The Struggle For Justice In Manipur #AFSPA


 

By Graham Peebles

03 May, 2013
Countercurrents.org

The primary colours of any civil democracy are we would agree, social justice, freedom of expression, freedom to protest and participation. India, with a population of 1.3 billion people is regularly hailed as the largest democracy in the world. At first glance the governments pretentions to democracy would appear to be justified, after all there is, on paper at least, an independent judiciary, a free press – freely owned from top to toe by corporations – a thriving civil society and, of course, the cornerstone of any democratic state: the haloed parliamentary elections, totally funded and (therefore) fully owned, top to toe, by the same corporations that count the national and regional newspapers, radio and television networks as their own, as well as growing portfolios of natural assets; rivers, forests, water supplies, mountains (full of bauxite), and other mineral resources.

Where elements of democratic necessity are lacking, democracy is absent, and if there is a single tenet upon which the democratic dream is built, it must surely be justice: legal justice, together with social justice, both of which are essential. With cries of inequality ringing out across the world, social justice – solidly founded upon principles of fairness, is universally missing.

In large parts of India not only is there little or no social justice, but the observation of judicial law is also lacking as government agencies and security forces trample on federal law, the Indian constitution, and a range of Internationally binding agreements. State violence, injustice and corruption, under the comforting cloak of impunity have long taken root in vast tracts of the country, most notably the Northeastern and Central States, where local people, herded together under the terrorist tainted banner of ‘Maoists’, or ‘rebels’ are waging a tribal uprising against government military and paramilitary forces.

State Criminality and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act

Manipur, like its neighbouring States in the Northeast is awash with government paramilitary, for over five decades it’s people have been petitioning and fighting for self-determination. They bear witness to the plague of state criminality, violent injustice and corruption surging through the country. Widespread rape, torture, false imprisonment and extra judicial killings, are all in use as methods of government oppression and control that are poisoning life in the region.

In March 2012i the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heynes, spoke of the “excessive use of force by police including fake encounters, custodial deaths and traditional practices affecting women such as honour killings, and dowry deaths”, he called for justice for victims and for the government to set up a “credible Commission of Inquiry” into extrajudicial killings. The panel should investigate “past violations, propose relevant measures to deal with these, and work out a plan of action to eradicate practices of extrajudicial executions.”

Justice is a jewel that unsurprisingly, eludes the disadvantaged and vulnerable throughout India; most at risk of abuse Heynes tells us, are “women and minorities — religious minorities, as well as Dalits [so called untouchables from the lowest caste]…. Adivasis [and] human rights defenders, including Right to Information activists…. and their protection deserves special measures.” Alas the only ‘special measures’ these marginalised people and advocates of justice are receiving in corporate India are to be found in the draconian articles of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958. A law that is anathema to the democratic principles India proclaims to cherish. It grants immunity to security personnel committing wide-ranging offenses to innocent civilians. Human Rights Watch (HRW) 19/10/2011ii, state, that the law “grants the armed forces the power to shoot to kill in law enforcement situations, to arrest without warrant, and to detain people without time limits.” Soldiers acting with impunity are, HRW relay, “routinely engaging in torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation”.

Introduced in 1958 in Nagaland, the AFSPA descended onto the ‘disturbed’ districts of Manipur in 1980, creeping then into Jammu and Kashmir, until it permeated much of the Northeast of the country. The ‘emergency’ law, which Parliament and the people were promised was to be in operation for only six months, has lived on for 52 years and hundreds of deaths, rapes and false imprisonments later, is still being used to shield security personnel committing criminal acts. The AFSPA, as all unjust actions – far from easing tension has exacerbated the situation and fed insurgent groups, The Hindu 7/02/2013iii record, “In 1958 there was one “terrorist” group in the North East. Manipur had two groups when the State was brought under the Act. Today, Manipur has more than twenty such groups, Assam has not less than fifteen, Meghalaya has five of them and other States have more groups.“

Working for justice

The Government, perhaps keen to conceal the conflict taking place in Manipur, refused the UN Special Rapporteur permission to visit the State in 2012. Through the committed work of human rights groups and political activists in the region, the struggle for justice and the outrage against widespread human rights abuses, are kept persistently present. The figurehead is the heroic Irom Sharmilla Chanu. An “icon of public resistance”, the New York Times 8/02/2011iv called her, she bravely represents the people of Manipur, particularly the women of the state in their struggle for justice against the hated AFSPA, the excessive military presence and the violent abusive methods of security personnel.

The right to protest is another pre-requisite of democracy alongside justice. Peaceful or otherwise, protest is strongly discouraged in India, by a government eager to suppress dissent and present a sparkling-clean market-friendly image to the world. Within three days of Sharmilla’s peaceful protest, she was arrested, charged with attempted suicide – illegal in India, and imprisoned, without trial, for one year – the maximum sentence. This bizarre process has been repeated ever since, resulting in her being held in judicial custody for the last twelve years. She was last released on 12th March only to be re-arrested two days later.

Imprisoned, The Independent 4/03/2013v report, in “the secure wing of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in the city of Imphal” she is force-fed by the police using nasogastric intubation – a tube inserted into her nostril. She pleads ‘not guilty’ to the charge of attempted suicide, and rightly calls for all criminal charges to be dropped. Amnesty International (AI) 20/03/2013vi demanding her immediate release from police custody, report her saying “I love life…. I do not want to commit suicide. Mine is only a non-violent protest. It is my demand to live as a human being.” A hunger strike the British Medical Association makes clear, “is not equivalent to suicide. Individuals who embark on hunger strikes aim to achieve goals important to them but generally hope and intend to survive.” (Ibid)

Her well-documented political protest against abuse and injustice in Manipur, and specifically against the internationally condemned AFSPA, was fuelled by the shooting of 10 civilians in the village of Malon, near Manipur’s capital, by the Assam Rifles. They are one of a number of Government forces present within the State that have been implicated in a barrage of cases (yet to be investigated) of murder, rape and torture, most notoriously perhaps, the rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama in July 2004. Human Rights Watchvii report Manorama’s “bullet-ridden body was found at around 5:30 a.m. on July 11, 2004 by villagers near Ngariyan Maring, about four kilometers from her house.” she had been arrested at home, beaten and HRW report, “tortured” by members of the Assam Rifles, who were responsible for her murder. The incident so outraged the community that a group of elderly women staged a naked demonstration in front of the Assam Rifles headquarters, while carrying a banner that read: “Indian Army, Rape Us.”viii

Sharmilla’s peaceful action is the loudest cry in an army of voices calling for the repeal of the AFSPA. The Womens International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)ix state that the AFSPA, “continues to increase militarisation in the North East, augment impunity and facilitate human rights abuses including rape and other forms of torture, forced disappearances, and killings of civilians.” There is broad recognition in India, HRW 19/10/2011x report, “that the AFSPA should be repealed because it has led to so many abuses. Prime Minister Singh should overrule the army and keep his promise [made in 2004] to abolish this abusive law”. Various Indian bodies have recommended repealing the law, including amongst others, the Jeevan Reddy Commission (back in 2005), which described the situation in Manipur as “grave” and the Prime-Ministers Working Group on Confidence-Building Measures. In January this year The Justice Verma Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law found “that the AFSPA legitimised impunity for sexual violence, and recommended an urgent review of the law”.

