SOS e - Clarion Of Dalit

IT IS A FORUM TOWARDS PROTECTING THE CIVIL , HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE OPPRESSED - DALITS , MINORITIES & TRIBALS.The Criminal - Police - Politician - Judge - Criminals Nexus is trying to silence me in many ways. If anything untoward happens to me or to my dependents CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA together with jurisdictional police & District Magistrate will be responsible for it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

most backward among backwards - SCAVENGERS

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e - Clarion Of Dalit - monthly newspaper on web working for the rights & survival of the oppressed

__________________________________________________________________________________ editor: NAGARAJ.M.R………….VOL.1 ISSUE.2……………….07/03/2007

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Editorial : the most backward , neglected among the backward caste people – SCAVENGERS

- an appeal to honourable supreme court of india

In India, since independence certain affirmative actions by the government like job reservations , reservations in educational institutions , loan facilities , etc are extended to the backward class , oppressed people. However , the persons who have economically, socially become stronger on the basis of these government affirmative actions are not letting their own brethren – scavenging community to utilize the same. The politicians are just making noises about sub caste reservation for scheduled castes & tribes , but doing nothing. As a result , today we find some sub-castes & tribes of SC / ST better off than their previous generation, some other sub-castes & tribes of SC / ST are reeling under utter poverty , social ostracism , etc.

A human being can be in a civilized form , healthy - if we have scavengers to clean our toilets , drainages , if we have barbers to cut our hairs. The very same people who keep us healthy & civilized are not treated in a civilized manner by the society , why ? most of the town municiapalities , city corporations are employing scavengers on daily wages without any statuotary benefits & are paid less than the statuotary minimum wages. every towns & cities in India are bursting with population growth , however the number of scavengers has not been increased in proportion to the growth of population , In most of the cases the existing scavengers are overburdened with the work load. , Most of them are suffering from occupational health hazards , are dying at young ages leaving their families in the lurch.

Hereby, we appeal to honourable supreme court of India to treat this as a PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION & to order government of India , all state governments , statuotary bodies

1. to regularize the jobs of all scavengers , to provide all statuotary benefits like ESI,PF, etc.

2. to take all necessary steps to eradicate manual scavenging – carrying human excreta on heads.

3. to take all necessary steps to protect their health & occupational safety.

Bottomline : all the citizens , the society must learn to respect their brethren who keeps them healthy , tidy & civilized. JAI HIND.VANDE MATARAM.

Your’s sincerely,

Nagaraj.M.R.

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Status Of Manual Scavengers In Gorakhpur, Uttar-Pradesh

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Ram Bhuvan & Kirti Singh

The Condition of Scavenger community in India is a matter of grave concern for all the right thinking persons world over. It is regrettably noted that the official attitude of the government has not changed towards these communities. The surroundings of the community compel them think in a ghettoized fashion which is considered as if the community does not want to change. In an environment where parents do not know where would the second day meal be achieved, it would be ridiculous to think that the community would be able to rise at its own. Is it not the duty of all of us who believe in human rights, dignity and human values to come forward and help the community to delink from its traditional occupation?

We are shocked to say the least that despite the people's will to get out of the profession, nothing much is visual from the government's attitude for whom rehabilitation means nothing except putting people into the municipality cleaning the sewage system with out any proper hand gear. The overall atmosphere around their locality is never congenial to develop a healthy and vibrant society. The majority of those who work in the scavenging profession particularly carrying night soil over-head are women. Over the years, when men got jobs in municipalities, the numbers of women who are involved in manual scavenging remain unchanged and a matter of grave concern. A survey was conducted by Jan Kalyan Sansthan, Chauri Chaura, partner organization of Social Development Foundation, Delhi under the guidance of Shri Ram Bhuvan. Mrs M Sultana of Sainik Mahila Prakshishan Sansthan, Gorakhpur provided local support to reach the community.

We had found out details of nearly 117 scavenger families in Basantpur, Turkmanpur, Laldiggi, Muftipur, Bhediyagarh areas of Gorakhpur town. Out of this, our team was able to get full details of the conditions of the community in Basantpur and Turkmanpur covering around 58 families. The total number of people in these families is 369, which include children and aged people as well. The data reveal some disturbing trend and need to be addressed at the earliest. Do people really know about the nature of isolation the community living along with us. Scavenger community has all along been living in the urban areas serving the middle classes, upper elites, feudal lords, Hindus and Muslims every one alike, yet none of them ever bothered whether they have cared and bothered about those who clean their shit, enter deep into the sewage pit to continue the sewage line. In the coming days, we are going to cover a large part of Uttar-Pradesh and bring reports on this aspect.

Housing and other conditions:

The social ostracisation of the scavenger community remains complete and virtually no efforts have been made to eradicate the practice of scavenging. But is it possible to without addressing the basic issues of their livelihood. Even when the community was involved in one of the most atrocious job the world could ever have, just 5% of them lived in the government houses. 12% of them are informally living in occupied land but 83% of them were living in depressingly miserable conditions and half completed huts on the government land.

