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PVCHR: Reconciliation to honor the reconciliation movemen...: Nobel peace prize should be recognize the Shraman Culture(Culture of inclusiveness),non-violence of Budha and Gandhi ji with non-violen...
Friday, September 21, 2012
PVCHR: Letter from Honor'able President of Germany: Letter from Honor'ble President of Germany
Thursday, August 16, 2012
PVCHR: NHRC asks state govt to pay compensation to deaf &...: Therefore, the Commission asked the government of Uttar Pradesh through its chief secretary to pay Rs 3 lakh as compensation to the victi...
Monday, August 13, 2012
PVCHR: Open Letter to the Government of South Asian Count...: To, Government of India, Government of Pakistan Government of Bangladesh Government of Bhutan Government of Sri Lanka Governme...
Saturday, July 21, 2012
"You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind"
PVCHR: "You can chain me, you can torture me, you can eve...: http://pvchr.asia/?id=85 National Consultation Report National Consultation on "Testimonial campaign contribute to eliminate impun...
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Sunday, July 15, 2012
The prevention of torture law is a much-needed step to embellish India’s credentials as country with a sound criminal justice system
PVCHR: The prevention of torture law is a much-needed ste...: http://www.mynews.in/News/the_prevention_of_torture_law_is_a_much_needed_step_to_embellish_indias_credentials_as_country_with_a_sound_cri...
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
|Equality for Dalits: Does it exist?|
Justice, Liberty, Equality: Dalits in Independent India
Author: Lenin Raghuvanshi
Publisher: Frontpage Publications, London, U.K
Year of Publication: 2012
Price: Not Mentioned Pages: 135
Dalits in India have been suffering since time immemorial in India. Hinduism which believed in Varna system of caste coupled with the Aryan supremacy structured the prejudice, bias and exploitation against dalits. It was deemed to be God ordained commandment on the higher castes to demean, exploit and kill them with impunity. They were destined by God to suffer immortally, thus placed outside the Varna system. The upper castes by trampling their rights and perpetuating atrocities against them were fulfilling the God’s plan. This situation should have changed after the Independence of India in 1947. Indian State adopted secularism and democracy as its foundational pillars of constitution which guaranteed equal rights to all irrespective of religion, caste, color, class, gender, region and community. These constitutional guarantees and rights should have been translated into action, but alas this is not the case.
The present book under review by the versatile activist Lenin Raghuvanshi is a testimonial documentation of atrocities, exploitation and abuse of rights of Dalits in “free India’. In the Introduction of the book, Lenin depicts the police violence against Dalits, Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, Crimes against their women and how the culture of impunity shields the guilty. This culture of impunity against the criminals is the biggest threat to the rule of law in India. Lenin woefully states about the Dalit women as, “Dalits are considered untouchables in Indian society yet rape of Dalit women is not considered a taboo by the upper castes. In fact, the latter uses rape as an instrument of continuous subjugation. Dalit women bear a triple burden: discrimination and exploitation based on caste, class and gender. Women are also victims of violence by security forces and armed opposition groups, traditional justice delivery system like ‘caste panchayat’ (illegal body of caste based system in villages) and cruel cultural practices like sati, honor killing and witch hunts. Discriminatory attitudes and lack of sensitization to the dynamics of crimes involving sexual or domestic violence leave victims without critical police aid or redress to which they are entitled”.
Talking about the state of impunity enjoyed by police and security forces Lenin states “In fact, almost every section of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc), 1973 provides some kind of impunity. For example, section 46 empowers the police to shoot to kill any accused charged with a crime punishable by death if that accused person attempts to escape from police custody. The police forces of Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have made extensive use of this section to cover up fake encounters, killing hundreds of hapless detainees”.
