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CPI/CPM Caste atrocities against Chithralekha, Dalit Woman Autodriver #Vaw

Report on Chithralekha’s Press Conference in Payannur against the caste atrocities on her, on March 29th

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At 10 AM, March 29th, Chithralekha E, the Dalit woman auto driver, who has been fighting caste atrocities of the CITU/CPM in Payannur, Kannur since 2005, conducted a Press Conference in Payannur in order to protest the many atrocities she has been suffering at the hands of the CITU/DYFI workers.

She wanted to bring attention to the way in which the CITU and DYFI workers were repeatedly attacking her and how Payannur SI, Shaji Patery and CI Abdul Rahman were aiding them by conspiring against her and family and implicating them in false cases.

She demanded that she be granted her fundamental right to earn her livelihood in Payannur. She also put forward the demand that the false cases against her be withdrawn and that strict action be taken (under the SC/ST POA cases), against the CITU/DYFI members who were attacking her. She further demanded that the SI and CI supporting them be suspended and that strict action be taken against them.

After the press conference, the collector assured them that he would take immediate action in their case and settle all the issues before the elections are due. On this reassurance, Chithra has decided to withdraw the Dharna before the Kannur Collectorate on 3rd of April. However, she has said that if no action is taken by the Collector, she will go to Trivandrum Secretariat and sit on an indefinite Dharna there.

Along with Chithralekha and her daughter, Megha, the press meet was attended by Mary Teacher, Women’s Voice, Sowmya, Environment Activist, Ayappan Master, Dalit Activist, Jaseela, Member, Chithralekha Samrakshana Samithi many other public activists.

Today, all the regional language dailies except the CPM mouthpiece Deshabhimani gave serious coverage to this issue. News reports appeared in MaadhyamamMalayalam Manorama, MathrubhumiThejas, etc., and even on some city television channels.

Given below is the Press Note, which was released during the meet.

 Press Note

This is for the public and the authorities to read and know about Eramangalath Chithralekha of Payannur, Kannur district.

I am a woman auto driver belonging to the Scheduled caste. From 2005 I am going through unbearable suffering at the hands of the male auto drivers of the Edaat auto rickshaw stand. It is the members of the CITU union who are attacking me. On 2005 October 11th they damaged my auto. On October 14th they tried to kill me by hitting me with an auto. On December 31st they burned my auto (KL-13L-8527). In 2006 December, when my sister’s husband tried to prevent them from attacking me and my family, he was cut with a huge knife and seriously injured. After this incident, afraid for our lives, we shifted out of Edaat for more than 2 years. When we came back after 2 years, in 2010 January 30th, my husband Sreeshkanth and me were cruelly beaten up. We were attacked when we were standing before a medical store in Perumba, trying to buy medicine. On 2010 December 31st my daughter Megha, my husband Sreeshkanth were beaten up the CITU auto drivers while we were in Payyanur Central Bazar. On December 23rd they came as a group and ambushed me, my husband, my daughter Megha and my sister’s husband Saju. On 2013 February they tried to kill my husband Sreeshkanth by running him over with a bus. The CPM, CITU and DYFI workers are continuously attacking us who belong to a very poor Dalit family.

However, C I Abdul Rahman and S I Shaji Pattery against whom the CPM had put up flex boards, threatening to counter them in the streets after they arrested the SFI leader of Payannur, Sarin Shashi as part of the investigation into the T P Chadrashekharan murder case, out of sheer fear, met the CPM leaders, surrendered before them, apologized to them and have agreed to work under them. After this, to please the CPM they started falsely implicating me and my family in criminal cases.

When I tried to get the second installment of the money given to SC/ST people for building toilets from the SC/ST welfare office, the officer there, Muralidharan, who is part of the NGO union, which is close to CPM, falsely alleged that we were trying to prevent him from conducting his official duties and got us arrested. Again on 31-11-2013, when a group of auto drivers got together and beat up my husband and took away his mobile phone and Rs 630, it was he who was implicated in yet another false case.