The basic amenities in this area remain a matter of shame for every one of us who claim to be civilized. Those clean shits of other people remain toilet less and have no place to even defecate. What could be a great paradox than the fact that 88% of the families do not have basic toilet facilities? 10% have personal toilets. 2% of them have toilets, which they themselves feel are not worthy to use. One can assume how difficult it would be for those 10% who claim to have toilets.

There is virtually no arrangement of electricity in the specific areas where the community live. Just 24% of the families use light and that too with the illegal connection termed as Katiya. 76% of the families still live in uncertain darkness. If the situation persists like this how can the children grow? To add their woes 71% of the people get water from the communal taps. Only 26% of the people have personal water taps and 3% do not even access to water. The atmosphere is filthy to be described here as pigs roam around in dirt and children 'shit' in open. In such a sickening environment, how can one expect the children would get education for life?

Education: Total number of men women was 29% each while 42% of them are children, which falls under (0-15) years of age. In case of education and its gender wise break up 27% of the children were literate while 31% female and 42% males were literate. 76% of the total community people are illiterate. This has resulted in virtual isolation of community from the rest of the society and in continuous grip of superstition and backwardness. The children continue to suffer as parents found little time to spend with them and their caste and geographical isolation let to further marginalisation in the schools. Teachers would not be interested to roll them in and all them sit with other students. Though, these things may not be visible when a team visit from outside as teachers, students, staff every one has become alert about punitive action. Even the students know this factor and avoid painting the real picture. The fact of the matter is even when publicly untouchability has been eliminated yet caste system is very much prevalent and no body would deny it. The other fact is that every body knows about Dom, Mehtar, Bhangis and Helas and such terms, denigrating they may look for a civilized society yet continue in practice. Children, inherit, these terms from their parents and in turn these communities face racial prejudices from every one. It is therefore, not ironical that names of their localities seal their fate as areas are always mentioned with the community names hence names like Harijan Bustee or Domkhana. They remind us how crude our system was vis-à-vis the untouchables. The very foundation of the discrimination in India is caste system, which denigrate Dalits and hurt the very dignity and pride of an individual, which are essentials for his growth and development. The governance has not really got itself rid of the caste system though it may claim to have demolished the untouchability at least on the papers. Therefore, it is essential for the government to make its plan in a comprehensive way and not respond to a situation on purely technical way.

Education is basic foundation and still the untouchable children do not get the attention of the state. It would have been better to start community schools for isolated and marginalized community like Scavengers, Mushahars and others.

In the primary schools, there is a clear untouchability since the children are not aware of their rights and their parents do not know about the school. In the Lal Diggi Harijan Bustee (domkhana), there was a school where children used to get free education but for the last 10 years it does not function. There was a teacher working here but after her retirement no other teacher has been appointed in place of her.

Women and Children: The condition of scavenging community is miserable. Since most of the people from the community are uneducated. Social evils are prevalent in the community. Poverty gives birth to different things including alcoholism, wife beating, gambling. Most of the children cannot go to school. The girl children become part of the profession. 20% of the children below 15 years of age do scavenging work while 10% are involved in it. Following the growing trend of feminization of scavenging, results show a whopping 70% of women involved in most inhuman work. While children below 4 years of age are 36% in the two areas and do not have anything to study. 43% of them do nothing. 15% of the children go to school. 3% of them clean and mop the street and 3% of them are involved in manual scavenging. It is a shocking detail that hurt and put us to shame as even the children are not safe and cannot go to school.

Profession: When circumstances remain the same, therefore it is but natural that 42% of the families are still in the sanitation work. Tragically, despite this 44% of the people are still unemployed which is a matter of grave concern. Nearly 9% of the families are still scavenging while 4% have retired. It also reflects that there is virtually no entry of this community in the government sector as well as other labour work. It clearly means that while in the sanitation work of the municipalities there is a one hundred percent reservation for them, there is virtually no effort to delink them from this tradition and rehabilitate them elsewhere. And by merely proclaiming that government has banned toilets will not bring out of the chaos that the social system has inflicted upon them. One is that there is still scavenging and other grave fact is that absentee Safai Karmcharis is growing. That means because of relatively better salaries and contract system, those with connections in the higher ups get the job while the issue of cleaning and going down the drainage and sewage line. How can situation improve if the community is living in complete social ostracisation and isolation? The students do not get a congenial atmosphere to study their books. In the school, the teacher, would obviously, not like to be supportive. Normal reference for delays and late coming is ' these people are like that. They do not want to study'.

In-spite of the fact that this is most ill-treated and inhuman work that any human could do, the women continue to do it because of financial crisis. We all know that this does not really fetch them any money. The tragedy is that even the schemes for poor do not reach them. Despite having no land to live and cultivate, 69% of the community people in these areas have no ration card. The rest 31% have APL Ration Card.

