Can an elected Panchayat deprive a section of its own people belonging to a minority community its constitutionally granted right to practise its religion – e.g. organise prayers or engage in religious propaganda and have sermons?
Or can it ever deprive them of their mandatory quota of grain under PDS (public distribution system) which is focused more on persons living below poverty line?
Anyone conversant with rudimentary understanding of law would reply in the negative. It appears that in Chattisgarh they do it differently. In fact, Sirisguda, Kunguda and many other villages in Jagdalpur and adjoining areas in the state are in the news for similar reasons. Continue reading Rip Van Winkle and Raman Singh Government
[We are publishing below the full text of the statement issued by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, on the Tehelka case, which raises some important issues that have not received public attention yet.]
Press Statement on the Tehelka Sexual Assault Case
Dated: 2 December 2013
- Expresses Solidarity with the struggle of the Tehelka Journalist who raised her voice against Rape and Intimidation by the Ex-Editor Tarun Tejpal.
- Demands fair investigation and early charge sheet into the matter, from the Goa Police.
- Considers Six Day of Custodial interrogation of Tarun Tejpal granted by the Goa Judicial Magistrate Court unnecessary and invidious.
- Appeals that police custody and the case not become a tool in the hands of BJP administered Goa police to settle scores with Tejpal.
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties from the very beginning has supported the complaint of the woman journalist of Tehelka magazine who accused the editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, of rape and sexual assault. PUCL salutes her courage for breaking the silence on rape and sexual intimidation carried out by her senior colleague and editor. We have also admired the consistent and principled manner in which the young girl stated her case, initially via internal emails within Tehelka, and later on to the media, neither allowing vituperation or anger at the blatant violation of her body to sensationalise her case or to prevaricate about the fact of the offence having been committed. Through her dignified stand she stands as a model to all women who suffer similar sexual violence, that the dignity of a woman’s body cannot be a plaything for anybody howsoever influential and powerful they be. By the same token, we also denounce the vilification campaign carried out by Tarun Tejpal and his lawyers against the complainant by seeking to impute that the entire crime was actually a `consensual’ act or at trying to trivialise the crime by calling it “light hearted banter”.
Continue reading PUCL Statement on Tehelka Sexual Assault Case
This intervew with SUDHA BHARADWAJ of Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha was conducted by JUSTIN PODUR in Raipur on 5 March 2013
JP: As a lawyer and an activist, how do you see the relationship between legal work and activism?
SB: I see myself primarily as a trade unionist. I joined the union movement over twenty years ago, and it was the union that made me a lawyer. They felt that workers needed a good lawyer in their fight with the corporations. Our union is one of contract workers and has been striving to overcome divisions in the working class. Here, workers have a close connection with the peasants. So, we believe that working with the peasants is part of unionism.
When I got to the High Court, I found that all the people’s organizations were in a similar situation. The laws that give you rights are poorly implemented. When you fight, the status quo has many legal weapons, launches malicious litigation, etc. So we have a group of lawyers now (Janhit), and we work on group legal aid, not individual legal aid. The idea is that if you help a group, that can bring about some kind of change, create some space. I’ve also gotten involved with the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), for which I am the General Secretary in Chhattisgarh. Continue reading The Bastar Land Grab: An Interview with Sudha Bharadwaj
The police might have registered a case against Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia for his provocative speech in Bhokar town on January 22 but it’s nowhere close to arresting him. Mail Today had reported on Thursday that while the police had filed an FIR against Togadia for his speech, they will not arrest him until the state government gives a go ahead.
On Friday, Home Minister R. R. Patil said “It is the prerogative of the concerned investigation officer whether to arrest him or not. As government we don’t interfere in such matters.” Police officials from Nanded said they would be able to arrest Togadia only after the state allows it as it was a “political decision”
(Police can’t arrest Togadia, Mail Today, 9 th Feb 2013)
Mr Praveen Togadia, the international secretary general of VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) is sitting pretty. It has been more than a week that a FIR has been filed against him for his alleged hatespeech in Bhokar town but since then there has been no progress. Continue reading ‘Police Can’t Arrest Togadia’
Guest post by JINEE LOKANEETA
Watching Advocate alongside Democracy Dialogues: a Tribute to Balagopal, both by Deepa Dhanraj, made for a powerful experience for its remarkable documentation of human rights movements in Andhra through the lives of these two human rights defenders and the collectives that they were a part of whether it was Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, Human Rights Forum or People’s Union for Civil Liberties. There is of course a sharp sense of loss, since in the last few years we have lost both these incredible people but one was grateful for this effort to record and document their inspirational lives in such a beautiful manner. It also points to a further need for us to understand the connections of human rights groups to law, the relationship of human rights defenders to the courts, and their role in pushing for the realization of some of substantive aspects of the Indian Constitution in the process. Continue reading Understanding Indian human rights movements through the lives of two human rights defenders: Jinee Lokaneeta
This statement come from the RIGHT TO FOOD CAMPAIGN
October 3rd, 2011
Arbitrary Raid on Kavita Srivastava’s house: Latest act of harassment of human rights workers
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the arbitrary raid this morning (3 October), in Jaipur, on the house of Kavita Srivastava, General Secretary of PUCL and convenor of the Right to Food Campaign’s steering group. This is yet another instance of harassment of human rights workers under the cover of fighting Naxalism. Kavita Srivastava is the convenor of the Steering Committee of the Right to Food Campaign and PUCL is the petitioner in the Supreme Court case on the Right to Food which has recently challenged the Government on the issue of the poverty line. Continue reading Statement condemning raid on Kavita Srivastava’s house: Right to Food Campaign
Guest post by ANANT MARINGANTI
I was on my way to the Basheerbagh Press Club at 5.45 pm Thursday, December 30 when my mobile rang.
“Have you heard the news ?” I knew what that ominous question meant. But who was it?
The friend who called was one of the listed speakers at the Free Binayak Sen meeting at the Press Club where I was going. It had to be someone both of us knew intimately. “Kannabiran. I am on my way. I can pick you up,” he said quickly. Continue reading KG Kannabiran (1929-2010)