On 31-01-2014, around 5 PM, DYFI workers smashed to pieces the 2 autos outside my house and threatened that they would cut us to pieces like they did with T P Chandrashekaran. The fight happened when we stopped the DYFI people who came to untie the goat, which a migrant, under-aged worker had carelessly allowed to stray into our house and eat our plants. Though for the next three days there was no complaint that anyone had attacked or tried to attack Ramesh (16 years), the CPM and DYFI regional leaders, Payannur CI Abdul Rahman and SI Shaji Pattery conspired together and implicated me and my husband Sreeshkanth in an attempt to murder case (IPC-380) and put my husband in jail for 32 days. I am the First accused in this case and I have had to acquire a bail from the respected court.

Me and my husband, Sreeshkanth who are auto rickshaw drivers have not been able to drive our auto and have no way to earn our livelihood or pay the interests on our auto and we have come to a dead-end now, because we are being prevented from driving our auto and making our livelihood because of the CPM, CITU and the police. No action has been taken regarding all the complaints we have given to the Chief Minister, the Home Minister, the D G P Kannur, the Collector and the SC/ST commission; all with the sole desire to live. Though at one point the Chief Minister had intervened directly, C I Abdul Rahman also intervened, misinformed the higher police authorities and sabotaged the whole thing. There was also no action taken on the last complaint that we gave to the Police Complaint Authority.

In the given circumstance, strict action should be taken against the CITU and DYFI workers who are denying me and my husband the fundamental right to earn our livelihood and the cases that have been planted on us through the conspiracy of Payannur SI Shaji Patery and CI Abdul Rahman should be withdrawn, and SI Shaji Patery and CI Abdul Rahman should be suspended and strict action taken against them based on the SC/ST POA law. In order to call the attention of the authorities towards this, my family members and me, with the support of the public, will be sitting on an indefinite Dharna before the Kannur Collectorate from 10 AM on April 3rd.

 Chithralekha E

With

Mary Teacher, Women’s Voice

Sowmya, Environment Activist

Jaseela, Member, Chithralekha Samrakshana Samithi

Megha, Daughter of Chithralekha, Plus II Student

Images of the press conference and scanned copy of the press report

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Read mor ehere — http://www.dalitweb.org/?p=2456

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Comments (4)

  1. venukmwpb

    “..When we came back after 2 years, in 2010 January 30th, my husband Sreeshkanth and me were cruelly beaten up. We were attacked when we were standing before a medical store in Perumba, trying to buy medicine…”
    What a big lapse of memory! ..
    Actually, this incident happened in Jan 2009 .,On the Jan 30 (2009 )attack on the Chithralekha couple by the CPI(M) -CITU goons ,a fact finding committee of eminent citizens comprising Gail Omvedt, Nivedita Menon, V Geetha(Chennai) and Advocate Preetha (Kottayam) convened a Press Meet at Kozhikkode in Feb 2009 to release their detailed report.
    Eeven before that, the Chithralekha Punaradhivasa Committee based at Kannur(of which myself was the convener), by June 2008 had collected an amount of Rs1,53,700 following a successful nationwide appeal & enthusiastic campaign to support & rehabilitate her ;a brand new bajaj autorikshaw had been delivered to her at a public function held at Kannur with lot of goodwill among activists and academics. (The available small balance amount was also credited to her account )
    Further.
    One feels that these things ought to have been mentioned in Chithralekha’s latest narrative in the latest Press Conference at Kannur .It is not as though her earlier supporters later colluded with her tormentors ! Any socially dis-privileged individual’s sense of belonging to the rest of the society and to the immediate neighborhood may indeed be both problematic and politically challenging ; but that aspect could not be blacked out altogether so that things will hopefully be seen better than in stereotypical ways.
    That the CITU/DYFI/CPI(M)/Police vs Dalit victim (woman) should become a leitmotif in each episode is not entirely justified;this may be because of lack of better imaginations on the side of the victims as well as the impugned supporters.
    Unfortunately ,the hostilities continue for one reason or other,and one needs to take a fresh look at it all. Perhaps we are constrained to temporarily put off our socio-political analysis in this case and stick to the demand to enforce the existing provisions of laws including the SC Atrocities(Prevention )Act !
    .

    • venukmwpb

      The date mentioned(Jan 30,2010) by Chithralekha was correct ;apologies for having put it from my memory as 2009 ..

