The preamble of the Indian constitution read as, ‘WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA’… further grand themes like JUSTICE, LIBERY AND EQUALITY of status has been highlighted with utmost care. Further ‘DIGNITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL’ has been asserted. The tone of the preamble sets the ethical and legal framework to create an atmosphere in the country where all human being can live with their realized potential and dignity. However, reality is appalling. Justice is elusive (inaccessible, long delays, corruption, political influence) to the majority of the downtrodden and untouchables. Liberty (freedom of expression) is at stake, such as:
1. On 26th June, 2012 Ms. Shirin Shabana Khan, senior member of management committee of PVCHR posted in Odisha Watch an article published in Asia News.[i] This article includes the quotation of Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi on Kandhamal issues. After more than a month three gentlemen (Mr. Saubhagya Panigrahi, Mr. Chinmaya Kumar Panda and Mr. Bahara Mihir Mohanty) from Odisha attacked on her religion identity.[ii]
2. Shruti Nagvanshi was struck down in the ground and villagers were beaten by Guddu Dubey, known for his links to the underworld in Ahirani Nathaipur, Block – Baragaon under Phulpur Jurisdiction, Varanasi.. After they complained that a social audit was being fabricated, and that many of their names were being misused. The audit was to look into the operation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (MNREGA), which is operated by the Village Panchayat. We have also learned that although the office of the village head was reserved for a female candidate and was won by the wife of a local landlord, it is her husband who runs the village.
Lalji and Mr. Magala Rajbhar, an activist associated with the PVCHR, tried to intervene and keep the peace, but were beaten by Singh. The BDO called off the meeting and made moves to leave. When asked to call the police by two female PVCHR staff members (Ms. Shruti and her sister Ms. Anupam), he claimed that he would rather report it personally. Shruti requested that she and Lajli go with him and the three tried to leave, but a mob of upper caste men led by Singh reportedly surrounded the vehicle and demanded that Lalji get out. At this point Mishra allegedly pushed Lalji out of his vehicle, and Shruti followed, fearing for his safety. The two were beaten, and one man, Guddu Dubey, known for his links to the underworld, struck Shruti to the ground. Villagers were able to intervene and the two victims were taken to Phulpur Police Station to make a report.[iii]
3. Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi was detained under Section 151 and released after four hours while the other three activists were charged under Sections 107/16 for the legal proceeding. As on 8 August 2003, the children held a Child Parliament in front of the district headquarters and demanded a school in their area. On 26 August 2003, observed as tehsil diwas (day), 250 children walked 5 km from the Sant Kabir Jan Mitra Kendra to Pindra tehsil and submitted their demand to the SDM of Pindra. The SDM misbehaved with the children and ordered a lathi-charge on the children and the villagers.
Rajendra Tiwari, present village head of Belwa village, does not plan to open any school for the Musahars he engages as bonded labourers in his brick kiln factory. Even the BRC co-ordinator in his report stated that 211children were present in the brickfields and this ghetto was marginalised due to politically biased enmity.
In 2007 false charged imposed on Dr. Raghuvanshi and his colleagues under Section 505(b) were highlighted by NDTV in a special news report. It was aired in India, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom on 10 December 2010. As the national media wrote front-page editorials, the electronic media gave wide coverage to the issue by allotting prime time news coverage to these cases.[iv]
The state administration, meanwhile, haphazardly responded to the issue. Its response was in two different directions, unfortunately opposing each other. Once the appeals were issued, the administration immediately dispatched some of its senior most government officers to the remote villages to study the situation. In one such case, some of the top officers literally flew into Anei village at Varanasi in a helicopter. Anei is the village from which the Jigar case was reported. The officers, under the direction of the chief minister’s office, took immediate steps to ensure that there would be no further starvation deaths in the village. The officers made overnight arrangements to measure the land and even allotted land to the lower caste community in the village within hours.
Various political parties in the state picked up the issue of starvation and malnourishment. Rahul Gandhi, a Member of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh, came to know about the case of Mukesh from Jaunpur district and made arrangements for his treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Mukesh was shifted to AIIMS and is now receiving treatment there. While this was going on, the chief minister appeared on television and gave a statement that the reports made by PVCHR and AHRC concerning starvation and deaths from malnutrition were false. Simultaneously, I started receiving threat calls on my mobile phone.
