Guidelines to Police Officers Investigating cases under SC/ST (POA) ACT, 1989 & PCR ACT, 1955


Article 17 of the Constitution of India has abolished the practice of untouchability in all forms To give effect to this Article. Parliament enacted the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 and later renamed it as The Protection of Civil Rights’ Act, 1955 and notified the Rules in 1977 to implement the Provisions of the Act Later, the Parliament passed the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which enable the police authorities for taking specific measures to prevent the atrocities to carry out the provisions of this Act, the Government of India notified the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules in the year 1995. In view of the above, the Police Officers have been entrusted with the noble duty to implement all the provisions of the enactments and in right spirit. In this regard, certain measures which are needed to be taken by the Police Officers, who directly or indirectly deal with the incidents of atrocities or practice of untouchability in their respective jurisdiction are as under
1) To identify the atrocities prone areas / villages in order to enable themselves to take adequate preventing measures well in time.
2) They should visit the identified areas and review the Law and Order situation from time to time.
3) To cancel the Arms licenses of the persons who have misused a licensed firearms for committing atrocities or are likely to commit atrocities.
4) To organize Awareness Campaign in the identified areas to educate the SCs/STs about their rights and protections available to them under different enactments.
5) To deploy pickets in such identified areas, where there is an imminent danger of reprisal against SCs/ STs.
6) In extreme situations Arms licenses may be recommended to be issued to the SCs/ STs to enable them to protect their lives and properties.
7) Any complaint of atrocity on SCs/STs by forcing them to eat any inedible substance, causing insult or annoyance, parading them naked / with painted face, wrongful occupation / dispossession from their land, house etc.. forcing bonded labour, use of force in casting of vote, institution of false cases, intentional insult in public view, outraging modesty of SC/ST women, refusing access to a place of public resort, expelling SCs/STs from their houses / village etc. are covered under section 3 (1) of the SCs / STs (POA) Act Whereas, some of offences like fabricating false evidence, mischief by fire, attempt to cause disappearance of the evidence etc. for which the SC/ST person is likely to be convicted of an offence which is not capital but punishable with imprisonment of (07) years or upwards, would fall u/s 3(2) of the SCs/STs (POA) Act.
8) All the cases of atrocities on SCs/STs by non SCs and STs should be registered under the provisions of the SCs/STs (POA) Act, 1989 only, while the cases of enforcing any disability on account of preaching and practicing untouchability should be booked under the provisions of PCR Act. All the concerned officers should clearly understand the provisions of these two enactments and their applicability.
9) If any offence under sec. 3 of SCs/STs (POA) Act is committed by a public servant, he is liable to be prosecuted u/s 3(2) (VII).
10) On receipt of a representation / compliant pertaining to any offence under the provisions of thee SCs / STs (POA) Act either in writing or orally at the Police Station, the Officers -in-charge shall register a case, as provided under Rule 5(1) of the POA Rules of 1995 r/w 154 Cr.PC and if the Officer — in — charge of the Police Stations fails to do so, it amounts to “willful neglect of duty” which in itself is an offence u/s 4 of the said Act.
11) While registering FIR. it should be ensured that correct Sections and Sub Sections under the appropriate Act are applied Any attempt of burking or minimizing the gravity of the offence shall be treated as “Willful neglect of duty ”.
12) All the cases of bogus caste certificates should be booked u/s 420 IPC.
13) The lOs should refrain from becoming parties to the compromises / out of court settlements in cases of specific accusations as defined under the Acts.
14) All the Cases referred u/s 156 (3) Cr.PC. by the court should be promptly registered and the FIR copies should be sent to court and other concerned officers without any delay If there is any dereliction of duty on the part of the IO, he shall be liable for contempt of court and also for Departmental action
15) FIR copy in every case should be sent to the District Magistrate, to enable him to take decision regarding sanction of relief and rehabilitation measures and a copy of the FIR should also be given to the complainant.
16) FIR copy should also be sent to the CP/ SP promptly with a request to appoint the 10 at the earliest, to enable the 10 to commence investigation without any loss of time.
17) The Investigation Officer i.e.an ACP/ DSP has to be appointed by the C.P / SsP. to expeditiously investigate the case booked under (POA) Act. 1989 as envisaged under Rule 7(1) of SCs/STs (POA) Rules of 1995. Non-compliance of the above legal requirement would vitiate the entire investigation.
18) Rule 7(2) stipulates that the investigating officer so appointed under sub-rule (1) shall complete the investigation on top priority basis within thirty days.
19) In case the appointed IO is transferred out, any another Dy SP is to be appointed as IO and it has to be done by issuing a fresh Appointment Order by S P/C P. U/Rule 7(1) of SC/ST (POA) Rules, 1995.
20) On receipt of the appointment order from the SP/C.P the appointed IO should take up investigation from the stage of FIR. If the initial investigation has been done by an incompetent officer, it is an irregular investigation and mere verification of such investigation by the Dy SP is void and irregular under the Law.
21) In case, the incompetent officer has filed the charge sheet after his investigation, it is null and void and hence the specially appointed Dy.SP should seek permission of the court by filling petition u/s 173(8)Cr.PC and proceed with further investigation from the initial stage i.e from the FIR stage after obtaining the permission of the Court.
22) Since, the investigation in cases under POA Act need to be completed within 30 days, the IO must ensure that the witnesses to be examined u/s 164 Cr.PC are examined within the stipulated period. Tendency to get 164 Cr.Pc statement done after months together should be put to an end. as such practice is found to be against the interest of the victim / complainant.
23) The lOs should refrain from getting the statements of witnesses recorded u/s 164 Cr.PC if it is likely to weaken the case of prosecution. As per established Law. such statements only should be got recorded u/s 164 Cr PC which are likely to strengthen the case.
24) In cases of bogus caste certificates, the IO should also invariably investigate into the conduct and character of the certificate issuing / inquiring authorities for heir prosecution if so required and write to the concerned department for initiating
departmental action against the accused officers, while furnishing the relevant material required to be relied upon by the appropriate authority.
25) The IO after recording the statements of witnesses u/s 161 Cr.PC must hand over a copy of the same to the concerned witnesses under acknowledgement on the original copy as it would help in ensuring the truthfulness of the statements and the witness may refer to the same prior to his examination in the court. It would also stop the IOs from doing table investigation and that too at his convenient time.
26) The lOs should not hesitate to arrest the accused promptly when they are likely to tamper with the evidence by way of threatening or winning over the witness or terrorise the complainant or they are likely to abscond etc. It should also be ensured that the non-arrest of the accused does not result into commission of series of offences against the victims. Hence, the timely arrest goes a long way in preventing the offence and to enthuse confidence in the victims and the community.
27) On knowing that Anticipatory Bail petition has been filed in the Sessions Court or High Court by the accused, the ID should immediately meet the concerned APP/SpI PP/ PP and apprise him of the facts of the case, to enable him to oppose the bail However, if the court entertains such petition, the lO/SpI PP/PP/ APP should rely upon Section 18 of SCs/STs (POA) Act.
