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Adivasi Union to stand with peasants of country during nationwide protests

AIUFWP chips in to the growing support of nationwide peasant unrest planned for the Constitution Day

25 Nov 2020

The All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) on November 25, 2020 promised to join the ‘Dilli Chalo’ farmers protest rally as well as the nationwide workers' strike scheduled to commence November 26 onwards.

The strike and protest decry the central government’s anti-farmer laws and anti-labour policies and the Electricity Bill, all of which allegedly work for the benefit of different corporate lobbies.

AIUFWP General Secretary Ashok Choudhary called the laws a direct attack on peasants, workers and India’s sovereignty under the current right wing neoliberal regime.

“We as forest working communities are equally concerned about the repercussion of such anti-farmers and anti-labour laws. Adivasi and forest dwellers communities would never allow any vested interests to control or compromise their freedom and autonomy under the garb of anti-farmers acts and anti-labour reforms (anti-people’s) law,” said Choudhary in a press release.

The Union’s representatives will be a part of the farmers march organised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) on November 26 and November 27 along with 500 farmers organizations from Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and eastern Rajasthan.

Similarly, labour trade Unions including informal workers shall observe a national strike on November 27 to oppose ‘labour reforms.’ Workers will also lay siege on state capitals and Delhi.

“This siege may go long, longer than a day, week and months. We as a framing community are coming prepared against privatization of forest, land, water and human resources,” they said.

AIUFWP has been very active in claiming land, water and forest resources through the Forest Rights Act 2006. Members are determined to prevent their rights from being further dictated by foreign and corporate lobbies through such anti-farmers laws and anti-labour reforms.

Related:

Uttarakhand: Committee formed to consider Van Gujjars forest rights
Forest rangers relent; release Forest Rights Committee Chairman in face of resounding dissent
Bihar Govt has worst record on Land Rights to Adivasis: Brinda Karat
Kaimur Mukti Morcha stands firm on boycotting Bihar election until they are given forest rights

Adivasi Union to stand with peasants of country during nationwide protests

AIUFWP chips in to the growing support of nationwide peasant unrest planned for the Constitution Day

The All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) on November 25, 2020 promised to join the ‘Dilli Chalo’ farmers protest rally as well as the nationwide workers' strike scheduled to commence November 26 onwards.

The strike and protest decry the central government’s anti-farmer laws and anti-labour policies and the Electricity Bill, all of which allegedly work for the benefit of different corporate lobbies.

AIUFWP General Secretary Ashok Choudhary called the laws a direct attack on peasants, workers and India’s sovereignty under the current right wing neoliberal regime.

“We as forest working communities are equally concerned about the repercussion of such anti-farmers and anti-labour laws. Adivasi and forest dwellers communities would never allow any vested interests to control or compromise their freedom and autonomy under the garb of anti-farmers acts and anti-labour reforms (anti-people’s) law,” said Choudhary in a press release.

The Union’s representatives will be a part of the farmers march organised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) on November 26 and November 27 along with 500 farmers organizations from Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and eastern Rajasthan.

Similarly, labour trade Unions including informal workers shall observe a national strike on November 27 to oppose ‘labour reforms.’ Workers will also lay siege on state capitals and Delhi.

“This siege may go long, longer than a day, week and months. We as a framing community are coming prepared against privatization of forest, land, water and human resources,” they said.

AIUFWP has been very active in claiming land, water and forest resources through the Forest Rights Act 2006. Members are determined to prevent their rights from being further dictated by foreign and corporate lobbies through such anti-farmers laws and anti-labour reforms.

Related:

Uttarakhand: Committee formed to consider Van Gujjars forest rights
Forest rangers relent; release Forest Rights Committee Chairman in face of resounding dissent
Bihar Govt has worst record on Land Rights to Adivasis: Brinda Karat
Kaimur Mukti Morcha stands firm on boycotting Bihar election until they are given forest rights

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Dalit house set ablaze in MP, brothers thrashed, CM silent?

The incident took place on November 21 in Chirgai village in Madhya Pradesh's Datia district. 

24 Nov 2020

Dalit House

It has been days since two Dalit brothers Santram Dohra, and Sandeep Dohre, were beaten up, in Madhya Pradesh, and their home was set ablaze, because they refused to withdrawing a 2018 complaint against a difference in wage payment. However, outside of the ‘Dalit circles’ and community leaders, there seems to be minimal outrage over the incident, which is only the latest in the atrocitiis against the community.

 

 

The man identified Santram Dohra, by NDTV, had lodged a complaint against the accused Pavan Yadav over a difference in wage payment. He had refused to withdraw the two-year-old case, despite pressure to do so. According to news reports Sandeep Dohre, and his brother were thrashed by a group of 15 men who also set  their house on fire. The incident took place on November 21 in Chirgai village in Madhya Pradesh's Datia district. 

The miscreants reportedly barged into their home of, a resident of for refusing to withdraw a 2018 case against the accused, Pavan Yadav. The complainant Santram Dohra, Sandeep's brother, had lodged a complaint against Yadav over the difference in wage payment, stated the news report. The police had charged Yadav under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act then. According to news reports the police constituted three teams to investigate the matter. 

Since then, Yadav's family had been pressuring Santram to withdraw the case, but he refused. Enraged, reported NDTV, Yadav, along with a group of 13-14 men on motorbikes, barged into Dohre's house on Saturday and started beating up the brothers with rifle butts and axes, and set their home on fire. They accused reportedly fired gunshots in the air, hearing which the villagers came out and torched three of their five bikes, reported NDTV. 

They fled from the scene with the remaining bikes. Later, the villagers called the police, and rushed the injured men to the nearby hospital, from where they were referred to the district hospital, given the severe injuries. Pavan Yadav, Kallu Yadav, their four relatives and a neighbour have been named in the case.      

According to a report in NDTV, in January this year in a 24-year-old Dalit man had died after being burnt alive by four of his neighbours in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar city. The accused were forcing the man to take back a police complaint he had filed after a dispute with them, the police said. The man Dhanprasad Ahirwar, a resident of Motinagar area in Sagar, died at a hospital in New Delhi where he had been rushed for treatment. According to news reports the then ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party had hit out at each other following the incident. The BJP had then said police did not act upon the victim's complaints made before the incident because of the state government's "appeasement policy", the Congress meanwhile accused the BJP of trying to vitiate the atmosphere by spreading "lies".

Now, the BJP is in power in the state, but for the Dalit community nothing seems to have changed.

 

 

Related: 

Dalit youth thrashed in UP village, NHRC transfers CJP complaint to UPHRC

UP: Five upper-caste men accused of burning alive a Dalit man

Hindutva goons continue threatening Muslim fire-cracker shop owners in MP!

Minority Lives Matter

Dalit house set ablaze in MP, brothers thrashed, CM silent?

The incident took place on November 21 in Chirgai village in Madhya Pradesh's Datia district. 

Dalit House

It has been days since two Dalit brothers Santram Dohra, and Sandeep Dohre, were beaten up, in Madhya Pradesh, and their home was set ablaze, because they refused to withdrawing a 2018 complaint against a difference in wage payment. However, outside of the ‘Dalit circles’ and community leaders, there seems to be minimal outrage over the incident, which is only the latest in the atrocitiis against the community.

 

 

The man identified Santram Dohra, by NDTV, had lodged a complaint against the accused Pavan Yadav over a difference in wage payment. He had refused to withdraw the two-year-old case, despite pressure to do so. According to news reports Sandeep Dohre, and his brother were thrashed by a group of 15 men who also set  their house on fire. The incident took place on November 21 in Chirgai village in Madhya Pradesh's Datia district. 

The miscreants reportedly barged into their home of, a resident of for refusing to withdraw a 2018 case against the accused, Pavan Yadav. The complainant Santram Dohra, Sandeep's brother, had lodged a complaint against Yadav over the difference in wage payment, stated the news report. The police had charged Yadav under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act then. According to news reports the police constituted three teams to investigate the matter. 

Since then, Yadav's family had been pressuring Santram to withdraw the case, but he refused. Enraged, reported NDTV, Yadav, along with a group of 13-14 men on motorbikes, barged into Dohre's house on Saturday and started beating up the brothers with rifle butts and axes, and set their home on fire. They accused reportedly fired gunshots in the air, hearing which the villagers came out and torched three of their five bikes, reported NDTV. 

They fled from the scene with the remaining bikes. Later, the villagers called the police, and rushed the injured men to the nearby hospital, from where they were referred to the district hospital, given the severe injuries. Pavan Yadav, Kallu Yadav, their four relatives and a neighbour have been named in the case.      

According to a report in NDTV, in January this year in a 24-year-old Dalit man had died after being burnt alive by four of his neighbours in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar city. The accused were forcing the man to take back a police complaint he had filed after a dispute with them, the police said. The man Dhanprasad Ahirwar, a resident of Motinagar area in Sagar, died at a hospital in New Delhi where he had been rushed for treatment. According to news reports the then ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party had hit out at each other following the incident. The BJP had then said police did not act upon the victim's complaints made before the incident because of the state government's "appeasement policy", the Congress meanwhile accused the BJP of trying to vitiate the atmosphere by spreading "lies".

