| Preliminary Report | Impact of Demonetization on Casual Labour at the Chowktis of Jaipur

December 31, 2016 by · Comments Off on | Preliminary Report | Impact of Demonetization on Casual Labour at the Chowktis of Jaipur
Filed under: Human Rights, Report, Reports From Other Organizations!, Uncategorized, Urban Poverty 

Read the full report HERE

Preliminary Report of the Survey ~ Conducted by PUCL Interns & supervised by PUCL and BGVS members

Though there are several general statements available suggesting that the maximum impact of the note withdrawal scheme has been this segment of daily wage earners, however no systematic assessment is available. Accordingly we decided to undertake a quick assessment survey of the impact of the demonetization on the casual labour in an urban setting covering daily wage earners who assemble at various Chowktis (labour markets where wage-work seekers assemble in the morning) in the city of Jaipur.

The broad purpose of the rapid survey was to understand (a) the impact of demonetization on work, wages, incomes, access to food, relations, (b) banking practices and (c) awareness about demonetization scheme and of black money among casual labourers who reach local labour markers to seek wage labour work.

*Preliminary* Fact Finding Report – Bangalore Garment Workers’ Protest Demonstration:

May 31, 2016 by · Comments Off on *Preliminary* Fact Finding Report – Bangalore Garment Workers’ Protest Demonstration:
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases, Report, Urban Poverty 

Read the COMPLETE PRELIMINARY REPORT HERE

 

On the two days of April 18th and 19th, 2016, workers of the garment industry, predominantly women, took to the streets in a sudden unplanned demonstration to protest the new ordinance on the Employment Provident Fund by the Central Government. The angst among garment workers was triggered by a newspaper article in Vijaya Karnataka – a Kannada daily – on April 16th, 2016. The resulting demonstration was a landmark event, as it led the Central Government to withdraw the ordinance, thus benefiting lakhs of salaried workers across the country.

On May 1st, 2016, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr. Siddaramaiah, congratulated the garment workers for creating “a successful workers’ movement”, which was “historic” and was able to cause the Central government to roll back the “ill-conceived amendments to the EPF Scheme” .

While this protest has been lauded across the country as a victory for workers’ rights, specifically for the distinctive role played by women workers, the response of the state law enforcement machinery has been of utmost repression and violence, with an attempt to systematically create an atmosphere of abject fear, by targeting workers due to their vulnerable class character. The State Government and its machinery, which on the one hand praised the struggle and on the other lathi-charged them, needs to recognize that the garment factory workers resorted to the demonstration as the Central Government’s move to restrict access to their EPF funds was the last straw on their already burdened backs.

This report is an inquiry into the human rights violations by the police against citizens, including workers of the garment industry’s surrounding factories in Bangalore as well as bystanders, during the spontaneous demonstrations which took place on April 18th and 19th, 2016.

This preliminary report about the April 2016 events and the resulting police brutality has been prepared in order for SHRC, State Government, and Police Complaint Authority to take cognizance of and initiate immediate action against the serious violations of human rights that took place and still continue. This report has been put together with names of workers not being mentioned, as the workers are scared of being targeted by their factory managements and the police. They have agreed to speak to the fact-finding team on the condition of anonymity.

This fact-finding team comprises members of People’s Union of Civil Liberties – Karnataka (PUCL-K), Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression-Karnataka (WSS), and other independent researchers.

Read the COMPLETE PRELIMINARY REPORT HERE

| Fact Finding Report |Governance By Denial – Forced Evictions and Demolition of Homes in Ejipura

June 15, 2013 by · Comments Off on | Fact Finding Report |Governance By Denial – Forced Evictions and Demolition of Homes in Ejipura
Filed under: Human Rights, Meetings and Events, Report, Urban Poverty 

Read the FULL REPORT HERE

From 18–21 January 2013, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), responsible for providing infrastructure and services in the Greater Bangalore Metropolitan area, bulldozed 1,512 homes in the economically weaker section (EWS) settlement in Ejipura/ Koramangala. The 5,000 people rendered homeless by the four-day demolition drive included around 1,200 women and 2,000 children.