28) The Investigation Officer should examine the important and relevant witnesses only, as that would help him to unearth the truth and complete the investigation within a period of 30 days.
29) It is noticed that some of the accused are getting counter cases registered against the SC/ST complainants. In this regard, the lOs must ensure that the investigation in both the cases is completed within 30 days and that the false case is closed Undue delays in this regard are viewed with suspicion by the public and victim in particular.
30) Adequate care should be taken by the IO to complete the investigation within the stipulated period i.e. 30 days and submit the report, lest on this ground the entire investigation may be held as null and void by the court being violation of Rule 7(2) of SCs/STs(POA) Rules.
31) In the cases booked against public servants, the concerned lOs should obtain permission of the Govt, to prosecute the accused u/s 197 Cr.PC before laying the charge sheet.
32) It is a well-established principle that the evidence of the complainant alone shall be sufficient for laying the charge sheet in the Court if it is capable of inspiring the confidence of the court The tendency to close the cases as False/MF, on the basis of the evidence of unimportant witnesses while ignoring the evidence of the complainant needs to be put to an end.
33) The IO must furnish the required number of copies of the relevant material to the accused and promptly produce the accused in the court to get the charges framed early in the designated Sessions Court.
34) In these cases, the IO must make an attempt to gather evidence to the effect that the accused were aware of the victim’s caste at the time of committing the offence,
35) After completion of investigation, the IO should file the charge sheet in the concerned ACJM Court for committal sake and not at all in the Special Court.
36) The lOs should send Memo of Evidence incorporating List of Documents, List of Material Objects and also List of Witnesses along with Charge Sheet and obtain acknowledgement for the same.
37) The IO should enclose injury reports, FSL Report, Medical opinion etc. along with the Charge Sheet while filing in the Court.
38) Any attempt on the part of the accused to threaten the witnesses or to tamper with the evidence etc. the IO should bring it to the notice of the Court and seek denial or cancellation of the bail as the case may be.
39) The IO should proceed u/s 82 & 83 Cr.PC against the sureties, where the accused are absconding and NBWs issued against them.
40) The IO should take prompt and effective steps in consultation with the PP to get the stays vacated by approaching the Superior Courts.
41) The Investigating Officer should produce the witnesses before the APPs for refreshing their memory before they are produced before the court The witnesses or whose 164 statements are already recorded must be warned of action u/s 193 IPC if they turn hostile in the court.
42) It the witnesses in attendance in courts are to be sent back without examination by the Court on the request or due to absence of the accused, the Prosecuting
Officers should insist on the examination of such witnesses or insist on payment of cost to the witnesses by the accused, as provided u/ Rule 11 of SCs/STs (POA) Rules. 1995.
43) The SsP must ensure that the District Magistrate do prepare a panel of Senior Advocates for conducting cases in the Special Courts as Spl PP and send the same to the Government to notification in the official gazette. The District Magistrate may also be requested to review the performance of the Special PP at least twice in a year and in case he has not conducted the cases with due care and caution, his name may be sent for de-notification.
44) The Commissioner of Police / Superintendents of Police Unit Officers may also recommend to the District Magistrate, if so desired by the victims, to engage an eminent Senior Advocate for conducting the cases in Special Court.
45) Summons on the Police Officers to give their evidence should be served promptly and it should be ensured by the supervisory officers that they do attend the Court to give their evidence.
46) Police should assist the Courts in bringing forward the witnesses / accused promptly to ensure smooth and expeditious trial of the case.
47) The dilatory tactics adopted by the accused should be effectively and honestly countered by way of formally opposing the applications for adjournments u/s 309 Cr.PC and also request the Court to go ahead with the trial as provided u/s 317 (1) Cr.PC.
48) The Commissioners of Police / Superintendents of Police should ensure that Special PPs are appointed in every Special Court meant for handling such cases.
49) The cases are getting abnormally delayed mainly due to non-attendance by the accused, non-attendance by the witnesses, lack of commitment on the part of the lOs / APP/Spl.PP/PP etc. It can be countered by formally opposing the exemption from attendance petitions and obtaining NBWs against such accused The lOs should also sincerely execute the NBWs / BWs against the accused and witnesses to ensure speedy trial and also to proceed u/s 82 and 83 Cr.PC against them if situation so warrants.
50) In cases where some of the accused are not attending the court for a long time, the IO/APP/Spl.PP/PP should get the case split up against the absconding accused, who are not likely to be arrested in near future. a$ provided u/s 317 (2) Cr PC.
51) Where there is no likelihood to secure the presence of the accused in near future after framing of the charges, the IO/APP/Spl.PP/PP should request the court to examine the witnesses u/s 299 Cr.PC.
52) The Commissioners of Police / Superintendents of Police must initiate appropriate disciplinary action against the lOs for the lapses pointed out in the Judgment and in cases of lapses on the part of Special PPs the same may be addressed to the District Magistrate / Director of Prosecutions / Ld Legal Remembrancer, Government of West Bengal.
53) The Commissioners of Police / Superintendents of Police West Bengal must actively liaise with the District Magistrate for effective functioning of District Vigilance & Monitoring Committee by way of causing critical review of cases for their expeditious disposal, organizing Awareness Campaigns, seeking involvement of NGOs review of relief and rehabilitation measures, formulation of Model Contingency Plans for preventing disputes and caste related social disturbances, etc.
54) The stringent provisions of the Act including neglect of duty by public servant, forfeiture of property, internment of persons from Scheduled and Tribal areas, imposition of collective fines, if judiciously implemented would create deterrent climate.
55) In all the acquittal cases, the judgment copies should be obtained from the court at the earliest to send the same to the concerned SP or Inspector General of Police-1, CID, West Bengal along with the opinion of APP/ Spl.PP/PP within (20) days for scrutiny and to enable them to take decision regarding filing an appeal or otherwise.
56) The Commissioners of Police / Superintendents of Police should personally review the Final Reports and take appropriate decision at their level keeping the following points in view among other things.
a) Whether the IO has explained the delay in lodging the complaint, if any
b) Whether the IO has examined all the eye witnesses specially those who have been cited in the complaint.
c) Whether the IO has collected the Caste Certificate of the complainant and accused
d) Whether valid appointment orders are placed in the CD file.
e) Whether opinion of the concerned A.P.P /Spl. PP/ PP has been obtained
f) Whether the Investigation Officer so appointed under Rule 7 (1) of SC/ST (POA) Rules, 1995 had completed the investigation on top priority within 30 days as required under Rule 7(2) of SC/ST (POA) Rules, 1995.
57) The District Superintendents of Police/ Commissioners of Police are requested to take action against any Police Officer u/s 4 of SCs/STs (POA) Act, 1989 who willfully neglects his duties required to be performed by him under this Act.
58) The copies of Judgments in all acquitted / convicted cases also should be sent to Inspector General of Police – I, CID, West Bengal.
The above instructions should be communicated to all the Officers — in — charge of Police Stations (including l/C’s) and Investigating Officers.
This issues with the approval of DGP, CID, West Bengal.

