Human Rights Action requested

This will have a collection of miscellaneous human rights solidarity requests.

22 Nobel Winners call for release of Dr Binayak Sen

Nobel Winners call for release of Dr Binayak Sen
Global protests on first anniversary of arrest
Free Binayak Sen Campaign

12 May 2008

In an unprecedented move twenty-two Nobel Prize winning scientists and
economists have appealed to the Indian government to release the jailed
paediatrician and humanitarian activist Dr Binayak Sen enabling him to
go and receive the 2008 Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights
in Washington later this month.

Dr Sen, who is the first south Asian to be selected for the prestigious
award, was arrested under the Chattisgarh State Public Security Act last
year on false charges of ‘supporting’ unlawful activities of an armed
underground movement. There is no evidence to prove these charges
however and it is widely believed that Dr Sen is being victimised for
his human rights work and exposure of violations carried out by police
and the state-sponsored militia called Salwa Judum in Chattisgarh.

“While the judicial process involving our professional colleague moves
forward, we respectfully request that Dr. Sen be freed from
incarceration on humanitarian grounds to receive his award and to
continue his important medical work” says the letter from the Nobel
Prize winners, dated 9 May and addressed to a host of top Indian
officials including Smt. Pratibha Patil, President of India, Dr Manmohan
Singh, Prime Minister and Dr Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chattisgarh.

Signatories to the letter include 9 Nobel Laureates in Physiology or
Medicine, 9 in Chemistry, 2 in Physics and 2 in Economics. These
luminaries are John Polanyi (Chemistry 1986), Francois Jacob (Medicine
1965), Roger Guillemin (Medicine 1977), Charles Townes (Physics 1964),
John Polanyi (Chemistry 1986) Peter Agre (Chemistry 2003,) Claude
Cohen-Tannoudji (Physics 1997), Robert Curl (Chemistry1996), Johann
Diesenhofer (Chemistry 1988), Paul Greengard (Physiology or Medicine
2000), Eric Kandel (Physiology or Medicine 2000), Sir Harald Kroto
(Chemistry 1996), Yuan T. Lee (Chemistry 1986), Craig C. Mello(
Physiology or Mediicne 2006), F. Sherwood Rwoland (Chemistry 1995), Jens
C. Skou (Chemistry 1997), PHILLIP A. SHARP (Physiology or Medicine 1993,
HAROLD VARMUS (Physiology or Medicine 1989), SIR JOHN E. WALKER
(Chemistry 1997), TORSTEN WIESEL (Physiology or Medicine 1981) and the
world-renowned economists Kenneth J. Arrow (Economics 1972) Finn Kydland
(Economics 2004).

The Nobel Prize winners statement also raises concerns that Dr. Sen
appears to be incarcerated solely for peacefully exercising his
fundamental human rights, in contravention of Articles 19 (freedom of
opinion and expression) and 22 (freedom of association) of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights—to which India is a
state party. Further it says “…he is charged under two internal security
laws that do not comport with international human rights standards.”

This is not the first time that prominent intellectuals from around the
world have appealed for the release of Dr Binayak Sen, an outstanding
humanitarian physician who has spent over three decades in the service
of rural and tribal communities in Chattisgarh. In a statement last
month Dr. Nils Dulaire, President of the Global Health Council, which
selected Dr Sen for the Jonathan Mann Award said “We believe, however,
that allowing Dr. Sen to attend the award’s ceremony would send a strong
signal internationally that would help to restore faith that India and
its states are indeed committed to fairly addressing this and other
cases related to civil conflicts and civil liberties”

However the coming together of twenty-two Nobel Prize winners in support
of a political prisoner in India is unprecedented and speaks volumes of
the admiration evoked by Dr Sen among his global peers.

“It provides clear evidence of the level of concern that Binayak’s case
has engendered around the world,” said Dr Ilina Sen, wife of Dr Binayak
Sen, herself a well-known scholar and rights activist.

In the meanwhile on 14 May, 2008, the first anniversary of Dr Sen’s
arrest, hundreds of people across the globe are planning to stage
demonstrations, hold vigils and organise public meetings demanding his
immediate release.

Apart from cities like New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai
in India protests are also planned in ten North American and three
European cities including New York, Toronto, London, Paris and
Stockholm. Most of these protests, organised by members of the Indian
diaspora along with global activist groups, will be staged outside
Indian embassies and consulates in these cities.

All told, the international attention proves, as was noted in the Global
Health Council’s statement of support, that the “world is watching” to
see whether India will maintain its proud democratic tradition.

Download Nobel Winners Statement:

For further information contact:

* Satya Sivaraman, New Delhi Ph: +91–9818514952
* Dr P.Zachariah, Vellore Ph: +91-9442607116
* Dr Rakhal, Chennai Ph: +91- 9940246089
* Dr Punyabrata Gun, Kolkata Ph: +91-9830922194
* Dr Abhay Shukla, Pune Ph: +91-9422317515
* Somu Kumar, US
* Shalini Gera, US
* Kalpana Wilson, London


Acceptance Speech for Jonathan Mann Award: Ilina Sen

Acceptance Speech for Jonathan Mann Award: Ilina Sen.

*Awards Banquet of the Global Health Council.
Washington, DC, May 29, 2008.*

What I speak today reflects the thoughts of my husband Dr Binayak Sen, who, in other circumstances should have been here, as well as of myself. On behalf of PUCL, Rupantar, Medico Friends Circle, Jan Swasthya Sahayog, Peoples' movements and Human Rights organizations across my country, we would like to thank the Global Health Council for the Jonathan Mann Award given this year to Dr Binayak Sen, as well as for the hospitality they have extended to me and my daughters. I can not emphasize how much this honor and recognition of our work, and the support of the global health community, means to us at this time. We would like also to specially remember the Christian Medical College, Vellore, and its alumni all over the world, who have made the cause of Binayak's freedom their own. Binayak would especially like tell you that it is a great privilege to be heir to the legacy of Dr Jonathan Mann and to be able to carry it forward. Like Dr Mann, Binayak believes that unless we try to change the world it will never change, and he is even now paying the price for following this principle..

Both Binayak's and my parents came from the part of the world that is now Bangladesh, and as such, we can perhaps lay claim to a South Asian identity. This is the first time that this award has been given to a South Asian- a region that is home to more than a quarter of humankind, and to some of the world's poorest communities. It is in this context that the intercept between Health and Human Rights acquires the special meaning that it has for us, a meaning embedded in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirming the right of ALL to a standard of living adequate for health and well being…including food, clothing, housing, necessary social services, and the right to security in situations beyond individual control.

The critical importance of this section becomes clear when we compare the promises of this ideal with what prevails on the ground. In India, nutrition surveys of the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau have shown that over 33 % of the population have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 18.5, considered to be the minimum level for less than starvation standards. Translated to demography, this means that over 400 million people are exposed to near starvation conditions. To add to this catastrophic situation, we are confronted now with a new set of crises. Between 1990 and 2005, the daily per capita availability of foodgrains has fallen from 510 grams to 438. World food prices have risen, and the concentration of land ownership in a few hands has intensified.

These poverty stricken communities are not mere statistical data sets for us. For the last quarter of a century, it has been our privilege to work with, and share the lives of many such communities in a part of Central India called Chhattisgarh. Our experience with these communities tells us that in the kind of situation we have been describing, it is the communities' access to common property resources – grazing lands, water, forest resources, biodiversity- that mitigate to some extent the baleful effects of an alienated economy. Unfortunately in the recent past, the pressures of 'development' have seen to it that these resources have become increasingly sequestered in private and corporate hands. This new round of resource acquisition has placed major stresses on the modalities of democratic discourse that the civilized world has come to cherish after the bloody history of colonial conquest and intolerance. In our part of the world, Peace has been a major casualty, with official policy often privileging the interests of the few over the well being of many. The work of Rupantar and other groups has attempted to uphold a more convivial model of development, but in the face of contradictory tendencies that are much larger, it becomes very hard to preserve even small islands of common good.

The roots of extremism in many of our societies lie in this kind of a situation. It is impossible to seek a purely law and order or vigilante solution to what are basically the problems of non-inclusive growth. The Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh has actually increased the fissures and increased the violence in our society. Behind the 8% growth rate of the Indian Economy, there are major subsets of the population that are totally disenfranchised. We are firmly committed to Peace: but to a Peace animated by justice and equity and based on the values of life and liberty. In the absence of these, restoration of peace through military action can only lead to the graveyard of peoples' aspirations. I end with a plea that in the twenty first century let us not repeat the bloodshed that our ancestors inflicted upon populations across large areas of the globe. The resources of the world are for us all to share. Let us affirm our faith in that common cause.

Adivasis leaving their homeland in waves - Stan Swamy

Adivasis leaving their homeland in waves - searching for a way out of economic poverty and social insecurity -
Stan Swamy

During the recent years three types of migration waves are taking place in the Adivasi dominant states of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bengal.

The First Wave is the migration of young Adivasi women to metropolitan cities. The reason is that there is nothing in the house or village to occupy these women in a profitable meaningful way. After the mono-crop paddy is harvested in their tiny plots of land they find it will last only for a few months. So instead of sitting at home idling and starving it is better to go to a town or city and work as house-keepers in urban middle-class families. They are not aware of the risks, dangers involved. They get in touch with some middle-men/women and take off often without even informing and getting the consent of their parents. They land up in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai completely at the disposal of placement-agencies and have no choice of future employers, type of work, wages, living conditions etc. Their number is estimated to be around three-to-four lakhs.

The Second Wave is the seasonal migration of whole families to northern states. June to December is the monsoon-fed agricultural season. As the food produced is insufficient to feed the family for the whole year and there is no possibility of a second crop because of lack of irrigation hundreds of Jharkhandi families leave their hearths and homes temporarily during January to May. Only some elderly members are left to attend to the cattle. The govt neatly ignores this annual tragedy.
The Third Wave is the recent exodus of Adivasi youth to the Southern States as casual/contract labour. Thousands of them are in the states of Karnataka, Tamilnadu (mostly in construction work in cities) and Kerala (in cities as well as in farms and plantations). They go there either through contacts with persons who are already there or they are taken in batches by contractors/middle-men. In short it is a story of the poor making the rich to live more comfortably.

How explain this new phenomenon of thousands of Adivasis from central Indian States coming to south India? There are two main reasons: (i) Deepening poverty : while the Indian economy is said to be growing at the fastest rate, poverty is deepening in the Adivasi belt of central India. Blessed by nature with rich mineral wealth has now become a curse to them. The Indian State, controlled and directed by the Corporate Sector, has decided to excavate the minerals at all costs. The protective constitutional provisions, laws, judicial verdicts meant to protect the Adivasi have been thrown to the winds. Meager cash compensation for their land is thrown at them and they are forced to vacate their hearths and homes. Hence the younger generation looks elsewhere to survive, and the southern states seem to offer limited chances in terms of casual/contract labour.

(ii) Increasing State repression: However, the Adivasi People are not taking this exploitative situation lying down. Resistance movements against the unjust, illegal, forcible acquisition of their jal, jangal, jamin have found an echo among people at large and some umbrella organizations vs displacement have played a significant role in turning away most companies empty handed. This includes industrial giants like Mittal, Vedanta, Posco. This people’s resistance has been enhanced by Maoist/Naxal presence and very many Adivasi youth have joined these forces. Therefore state repression is increasing to the extent that a small state like Jharkhand has about 6000 men & women in its prisons accused as Maoists/Naxals. Any young man/woman in naxal-affected areas can be labeled a maoist/naxal and can be thrown into jails. At the same time, the laws which are in favour of the Adivasi/ Moolvasi, such as The Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) 1996, The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, are not implemented. So the principle seems to be “starve them, shoot them and finish them”! This precarious situation makes lot of these young men to get away from this situation of insecurity at least for a while and try and earn something for the family. So they have come South like a wave.

In the words of our noted historian Ramachandra Guha “The Constitution of independent India advocates equality of opportunity, where no one would be neglected. These hopes were to be falsified. For it is the adivasis who have gained least and lost most from six decades of electoral democracy. In terms of access to education, healthcare and dignified employment, they are even worse off than the Dalits. Meanwhile, millions of adivasis have been thrown out of their homes and forests to make way for dams, factories and mining projects intended for the producers and consumers of urban India. Thus the “exploitation and dispossession” have continued, to be answered by a fresh round of “rebellions and disorder”. It is surely no accident that the greatest gains made by the Maoists in the past decade have been in the tribal districts of central and eastern India.” [HTTP://WWW.OUTLOOKINDIA.COM/ AMBEDKARS-DESIDERATA/263878]

Am I a ‘desh drohi’ ? Stan Swamy

During the past two decades I have identified myself with the Adivasi People and their struggle for a life of dignity and self-respect. As a writer I have tried to analyse the different issues they are faced with. In this process I have clearly expressed dissent with several policies, laws enacted by the govt in the light of the Indian Constitution. I have questioned the validity, legality, justness of several steps taken by the govt and the ruling class.

As for the Pathalgadi issue, I have asked the question “Why are Adivasis doing this?” I believe they have been exploited and oppressed beyond tolerance. The rich minerals which are excavated in their land have enriched outsider industrialists and businessmen and impoverished the Adivasi people to the extent there are starvation deaths taking place. They have had no share in what is produced. Also, the laws and policies enacted for their well being are deliberately left unimplemented. So they have reached a situation where they realise ‘enough is enough’ and are seeking to re-invent their identity by empowering their Gram Sabhas through Pathalgadis. Their action is understandable.

Some questions that I have raised are as follows:

  1. I have questioned the Non-implementation of the 5th Schedule of the Constitution [Indian Constitution, Article 244(1)]clearly stipulates that a ‘Tribes Advisory Council’ (TAC) composed solely of members from the Adivasi community who will advice the Governor of the State about any and everything concerning the protection, well-being and development of the Adivasi people in the State. The Governor is the constitutional custodian of the Adivasi people and he/she can make laws on his/her own and can annul any other law enacted by the parliament or state assembly always keeping in mind the welfare of the Adivasi people.
    Whereas the reality is that in none of the States during all these nearly seven decades has any State Governor ever used his/her constitutional discretionary power to reach out to the Adivasi people proffering the excuse that they have to work in harmony with the elected government of the State. The meeting of the TAC takes place rarely, and it is convened by and presided over by the Chief Minister of the State and is controlled by the ruling party. TAC has thus been reduced to a toothless body. Verily a constitutional fraud meted out to the Adivasi people.
  2. I have questioned why the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act [PESA],1996 [No:40 of 1996] has been neatly ignored which for the first time recognized the fact the Adivasi communities in India have had a rich social and cultural tradition of self-governance through the Gram Sabha.
    Whereas the reality is this Act of the parliament has deliberately been left unimplemented in all the nine states. It means the capitalist ruling class does not want the Adivasi people to self-govern themselves.
  3. I have questioned the silence of the govt on Samatha Judgment, 1997 of the Supreme Court [Civil Appeal Nos:4601-2 of 1997]
    which came as a huge relief to the Adivasi communities in Scheduled Areas. It came at a time when consequent to the policy of globalization, liberalization, marketisation, privatisation national & international corporate houses started to invade particularly the Adivasi areas in central India to mine the mineral riches. The govt machinery gave its full cooperation to these companies. Any resistance by the Adivasi people was put down with an iron hand. The judgment was meant to provide some significant safeguards for the Adivasis to control the excavation of minerals in their lands and to help develop themselves economically.
    Whereas the reality is the state has ignored this verdict of the highest court. Several cases have been filed by affected communities but the ‘law of eminent domain’ of the colonial rulers are invoked to alienate Adivasi land and to loot the rich mineral resources.
  4. I have questioned the half-hearted action of govt on Forest Rights Act, 2006: [Act of Parliament No:2 of 2007] Jal, jangal, jamin, as we know, are the basis of the economic life of the Adivasi people. Of particular importance is their traditional rights in the forest have been infringed upon systematically over the decades. At long last, the govt came to the realization that a historic injustice has been done to the Adivasi and other traditional forest-dwellers. To correct this anomaly it enacted this Act.
    Whereas the reality is far from desirable. From 2006 to 2011 of its operation, about 30 lakh applications were made all over the country for title-deeds, of which 11 lakhs were approved but 14 lakhs were rejected and five lakhs were pending. Of late the Jharkhand govt is trying to bypass the Gram Sabha in the process of acquiring forest land for industrial set up.
  5. I have questioned the inaction of the govt to carry out the SC order ‘Owner of the land is also the owner of sub-soil minerals’ [SC: Civil Appeal No 4549 of 2000] wherein it has said “we are of the opinion that there is nothing in the law which declares that all mineral wealth sub-soil rights vest in the State, on the other hand, the ownership of sub-soil/mineral wealth should normally follow the ownership of the land, unless the owner of the land is deprived of the same by some valid process.”
    The rich minerals in their lands are being looted by the government and private companies. The Supreme Court has declared 214 out of the 219 Coal-Blocks in the country illegal and ordered their closure and levied a fine on them for their illegal mining. But the Central & State Govts have found a way out by re-allotting these illegal mines through auction to make it look legal!
  6. I have questioned the reasons why SC observation is being ignored that ‘Mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence . [SC: Criminal Appeal No: 889 of 2007] . The court rejected the doctrine of 'guilt by association'.
    It is common knowledge that very many young men & women are held in prison on the suspicion of being “helpers of naxalites”. After arresting them other penal clauses are added on. It is an easy label that can be put on any one whom the police want to catch. It does not require any proof or witness. Supreme Court says even membership in a banned organisation does not make a person a criminal. How far removed are the law and order forces from the judiciary!
  7. I have questioned the recently enacted Amendment to ‘Land Acquisition Act 2013’ by Jharkhand government which sounds a death-knell for Adivasi Community. This does away with the requirement for “Social Impact Assessment’ which was aimed at safeguarding the environment, social relations and cultural values of affected people. The most damaging factor is the govt can allow any agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. So any and every thing can be included.
  8. I have questioned ‘Land Bank’ which I see as the most recent plot to annihilate the Adivasi people.
  • During ‘Momentum Jharkhand’ in February 2017 the government announced that 21 lakh acres in Land Bank of which 10 lakhs acres is ready for allotment to industrialists.
  • Gair-Majurwa” land (= uncultivated land) can be ‘khas’ (= private) or ‘aam’ (= common). As per tradition, individual adivasi families or communities have been in possession and use this land [jamabandi]. Now the govt shockingly cancelled all ‘jamabandi’ titles and claims that all ‘gair-majurwa’ land belongs to the govt and it is free to allot it to any body (read industrial houses) to set up their small and big industries.
  • People are in the dark about their land is being written off. The TAC has not given its approval as is required by the Vth Schedule the respective Gram Sabhas have not given their consent as required by PESA Act, affected adivasi people have not given their consent as required by Land Acquisition Act (2013).

Above are questions I have consistently raised.

If this makes me a ‘desh drohi’ then so be it !
1 August 2018

Eds note: This note was penned by Stan to inform friends that he "together with 19 other Adivasi activists had been accused of sedition (desh droh) by Jharkhand goverment on 28th July 2018. FIRs have been made out. They were accused of supporting the self-rule movement taking place among Adivasis in Jharkhand and neighbouring states of central India. Pathalgadi (erection of stone slabs) listing the powers of Gram Sabhas as per PESA Act, 1996 and declaring their right to self-governance. The state govt is not able to digest this declaration and calls it a ‘war against the state’ and all those who support it as ‘desh drohi’!"

Amnesty International India responds to Bangalore 'sedition'


Amnesty International India responds to complaint filed by ABVP

On 15 August, a First Information Report was reportedly registered against Amnesty International India with regard to an event held on 13 August, based on a complaint filed by an ABVP representative.

The allegations mentioned in the complaint are without substance. They are preventing the families of victims of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir from having their stories heard. And preventing civil society organisations from enabling these families to exercise their constitutional right to justice.

Amnesty International India's vision is for every person in India to enjoy the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other international human rights standards, and the Constitution of India. We are independent of any political, economic or ideological interests.

The event was held as part of a campaign based on the report “Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir”, published in July 2015, and publicly available. The report documents the obstacles to justice faced in several cases of human rights violations believed to have been committed by Indian security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. It focuses particularly on Section 7 of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 (AFSPA), which grants virtual immunity to members of the security forces from prosecution in civilian courts for alleged human rights violations.

The report was based on in-depth research in Jammu and Kashmir, including interviews with family members of victims, Right to Information applications, examination of police and court records, and interviews with civil society groups, lawyers, and government officials.

The families of three Kashmiri victims that were interviewed for the report were invited to share their stories at the event.

Below is a point-by-point rebuttal to the allegations raised in the complaint.
1) “Sindhujaa Iyengar, a political science lecturer at a private university in Bengaluru, Seema Mustafa and Roushan Illahi sang anti-national songs and raised anti-national slogans.”
Sindhujaa Iyengar is an employee of Amnesty International India. She was not present on stage at any point during the event. Seema Mustafa is a senior journalist. She moderated a discussion with affected families at the event. Neither of them sang any songs or raised any slogans at any point.

The only musical performance was a song by Roushan Illahi (also known as MC Kash) at the end of the event, about growing up amid violence in Kashmir.

Video footage of the event which was recorded by Amnesty International India has been shared with the police.

2) “Sindhujaa Iyengar, Seema Mustafa and Roushan Illahi…delivered anti-national speeches against soldiers.”
The only speech delivered at the event was by Amnesty International India’s Programmes Director, Tara Rao, which referred to allegations of human rights violations by security force personnel. These allegations are laid out in detail in Amnesty International India’s 2015 report, and have been widely reported and discussed. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which is part of the current ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, had welcomed the recommendations of the report when it was published.

The families who attended the event spoke of their own personal stories of loss, as per the programme of the event. One of the families who attended the event was that of Shahzad Ahmad Khan, one of the men killed in the Machil extra-judicial execution, for which five security force personnel were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Amnesty International India also invited R.K. Mattoo, a representative of the Kashmiri Pandit community in Bengaluru to speak about the human rights violations faced by members of the community.

3) “Slogans were raised that Indian Kashmir should be part of Pakistan.”
No Amnesty International India employee shouted any slogans at any point.

4) “The event indirectly supported terrorists.”
The only discussion at the event was about allegations of human rights violations and the denial of justice to families in Kashmir. These are issues that have regularly been discussed in the media. They have been written about at length by members of Parliament, politicians, judges and civil society. In July 2016, the Supreme Court, in a ruling relevant to the issues discussed at the event, stated that the armed forces do not enjoy impunity for human rights violations.

5) “The event…indirectly supported Pakistan and the ISI.”
The focus of the event was squarely on allegations of human rights violations and the denial of justice in Jammu and Kashmir.

Amnesty International has worked extensively on human rights violations in Pakistan, including the enforced disappearances and unlawful killings of political activists in Balochistan, violations by security forces in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) , and violence against journalists by groups including the ISI.

6) “When ABVP activists tried stopping the attack, people tried to assault them.”
No Amnesty International India employee was involved in any form of assault against anyone.

Towards the end of the event, some of those who attended raised slogans, some of which referred to calls for ‘Azaadi’ (freedom). Amnesty International India as a matter of policy does not take any position in favour of or against demands for self-determination.

However, Amnesty International India considers that the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate political solutions.

Amnesty International India had invited the Bengaluru police to be present at the event, in the interest of the security of the invited families and other attendees. We have shared our footage of the event with the police.

The Supreme Court of India has ruled on multiple occasions, notably in the case of Kedar Nath Singh versus State of Bihar, that speech would amount to sedition only if it involved incitement to violence or public disorder. The court ruled: "[C]riticism of public measures or comment on Government action, however strongly worded, would be within reasonable limits and would be consistent with the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression.”

In the case of Shreya Singhal versus Union of India, the Supreme Court ruled: “‘Mere discussion or even advocacy of a particular cause howsoever unpopular is at the heart of [the right to freedom of expression].” It stated that the right could be restricted “only when such discussion or advocacy reaches the level of incitement”.

Amnesty International statement on the arrest of Ajay TG

Free Binayak Sen Campaign

India: Concern over the arrest of filmmaker and human rights defender
T.G. Ajay in Chhattisgarh

Amnesty International, ASA 20/010/2008

Amnesty International is concerned over the apparently arbitrary arrest
of T. G. Ajay, a film-maker and human rights defender who has been
documenting problems faced by adivasi (indigenous) communities in
protecting their rights, in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

Ajay is the second human rights defender to be arrested under the
Chhattisgarh State Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA), in the state. He
is a member of the state executive committee of the People’s Union of
Civil Liberties (PUCL).

Ajay is being held in Raipur jail, where Dr. Binayak Sen, general
secretary of the state PUCL and a physician working on access to health
for adivasis, today completed one year of imprisonment. Dr. Sen now
faces a trial on charges of aiding a banned Maoist organisation, the
Communist Party of India (Maoist). 1

On 5 May, Ajay was arrested at his residence at Superla in Bhilai and
charged at the Bilaspur High Court under Section 124A of the Indian
Penal Code (sedition) and Sections 3, 4 and 8 of the CSPSA.

Amnesty International has reason to believe that the charges against
Ajay are politically motivated. Ajay has been actively engaged, since
2004, in documentation of human rights violations as part of the PUCL’s
ongoing efforts to protect the rights of adivasi communitiesin the face
of escalating violence in the Bastar-Dantewada area of Chattisgarh
between banned Maoists and Salwa Judum, an armed anti-Maoist militia
campaign widely regarded as supported by the state government. The PUCL
has been instrumental in bringing to light unlawful killings of
adivasis, sexual assault of adivasi women, abductions and forced

On 22 January 2008, following the arrest of a woman Maoist in
Bastar-Dantewada, the Chhattisgarh police searched Ajay’s residence and
seized his computer hard disk. On 26 March, Ajay filed a petition in the
High Court seeking its return.

Amnesty International calls on the Union and Chattisgarh governments

* to ensure Ajay’s prompt and fair trial in accordance with
international standards of fairness.
* to take concrete measures to ensure that human rights defenders
in Chhattisgarh are not subject to harassment or intimidation and enjoy
all the rights enshrined in international law.


Since 2005, Chhattisgarh, especially the Bastar-Dantewada forest area,
has experienced an escalation of violence between the Maoists and the
Salwa Judum. Civilians have been routinely targeted on both sides,
resulting in at least 300 deaths. Also, 30,000 adivasis displaced from
their homes continue to live in special camps where they face increased
risk of violence. The Chhattisgarh state government claimed that it
enacted the CSPSA to take action against the Maoists.

The CSPSA allows for arbitrary detention of persons suspected of
belonging to an unlawful organization or participating in its activities
or giving protection to any member of such an organization.

Human rights organizations in India have demanded the repeal of CSPSA as
it contains several provisions which violate international human rights law:

* Vague and sweeping definitions of “unlawful activities” for which
organizations may be rendered “unlawful”, such as “uttering words… which
propounds the disobedience” of “established law and its institutions”.
Such definitions enable the government to arrest and detain individuals,
as well as seek their punishment, on grounds that may not be clear to
them, in violation of the principle of certainty in criminal law,
reflected in Article 15 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, to which India is a state party;
* Threats, as a result, to other key human rights including freedom
of expression and association, provided in Articles 19 and 22 of the
ICCPR, respectively;
* All offences under the CSPSA are “cognizant and non-bailable”;
hence all those charged under the Act are detained, often for months,
before being tried. In Dr. Sen’s case, he was detained on 14 May 2007,
his trial commenced on 30 April 2008 and is currently adjourned till 23
June 2008.

Public Document


International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London

1 Amnesty International, India: Chattisgarh government detains human
rights defender, refuses to arrest police officials suspected of
involvement in unlawful killings of adivasis, AI Index: ASA 20/013/2007,
24 May 2007. See



Dear friends,

Ajay TG was released from Jail today the 5th of August only after 8 pm. It took them till four pm today to get all the papers ready. The work of notarising the property list of Ajay took no time in the jail in the morning. However, the Bail sureties that were to be presented by Shobha, Ajay's wife and the other person required that the Tehsildar verify and counter sign it. The Tehsildar asked the Patwari to verify the papers. The Patwari was not available till very late. However all the work was done and the papers were finally filed in Court by 4pm. Following which the release order was made out and sent to the Jail and then the formalities in Jail took a more than an hour. The entire process made it late evening. It was worth the waiting for all.

Ajay was given a big welcome back. Shobha his wife, several of his friends, family members from both sides including Shobha's brother Babu, her sister were all there. The most difficult moment was the reunion with his parents.

Ajay spoke over the phone to some of us. When he spoke to me he was very happy. He said that he would not lose a single day to plan next step on the “case” front. He said that he will be calling his lawyers and working it out

Ajay's release has rekindled hope that things will change in Chhattisgarh..

Kavita Srivastava

Ajay T G finally released



Dear Friends,
This is to inform -

That Ajay Tg was finally released from prison late this evening on the 5th of August 2008.

That the combined efforts of several activists , friends , film makers , journalists and organisations put enough pressure on the Chattisgarh police to accept that they did not have any evidence against Ajay TG.

That the Chattisgarh police failed to file the charge sheet against Ajay TG within the mandatory 90 day period . Ajay was therefore granted statutory bail .

That the police have not closed the case. The bail order placed conditions on Ajay which required him to present a personal bond of Rs Fifty Thousand, two sureties of Rs. 25,000 each, submit an affidavit of a list of his movable and immovable property, appear at the local police station on the 2nd Monday of every month and denied him the right to travel outside India without the permission of the court.

That we condemn the attempt of the Chattisgarh police to intimidate Ajay TG and keep him in a state of fear and silence.

That our campaign will continue until the case against Ajay TG is formally closed and that Ajay TG's films will continue to be screened all across the country, especially his film 'Anjam ' which is about the life , work and arrest of Dr. Binayak Sen.


Committee for the Release of Ajay TG.
New Delhi
Email : ,

New Delhi

Email :

Ajay TG granted bail



Dear friends,

there is good news for all of us. Ajay TG was granted bail today,
however, the release will happen tomorrow. Today Chandra Kumar Kashyap
Judicial Magistrate First Class, Durg District, granted bail to Ajay
the 4th of August around five pm. The bail was granted under sec 167
(2) (a) (i), which is called statutory bail in local parlance. Since
the ninety days had expired and the police had not furnished the charge
sheet thus the magistrate who was authorising the detention had to
grant him bail.

the remand hearing on 2nd of August morning the police took further
remand for the 12th . The bail had been applied on 2nd evening itself
at 4.45 pm as the ninety days period was over at 5pm. Since the court
asked for the case diary it was slated for Monday morning. Today Ajay's
two friends Dilip Ingley and Bose Thomas were there when the matter got
listed and the order was reserved for the evening when they were joined
by Ajay 's lawyer Mahedra Dubey and Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj. The order
after stating why bail was being granted also stated the conditions
under which he would be released. They are
1. Ajay will furnish a personal bond of fifty thousand rupees.
2. Two sureties of Rs. 25,000 each.
3. On affidavit he will give a list of the movable and immovable property he has.
4. Every 2nd Monday of the month he will give his attendance in the local police station.
5. He will not move out of the country without the permission of the Court.
the two sureties (condition 2) was prepared in advance it was condition
(3) which has caused the delay in the release. The Court has asked the
lawyers of Ajay to take the notary public to the jail tomorrow morning
and get the list of property signed and notarised after which he will
be released.

You may be aware that AJay TG was arrested on the 5th August under Sections 124 (A) IPC and Sec 3, 4 ,8 (1)(2)3 of Chhattisgarh Public Security Act, 2005.

We hope this is the beginning of good news for Ajay TG. Will keep all of you informed of the developments.

