State Terrorism – Tyranny

Justice Saldhana at the request of PUCL Karnataka and Transparency International led a People’s Trinunal into attacks on churches in Karnataka.

The full report has now been released and can be read here.

Report on the Exodus of Madigas from Budihalli

March 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Report 

The Budihalli Fact Finding Report

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

PUCL-IIMB ~ Annual Inter Collegiate Debate

PUCL – IIMB Debating Society Annual
Inter-Collegiate Debate
On Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Feb 5th 2011, 11am-2pm, IIM Bangalore

Debates and discussions are tools for people’s participation on wide range of issues in democratic societies and play an important part in the search for solutions to longstanding problems. Many of the recent social, economic and political upheavals and events in our country indicate a great need for engaging with public opinion that might form a key input in a vibrant democracy.

Our hope to energise democratic processes lies in laying sound foundation of public enquiry and exploration, especially by our youth, on key topics and issues, based on current events. To this end, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and the Debating Society of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, are organizing an Inter-Collegiate debate on the 5th of February 2011 at the IIMB campus. This is a new initiative, planned as an annual debate on contemporary issues of national importance primarily with a focus on civil liberties and human rights.

The topic for this year’s debate is “Ayodhya Verdict: A Case of Secular Balance?” The objective is to engage with our youth and explore this very important issue which has had a huge impact on our society and polity in the past, and is likely to be a critical question defining the idea of India in the foreseeable future. This will be a platform to examine this issue from multiple perspectives and understand what our youth think of this and what solutions they have to offer in light of the recent verdict by Allahabad High Court.

The debate is a team event comprising of two members in each team and a maximum of 3 teams from each college. A good number of teams from colleges across the city are planned to participate in the debate. There are going to be 3 rounds of debating to decide on the winner.

|Press Note| Response to Somashekhar Commission Findings

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Bangalore, wish to express their deepest disappointment with the principal findings of the Somashekhar Commission Report released recently, which absolves the state government and all the major right wing hindutva political parties and groups of all responsibility in the communal attacks on churches in Karnataka in 2008. The report oversteps the boundaries of its authority when it justifies the attacks on churches as caused by hurt sentiments of members of the majority religious community, due to the alleged practice of religious conversions. The red herring of conversions is thus used to justify the attacks, even though the Indian constitution explicitly upholds the right to profess and convert others to your faith. The report instead rationalizes and condones criminal behavior of fundamentalist intolerance and communal violence. The recent responsible expunging by Supreme Court (Jan 26, 2011) of two of its statements related to religious conversions serves as an important reminder on the ‘freedom of faith’ for all citizens.

The report does not deal with the climate of increasing intolerance towards minority religious groups in society ignored by the State. It is reprehensible that the commission seeking judicial enquiry into church attacks seeks instead regulation mechanisms to restrain faith conversions, far out side its purview. Similarly finding instances of police action against Christian protestors as ‘justified’ and the ‘lack of evidence’ of ‘any other force’ behind excessive use of police force cannot be acceptable as impartial. The implicit agenda of the Commission thus appears to be to protect the collusive role of the state government, especially the police, even while seemingly condemning specific officials.

Judicial reports have the potential for providing the necessary checks and restraints on elements that threaten the fabric of a tolerant and free society. Independence, integrity and impartiality of judicial reports, with a strict demand for responsibility, and punishment, are vital to preserve the sanctity of law and justice, especially in situations where the majority religious community’s action jeopardizes the constitutional guarantees for all Indian citizens.

– PUCL Bangalore

|Statement| Communal Mob Attack in Bangalore

People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Bangalore, strongly condemns the brutal and organised mob attack on Brother Phillip Noronha by members of Jaya Karnataka Vedike, in presence and with support of inspector BN Gopalakrishna, inspector of Whitefield Police Station. Brother Phillip was kidnapped in a van, beaten up and roughed up by these vigilante elements and finally taken to his school where media were present and recorded the lawless actions. The Inspector also assaulted the brother in the presence of TV and media people, without any apparent provocation. This grave assault on Br. Philip mirrors the worsening climate of intolerance within the state, in particular the undeclared police sanction and cooperation for such hooliganism. The grave, unjust and serious physical violence of this recent episode is a matter of utter shame and disgrace to the current State administration and our Police Force.