Addl. Director General of Police – ll,
CID, Bhawni Bhaban, Alipore
Kolkata- 700 027

Copy forwarded for information and necessary action to

1) All Superintendents of Police including SRPs. West Bengal
2) Commissioners of Police. Howrah and Assansole & Durgapore
3) DIG, Midnapur Range/Malda Range/Murshidabad Range/Railways.
4) Special IG and DIG. Presidency Range/Burdwan Range/Darjeeling Range/ Jalpaiguri Range
5) IGP, Western Zone / North Bengal / South Bengal / Railways

Addl. Director General of Police – ll,
CID, Bhawni Bhaban, Alipore
Kolkata- 700 027

Copy forwarded to DG & IGP, West Bengal, for Kind information.

Addl. Director General of Police-ll,
CID, Bhawni Bhaban, Alipore
Kolkata- 700 027

Source: http://anagrasarkalyan.gov.in/

 

NHRC moved over chaining of mentally-ill woman #Vaw


J. BALAJI, The Hindu, Feb 15,2013

In a most heart-rending situation, a poor family (parents) in Odisha’s Balasore district has chained their 30-year-old mentally challenged daughter in a bamboo grove just because she behaves violently and they do not have money for her treatment.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which has taken suo motu cognisance of the incident based on a media report, issued notices to the Odisha Chief Secretary and Balasore District Collector seeking reports about the girl and the steps taken by the government for her medical treatment within two weeks.

The media report was forwarded by NHRC’s Special Rapporteur (East Zone-I) Damodar Sarangi seeking intervention of the commission.

The woman, belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL), is residing with her parents in village Jirtala or Kasba Jaypur G.P. in Balasore district. She has been suffering from mental illness for the last over six years. She has been resorting to violence and assaulting people quite often. To ward off further trouble, the villagers along with her family members have chained her to a bamboo grove.

 

#India-A dalit’s family on brink of extinction #humanrights #torture #Vaw


Inline images 1

Ms. Chintamoni Mondal & her son

1 February 2013

 

To

The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House

Copernicus Marg

New Delhi

 

Respected Sir

 

I want to draw your attention on our complaint dated 20.4.2012, about  ghastly torture perpetrated upon Mr. Bharat Mondal, belongs to Schedule Caste community, by posted Border Security Force personnel at Murshidabad district.  The background of the incident; Mr. Bharat Mondal was an agrarian laborer before losing his lands to erosion by the river. This is a problem also faced by many of Bharat’s neighbors, and like them, Bharat had no means of livelihood or income to support his family of six. Although Bharat has a job entitlement card under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 scheme, he did not get any work, and so had to allegedly resort to cross-border smuggling of cattle for income.

 

It is revealed in our fact finding that around 8am on 30 December 2011, Bharat attempted to smuggle seven or eight head of cattle across the border when the Border Security Forces (BSF) jawans apprehended him. They roughly handled him, stripped him naked and assaulted him severely. The BSF hit him repeatedly with wooden sticks and rifle butts and also kicked him with boot clad feet. Bharat’s left arm was broken as a result of the violent assault. Bharat bled profusely and lost consciousness, whereupon the BSF jawans left him to die.

 

When Bharat’s wife, Ms Chintamoni Mondal, heard about the torture and critical condition of her husband, she rushed to the scene with a few neighbors and brought Bharat to Godhanpara Block Primary Health Centre for treatment. The doctor who attended to Bharat at GBPHC referred Bharat to the Domkal Sub-Divisional Hospital and Baharampur New General Hospital because of the severity of Bharat’s condition. We also informed the Commission that though his family desperately needs the income, Bharat’s condition precludes the possibility of returning to work.

 

The BSF personnel subsequently warned Bharat’s family and neighbours against registering a complaint at the police station or disclosing details of the incident to others. Yet the aggrieved family somehow plucked up the courage to make a written report before the Superintendent of Police of Murshidabad on 23 March 2012 and forwarded a copy of that complaint to the Officer-in-Charge of Raninagar Police Station. Individuals who had witnessed the incident include Mr Sri Nath Mondal (son of Mr Amir Chand Mondal), Mr Panchanan Mondal (son of Mr. Dhananjay Mondal), Ms Sumitra Mondal (wife of Mr Sri Nath Mondal) and other residents of the Char Sahebnagar Village, Harudanga Post Office under the jurisdiction of Raninagar Police Station in Murshidabad. Despite the effort to pursue the matter through established branches of the justice system, the police have not taken any action to investigate and prosecute the BSF jawans responsible for the senseless, unprovoked and violent attack on Bharat which forced his wife to make a complaint before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate; Lalbagh’s Court under section 156 (3) of Criminal Procedure Code against the perpetrators.

 

In this given context, Mr. Bharat Mondal’s family is living under severe distress and penury. His wife; Ms. Chintamani Mondal made an appeal before the Block Development Officer of Raninagar II Block on 8.10.2012, copying it to the District Magistrate of Murshidabad district where she narrated her woes and requested for an early respite but till date no action has been taken. Mr. Bharat Mondal lost all his physical ability to work and more or less in a crippled physical condition due to torture perpetrated upon him by the BSF. His family consists of his wife and four minor children; all aged between 5 to 15 years, and out of school. Though, Bharat’s wife made subsequent request to local Panchayet for enlistment in BPL category but unheeded. Her dwelling (a hutment) is in dilapidated condition and during the last monsoon she with her minor children and ailing husband forced to spend nights on open fields. She is in very week physical condition and worried about very physical existence of her family. She visited the said BDO in number of times and requested for governmental deliverances but without any respite.

 

I am requesting your Commission to direct the relevant authority to extend the livelihood options (i.e. BPL card, NVNG, Annapurna, etc) to this tortured family who are living in brinks of extinction.

 

 

Sincerely Yours

 

 

 

 

(Kirity Roy)

Secretary- MASUM

National Convener- PACTI

Dhule riots: ‘Cops allowed minor incident to escalate into communal clash’


Fact Finding Report By Concerned Citizens

19 January, 2013

Dhule has been in news for past 10 days. It has been reported in the media that, a small altercation in Dhule led to an event leading to violence between Hindus and Muslims. As such death of 6 innocent youth and injuries to several more and massive loss of properties, burning of houses has taken place. The worst part of the episode is that all this has taken place with police force being very much around. Contrary to official reports, the people in the area stated that the behavior of police was very biased against the Muslim minorities. All the youth who died were Muslims. Most of the houses which were burnt belonged to the Muslims.

In the light of the disturbing reports and communications from the local activists we decided that a citizen fact finding committee should visit the Dhule, to investigate and present the facts objectively.

The citizens Fact Finding Committee consisting, of Shabnam Hashmi- social activist ,ANHAD Delhi, Prof Ram Puniyani of All India Secular Forum, Prof Apoorvanand of Delhi University, Adv Nihalsing B Rathod- Human Rights Law Network, Manan Trivedi, Dev Desai, Tanvi Soni, Arma from ANHAD, Gujarat and Azhar from Jalgaon, visited Dhule on 13th and 14th January 2013.

The Committee met several social, religious and political activists, government officials including the district magistrate, victims, families of the deceased and injured, and the people from different walks of life. It also visited the spot of the incident; the affected areas and the Hospitals on 14th January 2013. The committee procured the recordings of the violence which had taken place in the city. This report is based on the testimonies of these people, the records from the hospitals and its own observation in the area where houses have been burnt.

The committee found that the affected area, which was constantly referred as minority area was barricaded to separate it from the Hindu dominated areas. We found temporary police posts on the other side of the barricades (Hindu Majority area). We were told that the curfew which was enforced after the violence; was now relaxed from 9am to 5pm. Police did not prevent people from crossing the barricades from either side. Outwardly life looked normal. We were told that curfew had affected the livelihood of people who worked in the power looms which is the main source of living for majority of the Muslims as work had to be stopped at 5 in the evening. In normal times the power looms kept working round the clock. We also found that even in normal times the area also suffered from huge load shedding, making it impossible for the power looms to work. The stoppage of work is leading to the disruption of life.

