Cultures cause violence against women not the length of skirts #Vaw #Womenrights #moralpolicing


Banamallika Choudhury

‘We have low crime statistics here’ our instructor at Chulalongkorn University told us during the orientation of new students in Bangkok. “Most common thing that can happen to you is someone snatching your bag away or cheating you off your money. And we do not have crime against women,” she said. At that point I wondered if she really meant it or if it was her English. For how can there be no crime against women in a city as big and bad as Bangkok? 3 months of living there later, it turned out that indeed it is a city very safe for women.

A lifetime’s experience of growing up in India and the rising incidents of violence against women makes me think – why is it that just across a few hundred km, there are places, people, countries where it is absolutely safe for me to be a tourist, wear the shortest of shorts and walk back drunk from a night club alone at 2 O’clock in the night. And how is it that my own society, where I am born and where I have grown up and where I continue to live makes me feel unsafe taking a city bus during the day to work?

Of the recent Delhi gang-rape case, the anger that young people demonstrated on the streets of Delhi and the solidarity shown from other parts of the country is inspiring. However, some of the opinions that floated on my facebook page were disturbing. It looked to me like most people thought stricter law and punishment would end violence against women. Not really, I say. For we already have many laws and punishment in place but this has been no deterrent to patriarchal mindsets that perpetrate women’s subordination. Yes, the question is about subordination and discrimination. Not how brutal or how ghastly the crime is. And here lies the answer of culture.

Only a change in cultural practices and attitudes towards women will change the societies which right now are terribly tilted to one side. How women are treated in a society is not only reflected by how terribly they are raped but also how women are restricted in their daily lives. The fact that inherently most people feel women are weak, less informed, needing protection at the best and loose, immoral and should be controlled at the worst show that women are generally considered unequal in our societies and mind. But these ideas about women are not the same in all societies. These considerations about women change from Delhi to Lhasa, from Guwahati to Shillong, from Dimapur to Imphal and from Agartala to Aizawl. This shows it is all in the mind and all in the culture.

The good thing is cultures can be changed. In Thailand’s history of women, it is said in their societies too women occupied a lesser position, were expected to be caring, docile and looking after their husband, children and family. Their popular King Rama IV, who tried to modernize the country somewhere in the middle 1800s, was sure that women’s status in their society needs to change for them to become a modern nation. He took women out of the homes into the economic productivity zones and insisted they lower the length of their traditional skirt. Not that short skirts are a sure sign of modernization but his logic behind this was damn cool. He said that those long skirts limited women’s movement and if they had to go out and participate in the world equally with men, they better be able to move. That I call logic. Thailand’s endeavour for the equality of women continued beyond Rama IV. In 1932 Thailand was one of the first Asian countries to give voting power to women. Today, the Thai women make up for 47% of the workforce including businesses making them the highest percentage of women in the Asia-Pacific. Not that everything is perfect in Thailand, but it is also considered one of the safest countries in the world for women both domestic and tourists.

Therefore by taking measures, personal and official, we too can change things. For this a whole lot of self-questioning is prerequisite. Let us see what frivolous-yet-having-impact kind of myths are there about women in our society. Are women bad in maths and science? Can girls rapture their hymen by riding bicycles and climbing trees? Are they physically incapable of carrying heavy load or doing jobs that require physical strength? Are women cantankerous or nagging by nature? Do women listen to music? Are women mostly emotional that rational? Can women make sensible decisions about money, investment, buying of big things like cars, house, TV? Do they know what latest gadget has entered the market? Are single women cranky? Do all women have the desire to become a mother? Do women have less capacity to drink then men? Is menstruation a dirty thing? Are pregnant women something special? Have you ever told a boy he is acting like a girl if he is whining or crying? Do you find effeminate men funny or repulsive? Do you think you have a say in who your sister is hanging out, seeing, going around with? Do you have a say in what your girlfriend wears? Do you think women are goddesses or exotic creatures? Have you ever wondered what women were doing while history happened? Do you feel uncomfortable when someone says I am a feminist?

An honest answer to these questions will reveal how patriarchy plays out in the minutest of our daily events, thoughts, conversations. Most of the time, we let these things pass our lives without even registering the perpetration of patriarchy and violence against women they cause. Yes, rape is not the only violence against women. Patriarchal thoughts and practices are.