  2. venukmwpb

    Report by fact-finding team on the incident of January 20th, 2010
    involving Chithralekha at Payyannoor.
    (February 7 and 8, 2010)

    Members
    Gail Omvedt, Professor, B. R. Ambedkar Chair at Indira Gandhi National Open University
    V Geetha , Publisher (Tara Books), author and social activist
    K.K Preetha, Advocate, Kerala High Court
    Nivedita Menon, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

    On 7.2.2010 we met
    Chithralekha
    Shreeshkant
    Their son
    Two people who did not wish to be identified
    The Circle Inspector and Sub Inspector (Payyannoor)
    The Auto Union representatives
    The owner of the chemist shop in front of which the incident happened.

    On 8.2.2010 we met the Superintendent of Police at Kannur.

    On 10.2.2010, Nivedita Menon spoke telephonically from Delhi to PK Ayyappan, Citizen Memner of the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act, District Level Monitoring Committee.

    1. Chithralekha’s version:
    At about 9.30 am, Chithralekha and Sreeshkant went in their auto to buy medicine for their son who was stung by a bee. Chithralekha was driving, Shreeshkant, their son and Chithralekha’s brother were in the back-seat. She parked the auto inside the track where autos stand in line for passengers, and Shreeshkant got off to buy the medicine from a shop directly in front of which the auto was parked.
    Meanwhile, an auto driver who was parked behind them asked Chithralekha abusively to move her auto since he was in line (“vandi mattivekku, naayinte moley”), and she replied that they will leave in a moment after Shreeshkant returned with the medicine from the shop. This led to an altercation, soon more CITU-linked auto drivers arrived at the scene, they called the police who arrived promptly, roughed up Chitra and Sreeshkant, and took them to the police station.
    As they were being bundled into the jeep, CITU members threatened her in front of the police. A WPC asked her if she was drunk, Chithralekha said she did not drink, at which the WPC said “Today you smell” (“Innu manakunnallo”) and Chithralekha replied – “If you smell, use perfume (“Manakunnundengil scentu pooshikko”). At the station, a WPC roughed her up, and at one point Chithralekha held the WPC’s hand back to stop her from beating her, after which she was beaten quite badly. The police demanded that she go with them to the hospital, but she refused to go unless they told her what the case against her was. Meanwhile, her husband was taken to the hospital, administered an alcohol test, and the report states that he was intoxicated. They remained in the station till the evening, about 6 pm.
    Throughout this process there were a large number of people at the market, and a crowd gathered at the station as well. One person from the crowd at the station took photographs of Chithralekha being beaten, using his mobile. The mobile was snatched from him by the police and the pictures deleted.
    Chithralekha went to a nearby hospital after being released and had her wounds tended to. She was bleeding from the vagina due to being beaten in her lower abdomen. She sustained bruises and contusions. She has a hospital record that shows these injuries.
    Chithralekha also says that there was Rs 10, 000 in her auto which she had borrowed to repay another loan, which went missing during the incident
    2. Police Version
    We met the Circle Inspector, P. K. Sudhakaran and Sub-Inspector, Pavitran at the Payanur police station. The CI said that he supervised the case, and he gave us the following account: A passing police jeep was flagged down by some people near Perumba market saying that some people were drunk and were creating a problem. Since they said one of them was a woman, the police jeep picked up two WPCs and went to the scene, accompanied by SI Pavitran. It was immediately evident to the SI that Sreeshkant and Chithralekha were drunk and out of control. Since the situation was getting out of hand, he decided that they should be removed from the scene to pre-empt any further trouble. Both at the market and when taken to the police station, Chithralekha was abusive and violent. She refused to submit to an alcohol test but her husband was tested and proved to be drunk.
    The CI accompanied us to meet the SI and SI Pavitran confirmed this account in every detail. There was one detail on which there seemed to be initial disagreement. When asked how long Chithralekha and Sreeshkant were detained, the SI said till the evening, the CI corrected him, saying they were let off around lunch, with a petty case of drunken misbehavior against Sreeshkant. Both officers denied that any physical assault took place on either Chithralekha or Shreeshkant. WPC Sindhu who had been named by Chithralekha as the one who beat her, was called in to meet us and she denied this charge flatly, saying that instead it was Chithralekha who attacked her.
