Thursday, October 30, 2008

“Peace in my family, harmony in my neighbour”

“Peace in my family, harmony in my neighbour”

Shabana Khan 30/10/2008 3:43:38 PM(IST)

A discussion was held on 30th October, 2008 at 11:00 A.M. on “Peace and Harmony in South Asia” at Malviya Centre for Peace and Research (MCPR), faculty of social science, Banaras Hindu University.

The main participant of the discussion were Dr. Pritam K. Rohila, Executive Director of Association for communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA), Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, Director, People’s Vigilance Committee on human Rights (PVCHR) an “ACHA STAR PEACE AWARDEE 2008”, Prof. Ashok Kaul, an eminent sociologist, Department of Sociology, BHU, Prof. Priyanker Upadhaya Coordinator Malviya Centre for Peace and Research, BHU and Mrs. Kundan Rohila and Ms. Shruti Nagvanshi an peace activist.

Discussion was moderated by Prof. Ashok Kaul. Dr. Pritam briefly presents ACHA and its mission in front of the student and he also welcomed suggestion from the student how to tackle this problem. Every year ACHA presents a theme on peace and campaign for it. ACHA may consider any day for its campaign between 14th August – 21st September. This year ACHA’s theme on peace was “Peace in my family, harmony in my neighbour”. In the discussion, Dr. Pritam was focusing on the theme and asserted that if we bring peace in family we can achieve peace in neighbourhood.

The other participants Dr. Lenin briefly presents the work of PVCHR and emphasizes the importance of peace in the conflict ridden situations. Prof. Priyanker Upadhaya an eminent scholar of peace and conflict studies asserted that territorial nature of state formation in South Asia has been the part of problem in the region and its difficult to achieve the peace.

Students were also taking keen interest in the discussion. Suggestion and comments were welcomed. Relevance of Gandhian thought on peace was reconsidered. History, culture and religion were also recognized as a key element for bringing peace in the society.

More than 30 people were present in the discussion. Students from departments of the university and the scholars of the subject also participated. Vote of Thanks was given by Prof. Priyanker Upadhaya

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Uttar Pradesh: Eye wash tactics of Administartion for Dalits

Uttar Pradesh: Eye wash tactics of Administartion for Dalits

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi 27/10/2008 10:11:00 AM(IST)

PVCHR has taken initiative in a matter of allotment of land to the Mushar community on lease for agriculture of village Jungle , Vishunpura. The Mushar community is landless and they have no other means of livelihood except to labour in another field at very low wages. Though they have been allotted land from the state but they could not find possession due to order of cancellation of Hon’ble High Court. PVCHR send the matter to National Human Right Commission, New Delhi and requested the matter to be inquired. National Human Right Commission has registered the case in the case no. 6247/24/2005-2006/M-4. National Human Right Commission asked the State administration to hold a inquiry.

The State administration sent its report after inquiry. The inquiry was conducted by DM through SDM Padrouna B.S.Choudhary.. The Revenue Collector made an inquiry through Subordinate Revenue Collector and submitted his report on 6/10/2005. The report makes it clear that six person of Mushar community have been allotted the additional declared land on lease for agriculture purpose. But the Honorable High Court cancelled the order of declaration by Ceiling Authority and transferred to subordinate court for disposal. So there is no possession over land.

However, to declare ceiling is the act of Government, which is cancelled by Honorable High Court, but in this process the interest of Mushar community is fed up. They are schedule caste and landless people. They have no other means of livelihood except doing labour over others’ field. So it is the duty of the state to comply the interest of Mushar on behalf of them.

The details of lease holder of Village Jungle Vishunpura are as follows:-

1. Issri son of Jingga has been allotted Gata no. 280 K/0.182 hectares. This land is pledged to Sant son of Changur, Caste Lonia by taking money.

2. Kishun lal son of Mallu has been allotted Gata no. 230 G/0.235 hectare. This land is pledged to Smt Prabhawati wife of Nageena, Caste Turha by taking money.

3. Narayan son of Shanichar has been allotted Gata no. 147/0.182 hectare. This land is pledged to Dhukhi son of Bhola, by taking money.

4. Virijhan and Ram Chandra both are son of Guptar has been allotted Gata no. 455 M/0.142 hectare. This land is included in road of PWD.

