Tag Archives: protest

[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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[Death Penalty] Balwant Singh Rajoana to be Killed by Hanging, on 31 March 2012 at 9am in Central Jail, Patiala

From the Worldwide Sikh Diaspora

[…] a delegation of Sikhs from a number of countries will later this morning meet with UN officials in Geneva and make a submission to the UN Human Rights Council. The submission will request the UN to take action against India to end the death penalty.

The submission produced by the Sikh Federation (UK) states: ‘the first step is to put pressure on India to endorse the moratorium at the General Assembly of the UN later this year with a view to exerting sufficient pressure so India completely abolishes the death penalty within 12 months.’

Sikhs will also be requesting an immediate public statement from the UN Human Rights Council condemning the imminent execution of Balwant Singh […]

From DNA: Execution of Balwant Singh taking political overtures

The execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a co-accused in the killing of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995, is taking political connotations in the state even as top leadership of main parties SAD and Congress treaded cautiously on the issue here today.

[…]

Beant Singh was killed in the high-security Punjab civil secretariat in Chandigarh, when a suicide bomber, Dilawar Singh, blew himself up, on August 31, 1995. Rajoana was the second human bomb to be used in case Dilawar failed in his mission.

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Weekly Protest in Mumbai on Mondays at 5:30pm, GPO side, VT Station Re: Soni Sori

Dear all

Soni Sori case has been listed for 4 times in the cause list of SC but has not come up for hearing, the only days when her case can come up is between tuesdays and friday.Hence, women groups have given a call for a weekly protest, every Monday , till the she is finally released, all of you are welcome to partiicpate in the demo and do mobilise to participate.

The women groups have decided to call for a weekly protest, till Soni Sori is Released.

We wil have a signature campaign, and will read her letters from the Jail .

WE ALL HOPE THIS MONDAY IS LAST DEMO FOR RELEASE OF SONI SORI

Monday —March 19TH
Time – 530pm
Venue – GPO side , VT STATION

Pl fwd all contacts in Mumbai

in solidarity

Kamayani

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Protest Custodial torture of Soni Sori: 24th March, 6 pm Town Hall, Bangalore

Stop Custodial Violence on Women

“Giving me electric shocks, stripping me naked, shoving stones inside me..Was the abuse on me not enough?…This is a plea from a helpless daughter…This is a mother’s plea for her children”,- Soni Sori in a letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Soni Sori, a 35-year-old Adivasi school teacher in Chhattisgarh, has been languishing in Raipur Jail since October 2011, she has written letters from jail asking the Nation to help her. Soni has been tortured by the Chhattisgarh police – she complained that she was stripped naked and given electric shocks. A recent medical examination ordered by the Supreme Court at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkatta found stones inserted in her vagina and rectum. Medical reports submitted to the court three days after her arrest show she sustained a head injury caused by a “hard and blunt object”, that she had tenderness in her back, and blackened fingers –a classic sign of electrocution.

The torture was under the supervision of Ankit Garg, Superintendent of Police. In a terrible twist of events he was given the President’s Award on Republic Day. Soni lives in Dantewada. a Naxalite stronghold. 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. Yet the police first arrested her husband, and now Soni, for being Naxalite supporters! Because she has constantly fought for her people’s rights – for minimum wages. She has taken on powerful companies that want the Adivasis’ land, and the Chhattisgarh government that supports these companies. She has taken on the police for their illegal activities. Her nephew Lingaram Kodopi who has been arrested on the same charges is a trained journalist who has reported on the abysmal human rights record of the Chhattisgarh government from the ground. Now, fed up of being in jail, far from her three young children, Sori has gone on hunger strike. In a letter to her lawyer she writes: “We Adivasis are only fated to suffer atrocities and die. We Adivasis are a business for the government.’’

Due process has been violated in the case of Soni Sori repeatedly. When these injuries prevented Soni from being produced before a magistrate, an order converting her police custody into extended judicial custody was still signed by Additional District Judge Yogita Wasik without her presence – which is completely illegal. She was outside the court in a vehicle and never left it. She was chained to the bed while undergoing treatment for her injuries in a Raipur hospital, explicitly against Supreme Court orders. She was also incarcerated in police lockup for 24 hours against Supreme Court orders when taken to Kolkata for a medical re-examination. Soni has now testified on video that she has been threatened by the police to not reveal her custodial torture for fear that they will arrest her brother, the sole caretaker of her children.
The undersigned groups from Karnataka State strongly condemn the custodial sexual assault and torture of Soni Sori, an Adivasi school teacher from the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

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 and Lingaram Kodopi 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 of Chhattisgarh, to determine whether other women may have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, and investigate the reality of prisoners’ access to health care.
*Enact the Prevention of Torture Bill and remove the need for prior state authorization to initiate criminal action against the officials implicated 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 independent monitoring of detention facilities including station lockups and jails by human rights commissions and civil society groups. Consider requiring police to videotape interrogations, especially in police stations in Naxalite areas.
*Work with civil society groups to 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 repression against the adivasi and other residents of Chhattisgarh.

