#India – Sexual harassment claim rocks National University of Juridical Sciences #Vaw


sh

, TNN | Jun 20, 2013,

KOLKATA: The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), one of the country’s top law schools, has been rocked by a complaint of sexual harassment a week ahead of admission season.

A member of the vice-chancellor’s secretariat has brought charges of sexual harassment against a senior employee in the registrar’s department. The victim has alleged in written complaints to the VC and registrar that she has been receiving lewd e-mails and objectionable proposals from the accused. The harassment had allegedly been going on for over a year and the young woman had earlier verbally complained to the administration, but no action was taken. When she brought up the matter again with the registrar last week, he advised her to submit a written complaint.

Acting on the complaint, the university has set up a committee to investigate the case. The accused has been sent on leave. Two senior faculty members, a senior non-teaching staff and a teacher of Jadavpur University English department are members of the committee.

The accused, who has been with the NUJS for over a decade, called up TOI on Wednesday to say he had already resigned. “I have been framed. There is no truth in the accusation. There is a huge communication gap. In any case, I have resigned,” he said.

Registrar Surajit Mukhopadhyay, however, said he is yet to receive any such resignation.

“We have received a written complaint of sexual harassment and stalking from the victim and it has been forwarded to the committee for investigation. This is the first time that such a controversy has happened in the university and we have taken very serious note of the matter. If the accused is proved guilty, strictest action according to the law of the land will be taken,” Mukhopadhyay said.

Vice-chancellor Ishwar Bhatt assured that NUJS would do everything “to uphold the dignity” of the lady. “We are dealing with the complaint in the strictest terms. The accused is on leave andyes, he called me up to say he will resign,” he said.

Even as the NUJS campus was abuzz with the sexual harassment complaint, another controversy erupted when a final-year student was slapped in full view of others by a lady teacher. The student, who reached late for an exam, was stopped from entering the hall and asked by the teacher to first take permission from the VC. She argued that since she was just 15 minutes late she should be let in. This led to a heated exchange and the angry teacher slapped her.

Later, the VC intervened and the girl was taken to another room and given half an hour extra to write her test.

A committee set up to investigate the matter sent its report to the executive council which ruled that the faculty member be reprimanded for losing her temper. “We have tried to handle the incident in a very sensitive way, with full sympathies for the girl,” registrar Surajit Mukhopadhyay said.

 

#India – Naxal elephant in the drawing room #Chhattisgarh


D. SAMPATHKUMAR

  ·

The institutionalised resistance to State authority, which is really what Naxalite violence is all about, has been around for a very long time.

June 9, 2013:

It isn’t quite the run-of-the-mill elephant jokes that were popular at one time (Google it if you are so inclined), although the elephant figures in it in a major way.

I have in mind a tale about a mother elephant that had calved on top of a hill. It was narrated to me by the manager of a company I worked in for a while. He would insist on coming up with the most comprehensive solution to a problem that the team under him could barely get started on solving. While that is an awful state of affairs, you could go just as terribly wrong by getting started on the first thing that strikes you as the solution.

The story goes that there existed a temple on top of a thickly wooded hill. There was a pathway that was barely enough for people to go up in single file, if they wanted to get to the top. The climb was not just arduous but treacherous as well.

On most days, the temple priest would be the only one to go up the hill and, that too, because it fell upon him to perform the morning rituals. The rest confined themselves to offering prayers only on important festival days.

Cracking the calf puzzle

One morning, when the priest went up to perform his daily puja, he was astonished to find a calf elephant crying out plaintively for help. Soon, all the villagers trekked to the top of the hill. The question in everyone’s mind was, ‘‘How did the baby elephant get to the top when even expert trekkers found the going so tough?’’

The villagers were scratching their heads trying to find an answer. Soon, the village wisecrack hit upon an explanation. He said, ‘‘Look, I think it is like this. The mother elephant must have gone up the hill and given birth to a calf.’’ . The villagers nodded their heads. ‘‘Oh yes, that is really how it must have happened’’, they seemed to be telling each other and dispersed in the secure knowledge that they had cracked a puzzle. But, of course, the real mystery was not how the calf happened to get there, but how a pregnant elephant managed to get to the top of the hill and give birth to a calf.

So it would seem, for the talking heads and writers in the media, when it comes to understanding the Naxalite violence and the role of private militia orsalwa judum as it is called.

