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Dear Kejriwal, Transphobic Alka Lamba Must Aplogise!: Memorandum from Queer Groups and Activists


Sh. Arvind Kejriwal

The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi

Dear Chief Minister,

The object of writing this letter to you is the welfare and the dignity of the transgender community. On the 29th of July, Ms. Alka Lamba, one of your party members and serving MLA from Chandni Chowk constituency, took to the online platform of Twitter to pass a comment on someone, understandably a political critique. In doing so, she referred to transgender persons as “beech wale” who clap loudly (“thaali peetna”). Her exact statement (translated into English) was this:  “Even the ‘middle ones’ don’t clap so much as this person does single handedly ! Clever people understand by a mere gesture”

We take severe offense at the fact that your party member and sitting MLA chose to ridicule trans people, to make her point about a third party, and that she used a deeply disrespectful and stereotyped reference to transgender persons. Further, despite she being notified of the same and being asked to withdraw the tweet as well as apologize by numerous people, she has neither pulled down the tweet nor has she apologized to the transgender community. The link to the tweet is here and a screenshot of the tweet (as it exists online today is attached)

This development comes at a time when your government has taken a progressive step to establish a Transgender Welfare Board in Delhi, after pursuit by friends from the transgender community, and it sullies the record of your party and the efforts of all those sensitive individuals in your party. How can a government trying to take steps towards the welfare of a community simultaneously allow its members to degrade the same community?

We wish to make it clear that it is not our objective to name and shame people, but what Alka Lamba did was not only wrong, it was extremely humiliating for an entire community and we hope she realizes the gravity of this. As your good self must be aware, just a few days back, Ms. Maneka Gandhi, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development also made some derogatory remarks and gestures about transgender persons inside the Parliament and had to apologize, owing to intense public pressure. While it is anybody’s discretion to criticize someone in a constructive way, it is definitely not alright to offend and denigrate a whole section of people in the garb of ‘critique’ of some third party or on the pretext of ‘lack of knowledge’.

It needs not reiteration that transgender individuals are human beings and equal citizens, with all rights under the Constitution as well as per the judgement of the Apex Court in NALSA and we deserve to be treated with dignity.  We, therefore, demand an immediate public apology from Ms. Lamba for her tweet and a withdrawal of the same. We also demand that AAP must issue a statement publicly condemning this tweet of its sitting MLA and assure the transgender community, especially in Delhi, that it would fully respect and implement the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in NALSA versus Union of India, in all aspects and particularly would adopt a zero-tolerance approach as regards discrimination of transgender persons.

We shall support any genuine efforts from your government towards the well-being and strengthening of rights of the transgender community and hope that such incidents will not happen again. We also urge you to take adequate and consistent measures to sensitize your party members, at all levels, to ensure they don’t conduct themselves in a manner that cause offense or harm to other people, especially the marginalized and vulnerable sections.


The Trans Community and Its Allies,


1. Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS)

2. Sampoorna Working Group – A Network of Trans & Intersex Indians.

3. Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)

4. LABIA – A Queer Feminist LBT Collective Mumbai

5. Sangama

6. Karnataka Sex Workers Union


1. Grace Banu, Transrights Now Collective, Delhi

2. Bittu Karthik, Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti, WSS- Delhi, Karnataka Janashakti

3. Rihana Yadav, Community Empowerment Trust, Delhi

4. Satya Rai Nagpaul, Trans Activist, Delhi & Mumbai.

5. Anshu, Trans Activist, Delhi

6. Jamal, Transman Collective, Delhi

7. Meera Sanghamitra, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) & Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS)

8. Vyjayanthy Vasantha Mogi, Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS)

9. Rachana Mudraboyina, Telangana Hijra Intersex transgender Samiti

10. Gee Imaan, Trans rights activist, Bangalore and Kerala

11. Esvi Anpu Kothazham, Transgender Person

12. Shyam Balasubramanian, Transman Coimbatore.

13. Kanaga Varathan, Transrights Activist, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

14. Rumi Harish, Trans Activist, Bangalore

15. Vihaan Peethambar, Board member – Queerala, an LGBTIQA+ organization

16. Shilpi Banerjee, Clinical Psychologist, Delhi

17. Uma, Jeeva Organization, Bangalore

18. Aaditya, Executive Board Member Tweet Foundation, Trans man, Delhi

19. Namrata Jaiswal, Activist and member of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Telangana State and working with Aman Vedika, a non profit organisation.

20. Nishank, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Youth Wing Convenor, Madhya Pradesh.

21. Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, Public Health Doctor and researcher, Karnataka

22.Madhu Bhushan, independent activist-writer, CIEDS Collective, Bangalore

23. Xavier Dias, Human Rights Activist, Editor Khan Kaneej Aur ADHIKAR.

24.Sreedhar, Managing Trustee, Environics Trust

25. Arundhati Dhuru NAPM

26.Nishi Khandelwal, Nirantar

27.Krishna Shree, M.A. student, Madras School of Social Work

28.Purnima Gupta, Feminist Activist, Delhi

29. Saswati Ghosh, Academic and activist, Kolkata

30. Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Rajasthan

31. Pyoli Swatija, Advocate-on-record at Supreme Court of India

32. Anuradha Banerji, Independent researcher, New Delhi.

33. Urmila Chanam, Breaking the Silence, Ambassador World Pulse, UNFPA National Laadli Awardee, Iconic Women Awardee( WEF)

34. Badal Saroj , CPM, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

35.Amit Kumar, National Organizer, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

36.Roma, All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Uttar Prdaesh

37.Rishit Neogi, Ambedkar University Delhi

38.Vidya Dinker, Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development & INSAF

39.Gabriele Dietrich, Pennurimai Iyakkam, Tamil Nadu.

40.Basant Hetamsaria, NAPM, Jharkhand.

