#India – Dalits stripped of Dignity #Caste #discrimination


Frontline  

WITH the imposing Puthur hillock surrounded by lush green sugarcane fields offering a picturesque backdrop, Vadugapatti in Usilampatti block in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu gives the impression that all is well there. But the humiliation inflicted on a 11-year-old Dalit boy on June 3 and the abuses hurled subsequently at his widowed mother by a caste Hindu youth have unmasked the moral pretensions of the tiny village in the heartland of the Piramalai Kallars.

In a place where footwear is considered a status symbol rather than protective gear, a Piramalai Kallar youth, P. Nilamaalai, forced the Dalit boy, P. Suresh (name changed), to carry his sandals on his head as punishment. His crime: wearing footwear in the caste-Hindu area!

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) tooksuo motu notice of the case and held an inquiry in the village on June 11. D. Venkatesan, Director of the NCSC (Tamil Nadu and Puducherry), who was accompanied by A. Iniyan, investigator, confirmed that the incident had taken place. Dubbing it a “heinous crime against a juvenile”, he said that persons guilty of the crime would have to face “serious legal consequences”.

Following a complaint lodged by the victim’s mother, P. Nagammal, a brick kiln worker, the Usilampatti Town police registered a first information report (FIR) on June 6 and arrested Nilamaalai, his brother P. Agni and their father, A. Pathivuraja. The police have registered cases against them under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.Even 10 days after the incident, Suresh found it difficult to come to terms with the humiliation he had undergone. Narrating his ordeal, he said it occurred when he and two other boys were returning from the Government Kallar High School where he was studying in Standard VI.

All the three boys belonged to the Dalit colony and had gone to the school to find out about the rescheduled date of reopening after the summer vacation. Nilamaalai waylaid them near a tamarind tree. After allowing the other two Dalit boys, who were barefoot, to leave, he upbraided Suresh for violating the ban on Dalits walking on the streets in the upper-caste area with footwear on. Reprimanding him for his mother’s “failure” to teach him the “etiquette” he had to follow, Nilamaalai forced the boy to put his footwear on his head and paraded him up to a platform used to stage cultural events.

According to Nagammal, Suresh stomached the insult and did not say anything about it to her or to his other relatives. However, sensing her son’s abnormal behaviour, she coaxed him a couple of days later into revealing his agonising experience. She took up the issue with Nilamalai’s brother Agni on June 5. But Nilamaalai not only justified his abominable action but also hurled abuses at her and allegedly threatened to eliminate her if she dared to inform the police. Contrary to his belief that the Dalit woman would grin and bear the dishonour, she lodged a complaint with the police. Nagammal said the local police wanted to settle the issue through a “compromise” and she had to approach Dalit activists to ensure that justice was done in the case.

K. Theivammal, coordinator of the Usilai Vattara Dalit Kootamaippu, an organisation working for the rights of the oppressed communities in Usilampatti block, said the police registered an FIR after much dilly-dallying. Though the police arrested Nilamaalai’s brother and father on June 7 on charges of protecting the accused, Nilamaalai was absconding until he was nabbed on June 9. Posters were put up throughout Usilampatti town and in several villages in the area demanding, among other things, the arrest of the main accused.

According to Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan, who visited the village close on the heels of reports on the incident, cases had been booked under Section 294(b) (singing, reciting or uttering any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place) and Section 506(1) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3(1)(x) and 3(1)(xiv) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Section 3(1)(x) of the Act deals with intentional insult or intimidation with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view and Section 3(1)(xiv) pertains to offences such as denying a member of an S.C. or an S.T. any customary right of passage to a place of public resort or obstructing such member so as to prevent the person from using or having access to a place of public resort which other members of the public or any section thereof have a right to use or have access to.

 

 

 

In denial 

Caste Hindus, however, dismissed the incident as an “aberration” in the otherwise cordial relations between the two communities. Vadugapatti panchayat president M. Thavam said both Dalits and Piramalai Kallars lived in harmony in the village. Though the incident was deplorable, it should not be blown out of proportion as it would harm the peaceful coexistence of the two communities, besides bringing disrepute to the village, he said.

The headmistress of the local school was also in denial. Nothing should be done to precipitate the issue, she cautioned. Of the 166 pupils in the school, which was established in 1921, 90 were Dalits and no discrimination was shown to them, she claimed.