Lenin then goes on to describe south of every village as South Africa because it contains Dalits against whom invisible apartheid is still prevalent. The discrimination against Dalits is both intrinsic and external. The Dalits are illiterate hence they are not aware of their constitutional rights; hence fail to alleviate their status. Rest the caste system is embedded in the Indian society and it manifests itself in various forms. The state of impunity is reinforced by the caste considerations as police fails to bring the culprits of crimes against dalits to book either due to caste bias, influence or lure of money. Dalits many times are collectively punished by the upper castes for the crime or mistake of a single Dalit. These examples bring fore the sad fact that spread of literacy hasn’t helped people grow more empathic towards dalits. Also it unveils a gory reality that Indian State has failed to inculcate spirit and virtues of equality and harmony among its institutions.
Lenin then moves on to document the plight of Musahar community and their day to day woes. He laments at the post active attitude of the administration in curbing the starvation deaths in this community. The land that is allotted to the Dalits is taken away by upper caste people, and the upper caste Hindu money lenders keep them under perpetual bondage. In this age too there exist bonded laborers in the community. Lenin has worked for Musahars despite impediments by releasing many bonded laborers and establishing a community school, as previously most children were drop outs. He holds the public distribution system responsible for the starvation deaths, as it is corrupt. The medical facilities are lacking which add to the mortality rate. The police still operate on the colonial structure with a communal mindset. Lenin is of the firm opinion that Indian police learnt demoralization and community punishment from the practice of caste system. He then relates many stories of police torture victims. The role of police in fake encounters is also well known, and how they operate in communal riots reinforcing victimization of the minorities.
The police torture is widespread in India, and “The biggest problem in combating the State on the issues of torture in India has been the non availability of verifiable data” (P-48). In many cases false medical reports of torture victims are produced in league with medical doctors and sometimes reports are concocted by Police themselves. Lenin is aware of the Legal flaws, “The judiciary is hampered by lack of specific legislation to address cases of torture and human rights violations by the security forces as well due to delayed judicial processes. All these leave the poor victim lonelier, shattered and completely disintegrated, irrespective of economic status” (P-49). Lenin wants and desires, “India is yet to adopt any legislation recognizing the right to compensation for human rights violations. The government continues to maintain its reservation to Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that under the Indian legal system there is no enforceable right to compensation for persons claiming to be victims of unlawful arrest or detention against the State. The courts and National Human Rights institutions, however, have awarded compensation for human rights violations, including torture”. (P-49).
The chapter on Testimonial Therapy is the jewel of the book. It gives hope to the victims of torture to overcome the psychological trauma in post torture phase. But only a few pages are dedicated to explain the testimonial therapy. Lenin abruptly moves to the Shrinking Livelihood in India. He quotes as case studies, the decline in the production of world famous Benaras Silk, as a result of the rival Chinese silk. Lenin relates the diseases associated with the handlooms and the Tuberculosis being rampant among the handloom workers and weavers. Then he again states about the severe malnutrition in Uttar Pradesh, though it is not Somalia. Lenin continues with the child starvation deaths this time in Ghasias community, who are also victim of government apathy.
The last two chapters deal with Rule of Lords, Political Patronage & how caste, patriarchy and corruption help in perpetuation of the same. Lenin relates violence against women, in the form of infanticide, honor killings, domestic violence, child marriages, infant and maternal mortality rates. If certain women make it to the panchayats still their husbands control the affairs.
Lenin then goes on to track the record of victims of fake encounters, extra and custodial killings by the Police since 1960s, which rose to epidemic proportions in early 1990s when innocents were being targeted as Maoists, Sikh militants or Islamic Jihadi extremists. The incompetence of National Human Rights Commission to protect human rights of innocents has rendered it as a toothless tiger. The State also acts softly on Hindutva fascist cadres. To add insult to injury criminalization of politics is ruling roost.
Overall the book is a welcome read and must for everyone who wants to be aware of the underbelly of Indian State. But the scheme of chapters and selection of case studies at times betray the title of the book, the scope of the book is much wider than its title conveys. It covers a lot of ground, but thematically it appears to be jumbled in a hurry. Despite its flaws Lenin needs to be congratulated for his endeavor. This book is a testimony to the fact that there are serious problems and grave issues with the project of ‘Shining India’.
