#India -an Appeal From Tribal Activist Himanshu Kumar: On Atrocities, Self Reflection


An Appeal From Tribal Activist Himanshu Kumar: On Atrocities, Self Reflection And More

Posted on: June 2, 2013
-Youth ki Awaaz

Translated from Hindi by Akhil Kumar

Self-Reflection Fast: How should India Behave With Its Tribal Population

Dear friends,

A large number of army troops are being sent to the tribal areas to establish peace.

Whereas past experience tells us that the entry of the army troops in tribal territory has never decreased unrest but escalated it instead.

For a long time now, the tribal people have faced oppression from the government. And if any one of them asks for justice against this oppression, they are branded as Naxalites and tortured again. The government has thus closed all doors of Justice for them.

Soni Sori, Linga Kodopi and Binayak Sen were a victim of government tyranny because they raised their voice against this injustice. We know that the educated and prosperous urban class of India does not see anything wrong with sending the army in large numbers to tribal areas in order to occupy the resources of the indigenous people.

Also, there are talks of using force to suppress the dissatisfaction caused by displacement due to this plunder of resources. But if India keeps killing its citizens like this, it will result in the moral degradation of the Indian community that holds power.

India will have to think, as a nation, on how should it behave with its native inhabitants.

Do we approve of occupying the lands of the tribal community on gun point? Do we believe that we can bring peace to the country after burning their villages, driving them out of their homes and occupying their land?

If once we get habituated to doing injustice to our own citizen, wouldn’t it make way for us to do it to everyone else tomorrow? Today, we will attack the tribals, then we’ll kill Dalits and go on to kill our villagers and then, one day, we will find ourselves surrounded by enemies that we created ourselves.

Hence, we need to review our behavior towards the tribal people as soon as possible.

It is my humble effort that we use this opportunity to ponder on this issue that how should the tribal people of this country be treated. To self introspect on this issue, I am sitting on an indefinite hunger strike from 1st June and I hope that you, wherever you are, will also introspect on it.

This is not just a question of the tribals but a question for all those who want to build a better society, where everyone gets justice because it is impossible to even think of peace without justice.

Please do visit Jantar Mantar if possible, we will be pleased.

Yours
Himanshu kumar
Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

09013893955
vcadantewada@gmail.com

 

#India- I am Irom Sharmila #AFSPA #Vaw


March 16, 2013

The Other Half

KALPANA SHARMA, The Hindu

Sharmila’s story is extraordinary and bears retelling. Photo: AP
AP Sharmila’s story is extraordinary and bears retelling. Photo: AP

By focusing on individuals like Irom Sharmila, the cause or reason for protest is often forgotten. In this particular case, the cause — repeal of the AFSPA — is crucial.

She appears in our line of vision, and then disappears. When we see her, we remember. When we don’t, we forget.

When Irom Sharmila, that frail woman from Manipur, with a feeding tube taped to her nose, was asked to travel to Delhi earlier this month, it was “news”. Her name was in the newspapers, her image on television channels. Yet, how many people really knew why she had been brought to Delhi, why after six years had a court summoned her to face charges under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code for attempting to commit suicide?

In 2006, Sharmila travelled to Delhi for the first time in her life. In fact, it was the first time she sat in an airplane. Then she had travelled to Delhi by choice. She did so because she reckoned, and rightly so, that her voice would only be heard if she went to Delhi. And she was not wrong. As she sat at Jantar Mantar, continuing a protest that began on November 2, 2000 demanding the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Manipur, the “national” media paid heed to her voice, and relayed it to a wider audience.

And how did the authorities respond? By charging her for attempting to commit suicide and force-feeding her. Eventually, Sharmila returned to her hospital jail in Imphal, where she is forcibly fed through that tube in her nose. She has remained in that room, a year at a time. A court in Imphal charges her under the same section of IPC, imprisons her for a year, the maximum sentence, releases her, and then arrests her again when she refuses to break her fast. Every year, around this time, this little drama is enacted. The local press takes note; the national press generally ignores it. And Sharmila continues to protest.