Kavita Srivastava

An Appeal to the Conscience of the Nation - on Bhima-Koregaon case – Stan Swamy

[Foreword: India has vowed to be a socialist, secular, democratic republic. Sadly, all these values are steadily being eroded in the present political developments. About 20 intellectuals, professionals, activists who are working for the fundamental rights of the poor and marginalized and upholding the above mentioned constitutional values are being labeled ‘urban naxals’ and are being harassed no end either as ‘accused’ or as ‘suspects’. Their premises have been raided, their electronic devices seized, serious cases filed. Some are already in prison, others face arrest anytime. I {Stan Swamy) am one of the ‘suspects’, I was also raided on 28th August 2018, even after more than four months Pune police have not made any charges, and when I appealed to Bombay HC [No.4741 of 2018] to quash the FIR against me my petition was rejected. Instead it authorized Pune police to continue its investigation on me, without prescribing any time frame, to see if I have committed any offence under UAPA and if needed take strong legal action. Really an open-ended offer to the police! Several of the accused have refuted the charges against them. But the court seems to go by police’s version with scant regard to what petitioners are saying.
This is an appeal to all democratic minded individuals/groups/ organizations/ movements/ordinary citizens who are genuinely concerned about the steadily deteriorating human rights situation in our country and to raise their voice against it. – Stan Swamy]

The following considerations may be taken for what they are worth:

  1. Justice PB Sawant, one of the organizers of the Bhima-Koregaon ‘Elgar Parishad’ event on 1st January 2018, in an interview testified that “For years these pilgrims had been going to Bhima Koregaon, no incident happened. Why did it happen last year only? Our sources tell us that these two people (Bhide and Ekbote) were working at least two months before the violence there because they knew many people were going to come because of the 200th anniversary.
    This government wants to protect the Hindutva forces. They have been consistently trying to protect Hindutva activists who had indulged in violence… no Maoists were involved in the programme and the activists had been arrested because they criticised the government.’ [ Pavan Dahat in HUFFPOST - NEWS, 30/12/2018 ]
    Why the Investigating Officer and the courts did not pay attention to the above statement of a respected judge is a point of concern.
  2. Various fact-findings took place, the most prominent amongst them was one conducted at the behest of Pune Rural IG, Vishwas Nagare Patil, wherein ex-mayor of Pune was part of the team which visited many places and submitted its report on January 20, 2018. Summarising the report we find the following chronological events narrated in the report. Note the careful planning by communal forces.
    1. On December 16, 2017, one person namely Kaustubh Kasture had posted on Facebook that there would be riot on January 01, 2018, this person is supporter of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote
    2. On December 30, 2017, Milind Ekbote took a meeting in Bhima Koregaon, whereat he decided to treat January 01, 2018 as black day and ensure bandh all across the area.
    3. On December 29, 2017, memorial of Govind Mahar, who has legend to his credit of having shown courage to cremate the dead of Sambhaji Maharaj son of Shivaji Maharaj, came to be defiled. This resulted into a riot like situation in Vadu Budruk and adjacent areas, however all the villagers acted with responsibility and sorted out the issue amongst themselves and peace was restored. By December 30, 2017, though the issue at the Vadu Budruk was resolved peacefully, it is said that Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, instigated the villagers.
    4. On December 30, 2017, a message was circulated on social media that there is a meeting called by Sambhaji Bhide in Vadu Village on January 01, 2018 and the supporters should gather in large numbers.
    5. On the night of December 31, 2017 Pradip Kand, Anil Kand and Ganesh Kand were threatening hotel owners to ensure bandh on January 01, 2018.
    6. Women in the vicinity knew prior about the riot on January 01, 2018, President of Tanta Mukti (dispute resolution) Committee, namely Vaibhav Yadav, had stored sticks and swords in his shop a night before.
    7. Suddenly on late night December 31, 2017, a letter was sent to police station, near Bhima Koregaon purportedly written by Bhima Koregoan Gram Panchayat, wherein police were informed about the bandh to be observed next day. [Nihal Singh Rathod in The Leaflet, 6 January 2019]
      The Bombay HC while giving credence to the police version of the events has not asked the police whether any other reports were made. Could it have asked for this report to see the other side of the coin?
  3. Within a week, the Pune Rural Police registered at least 22 FIRs, including Anita Sawale’s, in multiple incidents of attacks against the pilgrims across different routes leading to the war memorial. The state government has stated before a Pune court that there are over 1,400 suspects in these cases, and estimated a total loss to public property of over Rs 1.5 crore. In the first information report registered against her complaint, Sawale named Manohar Bhide, president of the Shiv Jagar Pratishthan, Milind Ekbote, president of the Hindu Janjagran Samiti, and their “savarna sathidar”—savarna associates. [The CARAVAN – News – 14 September.2018 by Sagar]
    To my knowledge, no courts have directed the police to act upon these FIRs. It is strange that one man’s FIR has galvanized against human rights activists and the defenders of the poor but 22 FIRs got no response and interestingly the judiciary did not comment on it.
  4. The raid of my living room-cum-office by Pune police on 28th August 2018 was illegal and inhuman.
    1. Both the Search Order and the Report-cum-inventory were written in Marathi language which I could not understand.
      The search on my premises at 6 am 28th August 2018 by Pune police accompanied by a contingent of Namkum police thana, Ranchi, Jharkhand, was illegal. When I asked to see the Search Warrant the Pune police showed a Search Order. It was in Marathi language which I do not know. Hence I asked them to give me a translation of the Search Order either in Hindi or English so I could understand the nature of the order. The Pune police responded that it was not possible and that the search had to be carried out immediately. Thus they forcibly entered my room and spent three hours scrutinizing everything. They seized my laptop computer, a tablet, a camera, mobile phone and some instrumental music CDs. Then they produced a report-cum-inventory of seized articles which was also in Marathi language and asked me to sign the same. At this point I refused to sign a document in Marathi language which I do not understand until after an oral translation was done.
    2. Pune police had brought two persons from Pune as ‘Panch’ which makes the Search illegal
      The law on Search prescribes that a few respectable civilian people in the area be present during the search and that they sign as witnesses. But Pune police had brought two ‘panch’ along with them who signed as witnesses. This is a gross violation of the law and caused injustice to me. There were raids all over India on those who speak against injustices, but these raids did not follow the well-laid procedures. Its illegal nature is blatant.
  5. Torture in Police Custody: Adv. Arun Ferreira, one of the accused, was tortured in Pune Police Custody.
    “Arun Ferreira alleged in the court that he was beaten up during custodial interrogation. He said that on November 4 around 4 pm, during the interrogation he was punched about 8-10 times by the Investigating Officer (I.O.) Shivaji Pawar. The IO also hit him in the eye. While beating up Ferriera, IO Pawar was asking him questions about Indian Association of People's Lawyers (IAPL). On November 5, he was taken to the Sassoon hospital. Injuries and contusion near eye were noted by the doctors at Sassoon hospital while conducting his medical examination.” [Sushmita in Sabrang News, 6 November 2018]
    This is a serious human rights issue. Just last year when the United Nations Human Rights Council was trying to muster the nations of the world to sign the Treaty Against Torture, the Indian envoy loudly proclaimed “The very idea of torture is completely alien to Indian culture” ! On this basis India did not sign the UN document against torture. But everyone knows the police everywhere in India do torture prisoners to extract ‘confessions’. And when even eminent persons who have dedicated their life for the cause of the oppressed masses are subjected to this inhuman practice it is a matter of serious concern. This is also a violation of Supreme Court observing “ ‘custodial torture’ as a violation of human dignity and degradation that destroys self-esteem of the victim and does not even spare his personality.” [SC - SCC No. 416 / 1997 D.K.Basu vs State of WB]

    But strangely enough, the judge at the Pune court did not comment on the petitioner’s mention of the torture. Silence from the judiciary on this vital aspect of human rights is painful.

I have thought these things aloud. I am sharing some questions that popped out. I do hope we can get answers.

[This Appeal is released on the occasion of the Republic Day when India took on the mantle of a “socialist, secular, democratic Republic’.]

Are these anti-Naxal Operations Mr. Chidambaram?

Are these anti-Naxal Operations Mr. Chidambaram?
March 28, 2011
by Gladson Dungdung

India’s security budget grows every year and even the economic crisis does not make any difference to it. The Indian government spends most of its money for the security of its own people. Apart from this, the government also has special budget allocation for dealing with the internal security threat and several state governments also spend the money on security, allocated for the Tribal Sub-plan. Ironically, the government(s) use the money which is supposed to be spent for the welfare and development of Adivasis to kill them instead. The innocent Adivasis are victimized most of the time in the process of dealing with the security threat. The fastest growing state of Chhatisgarh is the living example of it, where the Adivasis have been victimized by the paramilitary forces, local police and Koya Commandos (an armed Tribal police comprising of surrendered Maoists) but instead of taking action against the perpetrators, the state justifies their inhuman acts and shield them.

In a recent incident, during the ongoing special police operations against the Maoists in the region, Chhattisgarh’s Koya commandos, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and CoBRA battalions burnt more than 300 houses and food grains, raped 5 Adivasi women and killed 5 men of Timapuram, Morpalli and Tarmetla villages of Dantewada between March 11 and March 16, 2011 alleging them as the Maoists. The security forces comprising of 200 Koyas, 150 CoBRA and 50 CRPF Jawans carried out intensive operations in the vicinity based on the report of a surrendered Maoist, who claimed the existence of a Maoists’ arms factory in Morpalli village . Intelligence inputs had also indicated the presence of 100 Maoists in the vicinity. However, the security forces neither found any arms factory nor Maoists. The police also accepted that the people killed during the operations were not the Maoists but villagers. Indeed, these people who were victimized by the security forces were neither Maoists nor their supporters but they were innocent people living in their ancestors’ villages. Can P. Chidambaram, the corporate Home Minister tell us what kinds of anti-naxal operations are these where innocent villagers were killed, women were raped and their houses, clothes and food-grains were burnt by the security forces?

Of course, we need an answer from the Home Ministry as to why the top cops were not held accountable and punished for allowing paramilitary forces and local police to rape the women, kill the villagers and burnt their houses? Why is the Home Ministry silent on the matter? And will the Ministry hear the villagers’ cry for justice? According to Madavi Hunge of Morpalli village, her husband Madavi Chulla (30) was sitting in a tamarind tree and plucking tamarind. The force saw him and opened fire. She pleaded them to stop, but instead of hearing her plea, they assaulted her too. Somehow she escaped but her husband was killed and his dead body was left hanging in the tree. Similarly, 45 year old Aimla Gandi was plucking Tendu leaves on the field when the force reached and accused her of spying for the Maoists. They threw her into the ground, pulled off her clothes and raped her in front of her two daughters. In another case, the force caught 45 year-old Madavi Ganga, his son Bima and his daughter Hurre and took them to the Chintalnar police station. The police put 20 year-old Hurre in a separate cell, stripped and raped her throughout the night. During the anti-naxal operations, the police burnt 37 houses in Morapalli, 50 in Timapuram and 200 houses of Tarmetla village including food-grain, clothes, utensils and money as well. The relevant questions are what will the villagers eat this year? What will they wear? And where do they live? However, the billion dollar question is, do they have citizenship rights in this country?

The crime was perpetrated on them only because they denied shifting to the government run camps near the national highway. According to the police, since the villagers denied shifting to the camps therefore they are no different from the Maoists. The police justify this saying that if they are with the government, they would have shifted to the camps, but they don’t listen to us because they are Maoists and their supporters. Is this the justification to perpetrate crimes against the Adivasis and other local people in Chhatisgarh? However, when there was a hue and cry, the Dantewada Collector R. Prasanna announced a probe into the matter and setup a 5 members committee headed by the Tehsildar of Konta. The committee shall submit its report in one month. The collector has also announced Rs. 50,000 as compensation for each house burnt, and will also reimburse villagers for their grain, utensils and other possessions. The questions here are, will justice really be delivered to the people? Can we expect the committee to bring out the facts without any pressure, manipulation and influence from the government? And why was a high level judicial inquiry not instituted on the case? Is it because the state does not want the truth to come out in the public domain?

The police officers and the top bureaucrats are playing dubious roles in the ongoing brutalities against the Adivasis. The Director General of Police of Chhatisgarh, Vishwa Ranjan denied any police inquiry into the incident saying that since the local police are denying the charges therefore there will be no inquiry. The question is does a criminal accept the charge after committing a crime? The Dantewada superintendent of police, S R P Kalluri even went beyond in shielding his inhuman gunmen by dismissed the allegations as Maoist propaganda. Irony is the district administration was sending rice, pulses, edible oil, clothes and fuel to Tarmetla village and also denied the brutalities. The Bastar Commissioner Shreeniwasulu and Dantawada collector R. Prasanna were prevented by the police to distribute relief materials even after they denied charges of arson, rape and killing. R. Prasanna says that no one has complained to him about the incident, therefore he cannot take any action? Can the villagers dare to file complaints against the security forces that are put in operations by the top cops? The Sub-divisional officer who was taking relief materials had to return as the Koyas, CoBRAs and SPOs attacked the vehicle and severely beat the drivers and food suppliers. Does our democracy have a solution to this? Ironically, the Dantewada superintendent of police, S R P Kalluri blames the Maoists for everything. According to him, the security forces not allowing distribution of the relief materials among the victims of brutalities is also a part of Maoist propaganda.

The Chhatisgarh government has been lying regularly. In October, 2010, the state government had informed the Supreme Court that Salwa Judum no longer exists in Chhatisgarh. However, the reality is completely different. The Salwa Judum has been converted into ‘Koya Commando Battalion’ and ‘Special Police officer’ (SPO) and the Indian government bears the expenses under ‘Security Related Expenditure’ (SRE). In fact, the top cops of Chhatisgarh have deployed the Koya Commandos, SPOs and CoBRAs to cleanse all the villagers who do not follow the order of the government to vacate their villages for the corporate sharks. We must recall that Chidambaram had told us at the beginning of his war against the Maoists that ‘you should be either this side or that side’. There is no middle ground in his ‘war theory’. Now his top cops are just implementing his war theory. Perhaps, the security forces are taught that ‘those who live in the villages are Maoists, or their supporters’ therefore they must be cleansed from the vicinity. These Koya commandos and SPOs are also assigned the job to detain those people in the police stations, who attempt to investigate the cases of arson, rape and murder committed by the police.

In these circumstances, the area of major concern is hijacking of the freedom of thought and expression by the state. The freedom of thought and expression no more exists in the state of Chhatisgarh. In fact, no one is allowed to enter into the vicinity saying that those areas are unsafe. According to the Officer-in-charge of Chintagufa police station, there are strict instructions from the Dantewada Superintendent of the Police to not let outsiders to enter into the areas. The media persons are seen as image damagers of the state and so also the human rights activists. Consequently, many journalists, social activists and human rights activists were attacked, tortured and detained in the police stations. However, some daring Journalists and Human Rights Activists got into the vicinity and exposed the brutalities.

However, the media elites are also not different than the top cops of Chhatisgarh. The worst thing is that we have countless news channels running ‘breaking news’ 24 hours but torching of Adivasis’ houses, rape of women and killing by the security forces in Dantawada was not breaking news for them. Similarly, the print media also neglected the brutalities. Is it because the state sponsored crime perpetuated against the Adivasis, whom the Indian state sees as the biggest obstacle for the economic growth, since they don’t want to surrender their land to the corporate houses? Would the Media have behaved in the same manner if it would have happened with the other communities? And why those so-called intellectuals Television debates are not taking place on the state sponsored crime against the Adivasis?

On the one hand, the police do not allow the outsiders to roam in Dantewada for the security reasons. Consequently, Swami Agniwesh, Nandini Sunder and others were attacked, detained and tortured. Himanshu Kumar’s Ashram was razed and he was thrown out of the state. However, on the other hand the representatives of the corporate houses i.e. Tata, Essar, Jindal, Bhushan and so on are welcome and are well protected. We have never heard any attack on them by the CoBRAs, Koyas and SPOs. Are they not outsiders? Is there no security threat to them? And why there is security threat only to Journalists, Human Rights Activists and Social Activists? Of course, if you are a representative of the corporate houses including the multinationals then you are not the outsiders in Chhatisgarh. But the meaning of outsiders in Chhatisgarh is, those who expose the state sponsored crimes against the Adivasis, the outsiders are those who raise their voices against the rampant human rights violations and outsiders are those who pen the injustices perpetuated on Adivasis by the law enforcement agencies. In fact, the so-called anti-naxal operations are being carried out to ensure lands for the corporate houses therefore the latter are treated as the insiders.

One more thing is to understand is that if you are a politician or have a political support you can do anything in the Red Corridor. Renowned doctor Binayak Sen is in jail for alleged link with the Maoists. However, according to the government record, a former BJP Minister Satyanand Bhokta of Jharkhand had a clear link with the Maoists when he was a cabinet minister in Jharkhand but no action was taken against him. There are numbers of MPs and MLAs irrespective of political parties who have won the elections with the support of the Maoists have been enjoying the power. In fact, if you are in the power then having link with the Maoists, bagging huge public money, killing the innocent, raping women and grabbing land of the Adivasis are also not enough to be charged under the case of Sedition. However, if you are out of the political power than demanding your rights is also enough to be charged as the Maoists, anti-national and seditious. Are we really living in a democratic country?

Presently, we are witnessing two faces of growth and development. Chhatisgarh is a result of liberalization, privatisation and globalization where one face is depicted as the fastest growing state in India and second, the terrified ugly face consisting of illegal arrest, torture, rape, killing and arson of houses and food grains of the Adivasis by the security forces. However, the government attempts to cover the second face of the state by the first face. Is it the real face of emerging super power, where rights, humanity and conscience do not matter for the majority of the people and what matters is only the rat race of development called “economic growth’? However, people must get the justice. Since there are so many ifs and buts in the brutality of Dantewada therefore only a CBI inquiry will deliver justice to the victims of state sponsored crime against the Adivasis of Dantewada.

Gladson Dungdung
H R Activist and Writer
Ranchi, Jharkhand
Ph. No. 0651-3242752
Mobile No. 09334449335

Arresting Film Maker May Have Been a Mistake--DGP CHHATTISGARH

The full report of the DGP visit with photos is available here:

"Arresting Film Maker May Have Been a Mistake": Vishwa Ranjan

For a change, it was the turn of Vishwa Ranjan, the high profile DGP
(Director General of Police) of the Indian State of Chhattisgarh, to
be interrogated. Questioning the DGP about the massive human rights
abuses perpetrated by the police under his direction were over fifty
students, faculty and members from a coalition of South Asian
community groups at a conference on Indian Democracy at Berkeley,
California, where he was one of the invited speakers.

And some of the 'confessions' that emerged from him were startling.
The arrest of film maker Ajay T.G., Vishwa Ranjan said, was a
'technical mistake'. The continued incarceration of Dr Binayak Sen in
Raipur jail was the responsibility of the Chhattisgarh government and
not the police.

Apparently, the chief police official of Chhattisgarh is so unused to
questioning that he became flustered and signed a post-card to the
Prime Minister asking for Dr Sen's release! The card he signed reads
'The imprisonment of this brave and good man is outrageous. I demand
his immediate unconditional release.'

READ ON for a full account of the conference...
**Videos, Photographs available below**

The FDRI/Berkeley Conference on Indian Democracy held at the
University of California, Berkeley, on September 26 and 27, 2008, had
a 2-hour session on the human rights situation in the Indian state of
Chhattisgarh. The panel consisted of Justice Srikrishna (former
Justice of the Indian Supreme Court), Vishwa Ranjan (DGP of
Chhattisgarh), Nandini Sundar (Professor of Sociology, University of
Delhi), Sunil Kumar (Editor, Daily Chhattisgarh) and Dipti Bhatnagar
(Students for Justice in Chhattisgarh).

Chhattisgarh is the site of an ongoing conflict between Naxalites
(Maoist insurgents) and state security forces, including the
state-backed "Salwa Judum" vigilante army. Counterinsurgency programs
have displaced over 300,000 tribals from their villages. The state
security forces, including the Salwa Judum, have been implicated in
many instances of extrajudicial killings, rapes, extortion, torture
and theft from adivasis, the main inhabitants of the mineral rich
southern part of the state. Human rights activists who have
criticized state actions, journalists reporting on state atrocities,
and tribals resisting forced dislocation have been aribitrarily
detained, harassed and/or imprisoned under the draconian Chhattisgarh
Special Public Security Act of 2005, and accused of working for the

Dr. Binayak Sen, an acclaimed human rights activist and development
worker, has been imprisoned in Raipur jail since May 2007, despite
calls for his release from Nobel Laureates, Amnesty International,
national and international organizations of physicians, and thousands
of individuals from around the world. Ajay T.G., who made a film
about the circumstances surrounding Dr. Sen's arrest, was himself
arrested by Chhattisgarh police in May this year, but had to be
released after 93 days in jail because the police were unable to
produce a charge-sheet (final police report). Almost five months
after his arrest, although out on statutory bail, the charges against
Ajay have neither been filed, nor dropped.


The first speaker at the panel was Justice BN Srikrishna. He
forcefully pointed out that there was no role for vigilante armies in
a democracy, and who was or was not a Naxalite or what punishment
should be meted out to a Naxalite, are questions that only a court of
law can decide, not private citizens. Next, DGP Vishwa Ranjan
defended the Salwa Judum's "peaceful," "spontaneous," nature, despite
widely available evidence to the contrary, including a recent report
by Human Rights Watch enumerating numerous violent abuses by the
militia. Nandini Sundar challenged the DGP's description of Salwa
Judum. She traced the collusion of the state in supporting and arming
the Salwa Judum, and detailed some cases from the widespread murder,
rape, arson, and theft committed by Salwa Judum. She also talked
about the increase in Naxalite violence in the past three years.

However, Sunil Kumar alleged in his presentation that human rights
activists only speak out against violence by the state and disregard
Naxalite violence. He was directly challenged by Nandini Sundar who
reminded him that when she had written a letter condemning the
Naxalite driven blackout in Bastar and the Salwa Judum violence
earlier this year, all papers in Chhattisgarh, including Sunil Kumar's
Daily Chhattisgarh, had refused to carry it. The audience were
appalled to hear Sunil Kumar claim in his presentation that the"little
political understanding" of the people of Chhattisgarh, unlike that of
a "mature democracy" such as the US, makes them incapable of
appreciating the difference between state and extra-state actors.

The final speaker was Dipti Bhatnagar, a UC Berkeley graduate student
who had been added to the panel at the request of student groups. She
challenged Vishwa Ranjan, as the chief of Chhattisgarh police, to
explain his role in suppressing dissent in Chhattisgarh. She
highlighted specific cases, such as the fabrication of evidence in the
trial of Dr. Binayak Sen, the arrest of documentary film maker Ajay
T.G. without any charge-sheet, and the tacit complicity of the
security forces with Salwa Judum when it exacted revenge on residents
of Nendra village for testifying against it in front of the National
Human Rights Commission.


Rajeev Dhavan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, started off
the question and answer session by challenging DGP Vishwa Ranjan's
facts and asking for his resignation. Students attending the event
silently carried signs that, among other issues, voiced protest about
children being held in police custody, about a Chhattisgarh
superintendent of police accused of rape and murder, and about the
ongoing harassment of Dr. Binayak Sen's family. One protestor carried
a placard pointing out that even Gandhi would be jailed as a dissenter
under Chhattisgarh's black law (CSPSA). The DGP was handed a letter
written by 106 academics calling for him to address a number of
egregious human rights and police brutality cases; the signatories
included professors from many universities including UC Berkeley's
Center for South Asia Studies, the organization co-hosting the

The DGP evaded most of the pointed questions from conference
attendees. When asked why independent filmmaker Ajay was arrested and
jailed for 93 days, given that the police has not been able to come up
with charges even after 150 days, the DGP replied that it might have
been a "technical mistake"! If so, then why has the police still not
withdrawn the case against Ajay? How many other such technical
mistakes are there?

The DGP was asked that based on his claim that there are 3,200 SPOs
today, and his recent article in the Pioneer where he wrote that 3,250
SPOs have been discharged for indiscipline, can one draw the
conclusion that most SPOs have engaged in criminal behavior? He
neither answered nor acknowledged this question.

Given that the chargesheet against Dr. Binayak Sen is very vague,
mentioning no date or time or place, nor a description of any actual
illegal act, the DGP was asked to list the specific charges for which
Dr. Binayak Sen has been imprisoned. But instead of answering the
question, the DGP merely said that the charges were about providing
"logistical support" to Naxalites. The DGP also claimed that he had
nothing to do with Dr. Sen's imprisonment since the arrest happened
before he became the DGP of Chhattisgarh, and that Dr. Sen's
supporters should petition the government. The DGP is either
obfuscating, or being disingenuous, because as chief of police, it is
within the DGP's power to withdraw the charges against Dr. Sen, and
to not oppose his bail application in the court.

When asked about recruitment of child soldiers as SPOs, a very common
practice in Chhattisgarh, DGP Vishwa Ranjan replied that the police do
not deliberately recruit children, but go by whatever age the
applicant claims to be. This means that despite reports by several
independent human rights groups--including Human Rights Watch, Forum
for Fact-Finding Documentation and Advocacy (FFDA), and Asian Center
for Human Rights--that large numbers of children are being employed by
the state as soldiers, the police has taken no steps to verify the
ages of the SPOs. This is a war crime under the Rome Statue of the
International Criminal Court, and the DGP is liable for this gross
human rights abuse.


Apart from the unconditional release of Dr. Binayak Sen and other
political prisoners, community members also demanded that the Salwa
Judum be disarmed, the Black Law (Chhattisgarh Special Public Security
Act of 2005) be repealed, and the use of child soldiers in
counter-insurgency measures be prohibited.


DGP Vishwa Ranjan on Ajay TG's case:
DGP Vishwa Ranjan answering Srividhya's question on Dr. Binayak Sen's
Attorney Rajeev Dhavan says charges against Dr. Binayak Sen false;
asks DGP to resign:
Protestors chanting slogans after the session is over:

Available at:

_ Organizations_

Students for Justice in Chhattisgarh
Progressive Bengali Network: ( )
People's Health Movement, USA ( )
Sanhati ( )
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action: (
Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
Association for India's Development (
Friends of South Asia (
Campaign to Free Binayak Sen
Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (
Hesperian Foundation, Berkeley (
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (


1. FDRI/Berkeley conference is an annual conference organized jointly
by the Federation of Democratic Reforms in India ( ) and
the Center for South Asia Studies, Berkeley

2. Human Rights Watch report on Chhattisgarh: "Being Neutral is Our
Biggest Crime" Government, Vigilante, and Naxalite Abuses in India's,
Chhattisgarh State, 2008

3. Faculty Petition with signatures:
Questions for the DGP available at :

4. Front and Back copy of the post card signed by DGP of Chhattisgarh,
Vishwa Ranjan :

5. Text of the speech delivered by Dipti Bhatnagar: [See selected slides ]

For more information, write to freebinayaksen at

B D Sharma:: PEACE NOW in tribal areas

Former Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

A11, Nanglirajapur
Nizamuddin East
New Delhi-110013
Tel 01124353997

May 17, 2010

The President of India,
New Delhi

Dear President,

Sub: PEACE NOW in tribal areas

1. I, with my life-long association with tribal affairs, beginning with the troublesome days in Bastar (1968) and having the privilege of being the last Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (1986-1991), am constrained to approach you at a critical time when we are witnessing virtual collapse of the constitutional regime for the tribal people while being attacked and suppressed in a war like situation.

2. I approach you directly because people (including the tribal people) look to you as also the Governors as the constitutional head of India and the concerned State discharge their duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, made explicit respective oaths. As President, you have various rights and duties under Article 78 of the Constitution whereby all discussions of the Cabinet and administration are to be communicated to you and you are expected to submit matters for consideration of the Cabinet.

3. In particular, the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution requires the Governor to give annual report and such special reports required by the President with regards the administration of the Scheduled Areas and the power of the Union in your name shall

“extend to the giving of directions to the State in the administration of the said areas” (Vth Schedule, pr.3)

No reports of consequence have been made. The constitutional machinery of the Tribes Advisory Council (Vth Schedule, pr.4) yielded no advice.

4. Under the law, the Governor can ensure that no law of Parliament or the State shall apply to the extent indicated. At present, tribals are being ruthlessly exploited and suppressed by uses and abuses of land acquisition and public order. Yet no action is taking place.

5. In fact – going by the Ministry of Home Affairs perception, the tribals are effectively not the responsibility of the Union – which is only assisting the State government. How can this be? The executive power of a State extends to the Scheduled Areas subject to the provisions of the Fifth Schedule. Moreover, ‘the executive power of the Union shall extend to giving of directions to the State as to the administration of the said areas.’

6. I am constrained to state at this critical phase of the history of tribal people that the Union Government is guilty of abdicating its Constitutional responsibility by allowing the situation to degenerate from that of stray revolts in 1960s to ‘warlike situation’ at the moment. It has remained unconcerned with the simmering discontent from day one with the adoption of the Constitution. It has not issued a single direction to any State in 60 long years. You as head of the nation, at a critical time must ensure that the Union Government accepts unequivocally its Constitutional responsibility with due apologies for the decimated, shattered and disinherited tribal communities whose irretrievable loss- physical, economical and emotional - is an un-washable blot on the fair face of our nation that still stands by equity and justice.

7. May I invite your kind attention to some crucial aspects of virtual ‘warlike’ situation vis-à-vis the tribal people in extensive parts of our country. No less than a person, one of your worthy predecessors, Shri K.R. Narayanan in his address to the nation on January 26, 2001 drew pointed attention to enlightened laws for protection of tribal lands and their affirmation in judicial verdicts, yet plagued by dilemmas of development that were not suitably addressed. He poignantly observed, ‘let it not be said by future generations that the Indian Republic has been built on the destruction of green earth and the innocent tribals who have been living there for centuries.’

8. Amidst exceptions, there is cruel insensitivity and total lack of understanding, some honourable exceptions apart, about the tribal ethos amongst our ruling elite when they address the tribal as ‘poor’ and talk about his joining the ‘main stream’ of national life. They hurt the simple people to the core who are super-sensitive about their ‘honour’. Let it be known that tribal is not poor. He is Deprived and Disinherited in his own Domain, his ‘DES’, ironically amidst the unbounded bounty of Mother Earth to her dearest children. They are the brightest jewels in the rich mosaic of great Indian civilization proud of its vivacious diversity.

9. That is not all. The tribal people are ‘the most democratic people on earth’. The founding fathers, therefore, especially bestowed them with a protective shield, the Fifth Schedule described as ‘Constitution within Constitution’. Yet these communities were virtually ‘criminalised’ on the dot with the adoption of our Constitution. The colonial laws engulfed the hitherto excluded areas. They have no place for the ‘community’ and its ‘customs and tradition’, the unwritten laws of their ‘Village Republics.’ The Governors, endowed with limitless powers for removing any such dissonance, have remained unaware to date about the catastrophic impact of this lapse on their part on the life of the tribal people.

10. The Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA), appeared to come as a saviour that is designed to erase the above mentioned historical injustice. It engendered unprecedented fervour amongst the tribal people throughout the country. It was perceived as restoration of their dignity and tradition of self-governance, symbolized by ‘Mava Nate Mava Raj’ (Our Village Our Rule). Yet this fervour has faded as no one’s concern. It is so because the ruling elite are not prepared to go by the spirit of PESA. It remains virtually unimplemented in all States.

11. The fund of good-will for the tribal people in our country has been phenomenal beginning with the Panchasheel of Nehruvian era; the unique Constitutional provisions elevating tribal affairs as a national task away from party considerations; matchless commitment for elimination of exploitation concomitant with development in Tribal Sub-Plans (1974); ushering in Village Republic like frame under PESA (1996) and a pledge to undo Historical injustice in Forest Rights Act (2006). Yet, the saddest part of this commitment is that no promise in that long chain has remained unbroken, in some cases even promises-squared, cubed and beyond. I am enclosing an illustrative list of broken promises.

12. In this realm of broken promises, predatory administration and unconcern at the top that could not even keep a count of heads displaced, unrest spread and revolts multiplied. It was natural for the victims in the wild who could not be conquered even by the British. The cooption-bid through so-called developmental programmes back-fired. It vitiated the egalitarian ethos. The youthful rebels against iniquitous system became their allies. ‘With dadas in the vicinity at least– guard, daroga and patawari—no longer bother us,’ was the simple response of the simple people, reported by me way back in 1989. Yet no amends have been attempted notwithstanding ubiquitous admission that it is not a law and order problem.

13. In conclusion, I would like you to urgently consider:

(a) persuading the Union to publicly state its special responsibility towards the tribals;

(b) initiating proposal for PEACE NOW;

(c) setting up a chain of command to the highest level, amenable to access, by those affected, for regular oversight, review and action;

(d) honouring within one year honestly all promises that have been made to the tribal people and broken by the state

(e) examining immediately and reversing decisions where permissions requiring consultation with the people under PESA were fabricated, coerced or otherwise vitiated;

(f) working out a comprehensive solution to confront the existing chaos and,

(g) visiting some of the areas experiencing intense Constitutional crisis.

I remain

With regards,

Yours sincerely,

(B.D. Sharma)

Copy to
1. Shri Manmohan Singhji
Prime Minister of India,
South Block, New Delhi

2. Shri Pranab Mukherjee
Finance Minister
North Block, New Delhi

3. Shri Veerappa Moily
Minister of Law and Justice
Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi

4. Shri P. Chidambaram
Home Minister of India
North Block, New Delhi

5. Shri Kantilal Bhuria
Minister Tribal Affairs,
Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi

6. Dr C.P.Joshi
Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj
Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi

7. Shri Jairam Ramesh
Minster of State, Ministry of Environment and Forest
Paryavaran Bhawan, Lodi Road, New Delhi

List of Some of the Major Broken Promises (Please see the forthcoming book ‘Indian State and the Tribal People – a saga of unbroken chain of broken promises’ for further explanation.)

1. Abrogation of Union’s Responsibility about Administration of Scheduled Areas (SAs)

2. Scheduling of Areas: Endless Wavering, Inaction and Undeclared Withdrawal

3. Scheduling of Communities: A Death Warrant for Omitted Few

4. Criminalisation of Tribal Communities with Careless Adoption of the Constitution

5 Primitive Tribal Communities: Destined to Perish for Callous Unconcern

6. Quality of Personnel Nose-Dives with Constitutional ‘Blank Cheque’ Lost in Files

7. Vision Dandakaranya, the First Public Betrayal

8. Trust Betrayed on ‘MERA DES’ (My Country) Issue

9. ‘Our Man’ Postulate Back-Fires Culminating in People’s Revolt

10. Excise Policy Lost in Oblivion

11 Minor Forest Produce (MFP): Promise Galore, But Grapes are Sour

12. Constitution a Mute Witness of Rampant Usury, Faceless Bondage and Humiliation

13. Alienation of Land Sky-Rocketing with Protective Measures Trivialised

.14. Education minus Mother Tongue is Discriminatory and Crime against Community

15. Vivisected Communities located on Political and Administrative Borders

16. Self-Governance Ignored, Trivialised and Ridiculed

17. Rulers Commit No Crime, Especially in Case of Tribal People and Tribal Territory

18. Constitutional Backup for Scheduled Areas Trivialised

19.‘A Good Tribal is a Displaced Tribal, Ready to Move out with Folded Hands’

20.The Great Betrayal with barter of ‘Right to Life with Dignity’ with demeaning ‘Right to Food’.

