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How long will the 6000 Jharkhandi Adivasis languish in jail?

Dr. Binayak Sen delivering his keynote address...

Image via Wikipedia

By- Stan Swamy

Most of the arrests are in violation of SC decisions
“Mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person a criminal … Supreme Court on 3rd February 2011 (CRIMINAL APPEAL NOs. 889 OF 2007)
“Mere possession of Maoist literature does not make a person a Maoist” Supreme Court , while granting bail to Dr. Binayak Sen on 15th April 2011

Context: in Jharkhand, during the past ten years, 550 young men & women were killed by the police & para-military forces as being Naxalites (Hindustan Times, Ranchi edition, 18.4. 2011.)

There are now about 6000 Adivasis in jail (Ajay Sharma in Hindustan, 08.02.2012) . The charge against the majority of them is that “maoist literature” was found in their possession and that they are “helpers of Maoists”

1. Mere possession of Maoist literature is not an offence

Observing that mere possession of maoist literature would not be considered an offence of sedition, the Supreme Court granted bail to Dr.Binayak Sen.

The sad fact in Jharkhand is that in very many cases the police have arrested young men and women precisely because they had some “naxalite literature” in their possession. What exactly constitutes ‘naxalite literature’ has not been defined. The question is: Is any written material that is critical of the Government and its functioning forbidden in our democratic society? Is putting out pamphlets calling on people to resist displacement an offence? Is announcing rallies and public meetings to protest indiscriminate arrests of young people improper? Is calling on people to assert their rights on their jal, jangal, jamin not allowed?

What the police usually do is arrest a person on the alleged reason of having naxal literature and then add on other clauses of the penal code on the hapless victim. Very sad to say, hundreds of young men and women are languishing in the different jails of Jharkhand under this accusation.

It is the urgent need of the hour that an independent commission is appointed to examine all the cases under this accusation and free them.

2. Mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence. (3 February 2011)

The court rejected the doctrine of ‘guilt by association’. Mere membership of a banned organisation will not incriminate a person unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or does an act intended to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence

It is common knowledge that very many young men & women are held in prison on the suspicion of being “helpers of naxalites”. After arresting them other penal clauses are added on. It is an easy label that can be put on any one whom the police want to catch. It does not require any proof or witness. Let us keep in mind that they are not even members of any naxalite outfit. Supreme Court says even membership in a banned organisation does not make a person a criminal. How far removed are the law and order forces from the judiciary!

Even if there is a modicum of humanity left in the govt and the police, these young men and women should be set free.

3. Supreme Court’s directives for arresting persons are ignored by police

The SC has issued very clear directives to the police in the process of arresting a person and has spelt out the rights of the arrestee / prisoner. In a judgment known as ‘D.K.Basu judgment’ passed on 8 March 2005, [D.K.Basu vs. State of West Bengal (1997) 1 SCC 216] the SC gives the following guidelines: In view of the increasing incidence of violence and torture in custody, the Supreme Court of India has laid down 11 specific requirements and procedures that the police and other agencies have to follow for the arrest, detention and interrogation of any person. These are: – Police arresting and interrogating suspects should wear “accurate, visible and clear” identification and name tags, and details of interrogating police officers should be recorded in a register. – A memo of arrest must be prepared at the time of arrest. This should: – have the time and date of arrest. – be attested byµ at least one witness who may either be a family member of the person arrested or a respectable person of the locality where the arrest was made.

– be counter-signed by the person arrested. – The person arrested, detained or being interrogated has a right to have a relative, friend or well-wisher informed as soon as practicable, of the arrest and the place of detention or custody. If the person to be informed has signed the arrest memo as a witness this is not required. – Where the friend or relative of the person arrested lives outside the district, the time and place of arrest and venue of custody must be notified by police within 8 to 12 hours after arrest. This should be done by a telegram through the District Legal Aid Authority and the concerned police station. – The person arrested should be told of the right to have someone informed of the arrest, as soon as the arrest or detention is made. – An entry must be made in the diary at the place of detention about the arrest, the name of the person informed and the name and particulars of the police officers in whose custody the person arrested is. – The person being arrested can request a physical examination at the time of arrest. Minor and major injuries if any should be recorded. The “Inspection Memo” should be signed by the person arrested as well as the arresting police officer. A copy of this memo must be given to the person arrested. – The person arrested must have a medical examination by a qualified doctor every 48 hours during detention. This should be done by a doctor who is on the panel, which must be constituted by the Director of Health Services of every State. – Copies of all documents including the arrest memo have to be sent to the Area Magistrate (laqa Magistrate) for his record. – The person arrested has a right to meet a lawyer during the interrogation, although not for the whole time. – There should be a police control room in every District and State headquarters where information regarding the arrest and the place of custody of the person arrested must be sent by the arresting officer. This must be done within 12 hours of the arrest. The control room should prominently display the information on a notice board. These requirements were issued to the Director General of Police and the Home Secretary of every State. They were obliged to circulate the requirements to every police station under their charge. Every police station in the country had to display these guidelines prominently. The

judgment also encouraged that the requirements be broadcast through radio and television and pamphlets in local languages be distributed to spread awareness. Failure to comply with these requirements would make the concerned official liable for departmental action. Not following these directions constitutes a contempt of the Supreme Court, which is a serious offence, punishable by Imprisonment and fine. This contempt of court petition can be filed in any High Court. These requirements are in addition to other rights and rules, such as: – The right to be informed at the time of arrest of the offence for which the person is being arrested. – The right to be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest. – The right not to be ill-treated or tortured during arrest or in custody. – Confessions made in police custody cannot be used as evidence against the accused.