At times I despair thinking it has taken Thailand 200 years to reach where they are now (Thailand is just an example and not even a perfect one). But I am hopeful in knowing that it can be changed. Our commitment and will to change things have to start at the personal and reach out to the political level. The recent report of Justice Verma Committee

(http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/archive/01340/Justice_Verma_Comm_1340438a.pdf) is a step towards this positive direction. In Arvind Narayan of Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore’s word “What is particularly moving and inspiring about the Report is that it does so by placing the autonomy and indeed the sexual autonomy of women at the very centre of its discourse.” (http://kafila.org/2013/01/25/the-verma-committee-alchemizing-anger-to-hope-arvind-narrain/). And this is precisely what we all need to do.

Put women in the centre. Recognise that every woman is an individual and has her opinion, feelings, circumstances and experiences, physicality, sexuality, aptitude, angels and demons. Let her decide what she wants. By assuming you can decide for your daughter, sister, friend, wife, neighbor and the girl on the street you are automatically putting her in an automatically subordinate position. And in an unequal world, there is bound to be violence.

Although I have found many similarities between South East Asia and North-East India, I feel sad to say that this is one of the aspects where the dissimilarity is stark. The societies of North-East which were supposed to be more equal for women are changing fast to compete with the most gender violent places. Walking about in Guwahati, the similarity is more with Delhi than with Hanoi although our physical distance is the opposite. And only by accepting this and not harping on the myth that North-East is safe for women, can we begin changing. If we have to emulate and adopt other cultures, let us chose the ones that are more respectful to its members. Let us chose the ones that ensure safety for all. Let us resist the ones that drag us down to a violent future. Let this be our neo-colonial resistance.

Banamallika Choudhury loves to travel and talk. Her mainstay passion is the North-East of India and the post-sub-neo discourses. Luckily her job with ActionAid India provides opportunities to practice all of these daily.

 original article -http://www.thethumbprintmag.com

 

PRESS RELEASE- Newly Married Dalit Couple brutally assaulted #TISS


FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE
NEWLY MARRIED DALIT COUPLE BRUTALLY ASSAULTED
PFA the Fact Sheet and the Detailed Report of the case of Physical Assault of Vaibhav Ghadage, TISS alumnus SW Batch 2010 and his newly wed wife Mohini Ghadage.They were married on the 20th.of January 2013 in Baramati. On the evening of 22nd.January 2013, they were brutally beaten up and left to die by three local goons in Vaibhav’s ancestral village Kulakjai, Maan Taluka, Satara district, Maharashtra.The Ghadge family has lodged an FIR and the police has charge IPC section 394 (robbery) and Section 34(common intent) against the three accused. Vaibhav, with fatal skull injuries and Mohini with injuries all over her body are currently out of danger, although still hospitalized in YNTC, Satara town.
 
Assaulted, near fatally injured, molested, pushed off a cliff and left for dead.
These were definitely not the thoughts that were running through Vaibhav’s and Mohini’s minds before they set out on the evening of January 22, 2013 to their village temple. But these words simply describe what happened to them on that fateful evening, just two days after their much anticipated wedding.
 
The Incident
They were followed by three men on motorcycles as they traveled to the temple situated along the cliffs near Kulakjai Village (Maan Taluka, Satara District, Maharashtra) around 5.30pm. The temple is situated outside the village.  The area is generally deserted. As they finished visiting the temple the three men attacked the newly wedded couple without warning or provocation. Vaibhav and Mohini were taken to edge of the cliffs. There they were beaten repeatedly and assaulted with stones. Mohini was forced by the men to watch as they continued to brutalize Vaibhav. While their phones were taken away, Mohini was forced to hand over all the gold she was wearing. The assaulters then tried to pull her sari off.  She was told that if she did not “cooperate” with them she would have to watch Vaibhav being done to death, and that she would be responsible for that happening. In trying to resist them, she held on to one end of the sari. Vaibhav threw a stone at the one doing this. Following this the man let go of the sari because of which Mohini fell off the cliff from a height of 300 feet and lost consciousness. Thinking her to be dead, they turned their focus completely onto Vaibhav and kept hitting his head with rocks. When it seemed to them that he was passing out to all the injuries, including a serious head injury (later identified as a cracked skull), the three men threw him off the cliff. Believing the couple to be dead, they left the place.
Mohini regained consciousness after about an hour and began climbing up the cliffs. She did this in spite of the serious injuries she had suffered all over her body, in addition to the various internal injuries. Vaibhav, who was slipping in and out of consciousness at that time, was able to call out her a couple of times before passing out completely. This allowed Mohini to find him, who then pulled Vaibhav up to a place of relative safety amongst the cliffs. Upon reaching the top, Mohini was able to make contact with some people living near the temple, with whose help she called her maternal home. They then alerted Vaibhav’s family, who put together a search party to find and rescue him. Vaibhav was found and rescued a couple of hours later and both of them were rushed to the hospital. Vaibhav was admitted to the ICU due the grievous nature of his injuries.
Their condition stabilized only two days after the incident. Vaibhav is at present out of the ICU. Mohini has suffered many internal injuries and is unable to eat solid food to date. An FIR was lodged with the Dahiwada Police Station on January 24, 2013. Statements from Mohini and Vaibhav have been recorded by the police. The police have registered a case of robbery with grievous injury. The couple has identified the perpetrators and one arrest has been made as of January 26, 2013.
 
