Hum agar uthhe nahin toh … हम अगर उट्ठेनह ींतो..
‘IF WE DO NOT RISE’ CAMPAIGN TO PROTEST AGAINST INJUSTICE, ATTACKS ON CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
More than 500 Women’s groups (national women’s organisations and autonomous ones); LGBTQIA communities; human rights organisations; trade unions and farmers organisations are observing September 5, 2020 as a day of resistance as third deathnanniversray of Gauri Lankesh . They have come together to safeguard the Indian Constitution and its values under the theme of Hum agar uhthhe nahin toh (If We Do Not Rise …). The Campaign unites them , as the people of India, against the targeted attacks on our Constitutional rights and freedoms. They rise for the values of secularism, democracy, socialism and to ensure constitutional morality in our country.
The last few years have seen a collapse of democratic institutions n the country. The independence of the judiciary and other institutions of oversight is under question and the functioning of the Parliament gravely compromised. COVID-19 has only furthered the emergence of an authoritarian, penalising and non-transparent State that shrunk our collective and individual liberties even more.
We, the citizens of India, demand that our political, social and economic rights, as enshrined in the Constitution, be protected.
I. Democratic Rights
We demand that the unconstitutional and discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) be repealed, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population
Register (NPR) also should be scrapped. This demand would need to take into consideration the specific needs of indigineous communities in the North East region of India. The three instruments would result in women, Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis, queer and trans communities, being vulnerable to losing their rights as citizens.
In August 2019, the Government assaulted India’s Constitution and federalism by abrogating Article 370 and destroying the statehood of Jammu & Kashmir. We demand that Article 370 and 35A be restored as on 5 August 2019, demilitarization take place and the people be taken into confidence and a political solution be found.
Restore all liberties and personal freedoms, ensure protection of land and resources and restore the dignity of Kashmiri people,
Ensure restoration in J&K of 4G and access to internet services. This is a basic human right, integral to the right to health and health care, education and political participation,and indeed, to the right to life itself.
We demand the scrapping of UAPA and other draconian laws such as the State Security Acts and the Sedition Act, which are being blatantly misused to muzzle dissenting voices.
We demand the immediate release of political prisoners who are languishing in jails or are under house arrest.
We condemn the arrest of women activists and students in Delhi and other parts of the country. We demand that they be released immediately.
We demand fair and fast-tracked investigations into the Bhima Koregaon violence (2018) and the North East Delhi riots (2020) and to bring the real instigators and perpetrators of both to book.
Ensure the right to life and dignity during Covid-19 for those incarcerated by enabling physical distancing, access to regular medical check-ups, testing in prison and regular
communication with their friends and family. Ensure the release from prison of older
persons with health issues, disabled women and trans persons.
We demand a law to hold the perpetrators of communal and targeted violence accountable and assign responsibility and accountability to public servants who, through acts of
omission and commission, fail to take steps to prevent and control targeted violence.
We demand effective and impartial enforcement of legal provisions that prohibit and act upon hate speech that promotes, or incites, violence against religious minorities.
We condemn the failure of the child protection system and institutions under the juvenile justice law to protect the rights of children living in situations of civil and political unrest.
The arrest of minors in J&K post-abrogation of Article 370, the recorded presence of minors in detention camps in Assam and the arrest of minors in Uttar Pradesh during anti-CAA protests speak of the violations by the state machinery. We demand that children bereleased by the Juvenile Justice Boards and concerned courts, and restored to their families in accordance with the Supreme Court Order of 3 April 2020 (Suo Motu Writ Petition (C) No.4/2020).
II. Transparency & Accountability
Undo the regressive amendments to the RTI Act to ensure Information Commissions function independently. Overhaul Lokpal and the regressive amendments & partisan
manner of appointments that defeat the purpose of the law.
Operationalise Whistleblowers Protection Act and enact the Grievance Redress Bill.
Government must proactively disclose information as per the RTI Act, especially in matters regarding food distribution, social security, health, relief funds, PM Cares Fund and other
COVID 19-related issues.
Roll back regressive amendments made to various laws like the Income Tax Act, Representation of People’s Act, RBI Act and Companies Act which enable unlimited anonymous funding of political parties through electoral bonds.
III. Institutional Autonomy and Integrity
Institutions of transparency & accountability like the Judiciary, Internal Committees, Lokpal and Commissions set up under various laws must function autonomously. They are key
to secure peoples’ rights & prevent state excesses.
We demand the institutional autonomy of the police. Coercive, communal and casteist methods of interrogation to manufacture evidence, planned leaks to the media and the creation of conspiracy theories to stifle liberal and political voices must be stopped.
We demand that Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code be rescinded. It protects judges, magistrates and other public servants such as the police, thus making them immune to complaints and legal procedures against any misuse of power (including
brutality, encounters and custodial deaths).
We demand a national law to prevent torture, encounter killings and death in custody which includes a witness and victim protection programme.All existing National and State
Human Rights Institutions, which number over 170 in the country, need to set in place effective complaints handling and enquiry processes exhibiting independence, diversity,transparency and engagement of civil society.