-A boy under 15 years of age and women cannot be called to the police station only for questioning.

The important question is: under which law or penal code the police & para-military forces are arresting young men & women as part of their anti-naxal operations? It is very clear they are not abiding by the SC ruling. As such they should be sued for contempt of court.

4. ‘To get Bail is a right of the prisoner’. . .but who will bail them out?

Getting bail is not within the reach of most ‘under trial prisoners’. For one thing, the lower courts consistently refuse to grant bails even for the simplest of cases. That means the prisoner has to approach the High Court, and some times the Supreme Court to get bail. The second factor is the expense involved. An average expense at the level of the High Court is between ten to twenty thousand rupees. Now how many Adivasi families can afford this expense is a big question. In fact most of them are not even in a position to come to the jail and meet their dear ones. At the same time, the govt does not reach out to them by providing free legal aid. In short, the 6000 and more Adivasi under trial prisoners are just condemned to languish in jail for years to come. It is important to remember that of those who have been arrested under UAPA and CL-17 as part of Operation Green Hunt, there has not been even a single conviction. We can be sure that when the trial will take place, most of them will be acquitted. Regrettably there is no time limit within which the trial has to take place. Justice delayed is justice denied.

To conclude, it is no use taking this issue to the govt because it is itself doing this injustice. The only other possibilities, in my opinion, are that we make this the agenda of the Jharkhandi People’s Movements and explore ways of making a legal case and access the judiciary at the High Court / Supreme Court level and demand that an independent committee of legal & human rights activists examine all the cases and place their findings in public domain.

Read original article at Newswing

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Immediate Release- Fact Finding into Suicide of 24- year- old Md Akhil in Hyderabad

PUCL, AP FACT FINDING COMMITTEE’S REPORT DATED: 24-02-2012/28-02-2012/12-03-2012 ON THE SUICIDE OF MR. Md. AKHIL ON 20-02-2012 IN BHAVANI NAGAR POLICE STATION LIMITS HYDERABAD, AP, INDIA

We P.U.C.L. members have formed a team of 7 members as Fact Finding Committee and visited Bhavani Nagar Police Station , Mogalpura Police Station, A.C.P – Santosh Nagar Division and D.C.P-C.C.S, Hyderabad regarding the suicide of Md.Akhil S/O Md.Ayaaz, Age 24 Years, Occ: Worker in Chappal Shop, R/O Nasheymaan Nagar, Bhavani Nagar, Hyderabad. Our team members are as follows:

1) Jaya Vindhayala (State President)

2) Md.Iqbal Khan ( State Vice-President)

3) Feroz Khan ( Twin Cities E C Member)

4) Saleem (Twin-Cities Vice-President)

5) Omer Uddin (PUCL Member)

6) B.Kranthi Kiran (PUCL Activist)

7) Nagaraju (PUCL Activist)

We visited the Bhavani Nagar police station on 24-02-2012 and took the permission in the reception to meet the Station house Officer i.e. Circle Inspector of Police (C.I), the constable told us that he is not in the station and told us to call (C.I)him once, among one of our team member called C.I and he told that he is not feeling well and told that it will take some time to come to the police station and immediately we called the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Santosh Nagar Division and he said that he is in meeting with the Commissioner of Police and for him also it will take time to come to his Office, and, we waited in the office room of the Sub-Inspector of Police, our team members have observed in the police station that the Lock-up Cell was full of Guthka Spit on the walls and there was foul smell in the station, we waited for 20 minutes in the station and we went to the Moghal Pura Police Station.

We proceeded to the Moghal Pura Police station, at 17:00 hrs, we took the permission in the reception and the constable told us, that the farewell party of one of the inspector of police, is going on, in the chamber of the inspector of police. We waited in the hall of the police station and we observed that the Lock-up cell was full of Miscellaneous items that belongs to the police personnels like lathi sticks, Jackets etc and there were guthka spits on the walls of the lock-up cell. As the farewell function of the outgoing C.I was over we went into the chamber of the C.I and introduced ourselves that we are from P.U.C.L and told that we came to as a Fact Finding Committee about the suicide of Md.Akhil S/o Md.Ayaaz, Age:24 years where this police station booked the case against him while he was involved in Communal Riots in the Year 2010 and the same officials opened Rowdy sheet against him, he told us that he himself opened the case but it has been transferred to the Bhavani Nagar Police Station where he was residing and his residence is of Nashemeeyan Nagar, Bhavani Nagar, Hyderabad.