Health: 95% of the people drink alcohol and a majority of them (60%) drink country liquor. So far we have got information of more than 8 people have died and about 16 are ill. 6 persons have been paralysed and 2 are disabled. 70% of the people do not have balance diet. Most of the children are malnutrition and anemic. There seems to be no Anganwadi workers working with them. The fact is that even the Anganwadi workers have their caste and who would like to visit the dirt and filth unless some one has extremely noble ideas and commitment to do the work.

Financial Conditions: All above indicators gives indication of extreme poverty in the community. Despite poverty, male members continue to depend heavily on liquor and social taboos such as dowry has resulted in growing financial crisis in the community. They depend on local individual moneylenders who charge hefty interest rates for every loan he pay to them. Our survey shows that just 26% of the families were able to save some amount of money. But a majority 76% was sinking in heavy debt. The debt is rarely reduced. It always increases and every time the person gets a salary for whatever work, he/she has to repay the debt.

What is the alternative?

Develop new localities with amenities like sanitation and water for the community.

Start special schools for the children of scavenger community.

Provide training programmes like electrician, vehicle repair, driving, beautician, and sewing centers for the youths of the community.

Give full scholarship to bright students of the community and provide them training for computer education.

Involve the Civil Society Organisations in the development and inclusion of the community in the mainstream.

Municipal corporations should be penalized if scavenging is prevalent in the area.

Provide better pay package to safai Karmcharis so that they can fetch their children well. At the moment, their conditions really need an emergency response.

There are no social benefits for the children of Safai Karmcharis. Most of them are lowly paid and working on contract which means any ailments not only increase their debt as salaries are deducted with out any other medical compensation as any other employee may claim. This has resulted in their further marginalisation.

With growing pressure, the entire scavenging work is now feminized with more and more women taking up the profession while their men working with the municipalities. With shrinking jobs in the municipality, the government as well as the municipalities have not been able to provide any social security to the community, it is high time, a special monitoring body is constituted which not only monitor violation of human rights and provide immediate relief to the victims rather then waiting for long official process which is proving to be disastrous.

Conclusion : Gorakhpur burnt because of the communal violence. Political leaders played their role. The city witnessed deaths due to brain fever, which reoccur every year and kills young children. This is the district where we have seen starvation deaths. The city is one of the major commercial city of eastern Uttar-Pradesh. It is developing. It has one of the most revered shrine of Guru Gorakhnath, whose head is a Swami forming Hindu Yuva Vahini to protect Hindus from Muslims. Muslims have other work. Nobody has time to think of a community which has kept the city clean at its own peril. Can we expect serious response from the government to consider the case of the scavenger community when they want to get out of it? Let us fight against this inhuman practice of scavenging, which kills human dignity .

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The Judiciary: Cutting Edge Of A Predator State

By Prashant Bhushan

At a time when the dominant class in India is obsessed with power and when India appears to be at the threshold of becoming an “economic and military superpower”, it is interesting that Tehelka has organized this seminar called, “The summit of the powerless”. Though one hardly sees any powerless people here, or even many who represent them, it is still important that a meeting on this theme has been organized by Tehelka.

It is this obsession with power which is the driving force behind the vision of India of the ruling elite of this country. That is why we see the frequent “power summits” being organized by major media organizations which are dominated by talk of India as an “emerging superpower”, with a booming sensex and a GDP growth poised to reach 8, 9 and even 10%. And it is this power crazed libido of the elite which have made them the cheerleaders of the government which is straining to become the Asian right hand of the United States. This single minded pursuit of a strategic relationship with the US has made us lose our moral bearings as we vote against our old friends like Iran and keep quiet on unimaginable atrocities being committed by the US in Iraq and by Israel in Palestine.

What kind of society is this “power driven” vision of India producing. While the elite celebrate the booming sensex, the consumer boom among the middle classes which the spectacular GDP growth appear to be giving them, the poor are pushed to greater and greater destitution, as the agricultural economy collapses and they are sought to be deprived of whatever little they have in terms of land and other natural resources. After all, when agriculture is not contributing to the GDP growth, why not take away the land, water and other resources from agriculture and give them to the sectors which are leading the growth-the SEZs and the IT industry for example. That (and the opportunity for a real estate killing) explains the stampede for setting up SEZs and IT parks, which will be high growth privileged enclaves, helped no doubt by the cheap compulsory acquisition of land, the absence of taxes, labour and environmental laws. They are envisioned almost as private and self governing States with their own police and courts. It makes no difference to those who hope to occupy these enclaves that India is almost at the bottom of the heap in terms of the Human Development Index, in terms of the percentage of people in the country who have access to housing, food, water, sanitation, education and healthcare.

