Archive for June 17, 2014

I came falling down…

Narendra-Modi-policies

Vadodara based human rights activist, Rohit Prajapati takes a satirical look at the ‘changes’ wrought in the country with Narendra Modi at the helm

 

 

 

 

By Rohit Prajapati

In Gujarat the Government had ‘changed’ long ago, now in Delhi too the Government has now ‘changed’.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, the aroma of “Acche Din Good Days” wafted in every corner of the country.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, IB was tasked to report people’s issues; and IB submitted its first report too.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, within x days more than 80% of Illegal Money from foreign shores was deposited in Government Treasury.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, within y days more than 100% of Illegal Money from Local Shores was deposited in Government Treasury.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, within xy days with Illegal Money deposited in Government Treasury, inflation was wiped out completely.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, bribes and payoffs completely vanished from official corridors.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, prices of cooking gas came down by 50%.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, unlimited supply of cooking gas bottles began.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, foremost milk prices came down.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, within few days petrol and diesel prices too came under control.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, power prices came down by 50%.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, instead of watchmen police sub inspectors now stand guard in residential neighborhoods.

As soon as the new government came in power in Delhi, police force actually became friends of people.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, police arrives on spot and registered complaint in response to calls on toll free police phone number 0420.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, all the lumpen elements and mafia went into hiding.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, schools and colleges stopped taking donations.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, private tuition classes closed down shutters.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, children started enjoying burden free education.

As soon as the new government came in power in Delhi, government schools and hospitals started working efficiently.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, any public work is completed barely within 1-3-13-17-31 days.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, unemployment became a past relic.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, everybody got both work and living wages.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, the wage increase outstripped the price rise.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, the contaminated ground water is rendered pure and clean.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, the contaminated rivers are rendered pure and clean.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, all the workers’ issues are resolved.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, sex ratio in the country started improving.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, rapists are quickly punished and rape incidents reduced.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, untouchability was completely eradicated.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, tribals became vanvasi.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, in fair price shops good quality grains and essentials are available.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, all government schemes are executed efficiently.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, people no longer needed to visit government offices to get their work done.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, farmers started getting power for 25 hours.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi, it was happiness and gaiety all over.

As soon as the New Government came in power in Delhi….

Dhadamm….`Ouch, it hurts…’

‘What happened?’

I fell down as I turned in sleep.

16 June 2014

Do not slander and criminalise dissent, civil right activists to Modi Govt

IB- India- report- NGO

PUCL slam recent IB report on “foreign funded” NGOs and call it an attempt by the Government to suppress people’s voices of dissent

By Team FI
Criticizing the leaked Intelligence Bureau (IB) report on Non Governmental Organistaions
(NGO), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), in a press statement issued on Friday, stated that the IB report is an attempt to intimidate, and terrorise “the voice of various citizens’ groups, NGOs and individuals, who raise people’s issues”.

The controversial IB report, which was submitted to the Prime Minister of India, has accused a few citizens’ groups, NGOs and individuals of indulging in antinational anti development activities in the country. Among those who figure in the IB list are anti nuclear activists Udayakumar and Former Navy Chief Admiral L Ramdas.

PUCL warns that Government wants people to blindly trust in the development model advocated, particularly corporate led industrial expansion, rapid urbanisation and rampant consumerism, ignoring the reality that India’s poor and marginalised are already facing immense hardships, exploitation and threat to their lives because of the same policies.

Here is the full text of the PUCL statement:
People’s Union for Civil Liberties condemns the attempt, in the guise of an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report submitted to the Prime Minister of India, to intimidate, slander, throttle and terrorise the voice of various citizens’ groups, NGOs and individuals, who raise people’s issues relating to the violations of their fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Indian constitution, concerns over violations of rights relating to their life, livelihood and well being and the life – threatening impact of `destructive development’ programmes adopted all across India. The groups – individuals, citizens groups, funded NGOs and non-funded mass movements – questioning the displacement of large populations and destruction of environment by mega projects and risk to human life and survival posed by nuclear reactors, mining of radio active minerals like uranium, the indiscriminate use of dirty sources of energy like coal and other hydro carbons and GMO have been tarred in the so called intelligence report as being a threat the `national economic security’ of India.