Bijapur Killings

From: Campaign for Survival and Dignity


The mass killing in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, last Saturday by central and State police forces has highlighted one simple fact. The security forces and their Central and State heads have declared war on the adivasis of this area. Only this can explain the extraordinary callousness with which they have responded to Saturday's massacre.

Indeed, even the number of those dead is not clear. Some reports say 16, some say 17, and others say 20. As for how many "dreaded Maoists" (to use the media's favorite words) were killed, there too the government is not particularly bothered. According to the Chhattisgarh government on the first day, there were "two"; according to Home Minister Chidambaram, there were "three"; the CRPF DG says there were "four or five"; now, according to some reports, there were seven. The most likely answer is that of the local community, which is that there were none.

What no one from the government has even bothered to explain yet is why so many people are dead - even if all the government's claims are true. Why were the villagers gunned down? Why were bodies mutilated with axes? Why were women molested and men shot the next morning? These basic questions are something that the CRPF - which calls itself a "police force", not an occupying army - needs to answer. The claim that the CRPF was fired upon, even if true, is no justification for machine gunning a village meeting. Such mass slaughter of innocent people is not even legal under the laws of war. Indeed, US troops are facing prosecution after their massacre of 25 people in Iraq was exposed - they too claimed they had opened fire in "retaliation" after a bomb blast and a "firing."

But in the "world's largest democracy", the question of prosecution does not even arise. Home Minister Chidambaram nauseatingly refers to Operation Green Hunt as intended to "restore the rule of law" - but now all he has to say is that he is "deeply sorry", that too "if" innocent people died. In his view, the specious claim that three of those killed had "criminal records" justifies them being shot. He and the establishment he heads are not even bothered by the questions and demands of numerous mainstream parties, including his own, or for that matter those of his fellow cabinet Minister KC Deo. Meanwhile, the CRPF DG has told a news magazine that "it is not our job" to consider who a person is before killing them. The DG, too, shares Chidambaram's view of the world: "If, by bad luck, innocents were hurt, it is a matter of regret."

Is this what the government believes about adivasis - that they can simply be killed at will when convenient for its "counter insurgency"? Is this the definition of the "rule of law" - where any protest, armed or unarmed, is met with massive force, while massacres of people are met with expressions of "regret"?

The DG let slip the deeper logic of what is happening when he compared the situation in Bijapur to that of Saranda, saying "What is required is what is happening in Saranda." But, out of 800 acres in Saranda Forest Division, 500 are being sought for mining, while 24 police camps are being built. So this is what is "required" - use indiscriminate firepower, kill innocents, wipe out resistance by calling every protest "Maoist", and deploy thousands of police - so that the area can then be mined to destruction.1

The sheer brutality of this vision is the best testament to the collapse of the Indian state's democratic credentials in India's forests and tribal areas.

Campaign for Survival and Dignity,

1Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh's recent pious statements about private firms not being permitted to mine in Saranda are both irrelevant - he has no power over the issue - and disingenuous, for the devastation caused by mining is not in any way reduced when the mining is done by a public sector company.

Bonded labourers abducted: Volunteers for Social Justice


Two bonded labourers – Chand (20) and Davinder (22) from Village Bania, Khadoor Sahib, Distt Tarn Taran belonging to the Mazhabi Sikh caste who were taking asylum at the office of Volunteers for Social Justice were abducted this evening at around 6 PM.

Both Chand and Davinder have stated in their complaint that they have been working since childhood as siri (a form of bonded labour in the agriculture). They were employed by one Gurvail Singh, a landowning Jatt who advanced a bonded debt about a year and a half back which Chand and Davinder used to pay off their debt to their previous employer.

Chand and Davinder have stated that they were made to work in the agricultural farm in slavery like conditions – no proper wages, no leave even during sickness – penalty if any leave taken – no freedom to leave employment. All this until their debt advance had been satisfied which kept piling up in spite of them working day in and day out. Beaten, abused and threatened with false cases against them, Chand and Davinder got fed up and decided to approach Volunteers for Social Justice to get relief from bondage. They escaped from the employer and came to VSJ office about 2 months back. A complaint was then made to the District Magistrate, the authority under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act. They were terrified to return to their village and continued to take asylum at the transitory rehabilitation centre of VSJ. No action has been taken thus far by the District Administration.

This evening at about 6 PM some unknown persons have abducted Chand and Davinder from VSJ office at Amritsar. The said persons have locked the office from outside. Nothing is known about the current location of the bonded labourers. When a staff member called on the mobile of Chand a man picked up the phone and has said that they are taking Chand and Davinder to the Goindwal police station at Tarn Taran.



We, the citizens of Maharashtra protest against the planned and instigated violence against north Indians in Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan. Neither Mr. Raj Thackrey nor the MNS have actually done any good to the ordinary Maharashtrian Bahujans on whose behalf he is advocating. The major issues of the State and its toilling masses like that of the agrarian crisis, land and homelessness, displacement due to SEZ and other development based projects or mill workers in Mumbai have found any place in his agenda. The violent and dividing politicking will result in far reaching consequences to safety and securityof the citizens and the integrety of the nation

Repeated inflammatory public speeches and statements made by Raj Thackeray, is ample proof of his violent and unlawful demeanor and there is no justification for the Democratic Front led by Congress and NCP for being a silent spectator resulting in violation of rule of law and the rights guarenteed under the Indian Constitution.

The state has left the ordinary citizens vulnerable to the attack by a small section of unruly MNS workers.

We assert the diversity of Mumbai and believe that the rule of law has to prevail and Mr. Raj Thackery / MNS should not be allowed to continue with their unruly behaviour holding the entire city in randsom. The State is equally responsible for the breakdown of the constituitional mechanisms and fear that has been installed in the linguistic and regional minority in Mumbai. The violence would not have continued with out the silent support provided by the Chief Minister and the Home Minister.

We also denounce Thackeray's statement exhorting his party workers to take to violence and arson as peaceful modes of protest like fasting and Dharna are 'ineffective' and must be given up. We demand immediate action to restore the rule of law and derecognition of MNS as a political party and stringient legal action against Raj Thackrey, implement the recommendation of the SHRC to reinvestigate all the earlier cases against Raj Thackeray and initiate action as per law. We firmly state our disagreement with all those who have silent faith in the segregating vision of Raj Thackeray, but merely condemn his physically brutality.

We request the ordinary, peace loving, non communal and progressive forces in the city to come together and fight the hijacking of the ordinary citizens agenda using violence and vested interests by politicians like Raj Thackeray.

Sincerly yours,

Medha Patkar- NBA, NAPM,
Anand Teltumbede- Dalit Activist and Writer,
Anand Patwardhan- Film maker,
Avinash Mahtekar- Activist Ambedkar Movement
Simpreet Singh- Ghar Banao Ghar Bachao Andolan ,
Mukta Srivastava- NAPM,
N.D. Patil- PWP,
Urmila Pawar- Dalit Writer and Activist ,
Prakash Reddy- CPI ,
Bhalchandra Kango-CPI,
Hasina Khan-Awaz-e-Niswan, Forum Against Opression of Women ,
Maju Varghese- YUVA ,
Gerson da Cunha- Agni ,
Dolphy Disouza- Bombay Cathelic Sabha
Damjibhai Gada-

Call to resist Silent Emergency!.. Global protests for Binayak Sen’s Release

Call to resist Silent Emergency!.. Global protests for Binayak Sen’s Release

Free Binayak Sen Campaign

14th May 2008

Hundreds of activists in India and across the world today called for the
unconditional release of jailed pediatrician Dr Binayak Sen, dubbing his
incarceration a gross miscarriage of justice and a shame to Indian

On the first anniversary of the arrest of the renowned health and human
rights activist they also demanded the scrapping of the Chhattisgarh
State Special Security Act, a draconian legislation under which Dr Sen
was detained. The protestors quoted the recent statement signed by 22
Nobel Laureates that says the internal security law does not ‘comport
with international human rights standards’.

Candlelight vigils, fasts, public meetings and rallies in support of Dr
Sen’s release were held in cities like New York, London, Paris,
Stockholm, New Delhi, Raipur, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Pune.
Apart from rights activists large number medical professionals all over
the world took part in the protests.

In New Delhi in a memo to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman
Singh, the Committee for the Release of Dr Binayak Sen said that the
trumped up charges of ‘treason’, and ‘abetting unlawful activities’
foisted on Dr Sen have so far not been backed up with any evidence. The
judicial process initiated against him is only meant to harass him
personally and intimidate all those working for human rights in Chattisgarh.

The memo said that the arrest of Chhattisgarh PUCL executive member and
independent filmmaker Ajay TG on 5 May 2008 on similar flimsy and vague
charges exposed the desperation of the Chhattisgarh government following
its inability to substantiate charges against Dr Sen.

The Committee for the Release of Dr Binayak Sen has made the following
demands to the Chhattisgarh government:

* Drop all charges against Dr Binayak Sen, release him
unconditionally and pay compensation for the harassment and loss of
liberty he has suffered due to his detention;
* Drop all charges against Ajay TG, who is being victimised by
your government for being an active member of PUCL and supporting the
release of Dr Sen;
* Scrap the Chattisgarh State Public Security Act that violates
the basic principles of the Indian Constitution as well as
internationally accepted norms of justice and rule of law;
* Stop encouraging all-out civil war in Chattisgarh in the name
of ‘Salwa Judum’, which even the Supreme Court has indicated is
unconstitutional and amounting to abetment of murder by the state.
* Ensure a just and honest governance that improves the lives
of millions of desperately poor people in Chattisgarh

Activists supporting Dr Sen have vowed to continue their peaceful
agitation for his release and also raise the issue of other political
prisoners around India who have been detained under various undemocratic
laws. They have called upon the people of India to resist the imposition
of a silent Emergency on the country in the name of ‘national security’
and containing terrorism.

For further information contact:

* Sreerekha Ph: 9868120339
* Satya Sivararaman Ph: 9818514952
* Kavita Srivastava Ph: 09351562965

Visit: and and
for more details

Campaign to make Karnataka safe for women.


Many of us have been wanting to organise email campaigns around the attacks. Here are the addresses. Please do copy all three parties to be effective.

Dr. VS Acharya
Home Minister - Karnataka State
Room no. 315 & 315 A
Vidhan Soudha
Bangalore 560001
Tel: 080 22252536

P. Chidambaram
Ministry of Home Affairs, North Block
Central Secretariat
New Delhi - 110 001
Phone: 23092011, 23092161

Dr. Ajai Kumar Singh
Karnataka State Police Headquarters
Nrupathunga Road
Tel: 080 22211803, 22942999

A draft suggested by a PC campaigner is here. Feel free to write your own, people.

Dear Sir,

In the last week women in the cities of Bangalore and Mangalore have faced physical attacks by gangs of strangers. These women , without the slightest provocation - unless exercising your rights as a free citizen of India by travelling, driving a car, or walking on the street as all of us have the right to do - can be counted as a provocation - were threatened, intimidated, cursed, and beaten. Some of them will be traumatized for life ; others will be afraid to walk the streets of their own cities again. These attacks are nothing less than a dastardly attempt to circumscribe the freedom of movement of women.

We are a group of concerned citizens, male and female, old and young, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian, from all walks of life, who have gathered to express our outrage and to register our strong protest that such goons are allowed to disrupt the lives of ordinary citizens with impunity. We ask that you restore to us our right to walk our own cities free of fear and the threat of assault. We ask that you bring these miscreants to justice and return to us the confidence in our lawmakers which should be our birthright. For this is not just a "women's issue," when one woman is attacked, we are all diminished; we all have our rights as citizens eroded along with her.

We, the people, ask you for justice and for protection. We hope and trust that you will not fail us.



Spunky and unabashedly female

'I would still state that these are stray incidents': Bangalore Police Commissioner's response on Monday, 2nd Marc

Subject: Commissioner's response on Monday, 2nd March.

Full Story can be found at

'I would still state that these are stray incidents'
soumya menon

Despite Bangalore witnessing a stream of attacks and violence against women in the last two weeks, the Bangalore city police commissioner is rather candid to state that he does not see a pattern in the attacks. he has also accused the victims for not co-operating appropriately with the Bangalore police and stated that these are `politically inclined' people. he also said that there is proof to show that the incidents are being politicised.
in an interview, Shankar M Bidari talks to Soumya Menon about the lacuna in the complaints lodged by the victims and has assured that Bangalore is a safe place.

Since these recurring attacks on women in Bangalore, do you still say that these are stray incidents or do you see a pattern?

-I would still state that these are stray incidents. i do not see any pattern here. the complaints might show a pattern, but, our preliminary investigations do not observe that. they are strange, but, we will investigate. we have to first establish that the victims are stating the truth. we are not sure about the genuineness of their statements. however, it is not right to come to any conclusion until we verify every detail. the people in bangalore are cultured enough to react to any attack on women. they would not tolerate such attacks if they have witnessed it.

Who are behind these attacks?

-The department is working towards catching the culprits. but, we have not received proper descriptions of the alleged attackers, which make our task difficult. we cannot name any group or community for such incidents, until proven.

What is provoking these attacks?

-As of now, we do not see any pre plan in the attacks. however, we cannot come to any conclusion as to what led to the attacks.
in one case, we have proof that the incident was not just about eve teasing or molestation. the woman [referring to the indiranagar incident on february 17] provoked the alleged attackers. there is cctv footage which reveals that she had rammed onto the two-wheeler and the men retaliated. the security guard of the apartment, where she claimed, the men allegedly hit her, also said that she had provoked the attack. she has not even given us the number plate of the alleged attackers. in the other two attacks, we are tracking the alleged attackers.
instead of holding the local police station responsible, these women are accusing the government. women in bangalore have always dressed fashionably and this cannot be a reason for these alleged attacks.

Do you think the police should be held responsible for such incidents?

-There is no lack of vigilance. it is the negligence of the victims which has led to such acts. they have not even bothered to give details of their alleged attackers.

Can you assure the women in Bangalore that such incidents will not recur?

-As the city police commissioner, i assure women in Bangalore that these incidents would not recur. we will do all that is on our power.

To reply to this message, follow the link below:

ABVP imposes ban on wearing burkhas in rural college in Karnataka

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*ABVP imposes ban on wearing burkhas in rural college in Karnataka *Sudipto

PANJA VILLAGE/SULLIA TALUK: Muslim girls of the Government Composite
Pre-University College here have been banned from wearing burkhas by local
Hindutva outfits and the Bharatiya Janata Party-affiliated Akhil Bharathiya
Vidyarthi Parishad.

According to Lakshmisha Gobbalathadka, the self-proclaimed architect of the
ban, the idea was first proposed to the college authorities at his behest by
a few students affiliated to the ABVP in early January this year.

“Four of my boys spoke to the college principal and demanded that Muslim
girls be banned from wearing burkhas in classrooms,” said Mr. Gobbalathadka,
who is also the district convener of a fringe outfit called Hindu Jagarana

“We agreed immediately. We did not want any trouble,” said a college
official. But soon the demands began to grow. Emboldened by the support the
boys received from a section of students, they went on to extend the ban to
the entire 28-acre campus.

Once the ban was formalised by the college authorities, a groups of boys
took it upon themselves to impose it. “Every day, the boys sit at the tea
stall near the college gate. If we take even one step into the college gate
with the burkha on, they start scolding us,” said a 16-year-old class 10
Violence on campus

Meanwhile, another controversy broke out on the campus after the ABVP
alleged that a Muslim boy had made a proposal of marriage to a Hindu girl.
“Our boys beat up the Muslim boy on February 28,” claimed Mr. Gobbalathadka.
At the college’s development committee meeting on January 29, a large group
of students, led by Mr. Gobbalathadka, barged in demanding that Muslim girls
stop wearing the burkha even on their way to and from the college. The
demand created a furore dividing committee members, according to college
principal, Balasubramaniam. Soon, hundreds of activists entered the venue
and physically attacked Muslim committee members and Hindus who opposed
their demands. Following the incident, Mr. Gobbalathadka and his followers
were arrested and remanded in judicial custody.
Growing support

“Many others have been inspired by the success we have had here. Soon, this
campaign will spread to all government colleges in the region,” Mr.
Gobbalathadka told *The Hindu*, and added that the garment would soon be
banned from public spaces in the entire village of Panja.

Panja gram panchayat president Rafique, who sustained injuries during the
January 29 violence, said:* “Some may feel that the burkha is a symbol of
oppression of women. Even if that is true, a resistance to the garment
should come from within the community. How can we tolerate somebody using
force to ban the burkha?”*

Reacting to the issue, Deputy Director of Public Instruction C. Chame Gowda
told *The Hindu*, “The college authorities might have agreed to the ban
under pressure. But there is no law that prevents the burkha. Everybody has
the right to practice their religious beliefs as long as it does not
inconvenience others.”

Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj expressed concern over the developments and
said he was still inquiring into the issue. “The rule of law and the
Constitution will prevail,” he said.

Fearless Karnataka/Nirbhaya Karnataka: events for the 8th of March

Fearless Karnataka/Nirbhaya Karnataka: events for the 8th of March

Moodbidri, Feb 19, 2009. Moral police attack a 15 year old girl, Ashwini Moole. Her crime: Talking to a Muslim male friend. The girl commits suicide.
Bangalore, Feb 24, 2009, time: 9.30pm, Lakshmi who was walking on the road is roughed up by four men who later try to pull her out of an auto as she attempts to escape.
Bangalore Feb 28, 3009. Journalist Sanjana, whose bike broke down, was hailing an auto at 10:30 p.m. when two men on a bike punch her.

What does our Bangalore Police Commissioner have to say about these incidents? ‘Bangaloreans are cultured. They would not tolerate even being witness to such acts let alone attack’!

In the name of culture and moral policing attacks on women have been increasing in public spaces. What message are these acts of violence against women trying to convey? That public spaces are not meant for women? That women can expect to be punished for simply being in public spaces? Our law enforcement officers seem to turn a blind eye to such violence consequently shirking their responsibility to protect the life and liberty of every individual. A greater tragedy is how the general public often chooses to remain mute spectators to such acts of violence committed right in front of them. This points to a terrible future for women in our society. Any conscientious and law abiding citizen will surely not tolerate such vandalism and brazen behavior!

The Indian Constitution has granted equal rights for women. It is imperative to raise our voices against escalating violence. In the light of this, Fearless Karnataka was born. It brings together people and organizations conscious of their societal and moral commitments. In order to institute and propagate equal rights for women in public spaces we have organized interventions and events on the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8.
Join us to intervene in the neighbourhoods where these attacks took place. Pick a neighbourhood and call the coordinator for location details. Volunteers will hand out testimonials; engage with the public in discussion examining how we can act against violence (bystander ‘polls’ have been made and printed already to trigger discussion); drive people to the street theatre performances by Maraa in the Indiranagar, Ulsoor locations.
TIME: 6.p.m. to 9 p.m.

LOCATION ONE: Vasanthnagar at the junction of Millers Road and 1st main Road, Vasanthnagar.

CO-ORDINATORS: Madhumita 9986067231

Ratna 9886863343
LOCATION TWO: Cunningham Road opposite Sigma Mall.

CO-ORDINATOR: Aarthi 9741496259
LOCATION THREE: CMH Road, Coffee Day junction opposite Kartik chaat house

CO-ORDINATORS: Ekta 9880755875

Hemangini 9008644245
LOCATION FOUR: Ulsoor near police station

CO-ORDINATOR: Jasmeen 9886840612
LOCATION FIVE: Rest House Road, near Pecos, off Brigade Road

CO-ORDINATOR: Zainab Bawa 9945473641

TIME 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Take Back The Night – a celebration of the night, an affirmation of our right to move freely without threat and fear of violence. With performances, video projections, music and movement at:

Banappa Park

(District Office Road, off Hudson Circle, very close to Halasuru Gate Police Station).
Please feel free to bring food and refreshment and do bring one garment that you were wearing when you were violated on the street, for the Blank Noise clothes exhibit to be launched at the venue, seeking to defy the notion that women ‘ask for it’ by dressing in certain ways.

Women in Bangalore need our help now!

From Bishakha Datta:

Women in Bangalore need our help now!

Women in Bangalore are facing serious violence and attacks - for wearing jeans, going out in the streets, fighting back the moral police etc.

We need to stop these attacks; I have drafted a protest letter and am
pasting this below with email addresses.

Each of you, please take a few minutes to email the letter to all the eight addresses - edit, amend or adapt the letter as you see fit. Please send it to Karnataka governor, who is not BJP.

And please email out widely to friends, listserves, facebook, everyone.

Dear Sir/Madam, 1 March 2009

Over the last two weeks, several women have been violently attacked in Bangalore.

On 28 Feb at 10.30 pm, Sanjana got hit by two men on a bike who slowed down, socked her on her jaw and fled away. On 24 Feb, Lakshmi was attacked at around 9 pm by four men who punched her, hit her, and abused her for wearing jeans. On 17 Feb, two men chased Geetanjali’s car at 1.30 pm. One chased her with a large stone as she ran to a friend’s house for refuge.

That week, Jasmine was attacked by four middle-aged men at 11.30 am when her auto broke down. They physically assaulted and tried to disrobe her while yelling obscenities.

More than 80 attacks and cases of moral policing have been reported from all over Karnataka in the last six months.[1] Two women have committed suicide after humiliation from right-wing forces. On 12 Feb, Vanita killed herself after Bajrang Dal activists attacked her. On 11 Feb, Ashwini killed herself after Venur Bajrang activists attacked her and her friend Salim.

The police have not taken meaningful steps to stop or prevent this violence, to arrest the perpetrators, or to ensure the safety of all women in Bangalore and Karnataka.

These attacks are crimes against women. They are legal offences. They are neither isolated events nor trivial incidents of ‘eve-teasing’. They are part of a series of attacks inflicted on women in the name of ‘morality’, attacks that are escalating as women resist and fight back.

It is the core responsibility of the state and city police to ensure that
public spaces are kept safe for all. Women across class barriers – from
powrakarmikas to garment factory workers to students and young professionals in the corporate sector – have today become vulnerable targets on the streets of Karnataka.

As an organization fighting for the rights of all women, we demand
that the Bangalore and Karnataka state and city police immediately:
* Take punitive action to ensure that the attackers are punished by the law;
* Take preventive action to ensure that no more women are attacked in Bangalore and Karnataka;
* Take enabling action to ensure that streets and public spaces in Bangalore and Karnataka are safe for all women to use and enjoy as a matter of right.



1)Dr. VS Acharya
Home Minister - Karnataka State

2)P. Chidambaram
Ministry of Home Affairs, North Block
or post on his website at

3)Dr. Ajai Kumar Singh
Karnataka State Police Headquarters
Nrupathunga Road
Tel: 080 22211803, 22942999

Email: needed send hard copy

4) Justice Subray Rama Nayak
Chair Person
Karnataka State Human Rights Commission
4th floor, 5th phase
Multistoreyed building, Bangalore 560 001.
Fax: 080-22392206, 22392207
Email: needed send hard copy

5) Rameshwar Thakur
Governor Of Karnataka

6)B S Yeddyurappa
Chief Minister, Karnakata

7)Renuka Chowdhury
Minister for Women and Child Development
Email:, and

8)National Commission for Women

[1] Vimochana, a women’s group in Bangalore, has documented these cases from Sept 2009 from the following Kannada publications: Karavali Ale, Jaya Kirana and Vartha Bharathi.

Charges Framed Against Binayak Sen

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Chhattisgarh PUCL!

In our earlier UPDATE ON DR. BINAYAK SEN, General Secretary, CG PUCL, we had
mentioned to enclose a copy of the Charges Framed Against him by the Trial
Court on 2nd February 2008.

However, we found out that this was not done.
Therefore, we are doing it now.

We do hope that you would be present at the Trial beginning 30th April and
ending on 3rd May, 2008 at Raipur.

More details will follow!


In Solidarity,

Rajendra K Sail
Chhattisgarh PUCL

Encl: English Translation (unofficial) of the Charges framed against Dr. Sen

In the Court of Additional Sessions Judge-XI,
F.T.C., Raipur, Ch.G.
Sessions Case No. /07
The State of Chhattisgarh
Piyush Guha etc.
(Framed today on 02.02.2008)

I, B.S. Saluja, Additional Sessions Judge-XI, F.T.C. Raipur, Ch.G, frame the
following charge against you, the accused Dr. Binayak Sen S/o Late D.P. Sen,
aged 57 years, address - Surya Apartment, Katora Talab, Raipur, Ch.G.
(1) On 06.05.2007 or before it, you alongwith accused Narayan Sanyal and
Piyush Guha, hatched a conspiracy at Railway Station Road, Raipur, Ch.G. or
Central Jail, Raipur, Ch.G. or Central Jail, Bilaspur, Ch.G. or Katora
Talab, Raipur, Ch.G. or Hotel Mahendra Raipur or Hotel Geetanjali, Raipur
for war against the Government of India or State Government or making an
attempt of war or made abetment for war, which is punishable under section
121 (a) of Indian Penal Code and cognizable under the jurisdiction of this

(2) On the above said date, time and place, by using words, signals or by
abetment created or made an attempt to create hatred or contempt to the
government established by law in India or made or attempt to made treason;
in the alternate the charge is made that you hatched the conspiracy for
treason, which is punishable under section 124 (a) or 124 (a) read with
section 120-B of Indian Penal Code, which is cognizable under the
jurisdiction of this Court.

(3) On the above said date, time and place, as a member of illegal
organization, participated in the meetings or activities of illegal
organization or received or gave funds for the purpose of illegal
organization or in the alternate, the charge is that you hatched the
conspiracy for above, which is punishable under section 8(1) of Ch.G.
Special Public Security Act, 2005 or section 8 (1) of Ch.G. Special Public
Security Act read with Section 120-B I.P.C., which is cognizable under the
jurisdiction of this Court.

(4) On the above said date, time and place, though not as a member of an
illegal organization, received or gave the funds for the illegal
organization or demanded contribution or gave contribution to the so-called
member of illegal organization or in the alternate the charge is that
hatched conspiracy for the above, which is punishable under section 8 (2) of
the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 or section 8 (2) of the
Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act read with section 120-B I.P.C. and
is cognizable under the jurisdiction of this Court.

(5) On the above said date, time and place, you managed the illegal
organization or assisted in its management or expanded the meeting of
illegal organization or its members or participated in any type of
activities of the illegal organization or took any part in the activities of
said illegal organization or in the alternate the charge is that hatched
conspiracy for the above, which is punishable under section 8 (3) of the
Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 or section 8 (3) of the
Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act read with section 120-B I.P.C. and
is cognizable under the jurisdiction of this Court.

(6) On the above said date, time and place, you committed the above said
illegal activities or made abetment to commit the said illegal activities or
hatched a planning to commit the same or in the alternate hatched the
conspiracy of above, which is punishable under section 8 (5) of the
Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 or section 8 (5) of the
Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act read with section 120-B I.P.C. and
is cognizable under the jurisdiction of this Court.

(7) On the above said date, time and place you remained the member of
illegal organization or participated in the meetings of illegal organization
or collected contributions for the use of such organization or gave or made
request for such contributions or assisted in the works of said illegal
organization in any other manner or in the alternate hatched the conspiracy
of same, which is punishable under section 10-A of Prevention of Illegal
Activities (Amendment) Act, 2004 or section 10-A of Prevention of Illegal
Activities (Amendment) Act, 2004 read with section 120-B of IPC and is
cognizable under the jurisdiction of this Court.

(8) On the above said date, time and place, you remained the member of
Terrorist organization, which is punishable under section 20 of Prevention
of Illegal Activities (Amendment) Act, 2004 and is cognizable under the
jurisdiction of this Court.

(9) On the above said date, time and place, you kept the property mentioned
in the charge-sheet in your possession despite having knowledge that it has
been earned from terrorist activities, which is punishable under section 21
of Prevention of Illegal Activities (Amendment) Act, 2004 and is cognizable
under the jurisdiction of this Court.

(10) On the above said date, time and place, you remained the member of
terrorist organizations to increase its activities, which is punishable
under section 38 (2) of Prevention of Illegal Activities (Amendment) Act,
2004 and is cognizable under the jurisdiction of this Court.

(11) On the above said date, time and place, you conducted meetings to earn
support for the organizations with the intention to increase the activities
of terrorist organizations or addressed the meetings, which is punishable
under section 39 (2) of Prevention of Illegal Activities (Amendment) Act,
2004 and is cognizable under the jurisdiction of this Court.

Therefore, I order that why this Court should not conduct trial against you
for the above said charges.

(B.S. Saluja)
Additional Sessions Judge-XI
F.T.C. Raipur, Ch.G.
Plea of accused
Charges read over to accused Dr. Binayak Sen S/o Late D.P. Sen and he pleads
that - Charges are baseless and denied.
Signatures of accused: Sd/- 2.2.08
(B.S. Saluja)
Additional Sessions Judge-XI
F.T.C. Raipur, Ch.G.
============ ========= ========= ========= ========
(Unofficial Translation from Hindi of the Charges Framed in the Case of Dr.
Binayak Sen, General Secretary, Chhattisgarh PUCL, P O Box 87, Main Post
Office, Raipur - 492001: Chhattisgarh: E-mail:)

Commercial Mining – not a boon but a curse ~ Stan Swamy

Commercial Mining – not a boon but a curse
Concerns about Commercialisation/Privatisation of coal mines, particularly in Adivasi lands

What disaster commercialisation would bring is exemplified in the following narrative of what an Adivasi community was before start of mining in their neighbourhood and what damage it did in course of time:
Dubil is an Adivasi village in Saranda forest of West Singhbhum district, Jharkhand. This village of about 500 persons lived a happy life close to nature. Paddy was the main crop, harvested twice a year, and supplemented by various cereals. The village was blessed with two natural streams which ran with fresh water throughout the year. But alas, the Chiria iron ore mine, covering 3276 hectares, came up in the vicinity. As the mining expanded year by year, the happy life of Dubil Adivasis started to shrink steadily. The giant company started to distribute the actual mining activity to subsidiary companies who felt they had no obligation towards the neighbouring village communities in terms of compensation for the damage done to their agriculture and water sources. Eventually about 100 acres of their fertile land became barren and the water stream was flowing with reddish water.

Apart from this, labourers from outside were being brought to work the mines whereas the locals were reduced to the category of ‘day-wage labourers’. When the people of Dubil and neigihbouring communities organised themselves and protested against this injustice, police cases were filed against them and six of their leaders were put behind bars. Verily, insult added to injury.

Even some half-hearted steps by the govt to ameliorate their living condition did not make any difference. The housing scheme failed when half of the houses collapsed or became uninhabitable. The hand-pumps stopped working, the solar lamps and radios have disappeared, the bicycles have broken down. Thus the promise usually made at the start of the project of bringing ‘development’ falls flat and people are left with greater deprivation and anguish. [edited extract from ‘Mission Saranda – a war for natural resources in India’ by Gladson Dungdung, pp. 59-64]

Indian govt’s decision to commercialise/privatise coal mines - arbitrary and unjust
On 18th June 2020 the central govt released a list of 41 coal blocks from all over the country to be auctioned to private companies. This is said to be the panacea for the economic crisis the country is presently facing. We are told 10 crore tons of coal will be made into gas, India will become the biggest coal-exporting country in the world, this will be a giant step towards making our country self-reliant etc. In taking this step, central govt ignored the plea by Jharkhand govt that the auctioning be delayed for six to eight months until the battle against corona virus is decisively won. So out of 41 coal blocks, 9 in Jharkhand, 9 in Chattisgarh, 9 in Odisha, 11 in Madhya Pradesh are slated to be auctioned.

Let it be noted most of these mines in all above States are located in the predominantly Adivasi-inhabited areas, that is in Adivasi land and forests. No need to remind anyone that as it is, Adivasis are among the most marginalised communities. They make up about 8 percent of India’s population of 1.3 billion, but about 40 percent of the 60 million people displaced by development projects in past decades are Adivasis. Only 25% of them have been resettled but none rehabilitated. They were given minimal compensation and then neatly forgotten.

Concern 1: Only two parties (central govt and private company) on the negotiating table. Where are the people whose land will be excavated, will be displaced, will be reduced from being land-owners to landless casual labourers ?
Concern 2: Where are the laws, judicial verdicts … such as the Vth Sched. of the Constitution which stipulates that Tribes Advisory Council be taken into confidence for any project in Vth Sched. Area, PESA Act [1996] which requires Gram Sabhas be consulted in the allotment of major minerals, Samata judgment [1997] which empowers village cooperatives to be the sole agents of excavating coal mines in Vth sched areas, Forest Rights Act [2006] that makes it mandatory to obtain the consent of Gram Sabha for any mining in the forests, the SC declaring [2013] ‘owner of land is also owner of sub-soil minerals’, the Land Acquisition Act [2013] which prohibits acquisition of multi-crop agricultural land etc. Does it mean laws enacted in parliament, judgments passed by the highest court of the land do not apply to present central govt ?
Concern 3: Past experience shows private companies are not going to abide by the laws protective of Adivasi community and their rights over natural resources. The govt will acquire Adivasi land, forcibly if need be, and hand it over to the companies. Land is given to them on a platter. If affected people will protest, they will be handled by law-and-order forces willingly supplied by local govt administration. Multiple cases will be foisted on those who lead people’s protests and thrown behind bars. Private companies have nothing to worry.
Concern 4: How to reconcile the fact that on the one hand the corporate houses go on accumulating profits in millions and billions of rupees and will go off the scene once the plunder is complete, and on the other hand the small & marginal farmers who lose all they have and are reduced to penury and destitution ? Has even a semblance of justice disappeared in our society ?
Concern 5: it is not to say that there should be no mining of minerals at all. Only it must be to meet the needs of the community and not for making profit. We can combine the two significant SC judgments, namely the 2013 verdict which entitles the owner of the land to be also the owner of sub-soil minerals and the 1997 verdict which declares that cooperatives of local Adivasis alone can do mining. It then becomes the paramount duty of the state to help in the formation and registration of coops and to provide the wherewithal such as the initial capital, the needed technical expertise, managerial skills, marketing avenues etc so they can function flawlessly and to the benefit of the whole community.