There were differing versions of the cause of violence on 6 January. We were told that it was largely a result of the insensitive handing of a minor quarrel by the police. It was clear from the statements of both Hindus and Muslims that tension could have been diffused easily had police taken proper steps to diffuse the tension, which was building up. It did not intervene and told the people to settle the dispute by themselves. The police allowed crowds to assemble from both sides. One can see from the recordings that mobs which assembled started confronting each other with stones. We were also told that the first incidence took place at around 2 to 2.15 pm and mobs from both sides started assembling soon after that. It is clear that both Hindus and Muslims had indulged in stone throwing. What is perplexing is that the police decided to move into the Muslims areas with Hindu mob behind them. Police started firing indiscriminately at Muslims.

As per the testimony of victims and eyewitnesses the police did not make any primary effort to disperse the crowds. It did not use public address system to alert the crowd, nor did it use lathi or teargas shells before going for firing. The residents felt very aggrieved that the police resorted to firing in response to stone throwing. It was reported that the firing lasted for more than two hours and was stopped around 6.30 PM. This point was confirmed by the District Magistrate.

The police firing was intended not to disperse the mob. All the bullet injuries are above the knee, in the abdomen, chest, neck, back and face. The attitude of the police against Muslims is also evident from the recordings as they are found pounding on the motorcycles in the curfew hours when there was nobody on the streets. Media reported and District Collector told us that the police had no option but to open fire as they were attacked with lethal chemicals and many of them suffered grievous injuries when they were trying to control the mobs. This claim is not supported by the Civil hospital record which describes the injuries suffered by the police personnel as minor who were discharged after first aid and there are just a very few cases of minor burn injuries..

Forty two people suffered bullet injuries, six died. Legs of two of the injured had to be amputated. None of the injured went to the civil hospital. We were told that the Muslims avoid going to civil hospital due to their experience of experience of the 2008 riots. In 2008 Muslims were attacked by Hindus when they tried to go to the civil hospital as it falls in a Hindu dominated locality. Due to the experience of 2008 this time, all the injured were taken to private hospitals.

It was reported that none of the injured was taken to the hospital by the police. We were also told by the relatives of those killed that they were not allowed to lodge FIRs. They were told that the deceased had already been made accused and were treated as rioters. The injured have not been able to muster courage to file FIRs, nor have the owners of the damaged property been able to do so.

More than 35 Muslim houses were looted, burnt and destroyed. Destruction of these houses was complete. All of it seems to have been done with clinical precision. We also found four Hindu households burnt, one of them burnt totally. While Muslims are ready to name the attackers, Hindus told us that they did not want to name anybody although they know the attackers.

The looting, burning and destruction of Muslim houses was done by mobs under the protection of the police. In one of the recordings, a senior police officer is seen exhorting the mobs to move forward and attack. The police is also seen standing silently while houses are being burnt. What the police did was to drive away the Muslims by firing, leaving their houses unprotected and vulnerable.

It was also reported that the area of incident and firing was cleaned with water the very next day without any Panchnama having been made.

We found no evidence of relief being provided to the uprooted families who had to flee bare handed from their houses. The DM told us that they were provided with ration through NGOs but was unable to explain how the ration was supposed to be cooked as the victims had no utensils with them to cook it. He also found it natural and sufficient that they were being taken care of by the community-fellows and there was no special need for administration to pitch in.

The fact that when our committee visited the area neither the chief minister, nor the home minister felt it necessary to pay a visit to Dhule in the wake of this violence. This fact has made the Muslims very bitter. Several calls to offices of the CM and HM for an appointment by the Fact Finding Committee yielded no results. Muslims feel uncared for and left to fend for themselves. The announcement by a section of the business community, engineers and lawyers that the police action should not be investigated has also made them wary. More than compensation, they want justice to be done and with these threats they feel that justice might be compromised. The political process of confidence building is absent leaving the field open for all kinds to forces to fill the void. It should be a matter of concern that since 2008, this has been the third major violence and Muslims feel that they are being hounded by the police. The fact, as reported by many; that the constables have not been transferred for more than fifteen years is also to be noted. It is evident that the police is biased against the Muslims and all minds of anti-Muslim stereotypes impact their mindset and action.

Dhule, despite ‘only’ six deaths is a mirror to the nation and our response would also show whether there exists a social, civil and political resolve to protect the constitutional rights of minorities in India or not.

FINDINGS:

1. This violence could have been prevented, had the police acted in time.

2. While stone pelting was done by members of both the communities, the police action was selective and directed against Muslims only.

3. The police did not follow the prescribed protocol to control the mob. Police firing was excessive and was done with an intent to kill.

4. All bullets were above the knee, majority of the bullets were above the waist, many of them in the chest, neck and face. All six deaths were because of the police firing.

5. Majority of the victims of the police firing were left unattended by the police and were taken to hospitals by friends.

6. 159 police personnel were taken to the hospital out of which only 18 were admitted is evident from the record of the civil hospital (attached with this report). All the injuries suffered by the police were minor in nature due to stone pelting.

7. The burning and looting of Muslim household and shops was done by the Hindu mobs in presence of the police personnel and killings were done by the police. From the video footage obtained by us it is clear that Police also indulged in burning Muslim houses and destroying their property.

8. Fire Brigade was not allowed to come to the Muslim locality to douse the fire.

9. No relief camps were set up for those Muslims and Hindus who lost their houses (approximately 40 Muslim families and 4 Hindu families), no immediate relief provided by the State. Some food grains were distributed by the Red Cross.

10. The victims were threatened when they tried to register FIRs and no FIRs were registered.

DEMANDS

1. IMMEDIATE COMMISSIONING OF JUDICIAL ENQUIRY INTO THE WHOLE INCIDENT OF JANUARY 6, 2013 IN DHULE, MAHARASHTRA WITH ESPECIAL FOCUS ON ROLE OF THE POLICE.

2. SUSPENSION OF THE DM , SP AND OTHER OFFICERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTS OF OMMISSION AND COMMISSION WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT

3. ANNOUNCEMENTOF RELIEF AND REHABILITATION PACKAGE INCLUDING THE OPENING OF A RELIEF CAMP IMMEDIATELY FOR THOSE WHOSE
HOUSES HAVE BEEN UPROOTED (25 LAKHS TO THE NEXT OF KIN OF THOSE KILLED, 15 LAKHS FOR THOSE DISABLED FOR LIFE, 10 LAKHS FOR THOSE INJURED WITH POLICE BULLETS, SUITABLE COMPENSATION TO THOSE WHOSE HOUSES, PROPERTY, BUSINESS HAS BEEN BURNT, LOOTED, DESTROYED AFTER ASSESSMENT BY A COMPETENT AGENCY ALONG WITH MEMBERS OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND NGOS).

4. PROSECUTION OF ALL THOSE POLICEMEN WHO ARE INVOLVED IN KILLING PEOPLE AND DESTROYING THEIR PROPERTY.

5. GOVERNMENT JOB TO ONE PERSON IN THE FAMILY OF THOSE KILLED / disabled for life IN POLICE BULLETS.

6. IMMEDIATE LODGING OF FIRs IN ALL CASES OF DEATH, INJURED, PROPERTY LOSS ETC.

7. IMPLEMENTATION OF TRANSFERPOLICY FOR THE POLICEPERSONNALE WHICH HAS BEENTOTALLY DISREGARDED IN DHULE.

8. ESTABLISHMENT OF AN EXTENTION CENTRE OF THE GOVERNMENTHOSPITAL WITH ALL FACILITIES IN THE MUSLIM DOMINATED AREA.

9. LIFTING OF CURFEW WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT AND RESUMPTION OF NORMAL WORKING HOURS ESPECIALLY IN POWER LOOM SECTOR.

