Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Belwa in UN

Economic and Social Council
27 March 2006
Sixty-second session
Item 6 of the provisional agenda

Report by the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mr. Doudou Diène
Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received∗
∗ The present document is being circulated as received, in the languages of submission only, as it greatly exceeds the
word limitations currently imposed by the relevant General Assembly resolutions.
Paragraphs Pages
Introduction …………………………………………………..………... 1 3
RECEIVED ……………………………………………………………. 2 – 105 3
Canada………………………………………………………………….. 2 – 5 3
Chile …………………………………………………………………… 6 – 10 4
Colombia ………………………………………………………………. 11 – 16 5
Côte d’Ivoire……………………………………………………………. 17 – 19 7
Denmark………………………………………………………………… 20 – 27 7
Dominican Republic…………………………………………………….. 28 – 30 10
France…………………………………………………………………… 31 – 32 10
India…………………………………………………………………….. 33 – 40 10
Iran (Islamic Republic of) ……………………………………………… 41 – 42 12
Israel …………………………………………………………………… 43 – 44 12
Latvia…………………………………………………………………… 45 – 48 12
Myanmar……………………………………………………………….. 49 – 52 13
Nepal……………………………………………………………………. 53 – 55 14
Nicaragua………………………………………………………………. 56 – 59 15
Niger…………………………………………………………………… 60 – 69 16
Peru……………………………………………………………………. 70 – 71 18
Poland………………………………………………………………….. 72 – 75 18
Romania………………………………………………………………… 76 – 77 19
Russian Federation……………………………………………………… 78 – 86 20
Saudi Arabia…………………………………………………………… 87 – 89 23
Sudan…………………………………………………………………… 90 – 92 24
Switzerland…………………………………………………………….. 93 – 95 25
United States of America ……………………………………………… 96 – 102 26
European Union………………………………………………………… 103 – 105 27

1. This addendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism,racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance gives an account of the communications sent to Governments by the Special Rapporteur between 31 January 2005 and 31 January 20061. It also contains in summary form the replies received from Governments to his communications during the same period, as well as observations of the Special Rapporteur where considered appropriate. Replies to communications which were received by the Special Rapporteur after 31 January 2005 will be reflected in his next report.

Communication sent to the Government
33. On 16 August 2005 the Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, sent an urgent appeal to the Government concerning the case of Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, a human rights defender with the Peoples’ Vigilance Committee for Human Rights (PVCHR), an organization working for the Dalits and ‘lower caste’ communities in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh,India, focusing on education for children and the right to self determination for these community
members, his associate Mr. S.N. Giri, and Ms. Anupam Nagvanshi, field coordinator for
34. According to the information received, on 5 August 2005, at approximately 8:00, Dr.Lenin Raghuvanshi received a phone-call on his mobile phone from a man (the identity of whom is known to the experts) demanding that Mr. S.N. Giri withdraw his nomination from an election due to be held in Belwa village on 17 August 2005. Furthermore, on 7 August 2005, at approximately 20:35, Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi allegedly received another phone-call from the same person threatening that if his associate did not withdraw his nomination, Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, his family and Mr. S.N. Giri would be shot dead. Dr. Lenin recorded the phone conversation and lodged a complaint with the Senior Superintendent of the Police and the District Magistrate. He reportedly also faxed a complaint to the Chief Minister of the State.
35. It was reported that on 10 August 2005, at approximately 16:00, Ms. Anupam Nagvanshi,was surrounded by a number of people connected to the village authorities (the identity of whom is known to the experts) who asked her why she was encouraging the Dalits and ‘lower caste’community to cast their votes in the upcoming election. Ms. Anupam Nagvanshi was allegedly threatened with murder if she returned to Belwa village. Ms. Nagvanshi telephoned the police at approximately 18:00 on 10 August 2005 but no officer was dispatched. She then sent a written complaint by registered post to Phoolpur police station. It was reported that no action had been
taken in this case by the Phoolpur police.
36. In this respect, the Special Rapporteurs expressed their concern for the harassment of individuals working with the Dalits and ‘lower caste’ communities. In light of the fact that the Belwa village and its surrounding areas were reportedly known for both capturing and election related fraud, and that during the February 2002 elections, people from these communities were allegedly assaulted when they turned out to vote, these threats were considered to constitute an attempt to intimidate Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, Mr. S. N. Giri and Ms. Anupam Nagvanshi and
prevent them from carrying out their human rights work with the Dalits and ‘lower castes’ in Varanasi. Previously, on 26 August 2003, Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi had been arrested and detained for four hours for organising a protest before the Sub Divisional Magistrate in Varanasi.
37. The Special Rapporteur regrets that no reply to his communication had been received from the Government of India at the time this report was finalised.
38. The Special Rapporteur intends to follow up on this case. In the event that no response is received from the Government, he will no longer treat the case as an allegation but as a proven fact.

Monday, May 15, 2006

First conference of Savitri Bi Phule Mahila Panchayat

First conference of Savitri Bi Phule Mahila Panchayat

Not only in India but in whole world condition of women is becoming bad to worse. Violence against them is increasing. Women are the most affected at the time of war as well as peace. Their life and dignity is not secured inside or outside of home. Everywhere greedy eyes are at set to exploit the women’s body and soul. Women have no independent entity in this society. They are like an easy prey, which can be consumed easily.
Women face violence and torture from their birth. They do not have life of dignity and honor as a human being. There is no doubt that our society has been driven by the Manuist tradition based on patriarchal supremacy and exploitation.
If one looks at the conditions of Dalit women, he will get upset deeply. Where women belonging to caste Hindus community face two fold exploitation the women belonging to Dalit community face three fold exploitation due to Brahamanical and patriarchal dominated policies which are following-
1. Caused by castist discrimination.
2. Caused by patriarchal values.
3. Caused by poverty.