If only the Government had not created this monster, the problem of Naxalite violence would not have escalated to the extent of wiping out the entire state Congress party leadership in the manner in which it did.

But the truth is, salwa judum or not, Naxalites have been around for a long time. Also, it isn’t as though they have all of a sudden embarked on the path of violence after being strong adherents of the principle of ahimsa. The reality is a bit more nuanced.

Truckload of charges

Years ago, I was, for a brief while, engaged in nothing more onerous than doling out payments to transport contractors within the finance set up at the Tata’s truck plant in Pune.

Dealing as I did, with truck drivers and assorted other minions in the world of commerce, I acquired a deeper understanding of the politics and social mores of India’s vast countryside existing outside the metros.

The company had engaged the services of the cooperative society of ex-servicemen for driving away fully assembled truck chassis from Pune to various towns where Tata dealers were located.

The transportation charges that were payable took into account the distance involved; the quantity of fuel to be consumed, besides wages and daily allowance to the driver for the duration of time it took him to deliver the vehicle and return. You could say that pretty much everything had been factored in, to the last minute detail. Or at least, so the company thought.

The extra levy

But when the bills were submitted there was an extra item charged at Rs 20 per truck (not a small sum in the 80s) for some destinations which were not built into the contract. The clerk in charge of transport payments would routinely disallow that claim and pay only the balance which was, as per the terms, agreed upon.

Over time, it added up to a sizeable sum which brought the secretary of the ex-servicemen society to my office. He explained that all chassis that passed through the town of Jagdalpur in the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh for upcountry destinations, suffered a levy in the hands of the local militia and this couldn’t be incorporated in the contract.

He went on to explain in some detail, the internal security situation in the eastern parts of India. He would know; he was, after all, a retired colonel of the Indian army. Jagdalpur is at the very heart of the Naxalite movement in the State of Chhattisgarh.

It was all a long time ago. But nothing much has changed. One, the institutionalised resistance to State authority, which is really what this is all about, has been around for a very long time.

Two, such organised resistance was defeated only in the plains of Gangetic West Bengal and later in the plains of East Punjab. More specifically, the resistance could never be quelled with any degree of success where the movement operated with the advantage of hills and forests.

It is one thing to evict Naxalites from Jadavpur University which they occupied for a brief while. But it’s quite another to beat down the resistance dispersed around the hills of Chota Nagpur or the forests of Malkangiri in Odisha.

Operating at the margin

That said, no one is quite seriously doing anything about it either. The movement is being sustained because the energy needed to keep it going is generated from within. Both the rebels and the components of the established authority of the State (ruling party and the party in opposition) have no incentive to disturb the status quo.

The rebels are quite content to operate at the margin, collecting a toll on traffic in their domain; much like what warlords did when caravans passed through the Silk Road in the era before sea lanes of commerce were discovered. The political parties too do not want to destroy the rebels.

Each political party thinks that the rebels would be useful at some future date for forming an alliance to outwit the other party/parties contesting for political power.

In any case, the mindset of the rulers, no matter which party is in power, is not dissimilar to that of the rebels themselves.

There is no grand vision for the country where Naxalites stand in the way and, therefore, need to be either reformed or eliminated. They too prefer to make money at the margin from industrial investments, administrative clearances, and so on.

In other words, they operate at the margin sucking out what they can, much like the Naxalites themselves.

If Naxalites operate from the safety of the hills and forests, the ruling establishments prefer to operate from the safety of secretariats in the States and the North and the South Blocks in the Centre.

(This article was published on June 9, 2013,in Hindu )

 

Rights rap on West Bengal Government #FOE #FOS


- Strongest charge against Ambikesh was an ‘afterthought’MONALISA CHAUDHURI, Telegraph

 

The state human rights commission has refused to accept the Mamata Banerjee government’s justification for the arrest of Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, citing depositions by top police officers to surmise that the strongest charge against him was an “afterthought”.

“The commission is constrained to put it on record that it finds it difficult to accept the reasons given in the letter of the additional chief secretary for non-acceptance of the commission’s recommendations,” it said in a communiqué to the state government on Tuesday.

The rights commission cited two reasons for not accepting the state’s argument that there was no violation of human rights in the arrest of Mahapatra, who had been first charged with outraging the modesty of a woman for circulating an Internet joke on Mamata Banerjee.