One Rajendra Tripathi has filed a complaint against him and his colleagues at the Phulpur police station making false allegations against PVCHR and myself. Tripathi, the head of Belwa village who is also the complainant in the case, is a person against whom I, in the past, as the member of the District Vigilance Committee against Bonded Labour, filed complaints, based on which there is a warrant of arrest issued by the magistrate’s court. The arrest order is pending against Tripathi. The FIR states that Tripathi himself reported at Phulpur police station along with his brother, and has given the First Information Statement.
Police Station Officer,
The applicant Mr Rajendra Prasad Tripathi, son of Raj Narayan Tripathi is a resident of Belwa village within the jurisdiction of Phulpur police station of Varanasi district. He is a peace loving person. In the applicant's village, now Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi, Ms Anupam Nagavanshi and Ms Shruti Nagavanshi of village Pandeypur and Daulatpur and Mr Prem Nut, son of Mahangu, Ms Kalawathi, wife of Sherbahadur of Belwa are running various NGOs – Jan Mitra Nyas (funding organisation), People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, Sawitri Bai Phule Samiti, Bagath Singh Youth Singh Samiti, Voice of People, etc. They are giving fake assurances and attractions to the illiterate and poor people in the name of money, Anthyodaya Anna Yojana Card (AAY card), housing, pension, allotment of land and jobs and they are earning money. They have compelled the villagers into class conflict and are interfering in the village committee politics by agitating the villagers by provocative speeches. It is their work to gather against the administration and other respected people of the village and they regularly conduct gherao in the district head quarter and against other high officials.
The above people and their NGO’s work is to create class conflict and lawlessness. If legal action is not taken against the above people, the situation of conflict and disorder will be created. Sir, I urge you to take legal action against the above people so there could be peace in the village.
9 December 2007
Mr Rajendra Prasad Tripathi
The complaint reflects the worry of a Brahmin who finds his family’s thus far unchallenged domination upon the lower caste being challenged. The accused persons in the complaint also include members of the Dalit community. The mere fact that the complaint is false and made with malicious intention calls for action against the complainant under provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and also under the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The allegations of ‘making promises’ are false. Free speech is a fundamental right in India, so is the freedom to associate. The registration of the crime based on this complaint will amount to registering a crime for exercising a person’s fundamental right guaranteed in the Constitution. This ground of the complaint has no legal basis whatsoever.
In spite of repeated reminders, the Phulpur police refused to produce anything in court. Even though the law mandates a report to be filed by the police in court within 48 hours, the police filed a report after 10 days informing the court that a crime has been registered. Meanwhile, the PVCHR activists against whom the crime was registered also appeared in court, informing it that they are present within the jurisdiction of the police and in public in case the police wanted them to be arrested. The police, however, refused to arrest them. Ironically, PVCHR has also been requested by the state police department to address their senior officers on human rights principles in a meeting organised by the state police department in Varanasi on 28 January 2008. In December 2007, the PVCHR staff and the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh even had a live discussion telecast regarding the issues of starvation and hunger of Dalits in the state.
In fact, in August 2005, PVCHR promoted a contest against the candidature of Tripathi as the village head in the local election. Tripathi immediately responded by ordering Ramasray Singh, a local criminal, to call the candidate S N Giri and me over telephone saying that he has been asked by Tripathi to kill both me and Giri for promoting a competition in the village election, which thus far was never contested. Against this, the AHRC issued an Urgent Appeal, which was responded to by three rapporteurs from the United Nations, who wrote to the Government of India to provide protection to Giri and me. The Election Commission of India also responded to the appeal by sending their representative to monitor the election and ordering the then District Magistrate to provide every security to Giri and also to the Dalit voters during the election. A criminal case was registered against Ramasray Singh and he was arrested. The District Magistrate also issued shoot-at-sight orders against the criminals sponsored by Tripathi, if they tried to prevent the Dalits from participating in the electoral process. Due to this, for the first time since Independence, the Dalits in Belwa exercised their right to vote.
4. Mangal Singh son of Ghasite resident of Vishal Nagar, district Mahoba of Uttar Pradesh. Mangal Singh, a farmer is fighting against the illegal mining & heavy blasting activities near town Kabrai Mahoba district, which has affected the residents of that areas. He has filed PIL in Honb’ High Court, Allahabad CIVIL MISC. WRIT PETITION NO 63396 OF 2009 that turned the stone crusher association against him. On which Mangal Singh sought security from Honb’ High Court. The Honb’ Court ordered but till now he did not get any security.