The exploitation and torture of Dalit women often of such nature and so inhuman that an outsider unknown to the caste system could hardly imagine it. Sometimes they are made forced to walk naked and sometimes they are brutally killed. This is the very reason why women tortured by such a cruel and inhuman way become forced to adapt the path of Phulan Devi. On the vulnerable condition of women neither media is sensitive nor the so called intellectuals. Analyzing the conditions of Dalit women exclusively, we have decided that on the question of torture of Dalit women and for their liberation, it needs comprehensive, deep and wide campaign. We talked with some like-minded people and groups and reached to a common understanding, which came forth in the shape of Savitri Bi Phule Mahila Panchayat.
This conference is being organized to sensitize the people of each community against the violence and torture of Dalit women. In India, population of Dalit community is nearly up to 16 crore 70 lakh and population of Dalit women is nearly 8 crore, which is 47.06% of total Dalit population. It means population of Dalit women is nearly 16.3 percent of total Indian population. Each 12th woman can be identified as Dalit woman. Today 89.5 percent Dalit women are living under acute poverty in spite of the fact that these dalit women are contributing a lot in national production as an important and huge source of labour force. They are involved in agricultural production and non-agricultural production. Among them 94 percent Dalit women are made forced to work at a low wages under unorganized sector, it is ironical that such a big labour force, which is playing so important role in the national production, are totally deprived of their human Rights.
In their 4th annual report, national commission on Sc/St has reported that yearly 25,000 women are facing torture and violence caused by castist discrimination. But actually such type of complains against Dalit women are far more. There, a comprehensive study was conducted on 500 victim women belonging to Dalit community taken from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Pandicheri. In this study different forms of violence against women are detected, as for example Physical assault, verbal abuse, sexual exploitation, rape, abduction, forced prostitution, murder etc. which are inflicted by the men belonging to caste Hindus. Apart from that there are some more form of violence are reserved only for Dalit women as misbehave, verbal filthy abuse, sex violence, force to walk naked, Dalit women are forced to throw urine on their own face, they are tortured by taking their teeth and nail out, to cut the breast off, to pour the petrol in their vagina are commonly occurred.
Women frequently face violence and torture in their life but due to weakness of judiciary and predominant patriarchal mentality perpetrators easily escape out of the hands of rule of law. All studies and research work indicate that even not 1 percent perpetrator has been convicted in the matter of violence on women. In such a condition how can one hope to get justice for the women?
There has been important contribution of Dalit woman in the social development of India and its history. It is ironical that this manuist society never accepted the contribution of Dalit women in Indian society. It can be said that all literature and history is nothing but documents of so called heroic saga of patriarchal greed and Brahamanical values because there has not been mentioned the contribution of Dalit women. These reactionary historians have intentionally forgot the heroic role of Jhalkari Bai in the struggle of Indian national independence. They never remember revolutionary role of Savitry Bai Phule who dared to open school for girls first time. They exploited dalit women by making forced them to adapt the life of a prostitute as Devadasi in the name of religion and god. But when an upper caste Hindu forcefully make sexual relation with a dalit women then how she becomes touchable it is a mystery. They forget that when hands of labors unite they can throw the reign of terror away. Our supporters and we Dalit women declare that now it would not happen. We will hit hard to abolish the Brahanical and patriarchal tyrannies. Our struggle is not against the men but against those traditional reactionary ideas and system, which creates mentality to enslave the women. Our struggle is in the support of all those voiceless communities, classes who are grinding under imperialism, manuistic and patriarchal system.
Friends what might be done in such a situation without raising the question of liberation of Dalit women? Whether we can talk about the liberation of women as a whole. It is not possible to think of a batter society without solving the problems of Dalit women. Struggle of dalit women is a symbol of struggle of social honour and to have an independent recognition as a human being. There should be ensured social security by giving them employment. So we call for all these progressive forces working for the upliftment of the whole society to come forward and to join the struggle against the exploitative system based on patriarchal supremacy. A better world and better society can only be constructed by our collective effort and struggle.
Taking this into the view Shruti formed Savitri Bai Phule mahila panchayat in 2002 and Seema, kalawati, and durga joined her. Now it has taken the shape of an organization by carring out continuous of struggle. On 10th march which is death anniversary of Savitry bai phule, Savitri mahila panchayat has decided to celebrate this day as national women liberation day and has clarified that untill women belonging to upper caste hindus do not come out of Varna system and until the question of dalit women would not be in the centre of Indian womens movement there is no meaning of celebration of national women’s day.
On 10th march 2006 a meeting of savitri bai phule mahila panchayat was held at saint Kabir Janmitra Kendra in village Belawa and in the meeting it was decided-
To organize its first conference to form Savitri Bai Phule mahila panchayat and for which a central core team was formed by taking Shanti (Baghawanala), Sushila, Manshila and Asha from Shivram pur, Nageena (Kuar), Shakuntala (Fattepur) Bhagwati (Baghawanala), Samdei, Bhagawani (Belwa), Parvati (Ayear), Munni Devi (Bhatauli) Anupam (City) along with Shruti. At the same day women raised the question of disparity between the wages of women and men, domestic violence, caste based violence and not to give ownership to women in the family land property and in the common property of village level they made following demands -
Women should be identified and recognised as distinct social group:
To abolish untouchability, to give recognition and honour to Dalit women, to formulize explicit principles.
To give employment and education to Dalit women.
Dalit women, working in unorganized sector should be given social security.
Compulsory punishment for those who commit offense against women.

-BY Shruti, Founder:Savitri Bai Phule Women Forum
Translated by :S.P.Singh (Adv.)

Friday, May 12, 2006

INDIA: District Magistrate orders the arrest of a human rights defender

INDIA: District Magistrate orders the arrest of a human rights defender



Urgent Appeal

12 May 2006
UA-156-2006: INDIA: District Magistrate orders the arrest of a human rights defender

INDIA: Illegal detention; arbitrary arrest; forced confession; breakdown of rule of law

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from our local partner, People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), regarding the illegal arrest and detention of Mr. Santhosh Patel, a staff member of PVCHR, on 10 May 2006. Mr. Santhosh was meeting the District Magistrate Mr. Rajiv Agarwal to lodge a complaint against a Thahasildar (a district officer), who was allegedly forcing victims of starvation and malnourishment of Belwa village to give statements in favour of the district administration.
Mr. Santhosh is a human rights activist working for PVCHR in Uttar Pradesh, India and is based in Belwa village. Belwa village, a remote village within the Varanasi district faces acute poverty which is due to the exploitation of the lower caste community by the feudal landlords. The AHRC in the past has issued urgent appeals relating to cases from Belwa. Please see UA-138-2005; UP-95-2005; UP-100-2005; UP-166-2005 & UA-068-2006. It is reported that PVCHR had filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission of India [petition number 41875/24/2005-2006] on 3 March 2006 alleging that owing to the lack of action by government agencies, the residents of Belwa village are suffering from various problems, of which starvation and acute malnutrition is of particular concern. The complaint was filed by Santhosh through PVCHR.