“Senior police officers, including the city police commissioner, had deposed before the commission that Mahapatra was arrested after being charged with a cognisable offence under Section 509 of the IPC. The fact that he was not arrested under Section 66A(b) of the Information Technology Act proves that this stringent section was included as an afterthought,” an official of the commission said.

“It appears that his arrest came first and then the charges were slapped to put him behind bars without considering whether the alleged offence merited these charges,” he added.

Justice Ashok Ganguly, the chairman of the rights commission, said circulating an Internet joke was in no way an offence that called for penal charges of the kind slapped on the chemistry professor. “It was an innocuous mail, based on characters from a movie for children (Satyajit Ray’s Sonar Kella). How could the police slap such stringent charges for circulating a mail like that?” he said.

Legal experts said invoking Section 509 (intending to insult the modesty of a woman by words and gestures) was “inappropriate” in Mahapatra’s case because the presumed victim never filed a complaint against him.

“According to the rule book, only a complaint in writing from the victim — in this case the chief minister — about outrage of modesty would have made him liable to be charged under Section 509. Circulation of an Internet joke with apparently nothing in it that can be construed as outraging someone’s modesty is, in common knowledge, out of the purview of Section 509,” a veteran lawyer said.

Sections 509 and 500 (defamation) were ultimately omitted from the police chargesheet against Mahapatra. The only charge retained against the professor was under Section 66A(b) of the Information Technology Act (electronic circulation of objectionable content).

The rights commission not only declined to accept the premise under which Mahapatra had been arrested, it also picked holes in the state’s contention that the professor and his neighbour Subrata Sengupta were “rescued from an agitated mob”.

Police officers during their deposition admitted that the arrestees had been wrongfully restrained before being rescued and taken to the police station. Then why was no action taken against the people who had wrongfully restrained the duo? Instead, the victims were treated as accused and charges were drawn up against them,” the commission official said.

Mahapatra said he would write to the Prime Minister’s Office again about the state’s attempt to justify the harassment he had to endure. “The government has made a mockery of its assurance of ‘immediate redressive action’ to the PMO. I will let Prime Minister Manmohan Singh know about it.”

Responding to Mahapatra’s previous letter, the PMO had prodded the Bengal government last December to “take necessary action” in the case. The state rejected all the recommendations of the rights commission last week.

The rights body had recommended departmental action against two police officers — Milan Kanti Das and Sanjay Biswas — for allegedly harassing Mahapatra and slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 each.

Mahapatra has pinned his hopes on Calcutta High Court, where a PIL filed by lawyer and former mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya is scheduled for hearing in June.

The chemistry professor will not be moving court individually because he doesn’t want to be away from the classroom for long. “Over the past year, I could not attend many classes because of court hearings. I don’t want to miss classes anymore. Otherwise, my students will suffer,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SUBHANKAR CHOWDHUR

 

 

#India-Assault on women with disabilities draws focus #Vaw


By , TNN | Jan 7, 2013,

KOLKATA: Close on the heels of the alleged rape bid on a woman with disabilities at Thakurpukur in December last year, 25 organizations representing persons with disabilities have petitioned Justice J S Verma, the chairperson of the commission formed to suggest amendments to laws on safety of women, “over its limited terms of reference”. The panel was formed after the Nirbhaya case.

Among all the cases of assault on women with disabilities cited in the petition, a majority took place in Bengal.

“Girls and women with disabilities are more vulnerable to exploitation. They are considered soft targets, with the perpetrators assuming they can get away easily. In many cases, such women are unable to comprehend or communicate about such acts of violence. Some reports suggest they are up to three times more likely to be victims of abuse as compared to other women,” says the petition. Three Bengal organizations – Centre for Care of Tortured Victims, Paschim Banga Rajya Prathibandhi Sammelani and Sruti Disability Rights Centre – are part of the petition prepared by the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD).

“There are no consolidated figures on violence against women with disabilities. But the magnitude and scale of the attacks can be gauged by the fact that in 2012 alone there were

dozens of cases of sexual violence on women with disabilities were reported in the media from Bengal. Despite this, no attempt was made to map the magnitude of the problem. Neither the NCRB nor any other source has authentic figures,” says Muralidharan, NPRD assistant convener.