5. Bindheshwari son of Jingga has been allotted Gata no. 283/0.093 hectare. This land is inherited by three sons Kanta, Gulab, Nathuni of deceased Bindheshwari. Kanta and others have pledged to Shambhu son of Chandi by taking money.

6. Somari son of Shimal has been allotted Gata no. 162 CH/0.089 hectare. This land is pledged to Zakirullah son of Khedan, by taking money.

7. Sundar son of Shanichar has been allotted Gata no. 399 M/0.089 hectare and 6M/0.09. This land is pledged to Bhadur son of Jamuna, Caste Lonia and Sudama son of unknown by taking money.

8. Ram Ugrah son of Jiut has been allotted Gata no. 467/0.182 hectare and 720 G/0.081 hectare. Out of which Gata no. 467/0.089 has been sold to Lal Babu Son of Luxmi caste Turha and Gata no.720 G/0.081 was under possession of Mahendra and other, which has been released in favour of Ram Ugrah son of Jiut by Subordinate Revenue Collector on 04/10/05. Mustered has been sown in this Gata no. 720 G/0.081.

9. Other lease holder has possession land.

All the above mentioned lease holder either pledged their allotted land or sold it. One land is included under road of PWD. So the purpose of Government to allot land for agriculture purpose is fed up. They do not have possession over land. There is clear cut provision in UP Zamindari Abolition Act that nontransferable land is neither sold nor be pledged.

Subordinate Revenue Collector has given his action report to SDM Padrouna on 05/10/05 in which he submitted that he gave possession to Ram Ugrah on Gata no. 720 G with the help of police. However the possession of other Mushar community is to be assured. Though the other five people have been allotted land for agriculture purpose but they still have no possession over these land. So immediate possession is their prompt need.

Along with this the inquiry was done in social welfare like ration card, old aged pension, handicapped pension, widow pension. In a report of Subordinate Revenue Collector sent to Revenue Collector on 03/09/05, it is mentioned that there is 24 Mushar families. Out of which five family Kanta son of Bindheshawari, Ramchander son of Guptar, Sunnnar son of Jiut, Kishore son of Jagdev and Gulab son of Bindhashawari, have no ration card. Six family Channar son of Mannu, Narayan son of Shanichar,Ramdhani son of Bachcha, Somari son of Bhimal, Ramagya son of Akalu and Ram Avatar son of Bachcha, have told that their Antyodaya Ration Card(Red Card) has been made, which is in the possession of Village Head Ram Pyare.

Five families have no ration card, though they belong to Mushar community and they are very poor and living below the poverty line. The other six family have Antyodaya Ration Card (Red Card), but it is in possession of Village Head Ram Pyare and they are not being able to get its benefit. The Antyodaya Ration Card (Red Card) holder told that they get 35 kg (wheat+rice) after Rs 100/ per month. The person who do not have ration card, they have given Rs 100/ per body to Village Head Ram Pyare to make ration card.

No family of Mushar community has been allotted Indira Awas. Marachiya wife of late Sunnar,Ramdeya wife of late Guptar,Shamadeya wife of late Bachcha and Badhia wife of late Mallu, are the real candidate of old aged pension, but their pension has not been accepted. There are no women of dependant widow category. Guddu son of Jagdev is eligible for handicapped pension, but nobody gets pension.

Total 14 family of mushar community have been allotted land of Gram Sabha for agriculture purpose, but only 7 persons could get possession. One person Jagdev son of Banshi has been allotted a non-agricultural land and drainage is flowing over land. Remaining six lease holders have no possession over land.

Taking above mentioned circumstances in to account PVCHR requested to national human right commission to ask appropriate authority to do the needful urgently, so that the Mushar community of Village Jungle, Vishunpura, may get possession over allotted land and those who have not been allotted land, may be allotted land and they have not to work over others’ land. If they have been depossesed from their land by any other means, they may get possession over land. All the persons of Mushar community may get their red or white card for which they are eligible. They are also candidates for Indira Awas Yojana, old aged pension, widow pension and they shall be provided these facilities to ensure their constitutional and other statutory right.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Uttar Pradesh: Family Striving for Basic Aminities

Uttar Pradesh: Family Striving for Basic Aminities

Manoj Kumar Pandey/Shruti Nagvanshi 23/10/2008 10:03:06 AM(IST)

Doodh Nath Pal is the resident of Gokulpur village, Harhuaa, of Badagoan police station in Varanasi. He is very poor and belongs to other back ward class. He has been living in the village for more than twenty years. He used his voting right in many elections and he has voter identity card. He lived along with his family in a hut which was constructed over the land of Gram Sabha. His family comprises his wife Chirounji Devi, and four children Soni Natthu Pal Kavita, and Namita. He earned his livelihood by daily wages labour.

