Category Archives: Facebook

[FB Note] No Respite for Soni Sori by Himanshu Kumar

Source: Facebook Note by Himanshu Kumar

Soni Sori continues to be ill-treated at the hands of Chhattisgarh government, after a brief breather during her treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences at New Delhi. She is now back in the Raipur Jail after spending 5 weeks recuperating in AIIMS, and the Chhattisgarh government has made clear its intentions of continuing ill-treatment of her, by denying her food, water and medicines immediately after discharge from AIIMS.
Soni Sori was brought to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on May 10th at the behest of the Supreme Court which ordered immediate and urgent treatment to be provided to her. Ms. Sori arrived in Delhi visibly weakened due to months of ill-treatment and improper medical treatment by the Chhattisgarh government. She was suffering from the continued impact –of the wounds inflicted on her during the inhuman sexual torture meted out to her in October, 2011 under police custody, which had been allowed to fester untreated in the jail. Consequently, she had grave secondary medical conditions, such as intermittent anal and vaginal bleeding, blisters on skin, difficulty in walking etc. at the time when she was brought to AIIMS

Over the 5 weeks of her treatment in AIIMS, she seemed to have recovered significantly, due to regular and expert medical care provided to her. But immediately after her discharge from AIIMS, Soni Sori has been denied her basic human rights yet again by the Chattisgarh government. Soni Sori’s counsel, Mr. Colin Gonsalves expressed his concern to the Chhattisgarh Government counsel, Mr. Atul Jha about no travel arrangements being made for her return to Chhattisgarh, to which Mr Jha assured Mr Gonsalves that every necessary precaution would be taken including, if need be, return to Raipur by flight (as she had been brought to Delhi). But despite these assurances, Soni Sori was taken to Raipur by train, in a crowded unreserved compartment. In scorching summer heat, Soni Sori was made to stand for most of the 24 hour long train journey from Delhi to Raipur, despite her fragile health condition. With daytime temperatures touching 45 degrees Celsius, she was denied water, kept without food for the whole day and not even given the medicines prescribed to her by the doctors at AIIMS.
It should be recalled that Soni Sori, an adivasi school teacher, had been subjected to brutal physical torture and sexual violence during her custody in the Dantewada police station on the night between 8th and 9th October, 2011. Her torture had been confirmed by an independent medical examination conducted by the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata, during which stones lodged deep in her private parts had been recovered. However, the medication prescribed by the NRS hospital had been discontinued by the jail authorities in Raipur Jail soon after her discharge, and Soni Sori had been denied any regular medical attention since the examination conducted by the NRS Hospital in October 2011. In the absence of regular medical care and attention, Ms. Sori’s condition had steadily worsened, prompting the Supreme Court in June 2012 to order her to be brought to AIIMS in New Delhi for immediate medical treatment.

It was sheer and deliberate negligence on part of the Chhattisgarh Government that led to such deterioration in Soni Sori’s health in the first place, that the Supreme Court had to order immediate medical intervention by AIIMS. The manner in which Soni Sori is being treated after her discharge from AIIMS once again raises serious concerns about the intention of the Chhattisgarh government in ensuring her health and safety. If her medicines are not administered with regularity, Soni will lose the little gains in health that she had made during her stay at AIIMS.
We urge the Chhattisgarh Government to ensure that Soni Sori’s health makes full recovery, and that the recommendations of the medical team at AIIMS regarding physical rest, nutrition and medication are followed diligently. We would like to remind the Government that undertrial prisoners such as Soni Sori are guaranteed basic human rights by the Indian constitution. Soni Sori has already suffered gravely at the hands of Chhattisgarh authorities, first through direct and malicious torture at the hands of the Chhattisgarh police, and then through apathy and negligence of the Chhattisgarh jail authorities. It is time for state violence against her to end.

For more details contact:
Vani Subramanian, Saheli Delhi – 9891128911
Shalini Gera – 9891176443.

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[Status Message] Tribals Caught in Penal and Forest Offences

Mersingh Korku a feeble man, aged 75 years, of Ghorpadmal; a remote tribal village of Betul district, has been threat to state so much so that there are half a dozen cases filed against him, and together two dozen against his fellow village man. When tribal of Ghorpadmal of Betul district were arrested two months back, it took them 45 days and had cost 15 thousand rupees to secure bail, as their files were missing. Yet they have two dozen cases in which they could not secure bail, as they have no money to apply for bail, there is permanent arrest warrant issued against them, magistrate was considerate enough to grant them bail in one case.

Tribals of Betul and Harda district, associated with Shramik Adivasi Sangathan, are trapped into vicious circle cases of penal and forest offences, filed by authorities in retaliation during 2003 to 2007. Many of them have 4 to 5 cases each against them, by the time they arrange bail in second, they realize that they have jumped bail in first one as they have not attendant hearing, the reason being; tribal sometimes were out on work; have no money. Our tribal activists have as many as 60 cases against them; in many cases there is permanent arrest warrant issued against them.

