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Archives for : Raipur

#India – Lesbian kills self, partner hospitalized #WTFnews

TNN | Jun 16, 2014, 03.09AM IST

Suicide

Techie allegedly kills woman colleague over unrequited love, attempts suicide in Chennai
RAIPUR: After two recent incidents of same sex love, now a 22-year-old girl who was in relation with a minor girl committed suicide at Pakhanjur tehsil of Kanker district on Saturday.
On seeing the deceased partner, the other girl also attempted suicide by consuming poison and is stated to be critical.
Police said that deceased Ritu had met the minor few months ago at a village function after which they developed a relationship and started living together. According to police, Ritu had pressurized her parents to allow the minor to stay at her home on June 13. Meanwhile, the minor’s parents started searching for her when her 8%father spotted the duo at a %market place.
A heated argument ensued and police was called after which the minor was asked to go with her parents.
Soon after the incident, a disturbed Ritu hanged herself on Saturday. As soon as the news reached the minor, she also attempted suicide .
Read more here-  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/raipur/Lesbian-kills-self-partner-hospitalized/articleshow/36625031.cms

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Chhattisgarh PSUs mining on forest land without approval

Official seal of Chhattisgarh

Official seal of Chhattisgarh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

TNN | Feb 26, 2014

 

RAIPUR: Forest land measuring 835.616 hectares is being used for mining purposes by public sector undertakings (PSU) in Chhattisgarhwithout approval of Union government.A review report of Chhattisgarh State Compensatory, Afforestation, Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) by CAG, which was tabled in Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday, reveals that PSUs have been mining on forest land even after their in-principle approval lapsed seven years ago.

The report states that despite availability of non-forest land for compensatory afforestation (CA) in state, certificates of non-availability of non-forest land were given and CA was done in degraded forest area. The report also reveals that forest land measuring 77.500 hectares was used for development of an eco tourism centre by state government in violation of Forest Conservation (FC) Act.

CAMPA unauthorisedly spent Rs 12.31 crore on purchase of vehicles, infrastructure and other eco-tourism activities in contravention to guidelines and instructions of Centre.

“Selection of sites despite plantation in previous years, selection of wrong species and payment at higher rates in the scheme of special species plantation under CAMPA led to irregular/doubtful/excess expenditure amounting to Rs 1.07 crore,” the report revealed.

It also states that non implementation of hariyali prasar yojana as per guidelines resulted in high mortality of 71% to 90% of plants and unfruitful expenditure of Rs 82.89 lakh.

Meanwhile, an audit of taxes on vehicles revealed that inaction by RTO, Raipur, to adopt a proper mechanism regarding remittance, realisation and reconciliation of demand drafts resulted in embezzlement of government revenue of Rs 1.31 lakh. The report states that there was was non/short levy of trade fee of Rs 1.60 crore in six tansport offices.

Due to non-issue of notice of demand for recovery of tax from defaulting vehicle owners, there was non-realisation of tax amounting to Rs 1.73 crore in seven transport offices.

  • Read more here – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/raipur/Chhattisgarh-PSUs-mining-on-forest-land-without-approval/articleshow/31018265.cms

 

 

 

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#India – Five gang-rape 45-year-old Dalit woman, burn privates #Vaw #WTFnews

rapepublic1

TNN Dec 26, 2013,

BHOPAL: In an act of barbarity, private parts of a 45-year-old dalit woman, who was allegedly gang-raped by 5 people, were burned by accused with a lighter in Harda district late on Saturday night.

The survivor alleged that when she went to file her complaint at a police station a couple of hours after the incident, she was turned away.

“Police officials refused to file the FIR saying I was lying,” the survivor told doctors at the district hospital on Wednesday, four days after the incident. Realizing the gravity of incident, doctors lost no time in informing the police, forcing the latter to file the case leading to the arrest of one of the five accused.

The incident took place at Singhanpur village of the district. Police said Ram Baksh, 60, has been arrested while the hunt for other accused is under way. Rahatgaon police, station in charge Ramesh Piplodia said, “The survivor, a resident of Singhanpur village, accused that in the night of December 21, she was abducted and gang-raped by five people. Who also branded her private parts using lighter.” She made the complaint on December 25, he added.

“Of 5 accused 3 are of 60 years of age. Barring the arrested person, other four are her relatives,” Piplodiya said. “The medical reports have also confirmed burning of private parts,” Piplodiya told TOI. Dr Manjusha Parate, who is treating the woman at district hospital said, “She has severe swelling in her private parts. Her hips were also branded.”

