Sugarcane Harvesting and Bonded Labour – A Report from Belagavi

May 9, 2022 by · Comments Off on Sugarcane Harvesting and Bonded Labour – A Report from Belagavi
Filed under: Human Rights, Report 

PUCL-K’s open letter to CM & Governor of Karnataka regarding economic boycott of Muslim businesses in temple fairs in Karnataka

March 28, 2022 by · Comments Off on PUCL-K’s open letter to CM & Governor of Karnataka regarding economic boycott of Muslim businesses in temple fairs in Karnataka
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Press Releases 

To,

  1. Shri Thawar Chand Gehlot,
    Governor of Karnataka,
    Raj Bhavan Road,
    Karnataka state – 560001
  2. Shri. Basavaraj Bommai,
    Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka,
    Vidhana Soudha,
    Bengaluru, Karnataka – 560001

Dear Sir,


Sub: Regarding the dangerous unconstitutional economic boycott of Muslim
businesses in temples fairs in Karnataka.


The PUCL-K is deeply disturbed by the range of media reports for the barring of Muslims
from participating in auctions for the annual festival in Mahanlingeshwara Temple in Puttur
district. The media has reported that this prohibition has been followed by the Hosa Marigud
Temple in Udupi District refusing to allot stalls to Muslims. There are also statements by
Bajrang Dal and Shri Rama Sena leaders calling for the economic boycott of the Muslim
community.


The boycott calls are sought to be given a fig leaf of legitimacy by referring to Rule 31(12) of
the 2002 Rules of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments
Act, 1997, which state that no property, including land, building or sites situated near the
institution shall be leased out to non-Hindus. However as Senior advocate Chander Uday
Singh pointed out this is a deliberate misinterpretation of the provision as Rule 31 only deals
with long-term leases of immoveable property owned by a temple (up to 30 years for land,
and five years for shops and buildings). It does not deal with the short-term licences which
would be used to allot stalls or spaces to vendors during a festival.


Both economic boycott and calling for economic boycott is violative of the constitutional
promise of non-discrimination enacted in Article 15. Article 15, explicitly prohibits
discrimination on grounds of religion, besides race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 15(2)
further proclaims that no citizen be subject to any ‘restriction’ with regard to ‘access to
shops’, ‘maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general
public’.


It bears noting that for Babasaheb Ambedkar, ‘shops’ was to be interpreted broadly to
prohibit people from excluding others from economic life through boycotts based on religion,
caste etc. We should also remember that Babasaheb Ambedkar was a vociferous opponent of
social and economic boycotts noting that it was a form of ‘tyranny of the majority’. In his
words, ‘the method of open violence pales before it, for it has the most far reaching and
deadening effect. It is more dangerous because it passes as a lawful method consistent with
the theory of freedom of contract’.


The call for social and economic boycott should deeply worry all Indians is because of the
tragic history of the aftermath of such boycott calls in world history. In Nazi Germany hate
speech dehumanizing the Jewish community was followed by calls for social and economic
boycott which was followed by the enactment of laws depriving Jews of citizenship and
finally the genocide against the Jews. Rwanda and Myanmar followed a similar path in their
path to committing the ‘crime of crimes’, genocide. We should take seriously these warnings
from history and silence is not an option for any constitutional authority. All constitutional
authorities must step in to ensure that governance in Karnataka is in accordance with the
Constitution and we do not go down a path taken by other countries such as Nazi Germany
and Hutu power Rwanda.


Hence, we call upon the following actions to be taken immediately:

  1. Immediately withdraw the decisions, and ensure that Muslims and persons of all
    religious communities are provided an equal space and opportunity to carry out their
    businesses during all days of the festivals;
  2. Immediately initiate criminal action against the organizations pressurizing and
    attempting to cause an economic boycott of Muslim businesses;
  3. Ensure that immediate measures are taken to restore and maintain communal harmony
    across Karnataka as required by the Communal Harmony Guidelines, 2008 issued by
    the Ministry of Home Affairs, including keeping organizations that undermine
    communal harmony under scrutiny and taking appropriate action against them;
  4. Clarify the statements made by elected representatives erroneously interpreting the
    Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997 to
    legitimize the unconstitutional act of discrimination on grounds of religion.
    We hope, given the urgency of the situation, that immediate action will be taken.