(The author is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
PVCHR: It is honor of Shraman culture(culture of inclusiv...: It is honor of Shraman culture(culture of inclusiveness). Teaching of Baba saheb and Budhha converted Lenin Raghuvanshi from upper c...
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Vote for Lenin Raghuvanshi for Roland Berger Human Dignity Award: Please vote Lenin Raghuvanshi as reconciliation mo...
Vote for Lenin Raghuvanshi for Roland Berger Human Dignity Award: Please vote Lenin Raghuvanshi as reconciliation mo...: Please vote for Lenin Raghuvanshi /PVCHR, my organisation, for the Roland Berger Human Dignity Award. Process of Voting: Whe...
Thursday, May 31, 2012
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Sunday, April 08, 2012
Survivors of violence during emerge of two nations India and Pakistan need reconciliation by both Government.Dalit, tribal,Minority,People of North east and Kashmir need reconciliation by state,upper caste, communities involved in historical exclusion and violence. Because peace with out Justice is culture of silence of impunity.
Monday, April 02, 2012
Bhuvan valley: 'Stay hungry and shut up' seems to be the food security policy of Assam government
Waliullah Ahmed Laskar
Those whose near and dear ones reportedly died of hunger and lack of medical care in Assam are now being told to shut up and say only what they are told to say. In a tea garden in the North East Indian state where more than 14 people died of hunger, malnutrition and lack of medical care are now being harassed and pressurized into signing papers stating that all is well with them. With the help of their husbands and other male members of their families, workers and helpers of the Anganwadi centres under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in the Bhuvan valley tea garden of Cachar district took signatures of the labourers and other villagers on 31 March 2012 on a paper that stated that the beneficiaries were being provided with sufficient nutrition and other services as required under the scheme and that they did not have any complaint regarding functioning of the centres. They took signatures of particularly those residents who provided the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), the local rights group that brought the cases of hunger deaths in the garden into the light, with information about their situation during its fact-finding study.
The BHRPC reported that the Bhuvan Valley Tea Estate, a tea garden owned by a private company based in Kolkata, which employed about 500 permanent and another 1000 casual workers, was abandoned by the owners in October 8, 2011 without paying the workers their outstanding wages and other dues. It resulted in loss of means of livelihood of the workers and pushed them into the condition of starvation and famine that led to the deaths of ten people till 27 February 2012. According to the fact-finding report issued on 1 February, the workers were deprived of their rights as they were forced to do overwork and were paid very low wages (Rs. 41.00 for casual workers and 50.00 to 55.00 for permanent workers) without being provided with any medical treatment while working and, after closure, had the payment of their wages, provident fund and bonus suspended. The rights of plantation workers to fair wage, bonus, provident fund, housing and basic medical facilities in accordance with the Plantation Labour Act, 1951 have not been implemented. In the course of closure, the government failed to make any intervention to guarantee their fundamental rights to live with dignity. It is further found that basic medical care and food distribution for the poor under the government schemes including the ICDS have not properly reached even those workers who lost their livelihoods and that it was one of the causes that led to the deaths.
Even after publication of the disturbing reports, the authorities did not take any effective actions except re-opening of the garden on 9 February 2012 while maintaining that the deaths were not caused by starvation. The situation, therefore, continued to worsen. The BHRPC again on 11 February reported about critical health conditions of 43 other people. Among them two more people died on 18 and 22 February. The chief minister of Assam wrote a letter on 29 February giving details of actions taken by the government while at the same time he still maintained without any proper inquiry that these deaths were not caused by starvation. Actions of the government were, at beast, inadequate and misleading, said the BHRPC in a statement. As a result, deaths continued unabated in the tea garden and on 10 March the BHRPC had to report two more deaths.