41.Sabita Parida, Independent Research and Evaluation Consultant New Delhi

42. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Feminist and Human Rights Activist, Mumbai

43. R. Indira, Basti Adhikar Manch

44. Chayanika Shah, Queer feminist activist, Mumbai

45. Kiran Shaheen, All India People’s Forum, (AIPF) New Delhi

46. Venkat Reddy, Child Rights Protection Forum, Hyderabad

47. Himshi Singh, NAPM-Delhi,

48. Uma; National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) , Uttarakhand

49. Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan and NAPM

50.Gautam Mody, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)

51.Tara Murali, Activist

52. Prof. C. Ramachandraiah, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad.

53. Ajita, People’s Union for Democratic Rights (New Delhi)

54. Prof. Padmaja Shah, Retired Dean of Journalism, Osmaina University, Hyd.

55. Samhita Barooah, Independent Researcher, Guwahati, Assam

56. Prof. Sujatha Surepally, Satavahana University, Telangana,

57. Suresh Ediga, Concerned Citizen

58. Nimisha Agarwal, Scientist, Activist

59. Komal Mohite, Activist, Delhi

60. Prof. Mary E John, Feminist Scholor, New Delhi

61. Adv. Shalini Gera, Chhattisgarh.

62. Priya Shkla, Advocate and Aam Aadmi Party, Youth Wing Convenor, Chhattisgarh.

63. Inji Pennu, Journalist, Global Voices

64. Kavitha Kuruganti , Farmers Rights Activist

65. Anjali Bhardwaj and Amrita Johri, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, New Delhi

66. Nita Mahadev, Social Activist, Gujarat

67. Anil Hebbar, Activist, Mumbai

68. Priya Pillai, Environmental and Social Activist, Delhi.

69. Nandini Rao, Feminist Activist and Trainer, New Delhi

70. Rinchin, Social Activist , Chhattisgarh

71. Madhuri, social activist, Jagrit Dalit Adivasi Sangathan, Madhya Pradesh

72. Uma V Chandru, Bangalore

73. Karuna, Chennai

74. Nisha Biswas, Civil Liberties Activist, W. Bengal


75. Seshagiri BV, Social Activist

76. Meena Seshu , Sangram, Sangli

77. Chitra Mathur, PhD scholar, Public Systems Group, IIM Ahmedabad

78. Dr. Sunilam, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and Samajwadi Samagam, Madhya Pradesh

79. Manohar Elavarthi, Bengaluru, Swaraj Abhiyan

80. Shweta Tripathi, Social Activist, Delhi

81. Maj Gen (Read.) S.G.Vombatkere  Mysore

82. Satyam Shrivastava, SRUTI, Delhi

83. Ashok Choudhary, All India Union of Forest Working People

84. Joe Athialy, Activist, New Delhi

85. Shakun Doundiyakhed, Feminist Consultant

86. Ashwini Kamal, Activist

87. Vasavi Lori, Journalist-Activist, Jharkhand

88. Devangana Kalita, Pinjra Tod

89. Ravi Rebbapragada, Mines Minerals and People

90. Geeta Gairola, Uttarakhand Mahila Manch, Dehradun


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Decade of Kandhamal : Call for Action on Kandhamal Day August 25th, 2018

Dear Friends,

We hope you remember the grave communal genocide in Kandhamal in Odisha, which happened in 2008. Barely after eight days after celebration of Independence day, India witnessed the biggest organized communal attack against the Christians in the last few centuries. Since 2009, people of Kandhamal and outside have been organizing 25th August as Kandhamal Day.each year This year on August 25, 2018 will be the completion of one decade of Kandhamal communal violence.

During this brutal invasion on the Christian community, around 393 churches and worship places which belonged to the Adivasi Christians and Dalit Christians were destroyed, around 6,500 houses were destroyed, over 100 people were killed, over 40 women were subjected to rape, molestation and humiliation and several educational, social service and health institutions were destroyed and looted. Over 12,000 children lost their education. More than 56,000 people were forced to flee from Kandhamal. Several cases of forced conversion to Hinduism by the Sangh Parivar have been reported. And those who had to flee from Kandhamal, are spread out in different parts of the country today. Many of them cannot come back to their villages since they were told that unless they become Hindus, they would not be allowed to survive in Kandhamal. Those who are displaced and working outside their home district, are not just `migrant labour’. They are victims of communal genocide. Perhaps, they are around your own areas in India.

The communal violence in Kandhamal also spread to different parts of Odisha and other states as well. It is too important to note that the original settlers in Kandhamal never expressed violence and the violence was conducted by the Hindutva forces. During these ten years of experiencing violence, the survivors of Kandhamal are still struggling for Peace, Justice and Harmony.

The compensation provided by the Government for the victims and survivors of Kandhamal has been minimal. There have been more than 3,300 complaints, but only 820 odd FIRs were registered. The rest of the complaints were not even registered. Among these complaints, only 518 cases were charge sheeted. The remaining cases were treated as false reports. And out of these 518 cases, 247 cases were disposed off. The rest of the cases are pending before the sessions and magistrate courts. And amongst those disposed cases, many are already acquitted. If you take complaints as a yardstick of justice process, it is just around 1% only.

On August 2, 2016, Justice TS Thakur and Justice Uday Lalit mentioned in their judgement in the Supreme Court, that the quantum and scope for compensation was not satisfactory in Kandhamal. Therefore, those who have been left out in the compensation list must be immediately included. This includes compensation to the families of many of those who have been killed, compensation to the destruction of houses and properties, compensation for the buildings of churches, institutions and NGOs and other such destructions.