The dark irony and convoluted logic underlying the aforesaid IB report is that the Government wants citizens to blindly place trust and belief in the development paradigm advocated, particularly corporate led industrial expansionism, rapid urbanisation and rampant consumerism; this is notwithstanding the reality that the poor, excluded and marginalised sections are already facing immense hardships, exploitation and threat to their lives and well being because of the same policies. In actuality, the economic growth process has already resulted in increasing economic vulnerability, social marginalisation and insecurity of the common citizen threatened by the loss of their lives and livelihood, displacement from their habitats, their resultant pauperisation and the destruction of their environment.

The IB report also alleges that citizens opposing development projects are agents of western powers. This is based on a cruel and perverse logic! A government which is inviting foreign corporate investment from rich western countries wants Indian citizens to ignore the fact that these same corporate powers, supported by their countries, are seeking to climb out their own crippling, economic stagnation by investing through their corporate capital in all kinds of mega projects in India irrespective of their harmful consequences to Indians.

The IB, and by extension the Government of India, is not just agreeable but supportive of looting and plundering of the nation’s wealth in common resources, but is ready and willing to use the might of state power to repress and suppress people’s voices when they oppose such destructive development projects

It is dark irony that those who repatriate profits earned in India by looting and plundering the nation’s wealth are feted as `patriots’ and those citizens who assert India’s and Indians’ rights over our vast common resources and protest against destructive development are dubbed `anti-national-economic interest’. Its a short distance from such typecasting to being arrested as `anti-national’ and seditious.

Environmental degradation is a real concern and the poor of this country bear the brunt of its ill effects – rising temperatures, poor rains, lack of safe drinking water and exposure to pollution resulting in not only chronic illnesses among the living but also affecting the unborn. All that NGOs are doing is reminding the government of its commitments under the Rio Convention, Agenda 21 and other UN Declarations.

The organizations and the individuals who oppose indiscriminate plundering and destruction of natural resources are only fulfilling their fundamental duties under Article 51 A of the constitution which mandates that “it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures”.
The bogey of “foreign funding” is raised more to smear individual and groups challenging unfair, unjust inequitable and unsustainable state and corporate projects. The IB and the PMO know that all NGOs who receive funds from foreign sources are subjected to the strict provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 where clearances are given by the Home Department and subjected to periodic stringent audits by the central government agencies.

It is neither PUCL’s nor anybody’s case that the NGOs receiving foreign or for that matter, even domestic funding, should not be transparent and accountable for the funds they receive and subject to the laws of the land. Any, and all, organisations are duty bound to be held accountable under the law if they violate laws and regulations governing their funding. Instead of initiating prosecutions against organisations found to be breaking the law, hurling the kind of scurrilous insinuation resorted to by the government as made in the leaked intelligence report, is nothing but an attempt to throttle dissent from the dominant discourse on development. Much more sinister is the aim to silence people from their fundamental right to express dissent through words, non violent action, mobilisation, and forming associations to further their views.

While slandering them as foreign agents is the weapon of choice to intimidate NGOs receiving foreign funds, it was difficult to use against citizens’ organisations not receiving any foreign or domestic institutional funding like the PUCL, which too has been targeted by the so called IB report. It is shocking that a criticism of the so called Gujarat model of development and its ill effect on the poor and the marginalised people, and the participation in a seminar on this topic, by the Gujarat PUCL and some other organisations, including Gandhian and Sarvodaya ones is alleged by the Intelligence Bureau to be anti national.

We only hope that this intelligence report is not a precursor to a more sinister anti democratic and repressive crackdown by the new government on dissent and other human and democratic rights of the people to further a corporate led economic agenda.