We demand nation-wide consultations with stakeholders on the Anti-Communal Violence Bill .
IV. Right to Life and Safety
We demand a gender perspective in the provision of budgets and of economic and social security relief measures and in relief packages to protect vulnerable women.
Set up a committee, with 50% women as members, for gender segregated data on severity of impact of pandemic on different sections of women, to formulate mitigation strategy and
ensure its implementation.
We demand accountability for the non-implementation of existing laws to stop violence against women (that has increased d uring the lockdown).
Special financial allocations to be made for the implementation of laws to prevent crime and violence against women based on of caste, class, religion and other social
identities.No dilution of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2015.
Any discrimination, violence or stigmatisation of LGBT*QIA+ persons must be penalised.
We demand that the government take back the Rules of the Transgender Persons(Protection of Rights) Act, 2020, before they are passed by Parliament till the Constitutional challenge to the Act itself is resolved.
Make the prevention and redress of VAW a key concern of the socio-political agenda of the national plan.
Set up fully equipped with facilities and personnel in every district, a one window crisis centre, a women’s shelter and activate a 24 hour active helpline ( where ever not functional).
Gender training to be made mandatory for the police personnel, the judiciary, the protection Officers and other allied functionaries.
A reliable and accurate data base to record all forms of gender-based violence.
The Nirbhaya funds have lapsed twice already. Allocate funds for infrastructure as well as for financial support to the women from the marginalised communities.
We demand revocation of laws that impinge on young people’s rights to choice, criminalize them under claims of protectionist legislations such as the proposed increase in age of marriage for girls. These legislations impact young women’s agency vis a vis their sexuality and rights.
V. Food Security
Ration for all, with or without ration cards that include all essential commodities.
Delink Aadhaar from ration, pension and all other social security measures. Create a single window mechanism to avail them.
Universalise and expand PDS with immediate effect. Expand it to include nutritious food like, millets, pulses and oil.
Ensure ICDS and Mid Day Meal schemes are covered under essential services and promote local procurement and processing of all meals under these programs.
To address women’s increased workload, strengthen community kitchens through seed/financial grants to women’s groups.
VI. Right to Education
Withdraw New Education Policy 2020 as it proposes increased centralization of planning, governance, curricular and pedagogic parameters, research, accreditation, entrance examinations and decision-making
Scrap the proposal of development of a national PPP framework as part of the STARS project mandate, FDI in education results in a greater role for the private sector.
Amend RTE Act to include children up to 18 years, in line with the internationally recognized definition of childhood, by including ECCE, Preschool and Higher Secondary
Education as a justiciable and enforceable right·
Increase investment in Education to 6% of the GDP.
With 18 to 30% drop out expected post COVID, promote re-enrolment campaigns and activate early warning systems for drop-outs with a special focus on girls.
Set up committees to look into Early Childhood Care and Education and on Inclusion of Children with Special Needs in the context of COVID.
Envision the digital as a ‘public good’, rather than a privatized service by investing in developing digital hardware as a common resource for teachers and learners. Target young adolescent girls through digital fellowships to address the double- digit gender gap
that exists in India today.
We condemn the unprecedented assault on scientific institutions, scientific temper and rationality. Reduced expenditure on science and technology research and diversion to pseudo-scientific projects have to be stopped and greater autonomy be granted to
VII. Right to Work
Ensure recognition of women in informal sectors as workers and a provisioning of rights and social security to women workers.
Financial support of Rs.10, 000/- per month to all those unorganised sector women workers who lost their livelihood because of COVID lockdown.
We demand that the Domestic Workers Regulation of Work and Social Security Bill, (2016) be passed as a law with compulsory registration of the employer and the employee, stating
all rights and terms of employment.
Ensure that sex workers, domestic and migrant women workers be given the status of a worker in order to access benefits and rights that accrue from labour laws.
Put in place a clear definition of a ‘migrant’ worker, in order to ensure protection of their rights.
We demand the immediate and prioritised Implementation of the Unorganised Sector Social Security Act, 2008 and the Social Security Bill, 2016 be passed.
We demand that the anti-labour labour code be abolished. Stop all laws that attack the rights of working people.
We demand a National Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme.
Provide seeds and fertilisers with immediate effect and free of cost on a priority basis to women farmers, especially those who are single.
Access to interest free credit in Kharif 2020. Crop credit coverage is very low and that can be improved this season with complete interest subvention. –
We demand a waiver of interest of loans to Self Help Groups and from MFIs, rescheduling of the same and stopping of any recovery by the lenders. –
Support to forest foods, millets and other traditional crops in form of coverage under MGNREGS days, income support and drudgery reduction tools for production and processing
Provide bridge funds for FPOs and women’s collectives – Women collective run Custom Hiring Centers (CHC) ensuring access of women friendly tools and equipment at Panchayat level to women farmers.
There should be an economic package announced for the fishing community keeping in mind that the monsoon ban season has also affected the livelihoods of crores of fish workers and the ones who are dependent on the occupation. –
The Draft Fisheries Policy 2020 should be immediately withdrawn and consultations should be resumed with the stakeholders. The policy should be translated in all the
vernacular languages before any sort of consultations.