Meanwhile due to the wide publicity of issues like caste discrimination, exploitation of the poor and acute poverty reported from Belwa, there were a lot of inquires with the government agencies expressing concern about the residents of Belwa. There were several inquires from various agencies of the United Nations and other regional and international human rights groups regarding Belwa. It is also reported that owing to the immense pressure, the state government of Uttar Pradesh recently issued a circular which states that in each case of human rights violation, particularly on hunger and starvation related issues, the victim must be paid a sum of Rs. 1000/- (USD 23) on report of the case and for failure of follow up the Village Secretary, the Block Development Officer and the District Magistrate would be held responsible for dereliction of duty. When problems from Belwa made the daily news, the village suddenly saw a series of visits by many important persons for the first time in their history. One such visitor was Ms. Sayeed Hameed, a member of the Planning Commission.

It was at this time that on receipt of the complaint filed by Santhosh through PVCHR at the National Human Rights Commission, the Commission ordered an inquiry. In response, the state administration responded through a directive of the District Magistrate asking the local Tahasildar, Mr. Mohan Ram of Pindara Tahasil (a small division of the district) to visit Belwa and to force the villagers to give statements contrary to the actual situation. The Tahasildar visited Belwa in the first week of May and started forcing residents, of whom a large number are illiterate, to give thumb impressions on pieces of plain paper. Fearing that the district officer would later misuse these blank papers with signatures, Santhosh intervened and asked Mr. Mohan Ram why he was gathering the thumb impressions from the villagers. He also asked him to release the money according to the government order to the victims. At this point the officer became angry with Santhosh and soon after left.

Meanwhile the state government also issued 11 ‘Andyodaya cards’ (government permit for receiving rationed articles through the ration shop or co-operative shop) to the villagers. However, when the villagers went to the local co-operative managed by Mr. Ramesh Singh, the shopkeeper failed to provide any rationed articles and said that items such as rice, sugar and kerosene were out of stock. It is alleged that the articles were sold on the black market for a higher price.

It is regarding these matters that Santhosh, who is physically handicapped and from a lower caste community of Belwa, went to meet the District Magistrate on May 10. On this day the District Magistrate was holding a meeting with local people to hear their complaints. However, when Santhosh tried to file his petition at the meeting the District Magistrate said that he is of the opinion that Santhosh and his organisation is spreading false information about Belwa and ordered a police officer present at the meeting to take Santhosh into custody. Santhosh protested and asked on what grounds the magistrate was detaining him. At this point the officer shouted at Santhosh saying that he need not teach the officer the law. Upon arrest Santhosh was taken to Shivapur police station. Once at the police station the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) was contacted by the District Magistrate and the Magistrate ordered over the phone that the OIC register a case against Santhosh. It is alleged that the OIC refused to take the order over the phone and replied to the Magistrate that since Santhosh is a human rights activist and since he had done no wrong unless the Magistrate gave in writing his request for Santhosh’s arrest, they would not register a case against Santhosh. However, the police officer was told by the Magistrate to force Santhosh to sign a paper upon which the police are alleged to have later written down a confession statement, where Santhosh is said to have confessed to causing disruption in the meeting at the District Magistrate’s office.

Upon learning of the arrest, the Secretary of PVCHR met the District Magistrate and inquired as to why one of their staff members was being held in detention. The District Magistrate responded that since the work of PVCHR is causing embarrassment to the District Administration and the Government of India internationally, it can no longer be permitted for any person to engage in such shaming activities. The Magistrate also accused PVCHR and Santhosh in particular of informing people outside of the country about the ‘bad’ situation in certain places in India. The Magistrate said it is to prevent such instances from recurring that he ordered the arrest of Santhosh. However, Santhosh was released within four to five hours and no case was registered against him.

The Indian law prohibits arbitrary detention. At the time of arrest every person is entitled to know the reason for arrest, place where the person would be detained and the law mandates the detaining officer to inform the detainee’s relatives or a friend regarding the arrest. However, in this case the Magistrate, whose responsibility it is to punish those who break the law, did himself breach the law.

The AHRC and PVCHR have stated in the past that it is this attitude of local officers which leads to many human rights violations in India. When instances of human rights violations are exposed through procedures like the urgent appeals programme, the immediate response by the state as well as district administration is to silence the victims and witnesses by threat or intimidation. Local officers also routinely receive help from anti-social elements in doing this.

In this particular case the act of the Magistrate as well as the Tahasildar is highly unacceptable since these are officers enjoying quasi judicial powers within the domestic legal framework and are also officers with some power over the law enforcement agencies like the police.

Please send a letter to the relevant authorities seeking for an immediate and effective investigation into the incident, and calling for the perpetrators to be prosecuted. The AHRC also calls for a strong stance to be taken against crimes committed by police officers and on investigation and prosecution of such cases. Please write in particular to the District Magistrate Mr. Rajiv Agarwal

Suggested letter:

Mr. Rajiv Agarwal
District Magistrate
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Fax: 91 5422501450

Dear Mr. Rajiv Agarwal,

INDIA: District Magistrate detains human rights activist for working on human rights in Varanasi District of Uttar Pradesh state

Name of victim: Mr. Santhosh Patel, staff of People’s Vigilance Committee for Human Rights, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Name alleged perpetrator: Mr. Rajiv Agarwal, Distrcit Magistrate, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Date of incident: 11 May 2006
Place of incident: District Magistrate’s Office, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

I write to strongly condemn the arrest and detention of Mr. Santhosh Patel, a human rights activist working for the People’s Vigilance Committee for Human Rights (PVCHR) in Varanasi, India. I am appalled to learn that as the officer responsible for ensuring law and order in the district it was in fact you who ordered the arrest of Mr Patel, simply because he is reporting cases of human rights violations in the state and you wished to silence him. I am also informed that you required the police to register a false case against Mr. Santhosh, which the local police refused to do.

