Skip to main content

Migrants, marginalised 'inhumanly' treated by administration, security forces: Saheli

Counterview Desk
Well-known women's group Saheli has sharply criticized the Government of India for showing “utter insensitivity and callousness” towards the poor and the most vulnerable sections in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. 
Calling the state’s treatment of the poor is “cruel, heartless and inhuman”, and referring to prime minister Narendra Modi's statement expressing sorrow to the poor people caused to them, it said, “Apologies about the distress caused by the lockdown mean nothing without acknowledging (and correcting) the transgressions of the state against the people who are worst hit by this crisis.” 

Text:

Our heads must hang in collective shame at pictures of poor, migrant and marginalised people – women and men, young and old, children and people with disabilities, people from underprivileged communities – being inhumanly treated by state administrations, and the security forces.
The anti-poor, anti-Dalit, anti-Muslim, regional and ethnic biases propagated by the powers-that-be are in blatant display during this, the greatest humanitarian crisis that we and most other countries have ever faced.
Since the last few days, extremely poor daily wagers have been leaving many major cities to try and reach their villages and home towns to escape the joblessness (and pennilessness) they are facing under the lockdown, the lack of any economic and social security, and total uncertainty about returning to work.
Without money and resources, they have taken to the roads, with nothing to eat and no drinking water, leave aside water and soap to wash their hands! 
Yet they have been further traumatised by security forces beating them, making them sit with heads in between their legs as ‘punishment’ for breaking curfew, and most horrifying of all, being sprayed with pesticide chemicals to ‘disinfect’ them – with no concern for their health, safety or dignity!
Was this done to those who were brought back by planes from other countries, who could actually have been the first carriers of deadly coronavirus?
Apologies about the distress caused by the lockdown mean nothing without acknowledging transgressions of the state against the people
The prime minister, chief ministers and many other government officials are issuing statements to create awareness about the virus, but unfortunately, their repeated messages on social media talk about ‘giving a free hand to law enforcement’.
On the ground this has meant a ‘free hand’ for security personnel to stop the poor from stepping out to buy vegetables, beating citizens in minority dominated areas at ration shops, ostracising and harassing those already at the margins of our society – Dalit, Muslim, Trans persons, sex workers, persons with disabilities etc. who have, for the last several years, led amazing struggles for their rights as full citizens.
Today we reaffirm and invoke these very constitutional rights and assert that every person in India be treated with equality and dignity.
We urge the authorities to put an immediate stop to the ruthless and inhuman display of power by the state agencies, and issue orders to this effect.
The government at both the Centre and at state levels, needs to prove that they are the government of all, not just the privileged few.
After all, every society is judged by how it treats it’s poorest, weakest and most vulnerable.

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.