‘The very right of living in this country has been snatched from me’

Linga Ram Kodopi, a trained journalist and Soni Sori's nephew, who is accused of having Naxal connections has been in prison since 10 September 2011. He writes an open letter to fellow Indians.

~~~

Respected intellectuals,

I am writing this letter in the hope that you all will do justice to the torture and injustices being inflicted upon me and my fellow Adivasis.

Lingaram_KodopiI have passed through three pillars of the Indian democracy—the Executive, the Judiciary and the media—I do not have hope any more that these three pillars will bring justice to me or to other Adivasis. Because, when I came back after studying journalism in Delhi and met with the administration officials and told them that I had no connection with the Naxals—I was asked to not go to Delhi and to cut off all links [with people in Delhi]. On being told this by District Collector OP Chaudhary, Bastar Division Commissioner K Srinivasalu and police officer Anshuman Sisodia, I broke off all contact with the intellectuals in Delhi. I did not know that on breaking links with Delhi, I would be charged with taking money from Essar for supporting the Naxals and sent to jail. I was brought to the Palnar weekly market on the pretext of being questioned by plainclothes policemen. I didn't even know that Essar gives money to Naxals. The next day when I read about the 'notes incident' in the newspaper and saw Soni Sori and my name, I felt the ground slip beneath my feet.

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NHRC seeks report on extra-judicial killings in Manipur

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the secretary, ministry of home affairs of the government of India, district magistrate and district superintendent of police of Ukhrul district of North East Indian state Manipur asking for a report on the alleged torture and the extrajudicial killing of three indigenous Meitei people in a staged encounter by the personnel belonging to 23rd Assam Rifles (AR) under the command of Major Hanuman near Maphou Dam, Nongdam village of Ukhrul.

After registering a case on a complaint filed by the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee based on the information received from Manipur based human rights organization Centre for Organisation Research & Education (CORE), the NHRC issued the notice.

The information provided by the CORE reveals that on 8 May 2012, Major Hanuman (then Captain) of 23rd Assam Rifles, a aramilitary force of the central government of India, approached and requested Mr Laishram Shyamkishore, 70 years old village elder of Tunukhong Awang Leikai, Imphal East District, Manipur, to persuade his son, Mr Laishram Nobin (alias Khuman) and his son's friends to surrender themselves and live in peace. Shyamkishore considered the possibility and secretly made arrangements for his son to surrender himself before the state authorities. It was reported that, at the instruction and arrangement of Maj. Hanuman, Shyamkishore accompanied his son to the meeting place where Nobin was supposed to surrender himself. This meeting did not materialise.

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Ranvir Sena Massacres and State Complicity

[An excerpt from the chapter 'The Pattern of Abuse: Rural Violence in Bihar and the State's Response' from the report 'Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's Untouchables' published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in 1999.]

The extent of political patronage extended to the Ranvir Sena can be gauged by the fact that while a large number of Naxalites are killed in "encounters" [with police] not a single Ranvir Sena man has been subjected to this fate. The administration awakes a little later when it comes to tackl[ing] these armies. The outfit [Ranvir Sena] had declared a few days before the Jehanabad [Bathe] carnage that it would soon make a national and international headline.

The Pioneer, December 12, 1997.106

In the districts of central Bihar, over 300 people were killed between 1995 and October 1997 in large-scale massacres committed by the Ranvir Sena.[107] Three massacres since October 1997 have increased number of deaths to over 400. Human rights activists add that many have also been killed in smaller confrontations. Extrajudicial executions of Naxalites, coupled with evidence of police collusion with the Ranvir Sena, as documented below, have led to charges that the sena is being backed by the state administration and non-left political parties to check the growing Naxalite movement.[108] Soon after a January 1999 sena massacre in Shankarbigha village, Jehanabad district, a senior police official was quoted as saying, "The administration would be happy if they kill the real extremists among the Naxalites, but they are killing soft targets like women and children and attacking villages of Dalits and weaker sections, which are unprotected."[109]

Like other senas before it, the Ranvir Sena enjoys considerable political patronage. The sena is said to be dominated by politicians from various parties, including Congress, the Janata Dal, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which in 1998 led India's coalition central government.[110] In turn, the BJP has enjoyed Bhumihar support in local elections, as described below.[111] Notorious Ranvir Senaleader Bharmeshwar Singh is also a known BJP activist.[112] While Bihar's former Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, a member of a powerful backward caste, has accused the BJP of backing the sena, he himself has been blamed for only going after Naxalites, despite vows to disarm caste armies.[113] Moreover, state agents at the village and district level are dominated by upper-caste members who often operate as "functionaries of mainstream political parties [and] are either active with or sympathize with the Ranbir Sena."[114]

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Dalit rights activists enraged at the failure of Indian delegations

Dalit rights activists enraged at the failure of Indian delegations to address questions raised at the UN today - NCDHR

Geneva, May 24, 2012 - Dalit rights activists gathered in Geneva are disappointed at the Indian delegation's immediate response to the real challenges that Dalits face, when India was reviewed at the UN Universal Periodic Review of India on 24 May.

Activists comment that the delegation failed to adequately address concerns about strengthening the Prevention of Atrocities Act, bringing in Anti-discrimination law, the socio economic development of SC and ST, and caste and gender intersectionality, among a number of other key concerns.

Taking note of caste discrimination being a root cause of serious human rights violations affecting more than 166 million people in India, 12 countries directly raised concerns about caste discrimination and made some relevant suggestions to address the abhorrent practice. A further two countries mentioned manual scavenging as a concern.

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The caste cauldron of Maharashtra (Part II)

(Report first published in November 2003)

Continued from here.

Violence against Dalits in Marathwada

A Report by the Fact Finding Team comprising

Dr. Anand Teltumbde, Akram Siddiqui, Subodh More, Hashim Mohamma

November 2003

Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), Mumbai

2. Murti incident

Murti is a relatively bigger village with a population of about 3000. The incident happened on July 9, 2003 as a result of a clash between two minor girls- Kalpana Ankush Thorat belonging to Matang community and Ayodhhya Sandipan Surashe belonging to Sawarna community, at the hand pump at around 3 pm. When the elders returned in the evening, these girls reported the matter to them. Both sides came out in the open along with their supporters, armed with sticks and axes. The fight started with verbal abuses soon culminated into a physical battle. Kalpana's mother Janabai (40), who was pregnant for the 10th time, rushed to save her husband Ankush Thorat and got axed by the Surashe side. Janabai succumbed to her wounds while being taken to the hospital at Kumbhar Pimpalgaon.

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The caste cauldron of Maharashtra (Part I)

(Report first published in November 2003)

Violence against Dalits in Marathwada

A Report by the Fact Finding Team comprising

Dr. Anand Teltumbde

Akram Siddiqui

Subodh More

Hashim Mohamma

November 2003

Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), Mumbai