Now, in addition to the court in Imphal, Sharmila has to face the court in Delhi. When she appeared earlier this month, she told the judge: “I love and respect life. I want the right to live as a human being. Mine is a non-violent protest to get the government to meet my demands.” This does not sound like a woman who wants to kill herself. Yet, the law says she does, because she will not eat. And so this case will also continue. And once again, on May 22, she will be brought to Delhi. And we will have another chance to remember who she is, what she stands for, and what she is asking.

Sharmila’s story is extraordinary and bears retelling. Several books have already been written about her, the latest by journalist Minnie Vaid titled, Iron Irom, Two Journeys. It is a slim book that recounts Sharmila’s journey and Vaid’s own journey into Manipur, a place “where the abnormal is normal”, as she aptly puts it. But even as Sharmila’s trials, determination and amazing courage are remembered, and lauded, one should not lose sight of the central issue over which she is so agitated.

In India, we elevate individuals and forget the cause. We need heroes and heroines, more so at a time of visual media. But in fixing on individuals, the issue, the cause, the reason for protest sometimes gets forgotten, or under-played.

In the case of Sharmila’s fast, the issue is crucial. AFSPA has been in force since 1958. The army insists it is essential; for the civilian population it means the denial of basic rights and nurtures a culture of impunity in everyone with power.

If you go to Manipur, you will understand why Sharmila will not relent. They do not have the freedom we take for granted. Nor the basic infrastructure. Daily life is incredibly difficult. There are shortages of every kind — water, electricity, fuel, food, medicines. Not for a week, or a month, but for years. Those of us living in so-called “undisturbed” areas do not have a clue what life is like for the ordinary Manipuri, someone who wants to lead a normal life, a peaceful one, without bomb blasts or armed men patrolling the streets or curfews or extra-judicial killings in broad daylight.

Manipuris escape this hardship by running away to our big cities. Thousands of them have joined the service sector. Does anyone ask them about Manipur? Do people even know they are from Manipur? People like them, living on the periphery, are constantly lectured about “integrating” with India. It is India and Indians who need to “integrate” with the northeast and Manipur and not the other way round.

Eight years ago, in 2005, the Justice Jeevan Reddy committee, set up to review AFSPA in Manipur by an earlier version of the government at the Centre, submitted its report. It recommended that AFSPA be withdrawn. The government paid no heed.

More recently, the Justice Verma Committee, set up after the Delhi gang rape, strongly recommended that the provision in AFSPA that grants armed forces personnel immunity from facing rape charges in a civilian court, be removed. Once again, this escaped a hearing-impaired government.

What will it take for the deafness of the government, and its obduracy, to give way to a listening ear and an open mind on the issue? How many Sharmilas will it take? Should all of us who care, who feel outraged at this state of affairs, decide to become Sharmilas?

 

Irom sharmila will not Adopt a Reconciliatory Position until the # AFSPA Is Repealed #Vaw


Irom Sharmila Chanu, who has been on a 12-year fast demanding the repeal of the AFSPA, was in Delhi on 4 March, where a Delhi court charged her with an attempt to commit suicide during her fast unto death at Jantar Mantar in October 2006. In a brief interview after her trial, she spoke to Nupur Sonar about her struggle

March 5, 2013

Civil rights activist Irom Sharmila. Photo: Ankit Agarwal

Are you unhappy with the charges leveled against you?

I am very disappointed about the case against me. Being brought to Delhi for the trial, I am wondering what is happening to me. They try to divert my mind. They try to weaken my spirit. Yet, in another sense, I am also very hopeful. If the government sees me as an Indian citizen and yet treats me this way, then this is a clear example of the discrimination that exits in India. After all, I am just following Gandhiji’s principles to achieve my goals. I am using a positive way for the movement, to fulfill my demand.