Given the extensive damage rendered by the forced eviction and reports of violations of human rights of the residents of Ejipura/ Koramangala, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL – Karnataka) and Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN – Delhi) undertook a fact-fi nding mission (21–22 February 2013) to investigate the incidence of forced eviction in Ejipura/Koramangala and its aftermath.

This report presents the main findings of the fact-finding mission and makes specific recommendations to the Government of Karnataka.

 

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

Photos From the Ejipura Protest and EWS Colony

January 20, 2013 by · Comments Off on Photos From the Ejipura Protest and EWS Colony
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Press Releases, Urban Poverty 

[wppa type=”slide” album=”4″][/wppa]

|Press Release| Demolition of EWS quarters and the Eviction of Residents

January 19, 2013 by · Comments Off on |Press Release| Demolition of EWS quarters and the Eviction of Residents
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Urban Poverty 

PRESS RELEASE

Demolition of EWS quarters and the Eviction of Residents

Saturday, January 19, 2013, Bangalore

The BBMP today began demolition of homes and evicting residents from the EWS quarters at Ejipura.  During the process of demolition and eviction protestors were lathi charged, physically dragged by the police and arrested – all of them women. They have been remanded to judicial custody till next Tuesday. These women have been separated from their families and homes, and cannot protect their shelters and belongings from the demolition bulldozers.

The BBMP official, B T Ramesh who was at the spot could not produce any official documents that showed that he and his crew had the authority to demolish structures and evict residents. Nor did he produce any copy of the notification supposedly shared with the residents a month back.  Notices which the BBMP claimed were pasted on the houses, were not visible on any of the houses. All the residents that we spoke to had not been notified and were unaware of this demolition drive.

In a meeting with the BBMP Commissioner today, Mr. Siddaiah agreed to stop demolitions of the occupied homes and to give a time period of 3 months for evacuation. In fact, Mr. Siddaiah called BT Ramesh in presence of activists and EWS residents. However, the demolition continued unabated; Mr. Ramesh insisted on a written order from Commissioners office, who conveniently disappeared by then. As of this afternoon, the police had given a 6 pm notice to the residents to clear their belongings.  As of now, it is reported that as many as 500 homes have been razed to the ground by the BBMP bulldozers today. Many families are out on the streets, since they do not have the finances or support to re-locate. Children whose mothers were arrested are in streets – searching them. Women cry helpless, not knowing where to take their young and old.

We, the members of civil society, representing different organisations (PUCL, PDF, and Concern) condemn the deplorable and inhuman way the demolitions, police violence and evictions have been implemented. We call for an immediate and complete halt to the eviction of residents and the demolition of occupied homes in the EWS quarters. We further demand that all charges against the residents and activists be dropped.

Right to shelter is one of the principle rights enshrined in Article 21 of our constitution. A state, under no circumstance, has a right to go against either the letter or the spirit of this right without providing alternative arrangements for all those it renders homeless. Further the police protection of demolitions does not legitimise its use of brute force and physical violence against the weakest in our society – who are but protesting, losing their all.

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Issued by: People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), People’s Democratic Forum (PDF) & Concern – Bangalore

|PRESS STATEMENT| Response to Kolar Deputy Commissioner

We are responding to the statement of the Deputy Commissioner, Kolar that was reported in the newspapers dated 29th October, 2011 alleging PUCL’s role in the death of 3 persons performing the work of manual scavenging in KGF on 24th October, 2011. (Reference 1, 2) Since the statement makes serious allegations about the functioning of a national human rights organization like PUCL, we request you to publish our reply to his statement.