We would like to remind the new Central government, as also all the states, what the Supreme Court of India pointed out in `S. Rangarajan vs P. Jagjivan Ram’ (1994):

“ “When men differ in opinion, both sides ought equally to have the advantage of being heard by the public.” (Benjamin Franklin). If one is allowed to say that policy of the Government is good, another is with equal freedom entitled to say that it is bad. If one is allowed to support the governmental scheme, the other could as well say, that he will not support it. The different views are allowed to be expressed by proponents and opponent not because they are correct, or valid but because there is freedom in this country for expressing even differing views on any issue”.

We therefore call upon the new BJP-led government to respect people’s right to articulate their views, including their fundamental right to dissent and protest peaceably and in democratic manner.
sd/-
Dr. V. Suresh
National General Secretary, PUCL

Prof. Prabhakar Sinha
National President, PUCL

Kavita Srivastava
National Secretary

Gandhian institution sealed off by Rajasthan’s BJP govt

BJP -attack- Gandhians

Civil activists condemn the illegal cancellation of allotment of land to the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh and the sealing off its premises and vow to fight and expose Government’s plotting against civil society

By Team FI
A leading Gandhian institution in Jaipur, the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, was sealed off to its members with the residents, including the 80 year old secretary of the Sangh and his wife, were thrown out of the premises.

The eviction process was conducted by a team from Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) which is directly under Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. The team served a cancellation of allotment letter to the organisation which had been allotted the land in 1959 and since then based their operations here.

A letter issued by concerned citizens and members of civil society state that the JDA team, led by officials Pawan Arora and Subhash Mahariya, asked one resident who had recently delivered a baby, was asked to leave the room by evening, locking the kitchen and adjoining rooms that she could not even be fed. “The 80 year old Secretary of the Sangh, Rameshwar Vidyarthi, and his wife, living in one room of the premises, were thrown out with their belongings and are now on the road. Similarly, the President of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh’s, Sh. Sawai Singh who had been living with his family, as part of the norms of the Sangh since the last thirty years also found himself with his family and their belongings on their road. The JP Narayan founded Samadhi of Gokul Bhai Bhatt was also treated with disrespect and sealed and as of now the whole place out of bounds.”

As per the JDA, the allotment was cancelled because the Sewa Sangh had violated the conditions of allotment of land in 2001. The Sangh was required to get a Map passed by the JDA within a year of the allotment wherein the JDA would give approval for construction activity. The condition also stipulated that the space given to the Sewa Sangh not be used for commercial and residential purpose. The JDA had issued notices citing violations of these conditions and were not satisfied with the answers of the Sangh.

However, the Sewa Sangh and its lawyers inform that when the government acquired the Sangh land for the International airport, the government did not take possession of it and as per law, if the land is not taken possession off in five years of the acquisition, it goes back to the original holder which is the Sewa Sangh. Therefore JDA has no authority over the land and cannot cancel the allotment.

The letter alleges that the action was taken to “grab the property of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, convert it to Real Estate and grant it to land sharks. The concerned piece of land is in the prime area, next door to the Airport and Jawahar Circle on JLN Marg, that it is priceless commercially.”

Rajasthan has never seen such straight assault on Gandhian Institutions and ideology

The letter condemned the action and has requested the JDA and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to restore the land and the premises back to the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh. “In the eventuality of this not happening, we will resist it tooth and nail and struggle against this high handedness of the Government and expose the Government for its assault on Gandhian Institutions and values,” stated the letter.

Presenting the entire text of the letter:

Statement by Concerned Citizens of Rajasthan

Dated, 8th June, 2014

Rajasthan Civil Society members outraged and condemn the assault by the GOR on the leading Gandhian Institution in Jaipur, the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh of Rajasthan.

• Premises taken over, buildings sealed, allotment illegally cancelled and all belongings and residents including a woman inpost delivery thrown out by the JDA
• Famous Gandhian Freedom Fighter, Gokul Bhai Bhatt’s Samadhi which was founded by JP Narayan also sealed and gates locked up.

In a shocking and arbitrary exercise of power on the 7th June, 2014, the Jaipur Development Authority, directly under the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, sealed the complete premises of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh which had been in existence on its own land since 1959. They threw out all the residents and their belongings, cancelled the allotment and took over their land. The insensitivity of the JDA team led by JDA official Pawan Arora and Subhash Mahariya, was such that in the scorching heat of 47 degrees, one resident who had recently delivered a baby, was asked to leave the room by evening, locking the kitchen and adjoining rooms that she could not even be fed.