An unjust law worth fighting

Reviews, recommendations, proposed amendments all miss the unjust violent point, and fail to demand that the law, which is an abhorrence to any society, democratic or not, be scrapped totally, and thorough investigations of past state criminality initiated. This commonsense view, is one that not only the conscience of the UN holds but the Supreme Court of India, which acknowledges that the conflict in Manipur is a fight for “self-determination”, also shares. It is, it seems, the army generals who are devoutly attached to the AFSPA. The Hindu reports Mr P. Chidambaram, the former Union Home Minister and now Finance Minister saying the “Army Chiefs have taken a strong position that the Act should not [even] be amended”, but retained in “disturbed” areas – ignoring the fact that the army is causing the disturbance. Government subservience to the men with guns has caused The Hindu to asks “Who is it that rules India”? The rupee-rich multi-national corporations, albeit via ‘democratically’ elected representatives, is the majority response.

Christof Heynes during his visit in March, made an unequivocal demand for the law to be scrapped, saying “the repeal of this law will not only bring domestic law more in line with international standards, but also send out a powerful message that instead of a military approach the government is committed to respect for the right to life of all people of the country.” The application of the law denies “the right to life” he said. His statement emphasises a chorus of comments made by the UN since 1997. In 2007, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged the Government to repeal the Act, and in March 2009, Navanethem Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights herself demanded it be repealed. Such common-sense calls, as so many issuing forth from the table of the UN, have been resolutely ignored. The inviolable sanctity of the ‘nation state’, together with the unrepresentative out-dated Security Council, is constraining the UN and overriding the human rights of the people, which the Assembly of Nations was founded to establish and safeguard.

In Manipur, the most basic of the 30 rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (UDHR) – the right to life, liberty and security – also the right, “to be protected from arbitrary arrest, and to be free from torture and other ill-treatment”, are being trampled on by government security forces with, thanks to the AFSPA, impunity.

These unconditional rights are to be found not only in the pages of the UDHR, but within the hearts of just men and women throughout the world. They are everyone’s birth-right, beyond caste, class, income or position, and must be rightly observed.

Graham Peebles is Director of The Create Trust, www.thecreatetrust.org A UK registered charity (1115157). Running education and social development programmes, supporting fundamental Social change and the human rights of individuals in acute need. Contact , E:graham@thecreatetrust.org

 

RashiDa Manjoo, U.N. Special Rapporteur for Vaw visits Manipur, weeps #AFSPA


IMPHAL, April 29, 2013

Iboyaima Laithangbam, The Hindu

 Rashida Manjoo, U.N. Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, broke down and wept for a few minutes uncontrollably on Sunday during a consultative meeting here. It was attended by about 200 human rights defenders, families of victims and civil society organisations. The frail mother of Manorama Thangjam, who was arrested, raped and shot dead allegedly by some personnel of 17 Assam Rifles on July 11, 2004, was telling Ms. Manjoo about the tragic death of the girl. She fervently appealed to her for justice.

Ms. Manjoo arrived in Imphal on Saturday. During the consultative meeting on Sunday, 40 separate depositions were made. Speaking about her mandate and the purpose of her current visit to India, Ms. Manjoo said, “The death of a woman is not a new act but the ultimate act in the continuation of violence in the life of the woman.” In her closing remarks, she said that it was not her mandate to comment on the depositions made before her and that her report would be based on facts. She also said that her opinions and conclusions as an independent expert were hers alone and that these would not be changed or shaped by any influence whether from the government or any other organisation.

Irom Sharmila, the woman who has been on more than 12 years of fast unto death demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, also sent a hand-written terse letter to Ms. Manjoo. The letter thanked her for visiting the conflict area. A “justice lover like [her] from a remote hilly state” expected a positive outcome. “Like a viewer of fish in an aquarium, by now you must know the cause and effect of the utter lawlessness in Manipur.” She also wrote that Ms. Manjoo could not change the mindset of the people here.

She says that the government has been spending lakhs of the tax payers’ money in nasal feeding her all these years. She wonders why the people are not saying anything about the misuse of the public money in this manner. The government is doing these things to “suppress my voice of truth forcibly.”

 

Indian Army –Magic Formula to have beautiful and successful daughters ? #WTFad #AFSPA #Kashmir #Manipur


Dear Indians

Do you want a daughter ? No of course not, why will you want a girl child , she is such a burden and a son will only carry on the family name etc etc… blah blah.

Oh No  !  you dont want to have a  girl child !!!

Well  in shillong specifically and allover india generally, the  Indian army  is giving the incentive, to have a girl child. Wow, this advertisement will go a long way in balancing child sex ratio ?  and it might also give impetus to the ‘ Laadli Campaign, which is in deep shit for now, 42% girls dropped from Laadli scheme over 2 years

army

So above in the advertisement you see—  PRIYANKA  Chopra, Gul Panag, Preity zinta,  Anushka  Sharma , Celina Jaitley , Simmi Garewal,  Amrita singh, Chitrangadha , Sakshi Tanwar, and it says -‘If you want to have beautiful and successful daughters  join INDIAN ARMY”,.

Now , Indians this  is your  chance dont let ti go away.. RUSSSSHHH TO INDIAN ARMY,  if you want to have BEAUTIFUL daughters who will become a hit  Bollywood  or television actresses, and will make you PROUD and will  add to the great  HONOR  of your family, ie   if they save themselves from honor killing.!

Also all women in the ad are BEAUTIFUL as per what is  ingrained in our brains. The super-skinny, super-tall, and amazingly gorgueous figure; The Super-Models and Actresses.The  certain typecast images fed on physical appearances and . If you don’t fit into those notions, you feel terrible – that’s why people are unhappy about their bodies. This advertisement further promotes, the fact  that to succeeed you need to have a hour glass figure ?. How do you define beauty ? Who said “big” isn’t beautiful? Who said curves aren’t sexy?
Who told you to change who you are, loosing the weight that you’ve gained so far. For me Tuntun, Manorama  all were beautiful also. beauty has nothing to do with your body but your innerself , your personality as a whole. For me Sheetal Sathe, Soni Sori, Aparna Marandi, Irom Sharmila are all BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, and SUCCESSFUL as well.

 The Fact that  whether you will  have a daughter or son THE MANS SPERM WILL DECIDE, if  you have a daughter, she has to decide her life and what’s success for her ?

This  sexist  advertisement further strengthens  the stereotypes feminist have been fighting.  Women are human being and not relationships , think about them outisde their roles as  daughters mothers and sisters. Valourising women as  daughters, sisters, , mothers, bhabhi, dadi and Nani.  Today women are screaming at top of their voice-- ” I am not your  Mother, Wife, Sister or daughter . I am a PERSON.  So this ad, adds to all the sexists ads which are defining every woman by her relationship to another person rather than as a person in her own right; and that relationship (by implication if not stated overtly) is usually with a man. The self-sacrificing mother who bravely sends her son to war; the devoted sister who pampers her brother, the obedient daughter who makes her  PARENTS  proud, as stated in the ad . Women are  fed up being boxed into traditional roles. They are angry at being told what to wear, how to behave and lead their lives.  Respect women”, we tell our sons, “for they are all someone’s mother, sister or daughter.” Aha,,,,, yes…..  But the childless woman;  and a  woman whose husband is no more or whose  father has died and has no brother to ‘protect her honour’ — well, she’s fair game, isn’t she?  This is the kind of logic we perpetuate when we glorify a woman by her relationship rather than as a person.