I am informed that your office is aware that Belwa village is facing acute problems related to poverty, starvation and malnourishment along with a complete breakdown of the rule of law. I am also informed that there are feudal landlords who are exploiting the situation in connivance with government agents.

I also understand that your office has been under pressure to sort out problems reported from Belwa and that the National Human Rights Commission of India has initiated action on a complaint filed by Mr. Santhosh. I am aware that one of your subordinate officers, Mr. Mohan Ram, the Tahasildar of Pindura Tahasil visited Belwa village and forced residents to sign plain pieces of paper. This, it is believed, was an attempt under your instruction to forge documents to be presented before the National Human Rights Commission.

I therefore urge you to immediately abstain from any further acts of a similar nature and on the contrary, facilitate a creative dialogue between victims of human rights violations and the officers within the district administration, including yourself, so as to address the concerns of the ordinary people, whom you are duty bound to serve.

I also urge you to accept the mistake that you have committed and publicly applogise to Mr. Santhosh for illegally detaining him.

Yours sincerely


1. Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister's Secretariat
Uttar Pradesh
Fax: + 91 52 2223 0002 / 2223 9234

2. Justice A.P. Mishra
Uttar Pradesh Human Rights Commission
6-A Kalidass Marg
Uttar Pradesh
Tel: + 91 52 2272 6742
Fax: + 91 52 2272 6743

3. Shri Justice A. S. Anand
National Human Rights Commission of India
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi-110001
Tel: + 91 11 23074448

4. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
Government of India
5th Floor, Loknayak Bhawan
Khan Market
New Delhi 110003
Tel: + 91 11 2462 0435
Fax: + 91 11 2462 5378

5. Ms. Hina Jilani
Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights defenders
Att: Ben Majekodunmi
Room 1-040
1211 Geneva 10,
Tel: + 41 22 917 93 88
Fax: + 41 22 917 9006

6. Ms. Leila ZERROUGUI
Chairperson, The UN Working Group on arbitrary detention
1211 Geneva 10,
Tel: + 41 22 917 93 88
Fax: + 41 22 917 9006

7. Mr. Doudou DIÈNE
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

1211 Geneva 10,
Tel: + 41 22 917 93 88
Fax: + 41 22 917 9006

8. Mr. Jean Zeigler
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
c/o Mr. Carlos Villan Duran
Room 4-066, OHCHR, Palais Wilson,
Rue des Paquis 52, Geneva
Tel: +41 22 917 9300
Fax: +41 22 9179010

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Feudal-police nexus against land right of Dalit

Almost 15 years ago, UP government declared 12 Bigha of agricultural land of Ramden Pandey under ceiling for 2 years that land remained uncultivated but after that landless Dalit of that village started cultivation on that land. But after 3 years of continuous cultivation Ramdev Pandey with the help of other pendal lords stoped them from cultivation for less 10 years the land remained uncultivated. On 5 Nov. 05 Ramdev Pandey with the help of his relatives most of them taken from Bihar, who were nearly 50 in numbers taking in tractors raided to take possession over the disputed land. Dalits protested the attack of feudal lords, at this initially feudal lords threatened than by making firing in the air. But when Dalit did not agree to give the possession of the land then feudal lords fired on Dalits in which Triloki (30 years) and Gujratin (45 years) were shot dead at spot and housala (25 years) Dasharth (40 years) Rampati (55 years) Rambachan (40 years) Kumari (20 years) Fula Devi (40 years) Gurudev (16 years) manoj (18 years) Dukhanti (40 years) Durga (40 years) Shravan Kumar (20 years) Pardesi (25 years) Ramsahare (10 years) Sachchidanand (20 years) Nihor (15 years) became seriously injured as result of in discrimate firing made by feudal lords. All injured persons were admitted in Kabir Chaura Hospital, Varanasi. Bhanupratap Pandey son-in-law of son of Ramdev pandey a resident of village Ailagen PS- Chand dist Kamur also shot dead by firing made by his own people. Meanwhile other people of the village gathered there and began to throw stones on them.
Sheela Devi- The feudal lords attacked with gun and my sister-in-law Gunja was shot dead she was a wider to body is there to look after her children.
Statement of injured person- Ramsahere (10 years) Pandey’s men fired on us. We are protesting peacefully sitting in the way.
Pardesi (25 years)- We has informed to police on phone before Pandey’s men set out from his home. If police would have been acted timely they would he able to arrest the Pandey’s men and they the his incidents could be avoided.
Kumari (40 Years)- It the land belonged to him them why be had been not cultivating the land for last 45 years. Radev is a Gunda. He wants to kill us. Police do not hear us. They help Ramdev.
Housala 18 years- There is a case pending in the court. Ramdev gave money to police. Police reached to the place after 3 hours.
Durga (40 years)- Ramdev wants to get possession over the disputed land, which falls under ceiling. Administration is co-oprating with him.
R.P. Azad- We got information of the incident from police station. After getting information I reached to the place along with circle officer. Untill then incidence had taken place. We reached late because we find information late.
Akhilendra Pratap- It is attacked of feudal lords. Shahpur incidence is nothing but one sided attack of armed feudal lords on poor land less Dalits. It is a Part of preplanned conspiracy in which not only feudal lords of Bihar and police administration also gave their support. This attack is burning example of collusion between administration and feudal lords. Feudal lords of Bihar and their organizations like Sri Ram sena also played an important role in this attack.
Note: Both sides related to this attack have lodged FIRs against each others, but first FIR lodged by Dalit people under Crime No.:100/2005 under sections 147,148,149,302,307,504,506 IPC and 3(2) Five SC/ST Act Daed:5 Noveber,2005 Time:12:45 PM and upper caste hindus lodged FIR under Crime no: 100 A/05 under section 147,148,149,302,504,506,435,427,336 IPC dated:5 Nov. 2005,Time:1:30PM.
Incident took place at 11 AM on 5 Nov. 2005 at village shahpur.