The court also found it disturbing that the offenders of law were not booked and ordered to review 315 cases of communal violence that were filed. The High Court was of the view that the State Government should review these 315 cases so that the offenders are brought to book. But this process is still not being activated. It should also be ensured that:

a. A task force to monitor cases must be constituted, b. Protection for the witnesses against intimidation must be ensured, c. Police officers for free and fair investigation to reopen the cases must be ensured.

Without the above tasks, it would be difficult to ensure justice form the survivors of Kandhamal.

None of the criminals responsible for destruction are in jail today. The murderers, rapists, looters and destroyers are today moving around freely. But, seven innocent Adivasi Christians and Dalit Christians are still in jail with fabricated cases.

It is in this context that the National Solidarity Forum and the Kandhamal Survivors Association are giving a humanitarian call to all those who believe in secularism, democracy, justice, peace and harmony to OBSERVE KANDHAMAL DAY on the coming August 25, 2018. The National Solidarity Forum is a network of over 70 organisations in different parts of the country trying to work for justice for the survivors of Kandhamal. The Kandhamal Survivors’ Association is a grass root movement with units in every affected village in Kandhamal.

Together we appeal to you to support and work for the implementation of the following demands.

  1. Implementation of Supreme Court verdict of August 2nd, 2016.
  2. Enhance up to 15 lakh for the death compensation in line of Muzzaffanagar violence cases. Enlist the dead who are not listed in death list for compensation and for criminal justice delivery system.
  3. Reopen the acquitted cases of violence.
  4. Book for both state and non-state actors perpetrators involved in the communal violence; institute special inquiry into the district and police administration, who are in nexus with the communal forces
  5. Announce special package for repair and reconstruction of houses as recommended in a study by former UN Special Rapporteur, Miloon Kothari up to 5 lakh and compensate those who lost their businesses. Enlist those who are not missed out by acts of commissions and omissions for swift compensation packages.
  6. Immediately establish Odisha Minority Commission.
  7. Facilitate Minority schemes and scholarship in time bound manner and hold the officials responsible for any lapses and delays in implementations.
  8. Ensure minority community presence in important administrative machinery to ward off biased decision as well as for harmonious and participatory decision processes.
  9. Scrap Odisha anti-conversion law and Presidential Order 1950 para 3 to make religion neutral and delink it from affirmative action.
  10. Constitute Citizens and community interface with the administration for effectively combating the communal forces.

The above demands were placed before the President of India 3 years ago by an 8 member team including the survivors and secular leaders like Brinda Karat and Kavita Krishnan. The team was promised that the issues would be looked into. Many leaders from different political parties and people’s movements like Mani Shankar Aiyer, Medha Patkar, Abhay Sahoo, leaders belonging to various religious communities and others have supported these demands and worked for the implementation of the same. However, no action on these demands till today is undertaken.

Therefore, we appeal to you to:

  1. Support and contribute the struggle of the survivors for justice, peace and harmony and observe Kandhamal Day in your area on August 25, 2018
  2. Organise public events, programmes, candle light vigils for harmony and peaceful demonstrations for justice for the survivors of Kandhamal.
  3. The Kandhamal Day in Kandhamal will be observed on August 28th and in Bhubaneshwar on August 29th. Around 10,000 people will be gathering in Kandhamal mainly comprising from the communities, which are affected. Those who wish to join these events, please inform Fr. Ajay, Dhirendra Panda or Fr. Manoj in advance.
  4. Organise film screenings in your area to spread the word. The films on this issue and written materials on this issue can be distributed if you contact the people noted below.
  5. Organise theatre performances, photo exhibitions, art exhibitions in your area to generate awareness on this issue and support the survivors. Many such works are already produced.
  6. Use social media and mainstream media to spread awareness on this issue and share information to maximum number of people within your network.

We are sure that if all humanitarian forces join hands to build peace, justice and harmony in this country, we will be able to achieve results in these dark times and protect the values of Indian Constitution so that no such violence takes place in India.

We welcome your responses.

Ram Puniyani (Convener, National Solidarity Forum):

Email – [email protected]

Dhirendra Panda (Coordinator, National Solidarity Forum):

Email – [email protected]

Ajaya Kumar Singh (Founder Member/ Co-convener, National Solidarity Forum): Email- [email protected]

KP Sasi (Co-convener, National Solidarity Forum) :

Email – [email protected]

Manoj Nayak (Coordinator, Kandhamal Survivors’ Association) :

Email- [email protected]

Paul Pradhan (Convener, Kandhamal Survivors’ Association)

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URGENT ALERT – Niyamgiri suraksha samiti leaders abducted by rayagad police

There is information that Rayagada police has secretly abducted Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti leaders Lado Sikaka and Drenju Sikaka. We have heard Lado and Drenju were travelling in a vehicle which was held by the Police near Bisam Katak on the pretext of not having documents and then they were taken to the SP of Raygada. where they have been detained for several hours.
There are are many false cases against the leaders for their opposition against Vedanta (Sterlite). Lado Sikaka was also abducted and tortured in 2010 by the police and coerced to give up his opposition against Vedanta.
The Odisha Govt and the Central Govt are hand in glove in orchestrating such repression against the leaders of Niyamgiri to make way for Vedanta’s plans of devastating Niyamgiri, the sacred mountain of Adivasi people.
Please  call the SP of Rayagada and demand to demand immediate and unconditional release of both leaders.
Rahul P R,
Superintendent of Police,
Phone: 06856-222304
Mobile: 8763004099

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178 Women Film Practitioners across genres condemn AMMA’s move to reinstate Actor Dileep

Express solidarity with women artistes in the Kerala film industry


On the night of February 17, 2018, a well known actress, who has worked in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu films, was kidnapped and molested in a moving car while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi.

Five months later,  popular Malayalam actor, Dileep, was arrested because of his alleged involvement in the molestation case. He has been accused of hatching a plot with the prime accused, Pulsar Suni and his associates, for abducting and assaulting the actress in a moving car.

