although India is not pushing openly for democratic change in Burma, it has engaged in quiet diplomacy on the issue.

The engagement policy has also paid off economically for both Burma and India.

Bilateral annual trade volume shot from tens of millions of dollars in the 1980s to about a billion and a half dollars last year. Muni says Burma has also discussed brokering new deals for critical energy supplies including oil.

While that remains far less than the several billion dollars of annual Chinese trade and investment, Muni says India is more worried about Chinese naval activity in the region.

"Recently there were visit[s] of the two Chinese ships," Muni said. "Now there is a Chinese ship coming to Singapore. The Chinese are setting up a port development in Sri Lanka, they're planning a port development in Chittagong [Bangladesh]. So, I think this naval activity has suddenly alerted almost anyone who has concern for security in the Bay of Bengal.”

The Indian foreign minister’s visit coincides with a visit to Burma by a delegation from the European Union.

The EU group also met with government ministers and was to meet Tuesday evening with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Greek parliament approves bill to implement new austerity plan-2011-06-30

Greek parliament approves bill to implement new austerity plan 2011-06-30 22:38:52 FeedbackPrintRSS

ATHENS, June 30 (Xinhua) -- The Greek parliament on Thursday cleared a bill for the implementation of a new austerity plan approved by lawmakers on Wednesday amidst extensive violent clashes between protesters and police in central Athens.

The bill was ratified along party lines by a vote of 155 in favor, 136 against and five abstentions in the 300-strong assembly with 296 deputies present.

In a new sign of "dissent" within the ruling socialist party which holds 154 seats in the assembly, PASOK deputy Chryssa Arapoglou voted against some articles during Thursday's vote, but approved the overall bill at the end, while an opposition party lawmaker also backed the bill.

The outcome paves the way for the release of further aid to the debt-ridden euro zone member country by the European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders.

The 12-billion-euro (17.38-billion-U.S.-dollar) tranche of the four-year 110-billion-euro (159.31-billion-U.S-dollar) bailout pact Athens secured last year to avoid default and a supplementary package under discussion over the past few weeks, are considered as essential to the rescue of the country from economic collapse this July.

A Greek default would rock the entire European common currency zone. After the positive outcome in Athens, this Sunday in an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting European counterparts are expected to give the "green light" for the release of the fifth tranche of aid and outline the preconditions for the second rescue package.

The painful 28-billion-euro (40.55-billion-U.S.-dollar) mid- term 2012-2015 fiscal strategy plan of spending cuts, tax hikes and a parallel multi-billion privatization program was cleared by 155 positive votes to 138 negative votes on Wednesday.

Despite the positive result, in a blow to the socialist government, one ruling socialist PASOK party deputy voted against the bill and was dismissed from the parliamentary group, leaving Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou a slim four-seat majority in the legislature. The package was backed by an opposition deputy who turned independent.

During Thursday's similar roll-call vote, conservative main opposition New Democracy party deputies backed 21 in 49 articles of the bill regarding privatization of loss-making public companies during the vote procedure, but eventually rejected the package in full, insisting on the prompt renegotiation of the terms of foreign aid to Greece.

As opposition parties and labor unions warn the government that they will continue to resist to the end the implementation of the policies they regard as "recipe to disaster for Greek society," in an effort to appease critics, Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos made some last minute changes to the bill he promoted as "generous measures of social sensitivity."

The government slightly raised the tax-exempt income threshold for families with more than one child and persons with special needs.

For thousands protesters who have taken to the streets for months, denouncing the harsh policies, the changes are not adequate.

"This is like a drop of water in the ocean. They cannot expect us to accept our suffocation with a smile on the face, by giving us one more second of living," commented on Thursday pensioner Spyros Tragakis.

"I worked hard for decades to earn a better future for my children and grandchildren. I will not stop protesting. The crisis was not my fault. They should find other solutions," added Tragakis.

Labor unions scheduled a new rally in front of the parliament building later on Thursday, as the government voices determination to push through the "difficult but necessary" austerity and reform plan to lead Greece out of the crisis.

"Certainly we need measures of social coherence, but when you borrow funds you are obliged to move within a narrow context," Venizelos addressed the assembly on Thursday, repeating a plea for national unity over the austerity measures.

The situation remains difficult for Greece, since there are still no concrete decisions on the further involvement of foreigners into efforts to overcome the Greek debt crisis, he noted.

