Rights panel finds boy illegally detained in police station

December 21, 2011

He has been held for the second time, says police officer

A 16-year-old boy was found by the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) illegally detained, handcuffed and chained to a window at the Sampigehalli police station on Tuesday.

According to a press release, the commission received information that the minor had been detained at the police station since December 17. When a team reached the police station, they found the boy seated on a blanket and handcuffed with a leading chain attached to the bars of a window.

In the release, chairperson of the commission Nina Nayak said that the boy appeared to be in pain and showed several fresh bruises on his torso, arms and legs. He said that he was given little food and was chained since Saturday evening. He claimed that he was picked up by the police on December 17 at around 9.30 p.m. near his home at Sadiq Layout, Thaneersandra, when he was going to a pharmacy to purchase medicines. The boy alleged that he was beaten by several police men at the station.

The release stated that the boy’s parents received a call that he was at the police station. When they went there, they were not allowed to meet him. The boy’s father Dastagi, a welder, reportedly produced documents showing that his son was 16.

Mr. Dastagi claimed that his son was an eighth standard school drop-out. He told the commission that the police gave him no reason for picking up his son. The policemen all alleged that the boy had stolen money and three mobile phones.

The commission contacted Deputy Commissioner of Police (North East) B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda, who deputed Assistant Commissioner of Police M.N. Chandrappa to look into the matter. When questioned by Mr. Chandrappa and Ms. Nayak, Sampigehalli inspector K. Nanjunde Gowda refuted the claims made by the boy. He claimed that the boy was picked up on Tuesday. However, no complaint against the boy had been received at the station, the release said.

The commission was informed that no diary entry had been made or FIR filed. The inspector also stated that there was another case pending in the neighbouring police station and the boy was picked up for inquiry.

Both the Assistant Commissioner of Police and the inspector assured the commission that the boy would be presented before a member of the Juvenile Justice Board. The commission has directed the inspector to submit records pertaining to the apprehension of the minor by 3 p.m. on Wednesday. A complaint has been lodged at the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission by SICHREM.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ravikanthe Gowda told The Hindu that the boy has been arrested for the second time. He said that the minor was a habitual offender and that he was involved in four theft cases. After the arrest, the stolen goods were recovered from him, he added.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/article2733471.ece


END CUSTODIAL TORTURE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT: Free Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi

December 17, 2011

The undersigned groups from Karnataka State strongly condemn the custodial sexual assault and torture of Soni Sori, an Adivasi school teacher from the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. A recent medical examination ordered by the Supreme Court at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkatta found stones inserted in her vagina and rectum1. Medical reports submitted to the court three days after her arrest show she sustained a contusion in the occipital region of her head caused by a “hard and blunt object”, and that she had tenderness in the sacrum of her back, and blackened fingers – the latter being a classic sign of electrocution2,3. In a recent letter to the Supreme Court, she has stated in clear terms that she had been stripped, electrocuted and tortured4. The evidence points to her having been tortured in custody in complete violation of her constitutional rights and any standard of decency.

Due process has been violated in the case of Soni Sori repeatedly. When these injuries prevented Soni from being produced before a magistrate, an order converting her police custody into extended judicial custody was still signed by Additional District Judge Yogita Wasik without her presence – which is completely illegal2,5. She was outside the court in a vehicle and never left it. She was chained to the bed while undergoing treatment for her injuries in a Raipur hospital, explicitly against Supreme Court orders1. Soni was also incarcerated in police lockup for 24 hours against Supreme Court orders when taken to Kolkata for a medical re-examination6. Soni has testified in a video recorded statement that she has been threatened by the police to not reveal her custodial torture for fear that they will arrest her brother, who is the sole caretaker of her children.

Soni Sodi and her nephew Lingaram Kodopi have been framed by charges that they were collecting money on behalf of the Maoists from the company Essar. Constable Mankar from the Kirandul police station admitted to fabricating the charges in a phone conversation with Soni Sodi recorded by Tehelka7. Both Soni and Lingaram have repeatedly taken a stand against the exploitation of their people and have been declared prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International. Lingaram has trained to become a journalist and began reporting on the abysmal human rights record of the Chhattisgarh government from the ground. He has now been incarcerated and allegedly tortured, as has Sodi Soni after four previous false charges were filed against her to coerce her to help frame Lingaram on false charges.

Therefore we demand

  • An investigation into the custodial sexual assault and torture of Soni Sori and the immediate suspension of the responsible officers and prosecution under the PoA Act pending this inquiry.
  • The transfer of Soni Sori out of the custody of Chhattisgarh Police.
  • Public proof of the good health and safety of Lingaram Kodopi and an investigation into the possibility of custodial torture of his case.
  • An end to the use of lengthy custodial holding on false charges, custodial torture, and constant harassment by the police in retaliation against political activists
  • An immediate end to the state-sponsored assault on the lives of the adivasi and other residents of Chhattisgarh.