The Background
While prima facie this incident is being considered as a case of robbery, the magnitude of brutality meted out to Mohini and Vaibhav should force one to examine the larger context of the case in detail. Motive of robbery alone instigating such violence is questionable. Mohini has stated to the police that the men who assaulted them were speaking and laughing to each other before throwing Vaibhav off the cliff. One of them reportedly said, Aata yanchya gharcha dusra gela! (There! One more person of the family is now dead!)” This statement by itself should be seen as one that weakens this case as one of mere robbery. A brief look into the family history will provide further clarity.
Vaibhav’s paternal uncle, Shri Madhukar Ghadage, was murdered in April 2007 over a land dispute with a family belonging to the dominant Mali caste (Kulakjai Village is home to 30 Dalit families, while the rest are Malis). This murder definitely had caste based overtones and the case was registered under the Prevention SC/ST Atrocities Act. Eleven persons were arrested. The prime accused in the murder case, Mr. Bhivaji Kapse, is the maternal cousin of the sitting MLA of Maan, Mr. Jaikumar Gore. Mr. Gore exercises significant clout and influence over government officials in the area. He is known to be close to  Mr Prithviraj Chavan, presently the sitting Chief Minister of Maharashtra. There were many obstructions to the process of investigation in this case which can only be traced back to pressure from higher authorities. Consequently, all the accused were let out on bail by the Sessions Court. The case is presently pending at the High Court with the hearing date yet to be set. Meanwhile all the accused remain to out on bail.
Last year, around October, the farming equipment and fields of the Ghadage family at Kulakjai were sabotaged. This led to the family incurring financial losses. The perpetrators of the farm incident could not be positively identified, though the family has strong suspicions that the family of the prime accused in the murder case is involved.
The prime accused in the Mohini-Vaibhav assault case, Navnath Kapase, is also an accused in the murder of Shri Madhukar Ghadage. He is the son of Bhivaji Kapase (who is the the prime accused in the murder case) and nephew of the MLA, Mr. Jaikumar Gore.
With this background thus established, the alleged motive of robbery in the latest incident of violence on Vaibhav and Mohini comes under serious doubt. The impunity with which Navnath Kapase has dared to commit such a crime while out on bail for murder, should give one further food for thought.
 
Implications
The Ghadage family is in constant fear of further harm befalling them. They are worried about the safety and security of all family members. The social and economic progress of the family has been thwarted at every step. Members of the family are being systematically targeted one after another, at regular intervals. Yesterday it was Shri Madhukar Ghadage and today it is Vaibhav. Tomorrow it could be anyone else in the family. The perpetrators need to get the message that they cannot expect to go scot free for the crimes they commit just because of their upper caste affiliations and the resultant connections in high political places.
 
Action Required
1.      The case is presently been registered under very weak sections in comparison to the nature of crime i.e. sections 394 (robbery) and Section 34 (common intent). Also the caste overtones in the case need to be examined. This incident cannot be considered an event in isolation, but one in a series of actions aimed at systematically disrupting the lives and livelihood of the various members of the Ghadage family in Kulakjai Village.
2.      That this case be brought under the purview of the Prevention of Atrocities Against SC/ST Act.
3.      That the case be registered as one of attempted murder, as the details clearly imply.
4.      It should be ensured that the Investigation Officer and investigation process in the matter of the Mohini-Vaibhav assault is not influenced by politicians.
5.      That the Shri Madhukar Ghadage Murder case pending with the High Court is fast tracked and hearing dates set immediately.
6.      That the bail of all accused in the murder case be cancelled with immediate effect as they are a constant threat to the family, as they have already demonstrated.
7.      That the safety and security of the Ghadage family is ensured at Kulakjai village.
Please contact the following people if you can be of proactive assistance in ensuring justice for this family at the earliest.
Tushar Ghadge – +91 90962 49712 /  +91 75886 96559
Mayank Sinha – +91 80802 67769
The above piece is based on inputs from Tushar Ghadage.