We need support to secure bail and fight these cases. Money can be sent directly or through Cheque to the account of Anurag Modi, CBI, Betul, IFS code cbin0281071. A/CNo 1293382984. Anyone donating around ten thousand need 80G exemptions may contact. Queries are welcome at sasbetul@yahoo.com

Anurag Modi/Shamim Modi

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[Breaking News] Activists Meet with the Home Ministry Re: Soni Sori

Today a group of 5 campaigners and human rights activists met P Chidambaram the Home Minister to talk about the Soni Sori case. They delivered close to 4000 signatures on a petition started on Change.org , a memorandum and a common letter telling the Home Minister to help Soni Sori get prompt and due medical care and treatment and seeking immediate intervention to ensure safety of Soni Sori, subjected to custodial sexual torture by Chhattisgarh police. The meeting took place at the Home ministry at 3:45 pm, on 27th March’ 12.

Details of the meeting:

Where: Home Ministry, New Delhi
Time: 3.45 pm
Date: 27th March’12
Who attended: P Chidambaram, Brinda Karat (Ex-Rajya Sabha MP), Sudha Sundararaman (AIDWA), Kalpana Mehta (Women against Sexual violence and State repression, WSS), Indira Chakraborty (WSS) and Kiran Mamta Shaheen (Writer).

“We discussed issues related to Soni Sori and delivered voices of 4000 people from all over India” said Kalpana Mehta (Member, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression). Brinda Karat, ex Rajya Sabha MP, demanded that Soni Sori be given adequate constitutional safegurads as an under trial prisoner and sought his intervention for prompt and exemplary action against SP Ankit Garg of Dantewada and other officials involved in the custodial and sexual violence inflicted upon Soni Sori on the night of 8/9 October 2011 in Dantewada police station. A letter addressed to the home minister, from the campaigners urged that Soni Sori be given prompt and due medical care and treatment, and moved to a safe place, in consultation with her through her lawyers, where the policemen cannot interfere with the course of justice.

The campaigners expressed their concern about the fact that they were not being allowed to meet Soni Sori.

The Home Minsiter assured the women’s delegation that he will write to Chhattisgarh government raising the issues related to human rights violation.

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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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[Koodankulam] Statement issued by human rights activists today about the Arrests of Satish kumar and Vanni Arasu

We, the undersigned would like to call attention to a news item that appeared in The Hindu, dated March 24, 2012. Titled, Youth Leader held on Sedition Charges, the report goes on to speak of Satish alias Satish Kumar (30), State Convenor of Tamilaga Ilaignar Ezuchi Pasarai being held on sedition charges.

We are astonished and shocked at this piece of news. Satish Kumar was indeed arrested on March 23, 2012, but according to information received by his family, he has been charged with Sections 143, 188 and 34 of the IPC, none of which has anything to do with ‘sedition’. Section 143 (Unlawful Assembly), Section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), Section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).
Satish Kumar was one amongst many hundreds who participated in a rally that was held in Tirunelveli on March 23. Many of the rallyists including MDMK leader Vaiko and Periyar DK leader Kolathur Mani, were arrested. While the others were released, Satish was not. Contrary to all established procedure he was arrested, kept in an unknown place for several hours and produced before a magistrate around midnight. He was subsequently remanded and lodged in Palayamkottai jail.
The news report however does not state any of this, and instead notes that he was apprehended in the district when he arrived there on Friday. The news report further notes that Satish Kumar is believed to be associated with the agitation against the Kudangulam Nuclear Power Plant. The report also quotes Tirunelveli Deputy Inspector General of Police V Varadaraju as saying that the ‘accused’ was involved in a case pertaining to the training of suspected Maoist cadres in 2002.

We are shocked that the actual details of the arrest are sought to be overwritten by statements that suggest Satish Kumar was engaged in seditious activity. We are particularly concerned that this is not the only instance where those who have protested against the Kudangulam plant are being subject to arbitrary arrests. Mukilan another anti-Kudankulam protester was arrested some days ago and Vanniarasu who was present at the March 23 rally was arrested subsequent to Satish Kumar’s arrest.

Given the nature of these arrests, we are forced to conclude that the police are engaged in weaving a conspiracy around the three arrested men with the intention of implicating them in false sedition charges. We also strongly condemn these and other attempts to malign and criminalise those who are engaged in a peaceful and legitimate struggle against the Kudangulam Nuclear Plant.

We demand that all three men be immediately released.

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[Resist POSCO] Open Letter to Naveen Pattnaik, CM of Odisha State Re: POSCO-related Attacks on Villagers

Open Letter by Korean Organisations to Naveen Pattnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha State, India

The Chief Minister of Odisha State, Naveen Pattnaik
Bhubaneswar-751001.
Odisha, India
March 23, 2012

We -human rights, labor, and civic organizations in Korea- are writing to you with our deep concern regarding the current attacks continuously made to villagers who are opposing the construction of POSCO steel plant.

Even 6 years have been passed since the project in Odisha State had begun, POSCO could never have had approval from the villagers. And conflicts surrounding the construction of ironworks are continued.

