Press Statement – PUCL Bangalore | Violence in Kashmir

August 11, 2016 by · Comments Off on Press Statement – PUCL Bangalore | Violence in Kashmir
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases, Uncategorized 

Dated: August 5, 2016

Press Statement of People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Bangalore Chapter

Violence in Kashmir

Since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani on 8 July 8 2016 by Indian armed forces, the Kashmir Valley has entered another and heightened phase of a war-like conflict. The people of Kashmir who wanted to grieve the loss of someone they held in high regard were barred from doing so by the Indian state, which mobilised its forces in the Valley and rushed reinforcements from India. In the ensuing days the response of the Indian state has stoked a major escalation of many decades long struggle for self-determination in Kashmir.
Indian authorities and the forces they have unleashed in Kashmir have persisted in quashing resistance mounted by unarmed civilians there who have been hurling stones and raising slogans, seeing them as fronts of terrorist organisations, passing them off as youth who have been waylaid by Islamist and Pakistani propaganda. The Kashmiri people’s unarmed struggle is being met with by bullets and pellets both of which have proven to be lethal.
The Indian State which in 1990 extended to Kashmir the infamous Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – originally meant to subjugate the peoples of Assam and Manipur and smother their thwarted aspirations for self-determination – of 1958 has lain siege to Kashmir by creating roadblocks that have even prevented the injured from reaching hospitals, launching inhuman attacks on health infrastructure and ambulances. Casualties including deaths have resulted from such dastardly action. Communication links are being sundered, with mobile internet and SMS being targeted first and then shutting down all phone services except that of state-owned BSNL. In eight days, 42 (need to UPDATE in final version) civilians have been killed and thousands injured by the dangerous pellet guns which launch up to 400-500 small ball bearings at a time.
Over the past few days, the Indian media has been reducing its reporting on Kashmir. On 16th July, the offices of several newspapers in Kashmir, such as Greater Kashmir, Kashmir Times, Rising Kashmir, Kashmir Reader and Kashmir Observer were attacked and copies of the newspaper seized. Not only is the volatile situation being reported most inadequately and partially with selective and biased approaches, but there is also an excessive focus on the Islamic nature of the conflict. This has led to polarisation at different levels:
Within the Valley between Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits and in India through the projection of the Kashmir issue as one that is entirely Islamic and therefore in opposition to the increasingly Hindu India that has emerged.
Unfortunately, what the Indian media is wilfully myopic about is how the situation and issues on the ground in Kashmir – as they depict them – have moved from one of self-determination to a struggle of one community’s claim over a region versus another’s. In fact, if there has been increased Islamic radicalisation in the Valley, then it has also been so as a response to the onslaught of Hindu right-wing forces in the region. This has been done sometimes with tacit support of the State as in the recent attempts of the RSS to spread Ekal Vidyalayas in the Valley, presence of Hindu temples in army cantonments and others. Or by consciously facilitating the ingress of large numbers of Hindus into Kashmir by promoting State-sponsored Yatras such as the Amarnath Yatra, Buddha Amarnath Yatra and the pilgrimage to Kauser Nag. The most recent cases of such under-the-radar initiatives are the pilgrimage to Abhinav Gupta’s cave and the Maha Kumbh, Saidipora at Ganderbal.
In other words, the Kashmiri Pandit issue is also part of the Hindutva supremacist machinery’s larger project to lay claim to the lands of Kashmir, while trying to wipe out its people at the same time. Even in the current situation, it has been reported that some Kashmiri Pandit families have left their villages and moved to Jammu fearing that they would be attacked. However, there have been no reports of actual attacks or even of attempts being made to harm Kashmiri Pandits. On the contrary, there have been many reports in even the Indian media of how yatris to Amarnath have been saved after they met with serious accidents by Kashmiris who defied the curfew.
To be sure, Kashmir has long been home to Kashmiri Muslims as well Pandits and they have shared public spaces. Kashmiri Pandits have maintained their identity as Kashmiris, rather than as Hindus. The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s has to be studied and articulated more objectively than is being done in popular media right now. For example while there might have been episodes of violence against Kashmiri Pandits, it is also true that investigations into some of the reports of attacks of them have not been able to prove the role of Kashmiris or separatists. For instance, in the Nadimarg massacre of 2003, when 24 Kashmiri Pandits were killed, it is believed that the renegades (fringe groups of the armed forces) were the ones who carried out the killings. The Indian state has played to the saffron gallery even on this issue.
Even in the current interregnum, Kashmiri Muslims have been welcoming the return of Kashmiri Pandits. However, even here, the attitude of the State to politicise this issue by trying to settle them in separate colonies on the lines of similar attempts by Israeli authorities in Gaza and Jerusalem is objectionable and reeks of keeping the communities separated. The Indian state has also effectively victimised Kashmiri Pandits who chose not to leave the valley by reserving government jobs and college or university seats for only those Kashmiri Pandits who left the valley.
A response to these developments has of course been the rise of Islamisation and Islamic fundamentalism in the Valley with active support from Pakistan. India and Pakistan have played their religious games to communalise what was once a struggle for self-determination and independence.