Several cases have been cited in the petition, with one case each from Chandigarh and Aurangabad and the rest from Bengal. It contains the testimony of a visual impaired girl at an event by Jadavpur University and Sruti Disability Rights Centre, who said: “I face sexual abuse regularly. I have to commute to college by public bus and need help in crossing roads and during bus rides where people take advantage of my condition. I can’t see, so identifying the molester is difficult. And others think he was just helping me board the bus. Who would believe me?”

Among the cases cited are the Bankura Medical College case, where a hearing-impaired girl was allegedly raped by a doctor in February 2012, the case of a national-level para-athlete who was allegedly raped by an auto driver in North Dinajpur in June 2012, and the Hooghly tragedy where a woman’s body was found buried at a home run by an NGO Dulal Smriti Samsad in July 2012.

The petition suggests several measures on compilation of data, support to victims, sensitization of police, monitoring of institutions and counselling and rehabilitation.

After a spate of attacks on women with disabilities, a team from the National Commission for Women visited Bengal in April 2012, and recommended that the requirements of persons with special needs have to be kept in mind by all police stations and medical establishments so that they are provided with support including services of interpreters, readers, professionals, psychologists and NGOs depending on the nature of the case. “A panel of experts for this purpose can be prepared for each district in consultation with the disabilities commissioner and the WCD department,” it said.

 

JU students take out first ever street protest in Kolkata to free Soni Sori


Piyush Guha, who was also arrested on charges of sedition and released in 2011, says that the government wants the people on the periphery not to speak, not to think
Ajachi Chakrabarti

Ajachi Chakrabarti

December 13, 2012, TEHELKA

Jadavpur University students take out a protest march to free Soni Sori in Kolkata. Photo: Shankar Sarkar

The campaign to free Soni Sori broke new ground on Wednesday 12 December, with the first street protest for her immediate release being organised at Jadavpur University in Kolkata. It was a small beginning, with fewer than 200 college students and a handful of civil society activists carrying out a march; a turnout blamed by organisers on college exams. “This is only the beginning,” said Madhushree Das, one of the organisers, “and we will continue the protest and plan something big for January, when the students are back on campuses.”

One man, however, was not in the least disheartened with the turnout. Piyush Guha was a tendu leaf businessman in Chhattisgarh with little involvement in politics, when he was arrested along with Binayak Sen and Narayan Sanyal in 2007, and charged with sedition in what became the biggest political trial in recent memory. Jailed in the same Raipur Central Jail where Sori continues to be lodged, Guha was released in 2011 after the Supreme Court granted him bail. “I never imagined so many youths would come to support Soni Sori,” he says of the low turnout. “If there’s anything this era has taught us, it’s that we are on our own. But there is a potential in this crowd for a bigger campaign. Our generation of political leaders either never did anything for us or failed in the attempt, but the young men and women who came today to support a woman they do not know show that there is still humanity in the next generation.”

There are parallels between Guha’s and Sori’s incarcerations. Neither was considered a Maoist by the state establishment, yet both were arrested; a sign that the State is expanding its campaign to silence even the voices on the periphery of the conflict, anyone it considers collaborators or sympathisers, he says. “The government wants the people on the periphery not to speak, not to think.” The parallels breed empathy —reason Guha was at Jadavpur for the rally. “When I was in solitary confinement, my biggest fear was that the people had forgotten us,” he says. “Hearing about the nationwide campaign for our release gave us succour, and the initiation of this campaign will give her hope.”

Guha recounts the horrors of the jail hospital, which denied Sori medical aid as her health deteriorated and proceeded to give her a clean bill of health. “You get nothing in the jail hospital,” he says. “Even though there are nominally three doctors responsible for it, it is actually run by a compounder. No inmate ever gets treatment there. People are afraid to go there, as even minor ailments can become fatal. We saw countless people dying from lack of treatment in front of our eyes. I remember one inmate who committed suicide because he was being denied treatment even when the Raipur Medical College is just across the road.”

The survivor: Piyush Guha

Medical care is available, he says, but at a price. “If you can pay Rs 100, you’ll get an injection. Cough medicine comes for Rs 50. If you can pay Rs 500, you can even be treated at the medical college. Of course, if you are branded a Maoist, you can forget about that.” The entire prison, he says, runs on bribes, with career criminals scouring the local newspapers for news of wealthier people being arrested. “There are a lot of simple village youths in custody on false charges of being Maoists,” he says. “They cannot afford to get even the basic necessities in jail.”

