Press Release – People’s Convention Against Onslaught on #FOE and Association


Need to change the judicial and political system, resolves people’s convention

 

New Delhi, May 18, 2013: A people’s convention on the State’s Onslaught On Right to Freedom of Expression and Association organized here in the backdrop of suspension of INSAF’s FCRA and freezing of its bank account resolved to fight against the demonizing and draconian laws of Indian state in favor of dispossessed people and their basic rights.

 

Speaking on the occasion in the Constitution Club of India, NCP spokesperson Devi Prasad Tripathi informed the packed house that he has recently written a letter to the Home Minister of India Sushil Kumar Shinde to revoke its FCRA orders against INSAF unconditionally as this step may cause embarrassment to the government. The letter states, “…I apprehend that you actions against INSAF may appear to be motivated and may cause embarrassment to the government…INSAF and its allies are engaged in defending democratic rights of deprived communities and in strengthening secular spirit of the nation”. Tripathi said that the judicial and political system of this country needs to be transformed completely.

 

The convention started with paying homage to Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, the founder President of INSAF who passed away two days back. Delhi University Professor Achin Vinaik elaborated on the life and works of Dr. Engineer. After this, senior journalist Anand Swaroop Verma gave a detailed backgrounder of the corporate-security establishment nexus in India that started with a report of FICCI and ASSOCHAM and including the “wise” suggestion of the Prime Minister to “co-opt” the media in a meeting with home ministers of states way back in 2006. Manisha Sethi of Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association updated the same issue with new facts regarding defence deals and media-corporate nexus where Reliance group has a shareholding in  25 news channels.

 

Forward Block General Secretary Devbrat Biswas emphasized on continuing the struggles and people’s movements with people’s resources and leadership whether FCRA is continued or not. Educationist Anil Chowdhary categorically said that if the government vows not to take any foreign funding for development, then INSAF will be the first to surrender its FCRA and continue struggles without foreign funding. He said that since the government does not have the courage to do so, hence it may categorically state on its website whether which struggles are not applicable for foreign funding. Chowdhary satirically said that the government has a last and very easy resort to add a footnote in the constitution that all the rights apply to just 15 percent population of this country.

 

Other speakers including Kalyani Menon Sen, Ramesh Dixit, Anil Singh, Ashok Chowdhary, Ranjana Padhi and John Dayal expressed solidarity with the struggling pro-people forces and  condemned the state’s onslaught on people’s basic rights. The convention concluded by passing a five point resolution condemning the recent arrests of anti-POSCO leader Abhay Sahoo, social activists Madhuri and PUCL activist Jaya Vindhyala.

 

Press Release- Arrests on false charges by highly communalized Karnataka police


PRESS STATEMENT

Christian victims tell People’s Tribunal about arrests on false charges by highly communalized Karnataka police

Sangh Parivar hoodlums had free hand in assault on pastors, demolishing churches during 2012-2013: Uttara Canara worst impacted.

Benguluru, April 19, 2013

More than 70 Christian Pastors told a People Tribunal in Bengaluru city today how a highly communalized Karnataka police arrested them and kept them confined in police stations or jails on false charges in league with hoodlums of the Sangh Parivar. Women too were also not spared. The Women victims broke down as they narrated the violence against them.

The victims remained in confinement from overnight to several days, the distinguished jury consisting of eminent social activists heard in the Tribunal organized by the All India Christian Council to assess the victimization and persecution of Christian pastors and attacks on churches. It was quite clear from the narrations that Uttara Canara was the foci of the anti-Christian violence, but incidents of persecution were reported from every one of the 30 districts of the state during 2012 and in the first three months of 2013.

The “Peoples Hearing on Persecution of Christians in Karnataka” was held at the Institute of Agriculture Technologists in the city. The Jury consisted of Mrs Brinda Adige, the celebrated Founder member of Global Concerns India, Advocate Omkar KB, and Mr K L Ashok, general secretary of Komu Souhardha Vedhike [Communal Harmony Front].and Mr. Mohamed Rafi Ahmed,General Secretay Forum for Democracy and Communal Amity.

The Public Hearing comes in the wake of the statement by former Karnataka High court judge Michael Saldanha that Karnataka had witnessed 1,000 cases of persecution of Christians in three years between 2010 and 2012 – an average of more than 300 a year. This was the situation in 2012 also. Most of the victims remain in great fear. Of the 200 persons requested to come to the hearing, only 80 agreed to come. But all of them were afraid of what would happen to them if they spoke in public at the hearing. Many asked the Christian Council how they would be protected if anything happened to them after they gave their evidence.