One day the village head Shiv Shakti Singh alias Rajan Singh demolished the hut of Doodh Nath Pal along with his companion and Lekhpal (the lower authority dealing with land). They made the land plane with tractor. At that time it was raining heavily and his house hold articles were being damaged due to rain. His family became homeless. Even they had no place to cook food. His children became dependent over the mid day meal for food.

Doodh Nath Pal had made several complaints against village head in written to all authority like station house officer of police station Badagoan, SSP-Varanasi, District Magistrate Varanasi, Commissioner Varanasi Division, and Inspector General Varanasi Zone, but no one had paid heed to the plight of that poor person. Even the SO of police station Badagoan abused him and threatened him to put in prison in a fake case. After becoming penniless he sat on protest at District Head Quarter along with his family. When the health of his two children Kavita and Namita became deteriorating, the SDM First admitted them in Pandit Din Dayal Governmental Hospital. They were under treatment there for four days. Since his problem of residence was still unsolved, so he sat on protest again along with his family. At least the SDM Pindra came to him and assured him to allot land for his residence. He ended his protest and waited for action taken by administration in his favour, but no action was taken from the side of administration. Again he sat on protest along with his family. Here, the Chouki In charge of Kuchary admonished him not to sit on protest at night. Again the SDM Pindra came to him and assured him to allot land for his residence due to pressure exerted by media. On the same day the SDM Pindra ordered to Kanoongo and Lekhpal on phone to measure the land to allot the Doodh Nath Pal. At the same time the health of his child Namita became deteriorating due to malnourishment. So she was admitted to Pandit Din Dayal Governmental Hospital. Here, the SDM Pindra came to the hospital and assured the Doodh Nath Pal that he would be allotted two biswas (approximately 2730 sq ft) of land as soon as he would be discharged from hospital. At the same time he had given Rs 100/ as financial assistance to his family. Now it appeared that the problem of this poor person would come to an end and he would be allotted land for his residence, but his unfortunate had not left him.

When he had been released from hospital, he approached to Lekhpal and asked for allotment of land. The said Lekhpal replied that he after preparing somre related document and he would measure the land. Again when he contacted to Kanoongo, he said that he was participating in funeral. After becoming penniless Doodh Nath Pal contacted to SDM Pindra, Kanoongo, Lekhpal on phone, all of them assured that his land would be measured on the same day. He had waited till afternoon. Having seen no response from the side of administration he contacted to SDM Pindra on phone and asked for allotment but this time the SDM Pindra showed his inability and advised him to contact to District Magistrate. Doodh Nath Pal remained stun after hearing his answer and all his hopes have gone into sand dunes. Desperately he asked the contact number of District Magistrate, the SDM Pindra showed his inability and had not given the number. When he asked about the matter to Kanoongo, he said that the SDM Pindra had refused to measure the land.

It is alleged that the village head Shiv Shakti Singh alias Rajan Singh has personal enmity with Doodh Nath Pal as he had voted to other candidate in the election of village head. The village head has hand in glove with lekhpal (a lower authority to deal with land matter). The village head threatened many time to Doodh Nath Pal to leave village otherwise he would finish the life of Doodh Nath Pal and his family. The village head is very influential person and he has access to higher authority in police and administration. On the other hand Doodh Nath Pal is very poor and belongs to other backward community. The village head has tried to implicate in a case and showed that a criminal case is registered against Doodh Nath Pal in police station Mirzamurad, Varanasi.

