Category Archives: Solidarity Links

Violence against dalits condemned

NSA Against Chandrashekhar Unwarranted: Justice Sawant & Others

Published on: May 13, 2017
On 9th May, 2017 mob violence broke out in Saharanpur city and Rampur in Saharanpur district. This was triggered off when the police lathi-charged a peaceful gathering  at Gandhi Maidan organised by Bhim Army. The crowd had gathered there to protest the anti-Dalit violence at Shabbirpur village that took place on the 5th of May, 2017, in which 60 Dalit houses were burnt and attacked by a mob of Rajputs. Several Dalits were also grievously injured in this attack and have been hospitalised. Many have also fled the village out of fear of further violence.
 
It was in this context that Bhim Army had called for a gathering at Gandhi Maidan where they were demanding compensation for the victims and strict action against the guilty. The police instead started an unprovoked lathi-charge at the gathering, which in turn led to retaliatory violence in parts of Saharanpur city and Rampur town. While the violence that followed the lathi charge was of course condemnable, it is important to note that no one was killed or even seriously injured in this violence. This violence has led to a severe witch-hunt of Bhim Army activists across Saharanpur district and it is has come to our notice that the state government plans to charge the founder of Bhim Army, Chandrashekar, under National Security Act (NSA). There is absolutely nothing in the nature of these protests that warrant such charges against Chandrashekhar or any other activist of Bhim Army. It is evident that Bhim Army is being made a scapegoat in order to deflect attention from the Shabbirpur violence inflicted by the Rajputs.
Justice PB Sawant (SC retired)
Justice Hosbet Suresh (Bombay HC retired)
Justice Kolse Patil (former Bombay HC)
Ram Punyani , Author and Activist
Teesta Setalvad, Journalist, Author and Activist
Javed Anand,  Journalist and Activist
Muniza Khan, Academic and Activist
Khalid Anis Ansari, Academic and leader of Pasmanda Democratic Forum

And others

Hindutva attack on universities, academics and students

Kafila

 

JNUTA Statement on ABVP violence in Delhi University

ON 25/02/2017 BY NIVEDITA MENON

Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association

STATEMENT ON VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION IN DELHI UNIVERSITY AND OTHER UNIVERSITIES

Issued on February 23, 2017 

The JNU Teachers Association condemns in strongest terms the violence and hooliganism perpetrated in Delhi University by the ABVP over the last two days, reported widely in the media. What is also worrying, along with the violence unleashed is, that by all accounts, the police seemed unwilling to control the violence and remained a mute spectator. The events at Delhi University are part of a larger pattern by which the university as a space for freedom and the adventure of ideas is being relentlessly attacked.

The Delhi University Incidents

The latest event in this series of attacks on the universities in Delhi University unfolded in two related episodes. Two JNU students, Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid, were invited to speak at a seminar on “Cultures of Protest”, organized by the English department of Ramjas College. On 21st February, the seminar was not allowed to begin and hooligans went on a rampage: stones were thrown on the seminar hall, the electricity connection to the hall was cut, the students and teachers were locked inside. The college principal was forced to cancel the talks by both JNU students, as the police expressed an inability to guarantee their safety and protests, in what is a serious infringement on their fundamental right to speak and express their thoughts and opinions in any part of the country.

The second episode in this event of ABVP orchestrated violence happened yesterday (22nd February). Some students and teachers of Delhi university had given a call for a march from Ramjas College to Maurice Nagar police station to protest the previous day’s violence and the police inaction and to file FIR against the perpetrators of the violence. After 1 pm on the 22nd, when the protesters had gathered near Ramjas college, violence was again unleashed by the ABVP that went on for hours. Many students and teachers of the university were roughed up, media persons were attacked and their equipment damaged. In these incidents, some of our colleagues, including Dr. Prasanta Chakravarty of the English Department, were injured and had to be taken to the hospital. By most media accounts. it is also clear that police, while present at the site, appeared to unwilling to take any action against the perpetrators of the violence, and chose to look the other way most of the time.  