India’s armed forces started occupying territories in Kashmir as far back as in 1947, but there has been a steady rise in their numbers and saturation presence was gained in 1990s thanks to the dastardly extension of the AFSPA, originally meant to subjugate the peoples to the northeast of India, to Kashmir in 1990. Needless to say, the boots on the ground, armoury and the impunity afforded by AFSPA led to breaking much of the backs of Kashmiri resistance against Indian occupation. Although the heightened phase of the conflict started to subside from the early part of the last decade, the Indian State has continued to post large numbers of its armed forces in Kashmir. These forces have used intimidation, threat, murder and rape as tools to terrorise the Kashmiris. Such stationing of the Indian armed forces in Kashmir on so large a scale is unjustified and is a clear manifestation of occupation. If the Indian state claims that it has not occupied Kashmir and is only there to protect the citizens of the valley then that is unvarnished nationalist propaganda. The resistance that has erupted time and again, violations of the Indian armed forces and excesses meted out to the Kashmiris are all manifestation of this highly disturbing trend.
Now, the AFSPA, as has already been stated above, is itself entirely abusive of human rights not only in the northeast of the subcontinent where it was meant to have been used for a short period of time while quelling peoples asserting their right to self-determination but is entirely criminal in the way it is being implemented in Kashmir over the aspirations and wishes of the people in the valley. The Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy Committee report, the Justice Santosh Hegde Commission which enquired into the way AFSPA was being enforced on the people of Manipur – neither report published by the Indian authorities in both the Congress and BJP-led dispensations to their continuing shame – as well as the Justice J.S. Verma Committee Report formed following the infamous December 16, 2012 gangrape in New Delhi and consisting of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Verma, former Delhi High Court judge, Just Leila Seth and former Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramaniam.
As is becoming abundantly clear over the past several days, the attitude of the Indian state is quite clearly to quash dissent in Kashmir by terming it terrorism. In fact, any dissent in not only Kashmir but even in many parts of India is seen by Indian authorities as acts of and/or supportive of terrorism. There is absolutely no free speech in Kashmir as the complete gagging of the media there has shown – an eloquent manifestation of occupation, by a cowardly colonial dispensation, pure and simple.
Finally, it is worth recalling that a Kashmiri Afzal Guru, was killed by the Indian state in secret in Tihar Jail on 9 February 2013 – his alleged complicity in the attack on the Indian parliament of 2001 never established and his death ordered by the Supreme Court of India in order to satiate the “conscience of the society” and Kashmiri freedom-fighter Muqbool Butt was nearly three decades earlier killed in Tihar jail on 11 February 1984.
And now, Burhan Wani and many such other instances exist as examples of this striking down of dissent.
There can be no democratic process with the presence of large numbers of Indian armed forces in Kashmir. Therefore, de-militarisation needs to be immediately initiated. Our specific demands are:
1. Demilitarise the Kashmir Valley, withdraw AFPSA and Public Securities Act and a host of other draconian Acts enacted in Kashmir like Enemy Agents Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, National Security Act and others. The perpetrators of the armed forces for the massive violence and human rights violations they have committed should be tried in impartial civil courts.
2. Kashmir has been in the throes of an exceedingly long standing state of a war of occupation. For the past several decades, curfews have been imposed by the Indian state disrupting normal life. Movement in the Valley is restricted with Kashmiris being randomly stopped, frisked and are made to display their identity cards. News and media bans – print, electronic and social media, bans on peaceful protests and demonstrations are some the ways extreme control and stifling of free speech are a norm. Structures of impunity in the form of armed forces bunkers and mobile vans and occupation of several structures and public spaces by the armed forces are visible all over Valley. Right of Association has also been taken away from Kashmiris – example, forming of students union has been banned in Kashmir University Campus life in Kashmir is also under constant surveillance where student unions, especially the Kashmir University Students Unions has been banned. The University also has its own IB cell which keep a track of students’ activities on social media and rights to hold different opinions is denied. Means of communication like mobile, internet and telephone, a central part of life today, especially with gagging of mainstream media, have been taken away at the mere possibility of resistance by the people of Kashmir.
In the light of this situation, where any form of civilian life and been coloured with hues of green, it is necessary that it be instated.. A road map to civilian life needs to be put in place, allowing for the people of Kashmir to reclaim their spaces which had been earlier taken over by too many organs of the Indian state, especially in the form of the occupying armed forces. This would amount to an important element of withdrawal of the Indian state from the Valley.
3. Justice is not just in terms of trying perpetrators of offences of rape or encounter, but also enforced disappearance, which should be declared an offence. India should sign UN’s International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Mass Graves should be investigated as done by forensics groups such as the Argentinian Forensic groups. This would be another way of acknowledging to Kashmiris the gruesomeness meted out to them.
4. The Indian state has continuously undermined the right of self-determination in Kashmir since the late 1940s. The voices of the common Kashmiri people have been drowned out thanks to the – from the Kashmiri peoples’ perspective – the ugly charade of an inter-state dispute between India and Pakistan with little regard to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. The universal will of the Kashmiri people has to be heard and acted upon. India needs to initiate a process for a referendum.

