#India – The Dangerous word : Maoists or Terrorists ?


: Dangerous word

Thursday, Jun 13, 2013 Agency: DNA,

Semantics matters in politics; language, used judiciously, is both a prime tool and a potent weapon in the shaping of public discourse. That is why there has been an ongoing debate both within the Congress and between parties in the wake of the Naxal attack on Congress leaders and party workers in Chattisgarh on whether to call Maoists terrorists or not.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh was the first to ascribe the term to them; tribal affairs minister KC Deo disagreed, as, when the issue came up this week, did the left parties. Now, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde has followed the Ramesh line of thought and publicly dubbed the Maoists terrorists. It is a mistake —  a dangerous reduction of a multi-faceted problem in a manner that can trammel public opinion and the scope of engagement with the Naxals.

Was the Maoist attack a heinous act? Undoubtedly. And it was far from the first time they have attacked innocent civilians; anyone who harbours romantic notions about them needs to take a closer look at their interaction with the disenfranchised sections of the population they purport to fight for. But the fact remains that the Naxal movement was born in and has taken root in a particular economic and socio-political context. It is the context that is crucial — to the extent that internationally there are over a hundred different definitions of terror with none being legally binding.

There are very real grievances against the Indian state in vast swathes of the country. The term terrorist carries with it — particularly today — an emotional heft that means its use can push the context into the background entirely and de-legitimise those grievances.

Equally, it legitimises any and all state action to bring down those it has termed terrorists. That is a slippery slope when the Indian state’s human rights record is already less than exemplary, as attested to repeatedly by Human Rights Watch.

By all means, the Indian state has the right — and the responsibility — to protect itself and its citizens from security threats. But to do it effectively, it must show itself capable of nuance. There is a vast gulf between focusing on security measures to combat acts of terror by the Maoists — paired with dialogue and development efforts to tackle root causes — and terming them terrorists and thus not worthy of engaging with at all, as Ramesh has done.

And it must also focus on its own methods, given the tendency of its police forces — and in parts of the country, its military and paramilitary forces as well — to indulge in extra-judicial behaviour  up to, and including torture and killings. Such acts do far more to exacerbate the problem than to suppress it.

Shinde and Ramesh would do well to reflect on the fact that by several definitions — including one advocated by the UN secretary general’s office — the Indian state can be said to be indulging in state terrorism against segments of its own population.

 

#India- Home Minister’s visit to Raipur hospital costs woman her life #Vaw #WTFnews


By Sahar Khan in Raipur, mailtoday.in

A woman, who was rushed to Ram Krishna Care hospital in Raipur following a massive heart attack, was detained at the hospital gate by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s securitymen.

Her relatives said they struggled to get medical attention for her failing which she died at the gate.

Shinde was in the hospital to visit the people injured in the Maoist attack in the Bastar district on May 25.

The family further alleged that they desperately made phone calls to whosoever possible to explain the medical emergency but they were turned a deaf ear.

Raipur superintendent of police O. P. Pal, however, said no complaint has been lodged yet in this regard. “ There is a clear instruction that no ambulance should be stopped during any VIP visit.

We will look into the issue if any complaint reaches us,” he said.

A local media report quoting the family of the deceased woman said there was no blockage of roads after the minister’s cavalcade reached the hospital but the security personnel denied the entry through the gate.

The hospital management, on the other hand said, since several VIPs are visiting the hospital after the Maoist attack special arrangements have been made to ensure that patients do not suffer.

Director of the hospital, Dr Sandeep Dave said the woman was already dead when brought to the hospital and no complaint was lodged.

In November 2009, kidney patient, S. P. Verma, died during PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to PGIMER hospital in Chandigarh to attend a convocation ceremony.

Verma’s family claimed he was denied timely treatment after securitymen allegedly kept diverting his vehicle.

In July 2011, injured policeman Dharmendra Kumar died at the emergency gate of Hallett Hospital in Kanpur, after being denied entry by the Special Protection Group deployed for Rahul Gandhi, who was to arrive to meet victims of the Kalka Mail derailment.

 

Tihar’s sinister labyrinths– Torture, custodial deaths, negligence and rampant corruption


 — India’s high security prison has all this and much more reports G Vishnu

G Vishnu

G Vishnu , Tehelka

April 5, 20l  

Tihar jail. File Photo

After 35-year-old Ram Singh, one of the accused in the infamous 16 December Delhi gang-rape case, was found hanging in his cell in Jail No. 3 of Tihar, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde called it a major lapse in security. The minister would do well to read this story.

