At CST Station in Mumbai, India — activists, allies and supporters gather in solidarity for Soni Sori. Plus photoes from RajGhat, Delhi where 30 odd activists also gathered for a hunger strike.
A report on the RajGhat Hunger Strike by Ashutosh Kumar (Hindi) (Facebook Note)
‘राजघाट पर भूख हड़ताल की एक रपट” (कुछ कवितानुमा )
by Ashutosh Kumar on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 9:59pm·
गाँधी -समाधि के आंगन में बोलने की मनाही थी.इस हद तक कि गांधीजी तक को पथरा दिया गया था. हम कुछ ‘पढ़े लिखे’ लोग बाहर ही एक पेड़ के नीचे बैठ गए . हमने गीत गाये .गोरख , बल्ली ,अदम के गीत . सोनी सोरियों के अपमान की उस धधकती हुयी आग के गीत जो देश भर में सिर्फ इस लिए किया जा रहा था कि वे सोनी सोरियाँ थीं .
समाधि पर भीड़ यों भी कम थी .वह शहर से भी गायब होती जा रही थी.किसी ने बताया कि भीड़ आजकल सिर्फ जेलखानों , पागलखानों या साहित्य -पुस्तक -मेलों में दिखाई पड़ती है.
नजदीक ही सुप्रीम कोर्ट में सोनी सोरी की आख़िरी सुनवाई एक बार फिर आगे बढ़ा दी गयी थी.
अचानक गांधीजी जैसी एक छाया दीख पडी सामने . दो नौजवानों के कंधे के सहारे रुक रुक कर चलती .छाती से फूटती खून की लकीर अंगोछे में छुपाये .
लोहे की एक टूटी हुयी बेंच थी जिस पर हम ने उन्हे आदर के साथ बिठाया .और पाया कि कोई और नहीं खुद जस्टिस सच्चर थे .
प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय में एक भूमिगत अज़ीयतखाना है . बर्फ ही बर्फ है वहां .मैं वहीं कैद था , लेकिन देखो मैं निकल आया हूं.
आओ चलते हैं . सब से पहले गांधीजी को इस पथरीले जेलखाने से आज़ाद करते हैं .
कहते हैं कि बापू चलो .लेकिन अबकी लाठी टेक कर नहीं, तान कर .
खुद अपनी आँख से देखो कि सत्यकुमारी और अहिंसादेवी के साथ क्या सलूक हो रहा है इन दिनों भारत -दंडक- अरण्य में.
Wednesday : 5:30pm until 7:00pm
“On the night of Saturday, 8.10.2011, in the new police station in Dantewada which has been built next to the old police-station, I was tortured”, Soni Sori. This hunger strike is for Soni, Indian citizen, woman, schoolteacher, adivasi.
Since 8th February, 2011, Soni has been on an indefinite hunger strike to protest against the torture and injustice meted out to her by the Chhattisgarh government. We, women’s groups and human rights activists from all over India and the world, salute her courage in the face of physical and sexual torture, forced isolation and threats to the wellbeing of her three innocent children. On this day, in solidarity with her protest, we are observing a one-day hunger strike, across the country in Delhi(other places)
Letter to Supreme Court Advocate Sir
I should have been kept in Delhi instead of Raipur. My troubles have increased ever since I was moved to Raipur. I have not even been provided with medicines. When I express my complaint of pain, they tell me that I have come through the administration, and they call me and write me down as a “Naxalite” woman, and this puts me under a lot of mental stress. I am not given my medicines, due to which my internal pains have been increasing. I have told the local court all this, but instead of solving my problem, the local court is avoiding it by saying that since my case is with the Supreme Court, whatever will be done here will be done by the Supreme Court.
Sir, I have complete faith that the Supreme Court will bring justice to a woman who has suffered torture. However, the local courts also have the ability to resolve some problems. But no! All of these people deliberately want to give me trouble. I am not safe here – I can feel that I am unsafe. I am suffering grave injustice and these people will not let me live. [...]
Read the full letter here. Both the Hindi and English versions are available there, as well as the Audio versions of the letter.
