State Level Consultation on Human Rights and Law, Ranchi


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The workshop on Human Rights and Law was held at Ranchi, Jharkhand on 14th and 15th July 2012. It dealt with a range of human rights issues in Jharkhand such as police/security forces brutality, essential services in conflict zones (food, health, schools and so on), atrocities on dalits, conditions of prisoners, Forest Rights Act and related issues, displacement, human rights defenders, communalism, and struggles of the urban poor: slums and hawkers in the state.

Mr. Mahatab Alam who moderated the workshop pointed out that themotive behind the Ranchi workshop was twofold. First, to build a network of human rights activists and lawyers in the state of Jharkhand to practically deal with issues such as police atrocities, displacement, food security and so on. Second, to document and focus on the state and police attack on human rights defenders who are raising their voice against illegal mining, police atrocities and other human rights violations in the state. These human rights defenders include lawyers, journalists, women’s rights activists, and those fighting against displacement and other issues. Towards the end of the session, the participants were requested to share their ideas and suggestions on how can we strengthen the network and effectively fight against human rights violations in Jharkhand through law.

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State Level Consultation on Human Rights and Law, Ranchi

  1. 1. State Level Consultation on Human Rights & Law Report 2012 14th and 15th July, 2012, Ranchi Organized by Human Rights Law Network &1 Khalra Centre for Human Rights Defenders
  2. 2. State Level Consultation on Human Rights and Law Organized by Human Rights Law Network Coalition for Protection of Human Rights Defenders Rights Defenders Compiled & Edited By Meha Dixit (With inputs from Nihalsing Rathod)2
  3. 3. IntroductionThe workshop on Human Rights and Law was held at Ranchi, Jharkhand on 14th and15th July 2012. It dealt with a range of human rights issues in Jharkhand such aspolice/security forces brutality, essential services in conflict zones (food, health,schools and so on), atrocities on dalits, conditions of prisoners, Forest Rights Act andrelated issues, displacement, human rights defenders, communalism, and strugglesof the urban poor: slums and hawkers in the state. Mahtab Alam, HRLN DelhiMr. Mahatab Alam who moderated the workshop pointed out that the motivebehind the Ranchi workshop was twofold. First, to build a network of human rightsactivists and lawyers in the state of Jharkhand to practically deal with issues such aspolice atrocities, displacement, food security and so on. Second, to document andfocus on the state and police attack on human rights defenders who are raising theirvoice against illegal mining, police atrocities and other human rights violations in3
  4. 4. the state. These human rights defenders include lawyers, journalists, women’s rightsactivists, and those fighting against displacement and other issues. Towards the endof the session, the participants were requested to share their ideas and suggestionson how can we strengthen the network and effectively fight against human rightsviolations in Jharkhand through law. Participants, Human Rights and Law Workshop, Ranchi4
  5. 5. SpeakersDay 1: 14th July 2012Session 1: Police Atrocities K N Pandit, Visthapan Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, JharkhandMr.Pandit pointed out, even though British have left, yet the atrocities on peoplehave intensified. Tribals comprised around 50 percent of the population of the state,however, now they are increasingly migrating to other places. And if this trendcontinues due to infiltration of corporates, then very few tribals would remain in thestate. He continued, after the state of Jharkhand was formed, development did take5
  6. 6. place but in atrocities and injustice. As people are opposing corporate development,the government is trying to suppress them. He further noted, “For no rhyme orreason, one person was shot dead in his house. One girl was gang raped. Another 12year old girl was raped by the CRPF. Two school children were killed by the CRPF.One deaf and mute person was questioned by the CRPF. He was unable to respondto the queries, hence was shot dead at point blank range”. Mr. Panditasserted, the police is terrorizing farmers so they give up their lands without anyopposition.Shashi Bhushan Pathak, Ex General Secretary PUCL Jharkhand & human rightsdefenderMr. S. B. Pathak argued, currently there are three types of movements in Jharkhand.One is Maoist, which is getting attention of both the government and the public.Second is nationalist, and the third is for forest rights. Every movement is beinglabelled as Maoist and is thus being suppressed by the government. The state hasbeen experiencing structural violence. He reasoned that if violence has a direction6
  7. 7. and if it is being used by the public after all other options are exhausted then itwould not amount to cruelty. Mr. Pathak further argued, the new land acquisitionact which doesn’t give any importance to local governance is flawed.Mr Pathak then spoke of Jiten Marandi arguing that he is innocent. Despite, ampleevidence to prove his innocence he was awarded capital punishment, however, hewas granted bail by the High Court. But later he was again sent to the prison. Mr.Pathak argued, Jiten is basically a folk singer who never resorted to violence.Further, William’s brother Lucas was killed by police personnel and KundanPahan’s wife was kidnapped by the police one and half year back.Mr. Pathak went on to argue that the situation in Jharkhand is not really differentfrom Kashmir and according to reports 300 people have been kidnapped by thepolice. He pointed out that the government issued 2 circulars declaring that Maoistsvisit his house. And another was issued against a number of other dignatories whowere declared Maoists since they participated in a fact finding committee.7
  8. 8. Gopinath Ghosh, Social activist, JOHARMr. Gopinath Ghosh pointed to the diminished population of tribals in the state. Healso argued that Jharkhand is dependent on other states for food supply. WhenJharkhand was formed, Maoists’ presence was confined to one or two districts,however, according to police records they have now extended their presence acrossthe state. He also talked about the police excesses in the state and narrated incidentsof a few people who were arrested for being “Maoists”. In one case a lady wasarrested only because she was clad in a red sari. He pointed out, reportedly 6000tribals are in prisons. He conveyed his plans to set up a network in the state whichwould focus on bringing these people out of prisons.He further argued that Sister Valsa John was killed by Maoists and the latter didadmit to it. Then Niyamat Ansari, a human rights defender was also killed byMaoists. He concluded by arguing for the protection and security of human rightsdefenders.8