So as the rural economy is destroyed (partly by agricultural imports) and the poor are deprived of their land, their forests, their water and indeed all their resources, to make way for mining leases, dams, SEZs and IT parks, all of which augur faster GDP growth, the poor get pushed to suicide or to urban slums. Here they struggle for existence in subhuman conditions with no sanitation, water, electricity, and always at the mercy of the weather, corrupt policemen and municipal officials. These slums often exist side by side with luxurious enclaves of the ultra rich who pass by them with barely a scornful glance and regard them as a nuisance who should be put away beyond their gaze. And if the government cannot accomplish that, there are always the courts to lend a helping hand. In the past two years about 2 lakh slum dwellers from the Yamuna Pushta and other Jhuggi colonies of Delhi have been removed on the orders of the court and thrown to the streets or dumped in the boondocks of Bawana (40 Kms from Delhi) and without any sanitation, water, electricity or even drainage. It would be surprising if many of them do not become criminals or join the ranks of naxalites who have come to control greater and greater parts of the country.

What kind of society are we creating? A society which is not only deeply divided in economic classes with a vast chasm dividing them, but also one where the preoccupations of the dominant classes are becoming increasingly crassly materialistic, narcissistic and base. If one were to examine the content of the mainstream electronic media-even news channels, particularly private channels which are the main source of information and entertainment for the middle class elite, one would find that it is characterized by an increasingly vacuous intellectual content and pandering more and more to the baser instincts of sex, violence and a morbid fascination for gossip particularly about the private lives of Bollywood stars. Stories about real people and serious public interest issues have been reduced to mere sound bytes of a few seconds. The interest of the middle classes in and their attention span for serious issues of public interest have been reduced to a vanishing point, as the culture of consumerism and self indulgence has taken over contemporary society. Even as scientific evidence piles up about how the world is headed towards environmental catastrophe due to global warming, not many among our well to do elite have even bothered to understand the issue, let alone bother about tackling the problem. They are oblivious of and unconcerned about the disaster which will certainly affect their children if not themselves during their lifetimes.

A sickness afflicts the soul of the dominant elite of India today. It is a sickness which has led to a total loss of vision and has made us lose our moral bearings. It is this sickness which is allowing us to celebrate our great GDP growth and our emerging superpower status when the majority of our countrymen sink to deeper and deeper depths of destitution and despair. It is this sickness which allows us to rejoice in our becoming the main sidekick of the global bully, while we shut our eyes to the enormous injustice being done to the oppressed people of Iraq, Palestine and other countries at the receiving end of the bully’s muscle. It is this sickness which has produced the vision of the State as the facilitator of this rapaciously exploitative model of development. A vision where the State’s role is seen as an institution which tries to facilitate the maximization of GDP growth. Which naturally requires the State to withdraw from its welfare obligations and facilitate a privatized society run on laissez faire economics. After all, private enterprise, run on the profit motive is the best bet for maximizing GDP growth. It is this model which snatches land from the farmer for the SEZs, the IT parks and the mines. That vision is producing a society which is intoxicated with a kind of development and feeling of “power” which are sowing the seeds of its own destruction in not too far a future. We have become a society of many Neros who are fiddling while the country is on fire.

It is not surprising then that the “powerless” regard the State as predator rather than protector. Even more unfortunately, the recent role of the judiciary which was mandated by the constitution to protect the rights of the people is making it appear as if it has become the cutting edge of a predator State.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the Supreme Court of India waxed eloquent about the Fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution to include all that it takes to lead a decent and dignified life. They thus held that the right to life includes the right to Food, the right to employment and the right to shelter: in other words, the right to all the basic necessities of life. That was in the roaring 80’s when a new tool of public interest litigation was fashioned where anyone could invoke the jurisdiction of the Courts even by writing a post card on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged who were too weak to approach the courts themselves. It seemed that a new era was dawning and that the courts were emerging as a new liberal instrument within the State which the poor could access to get some respite from the various excesses and assaults of the executive.

Alas, all that seems a distant dream now, given the recent role of the courts in not just failing to protect the rights of the poor that they had themselves declared not long ago, but in fact spearheading the massive assault on the poor since the era of economic liberalization. This is happening in case after case, whether they are of the tribal oustees of the Narmada Dam, or the urban slum dwellers whose homes are being ruthlessly bulldozed without notice and without rehabilitation, on the orders of the court, or the urban hawkers and rickshaw pullers of Delhi and Mumbai who have been ordered to be removed from the streets again on the orders of the court. Public interest litigation has been turned on its head. Instead of being used to protect the rights of the poor, it is now being used by commercial interests and the upper middle classes to launch a massive assault in the poor in the drive to take over urban spaces and even rural land occupied by the poor, for commercial development. While the lands of the rural poor are being compulsorily taken over for commercial real estate development for the wealthy, the urban poor are being evicted from the public land that they have been occupying for decades for commercial development by big builders, for shopping malls and housing for the wealthy. Roadside hawkers are being evicted on the orders of the Courts (which will ensure that people will shop only in these shopping malls). All this is being done, not only in violation of the rights of the poor declared by the Courts, but also in violation of the policies for slum dwellers and hawkers which have been formulated by the governments. Usually these actions of the Court seem to have the tacit and covert approval of the government (and the court is used to do what a democratically accountable government cannot do). Let us examine a few of these cases.