I wonder if all these ‘ SUCCESSFUL DAUGHTERS’  have given their permission to be on the Advertisement and if they agree

and gulpanag tweets says so,

About the join army ‘ad’.Whether in jest or not,I have no problem with it.I owe 100% of what I am to my AF upbringing. Proud of it. @rwac48

— Gul Panag (@GulPanag) April 14, 2013

I wonder,   if all of them are  proud of  The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act . which is to-date the single most direct instrument violating the democratic rights of the people of the North East and of Jammu and Kashmir. The Act is implemented when an area is declared ‘disturbed’ by either the central or the state government. Since 2 November 2000, she has been on hunger strike to demand that the Indian government repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), which she blames for violence in Manipur and other parts of northeast India. Having refused food and water for more than 500 weeks, she has been called “the world’s longest hunger striker”.

What is  rationale for  keeping AFSPA ,  thinking that security persons who rape innocent women should enjoy impunity in the name of national security? For whose security was the law enacted, for that of the country or of the criminals in uniform? Whenever some change is suggested in the Act the army seems to oppose it and the civilian government buckles under its pressure. For Eg , when the Jeevan Commission appointed to inquire into the alleged rape and murder of 30-year old Manorama Devi of Imphal in Manipur arrested by the Assam Rifles suggested  AFSPA should be repealed ,the  Government did not even publish the report.

Do you all know of woman called Manorma ?  In 2004, the women of Manipur held a protest after the brutal murder of Thangjam Manorama who was taken into custody from her home by the Assam Rifles under suspicion of having links with rebels. Her bullet ridden body was found a few kilometres away from her home, bearing signs of torture. Twelve Manipuri women came out naked, holding a banner saying ‘Indian Army Rape Us’ to protest against the paramilitary forces of the Assam Rifles demanding justice and taking a stand against the many rapes of other girls. Despite the curfew imposed, the protests by the women continued as they wanted the men responsible to be punished

One of the major rape cases in the history of Kashmir and indeed whole of India is the Kunan Poshpora mass rape incident. A village in northern Kashmir’s Kupwara district, Kunan Poshpora, on February 23, 1991 witnessed incidents of alleged mass rape of 20 women by the Army troops in one night. The incident drew the attention of national and international media. However this was soon forgotten and the womenfolk of the village landed in unending troubles. Women who deserved the respect and honor of the society, were not secure anymore form the cruel face of the armed forces and since that incident, numerous other cases of rape and enforced disappearances have come to fore in the last three decades. Another case which shook the region was the 2009 Shopian rape and murder case which resulted in protests rocking the whole Valley and several families lost their loved ones in the agitation.

Some  more cases of rape and sexual assault against personnel of the Army and central forces in Kashmir:

Case against Harbhajan Singh and Gurtej Singh

May 15, 1994: Rashtriya Rifles men entered the house of a couple and took the husband to Qazigund Hospital. When he returned the next morning, his wife told him she had been gangraped. A case of rape an other charges was filed at Qazigund police station. Responding to an RTI application, the home department said it sought sanction on January 23, 2006, to prosecute the Army men and have not yet got it. In a 2009 affidavit in the high court, the defence ministry said the state was informed that both accused, Nk Harbajan Singh and Rfn Gurtej Singh, had been tried by a summary general court-martial for rape, sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and dismissed from service. “A retrial for the same offence will be in contravention to Article 20 (2) of the Constitution,” it argued.

Case Against Major Arora

January 3, 1997: A family comprising a 60-year-old, his two daughters and a grandson were preparing to go to bed at Manzgam, Kokernag, when some soldiers allegedly broke in. They were allegedly led by Major Arora of 5 Rashtriya Rifles. “He slapped me and dragged my younger sister (then 16) into a room and raped her,” the elder daughter told The Indian Express recently. The elder daughter’s husband had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen and the local army unit would often raid her father’s house. The day of the alleged rape, the Army allegedly picked up the father, who remains untraced 15 years on. The younger sister is now married with children, the elder one said, while her own husband surrendered  to the army, divorced her and remarried.

The police registered a case of rape at Anantnag and the government sought the defence ministry’s sanction to prosecute the officer. In an affidavit in the J&K High Court on June 5, 2009, then defence secretary Ajay Tirkey said the ministry received the request in December 2006 and it is “under consideration in army headquarters/Ministry of Defence”. On January 10, 2012, the ministry, responding to an RTI query, said permission was denied on April 21, 2007. “There were a number of inconsistencies in the statements of witnesses… The lady was forced to lodge a false allegation by anti-national elements,” the MoD said.

Case against Major Aman Yadav

December 5, 1999: Army men led by Major Aman Yadav of 28 Rashtriya Rifles, along with a few counter-insurgents, raided a house at Norpora, Kitter Dhaji, in Rafiabad. The officer allegedly raped a housewife, whose husband wasn’t home, while his men allegedly robbed the house. The family later left the village.

On January 4, 2000, based on a complaint by the victim’s husband, Panzala police lodged an FIR, one of the charges being rape. In an affidavit to the high court on June 5, 2009, then defence secretary Tirkey said the ministry received the request for sanction in January 2009 and “the case is under consideration in Army headquarters/Ministry of Defence”. In response to a separate RTI query, the MoD said sanction was denied on September 23, 2010. It has argued the allegations are “baseless and framed with mala fide intentions to put army on the defensive” Intriguingly, the ministry has cited it as a case of torture leading to death. Calling the allegations “mala fide” was effectively an indictment of J&K police, for it was on the basis of the police probe’s outcome that sanction was denied. There was, however, no follow-up government action. In response to an RTI application, police said they closed the case on August 19, 2011, having declared the accused “untraced”.

Case against Captain Ravinder Singh Tewatia

February 14, 2000: Captain Ravinder Singh Tewatia and three special police officials allegedly entered a house at night in Nowgam, Banihal. Captain Tewatia and one of the SPOs allegedly raped a mother and her daughter in separate rooms. A case of rape was filed in the Banihal police station. Two chargesheets were prepared for house trespass, assault, wrongful restraint and rape, and submitted to the Banihal chief judicial magistrate’s court on April 1, 2000.According to information gathered by rights group International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice through RTI applications, the case was split between a court-martial and criminal courts (in Banihal, Ramban and Jammu). The court-martial found Tewatia guilty of rape, sentenced him to seven years of imprisonment and dismissed him from service. He challenged the findings on October 1, 2000. On December, 31, 2002, the high court set aside the court-martial’s ruling. In 2003, the defence ministry filed a letter patent appeal in the high court, where it is pending. The state government didn’t challenge the high court order.

Rape case against  BSF Personnel

April 18, 2002: Personnel of the BSF’s 58 Battalion allegedly gangraped a 17-year-old in front of her mother, relatives and neighbours, all held hostage at gunpoint in Kullar, Pahalgam. Some 15 or 16 men in a BSF patrol party, passing through their village, had been beating up the girl’s uncle and she had tried to rescue him. A medical examination confirmed rape, while then BSF inspector general (Kashmir Frontiers) G S Gill, too, conceded that BSF personnel had committed rape. The girl identified three men at a parade. The same day, a case of rape was registered at Pahalgam police station. The police say that they submitted a chargesheet before the chief judicial magistrate in Anantnag. There hasn’t been any progress since.