Even release from prison has not been kind to Guha. Prison meant the end of his tendu business, as his partners were unable to sustain it in Chhattisgarh after his arrest. “Economically speaking, I only have my loans,” he says. “Even if my creditors don’t pressure me to return their money, I know it’s at the back of their minds. I’m starting not from zero, but from minus [sic].” He lost both his parents in the course of his arrest, famously not being allowed to attend their last rites, even by the Supreme Court. “The police repeatedly raided my house after my arrest,” he says, “and my wife and parents had to move house three or four times. Eventually, my parents decided to move back to their village, as the police hounding had made living in Kolkata an unsustainable proposition. It was impossible to continue my father’s treatment in the village, and he died of a cardiac arrest two years later.”

Guha, however, insists he has no regrets. “I understand that I faced some personal losses,” he says. “And I do regret those, sometimes. But jail gave me time to think. My years in prison have strengthened my conviction to stand up against injustice. I cannot forget all those unknown people who helped me. I have to stand up for all those other people I don’t know. It is my social obligation.”

I ask him whether he intends to become a full-time activist. “First I need to survive,” he says.

 

Supreme Court to examine Section 66A of IT Act #CENSORSHIP #FOE


New Delhi, November 29, 2012

IANS

 

 

Referring to the recent arrests over Facebook comments, Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said “we were considering taking suo motto cognizance of these incidents”.

The Supreme Court will on Thursday examine the constitutional validity of Section 66A of the IT Act in the wake of recent arrests of people for posting comments critical of politicians.

The apex court headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir directed the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL).

The petition was filed by Shreyansh Singhal, drawing the court’s attention to the large-scale misuse of section 66A.

The section provides for action against people for posting offensive and annoying comments on websites or other electronic mediums.

As senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi mentioned the matter before the court, the chief justice observed: “We were wondering why nobody has filed a petition on the issue. In fact we were considering taking suo motto cognizance of these incidents.”

The PIL petitioner has drawn the attention of the court on some incidents of misuse of section 66A of the IT Act.

In April, Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra was arrested in Kolkata for circulating a cartoon depicting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

More recently, a young woman, Shaheen Dhada, and her friend were arrested in Maharashtra for a Facebook post questioning Mumbai’s shutdown following Bal Thackeray’s death.

 

For the sake of free speech- Save your Voice Campaign


Creative professionals go on hunger strike to protest against Internet censorship

SUJATHA SUBRAMANIAN, The Hindu

GATHERING MOMENTUM:Save Your Voice activists sitting on a hunger strike.Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

GATHERING MOMENTUM:Save Your Voice activists sitting on a hunger strike.Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

The possibility of a scenario where the government not only has access to every Indian citizen‘s Facebook posts, Skype conversations, private photographs and can also censor tweets, blogs and online conversations has created outrage among citizens, particularly ‘netizens’.

The most recent attack on freedom of speech and expression has been in the form of the Information Technology (Intermediary Rules) 2011, which require that intermediaries, such as a website host, including social networking sites and search engines, do not host, display, share or publish information deemed as objectionable. On receiving a complaint by an aggrieved person, the intermediary site is liable to act within 36 hours and remove the content, without prior notice.

A group of like-minded individuals, who have come together under the ‘Save Your Voice’ campaign, are on a hunger strike protesting against IT Rules 2011.

The group, comprising writers, artists and musicians, had earlier organised a protest and sat inside cages set up at Jantar Mantar on April 22, with the slogan ‘Freedom in the Cage’, symbolising how the IT Rules ‘caged’ the freedom of the people granted by the Constitution.

“The empowerment that social media provides has begun to be seen as threatening. This is an attempt to clamp down on an individual’s right to dissent and his freedom of expression,” said journalist Alok Dixit here on Saturday, continuing with the fourth day of hunger strike at Jantar Mantar According to Mr. Dixit, the rules would also force the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to create vast databases of sensitive information about an individual which would then be available to the government.

The group is attempting to create awareness regarding the censorship inherent in the IT Rules and gather support for the annulment motion filed by Rajya Sabha MP P Rajeev against the rules. The motion is expected to come up in this budget session. Mr. Dixit said: “No site will run risk of being dragged to court to protect the rights of an individual. The Government is holding the intermediaries responsible so that it can exert power over the citizens in an indirect, insidious way.” The campaign was launched after cartoonist Aseem Trivedi’s website http://www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com was closed down, without any prior notice, by Big Rock, the web portal that hosted his website.