The state can do it if it really wants the development and welfare of all. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Dantewada 6 April 2010: Peoples Union for Democratic Rights Press Statement

Peoples Union for Democratic Rights
Press Statement
6 April 2010

Peoples Union for Democratic Rights believes that the death of 70 jawans in Dantewada on early hours of April 6th, 2010, is an unfortunate fallout of the governments willful policy of pursuing "Operation Greenhunt". We consider the war against the so called 'Left Wing Extremists' , as a wrong policy at a time when the country has been reeling under unprecedented drought, crop failure and price rise. We have been urging the Indian government that war at home against our own people, under any pretext, should be ruled out as an option, for once and for all, and the issues arising out of tribal people' opposition to MOU's signed by the state governments with mining and other industrial conglomerates and the consequent land grab, forest displacement, river water privatization needs to be resolved peacefully rather than imposed on the people against their will. On either side of the divide it is our own people who fall victim to the bullets.

Since war remains the preferred option of the Indian government they have no one else but themselves to blame if and when combatants die. We wish to remind them that security forces were returning from three day long operations when the ambush took place. As civil rights organization we neither condemn the killing of security force combatants nor that of the Maoists combatants, or for that matter any other combatants, when it occurs. We can only lament the folly of the Indian government which lacks the courage and imagination to pursue a non militaristic approach which is pushing us towards a bloody and dirty war.

Moushumi Basu and Asish Gupta
(Secretaries PUDR)

Decorating tree’s branches while cutting off its roots - Stan Swamy

Decorating tree’s branches while cutting off its roots
- govt’s welfare schemes are the branches, adivasi land is the roots –
Stan Swamy

Decorating the branches . . . it is almost a dream-world perusing the long list of developmental and welfare schemes meant for SCs and STs. There are 49 schemes jointly undertaken by the central & state govts. This is apart from about 40 other schemes meant for the general population under the banner of rural development. But the sad fact is most dalit and adivasi people do not have any knowledge about most of these schemes. Even the few schemes they have heard of and desire to avail their benefits, when they go to govt offices they are treated with contempt and disrespect by the non-adivasi officers. They come home disenchanted and try to carry on with the very limited resources they have. This type of functioning of the bureaucracy at district and block levels is itself a violation of PESA Act which says “Gram Sabha shall be responsible for the identification and selection of persons as beneficiaries under the poverty alleviation and other programmes” [PESA 4.e.(ii)]. So the whole selection of beneficiaries process is illegal.

The much spoken about SC Sub Plan [SCSP]and Tribal Sub Plan [TSP] are implemented half heartedly, the irony being big sums from these schemes are diverted for general schemes such as road construction, panchayat building, stadiums etc with the justification that SCs and STs also use these facilities!

In short, govt’s developmental & welfare schemes have not made any difference in terms of betterment to most of SC / ST people. What is the use of decorating the tree’s branches with schemes that are either not responding to their real needs or they are not accessible to them?

Cutting off the roots . . . That means wholesale loot of adivasi land, and it has taken place in the following manner:
(i) land alienation and consequent displacement. From the time of independence up to now a staggering 24 lakh acres of land has been forcibly acquired all in the name of development. Consequently, 17 lakh adivasis have been displaced. The sad fact is not a single adivasi person or community has ever been rehabilitated because it involves not only resettlement in another place of their choice but also social and cultural bonds preserved intact. Only a minimal cash compensation was thrust upon them and after that they were neatly forgotten.

(ii) CNT/SPT Acts amendments being forcibly enforced in Jharkhand is yet another blow to the Adivasi people insofar as it aims to transfer agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. This implicitly means non-adivasis from within or without the country can acquire adivasi land for setting up commercial and business enterprises and govt can take agricultural land for infrastructural purposes. This is as good as finishing off this protective legislation. Happily there is wholesale resistance to this deceptive action of the govt and even the Governor has returned the bill asking the govt to re-consider this proposed legislation.

(iii) Land Bank is the most recent innovation to rob adivasi land from the back door. The govt proudly announced during the investors meeting in February this year that it has put together 21 lakh acres of land in Land Bank and therefore the investors will not have to face the problem of how to acquire land in Scheduled Areas. It has now come to light the govt stealthily ear-marked the ‘Commons’, namely the common facilities of the village community such as ponds, cattle-grazing grounds, roads, places of religious worship, burial grounds, rivulets and even rivers as part of land bank! There is also private family land that is not cultivated but used for other needs that has also been included in land bank. And all this has been done without even informing and getting the consent of concerned families and communities. This action of the govt goes against constitutional and legal provisions.

(iv) Fake land-deeds alienating thousands of acres of adivasi land are being reported in the print media recently. More than 1000 such fake deeds during the past 16 years have been unearthed.[Prabhat Khabar, 19 June 2017]. Those who are guilty of doing this are mostly non-adivasi-outsiders who are very adept in bribing govt functionaries and make out the needed fake documents. So there is a collusion of govt officials, politicians, contractors, land brokers, middle men most of whom are non-adivasi-outsiders have been working overtime to cheat the simple adivasi and deprive him of his cherished natural resources. Can there be a greater injustice than this cruel game?

How long will the tree’s branches thrive when the roots have been severed? What betterment will the adivasi people find through govt’s welfare schemes when land which is the source of their life is snatched away from them ? The answer is obvious. No surprise, therefore, adivasi people are rising up in revolt against the forcible acquisition of their land by the govt.

The ground on which we stand is sacred ground.
It is the dust and blood of our ancestors.
- Chief Plenty Coups, Crow (1848 - 1932)

Do We Also Have the Democratic Rights?

Do We Also Have the Democratic Rights?

On July 5, 2011, the Adivasis of Munda Khutkatti areas – Khunti, Murhu and Arki blocks of Khunti district gathered in Kachary Maidan of Khunti situated at a distance of 31 kilometres from the state capital of Jharkhand. In fact, the Khunti district administration had given them permission to hold a rally and mass meeting against the police atrocities. However, when the villagers started arriving to Kachary Maidan, Manoj Kaushik the Superintendent of police (Khunti) also reached to the venue and questioned Birsa Munda the leader of “Mundari Khutkati Ewam Bhuihari Parishad,” “Why you have brought so many people to protest against the police?” Birsa responded, “Villagers are facing police atrocities therefore they have come to express their pains and sufferings to the Deputy Commissioner”. The SP went back to his office after hearing Birsa’s response.

Meanwhile, the inspector of Khunti police station P.K. Mishra also started inquiring about the programme and the riot controller vehicle along with paramilitary forces reached to the venue. The police of Khunti, Arki, Murhu, Rania, Torpa and Karra police stations were already present in the venue. It seems that there was supposed to be an encounter between the police and the Maoists. As usual they assume it as a Rally and Mass Meeting of the Maoists. In fact, the police and administration consider all the rallies, mass meetings and protests organized against the police atrocities are as the programmes of the Maoists. Simultaneously, they had started their operations of stopping people in the entry points of Khunti. They stopped 3 buses at Arki and 2 buses and 3 Jeeps at Murhu block. However, 30 vehicles (Busses and Jeeps) could able to reach to the venue and many people came by bicycles and by foot as well. There were more than 5000 people in the ground including more than 100 victims of police atrocities.

The Rally and Mass Meeting was organized by the “Mundari Khutkati Ewam Bhuihari Parishad”, which is a traditional organization of the Adivasis and it has legal validity as far the laws of 5th Scheduled Area are concerned. It was 1 O’clock in the afternoon. The villagers started walking towards Khunti town by raising slogans against the police atrocities. They were shouting, “Police Atyachar Band Karo” (Stop police atrocities), “Nirdosho ko Jail se riha karo” (release the innocent from the prison) and “Maowadiyo ke name per Gramino ko pratarit Karna band karo” (stop torturing the villagers in the name of Maoists). These people had decided to raise their voices when the police and paramilitary forces crossed their limit of perpetrating atrocities against the villagers. Needless to say, that the police torture has become part and parcel of their lives.

I had also gone to participate in the Rally and Mass meeting. After hearing slogans against the police, the Police Inspector of Khunti police station Mr. P.K. Mishra and his guards stopped the villagers saying that they should not shout slogans against the police. “Why don’t you organize Rally against the Maoists, when they kill our police forces,” ‘P. K. Mishra questioned. In response, the villagers said that they have come to raise their voices and they are against of both the parties who perpetrate violence against the villagers. They are made sandwich by both the parties. However, P.K. Mishra didn’t hear the villagers and asked them to stop raising slogans against the police. The villagers continued their rally but the police stopped them three times. The police wanted to block the Rally and asked the villagers to go back to their villages. The villagers were not ready to do so. Since I was part of the Rally therefore I intervened on the matter and told the Inspector P.K. Mishra that he should not seize the democratic rights of the villagers.

Meanwhile, I introduced myself as a Human Rights Activist and also a member of the “Assessment and Monitoring Authority” under the Planning Commission of India and showed him my visiting card. He was looking like a wounded lion. He snatched and threw my card on the ground, humiliated me and threatened me saying, “shut up! If you don’t stop, I’ll tear down you and dry up”. “I don’t bother about losing my job,” he added. Meanwhile, four bodyguards of the Inspect got down from the vehicle and abused and started beating me but when the crowd intervened, they stopped. After sometime, the rally resumed and backed to the Kachahari Maidan and mass meeting was started. The villagers started sharing their plight one after another.

Since the launching of so-called anti-Naxal Operations known as “Operation Green Hunt’ in the areas, the innocent villagers have been facing police atrocities. On August 5, 2010, the police and paramilitary forces went to Birbanki village of Arki block and started abusing and beating the villagers. They also scattered belongings and caught two innocent villagers - Daud Samad and Lukin Munda alleging them as feeding the Maoists. Both are well known social workers of the region. Similarly, on October 30, 2010 the police and paramilitary forces caught three girl students of Narang village – Jasmani Soy, Magdali Purty and Juliyana Purty (age between 15-16)and put them in Jail for more than 45 days alleging them as members of the CPI- Maoist. They were set free from the prison but no policeman was punished for detaining the innocent girls.

Again on 27 November, 2010, the police and paramilitary forces entered in Basudih village of Arki block and tied up villagers and beaten them severely. The police arrested innocent villager Soma Marsal Purty and put him in the Jail after branding him as a Maoist. Similarly, on June 4, 2011 the police went to Bankira village of Arki, while coming back the police arrested Johan Hansa and Karma Singh Munda of Kuita village and put them in the Jail. On June 5, 2011, the police went to Ittihasa village and bet Sanika Munda, Laka Munda and Durga Munda severely alleging them as sheltering the Maoists in the village without any proof.

The police and paramilitary forces also torture the villagers during the prayers. On June 5, 2011, the villagers of Sareyad village of Arki block were having Sunday Mass in the village church. The police and paramilitary forces captured the Church and targeted villagers from the windows of the Church and shouted, “Shoot them”. After hearing the police there was a chaos in the Church and few villagers came out of the Church. The police and paramilitary forces bet them severely. Thereafter, they asked the villagers to prepare food for them. They ate and also bet severely to the person who cooked food for them.

Similarly, on June 5, 2011, the villagers of Kudunba of Arki block had gathered for prayer at Bankira at 8 O’clock in the morning. The police rounded them and asked them to sit separately – men one side and women on the other side. Thereafter, they bet the men severely and tied up hands of 25 men behind their back with the ropes, which the villagers use to tie-up their cattle. They also caught four girls – Seteng Nag, Hanna Nag, Mariam Kandir and Jaiwanti Nag. The police took 25 men and 4 girls to the forest in the name of search operations. The villagers were kept in the forest for 2 days without food and water. Finally, 2 persons – Mansid Nag and Masih Nag were put in the Jail alleging them as the Maoists. Mansid Nag works as a tailor and Masih Nag is a para-teacher and also works as a traditional medicine practitioner.

Amidst, a delegation met the Deputy Commissioner of Khunti Mr. Rakesh Kumar and a memorandum was submitted to him. Surprisingly, he said, “I’m hearing about the police atrocities first time”. “I know about the laws of 5th Scheduled Area and will take action,” he assured. The Dy. Superintendent of Police (Khunti) Mr. Anil Shanker was in a hurry to send the villagers back to their villages, he asked me several times, “Please send the villagers to their villages”. When the villagers were sharing their pain, suffering and sorrow in the mass meeting, a chopper of the Boarder Security Force (BSF) suddenly appeared in the vicinity and flew two rounds over the Kachary Maidan and returned to Ranchi. Perhaps, the top copes of Jharkhand were inside the Chopper, had come to see the Maoists in the mass meeting. Since inception of the state, the police have killed 550 people and arrested 4090 villagers in Jharkhand in allegation of being the Maoists. However, the police failed to prove the allegations.

Of course, there is a tendency in the police and administration that anyone who raises voice against the police atrocity is either a Maoist or their supporter. The most pertinent questions are do the villagers have democratic rights? Do we really live in a democratic country? And do we also have the democratic rights like other people of this country enjoy? Where should people go to plea for protection of their democratic rights? While talking to individuals, many villagers said that they are against of the Maoists however, if the police atrocities didn’t stop, then they can also take up the guns if the power only comes from the barrel of guns. I believe that this is the last warning for the Indian state. Therefore, instead of shutting down the democracy, the Indian state must hear the pains, sufferings and sorrows of the people and deliver justice to them.

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer. He can be reached at

Dr Binayak Sen was not produced in the court

Go here for updates:


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Dr. Binayak Sen: Update, 4 July 2007 Dear friends,

1. Again Dr Binayak Sen was not produced in the court on 3/7/07claiming lack of escort. This was opposed by the counsel and the court has sent a complaint to the jail to produce him on the next date of hearing. His judicial remand has been extended to 16/7/07

2. On 4th July his bail petition came up for final hearing. After notice the roster had changed and the judge hearing the case was Justice LC Bhadoo. He stated that since he had (recently in june in fact) been appointed Chairman of the Advisory Board under the CSPSAct, the matter should be listed before another Bench. The case has thus been deferred to 13th July.

As many friends as possible should be present in solidarity between 13th and 16th July.

3. An appeal is being circulated by the Medico Friends Circle, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and CMC Vellore friends to keep the clinic of Dr Binayak Sen going. Doctors are being requested to give a week of time each for this. Please do respond.

4. Just as we are carrying out a campaign to release Dr Binayak Sen, a campaign by democratic rights and civil liberties is going on in Maharashtra to stop the continuing custodial torture of Arun Fereira - a brilliant student of Bombay university picked up at Diksha Bhoomi, Nagpur under vague and unsubstantiated charges of supporting or propogating Naxalite ideology.

5. It is proposed that Chhattisgarh PUCL forms a team to travel to Khandwa and Bhopal . MP to express solidarity to the Indira Sagar oustees who are sitting on an indefinite dharna, in fact on the 26th day of their indefinite fast.

Those interested to join please contact Sudha Bharadwaj 992660877

Dr. Binayak Sen nominated for 'The Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights' 2008

Award nomination link:

Petition against Solitary confinement:

Dear Friends,
We announce with great pleasure that Dr. Binayak Sen has been nominated for 'The Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights' for year 2008. He is one of the 40 distinguished practitioners in 'health and human rights' nominated from around the world.

JMA was established in 1999 to honor Dr. Jonathan Mann and highlight the vital link between health and human rights. Sponsored in 2007 by four organizations, Association François-Xavier Bagnoud, Doctors of the World, John Snow, Inc. and the Global Health Council, the award is bestowed annually to a leading practitioner in health and human rights and comes with a substantial financial reward to allow its recipients a measure of freedom to pursue their work in the important area of global health and human rights.

While the rest of the world is celebrating this great social activist, Indian Government rewarded him with Solitary confinement, on top of his already unjust incarceration. Dr. Sen, after being arrested in May 2007 under flimsy and untrue charges, by Chattisgarh State Government, which is widely believed as for his vocal opposition to Human Rights violation by Government-backed local militia – Salwa Judum. [To know more on Dr. Sen and his work, see]

Why is our Indian Government afraid of this Good Doctor? Is it such heinous crime for a distinguished physician to serve in deep tribal and rural parts of India for 25 years, where other doctors hesitate to go? Is it a terrible Sin to stand up for basic Human rights of the poor and under-privileged people, which deserve to be placed in solitary confinement?

It is time for us to stand up and support this Great doctor as well as question the 'Health of our Nation'. Let's Protest this Silent Emergency where social and Human rights activists are incarcerated in Prison for their vocal criticism of lackluster and careless Government functioning.

Please show your solidarity by signing the petition:

Free Binayak Sen! Behind bars: Supporting tribal rights is his crime

Behind bars: Supporting tribal rights is his crime

Nine months after the arrest of Binayak Sen, growing public voice against the illegal detention is the only way to save him.

Most of us do not realize that the causes of ill health lie outside the four walls of hospitals and are often beyond the reach of most doctors. Things like lack of food, safe drinking water and unclean living conditions cause ill health. As do social inequalities and an unjust society without human rights. Nowhere is this ill health more obvious than in the case of tribals, women and children among the marginalized. While most doctors prefer treating patients within four walls, paying no attention to the ill health prevailing outside, here is a unique doctor — who paid closer attention to the problems outside the hospital. He even ventured to find solutions by joining hands with the marginalized people in remote and forsaken areas of Chhattisgarh.

To the tribals in the state, Dr Binayak Sen — winner of the Paul Harrison award —needs no introduction but to the world outside, he is MD in pediatrics from the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore. On one hand, our Union health minister is crying hoarse about the refusal of doctors to work in rural areas. Dr Sen's venture into rural areas, however, has landed him in jail. For the past nine months, the doctor has been languishing in Chhattisgarh jail, despite national and international condemnation by human rights organizations. During this period, Dr Sen has lost 20 kgs of body weight and continues to ail from heart problems. The only crime he committed was to work for the rights of tribal people, who fell victims to the state sponsored programme called Salwa Judum.

The Chhattisgarh police arrested Dr Sen on May 14, 2007. He was then sent to Raipur Central Jail under state and national laws — the Chattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA), 2005 and the Unlawful Activities Act (UAPA), 2004. Amidst painful delays in legal proceedings, Dr Sen's bail petition was rejected by the high court on July 23, 2007 and by the Supreme Court on December 12, 2007. His application for parole to receive the Keithan gold medal awarded to him in December 2007 by the Indian Academy of Social Sciences was also rejected on technical grounds.

Dr Sen's association with Chhattisgarh dates back to 1981, when he started to work with a trade union leader, Shankar Guha Niyogi, at Dalli-Rajhara. Along with trade union work, he helped establish the Shaheed Hospital at Dalli-Rajhara in 1982. Thus was born a hospital, where the very people who built it where able to use its facilities.

This pioneering effort by workers to build and run their own hospital and healthcare for trade union workers and tribals has become a model for effective and low-cost healthcare (general and special) for the marginalized. Later in 1994, he and his wife set up an NGO Rupantar in order to provide medical and healthcare facilities for the poor. He got active with the PUCL — People's Union for Civil Liberties, an organization initiated by Jaiprakash Narayan. According to PUCL, since 2005 the Chhattisgarh government has a growing record of "crimes against humanity", using excessive and unwarranted police power in the name of resolving the Naxalite problem. The organization has been campaigning against Salwa Judum. In particular, they want the state to account for the 155 fake encounters that took place during 2005-2006.

They have been demanding investigation into killings and other illegal acts by the so-called Salwa Judum movement in connivance with the state police. The state realized that the only way to stop PUCL from exposing its illegal activities is to put Dr Sen behind bars. When some of us met Dr Sen recently in jail, he remarked, "Let us not personalize my arrest, but focus on the wider issues". Lack of development, erosion of nutritional security and the impact on public health of corporate-led industrialization, are the issues he wanted to be highlighted.

The state has failed to get any hard evidence to incriminate Dr Sen, but that hasn't stopped Dr Sen from decaying in jail. The only way to save him is more voice of people against his arrest. Those interested to join the cry can click on

By Gopal Dabade

Deccan Herald

Camps are planned for March in Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Kolkata.

For further information contact:
Dunu Roy, New Delhi
Ph: 9910687627
Satya Sivaraman, New Delhi Ph: 9818514952
Dr Rakhal Gaitonde, Chennai
Ph: 9940246089
Dr Punyabrata Gun, Kolkata Ph: 9830922194
Dr N.Devadasan, Bangalore
Ph: 080-26645232

Halt the Offensive Against People and End Militarisation of the Forests

Halt the Offensive Against People and End Militarisation of the Forests

Joint Statement of Forest People's Movements
Yesterday, the police have killed one person in Kalinganagar and critically injured at least thirty more; at the proposed POSCO plant site in Jagatsinghpur, Orissa, 25 platoons of police have been deployed to crush the people defending their land. They expect an attack tomorrow or the day after.

As national platforms of democratic forest movements, with more than 200 organisational members spread across the country, we unequivocally condemn this brutality. But such atrocities are not occurring in isolation. Operation Green Hunt and the increasing miitarisation of the conflict in central India is wreaking devastation in our homelands.and closing the space for democratic struggles. We first reiterate the following facts, to expose the myths being promoted by the government:

  • In all the areas where Operation Green Hunt is underway, aside from individual atrocities, security forces are now preventing people from entering the forest, cultivating their lands or collecting minor forest produce. The numbers that are threatened with starvation or disease as a result is not even known. These facts have been ignored even as the tragic loss of lives in Maoist attacks have received a lot of attention. How can an offensive with such results be justified?
  • An offensive in the name of the “rule of law” has been launched in areas where the government has never shown the slightest respect for the law. Under the law, land acquisition in Scheduled Areas is subject to consultation with the gram sabha (village assembly); diversion of forest land in all forests is subject to the consent of the gram sabha; and people have rights over village common lands, forests, water bodies and grazing areas. Can the government name a single place in the country where the rights of people over forests and lands have been fully recognised and respected? Can it name a single “development” project in the forest areas that has complied with the requirements of law? Rather, in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh alone, after 2006 the government has illegally granted in principle or final clearances for the use of 15,411 hectares of forest land to various “projects”.
  • The government's true intentions are revealed by their response to democratic movements in the majority of forest areas, where the CPI(Maoist) does not exist. As an indicator, in just the few weeks between March 20 and April 20, activists in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam and West Bengal were arrested or attacked by police for the crime of standing up for the law and demanding legal rights. The protesters at POSCO and many other places, who have no link whatsoever with the Maoists, are being attacked. These are examples of a trend that has become far worse with Operation Green Hunt, under which the label “Maoist” is used to justify all kinds of brutality. The Home Minister's latest statement threatening anyone “supporting Maoism” with jail is clearly aimed at justifying yet more such brutality.
  • The conflicts in forest areas, whether with the CPI(Maoist) or with other movements, have nothing to do with “security” or “development”. What is at stake is the right of people to control their ecology, their production systems and their lives. Can a community lead a life of dignity when they are harassed, beaten or killed every time they cultivate forest land, collect minor forest produce or protest evictions? People are not demanding welfare; they are struggling for the right to live with freedom and dignity. This is the true meaning of security, development and the rule of justice.
  • It is clear that the government's offensive is driven by more obvious interests – resource grabs (in water, minerals and land) have become a key source of profits. As the Maheshwar Dam, Vedanta or POSCO projects were found to break the law, the government has scrambled to bend or break the law itself to favour the corporates. When the Forest Department promotes illegal policies in international negotiations on climate change (i.e. the REDD agreement), these are not just condoned but promoted as a point of pride. Meanwhile, people's rights over minor forest produce, forest land and common lands are frustrated at every turn by official violations of the Forest Rights Act. Clearly this is why the government now wants to crush all resistance, whether it is organised by the CPI(Maoist) or not.

Beyond Green Hunt: A Call for Democratic Space

We believe in and stand for the mass democratic struggle of the working people for social transformation. From this perspective, the damage is not limited to this offensive and the devastation it is wreaking. More insidious but much longer lasting is the destructive impact this militarisation is having on the democratic space for people's struggles. This militarisation is not limited to Operation Green Hunt.

Even outside this offensive, the government has consistently used its force against all democratic formations and those who speak the language of people's rights; it has thrown the Constitution to the winds. The CPI(Maoist) has also engaged in indiscriminate physical attacks against those who are of a different political allegiance, and has often shown little tolerance for those who are engaged in other movements or who are critical of them. The turning of vast areas of the country into war zones, where all else is subordinated to the perceived military needs of the government or the CPI(Maoist), is unacceptable. It constitutes a betrayal of the values that both the CPI(Maoist) and the government claim to believe in. For this reason above all, there is an urgent need at this moment to restore basic democratic norms in the conflict zones.

Our Call:

  1. The paramilitary forces must be withdrawn and the salwa judum, as well as other similar private militias in other states, must be disbanded. Public facilities – schools, clinics, etc. - must be treated as out of bounds for the conflict.
    The government must respect the rights of people over their lands, forest produce and community forest resources as provided by the Constitution, the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, the Forest Rights Act and other such laws. It must comply with the requirements under these Acts relating to the consent of the community prior to diversion or acquisition of land.
  2. The security forces must stop interfering with the rights of people to cultivate their fields, go to markets and engage in their livelihood activities.
  3. Illegal arrests, fake encounters and police murders must be halted immediately.
  4. The CPI(Maoist) should make clear its position on the activities of other political forces in the conflict areas. It should respect the right of the people to be members of other parties, including opposing parties, or other movements and to otherwise exercise their democratic rights.
  5. The right of refugees and the displaced to return home, especially in Dantewada, must be respected by the security forces and their private militias.

I Have Seen Her Crying: Stories from the Adivasi Corridor by Gladson Dungdung

I Have Seen Her Crying

By Gladson Dungdung

On June 13, 2010, we 12 Human Rights Activists of Jharkhand started our journey before the dawn. We had heard a horrible story about an Adivasi woman who was killed in crossfire between the security forces and the Maoists. Her name was Jasinta. She was mere 25 years old married woman enjoying her life with her family in a village. Of course, she was a mother of three kids whose lives are at stake now. Therefore, we wanted to know the truth. We wanted to know whether she was a Maoist. The most important thing we wanted to know is, in what circumstances her right to life was taken away by the mighty gun and her three kids’ lives were put in the dark before the dawn. We wanted to know about the state’s response to the heinous crime against humanity. And of course, we wanted to know whether these three kids are innocent like the kids of our security forces?

Our fact-finding mission started moving on wheels. In the blazing sun of mid summer, we traveled across Chidambaram’s red corridor. Perhaps, the Adivasis of these areas would not have heard the buzzword ‘red corridor’. They would love to call these areas as "Adivasi corridor" instead of the red corridor. However, we did not see any Maoist in the forest. But of course, we saw the half-burnt forest, trees and greenery. Thousands acres of forest were burnt by the security forces while carrying out operations for hunting the Maoists. Perhaps, they could not hunt the Maoists but they hunted beautiful plants, herbs, wild animals, birds and innocent insects. They burnt the houses of wild animals, birds and million insects. Indeed, the Adivasis would have been booked under the forest conservation Act 1980 and the wild life protection Act 1972 if they had burnt the forest.

After 7 hours long journey, finally we reached to a village called Ladi, which is situated in a dense forest of Barwadih block of Lateher district in Jharkhand. The Kherwar Adivasis write their surname as "Singh" are in the majority in the village. There are 56 Kherwars families, 2 Oraons, 11 Porenya, 10 Korba, 1 Lohra and 1 Saw family reside in the villages. At the entrance of the village, the Kherwar Adivasis were cutting stones, which is their traditional occupation. They told us that each Kherwar family earns Rs. 80 per day by cutting stones. They sell the final product to small traders. The economy of the village is based on agriculture, forest produces and daily wage. Though the villagers were busy in their routine work but there was complete silence in the village. It seems like an empty village. No one would smile. They are living with fear, agony, anguish, uncertainty and anger.

After the introduction ritual was over, we were told to visit to the house of 28-year-old Jairam Singh, whose wife Jasinta was shot dead by the security forces on 27 April 2010. We entered into a beautiful mud house. The environment of the house was still full of shock, agony and anger. The family members were silent. The shock, agony and anger were visible on their faces. We were asked to sit on their traditional beds, which is made of wood and rope. After a few minutes Jairam Singh appeared in front of us with his two kids – Amrita and Suchit. He was not able to come back to normal life. He could not speak. He was still in the state of shock and agony. Whenever we asked about the incident, he just started weeping. He is a temporary forest guard therefore when the incident took place; he was in duty at a place called Garu, which is 20 KM far from his village.

Jairam told us that he has three kids therefore he demands for Rs.5 lakh as compensation, government job and education support to his children. He just says, "I want justice". We saw Jairam’s two kids with hopeless face, feared and shocked. We wanted to see one more kid, who was merely 1 year old. Her name is Vibha Kumari, a sweet baby playing in her grandmother Bajwa Devi’s lap that time. We wanted to take some snap shots of these three kids with their father. But after seeing us Vibha started crying. She didn’t want to appear before us. She was crying continually even in her father’s lap. Perhaps, she assumes that we were there to snatch her from the family similar to what the security forces did with her mother. She was only crying, crying and crying. I was just shocked to see her endless cry for her mother.

Jairam’s younger brother 18 year old Bishram Singh, who was present at Home when the incident took place on April 27, 2010 told us what had happened that night in the red mud house. According to him the incident took place at 7:30 PM when all the family members were preparing for going to bed after having dinner together. Suddenly, they heard the sound of firing, coming from the outside of their home. Some one shouted, "Come out of the house otherwise we’ll set fire on the house". After hearing terrified voice, they came out of the house except a cattle caretaker (Puran Singh) who was sleeping in the room.

The Security Forces tied the hands of Bishram Singh and abused others. There were about 12 security forces well dressed and guns in hands. They asked, "Is anyone inside"? They told to the security forces that their cattle caretaker is sleeping inside. The Jawans asked to bring him out of the house. Jasinta entered into the house for waking up cattle caretaker and bringing him out of the house. The security forces also entered into the house and started firing. One bullet hit Jasinta’s chest when she was coming out of the house with Puran Singh (cattle caretaker) and another bullet hit Puran Singh’s left hand. Jasinta fell down and died in the spot.

The security forces told Bishram Singh that he should tell the police officers, the media and the people that his elder brother’s wife was killed in crossfire and also told not to go for protest against the police. They threatened him for dire consequences if he goes against the will of the security forces. After the postmortem was conducted on April 28, Bishram was asked to put his signature on a blank paper. After the final rites, the villagers started protest against the cold blood murder and they had even gone to file a FIR against murderers of Jasinta but the FIR was not register in Barwadih police station. The case was merely recorded in a daily dairy. However, the police file a FIR, which blames the Maoists for murder of Jasinta.

After series of protest, the government announced Rs.3 lakh as compensation and a government job to the family of the deceased. Unfortunately, nothing has been done yet. The Family members were not given postmortem report, death certificate and copy of the FIR. On May 14, the police deployed a Journalist Sanjay Kumar of Hindustan (Hindi daily) as a mediator who brought Jairam Singh to Barwadih police station, where the officer in charge Birendra Ram asked Jairam Singh to put his signature on a blank paper and accept a cheque of Rs.90,000. But when Jairam Singh denied for putting his signature on a blank paper, the officer in charge sent him back with empty hand. Ironically, the security forces shot dead Jairam Singh’s wife, threatening to the family members for dire consequences and they are also attempting to swallow the compensation package. Despite the family members and villagers made many attempts by from pillar to post but no action was taken against the security forces and local police.

The Cattle caretaker Puran Singh, who is under treatment in Latehar Sadar hospital, also tells the complete story of what had happened in the house of Jairam Singh on April 27, which has no contradiction with the words of Bishram Singh. But the Barwadih police are putting hard efforts to convert the cold blood murder as a result of crossfire between the Security Forces and the Maoist. According to the Police version, the bullet of the Maoists killed Jasinta. While observation, we found the marks of two bullets on the wall, which had been fired from the entrance of the house reveals the truth. In the case of crossfire there would have been some sign of firing on police from inside of the house. The best evidence is, after firing on Jasinta, the security forces went inside the house and conducted search operation but they did not find any Maoist. The house has only one entrance therefore there is absolutely no change of the Maoists fleeing away, which clearly means there was no change of crossfire but it is a clear case of cold blood murder committed by the security forces.

After brutal murder of Jasinta by the security forces, her husband Jairam Singh has been playing a role of mother too. He looks after his three kids - Amrita Kumari, Suchit Kumar and Vibha Kumari. Now his youngest baby Vibha Kumari is surviving on cattle milk. Whenever the security forces faced bullet there is a tendency of the national media debate. The biggest question here is why there is no such national debate for Vibha, Suchit and Amrita? Why those beautiful shining faces do not debate in television channels when innocent children are made orphans by the bullet of the security forces? Why the Media is not sensitive to the issues of the Adivasis like Jasinta’s kids? Are these three kids not innocent? Are they a security threat to the nation? Why don’t we believe on the words of innocent villagers who have been facing the bullets of the security forces continually? Why there is a tendency of believing only on the holy words of the security forces and local police whose bullets take away the right to life of these innocent villagers.