Case against Major Rehman Hussain

November 6, 2004: Troops of 30 RR raided the home of a horsecart driver at Badhra Payeen village in Handwara at night. The man’s younger brother said, “The officer went into my brother’s room and pushed him out.” “He dragged my daughter (then 10) into the kitchen,” the wife of the targeted man this correspondent, adding the officer left and returned after an hour. This time, the woman alleged, she was raped in the kitchen.

The police registered a rape case and the district administration ordered a magisterial inquiry. The Army invoked the AFSPA . The accused officer, Major Rehman Hussain, was tried by a general court martial, which absolved him of rape. He was, however, found “guilty of using criminal force with the intent of outraging the modesty” of the 10-year-old girl and dismissed from service. But he challenged the decision in court and returned to service.

Even the  comments by apex court few days back while hearing PILs filed by families of victims of alleged fake encounters in Manipur, are a stinging rebuke of the lack of political will on revoking laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). In this instance, the government’s response to the damning report of the SC-appointed committee set up to probe six such cases in Manipur was that it agreed that such fake encounters should not take place. But mere “taking note” will not do any more. The government must speedily act to revoke this black law from wherever it is in effect, be it the north-east or Jammu and Kashmir. Blanket immunity for security forces has led to murder, rape and other crimes. And when the legal framework vests such crimes with impunity, it vitiates the basic principles of democracy and the rule of law that are necessary for the citizens of these areas to feel part of the national mainstream.

The  Court  also sharply brought attention to another vital fact: keeping these laws, and thereby maintaining an unnatural state where the armed forces are seen as the primary representatives of government, mutates the whole political, democratic system itself.

Now after  getting a glimpse of AFSPA, what the supreme court of india says of Indian army ?

I wonder  if you  all are still proud of Indian Army

This sexist  advertisement should be immediately removed,

It will be great if  women part of the advertisement ask to do so.

best

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Not proud of Indian Army

Not a Proud Indian

A Person  , A  Feminist and a  Human Rights Activist

April 15th, 2013

 

#Manipur- Upholding the right to life #AFSPA


April 11, 2013, The Hindu

MANIPUR

In northeastern India, Manipur remains the State worst affected by insurgency. The Assam Rifles, the Army and other security forces have a tough job on their hands. But admittedly, nothing can justify the scale and extent of the fallout of that fight — what the Supreme Court has described, possibly in an understatement imbued with a touch of irony, as “a pattern of carelessness.” It was referring to the findings of the Santosh Hegde Committee appointed by the court, on a public interest petition that sought to highlight mass killings in the State over the last decade. The committee found that seven killings in six instances were the consequence of fake encounters. The petitioners had claimed over 1,500 such deaths. The findings now add force to widespread complaints of human rights violations, reinforced over time by some striking incidents including the assault and killing of Manorama Devi in 2004. The Central government has told the court the Hegde report would be considered at the highest level. But given past experience, it is unlikely that the Centre would act on its own to make a meaningful difference on the ground. The court, which expressed a sense of sorrow and helplessness, must ensure the most precious of all rights — the right to life. The committee having recommended the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act with respect to Manipur, the court may need to take a call on that contentious question as well — including, crucially, whether the Act is meant to aid civil powers or substitute for them.

The National Human Rights Commission’s plea, in response to the report, to ensure that all encounter incidents be thoroughly investigated under the terms of its guidelines, is a sensible one. That will involve reporting incidents promptly to the NHRC and holding detailed and systematic magisterial inquiries within three months. But all this will add up to nothing if the Centre is unwilling to ensure that security personnel, be they from the Army or the paramiltaries, are held to account for any illegal use of force on their part. Soon after Manorama’s killing at the hands of the Assam Rifles in 2004, the Justice Upendra Commission was set up to probe the incident. Nearly nine years later, its report has yet to see the light of day, let alone be acted upon. It is this culture of pervasive impunity that allows innocent persons to be killed in staged encounters. Coming out with a list of “dos and don’ts for the security forces,” as the government has promised it would do, will hardly suffice. A similar list ensued the last time the apex court heard a major case on the role of the armed forces in the northeast. That was in 1997. This time, it must do more.

#India- Criminalising People’s Protests #Iromsharmila #AFSPA #Vaw


iromsmile

EPW Vol – XLVIII No. 14, April 06, 2013 | Anand Teltumbde

The manner in which Irom Sharmila‘s demand for the repeal of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has been handled by the Indian state is indicative of its intent to further narrow the scope for democratic protest, even opposition that is centred on the right to life itself. With such actions, the state is subtly communicating to the people that there is no democratic option left in the country.

Anand Teltumbde (tanandraj@gmail.com) is a writer and civil rights activist with the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai.

Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.

– Howard Zinn

Public protests signify that democracy is alive and well. Whatever its form, the essence of democracy is the space it provides for people to voice their protest against the government. However, while India has managed to flaunt for decades that it is the world’s largest functional democracy, it has systematically decimated such space for the masses. Today, this space has been symbolically reduced to small designated pockets in every state capital where aggrieved people can gather and shout to their hearts’ content only so that they can hear themselves. Not much unlike jails, with their barbed wire fences and narrow openings guarded by a thick posse of armed policemen, the authorities do not let public protest infect the people at large. The maximum the people protesting at these places can reach is the police sub-inspector seated there to receive their memorandums. Indian democracy has not, however, been content with this general strangulation of democratic space; it often takes offensive against the protesters by slapping criminal charges on them. Examples are legion but the recent proceedings against Irom Sharmila, the iron lady of Manipur, who was brought to Delhi to face trial for her “crime of attempting suicide” at the Jantar Mantar best highlights this trend.

Sharmila’s Crime

Sharmila’s protest began with her indefinite fast on 3 November 2000, a day after 10 persons were shot down by the Assam Rifles, one of the Indian paramilitary forces operating in Manipur, while waiting at a bus stop just outside Imphal. The incident later came to be known as the “Malom Massacre”. Within days, Sharmila was taken by the police, and since then, she is being force-fed a liquid concoction of nutrients in a hospital, which serves as her prison. After every year in detention, she is released for a day and rearrested for attempting to commit suicide, because she refuses to call off her fast until the government repeals the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), which is in force in Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and parts of Arunachal Pradesh besides, Jammu and Kashmir. Now in its 13th year, her protest is the longest hunger strike in recorded history, which has shaken the entire world but failed to sensitise the Indian rulers. On the contrary, they chose to actuate their penal machine and charged her with an “attempt to commit suicide”, which is unlawful under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.

The AFSPA against which Sharmila reiterated her protest to the metropolitan magistrate, Delhi however continues on the statute. This draconian Act that giving the army the unquestionable powers to shoot to kill, arrest and search or even destroy property on mere suspicion and enacted as a short-term measure to allow the deployment of the army in India’s north-eastern Naga Hills, has been in existence for over five decades. According to a report entitled “Manipur: Memorandum on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions” by the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the United Nations, altogether 1,528 people, including 31 women and 98 children were killed in fake encounters by the security forces in Manipur alone between 1979 and May 2012. Of these, 419 were killed by the Assam Rifles, while 481 were killed by combined teams of Manipur Police and the central security forces. These are gory statistics but they do not tell the human tragedy that befell entire generations that grew up under the shadow of the gun. It is a usual sight in Manipur to find even school kids sitting in protest against the atrocities by the armed forces.