~~~

Introduction

In recent months a series of incidents of killings and violence against Dalits in Marathwada shocked everyone. The issue raked up in the Maharashtra Assembly led to Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde offering to resign. People smelt it to be a reaction to a Dalit becoming the chief Minister of the State for the first time. Some tried to see it as a part of strategies of political parties on the eve of elections. Some analyzed it as a natural result of weakening of Dalits over recent times because of their political fragmentation. The recent Shiv Sena overtures to Dalits, with the slogan of 'Bhimshakti + Shivshakti = Deshbhakti' was also being linked to these happenings.

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Human Rights Forum Demands Immediate Arrest of ABVP Activists Who Attacked Beef Festival

Human Rights Forum Demands Immediate Arrest of ABVP Activists Who Attacked Beef Festival in Osmania University

We Human Rights Forum, strongly condemn the attack of ABVP on the 'Beef Festival' in Osmania University today. The ABVP exposed its undemocratic ugly face today by attempting to disrupt the beef festival. We demand immediate arrest of culprits who tried to attack the beef festival and destroyed busses and media vehicles. We also condemn the attack on Venkat, the general secretary of Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika.

It was the responsibility of police to prevent the ABVP, who tried to attack the participants at the beef festival and destroyed buses and media vehicles. But police became mute spectators and that encouraged the ABVP goons to create nuisance in the Osmania University campus.

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