Everybody from both sides named in FIRs has been bailed out. But tensions still remains their between Dalits and feudals. Dalit people are living under fear due to continuous threatening from feudal lords.

Statement of Dalit witness named Rajesh S/o Chauthiram aged about 22 Yrs. My name is Rajesh. I am 22 years old. Earlier my father was village head and he has been fighting a case for last 15 Years against Ram Dev Pandey. Disputed land comes under ceiling and the same was given to Dalits of this village. Lower court had given their decision in our favour. Then Ram Dev Pandey filed a case in commissioner’s court of varanasi and on the basis of a false judgment with collusion of SDM Chakia wanted to take possession of the disputed land. On 5-11-05 Ram Dev Pandey with their armed men, who were 35 to 40 in numbers and most of them were taken from Bihar attacked on Dalit community. Ramdev Pandey and his men were firing continuously aiming Dalits. We were empty handed. We tried to stop them. But they were firing indiscriminately, due to which a man and a woman died on spot and 15 others became injured. Brother in-law of son of Ramdev Pandey, who was from Bihar was trying to hit the Dalits by throwing stones, was also shot dead by the firing of their own men. On this unexpected happening, they became embarrassed and in hurry they took away the victim on a tractor, leaving their other tractors behind. After 3 hours police came at the place. If the police had come within time, this incident would have not taken place.
My name is Kumari Devi. I am a 35 years old Dalit woman. My husband name was triloki. My mother- in- law and father- in-law are no more. They have died 5-6 years ago. I have three children. Kumari Reena 12 years old, Kumari Savita 5 years old and Kumari Sarita 3 years old. There all three girls are minor. My village is shahpur Ps. Chakia Block Sahabganj post Saidpur dist Chanduali. My husband Triloki and I myself were earning our livelihood by working as labourers and we were living peacefully. We had no enmity with others. For 10-15 years before there has been a parti(uncultivated land) land which is almost 12 Bigha. According to the people this land falls under ceiling, on which my husband and other dalit families of my village have been fighting a case in the court by collecting donations among our Dalit community. I and other Dalits have no land. All are landless. We work as labourers in the agricultural fields of upper caste Brahmins who(each of them) have at least 50 to 200 Bigha lands. The disputed land is associated with us and has been parti(uncultivated). So we submitted an application to the government, hoping that probably we could get some lands to use as Abadi(residential land) land. When the case started then Ramdev Pandey who is a resident of neighboring village Oosari also became a party in the said case and declared that that land belonged to his ancestors. After a long time, court gave decision in our favour. After that Ramdev Pandey filed a case in commissioner’s court, Varanasi and on the basis of a false judgment and with collusion of government officials, Pandey wanted to take possession over the land.
This incident took place at 10.30 AM on 5Nov2005. We were sitting at our doors. All of sudden we heard sounds of several Tractors coming from the house of Ramdev Pandey and near about 50 men making firing led by Ramdev Pandey and his son’s Ramakant, Diwakant, Rajneesh and Bhanupratap pandey who was brother-in-law of one of R%amdev pandey’s sons. They were abusing and giving threatening. They were shouting; sale Chamaran Ko aj Aukat pata chal Jayega ( that today these Dalits will be treated brutally).They were provoking ‘come on and stop us, we Challenge you today. we will take possession over the land by ploughing it’. Hearing their shouting, there were fearful situation in Dalit community. I with my husband Triloki and with other Dalit people reached to the Chakroad near by the disputed land and tried to settle down the matter peacefully through talking. But against it, they began to fire on Dalits. Most of them were armed with guns. Due to firing there occurred stampede among Dalits. Meanwhile Gujarati W/o late Badhu was shot dead on the spot. Watching this people began to run away to save their lives. But in the house of village head, Bhagawat maurya, two or three armed men were ready and they fired from there and my husband who was trying to escape from there received a shot on his chest which was fired from the house of the village head and my husband died on the chakroad near the house of village head. Others succeeded to run away from there. Meanwhile brother- in- law of son of Ramdev Pandey who was picking the pieces of bricks up to hit us, the same persons who were hidden in the house of village head fired again which accidentally shot on the chest of Bhanu Pandey and he died there. At this they became embarrassed. They took the dead body of Bhanu Pandey in a Tractor and went away leaving behind their other tractors. After 3-4 hours police came there and wanted to take dead body of my husband and of Gujrati forcefully for post mortem. Villagers did not allow this. Again after one hour, district magistrate Chandauli came with a huge police force and assured us that each family of the victims will get Rs 1 Lac and Rs 25000 would be given to injured persons and after making enquiry of the incident, perpetrators would be punished rigorously. Then villagers allowed taking the dead bodies for post mortem. We were earning our livelihood anyhow by doing labour work. We get only 4 kg food grains for the work of whole day. My husband Triloki was the only earning member and I with my three small daughters was totally depended upon him. Now no body is here to look after us. Now, how can I remain alive and how can I arrange their marriages. I am not able to understand anything. Government should give me compensation and should give money for the marriage of our daughters. I need pension and land and security of my life and punishment for those who killed my husband. These are my demands.
Statement of cousin of Ramdev Pandey- My name is Sripati Pandey S/o Bholanath Pandey. I am 54 years old. I am a resident of village Osari under Gram Panchayat Shahpur, Post saidpur Ps. Chakia Dist. Chandauli. I am a cousin and neighbor of Ramdevpandey. Ramdevpandey is 60 years old and has three sons, Ramakant (45 Years) Divakant (38 years) Rajneesh Pandey (34 years). They all are peace loving and graceful men. They have never been involved in any kind of quarrel or enmity with others. With Dalits they had very good relations. Both had a good relationship of master and servant. Ramdev Pandey is owner of 60/70 Bigha agricultural lands. The Said disputed land is also ancestral property of Ramdev Pandey. Due to limited family members they were unable to cultivate the disputed land.
About 15 years ago leader of CPI Akhilendra Pratap, former village head of shahpur Chauthi Chamar and others organized a meeting of Agriculture workers and farmers at disputed land and from the Manch they gave slogans that those lands which are parti(uncultivated) belong to them. Declaring this, after meeting taking Dalits they hoisted Red flag on disputed land and filed a case in the court of SDM Chakia. After fulfillment of that demands a compromise was made among 10-15 people. In which former village head of shahpur Chauthiram, Bachchan Singh and some members of Dalit communities after fulfillment of that demand reached on a compromise. After some time members of CPM again began to provoke Dalits and stoped Ramdev Pandey to take possession over the land. Then Pandey filed an appeal in commissioner’s court in varanasi and commissioner gave his decision in favour of Ramdev and on the basis of that order Ramdev pandey made an appeal with SDM Chakia, Urmila Sonkar to ensure possession over the disputed land. On 25 September 05 SDM Chakia Smt Urmila Sonkar, herself making a visit to the disputed land and by making the land ploughed she ensured possession of Ramdev pandey over the disputed land. At that time Dalits, who were present there made no objection. At the time of Block Pandhayat election, CPM leader subhasini Ali and a member of district Panchayat, Dumari, Hosila Prasad visited the place and provoking Dalits they hoisted red flag over the disputed land and declared to take possession over the whole disputed land and said that what would happen later, did not matter.
On 5-11-05 Ramdev Pandey taking a Tractor of his son-in-law, two tractors from the father-in-law house of his middle son and an other tractor taking from father-in-law house of his younger son and taking Tractor of his own, were going to plough the disputed land. As they reached near the chakroad before the disputed land, already gathered women, men, old men and children from dalit community began to throw bricks. Ramdev Pandey could be able to understand anything, meanwhile a gun was fired by Dalits and Bhanu pratap pandey S/o Nikhenor Pandey aged about 25 years R/o of village Ayilayen, Ps. Chand, district- Bhabhua (Bihar) who was driving his tractor received fire on his chest and died on the spot. Having forced people from our side opened fire by which a men and a women from dalit community died. Leaving our tractors behind we ran away from there to save our life. After our returning all the tractors were burnt badly and they took away some parts of the tractors as Dinamo, pump etc. After three hours of the incident, police reached to the place and took Ramdev Pandey away. Having reached to the police station Ramdev pandey lodged an FIR against opposite parties.
For this incident CPM leaders are responsible who collect donations by Dalits and play politics on that money. If there would be no communist then there would be no problem in the area and people can live peacefully.