 

Press Release- Uphold the Maruti Worker’s right to protest #humanrights


Press Statement

Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi (PUDR)

UPHOLD MARUTI WORKERS’ RIGHT TO PROTEST

Imaan Khan, one of the active members of the Provisional Working Committee, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU ) was picked up by the Haryana police in the morning of January 24, just before a press conference of the union was to begin from outside the union office of Sarva Karmachari Sangh in Civil Lines, Gurgaon. The charges put against him are the same as those on the workers arrested for the July 18, 2012 incident which was happened in manesar plant, in which one of the HR Managers Awanish Dev had died. There is apprehension now of other active members of the provisional committee being picked up. This is possible because the FIR of the incident was against 500 unnamed accused.

It needs to be reiterated that 146 workers, including the entire union, are in jail for the last seven months and there are non-bailable arrest warrants against 66 more workers. Also 546 permanent and 1800 contract workers were terminated.

With the entire union body in jail, the provisional committee is actively questioning the actions of the illegal termination of workers, arbitrary arrests and in general state-management-police nexus. All are being met with a heavy hand to break the morale of the workers.

A week long program comprising of ‘JUSTICE RALLY’ through the villages and cities across Haryana was organized, by the committee from 21st January 2012, after all talks with the management and labor department for the reinstatement of terminated workers failed. The program culminated in a dharna in Rohtak on 27th January. During this period too, the workers participating in the jattha  were harassed, intimidated and finally forcibly picked up by the police from Bilaspur, cycles all 20 of workers’ were dumped into police vehicles and dropped off to a village in Jhajjhar. When the workers resisted by laying on the ground and holding on to each other, the police used force to remove them and gave threats of arrests and torture if they entered Gurgaon. The MSWU union office was raided January 22 and 23 January.

Even the family members of the workers are being continuously harassed, by repeatedly summoning to the police stations and pressurized to get the workers to stay out of organizing work. Workers inside the plant are being given transfer orders to far away places for supporting the agitation too. Transfer orders were handed out to 12 workers to Mumbai, Kerala and Gauhati. This amounts to a virtual dismissal since workers find it tough to relocate.

PUDR strongly condemns the continuous repression and persecution of the Maruti workers by the Haryana government. This repression is clearly aimed at preventing them from exercising their right to protest against unfair labour practices and for demanding their legitimate rights.

We in PUDR

  • Uphold the democratic right of the workers to protest and demand the immediate release of Imaan Khan, MSWU Provisional Working Committee member
  • Demand an early and complete inquiry into the death of the HR manager and other events of July 18 and urge the Haryana government not to use the case to arrest more workers justly struggling for their rights!
  • Prevail upon all other democratic forces to stand by the right of workers against the state, capital and management nexus for a more dignified life struggling workers and recognition of their just demands.

Ashish Gupta and D Manjit,

Secretaries (30th January, 2013)

 

Saba Naqvi’s quest in search of an unknown Indian


The Quest, http://www.thethumbprintmag.com

Saba Naqvi embarks on a journey in search of an unknown India in her new book

In Good Faith, the title of my book at times sounds like a cliché to me. But it was appropriate to use if for a journey that contested the idea of absolute religious identity and traditions. It’s been 20 years since the book began and now that it is finally published, what I am most happy about is the notices it is beginning to get in the regions, in Bengal, Maharashtra and now Assam.

What drove me to write this and undertake this journey is what also drives some of my journalism—A mix of ideology and curiosity and the great love of understanding and discovering new things. I operate as a mainstream political journalist and I am careful not to cross certain lines but idealism, certain political views have always motivated me.