“During interaction she told me she went to the Rahatgaon police station after the incident on Sunday, but her complaint was not entertained. Later, when the pain became unbearable she came to the hospital,” Parate said.

“The police registered the case after we informed them about it. Police didn’t entertain the complaint earlier as they kept saying she cooked up the tale,” Dr Parate alleged. However, Rahatgaon police station in charge Ramesh Piplodia refuted allegations saying, “She didn’t visit the police station on Sunday. In the past also, she made a complaint of molestation and it was registered. If we had registered her complaint in the past, there was no reason for us not to do so this time, he said.

Read more here- http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-12-26/bhopal/45591488_1_private-parts-police-station-complaint

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#India – Election Observer for Raipur South, reaches out with Facebook #Chhattisgarh #mustshare

Manivannan Ias

Facebook Note  by – Manivannan

I have been appointed as Election Observer (General) for Raipur south Assembly constituency. I am here in Raipur, for next 3 weeks, till the polling day and beyond if required.

My duty is to over-see the election preparedness and the process, and ensure a free and fair election, on behalf of the Election commission of India.

My local number is: 09479000220
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/manivannan.raipur?fref=ts

I will also be available in the Raipur collector office, room no: 16, from 4 -6 pm in the evening, for walk-in meetings.

Kindly share this message with anybody connected with Raipur, Chattisgarh directly or indirectly. The idea is to have maximum reach in Raipur, so that public/citizens/voter can contact me regarding any election related issue.

Needless to say, any compliant on illegal use of money or muscle power, problems in electoral rolls, etc, can be brought to my notice which will be attended to immediately.

Thank you very much! Your action to share this message will contribute towards a free and fair election in Raipur South!:)

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#India – A Case of Continous #SexualAbuse and #Rape in an Orphanage in Chattisgarh #Vaw #mustread

