Mr. Manohar as Resource Person

July 25, 2012

Mr. Manohar was the resource person for the Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI)’s South Asian School of Human Rights on 5th July 2012

Complaint on Judicial Death of Venkatesh

July 25, 2012
Shri. R.H.Raddi
Honorable Member 
Karnataka State Human Rights Commission
4th Floor, 5th Phase, M.S.Building,
Bangalore- 560001                                           
Dear Sir,

Subject: Complaint of judicial death of Venkatesh, 45years at Sakleshpura Jail in Hassan District.

The Kannada Daily, Kannada Prabha among other papers dated 20th July 2012, report in their columns regarding the suspicious death of Venkatesh aged 45year old resident of Chowalli Village of Sakleshpura taluk while in judicial custody in Sakleshpura jail .He was arrested for the offence of murder.  On Friday morning when the jail inmates were let out for breakfast it was found that he had committed suicide using a bed sheet in the toilet.

The jailor, Mr. Nazir Ahmed has informed the family members in the morning that Venkatesh was admitted to the hospital for having chest pain and when they rushed to the hospital they were being told that it was suicide. The family members have urged for proper investigation into the death of Venkatesh

We file this complaint for a detailed enquiry into the whole matter, to look into the circumstances involving the death of Mr. Venkatesh since, the reasons mentioned by the jail authorities needs to be questioned and probed especially to inquire;

  1. To look into the exact causes of the death,
  2. To look into the records of the jail hospital and Crawford hospital for the timings and matching it with the time of informing the family and the time when he was brought to the hospital among others.
  3. To  inquire further if the procedures and guidelines laid down by the NHRC in its letter No.66/SG/NHRC/93 dated 14 December 1993 on reporting custodial deaths and also with reference to the letter vide No 40/3/95/LD dated 21 June 1995 has been adhered &d followed ?
  4. To inquire, if the guidelines laid by the NHRC, as per the letter addressed by the Chairperson to the Chief ministers vide letter dated 10th August, 1995 on the video filming of post-mortem examinations in cases of custodial deaths has been followed?
  5. To also inquire, if the guidelines laid down by the NHRC, as per the letter addressed by the Chairperson to the Chief Ministers vide letter No.NHRC/ID/PM/96/57 dated 27th March 1997.

Thanking you,

Yours Truly,

Head – Programs 

Justice Sadashiva on SICHREM in a forward for its study report

July 20, 2012

Sewage-children remark: Plaint reaches chief justice

July 19, 2012

A city NGO has complained to the chief justice of Karnataka high court about the remark of a school association president who compared children of poor families to sewage water.

GS Sharma, president of Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA), had made the comment while talking about children who get admission to schools under the provision of Right to Education Act, which mandates that 25% seats be reserved for children from economically weak families.
Media had quoted him as saying: “The moment sewage mixes into the sea, the whole sea becomes sewage… The practice in private and government schools is different. If poor children join these schools, parents from the upper class will come and take the transfer certificate (of their wards).”

Taking offence to the statement, South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (Sichrem) on Tuesday filed a complaint with the chief justice and gave a copy of the complaint to chief minister, Karnataka State Human Rights Commission, education department.
The complaint letter states that it is this type of discriminatory mindset that contaminates the schools and the students. It is evident that students from upper class families were being fed with these discriminatory thoughts. Education is a constitutional right and any debate over the validity of this right is pointless.
Further, the complaint points at KUSMA’s call for strike, in response of which about 60 schools were closed since Monday.

The complaint states that the association has gone on strike over some issues regarding the RTE and this demonstrates that it is against providing good education to children from poor families. The protest is not only a constitutional issue, but also points at an inherently bad mindset. Students from poor families who have taken admission in good schools under the RTE are facing discrimination.

