Archive for June, 2009
‘Release Dr.Binayak Sen Committee’ is now ‘A Committee For The Defense Of Democratic Rights In Chhattisgarh’.
3.To invite Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj and/or Mr. Himanshu, and Dr. Binayak Sen if possible to address a public meeting in Pune as early as possible (end of July or 1st week of August at the latest.)
R.P.Nene, Shanta Ranade, Dr. Anant Phadke, Dr. Abhay Shukla, Dr. Suhas Kolhekar, Shailesh Dikhale and Milind Chavan
Kamayani Bali Mahabal
On May 29th Morning I left Mumbai for the fact finding mission to Dantewada for demolition of the Gandhi an Himanshu’s Vanvasi Chetna Ashram. I reached Raipur, but I could not keep my excitement to meet Dr Binayak Sen, the journey from airport to his home seemed like a century.
As I reached his house in Raipur, I saw him standing outside his house in a khadi kurta and pyjama with an effervescent smile. I gave him a huge hug from more than 2,000 global members of the facebook group of Free Dr Binayak Sen Campaign.
by Sandeep Pandey
Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 26, June 13, 2009
Akin to George Bush in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attack who, while declaring his war on terror, proclaimed that if one is not on the side of US Government then one is with the terrorists, the Chhattisgarh Government thinks that if one is not with the Salwa Judum, the state sponsored tribal militant group meant to counter the Naxalites, then one would be considered a sympathiser of the Maoists. Binayak Sen paid the price for criticising the Salwa Judum. Now, it the turn of Himanshu Kumar. Encouraged by the recent success of the Sri Lankan Government against the LTTE, the local administration moved in three JCV machines and 500 police personnel on the morning of May 17, 2009, to finish off the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, the centre painstakingly created by Himanshu over the last 17 years in Kanwalnar village of Dantewada district.
Himanshu Kumar was presently engaged in a very important task of resettling tribals who had left their villages amidst violent confrontations between the Naxalites and Salwa Judum since 2005. Some of them were living in camps run by the Salwa Judum, under strict para-military supervision, and some of them had escaped to as far as neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. People of Lingagiri in Bijapur district have returned from Cherla in AP after three years. Similarly, people of nearby Basaguda have returned from a Salwa Judum camp across the river from their village, a river which nobody dare cross for the last three years due to fear of violence from both sides. The government-backed Salwa Judum wants people in camps, most of them on the roadside, but there is a Supreme Court directive that the government must help people resettle in their original villages. Around three lakh people were internally displaced during these violent years, of which 56,000 landed in the camps. But now their number has come down to less than half. More people yearn to return to their villages. The reason is simple. How long can one be dependent on government dole and live under armed security? Life has to start again in villages. That is where the agricultural fields and cattles are. Himanshu, who like the common people, is equidistant from both the Naxalites and Salwa Judum, was helping the people realise their dream of returning to normalcy. The government is certainly not in a position to undertake this perilous and arduous task at the moment.
The government, instead of being grateful to Himanshu, has been vindictive because Himanshu has been raising the cases of human rights violations of tribals by the security forces, SPOs—the 3500 adhoc tribal police force—and the Salwa Judum, the most recent being the killing of 19 innocent people in Singaram who were declared to be Naxalites in January, 2009, in a false encounter by the police. The government and the local administration were obviously not happy with him. They gave him a notice a day before the demolition to vacate the land, which they claimed the VCA was encroaching upon. The land was obtained by the VCA from the Gram Sabha based on a resolution in its favour. Even though it is a tribal area the government refused to recognise the right of the Gram Sabha.
The People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision to grant bail to Binayak Sen in the case levelled by the Chhattisgarh government that resulted in the noted civil rights activist being confined for over two years in Raipur jail on charges of sedition and participation in “unlawful activities”. It is pertinent to note, in reading out the order, the Supreme Court judge specifically commented upon the long period of incarceration for an undertrial, stating “two years is too much”, before passing the instruction “bail granted”.
Dear Mr. Singh,
As an elected representative sworn to uphold the Constitution, we would like to ask you why you support the illegal burning of houses and property, displacement of villagers as well as the killing and rapes that have been carried out by the Salwa Judum and security forces in Dantewada district, Bastar. Now that it has been clearly established by the NHRC and accepted by your government as shown by your own affidavits to the Supreme Court that Salwa Judum is an armed organization which has burnt houses and destroyed property, how do you continue to publicly justify and praise the Salwa Judum? Is it constitutional to support a vigilante movement which has caused such destruction? Naxalite illegality does not justify state illegality.
