|Press Release| Ejipura – EWS Slum Evictions

May 10, 2012 by · Comments Off on |Press Release| Ejipura – EWS Slum Evictions
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases 

10th May 2012

PUCL-Bangalore strongly condemns the illegitimate move by BBMP to forcefully evict residents of the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) slum in Ejipura, Koramangala by switching off their water supply, blocking their common toilet facilities and  not collecting garbage – which is now piling up there.

In a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Maverick Holdings Ltd, BBMP exchanged eight of the fifteen acres of the original EWS land, for construction of 1640 quarters for the community. What makes this deal unacceptable to the current residents is that these are for allotment only to the original residents of the BBMP quarters, which were razed to ground by the authorities when one of the buildings collapsed.

Most of the beneficiaries under the current scheme no longer reside in the EWS slums; the direst poor and needy, who currently live there, do not qualify for any benefits from the state, even when evicted and their homes razed.

In the context of forceful evictions of slum dwellers, Supreme Court has ruled that right to shelter is a part of right to life, enshrined by Article 21 of our constitution. PUCL demands that state run organisations, like BBMP, not resort to draconian means to render our poorest shelter-less. PUCL further demands that BBMP exhibit some constitutional responsibility and make immediate provisions, within the current plan, to also house all those whom it desires it evict – namely, all the current dwellers of EWS quarters.

Download the Press Release HERE

|Preliminary Fact Finding Report| Attack on a Dalit in Maddur for attempting to enter a temple

May 8, 2012 by · Comments Off on |Preliminary Fact Finding Report| Attack on a Dalit in Maddur for attempting to enter a temple
Filed under: Minorities, Report 

In Hemmanahalli, a village near Maddur, Kemparaju, a Dalit priest was assaulted on March 15 this year for challenging a social convention that bars Dalits from entering the ‘garba griha’ of the local Chowdeshwari temple. Kemparaju was hospitalised due to injuries, and a case has been foisted against him by the police. This incident is part of the social discrimination that Dalits face in this area.

Read the Preliminary report HERE

|Statement| PUCL CONDEMNS STATE VIOLENCE AND REPRESSION IN THE FORCED EVICTIONS FROM NONADANGA SLUMS, KOLKATA

April 14, 2012 by · Comments Off on |Statement| PUCL CONDEMNS STATE VIOLENCE AND REPRESSION IN THE FORCED EVICTIONS FROM NONADANGA SLUMS, KOLKATA
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases 

April 14 2012

People’s Union for Civil Liberties strongly condemns the State terror unleashed by the West Bengal Government on the protestors of the forced and illegal clearance of Nonadanga hutment. Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, assisted by a large contingent of armed police force, have reportedly razed down homes, and destroyed or looted properties, of some three hundred families without following any due process of law. Here, law enforcers, under political leadership, have shown complete and flagrant disregard for democratic values, and violated the rule of law by unleashing physical violence on protesters and making arbitrary and false arrests – actions that requires harshest action, both against those who broke the law and the leadership that sanctioned it. PUCL feels that the actions of KMDA police force are against the constitutional enshrined principles and rights of people – to provide shelter, to allow peaceful protest, to question and oppose. West Bengal State, under its current leadership, seems to have forgotten both the limit of their authority and its sanctions, under law.

PUCL demands the immediate release of all arrested for peacefully protesting and demanding justice on the issue of Nonadanga. PUCL further demands that the State initiates a peaceful dialogue with the people of Nonadanga immediately, and also compensates victims for the vast damage done to their lives and property.

|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

|Fact Finding Report| – Manual Scavenger Deaths – Tiptur and Dharwar

April 12, 2012 by · Comments Off on |Fact Finding Report| – Manual Scavenger Deaths – Tiptur and Dharwar
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities 
  • A Fact-finding Report on the Deaths of 2 Manhole Workers in Tiptur {Available HERE}
    On 18.12.2011, Jagdish Bin Manjashetty, resident of KB Hala village, Lakki Hobli, Chikmaglur district, and Dharma, resident of Kennere village, Arsikere taluk, Hasan district, labourers in a UGD project in Tiptur, Tumkur district, were working in a newly constructed manhole on the by-pass road from KSRTC bus stand towards Tumkur, and died reportedly due to suffocation. This matter was reported in Kannada Prabha, Prajavani, and  Prajapragati. [Report HERE]
  • Death by Suffocation of Yakob Yalakapati in an Underground Drain in the Tolnaka Area of Dharwar: A PUCL Fact-finding Report [Available HERE]
    On 16.2.2012, Yakob Yalakapati, resident of Jannathanagar, Dharwar, and permanent powrakarmika, died while working in an underground sewage drain. When we received a telephonic communication regarding this matter, PUCL appointed a fact-finding team consisting of TKDayanand, Vijay Guntral, and S. Raghupathi to investigate this case.
    [Report HERE]
     

|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
Filed under: Uncategorized 

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
Filed under: Uncategorized 

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

|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

|Preliminary Report| Death of Kitta Koraga, Safai Karamchari in Kinnigoli

November 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Report 

Download the Report HERE

In yet another tragic incident of death by manual scavenging in Karnataka, Shri Kitta Koraga, 45 years old, succumbed to asphyxiation while engaged in cleaning a soak pit in Kinnigoli town, Dakshina Kannada district on 6.11.11. On 7.11.11, PUCL, Bangalore, was contacted by Shri Balraj, member of Koragara Abhivrudda Sanghada Okkoota, a community-based organization devoted to the welfare of the Koraga community in Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada districts. Accordingly, a 2-member team of PUCL was formed, consisting of Ramdas and Raghupathi, both members of PUCL Bangalore, to visit Kinnigolli and do a fact-finding investigation of the incident.

Read the Preliminary Report HERE

|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

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