Press Release- Serial Hunger strike by 50 tribals of Gadchiroli district incarcerated at the Nagpur Central Prison. #Humanrightsday


( ABOVE IS THE POSTER MADE BY INMATES

Around 50 tribals of Gadchiroli district incarcerated at the Nagpur Central Prison as political prisoners have commenced a serial hunger strike from 10thDecember, International Human Rights Day to 21st December 2012 

These tribal prisoners have consistently protested since the last 2 years against the failure of the judicial process and high handedness of the local district police. It is not a coincidence that Shri. R.R. Patil, the State home Minister is also the guardian minister of Gadchiroli district and all such violations of Human Rights are happening under his very own patronage. In April 2011, Shri. Patil while replying to a question raised by Ms. Shobatai Fadnavis had promised the State Legislative Council that he would review all cases of tribals arrested under charges of naxalism in Gadchiroli. However, there has been no intent to fulfill this promise in the past 21 months.

Along with this demand the protesting tribals have also raised the following grievances:

  1. The practice of the Gadchiroli police to re-arrest tribals immediately after their release from prison still continues (See attachment No.2). Despite numerous petitions from prisoners and civil rights organizations this violation of Human rights goes on unabated.
  2. Inability of the State administration to inaugurate the Gadchiroli prison (See attachment No.3). Although this prison has been completed since the past 2 years, the government has still not started it. Hence tribals of Gadchiroli are incarcerated in the prisons of Nagpur, Amravati and Chandrapur– prisons which are more than 150 to 300 kms from the trial courts. Resultantly, these tribals are not being produced before the trial courts for the past 23 months. This distance has also caused their family links to be severed.
  3. The practice of handcuffing undertrials on their way to court also still continues, despite the Supreme Court directives against its use (See attachment No.4). Recently, due to this illegal practice four undertrials were severely injured in a road accident. However the responsible police officials are yet to be punished.
  4. A two year old boy born in prison to a tribal couple has been compelled to be separated from his father. While father was transferred to Nagpur prison, his mother remains at Amravati prison despite numerous requests pending in the trial court and jail authorities (See attachment No.5).
  5. The atrocities of the district police and especially the notorious anti-naxal C-60 commandoes go on unimpeded. A undertrial, Ramesh Naitam seeks justice in the custodial death case of his mother (See attachment No.6).

The protesting tribals have requested the State legislative bodies in session at Nagpur to look into the above issues on the occasion of International Human rights day.

On behalf of the protesting tribals,

Adv. Surendra Gadling- gsurendra12@yahoo.co.in

( attchments are in marathi if you need pl email )

Nagpur

 

# India-“All marginalized groups are insecure”


NEW DELHI, December 8, 2012

Mohammad Ali, The Hindu

Ahead of the International Human Rights Day on December 10, the Working Group on Human Rights (WGHR) in India and the UN have expressed concerns over the “deteriorating” human rights conditions in the country, adding that all the marginalised groups were feeling insecure. While releasing the “Human Rights in India – Status Report 2012”, WGHR convenor Miloon Kothari appealed to the Indian Government to fulfil its national and international human rights commitments in these areas.

Expressing concern at the increased militarisation, lawyer and activist Vrinda Grover highlighted that the last four years have seen a marked increase in the deployment of security forces and draconian laws by the Indian Government to deal with socio-economic uprisings and political dissent and also to push the State’s development agenda.

The Indian Government is not ready to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), one of the draconian laws widely used in conflict areas, in spite of the fact that various UN human rights bodies and government committees have repeatedly called for it,” she added.

Underlining the ‘contradiction’ in the Government’s position, Ms. Grover argued that the military approach and the on-going conflicts contradict India’s stated position in the UN that “India does not face either international or non-international armed conflict”.

‘Torture practised’

“Torture is routinely practised as a law enforcement strategy throughout India. It is even more widespread and violent in conflict areas. Enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence as well as the use of lethal force in dispersing largely peaceful protests remain entrenched in these areas,” she added.

Highlighting the human cost of the development, Shivani Chaudhry, associate director, Housing and Land Rights Network, argued that the prevalent economic policies and overwhelming preoccupation of the Government on increasing GDP growth rate has contributed to increased violations of economic, social and cultural rights in India, with poverty, hunger, malnutrition and inadequate housing and living conditions affecting a large percentage of the population.

“India remains home to world’s largest number of hungry masses and malnourished children, along with the highest child mortality rate in the world. Due to the so-called development projects, we have around one million people getting displaced annually without concrete measures of rehabilitation and resettlement. There are six doctors and nine hospital beds per 10,000 people, while only 15 per cent of the population has health insurance,” said Ms. Chaudhary.

When the GDP falls from eight per cent to five per cent, the Government does emergency meetings and brings about a policy overhaul but ironically there are some disturbing statistics on social indicators for which the Government does not seem to be bothered, she argued.

On the issue of the marginalised groups’ access to justice, Ms. Madhu Mehra, director, Partners for Law in Development, argued that the majority of India’s population remains marginalised with many groups facing entrenched discrimination, violence and neglect, including women, children; Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Schedules Tribes (STs); lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex (LGBTI); persons with disabilities; and religious minorities.

“Discrimination against women continues to be intrinsic to family law, justified by the State as a necessary facet of multi-culturalism. Despite homosexuality being decriminalised in 2009, no proactive steps have been taken to legally protect the LGBTI persons from discrimination in housing, employment, education and other fields of life.” Expressing grave concern at the situation, she said that the State needed to go beyond piecemeal ‘welfarism’ to a comprehensive framework of rights, to fulfil its promise of human rights to all.

Says a UN body ahead of the International Human Rights Day

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