Logic of the State

The government cites the ongoing insurgency in the hilly state to explain its stand against the repeal of AFSPA. According to its argument, nearly 15 militant outfits are active in the state and in the period between 2007 and 2011, over 1,500 people were killed in militancy-related violence, among them were 1,011 militants and 406 civilians. This argument itself should prompt a simple question, if the army, with a free hand, has not been able to control the so-called insurgency over five decades, what is the justification for the Act? It may even be argued that the insurgency, given the government’s own statistics, has increased during the currency of the Act. This is because the excesses committed by the armed forces with impunity alienate people and impel them to take up the gun. If one dispassionately looks at the north-eastern states, comprising about 7% of India’s total area and 3.7% of its population, bigger than many countries but devoid of any notable development, one cannot but get a feel that they are like a colony governed by the armed might of India. The Constitution does provide for emergency clauses but they are meant to be short-lived. The arguments the government and its army establishment proffer for continuing with AFSPA are, interestingly, the same as the arguments advanced when the 1942 ordinance was enacted in order to keep the British Empire intact.

The same logic extends to the protesting people in mainland India. There are scores of draconian laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, the National Security Act, and various provisions in the penal code, like “sedition”, which continue to mock at our claim of being a democracy. Given the increasing divide between the majority of people mired in abominable poverty and powerlessness and a miniscule minority with all the pelf and power, people’s protests are a natural outcome. During the initial decades of post-Independence India, when the ruling classes had not yet consolidated themselves, these protests were responded to by the state with colonial decency. But by the mid-1970s, an oppressive Emergency was declared, and after a spell of political turmoil, the country entered the neo-liberal era that ideologically trashed social protests and legitimated the oppressive social Darwinist ethos of the rulers. The enforcement of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in 1985 succeeded by the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in 2002 and thereafter UAPA in 2004 during this era, duly aided by global “security syndrome” unleashed by 9/11, should be seen in that light.

The much-maligned Maoist movement is essentially a public protest, notwithstanding its mode of expression, as acknowledged by the government occasionally, but the latter has chosen to criminalise it, calling it “the biggest internal security threat” and waging a full-fledged war against it. Today, it has begun to do the same to civil rights activists, trashing them as Maoist supporters. These activists along with many legal luminaries have been cautioning that the ordinary laws if operated equitably are capable of tackling any kind of criminal activity. The extraordinary laws with draconian provisions create a false notion of security but there is no empirical evidence that they really work. Invariably, they have operated as oppressive tools against innocent people and thereby aggravated the very problem which they were supposed to solve. It is the perceived injustice of the state that impels people to extremity. The paranoia of the ruling classes is proving myopic in ignoring the grave consequences to democracy.

Grave Consequences

The saga of Irom Sharmila and the Manipuri people struggling against AFSPA will surely leave an indelible mark on our democratic credentials. What could be a more intense protest by an ordinary citizen of this country within the constitutional framework than hers? Could there be a more intense expression of public anguish than the prominent women of Manipur disrobing themselves in front of the Army Headquarters and shouting “Indian army rape us”, this in the wake of the rape and murder of Thangiam Manorama in 2004? Can there be a more innocent movement than Anna Hazare’s? But none has been able to shake the power-drunk government. On the contrary, the government has variously criminalised all these protests.

There are numerous other protests happening all over the country: the recent protests against the anti-nuclear power plants at Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu); spontaneous protests of dalits in Maharashtra after the Khairlanji murders; people’s nationwide protests against the Right to Education Act; the ongoing protests against corruption and black money; and those against the violation of human rights, to name just a few. All these have been spontaneous people’s protests. All of them have faced criminalisation; many of them, brutal assaults. It is being subtly communicated that there is no democratic option left in the country. The arrogance of the political class has reached the level where it defiantly challenges people to seek solutions through elections, which have been reduced to a game of money and muscle power. It is very well known that this game is beyond people’s means.

Should people mutely suffer the oppression of their representatives who behave as if they have a licence to exploit them till the next election? Even after five years, what hope does the system hold for ordinary people? The defective game also stands “fixed” by the political class, which virtually bars entry of anyone outside the club. The Association for Democratic Reforms has documented data on the personal wealth and the criminal cases of the members of the political class, which exposes their character. The entire ruling class has consolidated itself against the people. It may demonstrate differences within its ranks before the public to gain legitimacy but the fact remains that its members are all one and the same. Indeed, people are left with no democratic option and hope. It is this state of “optionlessness” and hopelessness that would inevitably push people to unconstitutional methods and, as Ambedkar warned, blast off the structure of democracy our founding fathers so laboriously built.

 

Authorities in India must release #IromSharmila Chanu #AFSPA


by Amnesty International India (Notes) on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 at 17:02

Indian authorities must immediately release Irom Sharmila Chanu – a protester on a prolonged hunger-strike – and drop all charges against her, Amnesty International said today.

 

Irom Sharmila has been on an indefinite fast since November 2000, protesting against the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in the state of Manipur. She was arrested shortly after she began her hunger strike and charged with attempting to commit suicide – a criminal offence under Indian law.

 

Irom Sharmila, was released on 12 March 2013 by the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court of Imphal East only to be re-arrested on 14 March and remanded again to judicial custody till 26 March. On 4 March, a Delhi court had also charged Irom Sharmila with attempting to commit suicide in October 2006, when she staged a protest in Delhi for two days.

 

Irom Sharmila has never been brought to trial, but as her alleged offence is punishable by a term of one year only, she has been regularly released upon the completion of such period in judicial custody, only to be re-arrested shortly thereafter as she continues her fast.

 

Sharmila has remained in judicial custody in Manipur over the past twelve years. She is currently held at the security ward of the Jawaharlal Nehru hospital in Imphal, the capital of Manipur, where she is force-fed a diet of liquids through her nose.

 

Sharmila has pleaded not guilty to the charges of attempting to commit suicide, and has said she is holding a non-violent protest.

 

“I do not want to commit suicide. Mine is only a non-violent protest. It is my demand to live as a human being,” Sharmila reportedly told the Delhi court on Monday. “I love life. I do not want to take my life but I want justice and peace.”

 

Although attempting to commit suicide is a bailable offence in India, Sharmila has refused to sign the bail-bonds, maintaining that she had not committed any offence, and has instead called for the criminal charges against her to be dropped.

 

Irom Sharmila has undertaken her hunger strike as a form of protest against the AFSPA. The British Medical Association, in a briefing to the World Medical Association, has clarified that “A hunger strike is not equivalent to suicide. Individuals who embark on hunger strikes aim to achieve goals important to them but generally hope and intend to survive.” This position is embodied by the World Medical Association in its Malta Declaration on Hunger Strikers.

 

Amnesty International has also previously called upon the Government to repeal the AFSPA, which provides impunity for perpetrators of serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, rape and torture.