From the statements of the victim, it is clear that the police have been heavily penetrated and politicized under the BJP rule of Mr. B S Yediyurappa and of his successors, while local thugs and Sangh activists across the state have been encouraged to take the law into their own hands. Many villages show a sharp increase in intolerance, encouraged by the inaction of police forces. Incidents of intolerance included Sangh Parivar members goading villages to stop the construction of churches, demolition of existing structures and stopping people from preaching or peacefully distributing literature. Witnesses identified their attackers as belonging to RSS, the Bajrangdal and some local frontal organizations.

Justice was procured only after the victims approached the local and higher courts. The High Court had to intervene in one case to allow the construction of a religious structure.

The victims were, in essence, of three kinds – those who were imprisoned, those who had their churches destroyed, and those who were physically assaulted and beaten up by mobs.

Speaking on behalf of the jury Advocate Omkar said it was clear the machanary of the state was used by the redical political elements to harass the Christian community and specially the pastors and religious leaders. There was a well-organized anti-Christian violence in 2008. It seems there is still a strong nexus between the police, the local village chiefs, tehsildhars against the community at the behest of the Sangh Parival. “The state is also fully culpable he added”. Advocate Omkar said the protectors had become the attackers.

Mr. K. Ashok called upon the community to make common cause with the civil society and progressive forces in asserting fundamental rights including freedom of faith. He also called for legal literacy in the community.

Mohamed Rafi Ahmed said it was heart rendering to hear the tales of horror and the many incidents of police complicity the Bajrangdal and others. The Government must take notice of it. India has a secular constitution and it is the right of every citizen to practice, profess and propagate his faith. He asked the victims to stand for firm and pursue justice with the perseverance

The All India Christian Council expressed its deep regret at the inaction of the State Government and thee State Minority Commission in coming to the rescue of the persecuted Christians. The Council demanded that the Governor and Chief Minister send out categorical instructions to every police station to take notice of such incidents of violence and take stern action the aggressors.

The Council has also demanded a single-window redress system by the State Director General of Police to listen to complaints because local police station are not recording the incidents, said Dr. John Dayal, Member, National Integration Council and Secretary General of All India Christian Council.

The testimonies have been recorded and are available for the press and he government. Copies will be sent to the concerned departments and a copy will be sent to the Chief Justice of Karnataka.

For further details, please contact,
Rev. Kumar Swamy, National Secretary for Public Affairs aicc, 09980917316
Rev Anand Kumar, State coordinator aicc 9739810548
and Dr John Dayal, Secretary General, aicc, 09811021072

 

Sunday Suggestion for Mumbai- May 20th, a rare opportunity not be MISSED


Dear Mumbaikars

How about a Play and Protest on a  Sunday evening May 20th at Dadar, Mumbai

a RARE COMBINATION NOT BE MISSED

 Premiere-  "Shivaji Underground in Bhimnagar"

 

 

Premiere – “Shivaji Underground in Bhimnagar”

Most historical figures that we worship today were pro-human. However they have been usurped by different communities and their ideologies twisted to create rift in society and amidst its people.

This play is a new look at these figures and history. It is an attempt to relegate these well known symbols back to entire humanity and not just a particular group. It challenges the divisions in society using the idols that the society worships. Using historical figures it tries to make a comment on contemporary society.

Direction: Nandu Madhav
Concept, Music & Lyrics: Lokshahir Sambhaji Bhagat,
Venue: Yeshwant Natyamandir, Matunga, Mumbai
Time: 4 PM
Date: May 20th, 2012 Sunday.

for mre information contact-9323801194

From the theatre we proceed to chitaybhoomi dadar to voice are support to the koondakulam anti nuke protesters alongwith anand patwardhan, Dr Binayak Sen  and Ilina Sen and many other activists,  and artistes

An Appeal to the Conscience of Mumbai: No to Koodankulam, No to Nuclear

Dear Friends,

We are inviting you at Chaityabhoomi, Dadar. Mumbai on May 20th at 6.30 pm for a protest meeting to present “An Urgent Appeal to the Conscience of the Nation on Koodankulam”

This appeal is a reflection of our collective frustration and instead of being sent to the Govt, it will be presented before people of India.