The narrative of Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi is not an unusual one. Hundreds of people across the country fighting against the state and corporate grabbing of land, water and forest resources and labor exploitation have been incarcerated upon false charges. Some other heinous cases are those of cultural activist Jiten Marandi from Jharkhand who has been sentenced to death on false charges alongside Manoj Rajwar, Chhatrapati Mandal and Anil Ram; the incarceration of CPI member Kartam Joga who was the first petitioner in a victorious legal case for the disbanding of the vigilante force Salwa Judum given its history of rampant human rights violations; the incarceration of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram worker Sukhnath Oyami; the continuous incarceration of Irom Sharmila who has been fasting for the repeal of AFSPA; the booking of dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale under UAPA; the abduction and immediate re-incarceration of Arun Ferreira on fresh charges immediately upon his being acquitted of previous false charges. All these cases of false charges placed upon politically active citizens need to undergo speedy trials so that custodial imprisonment and torture during delayed trials is not used as a tool to intimidate and hold politically active people captive.

Endorsed by:

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression: WSS -Karnataka and WSS-National, Peoples’ Democratic Forum, People’s Union for Civil Liberties: PUCL- Bangalore, PUCL-Karnataka and PUCL- National, SICHREM, Alternative Law Forum (ALF), Citizens for Justice and Peace-Tamil Nadu, Maraa, Concern, Indian Institute of Science, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, REDS, Saheli-Delhi,  Vimochana, LesBiT, Moving Republic, New Socialist Alternative, People’s Solidarity Concerns, Visual Search, Karnataka Sex Workers Union, Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, SCM-India

Individuals:

Pushpa Achanta, Member WSS-Karnataka; Uma V Chandru, Member PUCL-Bangalore and WSS-Karnataka; Kaveri Rajaraman Indira, Member, PDF, LesBiT, Concern; Rajesh Srinivas; Sravanthi Dasari; Dr. V. Lakshminarayana, General Secretary, PUCL-Karnataka; Dr. E. Rati Rao, Vice President, PUCL-Karnataka; M C Raj, REDS; Jyothi, REDS; Lawrence Summers, Environment Economist; Gee Ameena Suleiman; Nithu Chichu; Sumathi Murthy; Soundarya, Concern; Shubhendu Sen Roy, Concern; Shakun D, Vimochana; Bela Bhatia, member, WSS national campaign; Elavarthi Manohar-Praja Rajakiya Vedike; Priya Prabhu; Dr.Vijay Chandru – Member, High Panel for Science and Technology, UNESCO; Anuradha Talwar – Member WSS National campaign; Pushkar Raj – General Secretary, PUCL National; Pradeep Esteves; Neelima P. Aryan; Vinay Bhat, AID; Parvathy Prem, AID; Karthik Ranaganathan, AID; Tathagatha Sengupta, AID; Santosh Rohit, AID

Contact:

Kaveri Indira 7760235234 kaveri.indira@gmail.com; Uma V Chandru 9844080227 umavchandru@gmail.com; Rajesh 9886155148 abhilra@yahoo.com; Pushpa Achanta 9886685896 apushpa@gmail.com

References:

  1. Supreme Court order regarding Soni Sori’s medical examination, October 20  2011.
  2. http://www.otherindia.org/dev/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=401:supreme-court-order-regarding-soni-soris-medical-examination&catid=100:case-in-supreme-court-&Itemid=183
  3. Affidavit 1 regarding Soni Sori filed in Supreme Court: http://www.freebinayaksen.org/?p=2802
  4. Affidavit 2 regarding Soni Sori filed in Supreme Court: http://courtnic.nic.in/supremecourt/temp/2062011420102011p.txt
  5. Soni Sori’s letter http://www.otherindia.org/dev/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=44&Itemid=178
  6. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/arrested-woman-maoist-in-chhattisgarh-hospital-with-head-spinal-injuries/858356
  7. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/maoist-sori-taken-to-kolkata-hospital/865353/
  8. http://www.tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ne151011coverstory.asp

Urging youth to take that big bold step

December 16, 2011

What are human rights? The government, media and the public seem to take notice only when protest marches are held and slogans shouted. The youth of this generation are probably more aware of human rights than their parents. But are they really keen on doing enough to safeguard the interests of individuals and communities that live on the margins of society?

These were some of the issues raised at the invigorating debate on ‘Are youth the best contenders of human rights?’, organised as part of the annual human rights festival held between December 1 and 10 at St. Joseph’s College of Arts and Science and Mount Carmel College.

“Although we youngsters join campaigns that discuss human rights, we do not do enough. We are happy serving our interests,” says Annie George, an undergraduate of St. Joseph’s College of Arts and Science. But, students Nikita Wadhwa and Azhar Khan feel that the youth have been at the forefront of the Jessica Lal case and the anti-corruption campaign. “Even in Egypt and China, the youth have been revolting against repressive governments,” they say.

The South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) and Indian Social Institute (ISI) collaborated with the Students’ Christian Movement of India (SCM), the Association of People with Disabilities (APD) and Ananya-Global Concerns India (a Bangalore NGO working on trafficking issues) to organise this fest.

“Youngsters must act collectively to ensure that people everywhere get their basic entitlements irrespective of gender, socio-economic status, religion or physical or mental abilities,” said Manohar R., head of programmes at SICHREM.