Now, the BJP is in power in the state, but for the Dalit community nothing seems to have changed.

 

 

Related: 

Dalit youth thrashed in UP village, NHRC transfers CJP complaint to UPHRC

UP: Five upper-caste men accused of burning alive a Dalit man

Hindutva goons continue threatening Muslim fire-cracker shop owners in MP!

Minority Lives Matter

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Closure of schools, a threat to Odisha’s tribal education

While the state government goes over the merger policy, a civil organisation questions the drafting of such a policy without interacting with villagers at the local level.

23 Nov 2020

Image Courtesy:counterview.net

The Department of School and Mass Education (SME) is currently awaiting orders from the Odisha government regarding the closure of primary and upper primary schools in the state, said Deputy Secretary Pratibha Dora on November 23, 2020 when asked about the state government policy that could potentially affect many schools in tribal areas.

While Dora was unable to confirm the cause of the reconsideration, the changes are being discussed following heated exchanges during Assembly proceedings on November 21.

The state government declared on November 22 that primary schools with less than 15 attending students in scheduled areas and schools with less than 20 attending students in non-scheduled areas would be merged with nearby institutions.

While this decision relaxes much of the tension created by the earlier criterion of closure of schools with less than 20 and 40 students in scheduled and non-scheduled areas respectively, Odisha RTE Forum’s – an informal network of civil society organisations – Convener Anil Pradhan argues that the revision offers little relief for the marginalised communities.

“This decision will have a disastrous impact upon tribal and vulnerable communities. There are small tribal hamlets beyond mountains and rivers that would suffer due to this closure of primary schools,” said Pradhan to SabrangIndia.

Pradhan said that the government ought to consider and correct the causes of low enrolment and attendance rates rather than outright closure of schools.

“It will be better if the government conducts a survey to understand the reason for the poor attendance performance, especially by talking to parents, local MLAs, gram panchayat authorities. If they do, they will know that tribal children have to work because of which they are often unable to attend schools,” he said.

In a memorandum letter addressed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik earlier in 2020, the organisation questioned the wisdom in taking such a grave decision without any formal consultation with most backward communities in tribal regions that would face the brunt of mergers and closures.  They estimated almost 25 percent schools in 56 tribal sub-plan blocks from Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada and Mayurbhanj districts were selected for closure by March 7, 2020.

“Blocks like Rayagada, Kandhamal, Sundargarh are going to suffer the most within these districts,” said Pradhan.

The complete memorandum by the Odisha RTE Forum can be viewed below:

The RTE Forum worried about the decision impact on the Rights to Education (RTE) enshrined within the Right to protection of life and personal liberty. As per their ground reports, schools in certain regions have already been closed contrary to government assurances.

In the past as well, the policy had led to the closure of roughly 155 schools with an attendance of less than five students had been closed.

Following huge protests, schemes like tribal allowance were initiated but offered little help since such offers could not assure a person to send the child to school.

Pradhan agreed that closure of schools could not be avoided however, he insisted that locals, parents and students be included in this decision. Children especially were actively protesting in some of the state to denounce the government policy.

“Many protests have sprung up in different parts of the state wherein children have also participated. Some of them requested the government to take away the mid-day meal schemes if necessary but refrain from closing downs schools altogether,” said Pradhan.

https://www.facebook.com/laxmidhar.singh.5/posts/10223966177563023

On Saturday, similar protests also took place in Kandhamal district.

Related:

Modi and Sangh shape education in their own mould
Activists meet resolves to make right to education (RTE) plank for assembly polls: Bihar
Proposing closure of govt schools, why is NEP 'silent' on universalising school education?
Official data paucity: Assessing public education system impossible without independent NGO surveys

Closure of schools, a threat to Odisha’s tribal education

While the state government goes over the merger policy, a civil organisation questions the drafting of such a policy without interacting with villagers at the local level.

Image Courtesy:counterview.net

The Department of School and Mass Education (SME) is currently awaiting orders from the Odisha government regarding the closure of primary and upper primary schools in the state, said Deputy Secretary Pratibha Dora on November 23, 2020 when asked about the state government policy that could potentially affect many schools in tribal areas.

While Dora was unable to confirm the cause of the reconsideration, the changes are being discussed following heated exchanges during Assembly proceedings on November 21.

The state government declared on November 22 that primary schools with less than 15 attending students in scheduled areas and schools with less than 20 attending students in non-scheduled areas would be merged with nearby institutions.

While this decision relaxes much of the tension created by the earlier criterion of closure of schools with less than 20 and 40 students in scheduled and non-scheduled areas respectively, Odisha RTE Forum’s – an informal network of civil society organisations – Convener Anil Pradhan argues that the revision offers little relief for the marginalised communities.

“This decision will have a disastrous impact upon tribal and vulnerable communities. There are small tribal hamlets beyond mountains and rivers that would suffer due to this closure of primary schools,” said Pradhan to SabrangIndia.

Pradhan said that the government ought to consider and correct the causes of low enrolment and attendance rates rather than outright closure of schools.

“It will be better if the government conducts a survey to understand the reason for the poor attendance performance, especially by talking to parents, local MLAs, gram panchayat authorities. If they do, they will know that tribal children have to work because of which they are often unable to attend schools,” he said.

In a memorandum letter addressed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik earlier in 2020, the organisation questioned the wisdom in taking such a grave decision without any formal consultation with most backward communities in tribal regions that would face the brunt of mergers and closures.  They estimated almost 25 percent schools in 56 tribal sub-plan blocks from Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada and Mayurbhanj districts were selected for closure by March 7, 2020.

“Blocks like Rayagada, Kandhamal, Sundargarh are going to suffer the most within these districts,” said Pradhan.

The complete memorandum by the Odisha RTE Forum can be viewed below:

The RTE Forum worried about the decision impact on the Rights to Education (RTE) enshrined within the Right to protection of life and personal liberty. As per their ground reports, schools in certain regions have already been closed contrary to government assurances.

In the past as well, the policy had led to the closure of roughly 155 schools with an attendance of less than five students had been closed.

Following huge protests, schemes like tribal allowance were initiated but offered little help since such offers could not assure a person to send the child to school.

Pradhan agreed that closure of schools could not be avoided however, he insisted that locals, parents and students be included in this decision. Children especially were actively protesting in some of the state to denounce the government policy.

“Many protests have sprung up in different parts of the state wherein children have also participated. Some of them requested the government to take away the mid-day meal schemes if necessary but refrain from closing downs schools altogether,” said Pradhan.

https://www.facebook.com/laxmidhar.singh.5/posts/10223966177563023

On Saturday, similar protests also took place in Kandhamal district.

Related:

Modi and Sangh shape education in their own mould
Activists meet resolves to make right to education (RTE) plank for assembly polls: Bihar
Proposing closure of govt schools, why is NEP 'silent' on universalising school education?
Official data paucity: Assessing public education system impossible without independent NGO surveys

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Adivasis protest BJP’s ‘insult’ to freedom fighter Birsa Munda

1,000 Adivasis gather to denounce Amit Shah's recent faux pas in Bankura

23 Nov 2020

Birsa Munda
Image: The Telegraph

On Sunday, over 1,000 Adivasis took to the streets of Bankura in West Bengal to protest the recent ‘insult’ to Adivasi warrior and freedom fighter Birsa Munda. On November 5, during his recent visit to West Bengal, Union Home Minister Amit Shah ended up offering ‘floral tributes’ to a picture of Birsa Munda that was placed at the foot of a generic statue of a tribal warrior.

What had happened was that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members had at first misidentified the statue itself as that of Birsa Munda, a man many Adivasis consider akin to god. But when they discovered their mistake, they just placed a picture of Munda at the foot of the statue and the ceremony just went on.

At the protest by Adivasis on Sunday, over 1,000 people belonging to different tribal communities participated in a rally from Lalbazaar to Machantala protesting how Shah’s actions had “undermined” Birsa Munda. The rally ended just before West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached Bankura.

Sunil Kumar Mandi, the district president of the All-India Adivasi Bikash Parishad told The Telegraph, “We tried to get the attention of our chief minister through our protest rally as she reached the district today (Sunday). The protest is against the move to humiliate our hero, Birsa Munda, as Amit Shah paid tribute to a hunter’s statue and garlanded a photograph of Munda kept by the feet of the statue.”

The statue fiasco just shows how little Amit Shah or his party members know about the history and contributions of this legendary Adivasi leader who valiantly organised the first Adivasi rebellion against the British and was killed in June 1900, at the age of just 25!

Shah was visiting Bankura, an Adivasi dominated district as a part of preparations for the upcoming state assembly elections next year. The tribal vote is critical for the party, which is why a crash course in Adivasi history and some homework would have helped the BJP. But instead of expressing regret at his mistake, Shah tweeted the embarrassing photos of the event!