The modus operandi of the attack itself recalls the way communal forces have engaged in moral policing in Dakshina Kannada district often with the cooperation of the police. It is in this context that the attack on Brother Phillp assumes a serious dimension when the attackers seem to have the backing of the media as well as the police going by the fact that the attack was played out in front of the media and in the presence of the police.

The quality of individual rights available to all citizens of this country depend upon the integrity and impartiality of the police force, and severe acts of omission and commission of this kind in curtailing and controlling vigilante violence reflects very poorly on the role of the police in ensuring respect for the law of the land.

PUCL demands immediate investigation into the beating of Brother Phillip Noronha, particularly into the role of police, who participated in this heinous attack either overtly or covertly. We further demand that all perpetrators of this attack be arrested based upon the FIR which has been registered against them. We also demand most severe disciplinary action be meted out to concerned police officials, to discourage future police complicity in vigilante violence.

|Sep 9| Release of the Preliminary Report on Savanur Protests

People’s Union For Civil Liberties – Bangalore
~~~~

INVITATION

~~~~~

Release of the Preliminary Report on the

Savanur Protests

by

Justice Rajinder Sachar

On the 20th of July 2010 Bhangi families engaged in manual scavenging poured human excrement on themselves as a mark of protest. They were protesting against the disconnection of their water supply and their impending eviction from their homes in Savanur town. The incident was a reminder of the ugly reality of manual scavenging in Karnataka and the persistent discrimination they face under the caste system.

The report deals with the circumstances that led to the protests and clearly points to the violation of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) act of 1989 by government officials.

The report gives specific recommendations to the State Government, Agencies of the State Government, the SC/ST commission and the civil society.

When: 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM on Thursday 9th September 2010