    The police insisted that it was Sreeshkant who had been driving and that Chithralekha was in the back with two young men (cheruppakkar). They said there was no child (kutti) accompanying them. They said that the reason that Chithralekha and her husband were in Perumba was to meet a relative from Vadakara who wanted to borrow Rs 1000 from them. This relative did not want to meet them at home because of Chithralekha’s reputation and had asked them to meet him at Perumba. He later came back to the police station and told the police that when he arrived, saw the situation and realized they were drunk, he decided to leave.
    3. Auto Union Version
    We met about 12 members of the Auto Samyukta Coordination Committee, belonging to CITU, INTUC and BMS at their office. None of them had been present at the scene of incident, and their report was based on what they had heard from Union members who had been there. Their account: Sreeshkant parked in the track, blocking the auto behind him. The other driver asked him to move, but Sreeshkant was drunk and abusive and Chithralekha too joined in. She too was drunk. There were two young men in the back seat who left when the altercation started. When the situation got out of hand, the other auto-drivers flagged down a passing police jeep.
    The Union members described Chithralekha’s behavior during the incident thus, in a formal written statement they handed to us: “yatrakaariaayi vandiyilundayirunna stree, avarum nannayi madyalahriyilaayirunnu, tarkatthil idapedukayum tozhilaalikale aake velluvilikunna taratthil, aarthattahasicchu azhinjaaduvaan aarambhikukayum cheythu,”
    (“The woman traveling in the vehicle, who was also thoroughly drunk, intervened in the argument, and as if challenging the workers, began to behave wantonly, with loud boisterous laughter.”)
    When we asked them if there had been any previous complaint to their committee by a passenger or the police, of drunkenness on the part of either Chithralekha or Sreeshkant, they said there had never been such a complaint, but added that these two people hardly ever drove their auto. Unlike other drivers who arrived at the Payyannur stand in the morning and took passengers throughout the day Chithralekha and Sreeshkant were infrequently at the stand and the Union members wondered how they really made a living. They denied that they had discriminated against Chithralekha and said that there were many women amongst the 2000 drivers in the city, including dalits. When asked how many, they said there were 4 women, of whom two are dalits, and one from a tribal community. They repeated several times during the meeting that they were determined to enforce their model code of conduct for auto-drivers and would not tolerate drunkenness. They insisted that Shreeshkant had been driving, not Chithralekha.
    While talking to us after the meeting was over, one of the members told two of us that we must understand that Chithralekha was a woman who lived her life “outside the track” (“trackinu veliyilu”). When asked to explain, he said that we could ask any child in her neighbourhood about her character. He added that her mother and grandmother had lived in the same area without any problem and why was it that only she kept getting into trouble.
    4. PK Ayyappan’s version (by telephone)
    Around 12.45 pm on the 20th of January, he received a phone-call from Shreeshkant at the police station saying they were in police custody and could he come immediately. He was at that time not in the area, and was busy in another meeting, so he immediately called the SI, who told him that Chithralekha and Shreeshkant were drunk, and had been taken into custody to prevent any further trouble. The SI held out the phone for Ayyappan to hear Chithralekha shouting, to prove that she was out of control. The SI also claimed that WPC Sindhu hasd been attacked by Chithralekha.
    Ayyappan said that he told the SI that it was not a crime to be drunk, and why were they being held in the police station for that; at best a petty case could be registered against them and they should be let off.
    About an hour later, the CI called Ayyappan and told him to come immediately to the police station, at which again the latter told the CI that Chithralekha and Shreeshkant should not be kept in the station like this, it was becoming too much of a sensational matter.
    Around 2 pm, Vanita CI Nirmala called him from Kannur, and said she was going to Payyannoor immediately and that he should accompany her. Ayyappan was able to finally reach Payyannoor at about 3 pm. He was immediately surrounded by police, who told him their story. A Remand Report had been written and the police were ready to register a case and present Chithralekha and Shreeshkant in court (“courtil haajiraakkan taiyyarayirunnu”). They were waiting for Ayyappan’s arrival to go ahead. But Ayyappan insisted that they could not be arrested simply because they were drunk. He also asked the police why, if Chithralekha and Shreeshkant were posing a law and order problem, CITU was being given the authority to intervene in the situation.