A case of registered rape and continued sexual assault on a dalit and handicapped minor girl in a
children’s home – Chakradhar Bal Sadan in Raigarh, Chattisgarh, was brought to our notice and we
paid a visit to the Bal Kalyan Samiti to gather some preiliminary information about the case.
We met with both the girl and the president of the Bal Kalayan Samiti who filed the FIR on the
behalf of the girl. The FIR names the Secretaery of the Chakradhar Bal Sadan – Prahlad Aggarwal,
and Bunty Upadhyay who is son of the Warden. What also emerged was the fact that this is not a
single or isolated case, and that there has been continuous sexual abuse of many of the residents of
the facility. This indicates that several of the staff members may also be complicit in this.
What was also alarming was the fact, that though this case and many of the facts about rampant
abuse had emerged , even after almost 15 days, nothing had been done on an insitutionnal level by
the district administration to take action against the staff of Chakradhar Bal Sadan or provide safety
to the other residents of Chakradhar Bal Sadan.
Even the press, after initially reporting the FIR when it was filed, has not carried any news of this
serious matter of the possibility of continous abuse of the residents of an orphanage. The President
of the organisation is Krishnkumar Gupta who is an ex MLA and ex Minister of the Chattisgarh
government.
Given below is a brief report of the information that we gathered.
The details of the case –
The Complainant is a 16 year old disabled dalit girl, who is a resident of the Chakradhar Bal Sadan.
On 2/9/2013 an FIR was filed by Mrs Jessy Philip, the president of the Bal Kalyan Samiti, Raigarh,
in Chattisgarh on being informed by the 16 year old resident of the Chakradhar Bal Sadan, that she
had been repeatedly raped by the Secretary of the Organization Prahalad Aggarwal and by the son
of the warden Bunty Upadhyay, on separate occasions over a long period of time including recently
before reporting the complant. (The FIR is attached).
Both the accused are shown as absconding and no arrests have been made as yet.
On meeting with Mrs Jessy Philips we were informed that though the FIR had been filed and she
had a copy of theFIR, she had got to know through news paper reports that the FIR had been
subsequently altered by the police, citing thea technical flaw, that by mistake police had also added
the charge of gang rape, when it wasn’t gang rape but continuous rape by different people. On
speaking to the SP about why the FIR was being changed, she was informed that they were making
two different FIRs against the two accused, since they had committed the offense separately and on
different occassions. She has still not been given a copy of the altered FIR..
She said that after the FIR being filed , a medical examination was also conducted.tthough she has
not been given a copy of the medical report even on applying for the same under the RTI Act. The
complainant and Ms Jessy Philips have also deiposed before the Magistrate, but they have not been
given a copy of their statements.
This a matter of custodial rape and also a matter of a handicapped dalit girl being raped by
upper caste rapist and there fore this matter must also be seen as an offence under the SC/ST
Atrocities Act as well as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act Pocso act and as
an instance of Custodial rape. But the sections of SC/ ST Act have not been added in the FIR.
Ms Jessy Philips also informed us that the girl had now been removed by her froorm the
Chakradhar Bal Bhawan and placed at another residential facility . Since she was not safe in the
Bal Sadan. Till now no action has been taken against the present staff and office holders of the
organization. The Warden of the facility is herself the mother of one of the accused ( Bunty) and she
and the accused reside on the premises. Bunty’s father is the priest of the temple within the
premises.
Mrs Philip in a written complaint has asked for the removal of the staff of Bal Sadan and for the
institution of a high level inquiry for investigating sexual abuse and rape of the residents there.
While there is evidence that tThis case is not the only one and there are several other young girls
who are being subjected to such sexual harassment and rape, they are scared to speak out against the
rapist due to the fear of the staff , many of who may be complicit. But no action has been taken by
the district administration.
Mrs Philips has in a written complaint to the SP has also spoken about fear for the victims as well
as her own safety, as well as the pressures created by the accused and those supporting them to
suppress the case. Since all the accused are influential people there is a great fear of the accused
being protected and the matter being suppresesed.
There is pressure being exerted on the NGO where the girl has presently been lodged, prompting
them to ask for the girl being removed from there. There is a need to find a safe and secure place for
the girl.
On speaking to the Young Girl
The young girl who had the courage to speak out against the rape and sexual abuse that she has
been facing, told us that she had been repeatedly raped by Bunty and his friends as well as by
Prahlad Aggarwal . When she had been first raped by Prahalad Aggarwal she had complained to the
staff and the President of the organization. about how Prahalad Aggarwal had raped her. But tThey
had only laughed at her and humiliated her. But she didn’t loose heart and when the CM had visited
Raigarh recently.she had tried to speak out there too. She had protested that she did not want to stay
at Bal Sadan any more. At that time the Women and Child Development Officer Mr Sissodiya had
told her to keep silent and they would try to get her a job.Thats when this came to the notice of Ms
Jessy Philips and she got the FIR filed.
Though she was very brave when we first spoke to her, she also broke down during our talk with
her. She said that she had very few people to trust and there are pressures on her to withdraw her
complaint. Also, even though she is in a different institution now, there are people who come there
too, and she is being made to repeat the incidents again and again which is emotionally draining for
her. Also many people have been telling her that she made a mistake by speaking about it.
A case of rampant sexual Abuse in the Chakradhar BalSadan
Nikita said that she was not the only girl , who had been facing such abuse . She said that many
other girls were also being sexually used by Bbunty and Prahlad Aggarwal. Bunty also brought his
friends there to abuse the residents. Once the girls had written a letter and given to the staff but it
had been torn and no one took any action against it.
She also revealed that a couple of girls had become pregnant due the sexual abuse but the matter
had been taken care of and hushed up by the staff and no action was taken against the abusers. The
girls have constantly been given threats of violence and being thrown out of the institution if the
speak up out against the sexual abuse.
She said even the Pandit who is Bunty’s father, has been involved in inappropriate behaviour with
the girls.
Emerging I ssues and Concerns –
The complaint was filed on 2/ 9/2013, but the accused are still absconding and have filed for
anticipatory bail. The relatives of one of the accused still continues to be in charge in the institution.
This leaves them free to suppress all the other young girls there and manipulate evidence and
testimonies.
No action till date has been taken by the district administration to conduct an immediate enquiry in
the Chakradhar Bal Ssadan,post other women caretakers, or investigate cases of abuse.
The girl’s testimony clearly indicates that the abuse was continuous and by the staff/ office holder
or or people related to the staff, but no immeidiate inquiery was conducted.
This is a grave issue of custodial rape in an institution housing a very vulnerable section of girl
children.,majority of them being adivasi and dalit. The fact that they are orphans and have no family
or other support to fall back on makes them extremely vulnerable. It is the responsibility of the
institution to keep them safe, failing which the district administration should have taken immediate
steps to ensure the safety of the residents. Not responding with urgency and not taking action
against the staff of Bal Sadan makes the district adminisitration guilty of criminal negligence or of
complicity.
It is to be noted that the Warden, who is the mother of the main accused is still present and in office
in the Bal Sadan and his father (Pandit) is also residing oin the premises. This allows them access
to the girls and allows them to pressurise the young women to not speak up.
There are very clear guidelines in case of custodial rape, when reported in an institution. Any staff
who are accused, or staff is related to the accused, should be placed on suspension or removed from
the facility. But this has not been done.
Imme i diate demands:
· Immeidiate arrest of the accused.
· Immeidiate enquiry into the charges of sexual abuse in Charkradhar Bal Sadan.
· To add charges under the SC/ ST act in the main FIR.
· The accused office holders and staff related to the accused should be suspended and
removed from the premises. The administration of the Chakradhar Bal Sadan should be
handed over to a properly constituted Committee until the enquiry is concluded.
· There need to be proper guidelines for action to be taken when complaints of this nature are
brought up at the district level.
· To provide a secure place for Nikita .
· Taking immeidiate steps to ensure the safety of the residents of Chakradhar Bal Sadan. And
creaeting an atmostphere where they will be able to speak out against the sexual abuse that
they have faced.
Sudha Bharadwaj
General Secretary, Chhattisgarh PUCL
Mo: 09926693877, [email protected]
Pinki Verma, 8224017479. [email protected]
Chhattisgarh Mahila Mukti Morcha
Rinchin,
Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch
Mo: 9425377349 , [email protected]