 

 

This understandably rubbed the state’s significant Adivasi population the wrong way., and the Trinamool Congress wasted no time in pointing out how BJP will always be a party of ‘outsiders’.

 

 

The Telegraph reported that last week the TMC in Bankura had decided to flood Shah’s letterbox with 50,000 postcards written by tribal residents of Jungle Mahal districts, seeking his apology. A statue of Birsa Munda was also being planned in the area, for which land had already been identified.

This is the second time when the BJP has had an embarrassing encounter with the statue of a respected icon in West Bengal. It may be recalled that in May 2019, during a rally by Amit Shah in Kolkata, party workers of the BJP vandalised a statue of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, an intellectual and social reformer known best for his campaign for Hindu widow remarriage.   

Related:

Amit Shah’s epic faux pas in West Bengal!

Vidyasagar Statue Row: Kolkata tense as Videos emerge showing BJP cadres desecrating statue

Violent clashes in Kolkata at Amit Shah’s Roadshow

When a War against Oppression First Began: The Santhal Rebellion

Adivasis protest BJP’s ‘insult’ to freedom fighter Birsa Munda

1,000 Adivasis gather to denounce Amit Shah's recent faux pas in Bankura

Birsa Munda
Image: The Telegraph

On Sunday, over 1,000 Adivasis took to the streets of Bankura in West Bengal to protest the recent ‘insult’ to Adivasi warrior and freedom fighter Birsa Munda. On November 5, during his recent visit to West Bengal, Union Home Minister Amit Shah ended up offering ‘floral tributes’ to a picture of Birsa Munda that was placed at the foot of a generic statue of a tribal warrior.

What had happened was that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members had at first misidentified the statue itself as that of Birsa Munda, a man many Adivasis consider akin to god. But when they discovered their mistake, they just placed a picture of Munda at the foot of the statue and the ceremony just went on.

At the protest by Adivasis on Sunday, over 1,000 people belonging to different tribal communities participated in a rally from Lalbazaar to Machantala protesting how Shah’s actions had “undermined” Birsa Munda. The rally ended just before West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached Bankura.

Sunil Kumar Mandi, the district president of the All-India Adivasi Bikash Parishad told The Telegraph, “We tried to get the attention of our chief minister through our protest rally as she reached the district today (Sunday). The protest is against the move to humiliate our hero, Birsa Munda, as Amit Shah paid tribute to a hunter’s statue and garlanded a photograph of Munda kept by the feet of the statue.”

The statue fiasco just shows how little Amit Shah or his party members know about the history and contributions of this legendary Adivasi leader who valiantly organised the first Adivasi rebellion against the British and was killed in June 1900, at the age of just 25!

Shah was visiting Bankura, an Adivasi dominated district as a part of preparations for the upcoming state assembly elections next year. The tribal vote is critical for the party, which is why a crash course in Adivasi history and some homework would have helped the BJP. But instead of expressing regret at his mistake, Shah tweeted the embarrassing photos of the event!

 

 

This understandably rubbed the state’s significant Adivasi population the wrong way., and the Trinamool Congress wasted no time in pointing out how BJP will always be a party of ‘outsiders’.

 

 

The Telegraph reported that last week the TMC in Bankura had decided to flood Shah’s letterbox with 50,000 postcards written by tribal residents of Jungle Mahal districts, seeking his apology. A statue of Birsa Munda was also being planned in the area, for which land had already been identified.

This is the second time when the BJP has had an embarrassing encounter with the statue of a respected icon in West Bengal. It may be recalled that in May 2019, during a rally by Amit Shah in Kolkata, party workers of the BJP vandalised a statue of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, an intellectual and social reformer known best for his campaign for Hindu widow remarriage.   

Related:

Amit Shah’s epic faux pas in West Bengal!

Vidyasagar Statue Row: Kolkata tense as Videos emerge showing BJP cadres desecrating statue

Violent clashes in Kolkata at Amit Shah’s Roadshow

When a War against Oppression First Began: The Santhal Rebellion

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Hathras case: All accused to undergo brain mapping, polygraph tests

As the next date for hearing approaches before the Allahabad High Court, the CBI is yet to decide a date to conduct the tests.

23 Nov 2020

hathras gang rape

The four accused in the Hathras gang rape and murder case were taken to Gandhinagar in Gujarat for brain mapping and polygraph tests by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 21, reported The Indian Express.

The four accused have been lodged in the Aligarh Jail. Alok Singh, the Superintendent at Aligarh Jail told The Hindustan Times that, “The accused will be subjected to polygraph test and brain mapping in Gandhi Nagar. They will return to the jail after the tests.”

An official of the Gandhinagar FSL informed the media, “The CBI officials came for a discussion on the polygraph and brain-mapping test of the accused for which a date will be decided soon. The accused were not brought to the FSL today (November 21)”.

PUCL’s Report

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Uttar Pradesh members Kamal Singh, Farman Naqvi, Alok, Shashikant and K.B. Maurya had visited Boolgarhi village in Hathras and filed a report titled “A Black Story’ highlighting the status of the CBI investigation into the case up until now.

During a press conference on Saturday, Kamal Singh said, “When we went to meet the family, it seemed like we were going to meet a terrorist in his cell and not the family of a horrifying rape victim. The victim's family is still not assured despite the CBI investigation. The whole family is in a kind of house arrest. Their normal social life is cut off. Family members are afraid for their lives”, The Wire reported.

The PUCL activists revealed the plight of the family members fearing for their lives once the CRPF protection is withdrawn. Kamal singh stated in the press conference, “The victim’s father has told us that he would send his sons outside to work, rather than stay in this village for security reasons. We are also concerned for the family’s safety because the nexus between the local administration, the police as well as the upper caste members of the village will go back to how it was before. I am worried for the day that the security will be withdrawn.”

SC/ST welfare panel

This also comes at a time when the members of the parliamentary committee on the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were not allowed to visit Hathras to meet the deceased’s family members.

The Telegraph apprised that the committee had met on October 20 to discuss representation of SC/ST employees at Delhi University when some of the members requested the Chairman to permit a visit to the Hathras family. The Chairman Kirit Premjibhai Solanki, however, rejected the proposal citing jurisdictional issues.

“When the request was made to visit the victim’s family, the chairman did not agree. He said the Speaker would not agree to such a trip. He also said that a visit to the victim’s family was under the jurisdiction of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC),” a panel source told the Telegraph.  

Background

The CBI was entrusted with the investigation into the rape and murder of the Dalit teen by the Uttar Pradesh Government on October 10. The Supreme Court in Satyama Dubey and Ors v Union of India (W.P Crl. No. 296 of 2020), had directed the High Court of Allahabad to monitor the CBI probe via its order dated October 27.

“High Court would look into that aspect of the matter, the CBI shall report to the High Court in the manner as would be directed by the High Court through its orders from time to time”, said the Bench.

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) through its Secretary Ms. Teesta Setalvad had also moved an Intervention Application (Crl. M.P. No. 102148 of 2020) as listed third in the abovementioned Supreme Court order demanding a CBI probe, protection of witness by Central Para Military Force and appointment of a retired Supreme Court Judge to investigate the circumstances which led to the cremation of the victim on September 30.

The top court had ordered for Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) protection, a key plea in CJP’s application, for the family and witnesses as a confidence building measure. The Allahabad High Court in its earlier order dated November 2, had also sought for a status report from the CBI to be filed before the next hearing.  

CJP had, through a Letter petition, dated October 9, sought to intervene in the ongoing suo moto matter in the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow bench). At the last hearing on November 2, 2020, the Letter petition was allowed and CJP is now permitted to intervene by the next date of hearing on November 25.  

The matter before the High Court is expected to be heard at 3:15 pm on November 25.

Related:

CJP moves Supreme Court in Hathras case

Hathras case: High Court seeks status report from CBI

Hathras: SC directs CRPF for witness protection

Hathras case: All accused to undergo brain mapping, polygraph tests

As the next date for hearing approaches before the Allahabad High Court, the CBI is yet to decide a date to conduct the tests.

hathras gang rape

The four accused in the Hathras gang rape and murder case were taken to Gandhinagar in Gujarat for brain mapping and polygraph tests by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 21, reported The Indian Express.

The four accused have been lodged in the Aligarh Jail. Alok Singh, the Superintendent at Aligarh Jail told The Hindustan Times that, “The accused will be subjected to polygraph test and brain mapping in Gandhi Nagar. They will return to the jail after the tests.”

An official of the Gandhinagar FSL informed the media, “The CBI officials came for a discussion on the polygraph and brain-mapping test of the accused for which a date will be decided soon. The accused were not brought to the FSL today (November 21)”.

PUCL’s Report

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Uttar Pradesh members Kamal Singh, Farman Naqvi, Alok, Shashikant and K.B. Maurya had visited Boolgarhi village in Hathras and filed a report titled “A Black Story’ highlighting the status of the CBI investigation into the case up until now.

During a press conference on Saturday, Kamal Singh said, “When we went to meet the family, it seemed like we were going to meet a terrorist in his cell and not the family of a horrifying rape victim. The victim's family is still not assured despite the CBI investigation. The whole family is in a kind of house arrest. Their normal social life is cut off. Family members are afraid for their lives”, The Wire reported.