On further investigations, it was discovered that a complaint against his site had been lodged with the Mumbai Cyber Crime Cell.

Mr. Dixit said: “We understand that the Government deems certain content as capable of inciting violence and as being against national interest. But every site has always had mechanisms to deal with such content. What aggrieves us is the draconian way in which it is trying to clamp down on any form of free expression or dissent. Such regulations also do not allow an individual to understand why certain content has been termed objectionable or what an individual can do to retrieve his site. An individual’s intellectual property should not be tampered with in this manner.” The campaign for free speech and expression has gained momentum after the recent case where a professor from Jadavpur University was arrested and booked under the IT Act for posting an “objectionable” cartoon on a popular social networking site.

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Immediate Release- Freedom Fast- 4th day- Theatre artistes join the protest for internet freedom


May5, 2012- New Delhi

Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit from Save Your Voice are continuing with the fourth day of their hunger strike to support annulment motion against IT Rules-2011in the Rajya Sabha. Ongoing from the 2nd of May, they will carry on with their hunger strike until any satisfactory response from the government is received regarding the opposition of the annulment of IT Rules-2011. Today they were visited by Arvind Gaur, Director of Asmita Theatre (New Delhi) and a few of his associates. Arvind, who is known for his work in innovative socially and politically relevant theatre, has given his word that he will extend his support for the fight for Freedom of Speech & Expression in a full fledged manner. He is also against the implementation of the IT Act and says that internet should be provided ‘free’ and not brought under any rules. The activists were grateful for his encouraging visit.

Government has enacted laws that give it a free pass to censor our Facebook posts, listen to every Skype conversation we have, monitor our tweets or blogs or access private photographs and documents we store online, or track our location using our mobile phones or surveil all of our online activity. The campaigners want to convey to the government that they cannot use vaguely defined laws and loopholes to take away our freedom of speech and expression.

IT Acts are unconstitutional: On 11th April 2011, the Government notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 prescribing various guiding principles to be observed by all internet related companies. These rules will:

1. Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship/self-censorship by private parties;

2. Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;

3. Will severely hamper the growth of internet penetration in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;

4. Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in particular cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers).

In addition, mandatory data retention would force the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to create vast and expensive new databases of sensitive information about an individual. That information would then be available to the government, in secret and without any court oversight.

Annulment Motion in Rajya Sabha: Sh. P. Rajeev, Hon’ble Member of the Rajya sabha has moved an ANNULMENT MOTION to get these rules abolished and the motion has been admitted and is expected to come up in this budget session. Bangalore MP- Rajeev Chandrashekar has spoken in the Parliament in support of this motion. It’s also interesting to note that a professor of chemistry of the Jadavpur University was arrested recently along with his neighbour for allegedly posting a cartoon on a popular social networking site and forwarding emails, cases were booked under the IT ACT as well.
During the last three days, people from various streams and in favour of this cause have visited the campaigning activists at Jantar Mantar, and helped to keep their motive intact.

Thanks,
Save Your Voice Team,
http://www.saveyourvoice.in,
http://www.facebook.com/saveyourvoice
Contact no: 09717900302, 09810659060, 09336505530, 07499219770

Press Release
फ्रीडम फास्ट (चौथा दिन): इंटरनेट फ्रीडम के समर्थन में टीम अन्ना के सदस्य अरविन्द गौर और उनकी थिएटर टीम भी पहुची जंतर मंतर

इंटरनेट सेंसरशिप के खिलाफ सेव योर वॉयस की भूख हड़ताल ‘फ्रीडम फास्ट’ का आज चौथा दिन था. फ्रीडम फास्ट का उद्देश्य है तमाम राजनीतिक दलों से आई टी रूल्स के खिलाफ राज्यसभा में आ रहे एनलमेंट मोशन के पक्ष में वोट करने की अपील करना. आज अनशन के चौथे दिन टीम अन्ना के सदस्य और वरिष्ठ रंगकर्मी अरविन्द गौर अपनी थिएटर टीम के साथ जंतर मंतर पहुचे और इंटरनेट की आज़ादी की वकालत की. अरविन्द गौर ने कहा कि इंटरनेट एक आम आदमी की अभिव्यक्ति का माध्यम है इसलिए इंटरनेट की आज़ादी लोकतंत्र के लिए बहुत ज़रूरी है. अरविन्द जी ने माना कि आज के समय अभिव्यक्ति की आज़ादी पर सबसे बड़ा ख़तरा इंटरनेट सेंसरशिप की ओर से ही आ रहा है.

