WSS Statement on State Repression on the Anti-Land-Grab Movement in Bhangar, West Bengal

CONDEMN STATE REPRESSION AND ARBITRAY ARRRESTS OF THE WEST BENGAL GOVERNMENT
SUPPORT THE ANTI-LAND GRAB MOVEMENT OF THE PEOPLE OF BHANGAR, SOUTH 24 PARGANAS

A NOTE BY WOMEN AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND STATE REPRESSION (WSS)

FEBRUARY 6, 2017

WSS stands with the struggling people of Bhangar against the severe repression unleashed by the state in order to establish a power grid and high power transmission lines across the area by force. In the course of this struggle:

  • Two people have died as a result of bullet wounds inflicted by the police and armed goons while several more people have been beaten and injured.
  • On 22 January 2017, K. N. Ramachandran, General Secretary of CPI (ML) Red Star, was overpowered, blindfolded and abducted as he arrived at Howrah station. He was detained for twenty six hours by the police without being produced in court or any information provided to his family before finally being released without the money in his pocket with which to proceed to the location of the protests.
  • On the evening of 25 January 2017, Sharmishtha Chowdhury (a member of WSS), Shahnawaz Mandal and Pradip Singh Thakur have also been picked up by the police around 6:30 pm from Panapukur in Bhangar area. A staggering array of false charges have been slapped on her
    and 35 other people including other members of WSS, under sections of the IPC for allegedly inciting violence, instigating people, destruction of public property and various sections of the Arms and Explosives Acts, in FIR No. 339/17 dated 18.01.17.
  • On 18.01.17. itself, 11 persons including 2 juveniles were arrested, of which the two juveniles have obtained bail as of 25.1.17.
  • Since then, Sharmishtha Chowdhury, Shahnawaz Mandal and Pradip Singh have been held for eight days in police custody during which they were not allowed to meet family nor even allowed to take essential medicines which their families brought for them.
  • Finally, attempt is being made to add sections 18 and 19 of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for which we await the next hearing.

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WSS Press Note on Impact of NHRC & Action Taken by the Government of Chhattisgarh

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression
PRESS NOTE
2 February 2017

WSS applauds the “NHRC Effect”
Government of Chattisgarh takes action to restore rule of law in Bastar
IG Kalluri asked to proceed on long leave

WSS welcomes the actions taken by the Government of Chhattisgarh to restore its credibility and regain the confidence of the citizens of Bastar. In a series of decisive administrative actions yesterday, the state government announced the appointment of Sri P Sundararaj, IPS as DIG of the newly­created Dantewada Range. Bastar IG Sri SRP Kalluri has been asked to proceed on long leave.

These actions follow on the heels of the appearance of senior state government officials before the National Human Rights Commission on 30 January 2017. The NHRC had summoned these officials to answer for the apathy of the state government in responding to the egregious violations of human rights and vendetta against human rights defenders perpetrated by the police and police­ sponsored vigilante groups encouraged and supported by the police under Sri Kalluri. Continue reading

WSS Press Note on the Attack on Bela Bhatia

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression condemns the recent attack against Bela Bhatia, a researcher and activist, based in Bastar, Chhattisgarh. On the 23rd of January, 2017, a group of 30-odd men attacked Bela near her house. They barged into her house violently, and threatened to burn the building down if she did not leave immediately. The mob also attacked the owners of the building as well as their children, threatening them with dire consequences if Bela was not evicted immediately. Despite Bela’s assurances that she would leave, the mob continued to be belligerent, in the presence of the police, and even when the Sarpanch arrived.

In the meantime, concerned friends of Bela, who were informed by her of the attack and threat to her life, called SRP Kalluri, who is the Inspector General of Police, Bastar District, to enquire about her well-being. One person spoke to SRP Kalluri and asked him about Bela, and he lied to her that she had succumbed to her injuries in the hospital.

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Press Release on Emergency in Bastar by WSS & Citizens For Peace And Justice in Chhattisgarh

WSS and Citizens for Peace and Justice in Chhattisgarh had organized a press meet in Delhi on 12th January 2017 to highlight the emergency-like situation in Chhattisgarh and the brazen attacks on human rights defenders demanding accountability from the state and police department.

Prof Nandini Sundar, Advocate Shalini Gera, researcher and journalist Vineet Tewari, WSS member Rinchin and human rights lawyer Adv Vrinda Grover and Advocate Savithri (member of the Telengana Democratic Forum and wife of Advocate Balla Ravindranath, one of the seven members of a fact­finding team on their way to Bastar who were picked up on Christmas Day by the Chhattisgarh police) spoke on the occasion.

Read the press release here

WSS Statement on NHRC Order, 7th January 2017

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

7 January 2017

NHRC indicts Chhattisgarh police for sexual violence against Adivasi women in Bastar

Interim order validates WSS complaints

WSS welcomes the decisive intervention of the National Human Rights Commission in cases of sexual violence against Adivasi women by police and security forces engaged in anti-­Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh. Validating our assertion that sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war in Bastar, the Commission has held the State government “vicariously liable” for gross violations of human rights.

Taking cognizance of press reports based on WSS fact­-findings and successive complaints submitted by us, the NHRC conducted its own field investigation in March 2016, meeting and recording the statements of 16 women. In its strongly-­worded note issued today, the Commission has prima facie validated their FIRs of rape, sexual assault and physical violence. Statements are awaited from 20 more women who have also filed FIRs of sexual violence ranging from mass rapes to sexual assault of minor girls and pregnant women. Continue reading

WSS Hindi Statement on Intimidation in Bastar

Hindi version of the WSS statement on harassment and intimidation of Adv Shalini Gera and the team of Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group:  statement_hindi

WSS Statement on the Continued Harassment of Adv Shalini Gera and JagLag Lawyers

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

28 December 2016

Bastar police continue their vendetta against women human rights defenders. SP Bastar threatens Adv Shalini Gera, JagLAG lawyers with false cases

Clearly rattled by the mounting body of evidence of blatant violations of the rule of law and Constitutional rights under the cover of anti­-Maoist operations, the Bastar police has launched a no-holds-­barred attempt to silence all those who are calling them to account.

Advocate Shalini Gera and her colleagues of JagLAG who were in Jagdalpur in connection with a case of false encounter of a young Adivasi boy [1], were confronted on the night of 26 December by a police team which entered the dharamshala where they were staying and accused them of being there in an “unauthorised” manner. Despite the fact that they were following up on an order by the Chhattisgarh HC for exhumation and a second post­mortem in the case and their accommodation had been arranged by the office of the Divisional Commissioner, Adv Shalini and her colleagues were ordered to come to the police station for interrogation. Attempts were also made to forcibly search their rooms and belongings. When asked to produce a warrant, the SI in charge of the team became even more aggressive and abusive. It took a personal call from the Divisional Commissioner to the SI to force the police to back off.

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