*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

Press Release | Assault on Sex Workers in Bangalore

March 30, 2014 by · Comments Off on Press Release | Assault on Sex Workers in Bangalore
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases 

On 23.03.2014, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties filed a complaint with the Karnataka
State Human Rights Commission, on behalf of sex workers who are being subjected to
police violence in Majestic, Upparpete KG Road and adjoining areas. This complaint
was in addition to the complaint filed by PUCL on February 06, 2014 on the same
issue, wherein incidents of violence against sex workers were detailed, including
incidents where women have been beaten up just for standing on the road, or while
walking towards the bus stop to catch a bus. Women have been beaten up and forced
to go to the police station, where they are compelled to pay money, failing which they
are threatened that false cases will be filed against them. They are neither given
receipts, and any question raised by the woman is met with further assault by police
officials. Further, the police have been indulging in acts causing public humiliation and
embarrassment to the women by shouting at them on loudspeakers when they walk
on the road and by pushing them aside and beating them on the road, and using
derogatory language with them. The police have also been taking photographs of
them, both in public and in the police station, and threatening to release them to TV
channels. In fact, there have been instances of women being beaten and humiliated
when they are with their children, outside the course of their work, simply because
they have been identified as sex workers. Any attempts to make complaints against
the police officials results in further harassment of the women. In fact there have also
been instance of social workers working with sex workers who have also been
targeted, assaulted and made to endure extreme police violence. Despite an order of
the SHRC directing that an enquiry be conducted by the Inspector General of Police,
State Human Rights Commission, into the contents of the complaint dated
06.02.2014, violence against the women continued, and on 24th and 25th of February,
ten sex workers were chased, abused and assaulted by the police in Upparpete. Mr.
CG Hunagund, member of the Commission, took cognizance of the new complaint
filed by PUCL, that the violence was continuing unabated and with impunity, and
passed an order directing the Inspector General of Police of the Commission to submit
a report within a month, i.e., by 23.04.2014. He also took note of the circular dated
30.09.2004, issued by the office of the Director General and Inspector General of
Police, which mentions that the provisions of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act
should be used against the agents and facilitators of sexual exploitation of women
and children, and not against sex workers themselves. This complaint comes at the
end of a series of representations made by PUCL to various authorities, namely, to the
Commissioner of Police, to the Director General and Inspector General of Police, to the
Deputy Commissioner, West Division, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chikpete
Sub-division, and to Ms. Umashree, Minister of Women and Child Development in
Karnataka. However, any respite from violence is always temporary, and the verbal
abuse is incessant. It is hoped that the SHRC’s enquiry and recommendations will
finally allow women in Upparpete to access public spaces without fear of assault and
police violence.

Prof.Rajendra Y J
PUCL-K
9449011530
Isaac Arul Selva
PUCL-K
9480452037

| 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.

 

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

|Statement| Encounter Killings in Bangalore

December 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases 

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

PUCL, Bangalore strongly condemns the two encounter killings by police in Bangalore, reported on the front page of The Hindu on 19th December 2010.

Guarantees of individual fundamental rights form the backbone in functioning of any democracy and the role of police is to ensure preservation of the same. We, as a nation , run great risks when our police become empowered to take issues of law and justice in their own hands , including ‘right to kill’ those alleged to be threats to society. PUCL Bangalore is further deeply distressed at the media portrayal of these particular events especially the seeming condoning of excessive power by the police leading to the two deaths of suspected criminals. It should be noted that even if the suspects had committed the offences of which they were accused, it does not justify killing them in cold blood.

The only justification in this context for killing by the officials by the state would be self defence. The claim of self defence cannot be a self evident justification but must be judicially investigated. The NHRC guidelines on encounter deaths clearly mandate that in any case of so called ‘encounter’, an FIR must be registered against those who caused the death. The judicial process is then set into motion and the judiciary must test the claim of  ‘self defence’ and come to the conclusion that the killing was either murder or was act of killing  which was done in self defence.

The highest authorities of the police are responsible for the actions of the force under them and cannot justify any civilian deaths by their officers due to suspected culpability.

Presumption of innocence till proved guilty is an ideal demanding respect of all especially our police force. Further, responsible media is required to portray incidences of human rights violation as equally serious even if the  victims are offenders against the law.