A day after his arrest, he was expelled from the primary membership of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA).

However, recently, after actor Mohanlal took over as chairman of AMMA, the accused actor Dileep’s suspension from AMMA was revoked.

This decision has sent shock waves throughout the Malayalam film industry and four leading actresses who are members of the association have resigned from the AMMA. The recently formed Women in Cinema Collective, based out of Kerala, has also come out strongly to protest this decision.

In yet another show of solidarity, 178  women film practitioners from all genres across India have come together to sign a letter of protest. These include Nandita Das, Renuka Shahane, Gitanjali Rao, Namrata Rao, Shweta Venkat, Aruna Raje, Lovleen Mishra, Sheeba Chadha, Aruna Vasudev, Shama Zaidi, Nalini Malini, among several others.

Statement from Women Film Practitioners:

As women working in film across genres and industries in India we received the news of AMMA ( Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes) reinstating actor Dileep, who is an accused in the abduction and molestation of an actor, with shock and deep disappointment.

A body that is meant to represent artistes of the Malayalam movie industry showed complete disregard for its own member who is the victim of this gross crime. Even before the case has reached its conclusion, AMMA has chosen to validate a person accused of a very serious crime against a colleague. We condemn this cavalier attitude by artistes against women artistes who are working alongside them. There is misogyny and gender discrimination embedded in this action.

We admired and supported the Women in Cinema Collective that was formed by women film artistes in Kerala in the aftermath of the abduction and molestation of a colleague, a top star in the industry. We applaud the WCC members who have walked out of AMMA to protest the chairman’s invitation to reinstate the accused.  We pledge our continued support to the Women in Cinema Collective who are blazing a trail to battle sexism in the film industry.

Cinema is an art form that can challenge deeply entrenched violence and discrimination in society. It is distressing to see an industry that stands amongst the best in the country and has even made a mark in world cinema choose to shy away from using their position and their medium responsibly at this important moment. Today women form a significant part of the film and media industries, we reject any attempt at silencing us and making us invisible.

Associations representing film workers have to function through democratic processes and we have to ensure that a few powerful members cannot subvert and marginalise voices of those less powerful than them. As women we are starkly aware of how vulnerable we are in every film industry. This is our attempt to come together and stand in solidarity with the Women in Cinema Collective and urge the chairman and other office bearers of AMMA to function with sensitivity and responsibility, and above all democratically.