The 80 year old Secretary of the Sangh, Rameshwar Vidyarthi, living with his wife in one room of the premises were thrown out with their belongings and are now on the road. Similarly, the President of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh’s, Sh. Sawai Singh who had been living with his family, as part of the norms of the Sangh since the last thirty years also found himself with his family and their belongings on their road. The JP Narayan founded Samadhi of Gokul Bhai Bhatt was also treated with disrespect and sealed and as of now the whole place out of bounds. It is also important to know that the letter of cancellation of allotment and seizure of property dated 6th June, signed by Shikhar Agarwal, Secretary, JDA, was handed over by the officials when they came at 1pm on the 7th June. It was an order of eviction and they had come to evict.

The intention of the JDA was clear. Which was to grab the property of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, convert it to Real Estate and grant it to land sharks. The concerned piece of land is in the prime area, next door to the Airport and Jawahar Circle on JLN Marg, that it is priceless commercially. The Raje Government in the earlier term was well known for its support to the real estate business interests but had spared civil society. This action clearly, sends a message to all, that this Government is merciless and it will get rid of all impediments to its design

Rajasthan has never seen such straight assault on Gandhian Institutions and ideology. We all condemn this act of the Government.

The argument used by the JDA is that the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh violated the conditions of the allotment of the land in 2001. They had to get a Map passed by the JDA in a year’s time of its allotment, they had to take approval of construction activity and the space could not be used for any commercial and residential purpose. Notices were given earlier and JDA not being satisfied with the replies to these violations, along with constant notices from the Lok Ayukta to take action for these violations, they were cancelling the allotment.

Countering these lies the President of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh and his team of lawyers gave the following arguments. The Sangh land was in the erstwhile Chainpura village, which was bought in 1959 from a farmer and the registry is in the name of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh. In 1984 when all the land in that area was acquired for the International Airport, the Sangh land too was acquired. However, it was never taken possession off. According to the new and old law, when land is not taken possession off in five years of the acquisition, then the land goes back to the original holder. Thus the land was always of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh since 1989.

So this business about allotment becomes meaningless and the JDA. Also there was a Rajasthan High Court stay on the land since 2004 against the JDA allotment, which had handed over two bighas land of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh to Gokul Vatika Sahakari Samiti, this stay order was violated by the JDA on the 7th when it came to take possession of the land of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh. The JDA has actually committed contempt.

However, even if we go by the argument of allotment of 2001, then it is the JDA which has violated the conditions and not the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh.

The condition was also that the JDA would give Rs 40 lacs for the construction of the Gokul Bhai Bhatt memorial, which the JDA never ever gave since 2001 to the Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh,

Secondly, the executive of the Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh was supposed to have two officials of the JDA and one from the Government, the onus of this lapse is on the Government and the JDA and not the Rajasthan Samagra SewaSangh.

The Map was supposed to be prepared under the guidance of the JDA, when did the JDA ever come forward and give its guidance.

The place was never used commercially, the so called use for wedding, were the stray two or three wedding of the family members of the staff. The kitchen run at the back of the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh was for the participants who came for the constant meetings that took place, as the original objective of the Rajasthan Samagra Swea Sangh was to be a space for reflections and churning of ideas. It was the space in Rajasthan where activists from all over came month after month for such meetings.

The notices that were given in 2013 November and 2014 February, were duly replied too and if there was a dispute then the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Singh, should have been called for a hearing, why was it never given a chance to be heard. Similarly, if the Lok Ayukta felt that there was an issue, then too they should have sent a notice to the Sangh. The Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh, never heard from the Lok Ayukta. Principles of natural justice seemed to be compromised by both.

As concerned citizens and members of civil society, from whom the space of Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh has been a space for carrying forward Sarvodaya, Gandhian and JP’s ideals, we condemn this act strongly, and request the JDA and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to restore the land and the premises back to the Rajasthan Samagra Sewa Sangh. In the eventuality of this not happening, we will resist it tooth and nail and struggle against this high handedness of the Government and expose the Government for its assault on Gandhian Institutions and values.