What do you think of the Justice Verma Committee’s recommendations on safety of women and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act

I was happy about the Justice Verma Committee’s recommendations, but our democratic government needs to put in collective effort to undo the wrong they have done. I think what the government has decided is wrong. The Army should be controlled by the government and should follow the law. They should respect the Committee’s recommendations. I don’t want to be a critic, I am just talking on the basis of my observation of what has been going on for many years. I see how north-eastern students in colleges are attacked and this happens very frequently. I am extremely unhappy with the foundation of the AFSPA and how it works. The government is trying to suppress us through the AFSPA. I don’t agree with their tactics. The voice of the people needs to be heard as it is being heard at seminars all over the world.

You have been fighting a lonely battle against the AFSPA for over 12 years now. Have you thought of adopting a reconciliatory position?

Although it’s been over 12 years, I will not adopt a reconciliatory position. Nothing will change my stand and I will continue until my demand is fulfilled. Nothing will shake my resistance.

What gives you the strength to keep going?

It is the solidarity of those who have joined me in my struggle voluntarily that strengthens me. But with the proceedings, it will be very difficult for them to maintain solidarity.

 

Government scared to grant me my fundamental rights: Irom Sharmila #AFSPA #Vaw


by  Mar 4, 2013, Firstpost

“The government will listen. It depends on the movement of the people because we are a democracy. What I want is peace and justice, not the administration of a government that uses violence as a means for their governance,” said a frail and emotional Irom Sharmila, addressing the media outside a Delhi Court, which has charged her with attempt to commit suicide. (Read full report here)

Sharmila continues to persevere with her more than 12-year long struggle for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFPSA). On a protest fast since 2000, she is force fed via tube at a government hospital in Imphal, Manipur, where she remains in custody and denied free access to her family, friends and supporters.

Sharmila has been charged by the Delhi court in a 2006 case that was booked against her by the Delhi Police after she declared a fast unto death from Jantar Mantar. Described as the Iron Lady of Manipur, Sharmila pleaded not guilty to the charge of attempt to commit suicide before the Delhi Court. The next date of hearing has been fixed for May 22.

On request by her lawyers, Sharmila was permitted by the Delhi Court to a five-minute interaction with the press.

PTIPTI

Responding to question regarding the government’s stand that repeal of the AFSPA depended on the Army’s assessment of the ground realities, Sharmila said, “The government and the Army are colluding to cheat the people. The government is of the people, by the people and for the people. The government should control the Army also.”

On whether she had requested the government to permit her family and supporters free access to her, she said, “They are so scared to give me my fundamental rights. I am also a social being. I am innocent woman who loves civilization.”

When asked whether she had faith in the legal system and the central government, she said, “I have in faith in God. God will also guide the wrong-doers. I will remind them that of their real responsibility as a leaders of a society.”

Reacting to a question on the setting up of the three-member commission headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice Hegde, which has begun hearing cases of alleged extra-judicial killings by security forces, in Manipur, Sharmila said, “The government will remain adamant for the time being. The Jeevan Reddy committee has already recommended the repeal of this draconian law.”

Making a final statement, Sharmila said, “I’m following the non-violent principle of the Father of Nation. The government should not discriminate. As a leadership, they should behave unbiasedly…I have in faith in God. God will also guide the wrong-doers. I will remind them that of their real responsibility as a leaders of a society.”

The Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) is representing Sharmila in Delhi. Speaking to the press, Svetlana, one of her counsels, said, “Now the case will move into the trial stage. If she is unable to come because of her health conditions, we will move an application for exempting her from being present in court. We haven’t filed any application to move the trial to Manipur.”

Outside the Delhi Court, students and supporters staged a protest, shouting slogans seeking the repealing of the law.

Asked what their message to Sharmila was, former president of the Manipur Students Association Delhi, Seram Rojesh said,  “We are here to give solidarity to her. The police denied us permission to meet her. In this struggle, we want to show her that she is not alone. The world is with her. She has done nothing wrong. She is fasting for the right to a dignified life. But she has been charged with 309 of IPC. We are protesting the very idea of charging her.” Rojesh is also the coordinator of the Save Democracy, Repeal AFPSA Campaign.