Bachchan Singh,Advocate- (Local leader of CPM and a member of State committee) we are communist and our aim is to implement land reforms. We want that the lands, which are parti(uncultivated) or vacant should be distributed among those who are landless agricultural workers. Taking into view this aim, we identified these types of land 10 years ago and have been conducting movement to distribute such type of lands among landless workers. With the same objective we identified the disputed land of Shahpur. We are convinced that disputed land also comes under the same category.
To save the disputed land from ceiling, Ramdev Pandey by means of Benami transaction transferred it to Virendrakumar, who was brother in-law of Ramdev and who was a resident of Bihar. It happened 20 years ago. Ramdev Pandey had other lands too of this type in village Passupur, Sultanpur etc. Dalits of village Shahpur were cultivating the disputed land. But subsequently due to the protest of Ramdev Pandey, they stopped cultivating the disputed land and due to this the disputed land became parti (uncultivated land). After that in 1990 dalits again started cultivation on that land and got possession over the land. For one year Dalits maintained their possession over the land. Again after receiving threatening from Ramdev Pandey, they stopped cultivation. In 1998 there was a compromise made between Dalits and Ramdev Pandey of which I was a witness. In that compromise it was decided that since Dalits have cultivated the land therefore Ramdev will give cost of cultivation to Dalits and Dalits will give up their possession over the land. In pursuance of this compromise each related person of dalit community was given Rs. 500 and dalit gave up their possession over the land. After some years of this compromise, Virendra Pandey died and once again the said land became ownerless. You have seen the house of Ramdev Pandey. It has been built on the land of Gram Sabha and when movement was conducted in this respect, then Ramdev Pandey gave other land of 10 biswa for the place of occupied land of Gram Samaj. About that now he says that he has given land in exchange of disputed land, which is totally false. After the death of Virendra Kumar Pandey, having made a forged will, Ramdev pandey applied for mutation in the office of Nayab Tahasildar. Nayab Tahasildar said that the will was false and the application was dismissed and file was sent to record room. Again Ramdev Pandey took the false will from the record room and filed an appeal with SDM and filed another false will. At that time R.P. Singh was SDM. He having accepted the appeal remanded the file to Nayab Tahasildar. Again case began in the court of Nayab Tahasildar. There in the court of Nayab we do not remember year and month but it was 10th day of that particular month and next date was fixed on 26. But giving bribe to the concerning officials, pandey took out the old original page from the file and added there another forged page on which there was date fixed for 14 of that particular month for the argument and thus ex parte argument was heard on behalf of Gram Sabha and on 17 day of that particular month, Judgment was delivered on the ground of ex parte argument that dismissing the name of Virendra Kumar entry of name of sons of Ramdev Pandey be made in respective land revenue records and it is interesting to note that at the same date 17 in transfer register of Tahasildar entry of their names were made on the same date and entry was made in land revenue records. At the same date even Khatauni was also issued by lekhpal. All above mentioned activities were done knowingly and it indicates clearly that everything was pre-planed. On the date of 26 of that particular month as was fixed by the court, when we went to the court to pursue the case then it was found that there was no case of ours on that day. We were puzzled at this unexpected happening and tried hard to find out the file but we could not find the file. But on 28 day of that month when we got the file then we came to know that on restoration application there had been made an ex parte order. Soon after this we submitted a restoration application in the commissioner’s court and the case is under consideration in commissioner’s court and until now final order has not been given. This is one aspect of that land. There is another aspect of that land which as follows.
In 1980 in a case filed under Ceiling Act, Ramdev Pandey said that the disputed land did not belong to him; it belonged to Virendra Kumar Pandey. He had transferred it to Virendra pandey. Even after that there was extra 20-acre of land of him falls under ceiling Act. Again he made written request with SDM that his sons had attained majority, therefore each of them should be taken separately. SDM taking bribe money accepted his application and in 1981 case started. After several years case was dismissed and after that an appeal had to file on behalf of government but Government counsel did not file the appeal because he along with other concerning officials had collusion with Ramdev pandey. Again in 1997-98 an appeal was filed by village head Chauthi Ram in which Additional commissioner (Judicial) gave an order in 2005 that village head had no right to appeal and dismissed the appeal of village head. But at the same time he directed to Government counsel to seek permission from collector to file an appeal and a letter in this respect he dispatched on 15 May 2005. Subsequently we met with DM of Varanasi and submitted our demand but appeal has yet not been filed and we are still struggling for that. All officials know this fact therefore they made no effort to give possession to either party. But this new SDM Urmila Sonkar only seeing the name in Khatauni, on 25 September she visited the disputed land along with a large police force and made the land ploughed and gave possession to Ramdev Pandey. But Ramdev Pandey could not plough it again. Ramdev Pandey again approached the SDM then SDM said that Go and plough your land, leave other things to handle me. Then Ramdev Pandey went to CO Chakia and said that he did not need to visit the place of disputed land within one hour, meanwhile he would plough the disputed land. Thus on 25-11-05 having been pre- planed, Ramdev pandey along with their armed men raided the disputed land with definite intention that it does not matter that how many Dalits are killed to get possession over the disputed land. It was luck of Dalits that the indiscriminate firing made by feudal lords gunned their own man down and they became embarrassed and took the victim to hospital otherwise there would have taken place a greater tragedy and we could do nothing.
Note: PVCHR filed petition to all concerned officials and NHRC, SC/ST commission. NHRC issued notice to SP, Chandauli (Case no.31585/24/2005-2006-OC,dated 6 Jan.,2006).Member of Fact finding team: Shruti and DR. Lenin from PVCHR and Moosa Azami of NCDHR. Edited and prepared by Shiv Prasad Singh (Adv.)
1. District Magistrate, Chandauli, UP,India
Ph.+91-5412-262557 Fax: +91-5412-262500
2. Superintend of Police, Chandauli, UP, India
Ph.+91-5412-262480 Fax:+91-5412-262478