We demand welfare programmes on the lines of the MGNREGA to provide a safety net for marginalised artists, craftspersons and artisans. The community has been badly hit by COVID-19, especially those in small towns and villages. Public performances and activities are unlikely to restart soon. Thousands of artists and artisans in limbo and many even be forced to abandon art and craft and turn to unskilled work.
Unconditional transfer for at least 6 months of Rs 10,000 women’s names for all the poor rural households, especially single women and female headed households. The Rs. 500
under Jan Dhan was inadequate and outreach poor, as many accounts were not in the name of women.
Transfer MGNREGS wages for the lost 25-30 days during lockdown at minimum wages to all active workers under the scheme.
VIII. Right to Political Participation
It is the right of every citizen to participate in the political processes of our democracy.
Ensure the hard won right of 33% reservation for women in Parliament and State Assemblies, while working towards the goal of 50% reservations.
Pass the Women’s Reservation Bill, passed by Rajya Sabha.
Minorities, Dalits and Adivasis must be vested with the power and must be given proper training to participate in leadership from the Panchayat level to the Parliament.
IX. Right to Health
We demand an increase in public investment on healthcare up to 6% of GDP and its free availability. Universal access to the entire range of essential drugs and diagnostics at public facilities must be made mandatory.
Stop privatisation of health services. Nationalise health services during COVID times.
We demand free access to both COVID and non COVID health care including sexual and reproductive;and mental health services irrespective of gender, caste, religion, ethnicity,ability and social position.
Declare Anganwadi and supplementary nutrition programmes as Essential Services.
We demand regularisation of ASHA and other frontline workers and demand that they receive protection and access to the entire range of labour laws and good quality PPE,social security.
Access to gender-affirming and procedures in public hospitals for all trans persons who want to access them.
X. Access to Natural Resources
Within the current political context of disaster capitalism, access to lands, livestock and other natural resources stands shamefully commodified. Demand support for the collective governance of traditional lands and natural resources (forests, water, farmlands,
seeds, and all commons) by local communities For this we demand the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities and OFDTS.
We demand immediate withdrawal of the draft EIA notification 2020, and ask for widespread consultation to draft a comprehensive environmental regulatory regime.
Consultations with independent people with substantial environmental expertise (including from local communities), alongwith with the Parliamentary Standing Committee
on S&T and Environment, are essential.
Withdraw clearances given to mining, industrial, and infrastructural projects in ecologicallyand culturally sensitive areas in the last 5 months, and auctioning of coal mining blocks;
Take urgent steps to reduce, eliminate, and replace sources of pollution, such that over a 10-15 year period, the quality of air, water and soil is brought to levels safe for human and
other animal use
Stop evictions and dispossession of communities in the name of wildlife conservation,militarisation of project tiger areas, conversion of agricultural lands near protected areas
into tourism resorts, and afforestation (including through the use of CAMPA funds) on lands communities depend on;
Enable local, self-reliant economies, through all relevant schemes and programmes including MGNREGS, using local and new skills and resources, catering first and foremost to local basic needs, and building larger trade on this to, significantly reduce distress rural-
urban migration, and enable workers who have gone back home in COVID times to stayon if they want to with the security of dignified livelihoods.
XI. TECHNOLOGY AND SURVEILLANCE
Desist from using Aadhaar for any purpose not expressly allowed by the five-judge bench judgment of the Supreme Court in Justice Puttaswamy v. Union of India decided on 26th
September, 2018, especially for any purpose connected with children such as for entrance examination registrations, school or college admissions etc; or for the provision of health
services or health insurance.
Introduce appropriate amendments in Personal Data Protection Bill and other laws to ensure that such legislations respect, guarantee, protect the right to privacy of all citizens,
even as they provide for and realize the highest standards of transparency for the government and other public authorities.
Prohibit by law the use of technologies like Facial recognition Technologies, Deep Fakes in election campaigning or any other activity pertaining to elections. Impose stricter
regulations on tech start-ups that provide surveillance tools to the government and public alike without transparency and due process and place a rights based framework for
Create special safeguards against surveillance for women, LGBTQI communities,religious and ethnic minority communities as well as other communities vulnerable to invasion of privacy, discrimination and violence – Desist from providing blanket exemption
We demand that the government be accountable and transparent in its dealings with the media. That it desist from cultivating, favouring, and promoting sections of the media in
order to promote the establishment narrative.
Stop the persecution and prosecution of journalists for their efforts to report on the pandemic in an independent manner. End attempts to censor the media and stop intimidating individual journalists.
Release all journalists who have been jailed for exposing central and state governments as well as corporate entities.
Take legal action against those attempting to spread hatred through fake news put out on media platforms.
Lift the gag on Kashmiri journalists and disband the regime of harassment and intimidation – which includes arrests under draconian laws — that is currently prevailing in the Valley.
Respect the right to information and stop all attempts to undermine the Central Information Commission because the media cannot function without free access to credible information.
Honour the right to ask questions which is the basic duty of every journalist. This included reinstating Question Hour and Zero Hour in Parliament