TEHELKA has found out through interviews and testimonies of former and under-trial inmates of Tihar that torture, sodomy, custodial deaths, negligence, and rampant corruption — India’s highest security prison has all this and much more. Even though questions have been raised on the circumstances around Ram Singh’s death, nobody is surprised that it was possible in Jail No.3, which houses close to 4,000 of Tihar’s 13,000 odd inmates.

TEHELKA went through the testimonies of inmates who detailed their ordeal inside Tihar for a public interest litigation (PIL). Sample this from Samrat*: “On 14 January 2012, I was cut across my face with a sharp weapon. It is the duty of the jail officials to take care of under-trials, protecting them from inmates who have such violent behaviors. But unfortunately the jail officials often turn a blind eye to such inmates in exchange for the greed of money,” he says.

“We both are educated and know our rights. He is being subjected to torture because we decided to complain to authorities about the things that happen within those walls,” said Samrat’s wife, speaking on the condition of anonymity. She further reveals that she was asked to pay a bribe of Rs 5,000 to get a relative’s name in the Mulakaat List (list of outsiders who are allowed to interact with the inmates). Another former inmate says he had to pay a bribe of Rs 50,000 to a high-ranking official to get a better place to sleep. “In a place where a pouch of tobacco that otherwise costs Rs 20 can be bought at about Rs 500, coercion becomes a skill to survive for convicts,” he says.

For 39-year-old Jacob Philip, an NRI from Dubai who had spent a decade in the USA, torture stared at him the day he entered Tihar. “I entered the designated ward on 20 September 2008. I had no place to sleep as the place was overcrowded. That night I saw 10-15 inmates beating a fellow inmate in front of everybody. I found later that he was being beaten because he had the audacity to say ‘bye’ to others after getting a bail that day,” says Jacob.

Absurdly, Jacob ended up in Tihar under the Extradition Act. Under the act, the enquiry on the accused cannot continue for more than 60 days. Yet, Jacob ended up spending three and a half years inside Tihar, until he was acquitted and finally released on February 25, 2012. “I used to help people write their bail applications and appeals. At the same time, I also knew the powerful people inside. During my time inside, I saw things I cannot even begin to describe. I can say without exaggeration that I saw at least a thousand cases of torture perpetrated on weaker inmates by stronger ones with tacit and sometimes open support from Jail authorities,” he adds. “In Tihar, nobody is accountable. Nobody is answerable. How can anybody expose anything?”

Jacob describes Tihar as a parallel world with its own set of rules. He was lodged in Jail No. 4 of Tihar. The ward behind his is 4B, a punishment cell (kisuri ward in Tihar parlance). Jacob spent countless nights hearing screams of inmates being tortured. Convicts running the ‘chakkar‘ (Control room, but also refers to torture), armed with sticks and blades, would beat up fellow inmates. Motives would range from extortion and punishment for non-conformism. Sometimes, even jail guards would join.

Mohammed Amir, who spent 10 years in Tihar as a terror accused before his acquittal in 2012, confirms all the above and more. Amir claims he was subjected to torture by fellow inmates, who attacked him at the behest of some jail officials. “You cannot expect Tihar to be a correctional facility. Everybody there has a very criminal mindset,” he said.

Three inmates also spoke about the economics of sodomy inside Tihar. “There’s forceful sex for extortion. And there’s sex that inmates often indulge in for money. Some pay in fear of forceful sex. Some indulge in sex in order to earn a little,” said a former inmate on the condition of anonymity.

Journalist Iftikhar Gilani, who documented the sinister world inside Tihar in his book My Days in Prison, agrees that Tihar is hardly a place to reform. “Here criminals are brutalised. Under-trials spend years inside and convicts run the place.India does not understand the point of having its prisons. The people who man these prisons know nothing about criminal psychology or social science — key elements for helping prisoners to reform,” he says.

Iftikhar was not merely a witness to torture. He had been wrongfully arrested, accused of being an ISI agent in June 2002 and spent close to nine months in Tihar. “I was beaten up inside the jail superintendent’s office the day I arrived there. In the subsequent days, I was put in solitary confinement. I was also made to clean the toilet with my shirt. On a particular night, when I was really sick, one of the wardens said “marne do usse” (let him die), when my fellow inmates called for help,” recalls Iftikhar.