In the Narmada case, the Court recently refused to restrain further construction of the Dam which would submerge thousands of families without rehabilitation even when it was clear that this was not only in violation of the Narmada Tribunal Award, but against their declared fundamental rights. The court’s behaviour in first refusing to hear the matter, then repeatedly adjourning it, then allowing the construction to be completed on the specious ground that they needed the report of the Shunglu Committee, clearly demonstrated a total lack of sensitivity to the oustees and a total subordination of their rights to the commercial interests of those industrialists led by Narendra Modi who are eyeing the Narmada waters for their industries, water parks and golf courses. The gap between the rhetoric and the actions of the Court could not be more yawning.

Meanwhile, as the Narmada oustees were being submerged without rehabilitation, a massive programme of urban displacement of slum dwellers without rehabilitation was being carried out in Delhi and Bombay, also on the orders of the High Courts. Sometimes on the applications of upper middle class colonies, sometimes on their own, the Courts have been issuing a spate of orders for clearing slums by bulldozing the jhuggis on them, on the ground that they are on public land. Some of this is being done with the tacit approval of the government, such as the slums on the banks of the Yamuna which are being cleared for making way for the constructions for the Commonwealth games. And all this, without even issuing notices to the slum dwellers, in violation of the principles of natural justice.

This was not all. The Court’s relentless assaults on the poor continued with the Supreme Court ordering the eviction of Hawkers from the streets of Bombay and Delhi. Again, turning their backs on Constitution bench judgements of the Court that Hawkers have a fundamental right to hawk on the streets, which could however be regulated, the Court now observed that streets exist primarily for traffic. They thus ordered the Municipality and the police to remove the “unlicenced hawkers” from the streets of Delhi. All this again without any notice or hearing to the hawkers. This effectively meant that almost all the more than 1.5 lakh hawkers would be placed at the mercy of the authorities, since less than 3 percent had been given licences. More recently, the Delhi High Court has ordered the removal of rickshaws from the Chandni Chowk area, ostensively to pave the way for CNG buses. This order will not only deprive tens of thousands of rickshaw pullers of a harmless and environmentally friendly source of livelihood, it will also cause enormous inconvenience to tens of thousands of commuters who use that mode of transport.

Several recent judgements of the court have grossly diluted the various labour laws which were enacted to protect the rights of workers. The government has been wanting to dilute these laws for bringing about what they call “labour reforms”, in line with the new economic policies, but they have been unable to do so because of political opposition. The courts have thus stepped in to do what the government cannot do politically. They have not only diluted the protection afforded to workmen by various laws but have openly stated that the Court’s interpretation of the Laws must be in line with the government’s new economic policy- a fantastic proposition which means that the executive government can override parliamentary legislation by executive policy. The same proposition was enunciated by the Supreme Court in the Mauritius double taxation case, where the court said that the government can by executive notification give a tax holiday to Mauritius based companies, even though it is well settled that tax exemptions can only be given by the Finance Act which has to be passed by Parliament. Thus we find that the Courts are becoming a convenient instrument for the government to bypass Parliament and implement executive policy which is in violation of even Parliamentary legislation. This congruence of interest between the executive and the courts is most common when it comes to policies which are designed to benefit the wealthy elite.

One important reason why the court can do such things is because it is completely unaccountable. The executive government must seek reelection every 5 years which acts as a restraint on its anti poor policies. The court has no such restraint. There is no disciplinary authority over judges, with the system of impeachment having been found to be completely impractical. On top of this, the Supreme Court has by a self serving judgement removed judges from accountability from even criminal acts by declaring that no criminal investigation can be conducted against judges without the prior approval of the Chief Justice of India. This has resulted in a situation where no criminal investigation has been conducted against any judge in the last 15 years since this judgement despite common knowledge of widespread corruption in the judiciary. Even serious public criticism and scrutiny of the judiciary has been effectively barred by the threat of contempt of Court. And now, they have effectively declared themselves as exempt from even the right to information Act. Is it surprising then that they suffer from judicial arrogance which enables them to deliver such judgements.

This has bred and is continuing to breed enormous resentment among the poor and the destitute. Feeling helpless and abandoned, nay violated by every organ of the State, particularly the judiciary, many are committing suicides, but some are taking to violence. That explains the growing cadres of the Maoists who now control many districts and even States like Chhatisgarh. The government and the ruling establishment thinks that they can deal with this menace by stongarm military methods. That explains why the government relies more and more on the advice of former cops like Gill and Narayanan and why there is talk of using the Army and Air Force against the Maoists. Tribals in Chhattisgarh are being forced to join a mercenary army funded by the State by the name of Salva Judum to fight the Maoists. But all this will breed more Maoists. No insurrection bred out of desperation can be quelled by strongarm tactics. The very tactics breed more misery and desperation and will push more people to the Maoists.