The PUCL activists revealed the plight of the family members fearing for their lives once the CRPF protection is withdrawn. Kamal singh stated in the press conference, “The victim’s father has told us that he would send his sons outside to work, rather than stay in this village for security reasons. We are also concerned for the family’s safety because the nexus between the local administration, the police as well as the upper caste members of the village will go back to how it was before. I am worried for the day that the security will be withdrawn.”

SC/ST welfare panel

This also comes at a time when the members of the parliamentary committee on the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were not allowed to visit Hathras to meet the deceased’s family members.

The Telegraph apprised that the committee had met on October 20 to discuss representation of SC/ST employees at Delhi University when some of the members requested the Chairman to permit a visit to the Hathras family. The Chairman Kirit Premjibhai Solanki, however, rejected the proposal citing jurisdictional issues.

“When the request was made to visit the victim’s family, the chairman did not agree. He said the Speaker would not agree to such a trip. He also said that a visit to the victim’s family was under the jurisdiction of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC),” a panel source told the Telegraph.  

Background

The CBI was entrusted with the investigation into the rape and murder of the Dalit teen by the Uttar Pradesh Government on October 10. The Supreme Court in Satyama Dubey and Ors v Union of India (W.P Crl. No. 296 of 2020), had directed the High Court of Allahabad to monitor the CBI probe via its order dated October 27.

“High Court would look into that aspect of the matter, the CBI shall report to the High Court in the manner as would be directed by the High Court through its orders from time to time”, said the Bench.

Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) through its Secretary Ms. Teesta Setalvad had also moved an Intervention Application (Crl. M.P. No. 102148 of 2020) as listed third in the abovementioned Supreme Court order demanding a CBI probe, protection of witness by Central Para Military Force and appointment of a retired Supreme Court Judge to investigate the circumstances which led to the cremation of the victim on September 30.

The top court had ordered for Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) protection, a key plea in CJP’s application, for the family and witnesses as a confidence building measure. The Allahabad High Court in its earlier order dated November 2, had also sought for a status report from the CBI to be filed before the next hearing.  

CJP had, through a Letter petition, dated October 9, sought to intervene in the ongoing suo moto matter in the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow bench). At the last hearing on November 2, 2020, the Letter petition was allowed and CJP is now permitted to intervene by the next date of hearing on November 25.  

The matter before the High Court is expected to be heard at 3:15 pm on November 25.

Related:

CJP moves Supreme Court in Hathras case

Hathras case: High Court seeks status report from CBI

Hathras: SC directs CRPF for witness protection

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Uttar Pradesh has failed its Dalit community, especially Dalit women

A 15-year-old Dalit girl set afire in Bulandshahr, died in a Delhi hospital; just the latest in such crimes against the community in UP

19 Nov 2020

Image Courtesy:icj24.com

Only the naive believed that things will change for women and Dalits living in Uttar Pradesh after the Hathras rape and murder put the state under the scanner. Then came the announcement of ‘Mission Shakti’ on the first day of Navratri, by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath. This campaign was launched in Balrampur, where a 22-year-old woman had died, days after she was allegedly gang-raped by two men on September 29. 

CM Adityanath, said he decided to launch this mission from Balrampur, “to pay homage to the victim...  Mission Shakti aims at guaranteeing security & respect for every woman in the state.” He warned that there will be zero tolerance in cases of crime against women, and those guilty will be dealt with an iron hand. 

 

However criminals, especialy those hunting, raping and killing Dalit girls and women do not seem to care. A 15-year-old Dalit girl has been their latest victim, dying in a Delhi hospital, after she was set ablaze, allegedly by the family of the man who had raped her. The man accused of raping the Dalit minor is in jail, and the police are apparently investigating the link between the two incidents.

According to a report in the Indian Express, the 15-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly set on fire in Bulandshahr on Tuesday and died at Delhi’s RML Hospital later in the day. The teenager was a rape survivor and the family was being pressured to withdraw her complaint. The FIR filed by the family says seven people entered their home and set her ablaze using petrol, reported the IE, adding that in a video recorded in hospital, she can be heard purportedly saying, “There was an ongoing case of molestation by the same people who came today…”

 

The report quotes Bulandshahr SSP Santosh Kumar Singh who confirmed the sexual assault: “In August, a girl was raped by a man. He was arrested. The accused is currently in jail. On Tuesday, we received information that the same girl has been set on fire under suspicious circumstances. Till 11 pm, it appeared she had attempted suicide. But as per the family’s complaint, seven people tried to immolate her.” Seven people have been booked and three arrested so far, said the police. The victim’s family, told the media that those accused of setting her on fire are relatives and acquaintances of the rape accused, who is in prison. He was charged under POCSO and SC/SC Act.

The victim’s uncle was quoted by IE saying they were “being threatened to withdraw the rape case and have a decision in the panchayat. Around 8.30 pm Monday, I received a call from an unknown number – they threatened and told the family to withdraw the case or face consequences. At 9.30 am Tuesday, when the girl’s parents were not at home, we were told that she was set on fire. We rushed her to a nearby hospital and they referred us to Bulandshahr. From there, we were asked to go to RML in Delhi.Doctors treated her for 15-20 minutes…she was declared dead.”

The FIR names Sanjay, Banwari, Badan Singh, Veer Singh, Jaswant Singh, Gautam and Kajal reported IE, the accused they live close to the victim’s home. Initially an FIR was filed under IPC Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (rioting), 506 (criminal intimidation), 452 (trespass) and relevant Sections of SC/ST Act to be updated with Section 302 (murder) as the victim has died.

Uttar Pradesh, has been in the limelight for a massive rise is crimes against women, inlcuding rape, murder, and molestation, espcialy against Dalit women and teenagers. However the state government is now focused on discussing ‘love jihad’. Chief Minister Adityanath has already sounded his ‘warning’ to Hindu-Muslim couples: “I warn those who conceal identity and play with our sisters’ respect. If you don’t mend your ways your ‘Ram naam satya’,” the Hindu funeral chant warning interfaith couples of dire consequences.

Crimes against Dalits reported from Uttar Pradesh in the past few weeks include:

November 17: Dalit girl gang-raped inside public toilet

The victim and her mother alleged that they were forced out of Aliganj police station in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh when they went to file a complaint in the gang rape case, reported Mirror Now. The victim accused the former village head and two other men for gang-raping her. According to news reports the victim and her family have been running from pillar to post to get justice. According to the news report, the victim has identified three accused as: former village head Rajiv, Anil and Akash.  

November 14, Fatehpur, Dalit sisters murdered, bodies dumped in pond:

Two Dalit sisters, both minors, were killed, and their bodies ere dumped in the village pond in the Asodhar area of the district. The bodies bore injury marks in the eyes and were retrieved from the pond late in the evening, police told the media. The girls aged 12 and eight were from a Dalit family, and had reportedly gone to the fields in the afternoon to fetch vegetables but did not return, reported the Dailyhunt. The family members of the victims have alleged that the assailants killed the girls after an unsuccessful attempt to rape them, said the police. 

October 14, Barabanki: Teenage Dalit girl’s body found in paddy field

The victim’s family suspect rape as they found the half-naked body of their teenage daughter on  night of October 14, 2020, in a paddy field where she had gone to work. The Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki police found her the tied-up and half-naked body of a teenage Dalit girl in the village paddy field. The area is only 40 km from the state capital Lucknow. Media reports quoted Superintendent of Police RS Gautam saying that an initial probe suggested that the girl was strangled by her own shirt. The family members alleged that her semi-naked condition suggested sexual assault too. Gautam said the girl was missing, after she left home to cut paddy crops. The family found her body in the field while searching for her on the same night. The incident occurred in Tipri village within Satrikh police station limits. Police and the administration did not share the post-mortem report but sought the opinion of doctors, who carried out the post-mortem examination, regarding the possibility of rape.

October 13, Gonda: Three Dalit sisters, attacked in their sleep with acid

Three Dalit sisters, all of them minors, were attacked with acid while they were asleep inside their residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district. It was a tweet by the Gonda police that made the incident public. The oldest of the three, aged 17, had 35 per cent burn injuries, while the other two, aged 12 and 8, escaped with 25 per cent and 5 percent burn injuries, respectively. The family members told police that at around 2 A.M, all the three sisters came running downstairs, howling in pain. Their father initially thought the burn injuries were from a gas cylinder, but later realised it was an acid attack. The girls’ parents recently fixed the marriage of their eldest daughter, a high school passout.  She received the maximum burn injuries out of the three girls. The family does not suspect anyone so far, SP Pandey said, adding that the attacker must be from the same locality as it’s a small town. 

October 29,  Amethi,  Dalit man burnt alive by upper-caste men 

Victim’s family claims that the five men often threatened to extort money from the Panchayat leader. At least three upper-caste men were arrested for allegedly burning alive the husband of Bandoiya village’s Gram Panchayat President in Amethi district. The victim, Arjun Kori, was found outside the house of the accused with burns on 90 percent of his body. He succumbed to his injuries while enroute to a hospital in Lucknow.