  1. Aanchal Kapur, Researcher, Film Curator, New Delhi
  2. Aaradhana Kapur Kohli, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  3. Aditi Pinto, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  4. Akshay Gouri, Film Student, Kolkata
  5. Aliza Noor Khan, Media practitioner, Hyderabad
  6. Ambarien al Qadr, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  7. Amira Sultan Kapur, Media practitioner, Chandigarh
  8. Ananya Chakraborti, Filmmaker, Kolkata
  9. Anjali Monteiro, Filmmaker, Academic, Mumbai
  10. Anjali Punjabi, Producer, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  11. Anubha Yadav, Writer, Academic, New Delhi
  12. Anupama Chandra, Filmmaker, Film Editor, New Delhi
  13. Anupama Srinivasan, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  14. Aparna Sanyal, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  15. Apurwa Yagnik, Film Editor, Filmmaker, Jaipur
  16. Archana Borhade, Cinematographer, Mumbai
  17. Archana Kapoor, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  18. Aradhna Seth, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  19. Aruna Raje, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  20. Aruna Vasudev, Scholar, Author, Film Festival Director, New Delhi
  21. Arunima Shankar, Film Editor, Goa
  22. Ayisha Abraham, Academic, Filmmaker, Bengaluru
  23. Batul Mukhtiar, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  24. Bela Negi, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  25. Bishakha Dutta, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  26. Chandita Mukherjee, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  27. Damini Benny Basu, Actor, Kolkata
  28. Debadrita Bose, Filmmaker, Kolkata
  29. Debalina Majumdar, Filmmaker, Kolkata
  30. Debjani Mukherjee, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  31. Deepa Dhanraj, Filmmaker, Bengaluru
  32. Deepika Sharma, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  33. Deepti Khurana, Academic, Rohtak
  34. Deepti Pant, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  35. Dinaz Stafford, Casting Director, Mumbai
  36. Dipti Bhalla Verma, Film Editor, Filmmaker, Gurgaon
  37. Ekavali Khanna, Film Actor, Kolkata
  38. Fareeda AM, Film Editor
  39. Farha Khatun, Filmmaker, Film Editor, Kolkata
  40. Gargi Sen, Media Practitioner, New Delhi
  41. Gauri D Chakraborty, Academic, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  42. Geeta Sahai, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  43. Gissy Michael, Sound Recordist and Designer, Mumbai
  44. Gita Raju, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  45. Gitanjali Rao, Animation Director, Mumbai
  46. Gouri Patwardhan, Filmmaker, Pune
  47. Gopi Desai, Actor, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  48. Guneet Monga, Film Producer, Mumbai
  49. HansaThapliyal, Filmmaker, Bangeluru
  50. Heer Ganjwala, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  51. Hemanti Sarkar, Film Editor, Mumbai
  52. Iggy Ahluwalia, Art Director, Bombay
  53. Indrani, Student, Writer, Kolkata
  54. Irene Dhar Malik, Film Editor, Mumbai
  55. Ishani Roy, Cinematographer, Mumbai
  56. Jabeen Merchant, Film Editor, Mumbai
  57. Jayoo Patwardhan, Filmmaker, Pune
  58. Jenny Pinto, Filmmaker, Bengaluru
  59. Jeroo Mulla, Academic, Mumbai
  60. Jill Misquitta, Filmmaker, Kodaikanal
  61. Jyoti Kapur Das, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  62. Kasturi, Filmmaker, Film movement worker, Kolkata
  63. Kavita Joshi, Filmmaker, Media Trainer, New Delhi
  64. Kirtana Kumar, Actor/Director, Bangalore
  65. Koel Sen, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  66. Kunjila Mascillamani, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  67. Lalitha Krishna, Filmmaker, Film Editor, Mumbai
  68. Layashree Joshi, Filmmaker, Kolkata
  69. Leena Manimekalai, Filmmaker, Chennai
  70. Leena Yadav, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  71. Lipika Singh Darai, Filmmaker, Film Editor, sound Recordist, Bhubaneshwar, Mumbai
  72. Lovleen Mishra, Film Actor, Mumbai
  73. Madhavi Tangella, Filmmaker, Academic, Kolkata
  74. Madhuja Mukherjee, Academic, Artist, Filmmaker, Kolkata
  75. Madhusree Dutta, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  76. Maheen Mirza, Filmmaker, Cinematographer, Bhopal
  77. Malini Dasari, Cinematographer, Hyderabad
  78. Mansi Pingle, Filmmaker, Bengaluru
  79. Manoshi Nath, Costume Designer, Mumbai
  80. Meenakshi Barooah, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  81. Minnie Vaid, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  82. Miriam Chandy, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  83. Moupia Mukherjee, Writer, Gender Exponent and Film Maker, Kolkata
  84. Nabeela Rizvi, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  85. Nalini Malani, Visual Artist, Mumbai
  86. Namita Nayak Chopra, Sound Recordist and Designer, New Delhi
  87. Namrata Rao, Film Editor, Mumbai
  88. Nandita Das, Actor, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  89. Natasha Badhwar, Cinematographer, Author, New Delhi
  90. Neena Verma, Film Editor, Pune
  91. Neha Parti Matiyani, Cinematographer, Mumbai
  92. Nidhi Sharma, Film Student, Kolkata
  93. Nilita Vachani, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  94. Nina Sabnani, Academic, Animation Filmmaker, Mumbai
  95. Nishtha Jain, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  96. Nupur Basu, Filmmaker, Journalist, Bengaluru
  97. Padmaja Shaw, Academic, Filmmaker, Hyderabad
  98. Paramita Ghosh, Film Editor, Mumbai
  99. Paromita Vohra, Filmmaker, Script Writer, Mumbai
  100. Pinky Brahma Choudhury, Filmmaker, Bagli
  101. Priya Thuvassery, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  102. Priyanka Chhabra, Filmmaker, Film Editor, New Delhi
  103. Priyanka Gaikwad, Sound Recordist
  104. Pooja Gupte, Cinematographer, Mumbai
  105. Pooja Sharma, Cinematographer, Mumbai
  106. Puloma Paul, Film Editor, Mumbai
  107. Putul Mahmood, Filmmaker, Academic, Kolkata
  108. Radha Misra, Academic, Pune
  109. Ranu Ghosh, Cinematographer, Filmmaker, Kolkata
  110. Rajashree , Filmmaker, Novelist, Mumbai
  111. Reema Borah, Filmmaker, Guwahati, Mumbai
  112. Reena Mohan, Filmmaker, Film Editor, New Delhi
  113. Rekha Nigam, Script Writer, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  114. Renuka Shahane, Actor, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  115. Richa Hushing, Filmmaker, Puducherry
  116. Ridhima Mehra, Film Producer, New Delhi
  117. Rinchin, Script Writer, Bhopal
  118. Ruchika Negi, Filmmaker, Academic, New Delhi
  119. Ruchika Oberoi, Filmmaker, Script writer, Mumbai
  120. Rukshana Tabassum, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  121. Saba Dewan, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  122. Sabeena Gadihoke, Academic, Cinematographer, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  123. Sagari Chhabra, Author, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  124. Sakshi Gulati, Filmmaker, Pune
  125. Sanchali Mukhopadhyay, Cinematographer, Kolkata
  126. Sameera Jain, Filmmaker, Academic, New Delhi
  127. Samina Mishra, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  128. Sampritee Ghatak, Actor, Kolkata
  129. Sania Farooqui, TV Anchor, Journalist, New Delhi
  130. Sanghamitra Deb, Actor/Performer, Kolkata
  131. Sayani Gupta, Film Actor, Mumbai
  132. Sehjo Singh, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  133. Shabani Hassanwalia, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  134. Shabnam Sukhdev, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  135. Shanthi Mohan, Cinematographer, Mumbai
  136. Sharmistha Jha, Filmmaker, Kolkata
  137. Shama Zaidi, Script Writer, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  138. Shashwati Talukdar, Filmmaker, Dehradun
  139. Sheeba Chadha, Film Actor, Mumbai
  140. Sherna Dastur, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  141. Shikha Sen, Film Editor, New Delhi
  142. Shilpi Gulati, Filmmaker, Researcher, New Delhi
  143. Shubhangini, Film Student, Kolkata
  144. Shrushti Rao, Film Student, Kolkata
  145. Shweta Ghosh, Filmmaker, Film Scholar, Pune
  146. Shweta Venkat, Film Editor, Mumbai
  147. Simantini Dhuru, Educationist, Filmmaker, Mumai
  148. Smriti Nevatia, Film Curator, Mumbai
  149. Solanki Chakroborty, Cinematographer, Mumbai
  150. Sonali Jha Chatterjee, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  151. Sohini Dasgupta, Filmmaker, Kolkata
  152. Sreecheta Das, Filmmaker, Kolkata
  153. Sreemoyee Bhattacharya, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  154. Sruti Viswesaran, Filmmaker, Film Editor, Mumbai
  155. Subasri Krishnan, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  156. Suchitra Sathe, Film Editor, Pune
  157. Sudarshana Chakroborty, Filmmaker, Journalist, Kolkata
  158. Sujata Kundu, Filmmaker, Editor, Academic, Kolkata
  159. Suhasini Mulay, Actor, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  160. Sunanda Bhat, Filmmaker, Bengaluru
  161. Surabhi Sharma, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  162. Sushma Veerappa, Filmmaker, Bengaluru
  163. Suzanne Caplan Merwanji, Filmmkaer, Mumbai
  164. Swati Dandekar, Filmmaker, Bengaluru
  165. Teena Kaur, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  166. Teena Gill, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  167. Tinni Mitra, Film Editor, Mumbai
  168. T. Jayashree, Filmmaker, Bengaluru
  169. T.N. Uma Devi, Filmmaker, New Delhi
  170. Yasha Ramchandani, Film Editor, Mumbai
  171. Yashodara Udupa, Filmmaker, Bengaluru
  172. Urmi Juvekar, Script writer, Mumbai
  173. Usha Bhasin, TV Producer, New Delhi
  174. Usha Rao, Filmmaker, Bengaluru
  175. Vanaja C, Filmmaker, Hyderabad
  176. Vasundhara Phadke, Film Editor, Mumbai
  177. Veena Bakshi, Filmmaker, Mumbai
  178. Vineeta Negi, Film Editor, Pune