Despite the positive result at the legislature, amidst the mounting public discontent to measures, Greek media commentators and political analysts talked on Thursday about a short sign of relief which will be soon over, forecasting that new obstacles will be raised in the coming weeks and months.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Greek Austerity Protests Arouse Fury from the Man in the Street/It is not unusual for Greek workers to go unpaid for a year or more

Greek Austerity Protests Arouse Fury from the Man in the Street

It is not unusual for Greek workers to go unpaid for a year or more

by Karen Kissane

VASSILIS Dermitzakis saw protesters screaming at riot police from outside a tall iron gate of the botanical gardens in Athens.

Vassilis Dermitzakis says he was fired when he refused to work more hours for less pay. (Photo/Nikos Ventouras) They were middle-aged, middle-class, well-dressed. He watched in disbelief as they tore a telephone booth out of the ground and charged, ramming the booth against the iron gate, which fell beneath their fury.

He was at last week's national day of protest because he too was angry. ''These people were not anarchists, they were not communists. There were women and men. They were the common people. After that, I realised there were people very, very much angrier than me.''

He expects to see more such scenes in the next national strike against austerity measures, a 48-hour stoppage that will be staged to coincide with the as-yet-uncertain parliamentary debate on the issue.

While the euro zone talks of Greek profligacy, Greeks living through the economic crisis remain furious over their suffering as a result of an austerity program that began a year ago.

Pensions are slashed and wages are plummeting but, despite the cuts, unemployment has risen and stands at 42 per cent for young people.

Five thousand protesters marched through the streets again at the weekend, despite an emergency cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister George Papandreou designed to appease them.

Mr Dermitzakis says he surveyed around 30 of his friends aged 25 to 34 and found only five who work full-time.

Mr Dermitzakis, 34, has not worked for five months. He says he was fired because he refused to work more hours for less money at the supermarket he had managed for five years.

He has never had a job in the vocation for which he is qualified - social work. He called to inquire about one vacancy and was told the incumbent was quitting because he had not been paid for 15 months.

It is not unusual in Greece for public-sector contract workers to go unpaid for more than a year, and now it is becoming common in private industry, too. Katerina Kouni, 45, a chef, says her 24-year-old daughter has just spent six months working in customer service for a phone company without receiving a single pay cheque.

''She goes to the labour office to complain, and they said, 'We have so many complaints that you must wait, maybe one or two years. So many people have the same problems.' ''

Ms Kouni's hours, meanwhile, were last week cut from eight per day to four, with her salary halved to match.

She helped her friend, Giorgos Lukas, hang his protest banners and caricatures of politicians at the tent city of protesters in Syntagma Square at the weekend.

Behind them drums played a warlike beat as activists twirled a giant white puppet symbolising a bloodied Justice.

Ms Kouni said Greeks were also bitter about inequity: ''The people with more money have become richer. It's the poor people paying, not the rich.''

Traditionally Greeks dealt with financial problems through ''family inter-generational solidarity'', says Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economic theory at the University of Athens.

''Grandparents would give pocket money to teenagers who couldn't get jobs. Parents would help the older generation.

Children would help each other. Now, for the first time in modern Greek history, we have all three generations hit at once: pensions are cut, salaries are reduced and jobs are fewer. So they can't help each other any more.''

He says Germans might see Greeks as ''spendthrift over-reachers good only for lying in the sun and retiring at 40, but the truth is different: Greece, even before the crisis, was the poorest country in the euro zone. Twenty-three per cent of the population were below the poverty line.

''But they feel the sacrifices they are making now are just making the problem worse. It's like the difference between the battle of Normandy and the battle of Gallipoli. With Normandy, soldiers made sacrifices because of a prospect of victory. This is more like Gallipoli. Greeks feel the generals are ordering them to walk straight to their deaths.''

Arab uprisings:why no1 saw dem coming-d west failed to 'see like citizens' missed d signs dat people in Egypt,Tunisia nYemen were at breaking point?

Arab uprisings: why no one saw them coming

The west failed to 'see like citizens' and missed the signs that people in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen were at breaking point

  • Anti-government protesters throw stones during clashes in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP

    Why did diplomats, policymakers, analysts and academics fail to see and understand the growing popular unrest in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries?

    It seems that the reasons why we thought a revolution impossible were wrong, our identification of the agents of change was misguided and our understanding of how collective mobilisation happens was too narrow. We need new ways to capture what is happening on the ground through the eyes of these countries' people.

    Failing to make sense of the protests

    Egypt has witnessed a number of protests in the past five years. Demonstrators clearly showed that they were defying the restrictions of political activism and breaking through the fear barrier. We missed these hints of public dissent because these forms of collective action did not fit our checklist of what constitutes the "right kind" of citizen mobilisation that would shake an authoritarian regime.