In entire matter the role of administration can not be understood. On one hand they assured him to allot the land for residence but on the other hand they took back their order. They did not give any explanations for cancellation of their order. It seems that the SDM Pindra assured to allot the land only to finish his protest. He never had intention to allot the land to that poor person. However, in entire matter his family suffered a lot. His family have been deprived from their basic needs i.e. food, shelter. This is time when children are in need to be provided nutrient diet, but they are struggling for two meals, which violates the right to food provided in Indian Constitution. His two children Soni and Natthu Pal are school going but their study is badly affected in entire episode. It is the duty of state to protect the constitutional rights. Though Doodh Nath Pal has been living in the village for more than twenty years but he no ration card, BPL or Antyodaya card, job card have been granted to him. Since Doodh Nath Pal has no safe place to reside, so he is bound to sit on protest along with his family. He is compelled to live the nomadic life. It is the duty of state to provide basic amenities of life but state is showing negligence towards its duty.

Where on one hand the state machinery remain fail to perform its duty, PVCHR on other hand provide all assistance time to time. Having seen the malnourished condition of his child Namita, PVCHR had provided financial assistance of two thousands rupees through Ms Parul Sharma (NRI of Sweden), which finance the kitchen project of PVCHR. Apart from that PVCHR has complaint to District Magistrate Varanasi, and Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission, and to Chief Minister of U.P., Commissioner of Varanasi through its sister concern Savitri Bai Phule Women Forum (SWF) to provide him administrative help immediately. Recently Doodh Nath met with Home Secretary along with his family when he came on visit to Varanasi.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A voice against Social Exclusion, Religious Marginalization and Communal Fascism

A voice against Social Exclusion, Religious Marginalization and Communal Fascism

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi 21/10/2008 11:54:10 AM(IST)

NAFRE Jan Andolan (National Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education - People’s Movement), had organized an All India consultation on ‘Social exclusion, Religious marginalization and communal fascism’ at Bangalore from 13th October, till 15th October, 08.

The purpose of this consultation is to examine in detail the historical origin, machination of the politics of Social Exclusion and Religious Marginalization. As an outcome, NAFRE – Jan Andolan has come out with a declaration on this topic.

The socio-economic, cultural relation in the Indian sub-continent has undergone a sea-change in the post-independence era in favour of the rich and the powerful. While the Indian economy said to be doing very well – the people are not – particularly the marginalized! The simple reason is that the basic structure and discriminatory character of the Indian society remains unchanged. As a result, vast majority of the marginalized communities are excluded from access to power and resources and are denied their full rights as human beings.

The phenomena of social exclusion, religious marginalization and communal fascism have emerged as serious challenge to all those who are struggling to create an egalitarian society. Debate and discussion on inequalities itself is diminishing in the society today. In fact, more effort goes into rationalizing inequalities than in discussing how equality might be achieved.

In order to facilitate a serious public debate and to bring the issue of Social Exclusion to the centre stage, NAFRE Jan Andholan had organized a 3 day All India Consultation at Bangalore from 13th-15th October 2008. The intent was to bring communities and activists together to re-affirm the faith in building an egalitarian society and collectively evolve an agenda to work toward social and economic equality.

The three day consultation witnessed participation from NAFRE representatives as well as resource persons well versed in the field - Eknath Awad, Prof. Kancha Ilaiah Braj Ranjan Mani, Aloysius, Mohammad Siraz, Cynthia Stephen, to name a few.

Inaugurating the consultation, Eknath Awad, Convener, BHA (Baal Haq Abhiyaan) made a fervent appeal to the participants not to look at the manifestations in the society, but the root causes of inequalities. The country is confronted with lack of alternate political model and emphasized that the victims of caste, religious, gender discriminations should come together to challenge the existing social order.

In his key note speech, Prof. Kancha Ilaiah, author of several books and columnists in several dailies, analyzed the atrocities and violences – particularly against the minorities in Orissa, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh observed that the Indian society is in the midst of a civil war-like situation and every one need to be prepared for the same and said that without a civil war, true freedom, independence and equality is not possible. There is no social democracy (all men/women are equal) in Hindu religion. Annihilation of Hinduism, rejection of Sanskrit-based vernacular languages is pre-conditions for the war. He suggested that state funded, quality education would lead to rational thinking and eventually will lead to establishing a just society.