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IAPL statement condemning arrest of Advocate Vanchinathan


The Indian Association of People’s lawyers (IAPL) condemns the arrest of Advocate Vanchinathan by the Chennai police in the early hours of Thursday, 21 June 2018. Following the brutal police crackdown in Tuticorin on people protesting against Sterlite Copper Smelter Plant in which 13 people were shot dead, Tamilnadu Police has continued the crackdown on various people who have been associated with the protests against Sterlite Copper. This includes lawyers who helped with filing various cases against Sterlite. The authoritarian and coldly calculated actions of the Tamilnadu government to break down anti-Sterlite protests and smother the voice of people are highly condemnable and is unfitting for any civilised democratic polity.
Advocate Vanchinathan has been the counsel for many cases filed against Sterlite by the people of Tuticorin and Sterlite protest groups. Advocate Vanchinathan was arrested in Chennai Airport for the Tuticorin incident in Crime no. 190 of 2018 Sipcot Police Station under sections 147, 148, 188, 353, 506(2) and Sec. 3 TNPPDL Act. He is the State Co-ordinator of Makkal Urimai Paadhugaapu Maiyam (People’s Right Protection Centre) and a practicing lawyer at Madurai Bench of Madras High Court at Madurai.

After shooting dead unarmed civilians in cold blood, the Tamilnadu Government has gone a step further and is now putting the blame for the incidents of 21st May on public spirited lawyers who came to the legal aid of people of Tuticorin. It is important to note that the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had initially directed the police to refrain from arresting Advocates Vanchinathan and Hari Raghavan till the hearing of their anticipatory bail application and demanded that the Police produce material evidence that the two ‘engineered’ the violence. Vanchinathan and other lawyers were present in Tuticorin on the day to provide legal assistance and to facilitate talks with Government representatives. However on June 18th, the court dismissed the anticipatory bail filed by Vanchinathan and Hari Raghavan, merely stating that they cannot avoid interrogation.

All over India – in Bhangor (WB), Tuticorin (TN), Jagatsinghpur (Odisha), Raigarh (Chhattisgarh), Sanand (Gujarat), Singbhum (Jharkhand) or Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) – affected people and activists protesting against corporate land grab and environmental devastation are being attacked, implicated in false cases, and arrested under draconian laws. The latest trend in this is to attack the people’s lawyers who are trying to fight corporates whether as labour lawyers, environmental lawyers or lawyers challenging land acquisition and denial of tribal rights.

The arrest of Vanchinathan and continued intimidation of other lawyers by Tamilnadu police who helped file cases against Sterlite is vindictive, cowardly and an indefensible act. These arrests are intended to produce a chilling effect to scare other lawyers from appearing in sensitive cases challenging undemocratic and anti-constitutional policies and actions of the government. IAPL unequivocally condemns the arrests of Vanchinathan and demands for his immediate release.

Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj, Vice-President, IAPL
Adv. D. SureshKumar, Joint Secretary, IAPL

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Maharashtra- Two Journalists arrested #WTFnews


By- Jatin Desai


Palghar police has arrested well known journalists Ram Parmar and Hussain Khan under Sec. 353 of Indian Penal Code, yesterday

Sec 353 IPC-  Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty.—Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person being a public servant in the execution of his duty as such public servant, or with intent to prevent or deter that person from discharging his duty as such public servant, or in consequence of anything done or attempted to be done by such person in the lawful discharge of his duty as such public serv­ant, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

They went to police station for some information which police is bound to give him.

Instead they assaulted 2 journalists and put them behind bars.


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People’s Watch condemns arrest of lawyer and human rights defender S. Vanchinathan and fears use of Preventive Detention law being used

People’s Watch condemns the midnight arrest of Mr. S. Vanchinathan, Advocate, Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court and State organizer of the Human Rights Protection Council as well as one of the Members of the Save MKU Movement at the Chennai airport as he was returning from Delhi after ensuring that the stay petition filed there by the Former Vice Chancellor of the Madurai Kamaraj University in the Supreme Court was dismissed. This was task that needed to be done by the Government of Tamil Nadu which instead had to be necessarily done by a human rights defender representing his organization. Mr. S. Vanchinathan has been very closely associated with the anti-Sterlite movement in Tuticorin and undertaking a number of legal actions through his organisation and other lawyers concerned with human rights on a number of peoples’ issues.