Unless urgent steps are taken to correct the course that the elite establishment of this country is embarked upon, we will soon have an insurgency on our hands which will be impossible to control. Then, when the history of the country’s descent towards violence and chaos is written, the judiciary of the country can claim pride of place among those who speeded up this process. We desperately and urgently need a new vision for the country as well as for the judiciary. We need to rediscover and perhaps reinvent the concept of the State as a welfare State. Our judiciary was created by the British who created it mainly to protect the interests of the empire. That is one of the reasons why it in inaccessible to the common people. We need to reinvent the judiciary in line with a new vision for India. A judiciary which will really be people friendly, which can be accessed without the mediation of professional lawyers and which will consider it its mission to protect the rights of the poor. Unless we can demonstrate the capacity to form that vision and translate in into action, we are headed for serious trouble.

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AN APPEAL TO HONOURABLE CHIEF MINISTER OF UTTAR PRADESH , INDIA

Dear Sir,

INDIA: A dalit human rights activist suspected to be in the illegal custody of local police and his life under threat

Name and address of the victim: Mr. Ram Prasad Bharati, son of Mr. Badlu Ram, residing at Vishasharpur, Naugarh police station, Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh, India Date and time of incident: 6 March 2007 Place of incident: Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh, India Alleged perpetrators: Police officers from Naugarh police station, Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh, India

I am shocked to know about the case of Mr. Ram Prasad Bharati reported from Naugarh police station, Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh, India where it is alleged that the local police officers have allegedly taken into custody Mr. Bharati on 6 March 2007.

It is alleged that in the recent past the victim was threatened by the police by informing him that that they have reserved a cartridge to murder him. I am concerned about the safety of the victim and his family. It is alleged that the police officers are threatening the victim to put pressure upon the victim to make him work as an informant of the local police. I am informed that the police have allegedly taken the victim into custody and it is likely that they might murder him staging a fake encounter or torture him while in custody. I am informed that the victim was arrested in the past and had been tortured by the same police under the supervision of senior police officers. In that incident one of the officers, particularly the Superintendent of Police from Chandauli has threatened him that next time he must be taken into the nearby forest and must be executed as if it is a death from encounter killing.

I am shocked to know that the domestic legal setup in India and the authorities have equally failed to intervene in this case thus far. I therefore call upon you to intervene in this case and to take immediate action to safeguard the security of the victim and his family and also to order an inquiry into the incident. I request you to spare no resources to punish the alleged police officers if they are found guilty. A statement of the victim must be recorded immediately by a judicial magistrate or else the chances are the victim will be murdered as planned by the local police in order to prevent any inquiry into the case. If it is proved that the victim was tortured while in custody the state as well as the police officers who are responsible for torturing the victim must be made liable to pay compensation to the victim.

I hope that you will consider this case with utmost importance and would take all necessary steps to provide protection to the victim until the case is fully investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

Your’s sincerely,

NAGARAJ.M.R.

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APPEALS TO HONOURABLE CHIEF MINISTER OF WEST BENGAL , INDIA

Dear Sir ,

INDIA: Border Security Force personnel allegedly tortures and sexually harasses man in public

Name of the victim: Mr. Ramesh Pramanik, 21 years-old Name of alleged perpetrators: 1) Govind Singh, Major, Border Security Force, No. 2 Out Post, Dayarampur Village, Jalangi Police Station, Murshidabad District, West Bengal, India; 2) Mr. Phul Kumar Singh, Company Commandant, Border Security Force, posted at Faraji Para Border Outpost; 3) One Sub Inspector of Dayarampur Outpost; 4) Two on-duty officers of Dayarampur Outpost; 5) Mr. Firdous Ali, Assistant Sub Inspector of the Jalangi Police Station; 6) Parimal Biswas, Upapradhan, Ghosh Para Gram Panchayat, Police Station. Place of incident: Area near No – 2 Border Outpost, Dayarampur Village, Jalangi Police Station, Murshidabad District, West Bengal, India Date of incident: On 11 December 2006, at about 1 p.m.

I am writing to voice my deep concern over the alleged torture and sexual abuse of 21 year-old Mr. Ramesh Pramanik on 11 December 2006. It disgusts me to hear that the abuse was carried out in public by a major from the Border Security Force (BSF) named Govind Singh. I ask that you immediately arrest this alleged perpetrator and independently investigate the case. I also know that the victim is living in a state of fear and has already been visited by a group of state officials and local thugs in their attempt to convince him to drop the charges he filed. This victim needs immediate protection and I ask that you grant him full compensation for the extremely traumatic and degrading experience he suffered at the hands of the government.