Where:
Xavier Hall, St Joseph’s College,
36 Lalbagh Road, Shantinagar, Bangalore 27

~~~~~~

Manjunath Babu Bhangi and Lakshamamma Bhangi
leaders of the Bhangi community will share their experiences

Justice Rajinder Sachar will release the Preliminary Report
This will be followed by an audio-visual presentation

Justice Sachar is a former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. He was also a member of United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. He headed the Sachar Committee which reported on the social, economic and educational Status of Muslims in India. He is an active member of PUCL.

INVITE

Savanur and Manual Scavengers: Another loud cry for social justice

On July 20th Deccan Herald ran a disturbing news item. Manual scavengers from the Bhangi caste in Savanur had covered themselves with human excreta to protest their impending eviction and a denial of water by the Town Municipal Corporation (TMC). There were other similar reports in the Kannada press (both print and electronic). The back-story to the incident is incomplete in media reports. This write-up is an effort to document the facts surrounding the protest.

Savanur was ruled by Nawab Abdul Majid Khan II till Indian independence. Eight decades ago, the Nawab had granted land to the Bhangi community on which they could build their houses. On this land are four houses which make up the homes of seven Bhangi families. From the days of the Nawab these families have been working as manual scavengers in the town of Savanur. This land is now prime property in Savanur.

The TMC passed a resolution that transferred property granted by the Nawab into the hands of the Town Municipal Corporation. The resolution in-turn was used to declare that a “commercial complex” would come up at the site of these Bhangi homes.

The community made several requests to the authorities to stop their eviction. The TMC had by this time made their intentions of grabbing the land clear. Government officers gave a token assurance that the families would be moved to homes in other locations under the “Ashraya” scheme. This was nothing more than a way to rationalize their eviction.

On July 17th 2010, their common water connection was disconnected. The TMC claims it was for non-payment of dues and an illegal connection. Neighbours denied them the use of street taps and forced them to collect water from drain water around the public taps. In response to a complaint filed on 19th of July 2010, the Assistant Commissioner demanded that the families pay a fine of 2000Rs to have the water reconnected. Such a demand scoffs at both their economic status and their nature of work (manual scavenging).

On July 20th 2010, the community out of desperation protested by smearing themselves with human excrement. Once their protests reached the news wires, the TMC official promptly provided independent connections to each of their homes.

Why was it disconnected in the first place? The Departments of Municipal Administration (DMA) has been mandated to allocate 22.75% of ALL grants for the welfare of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe citizens. Explicitly mentioned within this scheme are funds that are to be allocated for providing drinking water connections [source]. The fact that they were isolated and targeted proves that it was an intimidatory tactic to force eviction. The scapegoat for the incident is the Chief Officer who happens to be a Dalit. He will be transferred for following orders.

To make matters worse another ugly layer to the problem is that children are being sucked into the caste labour of manual scavenging. A 13 year old boy has taken to manual scavenging after his father’s deteriorating health forced him to stop the caste labour. The Child Rights commission is making a suo-motto intervention but their track record makes us fear that the case will end up being diluted.

What the families were put through was shocking and inhuman. The general silence from the civil society to such apartheid by the state government and elected officials was worrying. A blatant land-grab from the most oppressed of people demanded a far stronger response. While most of us slept over the issue, certain religious institutions used it as an opportunity to declare their concern and adopt the children of these homes. Yes…adopt…heaping more insult to their injury. Pramod Muthalik of the Ram Sene made a visit to the homes. The Kannada daily Prajavani titled his entry “Graha Pravesha” (house warming).

Incidents like those in Savanur are not isolated. We need to begin joining the dots on forms and practices of untouchability, it’s beneficiaries and how it’s being used politically. The families in Savanur are the visible tip of the iceberg. Media reports suggest that up to 80% of the villages around Savanur have dabi and pit latrines which need to be cleared by manual scavengers. The situation is no different in many parts of the country.

The denial of water and the attempt to evict these Bhangi families was a deliberate and systematic attempt to grab their land. The town municipality, District and Taluk administration are all parties to this incident.  We leave you with two questions. What is your response? What do you suggest should be done?

Consultation meeting – Urban Poor v/s Karnataka Manuvadi Govt

Consultation meeting
Urban Poor v/s Karnataka Manuvadi Govt

10:30 AM on 3rd July 2010
Senate Hall
Central College
Dr.Ambedkar Veedhi
Bangalore 560068

Reason for and background to the seminar

Polic Terror: Trafail Slum, Gulbarga

Police terror in the Tarfail slum, Gulbarga
Uncovering institutionalized caste prejudices and biases

A report by PUCL Karnataka

View/Download the complete report HERE [.PDF format]

Background Note and Need for the Report

On 8th April 2010, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka (PUCL-K) received a representation from Shri. Allama Prabhu Nimbaragi, Convenor of the Zilla Kolageri Nivasigala Okkuta, Gulbarga and a respected young social activist.

The representation drew the attention PUCL-K to an incident that is said of have occurred on 29th March 2010, where, allegedly, the police lathi charged residents of Tarfail slum located near the Gulbarga Railway Station. The representation also stated that several innocent persons, including women, children and old persons were harassed and traumatized by the police.

Further, it was stated that male members of almost all the houses had been arrested on false and frivolous charges. Given the grave allegations made against the police and alleged human rights violations and atrocities, it was necessary that the PUCL-K conduct a detailed fact-finding into the incident.

Accordingly, a fact finding team was constituted comprising of the following members:

  1. Prof. Y J Rajendra, Vice-president, People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka
  2. Dr. Ramdas Rao, Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka
  3. Dr. Chandrakant Yatanoor, Professor of Political Science, Gulbarga University,
  4. Raghupathy S, Advocate
  5. Maitreyi Krishnan, Advocate, Alternative Law Forum

The Report of the fact finding team is available here

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