Category Archives: Lingaram Kodopi

[DailyPioneer] Contractor BK Lala to turn Govt approver

The alleged ‘Essar protection money case’ headed for some revealing turns on Tuesday with the main accused BK Lala, Bastar based contractor who allegedly delivered money to Maoists, willing to turn approver if the Government granted him immunity in the case.

Lala, who is already out on bail, on Tuesday filed an application in the court of Additional District Judge (ADJ), Dantewada, offering to become Government approver. BK Lala and journalist-turned-activist Lingaram Kodopi, a tribal youth, were held on September 10 last year from Palnar village weekly market when Lingaram Kodopi was allegedly receiving `15 lakh from BK Lala. The money was reportedly intended to be delivered to two Maoists Raghu and Vinod belonging to Darbha divisional committee of CPI-ML. Later, Essar general manager DVCS Verma was also arrested on charges of paying protection money to Red insurgents for allowing the company reopen its 267-km long iron ore slurry pipeline running from Kirandul in Dantewada of Chhattisgarh to Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh as the Maoists blew it up at several places.

Read the rest of the article here.

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[Press Note] Protest against false imprisonment and torture of adivasi teacher Soni Sori in Chattisgarh (Bangalore)

Held at 6 pm, Saturday, 24th March 2012, Town Hall in Bangalore

“Arrest Ankit Garg, Release Soni Sori”

“Attn: Ms. President, Mr. Prime Minister, Chattisgarh state, NHRC, Stop Torture of Soni Sori”

These were among the slogans from nearly 20 Karnataka based human rights organizations to the Government of India in support of Soni Sori, a 35 year old adivasi school teacher who has been incarcerated in Chattisgarh police custody since October 2011 despite medical evidence revealing their brutal custodial torture, electrocution, beating, and sexual assault on her, shoving stones into her private parts. Around 100 persons gathered at 6 pm on 24th March 2012 in front of Town Hall in Bangalore to appeal for the immediate transfer of Soni Sori out of Chhattisgarh police custody and her speedy trial. Expressing solidarity with Soni Sori, the people also demanded the arrest of Ankit Garg, Superintendent of Police, Dantewada under whose supervision Soni Sori was subject to verbal and sexual assault in jail. They join people across the country in condemning the award of the Police Gallantry medal to Garg on Republic Day, 2012.

The protesters angrily burned an effigy of Ankit Garg, shouting slogans shaming him, and held a candlelight vigil for justice for Soni Sori. The brutality of police torture was also depicted by protesters masquerading as police and victims, while protesters held up signs condemning the functioning of the criminal justice system and asking for the freedom of adivasi journalists Lingaram Kodopi of Chhattisgarh and Vittala Malekudiya of Karnataka and many other political prisoners such as Manish Kunjam. Venkatesh of Dalit Bahujan Chaluvali, Manohar of SICHREM, and transgender political activists Charu of LesBiT and Veena of Praja Rajya Vedike spoke about the several ways in which the police system and false charges have been used to routinely detain and torture human rights activists and members of the adivasi, dalit, muslim and transgender communities in Karnataka. Comrade Balan of AITUC, Com. Nagaragere Ramesh of PDF, Com. Vishwa of New Socialist Alternative, Arati of PUCL and Pushpa of WSS stirred the crowd into thinking about whether the government today has prioritized the care and protection of its own citizens, or instead persecuted citizens for the benefit of exploitative private corporations. As the rousing songs of Dalitha Mattu Mahila Chaluvali questioned the freedom we have attained in more than 60 years of independence, members of the crowd signed a banner with messages to the President of India to ensure justice for Soni Sori.

Our Demands

– Immediately transfer Soni Sori out of the custody of Chhattisgarh police and ensure the provision of appropriate health care to Soni Sori without police interference.

– Set up an independent investigation into the conduct of Chhattisgarh law enforcement officials in the custodial sexual assault and torture of Soni Sori, and the immediate suspension of the responsible officers and prosecution under the PoA Act pending this inquiry

– Ensure the speedy completion of trial of Soni Sori, Lingaram Kodopi, Manish Kunjam and countless others so that they do not languish for years in custody when their guilt has not been proven.

– Show public proof of the good health and safety of Lingaram Kodopi and other prisoners in Chhattisgarh police custody.

– Set up a high-level independent investigation team to look at the condition of prisoners, especially women, including in the state ofChhattisgarh, to determine whether other women may have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, and investigate the reality ofprisoners’ access to health care.