Adv. Arvind Narrain,
President
PUCL – Karnataka

Adv. Robin Christopher,
General Secretary
PUCL – Karnataka

Mr. Shujayathulla,
President
PUCL – Bangalore

Criminalising the Practise of Faith

February 12, 2022 by · Comments Off on Criminalising the Practise of Faith
Filed under: Communal Violence 

A Report by PUCL Karnataka on Hate Crimes against Christians in Karnataka

From Communal Policing to Hate Crimes – The Attack on Ambedkar’s Dream of Fraternity

December 9, 2021 by · Comments Off on From Communal Policing to Hate Crimes – The Attack on Ambedkar’s Dream of Fraternity
Filed under: Communal Violence, Report 

A Report on Dakshina Kannada (January – September 2021)

Report by: PUCL-K, AILAJ, AIPF and Gauri Lankesh News

Production Torture – Working conditions faced by garment workers

June 5, 2019 by · Comments Off on Production Torture – Working conditions faced by garment workers
Filed under: Human Rights, Report 

Production Torture is a study of the working conditions, including workplace harassment, faced by women garment workers in Bangalore and other districts.

This study is published by:

  • PUCL – K
  • NLSIU
  • Vimochana
  • The Alternative Law Forum
  • Concern – IISc
  • Manthan Law
  • Garments Mahila Karmikara Munnade

Production Torture
A telling phrase from English innovated by garment workers to articulate their daily experiences of the Government Factory.

In response to the widespread complaints about abusive conditions faced by women workers in the garment industry in Bangalore, a number of human rights organizations and activists, came together to institute a joint fact-finding inquiry to go into such abuses and their deleterious impact on the workers, and suggest measures for redress of complaints by state, brand buyer agencies, and other bodies.

As part of this study, 27 interviews and 8 focus group discussions with women garment workers and men garment workers — each of which discussions comprised not less than 20-25 workers — were undertaken. The conversations during the interviews and focus group discussions revealed various forms of violations and harassments that the garment workers are subjected to. Almost all conversations were unanimous in pointing to the impossible targets set for the workers per day as the primary source of most forms of harassment. they faced.

Manual Scavenging in Karnataka – A PUCL-K Study

June 5, 2019 by · Comments Off on Manual Scavenging in Karnataka – A PUCL-K Study
Filed under: Human Rights, Report, Urban Poverty 

What are the historical factors at work in India society in denying the right to dignity for the sanitation worker and allowing deaths from manual scavenging to continue? This study identifies four such factors and discusses them in detail.

Thread and Tension | An account of the historic uprising of garment workers

December 24, 2018 by · Comments Off on Thread and Tension | An account of the historic uprising of garment workers
Filed under: Human Rights, Press Releases, Urban Poverty 

Thread and Tension

An account of the historic uprising of garment workers

A fact-finding report by People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Bangalore and Women Against Sexual Violence and State
Repression

In April, 2016, lakhs of workers of the garment industry took to Bangalore streets to protest against a new Central Government Ordinance on the Employment Provident Fund. The protest was spontaneous, sudden, and unplanned, and took place over April 18th and 19th. Most of the participants and leaders were women workers. The protest was triggered by a newspaper article in Vijaya Karnataka – a Kannada daily – that appeared 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.

Download the complete report in English here

Download the complete report in Kannada here

| 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.

Press Release | Death of Two Manual Scavengers in Bengaluru

November 1, 2016 by · Comments Off on Press Release | Death of Two Manual Scavengers in Bengaluru
Filed under: Human Rights, Minorities, Press Releases 

***
Download the Full Statement Here
***

PUCL-BENGALURU CONDEMNS THE DEATH OF TWO MANUAL SCAVENGERS IN SHANTINIVAS APARTMENT NEAR YESHWANTPUR RAILWAY STATION, BENGALURU

On October 18, 2016, two manual scavengers named Venkataramana, 24, a dalit, and Manjunath, 32, died in the septic tank of Shantinivas Apartment, near Yeshwantpur, Bengaluru, due to asphyxiation. The owners/residents of Shantinivas Apartment had employed the deceased persons through a private contractor, and they were not provided with any safety gears which led to their tragic deaths.

Section 7 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, prohibit employment of persons for hazardous cleaning of a sewers or septic tanks and any contravention of this section is cognizable and a non-bailable offence under section 9 of the above Act. Additionally, offences are made out under section 3(1) (j) of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 as amended in 2015 (prohibits manual scavenging), as well as under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 304 (II) which is for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

So far, an FIR has been registered only against the contractor for death due to negligence under IPC section 304A, and not against the owners of the apartment. A group of Dalit activists protested in front of the Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner’s office demanding compensation. The DC handed over a cheque of Rs 5,00,000/- to a social welfare department officer, which is only 50% of the compensation amount, meant for Venkatramana’s family who were not present at the protest venue.