According to President Chutaka, her husband had gone out to the village square for a cup of tea on Thursday evening. However, he never returned. Chutaka alleged that Krishna Kumar Tiwari and his four friends abducted Arjun and burnt him alive in their front yard. She claimed that Tiwari threatened them to extort money. Tiwari believed that he was entitled to a ‘cut’ of the government money Chhotka supposedly received. However, when they denied the existence of any such money, the five men burnt the man in a fit of rage, said Chutaka. Before his death, Arjun’s family recorded his statement wherein he accused K. K. Tiwari, Ashutosh, Rajesh, Ravi and Santosh for burning him alive. The family registered a case of murder at Munshiganj police station against the five men. 

October 23, Firozabad district, Dalit teen stalked, molested, shot dead

The Class XI student was returning from school when the three men had allegedly molested her, later they followed her home and shot her in the head. According to a news report in The Telegraph, the Dalit teenager was shot “five times in the head and killed” allegedly by three youths who she had stood up to for molesting her. The three men were identified as Manish Yadav, Sopali Yadav and Gaurav Chak. “She had told us about the incident after returning home. At night, we were walking on the terrace after dinner when the youths came on a motorbike, entered our house and shot my daughter. We rushed downstairs and found her lying in a pool of blood. The trio ran away on seeing us,” the father of the 16-year-old girl told police. He told the police that the men had “been molesting and harassing girls in the area for the past several months.” His daughter, just a teenage schoolgirl, had bravely protested when the trio attacked her. 

Related:

Will they call it ‘love jihad’ when a Muslim girl is killed?

Bid Curb Inter-faith marriages: Ruse to Restrict Women’s Freedom

Love-jihad’ Booklets Peddle Bias & Bigotry:Rajasthan Spiritual Fair

Haryana-Uttar Pradesh politicians unite against interfaith couples

Girls and young women continue to get hunted in UP, Rajasthan

UP: Five upper-caste men accused of burning alive a Dalit man

More horror in UP: Dalit teen stalked, molested and shot dead!

NAPM condemn police’s and administration’s handling of the Hathras incident

Minority Lives Matter

 

Uttar Pradesh has failed its Dalit community, especially Dalit women

A 15-year-old Dalit girl set afire in Bulandshahr, died in a Delhi hospital; just the latest in such crimes against the community in UP

Image Courtesy:icj24.com

Only the naive believed that things will change for women and Dalits living in Uttar Pradesh after the Hathras rape and murder put the state under the scanner. Then came the announcement of ‘Mission Shakti’ on the first day of Navratri, by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath. This campaign was launched in Balrampur, where a 22-year-old woman had died, days after she was allegedly gang-raped by two men on September 29. 

CM Adityanath, said he decided to launch this mission from Balrampur, “to pay homage to the victim...  Mission Shakti aims at guaranteeing security & respect for every woman in the state.” He warned that there will be zero tolerance in cases of crime against women, and those guilty will be dealt with an iron hand. 

 

However criminals, especialy those hunting, raping and killing Dalit girls and women do not seem to care. A 15-year-old Dalit girl has been their latest victim, dying in a Delhi hospital, after she was set ablaze, allegedly by the family of the man who had raped her. The man accused of raping the Dalit minor is in jail, and the police are apparently investigating the link between the two incidents.

According to a report in the Indian Express, the 15-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly set on fire in Bulandshahr on Tuesday and died at Delhi’s RML Hospital later in the day. The teenager was a rape survivor and the family was being pressured to withdraw her complaint. The FIR filed by the family says seven people entered their home and set her ablaze using petrol, reported the IE, adding that in a video recorded in hospital, she can be heard purportedly saying, “There was an ongoing case of molestation by the same people who came today…”

 

The report quotes Bulandshahr SSP Santosh Kumar Singh who confirmed the sexual assault: “In August, a girl was raped by a man. He was arrested. The accused is currently in jail. On Tuesday, we received information that the same girl has been set on fire under suspicious circumstances. Till 11 pm, it appeared she had attempted suicide. But as per the family’s complaint, seven people tried to immolate her.” Seven people have been booked and three arrested so far, said the police. The victim’s family, told the media that those accused of setting her on fire are relatives and acquaintances of the rape accused, who is in prison. He was charged under POCSO and SC/SC Act.

The victim’s uncle was quoted by IE saying they were “being threatened to withdraw the rape case and have a decision in the panchayat. Around 8.30 pm Monday, I received a call from an unknown number – they threatened and told the family to withdraw the case or face consequences. At 9.30 am Tuesday, when the girl’s parents were not at home, we were told that she was set on fire. We rushed her to a nearby hospital and they referred us to Bulandshahr. From there, we were asked to go to RML in Delhi.Doctors treated her for 15-20 minutes…she was declared dead.”

The FIR names Sanjay, Banwari, Badan Singh, Veer Singh, Jaswant Singh, Gautam and Kajal reported IE, the accused they live close to the victim’s home. Initially an FIR was filed under IPC Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (rioting), 506 (criminal intimidation), 452 (trespass) and relevant Sections of SC/ST Act to be updated with Section 302 (murder) as the victim has died.

Uttar Pradesh, has been in the limelight for a massive rise is crimes against women, inlcuding rape, murder, and molestation, espcialy against Dalit women and teenagers. However the state government is now focused on discussing ‘love jihad’. Chief Minister Adityanath has already sounded his ‘warning’ to Hindu-Muslim couples: “I warn those who conceal identity and play with our sisters’ respect. If you don’t mend your ways your ‘Ram naam satya’,” the Hindu funeral chant warning interfaith couples of dire consequences.

Crimes against Dalits reported from Uttar Pradesh in the past few weeks include:

November 17: Dalit girl gang-raped inside public toilet

The victim and her mother alleged that they were forced out of Aliganj police station in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh when they went to file a complaint in the gang rape case, reported Mirror Now. The victim accused the former village head and two other men for gang-raping her. According to news reports the victim and her family have been running from pillar to post to get justice. According to the news report, the victim has identified three accused as: former village head Rajiv, Anil and Akash.  

November 14, Fatehpur, Dalit sisters murdered, bodies dumped in pond:

Two Dalit sisters, both minors, were killed, and their bodies ere dumped in the village pond in the Asodhar area of the district. The bodies bore injury marks in the eyes and were retrieved from the pond late in the evening, police told the media. The girls aged 12 and eight were from a Dalit family, and had reportedly gone to the fields in the afternoon to fetch vegetables but did not return, reported the Dailyhunt. The family members of the victims have alleged that the assailants killed the girls after an unsuccessful attempt to rape them, said the police. 

October 14, Barabanki: Teenage Dalit girl’s body found in paddy field

The victim’s family suspect rape as they found the half-naked body of their teenage daughter on  night of October 14, 2020, in a paddy field where she had gone to work. The Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki police found her the tied-up and half-naked body of a teenage Dalit girl in the village paddy field. The area is only 40 km from the state capital Lucknow. Media reports quoted Superintendent of Police RS Gautam saying that an initial probe suggested that the girl was strangled by her own shirt. The family members alleged that her semi-naked condition suggested sexual assault too. Gautam said the girl was missing, after she left home to cut paddy crops. The family found her body in the field while searching for her on the same night. The incident occurred in Tipri village within Satrikh police station limits. Police and the administration did not share the post-mortem report but sought the opinion of doctors, who carried out the post-mortem examination, regarding the possibility of rape.

October 13, Gonda: Three Dalit sisters, attacked in their sleep with acid

Three Dalit sisters, all of them minors, were attacked with acid while they were asleep inside their residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district. It was a tweet by the Gonda police that made the incident public. The oldest of the three, aged 17, had 35 per cent burn injuries, while the other two, aged 12 and 8, escaped with 25 per cent and 5 percent burn injuries, respectively. The family members told police that at around 2 A.M, all the three sisters came running downstairs, howling in pain. Their father initially thought the burn injuries were from a gas cylinder, but later realised it was an acid attack. The girls’ parents recently fixed the marriage of their eldest daughter, a high school passout.  She received the maximum burn injuries out of the three girls. The family does not suspect anyone so far, SP Pandey said, adding that the attacker must be from the same locality as it’s a small town. 

October 29,  Amethi,  Dalit man burnt alive by upper-caste men 

Victim’s family claims that the five men often threatened to extort money from the Panchayat leader. At least three upper-caste men were arrested for allegedly burning alive the husband of Bandoiya village’s Gram Panchayat President in Amethi district. The victim, Arjun Kori, was found outside the house of the accused with burns on 90 percent of his body. He succumbed to his injuries while enroute to a hospital in Lucknow.