People’s Watch urgently calls up the National Human Rights Commission as well as the State Human Rights Commission and the Justice Aruna Jagadesan Commission of Enquiry – all of who are investigating the events of the 22nd May and thereafter – to immediately and urgently intervene in this matter and ensure that the no preventive detention law is used against a practicing lawyer and human rights defender based on  frivolous cases pending against him.

Mr. S. Vanchinathan had filed a petition for anticipatory bail in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court specifically related to the case in which he has now been arrested  which came up for hearing on 18th June and was pronounced dismissed by an oral order of Justice G.R. Swaminathan – but while the said written order of the court is yet to be made available to the advocates on record in this matter the Koilpatti Inspector was present to effect his arrest as he arrived from Delhi in the Chennai airport last night at 11.45 PM to effect his arrest.

The offence for what he has been arrested now is in Crime No 190/2018 of the SIPCOT police station u/s Sec 147, (Punishment for Rioting  – 2 yrs), Sec 148 (Rioting armed with deadly weapons – 3 Yrs), Sec 188  (Disobedience to orders duly promulgated by public servants – one month ), Sec 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter a  public servant from discharge of his duty – 2 yrs), Sec 506(2) (Criminal intimidation – 7 yrs), Sec 3 of the Tamil Nadu Public Property Prevention of Damage and Loss Act 1992 – 5 Yrs). These are all cases where the maximum punishment is less than 7 years and hence these are not cases where one requires even to be remanded as per the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Arnesh Kumar versus State of Bihar (2014).

People’s Watch holds the strong view that Mr. S. Vanchinathan is not only a lawyer but a human rights defender engaging in different human rights issues and therefore by virtue of the rights contained in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders enjoys the right to protest, dissent, criticize, associate, express and organize people as a lawyer and human rights defender.

People’s Watch senses that the Police who find such vocal lawyers an embarrassment to their functioning will now obtain several PT warrants and register a number of the 239 criminal cases that they already have registered against and show Mr. S. Vanchinathan as an accused in several more cases making his coming out on bail difficult. Mr. S. Vanchinathan even according to the first affidavit filed by the state in the Madras High Court on 14th June had only three criminal cases pending against him – all in Madurai before the Anna Nagar and Tallakulam PS and for offences u/s 143,188, & 341 IPC which are all still in the investigation stage. However, after hearing the counsel for the State in the morning of the 18th June in court and affording the State  further time to file a further counter affidavit with more details of the case at 2.15 PM the same day stating in public that as of then he was almost inclined to grant the anticipatory bail. It is only in this addition counter affidavit and ONLY after the court afforded them ample opportunity to do so , that the State had stated that there were 8 other cases against Mr. S. Vanchinathan, all in Thoothukudi North, Central, South, SIPCOT and Railway Protection Force registered in the years 2012, 2015 and 2016 –  all in the FIR stage and none of them were charge sheeted till now. Even in all these cases there is no offence for punishment of over 7 years in any of the cases. It was only after receiving this additional counter affidavit that the Hon’ble Court was pleased to pronounce dismissal of the anticipatory bail petition but has not found time to deliver the order till now. According to newspaper reports of the proceedings in  court on the 18th read that the Hon’ble Judge remarked that there was need for the lawyer to be ready to subject himself to investigation by the police. But now what has happened is that the court has allowed ‘custodial interrogation’ of a lawyer who appeared before the court asking for an anticipatory bail. These events in court speak volumes about the nature of delivery of justice in the State.

People’s Watch strongly contests the arguments put forth by the counsel of  the State in stating that Sec 144 was imposed since the District Magistrate of Tuticorin is yet to make public details of the promulgation of Sec 144 which is essential for any such order to be a legally valid order.

The UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers of 1990 holds that lawyers have a right to protect citizens and establish their rights and to defend them in all stages of criminal proceedings; that they shall promote programmes to inform the public about their rights and duties under the law and assisting the poor and other disadvantaged persons so as to enable them to assert their rights. The Declaration further states that Governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics. Thus this case is essentially proof of the Tamil Nadu Government’s scant respect to this UN Declaration on human rights defenders of 1998and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers of 1990 in the arrest of Advocate and HRD Mr. S. Vanchinathan.

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Rajasthan -600 Girls Reported Missing From Daati Pali Ashram #WTFnews

Rajasthan, June 17: Self-styled godman Daati Maharaj who has been accused of rape is still missing and so does nearly 600 girls from his ashram in Rajasthan’s Alawas. As claimed by the self-styled godman earlier, there were at least 700 girls in the ashram- out of which only 100 have been found while the rest 600 are reportedly missing.

With Daati Maharaj on the run and a huge number of girls missing from the ashram, police are now investigating the sudden disappearance of these girls. As per Zee News report, the police is probing the matter and considering every angle- from the girls being sent away by the ashram to them being on vacation.

The shocking incident came to light after a 25-year-old woman, a follower of the ‘baba’, leveled charges against the godman saying he and two of his other disciples had raped her. The woman who had been an ardent follower for almost a decade left the ashram once the incident took place. The woman went on to say that another female follower would force her into the Maharaj’s room and tell her it was a norm since other disciples too slept with him. She added that she was not only abused in Rajasthan but also in Delhi’s ashram. She only gathered the courage to file a report once she told her parents about the heinous crime which left her traumatized for quite a long period of time.

Meanwhile, Daati Maharaj who is absconding from his ashram had earlier said that all the accusations were completely false and charges were being leveled against him to frame him. He assured full cooperation but went missing after the incident took place. As of now, the crime branch is on the lookout for the self-styled godman. A 12-member team of the Delhi crime branch raided the ashram for nearly three hours and also retrieved documents with regard to the case.

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All-women Dalit musical band in Bihar has a packed wedding season ahead


File photo of Sargam Band | @kumarmanish9 / Twitter


The ‘Sargam Band’ has 10 women in their 30s – all from Dhibra village in Danapur near Patna.