 

Join Demostration on 4th March at New Delhi, against brutal Eviction of Bangalore EWS Slum


Dear Friends !

Greetings !
We are sending you our appeal for your solidarity and support on behalf of National Movement For Land, Labor & Justice- NMLLJ and Forum against EWS Land Grab, Bangalore Karnataka.

 

Hope you are already aware of the illegal-demolition and  eviction of 1200 families from a slum  in Bangalore,  where they were living for more than 20 years .

 

This brutal action was enacted by the combined violence of police, pvt goons, and government officials.The whole purpose is to grab the 15.64 acres of prime land on which they were living.  it is between Jan 18–20. but even today the evicted people are living on footpath. this is the first where a `corporate land sharing project ` under PPP is being introduced in entire south India, in Urban poor Housing. If this move is not resisted , it only pave way to more and more land grab from slum people all over. What we are experiencing in the country is  the diminishing Democracy and flourishing Corporatocracy.

 

At this Juncture we request all democratic organization at Delhi to extend support and solidarity in resisting, exposing and get back the land grabbed from the social groups -historically marginalized.

 

.We seek your support and solidarity in organizing a protest Demonstration on 4th March at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi and a CSO consultation on 6th at Delhi. A strong struggle  group  from Forum against EWS Land Grab, Bangalore Karnataka.

 

We request you to play a prominent / leading role in actualizing  organized mass protest at Delhi on 4th march. Around 20 people from Bangalore forum that led the struggle so far, will be joining the protest.

 

 

M.R.Prabhakar
Convener,  Forum against EWS Land Grab, Bangalore

09449820566.

Join People’s Watch Over Parliament Demanding Implementation of Verma Report @21Feb


1st Day of the Budget Session

 

21 February, Thursday, 12 Noon,

 

Jantar Mantar,

 

 Join PEOPLE’S WATCH OVER PARLIAMENT  

  • NO to Eyewash Ordinance !
  • For An Effective Law Against Sexual Violence Based on Justice Verma Recommendations !!
  • Budgetary Allocations for Rape Crisis Centres, Safe Houses for Women, More judges and courts, Forensic Examination facilities, compensations for survivors of rape and acid attacks, etc 
Speakers and Cultural Performances:
Shabana Azmi, Vrinda Grover, Madhu Mehra, Nilanjana Roy, Gautam Bhan, Rebecca John, Binalakshmi Nepram, Karuna Nundy, Kamal Chenoy, Maitreyee Pushpa, Anand Pradhan, Bimol Akoijam, and many other scholars, activists of the women’s and students’ movement and the JNUSU.
Street play called ‘Bekhauf Azaadi’ by Hirawal from Patna;
Performance by Maya Krishna Rao

Play by Asmita Theatre Group
Manzil Mystic Band
Mandala Circle (Lokesh Jain)
Artists Creative Theatre from Manipur
P
oster exhibitions on the theme of women’s and people’s freedom 
 

Freedom Without Fear- Bekhauf Azadi,

Campaign Against Sexual Violence and Gender Discrimination

Contact:  9560756628, 9868383692 ,  9868033425 ,  9213974505

 

 

Protests against Afzal Guru’s hanging at Jantar Mantar, 21 detained


|

GAUTAM NAVLAKHAS FACE SMEARED BLACK BY BAJRANG DAL GOONS

 

Muhammad Zulqarnain Zulfi : New Delhi, Sat Feb 09 2013, 1

Delhi police lathicharge protestors at Jantar Mantar, demonstrating against the hanging of Afzal Guru and detained at least 21 Kashmiri students. Female students were also assaulted.

The Kashmiri students were protesting against the ‘hanging’ of Afzal Guru when RSSBJP activists attacked them, witnesses say.