I can understand the pain, suffering and agony of losing the parents. But here the story is extremely different. When my parents were brutally murdered, I was young enough to understand and bear the pain, suffering and anger of such a heinous crime. But these children don’t especially baby Vibha doesn’t. She doesn’t know where her mother has gone. She only cries in search of her mother’s lap. She cries in search of mother for breast-feeding. And of course, she cries in search of her mother’s love and compassion. Is she not innocent like the kids of our brave security forces? Who will wipe out tears from her eyes? How will she react when she would come to know that the security forces gunned down her mother? Can we blame her if she walks on the path of revenge against the security forces? Will the security forces again gun down her because she would become the biggest national security threat and we’ll let our licensed gunmen to enjoy impunity as they have been doing in a democratic country? Will this nation ever be sensitive to those thousands of Adivasis children like Vibha, Suchit and Amrita or we have to witness many more children crying for breastfeeding, love and compassion of their parents. Where does buck stop for violation of the rights of innocent Adivasi?

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from Jharkhand. He can be reached at


(held in Ranchi on 25th and 26th Sept 2010)
Organised by : Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum

Observations of the Jury
The jury heard the testimonies of a number of social Activists working the Tribals in Jharkhand as well as a number of Tribals themselves who have been directly affected by Operation Greenhunt over the two days. The picture which emerges from these testimonies presents a dismal and indeed alarming picture of Human Rights violations of the adivasis population of the State which has driven them to unprecedented levels of desperation where their very survival is being threatened.

Over the last 60 years, more than 20 lakh acres of land has been acquired directly by the State in the name of various “development” projects displacing more than 15 lakh Adivasis from their homelands. This drive for acquisition of their land has become particularly acute during the last decade when 102 MOUs have been signed with a number of large private corporations, some of which are for thousands of acres of land involving the displacement of thousands of tribals in each case. Most of these MOUs are for mining or for setting up other polluting industries. These have however met with enormous resistance from the adivasis who have organized themselves and have so far successfully resisted the accusations of their land as a result of which virtually none of these MOUs have so far been operationalised.

All this land acquisition of Adivasi land has however been done without the consent or even consultation with the Adivasis. The MOUs were in fact signed in great haste and secrecy with no information at all to the people who were to be affected. All this is in complete violation of the PESA Act which provides that all development in the Scheduled areas would be in consultation (which should mean consent) of the Gram Sabhas. This has led to a widespread feeling among the Adivasis that not only is their right of self-rule being flagrantly violated, but their very identity and existence is being threatened. Many of them consequently taken up the Gun and joined the Maoists who have organized them to fight the state.

The government’s response to this has been Operation Greenhunt which uses large sections of Paramilitary forces what they perceive as the single security threat to the State. Interestingly, Operation Greenhunt is largely concentrated in the areas where the MOUs have been signed. The testimonies before us revealed that this Operation has led to and is causing enormous violations of Human Rights of the Adivasis in terms of all kinds of excesses by the security forces. A large number of testimonies before the Tribunal provided a sampling of the kinds of Human Rights abuses taking place: Arbitrary picking up of Adivasis and their torture; Arbitrary arrests of Adivasis as well as of those who to highlight the abuses by the security forces on false and trumped up charges; people even being killed in fake encounters or in custody. These abuses are only serving drive more Adivasis to pick up Guns and join the Maoists.

The Jury noted that the security forces involved in the abuses are hardly ever brought to justice and enjoy almost complete impunity. Unfortunately Jharkhand has not set up a State Human Rights Commissions or even Police Complaints Authority as directed by the Supreme Court in their judgment on Police Reforms. The Courts too which are supposed to examine allegations of torture, fake encounters and malafide arrests on false charges, have abdicated their responsibility with the result that innocents continue to rot in jails for years altogether and the guilty police officers are not punished, even when it is found that they have tortured people, killed them in fake encounters or arrested them on fabricated evidence. The Supreme Court’s judgement on Arrests, torture and the NHRC’s guidelines on encounter killings are being wantonly flouted and no one is being held accountable.

The Jury therefore recommends that:
1. The Government must address the underlying causes of Tribal alienation by ensuring that PESA Act is strictly complied with and that there is no involuntary acquisition of Tribal land without the consent of the Gram sabhas. The Adivasis must be given the effective right to decide the kind of development which should take place in their areas.

2. All MOUs entered into by the government which involve the acquisition of Tribal land must immediately be made public and put on hold.

3. Operation Greenhunt be withdrawn in a phase but rapid withdrawl of Para Military forces from Jharkhand.

4. The government must make a full and complete disclosure of those killed by the security forces in Operation Greenhunt and those who have killed detained and arrested under the UAPA.

5. The police and the Security forces must be made effectively accountable for their human rights abuses by:

a) Setting up a State Human Rights Commission in a transparent and credible manner which should be armed with adequate powers;

b) Setting up Police Complaints authorities as directed bye the Supreme Court;

c) The NHRCs guidelines regarding encounters, especially an investigation by an independent police agency and a Magisterial Enquiry must be strictly followed and the District SSP and DGP of the State be made jointly liable for non compliance;

d) The courts get each complaint of torture and arrest on false and fabricated charges seriously examined.

6. The SC & ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act 1989 be diligently applied against security officers committing such abuses on Tribals. The State Human Rights Commission be charged with monitoring it.

7. A High Level Commission be set up to investigate some of the most egregious cases of Encounter killings, torture and killing in police custody and also of arrests on false and fabricated charges.

8. Government of India should ratify UN convention on Torture and enact a law in tune with the spirit of convention

9. UN code of conduct for law Enforcement Officials, including prosecutors, Lawyers and Judges should be compulsorily observed.

10. UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms should be adopted and enforced

11. UN Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice should be adopted and enforced.

12. The international convention on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Government of India includes prohibition of torture, and obligates the state to hold detainees in officially recognized places of detention with names in registers accessible to all concerned

13. Government of India should issue a standing invitation to Precial Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council, including:

a) Working group on Arbitrary Detention

b) Working group on Enforced & Involuntary Disappearances

c) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executers

d) Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

e) Most importantly special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples.

14. Compensation and other things for killing or torture or illegal arrest must be paid as committed by the Govt.

15. The Government should come with a white paper as to the expenditure made in police vis-à-vis result thereof.

Signed by:
1. Justice Vikramaditya Prasad (Retd. Judge, Jharkhand High Court)

2. Mr. K.S. Subramanian (IPS and former DGP, Tripura)

3. Mr. C.S. Jha (former CMD, ECIL)

4. Mr. Prashant Bhushan (Lawyer and Covenor, Campaign for Judicial Accountability)

Message sent by:
Stan Swamy, on behalf of Op Green Hunt Virodhi Nagrik Manch

We are extremely pleased to inform you that we had organized a very successful Independence People’s Tribunal on Operation Green Hunt in Ranchi on 25th and 26th of September, 2010 under the banner of the Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum with the support of Operation Green Hunt Virodhi Nagrik Manch, Jharkhand Indigenous People’s Forum, Jharkhand Initiatives Desk, Jharkhand Jungle Bachao Andolan, Jharkhand Mines Area Coordination Committee and many other groups.
We had
the renowned author and activist Ms. Arundhati Roy as a special observer in the IPT. The esteemed members of the Jury were Retd Judge of Jharkhand High Court, Justice Vikramaditya Prasad, Sri Prashant Bhushan Senior Supreme Court advocate, Sri K.S. Subramanian, I.P.S. and former Director General of Police, Sri C.S. Jha, former CMD of BCCL and ECL and others. We are sharing the observations and recommendations of the Jury. We hope it will have a significant impact in the human rights movement.

Is Media Party to anti-CNT Act Movement in Jharkhand?

Is Media Party to anti-CNT Act Movement in Jharkhand?

By Gladson Dungdung

The Media is known as forth realm of the democracy though it has not been mentioned in the Constitutional or legal document. Since, the Media plays a role of watchdog (free, fair and fearless) therefore, it has the legitimacy of being called the forth realm of the Democracy. However, in the era of globalization, the media is in the hands of few vested interest groups. Today, the Jharkhandi media is one of the crucial examples of how it is being used to protect the vested interest in the state. It is obvious that since the creation of the state, Jharkhandi Media has been batting hard to ensure the corporate interest in the state. After the order of the Jharkhand High Court to enforce the CNT Act in the state, there has been upheaval in the state. The pro and anti-CNT Act movement started in the state and the Jharkhandi Media also became a party to the anti-CNT Act Movement.

There are three kinds of people reside in Jharkhand – Adivasis (Indigenous People), Moolvasis (Local Settler non-Adivasis) and Pravasis (Outsiders). According to the section 46 (A) of the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act 1908, one Adivasi can transfer his land only to another Adivasi resident of the same police station with the permission of the Deputy Commissioner (DC). Similarly, the Section 46 (B) of the CNT Act states that the SCs and OBCs can also transfer their land to their community people within the area of district with the permission of the DC. Since, the CNT Act had been propagated as a safeguard of only the Adivasis therefore; the land of the SC and OBC people was transferred without any prohibition and the Adivasis’ land was also transferred by misuse of Act. But after the Court’s order the land transferred of Adivasis, Dalits and OBCs was stopped in the state, which hit the real estate business, illegal land grab by the corporate houses and illegal land transfer to the outsider individual. Since, the Media has direct interest in the real estate business, industrialization and individual land transfer to the outsiders therefore, it became a party to the anti-CNT Act movement.

How media is party to the anti-CNT Act movement? There are some cases, where the media persons had made arguments with the leaders of pro-CNT Act after the press conferences or protest programmes. Some TV news channels did live coverage of some protests organized by the anti-CNT Act group “Jharkhand Bachao Sangharsh Morch” led by Uday Shankar Ojhar, Niraj Kumar and Bacha Singh. But the same TV News channels did not give much space to the pro-CNT Act protest organized by “Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch” led by Bandhu Tirkey, “Adivasi Chatra Sangh led by Chamra Linda and “Jharkhand Bachao Andolan’ led by Salkhan Murmu. The News papers also played dubious role by giving prominent spaces to the anti-CNT Act protests and special news and views were published against of the CNT Act but the same Newspapers neglected the pro-CNT Act protests. There are some leading Newspaper, who had even engaged special correspondents to find out the cases of violation of CNT Act by the Adivasis and Moolvasis officers, Bureaucrats and Politicians but at the same time, the same newspapers didn’t publish any story or list of the outsiders who have grabbed the Adivasis or Moolvasis’ land illegally.

There are some obvious reasons for the media being party to the anti-CNT Act movement. Firstly, the Builders who are engaged in the real estate business in Jharkhand also run TV News Channels in the state. For example, Bihar origin Builder Sanjay Chaudhary runs the real estate business is Jhakrhand known as the “Kashish Developers”, who has been developing a ‘SAIL CITY’ at Pundag near Ranchi also owns TV News Channel “Kashish News”. Interestingly, the green land of Adivasis and OBCs was acquired in the name of “SAIL Cooperative Society” because the Builder cannot buy land under the CNT Act. The Builders is also using local police and middle men in acquiring rest of the land for the SAIL CITY. The other Builders, who didn’t own TV News Channels or Newspaper, invest huge amount of money in the media in forms of advertisements. Therefore, the Builders have been doing all kinds of the power politics to make sure that their business does not get hampered. They also use the media to manipulate the public opinions in favour of them. It is obvious that without support of the Builders, many local news channels will be shut down therefore, the Media has been batting hard for the real estate business in the name of development of the state because closing down of the real estate business will have direct impact in revenue loss of the Media houses.

Secondly, the media has a clear corporate business interest in the name of development of Jharkhand. For instance, a Jharkhand based wire rope manufacturing company the “Usha Martine Limited” runs mining projects in Saranda Forest and elsewhere of Jharkhand is also the owner of a leading Hindi Newspaper of Jharkhand “Prabhat Khabar”. The “Prabhat Khabar” is one of the leading media campaigners for industrialization in Jharkhand and also carries a campaign against CNT Act with the intension to serve special interest for the outsiders in Jharkhand. The “Prabhat Khabar” has published series of stories regarding the violation of CNT Act by the Adivasis and Moolvasis. The papers has also published series of lists of some Adivasi/Moolvasi Govt. Officers, Bureaucrats and Politicians who have purchased land by violating the CNT Act but the same Newspaper didn’t publish any such list of the Pravasis (outsiders) who have grabbed the land of Adivasis and Moolvasis illegally. Why? Can any media house be biased like this? Similarly “Dainik Bhashkar” runs many mining projects in Chhatisgarh and other places, has launched its Jharkhand edition a year before, eying the minerals of Jharkhand, has also been advocating for the corporate model of development, which is against of Jharkhandi culture.

Thirdly, the composition of the Jharkhandi media is self-explanatory to rest of the story. Nearly 90 percent Journalists, engaged in Jharkhandi media houses come from non-Jharkhand origin upper caste. The Hindi dailies and Hindi News Channels are completely dominated either by the Bihar or UP origin upper caste Journalists and the English dailies are under the clutch of either West Bengal or South-Indian origin upper caste. Similarly, most of the Builders, Industrialists and individual land grabbers are also outsiders, who have direct or indirect association with the Media. Hence, the Media persons bat hard to protect the interest of the outsiders. Though, Jharkhand is known as an Adivasi state but hardly any Adivasi is found in the media. There are few Adivasi and Moolvasi Journalists at the last rung of the Media, who have also been struggling for their survival therefore; they are not able to influence the media to protect the interest of the state.

Fourthly, though Jharkhand is a separate state in the political map of India but the media treat the state as part of Bihar. There is a tradition of joint TV News channels “Jharkhand-Bihar” in the state. The major regional News channels like Sahara Samay, ETV, Kashis News, News11, Maurya TV, etc, run joint News Channels for “Bihar-Jharkhand”. The print media even goes beyond. The every Newspaper carries special “Bihar” page in its all editions in Jharkhand. Hence, the people of Bihar origin residing in Jharkhand get news of the both states in the same price and the Jharkhandi people also have to pay the price for them and forced to read the news of Bihar. The most stunning thing is the same Newspapers do not publish special “Jharkhand” page in their Bihar’s editions though numbers of Jharkhandi people live in Bihar for the jobs. Why? Is it not true that the Jharkhandi Media serve special interest of Bihar in Jharkhand? Should media do anything like this merely to serve its business interest? Is media selling a product in the market or playing a role of a watchdog in the society?

Fifthly, most of the Media’s consumers are the Pravasis (outsiders) therefore the media protects the interest of its consumers rather than Jharkhand and its people. The conclusion of the media campaigns is that the CNT Act should be either repealed or amended so that the outsiders can buy the land of the Adivasis and Moolvasis in Jharkhand. Secondly, the media has been attempting to humiliate the Adivasis with the intention to alienate them from their land stating that if one Adivasi sells his land to another Adivasi means selling land at the rate of garbage therefore all the Adivasis should sell their lands to the non-Adivasis if they want to become a developed one. Thirdly, the Media advocating to legalize the illegal encroachments by the outsiders in HEC (Ranchi), BSL (Bokaro) and Dhanbad, etc and also legalize the illegally grabbed land by the outsiders under the CNT Act.

The question is where is the media ethics gone in Jharkhand? Why Jharkhandi media is biased instead of being free, fair and fearless? And are the media houses becoming merely the product seller non-ethical companies whose intension is only to earn profit at any cost? Since the inception of the state, the Jharkhandi Media has been carrying on anti-Jharkhand campaign to serve the corporate interest and special interest of the Pravasis (outsiders), and the Media’s anti-CNT campaign is merely an addition to its anti-Jharkhandi campaign. However, today, the Jharkhandi media needs to rethink about its role for the sake of the Democracy? The present role of Jharkhandi media is not only against of Jharkhandi people but it is against of the media ethics, its credibility and the democracy as a whole.

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and General Secretary of ‘Jharkhand Human Rights Movement’. He can be reached at

Justice for 8 innocent Adivasis (3 minors) killed in police firing, Katharwa, Bihar.

Jharkhand Human Rights Movement
C/o-Mr. Suleman Odeya, Near Don Bosci ITC Gate, Khorha Toli, Kokar, Ranchi -834001. 0651-3242752 Email:

Ref: JHRM/PI/2013/03 Date: 29/06/2013

Sri Pranab Mukherjee,
President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi – 110004

Sub: requesting for an investigation and necessary legal action on a case of brutal killing of 8 innocent Adivasis (Scheduled Tribe) including 3 minor in the police firing, took place at Katharwa village come under the Naurangia police station of Bagaha police district (Paschim Champaran) in the state of Bihar on 24 June, 2013.

Respected Sir,

We would like to bring your kind attention on the above said subject that, 8 innocent ‘Tharu Adivasis’ (Scheduled Tribe) including 3 minor were brutally killed in the police firing took place at village Katharwa come under the Naurangia police station of Bagaha police district (Paschim Champaran) in the state of Bihar on 24 June, 2013.

The incident took place in the afternoon on 24 June, 2013, when a group of people angry over the delay in recovery of a kidnapped Tharu Adivasi (tribe) Mr. Chandeshwar Kaji, a native of village Tharthari comes under Naurangia police station of Bagaha police district, who was kidnapped on June 22, 2013. On 24 June, 2013 there was a rumour that a dead body was found at a place in Bagaha, which villagers suspected was that of Chandeshwar Kaji.

However, the dead body was identified as another person but the villagers resisted for recovery of Mr. Chandeshwar Kaji and protested against the police who had gone to recover the dead body and investigating on the case. The anger of the villagers was fuelled when the police alleged the Adivasis for killing of a person, whose dead body was recovered instead of taking action to recover the kidnapped person.

Consequently, there was clash between the Police forces and the Adivasis. The Adivasis blocked the police and when the police charged lathis against them, they also pelted stone on the police. Finally, the police opened fire on the crowd, which led to death of 6 persons at the spot and 2 in the Hospital. There were several villagers who got severe and minor injuries in the incident. This incident could have been avoided but the police was totally non-sensitive to the issues of the Adivasis, which led to loss of 8 precious lives.

List of Victims who died in the police firing:
Sl. No. Name of Victims Age Village
1. Mr. Anup Kumar Chautaria 16 Semridih
2. Mr. Shivmohan Kumar 10 Kataharawa
3. Mr. Bhupendra Kumar 22 Kataharawa
4. Mr. Tulsi Rai 18 Semrajusukpur
5. Mr. Anil Kumar 12 Amua
6. Mr. Dharamjeet Khatai 25 Devataha
7. Mr. Brahamdev Khatai 32 Devataha
8. Mr. Bhukdev Kumar 23 Dardari

The injured persons were also identified as Mr. Ganesh Kumar, Mr. Madan Kumar, Mr. Kamalesh Rai, Mr. Chandrashekhar Kumar, Mr. Harinarayan Kumar, Mr. Rajesh Kumar, Mr. Mohan Kumar, Mr. Rajan Kumar, Mr. Gaya Kumar, Mr. Jawahar Kazi, Mr. Bhagirathi Kumar, Mr. Keshav Raj Khatait, Mr. Dinesh Rai, Mr. Mukesh kumar, Mr. Kedar Kumar and Mrs. Lilawat Devi. Of them, 12 villagers are seriously injured and have been admitted to Bettiah MJK hospital.

List of Perpetrators:
Sl. No. Name of Perpetrators Post Role in the Incident Address
1. Mr. Anil Kumar SP Didn’t prevent the police firing Bagaha Police Headquarter
2. Mr. Shailesh Kumar DSP Led the firing Bagaha Police Headquarter
3. Mr. Shailendar Kumar Sinha SDPO Involved in firing Bagaha Police Headquarter
4. Mr. Vinay Kumar Singh SHO Involved in firing Naurangia PS
5. Mr. Rajan Pandey SHO Involved in firing Laukaria PS
6. Mr. D. Qazi SHO Involved in police firing Balmikinagar PS
7. Mr. D N Jhar Inspector Involved in police firing Naurangia police station
8. Inspectors and other police personals Inspectors and Constables Involved in firing Naurangia, Laukaria and Balmilinagar

Hence, it is a clear case of gross violation of the right to life of 8 innocent Adivasis (Scheduled Tribe) guaranteed under the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It is also the gross violation of juvenile Justice Act, 2006, Rights to Education Act 2009 of children and violation of Constitutional safeguard to the Scheduled Tribes.

Since, you are the custodian of the Adivasis/Tribal people constitutionally, therefore, we humbly pray you for the following actions:

1. An investigation should be done by the CBI on the case of brutal killing of 8 innocent Adivasis (Scheduled Tribe) including 3 minor children in the police firing.
2. A murder case should be registered against all the police officers and constable who were involved in the police firing, which led to killing of 8 innocent Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes).
3. A case should be also registered under the different sections of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocity Act, 1989 against all the non-SC/ST police officers and constable who were involved in the police firing.
4. All the police officers and constables, who were involved in the police firing should be dismissed from their posts and arrested for killing of 8 innocent Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes).
5. The family members of the deceased persons should be given Rs. 25 lakh and a government job per person as compensation.
6. The severe injured persons should be also given compensation as Rs 5 lakh and a government job each along with free treatment and the minor injured should also be given Rs. 1 lakh as compensation.

Therefore, we strongly pray for your intervention on the matter immediately to protect the rights of the victims of police firing. We hope you’ll understand the pains, sufferings and agony of the Adivasis/Tribals of Bihar.

We shall be highly obliged to you for the same.

Thanking you.

Yours sincerely,

Gladson Dungdung, Sunil Minj,
General Secretary, Chairperson,
JHRM, Ranchi. JHRM, Ranchi.

Killing of Innocent in self-defence?

Killing of Innocent in self-defence?

April 18, 2012
By Gladson Dungdung

Mangri Honhanga a victim of crossfire

“I was briefed by the Commander and CHM prior to departure for the LRP (long range patrolling), not to fire on anybody unless the Maoists in uniform or anyone found carrying lethal weapons. I was not in any kind of mental pressure either. However, I had signalled the vehicle to stop, but instead of stopping, it had attempted to hit me therefore, I fired two rounds of bullets aiming at the tyres of the TATA Magic vehicle in self defence”. This is a revelation of a CRPF Jawan of 134th battalion Jaswant Singh, whose bullets ended up the life of 39 year-old innocent driver Devendra Yadav, and brought dark into his family before the dawn in last January. Ironically, some of the top cops have also been attempting to shield him though he has committed a gross violation of human rights by taking away the right to life of an innocent driver guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. The Tata Magic’s driver Devendar Yadav was a resident of Jankopa village comes under Barun police station in Aurangabad district of Bihar. The CRPF Jawan, Jaswant Singh had shot him at NH-75 in Sultan valley of Palamu district of Jharkhand on January 16, 2012 during the LRP. The incident took place in the night, when Ajit Singh the owner of TATA Magic vehicle and his driver Devendar Yadav were going to drop the labourers in their native village at Kanda of Palamu. Since, the CPI-Maoists had called for one day Bandh (blockade) therefore; the CRPF Jawans and the district police under the leadership of the police inspector S.N. Jha and the CRPF Commander Kuldip Singh were patrolling at the Sultan valley on the basis of the Intelligence Agencies’ input about the Maoists’ presence in the region.

It was around 9:30 in the night when a TATA Magic vehicle was crossing through the Sultan valley and the CRPF Jawans attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver didn’t stop. Of course, there are some obvious reasons for the denial of driver to the CRPF’s signal. Since, the Maoists had called for a bandh and Devendra Yadav was driving vehicle against their call therefore, perhaps, he was afraid and couldn’t identify the CRPF Jawans, hence he accelerated the vehicle with the intension to get out of the region immediately. Secondly, since, it was night therefore; he might have also assume of being victimized by the CRPF Jawans hence, he didn’t stop the vehicle as there are number of cases of the innocent people being victimized by the Security Forces. However, when the vehicle didn’t stop, CRPF Jawan, Jawant Singh fired on the vehicle. Consequently, driver Devendar Yadav died in the spot and Ajit Singh got bullets injuries and admitted to RIMS, Ranchi. Ironically, a case of unintentional murder under the sections 304 and 308 of IPC and Section 27 of Arms Act was filed in Chhatarpur police station against unknown CRPF Jawans though it was very clear that the CRPF Jawan, Jaswant Singh had fired on the TATA Magic vehicle, which led to death of Devendar Yadav.

The superintendent of police (SP), Palamu, Anup T. Mathew, had then termed the case as a freak accident with the clear intension to shield the Jawan. According to him, around 9:30 pm, the security personnel had signalled the vehicle to stop for security reasons but it accelerated. The Jawan had then opened fire at the vehicle, which led to death of driver. After investigation of the case, a human rights organization, the “Jharkhand Human Rights Movement had filed a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission and pleaded for a high level inquiry into the case, stringent action against the perpetrators and compensation to the family of deceased. Consequently, the NHRC intervened on the matter and sought for a report from the Superintendent of Police, Palamu. Hence, a magisterial enquiry was established and fact was revealed.

The Additional Collector (land reforms and Naxal) Palamu, Rajan Choudhary, who was in-charge of the investigation, has submitted an investigation report to the Deputy Commissioner of Palamu along with the necessary documents and VCD of the post-mortem. The core findings of the investigation describe that the CRPF Jawan, Jaswant Singh had fired two rounds of bullets on the TATA Magic vehicle, which hit the left leg, left hand and left chest of Devendra Yadav, led to his death at the spot. The report further reads that the CRPF Jawans were briefed by the senior officers prior to the LRP and told them only to fire at Maoists in uniform or anyone found carrying lethal weapons.

The report further reads that after the incident, the police didn’t find any weapon or Naxal’s uniform from the spot, which clearly indicates that the CRPF Jawan has defied his duty by firing on the vehicle against the order. Surprisingly, the Magistrate didn’t recommend for action against the CRPF Jawan. Meanwhile, the Superintendent of Police (Palamu) has handed over the case to the CID for further investigation, which will put a question mark on the process of investigation. As usual, one after another investigation will be done in this case as well, till the CRPF Jawan, Jawant Singh is proved to be an innocent. This is a process of delaying justice to the family of the deceased, which will ensure the denial of justice and of course, the growth of Naxalism in the region. Indeed, it is an established fact that in all most each and every case of killing, rape and torture by the security forces is dealt in the same manner and the justice is always denied to the victims.

However, the top cops have applauded the report and fixed the responsibility on the CRPF. An IG rank officer while reacting on the report to the Media said, “It’s a good report. The police have pointed out the right thing in the investigation, but there is no excuse. It was a cold blooded murder.” He further said, “During night duty especially in the Naxal dominated areas people tend to drive their vehicles faster than during normal conditions. If a vehicle is speeding at more than 60 kmph, it is not possible for the driver to stop the vehicle instantly.” The statements give a clear sense about the internal fraction between the Jharkhand police and the CRPF precisely, because the same cops never accept their fault whenever the same crime is committed by the police Jawans. Obviously, the top cops of the Jharkhand police are annoyed with the CRPF personals because; they don’t listen to the Police and victimize the innocent villagers during the anti-Naxal operations in the state. Consequently, at the end of the day, the Jharkhand police have to carry the burden of alleged human rights violation and become villain in the eyes of the common people.

Indeed, the killing of innocent people in so-called crossfire has become one of the core issues for the state. Recently, the issue was raised twice in the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly by MLAs, Bandhu Tirkey and Vinod Singh but the government seems to be non-serious on it. The recent released, ‘Jharkhand Human Rights Report 2001-2011’ also exposes about the killing of 550 people in the crossfire and arrest of 4372 people after branding them as Naxals in the state in last decade. However, the Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda terms all the victims as Naxals. He said while speaking to the Media that the Security forces have killed 559 Naxals in the crossfire and arrested 4530 Naxals in last 11 years. However, the killing is a gross violation of denial of the right to life, and at the same time, the Supreme Court has also sought response from the Centre and all stats governments on the issue of fake encounters therefore; there should be the CBI probe in all kinds of killing in the state, which will clear the dark cloud. Otherwise, the more and more innocent people will be killed in the name of so-called self-defence and the perpetrators will always enjoy impunity as they have been doing in the largest democratic country on the earth.

NAPM Karnataka Convenor A.D Babu has been killed

Dear Friends,

We are writing to share the extremely shocking news that NAPM Karnataka Convenor A.D Babu has been killed.

Mr Babu was on his way to attend a NAPM organised meeting of the anti- liquor campaign at Ramnagaram, along with Sr. Celia and couple of other colleagues when a group of people stopped the vehicle at Mayanagram (some kms before the meeting venue) and attacked him with knives and swords. He was killed on the spot, in front of his comrades. It is believed that the strong liquor mafia in Karnataka is behind this gruesome murder.

We are yet to have details as news is just coming in. The NAPM convenors meeting is being held at Wardha. A team of HR activists and NAPM friends have rushed to Mayanagram...

Mr. A D Babu was among the most active comrades who emerged within the leadership of NAPM and was made a convener of the state unit recently.

We call upon all sections of the people to condemn murder of A D Babu and demand immediate action by the state government...

Seeking your Solidarity & Support against the violence.

For further information contact
Sr. Celia. Mobile No.9945716052.
Mr. David Selvaraj - No.9880290181
Mr. Mathews Philip - No.9845001338
Prof: Hasan Mansur - No.080-22211109
Mr. Philip George - No.9901089375
21 july 2008

NAPM condemns murder of its Karnataka state convenor:: Funeral on 22 July 2008

NAPM condemns murder of its Karnataka state convenor

We are shocked to learn of the gruesome murder of senior activist and campaigner for prohibition of liquor, Mr. A.D. Babu, one of the state convenors of NAPM in Karnataka. This is one more instance of the continuing chain of violence targeting activists working among the poorest and downtrodden, whether they be campaigners against liquor or against corruption. And more often than not Governments not only stand as mute witnesses to such acts but are often involved either in cover ups or at least lackadaisical in investigations of such crimes. We hope the new Karnataka Government which has made various promises to the people of the state will order a thorough investigation of the murder and bring all those involved, however strong and powerful they are, to book.

The NAPM convenors meeting in Wardha today offers its most heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and stands with it at this tragic hour.

We demand a CBI enquiry in this case as we apprehend that the state authorities may not be able to take a neutral stand.

We also propose that the governments rethink about the policy of allowing liquor sale. With the kind of revenues and vested interests involved in production and sale of liquor, anti-social elements will always continue to dominate this business and such incidents as above would continue to take place. Liquor has played havoc with the lives of poor people, especially women in the families, and is a curse on society. We demand a total ban on liquor.

Medha Patkar, P. Chennaiah, D. Gabriele, S.R. Suniti, Anand Mazgaonkar, Ulka Mahajan, Swati Desai, Mukta Srivastava, Srikanth, Sandeep Pandey

NAPM contact Numbers in Karnataka:
Sr. Celia, 09945716052;
Balakrishnan: 080-23392354;
David Selveraj, 09880290181

Please contact Jagadish 9448394365 for further information.
(799, 3rd Main Road, Prakash Nagar, Bangalore 21;
To get there: From Navrang Theatre Rajaji Nagar, go further on Raj Kumar Road. On the left there is a TVS show room. Next to that is Ayappa Swamy street. There is a partial bundh in his honour, and there will be a crowd)

National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)

NAPM: Commemorating Babu: Fast and Protest demanding CBI enquiry:: 24 July 2008

NAPM is organizing a half day protest at Gandhi statute (M.G.Road, Bangalore ) between 10.30 hrs and 15.00 hrs. For those who wish to keep a fast please do.

Sr.Celia will be the lead organizer (9945716052)

please encourage institutions, students and friends to participate in large numbers. Whoever can prepare banners, placards, please do. The focus should be on: demanding a CBI enquiry into the murder of A.T.Babu, a social activist. Secondly a condemnation of the dastardly actions of the liquor lobby. May I suggest that the focus be on the issue and not to project our institutions or forums.

After the protest, we will have a hall meeting during which time, Medha Pathkar, P.Chennaiah and other leaders of the NAPM and PUCL, Karnataka will address the participants and help plan a future course of action. Please make time to be at SCM, Mission Road, Bangalore-27, between 4.00 pm and 6.00 pm.

David Selvaraj/ Mercy Kappen

Contact for details:
Sr. Celia. Mobile No.9945716052.
Mr. David Selvaraj - No.9880290181
Mr. Mathews Philip - No.9845001338
Prof: Hasan Mansur - No.080-22211109
Mr. Philip George - No.9901089375



Behind the story of Dr Binayak Sen is equally that of Shankar Guha Niyogi, his friend and inspiration, murdered in 1991. Anand Patwardhan pays tribute

Ifirst met Binayak Sen in 1986. Shankar Guha Niyogi, legendary leader of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM), had invited me to screen my film Bombay, Our City for the mine workers of Chhattisgarh.

Niyogi was no ordinary union leader. Originally a worker in the Bhilai Steel plant, his thinking went far beyond the wage struggle politics of most unions of the day. Although the cmm’s ranks were drawn from marginalised workers who barely earned minimum wages for often life-threatening labour, their optimism and energy was there for all to see. Not only did I witness democracy at work every evening when they gathered to discuss ideological and practical issues, I also saw how innovative their thinking was. Knowing that the predominantly adivasi workforce needed their own symbols of struggle, the cmm revived the memory of a forgotten hero, Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh, a 19th-century adivasi whom the British hanged in 1857 for feeding his people from the granaries of the rich.

In 1981, inspired by Niyogi, Sen and two other doctors came to work among Chhattisgarh’s mine workers. They were instrumental in setting up the modest but impressive Shaheed Hospital, built and maintained with voluntary labour from the miners. By the mid-80s, the hospital had grown from 15 to 50 beds with its own operating theatre. The love, care and pride that went into work at the hospital made it one of the most unique institutions of its kind. Physician and worker alike were literally healing themselves.