However, Nagammal, who has not yet fully recovered from the shock, feels that the government should intervene immediately to ensure protection to her and her son. She wants the authorities concerned to shift her son to another school so that he can continue his studies without fear. Though the school reopened on June 10, the boy did not attend classes fearing reprisals from some persons belonging to the dominant community. She has also urged the government to allot a housing plot in a safer location so that she can live peacefully. Her demands have the backing of Dalit organisations, including the Usilai Vattara Dalit Kootamaippu.

The NCSC has urged the district administration to help the victim to find admission in a government school and hostel in Madurai town. The boy needs counselling and relief, the commission said.

Dalit residents of the village say the June 3 incident has brought to the fore various problems faced by them. According to Theivammal, different discriminatory practices prevailed in all the six villages—Vadugapatti, Ramanathapuram, V. Kallipatti, Kongupatti, Puthur and Vilarpatti—that come under Vadugapatti panchayat. Dalits describe the peace meeting held in the village by the Deputy Superintendent of Police and investigating officer on June 9 as a knee-jerk reaction by the authorities.

M. Jayakumar, Suresh’s maternal uncle, said the practice of insulting members of the oppressed community for wearing footwear in front of caste Hindus occurred every now and then. Only recently was a girl student of the local government school, M. Malarvizhi (name changed), beaten with a broomstick for walking with footwear on a street in the caste-Hindu area, he said.

K. Mangayarkarasi (name changed), a brick kiln worker, said her son was taken to task by caste Hindus for wearing footwear while crossing a street last month. Dalits are not even allowed to ride two-wheelers in caste-Hindu areas. There is no proper pathway to the burial ground used by them. According to some residents, non-Dalits had warned them also against complaining to visiting government officials and activists of human rights organisations about the discriminatory practices.

 

 

Stressing that the Vadugapatti episode should not be taken as an isolated one, M. Thangaraj, organiser of the Madurai district unit of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF), listed the discriminatory practices: segregated dwelling units; separate burial grounds for Dalits; denial of access to places of worship, common meeting place, village squares or community halls; ban on the use of footwear in front of caste Hindus; and the two-tumbler system in tea shops. In many villages in Usilampatti block, B.R. Ambedkar’s picture was not to be found in government offices and schools, he added.

As in the case of several villages in the region, the Dalits of Vadugapatti are farmhands and have to depend on the dominant community for their livelihood. They have been working as manual labourers in brick kilns or as agricultural workers in land belonging to caste Hindus. In Vadugapatti village, there are around 220 Dalit families and 500-odd caste-Hindu families. With the monsoon playing truant in the past several years, Dalit youth have migrated to the northern States seeking jobs in snack-making or fast food units.

“As many as 120 brick kilns are located in Usilampatti and Chellampatti panchayat unions. They are owned by caste Hindus. Almost 90 per cent of the workers involved in brick-making are Dalits brought from the western and northern districts of Tamil Nadu. Most of them are treated as bonded labourers,” Thangaraj said.

The TNUEF is planning to launch an agitation shortly to ensure that Dalits in Vadugapatti walked on the thoroughfares in the village wearing footwear, he said. Thangaraj asked the authorities concerned to take stern action against those who practised untouchability in any form. Strong action from the government in one village would send a warning signal to the forces of oppression in the entire region, he opined.

Director of the NCSC Venkatesan said the villagers had been told that discriminatory practices against Dalits and various forms of untouchability not only were inhuman but were against the law of the land. Expressing concern at the escalating incidents of atrocities against Dalits, he said these would be taken up at the State-level review meeting of the NCSC slated for July.

Significantly, discrimination against certain communities insofar as wearing footwear has a long history in Tamil Nadu. The senior archaeologist C. Santhalingam said there was historical evidence to show that using footwear was treated as an exclusive right of certain groups in ancient Tamil land, though footwear might have been originally treated as something to protect the feet, particularly in tropical climatic conditions. A 12th-13th century A.D. stone inscription in the Kongu region speaks of a decision by the Kongu Chola administration to lift the ban on wearing footwear by Kammalars (artisans) and Idayars (cowherds), he said.

 

Caste curses Dalit, tribal children to life of slavery beyond borders


By Gokul Vannan – CHENNAI

Caste discrimination and exploitation of Dalit children are not confined to villages alone as some members of the dominant communities force them into bonded labour in savory and confectionary units run by them in many parts of north India.