    The constant flare-up of protests, sit-ins, demonstrations and encroachments on public space all led by citizens, whether workers in their thousands or young Egyptian Christian youth more recently, were often dismissed as too small, inconsequential or too narrow in their demands to be of significance for regime change.

    However, to assume that the masses would not rise shows how dismissive we have been of the power of unruly politics.

    The impact of state security on citizens' lives

    While policymakers and analysts focused on the oppressive role of the police force in dealing with the formal institutions and establishments – the media, the political parties – the extent and scope of state security monitoring of ordinary citizens was almost entirely neglected. The domestic intelligence service had created unsustainable levels of paranoia, fear and distrust that gripped citizens in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia. By focusing on the formal institutional actors, we failed to "see like citizens" and missed out on the experiences citizens faced on a day-to-day basis.

    Citizens tried to adapt to living with security services (and the thousands of informers) breathing down their necks. But with the increasing economic deprivation, the provocations of a regime that does democracy through rigged ballots and the absence of choices elsewhere, their breaking point was clearly nearing.

    Economic figures that don't add up on the ground

    The official economic story, measured by the international community in terms of economic growth, suggested that Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen were weathering the economic crises. Yet on the ground, the story was very different.

    In Yemen, as part of research by the Institute of Development Studies on the impact of the economic crises on the poor, interviews conducted with families in Sana'a in April 2010 revealed the extent to which a war in the north, inflation and diminishing economic opportunities were taking their toll on their survival. Families were having to cut down severely on food and reduce their children's school attendance because conditions had become so dire. The poor were fully aware of why this was happening: a corrupt government blind to the people's suffering.

    When the conventional saviours have no saving powers

    Current understanding of the democracy process pinpoints three groups believed to be instrumental in challenging authoritarian regimes: political parties, the Islamist movement and human rights associations and other civil society organisations. In short, the focus has been on highly institutionalised actors operating in the formal, public sphere.

    Opposition parties did not catalyse, organise or lead the citizen movements who took to the streets in Egypt or Tunisia. They were almost missing from the scene at the outset. As for the human rights groups, their role in awakening citizens or mobilising them into activism has been minimal, almost nonexistent.

    Human rights organisations, like some vocal political party activists, have been instrumental in exposing the violation of human rights by existing regimes. But foreign funding for democracy promotion has led to it becoming increasingly professional in nature, and in some instances to depoliticisation as well. In a bid to prove that civil society organisations are the sites for igniting social activism, western policymakers and scholars have looked to development and human rights organisations for engagement in contentious politics – but in the process missed out on where the organic activism was unfolding.

    Political analysts and scholars have been strongly advocating for the west to forge dialogues with "moderate" Islamist forces on account of their large popular support base and the fact that they represent the most significant political opposition to existing authoritarian regimes. But we may have all grossly overestimated the power of the Islamists on the ground. The Muslim Brotherhood's position on the protests that erupted in Egypt on 25 January was ambivalent, and even when they joined in the uprising on the Friday "day of fury", it was evident that they were not leading, nor did they have a conspicuous presence.

    Seeing like citizens

    Informed by social movement theory about actors, agency and how change happens, we ended up asking the wrong questions as to why the people have risen. In Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen, was there an organised social movement? Certainly not. Did they have visible leadership? No. Did they have a massive, or at least significant following? Not in the conventional sense of a mobilised constituency.

    Our analytical perspectives failed to enable us to "see like citizens" and understand that people were overcoming barriers of fear and reaching breaking point.

    However, it is not too late to be responsive: international diplomats need to side with the people now. Otherwise, it is not only the legitimacy of the current Egyptian regime that is at stake, but also the legitimacy of the entire international human rights framework.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Through the “Chameli Revolution”, the people of India should try to change a single most critical dimension of multifaceted and complex problems of corruption, value deficit and poor governance. And that is the political will to manage the transition to cleaner polity, ethical conduct and aam admi oriented governance. Once that is done, the above reforms will be easier to initiate and implement.

Tunisian “Jasmine revolution” would be recorded as most important global socio-political phenomenon since d collapse of USSR n its aftermath3/2/11

Tunisian “Jasmine revolution” would be recorded as most important global socio-political phenomenon since the collapse of Soviet Union and its aftermath in Europe.