Since October 2008 we have been waiting for your government to fulfill its promise to the Supreme Court that it would rehabilitate all villagers who had been affected and displaced by Salwa Judum and Naxalite violence. The SC had asked you to act on the NHRC recommendations to compensate and rehabilitate all victims of Salwa Judum and Naxalite violence, to ensure the safe return to their villages of all displaced persons, whether in camps, Andhra Pradesh or elsewhere, to remove security forces from schools and civilians buildings, to identify the large numbers of missing persons and freely register FIRs on complaints. At first you cited the excuse of the election code in the assembly elections for not giving compensation, even though this did not prevent you from promising rice at Rs. 3. Later, you used the excuse of the parliamentary elections to avoid replying to the Supreme Court and managed to get the hearings postponed after the monsoons, despite knowing that if people are unable to come home and cultivate during the summer, they will lose another year. For almost a whole year, you have tried to evade your responsibility to the affected people and to the Court. The affected people are among the poorest in the country. You talk of development but have no concern for those whom your own government has rendered destitute.
Read the rest of this entry »
Dear Mr. Ganapathy,
We are very disturbed by the abduction of Nagesh Jhari (Panchayat Secretary) and Punem Honga (Former Sarpanch) on the night of 2nd of June, 2009 which happened between the villages of Basaguda and Avapalli in Bijapur District in the State of Chhattisgarh.
The demolition of Gandhian Himanshu Kumar’s 17-year-old Vanvasi Chetna Ashram in Dantewada on May 17 shocked everyone acquainted with its work in the backward tribal area of Chhattisgarh. Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey, who led an all-India fact-finding team to Dantewada, tells Jyoti Punwani what his team found:
Why was the Vanvasi Ashram demolished?
Himanshu had become an irritant for the Chhattisgarh government. He was doing a lot of development work, which is really the job of the government. In fact, the SP himself told us that they used to take Himanshu’s help on various occasions. But the ashram was also providing legal aid to the adivasis oppressed by Salwa Judum. In the last two years, Himanshu has filed 500 FIRs on their behalf. His most recent activity was to help resettle in their original villages, those adivasis who had been forcibly displaced by Salwa Judum.
as told over the Phone to Kavita Srivastava
As many of you are aware Himanshu and Kopa of VCA managed to escape Lingagiri in the early hours today through the forest area of that region and got into Bhadrachallam AP more than a hundred kilometres away. The distance between Bhadrachallam and Dantewada is a good two hundred and fifty kilometres.
The moment he got into range he called up his family, his colleagues and friends and supporters and said that he had escaped to Bhadrachallam and would be soon getting back to Dantewada. This is great news and we are glad that Himanshu and Kopa managed to escape the wrath of the local police and Salwa Judum although there are many concerns that still remain. He has addressed the press in Bhadrachallam with Bal Gopalji of HRF who reached late afternoon.
Himanashu gave me a long dictation over the phone of what happened and wanted people to know about what happened in the last four days. I think there are some facts that we need to act upon urgently.
Take Action: The lives of HIMANSHU and KOPA KUNJAM in Danger In Salwa Judum captivity at Lingagiri Village
Update : himanshu has managed to reach AP, and established contact with family and vca. he should be back safely, we hope, today.
- Police force about to reach Lingagiri to save the two from Salwa Judum captivity
- Appeal to Maoists to release the two Panchayat Secretary and Dy Sarpanch at the earliest.
6th June, 2009
There is some very disturbing news from Dantewada.
On the 2nd of June at about 10 pm I received a message from Himanshu of Van Chetna Ashram, Dantewada in Chhattisgarh that said “a Panchayat Secretary of a newly rehabilitated village had been kidnapped by Maoists an hour ago in front of a VCA volunteer”.
Then came a second extremely worrying message on the 5th of June from Himanshu “Trapped in Lingiri village. Kopa and me will be either jailed or or killed by Salwa judum if both those abducetd are not released. Rehabiliated villagers too in panic. Whole rehabilitation process in Danger, May revert. Himanshu”
Himanshu’s phone is not available since this last SMS.
I have tried to piece the story together by talking to Rajendra Sail Sahab and Sudha Bharadwaj. This is what has happened.