We are,
1. Prem Krishan Sharma, PUCL, Rajasthan
2. Aruna Roy, MKSS
3. Radha Kant Saxena, PUCL Rajasthan
4. Nikhil Dey, MKSS,
5. Kavita Srivastava, PUCL Rajasthan
6. Shankar Singh, MKSS
7. Renuka Pamecha, WRG
8. Mamta Jaitly, Vividha
9. Komal Srivastava, BGVS
10. Vishwambhar, Digantar,
11. Arvind Ojha, Urmul Trust
12. Narendra Gupta, Prayas, Chittorgarh
13. Khemraj, Pratirodh, Chittorgarh
14. Virendra Vidrohi, Matsya Mewat Shiskha Vikas Samiti
15. Maulana Hanif, MMSVS
16. Kapil Sankhla, PUCL Jaipur
17. Kamal Tak, RTI Manch
18. Mukesh Goswami, RTI Manch
19. Harkesh Bugalia, RTI Manch
20. P N Mandola, Lok Sampati Sanrakshan
21. Rajendra Kumbaj, Nagrik Manch
22. Nishat Hussein, National Muslim Women’s Welfare Society,
23. Nisha Sidhu, NFIW
24. Sumitra Chopra, AIDWA
25. Ashok Khandelwal, Rozi Roti Sandharbh Kendra
26. Vijay Lakshmi Joshi, PUCL, Rajasthan
27. Pritam Pal, Health Activist
28. Yogendra Upadhyay, Educationist
29. Ashok Mathur, Writer
30. Anant Bhatnagar, PUCL, Ajmer
31. Dl Tripathi, PUCL Ajmer
32. PL Mimroth, Centre for Dalit Rights
33. Satish, Centre for Dalit Rights
34. Ajay Kumar Jain
35. Shyam Menariya, Astha
36. Bhanwar singh, Astha
37. Ramesh Nandwana, PUCL, Rajasthan
38. Chandra Bhandari, PUCL Rajasthan
39. Ashwani Paliwal, PUCL, Udaipur
40. Kailash Meena, PUCL, Sikar
41. Kailash Kumbhakar, Academy for Socio Legal Studies, Jaipur
42. Bhanwri Bai, Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti
43. Richa, Jan Chetna Samiti
44. Mahesh Bora, Advocate and the PUCL
45. Usha, Vikalp
46. Tara Ahluwalia, Mahila evam Bal Chetna Samiti
47. Kusum Saiwal, AIDWA
48. bhanwar Meghwansihi, Writer and Journaist
49. Krishan Takhar, PUCL
50. Moti Lal, Sanklap, Kota
51. Brij Mohan, SARD,Sirohi
52. Apurwa Asher, Film Maker
53. Prof Sanjay Lodha, Political Scientist

British Indians write to Modi, demand justice for Dalit rape victims

women-protest- India

Women, Dalit and community organisations write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure speedy justice in Badaun and Bhagana sexual violence cases and remove the Muzaffarnagar riot accused Sanjeev Baliyan from his ministerial post

By Team FI

An open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi was submitted to the Indian High Commission by several women, Dalit and South Asian community organisations from London protesting against the attacks and sexual violence against the Dalit community in India. The letter urged the Prime Minister to meet the demands of the Bhagana villagers and stop their forcible eviction from Jantar Mantar. The letter asked that the government do the needful to ensure justice in the Badaun case. Pointing out that the one of the main accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh, Sanjeev Baliyan is a part of the Modi ministry, the letter asked the government to remove him from his Ministerial post immediately.

The full text of the letter is given below:

Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
4th June 2014

Dear Prime Minister

We the undersigned women’s organizations, South Asian community organizations and Dalit and anti-caste discrimination organizations in Britain are writing to you to express our acute concern about the ongoing horrific attacks on Dalit and oppressed caste women and children across India, including most recently, the appalling gang-rape and lynching of two girls aged 14 and 15 in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday 28th May. Only two months earlier, four teenage Dalit girls aged 13-18 were raped by ‘higher caste’ landowners in Bhagana in Haryana, and the survivors are still fighting for the arrest of the rapists.