The grand design

In the last couple of years, the universities in India have witnessed a consistent pattern of attack on the universities as spaces of the adventure of ideas and freedom of thought by the votaries of Hindutva wherein the student wing of RSS, the ABVP plays the role of their foot soldiers. This was seen in Hyderabad Central University, Jadavpur University, JNU, the Central University of Haryana, Mahendragarh, JNV University Jodhpur, and latest in Delhi University. In a similar incident, Dr. Rajshree Ranawat of the English Department of JNVU, Jodhpur, is being hounded by the same Hindutva fascists along with our colleague Prof. Nivedita Menon. Dr. Ranawat has been suspended by the Jodhpur University. Her “crime” is that she had invited Prof. Menon to speak at a national seminar. In a similar incident last year, the students and teachers of the Central University of Haryana, Mahendragarh, were hounded, harassed and threatened for performing a play by Mahashweta Devi! What is common in all these incidents is that all cultural and intellectual programmes, all thoughts, ideas, and forms of expression perceived to be objectionable by the Hindutva forces are threatened and in effect forcibly stopped using violence, threat, and the use of various means of intimidation. As a matter of fact, any ideological-political formation that doesn’t agree with their ideas of nationalism and patriotism feels threatened by the continuously haunting spectre of being called “anti-national.” This is an extreme form of intolerance that needs to be resisted and rebuffed by all means at our disposal as a responsible academic community committed to the democratic pluralism guaranteed in the constitution.

Another worrying aspect of this pattern is the state’s abdication of its responsibility as a protector of constitutional rights of the citizens. The protection of citizen’s fundamental rights should be the default position of the state authorities. Unfortunately, in most of these case, what we have seen is just the opposite of this as the police, in most cases, have miserably failed to perform its constitutional duty by either remaining mute spectator to the unfolding violence and intimidation or as seen in some cases, by siding with the perpetrators. Institutions of higher education in fact need special protection as they are spaces for the adventure and experiments in ideas, and freedom of thought and discussion is the very prerequisite of research and experiment in ideas.

Like teachers across the country, the JNUTA finds that there is a grand design underlying this orchestration of violence against freedom of speech, thought, and expression—the extermination of the very idea of university. The JNUTA expresses its profound solidarity with the teachers and students of the Delhi University and stands in unequivocal support for the defence of our fundamental rights.

Ayesha Kidwai, President

Pradeep K. Shinde, Secretary

 

 

Nagaland women’s reservations

 

Feminists Condemn Opposition To Women’s Reservation In Nagaland Municipal Councils

FEBRUARY 15, 2017

We, the undersigned women’s organisations and concerned individuals take serious note of the fierce opposition to women’s reservation of 33% seats in Nagaland Municipal Councils by male dominated tribal bodies in Nagaland in the name of protecting their tradition and customary practices that bar women from participating in decision-making bodies. We strongly condemn this anti-woman position of Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) that has been formed supposedly to “protect” Naga tribal practices. While NTAC quotes Article 371(A) of the Constitution to assert that they are empowered to make their own laws, they choose to ignore Constitutional principle of equality before law, thus denying the Naga women their electoral rights.

Time and again women’s movements in India have confronted issues of community identity vs the rights of women. In almost every instance, communities and their leaders have chosen to sacrifice the rights of women to safeguard patriarchal practices in the name of tradition and custom. In the present imbroglio NTAC has used threats and violence to prevent women from filing their nominations, or even to withdraw their papers. Through all this, the State government has remained silent spectator and tried to wash its hands off on the issue of women’s representation in local bodies by cancelling the elections to local bodies under pressure from these tribal bodies by merely citing law and order concerns. In the process, the State has become complicit in protecting patriarchal traditions to the detriment of principles of gender equality. What is not being asserted is that Urban Local Bodies are not traditional Naga institutions recognised by Article 371(A) of the Constitution but rather, Constitutional bodies under Part IX of the Constitution over which the traditional Naga bodies have no mandate.

We strongly condemn the unconstitutional demand of the NTAC and the succumbing of the state government to the pressures of this body. We stand strongly with the struggle of Naga Mothers Association and others who have consistently been fighting for peace, jusice and the rights of Naga women for political representation in local bodies since 2006 when the Nagaland Municipal (First Amendment) Act was enacted granting 33% reservations to Naga women in local bodies.

We demand:

• Immediate resumption of the electoral process for Nagaland Municipal Councils.

• The state government must stop colluding with powers that promote anti-women practices of communities.

• The state government must implement the 33% political representation of women in local bodies with immediate effect.

• The state government must uphold the rights of women, in this and other areas of law and governance.