सेव योर वॉयस की ओर से असीम त्रिवेदी और आलोक दीक्षित भूख हड़ताल पर हैं. इंटरनेट की आज़ादी के लिए ये अपनी तरह की पहली भूख हड़ताल है. ये पहला मौक़ा है जब देश के इंटरनेट यूज़र्स और ब्लोगर्स अपनी अधिकारों के लिए वर्चुअल वर्ल्ड से निकलकर ज़मीन पर उतरे हैं इंटरनेट को सेंसर करने की तानाशाही कोशिशों की खिलाफत कर रहे हैं.

अनशनकारी सरकार से मांग कर रहे हैं कि आईटी एक्ट २०११ को हटाया जाए और इनकी जगह कुछ मजबूत कानूनों को लाकर इंटरनेट को मजबूती प्रदान की जाए. केरल के एक एमपी पी राजीव इस कानून को हटाने के लिये राज्य सभा में एक एनलमेंट मोशन लाए हैं जिस पर पार्टी सांसदों को वोट करना है. अब तक किसी भी पार्टी ने इस मोशन पर वोट करने के लिये हामी नहीं भरी है. अगर यह कानून इस सत्र में खत्म नहीं होता है तो हमें इस हटवाने में कई साल लग जाएंगे.

सेव योर वॉयस टीम
09717900302, 09810659060
http://www.saveyourvoice.in
http://www.facebook.com/saveyourvoice

Immediate Release- Freedom Fast: Third day of hunger strike for internet freedom


Press Release

Freedom Fast: Third day of hunger strike for internet freedom

Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit from Save Your Voice completed the third day of their hunger strike to support annulment motion against IT Rules-2011 in Rajya Sabha. We started this hunger strike on 2nd May and we will carry on until we get any satisfactory response from the government and the opposition regarding the annulment of IT Rules-2011.

Government has enacted laws that give it a free pass to censor our Facebook posts, listen to every Skype conversation we have, monitor our tweets or blogs oraccess private photographs and documents we store online, or track our location using our mobile phones or surveil all of your online activity. We want to tell our government that they cannot use vaguely defined laws and loopholes to take away our freedom of speech and expression.

IT Acts are unconstitutional: On 11th April 2011, the Government notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 prescribing various guiding principles to be observed by all internet related companies. These rules will:

1. Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship/self-censorship by private parties;

2. Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;

3. Will severely hamper the growth of internet penetration in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;

4. Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in particular cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers).

In addition, mandatory data retention would force the Internet Service Provider to create vast and expensive new databases of sensitive information about an individual. That information would then be available to the government, in secret and without any court oversight.

Annulment Motion in Rajya Sabha: Sh. P. Rajeev, Hon’ble Member of the Rajya sabha has moved an annulment motion to get these rules abolished and the motion has been admitted and is expected to come up in this budget session. The Bangalore MP Rajeev Chandrashekar has spoken in Parliament in support.  It’s also interesting to note that a professor of chemistry of the Jadavpur University was arrested recently along with his neighbour for allegedly posting a cartoon on a popular social networking site and forwarding emails, cases were booked under the IT ACT as well.

Thanks,

Save Your Voice Team,

www.saveyourvoice.in,

www.facebook.com/saveyourvoice

Contact no: 09717900302, 09810659060, 09336505530, 07499219770

 

Press Release

 

फ्रीडम फास्ट: इंटरनेट की आज़ादी के लिए जंतर मंतर पर जारी रहेगी अनिश्चित कालीन भूख हड़ताल

 

इंटरनेट सेंसरशिप के खिलाफ सेव योर वॉयस की भूख हड़ताल ‘फ्रीडम फास्ट’ का आज तीसरा दिन था. हम फ्री इंटरनेट और आजाद लबों की मांग को लेकर दो मई से अनशन पर बैठे हैं. हमें जन्तर मन्तर पर केवल ३ दिनो की ही अनुमति दी गई थी और सरकार इसे आगे बढ़ाने को राजी नही थी. पर यहाँ से पीछे हटना का विकल्प हमें पसंद नहीं आया और इसलिए हमने तय किया है कि हम बिना सरकारी मंजूरी के भी जंतर मंतर पर अपनी भूख हड़ताल तब तक जारी रखेंगे जब तक हमें सरकार और पालिटिकल पार्टियों से इस बारे में कोई ठोस जवाब नहीं मिलता.