PUCL, Bangalore demands a registration of an FIR against those who have perpetrated the encounter and also the institution of an immediate enquiry into these encounter killings.

We hope to be kept informed about future actions taken by the police dept. in this matter.

Arati Chokshi, General Secretary
PUCL Bangalore
Arati.Chokshi@gmail.com
Mobile: +91-994-520-1029

|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.

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

Bajrang Dal attack on students in Mangalore

January 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Communal Violence, Minorities, Report 

Another case of Moral Policing

Fact finding report on Bajrang Dal attack on students of Vivekananda Pre-University College, Mangalore on 15th November 2009
Prepared by : PUCL, Dakshina Kannada

[Read Full Text]

Communal clashes rock Karnataka town [September 2002]

September 28, 2002 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Communal Violence, Human Rights 

[Source] [From September 2002]

New Delhi: South Indian city of KR Nagar witnessed a rise in communal temperature on September 13 evening following a clash between two youths taking on a communal colour.

The tension led to communal clashes in the Karnataka state town the following morning and police resorted to lobbing of teargas shells and lathi-charge to bring the situation under control, the police said.

Ten persons were injured in the melee and one person, identified as “Ravi” was taken to K R Hospital for treatment. Incidents of stone-throwing, arson and looting were also reported in several areas of the town.

An argument between two youths belonging to Hindu and Muslim communities respectively at the Manchanahalli bus-stand in the town is said to have led to communal clashes, said the police.

In a related incident in the same area, two groups resorted to stone-throwing in Harapanahalli area during the immersion of Ganesha idol, and police had to resort to caning and lobbing of teargas shells to bring the situation under control. A tense situation prevailed in the town and prohibitory orders were clamped in the area.

A total of 15 persons including five policemen were injured in the stone throwing. The clash is said to have occurred when a Hindu nationalist outfit Yuvashakti Sangha took out a Ganesha idol procession through Banageri and members of Hindu and Muslim communities had an argument over the volume of a loudspeaker.

South India did not know communal riots, that is Hindu-Muslim clashes, until about a decade ago when the North-based Hindu nationalist organisations like the RSS, BJP and VHP introduced this virus there. Now they have floated outfits like the Hindu Munnani which are on the lookout how to vitiate the communal harmony on one pretext or the other in order to convert the resulting communal polarisation into a vote-bank for the Hindu nationalist BJP and similar outfits.

|Report| Police Atrocities and Human Rights Violations at Katipalla [2002]

PUCL Bulletin, January 2002

Karnataka: Mangalore PUCL

Police Atrocities and Human Rights Violations at Katipalla

By P.B. D’Sa

Thursday 23rd 2001 morning about 100 men in uniform stormed the Katipalla town with Lathis, Tear Gas cells and guns to the utter shock of the unsuspecting citizens of this locality .The Police personnel beat up every person they could lay their hands upon irrespective of their age, sex or social standing. The Police forcibly entered at least a hundred houses and indulged in indiscriminate rampage. In some houses they forcibly broke open the doors and damaged household articles. They dragged out every male person found in the houses or in streets and brutally assaulted them before thrusting them into waiting Police vehicles. They used extremely foul language against the members of the families and in many cases misbehaved with the women folk.

Obviously there was no provocation whatsoever from the inhabitants of the area for this high handed and inhuman attitude of the police personnel. In fact one local bus driver who belongs to the Muslim Community had been assassinated two days prior to this incident by an armed gang of hooligans at a place close to this locality. But people of this locality where members of the Muslim Community who occupy a predominant position were sane enough not to give any communal color to the incident and were with full sense of responsibility waiting for the judicial machinery to take its own course on the case. Although a bundh was observed on 22nd August the local Muslim community had absolutely no role to play in this bandh because the bundh was in fact called by Bus Workers Association, Mangalore.

Thus, having proven that they are law-abiding citizens and having refused to be provoked even after the brutal murder of a member of their community they naturally never expected the police forces to be hostile against them. One may recall areas were up in flames due to communal riots. People of this particular area in the 2nd block, Katipalla had successfully ensured that their area remained peaceful. Hence a wholesale and indiscriminate attack against them was the last thing they expected from the police.