10. SETTING UP OF A COMMITTEE TO STUDY THE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS OF THE CITY INCLUDING JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH.

11. IMMEDIATE STEPS TO BE TAKEN TO DE-TOXIFY THE MINDSETS OF THE POLICE AT THE STATE LEVEL, PROGRAMMES TO SENSITISE THEM ON CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY, SECULaRALISM.

12. TO INVITE NATIONAL NGOS WORKING ON COMMUNAL HARMONY TO HELP SET UP A STRUCTURE AT THE LEVEL OF MOHALLAS FOR REGULARINTERACTION OF LOCAL PEOPLE ANDLEADERS OF ALL COMMUNITIES, FORMATION OF MOHALLA COMMITTEES.

 

 

Dhule riots: 'Cops allowed minor incident to escalate into communal clash'
New Delhi: The “communalism” of the “State machinery” allowed to escalate the communal violence in Dhule town of Maharashtra, alleged activists during a press conference here on Friday. The local police “systematically targeted Muslims” during the January 6 riots, in which six people were killed, they said.
A fact finding team comprising — rights activist Shabnam Hashmi from ANHAD, Dr Ram Puniyani of All India Secular Forum, Professor Apoorva Anand of Delhi University, Advocate Nihalsing Rathod of Human Rights Law Network and several others — visited the town to investigate the violence, the third in the region since 2008.
According to the interim report of the fact-finding team, the police allowed a minor incident to escalate into a riot-like situation. “They intervened very late. And when they did, they targeted only Muslims,” said Shabnam Hashmi.
As per testimonies collected by the team, the incident was triggered after a Muslim auto driver was beaten by the owner of an eatery in Macchi Bazar. “When the driver went to the police station to file a complaint, the officials were hostile and did not register his complaint, following which a mob gathered and people started pelting stones,” said Hashmi. “It was not a Hindu-Muslim issue, but the police only let the violence escalate,” she said.
The activists alleged connivance by the State machinery in the escalation of violence. “Why did it take the Chief Minister and the Home Minister nine days to visit the victims and order a judicial inquiry? There is a great sense of alienation and frustration among the Muslim community due to the callous response of the State,” Prof Apoorvanand said.
He said that the locals were afraid to even file a case. In the rare event of some victims gathering the courage to act, they were told by the police that a case had already been registered naming them as the accused and they could not, therefore, file a case.
He said fear within the community was so palpable that the victims refused to go to the civil hospital because riot victims in 2008 were allegedly beaten and driven away by some members of the majority community.
“The Dhule incident mirrors our society. If it is not taken seriously, the country will face a very severe struggle,” said Apoorvanand.
Speaking on this occasion, Dr Ram Puniyani said, “The incident shows the communalisation of the State machinery. The police launched an inhuman, one-sided attack on the members of the minority community.”
H said, “A total of 151 police personnel were taken to the hospital on January 6 of which 133 were discharged immediately, and all cases were described as minor.”
“When we checked the medical records of the victims, we noticed that the bullet injuries were above the waist in 90 percent of the cases. The police did not aim to disperse the crowd. It was targeted killing,” said Dr Puniyani.
“It is time to put the police in the psychiatric couch to understand what makes them brutally attack the minorities,” said film director Mahesh Bhatt. “The mindset of the entire police force is contaminated and reflects a fascist attitude,” he said.

 

 

An unsung Nirbhaya in Kandhamal #delhigangrape #Vaw


by  on JANUARY 13, 2013 · http://www.dalitweb.org/

Asha Kowtal

She was young and carefree, exploring life and trying to live it to the fullest. As a young girl she wanted to look beautiful, study well and become an independent and confident woman. She used to enjoy her time with her friends and looked forward to go out and watch a movie with her male friend.

Late one evening, the thrill and the excitement of the movie ended in the brutal gang rape and death of the young girl.

This is not the recent story of Delhi’s braveheart . . .

This is the story of a young girl in a remote village in Kandhamal district of Odisha. On Oct. 26, 2012, she went to watch a movie with her male friends from her village during the Dussera celebrations. She was brutally assaulted, gang raped and murdered. The next morning, her body was found in the bushes nearby.

This case resembles the recent Delhi case in all aspects, except that the ‘outrage’ expressed from all corners of the country differs vastly.

None of the politicians apologized to the country, none of the media persons demanded an answer for the crime, none of the Bollywood personalities shed tears for her, none of the feminists wore black for her, none of the students’ groups held protests and candle marches for her.

There is no memorial for this girl. There never will be. Her life is over; she is snuffed out – not just from this world but from our memory and conscience as well. Did we even let her into our memory and conscience?

How do we her value life? While Rs. 15,00,00 has been offered as compensation for Nirbhaya, the Tehsildhar has given Rs.10,000 to this girl’s family in Kandhamal.

Is it a coincidence that her family is Dalit, landless and extremely poor?

The blankness in the faces of her parents and siblings expresses the fact that Justice Verma Committee and its recommendations will remain just as unknown and distant to them, resembling the sorrow of the loss of their dear girl, which remains unknown and distant to the rest of the world.

Please read about many more unsung Nirbhayas in Kandhamal:  report  below which gives a glimpse of the myriad struggles of the rape survivors. Their struggles reveal the deeply structural nature of patriarchal hostility deployed towards the survivors and victims of sexual crimes, and towards redress and rehabiliation processes. All systems, from Child Protection Services to Police to Courts that are meant to ensure the safety and well being of all women citizens are completely dysfunctional for girls and women from the most vulnerable sections.