Recently, Vadugapatti village near Usilampatti was in the news when a Class VI Dalit boy was forced to carry footwear on his head through a caste Hindu street. But the same village has another story of a 17-year-old Dalit, who has become mentally ill due to physical and psychological torture he had faced at a savory factory in Gujarat, owned by a local businessman settled there.

Confined within a room for the last two years, the victim, T Vairamani, was rescued by his father, Thevamani, from a village in Gujarat. Owner Rohan, a caste Hindu of Usilampatti, had paid `2,000 as advance to Thevamani, a tender coconut vendor, while taking the boy for work at his savory unit.

“Vairmani was forced to work for nearly 20 hours a day. If he asks for rest, Rohan would abuse him in filthy language denoting his caste,” says S Muthu, a social worker attached to Madurai-based NGO Evidence. These days, Muthu takes the boy for regular medical check up at the Government Rajaji Hospital.

Rohan gave spoilt or poor quality food and that too only twice a day, and forced Vairmani to sleep in the kitchen. He also prevented his father from communicating with his son for two years. A restless Thevamani went in search of his son and spent more than a fortnight in Gujarat. Only after he filed a complaint with the Keraloor police, Ravikumar, a relative of Rohan, informed that the boy was safe at his house. “But when Thevamani spotted his son, he had injuries all over the body and was lying unconscious. With the help of then Madurai district collector Sagayam, we treated him for two months in the hospital,” says Muthu.

While Thevamani got back his son, albeit with mental illness, Parvathy of Uthampalyam in Theni district lost her son Surlimuthu within a few months after he was rescued from a confectionary unit in Uttar Pradesh. Incidentally Surlimuthu, a Dalit, had lost his dad Periyasuruli, as an eight-year-old.

On seeing Parvathy struggling to run the family, Sonaikalai, a caste Hindu of nearby Meikilarpatti convinced her to send her son to the factory promising good returns.

“The boy was working for 17 years at the savory unit of one Mahendran, who treated him like a slave,” says Ilayaraja, a social worker with Evidence.

While forcing him to work for 20 hours a day, Mahendran at times scalded him by pouring hot oil on his skin and branded him with a hot iron. When Surlimuthu returned home in 2008, his body was full of injuries. “Though we provided medical treatment, he died within a few months,” says A Kathir, executive director of Evidence.

A study of 111 bonded labourers in Madurai, Theni, Dindigul and Virudhunagar districts, revealed that most of the children were Dalits. In northern Tamil Nadu, particularly in Villupuram, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Tiruvannamalai districts, tribal children were forced to work in brick kilns as bonded labourers, the study showed.

“It is distressing that the relief and rehabilitation promised in the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 doesn’t reach the rescued children,” says former south-zone convener, Campaign Against Child Labour, B S Vanarajan.

“If the rescued boy/girl is a Dalit, he/she is eligible for addition relief amount of `60,000 under the SC/ST prevention of atrocities Act, 1989 (section 3 (1) (6), but the government is not taking steps to provide relief invoking this Act,” he says.

http://newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/Caste-curses-Dalit-tribal-children-to-life-of-slavery-beyond-borders/2013/06/17/article1638429.ece

 

 

Dalit boy forced to carry footwear on his head as punishment, wary Dalits flee #WTFnews


By Harish Murali | ENS – MADURAI

08th June 2013

Pechiammal (61), the grandmother of Dalit boy Arun Kumar who was forced to walk on streets where caste Hindus reside carrying his footwear on his head at Vadugapatti near Usilampatti, is worried about the future of her grandson.

“After my daughter Nagammal gave a police complaint against a caste Hindu youth for humiliating her son Arun Kumar, both have left for our relative’s house fearing for their lives,” said Pechiammal, who was seen sitting alone in the house at Vadugapatti. The village wore a deserted look on Friday, while the caste Hindus ‘closely monitored’ the movement of those Dalits who dared to venture out.

Narrating the atrocities that happened to Arun Kumar, Pechiammal said, “My grandson went to the Kallar Government High School to check his annual exam result. When he was returning, he walked barefoot following the ‘dictum’ of the caste Hindus, carrying his footwear in his hand. However, when he saw a group of students playing cricket, he stopped to watch the game. Unable bear the heat, he put the footwear down and stood on it. It was then that caste Hindu youth Nagamaalai spotted my grandson and forced him to walk carrying the footwear on his head.”