According to President Chutaka, her husband had gone out to the village square for a cup of tea on Thursday evening. However, he never returned. Chutaka alleged that Krishna Kumar Tiwari and his four friends abducted Arjun and burnt him alive in their front yard. She claimed that Tiwari threatened them to extort money. Tiwari believed that he was entitled to a ‘cut’ of the government money Chhotka supposedly received. However, when they denied the existence of any such money, the five men burnt the man in a fit of rage, said Chutaka. Before his death, Arjun’s family recorded his statement wherein he accused K. K. Tiwari, Ashutosh, Rajesh, Ravi and Santosh for burning him alive. The family registered a case of murder at Munshiganj police station against the five men. 

October 23, Firozabad district, Dalit teen stalked, molested, shot dead

The Class XI student was returning from school when the three men had allegedly molested her, later they followed her home and shot her in the head. According to a news report in The Telegraph, the Dalit teenager was shot “five times in the head and killed” allegedly by three youths who she had stood up to for molesting her. The three men were identified as Manish Yadav, Sopali Yadav and Gaurav Chak. “She had told us about the incident after returning home. At night, we were walking on the terrace after dinner when the youths came on a motorbike, entered our house and shot my daughter. We rushed downstairs and found her lying in a pool of blood. The trio ran away on seeing us,” the father of the 16-year-old girl told police. He told the police that the men had “been molesting and harassing girls in the area for the past several months.” His daughter, just a teenage schoolgirl, had bravely protested when the trio attacked her. 

Related:

Will they call it ‘love jihad’ when a Muslim girl is killed?

Bid Curb Inter-faith marriages: Ruse to Restrict Women’s Freedom

Love-jihad’ Booklets Peddle Bias & Bigotry:Rajasthan Spiritual Fair

Haryana-Uttar Pradesh politicians unite against interfaith couples

Girls and young women continue to get hunted in UP, Rajasthan

UP: Five upper-caste men accused of burning alive a Dalit man

More horror in UP: Dalit teen stalked, molested and shot dead!

NAPM condemn police’s and administration’s handling of the Hathras incident

Minority Lives Matter

 

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Kaimur firing: HRDA appeals to NHRC for urgent action

After CJP-AIUFWP, HRDA India has moved NHRC taking cognisance of the Bihar Police atrocities on Adivasi Activists

18 Nov 2020

Human Rights Defenders’ Alert India (HRDA) is a Tamil Nadu based Human Rights forum that works towards initiating actions on behalf of Human Rights Defenders under threat or with security concerns. In addition to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), HRDA India has also appealed to Bihar Human Rights Commission, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly.

They have recently expressed their concern over the use of force, firing, illegal arrest, threats and intimidation of HRDs in Kaimur district by the Bihar police. The HRDs were attending a two-day peaceful sit-in demonstration at the Birsa Munda Smarak Sthal in front of the forest department office in Kaimur district’s Adhaura block on September 10 and 11, 2020, to press on long-standing demands and protest against the forest department destroying houses in tribal hamlets and digging pits in farmlands during the lockdown.

The HRDA took cognisance of the brutal assault and firing by Bihar Police officials on Kaimur Mukti Morcha Activists were aggrieved over instances of forced eviction of Adivasis from their land in Kaimur district’s Adhaura block since the beginning of the lockdown in March 2020. The organisation has also cited the fact-finding report by a four-member civil society (members of Delhi Solidarity Group and All India Union of Forest Working Persons) that visited Kaimur in the last week of September.

The report provides documentation of several instances of police and paramilitary forces abducting and/ or illegally arresting KMM activists in Kaimur the aftermath of the incident. The complaint further mentions the instance of some HRD’s like Mr. Sipahi Singh and Mr. Ramshakal Singh, both residents of Goiyan village in Dumrawan panchayat and activists of KMM, who were asked to meet the Subdivisional Officer and the Superintendent of Police on September 12, 2020, at around 5.00 PM under the pretext of having a dialogue, but were arrested upon their arrival.

Finally, they have appealed to the NHRC to undertake an independent transparent enquiry into this incident as it believes that the Police officials have violated the freedom to peacefully assemble under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Depending upon the conclusions reached upon following an independent investigation, they have also requested for direct legal actions against all officials involved in firing and lathi-charge of the peaceful Adivasi protestors.

HRD Alert India has also humbly requested the NHRC to direct the State Government to monetarily compensate all Adivasis who have been subject to state excesses and direct the forest and police officials to not harass, threaten or arrest Adivasis when they venture into forests to pluck tendu leaves (used in bidi-making) and other medicinal plants from the forest for selling them for survival.

On September 30, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and All India Union of Forest Working Persons (AIUFWP) had also moved NHRC against the illegal firing of Bihar Police Officers on peaceful protesting Kaimur activists and other forest dwelling communities violating their human rights. The findings of the detailed report, co-published by CJP, were released in an online press conference on October 23 by Ms Brinda Karat, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) and Vice President of Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch.

Since March 2020, the forest department officials of Adhaura block, Bhabua subdivision, Kaimur District, Bihar have been employing means such as encroaching upon agricultural lands of the Adivasi people with the intention of evicting them from their villages.

These villages include: Gulu, Goiya, Dighar, Bahabar, Pipra, Sodha, Bahera, Dumrava, Sarainar. In Sarainar, they allegedly destroyed 50 houses of the Agariya Adivasi villagers in a bid to evict them. When the aggrieved Adivasis decided to mobilise themselves to protest against this, they were met by bullets and lathis.  

The entire HRDA India complaint may be read here: 

Related:

CJP-AIUFWP move NHRC against firing on peaceful Adivasi protesters in Kaimur
Kaimur Firing: Fact-finding report released
Kaimur firing: Fact-finding report makes startling revelations!
Bihar Govt has worst record on Land Rights to Adivasis: Brinda Karat

 

Kaimur firing: HRDA appeals to NHRC for urgent action

After CJP-AIUFWP, HRDA India has moved NHRC taking cognisance of the Bihar Police atrocities on Adivasi Activists

Human Rights Defenders’ Alert India (HRDA) is a Tamil Nadu based Human Rights forum that works towards initiating actions on behalf of Human Rights Defenders under threat or with security concerns. In addition to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), HRDA India has also appealed to Bihar Human Rights Commission, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly.

They have recently expressed their concern over the use of force, firing, illegal arrest, threats and intimidation of HRDs in Kaimur district by the Bihar police. The HRDs were attending a two-day peaceful sit-in demonstration at the Birsa Munda Smarak Sthal in front of the forest department office in Kaimur district’s Adhaura block on September 10 and 11, 2020, to press on long-standing demands and protest against the forest department destroying houses in tribal hamlets and digging pits in farmlands during the lockdown.

The HRDA took cognisance of the brutal assault and firing by Bihar Police officials on Kaimur Mukti Morcha Activists were aggrieved over instances of forced eviction of Adivasis from their land in Kaimur district’s Adhaura block since the beginning of the lockdown in March 2020. The organisation has also cited the fact-finding report by a four-member civil society (members of Delhi Solidarity Group and All India Union of Forest Working Persons) that visited Kaimur in the last week of September.

The report provides documentation of several instances of police and paramilitary forces abducting and/ or illegally arresting KMM activists in Kaimur the aftermath of the incident. The complaint further mentions the instance of some HRD’s like Mr. Sipahi Singh and Mr. Ramshakal Singh, both residents of Goiyan village in Dumrawan panchayat and activists of KMM, who were asked to meet the Subdivisional Officer and the Superintendent of Police on September 12, 2020, at around 5.00 PM under the pretext of having a dialogue, but were arrested upon their arrival.

Finally, they have appealed to the NHRC to undertake an independent transparent enquiry into this incident as it believes that the Police officials have violated the freedom to peacefully assemble under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Depending upon the conclusions reached upon following an independent investigation, they have also requested for direct legal actions against all officials involved in firing and lathi-charge of the peaceful Adivasi protestors.

HRD Alert India has also humbly requested the NHRC to direct the State Government to monetarily compensate all Adivasis who have been subject to state excesses and direct the forest and police officials to not harass, threaten or arrest Adivasis when they venture into forests to pluck tendu leaves (used in bidi-making) and other medicinal plants from the forest for selling them for survival.

On September 30, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and All India Union of Forest Working Persons (AIUFWP) had also moved NHRC against the illegal firing of Bihar Police Officers on peaceful protesting Kaimur activists and other forest dwelling communities violating their human rights. The findings of the detailed report, co-published by CJP, were released in an online press conference on October 23 by Ms Brinda Karat, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) and Vice President of Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch.

Since March 2020, the forest department officials of Adhaura block, Bhabua subdivision, Kaimur District, Bihar have been employing means such as encroaching upon agricultural lands of the Adivasi people with the intention of evicting them from their villages.

These villages include: Gulu, Goiya, Dighar, Bahabar, Pipra, Sodha, Bahera, Dumrava, Sarainar. In Sarainar, they allegedly destroyed 50 houses of the Agariya Adivasi villagers in a bid to evict them. When the aggrieved Adivasis decided to mobilise themselves to protest against this, they were met by bullets and lathis.  