As I have written in the opening chapter of the book it was the events surrounding the Ram janmabhoomi movement that motivated me to undertake a journey to find people, communities and shrines that challenge our predetermined notions of what makes a Hindu or a Muslim. Along the way I found people and places on the periphery of absolute identities creating a unique space for themselves. It was a journey that had me travelling to all parts of India. I have a short chapter on Assam as well and I loved the place and spent more time there than was necessary. I had also travelled to the northeast of India from there. Unfortunately could never return to Assam as found no excuse to do so.

Anyway I carried this book with me for two decades and every now and then returned to the project. When I finally did do so it was over summer holidays in 2011 and 2012. As a journalist I am used to working on deadlines and I told myself that if I don’t do it now this work will just slip away from me.

So in June 2011 my parents, daughter, sisters, the whole clan went for an annual summer break. This time we rented a house in Manali in a beautiful apple orchard and estate. The Beas river was a short walk. It was very lovely and calm and with my father as master of ceremonies, fabulous meals were being prepared. We were eating, walking and surrounded by beauty. I began writing there but all too soon the vacation was over and it was back to work in Delhi.

In April last year I took a week off and wrote from home and some shape was finally beginning to take place. Then again back to journalism…

Then it was finally in the 2012 holidays, this time in a very nicely done up historic home in Shimla. I moved into a small corner room in the cottage and kept my own schedules. I would wake up early, do some yoga and write till lunch. It required discipline to keep myself from joining the noise, the fun, the outings, my nephews running around, but I isolated myself. It actually took me two weeks to finish the draft that I then made a few changes to over one weekend back in Delhi. The manuscript was sent to the publishers in July and it was only in October that they decided to bring it out quickly within a month. Hardly any editing changes were made and before I knew it the book was out in December last year.

I have learnt a lot from this process. First we have to set schedules to write and be stubborn about it. I have another long pending work to complete but now I know how to go about it. And now that this book has done well and number two is on its way, I have ideas for so many more. The first idea that is taking shape in my mind is a fiction to tell the story of a certain public event that moved me and I have followed closely. I would then be testing my abilities and whether I can make the shift from non-fiction to fiction. I may even fail at the attempt but along the way shall certainly give it a shot.

As a journalist one is so trained to deal with facts. Would I have the skill to write using my imagination? I wonder about that now. The other thing off course is will I be able to balance writing with my journalism? For journalism is important to me also. It is a way to engage with the world, to interpret events around us, perhaps even imagine we are making a difference in the way we tell a story.

But now that the book is out and I have new choices and options because there is one thing that I am clearer about now than perhaps some years ago. Ordinary careerism does not interest me. It is the belief that whatever I am doing is driven by some ideas, ideals and compassion. I like caring about things in the world around us, I like being moved, and I will go on trying to chronicle the troubled age we live in.

Saba Naqvi is the political editor of Outlook, one of India’s leading news magazines, and writes on politics, governance and current affairs. She has travelled extensively around India and covered elections in the country, particularly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat. Beyond her role as a reporter and analyst, she follows issues of identity and culture. She lives in New Delhi.

 

‘Racism’ of early colour photography explored in art exhibition


 Friday 25 January 2013 , Guardian

Artists spent a month in South Africa taking pictures on decades-old film engineered with only white faces in mind

"Shirley", which was the nickname given to the girl used in Kodak plotting sheets 
Kodak Shirley’ cards used for calibrating skin tones in photographs were named after the first model featured. Photograph: Adam Broomberg And Oliver Chanarin/Goodman Gallery

 in Johannesburg

Can the camera be racist? The question is explored in an exhibition that reflects on how Polaroid built an efficient tool for South Africa’s apartheid regime to photograph and police black people.

The London-based artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin spent a month in South Africa taking pictures on decades-old film that had been engineered with only white faces in mind. They used Polaroid’s vintage ID-2 camera, which had a “boost” button to increase the flash – enabling it to be used to photograph black people for the notorious passbooks, or “dompas”, that allowed the state to control their movements.

The result was raw snaps of some of the country’s most beautiful flora and fauna from regions such as the Garden Route and the Karoo, an attempt by the artists to subvert what they say was the camera’s original, sinister intent.

Broomberg and Chanarin say their work, on show at Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery, examines “the radical notion that prejudice might be inherent in the medium of photography itself”. They argue that early colour film was predicated on white skin: in 1977, when Jean-Luc Godard was invited on an assignment to Mozambique, he refused to use Kodak film on the grounds that the stock was inherently “racist”.