“What happened to Arun Kumar is not unusual. Since Nagammal filed a police complaint, the caste discrimination in our village has come to light,” said a cross-section of Dalits.

About 70 Dalit families live in a ‘colony’ (secluded area earmarked for Dalits) in the village. However, none of them are allowed to walk wearing footwear in the streets of caste Hindus. “We also walk barefoot to a ration shop which is located in the caste Hindu area,” said Alagar (33), a resident.

Transforming pain into power- Drummer-woman makes it big #womenempowerment


D. KARTHIKEYAN, The Hindu

Maghizhini Manimaran. Photo: G. Moorthy

The HinduMaghizhini Manimaran. Photo: G. Moorthy

A

Not many would have had such a dream debut like folk singer Magizhini Manimaran — ‘Soi Soi’song from the movie Kumki has brought her to the limelight. The song has emerged as the most popular number, crossing 2 crore hits on Youtube.

Hailing from an agricultural family at Malaipuram near Vedanthangal in Chenglepet district, Maghizhini had lost her father when she was studying 10th standard. Her interest in folk songs led her to become part of Buddhar Kalai Kuzhu, a folk troupe which specialises in ‘parai’ drumming and dance. The troupe is headed by Manimaran who eventually became her life-partner.

In a candid chat, the couple exchanged their views about ‘parai’ drum as a cultural signifier and how they wanted to reverse the art form and also about the magical debut. Maghizini was quick to say that her husband was her guru and inspiration.

“She was first a ‘parai’ drummers and later a singer. The ‘kalai kuzhu,’ right from its inception, worked on an ideology that they will never play for funerals — “Idhu saavukkana parai illai viduthalaikkana parai” (This ‘parai’ drumming is not for funeral but for liberation). Our performance always had a strong message that aimed at re-signifying ‘parai’ as a symbol of self-respect and assertion. Aadhikkam aliyattum, kizhiyattum paraigal alla, Indhiya saatheeya samoogam (Let the beating up of ‘parai’ destroy the dominance; let it break down not the parai but the Indian caste hierarchy),” he says. “The troupe performs for political and social conferences and for temple festivals of lineage gods and other traditional gods. Perhaps one of the oldest of the indigenous folk arts, ‘parai aattam’ embraces life in all its forms — birth, puberty, engagement, marriage and death. But, today, despite a rich legacy, ‘parai aattam’ has been pushed to the margins as a polluted form of art,” he says.

The artiste-couple conduct lectures and demonstrations at educational institutions in Chennai and northern districts such as Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram. So far, Buddhar Kalai Kuzhu has performed across Tamil Nadu. The couple are now part of an initiative to not only promote ‘parai’ as a form of art among school children in Chennai schools, but also to make learning an interesting experience by making the students learn along with singing and dancing.

“In many schools, the children, mostly first-generation students, were not interested in what is classified as classical art forms. They wanted us to teach them ‘parai aattam’ and we taught them in a way which induced them to learn. Dr. Ambedkar’s biography was depicted through a performance and his strong message to ‘educate, agitate and organise’ is stressed in all our performances,” he says.

The artiste, who has been performing for the last 25 years, lamented that ‘parai aatam’ is seen as a form exclusive to a particular caste which is not so. The project of making drumming an art form had been reinforced by providing it a political platform. Most of our performances on neutral platforms try to destabilise the codes of caste and patriarchy in Tamil culture, just as how Tamil society in the recent past was forced to confront new possibilities of Dalit freedom and agency in various spheres, says Manimaran.

Magizhini has some fond memories of Madurai as she is a regular singer accompanying her troupe during the Dalit Cultural Festival organised by the Dalit Resource Centre. She says, “Madurai Dalit festival is important as it has helped in stemming the decline of the ‘parai’ drumming art. Buddhar Kalai Kuzhu is aiming to show how an art dubbed as a symbol of pollution could be skilfully re-appropriated as a sophisticated musical form, comparable to classical music. These days, every political party in Tamil Nadu conducts rallies and conferences with the drumming of ‘parai.’

Manimaran adds that people have begun to realise the richness in the art form. “We performed at a few Brahmin weddings at Mylapore in Chennai, which exemplified the receptiveness among Brahmins. We have also performed in Chennai Sangamam.”