The revolution that Niyogi and his comrades envisaged may have borrowed from Marx and Engels, but it also borrowed from Gandhi. It was acquainted both with the failures of the Left as well as with the environmental degradation wrought by the development paradigm practiced world over. In India, by the early 80s, disillusionment with the traditional Left as well with in-fighting Naxal groups had set in, and there was a search for an alternative vision. Niyogi and the cmm in Chhattisgarh, and Medha Patkar and the Narmada Bachao Andolan in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh seemed the harbingers of a new, green, Left, that would use not armed struggle but grass roots organisation and mass mobilisation as its primary weapon. This Laal Hara (Red Green) was a potent force that everyone hoped would lead us into the future.

The screening of Bombay, Our City, a film on Bombay’s slum dwellers, was an instant hit. Despite its meagre resources, the union had spent Rs 10, 000 to buy a 16mm projector for the occasion — another example of forward thinking that put real value on workers’ education. Over a thousand workers attended the open air screening that evening and the discussions that lasted long into the night were so lively that the union decided to acquire a print of their own so they could continue to screen the film after I had left. I said I would return but, to my eternal regret, never kept my promise.

History overtook us. People like myself, who had earlier focused on workers’ issues, became preoccupied with fighting the rise of the religious fundamentalism that eventually demolished the Babri Mosque, and went on to engulf the subcontinent in violence and hate. In a sense, Niyogi too became a victim of this rising tide. As the BJP vied for power in the Chhattisgarh belt, it came across a diametrically-opposed worldview that had successfully forged class solidarity against all religious divides.

Niyogi and the cmm had other powerful enemies. The workers’ growing confidence had given the union the muscle to tackle social evils like alcoholism. The union took to imposing small fines on those who drank, secretly returning the amount to the alcoholics’ wives! The shrink in consumption levels hit the liquor mafia hard. Other opponents included labour contractors, who had lost an exploitative livelihood, and an industrialist/ politician nexus that could not tolerate a strong workers’ movement.

On the night of September 27, 1991, Shankar Guha Niyogi was shot dead as he lay asleep in his hut. Those who organised the murder were never punished, although everyone in the area knows who they were. The additional district and sessions court found six persons guilty and awarded the death sentence to the man who fired the gun and life sentences to the other five, including two prominent industrialists close to the BJP, charged with planning and funding the murder. With the BJP in power, the Madhya Pradesh High Court freed the accused, citing lack of evidence.

The orphaned cmm bravely struggled on, ably led by Janak Lal Thakur and Niyogi’s other colleagues. Sen and his wife Ilina stayed on in the area, working both with the cmm as well as in the field of health, and later began work with the civil liberties movement. Sen became General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh unit of the People Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

Niyogi’s assassination and the logic of ‘liberalisation’ led to worsening repression of the region’s adivasis and workers. Naxal resistance grew in this vacuum. In response, the state government launched one of its most infamous operations, the Salwa Judum, which arms and trains civilians to form paramilitary vigilante outfits against the Naxals. As pucl Gen Secy, Sen documented and published reports on the reign of terror unleashed in Chhattisgarh by a nexus of the administration and the paramilitary forces. The State took revenge. They put out a warrant for his arrest alleging that he had met a Maoist leader jailed in Raipur, and facilitated an exchange of letters, despite the fact that the pucl had sought and obtained official permission for the meeting. On May 14, Sen turned himself in and has been held for over two months now as a Naxalite.

People are rallying to the good doctor’s cause. Support has poured in from across the country. Amnesty International has taken up the case. The medical fraternity in India and abroad has responded, for Sen is that rarest of rare doctors — one who walks and works amongst the poorest and the most deprived. So far, our cries have fallen on deaf ears.

Binayak Sen is a gentle, compassionate man, whom I am proud to have met. If he is to be held a Naxalite for documenting State atrocities, then count me as one too. And count all those thousands who have signed petitions for his release and who will continue to fight injustice in this land wherever it occurs, non-violently, but without fear.

Patwardhan is a documentary filmmaker



Dear Friends,

Hopefully, you all have been made aware of the recent NGT order of 8th April 2016, in which the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has stated that “their ( meaning POSCO) Environmental Clearance is valid only up to 19th July, 2017, they would not be able to do any work because the land has not been handed over to them and therefore the project cannot be proceed any further. At this stage they are unable to carry out the project and if they plan to take advantage of the Environmental Clearance and complete the project, they would inform the Applicant and the Tribunal”.

Many people might think that POSCO has withdrawn and it is time for celebration. We would like to clarify here that though the recent hearing in NGT has enlightened us about POSCO’s confusing mindset but we are disturbed to know about its unwillingness to publicly declare its intention about the project and its future. We fail to understand why, in spite of POSCO’s intention not to start work in our land within 2017; the matter could be listed for further hearing on May 9, 2016 ! The case should have been closed for ever putting an end to our anxiety and the process of harassment we have been going through.

The state police have turned the area in to a repressive colony. After inflicting severe physical injuries on old and young people, they have slapped numerous fictitious cases on our people and have put many in the jail. The local police do not receive FIRs of the people and rather misbehave with the women or men who come to the police station with complaints. Currently two villagers are languishing in the jail. Mr Khira Das of Govindpur village arrested on 10th December 2015 ( Human Rights Day) and Prafulla Jena of Dhinkia Village in the 2nd February 2016 . More than 420 false cases have lodged against the villagers and warrant order has been issued against more than 2000 people out of which 300 are women. Due to the police warrant, the villagers are not able to venture out of the villages.

In response to a call by the PPSS, our people have started reoccupying the betel vine lands forcibly occupied by the district administration for POSCO. As a result, POSCO has filed cases against our people. The cases includes criminal (section 447, 426) and encroachment civil cases. 30 criminal civil cases have filed against the villagers of Gadakujanga panchayat. In another instance, villagers of Govindpur re-occupied the so called government land. As a result, the local government filed criminal and civil cases against 40 people. Villagers of Nuagaon re-occupied the so called government land in 2015. The government has threatened to file cases against the people.
Meanwhile members of Khandadhar Suraksha Sangram Samiti (KSSS) along with various people movements organised three day protest near Khandadhar waterfall from 26-28th January 2016. They demanded that like Niyamagiri , no land, no mines must be used by the Government as well as by any company in the name of ‘so called’ development without prior approval of ‘Gram Sabha’ ( Village Council). Both the state and union government should respect and recognise the PESA 1996, Forest Right Act 2006 and ‘Gram Sabha’ which have been enacted in accordance with the 5th Schedule of the Constitution. They appealed to declare the region as National Natural Heritage and protect the natural habitat of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) Paudi Bhuyna.

We demand for the following

1. POSCO be forced to make formal announcement to completely withdraw from the project from Odisha immediately.
2. The government should hand over the all land occupied for POSCO to the villagers immediately and recognise their land as per the FRA 2006.
3. The government should stop all types of repression to our people and withdraw all false and fabricated criminal charges against our villagers immediately.
4. The government need to replant the trees in our sensitive coastal areas where more than two lakh trees were indiscriminately cut down by the Government for POSCO.
5. Proper and adequate Compensation should be paid by the government to the widows and children and the injured family members attacked by POSCO goons in the year 2008 and 2013

Kindly circulate this mail widely

Hoping for support and solidarity.
Prashant Paikray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
E-Mail -
M- 09437571547



Dear Friends,

Hopefully, you all have been made aware of the recent NGT order of 8th April 2016, in which the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has stated that “their ( meaning POSCO) Environmental Clearance is valid only up to 19th July, 2017, they would not be able to do any work because the land has not been handed over to them and therefore the project cannot be proceed any further. At this stage they are unable to carry out the project and if they plan to take advantage of the Environmental Clearance and complete the project, they would inform the Applicant and the Tribunal”.

Many people might think that POSCO has withdrawn and it is time for celebration. We would like to clarify here that though the recent hearing in NGT has enlightened us about POSCO’s confusing mindset but we are disturbed to know about its unwillingness to publicly declare its intention about the project and its future. We fail to understand why, in spite of POSCO’s intention not to start work in our land within 2017; the matter could be listed for further hearing on May 9, 2016 ! The case should have been closed for ever putting an end to our anxiety and the process of harassment we have been going through.

The state police have turned the area in to a repressive colony. After inflicting severe physical injuries on old and young people, they have slapped numerous fictitious cases on our people and have put many in the jail. The local police do not receive FIRs of the people and rather misbehave with the women or men who come to the police station with complaints. Currently two villagers are languishing in the jail. Mr Khira Das of Govindpur village arrested on 10th December 2015 ( Human Rights Day) and Prafulla Jena of Dhinkia Village in the 2nd February 2016 . More than 420 false cases have lodged against the villagers and warrant order has been issued against more than 2000 people out of which 300 are women. Due to the police warrant, the villagers are not able to venture out of the villages.

In response to a call by the PPSS, our people have started reoccupying the betel vine lands forcibly occupied by the district administration for POSCO. As a result, POSCO has filed cases against our people. The cases includes criminal (section 447, 426) and encroachment civil cases. 30 criminal civil cases have filed against the villagers of Gadakujanga panchayat. In another instance, villagers of Govindpur re-occupied the so called government land. As a result, the local government filed criminal and civil cases against 40 people. Villagers of Nuagaon re-occupied the so called government land in 2015. The government has threatened to file cases against the people.
Meanwhile members of Khandadhar Suraksha Sangram Samiti (KSSS) along with various people movements organised three day protest near Khandadhar waterfall from 26-28th January 2016. They demanded that like Niyamagiri , no land, no mines must be used by the Government as well as by any company in the name of ‘so called’ development without prior approval of ‘Gram Sabha’ ( Village Council). Both the state and union government should respect and recognise the PESA 1996, Forest Right Act 2006 and ‘Gram Sabha’ which have been enacted in accordance with the 5th Schedule of the Constitution. They appealed to declare the region as National Natural Heritage and protect the natural habitat of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) Paudi Bhuyna.

We demand for the following

1. POSCO be forced to make formal announcement to completely withdraw from the project from Odisha immediately.
2. The government should hand over the all land occupied for POSCO to the villagers immediately and recognise their land as per the FRA 2006.
3. The government should stop all types of repression to our people and withdraw all false and fabricated criminal charges against our villagers immediately.
4. The government need to replant the trees in our sensitive coastal areas where more than two lakh trees were indiscriminately cut down by the Government for POSCO.
5. Proper and adequate Compensation should be paid by the government to the widows and children and the injured family members attacked by POSCO goons in the year 2008 and 2013

Kindly circulate this mail widely

Hoping for support and solidarity.

Prashant Paikray

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

E-Mail -

M- 09437571547

Prasant Paikray

Posco Pratirodh Sangram Saiti
Mobile - 9437571547

PUCL on Burhan Wani's killing: Why is Kashmir boiling? A call to citizens to protest an encounter killing and brutal handling of aftershocks

Why is Kashmir boiling? A call to citizens to protest an encounter killing and brutal handling of after shocks.

PUCL Condemns Brutal Repression of Unarmed Protests in Kashmir and Urges the Indian State to act within the bounds of law to end terrorism in the state.

PUCL expresses its deepest concerns about the manner in which the Indian security establishment has handled the protests that erupted across the Kashmir valley as a consequence of the killing of Burhan Wani in a suspected fake encounter last Friday, 8th July, 2016. By many accounts, Wani was shot at from close quarters of about 4 feet in a cold blooded murder and not in an encounter. Two other persons accompanying Wani were also killed by a special team of the security forces. Such cold blooded killings camouflaged as “encounter” in an alleged gun-fight is unacceptable in a democracy. PUCL condemns both the Central Government and the PDP led J &K government for launching an operation to liquidate suspected or real terrorists in fake encounters instead of respecting the rule of law and prosecuting them.

During the last few months, many terrorists have been killed in Kashmir without noticeable protest, but following Burhan Wani's killing the valley is on fire. The widespread protests in the valley has led to the firing in which as many as 34 unarmed Kashmiris have been killed and over 92 people injured including those hit in the eye by the so called `non-lethal’ weapons firing pellets, instead of bullets.

It is important for the rest of India to ask why there is so widespread and determined protest now when there was no protest at such a scale every time alleged terrorists were killed? The obvious reason is that though the protesters accept that those who fight with arms must expect to be countered with arms as is the rule of war as well as peace, but to them, the killing of Wani was not in a real encounter but in a fake encounter after luring him to the place where he was killed with his two friends. Most lamentably, the circumstances and manner of Wani's killing are being concealed from the people, but the people of Kashmir know it and are seething with anger.

Some newspapers have reported the circumstances and manner of Wani's killing but placed it at some obscure place. For example, The Dainik Bhaskar, Muzaffarpur edition (11.7.2016 on page 17) has published an account of the encounter based on an interview of Upmita Bajpayee with an officer involved in the operation. According to the officer, a honey trap was set with a girl known to be close to Wani. She lured him to visit her at her house at the village Badmura. The security forces were tipped and were also informed that the terrorists were not heavily armed. The house was surrounded and was set on fire to force him out, as the Islamists do not want to die in a fire as it is like 'Dokhaj' (Hell). As the fire raged, Wani reportedly came out supported by two of his friends. The security forces shot him from a distance of 4 feet. They also killed both of his friends though they initially wanted to capture them alive but killed them, too. The heading of news item is KHUD JAAL ME FANSA THA WANI, SENA NE GHERA TAB NASE ME THA, 4 FEET DOOR SE MARA GOLI (Wani walked into the trap himself, when the armed forces surrounded him, he was inebriated, was shot from a distance of four feet ).

Kashmir would not have been on the boil if Wani were not killed in cold blood in a fake encounter after setting a honey trap. Most likely his death would have been protested like other cases of killing of terrorists in a real encounter but without the scale of current uprising.

It is important to point out that the alleged terrorists are being treated as worse than Nathuram Godse, who murdered Mahatma Gandhi and Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist, involved in Mumbai terror attack of 2008. None of them was shot dead like Wani. They were tried giving them the opportunity to defend themselves and finally punished according to the law. That is what the adherence to the constitution and the rule of law mandates and is the basis of our claim to be a civilized nation.

It is a shame that the rest of India is not protesting against the cold blooded murder of Wani and his friends. Their being a terrorist was not a greater crime than Gandhiji's murderer or Ajmal Kasab's role in Mumbai terror attack. Our law as reiterated by the apex court from time to time does not permit killing of terrorists in fake encounters and treats it as plain murder. The general indifference or support for the killing of Wani in the rest of India smacks of a double standard and angers and further alienates the people of Kashmir.

The PUCL demands that regardless of the difficulties, the State must fight terrorism within the frame -work of the constitution and the law of the land to win the trust of the people in the fairness of the Indian State and arrest further alienation of the Kashmiris. The lawless ways of the State are bound to add to the legitimate anger and alienation of the Kashmiris.


Prof. Prabhakar Sinha Dr. V. Suresh,
National President, PUCL National General Secretary, PUCL

Peace can come to Bastar only when the State stops treating the adivasis as its enemy

Peace can come to Bastar
only when the State stops treating the adivasi people at large as its enemy
and lets them return to their villages.

The Government of Chhattisgarh admits that since the start of Salwa Judum in the year 2005, 644 villages of district Dantewada, whose overwhelmingly adivasi population is about 3.5 lakhs, have been emptied out. Our common sense understanding that enmasse displacement on this scale could only have been made possible by extreme violence, is vindicated by the horrifying incidents of arson, loot, murder, rape, and widespread arrests by the SJ and security forces that have continuously been coming to light, and which can no longer be ignored.

In honest moments, the security experts of the Jungle Warfare School, Kanker admit, that this is the well known American counter insurgency strategy of “draining the water to kill the fish”. Though many of us, who are witness to widespread displacement all over Chhattisgarh for rich mineral resources, believe that there is also considerable evidence, that the motive for ground clearing is acquisition for mining companies. Whatever the motive, what is the situation in Dantewada today?
Recently the Home Minister admitted, that out of the 50,000 “internally displaced persons” who were being housed in the roadside SJ camps since 2005, now barely 8,000 remain, the rest of them have run away. The recent incidents of a trigger happy CRPF jawan killing a woman and baby in the Cherpal camp, or of SPOs beating three persons to death in the Matwada camp, perhaps illustrate why. And yet - all schools, health centres, ration shops, (of course polling booths), which have been totally withdrawn from the 644 villages, (and even gram sabhas for determination of forest rights!) continue to be run from those camps.

The administration openly declares that the people of all those villages who have refused to come to the camps, all those villagers who have not joined/ co-operated with the Salwa Judum, those who are still daring to sow their fields in the affected villages (only to flee when the security forces arrive leaving the vulnerable behind to be killed or arrested), and certainly those, who are living in the forests, are automatically “Naxalites”. All youth found in the abandoned villages, and all persons from these villages who come to markets are beaten black and blue and thrown into jail on mere suspicion. And there is always a stock of uniforms and rusty “bharmars” to show as seizures.

Even conceding that around 50,000 persons might have fled to Andhra Pradesh and maybe another 50,000 to Orissa or Maharashtra, this means that at least 2 lakh people, by virtue of being in the forests or “Naxal stronghold” areas, have now been declared “Naxalites” by the State, and therefore it is considered legitimate that they can be starved of food, medical supplies and access even to village markets. No doubt “anti-Naxal operations” against them have, and would further result, in swelling the ranks of armed militants. For now, the ever present issues of land and livelihood have turned into the burning issue of the very survival of these lakhs of people. And history tells us, that in those circumstances, the adivasi people have always fought fiercely. Even 14 battalions of paramilitary forces, who, apart from occasional forays for “searching” within a small radius of their base, remain holed up in thanas, jails and schools with electrified barbed wire fencing, are feeling quite helpless against the swarm attacks of hundreds of Naxalite militia. In the past few months, at least 25 jawans have committed suicide after killing their officers and colleagues out of sheer stress.

That the Government of Chhattisgarh is hell bent on demolishing any “middle ground” is amply illustrated by its treatment of the Vanvasi Chetana Ashram, an NGO inspired by Gandhian ideology, which has been trying to implement the recommendations of the NHRC with regard to rehabilitation of the displaced villagers, and to provide legal aid for the filing of FIRs/ complaints in the cases of disappearances and rapes. The Ashram was demolished recently; rice being taken to the villages of Lingagiri, Basaguda and Nendra, which have been resettled by the Ashram, was confiscated as “being supplied to Naxalites”; and a young volunteer of the Ashram – Sukhnath - has been booked under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act. The voice of civil liberties is still sought to be silenced: two more supplementary charge sheets, again not disclosing any legally admissible evidence, have recently been filed against Dr Binayak Sen, General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh PUCL, even after unconditional bail was granted to him by the Supreme Court. Apart from the cases filed against Salwa Judum in the Supreme Court, numerous cases filed against fake encounters in the High Court of Chhattisgarh, and private complaint cases in the lower courts drag on without providing substantial relief, despite the best efforts of the Petitioners. Strident demands made in rallies of local adivasi organizations in Bastar, protesting the handing over of their lands to companies, meet with no response, either from the district administration or the Governor – the constitutional authority of the Scheduled Areas.

It is in this context that the implications of “clearing out the Naxalites by military operation” have to be understood. Today, this can only mean an indiscriminate genocide of adivasis, a full scale war against lakhs of people, against the people at large. How can “civilians” and “combatants” possibly be distinguished under such a dispensation? Have not our experiences in the North East and Kashmir told us that there is no “quick end” to such a war? We are already witness to the recent incidents of Singhavaram…Kokawada….Vechapal, cases where people came out on the streets in Bastar to protest that the so-called “militants” killed by the security forces and SJ SPOs were actually only simple villagers.

That is why, it is with a sense of great urgency, and in defiance of the fascist attitude of the Government of Chhattisgarh, that we appeal to all democratic minded people of this country to demand that -

First and foremost, the lakhs of displaced adivasis of Dantewada be allowed to return to their villages and rebuild their ravaged agrarian and forest based economies. Thus their rights to food, to basic health, to land and livelihood, and above all – to life, must be assured.
It is only this, that can ensure a de-escalation of the polarization between security forces on the one hand and the adivasi people at large on the other, and can avoid genocide in the name of counterinsurgency.

If you agree with us, please raise and support this demand.

Sudha Bharadwaj
On behalf of
Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee)
C/o CMM Office, Labour Camp, Jamul,
District Durg, Chhattisgarh.
Mobile No: 09926603877

People’s Forum on BRICS, October 13-15, 2016, Goa, India

Call for solidarity and participation!
People’s Forum on BRICS, October 13-15, 2016, Goa, India

The 8th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit will be held in Goa, India from 15-16 October 2016. Set up in 2009, in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, with four countries and then expanded to South Africa in 2010, the emergence of the BRICS was seen in many circles as a concrete step towards constructing a multi-polar world. This was soon underlined with the setting up of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) that were supposedly direct challenges to the hegemony of northern dominated institutions such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

However it was soon evident that these new initiatives, while allegedly eroding the dominance of the Bretton Woods Institutions, would in reality work in a complementary and collaborative fashion with the latter. For example, during a balance of payment crisis, the CRA forces a borrowing country to go to the IMF for a neoliberal structural adjustment programme after getting just 30% of its quota in CRA loans. BRICS’ Transnational corporations (TNCs) that extract valuable resources from the world’s poorest regions are reported to be just as brutal in accumulating capital as northern TNCs. The BRICS’ record at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and at the United Nations Climate negotiations has also been one of strategic accommodation with the global north.

Given this continued adherence to a largely neo-liberal development model and an export-led growth trajectory based on cheap labour, rising inequality, financial speculation and multinational corporate exploitation, with little consideration for social and ecological costs, the expectation that the BRICS would usher in a systemic shift in the world economy was soon debunked. Nevertheless, the BRICS have, on occasion, taken progressive positions on geo-politics; in opposing unilateral military intervention in Syria and calling for a just solution to the question of Palestine. Russia and China have played a key role in containing NATO, albeit due to expansionary geopolitical tendencies of their own. India and Brazil kept alive hopes for inexpensive life-saving medicines by rejecting Intellectual Property monopoly, helping South African AIDS-treatment activists beat their own government ten years ago, leading to a 10-year improvement in life expectancy. At best, the BRICS is a contradictory forum posing immense challenges with some opportunities for critical engagement.

The 2016 BRICS India Summit is being hosted by the NDA Government in the midst of multiple global and national crises. The world continues to struggle with the impacts of the 2008 global economic crisis and conflicts in West Asia and the Arab world show no signs of resolution. Despite the unravelling of 25 years of neo-liberal policies in India, the NDA Government continues to push privatisation of essential services, promote large scale infrastructure projects such as mega industrial corridors, nuclear parks and mega-ports and de-regulate labour, land and environmental laws in the interests of capital. Any resistance against this by students, labour unions, academics, writers and social movements is often crushed by the Government, labelling them as ‘anti-national’. In May, Brazil’s democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff was ousted through a constitutional coup, with no formal objection from her BRICS allies. The rightwing interim President Michel Temer is now actively pushing for the potential privatisation of all state companies, such as Petrobras, electricity utilities, ports and airports. We unequivocally condemn the coup and stand with Brazilian groups that are challenging the ouster of President Dilma. In South Africa, the adoption of neo-liberal policies by the ANC Government has led to tens of thousands of protests by labour unions and community groups. South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world (close to 40%), and an employment-income inequality Gini coefficient of 0.77, the world’s highest. While Russia occasionally adopts stances against Western imperialist projects such as NATO, President Putin has pushed an authoritarian capitalist model which has seen rising inequality, declining real wages of the working class and a consequent deterioration of living standards. Much has been written about China’s extraordinary success as a global power and its supposed challenge to western hegemony, but evidence is also mounting on how the growth of Chinese capitalism is resulting in dispossession and pauperisation of the disempowered and destruction of the environment, while facilitating immense wealth accumulation by the elite.

It is critical that we situate the 2016 BRICS summit within this global, regional and national context. The idea behind the People’s Forum is to provide a space for progressive trade unions, social movements, academia and civil society from various BRICS countries to share analysis, struggle notes and build solidarity in the resistance against neo-liberalism and corporate globalisation. It will also be a space to put forward and discuss alternatives for a just and equitable world that are emerging out of people’s struggles.

Broad themes proposed for discussion at the Peoples Forum include:
Imperialism, Peace and Security | Finance, Investment & Trade | Corporate Power | Food & Agriculture | Natural Resource Governance | Industry, Economy & Labour | Knowledge, Science & Technology | Public Services & Privatisation | Civil and Human Rights | Climate, Energy & Infrastructure | Race, Caste & Ethnicity | Alternatives |

The People’s Forum will be held in Goa, on the western coast of India. Goa has been an active site of struggle against neo-liberalism with vibrant movements for labour rights, women’s empowerment and environmental justice. Groups from Goa, along with other Indian organisations will jointly host the event which will include plenaries, self-organised workshops, cultural events and films.

We invite all likeminded groups from across India and BRICS countries to come, join us in Goa. Please get in touch with us if you are interested in organising a workshop. We look forward to welcoming you in October.

Endorsed by
All India Forum of Forest Movements (AIFFM) | All India People’s Science Network (AIPSN) | All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) | Beyond Copenhagen Collective | Centre for Finance Accountability | Delhi Science Forum (DSF) | Delhi Solidarity Group | Focus on the Global South | Forum Against FTAs | India Climate Justice Collective | National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) | National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) | New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) | South Solidarity Initiative | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam | South Asia Dialogues for Ecological Democracy (SADED) |

Contact details.

Issued by: National Organising Committee of the People’s Forum on BRICS

Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee

Bagaicha, Namkum, Ranchi
Press Release – 14th March 2017

The Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC) strongly condemns the judgement by the Gadchiroli Sessions Court March 7, 2017 convicting Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Narote, Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi, Vijay Tirki and G N Saibaba, under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) and awarding life sentence to five of them and a ten year imprisonment to another. PPSC was initiated with the objective of focusing on the plight of adivasi and marginalized prisoners suffering under the criminal justice system in the armed conflict zones of central and eastern India. It is ironical that Prashant Rahi, one of the main motivators behind PPSC and an untiring worker for the rights and release of persecuted prisoners, is today a victim of the same criminal justice system which has imprisoned him for life for standing up for the victims of the war on people that is being waged by the state in vast parts of India. The other victims of this judgement, which can at best be called a travesty of justice and at worst an open demonstration of the resolve of the state to punish all dissent, include Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Narote and Vijay Tirki, all adivasi youth from Gadchiroli and Chattisgarh, Hem Mishra a student and cultural activist from JNU and G. N Saibaba, a 95% physically challenged professor and activist from DU, all of whom have already suffered for many months in jail. Now they are looking ahead to many years in prison again, thanks to the vengeful Indian state which criminalizes all forms of dissent and protest using the criminal justice system and draconian laws such as the UAPA.

It is of not much use here in pointing out the blatant and glaring inconsistencies, generalizations, subjective observations and biased application of case law with which the entire judgement convicting the abovementioned people is riddled. It would be more instructive to understand the motivation behind the judgement, and the vengeance with which the verdict has been delivered. This is clear from para 1013 (pp 818-819) of the judgement which says “...the situation in Gadchiroli district from 1982 till today is in paralyzed condition and no industrial and other developments are taking place because of fear of naxal (sic) and their violent activities. Hence, in my opinion, the imprisonment for life is also not a sufficient punishment to the accused but the hands of the Court are closed with the mandate of Section 18 and 20 of UAPA and in my opinion it is a fit case to award sentence of imprisonment of life...”. It is clear that the judge rues the fact that exploitation of the adivasi people of Gadchiroli has not been possible because popular resistance, and holds the six accused guilty for that, and regrets that he cannot sentence them to death! Therefore, this judgement has been delivered clearly to serve the interests of the corporations and the state which is hell bent on plundering the resources of the adivasi areas in the name of industrialization and development. It is in the backdrop of the strong peoples’ resistance against iron ore mining in Gadchiroli that this judgement has been given, as a clear message to crush all resistance against corporate plunder of the natural resources which is being tried out in the vast area spread from Jharkhand to Maharashtra. During the same week, the judgment by a Gurgaon court convicting 31 workers of the Maruti Suzuki factory in Manesar, also clearly demonstrates that it is the interest of the corporations that courts all over India are serving and any resistance against these interests will be crushed brutally by using the criminal justice system.

We believe that the six convicted should be released immediately and charges against them should be dropped. We call upon all organizations and democratic-minded people to unite and protest strongly against this particular judgement and against the general persecution of the most marginalized sections of our population by the criminal justice system in the entire armed conflict zone of eastern and central India, and elsewhere, where the people are bravely resisting the state and corporations’ relentless attack on the lives and livelihoods of the working people.

Stan Swamy
Sudha Bharadwaj
Partho Sarothi Ray
Megha Bahl
On behalf of
Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC)

Protect the rights of the indigenous people or shoot all of them at once (Gladson Dungdung)

Jharkhand Human Rights Movement
C/o-Mr. Suleman Odeya, Near Don Bosci ITC Gate, Khorha Toli, Kokar,
Ranchi -834001. 0651-3242752 Email:

Ref: JHRM/PI/2013/01 Date: 01/05/2013

His Excellency,
Sri Pranab Mukherjee,
President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi – 110004

Sub: Requesting to protect the rights of the Scheduled Tribes (Indigenous People of India) or to shoot all of them at once rather than excluding, discriminating, exploiting, torturing and making them landless, resourceless and beggars by alienating them from the natural and livelihood resources in the name of growth and development.

Dear Sir,

1. It is extremely painful to state that I come from an Adivasi (tribal) family, who was displaced by an irrigation project without rehabilitation in 1980 and my parents were brutally murdered in 1990. However, I was managed to survive. On 30th April, 2013, you have inaugurated a power project of the Jindal Steel & Power Ltd at Sundarpahari comes under Godda district of Jharkhand. However, it seems that the tribal people were not allowed to put their concerns in front of you. The tribal people of 11 villages had gathered near Sundarpahari to raise their voices against the power project as some of them had already been displaced during the construction of ‘Sundar Dam’ and now they’ll again be displaced by the Jindal’s power project. However, these tribals were detained in Sundarpahari police station instead of hearing their plea. The question here is do they have right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution? The police have regularly been coercing the tribals who don’t want to surrender their land to the Jindal Company. According to the Santal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949, the land is non-transferable and non-saleable, whether owned by tribals or non-tribals. But how the tribals land is being bought by the Jindal Company? Is the Jindal Company allowed to violate the rule of law?

2. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India through a writ petition (CIVIL) NO. 180 OF 2011 (Orissa Mining Corporation Vs Ministry of Environment & Forest & Others) has said that the Section 4(d) of the PESA Act 1996 says that every Gram Sabha shall be competent to safeguard and preserve the traditions, customs of the people, their cultural identity, community resources and community mode of dispute resolution. Therefore, Grama Sabha functioning under the Forest Rights Act read with Section 4(d) of PESA Act has an obligation to safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of the STs and other forest dwellers, their cultural identity, community resources. The Court has ordered the State Government to settle the matter with the Gram Sabha. But is the case of Jindal Company, where is the role of Gram Sabha? Why it has been undermined or put aside? Why did PESA Act 1996 not enforced in this case? Is it because the head of the Jindal Steel & Power Limited is one of the powerful leaders of the Congress Party?

3. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has also said through a writ petition (CIVIL) NO. 180 OF 2011 (Orissa Mining Corporation Vs Ministry of Environment & Forest & Others) that the Scheduled Tribes have the Religious freedom guaranteed under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution. It guarantees them the right to practice and propagate not only matters of faith or belief, but all those rituals and observations which are regarded as integral part of their religion. The Court has ordered to protect and preserve the tribals’ deity. However, in last 65 years of Indian democracy, thousands and thousands of sacred groves, religions places and graveyards of tribals were either submerged in Dams or destroyed in the name of development. These are several sacred groves and religions places of the tribal would be destroyed by the power project of the Jindal Company. However, the question is do the tribals really have the freedom of religion as the Apex Court has stated? Why is Government not upholding the rule of law?

4. The tribal people have already lost more than 23 lakh acres of land in Jharkhand in two ways - i) The major part of tribals’ land were taken away from them in the name of growth and development and ii) the non-tribals who came into the 5th Scheduled Area of Jharkhand for jobs also grabbed a huge portion of the tribal land illegally after earning huge money from the development projects and mining. Though the Article 19 (d) & (e) allows the all citizens to move freely throughout the territory of India and to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India but sub-clause (5) also emphasizes that the state can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub-clauses (d & e) for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe. However, nothing has been done in this regard to protect the tribal people. Consequently, the population of the non-tribals is multiplying in the Scheduled areas and the tribal population is rapidly declining.

5. The Jharkhand Government has signed more than 100 MoUs with National and multi-National companies, who are grabbing the tribals land illegally and the government is facilitating it instead of protection the land rights of tribals. The Jharkhand Government has also proposed for two industrial corridors under the Jharkhand Industrial policy 2012. According to JIP-14 (a) State Govt. will initiate necessary steps to promote / develop two industrial corridors, namely Koderma – Bahragora and Ranchi-Patratu- Ramgarh Road, where the efforts will be made to develop the corridor with 25 KM each side of 4 laning, which means, major part of the land will be handed over to the corporate houses. If that happens then where will the tribal people go? Do they have right to a dignified life?