On the other hand, after publication of the reports some human rights groups, individual rights defenders and section of national media conducted independent investigations and took up the issue. Among the groups the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a Hongkong based rights body, taking up the case wrote to the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food and issued two hunger alerts world wide. The Varansi (in Uttar Pradesh) based rights group People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) also sent letters to the authorities in India. Another civil society team from Guwahati visited the tea garden on 22 and 23 February. The group was comprised of Saito Basumatary, coordinator of the People's Rights Forum, Wilfred Topno, president of Adivasi Sahitya Sabha- Assam, Stephen Ekka, director, of the PAJHRA, Godfrey Here, secretary of the Nawa Bihan Samaj and Rejan Horo, organizing secretary, central committee of the AASAA and issued a statement corroborating the findings of the BHRPC after they made an extensive study of the situation. New Delhi based noted social activist Swami Agnivesh also engaged with the government in dialogue and pressed for the amelioration of the situation.
Apart from carrying stories on the situations in the garden by some national media outlets such as Indo-Asian news services, press trust of India and papers like the Asian Age, Times of India and the Telegraph (Kolkata), the CNN-IBN and the Tehelka magazine conducted their own inquiry. The CNN-IBN continuously aired news on the situation and held a talk show while the Tehelka magazine published an in-depth story.
Meanwhile, on the complaint of the BHRPC the Supreme Court commissioners on the right to food took cognisance of the matter and asked their Assam state advisor for a report. The national human rights commission also registered cases and started proceedings.
These interventions generated certain amount of heat that was felt by the relevant quarters in New Delhi and Dispur. And reportedly even the prime minister's office was asked to look into the reports forcing the Assam CM to act. But instead of taking substantial and prompt actions, he ordered an additional chief secretary Mr. PK Choudhury to conduct an inquiry and minister for excise and sports Mr. Ajit Singh to keep vigil on the situation. He held a meeting to discuss their feedback and decide further actions on 11 March. From the reports in the press it seemed that the government was trying to shift the entire blame on the estate management who, according to the chief secretary, was not responding to official communiqués from the deputy commissioner as well as the labour department and "neglecting" the garden. The reports were totally silent about the stand of government on the role of its officers, particularly those who were responsible to ensure that the gardens were run in accordance with law, and those who were responsible for proper implementation of the flagship schemes. However, it is learnt that the CM instructed the officials to cause some ring wells dug in the gardens to make drinking water available for the residents and to take some other ameliorating measures.
But the woes of the labourers were far from over. There was complaint that labourers were not getting loans from provident fund to get over their cash crunch as the authorities did not released the fund even though the management had already paid 50% of the arrears of PF through the district administration. Even the PF claims of the dead labourers were also not being cleared. It was also alleged that the Anganwadi centres were not providing food staffs and other services of their mandate, doctors were not available in the estate hospital and problems of drinking water, sanitation and electricity worsened. When the BHRPC drew attention of the district magistrate/deputy commissioner (DM/DC) Mr Harendra Kumar Devmahanta he ordered two separate inquiries into the grievances about functioning of Anganwadi centres and release of PF giving the responsible officers 10 days time. And he said that he was active in ensuring potable water, medical facilities and electricity in the tea estate. A water supply plant will be set up and till it is done water would be supplied daily by tanks. Besides, a doctor from the nearby primary health centre (PHC) would visit the estate hospital once a week, till a permanent doctor was be appointed, he assured. The meeting between the BHRPC members and the DC took place on 30 March and it was attended by two additional DCs, assistant labour commissioner and district social welfare officer. The last mentioned officer is responsible for running ICDS in the district.
The Supreme Court of India directed the central and state governments to universalise the functioning of ICDS and stated that "(t)he universalisation of the ICDS involves extending all ICDS services (Supplementary nutrition, growth monitoring, nutrition and health education, immunization, referral and pre-school education) to every child under the age of 6, all pregnant women and lactating mothers and all adolescent girls".