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#India – Prashant Rahi, who was trying to help cases of political prisoners arrested #WTFnews

Prashant Rahi, who was single-handedly trying to help with the cases of political prisoners all over India, and visiting them in jail was arrested day before yesterday. He was picked up by Maharashtra ATS when he was in Raipur court to arrange for legal matters of some prisoners there. The Maharashtra police took him to Gadchiroli secretly, and charged him with the same case as Hem Mishra. They have also cooked up a story of arresting him from Gondia in Maharashtra.

After JNU ex-student, 2 more held for Naxal link

Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Sep 3, 2013,

After JNU ex-student, 2 more held for Naxal link
Rahi, alias Prashant Sanglikar, who had his schooling in Mumbai, was picked up from the Deori bus-stand in Gondia district on Sunday.
NAGPUR: Gadchiroli police have arrested 52-year-old Prashant Rahi, an Uttarakhand-based journalist-turned-activist and front organization member, and Vijay Teerki, of Chhattisgarh, for their alleged links with Naxalites. Rahi, alias Prashant Sanglikar, who had his schooling in Mumbai, was picked up from the Deori bus-stand in Gondia district on Sunday, while he and Teerki were “heading to Naxal-stronghold Abujmadh to meet a central committee (CC) member”, according to the cops.

Sources in Gadchiroli police said they learnt about Rahi’s mission from Hem Mishra who was arrested on August 22 from near Morewada village in Aheri, south Gadchiroli. Mishra, a former Jawaharlal Nehru University student and who is also from Uttarakhand, was arrested along with Pandu Narote and Mahesh Teerki. According to the police, the trio was carrying messages to senior Naxal cadre Narmada-akka, a divisional committee member, in Abujmadh. The Naxal HQ, which is on the Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh border, is about 80kms from Aheri as well as Deori.

Police said that Rahi too was carrying documents to a senior central committee member based in Abujmadh. His arrest may not be a big catch but it shows the increased inroads that Naxalites have made into urban areas. Earlier, Naxal cadre Kobad Gandhy was caught in New Delhi, Vernon Gonsalves and Shridhar Srinivasan in Govandi in Mumbai, and Sudhir Dhawale who used to reside in his wife’s nursing quarters in Byculla in Mumbai.

Rahi, who was one of the main campaigners during the Tehri dam protest in the ’80s and ’90s, attended school and college in Mumbai and then moved on to complete his engineering degree from Benaras Hindu University. His daughter Sikha assisted Aamir Khan in ‘Taare Zameen Par‘.

Sources in the Gadchiroli police department said that there was intelligence input about a senior-level meeting of the Naxalites to be held in Abujmadh for which several top rebel leaders were to assemble. The police and intelligence wing is now scanning through the Naxal literatures and other related documents found with Rahi and Teerki.