Maghizhini, a shy singer, who never thought that she would make it this big in the film music industry, says it was the young music director, D. Imman, who had encouraged her a lot. She was selected as the best singer for the year 2012 by Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan.

Editor Lenin, directors Mu. Kalanjiyam and Ranjith and lyricists Ilaya Kamban and Kabilan had appreciated her for her performance. Now she has a handful of films in her kitty. Like every other singer, she is waiting to sing for maestro Ilaiyaraja, and A. R. Rahman.

 

PRESS RELEASE- Four anti nuke activists booked under Goondas Act, exonerated by Madras HC


Four persons belonging to Idinthakarai and Koodankulam villages, who had been booked under Goondas Act since September 2012, have been exonerated by the Madras High Court (Madurai bench). In all, six men ranging in age from 23 to 68, were charged under Goodas as part of the State Government’s harassment campaign against the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy. All six have served between three and five months in jail on trumped up charges.

 

The Madras High Court’s decision to lift charges under Goondas Act further proves the long-standing allegation that the Tamil Nadu Government has abused the Indian Penal Code to stifle democratic dissent and crush the movement against the nuclear power plant.

 

In all, the Koodankulam Police Station has filed at least 325 cases against more than 200,000 people, including cases involving sedition and waging war against the state against nearly 10,000 people. Since most of the cases are against unnamed persons, it has been convenient for the Police to arrest randomly and then link the arrested persons to any one of the 325 cases.

Yesterday, the Madras High Court’s Madurai bench exonerated the following persons based on an appeal filed against the confirmations of Goondas Act by the NSA and Goondas Board.
Lourdusamy, age 68, Idinthakarai. Arrested 10.9.12. Crime Nos. 349/12, 300/12, 70/12 — Vellore prison (Sedition and Waging War)
Nazraen, age 41, Idinthakarai. Arrested 10.9.12. Crime Nos. 349/12, 300/12, 70/12 — Vellore prison (Sedition and Waging War)
Thavasi Kumar aka Kumar, age 33, Vairavikinaru. Arrested 9.10.12. Crime Nos. 348/12, 350/12, 346/12 — Palayamkottai prison (Sedition and Waging War)
Jesurajan, age 38, Koodankulam. Arrested end October, 2012. Crime Nos. 341/12. 342/12, 345/12, 352/12 — Palayamkottai prison (Sedition and Waging War)

The appeal against the Goondas Board confirmation for Sindhu Bharat is coming up for hearing today. Details of Sindhu Bharat are as follows:
Sindhu Bharat, age 23, Koodankulam. Arrested 9.10.12. Crime Nos. 349/12, 350/12, 70/12 — Palayamkottai prison (Waging war)

The appeal against the Goondas Board confirmation for Santiahu Rayappan (details below) is expected to come up for hearing later this month.
Santiahu Rayappan, age 33, Idinthakarai. Arrested November 2012. Crime Nos. 349/12, 304/12, 397/12.

The rules governing the draconian Goondas Act require that named persons should be produced before the Goondas Board and the Board’s report confirming or rejecting the invocation be submitted to the Government within 7 weeks (50 days) of invocation of the Act. However, it is now more than 7 weeks since the appearance of the named persons before the Board. The Board is yet to submit a report on four out of six persons.

Of the six, four people were represented by Adv. Lajapatarai and his team in Madurai on behalf of the PMANE. Two others arranged their own counsels.

by-nityanand jayaraman

Roselyn: Idinthakarai activist, anti nuke protester – a victim of Neglect #RIP


A photograph of Roselyn taken on the day of her arrest by Amirtharaj Stephen photograph.

63-year old J. Roselyn, a mother of three from Idinthakarai, was among the 7 women randomly picked up from the Idinthakarai beach on the police crackdown of 10 September 2012. She was jailed in Trichy Women’s prison along with Xavier Ammal, Sundari and Selvi. Even at the time of arrest, she had complained that she was extremely unwell and had been suffering frequent bouts of vomitting, and needed medical attention and diagnosis. These facts were even registered in her records prior to her detention in Trichy prison.

She was not given adequate treatment in the prison hospital, and her requests for medical attention went unheeded.  When bail was granted for the case she was arrested under, the police filed two more cases and prolonged her stay in prison. She was finally released from prison on 30 October, 2012, on condition that she signs her presence at a police station in Madurai. As her condition worsened, it became impossible for her to visit the police station, and she was hospitalised in the Madurai General Hospital.