    He wrote a statement asking that they be released, and the police prepared to do so. However, Ayyappan was worried about the safety of Chithralekha and Shreeshkant because when he arrived at the police station, he could see a large crowd of about 500 was waiting threateningly at the gate and in the grounds. So he demanded a police escort for Chithralekha and Shreeshkant, and at about 5 pm, Ayyappan and CI Nirmala accompanied them home. Ayyappan asked Chithralekha and Shreeshkant to write a complaint about being beaten if they indeed had been, but when they left the station, Chithralekha wrote out a complaint only about the missing money.
    Some time after they had been dropped home, Chithralekha called him complaining that she felt breathless and was in pain from the beating, so Ayyappan asked them to go the hospital.
    Ayyappan’s own assessment is that there had been a pre-planned campaign on the part of CITU to precipitate such an incident with prior mobilization. Otherwise he could not explain the sudden crowds and the prompt arrival of police.
    He expressed serious concern for the continued safety of Chithralekha and Shreeshkant.
    When asked why he thought Chithralekha was being targeted in particular, he replied that it was because she was not one to take anything lying down (“pratikarikunna svabhavam aanu”).
    Inconsistencies
    a) The time of release from police station.
    Chithralekha says she reached home around 6 pm; the police said they were let off after lunch. Chithralekha says that it was past 3 pm when the Asia Net team arrived at the police station, in which case it is clear that she was certainly held long past lunch. This fact can be easily verified. PK Ayyappan’s statement too, corroborates Chithralekha’s claim.
    b) Police beating
    The medical record in Chithralekha’s possession states the extent of injuries. We told the police that we had seen the record, and the police at that point did not offer any explanation, and only repeated their denial. After we had left the police station and were meeting the Auto Union, the Circle Inspector came there, approached one of us and said that he had spoken to a doctor from the hospital that we had named, who had denied that Chithralekha had any injuries. The CI then telephoned the doctor (not the one who had attended to Chithralekha) and put him on the line, but the doctor only told our colleague that he would have to check the records. He neither denied nor confirmed that Chithralekha had injuries. The doctor who attended to Chithralekha, we were told, was not available to meet us that day.
    After 3 members of the team had left Kerala, the police presented to members of Feminist Kerala Network what they claimed was the actual medical certificate from hospital records, on Chithralekha’s injuries. This one is dated as late as February 8, 2010. We may note that the team had met the CI at Payyanur PS on 7th February and mentioned that Chithralekha was already in possession of a Wound Certificate.
    The Diagnosis by Dr Shyamala Mukundan and Treatment Certificate issued by Dr VC Raveendran of Saba Hospital on February 8, 2010 seem to suggest a different history than the one in the originally issued documents by the same doctors on January 20, 2010.
    c) Chithralekha flatly denies the story about the relative who came seeking a Rs 1000 loan. She says that the relative who came to the police station that evening, had come to her home to invite them to the utsavam at Vadakara, was told by her son that they were at the police station, and that’s why he came to see them there. This is all that happened.
    d) After our meeting at the Union office we had a small discussion amongst ourselves and then went to the medical store in Perumba market, where the incident had happened. There we found that one of the Samyukta Committee members, a CITU man who had been present at the meeting, had preceded us there, and was standing outside the shop. We spoke to the person at the counter, who said that on the morning of the incident, the man in question, Sreeshkant had come up to the counter and asked for DFO gel, which is used for pain, but almost immediately turned away from the counter, since the altercation had already started. He did not wait to collect the medicine.
    According to the Auto Union version, the trouble started immediately when the auto was parked, because Sreeshkant was drunk and unreasonable. It is significant that both the Police and the Auto Union give no credence to Chithralekha and Sreeshkant’s account that they had stopped briefly only to buy medicine; while the person at the counter of the medical shop corroborates their account. This person also said, when asked, that Shreeshkant did not appear to him, to be drunk.
    We also met two other persons who were frightened to be identified. One of them is with CITU, the other is a businessman. One of them was the person from whom Chithralekha had borrowed money to repay the loan she had taken from the other. They said that they were not present at the scene of the incident on January 20, but they had heard from some others present there, that the auto was properly parked and there was no need to ask it to move; and the situation deteriorated rapidly and suddenly. Both these men felt that the incident arose out of the long history of hostility that Chithralekha has faced.