 

हम सरकार से मांग कर रहे हैं कि आईटी एक्ट २०११ को हटाया जाए और इनकी जगह कुछ मजबूत कानूनों को लाकर इंटरनेट को मजबूती प्रदान की जाए. केरल के एक एमपी पी राजीव इस कानून को हटाने के लिये राज्य सभा में एक एनलमेंट मोशन लाए हैं जिस पर पार्टी सांसदों को वोट करना है. अब तक किसी भी पार्टी ने इस मोशन पर वोट करने के लिये हामी नहीं भरी है. अगर यह कानून इस सत्र में खत्म नहीं होता है तो हमें इस हटवाने में कई साल लग जाएंगे.

 

सेव योर वॉयस टीम

09717900302, 09810659060

www.saveyourvoice.in

www.facebook.com/saveyourvoice

 

Immediate Release-Statement of concern on prolonged police custody of Debolina


WSS STATEMENT OF CONCERN ON PROLONGED POLICE CUSTODY OF DEBOLINA,
MATANGINI MAHILA SAMITI, KOLKATA

WSS is extremely concerned by the continued police custody of activist Debolina Chakrabarty, secretary of the Kolkata based women’s
organization, Matangini Mahila Samiti, and the recent reports in the press that she has developed some eye problems while in CID custody. The manner in which her custody was sought by the CID and then granted by the Magistrate is also very disturbing; it only heightens our apprehensions and anxieties of ill-treatment and torture of Debolina. In view of the blatant lawlessness in the custodial torture of Soni Sori in Chhattisgarh, we fear the worst during such `interrogation’ by the police; it could very well be the same or a worse form of `intimidation’ and torture.
Earlier, on 4th April the Kolkata police had brutally lathi-charged a peaceful protest rally of slum-dwellers who had been evicted over the previous week from their hutments in Nonadanga in south Kolkata.  Among those subjected to this indiscriminate lathi-charge were children and a pregnant woman.  On 8th April another peaceful demonstration against this eviction was broken up by the police, and nearly 80 people, including a child were arrested from this demonstration; Debolina and six other activists were also arrested along with these people.
All seven activists were produced in court on 9th April and remanded to police custody till 12th April. They have been charged with unlawful assembly and assault on police.  On 12th, when they were produced in court, all were sent to jail custody till 21st April.   In the evening when the lawyers of the accused were about to leave, the CID put up papers in a secretive manner for the police remand of Debolina in three other cases — two of which are old and allegedly connected with incidents that supposedly took place in Nandigram and Bishnupur, for which charge-sheets had already been submitted, and the third in connection with a case of 2011 in Nandigram for which an FIR was secretly filed in the P. S. The magistrate granted the custody to the CID, without even listening to the response of the lawyers of the accused. Despite the protests by the other arrested activists, Debolina was forcibly taken away by the CID in a police car to Bhabani Bhawan for `interrogation’, while the other six prisoners were sent to Alipur Central Jail.  Debolina has also been tagged in a murder case under the draconian UAPA.
Debolina is a former student of the International Relations Department of Jadavpur University, and has been associated with
several mass movements.  She has participated in the people’s movements of Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh, and has been a member of
many fora, including the SEZ Birodhi Prachar Mancha.  She has also been a member of various fact-finding teams. Debolina has been with
the people’s movement for quite some years, functioning openly and participating in various mass movements that took place from time to time.  According to press reports, Debolina has started a hunger strike in CID custody.
While we welcome the granting of bail on April 17, 2012 for the release of Partho Sarathi Ray from Alipore Central Jail, Kolkata, we
strongly protest the continued detention of the other activists, especially the prolonged CID custody of Debolina.
We join the other organisations in expressing our solidarity and support to Debolina and the other five prisoners – Debjani Ghosh,
Samik Chakraborti, Manas Chatterjee, Siddhartha Gupta, and Abhijnan Sarkar; and demand that the fabricated charges against all of them be dropped, that they be released immediately, and Debolina be given immediate medical treatment.
WOMEN AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE & STATE REPRESSION (WSS)

19.04.12