– Enact the Prevention of Torture Bill and remove the need for prior state authorization to initiate criminal action against the officialsimplicated in custodial torture. Ratify the Convention on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

– Ensure that the latest central government grants to states to set up police stations in Maoist areas include support for independentmonitoring of detention facilities including station lockups and jails by human rights commissions and civil society groups. Considerrequiring police to videotape interrogations, especially in police stations in Naxalite areas and train police on proper conduct toward women in custody.

– End the use of custodial torture, lengthy custodial holding on false charges, and constant police harassment as tools of repressionagainst the adivasi and other residents of Chhattisgarh.

Participating Organizations/Networks

LesBiT, SICHREM, New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India), People’s Solidarity Concerns, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression: WSS-Karnataka, PUCL-Bangalore, Peoples’ Democratic Forum, Dalitha Mattu Mahila Chaluvali, Concern (IISc), Maraa, Dalit Bahujana Chaluvali, Samanata Mahila Vedike, Vimochana, Sangama, Samara, Pedipics, Alternative Law Forum (ALF)

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Free Soni Sori Protest at VT Station, Mumbai Planned Wednesday (Mar. 14th) 6pm to 7pm

Below is the facebook invitation note in its entirety.

Location for the Protest is CST on the GPO side, at VT Station

FREE SONI SORI- PROTEST DEMONSTRATION
Public Event for FREE DR BINAYAK SEN CAMPAIGN · By Kamayani Bali Mahabal
Wednesday: 6:00pm until 7:00pm

CAN WE LET SONI SORI DIE ?

Soni Sori, a 35-year-old Adivasi school supervisor in Chhattisgarh, has been languishing in Raipur Jail since October 2011, she has written letters from jail asking Nation to help her.

Why?

The Chhattisgarh police arrested her as a Naxalite-supporter last October, and tortured her so badly that when she was brought to court by the police, she couldn’t get off the stretcher in the police van. But the magistrate allowed her to be sent to jail without even bothering to come out of the court and look at her.

Her lawyers went to the Supreme Court, and a medical exam was ordered. Doctors found small stones in her vagina and rectum, and a blackening of her toes. Soni complained that she had been made to strip naked and given electric shocks, under the supervision of SP Ankit Garg. On Republic Day, the government gave Garg the President’s Award.

And in December, the Supreme Court, despite all the medical reports, ordered Soni to remain in Raipur Jail till the next hearing, which it scheduled 55 days later. Even after that, her matter has been adjourned twice.

Is Soni Sori a Naxalite-supporter?

Soni lives in Dantewada, where the Naxalites have a hold. Last year, Soni fought with the Naxalites when they tried to stop her form hoisting the national flag on Independence Day. Naxalites shot her father in the leg, saying he was a police informer. On the other hand, the police first arrested her husband, and now Soni, for being Naxalite-supporters!

Why do the police want her in jail?

Because she has constantly fought for her people’s rights- for minimum wages, against the powerful companies that want the Adivasis’ land, and the Chhattisgarh government that supports these companies, and against police involvement in the illegal teak trade.

Soni Sori’s nephew, Lingaram Kodopi, is also in jail for being a Naxalite, only because as a journalist, he interviewed Adivasis who had been raped and whose homes had been destroyed by the police last year.

Now, fed up of being in jail, far from her 3 small orphaned children, writes: “We Adivasis are only fated to suffer atrocities and die. We Adivasis are a business for the government.’’

Can we allow Soni Sori to die in jail?

Soni Sori has lawyers; most of the Adivasis in Chhattisgarh’s jails don’t. Can we allow them to simply rot only because they wont allow the companies to take away their land?

Join us in demanding the Release of Soni Sori, Lingaram Kodopi and all the other innocent Adivasis in Chhattisgarh.

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[Zee-News] Payment to Naxals: Chargesheet against Essar GM, 5 others

Raipur: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Chhattisgarh Police Tuesday filed a chargesheet against six persons, including the general manager of Essar Group, in the case of alleged payment to Naxals at a court here.

SIT officials told media that the chargesheet was filed in the court of magistrate Yogita Wasnik against Essar GM DBCS Verma, Essar contractor B K Lala, and two Naxals.

A local person called Lingaram Kodopi and teacher Soni Sodhi also figure in the chargesheet.

Next hearing in the case will be on March 13.

In September last year, police had recovered Rs 15 lakh from B K Lala and Kodopi.

According to police, the money was meant for Naxals.

Verma and Lala had been arrested and later given bail, while Lingaram and Soni are still in jail. The remaining two are absconding.

Read the full article here.