The shocking negligence that Iftikhar recalls from his days in prison are still prevalent as is obvious from the case of Santosh Kumar, who died on 25 February last year. An inquiry report by district and sessions judge IS Mehtain has observed that Santosh died due to negligence on part of the jail authorities. Santosh had consumed acid some years ago, which damaged his oesophagus to an extent that he could never consume solid food again. He was completely dependent on a liquid diet, which was being administered using a feeding tube inserted into his stomach. Arrested in December 2010 and lodged in Tihar, Santosh was denied four liters of milk that was due to him as per court orders. By December 2011, his health had completely deteriorated. Despite the Patiala Sessions Court order, the jail authorities failed to provide him medical treatment, ignoring Santosh’s pleas. On 16 January, Santosh was taken to AIIMS where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. His treatment however started only on 7 February. Within three weeks, Santosh was dead. He had spent his last days writing letters to authorities to provide him the required medical treatment.

While the National Human Rights Commission has received a multitude of complaints regarding human rights violations and custodial deaths inside Tihar over the last five years, some inmates are battling it out in the courts. A particularly determined inmate is 60-year-old Christopher Rozario, who in a petition to the Delhi High Court, has alleged that he has been repeatedly tortured by jail authorities. Christopher claims to be a PhD holder from Cambridge and a former employee of Kerala University.

However, Sunil Kumar Gupta, Chief PRO of Tihar rubbished Christopher’s allegations. Gupta also rejected all the other assertions. “There might have been isolated instances of torture. I can guarantee that things have changed over the last year. There’s no blade-baazi these days. We have reigned in on the ‘chakkars‘ and convicts do not enjoy the same powers as earlier. We have complete transparency in place,” he said responding to TEHELKA’s queries.

Former top cop Kiran Bedi, credited with bringing several reforms feels that bringing more technology would go a long way in making Tihar a less brutal place. “Add more transparency. Bring more cameras. You won’t find corruption. You will give convicts space to reform,” she says.

G Vishnu     

 

Activist seeks info on terror camps, MHA provides Shinde’s clarification #RTI


Neha Shukla, TNN | Apr 5, 2013,

RSS Flag

LUCKNOW: In what could be described as a double whammy for the
Congress, after Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde made a U-turn
on his comments on Hindu terrorism, the ministry of home affairs did
not provide information about terror camps being operated by the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party, when asked
under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The ministry, instead, provided the copy of Shinde’s clarification and
said the “home minister has issued a clarification on February 20,
clarifying the position.”

The political furore over Shinde’s comment on BJP and RSS conducting
terror camps, though died down after the minister tendered an apology,
caused embarrassment to the government. In an RTI response, the
ministry denied information. The questions could be irrelevant since
the minister has already apologised for his comment.

Shinde had said, during Congress’ Jaipur conclave, in January, “We
have got an investigation report that be it the RSS or BJP, their
training camps are promoting Hindu terrorism.” He later clarified that
he meant saffron and not Hindu terrorism. The comment was strong
enough to leave BJP livid, which demanded that the minister either
apologise or be sacked. Shinde later backpedalled and retracted his
statement by issuing a clarification and also regretting his
statement.

In January, activist Urvashi Sharma had sought certified copies of all
records available with the government based on which the home minister
had accused RSS and BJP of conducting terror training camps and
promoting “Hindu terrorism”, from the PMO. The response which came
more than two months after the application was made, said the
government has no records available on any of the information sought.

The query had also sought certified copies of information on location
within India and/or abroad of RSS and BJP terror training camps;
certified copies of records available with the government on action
taken against BJP and RSS to ban them for running terror training
camps; certified copies of prevailing national/international
rules/regulations/treaties/Government Orders as per which “terrorism”
has been divided on the basis of religion/caste/creed/sect etc.;
certified copies of list and all records available with the government
on cases of infiltration and/or insurgency and case wise actions taken
by government.

 

#DelhigangRape – Death reveals dark side of Indian detentions


 
Alleged prison suicide of key accused in gang-rape case reignites debate on the alarming number of deaths in custody.
 Last Modified: 13 Mar 2013 08:45, aljazeera
 

Indian police stand guard at one of the gates of the Tihar Jail in New Delhi on Monday after Ram Singh‘s death [Reuters]
New Delhi, India – The death of the prime suspect in the Delhi-gang rape case in his jail cell has turned the spotlight on a disturbingly high number of deaths in Indian prisons.