As he further stated that the Nashemeeyan Nagar is very sensitive area and it comes under the Police Station limits of Bhavani Nagar and it is the border of Moghalpura Police Station, when ever there will be communal riots both the Communities(Muslims and Hindus) throws stones on each other and in other areas in this police station limits, for small incidents they will fight each other and if it is serious they will kill each other and in this police station there are 10 communal riots pending (All those who are involved in Communal Riots the police officials will open Rowdy Sheets), Valmiki Nagar is another sensitive area in the Moghalpura Police Station limits and we spoke to the leader of the Valmiki Nagar regarding the hygienic atmosphere between both the communities with the help of COVA (A NGO). He told us that we told those who are involved in the communal riots to be away from the riots if not Rowdy Sheets will be opened against them, and he further stated that he would think over the closure of the Rowdy Sheets against those persons who are involved in the communal riots and at present 13 Rowdy Sheets are pending in this Police Station and the population in the Moghalpura Police Station Area is around 2 lakhs and he further stated that there are Standing orders given by The Director General of Police regarding the closure of Rowdy Sheets (Communal Riots) and till now we have closed 6 to 7 cases.

On 28-02-2012, We met the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Santosh Nagar Division at 18:45, introduced ourselves as we are from P.U.C.L and told that we came to as Fact Finding Committee about the suicide of Md.Akhil S/O Md.Ayaaz, 24 years in Bhavani Nagar Police Station limits on 20-02-2012 which comes under your jurisdiction and asked him about the suicide of Md.Akhil and he said that the case was transferred to The Special Investigation team, Central Crime Station, Nampally, Hyderabad.

The A C P stated that in the Communal Riots most of the localities will throwing stones on each other by seeing other localities few with intention and few with instigation by others. Particularly in this case, Suspect Sheet has also been booked against his elder brother Khaleel who is 31 years old AND HE FURTHER STATED THAT AKHIL’S SUICIDE CASE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION AND STILL PENDING.

He further gave us a report of status of the pending cases in his jurisdiction consisting of Madannapet, Bhavani Nagar, Kanchanbagh and Santhosh Nagar Police Stations. As per records, cases booked like, number of Suspect Sheets in Communal (19), Non-Communal (60), Number of Sheets Booked in a Single case like Rowdy Sheets (11) and Suspects Sheets (16) and Number of Rowdy Sheets in Communal ( 29) and in Non –Communal(66).

He further stated that if any doubt arises we called the Leaders of the area as well as MIM and BJP leaders and told them that if there are any UNCONTROLLABLE communal riots OCCURRED in THEIR RESPECTIVE localities, the whole responsibility will be against the leaders only and the cases will be booked against the leaders ALSO under section146, 147,148,324 and 427 of IPC. He stated that if a criminal CASE is PENDING AGAINST THE PERSON, IF THEY ARE not involved in a case continuously for five years than all the criminal cases will be closed which are pending against that criminal and for those who are aged above 50 years also cases of communal riots will be closed.

Then, We visited the Bhavani Nagar Police Station at 20:00 HRS and we met the Station House Officer and introduced ourselves as we are from P.U.C.L and told that we came as a Fact Finding Committee about the suicide of Md.Akhil S/o Md.Ayaaz, 24 years. where the case of Communal Riots was pending against him before he committed suicide and he said that no official in his Police Station will harass the criminals and he stated regarding the Suicide of Md.Akhil that he was having financial problem and was involved in Cricket betting and Sub-Inspector of Police has been appointed as the investigation officer regarding his Suicide and he is conducting the investigation, but his family members are not co-operating the investigation as they are not providing proper evidence, he further stated that Md.Akhil is a very nice person and he was also sensitive. Md.Akhil would speak to him regularly, before he committed suicide he told him that he is going to Mumbai to bring the Chappal material for the shop where he was working and he told that he might have committed suicide as a suspected sheet has been booked against his elder brother Khallel and the Suicide note is also sent to the Forensic Laboratory and he further stated that he would be friendly with all the Rowdy Sheeters.

On 12-03-2012, We, P.U.C.L team met the D.C.P, C.C.S, Hyderabad. He told us that the issues related to the communal riots were investigated by the Special Investigation Team (S.I.T) under his supervision. He directed the S.I.T Circle Inspector to give us the details related to Md.Akhil.

The Circle Inspector told us, in 2010 three cases were registered against communal riots, Crime No 34/2010(this was registered on 29-03-2010) were Registered by the Bhavani nagar Police Station and Crime No 44/2010 concerned for Late Md Akhil, he was arrested using PT Warrants. Another case Registered by the Moghalpura Police Station as Crime No. 41/2010 (this was registered on 31-03-2010) and the same was transferred to Bhavani Nagar Police Station. No charge sheet was filed till today and still investigation is going on.