6. On 5 January, 2011, the Apex Court of India while hearing on an appeal (the special leave petition (Cr) No. 10367 of 2010 Kailas & others Vs State of Maharashtra) said that the tribal people (Scheduled Tribes or Adivasis), the Indigenous People of India but they were slaughtered in large numbers, and the survivors and their descendants were degraded, humiliated, and all kinds of atrocities inflicted on them for centuries. They were deprived of their lands, and pushed into forests and hills where they eke out a miserable existence of poverty, illiteracy, disease, etc. And now efforts are being made by some people to deprive them even of their forest and hill land where they are living, and the forest produce on which they survive. Despite this horrible oppression on them, the tribals of India have generally (though not invariably) retained a higher level of ethics than the non-tribals in our country. They normally do not cheat, tell lies, and do other misdeeds which many non-tribals do. They are generally superior in character to the non-tribals. The Apex Court said that it is time now to undo the historical injustice to them. However, the Indian Government has done nothing to protect them. Instead, it has been facilitating in corporate land grab of the Adivasis (tribals or Indigenous People) of India.

Since, you are the custodian of the tribal people of India, therefore, I demand for following actions:
1. To order for investigation on detention of tribals and land grab by the Jindal Steel & Power Limited in Sundar Pahari and also cancel the Jindal’s power project as it is a severe threat to the existence of the tribal people especially the Primitive tribes (Paharia) of Sundar Pahari.

2. To investigate and cancel all the MoUs signed since 2000 without consent of the Gram Sabha under PESA Act 1996 and also order for withdrawal of the Industrial Police 2012 and order the state administration to return the illegally acquired land of the tribals by the corporate houses.

3. To order for a judicial inquiry in all the cases of illegal land grabbed by the non-Adivasis in the Scheduled areas.

4. To order to stop the corporate to buy land by themselves and order the Government to acquire land under the Santal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949 and Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act 1908 for development projects with the consent of the Gram Sabha under PESA Act 1996.

5. To order the Government to enforce the rule of law i.e. Constitutional provisions, 5th Schedule Area, PESA Act 1996, CNT Act 1908, SPT Act 1949, the Forest Rights Act 2006, etc.

Indeed, it’s necessary to take the above said steps to protect the constitutional, legal and traditional rights of the tribal people. However, if you are unable to protect us, I would humbly request you to gather all the tribal people at a place and shoot them so that you’ll get rid of us and could build this nation on the graveyards of the tribal as per your dream.

The architect of the Modern India Pt. Jwaharlal Nehru’s Temples of Modern India has turned into graveyards of the tribals (Indigenous People of India). Therefore, in the next time whenever and wherever you inaugurate such development project proposed on the tribals’ land, please remembers that you are building this nation on the graveyards of the Indigenous People of India.

I believe you understand my pain, anguish and sorrow. I hope to hear your positive response. I shall be highly obliged to you for the same.

Thanking you.

Yours sincerely,
Gladson Dungdung
General Secretary,
JHRM, Ranchi.

PS: See the pdf file too.

Stand with Stan

We Stand with Stan

Jharkhand’s civil society condemns recent raids on Stan Swamy and other human rights activists

We, the undersigned, are shocked by the serial raids across the country on the homes of activists and public intellectuals who are critical of the government and the ruling party at the Centre. The arrests of prominent activists and intellectuals Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and others are nothing but an attempt by the government to strike terror among those who are fighting for justice for the marginalised and give voice to the voiceless.

The raid on the residential premises of Stan Swamy, a well-known activist of Jharkhand, was highly objectionable. Stan works for the rights of Adivasis and other underprivileged groups in the state. Among other issues, he works on displacement, corporate loot of resources, the condition of undertrials and PESA. Stan has been a vocal critic of the government’s attempts to amend land laws and the land acquisition act in Jharkhand, and a strong advocate of the Forest Rights Act, PESA and related laws. We know Stan as an exceptionally gentle, honest and public-spirited person. We have the highest regard for him and his work.

The Bagaicha campus was raided by the Maharashtra and Jharkhand police around 6 am on 28 August 2018. The police confiscated Stan’s mobile, laptop, some audio cassettes, some CDs, and a recent press release on the pathalgadi movement by Women against Sexual violence and state repression (WSS). Stan was not told about the details of the charges against him. The police video-recorded the entire event.

This raid comes just a few weeks after Stan and 19 other persons including activists, journalists and intellectuals were booked on charges of sedition by the Jharkhand government. The police have cited their facebook posts as evidence of their role in the pathalgadi movement in Khunti. Among other sections, they have been booked under 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2015.

The central government and media houses close to the BJP are now claiming that the human rights activists were part of a Maoist conspiracy related to the Bhima-Koregaon incident. This concocted story seems to be part of a larger propaganda, based on terms like “urban naxals”, aimed at stifling any criticism of the government.

The raids and arrests are part of the government’s growing attempts to stifle dissent and intimidate those who are fighting for justice. This is also an attempt by the BJP to invent a false enemy and engage in scaremongering in order to polarise the 2019 elections in its favour.

We demand immediate release of the arrested individuals and dropping of all false charges against them, as these arrests and raids are politically motivated and unjustified.

Abhay Xaxa
Adivasi Women's Network
Afzal Anees, United Milli Forum
Akash Ranjan, Right to Food Campaign Jharkhand
Akshat, Concerned citizen
Amrita Anand, a concerned active citizen
Ankita Aggarwal, Research scholar
Anumeha, Journalist
Asharfi Nand Prasad, Convenor, Right to Food Campaign Jharkhand
Ashok Verma, Jharkhand Loktantrik Manch
Asim Sarkar, All India People science Network
Aysha, Concerned citizen
B B Choudhary, Samajwadi Jan Parishad
Babita, Concerned citizen
Bace Buriuli
Balram, Social activist
Basant Hetamsaria, National Alliance of People's Movements
Binod Kumar, Concerned citizen
Biren, Concerned citizen
C B Choudhary, Samajwadi Jan Parishan
Chandramani Piyush, Research scholar
David Solomon, Bagaicha
Dayamani Barla, Social activist
Debmalya Nandi, Concerned citizen
Deepak Bara
Dheeraj, Right to Food Campaign
Faisal Anurag, Journalist
Father Jothi S J, Udayani Social Action Forum, Kolkata
Hasan Raza, Patron of UMF Jharkhand
Inayat Anaita Sabhikhi, student, Harvard Kennedy School
Ishan Banerjee, Concerned citizen
James Herenj, Convenor, Jharkhand NREGA Watch
Jawahar Mehta, Right to Food Campaign
Jean Dreze, Concerned citizen
Kalyani Mina, Jharkhand Mahila Manch
Kashinath Chatterjee, All India People Science Network
Kavita Srivastava, People's Union for Civil Liberties
Kislaya, Journalist
Kritika Pandey, Concerned citizen
Kumar Sanjay, Social Worker, Ranchi
Kumar Varun, Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas
Mayank Sharma, Concerned citizen
Meghnath, Film maker
Nadeem Khan, All India People's Forum
Nadeem, Concerned citizen
Nazar Khalid
Neha Joshi, Concerned citizen
Neha Trivedi, Concerned citizen
Nisha, Concerned citizen
Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity
Pranjal Dhanda, Concerned citizen
Prem Verma, Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas
Raj Pal, Social activist, Patna
Rajendran Narayanan, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
Ramdeo Vishwabandhu
Ranjeet Kindo, Tribal Research and Training Centre, Guira, Chaibasa
Right to Food Campaign
Sakina Dhorajiwala, Right to Food Campaign Jharkhand
Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Jharkhand
Sanjay Sahni, Muzaffarpur
Sasmita Jena, Concerned citizen
Shailja Tandon, Concerned citizen
Siraj Dutta, Right to Food Campaign Jharkhand
Snehlata, Concerned citizen
Sonu, Concerned citizen
Sovan Hazra, Concerned citizen
Sudeshnasen Gupta, Concerned citizen
Swati Narayan, Right to Food Campaign
Vasavi Kiro, Ex Member Jharkhand State Commission for Women
Vikas Dubey, Research Scholar, IIT Kanpur
Vinod Singh, CPI (ML)
Vivek, Right to Food Campaign, Jharkhand
Ziauddin Khan, Concerned citizen

Why is Stan targetted?

*“Case against me is nothing but an absolute fabrication”*
*Stan Swamy*

Maharashtra police held a press conference in Mumbai on August 31, 2018. Additional Director-General (law and order) of Maharashtra police Mr. Parambir Singh told the media that in relation to the incident of Bhima-Koregaon, initially a FIR was lodged on January 8, 2018. According to him the name of Stan Swamy was added in the aforesaid FIR on August 23 along with the names of Arun Fereira, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalvez, Sudha Bhardwaj, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde.

In the same press conference, ADG Parambir Singh talked about a letter allegedly written by Adv. Sudha Bhardwaj.

This letter, according to Maharashtra police, mentions that for the work of PPSC Stan Swamy had been appointed by comrade Prashant. It is also mentioned in the aforesaid letter that Sudha Bharadwaj had asked Stan Swamy to provide some funds for the activities of CPI (Maoist), but Stan Swamy did not make any definite commitment in this regard.

I would like to make it clear on my part with regard to the content of the said letter that Sudha Bhardwaj never asked me for any fund for the activities as mentioned in the letter. It is nothing but complete concoction and absolute falsehood that is being propagated by the Maharashtra police. Sudha Bhardwaj has also repeatedly denied the veracity of the said letter and has said that it is a fabricated letter.

Further, I believe that the possible reason behind this concoction of the case against me along with Sudha Bhardwaj is that I have been the convener of Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC) formed in December, 2015. I wish to make it clear that PPSC was formed purely to help under trial prisoners and it has no link whatsoever with any banned organizations. I have also filed a PIL in the Jharkhand High Court at Ranchi for the speedy trial of the under trial prisoners, languishing in the jails of Jharkhand. Taking serious note of my PIL, Hon’ble Jharkhand High Court on January 8, 2018 ordered the state of Jharkhand to provide all relevant and necessary information from all the jails of Jharkhand which must reveal the reasons for undue delay in the trial of these under trial prisoners. Still the proceedings in said PIL are going on in Jharkhand High Court.

In addition to this PIL, I have been raising awareness among Adivasi and Dalit people for their rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution especially the rights of the adibasi community provided in the Fifth Schedule and their right of self governance through Gram Sabhas as provided in PESA Act; I have also tried to make them aware of the judgment of the Supreme Court that ‘the owner of the land is also the owner of the subsoil minerals.’ I have also raised voice against the formation of Land Bank that intends to take over the “commons” such as roads, rivers, ponds, burial grounds, community forest lands etc which are traditionally used by the community.

I fear that these activities of mine have angered the powerful interests within the government that they not only have foisted a case of sedition against me in Jharkhand but now have included me in a false case that links me with banned organizations at national level in order to discredit me together with other intellectuals, legal professionals and social activists raising our voices for the rights of poorest of poor people in the state of Jharkhand and all over India.

Stan Swamy

The Buck Stops at Your Door Mr. Chidambaram by Gladson Dungdung

The Buck Stops at Your Door Mr. Chidambaram

July 10, 2012
Gladson Dungdung

The Adivasis live and die with the Nature. They believe in the super
natural God, therefore; they worship the Nature in every occasion. The
Adivasis’ economy is totally based on the Agriculture and Forest,
which also depends merely on rainfall. Therefore, the villagers get
together and pray to their Super Natural God before and after the
harvesting. The Adivasi communities also have their own democracy,
which is totally based on ‘consent’, which they practice in every
village in every occasion. On 28 June, 2012, the Adivasis of
Kottaguda, Sarkeguda and Rajpenta village in Bijapur district of
Chhattisgarh had gathered at Kottaguda village to plan for the
performance of the traditional festival “Beej Pandum (seed Festival)
so that they would celebrate the festival and start sowing the seeds
on their lands as the Monsoon has reached to the region.

Unfortunately, 17 of them were attending this kind of meeting for the
last time in their life. The Cobra battalion of the CRPF and the
Chhattisgarh police, who were deployed in the region in the name of
elimination of the Maoists, surrounded the villagers and fired on them
without giving any signal to the villagers. Consequently, 16 of them
got bullets in their chests, heads and other parts of the body, and
died in the spot and 1 was brutally killed in the next morning. The
Security Forces claimed of killing 18 dreaded Maoists and celebrated
it as one of the grand successes in anti-Naxal Operations. Similarly,
P. Chidambaram, the Union Home Minister had also claimed that the
Security Forces had shot top Naxal leaders in Chhattisgarh, and when
the encounter was questioned he attempted to cover up it.

However, when the breaking news of encounter appeared in the
television screens and the print media, the story seems to be totally
untrue. The question immediately came into one’s mind was, how could
18 top Maoists have a meeting in a village, which is situated merely
at a distance of 3 km from the CRPF camp? The truth of Bijapur
encounter was finally revealed. A brave Journalist Aman Sethi, who has
been tirelessly reporting on the state sponsored crime against the
Adivasis of Chhattisgarh; this time also exposed the lies of the top
cops, the Chhattisgarh government and Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
According to his report, the security forces fired at a peaceful
gathering of villagers, killing 20 of them, including five children
aged 12-15, and sexually assaulted at least four girls during the
encounter. The conclusion of the story was no Maoists were present in
the village that day. The villagers had gathered to discuss the
upcoming seed festival, when the security forces fired on them, which
led to death of 20 villagers including 5 children.

The report of a three member Fact-Finding team comprising of Mr. J P
Rao, Mr. Kopa Kunjam and Dr. Nandini Sundar, who visited Kottaguda,
Sarkeguda and Lingagiri villages on 3rd and 4th July 2012 revealed the
further shocking facts. According to the report, these villages were
attack by the Salwa Judum Militia in 2005. They had killed 2 people
and almost all the houses in all three villages were burnt.
Consequently, the villagers had migrated to Andhra Pradesh and
returned to their villages only in 2009. They were again attacked by
the Security Forces this time, which led to death of 17 villagers
including 7 minors. Apart from that, 9 have been injured, and at least
5 women have been beaten, assaulted and molested.

When the truth was unearthed, the Union Home Minister and Architect of
the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ P. Chidambaram said ‘deeply sorry’ for
killing of innocent civilians. The pertinent question here would be,
is saying merely ‘sorry’ enough for brutal killing of 17 innocent
Adivasis? Secondly, why are the political parties keeping quit in this
matter especially the opposition party the BJP? Would they have
behaved in the similar manner if 17 innocent non-Adivasis would have
been killed in the cold-blooded murder? Will the BJP keep quit if the
similar incident takes place in the Congress rule state? Who is
responsible for massacre of innocent Adivasis? Is it not P.
Chidambaram, who has been deploying the Security Forces in the
Adivasis regions since, 2009 in the name of eliminating the Maoists?

The CRPF DG Vijay Kumar shamelessly justified the criminal acts of the
Security Forces saying that it was impossible for the forces to know
who they were firing at that night. He further says that the entire
area is a “very hazy world”, in which it is impossible to identify who
is a Naxal and who is not. The can be raised are why did the Security
Forces fire on the villagers if they didn’t know whom they were firing
on? Who had given them order to fire on the innocent villagers? And
can the Security Forces fire on anybody merely on the basis of
suspicion? The SDM Kuruvanshi, who has been appointed to investigate,
questions the villagers that why they were meeting at night? He also
doesn’t want to visit villagers but has summoned the villagers to his
office, which clearly indicates that the state is determined not only
to deny justice to the Adivasis but also continue the state sponsored
crime against them.

The Teheka’s editor Shoma Chaudhary raised a most important question
is her column ‘editor cut’ that Why is life in Bastar so cheap? A
simple answer to this question is, since the Indian state seems to
believe that all the Adivasis living in the forest regions across the
country are Maoists/Naxals, who are biggest threat to the ‘investment
climate’. The India’s Economist Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is
always worried about the investment climate rather than its
constitutional duty to protect the rights of its citizens. In fact,
the Indian State is determined to grab the resources of the Adivasi
regions at any cost, which will pave the way to India becoming the
super power. Therefore, the Security Forces have been deployed in the
forests to kill the Adivasis, who oppose to surrender their land,
forest, water and other natural resources to the Indian state in the
name of growth and development.

However, when we raise the question on fake encounter, the counter
question comes back to us is why we keep quite when the Maoists kill
the Security Forces? The answer for this question can be found in
another question i.e. why does the Indian State send the security
forces to the forest, where it didn’t reach in last 60 years? Is it
for the protection of the villagers or to facilitate the mineral loot?
If the Indian state sends the Security Forces to provide security to
the people, then why do the security forces kill the innocent
villagers, torture them and rape the women instead of protecting them?
For whose security, the Security Forces are deployed in the Forests?
Is it not true that the Security Forces are deployed in the forest to
protect the corporate interest rather than protecting the people?

Whatever may be the intellectual arguments, but the fact is that the
hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in anti-Naxal
operations across the country since 2009 but no major investigation
was done till the date. Therefore; the Corporate Home Minister P.
Chidambaram must leave his office, precisly because he is responsible
for the brutal killing of all the innocent villagers including 17
innocent Adivasis of Kottaguda, Sarkeguda and Rajpenta villages of
Chhattisgarh. The questions should be asked to Mr. P. Chidambaram that
is it enough to say sorry after taking away the precious lives of 17
innocent people? Will he go for the CBI probe in all the cases of fake
encounters took place in anti-Naxal operations across the country? And
will he punish the top cops for killing the innocent civilians or let
them enjoy the impunity? Remember, the buck stops at your door Mr.

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist. He can be reached at

Urgent: Protest the Arrest of Action 2007 Activists

Unwarranted Police and Legal Action during Action 2007
Medha Patkar and 62 others manhandled and sent to jail
*** Immediate Action Required ***

Take Action TODAY to Support the Action 2007 and demand immediate release of those unlawfully arrested!
IT COUNTS, Be there !!
Call, e-mail, or Fax

Prime Minister's Office
Telephone: 91-11-23012312 / 23018939 / 23018668 / 23015470
Fax: 91-11-23019545 / 91-11-23016857.

Home Minister, Shivraj Patil
Phone: 23092462, 23094686 (O)
23017256, 23017580 (P)
23794842, 23793716 (R)
Fax: 23094221 (O)
23794833 (R)

Montek Singh Ahlwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission
Phone (Off.) 23096677, 2309 6666/ 96
Fax: 23096699 Extn. 2132/34

DCP/New Delhi District
Office : Police Station, Parliament Street, Delhi
Tele : 011- 23747777
Fax : 011-23347184
e-mail :

More Details @

Press Release and Draft Text of Letter to Montek Singh Ahluwalia
March 23 2007
Dear Friends

As you already know that 62 activists of Action 2007 have been arrested on 22nd March 2007, 2 pm at the Planning Commission Office. The group including activist Medha Patkar were having a symbolic protest against the privatisation and appropriation of water resources (by large dams, coke and pepsi bottling plants and other unsustainable forms of development) leading to deprivation and water scarcity faced by a large population in the country on World Water Day.

The police and Rapid Action Force did not allow the activists to take an appointment with the Deputy Chair of Planning Commission and arrested the activists while waiting in the compound of the Yojana Bhavan (Planning Commission office). While arresting, unnecessary force was used and many of the activists were manhandled and many
women activists were manhandled/attacked by men police. In spite of the fact that this was a non-violent protest, Rapid Action Force was deployed to arrest the activists, and they used such excessive force, tearing clothes of some of the women activists.

The activists were then taken to the Parliament Street Police station and were asked to sign blank arrest memos. There were procedural delays and only after 9 pm were they presented to the judicial magistrate who was called to the police station itself.

The magistrate has remanded all of them to judicial custody for 15 days until April 5th. This is completely disproportionate and excessive police and legal action against peaceful protestors who went to have a dialogue with the Planning Commission members on World Water Day!

The authorities have explicitly stated that they "want to teach the protestors a lesson." These arrests were not about violations of the law; rather they are a coordinated and concerted attempt to prevent the democratic protest of anti-people policies and an effort to discourage others who dare to raise their voice. The action has been ostensibly blacklisted by the media as no coverage has taken place. The protestors were arrested in the early afternoon. Though the formalities dragged on late into the night, only 2 women (out of 27) and the men were presented before the magistrate. It was announced that they would be transferred to Tihar Jail, only to later find out that the women were taken to Chanakyapuri Police station while the men were kept at Parliament Street police Station. They were finally transferred to Tihar only this morning, 23 March 2007 at 11 am. Old charges against Medha and other have resurrected. There is no information regarding their release. We have been given every indication that the powers that be want to stop the Jan Sansad at Jantar Mantar.

Talking Points:

�„Q„Q„Q„Q„QƒnIs this the response to citizens who sought a meeting with the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman? The action was totally unwarranted and excessive use of force.
�„Q„Q„Q„Q„QƒnPoor people and activists have come from several states around the country in Action 2007 to draw the attention of the government in a peaceful manner. Ministers and Secretaries were invited for each session of the Jan Sansad (People's Parliament), but none of them showed up except one. When the protestors themselves go to the government building to meet the officials, they put the police in front and jail the people. If the government doesn't even give a hearing let alone meet their demands, then what message does this send out to people about the efficacy of peaceful protests? Do they want to turn every place into a Nandigram??
�„Q„Q„Q„Q„QƒnThe police didn't allow them to even go inside the building to request an appointment with the Planning Commission
�„Q„Q„Q„Q„QƒnThey were arrested at 2:15 pm, but the FIR (First Information Report) says that they were arrested at 3:30 pm, thus claiming that they were on the premises for longer than they actually were.
�„Q„Q„Q„Q„QƒnThe arrest memo signed by the people mentioned only Section 188, but the actual FIR has listed other sections and copies of the FIR were not handed to the people arrested, as per law.
�„Q„Q„Q„Q„QƒnMr. Lokhande, an elderly gentleman, who went to visit the arrested at the police station was also booked by the police.
�„Q„Q„Q„Q„Qƒn25 women were not even presented in front of the magistrate.
�„Q„Q„Q„Q„QƒnPeople who were standing at the gate and on the roadside, and had not entered the premises were also arrested.
�„Q„Q„Q„Q„QƒnThe attitude and language of the police explicitly showed that they wanted to give the people a lesson and show that the police is ready to use force to crush all protests
�„Q„Q„Q„Q„QƒnAll those remanded should be released immediately and the cases against them withdrawn
�„Q„Q„Q„Q„QƒnThere should be enquiry into the excessive police action against peaceful protestors, including manhandling of women and a woman's hand getting jammed in the gate
Action should be taken against the police S.H.O. (Station House Officer) who manhandled the protestors, as well as issued threats and used outrageous and abusive language with the protestors including women

Sample Letter:


Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia,
Deputy Chairman,
Planning Commission,
Government of India.

Dear Shri Ahluwalia

We are shocked to learn that noted senior activists from many organisations across India including Medha Patkar, as well as poor people from different states, who came to meet you on World Water Day were manhandled and arrested at your office building. As you know, the work that the Planning Commission has an enormous effect on millions of people of India and the affected people have a right to meet you and talk about their concerns.

The police and the Rapid Action Force used excessive force on the peaceful protestors including many women, and today we received news that all the 63 people have been remanded to judicial custody for 15 days. This police and legal action is completely disproportionate, and if the cases are not withdrawn, we are forced to conclude that the government wants to divert attention so that it can avoid listening to the people.

Thousands of people and activists have come from many states across India since January 19th, as part of Action 2007 program, to draw the attention of the government to the enormous problems being faced by them. They have been holding a Jan Sansad (People's Parliament) from Jan 20-24 at Jantar Mantar with sessions focused on the burning issues affecting them. For each session, invitations have been issued to the Ministers and Secretaries of concerned ministries so that they have the opportunity to hear the peoples problems and respond to them. However, apart from one exception, no representative of the government has shown up to hear the people.

Therefore the people themselves were forced to come to the government offices to have a dialogue and convey their demands. In this context, if all the government can do is impose police force on the citizens and take excessive legal action, then it sends out a message to Indian citizens that the government is not interested in peaceful methods of engaging with its citizens.

We request you to take immediate action to ensure that (a) all those arrested should be released immediately, (b) the cases against them withdrawn and (c) a dialogue be held by you with them on issues of national concern that they had come to present to you.

Get in touch with us call 9910345405 or e-mail /

Who Am I? Gladson Dungdung

Who Am I? Gladson Dungdung
|| By Gladson Dungdung ||

An emerging human rights organization of Jharkhand, the “Jharkhand Human Rights Movement” has released the first “Jharkhand Human Rights Report 2001-2011”, which was welcomed from all corners of the society. However, I was just checking to know the reason of absence of some Human Rights Activists in the report release ceremony held in Ranchi on March 10, 2012. While responding my queries, one of the noted Human Rights Activists of Jharkhand told me, “You have written a lot against us in the report”? I was stunned to hear such unexpected view, but repeatedly questioned him, “What do you mean by “us”? He responded me saying that he cannot tell me everything over the phone but he’ll talk to me later.

Indeed, he was quite upset and angry with me. He was upset with a chapter in the report entitled “Naxalism and Human Rights violation”. Perhaps, he associates himself with the Naxal Movement, which is, of course, not wrong. But often, I hear him justifying the killings by the Naxals. In the last year, when I had raised the questions against brutal killing of innocent people by the Naxals through the media, he had told me, “I don’t expect such things from you”. The relevant question here to be asked is should a Human Rights Activist be biased for anyone? How can a Human Rights Activist justify the killings? And can a human rights activist shield the perpetrators like the state does? Ironically, this activist used to hold a big position in the Indian based internationally known civil rights organization.

I recall that the same Human Rights Activist and his companions had clapped for me and my team, when the Jharkhand Human Rights Movement (JHRM) had intervened and exposed the rampant human rights violation committed by the security forces in the Saranda Forest last year. Consequently, the Security Forces were bound to vacate 25 villages and schools. In fact, I had become a champion of the civil rights for them that time. However, the Jharkhand Human Rights Report, which has created ripple impact in the state, made me villain in the eyes of those Human Rights Activists now. What a contradiction, paradox and tragedy!

Similarly, a few years back, when I came into the limelight through the Human Rights Activism, I was coined as an anti-national by the so-called patriots. A few youth had even ruthlessly questioned me whether I get money from Pakistan, Nepal or China for speaking against the Indian State? They had even attempted to coin me as a Maoists sympathizer and supporter. And when I intensified my interventions on the issues of gross human rights violation committed by the security forces in the name of cleansing the Maoists in the Red Corridor, some of them even told me that I’m an over ground Maoist and a Maoist Ideologue as well.

The story does not end here. The Law Enforcement Agencies have also been attempted to coin me as the working force of the Maoists. When I intervened on the issue of rampant human rights violation in Saranda Forest by the security forces, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Kolhan) Naveen Kumar said that the Jharkhand Human Rights Movement is an outfit of the CPI-Maoist, has intention to derail the anti-naxal operations therefore, it is crying foul. The Jharkhand police also traced mobile record and other documents to prove our link with the CPI-Maoist but at the end they get nothing because the JHRM has nothing to do with the Naxals.

Similarly, in the last year, when I participated in a mass rally against police atrocities held at Khunti of Jharkhand, a police officer P.K. Mishra of Khunti police station had questioned me, “Why don’t you organize Rally against the Maoists, when they kill our police forces”? He had even threatened me to tear down and dry up if I don’t shut up my mouth on the issues of police atrocities. The worst thing is, I made a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Khunti about the incident and asked them for action against the police officer, but nothing was done against him. However, I didn’t shut up my mouth in demand of justice for the victims of police atrocities but I’m under the attack from all corners.

Meanwhile, I had two rounds of discussion with Jairam Ramesh, the Union Minister of Rural Development on the issue of Saranda Development Plan. I was surprised to know about his reactions. He told me that I have been raising the issues of human rights violation committed by the security forces but what about the Maoists? He also told me that the CRPF Officers are quite unhappy with me as I have been filing cases against them. However, when I inform him about the preparation of the Jharkhand Human Rights Report, which would also highlight the human rights violation committed by the Naxals in Jharkhand, he was quite happy and had expressed his willingness to release the Report.

The most interesting thing is that everyone wants me to shoot others on behalf of them in the name of the human rights. It seems that the India’s Corporate Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s theory of either this side or that side, and there is no such middle in between, is internalized by them. However, the fundamental rights i.e. right to life, liberty, equality and dignity of individual guaranteed by the Indian Constitution has no place in this theory. According to a noted educationist of Jharkhand Dr. Rose Kerketta, the state is a killer instinct therefore; whoever comes to the power will continue the same practice, hence, we should not expect much from the state for protection of human rights.

Of course, there is no doubt in the fact of the state being the biggest violator of the human rights, consequently, the state sponsored human rights violation has been in the rapidly growth across the country. However, can we put aside the human rights violation committed by the non-state actors and the society? There are three major violators of the human rights i.e. the state, the non-state actors (Maoists, other Naxal and criminal groups) and the society as a whole. However, the state is constitutionally responsible for the protection of human rights and in fact the small forces emerge only whenever and wherever the state is fail in delivering justice.

But, these days, it has become a fashion for the so-called Human Rights Activists to cry foul on human rights violation committed by the security forces but they keep mum when the non-state actors do the same thing. Hence, it is obvious that they are also batting on behalf of the Naxals similar to the state, who bats for the corporate houses? These kinds of actions of the so-called Human Rights Activists will only add more problems in the civil rights movement and put questions in the credibility of the Activists’ voices and the person like me will also struggle for identity? Finally, I would always keep clarifying to everyone that, I neither stand with the state nor with the Naxals but I walk with the most marginalized people, whose human rights are being violated everyday by the either sides.

(Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from Jharkhand.)

Who is Making Them Cry?

Who is Making Them Cry?

By Gladson Dungdung

On June 24th, 2011, there was no ‘good’ in the ‘morning’ for me. As soon as I opened the Newspaper, a photograph of two old men appeared in front of me, which seems that they were crying endlessly. I was shocked to see their ugly faces. They are resident of Dhinkiya village situated in Jagadshingpur district of Odisha. Perhaps, they have been living in the vicinity before existence of the Indian state. Indeed, both of them had witnessed the formation of Indian State, which had promised them for the land reforms, elimination of poverty, illiteracy and inequality. Apart from that there was a promise to address the issues of food, clothing and shelter.

However, the tide turned; the 64 years of Indian independence has added more pains, sufferings and sorrows in the lives of majority of its people. The Indian state instead of healing the pains, sufferings and sorrows of the old-men, it turned their lives into a hell. Their cultivable lands were taken away from them by the ‘mighty state’ with the barrel of guns in the name of growth and development. The state claims that they were given compensation for their lands and betel vines. However, in these circumstances, the compensation is not an issue for them at all, but what matters is; they have lost the only heritage they had. They have lost their livelihood resources, which would have sustained their generations and cannot be exchanged with the money as they are not much habituated to work with the market economy. They cry because their lands were taken away forcefully from them and handed over to a Korean company POSCO. However, the Odisha government claims that it has acquired the land without use of force, which is entirely false.

I recall that when I was studying, we were taught in the schools that ‘India is a country of villages’, ‘agriculture is backbone of the country’ and ‘the soul of India lives in the villages’. The Indian state has been going against those beautiful phrases. In the case of Odisha, the farmers of POSCO project area rely on betel, fish and paddy for their food security and social security. However, the state government deployed the police and paramilitary forces for destroying the betel vines. According to the Odisha government, there were about 1800 betel vines and about 650 betel vines were already destroyed by the forces and villages are about to be vacated. “We plan to remove the rest in the coming weeks,” claims Paradeep’s additional district magistrate Sarojkanta Chaoudhury. The billion dollar question is can any country destroy its backbone, heritage and abode of its soul?

Needless to say that the Odisha government has been attempting to acquire 3719 acres of land for the Korean company POSCO, which had signed a MoU with the Odisha government for establishing 12 Mt steel plant near Paradeep in Jagadsinghpur district. It is the biggest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country with the proposed investment of Rs. 51,000 crore. Therefore, one can understand about the madness of the Odisha government for the project, who did not even hesitate to declare the Adivasis and other forest dwellers as none existing in the project area though these people have been living in the vicinity for generations. The most interesting thing is the MoU of the POSCO has expired a year back and the government didn’t renewal it yet but the land acquisition process has been in rampant. The Orissa government is ready to go to any extend for the POSCO project. It has already acquired 1800 acres of land of the total requirement of 3719 acres. The work for rehabilitation colony has already started and the government is confident of acquiring the required land without use of force.

The villagers have been protesting against the land acquisition for the POSCO since 2005. However, the resistance intensified recently, when the whole state machinery was engaged in land acquisition process. There is some unique in the mass movement. These villagers are not only protesting but also building up some betel vine, which were destroyed by the police forces. “We have started rebuilding betel Vines that the administration pulled down,” says Abhay Sahu of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS). The men, women and children are protesting endlessly against the land acquisition against the mighty state and corporate house.

Consequently, the prohibitory order under IPC section 144 was also imposed in the project area so that the agitators can be stopped to enter into the vicinity and land acquisition process can be done after destroying the betel vines. Another interesting factor is when the rights are to be recognized under the Forest Rights Act 2006, the Adivasis and local settlers were made non-existence and some of them were also brought under the purview of ‘encroachers’. However, when the lands and forest have to be given to the corporate shark POSCO, neither the environment nor the livelihood and social security makes sense for the state. What a lovely democratic system of governance we have in our country.

Interestingly, when the government failed to acquire land even after use of the police and paramilitary forces, it started threatening to the activists and villagers, using the tool of child rights. Since, more than 600 children from different villages had taken part in the agitation; the Odisha government suddenly woke up to see the violation of child rights in the protest. The Women and Child Development Minister, Anjali Behera sought a report from the district social welfare officer about the children. She said, “The DSWO will verify whether the children came to the agitation on their own or were forced into it”. “We will take action against the persons responsible for misusing children. Civil society will never tolerate use of children below 18 years of age in any agitation,” she added.