Officials at the high-security Tihar Jail say Ram Singh, 33, committed suicide early on Monday while four other inmates in his cell slept. Singh allegedly used a blanket hanging from a metal rod on the ceiling 2.5 metres high to hang himself, officials say.

Singh was one of six people on trial for the shocking gang-rape on a moving bus of a 23-year-old female student last December in New Delhi. The woman later succumbed to her injuries after she was thrown from the vehicle after her two-hour ordeal.

The case stunned the nation, drawing mass protests against violence against women and calls for new laws to curb such abuses.

“It is an appalling lapse on the part of the prison authorities that a prisoner on the watch list, with other inmates in his cell, hung himself to death and the guards too did not notice anything.

– Suhas Chakma, Asian Centre for Human Rights

 

After reports of Singh’s death flooded out, questions were soon raised about how the bus driver could have committed suicide in a room full of inmates in a maximum security facility with a guard on duty.

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde admitted a “major lapse in security” over the incident, adding an inquiry would be established to investigate.

Defence lawyer VK Anand alleged Singh was killed. “I suspect foul play in my client’s death, and I do not think he could commit suicide. There were no such circumstances that could force him to commit suicide.”

Singh’s parents also said their son would not have taken his life and demanded a judicial probe. His mother, Kalyani Devi, said her son was repentant and ready to face justice.

“He confessed about his mistake, then why would he commit suicide? He was prepared for any punishment the government would have given him,” said Devi.

Though a subsequent autopsy points to Ram Singh’s death by hanging, speculation about the exact causes behind his death has not subsided.

“It is an appalling lapse on the part of the prison authorities that a prisoner on the watch list, with other inmates in his cell, hung himself to death and the guards, too, did not notice anything,” Suhas Chakma, director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera.

Four custodial deaths a day

Singh’s death has highlighted the large number of inmates who die in India’s justice system.

Statistics from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) show from 2001 to 2010, 14,231 died in police and prison custody in India – about four deaths per day.

According to the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau, 1,332 prisoners died in India’s jails in 2011 – 93.4 percent of which were “natural deaths”. Sixty-eight inmates committed suicide and eight were killed by other prisoners. “Deaths due to firing”, “Assault by outside elements”, and “others” accounted for the 12 other “unnatural deaths”.

But the Asian Centre for Human Rights said in a 2011 report that “a large majority” of custodial deaths “are a direct consequence of torture in custody”.

Police take the gang-rape accused to court in January [AFP]

The actual number of prison deaths is likely far underreported, the group said.

“These deaths reflect only a fraction of the problem with torture and custodial deaths in India, as not all the cases of deaths in police and prison custody are reported to the NHRC,” the group said in report titled “Torture in India 2011”.

A Ministry of Home Affairs official declined to comment on this story.

Akhilesh Kumar, National Crime Records Bureau chief statistical officer, said, “Our main duty is to compile the numbers and we have no comment over causes … and what they reflect.”

Praful Bidwai, a New Delhi-based human right activist, told Al Jazeera that the impunity of police and prison officials when it comes to violence against inmates must be challenged.

“Custodial maltreatment, torture or killing cannot be curbed unless the deeply criminalised police and law enforcement authorities are made accountable,” Bidwai said.

Policing law enforcers

Tihar Jail where Singh died is the largest prison in South Asia – and severely overpopulated. Tihar houses some 12,000 inmates, overshooting its capacity by about 6,000 prisoners. In 2012 Tihar recorded 18 inmate deaths, two of those said to be suicides.

Another problem with India’s justice system is the astonishing lack of urgency when it comes to due process. Once ensnared in India’s court system, the wait for justice can be an arduous one.

A backload of more than 20 million cases is now before the country’s courts. Bail is often refused for serious offences, and there are no mechanisms to compensate the wrongly accused who spent years jail awaiting trial.

Worse still, everyone agrees that conditions inside the jails border on the horrific. Ram Singh’s father, for one, has alleged that his son was sodomised by other inmates. Others, including a Delhi professor who spent months in Tihar as a suspect for alleged links to a deadly attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, have narrated their nightmarish experiences.

Since acquitted, Iftikhar Geelani still carries the scars of his hellish incarceration, during which he says he was routinely abused and forced to wear an excreta-splattered shirt with which he was ordered to mop a filty toilet.