  9. 9. Gladson Dung Dung, Human rights activist, Jharkhand Human Rights MovementMr Gladson Dung Dung spoke of fake encounters in Jharkhand. Most people whowere killed in these encounters were labelled as Maoists even though they wereinnocent. He asserted, not only is he saying this but even the government ofJharkhand, state police, opposition parties and a number of fact finding committeeshave said the same. Despite these findings, he said, he would like to put forward histhoughts on what exactly is happening in the state. He spoke about Mangal case inSaranda. On 19th June, the CRPF asked around 12 people in the area to help withanti-naxal operation and they were also made to carry load for 2 days. Then on the30th of the same month Mangal was shot dead on the suspicion of fleeing.He pointed out that they raised this issue and subsequently investigation wascarried out. When it was established in front of the magistrate that it was a fakeencounter then the issue came up before the IG. IG also argued that this is a fakeencounter and henceforth inquiry is required. Then CID investigated the matter. CIDrecommended that under section 302, a case should be filed. However, till date noFIR has been filed. Second case is the 2009 case where 5 tribals were killed by thepolice on the suspicion of being Maoists. When the inquiry was done it became clear9
  10. 10. that the tribals were not Maoists and they were innocent. However, after bribing themembers the case was wound up. Therefore, perpetrators were not brought tojustice, Mr Dung Dung argued.He further pointed out, as far as human rights defenders are concerned, they arebeing treated as anti-national especially when they speak against displacement andpolice atrocities. He concluded by saying that today the reason why naxalism israpidly spreading is injustice and atrocities on the people. William Minj (right), Victim of police atrocitiesMr. Minj narrated an extremely poignant incident of his younger brother Lucas’sdeath at the hands of the CRPF. He said Lucas was deaf and mute since birth. InKhanderia, the police had sealed the entire area. On 31st January 2012 Lucas hadgone out for cattle grazing. Around the same time, the police had entered the areafor conducting combing operation. Lucas went missing for a number of days.Finally, his body was discovered by fishermen in the river. Mr. William continued,on 7th January when the inspection was done, it came to light that Lucas was made10
  11. 11. to run first and then shot at from a distance of 150 metres. Villagers wereapprehensive of filing any complaint against the police.He pointed out, with help from activists an FIR was filed on 12th February whichwas registered against unknown accused. Gradually, the issue started gainingstrength. In the meantime, some people beat him up and took him inside the forest.They accused him of spying for the Maoists. Those people said that he will be madeto wear Maoist clothes and be killed by the police officers. Then he was detained andtortured the entire night. He was released only after his wife called some people forhelp. Another brother of his was also beaten up by the police and is left paralyzed.The police allege that Maoists killed Lucas, however, no Maoists were present in thevillage when Lucas was killed, argued Mr. Minj.Suggestions and Comments:1. Land acquisition is important for development; however, there is a need to payattention to the illegal acquisition of dalits’ land. Further, we need to help labourerswho are migrating to other states for want of job.2. Through the proposed network of activists and lawyers, we must provideassistance to the families of human rights defenders since the latter are exposed topolice brutality and arrests.3. When the state of Jharkhand was constituted, special provisions were proposedfor SC and ST students in which 5 crore were to be spent. This was implemented inthe beginning, however, now we do not see it happening.4. Jharkhand is a scheduled state and there is a need to spread awareness about thefifth schedule among people.11
  12. 12. Session 2: Essential services in conflict zone Dr. Ramesh Saran, Professor, Economics, Ranchi UniversityDr. Saran focused on the right to food. He pointed out that a number of orders werepassed by the Supreme Court. The Court recognised the right to food as afundamental right. Unfortunately, the SC orders are not being implemented.According to the SC order ration shops were to remain open all the time, however,this doesn’t happen. He argued, the government was supposed to issue cards toeveryone; however, 40% of the population is still awaiting its implementation. Eventhough mid-day meal scheme is being implemented, however, there is no politicalownership in the state. There is no political and bureaucratic commitment. Hefurther pointed out that malnutrition is a huge problem and maternal mortality isthe highest in the state. Moreover, there aren’t weight machines to monitor thegrowth of children.12
  13. 13. He asserted, there is no sensitivity in the government regarding malnutrition andsenior citizens. Even though SC has directed that pension be issued by 7th of everymonth, however, this is not being done in Jharkhand. Dr. Saran also pointed out thathybrid seeds are causing loss and invisible displacement. And the water fromJharkhand is going from the dams to corporations. Sunil Minj (right), President, Jharkhand Human Rights MovementsMr. Sunil Minj shared his experience of Saranda where he witnessed precarious foodsituation. There is an absolute lack of food security and other essential services. Henoted, wherever more than five kg of rice was found in villages it was taken away bythe security forces. This was because of the suspicion that the rice is for Maoists andbig vessels and livestock were also taken away.He pointed out that after 60 years of independence Rs. 250 crore were beingallocated to build roads. These roads are being built to extract wood and minerals13
  14. 14. from the forests. He further asserted that development does not mean infiltration ofindustry, but it means access to basic needs where people don’t die of hunger ordisease. He asserted, development which benefits only 20 percent of the populationis useless. Jerome Kujur (right), CREJ, JharkhandMr Kujur focused on the right to education. He pointed out that the quality ofeducation in government schools prior to 1960 was good; in fact, it was much betterthat what it is today. After 1960, the quality of education in the government schoolsdeteriorated. After the Right to Education Act came into being, it was declared that itwill be implemented in Jharkhand too. However, that remained a mere declaration.The RTE is continuously being violated in the state. He further noted, security forceswere sent to the schools and then Maoists blew up the schools. Children’s rights andthe RTE act are continuously being violated. He asserted that the government does14