 

Background

 

Irom Sharmila Chanu began her hunger strike after the killing of 10 Manipuris by the Assam Rifles (a paramilitary force) in Malom, Imphal in November 2000. She demanded the removal of the AFSPA from Manipur. The AFSPA provides for soldiers who are operating in government designated ‘disturbed areas’ the authority to use lethal force against any person contravening laws or orders “prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons” as well as to destroy property, enter and search premises without warrant and arrest in the interest of ‘maintenance of public order’. Soldiers are also protected from any legal proceedings unless such action is sanctioned by the central government.

 

Repeal of the law has also been recommended by a number of national bodies including the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Jeevan Reddy Commission and the Prime Minister’s Working Group on Confidence-Building Measures in Jammu and Kashmir. The Justice Verma Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law said in January 2013 that the AFSPA legitimized impunity for sexual violence, and recommended an urgent review of the law.

 

PRESS RELEASE- Mr Naveen Patnaik apologize to the Women of Govindpur, Patana and Dhinkia #Posco #Vaw


Mr. Naveen Patnaik we are surprised that you are not ashamed even after women’s day.

Dear Mr. Naveen Patnaik,

We are deeply anguished and disturbed by the recent turn of frightening and ugly incidents perpetrated by the Odisha government, POSCO management and their hired lumpen criminal elements on the POSCO payroll. They have unleashed extremely barbaric white terror in the anti-POSCO struggling villages of Jaghat Singh Pur, Odisha. On the eve of the women’s day we learnt that the women gave the most desperate threat to the district administration as a last ditch effort. “If the police forces are not withdrawn they will protest naked in front of the police”. This news sent a chill down our spines as this was a confirmation of your wanton behaviour in the area and continuing attempts at escalating completely unjustified violence against agitators.

You have proved that you are the biggest enemy of the women of Odisha. Instead of removing the police you charged women with indecent exposure and arrested them.

That shows the apocalyptic vision that women are the most worthless beings, have absolutely no hope in a state governed by you. And remember, all this was happening when your minions of women and child development department and the public relations department were flooding the newspapers and television with your great achievements on the gender front. Whereas in reality you have inflicted on the suffering women of Odisha extreme repression by security forces who rape them in custody, brutally repress them, forcibly evict them from land, habitat, livelihood, culture and undermine their dignity. The combing operations by your police and paramilitary forces have inflicted most bestial violence that has crossed all the limits of barbarism.

Last time one had seen such a protest taking place was in Manipur in July 2004. The situation, however, was a little different in that case. Assam Rifles had raped and murdered Manorama. Elderly women of Manipur aghast at that had decided for going that protest in sheer desperation. They were a people who had completely lost their faith in the nation that claimed to be their own but acted as an occupying force. Its security forces assaulted the men and raped the women at will and the state legitimised such dreadful practices by allowing the Assam Rifles deployed in Manipur to provide condoms as an integral part of the travel kit,to be used while on patrol duty. Having had enough of this, Manipuri women went to the headquarters of the Assam Rifles, disrobed and flung a banner reading “INDIAN ARMY RAPE US”.

Odisha is thousands of kilometers away from Manipur. The POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) simply announced “Left with no other option, women from the village have decided to get naked before the Policemen tomorrow”. The pain and agony it would take to first decide for holding such a protest and then announcing it to the public was totally lost on you.

The women reached this decision because you as the Chief Minister have abandoned them for POSCO, the multinational company and as its lackey have been violating all rights of the residents with impunity. Anti-POSCO people have reached the decision after getting many of their near and dear ones killed by the hired goons of the company. They have reached the decision for the state government repeatedly sending in an armed-to-teeth police force for cracking down on the peaceful protesters and forcibly acquiring the lands even when the environmental clearance that is mandatory for such projects stand cancelled by the statutory authorities and the MoU with POSCO is defunct. You have destroyed their betel leave vines. You threaten to arrest them if they step out of the village and for years they have lived without even the minimal health services.

Mr. Patnaik,  your slavery and loyalty to the national and international corporations has made you so de-humanized and de-sensitized that you are busy serving their interest and are apathetic to the very people who have brought you into this office.

Your administration lies through its teeth and accuses anti-POSCO struggle of making bombs. Your police tries to run over their leader. Such is the rottenness of your rule that even fact finding teams are hounded by company goons who are getting more confident as they are literally getting away with murder.

Finally, if you have any shame left, Mr. Patnaik, resign and apologise to the women of Dhinkia, Govindpur and Patana.

We speak on behalf of several women’s groups and well known activists who endorse our view. The complete list is attached to this letter.