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for New York-based Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera local human rights workers have repeatedly expressed concern about torture and custodial killings. She said most incidents occur in police custody, rather than in prison facilities.

“In jails, we have heard more about ill treatment by fellow inmates or guards, particularly against terror or rape suspects,” Ganguly said.

Tackling the criminality of police and prison authorities is one way to curb custodial torture and death in India’s justice system, activists say.

Bidwai said other than meting out stiff punishment for law enforcement officers who abuse prisoners, other methods need to be employed such as sensitivity training towards inmates.

“Custodial maltreatment, torture or killing cannot be curbed unless the deeply criminalised police and law enforcement authorities are made accountable.

– Praful Bidwai, human rights activist

 

Having neutral observers during interrogations, and disallowing confessions to the police as evidence would also weed out “rogue elements among police and prison authorities”, said Bidwai.

“Such steps will send the right message down the line,” he added.

However, with much of the public unsympathetic to the plight of those jailed, it will be hard to convince politicians to enact the necessary legislative changes, Chakma of the Asian Centre for Human Rights said.

“The lack of political will to stamp out custodial torture runs across all political parties,” said Chakma.

 

#India – Delhigangrape accused Ram Singh’s death a security lapse: Home Minister


TNN | Mar 11, 2013,

Delhi gang-rape accused Ram Singh's death a security lapse: Shinde

Delhi gang-rape accused Ram Singh’s death a security lapse: Shinde
NEW DELHI: Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday said that rape accused Ram Singh’s death under mysterious circumstances was a major security lapse but he refused to reveal further details as a magisterial probe is underway.”It is a major lapse in security, certainly it is not a small incident. Action will be taken,” home minister Sushilkumar Shinde told a press conference in the capital.

“I cannot come to the conclusion at this moment whether it is a suicide or not before inquiry, he said.

Earlier in the day, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit also met home minister Sushilkumar Shinde to discuss the incident.

Ram Singh, main accused in the horrific gang-rape case of 23-year-old physiotherapy student on December 16, 2012 which caused massive nationwide outrage, allegedly committed suicide in a high-security cell in Tihar Jail early on Monday morning, raising questions over monitoring of undertrials.

Significantly 33-year-old Ram Singh, who had a slight deformity in his right hand after an accident, hanged himself from the grill of his cell in jail No.3 using his clothes, jail officials said.

“Singh was not alone in the cell when he committed suicide. Other inmates were present and a guard was also posted. But nobody came to know about it. Around 5am, he was found hanging,” a senior jail official said.

Prone to violent behaviour and mood swings, he had suicidal tendencies and was under “suicide watch,” he said.

Singh, who was to be produced before court for its daily hearing, was rushed to the jail hospital where he was declared brought dead. His body was taken to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital for post mortem.

The news of his death immediately triggered demands from his lawyers and family for a CBI probe. They alleged that he was murdered inside the jail and refused to believe that he could have committed suicide.

“There were no circumstances which could have led to Ram Singh committing suicide. There was no mental stress. He was very happy,” his lawyer VK Anand said. Lawyers for the defendants had previously accused police of beating confessions out of the men.

 

#India-Court orders probe into ‘cheating’ charges against Chidambaram, Shinde


 

 

Palaniappan Chidambaram (1)

Palaniappan Chidambaram (1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

P Pavan, Bangalore Mirror

Posted On Monday, January 28, 2013

 

A local court on Monday directed police to probe allegations that Union Ministers Sushilkumar Shinde and P Chidambaram had “cheated” the people of Telangana region by their statements on the statehood issue.

The move was based on a complaint by Naresh Kumar, president of the Telangana Junior Advocates’ Association, who filed a petition in LB Nagar court complaining that the ministers had cheated the people of Telangana by going back on their word to announce the decision on the demand for a separate Telangana state.
In his petition, Kumar sought the court’s directions to refer the matter to police under section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code. “As evidence to substantiate my charge, I have attached the official statements made by P Chidambaram and Sushilkumar Shinde. I also attached the statement of AICC general secretary-in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, Ghulam Nabi Azad of January 27, 2013 that one month does not mean 30 days,” said Pradeep.
A month ago, Shinde had said the Telangana issue would be resolved within a month. On December 9, 2009, then Home Minister Chidambaram had made an announcement to initiate the process to create Telangana state. However, he modified the statement on December 23, 2009.
Second Metropolitan Magistrate Court directed the L B Nagar Police to file a status report by February 14.
7 CONG MPS TO RESIGN FOR TELANGANA
Furious with the delay in formation of a separate Telangana state, seven Congress MPs from the region on Monday decided to resign both from parliament and the party.
After a meeting, the MPs said they would send their resignation letters to party president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday. They said they would ask the party leadership to take a decision to carve out a separate state in a week or forward their resignations to the speaker. The MPs who attended the meeting are K Rajagopal Reddy, Ponnam Prabhakar, Madhu Yaskhi, S Rajaiah, G Vivekanand, Gutha Sukender Reddy and Manda Jaganath.
 