I am in solidarity with ALL rape survivors and victims. But believe strongly that without unraveling the intersections of caste and patriarchy, no legislation will have any meaning in the lives of Dalit women. Dismantling institutions that reek of patriarchy and caste discrimination is a long haul for anti-caste feminism and all women – from the margins to the center, from the poorest to the most empowered women – stand to live in a better world if that’s done..

~~~

Fact finding team’s visit to investigate the recent cases of rapes in Kandhamal district.

Fact finding report of gang rape and murder of young Dalit girl in Kandhamal

Phulbhani-Kandhamal

It is shameful that heinous crimes including gang rapes and murder of young Dalit girls in Kandhamal is excluded from the discourse on rape in our country, says Asha Kowtal, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch

Bhubaneswar, January 11, 2013 – The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights with allied organizations like NAWO, Odisha Forum for Social Action, human rights activists and journalists conducted a fact finding visit to investigate into the recent cases of rapes in Kandhamal district, addressed the media today at Red Cross, Bhubaneswar.

On January 10, 2013, the fact finding team visited five villages ( Tiangia, Simanbadi, Daringbadi, Badagaon, Sarangoda and Tikabali ) in Kandhamal district. In each village, the team has met the rape survivor, the family, community members and the investigating police officers at the police station. Finally, the fact-finding team has met the District Collector in Kandhamal and shared the findings and recommendations.

The members of the team express their shock and anguish over the gruesome cases of rape and murder of Dalit Christian girls in the recent months at Kandhamal and at the same time are angered with the fact that these cases never figure in the recent discussions on sexual violence and rape in India. Dalit girls living in remote tribal areas of India with little access to livelihood and life are battered brutally and killed, and yet this is not enough for the Orissa Government to hang its head in shame.

In Kandhamal, if at all given, a rape case is given Rs. 5000 and rape and murder is given Rs. 10,000 as compensation and in Delhi the recent much publicized case was announced Rs. 15,00,000 (Fifteen Lakh rupees) !!! This shows the apathy of the Government and clear exclusion of issues of Dalit and minority girls. The discussion with the District Collector in Kandhamal has revealed that the district administration has no money for rehabilitation of rape survivors and their families. He said, “I have no money for the compensation and rehabilitation of minority (Dalit Christian) girl survivors of rape.”

Delays in investigation, serious lapse in role of police, zero support from district administration and total break down of statutory bodies is clearly visible in every case that has been investigated. The entire child protection system, including CWC, JJB, Child line has not played any role in support of the victims as well the minor accused in the cases that we have investigated, says Manju Prabha, NAWO

Bogus baba’s and fake leaders like Bhagwat have been issuing baseless statements to the media and we condemn them as anti-human and misogynist ideas. The impunity enjoyed by a few in our country has instigated such people and others to get away scot-free. Such is the case in Kandhamal as well, where community control has been dismantled and hence people and officials are shocked to witness such horrific crimes in the area.

The Chief Minister of Orissa claims to have stayed away from New Year celebrations, in solidarity with the recent victim of rape in Delhi, but we wonder what he has done in response to these five inhuman acts of sexual violence on young Dalit girls in Kandhamal? , says Namrata Daniel, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights

The families of the rape victims live in abject poverty conditions, without access to basic entitlements. Absence of job cards, access to PDS and other flag- ship programmes was clearly visible in all cases.

Key observations of the fact-finding team:

All the five cases reported to the fact-finding team was found to be authentic and the alleged crimes were truly reported. The detail of each case is attached.

All the acts of sexual violence were intentional and pre-planned to victimize the girl by raping and murder.

Rape survivors and family members do not have any knowledge about their legal rights and steps to be taken towards access to justice.

SC/ST PoA has not been invoked in Tikabali case and hence the accused have been roaming scot-free for more than 5 months. No compensation, no protection and no justice for this young girl who was raped and almost lost her life because the accused slit her neck with sharp knives.

The team observed that that local police did not registered FIR immediately and even those case registered police not supply free FIR copy to the victims

Severe gaps in investigation were observed particularly allegations relating to the police forcing the victims to change the statements.

Filing of Charge sheets has been delayed inordinately in all the cases. Police were not able to give a justification for this.

Filing of false / counter cases on family members of victims has been observed.

The entire child protection system is a total failure and has not been linked with any of the case yet inspite of several complaint letters and phone calls. None of the concerned members have supported. In addition, the girl was denied rehabilitation support by the administration.

After the rape and murder of young girls, Siblings of victim’s family and other girls in the villages have dropped out from school in fear.

The victims are living a life of extreme poverty and have not access to life and livelihood. The team observe that financial assistances not given immediately after the cases. In one case Rs. 10,000 was given in case of gang rape and murder and Rs. 5000 for rape was given.

District administration and police have not taken serious steps and it seems are purposefully neglecting the cases of violence against dalit and minority girls

Human Rights Commissions and other statutory bodies have failed completely in addressing the life security and protection of dalit girls and women in Orissa. No committee working in the district such as Women and child development committee and District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (DVMC) under SC/ST (PoA) Act 1989 and Rule 1995.

Recommendations:

1. The Orissa Government should ensure speedy trial for all the cases immediately.

2. Fast track courts should be set up for these trials.

3. Ensure filing of charge sheet immediately for the investigated cases.

4. Review of enforcement of SC/ST PoA Act at district and state level should be taken up the state and include SCST minorities to be included in the PoA Act as they are targeted with the same prejudices biases.

5. Full rehabilitation plan for the survivors and families should be made for the survivor and family. Provide a job for the family member, residential school for the survivor and compensation of Rs. 15,00,00 for rape and murder case.

6. Panchayat standing committee should be activated and take serious action in these cases of violence.

7. Health department (NRHM) has not taken any action in any of the cases. Trauma counselling and medical treatment for the survivors and the witness should be provided immediately

8. Education department ( SSA ) should ensure that the girls go back to school.

9. Minority Commission to be set up in the district and Orissa State level to look into all matters concerning minority groups

10. Residential school for minority girl children should be set up to ensure quality education, safety and security of the children.

11. The child protection system ( ICPS ) should be strengthened and activated with continuous monitoring and follow up.

12. The district administration to take steps to generate awareness of legal rights in particular for women and young girls.

13. Sensitization on Gender and exclusion issues – training of police and other district officials should be conducted in

Asha Kotwal Manjuprava Dhal

General Secretary, Member

AlDMAM-NCDHR, New Delhi NAWO, Orissa Chapter

For further information:

Orissa Forum for Social Action

Jugal Kishore 08895210713 jugalkishore_ranjit@yahoo.com

Divya 08895441954 divyaraphael@gmail.com

Asha Kowtal 09560100442 asha.kowtal@ncdhr.org.in

 

Madras High Court terms TN relief for Dalits in Dharmapuri insufficient #Justice


Press Trust of India : Chennai, Fri Jan 11 2013,

The Madras High Court today said the Tamil Nadu government‘s proposal to provide relief of Rs 7.32 crore to 326 Dalit families of four villages in Dharmapuri district affected in the November 7 violence was “not at all sufficient.”

A group had on that day torched 285 huts in three Dalit colonies in Dharmapuri district after a man belonging to Vanniyar caste committed suicide, upset over his daughter marrying a Dalit boy.

A letter produced before the First Bench today showed the details of the proposal sent to state government for sanctioning the relief eligible as per the SC/ST Act for damages caused to household articles, and Rs 7,32,07,715 has been quantified in this regard.

The total amount of damages arrived at in all four Dalit colonies (Rs 3,61,01,435 at Natham, Rs 53,26,550, at Anna Nagar, Rs 2,98,67,230 at Kondampatty and Rs 18,92,500 at Chengalmedu) was Rs 7,32,07,715.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the government has not passed any order in this regard.

The bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan, said, “.. in our view the amount which has been sanctioned is not at all sufficient taking into consideration, the mental agony and pain underwent by affected people of the area.”

“Further the matter of providing adequate relief is under consideraton with government from January 5. Hence, in order to meet the ends of justice, we direct the government to pass appropriate order, sanctioning the amount of Rs 7.32 crore within two weeks from today.”

The bench also directed the state government to appoint former Madurai District Collector U Sagayam to assist Dharmapuri District Collector in disbursing the amount to 326 families of Natham, Anna Nagar, Kondampatty and Chengalmedu in Dharmapuri district.

Advocate General submitted that the government has sanctioned Rs 1,63,00,000 for providing relief for affected people and the Chief Minister has also sanctioned Rs 50,000 to victims from Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

The writ petitions were posted for February 4.

 

#India- Supreme Court issues directions to curb ‘eve teasing”#VAW #mustshare #goodnews


‘Curb eve-teasing with an iron hand’: Supreme Court

LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu, Dec 2, 2012

In a bid to curb eve-teasing, the Supreme Court has directed all States and Union Territories to depute plain-clothed women officers at public places such as bus stands, railway stations, metro stations, cinema theatres and shopping malls.

Giving a series of directions, a Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said: “Eve-teasing today has become a pernicious, horrid and disgusting practice. More and more girls and women go to educational institutions, workplaces, etc, and their protection is of extreme importance to a civilised and cultured society. The experiences of women and girl children in overcrowded buses, metros, trains, etc, are horrendous, and a painful ordeal.”

Writing the judgment, while allowing a Tamil Nadu appeal against the acquittal of policeman S. Samuthiram who was accused of teasing a couple, Justice Radhakrishnan said: “Parliament is currently considering the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010, which is intended to protect female workers at most workplaces. Provisions of that Bill are not sufficient to curb eve teasing. Before undertaking suitable legislation to curb eve-teasing, it is necessary to take at least some urgent measures so that it can be curtailed to some extent.”

“Eve-teasing,” said the Bench, “is a euphemism, a conduct which attracts penal action but it is seen [that] only in Tamil Nadu a statute has been created to contain the same, the consequence of which may at times be drastic. Eve-teasing led to the death of a woman in 1998 in Tamil Nadu which led to the government bringing an ordinance, namely, the Tami Nadu Prohibition of Eve Teasing Ordinance, 1998, which later became an Act, namely, the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Eve-Teasing Act, 1998.”

The Bench issued the following directions: a) There will be a direction to the State governments and the Union Territories to install CCTV in strategic positions which itself would be a deterrent and if detected, the offender could be caught.

b) Persons in charge of educational institutions, places of worship, cinema theatres, railway stations and bus stands have to take steps they deem fit to prevent eve-teasing within their precincts and, on a complaint being made, they must pass on the information to the nearest police station, or the Women’s Help Centre.

c) Where either passengers or persons in charge of a public service vehicle indulge in eve-teasing, the crew shall, on a complaint made by the aggrieved person, take the vehicle to the nearest police station and give information to the police. Failure to do so should lead to cancellation of the permit to ply.

d) The State governments and Union Territories are directed to establish Women’s Helpline in various cities and towns, so as to curb eve-teasing within three months.

e) Suitable boards cautioning against eve-teasing should be exhibited in the precincts of educational institutions, bus stands, railway stations, cinema theatres, parties, beaches, public service vehicles, places of worship, etc.

f) Responsibility is also on passers-by who should report such incidents to the nearest police station or to the Women’s Helpline.

g) The State governments and the Union Territories should take effective measures by issuing suitable instructions to authorities including the District Collectors and the Superintendent of Police on effective and proper measures to curb eve-teasing.

Read full judgement here

 

“Extensive damage caused to Dalits’ property”


R. ARIVANANTHAM, DHARMAPURI, November 11, 2012

D. Venkatesan, Director of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, listening to the grandmother of the Dalit boy, who married a caste Hindu girl in Natham Colony, on Saturday. Photo: N. Bashkaran
The HinduD. Venkatesan, Director of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, listening to the grandmother of the Dalit boy, who married a caste Hindu girl in Natham Colony, on Saturday. Photo: N. Bashkaran

National Commission for Scheduled Castes will submit report tomorrow, says Director who visited Naikkankottai

Extensive damage has been caused to the property of Dalits in the November 7 attack on their colonies here by caste Hindus, according to Director of National Commission for Scheduled Castes D. Venkatesan.

After inspecting the houses that were torched at Natham Colony, Anna Nagar and Kondampatti new and old colonies in Naikkankottai village on Saturday, he told The Hindu here that the Commission’s report and recommendations would be submitted to the Central and State governments on Monday.

Based on the recommendations, the governments would initiate rehabilitation measures, he added.

Women, especially the elderly, broke down on seeing the official and narrated their harrowing experiences. Petitions were also given to Mr. Venkatesan.

At Natham Colony, he spoke to T. Palaniammal, 80-year-old grandmother of E. Ilavarasan, the Dalit, who married caste Hindu girl N. Divya.

There were tense moments during the official’s visit to the village. Some members of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi sought to block the way of Mr. Venkatesan and shouted slogans to disband the Commission, contending that it should have visited the place immediately after the incident.

They demanded that the Collector, the DIG and the SP camp in the colonies and arrange basic necessities for the affected persons. They also wanted a medical camp to be organised.

Prior to Mr Venkatesan’s three-hour visit of the colonies along with police and revenue officials, he held a review meeting with District Collector R. Lilly and Superintendent of Police Asra Garg at the Collectorate.

Three more arrested

Three more persons allegedly involved in the attack on the colonies were arrested and remanded in judicial custody, taking the total number of arrested persons to 95.

The body of Nagaraj was still in the mortuary at the Government Hospital after post-mortem as his community was divided over receiving it. Though the Vanniyar Sangam called for a meeting in Dharmapuri for Saturday to discuss the future course of action, only 12 members turned up at the meeting, as against the expected 500. The group dispersed without holding the meeting.

 

Gujarat: Minors among 3 Dalits killed in police firing #Narendramodi


Sept 24, agencies

Three Dalits, including two minors, died in two separate incidents of police firing near the Than police station in Surendranagar district. The first incident took place on Saturday night and the second one on Sunday evening.

The tragedy followed a clash between Dalits and members of Bharwad community over auctioning of stalls at an annual fair organised by the Than municipality. A Dalit youth was allegedly beaten up by the Bharwads on Friday after which the Dalits filed a complaint against them with the Than police station.

The following night, the two groups clashed again near the police station, according to Superintendent of Police Raghvendra Vats.

He said that soon the police intervened, following which the Dalits allegedly clashed with them. During the clash, sub-inspector K P Jadeja allegedly opened fire, injuring 17-year-old Prakash Amarsinh. The youth died at the Rajkot Civil Hospital.

There were just four or five policemen present during this incident, Vats added.

The SP said the two groups clashed with each other again on Sunday afternoon and when the police reached the spot, they allegedly pelted stones at them. The policemen again opened fire at the mob, killing two Dalit youths — Mehul (16) and Prakash (24) — and injuring one. The condition of injured Chhana Mauji Vaniya is said to be critical.Witnesses said Prakash was shot thrice.

According to Valjibhai Patel, a local activist, the situation remained tense in the town till late on Sunday as the Dalits refused to take the bodies and demanded stern action against sub-inspector Jadeja.

Rajkot Range IG Praveen Sinha said that hundreds of community leaders had converged at the Rajkot Circuit House and police were trying to pacify the angry Dalits.

In-charge DGP Chittaranjan Singh said that CID (crime) DIG R V Jotangia has been asked to investigate the incident. “He will probe if there was any negligence on the part of police and if it is proved, action will be taken against them,” said Singh.