Permanent Suspects

October 9, 2015 by · Comments Off on Permanent Suspects
Filed under: Human Rights, Report, Uncategorized 

A fact finding report into the arrest of Muslim Youth in Bangalore.

Published in 2013.

Full report available for download @ : http://puclkarnataka.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Terrorism-and-Muslim-Youth.pdf

35th JP Memorial Lecture by Gopalkrishna Gandhi

June 24, 2015 by · Comments Off on 35th JP Memorial Lecture by Gopalkrishna Gandhi
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35th JP Memorial Lecture by Gopalkrishna Gandhi, March 23 2015
For a full transcript Click Here

Press Release – Custodial Death of Mubarak Pasha

September 4, 2014 by · Comments Off on Press Release – Custodial Death of Mubarak Pasha
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases, Uncategorized 

People’s Union for Civil Liberties strongly condemns the custodial death of Mubarak Pasha under mysterious circumstances in Central Prison in Bangalore, as reported in the media on 1 Sept 2014. The shameful incident reflects poorly on the entire police and security force of Bangalore – the appointed custodians for citizens’ safety with responsibility to ensure constitutionally mandated right to life and liberty of all.

PUCL demands an immediate and rigorous inquiry into the incident following the guidelines provided by National Human Rights Commission.

 

Governance By Denial – Interim Fact Finding report on Ejipura

March 17, 2013 by · Comments Off on Governance By Denial – Interim Fact Finding report on Ejipura
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases, Report, Uncategorized, Urban Poverty 

Download full Interim report

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), responsible for providing infrastructure and services in the Greater Bangalore Metropolitan area, bulldozed 1,512 homes (comprised of 42 blocks), and evicted over 5,000 slum dwellers living in tin sheds in the economically weaker section (EWS) quarters in Koramangala (near Ejipura), Bangalore, from 18-21 January, 2013. The four-day demolition drive a^ected around 1,200 women and 2,000 children, and rendered thousands homeless. It was the largest eviction the city of Bangalore has witnessed in recent years.

Given reports of alleged violations of the human rights of the residents of Koramangala (Ejipura), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL – Karnataka) and Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN – Delhi) decided to undertake a two-day fact-finding visit (21–22 February 2013) to investigate the incidence of forced eviction in Koramangala (Ejipura) and its aftermath. The aim of the mission was to:
a) Ascertain if any human rights violations occurred before, during and after the eviction, particularly of women and children;

b) Understand the socio-political economy of Bangalore’s urbanisation process and development; and,

c) Assess the response of the state and civil society.

Read the full interim –>  Governance By Denial

|Press Release|Protest and Vigil to Support People’s Struggle Against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plan

April 9, 2012 by · Comments Off on |Press Release|Protest and Vigil to Support People’s Struggle Against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plan
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PUCL-Bangalore, with many other organisations, came together in front of Town Hall today to protest against the vicious police crackdown on the protesters opposed to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, in Tamil Nadu. So far 185 protesters, and 11 prominent activists from the region have been arrested, following the CM’s announcement to allow operation at KKNPP. People Movement Against Nuclear Energy convener Dr. SP Udaykumar and a senior activist Pushparayan are on an indefinite fast, together with twenty thousand others from the struggle against the nuclear plant.