Thursday, May 04, 2006

INDIA: UN Human Rights Council candidacy - promises contradict performance

May 5, 2006

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

INDIA: UN Human Rights Council candidacy - promises contradict performance
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is monitoring India's candidacy to the United Nations Human Rights Council with interest. India, along with the other 17 candidates from Asia that are vying for 13 seats on the Council, has made a voluntary pledge and commitments to human rights to accompany its candidacy. The Council, which is to replace the discredited Commission on Human Rights, is part of a reform package launched by the United Nations, and may present an opportunity for greater protection and enjoyment of human rights. This will depend to a great extent on the calibre and good faith of its 47 members and the development of progressive mechanisms with which the Council will undertake its work. In light of this, India's candidature to the Council is worth scrutiny with regard to the pledge and commitments it has made.

India claims in its pledge that it has a long tradition of promoting and protecting human rights and that it believes in the principle that the "growth and well being of its citizens can only be guaranteed through promotion and protection of human rights." India also states that it "is a committed supporter of the UN Human Rights Systems". However, India ranks low amongst the international community in terms of the ratification of international conventions and covenants. Concerning those which India has ratified, it has made convenient reservations or opted out from the jurisdiction of independent UN bodies, which creates significant barriers to the enjoyment of rights enshrined within these treaties, going against the spirit of their content. India has, in doing so, shielded itself from scrutiny, for example by the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) or the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

This attitude is further reflected in a section of India's pledge that reads "India will continue to abide by its national mechanisms and procedures to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens," which implies that it will not commit itself to the jurisdiction of the UN Special Procedures, but will rather continue to claim that its domestic mechanisms are capable of ensuring justice for its citizens. India's current human rights record stands in stark contradiction to the promises the country has made in its human rights pledge.

India's pledge highlights its willingness to protect and promote human rights and the impressive example it has set, according to the government, in the region. The Constitution of India guarantees basic freedoms and rights. Most rights of a civil and political nature are guaranteed as primary rights under the Constitution. However, when it comes to economic, social and cultural rights, these have been safely compartmentalised as directive principles of state policies, which are not fully justiciable.

The pledge made by India claims that the judiciary is fully charged with the actual realisation of the rights of its citizens. However, the courts in India continue to fail to deliver justice. One such example is the right to property, which was initially a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution. It was subsequently removed by the 44th constitutional amendment. Although the amendment was challenged, the courts failed to agree that the right to property is a fundamental right. Today, tribal and scheduled communities in remote areas continue to be evicted as part of construction or development projects, such as dams and other hydroelectric projects.

One specific example is the Narmada dam project, which now threatens 35,000 families. Of the over 10,000 families that were evicted 25 years ago, during the project’s early stages, adequate resettlement is yet to materialise. On this issue the courts passed the decision-making responsibility to the Government, which has passed it back, without either taking a decisive role. Given the promise and the pledge that the Government of India has made along with its candidacy to the UN Council, how can the Government justify this delay in resettling families who lost everything to a dam project and are still waiting for justice?

Even though India pledges that it will "maintain the independence, autonomy as well as genuine powers of investigation of the national human rights bodies, including the National Human Rights Commission" the lack of independency of domestic human rights institutions in India is of serious concern. The National as well as State Human Rights Commissions do not have independent mechanisms for investigating cases. The Human Rights Act does not provide for it. The Commissions carry out their activities using officers on deputation from the police services. Resources given to these officers are grossly inadequate and any findings made by the Commissions totally lack enforceability.