All the detained kashmiri students including girls were taken to Mandir Marg police station. Girls were threatened by the RSS activists.

Social activist Gautam Navlakha was also beaten up during the protest.

Senior journalist Iftikhar Geelani has also been put under house arrest since early morning today.

Media persons also faced the wrath of the RSS who also threatened dire consequences and barred them from doing their professional duties, witness say.

Mudasir, Jamia, Athar Rather Jamia, Umair Gul, Jamia, Umar Bashir, DU, Najeeb Hussain JNU, Fayaz Dar, Jamia, Aymon Majid, Jamia, Bhat Iqbal JNU, Shahid JNU, Insha Malik, Souzina Mushtaq, Samia Latief, Mustafa, Bhawneet, Shivani, Sabika, Umar, Aniben, Zamrooda Habib, Sanjay Kak and other detained Kashmiri students are perusing higher education in various universities in Delhi.

 

#Delhigangrape Month after : Jantar Mantar is a beacon of hope for justice seekers #Vaw #Justice


Published: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013,
Place: New Delhi | Agency: IANS
Protestors protest against the Delhi gang-rape
Reuters

Jagjeet Kaur, a 30-year-old rape victim from Punjab, was frustrated after running from pillar to post for two years seeking justice. Finally, she landed in Delhi, beginning her hunger strike at Jantar Mantar, the tourist landmark in the centre of Delhi that has been the month-long epicenter of the protests against the Delhi gang-rape that she says inspired her to fight on.

“I saw on TV how hundreds of people were gathering here demanding justice for the rape victim. Some of them were on hunger strike too. The determination of the protesters inspired me to come here,” Jagjeet Kaur, who began her hunger strike Monday, told IANS.

“This is the appropriate place for me to raise my voice against rape,” added Jagjeet Kaur who sat on a mattress covered in blankets in the middle of the road next to a makeshift memorial consisting of flowers, candles and placards erected for the 23-year-old woman who was brutally raped by six males on a moving bus on December 16.

According to Jagjeet Kaur, who works for an NGO in Ludhiana, she was raped by a senior police officer in 2010.

Like her, there were many victims as well as their relatives who came from far and wide to seek justice and they all thronged to Jantar Mantar, an 18th century observatory that abuts Connaught Place, the business and shopping hub of New Delhi.

Since the December 16 incident, hundreds and, on occasions, thousands of people, young and old, came to Jantar Mantar.

All of them are united in their fight to get justice for women. Most of them want death for the six males who raped and then threw the paramedical trainee out of a moving bus on a cold December night along with her friend, bleeding and without clothes. The woman died of her injuries 18 days later in a Singapore hospital.

A month after the incident that shook the collective conscience of a nation, the protest site continues to see gatherings of people who have come together with their demand for safety of women. Surprisingly, it is for the first time that an agitation without any leadership has sustained itself for so long at the venue – or, for that matter, at any venue in the country.

Prior to this, activist Anna Hazare‘s anti-corruption agitation had managed to attract crowds for several days.

“No political party has paid us to come here; neither are we here because a civil activist made an emotional appeal. It is our anger and frustration with the system and the hope to see a safer tomorrow for our sisters and daughters that we are here,” Saleem Parvez, 55, who has often been coming to Jantar Mantar, told IANS.

Crowds consisting mainly of students and social workers usually gather at the site every morning with placards and banners and sit till dusk, braving the winter chill. The numbers swell on weekends.

Vowing to “fight till the end,” many protesters claimed that they would agitate at the site till their demands are met.

“I won’t lie, the crowds are thinning every week but we are still determined and the time till even one of us is protesting here, the movement will be alive,” said Abhishek Singh, 24, who claimed that he had been coming to Jantar Mantar daily since Dec 18, 2012.

“We will not let her death be in vain. We hope we will see changes in the laws that will make the country a better place for our daughters to live,” said Kishan Datt, 70, a retired government official, who has been regularly coming to the venue for some time now.

 

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