PUCL with other Civil and Human rights organisations and many concerned citizens, are strongly opposed to the repressive tactics used by the Tamil Nadu state. We further condemn the move to subordinate a strongly democratic people’s opposition movement with false arrests and war-like tactics of switching off water and power connections to the village of Idinthakarai. We also strongly oppose the move by the State to give a green signal to KKNPP project when so many technical issues related to safety concerns still remain unanswered by the government and when the project has been demonstrated to be unnecessary, unsafe, expensive and undemocratic. We stand in solidarity with the people’s struggle against KKNPP and demand the release of all arrested people and to scrap the project immediately – its still not too late!

Dissent is an essential component of democracy, and this heavy-handed draconian approach by the state is not acceptable in a pluralistic society.

Press Release: FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR DISASTER: LESSONS FOR INDIA

April 9, 2012 by · Comments Off on Press Release: FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR DISASTER: LESSONS FOR INDIA
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On March 11, exactly one year ago, a huge nuclear disaster in human history occurred at Fukushima , such that three nuclear reactors in the Fukushima Daichii plant experienced a nuclear core meltdown. The associated series of hydrogen explosions in the plant released more than twenty times the radioactive radiation of the Hiroshima bomb, causing contamination of air, water, soil, all living and non-living matter. The real cost to human health and life are expected to show up in a few years.

While several western countries, including Japan, have responded to public pressure and plan to halt or phase out their nuclear programs, the Indian government’s response has been to insist that the technology is ‘fully safe’ and to continue with its massive nuclear expansion.

In observing the Fukushima anniversary, PUCL and partners express solidarity with the victims of the nuclear disaster and hope to reach out to fellow citizens to address critically the necessity of India’s nuclear program. The speakers invited to seminar spoke on a variety of issues related to resolving people’s growing nuclear trust-deficit with India’s projected growing need in the energy and power sectors.

Nagesh Hedge emphasized the hazardous nature of the entire nuclear cycle from uranium mining, processing and disposal of the nuclear waste. His arguments hit home when he spoke of the issues of uranium mining coming up at Gogi in Yadgir, on the Bhima river basin; the limited ore supply, if extracted, will destroy the environment, water systems, and cause extensive human damage, while providing for about 7 months of fuel for India’s projected future nuclear program. He spoke also of the large scale and growing public opposition to this project, and also to the proposed building units 5 and 6 at Kaiga.

Shankar Sharma, a power policy analyst, spoke on the need for conservation efforts, limiting transmission losses and the enormous potential of renewable energy initiatives. In states like Tamil Nadu, conversion from incandescent to CFL bulbs can save about 500 MW – which would be the State’s expected share from the Koodankulam nuclear plant, after accounting for losses! Transmission losses in our country are 24% compared to about 5% in developed nations. India’s current nuclear capability is only 2.4% of our total power budget – thus a saving in transmission losses is tantamount to producing, immediately, ten times more power than what we get from our nuclear sector – without any risk.

YB Ramakrishna, noted that renewables and alternatives were not only available, but can provide for India’s burgeoning energy needs using a variety of sources including, solar, bio-fuels, hydro etc. He also gave inspiring examples of successful implementation of distributed renewable energy schemes, including biomass.

VT Padmanabhan spoke of several grave and technical concerns associated with the Koodankulam Nuclear plant, such as the seismic instability of the region, and the dependence of KNPP’s fresh water supply for cooling from a desalination plant. None of these safety concerns were satisfactorily addressed by the expert panel appointed by the central govt.

Prof. Atul Chokshi, IISc, presented calculations showing that for India to meet its long-term projected nuclear aspirations would require a nuclear reactor every eleven kilometers along nation’s shoreline. Equivalent energy was possible from a distributed roof-top solar panel system over all households providing distributed, equitable power for our population – without transmission losses or risks!

The Fukushima anniversary provided a poignant reminder of the potential dangers of catastrophic nuclear accidents. The seminar demonstrated several potential strategies to provide for India’s energy needs, so that there are several viable alternatives to nuclear power

Indian State and the Art of Fabricating False Cases Convention on July 30, 2011 in Bangalore.

July 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Two spectres are haunting the civil society in India – the spectres of communalism and globalisation.As a part this invasion on people, minorities are attacked as it happened in Gujarat or Kandhamal and many other places in the recent past. Multinationals, the World Bank, ADB, IMF and other international organisations decide on the policies of the Indian Government today. Land, forests, hills, lakes, rivers and seas are sold to the corporates. Prices are rising and the corruption level has reached the peak as never before, due to such policies.