The two were produced before a Gadchiroli court which remanded them to police custody for 13 days after being slapped with charges under relevant sections of Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act. The court has also extended the remand of Mishra and two others for another 13 days. Mishra was also allegedly carrying a microchip to be delivered to Narmada. The cops have now ‘cloned’ the microchip to uncover the contents.

Police feel that information regarding the Naxalites’ plans and networks in the metros as a part of their objective to spread the rebel movement in urban centres could be retrieved from the documents and records seized from Rahi and Mishra. The Naxalites’ aim to combine jungle welfare with urban movement is now well documented. A senior officer said that the seized materials would help corroborate and bring forth many new facets regarding Naxalites’ plans.

Rahi, who originally hails from Nashik, had earlier served a three-year term in Uttarakhand after being arrested by the police in Dehradun in 2007. Later, his wife Chandrakala Tiwari too had been picked up. According to the police, the couple was actively working with the Uttarakhand Zonal Committee of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). Rahi and Tiwari were released about 18 months ago.

DIG (Naxal Range) Ravindra Kadam said that Rahi has so far remained tight-lipped about his destination. “Rahi was accompanied by Vijay who claims to be a sarpanch from Beloda village of Kanker in Chhattisgarh but we strongly believe they have close links with the Naxalites,” said Kadam.

He added that the duo was set to enter Abujmadh on foot from Aldendi village after reaching there from Beloda on bike. It’s learnt that the cops had been trailing Rahi from Uttarakhand. He was pinned down through his mobile phone location in Delhi and Raipur before being finally trapped in Deori. “After nabbing Mishra, we knew that there was another person who would be heading towards Abujmadh accompanied by local guides. We also knew that he would be coming with important documents,” said Kadam.

Sources in the police department also claimed that Rahi worked with the front organizations like Forum Against War on People, Revolutionary Democratic Front (India) and Committee for Release of Political Prisoners.

Who is Prashant Rahi?

Grew up in Mumbai, studied at St Stanislaus School in Bandra, followed by Ruia College, Matunga.

Went on to study engineering at Banaras Hindu University in 1977.

At BHU, briefly met human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen and was inspired by his work in impoverished villages.

Was exposed to various youth movements and was involved in fighting for the rights of villagers in Uttar Pradesh. Was an integral part of the struggle against the Tehri dam.

Worked as a journalist with Himachal Times and the Statesman.

Arrested in December 2007, seven months after Sen was arrested on charges of sedition.

Spent three years and eight months in jails in Uttarakhand, including Haldwani, Udham Singh Nagar, Dehradun, Pauri Garhwal and Haridwar. Most of his prison years were spent in solitary confineme

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#India- Home Minister’s visit to Raipur hospital costs woman her life #Vaw #WTFnews

By Sahar Khan in Raipur, mailtoday.in

A woman, who was rushed to Ram Krishna Care hospital in Raipur following a massive heart attack, was detained at the hospital gate by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s securitymen.

Her relatives said they struggled to get medical attention for her failing which she died at the gate.

Shinde was in the hospital to visit the people injured in the Maoist attack in the Bastar district on May 25.

The family further alleged that they desperately made phone calls to whosoever possible to explain the medical emergency but they were turned a deaf ear.

Raipur superintendent of police O. P. Pal, however, said no complaint has been lodged yet in this regard. “ There is a clear instruction that no ambulance should be stopped during any VIP visit.

We will look into the issue if any complaint reaches us,” he said.

A local media report quoting the family of the deceased woman said there was no blockage of roads after the minister’s cavalcade reached the hospital but the security personnel denied the entry through the gate.

The hospital management, on the other hand said, since several VIPs are visiting the hospital after the Maoist attack special arrangements have been made to ensure that patients do not suffer.

Director of the hospital, Dr Sandeep Dave said the woman was already dead when brought to the hospital and no complaint was lodged.

In November 2009, kidney patient, S. P. Verma, died during PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to PGIMER hospital in Chandigarh to attend a convocation ceremony.

Verma’s family claimed he was denied timely treatment after securitymen allegedly kept diverting his vehicle.

In July 2011, injured policeman Dharmendra Kumar died at the emergency gate of Hallett Hospital in Kanpur, after being denied entry by the Special Protection Group deployed for Rahul Gandhi, who was to arrive to meet victims of the Kalka Mail derailment.

