The wrongful arrest of Naveen Soorinje #VAW reporting


The Kasturi TV reporter was named in the chargesheet that identified 43 others who attacked a birthday party in Padil. Strangely, Soorinje was amongst the first few to report the assault

G Vishnu
New Delhi,  08 November 2012

In a brazen attack on journalists’ freedom in Karnataka, Mangalore police have arrested Naveen Soorinje, a journalist with Kasturi TV, a kannada news channel. The 28-year-old scribe was arrested at 10.30 in the night when he was returning from a reporting assignment.

As absurd as it can get, Naveen was named in the chargesheet that identified 43 others from the Hindu Jagarana Vedike (a right-wing Hindutva group) who attacked a birthday party at a home-stay in Padil. The attackers, just like the Shri Rama Sene’s pub attack in Mangalore in 2008, beat up and molested young girls stating that they were indulging in a rave party and that it was against Indian culture.

Strangely, the chargesheet of the case names Naveen, amongst the first reporters to have reached the spot of the attack and covered it, with the same charges as those who beat up and molested the girls present there. Naveen is the 44th accused and has been booked under 120 (b); conspiracy, 143; unlawful assembly, 147; rioting, 148; rioting with deadly weapons, 447; criminal trespassing, 325; causing grievous hurt, 354; assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty, 504, 506, 509, 358 to be read with IPC 149, 448, 114, 341, 323, 324. Ironically, the 43 other accused were identified with the help of the footage shot by Naveen’s cameraman. Naveen, who had got tipped off by a local source — call records of Naveen from the day available with TEHELKA shows that it was not one of the attackers — turned up at the spot with a cameraman merely to do his job of reporting the incident.

The police had initially charged that Naveen did not inform the police about the attack while he covered. The dubiousness of the charge notwithstanding – the CDR records of Naveen from that day show that he not only made repeated calls to the Mangalore Police Commissioner (who was out of town at the time), as well as Ravish Nayak, inspector of the nearby police station, but never got a call back from the local cop. Little surprise, that it was the same cop who arrested Naveen.

Accustomed to harassment of all kinds, as other reporters in Mangalore testify, Naveen has been an intrepid reporter for a decade. He has been reporting with rigour, the unlawful activities of Sangh Parivar goons, police harassment of Malekudia tribals in the name of Anti-Naxal Operation and the land mafias. Hence, this case hardly intimidated Naveen, who after getting the warrant two weeks earlier had applied for an anticipatory bail, which never came along because of court holidays.

“Last night, after covering a JD(S) rally that Kumaraswamy attended, we were returning when Inspector Ravish Nayak of Kankanady police station stopped us near Padil. They claimed it was a police check but the personnel left soon after taking Naveen into custody,” says Shiva, cameraman with the same channel Naveen works for. “They took him to a magistrate and was sent to Mangalore Sub-jail within 20 minutes, which gave us no time to react,” he added.

Curiously, the arrest came right after JD(S) Kumaraswamy’s provocative statement in his speech that he would have the mighty RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat. Reporters who have faced harassment in the hands of the local administration and Sangh Parivar goons are convinced that Naveen’s arrest was a simple case of political vendetta as Kasturi channel (where Naveen works) is owned by none other than Kumaraswamy.

Vendetta or not, the arrest of Naveen only goes on to further assert the idea that Karnataka is being run by a communal and an authoritarian regime that has no respect for freedom of expression or other basic rights.

G Vishnu is a Correspondent with Tehelka. 