It is already endorsed by prominent figures like Prashant Bhushan, Vandana Shiva, Lalita Ramdas, Partha Chatterjee, Parful Bidwai, Achin Vanaik, Gnani Sankaran, John Dayal, Meher Engineer, Sandeep Pandey etc.

The appeal will be released in Mumbai by:

Anand PatwardhanSocial activist and Film maker

Dr. Binayak Sen and Ilina Sen – Human Rights activists

in soldarity
Coalition for Nuclear Disarmamment and Peace ( CNDP )
Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti,
Konkan Bachao Andolan
Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, ( Mumbai Unit )

for more  information contact-9757475875

“If you don’t clean our shit, then who will ?- A blot upon the nation


March 31, 2012-A national public hearing on rehabilitation of manual scavengers throws up several issues that need immediate redress to restore dignity to the community- Divya Trivedi, The Hindu 

From Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh, 14-year-old Ravi used to be a beneficiary under the Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) 2007 as his mother cleaned toilets in the village. One day, when she gathered enough courage to quit the job, Ravi’s scholarship funds were stopped and she faced hostility from the villagers who said, “If you don’t clean our shit, then who will?” Belonging to a family of six siblings, daily life has become difficult for Ravi. His mother is not getting any other job due to the stigma attached to her past one.

This scholarship, which requires families to be engaged in manual scavenging for at least 100 days in a year, provides a perverse incentive to Dalit households to continue in the occupation. Once the families stop practicing it, the scholarships are also stopped.

This was one of the findings of a household survey conducted by Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, a National Campaign for Dignity and Eradication of Manual Scavenging. Scanning five districts each in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the survey established that 98 per cent of people engaged in the profession are women. But it was found that benefits of SRMS were given to 51 per cent of men in these three states. Of these, around 76 per cent were found never to have been engaged in manual scavenging. Of the 24 per cent of actual beneficiaries whose names were on the list, no one received the full amount they were told they were eligible for.

In the absence of a proper mechanism in the implementation of the scheme, the survey found the presence of scheming middle men working in connivance with fraudulent bank officials.

Middle men or commission agents would visit Dalit bastis telling households to sign on so and so papers as the government had chosen them as beneficiaries of a new scheme. The beneficiaries would never get to know the loan amount, sanctioning officer or other details of the transactions. After a while, the middle men would revisit them and hand over Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,500. Many of these people did not even know why they were being given the money or how much money had been borrowed in their names. In Madhya Pradesh, around 68 per cent of the beneficiaries were taken for a ride by the brokers, in Uttar Pradesh, 63 per cent and in Rajasthan 62 per cent.

“There is a massive scandal of graft between bank officials, politicians and middle men to fleece ignorant people who are given 50 per cent of the loan only but made liable for the full amount even as rest of the money is taken away by crooks. Collectors in villages must crack down on such miscreants and wherever such cases are found, government must waive off the loans or it would be condoning cheating and criminal actions,” said Dr John Dayal, Member of the National Integration Council set up by the government.

This survey was released at a National Public Hearing on ‘Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers and their Children in India’. Hundreds of people engaged in manual scavenging gathered in the Capital to narrate their individual testimonies.

Ramdulari Bai of Dewas in Madhya Pradesh had readied all documents that make her eligible for SRMS. When she submitted her loan application to the local Antyavasayi department for setting up a readymade garment shop, she was not only shooed away by the officials making a mockery of her age, but also insulted with crude jokes.

Ramdulari has not had the guts to go back to the department a second time.

Ms Shantha Sinha, Chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights asked for the submission of petitions to the Commission, which would then recommend action for each case. “If we do not work, you may catch our throat,” she said.

It came to light that Muslim communities such as Hela and Halalkhor have been completely ignored by Government programmes. These caste groups inhabit several states and have been as much a slave of this exploitative tradition as the Dalit Hindu communities.

“The law does not discriminate between scavengers of different religions or castes, you must report such instances and they will be taken up with the ministries,” vouched Mr PS Krishnan, a former Secretary to the government.

Coen Kompier of the International Labour Organisation, while stressing that it was primarily a human rights issue and not a sanitation one, hoped that over time it would also be treated as a job to be done by sanitation workers with proper equipment and dignity. Manual scavenging remains a blot of the face of the nation, concluded Dr Dayal.

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