 

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PRESS RELEASE- Fact Finding Report ‘ Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ on Unlawful Police Activities in North Bastar

CHHATTISGARH LOK SWATANTRYA SANGATHAN

(PEOPLES UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, CHHATTISGARH)

___________________________________________________________________________

                                                                                                                                                                Date 20th May 2013

To: The Editor/ Chief Reporter

PRESS RELEASE: FOR FAVOUR OF PUBLICATION

A team consisting of eminent activists and lawyers went for a fact finding mission organized by PUCL-Chhattisgarh to the Edanar and Malmeta Villages of the Edanar Panchayat, Kanker District and the Anjrel Village of Khadkagaon Panchayat, Narayanpur District of North Bastar, on 18th and 19th April 2013.  The purpose of the mission was to investigate and document the unlawful police activities that were exposed by Edanar villagers during a statewide camp by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) conducted on 12th April, 2013 in Raipur.   The representation by Edanar village focuses mainly on a police rampage that happened in Edanar and Malmeta Villages in which six villagers were assaulted, two families were robbed, and one innocent man was arrested, and remains in jail till date, after being accused of aiding Naxalites.

However, the 23rd January incident is only a small part of a longer history of militarization and unlawful police activities in this region.  In the Edanar Panchayat (P.S. Tadoki), security forces consisting of CRPF and BSF, accompanied by local police and Special Police Officers (SPOs), conduct combing operations twice a month in which homes are looted and villagers are assaulted, threatened, labeled as “Naxalites”, arrested, charged with very serious offences and some of them even killed. In the Khadkagaon Panchayat (P.S. Narayanpur), villagers are routinely terrorized and even evicted from their homes by local SPOs, despite the Supreme Court order declaring SPOs unconstitutional.

The team documented over 20 such incidents of unlawful activities in both panchayats.  The report also examines the legal issues associated with and the overall context in which these violent attacks have occurred.  It gives special importance to the broader impact of the ongoing militarization of the region including the six BSF camps which are already stationed in Kanker, and the pending construction of 22 paramilitary barracks by the Bhilai Steel Plant to protect the functioning of its Raoghat iron ore mine.

The team releases the attached report,  Guilty Until Proven Innocent :  A Fact Finding Report on Unlawful Police Activities in Two Panchayats of North Bastar, Chhattisgarh with the hope that the media would highlight the situation of the people living in these areas, understand the larger political and economic context of the ongoing violence, and strike a well-educated public discourse around the issue.   We strongly urge correspondents to visit the area and write firsthand accounts of the issues faced by the local villagers.

Team members include: Shishir Dikshit (Lawyer, Janhit Legal Center), Lakhan Singh (People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh), Somdutt Upadhayay (Lawyer, Bilaspur Social Forum), Tathagata Sengupta (People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh), Samantha Agarwal (Sanhati), Pinki Verma (Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha-Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti), and Keshav Sori (Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan). The following report has been jointly prepared by the members of the fact finding team.

For further information contact: Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj (9926603877)

Sincerely,

Sudha Bharadwaj

General Secretary, PUCL-Chhattisgarh

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Mix-up cloud on tribal deaths – Cops unable to establish Maoist link of Bastar casualties

JAIDEEP HARDIKAR, The TTellegraph
Edakmetta villagers after the anti-Maoist operation. T-News Bhadrachalam

Nagpur, May 19: Eight tribals, including three children, were killed by security forces in what was supposed to be an anti-Maoist operation on the intervening night of Friday-Saturday in Chhattisgarh’s restive south Bastar.

Senior police officers today admitted, but refused to be quoted, that those killed in Bijapur’s Edakmetta village had no links with the CPI (Maoist). Yesterday, police had first let out information that they killed a Maoist while losing a COBRA jawan in the operation. The death of the tribal villagers started trickling in late on Saturday evening.

“Three of the eight were children aged 10, 12 and 15. We know civilians have been killed but we don’t know whose bullets got them,” said a senior police officer of Bijapur. It is not clear if the eight were killed in indiscriminate police firing as claimed by the villagers or were caught in a crossfire between the security forces and the Maoists.

Bijapur district collector Mohammad Jazim Abdul Haq told local reporters a mandatory magisterial inquiry into the incident has been ordered and “some civilians may have been killed”. In Raipur, chief minister Raman Singh announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased.

