Skip to main content

Indian human rights defenders open up on 'state repression' during their jail term

By Our Representative 

A press meet organised by the civil rights group Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) on "Crimanlizing Dissent: Voice of Political Prisoners and Need For United Struggle" saw nearly half-a-dozen human rights defenders claiming to have faced “state repression” and how they were treated on being put behind the bars for asserting their democratic right.
Prof Sachin N began, speaking as the moderator he pointed out how right-wing consolidation has been occurring in everywhere. Thus, the there was electoral victory of Hindutva forces in the Delhi University Teachers' Association. He urged democratic forces to continue struggling even in this rising tide of repression.
Student activist Asif Iqbal Tanha began with optimism towards those who continue to struggle against injustice. He highlighted how in the name of terrorism, Muslims are thrust into jails in a country with 14% Muslim population having 18% Muslim prisoners.
He recounted his experience in Asia's biggest jail, Tihar, as a political prisoner. He exposed the irony of India's Covid-19 lockdown, where no one was allowed outside but, somehow, he was arrested with his entire locality sealed after police conducted marches on the streets to create an atmosphere of fear.
Asif said, he was practicing roza (fast) when was arrested right after he broke his fast and was physically tortured in this condition. He was brutally attacked and starved by the police for his participation in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens protests. He was whipped by the police after tying him to a tree.
Mukesh Mauladh, president of the Zamin Prapti Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC) shared his optimism on the ability of various sections of society to come together for united struggle. He pointed towards the land struggle in Punjab for Dalit peasants, who were promised 1/3rd share of Panchayati land and how those demanding this land are put in prisons.
He said, in the state political prisoners were held hostage, with police informing the ZPSC that if they stop their land struggle, the political prisoners would be released. Even when they successfully won the land which is their legal right, the state fostered caste-based violence through feudal forces like landlords against the Dalit peasants.
A video message in Gondi from activist Hidme Markam highlighted the violence of the state on the Adivasis in Bastar, the numerous policies brought up by the state attack the “jal, jungle and zameen” of the Adivasis. She was imprisoned for struggling against Adani's land-grabbing 'developmental' project. She talked of the daily violence experiences by Adivasi women, how they are raped, beaten and paraded naked regularly.
A video message from Soni Sori, another tribal rights leader, brought up her 12 year long struggle against fake cases brought against her which culminated with courts acquitting her. Even after this, she is still stifled by the police. She said, the state is not interested in ending Maoists. Adivasis face genocide and loot the resource-rich lands on which they live.
Soni Sori
She expressed solidarity to the people in Manipur but pointed out how the stories of violence in Manipar have become common practices in Chhatisgarh. She talked of how people ask women to file FIRs but when the perpetrators are the police itself, who do they complain to? She concluded with the question, why will Maoism not spread if the state's brutalities and violence continue against the people?
Damodar Turi of the Visthapan Virodhi Janvikas Andolan highlighted how people's struggle for “jal jungle zameen” in Jharkhan had many similarities with Chhattisgarh and even Odisha. He brought up the model of development introduced right after Independence which claimed to make India a temple of development, but at the cost of displacing thousands of Adivasis.
He brought up how the very first government of Jharkhand, led by BJP, sold off people's lands and forests to big corporates like Jindals, Birlas, Tatas etc. through Memorandums of Understanding, similar to Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Bikkar Singh, financial secretary of ZPSC, pointed out how in Punjab, even if there is no jungle in the struggle, the fight for jal and zameen is real for the people. With 1% of Dalits in India possessing land, the ZPSC was fighting for land rights in Punjab. He talked of how the feudal forces in Punjab are trying their hard to ensure that landless peasants in Punjab do not get their land.
Activist Atikur Rahman recalled the Hathras rape case and the death of the victim. He brought up his harrowing experience as a heart patient because of medical neglect by the Uttar Pradesh police and authorities when his team was arrested for trying to report on the case.
He underwent open heart surgery experiencing a paralysis attack in prison and nearly died due to sheer neglect of the police, he said, insisting on the need for resisting oppression together, whether it be for Dalits, Adivasis or Muslims.

Comments

TRENDING

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.