Bombay HC- Personal info can’t be disclosed under RTI #Privacy

, TNN | Nov 9, 2012, 01.31AM IST

NAGPUR: Giving privilege to the right to privacy, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court ruled that personal information, which serves no public interest, can’t be disclosed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
Allowing the writ petition (WP NO. 2157/2012) filed by Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company (Mahatransco) Limited, which challenged the order of state information commissioner, Justice Vasanati Naik held that such non-disclosure of personal information is protected by the exception provided in one of the provisions of the RTI Act itself.
In the given case, respondent Sureshkumar Patil, a resident of Hingna Road, had sought personal information of ten employees working in Mahatransco through an application dated June 6, 2011. He demanded confidential documents like annual performance appraisal and job description of these employees.
Patil had also asked for the documents relating to the job description of certain officers and the attested copies of representation for the upgradation of annual confidential reports of the employees.
The second respondent – state information commissioner’s Nagpur bench in Civil lines – had partly allowed the appeal on December 20 last year and asked the petitioners to disclose the information sought by Patil.
The high court held that such disclosure is unwarranted. Referring to section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, the court observed that disclosure of personal information, which has no relation with the larger public interest, causes unnecessary intrusion in the individual’s private realm. “Unless the central or the state information commissioner finds that such disclosure is justified for larger public interest, no personal information must be supplied with,” the court stated.
It also relied on an unreported apex court judgment of this year, which held that every individual is entitled to right to privacy and any such disclosure without reasonable grounds of public interest, violates the right of the individual.
Accordingly, Justice Naik quashed and set aside the December 20 order of the state information commission while allowing prayers of the petitioner – public information officer and general manager Madhao Pendor of Mahatransco. DM Kale was the counsel for Mahatransco, while SB Wahane and AB Patil represented the first and second respondents respectively.
(With inputs from Lakshmi Dwivedi)


Court acquits Maoist leader in Alipiri bomb blast case

TIRUPATI, November 9, 2012

Special Correspondent, The Hindu

Maoist leader Panduranga Reddy alias
Sagar being brought to the court in Tirupati on Thursday. Photo: KV Poornachandra Kumar

The Hindu
Maoist leader Panduranga Reddy alias Sagar being brought to the court in Tirupati on Thursday. Photo: KV Poornachandra K

In what has come to be known as the sensational Alipiri bomb blast case allegedly targeting former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, the Fourth Additional District and Sessions Court, Tirupati, on Thursday acquitted Maoist leader Panduranga Reddy alias Sagar (A-30) and another accused (A-3) Gangi Reddy on the ground that the prosecution reportedly failed to prove the charges against them beyond doubt.

The court which was dealing with an appeal filed before it by Sagar and three others challenging their conviction by the trial court also observed that the trial court had wrongly convicted them though there was no evidence to prove the charges against them.

The Judge, C. Eswara Rao, delivering the judgement in the packed court, further observed that, “Without any acceptable evidence for his role as a member of the ‘action team’ and for his participation in the commission of the offence, in any manner whatsoever, the conviction against him is not sustainable and so the appellant, Sagar is entitled for acquittal.”

The judge, however, confirmed the conviction orders issued by the trial court against A1, Ramaswamy Reddy and A2, Nagarjuna

Kranthi Chaithanya, advocate for Sagar later briefing the media said though Sagar was acquitted, he could not be released, in view of the other cases pending against him in other courts. He said there was now only one case pending in the Tirupati court against Sagar, where in he was accused of raising pro-Maoist slogans when Mr. Chandrababu Naidu appeared in the court a couple of years ago in connection with the case. The advocate hoped that Sagar would be acquitted in that case too.

The police threw a huge security blanket around the court and made it out of bounds for all unauthorised persons in view of the sensitive nature of the case.

Inter-caste marriage sparks riot in Tamil Nadu, 148 dalit houses torched

K A Shaji, V Senthil Kumaran & Karthick S, TNN | Nov 9, 2012

Inter-caste marriage sparks riot in Tamil Nadu district, 148 dalit houses torched
Though 300 policemen were present, they failed to control the mob after being grossly outnumbered. The arson and looting continued till 9.30pm when additional police forces arrived on the scene.
DHARMAPURI: Outraged by the suicide of a man who felt humiliated after his daughter married a dalit boy in secret, a mob of non-dalits went on the rampage in three villages of Dharmapuri district, looting and burning houses of dalits late on Wednesday, police said.

The 2,500-strong mob set ablaze 148 houses in Natham, Anna Nagar and Kondampatti villages. They claimed that the “humiliation” caused by the marriage and the refusal of the dalits to send the woman back home had resulted in the suicide of G Nagarajan (48). The mob looted valuables before setting the houses on fire.