As per the 2014 Supreme Court judgment in Safai Karamachari Andolan & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors, families of Venkataramana, and Manjunath should be provided a compensation of Rs.10,00,000/- each immediately, and the state government should also take immediate steps towards providing a government job to one member of the deceased persons families as per the provisions of the 2013 Act and 2014 SC judgment. Family of the deceased Venkataramana, a dalit, should also be provided with an additional Rs. 8,00,000/- compensation as per the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015.

Based on the above mentioned facts and developments, we, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties- Bengaluru, demand:

  1. That the owners of Shantinivas Apartment should be booked under IPC Section 304(II), sections 7 and 9 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, and section 3(1) (j) of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015. They should be arrested immediately for the unfortunate deaths of Venkataramana, and Manjunath.
  2. That the concerned officials in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which is the local authority under the 2013 Act, should be charged under the above mentioned provisions for blatantly breaching their obligations as per the law.
  3. That the local authority act immediately in identifying the manual scavengers in Bengaluru, and rehabilitate them as per the 2013 Act.
  4. That the District Magistrate, Bengaluru, should issue a circular immediately to prohibit the practice of manual scavenging in private apartment complexes/private spaces, and failing of which should result in criminal liability of the owners of those spaces.
  5. That the hoardings depicting the prohibition of manual scavenging be displayed in different parts of the Bengaluru city.

For more details, please contact Geeta (94482-243171), or Kishor Govinda (9886-334715)

***

Download the Full Statement Here

***

 

Press Release | Kaveri Water Issue

September 16, 2016 by · Comments Off on Press Release | Kaveri Water Issue
Filed under: Minorities, Uncategorized 

The Kannada Press Release is Available Here

The Supreme Court has given its’s verdict over the sharing of Kaveri between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and directed the Karnataka government to release forthwith 15000 cusecs of water every day for ten days to Tamil Nadu. This verdict has created tremendous tension in Karnataka and resulted in continuous protests throughout the state for the last 10 days, causing enormous hardship among the people and has disrupted normal life throughout the state. Under these circumstances, the Karnataka government filed a petition before the same bench on Monday 12th Sept, requesting the court to review its verdict. It has been reported that the bench summarily refused to hear the submission made by Karnataka. This latest order has further aggravated the situation, turning it from bad to worse in the state. The peaceful protest has turned into violence, resulted in the killing of two innocent persons in police firing, and also causing a lot of damage to vehicles and property. The situation in the southern region of Karnataka is quite grave, and normal life has been thrown out of gear.
In the light of the above, PUCL – Karnataka proposes the following steps to defuse the situation:
1. With regard to the sharing of water, the state government should constitute a committee with experts to look into and recommend possible scientific solutions, and the court should monitor the implementation of the recommendation.
2. There should be long-term policy guidelines with regard to selecting of cropping patterns in the Kaveri basin, subject to the availability of quantum of water, both in normal and crisis situations, thereby preventing such crisis situations getting out of hand.
3. With regard to the decision on sharing of water at times of acute water scarcity, the two governments should constitute a committee with farmers living in Kaveri basin from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and urge them to deliberate on proposals / solutions, based on which decisions can be taken by the respective governments
4. In order to defuse the current tensions prevailing in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the two Chief Ministers should set aside their political calculations, and meet immediately and take a courageous decision on amicably sharing the water at this time of crisis in order to restore normalcy in their respective states.
5. The media in both the states should show due restraint in reporting incidents of unrest, and should make clear that linguistic minorities from either state are not in any way responsible for the conflict, and the resultant violence.
The government of Karnataka has so far taken concrete steps to protect the linguistic minorities in the state, barring two incidents of killing in police firing. The protection of lives and properties should be a priority issue for both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments.

PUCL draws the attention of the two governments to how a similar incident over Kaveri issue two decades ago resulted in horrific violence. Accordingly, we urge the constitutionally established authorities, including the central government, the two state governments, and the Judiciary to exercise their constitutional authority with sensitivity and caution and arrive at a permanent solution to this issue.

Dr. R V Chandrashekar – Treasurer
Mr. K Venkataraju – General Secretary
Prof. Y J Rajendra – State President

puclblr@gmail.com

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