‘Sonia is torturing the people of !Telangana’: trs chief
!For the first time, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K Chandrasekhara Rao directly criticised Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the Gandhi family on the Telangana issue. “Sonia is torturing the people of Telangana. Congress has been cheating them for three generations from Nehru to Indira to Sonia. They have become a curse for Telangana,” he said, at a Samara Deeksha held by Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC).
Rao had once referred to Sonia Gandhi as ‘goddess’ who would give them Telangana. TJAC has announced a social boycott of Congress leaders in the region.

 

 

RSS behind Samjhauta, Malegaon blasts: Shinde


RSS Flag

 
CNN-IBN | 20-Jan 14:03 PM

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Sunday alleged
that the training camps run by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were promoting Hindu terrorism.
He also alleged that the RSS and the BJP were behind the Samjhauta
Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts.
“Training camps of both the BJP and the RSS are promoting Hindu
terrorism. Whether it is Samjhauta blast or Mecca Masjid blast or
Malegaon blast, they plant bombs and blame it on the minorities,” he
said on the last day of Congress Chintan Shivir in Jaipur.
Reacting quickly to the allegations made by the Home Minister, BJP
spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said: “Home Minister’s statement is
irresponsible and unfortunate. We condemn it.” He was joined by BJP
Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi who said, “It is sad that the Home
Minister is trying to disturb the peace of the country. The Congress
should apologise, Sonia Gandhi should also apologise, otherwise they
will have to face the consequences.”
Defending himself, Shinde said that he didn’t say anything new and
only spoke about saffron terrorism which has already been talked about
many a times in newspapers. “It is saffron terrorism that I have
talked about. It is the same thing and nothing new. It has come in the
media several times,” the Home Minister said.
Sources said that Shinde was warned by the Congress leadership to make
the clarification. Earlier in the day, Congress president Sonia Gandhi
in her address at the Chintan Shiviar had asked party leaders to gear
up for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and not indulge in nepotism so
that they could win back people’s faith.
Congress leader and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv
Shukla also clarified on Shinde’s statement saying he referred to
right-wing terrorism and not Hindu terrorism. “Terrorism has no
religion. The extremists and religious fanatics create terror. The
Home minister did not refer to Hindu terrorism instead he meant
right-wing terrorism,” he said.
Right wing activists are alleged to have plotted the Samjhauta Express
bomb blast. Six people, including Swami Aseemanand and Sadhvi Pragya
Thakur, have been chargesheeted by the National Investigation Agency.
Two bombs went off on the Samjhauta Express near Panipat on February
18, 2007 while it was on way to Lahore, killing 68 people.
Sadhvi Pragya is also one of the prime accused in the Malegaon blasts
case of September 29, 2008, in which six persons were killed and 100
others were injured. On January 19, 2009, Maharashtra Police had filed
a chargesheet in the Malegaon blasts case. According to the
chargesheet, Lt Col Prasad Purohit was the main conspirator, who
provided the explosives and Sadhvi Pragya arranged for the persons,
who planted the explosives.
In December, 2012, a man belonging to a right wing group was arrested
by the NIA in connection with the May 18, 2007 Mecca Masjid blast that
left 13 people dead in Hyderabad. Tej Ram was apprehended by NIA
sleuths from Ravidas Marg area of Depalpur, 15 km from Indore.

 

 

 

 

Did you know about Laxmi Orang, a tribal girl raped ? #delhigangrape #Vaw


It is time society unites to seek justice for Laxmi Orang as it did for the  delhi rape victim

By  Neha Dixit
04 Jan 2013

Posted 04-Jan-2013
Vol 4 Issue 1, http://www.theweekendleader.com/

Short lived memory often leads to naked regret. This apprehension has been repeated time and again in the last fortnight in the light of the Delhi gangrape case.