Though 300 policemen were present, they failed to control the mob after being grossly outnumbered. The arson and looting continued till 9.30pm when additional police forces arrived on the scene.

Talking to TOI on Thursday, IG (west zone) T P Sundaramoorthy said the situation was brought under control after an additional 1,000 personnel were deployed and more than 90 people arrested. Cases had been registered against 210 others, he said.

Nagarajan ended his life at his residence in Sellankottai, not far from the Natham dalit colony, on Wednesday evening. The autopsy was delayed because of frequent power cuts, and the body was handed over to his relatives only on Thursday evening. Later, police said, a group of dalits set fire to two houses belonging to non-dalits in Natham.

Govt announces compensation 

Announcing compensation of 50,000 to each family that lost its house and belongings, chief minister J Jayalalithaa said on Thursday that severe action would be taken against those responsible for the violence. In a statement, she said police had rushed to the spot and were taking necessary measures. She instructed the district authorities to extend all help to the affected in the violence.

Police said Nagarajan’s daughter Divya, 20, eloped with dalit youth Ilavarasan, 23, about a month ago, and they got married in a temple. As the non-dalits threatened them against entering Ilavarasan’s house in the Natham dalit colony, the couple approached the Salem police, seeking protection.

Meanwhile, the non-dalits conducted a ‘kangaroo’ court and directed the dalit family to return the woman on Wednesday. But Divya refused to obey them and made it clear that she would continue to live with Ilavarasan. Dharmapuri SP Asra Garg said the kangaroo court was held at Nayakkankottai village last week and the police were searching for those who took part in it and orchestrated the violence.

Fire tenders were not able to reach the villages in time because huge trees had been cut down on the roads to block them. Services of the Rapid Action Force had been requested to maintain law and order, he said.Dharmapuri collector R Lilly said the homeless had been put up in three government schools.

Politics stoking caste fire

In a state that boasts of being progressive, caste divide is rearing its ugly head once again. The violence that rocked Natham in Dharmapuri district on Wednesday has reversed a recent positive trend in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu, once a hotbed of simmering caste tension between Vanniyars and dalits.

Activists point out that this is the first big caste violence in the last two decades in Dharmapuri. The last decade had seen leaders of the dominant communities in the region, the Vanniyars and the dalits, campaigning together for communal harmony.

“Tamil Nadu is a land of reformation. Usually, political and social leaders of the state advocate inter-caste marriages and successive state governments have encouraged progressive development. But in recent months, this positive trend has changed and a few caste leaders have been openly campaigning against inter-caste marriages,” said writer-politician D Ravikumar, state secertary of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, a dalit party with a presence in the north. “They have indirectly encouraged killings in the name of honour and even ignited violence. This should be stopped through progressive initiatives,” he said.

Caste leaders have gone one regressive step further to warn activists against encouraging the union between couples of different castes and even issuing diktats against love marriages. PMK MLA J Guru, who heads the Vanniyar Sangam, the first avatar of the PMK, shocked progressive groups when he issued an open threat at a community meeting, forbidding inter-caste unions. Similarly, the Kongu Vellala Goundergal Peravai, which claims to represent the community, issued advertisements in newspapers calling a meeting of community members to oppose inter-caste marriages and launched a campaign against it.

Activists point out that the violence in Dhamrapuri had occurred in a hamlet which used to have a strong presence of the left movement. “The district was once the headquarters of the ‘naxalbari’ movement. Hence caste violence in such a place has come as a surprise,” said a police officer.

Well-known Tamil writer Manushaputhiran pointed out that political parties have been using caste as a tool to improve their prospects. “Caste feeling is not only a cultural issue now. Caste parties have been using it as a powerful political tool as well,” he said.

While there is a lack of cooperation between dalit and non-dalit leaders in southern Tamil Nadu to end the divide, PMK leader S Ramadoss and Dalit leader Thol Tirumavalavan made some efforts for communal amity in the northern belt. Ramadoss unveiled dalit leader Ambedkar’s statue in many places and the VCK in turn honoured him by awarding him the Ambedkar Award.