'Chameli Revolution' of India-remembered in the history for sowing the seeds of a major revolution against corruption, tyrants, dictatator,autocrats

'Chameli Revolution' of India

blog |

Tunisia will be remembered in the history for sowing the seeds of a major revolution against corruption, tyrants, dictators, and autocrats across the globe. Non-violent revolution saw the end of regimes in Tunisia & Egypt. Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Algeria are struggling against the strong currents of revolution. Libya is on the boil and seeing worst repression & violence. Perhaps it is matter of time before the change of government takes place there. But the events have sent strong messages across the globe rattling even China. Tunisian “Jasmine revolution” would be recorded as most important global socio-political phenomenon since the collapse of Soviet Union and its aftermath in Europe.

Prima facie India seems to be isolated or unconnected in any manner with events in the Arab world except for the Indian workers there. But a peep into the “Blunderland of Indian Politics” reveals that impact of Jasmine revolution may have triggered timing of an impending revolution in India against corruption, declining value system and poor governance. Bharat Swabhiman floated by Swami Ramdev Baba, the Yoga Guru, has launched a movement against corruption and black money with a big rally at Ramlila Maidan at New Delhi on February 27, 2011 with big response. The personalities like Ram Jethmalani, Kiran Bedi, Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Anna Hazare took the stage to address rally. Since this was in offing for quite sometime, I am inclined to de-link Jasmine revolution. Nevertheless due to commonality of the objectives I would say they are off-springs of the same anger against corruption, mis-governance and value deficit. I therefore like to call this desi version as “Chameli Revolution”.

Will Bharat Swabhiman be able to sustain the momentum and build up pressure on the political parties and governments both at the center and in the states? What best can it achieve against its lofty ideals? What should be their focus for achieving a measure of success vis-à-vis objectives?

Indian system of governance has been based on the old British Model and twisted umpteen numbers of times in sixty years to suit the objectives of political class in the power. The legal framework is admirable compared to any of the Afro-Arab and eastern world countries. The governments can come and go but the system can hold on and deliver. That is the inherent strength of Indian democracy. What we need is campaign against the political class for the value system embraced by them and perpetrated over six decades. Rules have been framed with deliberate loop holes or escape routes built in to satisfy people on one hand and to be able to loot them on the other. Any political party is as good or as bad as the other. Shades may differ but ‘spectrum’ is same.

The Indian polity is too thick skinned to bother about morality. Rallies and fast unto death have not achieved much in the past. But what can make difference this time is the support of the masses, aam admi, in huge numbers. Swami Ramdev has demonstrated capabilities to attract as much crowds as any big politician. And perhaps he has traveled to every nook and corner of the country and commands respect of the common man more than any politician. How best he can leverage this aspect would define the path the movement will take. Invariably such movements are in the danger of being hijacked midway which must be resisted at any cost.

What can be the achievable objectives in operational terms and levels?

[A] Constitutional & Judicial Reforms:

(i) Identify and remove the loopholes from legal frame work for speedy trials of political class and bureaucrats.

(ii) Have fast track judiciary system for trials of this class and economic offenders.

(iii) Remove political patronage and insurance cover against any breach of law (immunity) for this class and no approvals should be required for filing FIR/ charge sheet and trial of members of this class(MP/MLA/Governors/Prime Minister/chief ministers etc).

(iv) The members of judiciary, though guardians of the Constitution of India, can not be above any laws and must not have immunity against unethical conduct.

(v) There must be some time limits for concluding judicial trials for certain types of crimes like corruption, embezzlement, hawala transactions, etc. so that governance does not suffer.

(vi) Investigating agency like CBI should function as totally autonomous institution without interference from politicians.

[B] Election Reforms:

(i) Change eligibility criterion for contesting elections for any position from gram panchayat to President of India and weed out corrupt, criminal, and dubious characters. Political parties should not be permitted to field such candidates.

(ii) Introduce the system of Negative vote. If a voter does not find any suitable candidate and he wants to eliminate worst of the candidate, he should be able to cast a negative vote (see my blog on Negative Votes).

(iii) The ceiling for expenses by a contestant in election even after recent revision is paltry considering actual expenditure running into several crores. The elections should be funded by the state to eliminate the very reason for need of politicians for black money.

[C] Economic Reforms:

(i) There should be exemplary and deterrent punishments in cases of corruption, nepotism, tax evasion and any illegal activity to set high standards of political behavior.

(ii) Economic reforms should be undertaken for addressing the issue of black money within India and stashed overseas. Tax havens have come forward to address our concerns and we must be demanding enough to serve our national interests. International Treaties must be renegotiated to safeguard our interests.