  15. 15. not have a political will to provide quality education to its children. Books are notmade available to children on time. He concluded by saying that till the timeeducation does not become a political agenda, we cannot give a better future to thiscountry. Samit Carr, General Secretary OSHAJMr. Carr spoke on public health in the state. He argued that it is imperative toestablish the link between human rights and public health. He highlighted the issueof occupational disease in the state. In Jharkhand, stone crashing, mining, andmineral processing are rampant. However, prescription is not given to the patients.He said, the case of someone being killed in a fake encounter is visible, however, thedisease contracted by labourers while working in factories is invisible and incurable.In Jharkhand, he pointed out, they registered an RTI to get information on howmany occupational disease detection centres are there in the state? Surprisingly, inJharkhand government hospitals, there is no designated occupational disease15
  16. 16. detection centre. This is the situation in a state where mining and mineral processingare rampant which often result in respiratory diseases in the factory workers. In onefactory, within the span of 7-8 years, 32 people died of respiratory diseases, most ofwhom were tribals.Further, according to a recent report by International Monetary Fund, each year70000 people die as a result of coal dust pollution. Unfortunately, there is notreatment available for these respiratory diseases because there is no policy. Mr Carrfurther pointed out that the issue of occupational diseases is being ignored. He saidthey gave a project proposal to the government for detection of occupational diseasewhose budget was for 1.5 crore. However, only five lakhs were sanctioned, most ofwhich were spent on workshops. Colin Gonsalves, Founder, HRLNMr. Colin Gonsalves argued, the motive of the workshop is to create a network oflawyers and activists in conflict areas including Jharkhand. So far there has been16
  17. 17. weak intervention in Jharkhand. He said, we have been able to take up only a fewcases in the state. The situation in Jharkhand is as critical as Kashmir andChhattisgarh.He further argued, we need to persistently raise issues concerning poor people sothat they become part of the national discourse. We as lawyers must remember ourconstitutional duties. He appealed to young lawyers to come forward to work withhim and others who would be associated with the network.He cited an incident where an encounter took place between the Cobra battalion andMaoists. This incident claimed lives on both sides. Out of vengeance the Cobrabattalion targeted a village and killed four to five people, and attacked a woman onher chest with an axe. Such cases keep pending before the High Court for years.However, Mr Gonsalves also pointed to Soni Sori torture case in Chhattisgarh whichwent directly to the Supreme Court and was heard.17
  18. 18. Session 3: Atrocities on dalits in Jharkhand Ganesh Ravi, Director, Amedkar Samajik Trust, PalamauMr. Ganesh Ravi pointed out, dalits are suffering the most in Jharkhand even morethan Adivasis. 13% of the population of Jharkhand is dalit. They played animportant role in the formation of the Jharkhand state. It was believed that afterJharkhand is formed, there would be improvement in the condition of dalits,however, this did not happen.He further argued, around 3 years back, under RTI they sought information onSC/ST Prevention of Atrocity Act to see as to how useful has it been for dalits andwhether it is being successfully implemented in Jharkhand. Unfortunately, the casesfrom 22 districts revealed an extremely murky situation for dalits in the state. MrRavi considered filing a PIL in the High Court, however, this did not happen. InJharkhand, there are a number of schemes for dalits, however, they are merely onpaper. There is hardly any implementation of such schemes. As far as starvationdeaths in Palamau are concerned, most of those who die are dalits.18
  19. 19. He asserted, dalits are majorly suffering on two fronts - social and governmental.Further, he continued, the Right to Education Act has been implemented in theentire country including Jharkhand, however, dalits are quite behind in the field ofeducation. He gave the example of Palamau where the situation of dalits as regardseducation is quite gloomy. Shankar Das (right), Dalit Vikas Parishad, DeogharMr. Das argued, dalits are still facing discrimination at various levels. In Jharkhand,the discourse is limited to Adivasis. Unfortunately, the rights of dalits are beingneglected. Areas where dalits are discriminated against include anganwadis, food,and health centers. One major area of dalit discrimination is nutrition. As far as midday meals are concerned, the quality of food is extremely bad. Sometimes lizardsand insects are found in the food. Most children who avail of this scheme are frompoor families. Further, Special Component Plan is not being implemented instead itsfunds are being utilised for other development work. He asserted, even after playingpivotal role in the formation of the state, dalits are still facing atrocities at the handsof the government. He continued, we need to focus on the issue of dalit rights inJharkhand.19
  20. 20. Lalan Kumar, (second from right) Ambedkar Vichar Manch, RanchiMr. Kumar highlighted a number of issues confronting dalits in Jharkhand. Hepointed out, most dalits in Jharkhand are landless. The plight of dalit women is evenworse than the dalit men. Dalit women are not allowed to take water from the wells.There is no special scheme for education of girls in the state. He argued, women arethe backbone of our society and unless they are provided with better education, thedream of a better society cannot be realised. He further spoke on the importance ofschool reforms.Mr. Kumar continued, through the proposed network of lawyers and activists,something should be done to look into the plight of dalits in Jharkhand and we needto work towards improving their condition. He concluded by saying that dalitsshould come together and put forward their demands.20