OBSERVATIONS:

1) There would not be a National Leader’s photos or the photo of the leaders who fought against corruption or the photos of the police officials who sacrificed their life for the Nation in majority of the Police Stations in the same way we weren’t surprised to observe that there was not even a single National Leaders photo in the Bhavani Nagar Police Station, Moghal Pura Police Station and Office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, But there were Photos of the God or Goddess in every Police Station like Sai Baba/Venkateshwara Swamy/ etc.

2) We couldn’t understand that, they said that the Communal Case on Md.Akhil was being investigated by the C.C.S ( Crime Nos: 34/2010, 41/2010 and 44/2010 ) and they said that the case of suicide (FIR No 30/2012, U/S 174 Cr.P.C, dated: 20-02-2012, Bhavani Nagar Police Station, Hyderabad ) was being investigated by the S.I. of Bhavani Nagar Police Station, Hyderabad ???

3) Md.Akhil is a resident in the limits of the Bhavani Nagar Police Station and if the communal riots take place in the limits of the Bhavani Nagar Police Station. Why was the case filed against him in the Moghal Pura Police Station?? Why was a Rowdy Sheet opened in the Moghal Pura Police Station itself??Why was it then transferred to the Bhavani Nagar Police Station?? .

4) Communal Riots always takes place under the supervision of a political leader or his instigation in the communal riots. This is told by the past and it is clear that it is present through the paper media throughout the Old City. Why wasn’t a single case filed against these Political leaders??

5) It was known through the paper media that a political leader who came to consolidate on Md.Akhil’s death was attacked by Leaders /activists of another political party and why didn’t the government respond in a proper way on this??

6) The death of Md.Akhil who was involved (as per police officials) in the Communal Riots, why didn’t the Home Ministry, Law and Order Ministry couldn’t give a proper review on this?? The Government itself tells that the communal riots matter is a very sensitive, why didn’t the government take proper initiative on this??

7) The Police are not taking independent actions so the Communal Riots are increasing Day-by-Day. Some of the Police Personnels are working as pets for some Political Party’s; this is also a reason for the Communal Riots.

8) There is a lot of influence and threats on the Police Officials by Some Of the Political Leaders who are fanatic religion based fundamentalists especially in the Old City.

9) The Police harassed Md.Akhil regularly.

10) We got the credible information that the A.S.I (Mr.Basheer?), Moghalpura Police Station and Constable (Mr. Rahamaan?) of Bhavani Nagar Police Station have harassed him.

11) The Police would call this Md.Akhil regularly to both the Police Stations Bhavani Nagar and Moghalpura as constables and other officials would have demanded money for closing the Rowdy Sheet.

12) The Police are behaving like Licensed Human Slaughters.

DEMANDS:

1) The Government should appoint an enquiry commission not less than The Sitting District judge on the enquiry of the total incident of the suicide of Md. Akhil, then only whatever the facts in the incident will come out and Justice will happen to general public than only we can control (some of ) the police officials illegal acts.

2) The Government should take action by prosecution on the Police officials who harassed Md.Akhil and became a reason for his suicide.

3) The Government should revive all the cases of the Communal Riots till now and should close the Rowdy Sheets immediately.

4) An Intellectual committee having independent powers consisting of members of Civil Rights, Human Rights, Social Organisations and Concerned Government Officials should be formed immediately, to control the Communal Riots. The Government should take guidelines from this Committee only, for the prevention of these. Then only the Communal Riots can be controlled.

5) The government should give Compensation to the family of Md.Akhil and the Suspect Case filed on his brother Md.Khaleel should be removed immediately.

6) The Government should guide the Police Officials to register the cases against the Political Leaders who are responsible to the Communal Riots instead of innocent persons like Md.Akhil.

With Regards

JAYA VINDHYALA
ADVOCATE
PRESIDENT, PUCL-AP
16-8-908/7, MALAKPET “X” ROADS
HYDERABAD-500 024.

PHONE: 094404-30263.
FAX: 040-24414736

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Free Waqar: A campaign for justice in Kashmir

Deutsch: Flagge des Bundesstaates Jammu und Ka...

Image via Wikipedia

Mar 14, 2012, By Dilnaz Boga | Agency: DNA

Online global campaigns to free prisoners wrongfully held have come to Kashmir. A group of youth, who call themselves Friends of Waqar have been silent for months. The fact that Waqar has been denied his basic rights has not let them have a moment of peace, one of them says, as he proceeds to show me the website (www.freewaqar.org) the group has been working on in uptown Srinagar.

The boys have decided to launch their own online protest. “We have made this website and we want people from all over the world to sign a petition to release Waqar immediately and mete out justice. This is an illegal detention,” Aslam (name changed) said.

Friends of Waqar are fighting for Waqar Ahmad Moharkan, a second year student of Bachelor’s in Commerce at Srinagar’s Islamia College of Science and Commerce. He was arrested by police of MR Gunj station on 4 October, 2011 on charges of participating in protests in Srinagar.

The court allowed his bail application on 23 October, 2011. Instead of being released, he was rebooked and moved to Central Jail under judicial remand on 15 December, 2011 suddenly slapped with the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).