    e) Chithralekha denies the Auto Union’s charge that she and her husband never run the auto. She says that she is not required to park at any one particular stand. She says that like other auto drivers, she runs her auto everyday, all day. Sometimes she and her husband who also drives the auto, take alternative routes to avoid confronting the Union members.
    Evaluation
    The January 20 incident is not an isolated one. Other Dalit women auto drivers in this region have faced intense intimidation, sexual harassment, caste-related abuses, accusations of promiscuity and immorality, and damage to their autos. We spoke to one such Dalit Christian woman who plied her auto in Pazhayangadi, who told us that unrelenting and intimidating sexual taunting from her fellow auto drivers, including the widespread posting of her mobile number as belonging to a woman who was publicly available, led her to the brink of suicide. She told us that she was targeted because she was confident, popular with women passengers and because of her refusal to be sexually available. She no longer drives the auto. She also told us about another Dalit woman driver, now working in Payyannur, who faced discrimination in the past while working in a neighbouring area, where her auto was burnt. Now this woman drives an auto in Payyannur, but she takes care never to cross the CITU on any matter.
    Chithralekha has a long history of struggle against such harassment and intimidation. She told us about how an auto driver at her stand and a member of CITU drove his auto at her and ran over her foot, and how her first auto was initially damaged and finally burnt. She is continually addressed as “pulacchi” and accused of being drunk, immoral and unfit to be a “proper” auto-driver. Her marriage to an OBC man is another issue, which is used to harass both of them. His family which is strongly rooted in the CPI(M) still refuses to accept the marriage and the family/party has, in the past, made attempts on his life. Since 2005, Chithralekha has had to struggle against tremendous odds – to assert her right to life and livelihood and to fight social ostracism.
    Significantly, the Auto Union’s statement quoted above, which was handed over to us formally, describing her alleged behavior in the market on January 20th, is hardly “factual” – the sentence we have quoted uses metaphors that insultingly link her caste status, gender and sexual immorality. It also refers to her as “claiming to be the wife of the man driving the auto”. It is striking that both the Auto Union and the police deny that her son was in the auto, insisting instead that there were two “young men”. The implication is that she is incapable of maternal responsibilities and that she is sexually loose. We may note in passing that her son is an adolescent boy, with a budding mustache, who is in fact a “young man”. Her brother who was with her that day is also a young man.
    The Auto Union was very insistent that they do not recognize caste as a factor in their work. They also insist that they are only interested in producing “model” workers. But we found that they simultaneously maintain that they came to be involved with Chithralekha only in 2009, when she came to their auto stand in Payyannoor and they are not responsible for whatever happened to her before that, and yet insist that she has a long history of trouble-making, going back to 2005.
    In some news reports after the visit of the fact-finding team, the Auto Union seems to be implying that the attitude of the team was elitist and anti-labour. In other words, the Auto Union refuses to see the victimization of Chithralekha as an issue involving a “worker”.
    The CPI(M) party organ Deshabhimani revealingly reported on the visit of the fact-finding team that they visited the police and the Auto Union representatives, but had to return disappointed (“niraasharaayi tiruchhupokandi vannu”). This kind of biased reporting reveals the support of the Party to the forces aligned against Chithralekha.
    We are also concerned with the strategic shifting of blame to Shreeshkant in the course of this incident, in which the claim is that he was driving the auto on January 20th, that he was drunk, and therefore the informal adjudication committee of the auto unions has the right to prevent him from plying the auto in the region. On this matter the media has carried conflicting reports – some say the Auto Unions declared a ban on his driving, others that there is no such ban. Nevertheless, it is clear that the incident has been used now to target Shreeshkant, who has transgressed caste boundaries by choosing a Dalit woman as his life partner, probably because Chithralekha herself has now become the focal point of wide mobilization of Dalit-feminist-non CPI(M) Left energies within the state and outside. As is evident from her retorts to the WPC, her physically holding the WPC’s hand back, and her refusal to be cowed down in the police station, Chithralekha is not an easy person to silence.
    This unease with Chithralekha as well as the characterization of her as a woman “living outside the track” reveals their inability to tolerate this Dalit woman’s assertiveness, stubborn courage and confidence despite her caste and gender.