  21. 21. Pramila Mehra, Member, Zila Parishad, GiridihMs. Pramila Mehra, like all the other speakers on the issue of dalits, argued that tilltoday dalits are facing discrimination. She pointed out, the situation of women isdefinitely disgraceful but within that too dalit women are the worst affected. Theyare still unable to raise their voice against discrimination and atrocities. She spoke onthe deplorable state of education in the state for girls and maintained that thesituation for dalit girls is even worse. In grameen shetra most students are dalits sincethose who are slightly well off usually send their children to other areas for bettereducation. The teachers in the grameen shetra are also not that responsible and oftendo not pay attention to the education of children.Ms. Pramila went on to argue that the government is making empty promises ofbetter education for children especially those in the rural areas. The governmenttalks about equality for all to bring about development. There are a number ofschemes and policies for education, however, steps need to be taken to implementthem effectively.21
  22. 22. Session 4: Condition of prisoners in Jharkhand Damodar Turi, Visthapan Viroghi Jan Sangharsh SamitiMr. Turi shared his jail experience. He pointed out, prisoners are tied and kept.There is no proper food. Prisoners are given one tablet for every kind of disease.Those who speak against the officials are not allowed to interact with outsiders.Atrocities are carried out against the prisoners and there are more prisoners in thejails than the space permits.Mr. Turi further pointed out, police officials warned him not to start a revolution ormovement in the jail. He spent a long time in the prison. Superintendent of theprison creates friction among the prisoners in a way that they can never unite. Thequality of food is extremely bad. Even if a patient is serious he is required to stand inqueue to get medical treatment. He continued, relatives of the prisoners are notallowed to visit them. Some prisoners are in prison for over 20-25 years. Drugsmuggling takes place in the jail. Narcotic drugs are sold openly.22
  23. 23. Sushil Das, Advocate, GiridihMr. Sushil Das pointed out, he has spent three months in prison for holdingagitation. In prisons, prisoners are engaged in different kinds of jobs. New prisonersare made to clean toilets. If one refuses then he or she is made to pay between Rs.500-1000. If you ask for a bed then you are required to pay Rs. 5000-10000. Hecontinued that there are a number of other problems which cannot be discussedopenly. Women prisoners face all types of exploitation at the hands of police officers.Large numbers of prisoners are dalits and muslims. And they face atrocities at thehands of police officers and fellow prisoners. There is a concept of “Paglighanti”which means if any of the prisoners fight amongst each other then this bell is rungafter which all the prisoners are beaten up brutally. He appealed to HRLN to lookinto the matter of prisoners and work a way out for them.23
  24. 24. B. B. Singh, Retd District judgeMr. B. B. Singh spoke on the issue of overcrowding in Jharkhand jails. He said thecause for overcrowding is that bail is not granted and lawyers do not file bailapplication during remand period. He further compared Uttar Pradesh’s judiciarywith Jharkhand’s arguing that the judiciary in the former is better than in Jharkhand.He argued that overcrowding does not imply that crimes have risen in the state butit is because magistrates are apprehensive of granting bail to the prisoners. Heretorted, the judiciary in Jharkhand is incompetent.He further spoke on the issue of legal aid. He agreed that currently there isinsufficient legal aid. However, in the near future, at least in the state of Jharkhand,complete legal aid would be made available, argued Mr. Singh. If the secretary of thelegal aid cell is efficient then all those who seek legal aid will receive it instantly. Mr.Singh pointed out, in Jharkhand, section 167 of CRPC is where most violations takeplace through the judiciary and the police. Under this provision the police issupposed to enquire and hand over the report to the magistrate within 24 hours, andif to the satisfaction of the judge there is prima facie case against the accusedotherwise no such remand shall be granted. He concluded by saying that to improvethe situation in the state we will have to fight a second war of freedom. We need tointensify our struggle.24
  25. 25. Colin Gonsalves, Founder, HRLNMr Gonsalves focused on the prisoners’ rights. He pointed out, the motive behindthis meeting is to do something concrete. In every district there should be one legalaid centre. Lakhs of people including tribals and poor are languishing in Jharkhandprisons. Through the network, we must try to get these people out of prisons, hesaid. In one PIL filed in Mumbai around 500 people were released on bail.Now 436 A has been incorporated in CRPC which states: 1. If an under trial prisoner has undergone half the sentence of the maximum period of imprisonment specified under the law then the under trial prisoner should be released by the Court on his personal bond with or without surety. 2. If the under trial has been detained for inquiry or investigation for more than the maximum period prescribed as punishment then he has to be released.However, this provision is not being followed. He further pointed out, Sushil Dashas shared his unpleasant experience of the prison. He was in jail for three months.Such conditions are prevalent in all the jails of Jharkhand. Mr. Gonsalves saidjudiciary is inactive in the entire country. It is futile to merely discuss or talk aboutthe problems. He asserted, we need to find a way to solve these problems. We needto create a district level network in Jharkhand. He further noted, we will handle thecases free of charge for the innocent people in the state against whom there is noevidence. He argued, attitude in the Supreme Court is undergoing change and nowbail is likely to become liberal. Through PILs thousands of people need to bereleased from jails. Jharkhand is among the worst state for conditions of prisoners.25
  26. 26. Networking Session Ahmed Raza, HRLN JharkhandMr. Ahmed Raza invited suggestions from the participants regarding the formationof the network across the state, particularly on how to work in a conflict zone. Hesaid, HRLN would like to commit itself to providing free services of a lawyer to takea case till the Supreme Court. He requested the participants to form a fact findingcommittee wherever they hear about human rights violations and then visit theplace and send him the report. He said, then we will approach the High Court.Suggestions:1. We should collect information on the number of tribals and dalits languishing inprisons. Also we should find out for how long have they been in prisons. Then wecould start the cases in the district court which can be further refereed to the HighCourt and the Supreme Court.26