His lawyer, the head of the Bar Association in Kashmir Mia Qayoom has stated in writing that the youth was deliberately not handed a translated copy of the grounds of detention so that he would be unable to make an effective representation against the order of detention. The police passed the PSA without informing Waqar’s family, who had the legal right to challenge the act.

Thee family was informed about the PSA after the time to legally challenge the act had expired. Waqar was then illegally shifted to the Cargo Interrogation Centre for two days, one of his Friends said.

The youth in Kashmir are very articulate and aware of their rights. “We know what our rights are internationally and locally and we refuse to be denied of them. Just like Palestinian prisoners, we will ask the world to intervene… they have a moral obligation and they must fulfil it,” the young man in his early 20s added.

Waqar’s PSA order, which DNA is in possession of stated, “You have frequently come in the adverse notice of the police for your involvement in anti-social activities aimed at disturbing the public tranquility and peace in the city. You are instrumental in mobilising the anti-social elements for creating havoc in so far as causing serious law and order problem is concerned which inevitably besides endangering human life also causes impediments in the smooth economic development of the state. Your said acts are aimed at keeping the state on boil and thereby bringing about secession of J&K from Union of India. It has also emerged that your such nefarious designs are being carried out in a well thought out manner to bring the whole Downtown area to a stand still.”

Read full article here

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I salute Meena Kandasamy, each and every domestic Violence survivor needs to read this

  Meena  is my Facebook friend, and I salute her, as it takes extraordinary courage to come out in the open about a  violent and an abusive marriage, I hope this step by Meena ,will give the courage to many such women trapped in such abusive relationships to break their shackles    

‘With sad-woman eyes and soulful smiles’
Meena Kandasamy

In that strange coastal town-city where it rains every morning, I partake of pain as if it is prayer. Married to a violent man who treats me with nothing but distrust and suspicion, my skin has seen enough hurt to tell its own story.In the early days, his words win me back: I don’t have anything if I don’t have you. In this honeymoon period, every quarrel follows a predictable pattern: we make up, we make love, we move on. It becomes a bargain, a barter system. For the sake of survival, I surrender my space.

Two months into the marriage, he cajoles me into parting with my passwords. Soon he answers my e-mails with the same liberty with which he used to select my clothes. Why do you need my password, I ask. You have mine, he says. But I did not ask you for it, I say. You don’t love me enough, he says. Possess me so that I can possess you for possessing me: the thoughts of a possessed, possessive man who has made possession into his single obsession. There can be no secrets when love has become a cruel slave-era overseer. He proposes the idea of a common  e-mail address one week, it is enforced the next. He makes personal boundaries disappear. I am isolated from all my friends and family. As an act of purification, 25,000 e-mail messages are erased on New Year’s Eve. I become the woman with no history.

Soon, in my loveless marriage, sex begins to replicate the model of a market economy: he demands, I supply. Never mind that my response does not matter, never mind that I bleed every single time, never mind that he derives his pleasure from my pain. With a scattered heart and in no mood for seduction, the woman in me carries on a conversation with the ceiling, she confides in the curtains. Faced with so much damage, she seeks pleasure in the flaming forces of nature: harsh sunlight, sudden showers. Secretly, she refuses to be tamed.

The first time he hits me, I remember I hit him back. Retaliation can work between well-matched rivals, but experience teaches me that a woman who weighs less than a hundred pounds should think of other options. It also teaches me other things. I learn that anything can become an instrument of punishment: twisted computer power-cords, leather belts, his bare hands that I once held with all the love in the world. His words sharpen his strikes. If I deliver a quick blow, your brains will spill out, he says. His every slap shatters me. Once, when he strangulates me, I imbibe the silence of a choked throat.

And when I tell him that I want to walk out of the marriage, he wishes me success in a career as a prostitute, asks me to specialise in fellating, advices me to use condoms. I shrink and shrivel and shout back and shed a steady stream of tears. He smiles at his success. He wants me to feel like a fallen woman. He always inhabits the moral high ground and resorts to extreme generalisations: literary festivals are brothels, women writers are whores, my poetry is pornography. His communist credentials crumble. He faults me for being a feminist. I am treated with the hatred that should be reserved for class enemies.

As fear seeps into my body, sex becomes unto submission. in this role of a wife, I remember nothing except the relief of being let go, being let off after being used up… I am no longer myself… I think death will put an end to this.

As a bored housewife, I colour-code the domestic violence: fresh red welts on my skin, the black hue of blood clots, the fading violet of healed bruises. It appears that there is no escape from this unending cycle of abuse, remorse-filled apology and more abuse. One day, when I am whipped with a belt and cannot take it anymore, I threaten him with police action. He retorts that no man in uniform will respect me after reading a line of my verse. He challenges me to go to anyone anywhere. I have no friends in that small world—only his colleagues who think the world of him and his students who worship the earth on which he walks. I do not know whom to trust, even our neighbours could hand me back to him. In the middle of the night, I want to rush to a nearby convent, seek shelter. Would I be understood? Would it work out? How far can I run away in a city that does not speak my tongue, a city where young women in bars are beaten up?