We note that:
• These caste/gender atrocities are not confined to one state but have been occurring across the country – from Bathani Tola and Bathe in Bihar to Khairlanji and Khadra in Maharashtra.

• These are taking place with the collusion of the police as recently highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. In many cases the police themselves are the perpetrators.

• There has also been collusion by public prosecutors and the judiciary, which has led to acquittals of the guilty.

• Public figures who have been responsible for rapes and murders of minority, Dalit and Adivasi women have been rewarded and promoted – two of many examples are Muzaffarnagar-accused Sanjeev Baliyan, now made a central government Minister, and Police Superintendent Ankit Garg awarded for gallantry after supervising the rape and torture of Soni Sori.

We urge you therefore to ensure that

1. In the Badaun case: The police involved in the rape-murders must be prosecuted: In the FIR lodged by the police, the culprit policemen have been charged only with abettment (120B) whereas they should be named as the accused and Section 166A (which refers to police and other public servants refusing to do their duties) also should be invoked in the case. The government must take measures to guarantee the security of the families of the victims since police are among the accused.

2. In the Bhagana case: The eviction today from Jantar Mantar of the rape survivors and their families who have been forced to protest in Delhi for many weeks must be stopped. Their demands must immediately be met: all those named by the survivors must be arrested; the Dalit community in Bhagana must be given land and guaranteed security as is their right; full compensation must be provided to the Bhagana rape survivors.

3. In the cases of the Bathani Tola and Bathe massacres and mass rapes carried out by the Ranvir Sena in Bihar: all those convicted on the evidence of eyewitness survivors have been subsequently acquitted by the Patna High Court. These acquittals must be overturned. The Amir Das Commission investigating the Ranveer Sena which was hastily disbanded before it could make its findings public, must be reinstated.

4. Sanjeev Baliyan who is a main accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots and mass rapes of Muslim women in U.P. (and has continued to break the law, taking out inflammatory victory processions against Prohibitory Orders) must be removed from his post as Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing in the central government immediately.

5. The Atrocities Act which is specifically designed to address caste violence must be applied in all cases of caste/gender violence against SCs and STs.

Yours sincerely
Sarbjit Johal, FreedomWithout Fear Platform
Amrit Wilson, South Asia Solidarity Group
Santosh Dass, Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations (UK)
Ravi Kumar, Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance
Davinder Prasad, British Organisation of People of Asian Origin
Bholi Randhawa, Shri Guru Ravi Dass Mission International (Kanshi TV)
Desraj Bunger, Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha, UK, Europe and Abroad
Satpal Muman, CasteWatch UK
Faquir Chand Sahota, Central Valmik Sabha (UK)
Eugene Culas, Voice of Dalit International
Pastor Raj, Minority Christian International Federation
Baljit Banga, Newham Asian Women’s Project
Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters
Sumanta Roy, Imkaan
Anjum Mouj, Rape Crisis England and Wales
Balvinder Saund, Sikh Women’s Alliance UK
Shahida Choudhury,Women’s Networking Hub

Delhi police molest women protestors

Police- attack- on- women

Activists demand immediate suspension of Delhi Police personnel who physically molested women protestors who were demonstrating against the forcible eviction of Dalit rape survivors from Jantar Mantar

By Team FI

A complaint was lodged with the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, yesterday, as regards to the sexual assault on women protestors by the police men and women of the Parliament Street police station.

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, dalit villagers including the families of the rape survivors from Bhagana protested against their forcible eviction from their camp at Jantar Mantar. Led by the mothers of the two rape survivors, and accompanied by representatives of women’s organisations, Dalit organisations and students’ organisations, the protestors marched to the Parliament Street police station to present a memorandum which requested that the villagers be allowed to stay at Jantar Mantar.