On 23rd August morning when the situation in the locality was perfectly normal at around 9 a.m. people were busy shopping. In fact these shops had remained closed the previous day. Many people had come there accompanying their children studying in one of three schools situated in the proximity. As the school hours were yet to commence there were many school children all around. It was in this backdrop that Mr. H.R.S. Shetty, Circle Inspector of Police arrived in a jeep along with another vehicle and accompanied by about a dozen uniformed men. His first target was one Abdul Salam, a young businessman and social activist. Mr. Shetty approached him using extremely foul language and dragged him all the way to the Police van and brutally assaulted him with his cane before dumping him into the van. Shocked at this brutal sight the people around came together and some of them sat down on the road protesting Mr. Shetty’s highhandedness and demanded the release of Abdul Salam. This response of the people was totally spontaneous and was provoked by the fact that Mr. Abdul Salam who was known to them as a law-abiding citizen and was not guilty of any crime, was being treated in this cruel manner. Taken aback by this spontaneous response of the local citizens Mr. Shetty agreed to free Mr. Abdul Salam from his illegal custody. On being released Mr. Abdul Salam came out of the van and requested the crowd to disperse peacefully. At this stage a few stones landed on the sitting crowd and on some police personnel obviously thrown by school going children who were witnessing the bizarre happenings. Having seen this Mr. Salam rushed to prevent the boys from this mischief. It was at this moment that the superintendent of Police Mr. Seemanth Kumar Singh came menacingly to the scene along with a few police vehicles and a couple of dozen uniformed personnel. Without even bothering to spend, even a moment to assess the situation, he straightaway ordered lathi charge against the crowd, which had already started dispersing. Police personnel started chasing and assaulting people indiscriminately. Even while people were trying to run away from the wrath of the police, the men in uniform fired tear gas shells in all directions and the beatings continued. After a long spree of indiscriminate beating the police first entered the shops and started dragging people out and dumping them into police vans. Even old people were not spared. Later the police started forcibly entering the houses in the locality. At places where people were too scared and shocked to open the doors the police broke open the doors and ransacked the houses.

Following are only a few among many extremely foul remarks passed by the police personnel targeting the Muslim community during the process of their uncalled-for house to house raids.

You Muslims deserve to be dispatched to Pakistan. You have no place in India. Right now we need only men. We will come in the night to pick your women. You Muslims have been spoiled by eating too much of cow meat. You Bearys (alluding to the Muslim community in the District) are anti nationals.

This entirely inhuman operation ended up in the arrest of 69 persons of the locality. Incidentally not a single person there arrested has any previous criminal record and even during the time of arrest obviously there was no charge existing against them. It was only at the later stage that the police attempted to concoct an entire story of their own and framed false charges against the arrested in order to justify their false charges against the arrested in order to justify their own atrocities and inhuman acts.

Out of the 69 persons arrested on 23rd August 2001,42 were released on the same day late in the night. The rest 27 were released on 29th August 2001. Most of those who were released on 23rd night have complained that they have been subjected to severe physical assault and torture by the police at Panambur Police Station. They were ridiculed, humiliated and thus were tortured mentally too by the police. The personnel used extremely offending words against their faith, religion and religious practices. Most of these persons showed obvious marks of Police beating on the different parts of their bodies. Those 27 persons who were released on 30th August 2001 had to go to the hospital for treatment. Eight of them had been admitted in the hospital for the treatment of wound and fractured wrist, this was because of the frequent assault by the Police.

The most surprising aspect of the whole dirty episode is that the police resorted to such inhuman treatment without any provocation. In fact it was only after unleashing their terror against the civilian that the police engaged themselves in covering up false evidences to protect themselves. For instance, after beating up almost all the inhabitants of the second block and after having created an atmosphere of terror in the area the Police went to a nearby house and forced the women in the house to hand over the key of the car which was parked well inside the compound of the house. The Police brought this car to the middle of the second block junction and after parking it there, they brought empty soda bottles from the nearby shops and piled them up in the vehicle along with the piled up bottles. People of the locality who were witness to this drama have reasons to doubt that this might be a conspiracy by the Police to create false evidence against the unsuspecting masses.

In the late night of August 23rd 2001, the Police took those 27 accused to the residence of the JMFC II Court Magistrate all the accused had told them that they had been brutally beaten up by the Police by dragging at their houses and he was convinced then. But unfortunately in his report the Magistrate has written otherwise. He had given the police clean chit saying the accused had got the injury in the incident itself; this was really shocking.

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