I tell him that I cannot live with him any longer. I tell him that I have lost count of the last chances I have given him.

The next morning I wake up and see that he has singed his flesh with a red-hot spoon. A twisted mind and its twisted love. He is willing to explain himself: I inflict this punishment on myself because I realise my guilt. I did this because I love you. In other words: you made me hurt you, you made me hurt myself. The subtext: please take the blame, please take the beatings too. I am held hostage emotionally. I crave for a freedom that will just let me be me, I flounder to find the words to help me speak my story. I live in a house of slamming doors and broken dreams. I am no longer myself, I am convinced that I am starring in somebody’s tragic film. I look forward to dying, I think death will put an end to this.

As fear seeps into my body, sex becomes submission, and in this role-play of being a wife, I remember nothing except the relief of being let go, being let off after being used up. In this marriage of martyrdom, kisses disappear.

We sleep in separate rooms. Every night, my heart sings a sad song. I long for tenderness. I circle around my sorrow as if it were a village goddess, I feed it my bruised flesh. Come and get me,
I cry. No one hears me, it is just me screaming in my head. I manage to pull myself together because I have vowed never to break.

I grow distant, we grow apart.

I later uncover his double life: he has been previously married, a fact concealed even by his own family members. He has not yet divorced his first wife. When I confront him, he attempts to explain everything scientifically and then comes right back at me. There is more name-calling, hair-pulling, badmouthing, blackmailing. He begins to beat me. He brands me a bitch. I will skin you alive, he says, and then call your father to come and get you. I am numb, too traumatised to react. That night, I am thrown out, like trash. I leave home with a handbag and a bad-girl tag. I plead with the paramilitary personnel at the airport to let me sleep there, they ask me a thousand questions but allow me to stay. One of them buys me dinner. I fly back to Chennai the next morning. I have no words to tell my parents. They ask no questions. My mother hugs me with the air of a woman who will never let me go. My sister is angry why I ever left her.

Weeks later, I consult lawyers. They tell me that my marriage is not valid, that seeking a divorce is a pointless exercise. As an act of mercy, even the law has set me free. When I press for his punishment, the police speak of jurisdictional issues. You lived elsewhere, they say. Lady justice does not serve displaced women.

It is more than a month since I moved back to my parents’ place. I talk to my well-wishers. I wear my sister’s clothes. I weep, alone, at night. I look back at those four months of my life and realise that what I had lived through was not “my life” at all, but something that someone else had charted for me. Wedded to a wife-beater, I never believed that I would live to tell my tale. I console myself that now I have first-hand experience of brutality: a story of struggle and survival that I can share on unfair days. Such empty consolations soothe violated bodies. I join a lucky league of battered women who find comfort in the safe zone of family, solace in the warmth of friends and flirtatious strangers who nurse my wounds with words. Can I overcome this nightmare of a marriage? I don’t have straight answers. I have learnt my lessons. I know that I am single and safe now. With sad-woman eyes and soulful smiles, I strive to find the courage to face this world. Perhaps, along the way, poetry will help me leave the pain behind.

( The first person account appears in magazine ‘ outlook ”

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Student’s Arrest: The Lingaram Kodopi of South India?

MANGALORE – Arrest of a student pursuing Post Graduation from Mangalore University on the charges of Naxal link, has created a row between civil society and administration in Dakshina Kannada district.

Vittala, a student of Mass Communication and Journalism, along with his father Linganna (53) was arrested on Friday 2nd March, from his house located in Kutlur village of Beltangadi Taluk amidst the dense Western Ghats, while another son of Linganna, Purushottam is absconding. Anti Naxal Force (ANF) armed with various charges like sedition, is hunting for him.

Vittala, a member of Malekudia ST Community dwelling in the Western Ghats is the only person to study beyond SSLC. He was an active associate of Anti Naxal student outfit, SFI. He had also engaged himself with several ‘Rights’ organizations fighting for the cause of Moolanivasis and Dalits of this region.

Last Friday, on the 2nd of March, a personnel of Anti Naxal Force (ANF) barged into the house of Linganna, a collie, and allegedly beat him up. He arrested him and his son Vittala, who had come home to see his father, on the charges of supporting the Naxal movement and hence waging a war against the nation..

According to the Police, who carried out a combing operation, Linganna, his son Vittala and Purushottama are supporters of Naxal outfits. They claim that handbills, paper cuttings on Naxal issues, binoculars and other related materials were recovered from Linganna’s house during the operation.

But according to the students and people who know Vittala, he is a decent and brilliant student, and was very regular to the classes. He was also fighting for the cause of Moolanivasis, especially against forceful eviction and their Land Rights.

Anti Naxal Force has taken Vittala into police custody after producing them in Beltangadi court, while Linganna was sentenced to judicial custody by the Court.

Several organizations have been protesting against the arrest of both the father and son, alleging that the government has adapted alternate means to sabotage the voice of people fighting for justice and for the Rights of moolanivasis, so that it can easily evacuate them from the forests.