The light range was so narrow, Broomberg said, that “if you exposed film for a white kid, the black kid sitting next to him would be rendered invisible except for the whites of his eyes and teeth”. It was only when Kodak’s two biggest clients – the confectionary and furniture industries – complained that dark chocolate and dark furniture were losing out that it came up with a solution.

The artists feel certain that the ID-2 camera and its boost button were Polaroid’s answer to South Africa’s very specific need. “Black skin absorbs 42% more light. The button boosts the flash exactly 42%,” Broomberg explained. “It makes me believe it was designed for this purpose.”

In 1970 Caroline Hunter, a young chemist working for Polaroid in America, stumbled upon evidence that the company was effectively supporting apartheid. She and her partner Ken Williams formed the Polaroid Workers Revolutionary Movement andcampaigned for a boycott. By 1977 Polaroid had withdrawn from South Africa, spurring an international divestment movement that was crucial to bringing down apartheid.

The title of the exhibition, To Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light, refers to the coded phrase used by Kodak to describe a new film stock created in the early 1980s to address the inability of earlier films to accurately render dark skin.

The show also features norm reference cards that always used white women as a standard for measuring and calibrating skin tones when printing photographs. The series of “Kodak Shirleys” were named after the first model featured. Today such cards show multiple races.

Broomberg and Chanarin made two recent trips to Gabon to photograph a series of rare Bwiti initiation rituals using Kodak film stock, scavenged from eBay, that had expired in 1978. Working with outdated chemical processes, they salvaged just a single frame. Broomberg said: “Anything that comes out of that camera is a political document. If I take a shot of the carpet, that’s a political document.”

 

#RIP -Dipankar Chakraborty (1941-2013)


January 29, 2013, Sanhati

55.jpg

Dipankar Chakraborty, leftist author and activist, and editor of the Bengali political magazine ‘Aneek’, passed away at 10.05 PM on 27th January, at his Teghoria residence in Kolkata following a cardiac arrest. He was one of the founder members of APDR (Association for Protection of Democratic Rights). At the time of death he was one of the Vice Presidents of APDR. Aneek was launched in 1964 and has been published uninterruptedly since; except for the 19 months when Chakraborty was in jail during the Emergency. He had been a dedicated supporter of and participant in peoples’ movements in West Bengal, while not holding back from criticizing what he felt were failings of these movements. His loss would be sorely felt in the movemental and intellectual space in Bengal.

Press Release from Aneek

Mahasveta Devi, Sankhaya Ghosh and others condoled the death of Dipankar Chakroborty, the editor of Left journal ‘ANEEK’.

Dipankar Chakroborty (71), the founder-editor of the independent Left journal, ANEEK, passed away on Sunday night. A cardiac patient, he had suffered respiratory problem last evening and died on the way to hospital. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter and grandchildren.

He was born in Dhaka in 1941 and grew up in Murshidabad after the partition. Educated in Baharampur and Kolkata, Chakroborty taught economics at Krishnanath college at Baharampur. he later settled in Kolkata.

A veteran of the Left movement since the sixties, he began publishing and editing ANEEK since 1964 when ruptures in the CPI on ideo-political issues led to first split and birth of the CPI(M).

In the wake of the Naxalbari uprising three years later that had triggered the second split and birth of the CPI(ML), Chakroborty did not join the new party. But he made ANEEK an independent forum for debates on contemporary communist movement, both national and international.

Under his stewardship, ANEEK has become one of the leading left periodical in Bengal and among the few ‘little magazines’ which have survived five decades against all odds. He himself was an accomplished political commentator and had several books to his credit. Chakroborty was jailed by the S.S Roy government during the Emergency. A life-long defender of human rights, he was also one of the founders of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights and its vice-president.

He was always active in the campaigns of release of political prisoners irrespective of the creed of the ruling parties and governments since the seventies. He stood by peoples’ movements and joined protests in their support despite his failng health– from Maruti to Nonadanga.

He was also one of the founders of Peoples’ Books Society, a major publication house and a enthusiast of Little Magazine movement in Bengal.

Noted novelist and activist Mahasveta Devi who knew Chakroborty closely expressed her ‘profound shock’. ” I am deeply grieved. It’s an irreplaceable loss for the human rights movement as well as for me,” the octogenarian writer said. Poet Sankhaya Ghosh, also mourned Chakroborty’s death. ” I feel like losing a near and dear one,” he said.

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