The central government formulated a Nutritional and Feeding Norms for SNP in ICDS and it was approved by the Supreme Court. It states that "children in the age group of 6 months to 3 years must be entitled to food supplement of 500 calorie of energy and 12-15 gm of protein per child per day in the form of take home ration (THR). For the age group of 3-6 years, food supplement of 500 calories of energy and 12-15 gm of protein per child must be made available at the Anganwadi Centres in the form of a hot cooked meal and a morning snack. For severely underweight children in the age group of 6 months to 6 years, an additional 300 calories of energy and 8-10 gm of protein would be given as THR. For pregnant and lactating mothers, a food supplement of 600 calories of energy and 18-20 gm of protein per beneficiary per day would be provided as THR".
It can be shown in a table more conveniently with money ear-marked for each beneficiary in each category:
Rate in rupees per beneficiary per day
Proteins in gm
Children below 6 years
Severely malnourished children
Pregnant and lactating mothers
Rs. 4.00 is ear-marked for every adolescent girl per day.
It is another question as to whether this money can still buy that much calories and proteins even after three years of severe food inflation from the time of approval of the Supreme Court and particularly in this part of the country which is known for high prices of food staffs.
As per the Supreme Court rulings, this nutritional support shall be provided 300 days in a year by providing for 25 days per month.
Now, let us take a look on how all these get translated in the ground in the form of actual dietary intake by the beneficiaries. A famous(!) statement of the then Prime Minister Mr Rajiv Gandhi may be remembered that only Re. 0.15 would reach the actual beneficiary from Re. 1.00 meant for the poor and the remaining Re. 0.85 would get siphoned off by those who were entrusted with the task of reaching the beneficiaries with the benefit of the money. Still the situation is same if not worse. The BHRPC team were told during their fact-finding study visit on 27 February by the residents of the Bhuvan valley that there were 7 Anganwadi centres in the garden but none of them were properly functioning. They were opened only once or twice in a month. It indicates that the children and women of the tea garden were receiving about 0.01 per cent of the money allotted for their nutritional support and some health services. The situation has certainly improved since.
But how much improved? A typically 'well-functioning' Anganwadi centre in Cachar district gets approximately Rs. 1,200.00 per month. The break-up may be shown in a table:
Total number. of beneficiary
Rs. per head per day
Total amount per category per day
Children below 6 years
Severely malnourished children
Pregnant and lactating mothers
For one month the amount stands at Rs. 462.00 x 25 days = Rs. 11550.00, say 12000.00. When this scribe talked with the worker of such a typical centre she confided with the condition of anonymity that Rs 3000.00 is taken away by the supervisor apparently for himself/herself, child development project officer (CDPO), the district social welfare officer and other higher-ups, Rs. 1000.00 by the president of the centre management committee and another Rs. 1000.00 by the member secretary of the committee and Rs. 500.00 by each worker and helper from this 12000.00 and the remaining Rs. 6000.00 is spent on the beneficiaries.
The worker of a centre is ex-officio member-secretary of the centre management committee and in most cases her husband or any other member of her family or any relative is the president, though the rule book says the president should be the member of the Gaon Panchayat elected from the area covered by the centre.
If the 7 Anganwadi centres in the Bhuvan valley tea garden function as per rules in the book apparently a worker will incur a loss of Rs. 1500.00 (1000.00 as member secretary and 500.00 as worker), president Rs. 1000.00 and helper Rs. 500.00 of their 'extra-money' per month. But it is not important for them that this 'sacrifice of extra-money' can go a long way to save some precious human lives. So, they coerced the labourers and other villagers to sign a paper stating that the beneficiaries were being provided with sufficient nutrition and other services as required under the scheme and that they did not have any grievances regarding functioning of the centres.
The presence of the district social welfare officer in the meeting of 29 March and he being ordered to submit a report within 10 days about the complaint regarding function of the ICDC, and the incident of taking forcible signature of the Bhuvan valley residents on the very next day can not be a mere co-incidence.
It is a very sorry and sad commentary on the sense of responsibility as well as humanity of some of the officers and public servants who govern the people and implement the government policies, laws duly passed by legislative bodies and orders made by law courts.