According to the information I have received, at around 1:00 pm on 11 December 2006, Mr. Ramesh stopped by the BSF officials when he was on his way home with friends after taking a bath in the river Padma. Major Govind Singh then allegedly began blasting accusations that Mr. Ramesh is a citizen of Bangladesh and has been living in India under false citizenship documents. Major Govind Sindh, who was allegedly heavily intoxicated, began beating him with bamboo sticks. He then allegedly seized a gun from another BSF officer and threatened to kill the victim. He also forced the victim to remove his pants so that he could sexually abuse him in public. Mr. Ramesh luckily managed to escape the abuse.

I have heard that when Mr. Sujit Pramanik, a relative of Mr. Ramesh asked Major Govind Singh and another BSF officer why the victim was beaten, they reiterated that Mr. Ramesh was not a legitimate citizen of the country. Major Govind Singh then asked Mr. Sujit to make arrangement for the surrender of Mr. Ramesh before the BSF but Mr. Sujit did not follow this.

Later that day, Mr. Ramesh received medical treatment for his injuries at Sadekhan's Dear Block Public Health Centre. Afterwards at 5:30 pm, he visited the Jalangi Police Station with Mr. Sujit and attempted to lodge a written complaint against Major Govind Singh and the other BSF officials.

However, I am deeply upset to hear that Assistant Sub Inspector Firdous Ali refused to register the complaint and began verbally assaulting the two men. When Mr. Ramesh and Mr. Sujit insisted that they be able to register the complaint, SI Somnath Bandyopadhyay, the Officer In-charge of Police Station appeared and ordered ASI Firdous Ali to record a General Diary Entry (#556/06).

I am also informed that the next day at about 11:30 am, Mr. Swapan Kumar Saha, Sub Inspector with the Jalangi Police station visited Rajesh's house, his neighbourhood and the Dayarampur Border Outpost to investigate the incident.

Then, I heard that at about 1:00 pm, a Sub Inspector posted with Dayarampur Border Outpost and other officers along with officials of the BSF visited the victim's house. They were reportedly accompanied with local officials including Mr. Phul Kumar Singh, Company Commandant, Border Security Force posted at Faraji Para Border Out Post, Battalion No – 90 and Mr. Parimal Biswas, Deputy-Pradhan of Ghosh Para Gram Panchayat, Jalangi Police Station. The officials also invited local smugglers to join their group.

I understand that the group visited the victim's house and attempted to convince him and his family through intimidation to negotiate a solution that would be favourable to the perpetrators. However, the victim and his family did not give in.

I know that Mr. Ramesh then sent letters of complaint to the District Magistrate, Murshidabad; the Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad and Deputy Inspector General of the BSF. I also know that no action has been taken by any these officials and Mr. Ramesh is still waiting for justice despite clear evidence. Mr. Ramesh is still living under threat and intimidation by local thugs, the BSF and the police.

I condemn this act of torture and ask that you work to ensure that this victim receives justice. It is clear to me that the BSF officers have abused their power in violently assaulting an innocent man. I am informed that Mr. Ramesh has an identity card, which clearly shows that he is a citizen of India. The BSF's actions are destructive, hateful and criminal. I urge that you punish the officers involved accordingly, while granting protection and compensation to this young man who has suffered enough. I also concerned about the repeated violations committed by the BSF. I therefore urge the Government of India to impose strict action to maintain the discipline among the BSF personnel.

I look forward to hearing about your positive response to this serious matter.

Your’s sincerely,

NAGARAJ.M.R.

Dear Sir ,

INDIA: No investigation into an alleged murder of a villager by Border Security Force

Name of victim: Mr. Akhil Mondal, the resident of Harudanga Village, Raninagar, Murshidabad district, West Bengal state, India Alleged perpetrators: Several unidentified officers of the Border Security Force (BSF), Battalion No. 136 of F Company, Out Post No. 6, Kaharpara, Raninagar, Murshidabad district, West Bengal, India Date of the incident: 23 November 2006 Place of the incident: Near the Out Post No.6 of BSF

I am writing to you to express my grave concern about the alleged extra-judicial killing of one villager named Mr. Akhil Mondal residing the address mentioned above by the BSF personnel on 23 November 2006. To date no proper investigation has been conducted by the local police because the accused are the BSF personnel.

On 23 November 2006, the victim was shot dead by several unidentified BSF personnel in place near the Out Post No.6 of BSF. The alleged perpetrators are allegedly from Battalion No. 136 of F Company, Out Post No. 6, Kaharpara, Raninagar, Murshidabad district, West Bengal, India. According to the two eye witnesses from the same village, the bullet went through from the victim's left ear to the right eye and he died immediately on the spot.

I am informed that when the victim's family tried to lodge a written complaint about the incident to the Raninagar Police Station on the same day, the police refused to do so and allegedly told the family that they would receive such a complaint only after the victim's body was cremated. I am concerned that the police proposal has an intention to destroy forensic evidence before file the complaint, which subsequently cannot be effectively investigated due to lack of evidence.