On the 2nd of June evening Kopa Kunjam the rehabilitation coordinator of the VCA was returning from Basoguda camp on his motorbike. He had as pillion Nagesh Jhari, Panchayat Secretary of Dharmapur village who had with him Rs 40,000 cash collected from the sale of rice of the cooperative. The Deputy Sarpanch Punem Honga also of Dharmapur village was riding pillion too. They were both abducted by the Maoists in front of Kopa and who was allowed to go free.
Himanshu then lodged a report with the local police station on the 3rd June 6, 2009. He told his family and colleagues and also called Rajendra Sail that he was proceeding to Lingagiri. Perhaps the abduction happened around Lingagiri. Then came this sms on the 5th that Salwa Judum had made them captive and that their life was in danger.
We learnt that the Panchayat Secretary and the Deputy Sarpanch have both been members of the Salwa Judum.
There is no doubt that the act of abduction needs to be condemned and also we should lose no time to appeal to the Maoists that they must release the two at the earliest. However, it is completely ridiculous for the Salwa Judum members to hold Himanshu and Kopa responsible for the actions of maoists who are outlawed people. Several people since yesterday have been calling the District Collector and SP that they should send forces to Lingagiri and rescue Himanshu and Kopa from the clutches of the Salwa Judum, the response has been that we are doing. But nothing happened.
LATEST NEWS: 10 am
We have just learnt that Sh. Sumit Chakravorty called the Governor of Chhattisgarh today morning and read Himanshu’s message to him and also told him to urgently send police to Lingagiri so that Himanshu and Kopa could be saved. The Governor assured that he would try helping although he was out of the State. Sumit Da was a member of the national team that visited Dantewada from 29th May to 1st June and investigated the Government’s illegal act of demolition of Van Chetna Ashram building in Kanwalnar. They had also met the Governor then and also met the SP and the Collector.
At around 10a m I just called up DG police Mr. Vishwaranjan, who told me that they had send two companies of police forces to Lingagiri. He also told me that although this area was pretty close to Dantewada but since it was controlled by Maoists the police would take some to reach. He was confident that some news would be available in an hour.
Just learnt that Sumit Da also spoke to the SP who told him that they were/had sending teams and that the DG police himself was monitoring this release.
We will keep you updated.
Please keep in touch with Mr. Rajendra Sail PUCL Chhattisgarh for latest developments. Phone number: 09826804519.
Please send urgent messages to the Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh and the State Home Minster Mr. Nanki.
I am also drafting an Appeal for the Maoists to release the Dy. Sarpanch and Panchayat Secretary. Since we donot know who they are. That is why it is important to post it on every website incase some do access mails. Shall be sending that shortly.
(PUCL, National Secretary)
1. SP Bijapur: Ankit Garg 09425277770
2. DGP Viswaranjan of Chattisgarh: 0771- 4240077 (office phone), 094252 07025 email@example.com
3. District Collector, Bijapur (R. Prashanna?) 09406202722 (Email? firstname.lastname@example.org?)
4. Police Station, Basaguda, 07853-200344
5. Chief Secretary Joy Ommen at 098266 22633, office phone: 0771-2221207, fax: 0771-2221206, Residence phone: 0771-2521007, email: email@example.com
6. Home secretary RP Jain (home ph: 0771-2883327)
7. Sh. B.K.S Ray, Additional Chief Secretary (Home, Civil Aviation & Transport Commissioner) firstname.lastname@example.org,
8.Sh.Vivek Dhand, Additional Chief Secraty (Secretary to CM), E-mail : email@example.com
0771-2221308 (Off.), 0771-2242466 (Res.)
9.Sh. M.K. Raut, Secretary (Tribal, S.C.& S.T. Development)
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org, 0771-2234110 (Off.), 0771-2331067 (Res.)
10. Governor, H.E. Shri E.S.L. Narsimhan, E-mail: email@example.com, Phone Nos.
+ 91 – 771 – 2331101, + 91 – 771 – 2331106, + 91 – 771 – 2331104
11. Sh.B.L.Thakur, Coordinator, Rehabilitation, Development & Monitoring of Naxalite Area, Bastar Secy., D/o Mining firstname.lastname@example.org +91-771-408 0522, +91-771- 233 1466
12. Rahul Sharma, SP Dantewada: Office: 07856-252224, Residence: 07856-252225