Signed by over 150 women and women’s organisations:

Organisations

1.         Saheli Women’s Resource Centre

2.         LABIA – A Queer Feminist LBT Collective

3.         Forum Against Oppression of Women

4.         Zubaan

5.         Stree Mukti Sangathan

6.         Anhad – Act Now for Harmony & Democracy

7.         NAPM – National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements

8.         Sappho for Equality

9.         Pennurimai Iyakkam

10.     Pann Nu Foundation

11.     All India Progressive Women’s Association

12.     Olakh

13.     Akshara

14.     North East Network

15.     Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti

16.     Nirantar

17.     Kosi Navnirman Manch

18.     Joint Women’s Program

19.     Bebaak Collective

20.     Matu Kan Sangathan

21.     Sangatin Samooh

22.     CASAM

23.     SANGRAM

24.     Feminism in India

25.     Partners in Law Development

26.     Women Power Connect

27.     Gender, Livelihoods and Resources Forum

28.     Food Sovereignty Alliance

29.     IRDSO Manipur

Individuals

1.       Aarthi Pai

2.       Abha Bhaiya

3.       Ammu Abraham

4.       Anomita Sen

5.       Anita Ghai

6.       Anjali Sinha

7.       Anupama Potluri

8.       Anuradha Banerji

9.       Anuradha Kapoor

10.   Anuvinda Varkey

11.   Alana Golmei

12.   Arun Bhurte

13.   Ashima Roy Chowdhury

14.   Ashley Tellis

15.   Bishakha Datta

16.   Chayanika Shah

17.   Deepa Venkatachalam

18.   Deepti Sharma

19.   Devaki Jain

20.   Dhruva Narayan

21.   Dunu Roy

22.   Gabriel Dietrich

23.   Gargee Baruah

24.   Gayatri Sharma

25.   Geeta Seshu

26.   Geetha Nambisan

27.   Govind Kelkar

28.   Hasina Khan

29.   Imrana Qadeer

30.   Indira Jaising

31.   Janaki Abraham

32.   Japleen Pasricha

33.   Jashodhara Dasupta

34.   Jhuma Sen

35.   Kalpana Mehta

36.   Kalyani Menon Sen

37.   Kamayani Bali Mahabal

38.   Kamini Tankha

39.   Kamla Bhasin

40.   Kavita Krishnan

41.   Kavita Srivastav

42.   Khyochano Ovung

43.   Kiran Shaheen

44.   Krishnakant

45.   Lata Singh

46.   Laxmi Murthy

47.   Madhu Mehra

48.   Madhu Bhushan

49.   Mahendra Yadav

50.   Manasi Pingle

51.   Mary Beth Sanate

52.   Mary John

53.   Medha Patkar

54.   Meena Seshu

55.   Meera Sanghamitra

56.   Mihira Sood

57.   Mini Mathew

58.   Mira Shiva

59.   Mohan Rao

60.   Monisha Behal

61.   Mukul Mangalik

62.   S Maya

63.   Nalini Vishwanathan

64.   Nalini Nayak

65.   Nandini Sundar

66.   Nandita Shah

67.   Nasreen Habib

68.   Neeta Hardikar

69.   Neera Javed Malik

70.   Nimisha Desai

71.   Nisha Biswas

72.   Nonibala Narengbham

73.   Padma Deosthali

74.   Padmini Kumar

75.   Pamela Philipose

76.   Panchali Ray

77.   Parul Sethi

78.   Patricia Mukhim

79.   Pramada Menon

80.   Pooja Bhatia

81.   Pushpa Achanta

82.   Radhika Desai

83.   Ratna Appender

84.   Renu Singh

85.   Richa Singh

86.   Rina Mukherji

87.   Ritu Dewan

88.   Rohini Hensman

89.   Roshmi Goswami

90.   Runu Chakraborty

91.   Sadhna Arya

92.   Sagari Ramdas

93.   Sana Contractor

94.   Sarojini N

95.   Saswati Ghosh

96.   Satnam Kaur

97.   Savita Sharma

98.   Seema Baquer

99.   Sejal Dand

100.  Shabnam Hashmi

101.  Sharanya Nayak

102.  Shewli Kumar

103.  Shoma Sen

104.  Sonali Udaybabu

105.  Sophia Khan

106.  Soma K P

107.  Subhash Gatade

108.  Subashri Krishnan

109.  Sujatha Gothoskar

110.  Sumi Krishna

111.  Suneetha Dhar

112.  Surajit Sarkar

113.  Svati Joshi

114.  Svati Shah

115.  Swarnlatha

116.  Teena Gill

117.  Ujwala Kadrekar

118.  Uma Chakravarti

119.  Uma Chandru

120.  Urvashi Butalia

121.  Urvashi Sarkar

122.  Vahida Nainar

123.  Vandana

Prasad

124.  Vani Subramanian

125.  Vibhuti Patel

126.  Vimal Bhai

127.  Vipin Krishna

128.  Virginia Saldanha

129. Mary Beth
130. Syeda Hameed
131. Nivedita Menon

End the regime of state terror in Kashmir

Press Release Kashmir Concerned Citizens’ Collective
Srinagar, 16 December 2016

SRINAGAR, December 16: The Concerned Citizens’ Collective team that visited Kashmir from 12 to 16 December 2016, expressed deep dismay to observe that the people of the Kashmir valley have been entirely abandoned by their central and state governments, in this time of their great suffering. The only face of government that the people of the Valley encounter is of a repressive security establishment, they declared.
There is no proportionality of state response as stone pelting is met by bullets and pellet guns. The high proportion of injuries on the face and above the waist demonstrate that there was official intention to shower hundreds of pellets on the agitated population, not to disperse but to kill or permanently disable.