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Two Bits of Legal Updates on Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi

[Gathered from twitter feeds and facbook comments — uncomfirmed]

  • Soni Sori’s Court Hearing is set for March 13th. However, it keeps getting postponed. The only way to continue keeping her in jail is to keep shifting her court date, since an actual trial would acquit her. Media and public pressure is more critical than ever before. There have been reports that her health is deteriorating. After she was shifted to Raipur, her court hearing was set for January 26th. Instead on that day, her torturer was awarded the bravery medal.
  • The Special Investigation Team (SIT) Report on the Maoist-Essar Pay-off scandal is due to come out this week. Both Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi are implicated in the pay-off.
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[Nijkerk.nieuws.nl] Amnesty Action for Indian activists – March 2nd and March 3rd

The annual action by Amnesty International this year focused on the release of political prisoners in India. Soni Sodi (female) and Ling Aram Kodopi (male) […]

On Friday 2 March from 13:00-16:00 and Saturday, March 3 from 09.30-12.30 there will be for these two caught a signature campaign at four places in the center of Hoevelaken. Volunteers from Amnesty Hoevelaken, Women and Youth Project now stand at Jumbo Grace Home. Lidl, Albert Heijn, and Laak Stag by asking shoppers to sign letters. These letters are addressed to the authorities of India and the Indian Embassy in the Netherlands. It called for the release of two Indian activists. In the past held petitions from Amnesty often have positive results. Each letter is a Euro asked to contribute to the postage. The aim is to, at the end of the action thousand letters to be able to transmit. […]

Translate the article into English (as needed) and read the whole thing here.

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[Dantewada Vani] This is Lingaram Kodopi Speaking From Jail (in Hindi)

An English translation is currently unavailable for this.

तुमने मुझे धकेल दिया जेल की कोठरी के अँधेरे में,
क्योंकि राष्ट्रपति भवन के,
विशालकाय गणतंत्र के गुम्बद पर
चमचमाता हुआ प्रकाश पुंज,
मेरी ही जमीन छीनकर बनाये गये,
बिजलीघर में तैयार बिजली से दमदमाता है ,
मेरी आजादी को खतरा बताया गया,
गणतन्त्र के उस विशालकाय गुम्बद के
बल्ब की रौशनी के लिये,
पुलिस की कितनी लाठियां टूटी मुझपर,
अब याद नहीं,
मार खाते हुए रोने का विकल्प नहीं था मेरे सामने ,
क्योंकि मेरी आँखों के आंसू
ताड़मेटला गाँव में थाने से बलात्कार होकर लौटी
लड़की की कहानी सुनने के बाद,
बहकर समाप्त हो चुके थे,
सिर्फ खून उतर आया था मेरी आँखों में पुलिस से पिटते समय,
लोकतांत्रिक मर्यादाओं की रक्षा के लिये ,
सभ्य लोगों को जरूरी लगता है ,
हमे लगातार हमारी हैसियत का
अहसास कराते जाना,
और हमारी औरतों के शरीर में ,
तुम्हारे राष्ट्र का पौरुष,
और कंकड,पत्थर भर दिये जाना ,
उस रात तुमने मेरी बुआ सोनी सोरी को नहीं
अपने लोकतन्त्र को नंगा किया था थाने में,
[…]

Read the full post here.

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[Radio Netherlands] Press freedom stifled in India’s Naxal areas

[…]
Attacks
Human rights activist Himanshu Kumar says there have been cases of independent journalists being attacked, threatened, intimidated and even killed. He recounts the recent case of Lingaram Kodopi, an adivasi from Dantewada district.

Kodopi was the first tribal to be enrolled for a journalism course in Delhi. Last year, he filmed testimonies from villagers after a police raid where houses were burnt and several people were killed. After the film was released to the Indian media, Kodopi was arrested, and while he was in custody, he was brutally beaten. When his aunt, Soni Sori, filed a protest, she too was arrested and beaten. Both are now in prison, accused of being Naxalites.

Semi-hiding
Himanshu Kumar, who worked among tribal people in Chhattisgarh for nearly two decades, was himself persecuted in Dantewada. The ashram and school he established with his wife was burnt down and his family was forced to leave the state.

He now lives a life of semi-hiding in Delhi, and is still banned from returning to Chhatisgarh. “The motive behind creating panic and fear among people is that any voice of dissent, any protest against forceful land acquisition is silenced,” he says in a phone interview from Delhi. […]

Read the full article here.

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[Amnesty International] India: Security forces cannot claim immunity under AFSPA, must face trial for violations

Amnesty International puts out a statement supporting recent Supreme Court decision.

Members of the Indian army must stand trial when facing charges of serious violations of human rights, instead of hiding behind the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), Amnesty International said today.

On 4 February, India’s Supreme Court stated that the Indian army could not invoke the AFSPA to avoid the prosecution of eight officers charged with the March 2000 killing of five Kashmiri villagers at Pathribal.

Read the full statement here.

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