Mr. Mathews Philip, Executive Director and Mr. Manohar, Head of Programs as Chief Guests at the 44th Annual Day celebration of Nehru English High SchoolJanuary 24, 2012
Members of Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) made a surprise visit to the central prison and found that 22 minors have been lodged there for several months.
Acting on a complaint, a team headed by commission chairman Vasudeva Sharma visited the jail premises and reviewed case files of all the 22 inmates. During the review, the team found the records of their dental examination, which suggest that all 22 of them are below 18 years of age.
“The complaints received by KSCPCR are grave in nature. Nine juveniles at the observation home in Madiwala revealed that they had spent a few weeks to more than 12 months in judicial custody without proper hearings despite of repeated efforts made by their families to establish their minor status. SICHREM, a human rights organisation, also filed a complaint with the KSCPCR, alleging that two inmates released on bail from the central prison had spent several months in judicial custody despite being minor,” a press release from the child rights commission said.
The team also gathered information about the minor inmates to conduct a detailed inquiry.
The young inmates, including the 22 minor boys, were not put to hard labour and were able to continue education. The prison authorities expressed sensitivity to the needs and problems of the young detainees and had initiated measures to ascertain their true age.
The observation home for the boys was shifted from Parappana Agrahara central prison to Madiwala recently.
The prison authorities in a surprise visit caught four undertrials and 24 convicts gambling inside the jail premises on Friday.
The inmates were also using marijuana.
Based on the directions of the additional director general of prison, Gagandeep, a detailed probe was conducted and the authorities identified 60 inmates involved in nefarious activities.
All the 60 inmates have been transferred to different jails across the state.
Complaint of intimidation, threats of murder against HRD and Dalit Activist Mari Joseph by Executive Officer of Hassan Taluk Panchayat, KarnatakaJanuary 18, 2012
4th Floor, 5th Phase, Multi Storeyed Buildings
Sir / Ma’am,
Subject: Complaint of intimidation, threats of murder against human rights defender and dalit activist Mari Joseph by Executive Officer of Hassan Taluk Panchayat, Karnataka
Greetings from SICHREM!
We are now writing to express our grave concern regarding the denial of information and death threats faced by Mr. Mari Joseph in Hassan District, Karnataka.
According to the information received Information (RTI) activist Mr. R. Mari Joseph has alleged that Hassan Taluk Panchayat Executive Officer threatened to kill him for seeking information about irregularities in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).
He said that the Dalit Vimochana Manava Hakkugala Vedike, under his leadership, had staged a protest on 29, December 2011 (Thursday) demanding inquiry into irregularities in projects under MNREGA in many gram panchayats in Hassan Taluk, Karnataka, India.
On 30th December 2011, some people representing the Melgodu Gram Panchayat staged a counter protest to refute the allegations. The protesters were also there at Hassan Taluk Panchayat Office while the Executive officer Mr. Shive Gowda threatened Mr. Mari Joseph.
As per the information received, the Dalit Vimochane Manavahakkugala Vedike has alleged that a large – scale corruption is made in making payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act schemes in Hassan taluk.
Members of the Vedike staged a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office on 29th December 2011, demanding Lokayukta to inquire into the same. The protesters took out a procession from the Hemavati statue before staging the dharna. Mr. R. Mari Joseph told that machinery was being used to implement works taken up under the scheme and workers were not being paid for purchasing implements. He also claimed that attempts to get records pertaining to implementation of the job guarantee scheme under the Right to Information Act had failed the as the information officer concerned had demanded Rs. 17,000 as a fee to provide copies of the documents. The protesters demanded that the Government increase wages under the scheme to Rs. 300 a day and provide work for at least 300 days a year. They submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner K.G. Jagadeesh. B.P. Jayaram of the DSS and artiste K.T Shivaprasad were among those present. Artist K.T. Shivaprasad, district convener of Dalit Sangharsha Samiti B.P. Jayaram and other leaders at the press conference demanded that the officer be suspended immediately.
On 30th of December 2011 on learning of the protest held the Executive Officer of the Hassan taluk Panchayat Mr.K.Shive Gowda in the presence of members of the public has told, if Mr. Mari Joseph comes to file RTI and seeking information he should be kidnapped in a car and to the forest and have his hands and legs cut and murder him, he has further stated that he would not mind to spend any amount of money (lakhs) for the murder of Mr. Mari Joseph.
After this, Mr. Mari Joseph has filed complaints seeking action and protection for himself with the Superintendent of Police, Hassan District, the Deputy Commissioner, and the Inspector of Police, City Station,Hassan,but till date no action(First Information Report(FIR)) has been filed and no action initiated.
In this context, we urge you to immediately take necessary steps to:
1. Direct immediate intervention of the police administration, necessary legal action for all the perpetrators to be brought to book;
2. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the incident with a view to bring those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
3. Take all necessary measures to guarantee, in all circumsatances, the physical and psychological security and integrity of Mr. R. Mari Joseph in order to carry out their legitimate human rights work peacefully;
4. Conform to the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, especially:
– Its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
– its Article 6(a), which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in associations with others, to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms”;
– and its Article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
5. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by India.
Looking forward to your immediate action in this regard,
Yours sincerely,R.Manohar Head of Programs
RTI activist facing threat to life
An RTI activist who tried to expose corruption in the implementation of schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in Hassan district is allegedly facing a threat to his life from a government official.
However, the police are yet to register the complaint lodged on December 30 by R. Mari Joseph, who is also convener of the Dalit Vimochana Manava Hakkugala Vedike.
Pro-Dalit organisations, in a press conference on December 30, had asked the district administration to take action against the official.
Later, they filed a complaint with the Hassan City police and met Superintendent of Police Amit Singh. The South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring has also taken notice of the incident and lodged a complaint with the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission.
However, Mr. Joseph alleged that the police were refusing to register the complaint.
He claimed that there was large-scale corruption in the implementation of works under MNREGA in the district. He said that through RTI applications, he had found that in Shettihalli Gram Panchayat in Hassan taluk and Magge Gram Panchayat in Alur taluk, MNREGA workers were not paid the extra component of Rs. 3 along with the daily wage of Rs. 125.
The State Advisory Committee (SAC) and Curriculum Committee (CC) of the Human Rights Education (HRE) program in Kerala had its meeting on 12 January 2012 at Pankaj Hotel Thiruvananthapuram. The meeting was chaired by Mr. R.V. Pillai, IAS, Member of SAC. 12 SAC Members, 2 HRE teachers, Dr. Devasahayam, Director-IHRE, Mr. Ashok Mathew Philip, Executive Director-SICHREM, Mr. Rahul, Ms. Jincy, Coordinators of IHRE in Kerala and Mr. Saji Thomas was present for the meeting. Mr. Rahul, Coordinator of HRE-Kerala presented the report of the last reporting period. The meeting resulted with number of suggestions and action plans for carrying forward the advocacy plans of the program. Identifying new implementing partners and SAC members was also one of the important agenda discussed. The Newsletter of HRE Kerala and Handbook on Right to Education was released at the meeting. Dr. N. A. Kareem, Former Pro Vice Chancellor, member of SAC released the Newsletter and handed over the first copy to Dr. Usha John, Principal Loyola College.