  27. 27. 2. First of all we should try to create a committee in our districts and all the villages.As regards prisoners’ rights, we should visit prisons. In the cases of tribals wheretrial is being discontinued, we should keep track of that case. There should bedocumentation of such cases.3. We need to bring awareness among the people that HRLN is willing to providefree legal aid.4. If we form a group to visit the prison, then we could easily get the data of innocentprisoners so that we can immediately seek bail for them.5. If we receive some monitory help from the organization then that could help usboost our work.6. A banner with the name and number of our network person working in aparticular prison area should be put up so that prisoners can contact that person.Lawyers’ numbers should be written on the jail walls. One must reach immediatelyafter the incident.7. In the bar offices of every Court we should have our names written on noticeboards stating that we work with HRLN which will provide free legal aid.8. We should identify active tribals in every area, and they should have our contactnumber and if any incident related to human rights issues takes place they can callus and inform about it.9. We should form small groups whose responsibility would be to conduct factfinding in their area.10. Besides forming HRLN district office, our lawyers should also collaborate withthe local NGO’s.11. We should collect database of the people in tribal remote areas.Finally Mr. Colin Gonsalves pointed out to the participants that HRLN will bear theexpenses for travelling and report writing if the participants can give some time forfact finding.27
  28. 28. Day 2: 15th July 2012Session 1: Displacement Fr Stan Swami, Veteran activist, Jharkhand Bachao AndolanFather Stan Swami pointed out, liberalization, privatization and globalisation are themeans through which the government is seeking to enhance the country’s economicgrowth. This has resulted in the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer.However, he explained, even the poor are now getting sensitized and they arebeginning to agitate against displacement. Unfortunately, more than 100 MOUs havebeen signed in the state to pave the way for corporates to come in.There is militarization taking place in the state. He quipped, “Maoists bahana hai.Nishana hai Jal ,Jangal, Zameen. Sathdharan janta ko prataritd kiya ja raha hai”. Thismeans “Maoists are only an excuse. The key targets are water, forests and land.Ordinary people are being tortured”. Father Stan further argued, if we speak upagainst atrocities then we are labelled as Maoists. Those who are actually Maoists28
  29. 29. move around in the jungles. And the government is not really confronting theMaoists but the ordinary people are being tortured, he noted. Fr Tom (right), Advocate, ChiabasaFather Tom pointed out, wherever there are movements going on againstdisplacement, he wholeheartedly supports them. He argued, through law with thehelp of Court there is a possibility of stopping displacement, albeit not completely.Unfortunately, sometimes judges are biased against the poor who are displaced. Hefurther argued, through law, there can be some relief against displacement, althoughnot entirely. He also explained how displacement takes place. After developingfriction among the movement’s people land is taken away. He pointed out,Jharkhand is a fifth schedule state where land cannot be take away easily by thegovernment. He further said, “Together, lawyers and activists will have tobrainstorm on how this issue of displacement can be effectively dealt with.” He also29
  30. 30. expressed the need to put more force into the mass agitation rather than merelyrelying on the law. Damodar Turi, ActivistMr. Turi pointed out, over 100 MOUs have been signed in Jharkhand. This kind ofdevelopment is development for some people. At the expense of this local people aresuffering. Let our jal, jangal and zameen be and let us live peacefully, we do not wantthis kind of development, he pleaded. He gave the example of Chandel dam andargued that people who live around this dam itself are not being benefited by it.Then what kind of development is it, he questioned.Mr. Turi was put behind bars because he tried to organise people againstdisplacement. He quipped, the state is of the corporate, by the corporate and for thecorporate rather than of the people, by the people, and for the people. He continued,“We have been agitating to preserve our culture which is under attack by thegovernment. We are being robbed off our land and now we have decided not to giveeven an inch of it.” People who agitate against displacement face the wrath of thegovernment. Cases are filed against them. He noted, during the time of freedomstruggle one Jalianwalah Bagh Massacre took place, however, after Azadi we havewitnessed many Jalianwalah Baghs. State is bought by the corporates. This democracyis meant only for few people who hold corporate power.30
  31. 31. Ramesh Jerai, JOHAR (Jharkhandi Organization for Human Rights)Mr Jerai pointed out, he belongs to West Singhum and 19 MOUs have been signed inthe district. There are around 12 MNCs in the area which will displace 13-23 villages.Those organizations that protest against displacement are frequently being labelledas Maoists. Mr Jerai further argued, laws are continuously being violated. Therefore,what is required is the documentation of human rights violations in the state.Moreover, cases are mostly ignored in the High Court, this requires that we takethese cases to the Supreme Court. Mr. Jerai argued, he strongly feels that all thehuman rights activists and lawyers have a lot of responsibility. He concluded bysaying that together, through the network, we need to brainstorm and come up withsolutions to deal with the issue of displacement.31
  32. 32. Gulab Chandra, Secretary, Damodar Bachao AbhiyanMr Gulab Chandra argued, displacement is the result of industrialization. There aretwo types of consequences of this – direct and indirect. He said, after 1950displacement began in the name of industrialization. After independence, as a resultof industrialization, dams have been built, thermal power stations have been built,iron and steel factory and HSC have been constructed. Now if we try to come upwith a figure on how many people have been displaced due to these projects thenthere is a following estimate: Due to mining 16 lakh, 40 thousand people have beendirectly or indirectly displaced; due to irrigation, 12 lakh, 50 thousand have beendisplaced; and due to factories 12 lakh 50 people have been displaced. Further 11lakh people have been displaced due to other projects.He continued, total 65 lakh, 40 thousand people have been displaced directly orindirectly. Our jan, jangal and zameen have been destroyed, he lamented. Mr.Chandra concluded, “We will have to do both Jan Vakaalat and Court Vakaalat forpeople’s rights then only we can move towards a solution. We must conduct a factfinding to find out where the displaced people have gone and what their conditionis.”32