The CRPF’s Combat Battalion for Resolution Action (COBRA), Chhattisgarh Armed Force and district police had started combing the area following a tip-off on the heavy presence of Maoists, sources said.

The troops came under attack a little after Friday midnight, killing the COBRA jawan. This led the forces to retaliate, yesterday’s police statement said.

“But the intelligence input might not have been reliable. Sometimes they are planted so that the operation takes place and the Maoists can take advantage of the unrest that follows,” the officer said.

Edakmetta villagers told journalists today that they had congregated for Beej Pandum, a festival announcing the beginning of the farming season, when they heard the firing. The villagers assemble late in the evening for the rituals that run late into the night.

More than 20 villagers had been missing since that night. The eight bodies were found yesterday morning, but all through the day the forces would not let journalists enter Edakmetta. Some people are still missing, the villagers said.

The police today shifted the bodies to Gangaloor, 20km from Edakmetta, for post-mortem amid protests from villagers who refused to take back the bodies.

The district police said the raid followed intelligence reports about Maoists holding a meeting in the village. They said the ambush, in which one of their jawans died, lent credence to the presence of rebels in Edakmetta. The police also claimed that they had recovered some weapons from the spot.

The villagers told journalists that the COBRA jawan was killed in the cross-fire of the security forces. The forces, they told journalists, had encircled them and fired indiscriminately.

Last year, in the same district, security forces were accused of killing 17 villagers mistaking them for Maoists. Former high court judge V.K. Agrawal is probing the incident. Agrawal will also probe Friday’s killings.

 

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Chhattisgarh – Letter to NHRC on the denial of rights to political prisoners at Raipur Central Jail

Sanhati

May 8, 2013

by Prashant Rahi

This is to bring to your notice the unrepentant high-handedness of the authorities of the Raipur Central Jail in Chhattisgarh as regards thedenial of fundamental and human rights to two of their under-trialinmates whom I visited there last week, both senior, well-educated citizens of the country.

It was on April 26, 2013 that I visited these two under-trials with due permission from the Jail Superintendent. One of them is called Purnendu Mukherji, a resident of Kolkata (aged 70 years), and the other, Varanasi Subrahmaniam, a resident of Andhra Pradesh (aged 57 years). Both have spent about 3 years in various jails of the country ever since they were shown arrested in Bihar. To the best of my knowledge, they have been framed up in cases related to a violent incident reported some time ago from the Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh, which may have been an outcome of the ongoing civil war in that state between the Maoist-led forces on the one hand and the paramiltary and police forces on the other. These two political prisoners, whom I visited, appear to have been falsely implicated in the case/s related to this incident simply because they were among the alleged Maoist leaders already incarcerated in some other part of the country, and hence vulnerable to be charged by the Chhattisgarh police, hard-pressed as they were to affix the blame for the untoward incident on one civilian suspect or the other. While Purnendu Mukherji’s trial proceedings arew ell underway at the Rajnandgaon District and Sessions Court, Varanasi Subrahmaniam (who was recently transferred early this year to Raipur Central Jail from District Jail, Warangal, AP) has not yet been served any charge-sheet in this matter. The two are charged under various sections of the IPC, such as waging war against the state and sedition as well as the provisions of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2008.

As per the security provisions for such so-called high-profile prisoners, my meeting with the two was arranged in the office of the Additional Jail Superintendent, to which neither did my prisoner friends nor I have any objection. However, the mere seriousness of the charges against these prisoners – itself a very common occurrence for the hundreds and thousands of tribals and activists thrown behind bars in that state – cannot be allowed to be made a ground for the denial of their fundamental and human rights. My objections on this count are as follows:

* The jail official, in whose office my two prisoner friends and I were seated during my visit, remained ensconced within earshot of our conversation, and was listening throughout. This violated the stipulated norms for prison visits by family members and friends and legal advisers.

* Other prisoners who worked in the Jail office were also well within earshot.

* In addition, an official in plain clothes, who did not work in the jail, but was very obviously an informer or intelligence official of the very police, who had fabricated the case against my two prisoner friends, seated himself on a chair right next to me, even closer to us than the jail officials and the other prisoners.