The demonstrators were stopped by a barricade outside the police station and were asked to leave. When an argument broke out, the police began to attack the women demonstrators including the mothers of the rape survivors and some women activists by grabbing their private parts.

Activists have lodged a complaint against the behaviour of the police personnel and demanded that “concerned police personnel (including the officer who gave the order for sexual assault) be immediately suspended from service and charged under the relevant sections. An FIR should be filed and an enquiry instituted without delay.”

The full text of the complaint is given below:

The Commissioner of Police
Delhi Police
Subject: Sexual assault on women protestors by personnel of Parliament Street police station

We are writing to demand your immediate action against police personnel of the Parliament Street Police Station who were involved in assaulting and brutalising a peaceful group of protestors today.
The facts are as follows.

• A group of people belonging to the Dalit community from Bhagana village, Haryana, have been sitting in a peaceful dharna at Jantar Mantar for the last one month, in pursuit of their demand for justice in the case of abduction and gang rape of four minor girls. Early this morning, a large force of policemen appeared at Jantar Mantar and tried to evict the protestors who were sleeping there. pulled down their tent and scattered their belongings.

• The Bhagana protestors (including the families of the rape survivors and the girls themselves) went to the Parliament Street Police Station this afternoon at about 1400 hours, in order to present a memorandum to the officer in charge asking to be allowed to stay in Jantar Mantar since they had nowhere else to go.

• The Bhagana group was accompanied by representatives of women’s organisations, Dalit organisations and students’ organisations. The mothers of two of the rape survivors were leading the group.

• The group was stopped by some policemen at the barricade outside the thana. Their request to be allowed to go inside and meet the office in charge was denied. Some policemen on duty at the barricade spoke to the Bhagana group in Haryanvi and asked them to go back and not to make trouble. The women argued with these policemen, insisting on being allowed to go and meet the officer in charge.

• While the argument was going on, some policemen started pushing the group back from the barricade, using undue force and targeting the women by grabbing their private parts and pushing their hands into the anal region. The mothers of the survivors and several women activists (including Adv Pyoli Swatija of Samajwadi Jan Parishad, , Ms Sumedha Baudh of Rashtiya Dalit Mahila Andolan and Ms Rakhi – of NTUI) were attacked in this manner.

• At this point a senior police officer (in uniform but without a name badge) came out and shouted out – “Are ye aise nahi manenge – lathi ghusao.”

• At this, some 4-5 women police charged forward and attacked the women by thrusting at their private parts with batons. The women who were in the front resisted this attack and struggled with the police women. Several policemen were also in the melee and were physically attacking women protestors.

• Several activists were taken into custody and held for more than an hour, after which they were released without any charge being made against them.

• None of the police had name badges except one police woman (Suman D) who removed it after a few minutes. However, we are confident that we can identify most if not all the attackers by face including the officer who gave the order for the sexual attack.

You are surely aware that the acts committed by the policemen and women are criminal offences under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.

We demand that the concerned police personnel (including the officer who gave the order for sexual assault) be immediately suspended from service and charged under the relevant sections. An FIR should be filed and an enquiry instituted without delay.

We are shocked to see that the police personnel under your command seem to have forgotten the bitter lessons of December 2012, and are blatantly ignoring and violating citizens’ rights of peaceful assembly and democratic protest.

We are told that much time and resources have been invested in training the rank and file of Delhi police in “gender-sensitive policing”. Our suggestion to you is: please do not waste any more of the taxpayers’ money on these futile public relations exercises. Instead, please take strong, immediate and exemplary action against personnel accused of such crimes.

We look forward to a response from you. We will be happy to come and present you with evidence in support of our complaint.

(KALYANI MENON-SEN)
On behalf of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression – 4 June 2014

Police evict Dalit rape survivors from Jantar Mantar

Jantar-mantar-protest

Delhi police evict Dalit rape survivors and supporters from Jantar Mantar without notice, molest women at protest rally against eviction

By Team FI

The day that the 16th Loksabha would begin its democratic process dawned with the Delhi police forcibly evicting Dalit protestors from Jantar Mantar, and molesting women demonstrators at a rally organised to protest against the eviction.