  33. 33. Suggestions: 1. We need to have a discussion with the government on how both industrial and social development can take place and for this we need to file a PIL. 2. Alongside protests we also need to watch out for other alternatives. 3. During protests we should not resort to any violence which will give the government an excuse to suppress us. 4. We should also focus on dalit displacement. Colin Gonsalves, Founder, HRLNMr. Gonsalves said, during the session it was pointed out that there are over 100MOUs in the state. Jharkhand is a fifth schedule state. Therefore, for any kind ofindustrialization, permission of tribal advisory board is required. Mr. Gonsalvesrequested the participants to select any medium level companies, and file a PIL inthe Supreme Court. Mr. Anup was requested to collect copies of MOUs. Mr. RameshJerai was requested to help collect facts.It was pointed out by Mr. Gonsalves that PIL should be filed by the people of thevillage who are affected by MOUs. He further requested the participants to take upcases on rehabilitation and on river and air pollution.33
  34. 34. Session 2: Forest Rights Act and related issues Soumitra Baroi, Advocate, Jharkhand High CourtMr. Soumitra Baroi pointed out, the Forest Rights Act provides that people who areliving on their land prior to 31st December 2005 are entitled to the right to land. Inthis context, there are two kinds of rights - individual right and community right.The main problem is awareness. People are not aware of the laws, he noted. Even ifsome people are aware of the individual right, hardly anyone is cognizant of thecommunity right. When law provided for allocation of land, people were supposedto fill up two forms.He continued, earlier, the government was not willing to give the forms. However,after the protests free forms were being sold for Rs. 500 - Rs. 1000.People are also not aware of the procedure. Even if people fill the forms, most ofthese are rejected due to some “technical” problem. Moreover, there is difficulty inimplementing the procedures. Mr. Baroi argued, the government wants to suppresspeople. In fact, the government should take the initiative and bring awareness about34
  35. 35. the law on forest rights. He concluded by arguing that as regards forest rights thereare three basic problems- awareness, corruption and false cases. R K Singh Munda, Jharkhand Jungle Bachao AndolanMr. Munda pointed out, the struggle for jal, jangal, zameen rights is hardly new, andit has been going on for a long time. He further noted, since the time humans beganto live as social beings, it is then that the fight for jal, jangal, zameen began. Prior toindependence this fight was on and even after that it is continuing. In PESA toothere is a provision for forest rights. Those who reside in the jungles possess theownership right. However, this is merely on paper. The new law Van AdhikaarAdhiniyam 2006 states that the Adivasis who live in the forest have suffered injustice.This law came into being to undo the injustice meted out to the Adivasis. He furtherpointed out, Gram Sabha has nodal power and authority over forests. Despite thenew law, Adivasis are faced with the problem of getting patta, he noted.Mr. Munda pointed out, as regards the implementation of Adhikaar Adhiniyam 2006law there are a number of bureaucratic hassles and corruption at different levels inthe state. He said “We must file a PIL at the state level to seek remedy for all theseproblems.”35
  36. 36. Session 3: Defending the defenders in Jharkhand Faisal Anurag, Veteran journalist and activistMr Faisal Anurag said, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh are three such conflictareas where it’s quite evident that the government wants to destroy its people andtheir culture at the behest of MNCs. On one hand there is talk of PESA, FRA, RTIAct, RTE, MNREGA, however, the real objective behind these laws is hardly thewelfare of the people, he retorted. Mr. Anurag argued, we’re progressing towards afascist, autocratic state. In states like Chhattisgarh, there is hardly any democraticspace left. Activists like Father Stan and others fighting for human rights includingtribal rights are under the scanner. He continued, there is no space for human rightsissues such as land, water, and forest. Laws are being used to suppress us and thereis a strong need for mass protest against this.36
  37. 37. Aparna Marandi, Wife of Jiten MarandiMs. Aparna Marandi, wife of Jiten Marandi shared her husband’s experience. JitenMarandi is incarcerated for past 3 years. His “crime”, according to the police and thestate is that he is fighting against displacement and migration through non-violentmeans such as folk songs, dramas, and songs. Jiten was alleged to have conspired amurder. Ms. Marandi pointed out, Jiten was offered to join hands with thegovernment, he refused, and then he was given a death sentence but was released onbail by the High Court. He was again arrested for some 7 false cases.She continued, he was to be released on bail, however, when she went to receive himshe was informed that he was again booked under CC Act, due to which he wasagain put behind bars. The government of Jharkhand had filed an appeal before theSupreme Court since it disapproved of the High Court order of releasing JitenMarandi. Ms. Marandi said, “those who fight for janhith are being harassed by thegovernment. Jiten’s case is a big conspiracy.”37
  38. 38. Praveer Peter, Activist, Solidarity for PeaceMr. Praveer Peter focused on how ordinary people are being targeted by the state.He argued, if we possess any Maoist or Marxist literature then we are labelled asMaoists. He further suggested, “We need to develop strategies so that we use thehuman rights tools and do not engage in human rights violations.”“We need to bring mass awareness amongst all the activists and tribals regardingtheir rights as are enshrined in the constitution”, he concluded. Damodar Turi, ActivistMr. Turi pointed out, whenever we agitate for our rights we are booked for being aMaoist and we are falsely charged with possessing Maoist literature. There are manyincidents where police officers have filed false cases against activists. Sometimesthose who are already behind bars are booked in fresh offences such as deliveringinflammable speeches. He continued, Jasita Devi was killed by the police to takerevenge against the Maoist attack on the police officers. The police argued, she waskilled in the cross fire. Mr. Turi pointed out, there are cases where people who areabove the age of 75 are booked under CC Act. Jiten is being offered property by thegovernment in any place other than his area, to be free from the cases. Mr. Turi38