There is a (as far as I could gather) protest fast planned on the 29th at Rajghat.
सोनी सोरी की प्राण रक्षा हेतु उपवास
जेल मे सोनी सोरी का स्वास्थ्य गिरता जा रहा है ! सर्वोच्च न्यायलय मे सोनी सोरी के द्वारा पुलिस पर लगाये गये बर्बरता के आरोपों की पुष्टि मेडिकल रिपोर्ट द्वारा हो गयी है ! डाक्टरों ने सोनी सोरी के शरीर मे पुलिस द्वारा ठूंसे गये पत्थर निकाल कर सुप्रीम कोर्ट को भेज दिये हैं ! इसके बावजूद अभी तक आरोपित पुलिस अधिकारियों के विरुद्ध कार्यवाही का निर्देश नहीं दिया गया है ! सोनी के गिरते स्वास्थ्य के बावजूद उसके इलाज की उसकी प्रार्थना की सुनवाई को लगातार टाला जा रहा है !
हम सभी नागरिक इस अमानवीय रवैय्ये से बेहद दुखी हैं ! हम सोनी सोरी के पक्ष मे अपनी एकजुटता व्यक्त करने और इस अन्याय के विषय मे ध्यान आकर्षित करने के लिये राजघाट पर 29 फरवरी बुधवार को एक दिन का सांकेतिक उपवास करेंगे ! सभी साथी साथ आयें ! अनेकों महिला संगठनों ने इस कार्यक्रम हेतु अपनी एकजुटता दर्शाई है !
An English Translation can be found here.
Delhi – Fast at Rajghat in solidarity with Soni Sori, Feb 29
February 28, 2012
Fast to Save Soni Sori’s Life
Note from Himanshu Kumar
Soni Sori’s health is deteriorating in jail. The accusations of police brutality and torture made by her in the Supreme Court have been substantiated by the the medical report. The doctors have sent the Supreme Court stones that the police had forced into Soni’s body. Despite this, thus far there have been no orders to take action against the accused police officers. And in spite of her failing health, hearings on her appeal for treatment are continually being postponed.
All of us, citizens of India, are extremely saddened by this inhuman attitude. We will undertake a one-day symbolic fast on Wednesday, the 29th of February at Rajghat to show solidarity with Soni Sori and to call attention to the injustice being meted out to her. Please join us! Several women’s organizations have expressed their solidarity with our fast. The fast will take place from 6am to 6pm. You are also invited to come and join the dialog at any point in the day, at your inconvenience.
We also hope that friends elsewhere in the country as well as abroad are able to organize events on this day to demand justice for Soni Sori. This program should also been seen as a general protest against sexual assaults and torture committed against women in police custody.
(Translated by Amit Basole)
New Delhi, 26 Feb: Hundreds of peoples demonstrated today in Jamia Nagar against illegal arresting, kidnapping and harassing of local residents by the police.
Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) Delhi secretary, Syed Akhlaq while addressing to the protest-march said, “Police is for people’s safety not for terrorizing them and it is their prime duty to respect civil rights while arresting or nabbing any person and Supreme Court should take action if its given guidelines are not being followed by any law enforcement agency.” He added, “People should aware and come out to protect their civil rights.”
Adv. Feroz Gazi vice president of APCR, Delhi chapter said, “No one is allowed to take law into his hand either police or common people and every person has right to protect himself from illegal detention.” [...]
Abdul Nasser Madani is a Muslim political leader from Kerala, India. He has spent more than a decade in Indian prisons without being convicted of any crime. He started the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with the stated objective of “Muslim-Dalit-backward caste” alliance. In August 2010, Madani was arrested by Karnataka police for his alleged involvement in the Bangalore Serial blasts and is currently lodged under judicial custody. Here is the Justice for Madani official website.
Here’s an excerpt from a facebook note from Advocate Venkatesh Bubberjung of Bangalore.
[...] Bangalore Blast case ( a series of 9 chargesheets filed against some 30+ accused mostly malayalam speaking including Abdul Naser Madani as they are referred to ) was posted today for orders on the applications on discharge, on orders on hearing before charge, on consideration of bail applications of some of the accused in Bangalore Central Prison.