Patna: A musical band formed by a group of Dalit women is breaking social stereotypes in a tiny hamlet on the outskirts of the state capital.

The “Sargam Band”, which performs at weddings and other public functions, comprises 10 women in their 30s – all from Dhibra village in Danapur sub-division of Patna.

The women have been raking in moolah while carving out a “distinct identity” for themselves, said Sudha Varghese, the owner of NGO ‘Nari Gunjan’ that helmed the formation of the band.

“The idea struck me in 2016, when I was working with women of Ravidas community, mostly agricultural labourers. I wanted to think of ways to bring about their social and economic emancipation,” Varghese told PTI.

Fondly called “Sudha didi” by villagers, Kerala-born Varghese had come to Bihar five decades ago to work as a school teacher.

However, the social and economic inequality that she witnessed here moved her immensely and she became a full-time social worker.

On course of her journey in Bihar, Varghese has been involved in imparting skills like reading, writing, sewing and embroidery to women hailing from the lowest social strata. She also provides legal help to victims of sexual abuse and other forms of violence.

“When I shared the idea with the Dhibri women, their initial reaction was that of incredulity. It was not unnatural. Nobody had heard of an all-women musical band here. The job that I was asking them to take up was hitherto considered an all-male vocation,” she said.

The women were, however, courageous and willing to experiment, Varghese noted.

“It did not take much persuasion on my part to make them come out of their shells. Soon, we had to arrange for instruments and a teacher who could train these women, braving social derision. We found someone in Patna and the women began practicing with earnestness,” Varghese said.

Patna-based teacher Aditya Gunjan Kumar likes to stay away from media glare, but Savita, who heads the troupe, was effusive in her praise for him.

“Sudha and Aditya have transformed our lives. Aditya worked hard on us for about six months, without charging any money and only accepting food prepared at our kitchens by way of Guru Dakshina,” she said.

The journey wasn’t an easy one though, Savita explained.

“We were mocked by our husbands, our male relatives and neighbours. Even some women looked down upon us as if we were doing something outrageous. But we persevered and, gradually, the disdain gave way to admiration,” she added.

Finding clients for the new band was not too difficult for the band, Varghese noted.

“The charges were initially low – Rs 250 per performance for each performer. Of course, the first to call these women to perform at functions were from Danapur. Soon, people became curious and the news about the band spread like wildfire. We started receiving bookings from Patna,” she said.

During last year’s wedding season, a professional based in Gurgaon read about Sargam band on the Internet and approached the women.

“The man contacted the band, days before his marriage.

His parents asked for a performance, on trial basis, at Delhi.

We agreed and they were hugely satisfied with the presentation and immediately booked the band for a wedding that took place in Nalanda district,” she added.

Travelling to far-off places made the women initially nervous, Savita said.

“Now, we have become used to it. We have travelled to Delhi and far-off districts in Bihar a number of times. No male relative accompanies any of us as we do not feel the need to be protected,” she asserted.

Varghese said the success of ‘Sargam’ band inspires her to embark on a similar endeavour for women of the “Mushahar” community in Punpun, a satellite town of Patna, close to Danapur.

“I feel proud to see the women making a success out of this venture. Now each of them charges Rs 1000 for every performance. Nowadays, clients get in touch with the women directly instead of calling up Nari Gunjan,” Varghese remarked.

Savita, along with her colleagues, is bracing for a hectic wedding season.

“We will ask Aditya to teach us how to play flutes and clarinets. So far, we have been beating drums of various sizes and shaking jhunjhunas (rattles). We wish to learn to play new instruments, it would add variety to our performance,” she added. – PTI

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Prof Shoma Sen arrested for Bhima Kaoregaon Violence suspended by Nagpur University #WTFnews

Prof Shoma Sen held for ‘Maoist links’ suspended by Nagpur university
Shoma Sen was the head of English department at Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University
Bhima Koregaon violence

V-C says they have suspended Shoma Sen after learning from police that she has been detained under IPC sections

Prof Shoma Sen, who was recently arrested for alleged Maoist links, was suspended on Friday by Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University (RTMNU), where she was the head of English department.

On June 6, the Pune police probing the January 1 Bhima Koregaon violence, had arrested five people, including Sen, for allegedly having Maoist links.

Vice Chancellor of the university Dr SP Kane said that Sen has been suspended from the service till further orders. “She was suspended on the basis of information received from Pune police that she has been detained under various IPC sections,” Kane said while replying to a query. “Similarly, I had sought legal opinion on the issue and her suspension is also due to her remaining in police custody for more than 48 hours,” he said.

Besides Sen, Pune police had also arrested activist Mahesh Raut and lawyer Surendra Gadling from Nagpur, prominent Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale from Mumbai and Rona Wilson from his flat in Delhi.

The Pune police had earlier told a sessions court that the accused were allegedly involved in planning and executing a lecture series in JNU in Delhi “in the memory” of a Naxalite, who was killed in a police encounter, to instigate students to join the proscribed CPI (Maoist) outfit.

Sen’s husband Tusharkanti Bhattacharya was arrested from Nagpur station for alleged Naxal links in 2010. According to police, Dhawale was one of the organisers of Elgar Parishad, which was held to commemorate 200 years of the Bhima Koregaon battle on December 31 at Shaniwarwada.

Kabir Kala Manch activists had allegedly made provocative speeches at the event leading to violence at Bhima Koregaon in the district, according to an FIR registered at Vishrambaug police station after the event.

One person was killed in the caste violence between two groups near Sanaswadi, adjacent to Bhima Koregaon. The violence led to a statewide Dalit agitation.

The mobs had damaged and torched several vehicles and shops on New Year’s day and the houses of local residents were also ransacked.


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