  39. 39. argued, in cases like these we need to conduct fact findings. He further pointed out,whenever people talk about jal, jangal, zameen which happen to be constitutionalrights then they are labelled as Maoists. NareshMr Naresh narrated his experience. He said, he was arrested on 15th August 2010 forspeaking against the Operation Green Hunt. And thus was labelled a Maoist. Hewas booked under charges of murder, bomb blast and robbery. He spent over ninemonths in prison. He further pointed out, while he was going on a pilgrimage hewas forced to get off the train and was brutally beaten up by the police. Santosh YadavSantosh Yadav narrated the story of Rajendra Yadav. On 29th December 2009,Rajendra Yadav was asleep when police arrested him at 5 am. When his familyasked the reason for his arrest, the police said that they are taking him forinterrogation. He was beaten up by the police and then they sought payment of Rs10000. Even after the payment was done the police did not release him. Then he wastaken to SP’s residence, and beaten to death. Mr Santosh Yadav further pointed outthat they were not informed about his whereabouts. Later on they came to knowthrough the media that Rajendra had been transferred to the hospital. Then theywere informed that he is dead and his autopsy will be conducted the next day.However, later they were told that his autopsy had already been conducted and he isfound to have died because of stomach pain. Mr. Santosh Yadav continued that theydemanded another autopsy which was conducted after huge protest. Through this, itbecame clear that Rajendra died due to beating. The case is pending in the HighCourt.39
  40. 40. Session 4: Communalism in Jharkhand Hussain Ahmad, Veteran journalistMr Hussain Ahmad began with sharing his personal experience on communalism.He said he comes from a divided family where his family actually lives in Pakistanbut he was born in India. And his love for the country made him stay here despite allthat he had to go through for being a Pakistani Muslim. He pointed out, there was atime when people used to shout that he is a Pakistani. However, today, after a longtime he is well respected in town. He further said, when he was in jail, he wastreated badly, despite being known and respected in town. Hence, he can wellimagine the treatment meted out to the ordinary people. Faisal Anurag, Veteran journalistMr Faisal Anurag pointed out, Babri demolition and 2002 Gujarat riots createdcommunal polarization among the people in India. In the case of Jharkhand, hepointed out, it was in 1964 that the first major communal riot took place. In 1959,40
  41. 41. India’s biggest trade union movement began under the leadership of Hazara Singhagainst the Tatas. He and his colleagues were killed by the Tata company inJamshedpur. The communist party grew as a result of this agitation. But after thekillings, the trade union movement declined. Subsequently some leaders came fromUP and in 1964 one of the leaders tried to drive a wedge between hindus andmuslims within the trade union movement. Another major riot took place in 1989 inJamshedpur. In 1987, for the first time adivasis and muslims were made to fight eachother.He further argued, today Jharkhand is confronted with a number of aspects ofcommunalism. First is hindu- muslim, which is an all India phenomenon. Second isadivasi- muslim and the third is sarana adivasi-christian adivasi. In Jharkhand, heargued, we are witnessing infiltration of MNCs, signing of MOUs, looting of naturalresources and so on. Then there is suppression of protests in the state. He continued,in the wake of all this, we need to figure out as to how to deal with all these kinds ofhuman rights violations in the state.41
  42. 42. Ashwini Kumar Pankaj, Sr Journalist, Johar SahiyaMr A K Pankaj focused on communalism and cultural displacement. He argued, RSShas spread communalism across the country and has been trying to spread itsinfluence in Jharkhand as well. He pointed out, communalism has many faces. Hespoke of structural violence and the injustice which is invisible. He argued, the taskbefore us is to liberate ourselves from psychological slavery without which wecannot take our struggle forward. He continued, “I disagree when people say thatadivasis are vidrohi. In fact they are warriors”. Mr Pankaj also described differentaspects of communalism. He argued, communalism is not just confined to hindu-muslim. It, in fact, goes beyond it. It is also muslim-tribal, he noted.42
  43. 43. Afzal Anees, United Milli ForumMr Afzal Anees pointed out, there are 4 key districts in Jharkhand which are majorlyaffected by communalism. These include Hazaribagh, Ranchi, Jamshedpur andGiridih. Riots usually take place in these areas after seeds of discord and enmity aresown among people by anti-social elements. He cited an incident of communal riotsin Hazaribagh in which houses of muslims were burnt. He further pointed out,political parties also engage in petty politics of igniting tensions among people ofdifferent communities for their personal gains.He said, in places like Hazaribagh, Ranchi, Giridih and Jamshedpur, wherecommunal tensions easily flare up BJP is quite strong. RSS has been trying toinfluence people and spread communalism in Jharkhand but its efforts have notbeen fruitful. He continued, this is because of Maoists’ widespread presence in thestate. He went on to clarify that he is not a supporter of the Maoists but this is thetruth.43
  44. 44. Session 3: Urban poor and problems Shaktiman Ghosh, General Secretary, National Hawkers FederationMr Ghosh pointed out, National Hawkers Federation has won a very importantvictory and the best hawkers’ scheme has been framed for the state of Jharkhand.Due to this, eviction of slums and hawkers has subsided. Mr. Ghosh argued, we as ahawkers federation, sought Mr. Colin Gonsalves’s advice on the issue of hawkers’eviction. To which he suggested not to take the matter to the Court and carry out theagitation for the hawkers’ rights on streets only. He further argued, following MrGonsalves’s advice we continued the agitation. We gheraoed the assembly while itwas in session. And finally we won the battle against hawkers’ eviction, he noted.44
  45. 45. Rajni Soren, Chhattisgarh HRLNMs Rajni spoke on the human rights situation in Chhattisgarh. She argued, thesituation in Chhattisgarh is worse than Jharkhand. Unlike Jharkhand, people inChhattisgarh hesitate to oppose the government and as compared to Jharkhand, civilsociety within Chhattisgarh is not really strong. She continued, it is almostimpossible to raise your voice against human rights violations in the state. There arenumerous cases of custodial deaths pending in the High Court. She further argued,even in cases where magisterial inquiries are being conducted, attitude of the Courtis not very positive and the former merely keeps giving extension.45