Hearing of applications and charge is going on for couple of months before the Court. The hearing of the case was demonstrating number chinks in the armour of the story of prosecution. The advocates for Madani and other accused had explained in detail for days on the aspects of law violated in prosecuting them and poor quality of evidence that is available or framed against them. As the hearing on the applications gained momentum, the accused persons who were housed in Bangalore Central Prison were suddenly transferred to Belgaum Prison without any information as to why they were being transferred. When enquired even court had no proper information to give ( accused are in judicial custody ). When the counsels insisted for the presence of the accused at the time of hearing before charge as they had to take instructions from their clients, they were advised to take the same under video conferencing.
Serious question about the jurisdiction of the Court to conduct the case was raised in the light of National Investigation Agency Act. A procedural law that mandates that all cases under some statutes mentioned in the schedule be investigated and tried by National Investigation Agency apart from other grounds.
What was expected was that the court would pass orders on the applications for discharge and for orders on hearing of the parties before framing of charge. Usual practice is that when orders are passed some time is granted to the accused to challenge the same before the High Court, if they are not satisfied and if they feel that the grounds urged by them before the court were not properly appreciated by the court.
Most of the accused have little knowledge of English or Kannada. The learned judge passed orders on the applications rejecting them and the counsels had sought for copies of the orders as they intended to challenge the same before the High Court of Karnataka. Even without making the copies available for the accused and the counsel to know on what grounds the Learned Judge had rejected the applications, the court rushed to post the matter for framing charge in the case. strangely the order was passed in Kannada, a language not known to the accused persons. order was passed on 25th February, 2012 and was posted for framing of charges on 27th February, 2012, mere 48 hours to secure copy of the order, analyse and to decide whether to challenge the order or otherwise, 26th February, 2012 is Sunday.The advocates only know the operative portion of the order as the entire order is yet to be provided to them for studying. When will they get the copy of the orders? when will they study? when can they give their opinion on the orders that whether it is a good one or that one that needs to be challenged? The court rejected the prayer of the advocates that the case may be adjourned by atleast five to seven days so as to enable them challenge the order. Most of the advocates appearing for the accused are not acquainted with knowledge of Malayalam. Their difficulty is compounded. They have serious problems relating to confidentiality of communication with their clients as they are compelled to take assistance of the other accused or the police for translation.
Why was this mad rush to Frame Charge against the accused persons? They have not demanded that the court to immediately conclude the trial. They are also not running away from the court. All of them are in judicial custody? Why is this mad rush to charge? They are in custody of the court for more than three years. While the courts offer ‘reasonable opportunity’ for challenging the orders of the courts in higher courts, be it the case of 2G, Commonwealth games cases and in long list of cases of corruption accross India, strangely even on repeated request these accused are denied that opportunity.
The oft repeated statement in the court is that trial of the case needs to be completed at the earliest and hence process needs to be expedited. Question that worries us is that whether it is being expedited or short changed. What is the reason for this tearing hurry to frame charges?
These persons are accused of committing offences. The police have investigated and filed charge sheet against them. The matter is in the court. Court has to conduct the case in accordance with the procedures giving equal opportunity to the parties whether it is prosecution or defense. In the process of expediting the conduct of the case can the court deny the rights to the accused persons?
Even before many of you read this, the court might have already framed charges against the accused for long list of offences alleged against them and expedited the process of trial in the interest of the accused persons! [...]
Read the full facebook note here.
From Ammar Ali Jan’s Facebook Status:
Dear All, I have been released and have safely reached home. I want to thank you all for your solidarity against state oppression.Punjab police would not have released me so quickly had they not faced pressure from both within, and outside of Pakistan. It gives me strength to know that we are not alone in our struggle and we can rely on the support of committed, honest and brilliant activists and intellectuals from around the world! Our victory today strengthens our belief in the ultimate triumph of the Pakistani people against this brutal, neo-colonial state.
In solidarity Ammar Ali Jan