The caste tension between Vanniyars and dalits was seen to have ended in the early 2000 because of this truce between the two leaders, who came together under the umbrella of Tamil Protection Movement. But the bonhomie did not last and Ramadoss recently declared that his party would align only with caste parties for elections in the future.


Dowry Death – Husband arrested , North Delhi councillor, daughter found dead #VAW


Delhi Police on Friday arrested the husband of Delhi Municipal Councillor Satyam Yadav who committed suicide on Thursday. Yadav’s husband Pawan has been arrested under charges of 498A, 304B which pertain to domestic violence and dowry death.

The police said that a few other members of his family have been charged but they are absconding. A case of murder has also been registered against unknown people for the death of the councillor’s 18-month-old baby.

North Delhi councillor, daughter found dead


Grieving relatives of Municipal Councillor Satyam Yadav (photo inset) who was found dead at her residence in Delhi on Thursday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
The HinduGrieving relatives of Municipal Councillor Satyam Yadav (photo inset) who was found dead at her residence in Delhi on Thursday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

A sitting woman councillor of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Satyam Yadav, and her 18-month-old daughter were found dead under mysterious circumstances at their residence in Nangloi on Thursday. The Delhi Police have registered a case of dowry death and murder. Ironically, the day also happened to be Satyam’s birthday.

The victim’s family members alleged that her in-laws and husband had been harassing her for dowry and that they were behind the two deaths. One of them also claimed that her in-laws were not happy at her having given birth to a daughter.

Twenty-seven-year-old Satyam Yadav was the Councillor from Nangloi East ward (No.43) of the Municipal Corporation.

According to the police, Satyam, who was elected on Congress ticket in the municipal elections held in April this year, was last seen alive on Wednesday night. She along with her daughter Vanshika had gone to sleep on the second floor of their two-storey house around 11-30 p.m. Her husband Pawan Yadav stayed on the first floor as he was looking after his ailing mother, said the police.

“Around 8 a.m. on Thursday the family members knocked at the door of her room which was bolted from inside but there was no response. Later they managed to open the door and found Satyam hanging from the ceiling fan and her daughter Vanshika lying unconscious on the bed,” said a police officer.

A call was made to the Police Control Room around 8-30 a.m. The police claimed that the family rushed Vanshika to a nearby hospital where she was declared brought dead.

Satyam, who hailed from Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, had come to Delhi after marrying Pawan Yadav in February 2010.

Pawan is a school teacher and his father Lalaram Yadav is in politics. The couple had their first and only child, Vanshika, in 2011.

The police informed the area Sub-Divisional Magistrate about the incident following which inquest proceedings were initiated into the matter.

Satyam’s brother-in-law Sunil Yadav said that since her marriage Satyam was often humiliated for dowry by her husband and his parents. “They used to put pressure on Satyam and there were constant demands for dowry since her marriage. They often told her that Pawan had turned down marriage proposals from girls whose families were ready to pay more money as dowry,” said Sunil.

Sunil also said that Satyam, who had completed her post-graduation and B.Ed. thereafter, was never inclined to join politics and wanted to become a teacher instead and that she had even applied for a teaching job in Uttar Pradesh after her marriage.

“She was forced to contest the civic elections by her family as due to the ward being a reserved constituency (for women), her father-in-law could not. Her mother-in-law, who was the second choice candidate, had to pull out as some of her documents were not complete,” he said.

Satyam’s brother Prashant Singh, who is a school teacher in Delhi, said Pawan’s family were also unhappy with the fact that Satyam had given birth to a girl child as they wanted a son.

Neighbours said that despite being a public figure, Satyam was rarely seen outside her house and was not very active even during her election campaign. They, however, said that it never appeared to them that there were problems between the couple.

The police said that prima facie the cause of the mother-daughter death appears to be strangulation. Ligature marks were found round the necks of both.

Post-mortems have been conducted and the bodies would be taken to Satyam’s native place Bulandshahr for cremation.

A case has been registered under the sections related to dowry death and murder, said the police. Efforts are on to ascertain whether Satyam first strangled Vanshika and then hanged herself or if someone else murdered both.


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