It also shows that the Assam government has not only failed to protect the right to life with dignity of the tea workers in the Bhuvan valley by ensuring availability of adequate food, water, sanitation and health care but it is now also taking away right to make noise, yell, cry and weep at the time of dying from hunger.
 The writer is a human rights defender based in Guwahati, Assam can be reached at email@example.com
 Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC). "Tea labourers die of starvation due to exploitation of garden management and government apathy in Assam." Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), 2012. Web. 1 February 2012 <http://bhrpc.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/hungeralert1/>
 "Bhuvan Valley: no hunger deaths." Sakalbela 18 February 2012 Silchar ed. Print.
 Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC). "Situation of hunger deteriorates in Assam tea garden." Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), 2012. Web. 11 February 2012 <http://bhrpc.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/situation-of-hunger-deteriorates-in-assam-tea-garden/>
 Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC). "Two more people died in Assam tea garden." Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), 2012. Web. 23 February 2012 <http://bhrpc.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/hungeralert3/>
 Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC). "Assam government's actions regarding starvation deaths are inadequate and misleading." Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), 2012. Web. 3 March 2012 < http://bhrpc.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/assam-governments-actions-in-starvation-deaths-are-inadequate-and-misleading/>
 Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC). "Deaths continue unabated in Assam tea garden." Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), 2012. Web. 10 March 2012 <http://bhrpc.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/hungeralert4//>
 (a) Asian Human Rights Commission—Hunger Alert Programme. "INDIA: Assam government failed to ensure the right to life with dignity of tea plantation workers leading to ten deaths." Asian Human Rights Commission, 2012. Web. 7 February 2012 < http://www.humanrights.asia/news/hunger-alerts/AHRC-HAU-001-2012/AHRC-HAC-002-201>
(b) Asian Human Rights Commission—Hunger Alert Programme. "INDIA: Two more estate workers die from starvation while the government denies responsibility." Asian Human Rights Commission, 2012. Web. 27 February 2012 < http://www.humanrights.asia/news/hunger-alerts/AHRC-HAU-001-2012>
 "Swami Agnivesh writes to Assam CM on starvation deaths." The Sentinel. Web. 5 February 2012 Silchar ed. < http://www.sentinelassam.com/cachar/story.php?sec=2&subsec=12&id=105944&dtP=2012-02-05&ppr=1>
 Sen, Arijit. "Stay hungry: The story behind Assam tea". IBNLive. Web. 21 February 2012. < http://ibnlive.in.com/blogs/arijitsen/148/63192/stay-hungry-the-story-behind-assam-tea.html>
 Choudhury, Ratnadip. "Did they die of hunger? The Question Haunts Barak Valley." Tehelka 25 February: 10-11. Print.
 "SC Commissioners take note of starvation deaths." The Assam Tribune. Web. 2 March 2012 Guwahati ed. < http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=mar0212/state07>
 NHRC Case No. 51/3/2/2012
 "Dispur rap on garden for deaths" The Telegraph. Web. March 2012 Kolkata ed. <http://vv.telegraphindia.com/1120314/jsp/northeast/story_15246290.jsp>
 "Government will run the garden in case owners unable: Gogoi." Dainik Samayik Prasanga 14 March 2012 Silchar ed. Print.
 Roy, Sipra. "Bhuban Valley TE labourers not getting loans from PF." The Seven Sisters Post. Web. 1 April Guwahati ed. <http://sevensisterspost.com/?p=1944# >
 People's Union for Civil Liberties Vs. Union of India and Others (Writ Petition (civil) 196 of 2001); date of Judgement: 13/12/2006 in IA Nos. 34, 35, 40, 49, 58, 59, 60, 61 and 62
 SNP stand for Supplementary Nutrition Programme.
 People's Union for Civil Liberties Vs. Union of India and Others (Writ Petition (civil) 196 of 2001); Date of Judgement: April 22, 2009
 It is a hypothetical table based on survey of several Anganwadi centres and meant to show break-up of a typical centre in Cachar district. It needs to be noted that they don't maintain list of severely malnourished or underweight children.