Source: DNA; Dated: July 19, 2012

RTE students face discrimination

July 18, 2012

Students admitted to schools under the 25 per cent quota as per the Right to Education Act, are subjected to harassment and humiliation, Dalita Samrajya Sthapana Samiti, a City-based organisation, has alleged.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, Samithi state president D Narayan alleged that some schools were discriminating against the students admitted under the RTE quota.
“Ten children are enrolled under RTE in a Nandini Layout school and strands of their hair have been chopped off to identify them as students under the quota,” Narayan said. This apart, these students are made to sit on the last bench in the classroom, allowed into the school only after everyone else has entered, and their homework and classwork books are all empty since no care is taken to check the books of these children, he said.
“A first standard child asked me, what studying ‘for free’ meant,” said Narayan speaking to Deccan Herald.
He said students were chided at the school for availing free education and were not given any sports equipment. Their names were not included in the attendance register and their lunch baskets were kept separate.
They were not allowed to eat with other children in the school. “They are discriminated in every possible manner,” alleged Narayan. The name of the school has been withheld as the school authorities could not be contacted for clarification.
Narayan alleged that some other schools were also indulging in discrimination. The Samithi has enrolled 500 students under the RTE in various schools and has been tracking the progress of the children’s education, Narayan said.
The Samithi had complained to the officials concerned and when no response was forthcoming from them, the Samithi volunteers went to the schools to stage a protest.
“They had promised us that they would attend to the problems, but on Friday last we came to know that the school had cut the children’s hair,” Narayan said.

Source: Deccan Herald; Dated: 18th July 2012

National Consultation on ‘Testimonial campaign contribute to eliminate impunity for perpetrators of torture in India’

July 18, 2012

Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) and National Alliance on Testimonial Therapy (NATT) in collaboration of Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT) and European Union project is holding a two days national consultation i.e. 12th – 13th July, 2012 in New Delhi on “Testimonial campaign contribute to eliminate impunity for perpetrators of torture in India”.  12th & 13th July, 2012 at New Delhi.

Mr. Mathews Philip, Executive Director of SICHREM as one of the key speaker at the inaugural of the program said, “Probably the most important and effective step to combat this evil would be to increase transparency within the system where records, police stations and detention centres are open to scrutiny by members of the media, non-governmental organizations and other watch organizations. There must be a clear chain of command in the ranks of the police and each official must know that they would be held personally responsible for the treatment of the detainees under their supervision. Preventing any forms of incommunicado detention and improving detaining conditions must also be carried out. Female officers must be present when women are detained. Awareness programmes must be carried out to make known to officials that any form of torture or ill-treatment would not be tolerated and that matters relating to these would be strictly investigated. Legislation must be strengthened allowing for effective adjudicating and investigating bodies to look into matters of alleged torture and the punishments reserved for convicted individuals should be made stricter.”

SICHREM is in the core team of the National Alliance on Testimonial Therapy (NATT)

Pre-Matric Scholarships go e-way

July 16, 2012

SHRC may be rudderless soon

July 13, 2012

Bringing back drop-out children to school

July 5, 2012

Ms. Chithra, Block Monitor of the Social Audit exercise at Pulikeshinnagar along with the Ward Facilitators participated and addressed the gathering about Right to Education in the program “Shaalegagi Naavu Neevu”, an initiative of the Education Department to create awareness about Right to Education and to check drop-out rates in government schools.

Shocking report

July 5, 2012
A report prepared by the Working Group for Human Rights India and the UN, a forum of the main human rights groups in India, to assist in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of India at the UN in Geneva, should cause special concern to even those who are inured to the reality of human rights violations in the country.

The picture of police atrocities and highhandedness that the report presents is shocking. According to it, a two-year survey in the country revealed that 1.8 million people became victims of police torture and violence every year. The National Human Rights Commission has said that on the average 43 deaths have occurred in police or prison custody every day during the period 2001-2010. The report adds that these figures represent only the tip of the iceberg because they are based only on the cases that are reported to the NHRC. The reality may be  much more dreadful.

The threat posed by police excesses to the rule of law, which the police is actually meant to protect, is real and strong.  It is unfortunate that there is a general indifference among the people to cases of atrocities.

The case of Soni Suri, a school teacher in Chhattisgarh, who was inhumanly tortured and humiliated for alleged connections with the Maoists, is now forgotten. For every case that is known there are hundreds of others, involving common people who cannot complain, that go unnoticed. People lose their sensitivity also when they are exposed to a daily fare of atrocities and accept with resignation that it is the norm. Only more cruel forms of atrocity will then attract attention, that aren’t rare either.

India has not ratified the UN Convention Against Torture and does not have a domestic law against torture. But the law is only one part of  the remedy needed to cure the system of its propensity to resort to violence and torture as the common tool of interaction with the people. The police organisation and methods of investigation should be modernised and the basic attitude of the police to the people should change. This is not easy. A number of reports to reform the police have not been acted upon. In the meanwhile, the minimum that can be done is to investigate cases that come to public attention and punish the guilty.

Source: Deccan Herald, Article dated: July 3, 2012