Kaveri,  Kamayani, Kalpana

For Women against sexual violence and state repression

More than 100 people signed the letter sent to the CM endorsements Below

1
Asit Das-  Posco pratirodh solidarity Delhi
Kalpana Mehta, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, Indore
Kaveri Indira, Scientist, Bangalore
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Human Rights Activist , Mumbai
Mamata Dash ,Posco pratirodh solidarity Delhi
Chittraranjan singh National Secretary PUCL
Ashok choudhury NFFPFW
Dr.Sunilam Kissan Sangharsh Samiti
10  Kiran Shaheen Women against sexual violence and state expression(WSS)
11  Anand swarup verma Editor samkaleen tisri duniya
12  Prashant Pairikay, Posco pratirodh sangharsh samiti
13  K.K. Niyogi All India platform for labour rights
14  Manj mohan Hind mazdoor sabha
15  Roma NFFPFW
16  Anil chaudhury INSAF
17  Insha malik Research sholar JNU
18  Bhupen singh Research sholar JNU
19  Vijay pratap Socialist front
20  Madhuresh NAPM
21  Rajendra Ravi NAPM
22  Anna khandre Samajwadi party
23  Putul Yuva bharat
24  P.K. sundaram IndiaResists.com
25  Prakash kumar ray Editorbargad.org
26  Nayanjyoti Krantikari naujawan sabha
27  Vinod singh Samajwadi jan parishad
28  Rakhi Saiigal Labour activist
29  Gopal Krishna Toxic Watch
30  Shankar Gopalakrishnan
31  Saheli, Delhi
32  Devika Biswas, State convenor
33  Healthwatch Forum , Bihar, C/O BVHA PATNA BIHAR
34  Ruchi Shroff , Mumbai
35  Madhumita Dutta
36  ‘Suresh Bhat B, Concerned Citizen, Mangalore
37  Sudha Bharadwaj, Chhattisgarh PUCL.
38  Rakmakant Banjare, Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee)
39  Nisha Biswas , Kolkata
40  Swatija, Mumbai
41  ‘Prabhakar Pandit from Mumbai Mobile Creches_
42  Rahul Yogi Deveshwar
43  Independent Voice , Shanti se Kranti
44  Nirja Bhatnagar, Mumbai
45  Himadri Sekhar Mistri, Research Scholar, Delhi School of Economics
46  Women’s Research and Action Group
47  Tanushree Gangopadhyay, Ahmedabad
48  Anjali sinha  Madhubala from Stree mukti sangathan
49  Madhubala, from Stree mukti sangathan
50  Sankara Narayanan_
51  Sharanya Humane, Koraput
52  Rakesh Narayana, PUCL – Bangalore
53  Kaushiki Rao, Bangalore
54  K. Sajaya, Hyderabad
55  Uma V Chandru, WSS Activist, Bangalore
56  Aruna Chandrasekhar, Research and journalist
57  Shraddha Chickerur
58  Vivek Sundara, Socila Activist, Mumbai
59  Pushpa (Member, WSS-Karnataka)
60  Abha Bhaiya
61  Anuradha Pati
62  Kannamma Raman, University of Mumbai
63  Jeevika Shiv, Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi
64  Kabi S., Bombay
65  Devaki Jain
66  Rina Mukherji
67  Soma KP
68  Aanchal Kapur
69  Trupti Shah, Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan)
70  K. Sajaya, Hyderabad
71  Iqbal Baig
72  Sudha.S. Bangalore
73  Sadhna, Delhi
74  Ratna, Law Student, Bangalore
75  Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, Bangalore
76  M. R. Prabhakar, Bangalore
77  Nisha Biswas, Kolkata
78  Gowru Chinnapa, Bangalore
79  Ayush Ranka, Bangalore
80  Rakesh Narayana, PUCL – Bangalore
81  Sharanya, Humane, Koraput
82  Shakun.M, Bangalore
83  Soundarya Iyer, Research Scholar, NIAS, Bangalore
84  Sudha Bharadwaj, Chhattisgarh PUCL.
85  Rakmakant Banjare, Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee)
86  Vasanth Kannabiran
87  Shyama K Narang
88  Anupriya, Delhi
89  Chhaya Datar
90  K. Lalita
91  Neha Dhingra
92  Rina, Kolkata
93  Sutapa Majumdar
94  Lalita Ramdas, Bhaimala, Alibag
95  Admiral L. Ramdas, Bhaimala, Alibag
96  Vinay Bhat, Management Consultant, Santa Clara, CA
97  Gopika Solanki
98  Uma Chakravarti
99  Mary E John
100  Suneeta Dhar
101  Arundhati Dhuru
102  Dr Veena R Poonacha, Director, Research Center for Women’s Studies & Project Director, Dr. Avabai Wadia Archives, SNDT Women’s University
103  Sharmila Rege
104  Veena Shatrugna
105  Gabriele Dietrich
106  Devangana Kalita
107  Tungshang Ningreichon, Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights
108  Meera, Narmada Valley
109  Prem Verma, Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum, Ranchi, Jharkhand
110  Lakshmi Premkumar, Programme for Social Action (PSA), New Delhi
111  Priyanka Borpujari, independent journalist
112  Koyel Lahiri, MPhil student, CSSSC
113  K Babu Rao, NAPM, Hyderabad
114  Lokesh, Stree Mukti Sangathan
115  Gee Ameena Suleiman
116  Maitreyi, ALF, Bangalore
117  Prafulla Samantara, Convenor, NAPM
118  Kunal Rawat, New Delhi
119  Prasad Chacko, Social activist, Ahmedabad
120  Alaka Basu
121  Anita Ghai, Feminist and Disblity rights activist, Delhi
122  Parth J Dave, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai
123  Pradeep Esteves, Context India, Bangalore
124  Nitesh Mohanty, The Root Mumbai
125 Jayati Lal, Visiting fellow, CSSS, JNU

 

Woman judicial officer found dead in Odisha #Vaw


 HT
Balasore, March 16, 2013
 
Body of a judicial officer was today recovered from her official residence at Rajabagicha in Balasore town, police said here. Body of 32-year Anupama Behera, an officer of the Odisha Judicial Service, who used to stay alone, was recovered this morning, they said. “A scientific  
team and a sniffer dog have been engaged to investigate the death Behera. The body has been sent for autopsy,” a police officer said. 

Police came to know of the incident last night. They sealed the house and deployed a police guard outside the residence this morning, the officer said.

Though preliminary investigation suggests it could be a case of smothering and homicide, details would be known after autopsy, the police said.

As the body was getting decomposed it is suspected that it must have been lying there for over 24 hours, the officer said.

Anupama Behera, an officer of the Odisha Judicial Service (OJS), was posted as Process Inspector in the District Judicial Court at Balasore.

She was staying alone as her husband is a doctor posted at Kanasa in Puri district.

She had recently been transferred to Koraput as Sub-judge and was to join there on March 25.

 

Irom Sharmila Re-Arrested, Continues Her Fast Unto Death Demanding Repeal Of #AFSPA #Vaw


 

Irom Sharmila was released on Tuesday by the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Imphal East after completing one year imprisonment. She refused to give up her fast and was re-arrested by the Porompat police
Shazia Nigar

March 14, 2013

‘I will not adopt a re-conciliatory position. Nothing will change my stand and I will continue to fast until my demand is fulfilled,’ said Irom Sharmila. Photo: Ankit Agarwal

Iron LadyIrom Sharmila Chanu has been arrested once again on charges of attempted suicide. She has been on fast unto death for twelve years demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur. The maximum punishment the charge is imprisonment up to one year.

Babloo Loitongbam, Human Right activist and an associate of Irom Sharmila said, “She was picked up from the site of protest at the Save Sharmila office in Imphal.”

Sharmila had been released on Tuesday by the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Imphal East after completing one year imprisonment. She refused to give up her fast and was re-arrested by the Porompat police. Before being produced to court, Sharmila was remanded to judicial custody until 26 March. She is currently in the security ward at the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Imphal.

Sharmila’s brother, Irom Singhajit said that a medical team showed up at the site of protest demanding a medical check-up that she denied. Police picked her up later at six in the evening. Singhajit said, “I meet her every fifteen days when she is produced in court. The family requires a special permission to see her. It takes one month for a permission to be granted.”

Commenting on her fast unto death in a recent interview with TEHELKA, Sharmila said, “Although it’s been over 12 years, I will not adopt a re-conciliatory position. Nothing will change my stand and I will continue to fast until my demand is fulfilled. Nothing will shake my resistance.”

Irom Sharmila has been fasting since November 2000 when ten civilians were killed in an alleged encounter by the Assam Rifles near Imphal airport. AFSPA was imposed in Manipur in 1980.

 

Open Letter to the Chief minister of Odisha #Vaw #Womensday


March 12, 2013

Mr. Naveen Pattnaik we are surprised that you are not ashamed even after women’s day.

Dear Mr. Naveen Pattnaik,

We are deeply anguished and disturbed by the recent turn of frightening and ugly incidents perpetrated by the Odisha government, POSCO management and their hired lumpen criminal elements on the POSCO payroll. They have unleashed extremely barbaric white terror in the anti-POSCO struggling villages of Jaghat Singh Pur, Odisha. On the eve of the women’s day we learnt that the women gave the most desperate threat to the district administration as a last ditch effort. “If the police forces are not withdrawn they will protest naked in front of the police”. This news sent a chill down our spines as this was a confirmation of your wanton behaviour in the area and continuing attemts at escalating violence against agitators that is completely unjustified.

You have proved that you are the biggest enemy of the women of Odisha. Instead of removing the police you charged women with indecent exposure and arrested them.

That shows the apocalyptic vision that women are the most worthless beings, have absolutely no hope in a state governed by you. And remember, all this was happening when your minions of women and child development department and the public relations department were flooding the newspapers and television with your great achievements on the gender front. Whereas in reality you have inflicted on the suffering women of Odisha extreme repression by security forces who rape them in custody, brutally repress them forcibly evict them from land, habitat, livelihood, culture and dignity. The combing operations by your police and paramilitary forces have inflicted most bestial violence that has crossed all the limits of barbarism.