Rights’ organizations of this region have been raising doubts over the functioning of the Anti Naxal Force since a long time. They have been demanding the administration to stop the practice of stereotyping Malekudia and Dalits as Naxalites. Malekudia is a primitive tribe dwelling in the Western Ghats of South Canara and is a very backward community.

Read More at Newzfirst here

 

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Two more deaths again in Assam tea garden

TEA GARDEN MUNNAR

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The Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) has learnt about two more deaths in the Bhuvan valley tea garden of Cachar district in Assam. According to information, a 7 days old baby and about 70 year old Balaram Bauri of North Bank Division of the tea estate died on 6 and 7 March, 2012 respectively. Now the toll stands at 14 according to the confirmed information available with the BHRPC.

This tea garden owned by a Kolkata-based private company was closed from 8 October, 2011 to 8 February, 2012 and the labourers were abandoned by the owners. About 500 permanent labourers and more than this number of casual workers had not been paid their outstanding wages for 9 weeks, bonus for years and other statutory benefits including provident fund dues. There were no facilities of health care, drinking water and sanitation. Government public distribution system and other welfare schemes including Integrated Child Development Schemes were virtually non-functional. These circumstances led the labourers in a condition of starvation and malnutrition resulting in several deaths.

The BHRPC reported (the report at hungeralert1) 10 deaths on 1 February following its fact-finding study and claimed that the underlying and contributory causes of all deaths were starvation, malnutrition and lack of medical care going by the definition of starvation and malnutrition provided in the National Food Security Bill, 2010 drafted by the National Advisory Council and the Starvation Investigation Protocol prepared by the Supreme Court Commissioners on the right to food. The BHRPC again reported (see the report at http://bhrpc.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/situation-of-hunger-deteriorates-in-assam-tea-garden/) serious health condition of 43 other people of the tea estate on 11 February. Two people among them Belbati Bauri and Jugendra Bauri later died on 18 and 22 February respectively. This was also reported (see the report at http://bhrpc.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/hungeralert3/) by the BHRPC on 23 February.

The deceased 7-days-old baby was daughter of Nikhil Bauri and Duhkia Bauri. After re-opening of the garden on 9 February, the garden hospital run under the National Rural Health Mission was revived but no qualified and permanent doctor and nurse have been appointed. There is also no electricity and water available. The Bauris had to go to the Primamry Health Centre at Sonai, a place about 20 km away from the garden, where Dukhia delivered an underweight baby and she fell seriously ill, according the garden sources.

Deceased Balaram Bauri, aged about 70, was a retired permanent worker of the tea estate. He became weaker day by day and his body got swollen. His son Ranjit Bauri is a permanent labourer. Ranjit claims after re-opening of the garden on 9 February he was paid only Rs 60/- and was provided with 2 kgs of rice, 1.2kgs of flour per week at Rs 0.54 per Kg and additional amount at Rs 10/- per Kg. He said that he could feed his family 6 properly during the 4 months of the closure of the garden and even thereafter. According to him, his father died in condition of starvation and for lack of proper medical care.

It is to be noted that the Arunodoy Sanga, a non government organisation based in Silchar, held a health camp in the garden on 4 March. A team of 5 doctors from Civil Hospital, Cachar Cancer Hospital and Kalyani Hospital who reportedly examined around 500 patients of the tea garden corroborated the phenomenon of malnutrition stalking the workers and their families. Doctors recommended for immediate supply of nutritious food and sustained treatment of the labourers. No visible and reasonable steps have been taken by the authorities in this regard.

10 March, 2012, Silchar, Assam

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

[email protected]

+91 94019 42234

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India: Release Soni Sori on International Women’s Day

The Indian authorities must release Soni Sori, an activist and school teacher imprisoned and allegedly tortured for speaking out against human rights abuses, Amnesty International said in a call to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March.

The Amnesty International prisoner of conscience was arrested after she criticised Maoists as well as state forces for human rights violations in the armed insurgency in central India.

Her father was shot in the leg by Maoists, while her husband has been in jail for one year on charges of having collaborated with the left wing group.

“On International Women’s Day, Indian authorities should be applauding the work of brave women like Soni Sori, who dare to speak up for human rights,” said Amnesty International’s India researcher Ramesh Gopalakrishnan.

Indian activists have criticized the authorities for their treatment of Soni Sori and, in collaboration with Amnesty International, have launched a video campaign featuring activists holding up symbolic garlands with the words “shame” on them.

“Activists in India are sending the government a clear message: Soni Sori’s treatment is shameful – hence the garlands of shame.” said Gopalakrishnan.

Arrested on 4 October 2011 in New Delhi, Soni Sori was charged by Chhattisgarh state police with acting as a courier and transferring funds of 1.5 million Indian rupees (US $300,000) from a corporate mining firm, Essar, to the Maoists as “protection money”, to ensure mining operations could be carried out unhindered. She and five others including her nephew Lingaram Kodopi, face trial on 13 March.