The villagers made their peaceful resistance lying down on the roads while the government of Odisha State mobilizing the police to take their lands by force. This was on the rise to international community, including Korea, as a human rights issue.

Recent few months, however, the villagers and Anti-POSCO activists are being attacked by anonymous groups of armed men. On December 14, one person was killed and many were injured by a group of armed mafias while protesting. Bapi Sharkel is suspected to be the leader of this attack, however, Odisha police had not made proper investigation on this. Rather, questions are suggested that Odisha State is securing him.

Odisha State had not made fair work on Bapi Sarkhel, principal offender of the violence on December 14, and even had released him on February 29. And after 2 days from his release, another villager was attacked by an unidentified armed man.

A group of armed men came around 1PM on March 2, 2012 and took away Umakant Biswal, a known activist of the Anti-POSCO struggle. We got reports that he has been kept in Paradip police station and is being physically and mentally tortured. We do not know whether the attackers were the police, or the group of Bapi Sarkhel. What is certain, however, is that Umakant Biswal, who was injured, could not exercise his legal rights. We are aware of the fact that, as per the Indian Criminal code, the police are supposed to produce him before the magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. However, more than 24 hours have passed but he has not been produced before the magistrate. No one including the villagers, lawyer or even the parents is allowed to meet him in the police station.

We are concerning on the reason that why Bapi Sarkhel didn’t went through appropriate investigation and the testimony that he had received all kind of conveniences. Also, we strongly question the correlation between his release and the violence 2 days after that. If POSCO and the Odisha State government who wants to push ahead the construction are behind this series of incidents, this is gross abuse of human rights as well as significant part that damages the legitimacy of POSCO project.

There are many cases in korea which government and corporations oppressed the resistance of civilians by mobilizing gangsters over developments. The development project that does not protect right to life and right to live could never be successful.

We request Naveen Pattnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha State

– To make thorough investigation into Bapi Sarkhel, including the criminals of the violence on December 14, 2011.

– To punish the offenders who had attacked Umakant Biswal and the police who had violated the article 57 of the code of criminal procedure and had refused to hospitalizing and conference with attorney.

– To stop the suppression on the villagers who oppose the construction of POSCO.

– Not to push ahead the construction without the consent of villagers.

Sincerely yours,

Advocates Public Interests Lawyers
Corporation For All
Energy & Climate Policy Institute for Just Transition
International Solidarity Committee of Minbyun
Korean House for International Solidarity
Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights
Network for Glocal Activism
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
People’s Solidarity for Social Progress
Public Interest Lawyers’ Group Gonggam
SARANGBANG group for human rights

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[Resist POSCO] More Leaders of the Anti-POSCO Movement still in Jail under False Charges – Join the Struggle

Though Abhai Sahoo, the leader of anti-POSCO movement, was released on bail, there are five more activists, including former CPI MLA Narayan Reddy, from the movement is still in jail with fabricated false charges. The police also fabricated cases against Prasanth Paikre, the second most leader of the movement, and he is now in underground. Odisha State Government and police are trying to suppress the movement by fabricating false cases against leaders and activists. Around 800 activists are facing 200 fabricated false cases in the anti-POSCO movement. The movement is struggling hard to mobilize finance and legal help for those who are in jail. Please call up on your friends to mobilize support for the anti-POSCO movement.

One of the comments from this post:

Thanks for asking if you can do something. All of us can do a lot within our limitations. Please see if you can involve yourself in either one or more of the following actions: 1. You can make more friends in this group and ask your friends to make more friends and supporters for the anti-POSCO struggle. 2. The struggle needs financial resources. If you can collect support, we can connect you to the right person in the movement. 3. The struggle needs support of various skills, in writing, medical care, posters, video documentation, legal aid, etc. Perhaps you may be able to contribute in any of these. 4. Support through solidarity meetings or protests needs to be organised in different parts of the country. This is also one of the areas of involvement. 5. Fact-finding teams can be sent to the anti-POSCO movement and then, such a report can be publicised. And I am sure, if all of us think together, many other ways of support can be thought of. Do respond.

Here’s the facebook group: Resist POSCO

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[Resist POSCO] Young Activist of Anti-POSCO Struggle Got Arrested — Sidarth Patra

Young Activist of Anti-POSCO Struggle Got Arrested

Young activist Sidarth Patra of Anti-POSCO movement got arrested. Sidarth Patro is only 23 years old and he was arrested by Kujang police at 9 PM on March 15 (Thursday). Around 1,500 people from the movement got arrest warrants. Among them, 300 are women. The activists and people are closed themselves inside Dhinkia village and if they get out from there they will be arrested. Please condemn the police action, express solidarity and circulate the information.

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[Video] 2009 Video of the Singaram, Dantewada Massacre (Trigger Warning)

In Singaram village of Dantewada (Chhattisgarh) 19 innocent tribals were murdered by State appointed SPOs. The motive behind killings was to clear the land for mining corporations. We took the case in Chhattisgarh High Court. But no justice so far, instead our office wad bulldozed by Government.

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