Ironically, the same government does not see any violation of the child rights by the corporate sharks or the state law enforcement agencies, who are constantly attempting to snatch away the land and livelihood resources of the villagers, which will have direct impact on children. When the parents lose their land and livelihood resources, how can children be sent to schools? Why should not the Odisha government respond it and so the centre? What kind of civil society is this?
The agitation got political support from the CPI, CPM, Samajwadi Party and Forward Block. However, the most stunning factor is the support of the BJP and the Congress Party to the agitation. The BJP is a party of the business men and its track record in the BJP rule states is obvious and the Congress is playing a double standards. The Union minister gives environment clearance on the one hand and also opposes the project on the other? The Environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, who gave the environment clearance to POSCO in January this year said, "However, I hope that the state government will not use this clearance as a license for forcible acquisition of land." What does it mean? And of course, one should ask that why the soldier of Adivasis, Rahul Gandhi is silent on the issue of POSCO?
In fact, both the center and state governments want the land for POSCO at any cost therefore one should not be overwhelmed after seeing halt to land acquisition for the time being. The Chief Secretary of Orissa BK Patnaik said, “Temporary suspension of land acquisition for POSCO project in the proposed plant site area near Paradip should not be considered as a ‘deadlock over the POSCO Project.” Obviously, the whole state machinery is working in the support of the POSCO Company. Has the POSCO bought the Odisha government?

The state of Odisha has established itself as an emerging industrialized state and it has signed 90 MoUs with the corporate houses including POSCO, Vedanta and Tata Steel. The most important question is whether the industrialization process is addressing the issues of malnutrition, poverty, illiteracy, ill-health and inequality of Odisha as the father of the modern India Nehru had envisages the outcome of industrialization? If the answer is “no” then we must stop the industrialization process immediately because we cannot allow the state to grab the land and livelihood resources of the villagers and hand over those to the corporate sharks in the name of growth and development.

Of course, today, it’s not the issue whether the land owners were given compensation in local or the market rate of their land but the issue is the corporate development model is converting the landowners into the landless in the country which had promised to give land to the tillers and landless. If it continues, the Adivasis and local land owners will become landless and the corporate will become the landlords. We should not allow the state to handover the ‘land to the corporate’ against the promise of ‘land to the tillers’. Do we want to make India as a corporate state?

Then the questions come into one’s mind are what should we do with the mineral resources? Should we let it lie beneath the land and also leave those in the mountains? If we want to address the issues of conflict on the issues of land, territory and resource, we must rethink on the present model of development. Our model of development should not be based on minerals only but it should be based on agro-forest, supported by horticulture and animal husbandry. And wherever there is a requirement of minerals, the community mining should be encouraged. Have you seen any farmer in the country who sells the orchards instead of mangos, guavas and Litchis? If the farmers sell the fruits not the trees then why the Adivasis and other land owners are asked to sell their lands to the mining companies instead of minerals? Why don’t we ask them to sell the minerals to the companies and let the land be with them forever? The tears of two old-men of Odisha is enough to remind the Indian state about its broken promises and alarms it against the forcefully acquisition of the resources from the tillers and handing over to the corporate sharks. If it continues, the inequality, discontent and extremism will grow. And of course, there would be results as a ‘civil war’ and one should only blame for it to the Indian state that made its people cry.

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist, Writer and a member of “Assessment and Monitoring Authority under the Planning Commission of India. He can be reached at

Will Anna Get Justice? (By Gladson Dungdung)

Will Anna Get Justice?

By Gladson Dungdung

On March 14, 2011, more than thousand domestic workers especially women along with their children gathered near Albert Ekka Chauck, Ranchi the capital city of Jharkhand in demand of justice for Anna a domestic worker who died in a suspicious case. They started shouting slogans and began their march towards the office of Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Ranchi. They were shouting slogan “Anna Ko Nyay Do” (Give justice to Anna). They reached to collector’s office at 3 O’ clock in the afternoon. The police locked the entrance gate of the office. They were stop at the gate. K.K. Sone a well known IAS officer who is in the charge of Deputy Commissioner of Ranchi saw the crowd rushing towards his office, he ran away after assigning the job to the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) for controlling, convincing and sending the crowd back. The women were sent back with the promise of hearing their plea.

Of course, this is a regular practice in our democratic country the so-called largest democracy of the world. The legislative, the executive and the judiciary all of them become deaf and dumb whenever the marginalized people of this country demand for justice. When we approach to the Officers they run away and also protect the culprits. When we ask for an appointment to the Governors, they simply deny and when we approach to the Chief Ministers, they do not have time for us. Do I have to explain about our failed judiciary? Where should people go to plea for justice? However, all of them spare ample of time for the corporate delegates, contractors and bigwigs. Can anybody tell where these women should go and plea for justice in the corporate Indian State?

Anna was a domestic worker, who had been working in the house of Jharkhand High Court Lawyer Vikram Sinha in Ranchi for last five year. She died on March 5, 2011 and since then Vikram Sinha has been attempting to convert this case as a result of an accident and the police and administration providing him the required support. According to the lawyer, Anna’s feet slipped and fell down from the balcony of his 3rd floor house while she was collecting the dry clothes at 7:30 PM. However, the fact is, there was no rope hung in the balcony which means they used to dry their wet clothes in railing, which is 3 feet high. In that case no one can fall down unless one crosses the railing. In this case, there is no chance of crossing the railing. It should be also noted that at 7:30 PM it gets very dark in Ranchi therefore hardly anyone used to dry or collect the clothes in balcony. Of course, this is a crucial time to covert a suspicious death case into an accident.

According to Vikram Sinha, after hearing the sound of falling something, he came out to balcony and looked down. After seeing her maid in the ground he went down and saw maid Anna writhing, throbbing and bleeding therefore he immediately took her to the hospital. However, the night guard Sujan Mahto who was present in the spot has completely different views. According to him, after falling down from Balcony, there was no movement in Anna’s body and she didn’t even pronounced a single voice, which clearly means she had already died in the house and her dead body was thrown down with clear intention to convert this case into an accident. After getting instruction from lawyer, the guard washed the spot with water, which clearly mean the lawyer destroyed the evidence. Why did he ask to wash the spot when he has nothing to do with the ground since he lives in the 3rd floor?

At the beginning lawyer Vikram Sinha had said that Anna comes from Oraon Adivasi community and her father’s name was stated as “Etwa Oraon” resident of Rania in Khunti district. When the police failed to traced the address, the second story was brought as Anna was from Munda community and her father’s name was told as “Etwa Horo” resident of Goilkera in West Singhbhum district. Finally, on 16 March, 2011, the Ranchi police brought Etwa Kandulna resident of Jamang Kasambar of Sonua block in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand after identifying him as the father of Anna and dead body was handed over to him, which was lying in the RIMS for last 12 days. Ironically, Anna’s father does not want justice for her daughter but he merely wants the unpaid wage of Anna to be paid him. He does not even want compensation from the government. Have police made him a fake father?

Anna’s perhaps fake father Etwa Kandulna has given statements in favour of the lawyer in present of the police saying, “Lawyer is a gentle man and he has not killed her daughter therefore he’ll not file a case against him”. Interesting, he knows about the lawyer whom he has never met. The questions come into one’s mind are, is it possible for a father to be reluctant in demand of justice for his daughter, whom he has lost? Can a father protect the killer of his daughter? And does Anna’s mother have the same views on Anna’s case? Nothing has been said about her mother so far. Indeed, the police has influenced, manipulated and manufactured the consent in favour of the lawyer Vikram Sinha, who comes from an influential family background as his father A.N. Sinha is a retired judge.

Interestingly, the lawyer Vikram Sinha made false statements one after another but still he is gentle man for the police and administration. According to him, Anna’s elder sister Rammi was working at his home but after her marriage, the lawyer deployed her sister in the job. In fact, if it was true, the lawyer should have very good relationship with the family members of Anna. However, the fact is he does not even have address of Anna. At the same time, he also accepted that a middle man Manoj had brought Anna for him. In fact, Anna was employed by lawyer when she was merely 13 year-old at the monthly wage of Rs. 500. According to Anna’s father she was only paid Rs. 5000 once in last five years and she had never gone to her home during this period. This is a clear case of a child trafficking. Anna was bought by the lawyer through the middle man and put in the job as child and bonded labourer.

According to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Pravin Kumar no evidence was found regarding the exploitation of Anna. Ironically, the police also provided protection to the family of Lawyer. However, political leaders Karuna Jha, Asrita Kujur and Usha Xalxo were arrested for demanding justice for Anna. Another interesting point to be noted is, there are numbers of organizations like ATSEC (Action against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children) bagging huge money in the name of protection and welfare of the domestic workers are just mum on the matter. What does it mean? However, few organizations like National Domestic Workers’ Welfare Trust, Jharkhand Domestic Workers Union, Adivasi Domestic Workers Association, Jharkhand Indigenous People’s Forum and All India Progressive Women Association protested in the streets in demand of justice though it was denied.

Of course, justice has almost denied to Anna. However, this case has proved that when the bigwig commits even the heinous crime like murder is also not a crime for them but when the marginalized people demand for justice is a crime in our corporate Indian democratic setup. This is a crucial case of denial of justice to the marginalized of this country and protection to the criminals of elite class, who enjoy impunity every way. Perhaps, the question will remain unanswered is will Anna get justice? And how many Annas will be assaulted, raped and murdered by the elite criminals, who run the Indian corporate democratic country?

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer based in Jharkhand. He can be reached at

Will Mangra get back his land? By Gladson Dungdung

Will Mangra get back his land?
By Gladson Dungdung

On 19 September, 2012, it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon when Mangra
Oraon along with his son Kishor and cousin sister Suryamani reached to
the Civil Court, Ranchi with the prime goal to reclaim his entitlement
on 1.41 acres of land, which is grabbed unconstitutionally and
illegally by Vasavi Bose alias Vasavi Kiro, member of the Jharkhand
State Women Commission and Journalist turned social activist of
Jharkhand. Magra comes from a village called Kotari, which is situated
in the forest near Burmu Police station, at a distance of 40
kilometres from Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand. It was pick
hour of harvesting, but Mangra had no option than stopping his
agriculture activities and visit the Court to save his land. It was
Mangra’s first experience dealing with the lawyer in the Court, but he
was confident about what he wanted to do.

Finally, Mangra filed an affidavit, which reads as follows – ‘Vasavi
told me that she comes from the Oraon tribal community, and asked me
for some patches of land for the ‘Torang Trust’. She promised me that
she would use my land for the welfare of the tribal community and give
me a job along with the price of my land. Hence, I handed over her
1.41 acres of land. Meanwhile, she asked me to sign on a blank paper,
which she submitted to the court and got the permission to transfer
the ownership right of my land in her name instead of ‘Torang Trust’.
However, when I came to know the truth, I didn’t transfer the
ownership rights. Meanwhile, she lured and also abused me. Now, I
don’t want to sell my land to Vasavi anymore, because she has cheated
on me. She is a non-tribal woman but declared herself as a tribal
woman through the false documents, which is a crime’.

Indeed, this is one of the unique cases of land grab therefore; we
must understand it thoroughly. There are thousand and thousand of
Mangras in Jharkhand, whose lands are being grabbed by the use of
different ways and means. Mangra Oraon’s 1.41 acres of land were
unconstitutionally and illegally grabbed by none other than Vasavi
Kiro alias Vasavi Bose, who keeps claiming of being the voice of the
Adivasis. It’s very interesting to know that firstly, Vasavi trapped
Mangra Oraon by showing that she was willing to work for the welfare
of the tribal people of Burmu block. Hence, she was able to grab 1.41
acres of land at the rate of merely Rs. 450 per decimal. Thereafter,
she started coining herself as a member of the tribal community
legally through trust deed and affidavit so that she could transfer
the ownership rights in her name. Finally, she applied in the court
for land transfer and constructed a house on the land, where she runs
the office of Torang Trust. She is secretary of the trust and the
National Commission for Women, New Delhi also provides financial
support to the Trust. What a trick she played!

1. Vasavi is a daughter of three fathers: It may be hard to believe
that one person would have three biological fathers. But Vasavi Bose
alias Vasavi Kiro is a daughter of three official biological fathers.
According to the record of Ursuline Convent Girls High School, Ranchi
and Bihar Secondary School Examination Board, Patna, Vasavi’s original
name is Vasavi Bose daughter of Prafullo Bose resident of Tharpakhana,
Ranchi, where she resides even today. However, according to the
affidavit made on 31 October, 2007, Vasavi has claimed of being a
member of the Oraon tribe. It is written in the affidavit that Vasavi
daugther of Praful Kumar (Oraon) and resident of Kotari village of
Burmu police station of Ranchi district.

Similarly, a social institution called “Torang Trust” was registered
on 19 November, 2005, under the Indian Trust Act 1882, where Vasavi’s
name is mentioned as Vasavi Kujur daughter of Bhola Kujur resident of
Kotari comes under Burmu Police Station. Thus, Vasavi has changed her
surname and father’s name several times to prove herself as a member
of the tribal community with the intention to buy the tribal land and
also bag most of the benefits with the tribal tag. Hence, her names
read like Vasavi Bose, Vasavi Kujur, Vasavi Bhagat and Vasavi Kiro,
and her fathers are late Prafullo Bose, late Praful Kumar (Oraon) and
Mr. Bhola Kujur. The most interesting thing is neither Praful Kumar
(Oraon) nor Bhola Kujur ever existed at Kotari village. Can a
journalist or social activist do like this?

2. Violation of the Indian Constitution: According to the Indian
Constitution Article 342 (1) the President after consultation with the
Governor, by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal
communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities
which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be
Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State. Secondly, the Parliament
may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes
specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any tribe or
tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal
community, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said
clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification. However,
Vasavi Bose alias Vasavi Kiro declared herself as a member of Oraon
tribe community through an affidavit, which is a clear case of
violation of the Indian Constitution. Is Vasavi Bose above the
Constitution? Can anybody be allowed to bypass the Indian
Constitution? And why the Indian state has failed to take action
against such people?

In fact, Vasavi Bose is a daughter of tribal mother and Bengali
father. In that case can she claim for the tribal status? The Supreme
Court has said in the cases of Valsamma Paul v. Cochin University and
others, (1996) 3 SCC 545 followed by Punit Rai v. Dinesh Chaudhary,
(2003) 8 SCC 204 and Anjan Kumar v. Union of India and others, (2006)
3 SCC 257 that the offspring of an inter caste marriage or a marriage
between a tribal and a non-tribal would take his/her caste from the
father. Hence, the offshoots of the wedlock of a tribal woman married
to a non-tribal husband cannot claim Scheduled Tribe status.
Therefore, Vasavi Bose cannot claim for the tribal status. Hence, she
should not be given any benefit as a member of the tribal community.

However, while providing safe guard to the offspring of tribal mother
and non-tribal father, the Supreme Court said on 18 January, 2012
Rameshbhai Dabhai Naika versus State of Gujarat & Others S.L.P (CIVIL)
NO.4282 of 2010) that in view of the analysis of the earlier decisions
on a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal the determination of
the caste of the offspring is essentially a question of fact to be
decided on the basis of the facts adduced in each case. The
determination of caste of a person born of an inter-caste marriage or
a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal cannot be determined in
complete disregard of attending facts of the case. In an inter caste
marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal there may be
a presumption that the child has the caste of the father. This
presumption may be stronger in the case where in the inter caste
marriage or a marriage between a tribal and a non-tribal the husband
belongs to a forward caste.

The Supreme Court further said that by no means the presumption is
conclusive or irrebuttable and it is open to the child of such
marriage to lead evidence to show that he/she was brought up by the
mother who belonged to the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe. By virtue
of being the son of a forward caste father he did not have any
advantageous start in life but on the contrary suffered the
deprivations, indignities, humilities and handicaps like any other
member of the community to which his/her mother belonged.
Additionally, that he was always treated a member of the community to
which her mother belonged not only by that community but by people
outside the community as well. However, this judgement is also not
applicable in the case of Vasavi Bose. Precisely, because she lived
with his father Prafullo Bose at Thalpakhana, Ranchi and enjoyed as a
member of Bengali community at the start of her life. She has seven
brothers who use the surname as “Bose”. Hence, the act of Vasavi Bose
is completely unconstitutional and against the judgement of the
Supreme Court.

3. Non-Tribal woman cannot enjoy tribal status: Indeed, Vasavi Bose is
a non-tribal woman who has married to a tribal man (Santosh Kiro). In
this situation, can she claim for the tribal status? In fact, whenever
the inter-caste marriage takes place, the woman takes on the caste of
her husband. The Supreme Court proceeded to consider the next question
which was, “whether a lady marrying a Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe
or OBC citizen, or one transplanted by adoption or any other voluntary
act, ipso facto, becomes entitled to claim reservation under Article
15(4) or 16(4) as the case may be?” In Murlidhar Dayandeo Kesekar v.
Vishwanath Pandu Barde 1995 supp. (2) SCC 549 and R. Chandevarappa v.
State of Karnataka (1995) 6 SCC 309: JT (1995) 7 SC 93, the Supreme
Court has said that economic empowerment is a fundamental right to the
poor and the State is enjoined under Articles 15(3), 46 and 39 to
provide them opportunities. Thus, education, employment and economic
empowerment are some of the programmes the State has evolved and also
provided reservation in admission into educational institutions, or in
case of other economic benefits under Articles 15(4) and 46, or in
appointment to an office or a post under the State under Article

Therefore, when a member is transplanted into the Dalits, Tribes and
OBCs, he/she must of necessity also have had undergone the same
handicaps, and must have been subjected to the same disabilities,
disadvantages, indignities or sufferings so as to entitle the
candidate to avail the facility of reservation. A candidate who had
the advantageous start in life being born in Forward Caste and had
march of advantageous life but is transplanted in Backward Caste by
adoption or marriage or conversion, does not become eligible to the
benefit of reservation either under Article 15(4) or 16(4).
Acquisition of the status of Scheduled Caste etc. by voluntary
mobility into these categories would play fraud on the Constitution,
and would frustrate the benign constitutional policy under Articles
15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution. Hence, under this judgement too,
Vasavi Bose alias Vasavi Kiro cannot claim the tribal status for
marrying the tribal man.

4. Violation of the CNT Act 1908: According to the section – 46 (1)
(a) of the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act 1908, an occupancy-Raiyat who is
a member of the Scheduled Tribes may transfer with the previous
sanction of the Deputy Commissioner his right in his holding or a
portion of his holding by sale, exchange, gift or will to another
person who is a member of the Scheduled Tribas and who is a resident
within the local limits of the area of the police-station within which
the holding is situate. Of course, Vasavi Bose is a non-tribal woman,
comes from Tharpakhna of Lower Bazar Police station in Ranchi the
capital city of Jharkhand. But she illegally bought 2.99 acre of
tribal land. According to the investigation report of the Circre
Officer (CO), Burmu, Vasavi Orien is a daughter of late Praful Kumar
(Oraon) resident of Kotari village comes under Burmu police station in
Ranchi district. The Circle Officer (CO) further writes that Vasavi
owns 1.55 acres of land elsewhere and comes from the Oraon tribal
community of Kotari village. Hence, 1.41 acres of land of Mangra Oraon
can be transferred in her name, which does not violate the rights of
land owner in any manner. Thus, Vasavi Bose became the owner of 2.99
acres of tribal land, which is a gross violation of the Chhota Nagpur
Tenancy Act, 1908. Therefore, the land should be returned to the
original land owners.

5. Deputy Commissioner defies the Law: According to the section – 46
(1) (a) of the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act 1908, an occupancy-Raiyat,
who is a member of the Scheduled Tribes may transfer his land with the
previous sanction of the Deputy Commissioner. Despite having such a
strong land law, a non-tribal woman Vasavi Bose could able to transfer
2.99 acres of tribal land in her name. How? According to the
investigation report of the Circle Officer (CO), Burmu, Vasavi owns
1.55 acres of land elsewhere and comes from the Oraon tribal community
of Kotari village, which comes under Burmu police station of Ranchi
district. Hence, she is given permission to transfer 1.44 acres of
land of Mangra Oraon. On the basis of this report, the Deputy
Commissioner also ordered for the land transfer. Is CO and DC
influence by someone?

The victim of this saga of land grab, Mangra, claims that fake legal
papers were made in the court and the permission for transfer of his
1.41 acres of land was given on that basis. He questions that how the
affidavit and other legal papers were prepared in his name in the
court, without his presence in the court? The illegal land grab is not
uncommon in Jharkhand. The history of last three centuries is full of
land grab and mass struggle against it. But the saga of Mangra is
unique because the land grabber is not other than the so-called guard
of the tribals. Secondly, the land was grabbed in the name of welfare
of the tribals and thirdly, three editors of the leading media groups
denied carrying the story of an unconstitutional and illegal land grab
in their daily news papers. Can you imagine how powerful the land
grabber is? Will Mangra be able to fight against such powerful lobby?
Can government take legal action against Vasavi Bose for violating the
Indian Constitution? Will Government take any action against the
Circle Officer and the Deputy Commissioner for defying the
Constitution and Laws? And the most important question, which may
remain unanswered, is will Mangra get back his land?

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and General Secretary of
Jharkhand Human Rights Movement. He can be reached at
October 2, 2012

Write! Binayak is in solitary confinement

Write! Binayak is in solitary confinement

Please continue to write to him and Ilina.

Dr. Binayak Sen
Raipur central Jail,
Chhattisgarh - 492001

Ilina Sen" wrote:

dear friends,

yes, it is true. binayak has been in solitary confinement for over two weeks now. this is illegal, and we are going to challenge this in court. our last meeting was heavy, since we did not have a direct meeting and only spoke to each other across two layers of steel mesh.

Here's some background info:
Amnesty International believes that solitary confinement of any prisoner carries the risk of serious mental and physical harm and can amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The imprisonment of a person in total isolation is not acceptable under international human rights standards.
Indian Penal Code:

Section 73. Solitary confinement

Whenever any person is convicted of an offence for which under this Code the Court has power to sentence him to rigorous imprisonment, the Court may, by its sentence, order that the offender shall be kept in solitary confinement for any portion or portions of the imprisonment to which he is sentenced, not exceeding three months in the whole, according to the following scale, that is to say-

A time not exceeding one month if the term of imprisonment shall not exceed six months:

A time not exceeding two months if the term of imprisonment shall exceed six months and [shall not exceed one] year:

A time not exceeding three months if the term of imprisonment shall exceed one year.

Section 74. Limit of solitary confinement
In executing a sentence of solitary confinement, such confinement shall in no case exceed fourteen days at a time, with intervals between the periods of solitary confinement of not less duration than such periods: and when the imprisonment awarded shall exceed three months, the solitary confinement shall not exceed seven days in any one month of the whole imprisonment awarded, with intervals between the periods of solitary confinement of not less duration than such periods.

Even convicted persons are protected by law from such cruel and unusual punishment. Binayak has not even been tried! This unlawful abuse could be the straw that breaks his fragile mental and physical health.

How can we help protect Binayak's human rights?

His wife asks that we send faxes to the Chief Minister of C'garh and the Chief Justice of C'garh. We could express our outrage at the unfair, unlawful and inhumane treatment of this peaceful person.

Dr. Raman Singh, Chief Minister, Chhattisgarh.
fax: +91 7712 221306 (07712 221306 from within India)

Hon'ble Shri Justice Rajeev Gupta ( Chief Justice, Chhattisgarh High Court )
fax: +91 7752 226030 (07752 226030 from within India)

‘We want to go home’ ~ Stan Swamy

‘We want to go home’
is the cry of most Migrant Labourers wherever they are.
But what is awaiting them in their homes? What would they need to do to live in their homes with self-respect and dignity?
Stan Swamy

As per Jharkhand govt announcement, at least about five lakh Jharkhandi migrant workers will be returning home from different parts of the country once the lockdown is lifted. An assurance is given that all of them will be received warmly, reached to their homes safely and work from public sector undertakings will be provided. So far so good.

Two pull-and-push factors:
(1) the ‘pull’ factor insofar as once the lockdown is lifted and small and big industrialists are told to commence production, they will call for workers who were once with them but now have gone home in different parts of the country. They may even add some further incentives to attract them to come back. We can be sure many will opt to go back.
(2) the ‘push’ factor will be the fact that after reaching home, most of them will discover that there is not much at home to keep them and their families going. A sample study of a predominantly Adivasi district [Simdega] in Jharkhand shows 60% of Adivasi families own 1-2 acres, 7% own 3-4 acres. 7% own more than 4 acres. That means the great majority own small pieces of land, and that land is mostly mono-crop land dependent on the monsoon. What they can produce from that land would not be sufficient to feed the family the whole year round, let alone meet other needs of the family. That was the reason why they originally migrated to near and far places in search of employment so as to earn some money for their families.

So now that they are back home and will decide to remain at home, there are certain possibilities by which they can be with their families and at the same time be economically viable:
(1) Instead of just helplessly hoping that nature will be favourable to them, take some positive steps to improve irrigational facilities so they can have a second or even a third crop. Wherever there are rivers/rivulets in the vicinity to avail of govt projects to have small check-dams to conserve and use water for cultivation.
(2) It is a fact that most villages have small or large water bodies like tanks which have over the years become fallow. Motivate and organise the village community to freely work together to repair, deepen, broaden existing water bodies. Such bodies can make it possible for more water available for various uses as well as for community-fish-rearing. (3) The importance of household and common open wells is public knowledge. It will be a revelation as to how these wells will self-replenish water once the other water bodies are maintained well. It may be noted the govt has various schemes to augment water storage which mostly go unutilised.

MGNREGA can be made a good use of. Already suggestions have been made to increase the number of days to 250 a year per family and to augment the remuneration to Rs.300 p/d. If every rural household will be included, it will create a tremendous amount of labour force. This can be effectively utilised not only to strengthen existing commons of the community but also to reach out to individual families to strengthen their assets such as open wells, transplanting and harvesting crops etc. It would be very important that Gram Sabhas play a crucial role in identifying projects, alloting workforce, disbursing remuneration etc. In so doing, the traditional form of self-governance of village communities can be restored. That will be a hearty development indeed.

Co-operative farming, instead of individual farming on the ever-fragmenting plots of land, would seem a most desirable alternative. Everyone realises as to how each family trying to cultivate and eke out a living from its small plots of land has only led to its increasing impoverishment. Although it may seem to be a distant dream, it will be a real step towards restoring the traditional adivasi communitarian ownership and use of all natural resources. Adivasi society, before private ownership was thrust upon it by capitalist forces, was socialist in essence. Everything was owned in common and the fruits of nature was shared according to each one’s needs. It will be a historic opportunity for a people who were owners of land to being reduced to contract/casual labour to redeem themselves to their pristine glory of community ownership and mutual sharing. Besides, it will save so much duplication of efforts of each one trying to farm one’s own land which is proving to be more and more unviable. Will they rise up to accept this challenge? Surely no harm in proposing and persuading them to venture out to this new path.

To Seek justice: what was done on 23rd March by Indian govt unilaterally declaring lockdown with immediate effect was a serious act of injustice to all Indians but particularly to several lakhs of migrant workers all over the country. They were instantly thrown out of job and found themselves on the street. The only alternative was ‘to go home’ and be with their families. But most of them were far far away from their homes and the govt made no provision for them to reach home since all public transport (air, train, bus) came to a standstill instantaneously. Thousands of them started walking hundreds of miles often with some of their family members, carrying their small children on their shoulders. A few dozens of them died on the way out of sheer exhaustion.

The lockdown was extended till 3rd May, and all those who were on the road were stopped and forcibly put in temporary shelters with even basic needs unmet. Now hunger/starvation is haunting them, with several voluntary organisations/ individuals trying to reach out to them although very inadequately. But the executive and the judiciary are saying ‘when food is provided, what more do they need?’ (!)

A grave injustice to the poorest of the poor is being meted out to them. The only way even a semblance of justice is done to them is to have legal recourse by filing a PIL at the HC/SC level demanding the govt to adequately compensate the people on the road. Calling on socially concerned legal professionals to take up this task on behalf of the deprived migrant workers.

Open a new page: to conclude, may we say that those migrant workers who are determined ‘to go home’ do so not with a sense of hopelessness of going back to an economically and socially unviable situation, but with an intent to open a new page in their life that will enable them to live in their homes with self-respect and dignity. Suggestions given above, if accepted and followed, will surely make it possible. That alone will be worth the immense hardships they have and are enduring. And it will be the bounden duty of all socially concerned citizens to reach out to the ‘home-coming’ migrant workers in whatever way possible to ‘open a new page’ in their life.
1st May – International Workers Day

An open letter: Adivasis need speedy and impartial justice (Gladson Dungdung)

An open letter: Adivasis need speedy and impartial justice

May 6, 2013

The Government of India,
Members of the Judiciary and All Citizens,

One of the most disastrous consequences of the strife in the tribal areas of central India is that thousands of adivasi men and women remain imprisoned as under-trials, often many years after being arrested, accused of 'Naxalite/ Maoist' offences.

The facts speak for themselves.

In Chhattisgarh, over two thousand adivasis are currently in jail, charged with 'Naxalite/Maoist' offences. Many have been imprisoned for over two years without trial. In Jharkhand, an even larger number of adivasis, possibly in excess of five thousand, remain imprisoned as under-trials. The situation is similar in many other states of central and eastern India currently affected by armed conflict between the government and adivasi-linked militant movements, namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal. The adivasi undertrial population may run into thousands in each of the states. Assessing the true scale of the problem is inherently difficult, given that none of the police or jail administrations are making comprehensive figures public, even after RTI requests have been filed by concerned citizens. This opacity adds to the injustice.

In each of these states, the adivasi under-trials, and particularly those arrested under special security statutes, face grave common handicaps that obstruct their Constitutional right to a fair, speedy trial, to justice.

One, language barriers. The vast majority of adivasi under-trials speak only adivasi languages, such as Gondi and Halbi. However, few if any courts have official interpreters/translators. This leaves the adivasis unable to communicate directly with the Officers of the Court or otherwise effectively make their case.

Two, the failure, in case after case, for evidentiary material, such as captured arms or explosives, to be promptly submitted in court by the security forces when they first produce the detainees before the Magistrate, as the Magistrate can statutorily direct the security forces to do when they level such serious charges. In the absence of prima facie proof, the grave risk of injustice being done to innocent adivasis is self-evident.

Three, procedural barriers relating to 'Naxalite/Maoist' and other security offences. Being charged with such offences, the under-trials are not produced in the courts for lengthy periods. Owing to this, the trial does not proceed for years together.

Four, other procedural barriers. Since under-trials charged with 'Naxalite/Maoist' offences are only held in Central Jails, many of them of them are transferred to jails at a great distance from their homes and families. In Chhattisgarh, for instance, nearly one hundred adivasi under-trials from Bastar have been transferred to Durg or Raipur Central Jails, a distance of over 300 kilometers. The great distance, coupled with the poverty of most adivasis, means that families are unable to regularly visit them or provide them with vital emotional support.

Five, the lack of proper legal defence. Lawyers who visit 'Naxal/Maoist' under-trials inChhattisgarh are photographed by the authorities and their information listed in a separate register, making lawyers reluctant to visit their clients. In any event, many of the adivasi under-trials are dependent on legal-aid lawyers who rarely go to meet the client or seek instructions regarding the case. Often lawyers are careless in their conduct of cases and are amenable to pressures from the police or prosecution.

In addition to the humanitarian imperative, the prolonged failure to provide speedy and impartial justice to these thousands of adivasi under-trials is damaging the prospects for peace in India's heartland - by leading adivasis to feel that the Indian government does not treat them as full citizens and by intensifying their generalised sense of alienation. It is telling that in the widely publicised "Collector abduction" incidents of Chhattisgarh and Odisha, one of the major demands raised by the insurgents was speedy and fair trial for these thousands of jailed adivasis, accused of being Naxalites/Maoists. Yet, virtually none of the efforts belatedly agreed to by the state governments - such as the 'High-powered Committee for review of the cases of Adivasi undertrials in Chhattisgarh', set up in mid-2012 under the aegis of Nirmala Buch, the former top IAS officer - have come to fruition or been acted on to any degree by the concerned governments.

More than anything else, the failure to ensure justice for the adivasis is a grave blot on India's human rights record. Not only are we as a nation committed to democracy and human rights, but our Constitution provides extensive safeguards and rights to the adivasis that are being violated by not ensuring fair and speedy trials for these thousands of adivasi under-trials.

On every count - whether humanitarian or strategic - it is imperative that this prolonged failure to assure our country's adivasis of speedy, impartial justice be set right immediately.

Justice is in everyone's interest.

Hence, we the undersigned, a large group of concerned Indians - including adivasi leaders, jurists and lawyers, and public intellectuals - urge the Union Government, the concerned State Governments, and the Supreme Court to undertake to appoint a special Commission of eminent jurists to oversee dedicated fast-track courts that hear these cases speedily and impartially.


VR Krishna Iyer, Mahasweta Devi, Swami Agnivesh, Nandita Das, Nitin Desai, GN Devy, Jean Dreze, Gladson Dungdung, Anand Grover, Ramachandra Guha, Girish Karnad, Manish Kunjam, Harsh Mander, Vinod Mehta, Arvind Netam, Rajinder Sachar, BD Sharma, Nandini Sundar, Father Stan Swamy, Tarun Tejpal, Mukti Prakash Tirkey.