Following her arrest, she was held in police custody for two days on 8 and 9 October and intensively questioned. In a letter to India’s Supreme Court, Soni Sori alleged that she was tortured.

A police official, she alleged, forced her out of her cell, stripped her and gave her electric shocks, causing acute pain all over her body, head and spine.

By the time of her appearance in Dantewada court on 10 October, she was unable to walk.

On 29 October, the government medical college hospital in Kolkata examined her under court order, reporting back on 14 November that two stones had been inserted in her vagina and one in her rectum, and that she had annular tears in her spine.

On 2 December the court asked the Chhattisgarh authorities to respond to allegations of torture, and ordered her transferred from Jagdalpur prison to Raipur central prison where she is currently held.

“Soni Sori must be released unconditionally and an independent investigation mounted into allegations of torture. Those police officials responsible including those at the highest levels of command should be prosecuted, in line with international law,” said Ramesh Gopalakrishnan.

Meanwhile, a senior Chattisgarh police official, accused by Soni Sori of ordering her alleged torture while she was being interrogated, has been awarded a gallantry award by authorities.

“Awarding gallantry medals to people who should be investigated is insulting,” said Ramesh Gopalakrishnan.
Soni Sori is an Adivasi and an advocate of Gandhian peaceful protest. Her case will be heard again in late March 2012.

To watch Soni Sori’s campaign video

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Bajirao in Maharashtra and Eliminators in Chhattisgarh torture in Police Lock ups- Arun Ferreira

Arun ferreira , who was inside prison for more than four years talks about his experience of torture in the police custody and police lock ups in . He speaks our that there is difference of torture in police custody which is much harsher than when one is in prison, but levels might be different , degree might be different but torture is omnipresent , its high time India ratifies Convention against Torture .  In another video he talks about torture in the prison  and human rights violations inside the jails and prisons available  Torture inside prisons. He was speaking at Human rights education seminar, at Mumbai

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International Women’s day March – Women raise voices against violence and for freedom in Mumbai

More than 500 women associated with various, women organizations  trade unions, health and human rights organisations came together at VT station to celebrate International Women Rights day, by raising their voices against all forms of violence against women and vociferously raised slogans on true democracy and freedom , they demanded freedom for all including- workers,laborer, dalits, minorities, adivasis and all of us vociferously demanded FREEDOM FOR SONI SORI AND PUNISH MENT FOR ANKIT GARG, We demanded she should be immediately given medical care, Soni sori who has been on hunger strike in Raipur jail for 20 days, needs o be realeased NOW, we hope Supreme court will take notice of her health condition and release her on MARCH 13, 2012

    

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NCPCR draws guideline to eliminate corporal punishments

Deutsch: Historische Federzeichnung einer schu...

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Aarti Dhar,TheHindu

Suggests Corporal Punishment Monitoring Cells in every school

With the number of incidents of schools practicing corporal punishments showing an increase, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the schools to constitute special monitoring cells to take prompt action in cases of physical punishment or harassment of children.

The NCPCR guidelines on elimination of corporal punishment, unveiled here on Monday to mark the foundation day of the child rights panel suggest that Corporal Punishment Monitoring Cells (CPMCs) should hear grievances related to corporal punishment, child sexual abuse, mental harassment and discrimination without any delay and should forward recommendations to district level authorities within 48 hours of the occurrence.

The panel has suggested that school boards should ask the schools affiliated to them to ensure “corporal punishment-free environment” that would be one of the conditions for granting affiliation or recognition while practice of physical punishment or mental harassment should be one of the grounds for withdrawal of affiliation, it said.

The guidelines suggest that school teachers should provide a written undertaking that they would not engage in any action that could be construed as amounting to physical punishment, mental harassment or discrimination.

It also says that schools should have annual social audits of physical punishment, harassment and discrimination. The guidelines suggest that results of the audit should be made public before start of every new academic year.

All schoolchildren should be informed through campaigns and publicity drives that they have a right to speak against physical punishments, mental harassment and discrimination.
Aarti Dhar, The Hindu
The NCPCR constituted comprehensive guidelines following a detailed study which was conducted in 2009-10 involving 6,632 children across seven States that showed that 6,623 children had reported experiencing some kind of punishment. As many as 81.2 per cent children had been subject to outward rejection by being told that they were not capable of learning or some other kind of verbal punishment.

Based on the findings of the report the NCPCR experts have come out with guidelines which stress on “positive engagement” with children.

The guidelines advise teachers to pay positive attention to children and appreciate good efforts while ignoring minor lapses. They also lay down that life skills education should be made a part of school curriculum and should address issues of self esteem, aggression, drug abuse, decision making, coping with stress and others.

The guidelines also suggest that school authorities should hold meetings with parent-teacher bodies on the guidelines and decide which procedures they should adopt to protect children and their rights in schools.

Speaking on the occasion, the NCPCR chairperson Shantha Sinha said that the “Commission has brought together some of the best minds and experts to draft its guidelines on corporal punishment.”

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