|Fact Finding Report| An All Out War

April 14, 2012 by · Comments Off on |Fact Finding Report| An All Out War
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases, Report 

[Read the full report HERE]

On March 2, 2012, Bangalore witnessed riotous scenes of confrontation between a large number of advocates and a section of the media which took place in the presence of the police in the Civil Court premises in the city. This was followed by a brutal lathi charge by the police on the lawyers present in the court in which  over 100 lawyers were reportedly injured. This unprecedented event has produced consternation in the minds of many people regarding the workings of two vital institutions of democracy in the country, namely the lawyer community and the media, as well as the role of the police in such conflict situations.  Accordingly, two human rights organizations, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (Karnataka) and People’s Democratic Forum decided to conduct a fact-finding investigation into the incidents that took place in the City Civil Court Complex on March 2, 2012.

Read the full report HERE

|Statement| PUCL Statement on Proposed Changes to Text Books

February 27, 2012 by · Comments Off on |Statement| PUCL Statement on Proposed Changes to Text Books
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases 

Statement on proposed changes to text books.

Click here for the full statement in Kannada

|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

PUCL Karnataka State Council Meet Resolutions

The meeting of the State council of PUCL-Karnataka was held at the premises of Fatima Retreat, Mangalore, on 14-5-2011, from 10.00 am to 2.00pm. Mr P.B. D’Sa, President , PUCL-K, presided over the meeting. Dr V. Lakshminarayana, General secretary, welcomed the gathering. The deliberations was attended by 17 state council members hailing from Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Shimoga, Chamarajanagara and Koppala districts of Karnataka. Report of each units were presented by their respective representatives. After elaborate discussions on the contemporary issues the following resolutions were unanimously adopted. Click here for the resolutions

SOLIDARITY MARCH FOR THE REPEAL of AFSPA AND RELEASE OF IROM SHARMILA

Time Sunday, May 22 · 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Location TOWN HALL to Mahatma Gandhi Statue, M G ROAD , BANGALORE

The draconian act of AFSPA has been implemented in North eastern states of India since 1958 and in Jammu and Kashmir since 1991. It was on May 22, 1958, that the AFSPA was promulgated in the north east as an ordinance. This law is more draconian than its predecessor ordinance used by the British to suppress the Quit India Movement. It gave extraordinary powers to members of the armed forces, to arrest without warrant and shoot …to kill on the basis of suspicion; and no legal action can be taken up against the armed forces without prior sanction from the Centre.

Irom Sharmila has been on hunger fast for more than 10 years now demanding repeal of AFSPA . She has been force fed through her nose by the Government, arrested with charges for attempt to commit suicide, criminalized as a high security prisoner, denying her access to family, friends, supporters and the media.

Various movements in the North East and Kashmir and human rights groups across the country have consistently demanded the repeal of the Act. AFSPA is not only opposed by the civil society groups but also by the Government’s own commissions and committees appointed to look into the matter. The Committee to Review the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, headed by Justice B. P. Jeevan Reddy in 2005, the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Dr. Veerappa Moily in 2007 and several others have recommended its repeal. Internationally, UN bodies including the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the U N High Commissioner for Human Rights and recently the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders have urged for its repeal.

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) hereby calls to all democratic forums, human rights groups , people’s movements and all concerned citizens to initiate various public protest actions from May 22 to August 18, demanding repeal of AFSPA and immediate release of Irom Sharmila.

Organised by PUCL, Bangalore, with National Alliance of People’s Movement (Karnataka), Alternative Law Forum, New Socialist Alternative, People’s Solidarity Concerns, Kashmir Youth Intellect, Centre for Social Concern(St. Josephs College), Maraa, Sangama, Aneka, Pedestrian Pictures, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, Student Christian Movement of India (Bangalore), Stree Jagrutu Samiti, Slum Jagattu, Sichrem, Vimochana, People’s Democratic Forum and many other human rights and communal harmony organisations.

Please circulate widely. For ePamphlet click here

Press Release – Police Crackdown on Hijras

PRESS RELEASE

PUCL, Bangalore, strongly condemns the call by city’s new police commissioner JP Mirji to target and crackdown on Bangalore’s Hijra community authorising mass arrests for creating public nuisance and under the Karnataka beggary Act. Criminalising either poverty or sexuality of a community are against the fundamental rights and freedoms constitutionally guaranteed and are far out of proportion with the nature of offense considered. Police force, by construction, should see itself, above all, as facilitators to adherence of constitutional values on matters of individual freedoms and cannot indulge in excesses under any subsidiary act that violates the above principals. In the case of the Hijra community, PUCL, via its work, is very aware of the social exclusion and boycotting faced by this marginalised community that perforce requires the community members to solicit as a primary livelihood means. We urge Mr. PJ Mirji to immediately halt the proposed unleashing of police repressions on a community that is already largely ostracised.