About 10 days ago, she was moved to Idinthakarai where she died early this morning on Dec 21, 2012 . Mugilan, who informed me about Roslin Amma’s demise said she had a cancer-like ailment, which had already manifested itself before the 10 September protests.

Roslin is a victim of neglect, and the vengeance of a state that views the very holding of a contrary opinion on nuclear power as a crime warranting imprisonment under harsh sections. 63-year old Roslin was accused and jailed under the following sections, including of “Waging War against the Government of India.”

1. Crl OP 15368, Crime No. 70/2012. Offence date: 16.2.2012
Charges: 121 — Waging War. 142, 163,152(a), 241, 242, 500, 508

2. Crl OP 15385, Crime No. 300/2012. Date of Offence: 11.6.2012
Charges: 124A — Sedition. 142, 168, 291

3. Crl OP 15389/2012, Crime No. 349/2012.. Date of Offence: 10.9.2012
147, 145, 163 r/w 144, 222, 252, 255, 294(b), 207, 427 r/w 149

Barred from temple, TN dalit priest kills self


M T Saju TNN , dec 9,2012

 

 

THENI: A dalit priest, who was prevented from entering a temple in Theni district, allegedly committed suicide on Friday. Police said S Nagamuthu, 23, left behind a note saying he was threatened by some non-dalit members of the temple administration committee and police officers to withdraw a case he had filed against them.

On September 17, TOI had reported that Nagamuthu, a priest with the Kailasanathar temple at T Kallupatti village, was asked by the committee members not to enter the temple and perform puja. When Nagamuthu questioned the decision, he was allegedly beaten up. With the help of some activists, Nagamuthu filed a petition in the Madurai bench of the Madras high court, which directed the police to do a proper investigation. The Thenkarai police registered an FIR on August 2 based on his complaint.

Nagamuthu’s father K Subburaj said he was under pressure to withdraw the case. “He was threatened by influential people to withdraw it. My son was scared. He mentioned the names of seven people, who threatened him, in his suicide note.”

 

Demand Release of PMANE Women activists from Trichy Jail #mustshare


MG_9556-1024x682.jpg

 

ACTION ALERT TO DEMAND RELEASE OF XAVIER AMMAL, SELVI AND SUNDARI OF  PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT AGAINST NUCLEAR ENERGY
On 18 October, 2012, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court heard  the bail appeals of 50 villagers from villages around Koodankulam. The  court released 47 villagers, but denied bail to three women — Xavier  Ammal, Selvi and Sundari. The women have already spent nearly two  months in jail, and given the High Court’s rejection, they are  unlikely to return to their families anytime soon. . .unless, we can  prevail on the Government to release them.
All 50 villagers had been arrested on the days following the September  10, 2012, police crackdown. Many of those arrested were not even part  of the protests. Those who were part of the protests were unarmed and  engaged in legitimate, non-violent demonstrations. Charges against  them vary from illegal assembly to shouting obscene slogans, sedition  and waging war against the state.

Send in your endorsement of the below letter to:
lalitagpi@gmail.com or geethv@gmail.com

***************************************************************************

To: Kum Jayalalitha,

Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Fort St. George, Chennai 600 009

To: Ms Mamta Sharma

National Commission on Women
No. 4, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg
New Delhi-110 002.

Date: Nov 8 2012

Dear Sisters:
We are writing to urge you to facilitate the speedy release of three courageous women — Xavier Ammal, Selvi and Sundari — of Idinthakarai who are currently in the Trichy Women’s Prison. Their alleged crime was an act that most women would commit intuitively, namely acting to  protect their families, their communities and their future generations. Xavier Amma, Selvi and Sundari are strong, though gentle, women who have worked hard to keep their families together by rolling beedis, and selling fish. When the occasion demanded, as it did with the impending  commissioning of the Koodankulam reactors in the face of unanswered questions about its safety post-Fukushima, the women from villages around Koodankulam were galvanised into action. Among those thousands of women, these three have clearly stood out as leaders.