Later on that day, the post mortem examination was conducted on the victim's body at the Lalbagh Hospital. However, during the examination, several armed BSF officers were stationed inside of the hospital to intimidate the doctors and accordingly the doctor, who conducted the post mortem, told the victim's family that he could not find the specific reason of his death. On November 24, the family arranged the second post mortem examination at the Nilratan Sircar Medical College & Hospital in Kolkata but its result has not been revealed to the family. The victim's body was cremated on November 26 in Kolkata.

I am annoyed to learn that after the cremation of the victim's body, a Sub-Inspector Ramakanta Sarkar and the other officer of the Raninagar police station allegedly refused to register a complaint of the family against the BSF personnel, without giving appropriate reasons. The family again approached the Sub-Inspectors Rajat Das and Ramakanta Sarkar of the Raningar Police Station, who refused to receive the complaint. Instead, the sub inspectors allegedly abused the family and with very abusive language. I am learned that no police investigation has been conducted in this case to date.

I am deeply concerning about the situation in India that police authorities have been widely enjoying their impunity as to the case of the murder of Akhil Mondal. It is beyond my understanding the situation that the police could refuse to register a complaint from citizens in violation of their mandate, especially when misbehaviours of sate actors were involved in the cases. No justifications should be admitted for absence of appropriate actions by the police and other governmental authorities in this case.

I would argue that the alleged extra-judicial killing of the victim is in violation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which the India is a state party.

I therefore urge your immediate intervention into this case so that impartial and thorough investigation into the case be conducted immediately and the alleged perpetrators be identified and brought to justice without further delay. I also request you to ensure that the victim's family can receive effective legal remedies.

I look forward your appropriate intervention into this important matter.

Sincerely your’s,

NAGARAJ.M.R.

Dear Sir ,

INDIA: Deliberate police inaction into a brutal assault of a family

Name of victims: 1. Mr. Noor Mohammad 2. Mrs. Munni Bibi, aged 38, victim 1's wife 3. Mr. Noor Jamal, aged 26, victim 1's son 4. Mr. Noor Iqbal, aged 24, victim 1's son All of them are the residents of No 3, Holding No 34, Chalta Road, Kankinara Post Office , Jagaddal Police Station, North 24 Parganas District, West Bengal, India Alleged perpetrators: 1. Mr. Akhter Hussain, who has a land dispute with the victim 1 2. Mr. G.C. Chandra, Sub Inspector attached to the Jagaddal police station Date of incident: 20 November 2006

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the deliberate police inaction into a brutal assault of the victims mentioned above in Parganas District, West Bengal, on 20 November 2006.

According the information I received, Mr. Noor Mohammad has a land dispute with Mr. Akhter Hussain (alleged perpetrator no. 1) and two other persons. A civil case relating to the land dispute case was filed in the Civil Court of Civil judge (Junior Division) at Barrackpore, but it has been pending since 2003. I am informed that Mr. G. C. Chandra, Sub Inspector from Jagaddal Police Station (alleged perpetrator no. 2) allegedly collected Rs.1000 (USD 22) illegally from Mr. Noor Mohammad, to do him some favour in the dispute. Although the sub inspector later demanded more money from him, Mr. Noor Mohammad refused to do so.

I learned that on 20 November 2006, Mr. Akhtar Hussain and Sub Inspector Mr. G.C. Chandra allegedly came to Mr. Noor Mohammad’s house with 15 to 20 people. After they found that Mr. Noor Mohammad was not in the house, the people brutally assaulted his wife and his two sons. They were beaten with fist and blows, bamboo stick and iron rods; all of them were severely injured on their heads, chests and bellies. The local police officers were in the house, but they allegedly did not intervene to stop the brutal assault.

I am also informed that after the assault, the police allegedly refused to take any complaint from the victims, and did not arrange medical treatment to them. The police even detained one son Noor Iqbal and filed a false case against him under section 151 Criminal Procedure Code to cover the incident. Section 151 is about "arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences".

I am further informed that Mr. Akhtar also constantly threatens the victims, and ordered others to set fire on their property. Sub Inspector Mr. C.G. Chandra also constantly sends police constables to arrest Mr. Noor Mohammad, because he had filed a written complaint to Superintendent of Police against him. I am learned that Mrs. Munni Bibi also lodged a complaint to Additional Superintendent of Police Barrakpore, but no action was taken on the said complaint.

Because of the continuous harassment from Mr. Akhtar and the Jagaddal police, Mr. Noor Muhammad and his family is exposed to danger and live in fear.

In the light of above, I strongly urge you to launch a prompt and impartial investigation into the alleged assault as well as the deliberate police inaction and threats to the victims. If the allegations are proven, the perpetrators should be identified and prosecuted accordingly. I also request you to take action against Sub Inspector Mr. C.G. Chandra, who are responsible for the assault and the constant intimidation on the victims. Also, immediate protection should also be provided to the victims. Your immediate intervention is crucial to the safety of the family. I also request you to ensure that adequate compensation is provided to the victims.

I trust that you take serious and effective action on this matter.

Your’s sincerely,

NAGARAJ.M.R.

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