Personally, I found such eavesdropping a serious infringement upon my own civil right to converse freely with my friends and ask about their well-being and about the details of the cases foisted upon them. I did raise objections there and then, stressing that agents of the very same state that had foisted the case could not be allowed to overhear our conversation, and that there should be a sufficient distance of a few metres between us and any official or any other person for that matter, such that we could be seen and observed clearly for security reasons, but our conversation could not be heard. Such pleas, however, went unheeded within the premises of the prison with the officials not even batting an eyelid. This may also be perceived as an outright denial to my friends of their right to a free and fair trial. If officials of the state can be allowed to overhear every aspect of the preparations and mutual discussions of the defence side, then how can the accused expect to convey in confidence their defence points and arguments to their visiting lawyers or to friends like me who would coordinate between them and their defence lawyers? This is especially so in the case of these two prisoners who are total strangers to Raipur and Rajnandgaon, and badly need help from friends like me to co-ordinate their legal defence. The few relatives who visit them live hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away, and hence cannot pay regular visits to the jail and court.

The jail officials allowed us only 20 minutes, with all the interruptions and interventions owing to the unwarranted eavesdropping by the jail and police officials and other prisoners.

Among the instances of denial of basic human rights to these two prisoner friends of mine, which were brought to my notice during those 20 minutes, the following are liable to be considered as serious violations:

1. The jail officials refused to let them read a copy of the Jail Manual. It seemed as if the officials did not want to inform the prisoners of the officially laid out rules and regulations along with their own rights and obligations. Not providing copies of the Jail Manual was a common ploy adopted by the authorities to remain unquestioned while putting up a high-handed and arbitrary behaviour. My prisoner friends told me in front of the jail official present that they had been asking for the Jail Manual for several months, yet the official maintained his stoic refusal to comply with their request.

2. In most Jail Manuals, prisoners are said to possess the right to write and receive letters. In this jail, however, I was told by my prisoner friends (with the Jail official silently listening on) that letters sent to them by family members were not delivered. Varanasi Subrahmaniam said that he had once asked for a message to be wired through telegram to his lawyer in Andhra Pradesh, but no such facility was granted. Similarly, speed post facility even at one’s own cost was denied even if the matter concerned some urgent, legal issue. The same prisoner friend of mine further complained that a letter, which he wanted to send to seek some pertinent information under the RTI, 2005, could not be sent due to this high-handed attitude of the officials.

3. An elder brother of Varanasi Subrahmaniam, who visits him once in a month or two, had during his last visit subscribed to the reputed newspaper, The Hindu on the latter’s behalf. However, the jail authorities had neither co-operated nor allowed him to procure copies of this newspaper. Even such innocuous reading material was flatly denied.

4. The usual jail newspaper when circulated into the barracks of these two prisoners would often be found to be heavily censored. Even such news items that did not pose any threat to the maintenance of order in the jail and did not directly impact its security would be invariably cut up. Especially with prisoners, who have been detained for political reasons or those who have certain political inclinations and beliefs, denial of the right to read all that he or she may wish to read from registered newspapers, magazines and books openly available in the market would amount to outright denial of his or her right to information and knowledge.

5. Even serious books that could be food for thought for anyone who may be concerned with the betterment of our society are not allowed as reading material for these two prisoners.

6. Varanasi Subrahmaniam is further not allowed to read in his mother tongue, Telugu.

7. Writing materials such as blank papers and other permissible stationery items are also not provided in the course of normal routine.

8. Apart from the above instances of the denial of fundamental and human rights that seemed part and parcel of the normal manner of administration at this prison, the septuagenarian among the two, Purnendu Mukherji told me that he was suffering from a number of ailments, some of which are quite serious and needed urgent investigation and treatment at an appropriate advanced referral centre outside the state of Chhattisgarh. The ailments he is currently suffering from include chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease, arthritis, hernia, spinal problems and gastric trouble. A special diet, as may be permissible, was also required for him.

At the end of my visit, I tried to appeal to the Additional Jail Superintendent, who was overseeing my visit, in the hope that my prisoner friends would be accorded human treatment, especially as no crime was yet proven to have been perpetrated by them. However, I soon realized that my appeal fell on deaf ears, and I was left with no option but let this apex watchdog of the state of human rights in our country, as also the world at large,know what transpires within the underbelly of our criminal justice system, namely jails like the one at Raipur.

I urge you to please help restore the rights of the two prisoners whom I visited on April 26.I am forwardinga copy of this letter for the sake of information to the Jail Superintendent, Raipur Central Jail, and to some concerned civil liberties and democratic rights activists in the country.

 

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