(iii) If Indian nationals have illegally stashed black money overseas, their accounts must be frozen, nationalized without compensation and passports impounded. Passports should not be issued to any one with proven hawala transactions. Unless such deterrent measures are introduced, there can be no success in curbing such malpractices. We need to have political will power to enforce such regulations.

Through the “Chameli Revolution”, the people of India should try to change a single most critical dimension of multifaceted and complex problems of corruption, value deficit and poor governance. And that is the political will to manage the transition to cleaner polity, ethical conduct and aam admi oriented governance. Once that is done, the above reforms will be easier to initiate and implement.

We, the aam admis, are not looking for overthrowing a government as in the Arab world. We should be looking at ‘Change Management of mind sets of the polity’ to needs of 21st century suiting a global power in whom the world can trust. This calls for sustained efforts and pressures from the masses. I hope Chameli will not be a one day miracle!


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this writing are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of League of India, its Editorial Board or the business and socio-political interests that they might represent.

This article was first published at the author's blog here

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

अछूत महिलाओं को काशी ने दी मान्यता-21 Jun 2011

21 Jun 2011 06:16:31 AM IST

अछूत महिलाओं को काशी ने दी मान्यता

अछूत महिलाओं को दी मान्यता
मंदिर में भोजन करता महिलाओं का जत्था.

'बाबा के दरबार में हाजिरी लगाकर जीवन का उद्धार हो गया." यह उन महिलाओं का कहना रहा जिन्हें समाज में बराबरी का दर्जा हासिल न था.

लेकिन अब ऐसा नहीं है. वक्त बदला और सोच बदली. समाज की मुख्य धारा में जुड़ने की खुशी इन महिलाओं के चेहरे पर साफ झलक रही थी. अलवर व टोंक की अछूत महिलाओं को धर्म व आध्यात्म की नगरी काशी ने न सिर्फ मान्यता दी बल्कि इस पवित्र माटी की अलौकिक आभा ने उनकी अंतर आत्मा को शुद्ध कर दिया.

अलवर व टोंक (राजस्थान) सहित बिहार से सोमवार की सुबह डा. बिन्देश्वर पाठक के नेतृत्व में मैला ढोने वाली 203 महिलाएं बाबा के दर्शन के लिए काशी धाम पहुंची. खास बात यह रही कि यह सभी महिलाएं सिर पर मैला ढोने का काम करती थीं. समाज में हाशिए पर रहीं इन सभी महिलाओं में दर्शन की आतुरता देखने लायक थी.

ऐसा इसलिए कि उन्हें जीवन में पहली बार मंदिर में प्रवेश करने का अनुपम अवसर जो मिला था. इस जत्थे में शामिल महिलाओं ने सबसे पहले मां गंगा की धारा में आस्था की डुबकी लगाई. उसके बाद दशाश्वमेध घाट से हल्के नीले परिधान में हाथों जल से भरा मिट्टी का कलश और 'हर-हर महादेव" का उद्घोष करते हुए महिलाएं श्री काशी विश्वनाथ मंदिर पहुंचीं.

पं. ओपी शास्त्री व पं. सुबोध शास्त्री सहित 11 वैदिक ब्राहृणों के आचार्यत्व में महिलाओं ने बाबा का दर्शन-पूजन व भव्य रुद्राभिषेक किया. इसी क्रम में उन्होंने शनिदेव व माता अन्नपूर्णा का भी दर्शन-पूजन किया. इसके बाद महिलाओं का जत्था संत रविदास मंदिर पहुंचा. मंदिर में विधि-विधान से दर्शन-पूजन का अनुष्ठान पूरा किया गया.

इसके अलावा जत्थे में शामिल महिला श्रद्धालुओं ने नाव पर बैठकर गंगा घाटों की मनोरम सैर भी की. बाद में सभी तेलियाबाग स्थित पटेल धर्मशाला पहुंचे. यहां दोपहर में इन महिलओं ने उच्चजाति के लोगों विशेषकर ब्राहृणों और संस्कृत के विद्वानों के साथ बैठकर भोजन ग्रहण किया. इस दौरान इन लोगों ने खुलकर अपने विचार व्यक्त किये. सभी का यही कहना रहा कि हम सभी ने अस्पृश्यता व भेदभाव की सामाजिक बेड़ियां तोड़ी है. इसे दुनिया को बताने में कोई गुरेज नहीं गर्व होगी.

श्रद्धालु महिलाओं का जत्था 21 जून की सुबह विंध्याचल के लिए रवाना होगा. इसके अलावा वैष्णो देवी सहित देश के विभिन्न मंदिरों में दर्शन-पूजन के लिए जाएंगे.