While many groups and people’s movements are resisting both these tendencies, the Indian State is using its executive machinery in a brutal way to suppress the dissent. Many innocent people are criminalised, branded and made to suffer for long time. Dr. Binayak Sen is the most well known personality in this category of fabricated cases by the Indian State. Due to active resistance of many groups and concerned individuals all over the country and abroad, he is not only out of jail today, but also absorbed by the Planning Commission. However, there are hundreds of similar such fabricated cases in Chattisgarh itself. Many innocent adivasis are languishing behind the bars in Chattisgarh. While POTA seems to be no more, many innocent muslims are still in jail in Gujarat for no crime. The lesson from Kandhamal is also no different.
Moreover, the growing tendency of the Indian state is to frame false cases on those who are organising and leading peopole’s movements in this country. Many false cases are framed on those who are resisting POSCO. Similar false cases are framed on activists who respond on a number of other issues. When evidences are missing for their guilt, efforts are being made to create false evidences. The real issue is that when they are released without evidences, a part of their lives would already be over. The mainstream press, predominantly follow the version of the police, politicians and the bureaucracy in all these cases. When genuine investigative reports are being made by some journalists, attempts are being made to criminalise them also.

It is time that the civil society in this country wakes up against this process and say `No’ to the process of fabricating cases by the Indian State. For unless, we say `No’ to this process, the vested interests will silence all dissent in this country, threatening the very pillars of Indian democracy.
Therefore, over 20 organisations in Bangalore have come forward to organise a one-day Convention on the `Indian State and the Art of Fabricating False Cases’. We request you to participate, support, mobilise and contribute to this process.

Venue: NGO Hall, Cubbon Park, BangaloreDate: July 30, 2011Time: 9.30 am to 6.30 pm
Programme:

9.30 am – Inauguration

First session: False charges on people’s movements: Globalisation, Development and People’s Movements
Chairperson: Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group
Speakers:
Prafulla Samantarai (Well known activist/intellectual from Orissa)
Prashant Paikray (Official Spokesperson, Anti-Posco Movement, Orissa)
Swami Vishua Bhadrananda Shakti Bhodi (Director, Alathoor Siddha Ashramam/Editor, Ethir Disha Magazine)

Second session: Communalism and Branding
Chairperson: Gauri Lankesh, Editor, Lankesh Patrike
Speakers:
K.L. Ashok (State Secretary, Karnataka, Communal Harmony Forum, A coalition of over 90 organisations
Teesta Setalvad (Well known anti-communal activist, writer and editor of Communalism Combat)
Fr. Ajay Singh (The main initiative from Kandhamal for raising the Kandamal communal issue at a national level)
Dr. K. Muhamed Najeeb (Solidarity Youth Movement)

Lunch Break: 1. 15 pm to 2 pm

Third Session: 2 pm War on Terror or War on People?
Speakers:
Sebastian Paul (Former Member of Parliament)
U.S. Kumar (Mangalore Human Rights Forum)
Sherif Kottapurath (Former CTO of Sun Microsystems)
Bhasurendrababu (Media Critic/Political Observer)

Fourth Session: Approaches of the Indian State, Media and Civil Society Responses:

Speakers:
S.A.R. Gilani (Professor, Delhi University)
Kavita Srivastava (General Secretary, PUCL)
Satya Sagar (Journalist/Activist)

Organised By:
Environment Support Group, PDF, PUCL, Pedestrian Pictures, SICHREM, Karnataka Vidhyarthi Sangha, Samanatha Mahila Vedike, Janasakti, Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike, Indian Social Institute, Students Christian Movement, New Socialist Alternative, Department of Women’s Studies – UTC, Concern, Moving Republic, Stree Jagruti Samiti,Solidarity Youth Movement, Visual Search, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Ambedkar Pilosophy Foundation, Swabhimani Dalit Sangha, INSAF, Human Rights Law Network and Open Space.