Sincerely,

Arati Chokshi
General Secretary
PUCL – Bangalore Chapter

Ref: http://www.bangaloremirror.com/article/1/2011051320110513001823509858f13d0/Top-cop-gives-his-men-three-days-to-put-an-end-to-eunuch-menace-.html

134 activists detained while on their way to Jaitapur

April 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases 

April 23 2011

Press Statement

PUCL condemns the illegal detention of activists protesting peacefully against the Jaitapur power plant. 134 activists have been detained in the jurisdiction of the Voisar police station (near Tarapur in Maharashtra) on their way to Jaitapur. Arati Chokshi, Secretary of PUCL Karnataka, is one of the activists that has been illegally detained.

PUCL is deeply concerned about the impact and risks associated with a Nuclear Plant especially on the scale of the Jaitapur plant. In the light of the Fukushima Nuclear incident it is important that issues related to Nuclear Energy be debated and discussed in a transparent manner. Local citizens living in the Jaitapur area have been protesting against their impending eviction. Their voices and their constitutional rights can not be ignored by the state.

We strongly condemn police action that seeks to disrupt peaceful protest by concerned citizens. The attempt to silence dissent through illegal detention is of grave concern. Voices that seek to raise issues that concern citizens that are most likely to be impacted by radiation risks should not be silenced.

Update: All activists that have been illegally detained are on a huger strike.

Press Release – PUCL Dakshin Kannada

April 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Press Releases 

A six-member PUCL delegation led by its state president P.B.D’Sa, met the Inspector General of Police (WR) Alok Mohan and the Mangalore Commissioner of Police Seemanth Kumar Singh on April 2, 2011 and held discussions on a number of important topics such as human rights, communalism etc. Copies of several PUCL reports and publications were presented to both the officers. They are:

  • Report of the People’s Tribunal Enquiry by Justice (Retd.) M.F.Saldanha
  • State Terrorism: Police Atrocities in the Karavali Area
  • Horrifying Human Tragedy Called Mangalore SEZ
  • State Terrorism: Tyranny – An Editor in Chains
  • PUCL Fact-finding Reports, NHRC and SHRC Cases – Volume 1

Both officers have thanked PUCL for the reports and assured that the same would be studied and would be made use of during the course of their ‘crime meetings’ to brief the other officers. They also informed the delegation that regular training on the subject of human rights is being imparted to all the policemen.

One of the subjects that was brought up during the discussions with the Commissioner was about the withdrawal of cases filed against innocent Christians subsequent to the church attacks of 14th September 2008. The   Commissioner has confirmed that his office has received the necessary instructions from the state government and they have started the relevant processes and a report will be submitted to the court within a few days for withdrawal of all the cases. It may be recalled that Justice (Retd.) Saldanha had recently submitted to the Governor of Karnataka the report of the one-man People’s Tribunal Enquiry on the church attacks formed at the instance of PUCL and Transparency International (Karnataka Chapter). At the time the Governor had given an assurance that all the 338 cases against the Christians would be withdrawn very shortly.

The delegation pointed out that in the Ullal area harassment of rights activists, especially those from the minority Muslim community, is on the rise. Attention of both the officers was drawn to the fact that attempts are being made by a certain Inspector to file false cases against rights and social activists by branding them as terrorists having connections with the likes of notorious underworld elements such as Madur Yusuf. The Commissioner promised that he will look into these charges.

The Commissioner said he has issued strict instructions regarding custodial deaths during their recently held seminar on the subject. He has instructed all his subordinates that in case of any custodial death a criminal case under IPC 302 must be booked against the SHO.

He also spoke at length on the modernization of the force such as on-line filing of complaints, PCR vehicles, e-booking of traffic violations etc., and on the welfare measures that have been set in motion. For example the proposal to install portable cabins at several places in the city would serve the dual purpose of a rest room and toilet. PUCL welcomed all this and observed that if properly used it will go a long way towards bringing in professionalism and instilling some measure of dignity and self-respect.

For PUCL D.K.,

P.B.D’Sa

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

|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

« Previous PageNext Page »

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Admin