5. Ms.Rehana Adeeb, founder of ASTITWA (Action Social team for Women) Social Organization in Purkoji Street, District Muzaffarnager of Uttar Pradesh. Her organization starts having friendly relation with Muslims and dalits women and share their high and lows faces in their life and experience how they individually struggled in their life and run their families.
Astitwa is making effort with this aim and some people or some groupis strictly opposing it because they are in the fear of seat and they are playing politics in the name of religion and women. They are raising their voice and doing against Astitwa because they are feared of political game will be ruined. For example provoking with worker, forcefully taking money by entering in office, showing vulgar picture and mentioning it on the piece of paper to women worker, communicating on the mobile etc. several times it was complained in the police station but police respected people of the society unite for doing harassment. Administration entirely oppositely behaving with us “they are already in trouble and we also came to troubled them”. In this situation it is very challenging to work. Entire day she work in the field because her house is 90 Km far from my work place. It is very dangerous to sleep alone in the office. Female colleagues help her in day during her work but she is alone in the night.[iii]
6. Mr. Mahesanand, Secretary, Gramya Swaraj Samiti organized protest march from Dudhi tehsil to Robertsganj district header of Sonbhadra. In which five thousand tribal will cover 100 km starting from 10- 15 March on the resolution taken by villagers of Sundari on 15th January, 2011 after inauguration of Kanhar Dam. He faced threat from the local contractor, state and political parties.
7. When the world recognises and shows solidarity with the non violent protest of Irom Sharmila, that entered into the 10th year for demanding establishment of rule of law and repeal of AFSPA entirely from the State, the political system both in Delhi and Manipur get into the brass task to undermine the strength of non violence through their silence and ignorance. Her's is the longest protest for a social cause by any single individual anywhere in the world. Reacting to her hunger strike, and the public support across the globe, the frustrated Mr Okram Ibobi Singh, the Chief Minister told in the Manipur State Assembly that the State Government had to spend around Rs 147,000 in two years to keep Sharmila 'alive'. We are sure; the Britishers never said such thing against Gandhiji. Neither the security agencies, nor the political class have learned the meaning and experience of non violence, except using it as a debit card[v].
8. The reign of terror was such that even listening to Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) Radio Station would lead to public beatings and incarceration. "There were lots of stories in our childhood about sending behind bars anyone caught murmuring signature tune of AJK radio-today many have put this as ring tone in their cell phones. Those days it was seditious to tune in any other radio station other than the Radio Kashmir. We heard stories about sleuths eavesdropping and people being cane charged and even fed with hot potatoes by dreaded cops for listening to AJK radio".[vi]
9. Police firing in Paramakudi area of Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu, on 11September 2011, in which 6/7 persons died and several injured. Pursuant to the directions of the Commission to the DGP, Tamil Nadu, the SP, Ramanathapuram District, has sent his report dated 29.02.2012. As per this report, Crime No. 300/11 U/S 147/148/149/427/324/435/332/307 IPC and Section 3/4 of the TNPPDL Act, was registered at Town Police Station of Paramakudi on the incident in question. Vide Government Order dated 29.11.2011 the investigation of the case has since been transferred to the CBI. The report further says that the State Government has appointed a one man Commission of Inquiry, headed by Justice Shri Sampath, a retired Judge of the Madras High Court, to conduct an inquiry into the incident. The report is yet to come. The report further says that vide Government Order dated 29.11.2011, the State Government has announced relief of Rs.5 lakhs each to the NOK of the deceased persons. The Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, is directed to inform the Commission of the status of the inquiry by the Inquiry Commission within four weeks. He should further forward to the Commission proof of payment of the announced relief to the NOK of the persons who died in the police firing. The Additional Director, CBI, Chennai, is also directed to inform the Commission of the current status in the case within four weeks.[vii]
Dr. B.R Ambedkar rightly says “Indian today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them”
Therefore it is an appeal to Government of India to assert the Liberty (Freedom of Expression) and to invite UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly to visit to India.
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights
SA 4/2 A, Daulatpur, Varanasi, India-221002