For the homeless Dalit families from Bhagana, Haryana camping out at Jantar Mantar in protest against the usurpation of their homes by upper caste villagers, the day of the first session of the 16th Loksabha began by their forcible eviction by the Delhi police without any prior notice.

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, early morning at 6 am, nearly 1000 policemen descended on the Dalit villagers camp at Jantar Mantar and evicted them using force. “The police men dismantled the tents, picked the belongings of the protesters including the Bhagana rape survivors and their families and warned them to vacate the whole area by noon. Almost more than 600 protesters, rallying for their demands since long time, were put on the roadside without anything at hand. No water, not even a mat to sit or shed to face the scorching sun,” stated the press release issued by activists.

The villagers had been camping at Jantar Mantar, which has been a permanent protest site, officially granted by the Delhi police and administration. The site was also witness to the protest against the rape of four minor Dalit girls from Bhagana, Haryana and the rape and murder of the two minor Dalit girls from Badaun, Uttar Pradesh.

By 8.30 am, reports came from Hisar, that the local police have also evicted the 200 Bhagana families living outside Hisar’s mini secretariat since last 2 years. The homeless villagers are now without any shelter as the state government has yet to grant them their land rights.

By 11 am, students, activists and concerned citizens had swung into action and the decision to hold a rally at the Parliament Police Station to protest against the eviction was taken. By 2 pm, the rally was on with hundreds of protesters converging on Parliament Street. Activists have accused Delhi police of molesting women demonstrators in the rally. Some of the activists have been reportedly detained at the police station.

Badaun gang rape and murder: Dalit villagers, citizens protest in Delhi

Badaun- rape-murder

Candlelight vigil held in capital even as a shocked nation reacts to the rape and murder of two minor Dalit girls in Uttar Pradesh

By FI Network

Over 150 people gathered in the country’s capital yesterday to protest against the gruesome rape and murder of two minor Dalit girls in Badaun district in Uttar Pradesh. The two girls, cousins, who were 14 and 15 years of age respectively, were kidnapped at night outside their home on May 27. Their bodies were found the next day hanging from a mango tree in the village.

The Delhi protest – a candle light vigil- was organised by Reclaim the Night, Delhi, a collective that works to make Delhi a safe city for women. The vigil was held at Jantar Mantar where the Dalits from the Bhagana village in Haryana have been camping to protest against the usurpation of their land by the upper castes in the village and the rape of four minor Dalit girls in April 2014 under the banner of Bhagana Sangharsh Samiti.

Participants shared their grief and anguish over the Badaun violence, and many expressed their disillusionment with the authorities concerned for explicitly or implicitly supporting the accused instead of the girls. Speakers at the gathering recognised the need to fully acknowledge the intersection of caste discrimination with gender-based violence, which repeatedly leads to public, brazen – and often fatal – attacks on the most vulnerable Dalit bodies, that of women and girls.

The members of the Bhagana Sangharsh Samiti participated in the vigil, and their representatives spoke out against the caste-motivated gender violence faced by women and girls from their community. Protest songs were sung and slogans were chanted to show solidarity with the families of the victims at Badaun.

Dalit women in India are frequent victims of sexual violence. Photos by: Reclaim the Night Campaign

Dalit women in India are frequent victims of sexual violence. Photos by: Reclaim the Night Campaign

According to the victim’s relatives and the villagers, the local Badaun police not only ignored the missing report that the girls’ parents had tried to file but also had roughed them up. The villagers then gheraoed the tree and refused to allow authorities to remove the bodies till the attackers were arrested. As the photographs of the dead bodies of young girls dangling from a tree spread across the nation, the police arrested all the five accused named in the FIR, including two police constables.

Three brothers, Pappu Yadav, Awadhesh Yadav and Urvesh Yadav have been booked under sections 302 (murder) and 376 (rape) of IPC while constables Sarvesh Yadav and Chhatrapal Yadav have been booked under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC. With protests breaking out across the nation, the Uttar Pradesh government on 30th May has decided to recommend a CBI investigation into the rape and murder.