    Appendices
    1. Certified true copy of Chithralekha’s Accident Register Cum Wound Certificate No 867, Dated 20-01-2010, 11-10 pm.
    2. Certified true copy of medical report dated 08-02-2010 given to FKN by police, signed by the same doctors as above.
    3. Auto Union Statement
    4. Deshabhimani report on fact-finding team’s visit.

    Signed/

    1. Gail Omvedt
    2. Nivedita Menon
    3. V. Geetha
    4. K.K. Preetha

  3. venukmwpb

    Public Function On 7th June Held at Kannur Concluded Successfully –
    Chithralekha Rehabilitation Committee, Kannur, Kerala

    Modest function held at the police club auditorium ,Kannur in which
    Ms.C.K.Janu of Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha gifted the keys of a new
    Bajaj diesel auto to Chithraleka was concluded yesterday with a firm
    resolve and perseverance to support Chithralekha in her continuing
    struggle for the right to work and live with honour.
    A.Vasu (Vasuettan), Dileepraj, V.P.Zuhra , Advocate P.A.Pauran, Mini K
    Philip, M.K.Jayaraj and Munderi Balakrishnan spoke at the function
    presided by Dr.D.Surendranath (Chairman, Chithralekha Punaradhivasa
    Committee).

    Jenny Roweena and Carmel Christy, authors of the much debated
    report”Chithralekha’s Burning Auto: Caste and Gender In the Urban
    Space of Keralam” ( paper published in Sarai), who had stood all along
    with the Chithralekha Punaradhivasa Committee in support of this
    campaign, were also present in the function.

    The session was temporarily taken outside the hall, while Ms C.K.Janu
    handed over the keys of vehicle to Chithralekha , with Chithralekha
    standing aside the auto. Chithralekha had chosen to name her new
    vehicle after Mayilamma, the heroic Adivasi woman of anti-coke
    struggle at Plachimada who passed away last year. This choice of name
    has the additional relevance that it was Mailamma who had inaugurated
    the convention for protection of Rights of Dalits and Women
    held at Payyanur by the Citizens’ Action Committee in 2006 February in
    the context of the early stage of struggle by Chithralekha in the
    aftermath of the grave crime of burning her vehicle.

    Texts from messages received from B.R.P.Bhaskar (senior journalist
    and human rights campaigner), Dr.A.K. Ramakrishnan (Jamia University,
    New Delhi),Prof.Shiva Shankar(Chennai Institute of Mathematics),
    J.Robin (Editor,Keraleeyam Monthly), Dr.J.Devika
    (CDS,Thiruvananthapuram), Benjamin Paul Kaila(Ambedkarsholarships),Dr.

    Hari.P.Sharma of South Asian Network for Secularism and
    Democracy(SANSAD), and Ms.Bindhulaksmi K.C(Amsterdam) were read out to the audience.

    Messages in expression of solidarity from Dr.T.T.Sreekumar, Anivar
    Aravind,.Salim.T.K, Aftab Ellath, K.Ajitha, K.Venu, Sunny Kapikkad,
    P.V.Ayyappan, Rekha Raj, C.Padmanabhan, K.K.Kochu, Dr.K.M.Seethi(M G
    U, Kottayam), Dr.A.K.Jayasree, Sarathchandran, Mitesh Domania
    (US),Dr.Ranjith (Indira Gandhi Open University,New Delhi) ,Deepa V.N,
    Joy Charles(US),Prof.Alladi Sitaram(Indian Institute of Science,Bangalore), Prof. Sujata Ramodari(CIM,Chennai) , Stalin.K (documentary film maker),who though could not directly attend the function but whose support had been reiterated on various occasions throughout the ten months’ long campaign were acknowledged by K.M.Venugopalan,
    Convener, as he read out the texts of felicitation messages.Earlier, he gave the welcome address .
    Mr.P.K.Ayyappan, Treasurer, (Chithralekha Punaradhivasa Committee)
    proposed the vote of thanks before the session concluded.
    A fair presence of media persons, both of print and the electronic,
    was there throughout the function.
    K.M.Venugopalan,
    Convener,
    Chithralekha Punaradhivasa Committee

    PS:
    A few words about the accounts:-

    A total sum of Rs 1,53,700 is received as donations as against the
    targeted amount Rs 1,50,000.00;
    the Committee has yet to sit and formally announce the particulars
    of contributions.
    Certain out station cheques received in the later phase have yet to
    get credited to our Account, and such delay of several weeks in
    getting the cheques collected in the conventional banking practice is
    considered” normal”!
    There is already an understanding that after realizing the actual
    expenses incurred in the campaign and the expenses incurred in
    relation to the purchase ,insurance ,road taxes,body etc of the
    vehicle,the actual balance left in the Account will be transferred to
    the personal account of Chithralekha.

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