PUCL-K would like to express its enormous disquiet at the statement of the District Commission, Kolar blaming PUCL-K for the incident of manual scavenging in the Kolar Gold Fields. It is difficult to even fathom the extent of the defamatory intent, unscrupulous twisting of facts and the self serving nature underlying the DC’s statement. In brief the DC’s statement is nothing other than a cynical attempt to pass the buck for the comprehensive failure of the district administration to abolish manual scavenging (which is in fact the most heinous expression of untouchability). Such casual and baseless charges are not only defamatory to PUCL-K, but more importantly amount to a show of contempt and disrespect towards the deceased persons, Shri Kutti Prasad, Shri Nagendra Babu and Shri Ravi, and wilfully ignores the economic situation which had forced them into this form of employment.
Even sixty years after independence, the state, by its failure to fulfil its constitutional mandate, is responsible for the continuing tragic deaths of Dalits while cleaning soak pits and manholes. These conditions grossly violate the promise of working with dignity which is a constitutional birthright for all citizens.
The most cynical part of the DC’s statement is to insinuate that PUCL-K actually engineered this incident to record and use it to tarnish the image of the District Administration. At this point it might be useful to remind the DC of the fact that the PUCL-K has been actively involved in the public campaign against the practise of manual scavenging in all its forms across the State of Karnataka, and specifically in KGF. In 2009, PUCL -K filed a Public Interest Litigation before the Karnataka High Court placing on record the fact that scores of safai karmacharis have died while performing the work of manhole cleaning which is akin to manual scavenging in various parts of Karnataka. In the last several months, we have visited Savanur, KGF and Alur in Hassan district, and brought out fact-finding reports on the pervasive extent of manual scavenging in Karnataka and its effects on the health and survival of the safai karmacharis. In fact it was after PUCL-K complained about this practice in KGF that the State Human Rights Commission in an order dated 28th June, 2011 recognised the existence and gravity of the problem of manual scavenging in KGF as well as the failure of the District Administration to take any steps to ameliorate the situation, and to implement the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993. The SHRC has issued orders directing the District Administration to take full fledged rehabilitation measures. It is only subsequent to the orders of the SHRC that the District Administration was compelled to initiate rehabilitation measures.
The burden of the DC’s rhetoric is that there is no manual scavenging in KGF, and that adequate measures have been taken to abolish manual scavenging. The so-called rehabilitation measures undertaken by the district administration are not only grossly inadequate but are in fact responsible for driving the three workers to their deaths.
PUCL-K is in the process of bringing out a comprehensive report on the extent of manual scavenging in KGF in which we will detail the complete failure of the district administration to provide rehabilitation in any meaningful way. This Report will bring out the gravity of the situation and the need to take immediate and substantial steps to end this heinous practice thereby fulfilling the constitutional mandate of a life with dignity for all persons compelled into this degrading profession.
Finally, PUCL-K calls upon the Deputy Commissioner, Kolar to apologise for his irresponsible and defamatory statements, acknowledge the failure of the district administration that has resulted in the deaths of the three safai karmacharis and to take immediate steps towards preventing the recurrence of such tragedies.

Ramdas Rao
94493 99729

Y. J. Rajendra
94490 11530

|Press Release| Beggar’s Colony Death of 12 inmates on the night of 17th August

PRESS RELEASE FROM PUCL-BANGALORE

DEATH OF 12 INMATES ON THE NIGHT OF 17-8-2010

PUCL-Bangalore voices its gravest concern on the reported deaths of 12 inmates in Beggar’s colony on 17-8-2010 evening, to next morning and is shocked that eleven of the twelve dead were cremated before due process of enquiry could be established.

PUCL-Bangalore has been actively following cases of grave misconduct in Beggar’s colony since early 2009, that it has brought to the attention of State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). Following this, PUCL-Bangalore was part of a surprise raid carried out by SHRC to investigate these allegations, which revealed a whole set of irregularities in the functioning of Beggar’s colony, that were also noted by SHRC. However this has lead to no concrete, corrective action so far.

We believe that the latest incidence and suspicious deaths of twelve inmates is part of criminal negligence associated with the functioning of Beggar’s Colony. The hurried disposal of the bodies further incriminates the authorities in charge, who are responsible to a larger civil society, for their actions.

We demand an immediate and independent enquiry into this latest incidence at Beggar’s colony involving independent HR/CL organizations.
PUCL Bangalore

Arati Chokshi
Secretary, PUCL-Bangalore
9945201029

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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?

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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