While the passionate protests managed to percolate the public outrage deep into the crevices of the country, the nature of this wrath was also criticised as essentially middle class.

Laxmi Orang (the girl in this picture) is still fighting for justice

Amidst this criticism, The Weekend Leader dug out the picture of an adivasi woman, stripped naked, being kicked by a man on her private parts. This picture, when juxtaposed to the pictures of the indignant protests in Central Delhi, brings alive all the fears expressed in endorsing the Delhi protests as India’s own feminist movement in making.

There are similarities. In 2007, this adivasi girl, Laxmi Orang, travelled from Japowari Orang Basti in Sonitpuri to Guwahati as a member of the All Assam Adivasi Students’ Association. All of 17 then, Laxmi too believed that she has the right to protest and demand rights.

She and her supporters were demanding ST status for Adivasi people residing in Assam and enhancement of daily wages of tea garden labourers by Rs 70-200 by the small and major tea gardens in Assam. Like the Delhi protests, they too were tear-gassed and lathi-charged.

The commotion separated Laxmi from the rest of the crowd. A group of boys chased her, stripped her naked. While she was being brutally beaten up, the police chose to be its apathetic self and did not come to her rescue.

The next day, the media flashed her naked pictures leading to public outrage. Later, an enquiry commission was set up led by retired Justice Manisana Singh but not much came out of the report except that she was not given a proper hearing.

The fact that she still awaits justice, five years later, is a reminder that public wrath should not be spasmodic. Her case is also an epitome of the state’s nonchalance. It puts into perspective, Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s recent remark, “Tomorrow, if 100 adivasis are killed in Chhattisgarh or Gadchiroli, can the government go there?” It is people like Shinde who spread the malaise of trivialising issues of marginalised communities like the adivasis.

Laxmi, in the current context is not just representing the state atrocities on the working class but also on marginalised communities. The state’s and society’s collective injustice is manifested in their assault against her as a woman.

Earlier this year a girl was publicly assaulted and stripped outside a pub in Guwahati by a mob. Laxmi tried to meet the National Commission of Women members when they visited Guwahati to conduct an enquiry on the pub incident. A case that fizzled in the public memory hardly brings a pat on the back and in this light, the National Commission of Women Chairperson Mamta Sharma asked her to visit her in Delhi instead of taking some serious measures.

Laxmi is 22 now. Her case and the 95,000 pending cases in India are a cruel reminder why it is important to involve as many as her in the debate on rape and sexual assault. The state’s indifference towards the Shopian case in Kashmir, that of Manorama in the northeast, Soni Sori in Chhattisgarh and Laxmi Orang in Assam should not take the shape of the passivity of the masses.

It is incumbent upon the public to start discourse on the misogyny that spreads across states where the most potent weapon to teach a woman a lesson is to strip her, sexually abuse her. The sexual assault on Laxmi Orang is no different from the violence inflicted on a young protester last week when the police dragged her by her hair and slammed her head against the wall near Parliament house while she was protesting against the Delhi gang rape case. The police, like the mob who assaulted Laxmi are indoctrinated with systemic denigration of women. Where an independent woman, demanding her rights, asserting herself is always seen as a threat.

Laxmi has stopped working at the tea garden due to the stigma that followed after her public humiliation. It is this baggage we need to get rid of as a society that puts the woman in the dock instead of the culprits.

Laxmi was offered Rupees two lakhs as compensation which she refused. She is fighting hard to punish the guilty. It is this struggle of Laxmi Orang, who is not a ‘zinda laash (corpse)’ as the Minister of Opposition in Lok Sabha, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, described a rape victim, that needs to be merged with the gender movement the country is witnessing.

Laxmi refused to accept the Rs.2 lakhs the state govt offered as compensation

Where one sexual assault is not pitted against the other to gauge which deserves quicker justice. Where a demand for an equal society is made through reforms and not by easy modes of justice like death penalty and chemical castration. Where a man fears at the thought of sexually assaulting a man or a woman to assert his territory/ supremacy.

For the first time, the country has stood together on the issue of gender. Instead of dividing it on the basis of class and its superficiality, this is the time to engage and to carve a movement that is more inclusive.