The students conveyed important messages on human rights through street plays, paper collages, and dance performances. The street play on ‘Youth and social responsibility’ portrayed girls fighting sexual harassment, while the paper collages were designed around the theme, ‘Helping hands are better than praying lips’. The dance performance depicted powerful women through the ages. There was also an essay writing competition on the same topic, which got entries from schools and colleges across south India.

The festival included a daylong fast to show solidarity with human rights activists such as Irom Sharmila and a walk. The festival concluded at Town Hall with the organisers and participants holding a candlelight vigil and taking an oath to protect fundamental rights.

Article by PUSHPA ACHANTA, http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-neighbourhood/article2715784.ece

 


Complaint against the alleged attack by the mob on journalist K.K.Shahina.

December 15, 2011
 
Justice S.R.Nayak
Chairperson
Karnataka State Human Rights Commission
4th Floor, 5th Phase,
M.S.Building,
Dr.Ambedkar Vidhana Veedhi
Bangalore – 560001

Dear Sir,

Sub- Complaint against the alleged attack by the mob on journalist K.K.Shahina.

The matter for this complaint is drawn from the daily newspaper, The Deccan Herald dated 12the December 2011 and is placed here for consideration and action from your good offices.

It is stated that, Shahina K K, 37, a journalist from Kerala, who had to visit the Somwarpet Tahsildar’s office to fulfil a legal procedure was allegedly attacked by a ‘right wing’ organization, even as she was inside a police van escorting her to ‘safety’, on Friday.  It is to be noted that,Shahina, who is facing charges of criminal intimidation after she had interviewed K K Yogananda, one of the eye-witnesses in the Madani case, and reported that the witness had actually not seen Madani, had to appear at the Tahsildar’s office for the identification parade.

Shahina, a journalist was there as part of fulfilling a legal procedure and the police is stated to have behaved rudely wit her as alleged by Shahina.

The paper further states that, Shahina was welcomed by a large group of people, including one Yogananda, with black flags, but she had not expected that they could cause her any problem. However, after the Inspector’s warning, she had sought security, but in vain. Inspite of this the police officer as quoted by Shahina is to have stated that, “Your security is not my responsibility,”

Her attempts to persuade the officer were not heeded to and the, investigating officer in Bangalore Mr. Mohan Das had to be contacted and in turn who spoke to the local police and later was provided with security.

Ms Shahina’s lawyer, Venkatesh’s colleague was present on the spot and has claimed that as the van neared the exit, people from the Hindu Jagarana Vedike attacked the van and pelted stones at the van and tried stopping it. They also pushed her around before she got into the police van and that the van barely escaped from the barrage.

This incident of an attack on a journalist is to be viewed very seriously on the transparency and accountability of the actions of the police as well as organizations that are mentioned. It was the duty of the police to provide her full security and assure her of protection since she was called in by the police to fulfill investigation procedures. If the police had to be asked by Shahina and he refusing it, we wonder what was on the minds of the police. The life and security of Ms. K.K.Shahina is at risk and danger.

In this context, we seek that your good offices initiate strict action against the commission and omission of the police and State and seek an explanation of the actions that have been undertaken in the incident. And that your good offices issue strict guidelines to the state as well as the police department, so as to initiate confidence and protection to Shahina and also to prosecute the culprits.

Thanking you,

Yours truly,
R.Manohar.                                                                                                                          
Head Programs 
 
Link for the news covered by Deccan Herald after the press meet on the issue by People’s Solidarity Concerns addressed by Mr. Mathews Philip, Executive Director, SICHREM: 

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/211600/complaint-shrc-over-attack-shahina.html


‘Karnataka fares poorly in human rights’

December 15, 2011

As the world celebrated the Human Rights Day on Saturday, former high court judge, Justice MF Saldanha, was critical of the flouting of human rights in the city.

At an event organised by the Student Christian Movement of India, SICHREM, to commemorate the occasion, Saldanha criticised the widespread apathy in dealing with issues plaguing the city.

“When we think of a place with rampant human rights violations, we think of places like the North-East or Kashmir and we never think of a place like Bangalore,” he said, addressing students who are part of SICHREM. “There are thousands of deaths occurring owing to dowry problems in the country and Karnataka is one of the worst offenders,” he added.

He also had a few choice words against the educational system in the city. “Today, parents want their children in the best pre-schools and institutions and are willing to pay anything for it. Education today is a business and lacks quality. Corruption is terrible infringement on human rights,” he said passionately.
The only way to counter corruption is by not giving way to apathy, pleaded Saldanha. “People have a very casual attitude about corruption. They don’t see a point in protesting, in taking a stand.

But in order to become an achiever, you should not compromise. I am here today because I never compromised. We should never compromise for basic rights like water and education,” he said.
Also, the former high court judge said students must make it their mission to stand up for their rights. “I want every one of you to promise me that you will not become like a jellyfish—totally spineless,” he said in a moment of levity.

http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_karnataka-fares-poorly-in-human-rights_1624171


Valedictory of the 10 day “Celebrating Rights” – Invitation

December 9, 2011


Celebrating Human Rights

December 9, 2011