  46. 46. ConclusionThe motive of the workshop, as mentioned previously, was to create a network oflawyers and activists in conflict areas including Jharkhand and to do somethingconcrete. Considering the grave human rights situation in Jharkhand, there is a needfor one legal aid centre in every district of the state. Towards the end of theworkshop Ahmed Raza pointed out that HRLN has decided to open legal aid centresin 20 districts of Jharkhand.So far there has been weak intervention by HRLN in Jharkhand. Now, theorganization intends to expand its Ranchi office, and it aims at filing PIL on almostevery issue possible in the state. HRLN’s aim is to file minimum 40 PILs in the HighCourt and the Supreme Court.HRLN believes that there is a need to persistently raise issues concerning poorpeople and against human rights violations in the state. Some of these rightsviolations include police/security forces brutality, lack of basic needs, atrocities ondalits, disregard for prisoners’ rights, displacement, and attack on human rightsdefenders. As far as the prisoners’ rights are concerned, HRLN will handle the casesfree of charge for the innocent people in the state against whom there is no evidence.46
  47. 47. News clippings of the workshop in Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Jagran47
  48. 48. 48
  49. 49. List of Participants 1 D T 1070 Dan Side, Shashi Bhushan Dhurwa, Ranchi 9431364285 Pathak 2 M S Ansari (adv) Y K Road, Naya 9835044441 Bazaar, Dhanbaad 3 M Y Arafat (adv) Gumani, Pakur, 9939955860 Jharkhand 4 Samuel Soren (adv) Dumka 8809534071 5 M S T Ahmad (adv) Sahibganj 9162739825 6 M R Ahmad (adv) Chatra 8877095174 7 M S Chakraverty Dumka 9934199871 (adv) 8 Manoj K Nag (adv) Simdega 8002707093 9 Santosh Kumar Singh Dhanbaad 9334620268 (adv) 10 M M Akbar (adv) Wasseypur, Dhanbad 9334095317 11 Anand Marandi Ranchi 8102409289 12 T Meraj (adv) Lohardaga 9334179326 13 Bimla Kumari Gumla 9430149611 14 A Sinha Gumla 9431147478 15 Father Stan Swami Bagicha 9939411612 16 Suchitra Jha (adv) Civil Court, Deoghar 7209397273 17 Pankaj Nigania (adv) Civil Court, Dhanbad 9835307459 18 Janki Kumar Yadav Civil Court, 9835539090 (adv) Hazaribagh 19 Sushil Das (adv) Civil Court, Giridih 9334050399 Jamac 9204522381 20 Gopinath Ghosh 21 Meha Dixit HRLN Delhi 22 JOHAR, Ranchi, Ranchi 9204522381 Jharkhand 23 K N Pandit Ranchi 9471195600 24 Mahtab Alam 25 Anup Agarwal (adv) HRLN, Ranchi 9470379521 26 N Rathod, Nagpur HRLN, Nagpur 27 Manjuraj 9939174968 28 M Tara Godda 8051168315 29 Jerome G Kujur Ranchi 9431705062 30 Abhay Kumar CREJ 993437672649
  50. 50. 31 Laxman 9905128736 32 V Raja (adv) Rangarh 9905151078 33 Afzal Anis Bermo 9234982712 34 Kamrul Hasan Bokaro Steel city 9835186270 35 Imran Hawari Bermo 9934321231 36 Damodar Turi Ranchi 8757579898 37 H Ansari Bokaro 9386864483 38 Soumya Soman Ranchi 8409015858 39 Shyama Ranchi 8292400250 40 Aditi Singh Ranchi 9661377153 41 Abhishek S Negi Ranchi 9425151263 42 Tapish Ranchi 8809294820 43 P Beck Ranchi 9263136750 44 Ganesh Ravi Palamau 9199965680 45 Shankar das Deoghar 08294118390 46 K Paswan Dhanbad 9939425637 47 Mohan Deoghar 9279396931 48 Suraj Agarwal Chatra 9693324955 49 Gaurang Ranchi 9973511531 50 Mithilesh Kumar 9835743922 (adv) 51 Samit Carr 52 Pramila Mehra Giridih 9931110110 53 Ali Haidar (adv) Chaibasa 9430157020 54 Shams Q (adv) Latehar 9334448485 55 Mahatab Ahmad Latehar 9386241970 56 Abdul 7250802934 57 Ramesh 9973429095 58 Dipnarayan Hazaribagh 9031195799 59 Basti Bahao Sanghars Dhurwa 9263116919 Samiti,Dhurwa 60 T Arya Dhurwa 9472315573 61 Shambhu Mahto (adv) Latehar 9471183429 62 Mahavir Giridih 7739600116 63 Renu (adv) Giridih 8298005254 64 Kanu Karmkar Giridih 65 D Guria (adv) Khunti 9431156998 66 Manish (adv) Khunti 9934512713 67 Z Ansari Palamau 9431970091 68 Ranjit Giridih 7739600116 69 Anita Kumari ““ ““ 70 Rabri Kumari ““ ““ 71 Ramesh Jerai (adv) West Singbhum 9162168149 72 Tom Nelli West Singbhum 9006774978 73 Ali Haider (adv) Chaibasa 943015702050
  51. 51. 74 Mridul Bakhla (adv) Jamshedpur 8603133367 75 Pramod Manjas Jamshedpur 8877693600 76 Abhinav Prakash Ranchi 8235138104 77 Akshay Uppal Ranchi 8797542549 78 Pranshu Malviya Ranchi 9507200611 79 Neha Katewa Ranchi 80 Anjani Nandan Ranchi 8271707101 81 Rakesh Roshan Kiro Kokar 9204268599 82 Avdhesh Palamau 9470465798 83 Santosh Kumar Yadav Palamau 9304555733 84 Renu Verma (adv) Giridih 9931339310 85 Nirmal Munda (adv) 7739182226 86 Dr Sunita Kumari Ranchi 9835339057 Gupta 87 C Kumar Dhanbad 9835502795 88 Naresh Kumar Garwa 9835114356 89 Aparna Marandi Giridih 9771949885 90 Mahendra Kumar Garwa 9693305475 91 Mahesh Singh Dhurwa 92 Praveer Peter Solidarity Centre, Ranchi 93 P Besra Ranchi 9430106579 94 Sudama Singh Barwadih 95 Roshan Minj 9999189470 96 Jagat Singh Kutkoo Dam 97 Ram Lakhan Singh Kutkoo Dam 98 Tulsi Singh Kutkoo Dam 99 Mahadev Singh Kutkoo Dam 100 Vishwanath Yadav Kutkoo Dam 101 Rambali Singh Kutkoo Dam 102 Ledu Kishan Kutkoo Dam 103 Kartik Oraon Kutkoo Dam 104 Gulab Chandra Bokaro 9934169785 105 Ashraf Ansari (adv) Jharkhand High Court 9430260497 106 M Ashgar (adv) Jharkhand High Court 9835577848 107 S Sharma Jamshedpur 9430728790 108 Mahendra 9973936658 109 Shivcharan (adv) 9304428455 110 Jawed Rabbani (adv) Ranchi 7488572885 111 Birjinia Tete 9608899631 112 Rajan K Singh Dhurwa 113 Diwakar Hindustan Times, 9431174674 Ranchi 114 Santosh Kumar Yadav Palamau 930455573351
  52. 52. 115 Awdhesh Ram Palamau 9470465798 116 Saktiman Ghosh National Hawker 9748585961 Federation 117 M Z Haque Chatra 9386150142 118 Ram Rawat (adv) Palamau 9852910780 119 Pratap Singh H-67/B, Harmu, 8095900723 Housing colony, Ranchi 120 Shubham Mishra HRLN Office, Ranchi 8603333281 121 Saurabh Kumar Lal HRLN, Ranchi 8051077510 122 Laxman Lohra Lohardoga 9905128736 123 Shruti Kumari 9708194189 124 Sushma S 9470393413 125 Julie Kumari 8904725619 126 Chandan 8986883214 127 William Minj Latehar 9534163824 128 Dr R Sharan Ranchi University 9431325536 129 Soumitra Borai 130 R K Munda 9935366038 131 Faisal Ranchi 9431171442 132 Nadia Naz Ranchi University 8804189554 133 Jyotsna Misra Ranchi University 9576122268 134 Ashok Kumar Das Deoghar 9430369106 135 Dr B Srinivasan Dhanbad 9507105856 136 Pradip Kumar Bokaro 9934152279 137 Ranjan Kumar Singh Ranchi 9304172151 138 N Anwar HRLN, AP 9940102360 139 Shanti Kumari ASES 9708194189 140 Lakhi Parmanik ASES JSR 9470393413 141 Rajni Soren HRLN Chhattisgarh 142 Prof. Anil Kumar Palamau 143 Abhinav NUSRL 144 Colin Gonsalves Founder, HRLN 145 Chandran Chetan NDWWT 146 Ahmed Raza HRLN Jharkhand52
  53. 53. 53