To take under its wings women from across classes and castes to pull the ship in a progressive direction, to not douse the collective wrath in public dementia, to espouse Laxmi’s fight for justice as the fight of all beings who believe in an egalitarian society.

Neha Dixit is an award winning journalist based in New Delhi

 

#India- Deconstructing elite ‘concern’ and ‘action’ on rape #Vaw


rape

Published: Monday, Dec 24, 2012, 5:21 IST | Updated: Monday, Dec 24, 2012, 23:02 IST
By Garga Chatterjee

On December 22, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde tried his best to appear statesmanlike at the press-conference. Flanked by a couple of other ministers and a smattering of bureaucrats, he announced that the government had heard the rape-protesters of New Delhi. The poor should learn something – it is not enough to be displaced, raped, maimed, killed, brutalised for years. It is also important to know how to chant slogans in English and write them in chart paper. The star-studded press conference was not so much about firefighting – after all, youths holding placards written in English are not a major electoral constituency.It was more about appearing sensitive to a larger populace. Shinde even tried the ‘common man’ approach.
He said he understood the outrage — for, he too was a father. Lesser mortals are lesser in more ways than one. Rare are the moments when people in power include themselves in ‘everyone of us’, as if we are one community. When the ‘common bond of humanity’ ploy is used, those in the charmed circle of Lutyen’s Delhi and its South Delhi spill-over nod liberally in agreement. One would almost want to believe that Shinde’s daughter would buy a Rs 10 ticket on a green Delhi Transport Corporation bus and travel from Daryaganj to Kapashera border after a hard day’s work like many, many others. No such luck. Shinde has Z plus security. One of his daughters, Praniti, is an MLA. With more police force out to protect his powerful daughter than what would be deployed to protect an average neighbourhood, it is hard to imagine an anxious father of a commoner here.
After all, in the last five years, Maharashtra, Shinde’s home state, has had the largest number of candidates with declared cases of crimes against women, including rape. At least 26 Congress candidates to different legislatures had such cases against them (source: Association for Democratic Reforms). Shinde may say these cases are politically motivated or ‘law will take its own course’, but surely, as a father, would he take chances? If not, what have the people done to deserve these candidates from his party? That the BJP, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP also have numerous such candidates does not help matters? What do Smriti Irani and Sushma Swaraj think about the ‘jewels’ that their party has been nominating? Why is the tirade against the bad guy always directed towards an inchoate other or society at large, when there are more tangible alleged-rascals inside the party? There have been calls to ‘fast-track’ legal procedures for such cases. Ostensibly, this fast tracking should also apply to the alleged crime committed against women by Tricolour and saffron ‘social workers’. Shouldn’t it?

In a statement after meeting prime minister Manmohan Singh, Shinde said, “The government will take immediate steps for the amendment of the Criminal Law for enhanced and more effective punishment in the rarest of the rare cases of sexual assault such as this.” This is something that has a resonance with a significant section of the protesters where public hanging and castration have been demanded. But there is rape and there is rape. The state has hinted that it might toy with the idea of death penalty or something more severe than the present punishment for ‘rarest of the rare cases’. Is the alleged rape of a 56-year-old woman in Gujarat by a Central Industrial Security Force personnel a ‘rarest of rare case’? Does the alleged repeated sexual brutalization of Soni Soriin the custody of Chhattisgarh police qualify as a ‘rarest of rare case’? Was the alleged gang-rape of a 12-year-old mentally challenged deaf and mute girl by three CRPF personnel near their Warangal area camp a ‘ rarest of rare case’? Is the alleged rape of a Congolese child by an Indian Army jawan posted as ‘peace-keeper’ a ‘rarest of rare case’?Did the forensic evidence of DNA match matter in that case? Did anything matter? Did anything get fast-tracked, or was a clean-chit thrown back on the face of the victim?

What about the Kunan Poshpora tragedy of 1991 – the alleged gang rape of more than 50 Kashmiri women by army jawans? It has been 22 years. Does ‘morale’ come before justice or does ‘honour’ look different when viewed through Tricolour blinders? Or are these ‘rarest of rare cases’ not ‘rarest of rare’ precisely because they are not rare? I sincerely hope the Delhi youngsters who besieged the Raisina Hills only to be lathi-charged back have all this in mind, when they chant ‘We-want-justice’.

The author a postdoctoral scholarat Massachusetts Institute of Technology @gargac on Twitter, inbox@dnaindia.net

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