Following the September 10 police crackdown on the dharna by villagers opposed to nuclear energy, the police have arrested many villagers, including those who were in no way part of the protests. Across the board, the FIRs record that the villagers were armed with deadly weapons like “aruval (machetes), knives, sticks and crowbars.” Television footage of the September protests and police action bear testimony to the fact that the protestors were unarmed. Xavier Amma injured her hand after she ran and fell into the sea to escape the baton-wielding police. Both Selvi and Sundari have children that need taking care of. Selvi’s son is epileptic. It is indeed absurd that such women have been arbitrarily accused of sedition and waging war against the state. While releasing tens of others on bail at the same hearing of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, it is unclear as to why only these three have been denied bail.

We, the under-signed, are women from different walks of life who are very concerned at the increasing hostility of the various agencies of the State to democratic dissent, and the particular viciousness with which non-violent protests are being addressed. We are writing to urge  you to kindly act to restore justice by releasing these three women so that they can join their families, and by facilitating the return of a sense of normalcy in the villages around Koodankulam.

Sincerely

283094_366827710061991_927678070_n.jpg377920_366827666728662_996298568_n.jpg

 

Sep 28 – All India Protest Day against Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant


English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

English: Internationally recognized symbol. Deutsch: Gefahrensymbol für Radioaktivität. Image:Radioactive.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SUCI(C) observes All India Protest Day

on September 28, 2012
Against the Opening of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant
Supporting the people’s struggle against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant
Against state repression of the legitimate struggle of the people against the KKNPP
PROTEST DEMONSTRATION
Venue: Memorial Hall, Chennai
Time:   10.30 AM
and also
PROTEST DEMONSTRATION
Venue: Anna Bus Stand, Madurai
Time:   11.00 AM
Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist)

TAMILNADU STATE ORGANISING COMMITTEE
New No 16, Old No 18, Rotler Street, Choolai, Chennai 600 112
Tel: 044-2643 3169            Cell: 94445 51930              Email: suci_tn@yahoo.com

One recommended issue of passport, another wanted it to be impounded: S P Udayakumar


Published: June 6, 2012 14:46 IST |

 

Madurai

    , The Hindu -Staff Reporter

 

Files counter affidavit in a writ filed by anti-nuclear activist S.P. Udayakumar

The Regional Passport Officer (RPO) here has submitted that his office issued a passport to anti-nuclear activist S.P. Udayakumar on September 15, 2010 following a positive police verification report given by Kanyakumari Superintendent of Police but subsequently decided to impound it on the basis of a request made by Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police.

Filing his counter affidavit to a writ petition filed by Mr. Udayakumar, the RPO, V. Sundararaman, said that the petitioner, a resident of Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district, had applied for renewal of his passport, originally issued by the Tiruchi RPO, in July 2010.

Then, a positive police verification report was received from the Kanyakumari SP recommending issuance of the passport.

Hence, the petitioner’s passport was renewed on September 15, 2010. Thereafter, the Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police wrote to the Madurai RPO seeking the petitioner’s passport details as he was involved in more than 72 criminal cases.

Immediately, the RPO furnished the details with a request to investigate as to how a positive report was sent by the Kanyakumari SP.

Reply

In reply, the Tirunelveli SP sent another communication through the Chennai RPO stating that the petitioner was involved in more than 98 criminal cases in Kudankulam and Pazhavoor police stations.

He also attached a list containing the details of the case numbers and requested the Madurai RPO to initiate steps for impounding the petitioner’s passport.

On receipt of the communication, the RPO requested the SP to obtain an order from a competent court for impounding the passport.

Notice

Simultaneously, he issued a show cause notice to the petitioner on March 3 this year informing him about the contents of the SP’s letter and advising him to surrender the passport within 15 days or to face appropriate action under the Passports Act 1967.

“The petitioner did not surrender the passport until April 16 and accordingly a final decision was taken to impound the passport. The decision was communicated to the petitioner along with his right to prefer an appeal against the decision before the authority concerned… The above action taken by this office is well within the framework of the provisions contained in the Passports Act.

“The procedure followed in the matter and the contents of our show cause notice are neither wilful nor in violation of principles of audi alteram partem (hear the other party too). The show cause notice is also not arbitrary in any manner. It also does not curtail the personal liberty of the petitioner in any way. The action taken by this office is also not with any malafide intention,” the counter affidavit read.

Adjourned

When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, Justice K. Venkataraman adjourned it to Thursday following a request made by Central Government Standing Counsel S. Sukumaran. The petitioner was represented by his counsel T. Lajapathi Roy and S. Vanchinathan.