While state Social Justice Minister Fakirbhai Vaghela he would be visiting the town, an inquiry has been initiated by the social welfare department under its secretary Sanjay Prasad, said sources in the government.

The government is suspecting ‘overreaction’ on the part of police. District Congress spokesperson Naushad Solanki blamed the police for the incident. He said Than Municipality chief Vasram Chavda, a Dalit, had complained against SI Jadeja allegedly for being anti-Dalit and had even staged protest against him. Subsequently, Jadeja was transferred last week, but he was yet to be relieved.

District Collector Pradeep Shah, however, said it was not a case of atrocity “but rather a law and order problem”.

This comes on a day when Chief Minister Narendra Modi was touring the district as part of his Swami Vivekanand Yuva Vikas Yatra.

The incident also affected railway traffic between Rajkot and Ahmedabad, which passes through Than, for several hours.

Indian tribal women demand their reproductive rights #mustshare


 

Anumeha Yadav

20 September 2012

Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) living in Chattisgarh, India, struggle to provide for their families and are forced to lie about their identity to overcome the sterilisation restriction owing to a three decade old order of the Madhya Pradesh government that restricted PTGs from being targeted during the sterilisation drives of the time.

Sarguja: A three decade-old Madhya Pradesh government order has several adivasi families in Chattisgarh in a quandary. They struggle to provide for themselves but are turned away by government officials if they try to restrict their family size.

“I do not want more children but the ‘mitanin’ (village health worker) says she cannot take me or anyone from my community to the clinic for an operation,” says Phool Sundari Pahari Korva from Jhamjhor village, located in the forests of Sarguja district in north Chhattisgarh. She has five children – her oldest is 18 and the youngest, a daughter, is six months. All of Sundari’s four younger children have frail limbs and bellies swollen by malnutrition; the skin on her younger son’s chest has peeled off due to an infection.

PTGs_India.jpg
Sabutri Bai Korva says the nurse who helped her get sterilisation done was going to be suspended/ Photo credit: Anumeha Yadav/WFS

The reason that Phool Sundari, a Pahari Korva adivasi, was denied sterilisation at a local government clinic: A 1970s order of the Madhya Pradesh (MP) government that restricted Pahari, or Hill, Korvas and four other Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) living in Chattisgarh from being targeted during the sterilisation drives of the time.

The original intent was to protect the PTGs, a term recently amended to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups, from ‘extinction’. The PTGs were adivasi groups dependent on pre-agricultural technologies that had stagnant or declining populations. But 30 years on, the Chhattisgarh government has continued to enforce this anachronistic order adding to the economic burden of these families.

Sabutri Bai, Sundari’s neighbour, recounts that she got sterilisation done after giving birth to her sixth child three years back but was surprised at what followed. “When the staff at the Lakhanpur clinic found out I am a Pahari Korva, they were going to dismiss the nurse who allowed me to get operated,” she says. “It makes no sense. We have 1.5 acres land. How do they expect us to provide for more and more children?” asks her husband, Phool Chand Ram, who used to work under the rural employment guarantee act, MNREGA, two years back but gave it up when he got wages only a year later. Their eight-member family survives by selling firewood, earning Rs 100 (US$1=Rs 55) for every two-day trip they make into the depleting forest.

Over 50 kilometres away, in the villages of Batauli block, the situation is similar. Pahari Korvas struggle to provide for their families and are forced to lie about their identity to overcome the sterilisation restriction. “I stopped producing nursing milk after I gave birth to my fourth child. I could only give my babies rice-water. When I wanted to get the operation done, the malaria link worker (a government health worker) said I should give my caste as Majhwar or else the Shantipada hospital would not do it,” says Mangli Bai Korva of Govindpur village.

The original order, passed on December 13, 1979, identifies PTGs, including Pahari Korvas, Baigas, Abujhmaria, Birhor and Kamar tribes, in 26 blocks in MP to be excluded from sterilisation but allows them access to contraceptives. “You have been given district-wise targets for sterilisation. An exception should be made for tribal communities whose population is stagnant or decreasing… they should have access to other contraceptives if they require. …Everyone except these communities will be encouraged to get sterilised…,” reads the two-page order.

Adivasi families in Sarguja, however, say they have never heard of temporary or permanent contraceptive methods such as birth control pills, condoms, or the copper-T, an intrauterine device. Further, while the order permits PTG families to go in for sterilisations after procuring a certificate from the Block Development Officer, neither health workers nor tribals are aware of this provision and most have no direct access to block officials.

A discussion among Pahari Korvas in Batauli, on whether or not the government should allow the operation, generated diverse reactions. While the youngsters burst into giggles, Shri Ram Korva, who has six children, wonders loudly with faultless logic, “If the thought is to preserve our population, then that is good. But if we are forced to say we are Majhwar or Oraon at the clinic, won’t we stop being Korvas anyway?” Jhoolmati Korva, a village elder, has the final word, “If the couple wants it, they should be able to get the operation even after giving their correct name.”

Sarguja has over 4,500 Pahari Korva families. Since 1996, they have been the focus of several development schemes, which promote agriculture, animal husbandry and horticulture, executed through the Pahari Korva Development Agency. But despite good intentions and adequate resources – last year, the agency had a budget of Rs 3.72 crore – district officials admit not much has changed. “Schemes do not get implemented properly because there is little coordination among various departments. We are now trying to involve the Pahari Korva Mahapanchayat in planning the use of funds,” says R. Prasanna, the District Collector. “Maybe if the Mahapanchayat made a collective appeal, the government will reconsider the sterilisation order,” he adds.

In the three decades since the order has been in force, the PTG population has increased but their access to health and nutrition has stayed as uncertain as ever and it is this fact that is central to the debate over the restriction. National Family Health Survey-3 data shows that compared to the national average of 46 per cent of underweight children, 70 per cent children born in PTG families are underweight. Malaria and diarrhoea epidemics are frequent every monsoon. In the instance of Pahari Korvas, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is 166 deaths per 1000 live births, more than double the national average, says a 2007 study by researcher Sandeep Sharma. The study also records the crude death rate as well as birth rate among these adivasis – more children are born, but many more die.

So, is the government hiding dismal malnutrition and high mortality numbers with a sterilisation ban? “Independent surveys show the government undercounts the level of malnutrition. For three years between 2007 and 2010 the state reported zero deaths from malaria and diarrhoea to the central Ministry for Health and Family Welfare,” says Sulakshana Nandi, a public health activist based in Raipur. “Block and district clinics in Raipur and Mahasamund were out of stock of contraceptives when we visited this January. PTGs are in a bind because they neither get adequate nutrition nor access to contraceptives,” she adds.

The ban has been a matter of public debate in the state since an investigation by journalists in Kawardha district last year traced how dalals (middlemen) from MP were luring Baiga tribals across the border for sterilisation for Rs 1,000, ironically as part of MP government’s continued sterilisation drives. Since then PTG communities such as Kamars in Gariaband district and the Baigas in Kawardha have organised public meetings demanding that the government remove the ban and focus instead on improving access to public services. “Baigas want to restrict their family size for their well-being, not because of Rs 200-300 that we could earn as incentive for sterilisation in clinics in MP,” asserted Bhaigla Singh Baiga, a community leader while addressing the Baiga Mahapanchayat meeting in Taregaon in May 2012.

Government officials have taken notice of these demands. “I agree that the demographic situation has changed and that informed choice should be available to everyone. It is, however, incorrect to blame high mortality on the failure of state services; ‘anganwadis’ can provide only supplementary nutrition, substantive nutrition has to come from the household,” says Kamalpreet Singh Dhillon, Director-Health Services in Raipur.

But nutritious food continues to be elusive for the Pahari Korvas living deep inside the Mainpat and Khirkhiri hills. Today, they wait for both their right to food and their freedom to decide family size.

SOURCE: Women’s Feature Service

 

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