The entire HRDA India complaint may be read here: 

Related:

CJP-AIUFWP move NHRC against firing on peaceful Adivasi protesters in Kaimur
Kaimur Firing: Fact-finding report released
Kaimur firing: Fact-finding report makes startling revelations!
Bihar Govt has worst record on Land Rights to Adivasis: Brinda Karat

 

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J&K: Gujjar Bakerwal shelter demolition causes political uproar

The nomadic communities had migrated to Jammu owing to harsh winters in Pahalgam as has been their tradition for generations

18 Nov 2020

Gujjar Bakerwal shelter demolition
Image: Free Press Kashmir
 

The nomadic tribes of Gujjar and Bakerwal in Jammu and Kashmir have been dragged into the line of fire by the Union Territory (UT) administration as their unoccupied shelters were demolished in Pahalgam under the guise of clearing illegal encroachments. Both communities combined form 11.9% of the UT’s population and are spread over largely on Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Baramulla, Pulwama, Ganderbal, Shopian, Bandipora, especially on the higher reaches in the Kashmir valley

Quite a few videos have surfaced of demolition drives being carried out by the forest department in Pahalgam, a well known hill station in J&K. India Today reported that the government maintains that this is part of a drive to retrieve forestlands, which have been encroached upon.

As per Gujjar activists, the shelters or dogas as they are called, were unoccupied by the tribal communities as they had migrated to Jammu for the winter. They live in these shelters during summers to return to their pastures. Scroll reported that Gujjar activists say these makeshift huts had existed for decades and were never touched before by the authorities.

This demolition drive comes in the aftermath of the J&K high Court declaring the Roshni Act or the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, as unconstitutional. Through the Roshni Act, the state government had granted ownership rights to occupants of a state owned land for a fee. The proceeds were to be used for funding power projects in the erstwhile state. The High Court in its judgment directed all state land under unauthorized occupation to be retrieved.

In what appears to be an outcome to the court’s judgment, the J&K government issued a statement on November 7 that a team consisting of personnel from the Pahalgam Development Authority, the Wildlife, Revenue and Forest Department, the municipal committee and the police had “launched an anti-encroachment drive at Mamal Pahalgam and retrieved illegally encroached 110 kanals [5.6 hectares] of Forest Land,” reported Scroll. The statement further said that such drives would continue until all state/forest land is retrieved.

The videos surfacing on social media have evoked a lot of criticism and anguish amongst people. The President of Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Welfare Conference J&K, Zahid Parwaz Choudhary posted the tweet:

 

 

Peoples Democratic party chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti visited Pahalgam and interacted with the nomadic communities, “Since our domicile law was scrapped, the government is bringing people from across the country but people from here (J&K) are being uprooted”. She accused the Narendra Modi government of handing over the land to its capitalist friends and stated that “24,000 Kanals of land have been already transferred to the industries, the administration must come clear as to who is being granted the land”.

She further said that these were peaceful communities and the government was pushing them to the wall.

District Commissioner, Anantnag, K K Sidha told Free Press Kashmir, “It is not demolition of Gujjar Kothas but actually anti-encroachment drives. Till now we have retrieved 700 kannals of land that was encroached and we are submitting a report to the high court also.”

Talib Hussain, chairman of the All Tribal Coordination Committee, said demolishing a home or a seasonal hutment of a tribal inside the forest violates two laws — The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (Forest Act, 2006) and The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, reported The Print.

In a statement issued to Kashmir News Service, CPI (ML) stated, “It is ironic that these nomads, who have been protecting forests for centuries, are being evicted illegally. If somebody, irrespective of his religion and political affiliation, was a land grabber, action should be taken against him, but instead poor nomads are being evicted from their dhoks (temporary shelters).”

With the Roshni Act being deemed unconstitutional, and the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, the Forest Rights Act, 2006 is the law that protects the tribal communities in J&K. Under Dogra rule (1846-1947), the Gujjar-Bakarwal tribal community were given access to forests with proper registration, and families were allotted patches of land. However, the administration is clearly acting in violation of the Forest Rights Act; following in the footsteps of the forest department in other states with sizable tribal populations. Despite having filed claims, in many cases, tribal communities across the country have faced harassment, demolition, obstruction of livelihood and the high-handedness of the forest department in several instances in Bihar, Uttarakhand, Uttar pradesh since the breakout of the COVID pandemic in March this year. 

Notably in August this year, the Tribune had reported that as Assembly election could be announced in the UT after the process of de-limitation, there was movement in the party to empower the two communities and bring in the political mainstream by reserving seats in the assembly for the tribes. "There is political reservation of seats for STs in legislatures in other parts of the country. In the interest of equity, the polity must be on the square with Gujjar-Bakarwal tribes in Jammu and Kashmir," Surendra Nagar, the lone Gujjar MP in Rajya Sabha told The Tribune.

Related:

Uttarakhand: Committee formed to consider Van Gujjars forest rights

Will increased vigilance in Bengal forests, adversely impact forest dwellers?

Gujarat HC upset with state's poor  track record on protecting forest rights 

Bihar Govt has worst record on Land Rights to Adivasis: Brinda Karat

J&K: Gujjar Bakerwal shelter demolition causes political uproar

The nomadic communities had migrated to Jammu owing to harsh winters in Pahalgam as has been their tradition for generations

Gujjar Bakerwal shelter demolition
Image: Free Press Kashmir
 

The nomadic tribes of Gujjar and Bakerwal in Jammu and Kashmir have been dragged into the line of fire by the Union Territory (UT) administration as their unoccupied shelters were demolished in Pahalgam under the guise of clearing illegal encroachments. Both communities combined form 11.9% of the UT’s population and are spread over largely on Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Baramulla, Pulwama, Ganderbal, Shopian, Bandipora, especially on the higher reaches in the Kashmir valley

Quite a few videos have surfaced of demolition drives being carried out by the forest department in Pahalgam, a well known hill station in J&K. India Today reported that the government maintains that this is part of a drive to retrieve forestlands, which have been encroached upon.

As per Gujjar activists, the shelters or dogas as they are called, were unoccupied by the tribal communities as they had migrated to Jammu for the winter. They live in these shelters during summers to return to their pastures. Scroll reported that Gujjar activists say these makeshift huts had existed for decades and were never touched before by the authorities.

This demolition drive comes in the aftermath of the J&K high Court declaring the Roshni Act or the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, as unconstitutional. Through the Roshni Act, the state government had granted ownership rights to occupants of a state owned land for a fee. The proceeds were to be used for funding power projects in the erstwhile state. The High Court in its judgment directed all state land under unauthorized occupation to be retrieved.

In what appears to be an outcome to the court’s judgment, the J&K government issued a statement on November 7 that a team consisting of personnel from the Pahalgam Development Authority, the Wildlife, Revenue and Forest Department, the municipal committee and the police had “launched an anti-encroachment drive at Mamal Pahalgam and retrieved illegally encroached 110 kanals [5.6 hectares] of Forest Land,” reported Scroll. The statement further said that such drives would continue until all state/forest land is retrieved.

The videos surfacing on social media have evoked a lot of criticism and anguish amongst people. The President of Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Welfare Conference J&K, Zahid Parwaz Choudhary posted the tweet:

 

 

Peoples Democratic party chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti visited Pahalgam and interacted with the nomadic communities, “Since our domicile law was scrapped, the government is bringing people from across the country but people from here (J&K) are being uprooted”. She accused the Narendra Modi government of handing over the land to its capitalist friends and stated that “24,000 Kanals of land have been already transferred to the industries, the administration must come clear as to who is being granted the land”.

She further said that these were peaceful communities and the government was pushing them to the wall.

District Commissioner, Anantnag, K K Sidha told Free Press Kashmir, “It is not demolition of Gujjar Kothas but actually anti-encroachment drives. Till now we have retrieved 700 kannals of land that was encroached and we are submitting a report to the high court also.”

Talib Hussain, chairman of the All Tribal Coordination Committee, said demolishing a home or a seasonal hutment of a tribal inside the forest violates two laws — The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (Forest Act, 2006) and The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, reported The Print.

In a statement issued to Kashmir News Service, CPI (ML) stated, “It is ironic that these nomads, who have been protecting forests for centuries, are being evicted illegally. If somebody, irrespective of his religion and political affiliation, was a land grabber, action should be taken against him, but instead poor nomads are being evicted from their dhoks (temporary shelters).”

With the Roshni Act being deemed unconstitutional, and the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, the Forest Rights Act, 2006 is the law that protects the tribal communities in J&K. Under Dogra rule (1846-1947), the Gujjar-Bakarwal tribal community were given access to forests with proper registration, and families were allotted patches of land. However, the administration is clearly acting in violation of the Forest Rights Act; following in the footsteps of the forest department in other states with sizable tribal populations. Despite having filed claims, in many cases, tribal communities across the country have faced harassment, demolition, obstruction of livelihood and the high-handedness of the forest department in several instances in Bihar, Uttarakhand, Uttar pradesh since the breakout of the COVID pandemic in March this year. 