Come join us for a protest against the custodual torture and sexual assault of Soni Sori and many such women on 24th March 2012, Saturday, at Town Hall Steps, at 6.PM

LesBiT, SICHREM, Vimochana, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression: WSS -Karnataka and WSS-National, People’s Union for Civil Liberties: PUCL-Bangalore, Alternative Law Forum (ALF)

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[LesBiT] Email Campaign Against Custodial Torture Re: Soni Sori

From LesBiT:

Dear Friends,
This is an appeal from LesBiT. We are starting an Email campaign to free Soni Sori. Attached is a example draft mail which can be personlised by you all not just as groups but also from your personal emails, in your own manner and sent to president of India and other people in position like the prime minister, Jayalalitha, National commission for women, National commission for Schedule caste/Schedule tribes, NHRC, and Chattisgarh SHRC.

emails – presidentofindia@rb.nic.in, manmohan@sansad.nic.in, drjjayalalitha@gmail.com, ncw@nic.in, chairperson.ncw@nic.in, chairperson@ncst.nic.in, ro-ncm@nic.in, covdnhrc@nic.in, ionhrc@nic.in, cghrcryp@sify.com

About Soni Sori
Soni Sori, a 35-year-old Adivasi school teacher in Chhattisgarh, has been languishing in Raipur Jail since October 2011, she has written letters from jail asking the Nation to help her. Soni has been tortured by the Chhattisgarh police – she complained that she was stripped naked and given electric shocks. A medical exam found small stones in her vagina and rectum. The torture was under the supervision of Ankit Garg, Superintendent of Police. In a terrible twist of events he was given the President’s Award on Republic Day. Soni lives in Dantewada. a Naxalite stronghold. 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. Yet the police first arrested her husband, and now Soni, for being Naxalite supporters! Because she has constantly fought for her people’s rights – for minimum wages. She has taken on powerful companies that want the Adivasis’ land, and the Chhattisgarh government that supports these companies. She has taken on the police for their illegal activities. Now, fed up of being in jail, far from her three young children, Sori has gone on hunger strike. In a letter to her lawyer she writes: “We Adivasis are only fated to suffer atrocities and die. We Adivasis are a business for the government.”

In Solidarity
Sunil
LesBiT

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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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[Newzfirst] Thousands gathered at India Gate, demand release of Kazmi

In yet another show of solidarity, thousands gathered at India Gate on Monday evening, seeking justice for journalist Mohmmed Kazmi. Around two thousand people gathered this evening for the candle light vigil called by the family members of Mr. Kazmi. Protesters holding placards, candle and shouting slogans demanded immediate release of Mr. Kazmi. They also demanded the disbanding of Delhi Police Cell, citing violation of fundamental rights and charges of fabricating evidences by its senior officer. A large number of members of Journalist fraternity were also presents at the vigil in solidarity. […]

Read the full article here.

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[Kracktivist] International Women’s day March in Mumbai Demands Freedom for Soni Sori

Via Kracktivist

More than 500 women associated with various, women organizations, trade unions, health and human rights organisations came together at VT station to celebrate International Women Rights day, by raising their voices against all forms violence against women and vociferously raised slogans on true democracy and freedom, they demanded freedom for all including – workers,laborer, dalits, minorities, adivasis and all of us vociferously demanded

FREEDOM FOR SONI SORI AND PUNISHMENT FOR ANKIT GARG!!

[…]

Read the rest of the piece here.

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Coverage of the Feb. 29th Hunger Strike/Protest Demonstration in Solidarity for Soni Sori

From The Hindu

Hunger strike in support of Sori

Demanding immediate medical care for Chhattisgarh primary school teacher Soni Sori, women’s groups and rights activists sat on a day-long hunger strike at Raj Ghat here on Wednesday. The police in the Central Indian State have alleged that Ms. Sori was involved in the channelling of funds from a multi-national company to the Communist Part of India (Maoist). Activists alleged that the Adivasi school teachers was “sexually tortured by the Chhattisgarh police.”

Read the full article here.

From BBC Hindi

सोनी सोरी के समर्थन में भूख हड़ताल

उनके समर्थन में बेंगलूरु, भोपाल, जयपुर, मुंबई और अमरीका के सैन फ़्रांसिस्को और बोस्टन शहरों में भी ऐसी हड़तालें आयोजित की गईं.

इससे जुड़ी ख़बरें प्रताड़ना के आरोपी अधिकारी को पुलिस पदक पर विवाद ‘आदिवासी महिला के साथ हिरासत में प्रताड़ना’
‘मृत आदिवासी को प्रताड़ित किया गया’ इसी विषय पर और पढ़ें भारत महिला संगठन, सहेली (विमेन अगेंस्ट सेक्श्यूल वायलेंस एंड स्टेट रिप्रैशन) की एक प्रेस विज्ञप्ति के मुताबिक हाल ही में सोनी सोरी ने जेल से लिखे गए पत्रों में ज़िक्र किया था कि उनका स्वास्थ्य लगातार गिरता जा रहा है और उन्हें दर्द और रक्तस्राव हो रहा है.

Read the whole article here.

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