Last time one had seen such a protest taking place was in Manipur in July 2004. The situation, however, was a little different in that case. Assam Rifles had raped and murdered Manorama. Elderly women of Manipur aghast at that had decided for going that protest in sheer desperation. They were a people who had completely lost their faith in the nation that claimed to be their own but acted as an occupying force. Its security forces assaulted the men and raped the women at will and the state legitimised such dreadful practices by allowing the Assam Rifles deployed in Manipur to provide condoms as an integral part of the travel kit,to be used while on patrol duty. Having had enough of this, Manipuri women went to the headquarters of the Assam Rifles, disrobed and flung a banner reading “INDIAN ARMY RAPE US”.

Odisha is thousands of kilometers away from Manipur. The POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) simply announced “Left with no other option, women from the village have decided to get naked before the Policemen tomorrow”. The pain and agony it would take to first decide for holding such a protest and then announcing it to the public was totally lost on you.

The women reached this decision because you as the Chief Minister have abandoned them for POSCO, the multinational company and as its lackey have been violating all rights of the residents with impunity. Anti-POSCO people have reached the decision after getting many of their near and dear ones killed by the hired goons of the company. They have reached the decision for the state government repeatedly sending in an armed-to-teeth police force for cracking down on the peaceful protesters and forcibly acquiring the lands even when the environmental clearance that is mandatory for such projects stand cancelled by the statutory authorities and the MoU with POSCO is defunct. You have destroyed their betel leave vines. You threaten to arrest them if they step out of the village and for years they have lived without even the minimal health services.

Mr. Patnaik, with your slavery and loyalty to the national and international corporations has made you so de-humanized and de-sensitized that you are busy serving their interest and are apathetic to the very people who have brought you into this office.

Your administration lies through its teeth and declares anti-POSCO struggle of making bombs. Your police tries to run over their leader. Such is the rottenness of your rule that even fact finding teams are hounded by company goons who are getting more confident as they are literally getting away with murder.

 Finally, if you have any shame left, Mr. Pattnaik, resign and apologies to the women of Dhinkia, govindpur and Patana.

Endorsed by

Asit Das-  Posco pratirodh solidarity Delhi
Kalpana Mehta, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, Indore
Kaveri Indira, Scientist, Bangalore
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Human Rights Activist , Mumbai
Mamata Dash ,Posco pratirodh solidarity Delhi
Chittraranjan singh National Secretary PUCL
Ashok choudhury NFFPFW
Dr.Sunilam Kissan Sangharsh Samiti
Kiran Shaheen Women against sexual violence and state expression(WSS)
Anand swarup verma Editor samkaleen tisri duniya
Prashant Pairikay, Posco pratirodh sangharsh samiti
K.K. Niyogi All India platform for labour rights
Manj mohan Hind mazdoor sabha
Roma NFFPFW
Anil chaudhury INSAF
Insha malik Research sholar JNU
Bhupen singh Research sholar JNU
Vijay pratap Socialist front
Madhuresh NAPM
Rajendra Ravi NAPM
Anna khandre Samajwadi party
Putul Yuva bharat
P.K. sundaram IndiaResists.com
Prakash kumar ray Editor bargad.org
Nayanjyoti Krantikari naujawan sabha
Vinod singh Samajwadi jan parishad
Rakhi Saiigal Labour activist
Gopal Krishna Toxic Watch
Shankar Gopalakrishnan
Saheli, Delhi
Devika Biswas, State convenor

Healthwatch Forum , Bihar

C/O BVHA PATNA BIHAR

Ruchi Shroff , Mumbai
Madhumita Dutta
Suresh Bhat B, Concerned Citizen, Mangalore
Sudha Bharadwaj, Chhattisgarh PUCL.
Rakmakant Banjare, Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee)
Nisha Biswas , Kolkata
Swatija, Mumbai
‘Prabhakar Pandit from Mumbai Mobile Creches_
Rahul Yogi Deveshwar

Independent Voice , Shanti se Kranti

Nirja Bhatnagar, Mumbai
Himadri Sekhar Mistri, Research Scholar, Delhi School of Economics
Women’s Research and Action Group
Tanushree Gangopadhyay, Ahmedabad
Anjali sinha  Madhubala from Stree mukti sangathan
Madhubala, from Stree mukti sangathan
Sankara Narayanan_
Sharanya Humane, Koraput
Rakesh Narayana, PUCL – Bangalore
Kaushiki Rao, Bangalore
K. Sajaya, Hyderabad
Uma V Chandru, WSS Activist, Bangalore

Aruna Chandrasekhar, Research and journalist

Shraddha Chickerur

Uma V Chandru, WSS Activist, Bangalore

Pushpa (Member, WSS-Karnataka)

Abha Bhaiya

Anuradha Pati

Kannamma Raman, University of Mumbai

Jeevika Shiv, Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi

Kabi S., Bombay

Devaki Jain

Rina Mukherji

Soma KP

Aanchal Kapur

Trupti Shah, Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan)

K. Sajaya, Hyderabad

Kaushiki Rao, Bangalore

Sudha.S. Bangalore

Sadhna, Delhi

Ratna, Law Student, Bangalore

Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, Bangalore

M. R. Prabhakar, Bangalore

Nisha Biswas, Kolkata

Gowru Chinnapa, Bangalore

Ayush Ranka, Bangalore

Rakesh Narayana, PUCL – Bangalore

Sharanya, Humane, Koraput

Shakun.M, Bangalore

Soundarya Iyer, Research Scholar, NIAS, Bangalore

Sudha Bharadwaj, Chhattisgarh PUCL.

Rakmakant Banjare, Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee)

Vasanth Kannabiran

Shyama K Narang

Anupriya, Delhi

Chhaya Datar

K. Lalita

Neha Dhingra

Rina, Kolkata

Sutapa Majumdar

Lalita Ramdas, Bhaimala, Alibag

Admiral L. Ramdas, Bhaimala, Alibag

Vinay Bhat, Management Consultant, Santa Clara, CA

Gopika Solanki

Uma Chakravarti

Mary E John

Suneeta Dhar

Arundhati Dhuru

Dr Veena R Poonacha, Director, Research Center for Women’s Studies & Project Director, Dr. Avabai Wadia Archives, SNDT Women’s University

Sharmila Rege

Veena Shatrugna

Gabriele Dietrich

Devangana Kalita

Tungshang Ningreichon, Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights

Meera, Narmada Valley

Prem Verma, Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum, Ranchi, Jharkhand

Lakshmi Premkumar, Programme for Social Action (PSA), New Delhi

Priyanka Borpujari, independent journalist

Koyel Lahiri, MPhil student, CSSSC

K Babu Rao, NAPM, Hyderabad

Lokesh, Stree Mukti Sangathan

Gee Ameena Suleiman

Maitreyi, ALF, Bangalore

 Prafulla Samantara, Convenor, NAPM
Kunal Rawat, New Delhi

Alaka Basu

Anita Ghai, Feminist and Disblity rights activist, Delhi

Parth J Dave, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai

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