Notably in August this year, the Tribune had reported that as Assembly election could be announced in the UT after the process of de-limitation, there was movement in the party to empower the two communities and bring in the political mainstream by reserving seats in the assembly for the tribes. "There is political reservation of seats for STs in legislatures in other parts of the country. In the interest of equity, the polity must be on the square with Gujjar-Bakarwal tribes in Jammu and Kashmir," Surendra Nagar, the lone Gujjar MP in Rajya Sabha told The Tribune.

Related:

Uttarakhand: Committee formed to consider Van Gujjars forest rights

Will increased vigilance in Bengal forests, adversely impact forest dwellers?

Gujarat HC upset with state's poor  track record on protecting forest rights 

Bihar Govt has worst record on Land Rights to Adivasis: Brinda Karat

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Jharkhand Adivasis celebrate Birsa Munda Jayanti on Jharkhand formation day

Celebrating both the creation of Jharkhand state and the birth of Adivasi leader Birsa Munda, state MGNREGA coordinator addresses adivasis gathered at Putki neighbourhood.

16 Nov 2020

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

“Community” has always been at the core of Adivasi identity, said Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Jharkhand coordinator Gurjeet Singh on November 15, 2020 the 145th birth anniversary of Adivasi freedom fighter Birsa Munda and the twentieth anniversary of the creation of the state of Jharkhand, at the Memorial Trust office in Putki area of Dhanbad district.

On Sunday, that was also celebrated as the Jharkhand foundation day, Singh said talked about tribal beliefs and sentiments that helped people retain their land and ownership rights.

Following proper rituals and a warm welcome from Memorial Trust President Bagi, his wife Meena Bagi and Secretary Baleshwar Bauri, Singh remembered the Adivasi movement led by Birsa Munda that led to the creation of the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act that prohibited the transfer of tribal land to non-tribal people.

“Adivasis bestow the title of ‘mother’ to their land and believe that no one can hold ownership over their Mother. As a result, they did not believe in documenting a proof of their land. This led to the movement inspired by their eviction from ancestral land that ultimately gave them land, water and forest rights,” he said.

Speaking about Adivasis’ community sentiment, Singh said that Adivasis assumed equal land ownership rights to humans, birds, animals alike. Further Adivasis have always considered the water, jungle and land of Birsa Munda, a part of their heritage just as they consider cleanliness a traditional heritage.

“This priority to sanitation is the reason that not a single Adivasi has suffered from the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

Birsa Munda was affectionately remembered as “Dharti Aaba” (Father of Earth) for his dedication to a healthy Adivasi community. Singh stated that Jharkhand could not become a truly independent state until Birsa Munda’s hope to reform the Adivasi community free of the belief of witchcraft came to fruition.

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifRelated:

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Jharkhand Adivasis celebrate Birsa Munda Jayanti on Jharkhand formation day

Celebrating both the creation of Jharkhand state and the birth of Adivasi leader Birsa Munda, state MGNREGA coordinator addresses adivasis gathered at Putki neighbourhood.

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

“Community” has always been at the core of Adivasi identity, said Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Jharkhand coordinator Gurjeet Singh on November 15, 2020 the 145th birth anniversary of Adivasi freedom fighter Birsa Munda and the twentieth anniversary of the creation of the state of Jharkhand, at the Memorial Trust office in Putki area of Dhanbad district.

On Sunday, that was also celebrated as the Jharkhand foundation day, Singh said talked about tribal beliefs and sentiments that helped people retain their land and ownership rights.

Following proper rituals and a warm welcome from Memorial Trust President Bagi, his wife Meena Bagi and Secretary Baleshwar Bauri, Singh remembered the Adivasi movement led by Birsa Munda that led to the creation of the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act that prohibited the transfer of tribal land to non-tribal people.

“Adivasis bestow the title of ‘mother’ to their land and believe that no one can hold ownership over their Mother. As a result, they did not believe in documenting a proof of their land. This led to the movement inspired by their eviction from ancestral land that ultimately gave them land, water and forest rights,” he said.

Speaking about Adivasis’ community sentiment, Singh said that Adivasis assumed equal land ownership rights to humans, birds, animals alike. Further Adivasis have always considered the water, jungle and land of Birsa Munda, a part of their heritage just as they consider cleanliness a traditional heritage.

“This priority to sanitation is the reason that not a single Adivasi has suffered from the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

Birsa Munda was affectionately remembered as “Dharti Aaba” (Father of Earth) for his dedication to a healthy Adivasi community. Singh stated that Jharkhand could not become a truly independent state until Birsa Munda’s hope to reform the Adivasi community free of the belief of witchcraft came to fruition.

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifRelated:

Sarna code: More than just a political tactic
Chorus for Fr. Stan Swamy’s release gets louder
Kaimur firing: Fact-finding report makes startling revelations!
Adivasis protest Deocha-Pachami coal mining project 

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Orissa Court grants bail to tribal leader Nachika Linga

The Orissa High Court grants conditional bail to the tribal leader under the directions of the Supreme Court.

07 Nov 2020

 tribal leader Nachika Linga

Chasi Mulia Adivashi Sangha (CMAS) leader Nachika Linga returned home on bail on November 6, 2020 following six years of imprisonment for the Narayanpatna police station attack case of 2009.

Justice A. K. Mishra of the Orissa High Court granted a conditional bail on November 4, with a bail bond fixed by a trial court judge as directed by the Supreme Court.

“This Court does not admit any reasoning regarding the gravity of offence to withhold the bail as ordered by the Hon’ble Apex Court on March 3. Hence, in terms of the aforesaid direction of the Hon’ble Apex Court, the petitioner is allowed to be released on bail by the trial court on furnishing bail bond to be fixed by the learned court in seisin over the matter in the aforesaid case, subject to other conditions as deemed just and proper by the learned court,” said the court order.

The full court order can be read below:

Linga moved a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court in 2019 after his bail application was rejected by Orissa High Court in January. Accordingly, the court requested the Orissa High Court on October 26 to dispose of the case within two weeks stating that the case relates to bail and personal liberty of the petitioner.

However, the trial court failed to examine the last four witnesses owing to the lockdown imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Further it rejected Linga’s bail on April 15 saying the application was “premature.” He again moved the apex court alleging the lower court had not adhered to the March order.

Linga surrendered to police in October of 2014 for his alleged involvement in 45 cases including the 2009 attack. He was earlier acquitted in 44 cases by different courts. Nonetheless, he was put in jail for allegedly leading a mob of 300 CMAS members to attack the police station on November 20 to protest the constant patrolling of paramilitary forces.

His lawyer Prashant Kumar cited his 44 previous acquittals hoping the leader representing peasants, bonded labourers and tribal people of Koraput district may walk free sooner.

Related:

Tribals urge Odisha CM to pass resolution against CAA-NPR-NRC

Odisha govt cancels forest applications of over 6000 tribal families

Jharkhand, Mob Lynching and Marginalization of Adivasis

The Constituencies where a Campaign for Forest Rights could have an Impact: 2019

Orissa Court grants bail to tribal leader Nachika Linga

The Orissa High Court grants conditional bail to the tribal leader under the directions of the Supreme Court.

 tribal leader Nachika Linga

Chasi Mulia Adivashi Sangha (CMAS) leader Nachika Linga returned home on bail on November 6, 2020 following six years of imprisonment for the Narayanpatna police station attack case of 2009.

Justice A. K. Mishra of the Orissa High Court granted a conditional bail on November 4, with a bail bond fixed by a trial court judge as directed by the Supreme Court.

“This Court does not admit any reasoning regarding the gravity of offence to withhold the bail as ordered by the Hon’ble Apex Court on March 3. Hence, in terms of the aforesaid direction of the Hon’ble Apex Court, the petitioner is allowed to be released on bail by the trial court on furnishing bail bond to be fixed by the learned court in seisin over the matter in the aforesaid case, subject to other conditions as deemed just and proper by the learned court,” said the court order.

The full court order can be read below:

Linga moved a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court in 2019 after his bail application was rejected by Orissa High Court in January. Accordingly, the court requested the Orissa High Court on October 26 to dispose of the case within two weeks stating that the case relates to bail and personal liberty of the petitioner.

However, the trial court failed to examine the last four witnesses owing to the lockdown imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Further it rejected Linga’s bail on April 15 saying the application was “premature.” He again moved the apex court alleging the lower court had not adhered to the March order.

Linga surrendered to police in October of 2014 for his alleged involvement in 45 cases including the 2009 attack. He was earlier acquitted in 44 cases by different courts. Nonetheless, he was put in jail for allegedly leading a mob of 300 CMAS members to attack the police station on November 20 to protest the constant patrolling of paramilitary forces.

His lawyer Prashant Kumar cited his 44 previous acquittals hoping the leader representing peasants, bonded labourers and tribal people of Koraput district may walk free sooner.

Related:

Tribals urge Odisha CM to pass resolution against CAA-NPR-NRC

Odisha govt cancels forest applications of over 6000 tribal families

Jharkhand, Mob Lynching and Marginalization of Adivasis

The Constituencies where a Campaign for Forest Rights could have an Impact: 2019

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