This attitude of governments, both state and central, the members maintained, is even more regrettable because the large majority of the victims of the bullets and pellet guns are children, many of them so young that they could not have been part of any agitation. Even for those boys who were pelting stones, the response of a democratic state cannot be to disable them for life, or to kill them.
There is also no display of public compassion by the state government, which has failed to reach out to the children who are blinded and disabled, and their suffering families, many of whom are too frightened to seek medical treatment for fear of being criminalised. At the same time, the Committee greatly appreciated the doctors and public medical community, including in psychiatry and ophthalmology, who extended extraordinarily compassionate, even heroic, service and care to the victims of pellet and gun injuries.
The Committee was distressed to learn that many children are presently incarcerated in adult prisons. Others are detained in juvenile homes but without the protections of a comprehensive juvenile justice system which has not been established in J&K. Equally distressing is the finding that both children and adults are being detained under the draconian anti-democratic Public Security Act.
The Concerned Citizens’ Collective team, comprising Tapan Bose, Harsh Mander, Pamela Philipose, Dinesh Mohan and Navsharan Kaur met a wide range of the Kashmiri population over their four-day stay in Kashmir. They interacted with over 150 persons, ranging from children disabled by pellets and bullets and their caregivers, youth, women, older people, working people, farmers, doctors, human rights and civil society activists, journalists, traders, business leaders, writers, and villagers in Kulgam, Pulwama and Anantnag.   This wide swathe of public opinion was nearly unanimous in expressing their anguish and alienation from the state. It was clear to the Committee this was no longer a movement of militants supported by Pakistan as is portrayed in the national media, but a broad-based movement of almost all sections of Kashmiri society.
A number of people who met the team members asked that if the Kashmiri people were indeed equal citizens of India, then why does the government and its security establishment use forms and levels of state violence in the Kashmir valley that they do not deploy in other parts of the country? Even more violent agitations in recent months, such as the Patel and Jat agitations and the protests against the sharing of Cauvery river waters have not been met with such lethal state response as in Kashmir. The Committee said it was opposed to the use of such force against the country’s people anywhere, and that it was deeply dismayed that this highly excessive use of force against Kashmiris reflects an attempt to crush their spirit and treat them as an enemy population. A large majority of people who met them also deplored the role of significant sections of the national media for purveying false and partisan information about the Kashmiri situation over the past months, contributing further to their sense of alienation.
The Concerned Citizens’ Committee expressed deep anguish at the suffering of those who they described as ‘our Kashmiri children, sisters and brothers at the hand of governments that are majoritarian, repressive and merciless’. The members observed that there is a sense of fear among minorities, liberals and the poor in other parts of India as well because of the same approach of the central government to its working people and to dissent.
They therefore stand in solidarity with all these people, and demand that pellet guns are banned forthwith. The Committee also demands that the leadership of both the central and state governments publicly express regret for their use on children and civilians; that peaceful dissent and stone pelting is met in future with democratic, proportionate and restrained response by the police and security personnel; that security personnel responsible for these excesses and violence are punished; that the state administration releases forthwith all children and youth and political prisoners; that it reaches out humanely with all support for treatment, rehabilitation, education and livelihoods of persons disabled because of bullets and pellets and their caregivers; and that a peaceful, just and humane atmosphere is created in the state to initiate political engagement and meaningful dialogue to address the widely held grievances of the people.