Custodial torture is rampant in India and the police are regarded as being criminals in the eyes of many in the country. Torture is resorted to as the cheapest way of conducting investigations. Custodial torture is not a crime in India. There is no independent mechanism to investigate complaints against police officers. India, although it has signed the UN Convention against Torture, resisted ratifying it on the pretext that domestic mechanisms within the country are capable of addressing the issue. Select cases in the Supreme Court are often flagged as indicators showing how successful domestic mechanisms are in preventing torture. However, the government is not carrying out the implementation of these judgments, and the police are often used as a tool to suppress the people, particularly the poor. The request by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit India is yet to be met with an invitation by the government, despite its having been pending for years.

Ordinary Indian citizens cannot currently be said to benefit from the protection and enjoyment of rights to an acceptable level. The country is one of the worst in the world when it comes to access to justice and the efficiency of justice dispensation mechanisms. Years of delay are commonplace concerning the disposal of cases in India's courts. Vacancies concerning judicial officer positions and those of other court staff remain unfilled. Positions within the office of the public prosecutor, particularly at the trial courts, are considered to be jobs to be filled with political cronies. Domestic laws are outdated and obsolete and can only serve as a hindrance with regard to the discharging of justice for the common citizen. They are, however, being exploited by the rich and powerful.

The Indian Home Ministry has been tasked with drafting a new Police Bill, which is intended to bring policing in India under the jurisdiction of a central command. A Committee was constituted to come up with a draft Bill in six months. The term of the Committee expired on 31st January 2006, although the Committee failed to deliver anything. The Indian police remains a breeding ground for corruption, nepotism, bribes, cruelty and torture, under a law that governs policing in India dating back to 1861. There is no independent and effective procedure in India that provides for a process to investigate and further punish erring police officers.

Suppression of the freedom of _expression with regard to atrocities committed by the military and paramilitary forces in the eastern states and in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are also of concern. Journalists are prohibited from travelling to or reporting on these regions, due to travel restrictions and the monitoring of communication to and from these regions by the armed forces. While these serious crises receive little international attention, even the domestic media only report a little from these regions.

India has pledged that it will "continue to foster the culture of openness and accountability..." Although India brought in the Right to Information Act in 2005, the actual implementation of the Act is limited to the publication of service information of government officials through websites, which often fail to work and which are never updated. Bribery remains the main catalyst for action in State or Central government offices. A considerable number of elected representatives are also under the shadow of corruption or crime, but make use of the weak legal system to complete their tenures in impunity.

Despite the affirmative promise that India is "expanding its implementation of its Rural Employment Guarantee Programme," the programme, which assures a minimum of 100 days of employment per year for the rural poor, is no better than the Constitutional promise which the country made decades ago. Today, families die of starvation in several states, including but not limited to West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. The situation is worse for women in these states.

From 1947 to 2006 India has indeed made scientific, academic and economic progress. The question remains as to how far this has contributed to an average Indian's welfare. However, 59 years since independence, there has not been significant improvement concerning human rights for the majority of Indians, who live in poor villages and slums.

Although India has pledged that it will "continue to promote the social, economic and political empowerment of women in India by affirmative actions" the reality regarding the situation of women in India still of grave concern. India has women pilots, and female scientists working for the Atomic Research Centre. However, in general, women, including those who are educated and working as professionals, are not immune to dowry related killings and other forms of discrimination. Education for female children is still a rare privilege, and a girl-child is considered as a burden and a commodity to ensure free labour and as a tool for pleasure in most parts of India. The law brought in to prevent female infanticide the Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 is not practiced and enforced in the cities or the villages, resulting in a widening disparity between male and female birth rates in India.
Although the eradication of discrimination against lower castes has, in theory, been a priority for various recent governments in India, caste discrimination is still a burning issue within the country. Atrocities committed against the lower castes are very rarely even investigated. Discrimination is rife. For example, it has taken 27 years for a lower caste community in Belwa village, Uttar Pradesh State, to participate in democratic elections, as they were being prohibited from participation by caste Hindus. Religious intolerance is also a significant problem. In places where Muslims and other non-Hindus, such as Christians, are an acute minority, they face the threat of violence and discrimination from caste Hindus, as exemplified in Gujarat. The investigation, trial and acquittal of the accused in the case of the communal violence in Gujarat and the retrial ordered by the Supreme Court, exposes both the deep failings in the policing system and the justice dispensation mechanisms in the country. Gujarat continues to suffer from sporadic violence between communities, which indicates the continuing failure of the law enforcement agencies.
India often hides behind the rhetoric of improvement and development concerning human rights. India plays hide and seek and refuses to admit that human rights are a concern at the domestic level. Indians cannot file a complaint with any UN Special Procedures mechanisms if they fail to get justice at the domestic level. Furthermore, India is very late in its reporting duties to UN Treaty Bodies: a report to the Human Rights Committee has been due since December 31, 2001; a report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights has been due since June 30, 2001; and a report to the CEDAW has been due since August 8, 2002. In spite of this, India has made promises and pledges concerning the promotion and protection of human rights as part of its candidacy to the UN Human Rights Council. India's bid must be observed with caution. Real improvements and the actual fulfilment of pledges made must be witnessed if India is going to become a valuable member of the Council.

If India is elected to the Council, its rights record and the way in which it implements the commitments it has made need to be scrutinised. Failure on the part of India to deliver results must entail its being voted out from the Council. India's representative to the Council must be a person who has the highest human rights credentials and it not placed on the body simply to deflect criticism or outside scrutiny with regard to the situation in the country. India must enable its citizens to have access to international mechanisms for redress, if domestic remedies fail them, as is so often the case at present.

To begin with, India must withdraw all reservations that it has placed on the international conventions and covenants that it has ratified. India also needs to ratify other important international conventions, for example the United Nations Convention against Torture. Further to this, India needs to look further into improving its domestic human rights standards, mechanisms and the situations of huge numbers of victims. Without all of these, membership within the UN Human Rights Council will mean nothing to the ordinary Indian in terms of the enjoyment of rights. India's membership will only serve to hinder the Council in delivering on its aims to improve human rights around the world. The inclusion of members that were serious violators of human rights within the Council's abandoned predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, was the main reason behind its failure. Such a fate must be averted concerning the Council if we are to see any real advances in human rights at the global level.

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About AHRC The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984

Asian Human Rights Commission
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