[Press Statement] Visit by PUCL-Bangalore to POSCO Affected Areas in Odisha 22-24 July, 2011

July 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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A five member team of PUCL Bangalore visited the POSCO project villages of Govindpur, Dhinkia and Patana in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha between July 22-24, 2011on a solidarity visit with people’s struggle against the POSCO project and to probe large-scale forced acquisition of lands by the State for the proposed POSCO steel plant in the region. The team found a truly strong and democratic people’s movement convinced of their legitimate rights and firmly resolved not to give up their lands or livelihoods for the benefit of either a foreign company or an arguably larger common good for the people of the State. The movement is continuing to gain momentum as villagers from different hamlets take turns to safeguard their lands from attempts to destroy their betel plantations. Most people we spoke to were determined not to give up their lands, even at the cost of their lives.

Participation of people’s organizations from all over the country is adding strength to the local resolve even as the movement is facing increasing threats from the state which is moving into the area by a massive clearance of surrounding forest lands. The large majority of these villages are not ready to leave the forest lands on which they have been cultivating betel vines and cashew for centuries because it will destroy their livelihoods and consequently their very existence.

On July 24th we found five vans and four jeeps filled with armed police stationed in Gadakujang near Mahaveer Chowk purportedly for maintaining the law and order situation in the area. The DySP, Jagatsinghpur and Tahsildar Kailash Chandra of Tirutwar refused to divulge any further information. We observed large scale tree clearance under strong and armed paramilitary supervision. In later conversations with the DC and the SP, we gathered that the police presence was to facilitate the clearance of forest land by IDCO. We were also informed by the DC that it was not necessary for the district administration to either consult or obtain authorization from the village panchayats since they were acting under the mandate given to the police by the constitution. The SP also maintained that the police would continue assisting the tree clearance operation till all the POSCO lands were cleared. In other words, this clearing operation was being conducted in complete disregard of the wishes of the local communities.

The team also visited the transit camp set up by POSCO where the so-called pro-POSCO families from Dhinkia and Patana are housed. They all seemed to suggest that POSCO will bring complete ruin to these villages in spite of their being labeled as ‘Pro-POSCO’. We spoke to Praful Mohanti, the spokesperson for the community in the transit camp. We found the displaced people are living under inhuman conditions. They have suffered for the last four years in overcrowded, unhygienic living conditions with only Rs20 per person per day for sustaining life. They said that their children are unable to attend school and no medical facilities are available to them. Most people there were unemployed and showed a keen interest in returning to their homes and previous lifestyles. We feel that people in this transit camp are victims of the same State-Corporate nexus that is breaking up of communities in this area, and leading to loss of homes, lands, and livelihoods.

PUCL strongly condemns the State of Odisha for its policies that serve the financial interests of corporations. Such policies deliberately harm people’s interests and their fundamental right to pursue lives of liberty and dignity. PUCL condemns the use of armed police for promoting corporate interests in complete disregard of the democratically voiced wishes and interests and legitimate rights of the people of the area. We demand an immediate withdrawal of all armed personnel and a halt to all human rights violations in the area. We call for an immediate halt to the cutting down of thousands of trees which are vital to the local ecology and the economic independence of the people of this region. PUCL also demands that the Odisha government to listen to the democratic voices of the villagers and hence uphold the democratic values of this nation.

.

PUCL Karnataka Statement of Somashekar Commission

8th February 2011

PRESS RELEASE

B.K. Somashekar Report

We are greatly disappointed with the final report released by Justice B.K.Somashekar commission Enquiring the attack on churches.

While the interim report clearly held responsible some hindu fundamentalist organisations, Police, state administration and the Govt. The final report appears to have absolved the govt and the Police.

An attempt appears to have been made to ignore the role of hindu fundamentalist organisations and state in the final report. a There appears to be a clear cut understanding between the Commission and the Govt to patch up the damage done by the interim report.

The final report very clearly failed to uphold and protect the Constitutional rights of minorities and appears to have gone beyond its limits in saying that there should be law to ban conversions.

Since Independence, every time the Govts have appointed a Judicial Commission they have invariably failed to do justice to their job and even while  Justice was done those reports have either not seen the light of day or never implemented by the Govt. In the process the question of appointing judicial commissions has become an futile exercise.

The Commission seems to have imagined certain things in spite of overwhelming evidence recorded by the media and presented before the Commission when it says that some attacks/ injuries were self inflicted.

In short the Commission has contradicted itself and brought out a hotch potch report with a clear intention of protecting the Govt, its administration and the fundamentalist organizations from getting banned from the state.

In view of this, we request the Govt to institute a CBI inquiry as the report has failed to pin point the culprits  and in fact created an irreparable communal divide which may permanently damage the secular fabric of India.

For People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka

P.B. Dsa
President

Dr V. Lakshminarayana
General Secretary

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