Braj Ranjan Mani, author analyzed how Brahminism established oppressive and discriminatory knowledge system in Indian society, which he termed it as ‘knowledge based violence’. The dominant class later consolidated themselves in power and had the power to ‘produce and reproduce knowledge’. He also pointed out that the historical construct is antithetical to the marginalized community perspective. The need of the hour is to work towards bringing ‘Emancipatory Education’, or Egalitarian Education’ to challenge the dominant construct.

Aloysius, a well-known author spoke on Nation, Nationalism, Caste and Hinduism highlighted that the Indian polity is fundamentally ‘Brahminical’. He pointed out the Brahminical mind-set that was existing at the time of the Independence movement. The leadership looked at the Independence movement from a culture/nationalist view, rather than from viewing it from the perspective of political representation and equal rights for citizens. The Hindu mindset further reinforced the belief ‘men are born differently and therefore should be treated differently’ and this was consciously constructed as the modern ideology. Without equal citizenship, one can not call India as a nation.

Mohammad Siraz, Writer and an Activist analyzed Indian history and pointed out how history has been brahminized and distorted in favour of the Hindu majority and at the same time portraying the indigenous converts (minorities) as ‘invaders, outsiders’. He also said that India is not a nation; it is a multi-nation and is in the process of evolving as a nation. Brahminical mindset of – identifying sources or power and appropriating power’ need to be challenged.

Senior Advocate and Social Activist Mohan Kumar analyzed the current situation in the pretext of Brahmanism and Imperialism in the realm of Communalism in Orissa and Karnataka

Anton Gomes, Coastal activist spoke of how the fishing community in the Indian coastal is completely excluded due to Indian politics and the impact of CMZ on the livelihood of the fishing community.

Muttamma, Tribal activist discussed about the denial of rights to adivasis and the issue of displacement and its impact on the community.

Arun Kumar spoke about the impact of Brahmanism and Imperialism on education and how it has permeated into the education system. He discussed how the impact must be seen In terms of class room interactions, teacher training, syllabi, curricula etc.

The consultation was concluded with a declaration that lays emphasis on the belief that it is necessary to establish a democratic society based on the culture of Justice, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity, as envisioned by Buddha, Mahatma Jyothi Rao Phule E.V.R.Peryaar, and Baba saheb Ambedkar. The declaration analyses how hegemonic ideology is born out of the segregation of society into various unequal social groups with graded inequalities and functions through structured institutions like Caste, Patriarchy, Religion and Nation State. It also recognizes the value of indigenous cultural streams and how they have promoted the Dignity of Individuals and Community and belief in non-exploitative and non-hegemonic cultural fabric for thousands of years. It further analyses the institutions of family, caste, religion, culture, politics where women from various social strata are subjugated to different levels of discrimination. It identifies that the sectarian politics and its culture of intolerance have already played havoc, more so in the post-independence period by unleashing communal tensions, wars where loss of life and blood shedding has seriously broken the canvass of cultural harmony resulting in communal fascism. It also recognises the fact that today development policies like SEZ, CMZ, all round privatization have further marginalized and excluded the historically disadvantaged communities, and imposed acute conditions of human existence (malnutrition, suicide and hunger deaths), livelihood crisis, deprived human development, forced migration, large scale displacement, etc. All of this also has an impact on children and the future of a truly egalitarian society lies in the holistic growth of our children by creating a just and secure environment for them.

The declaration finally recalls the struggles that innumerable leaders like Jyothiba Phule, Narayanguru, Ayothidas Pandithar, Periyar EVR, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Paditha.Ramabai, Rettamalai Srinivasan, have waged for the emancipation of the indigenous people of this country. With this declaration the concludes with members resolving to re-dedicate themselves to take forward the struggle of the indigenous communities and to bring an end all forms of domination, oppression, exploitation and to achieve human liberation.

Dr. Lenin is executive committee member of Voice of People(VOP),which is allinace member of NAFRE for UP state

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Indian activist: Massacre of Christians planned in advance

» 10/10/2008 17:09

Indian activist: Massacre of Christians planned in advance
Nirmala Carvalho
Lenin Raghuvanshi has visited Orissa as a member of a fact-finding team established by the European commission for the prevention of torture. Hindu radicals have a program for expunging Christians from the region and reconverting tribals and pariahs to Hinduism.

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) - The campaign of attacks against Christians in Orissa was planned for months. This is the claim of Lenin Raghuvanshi, director of the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights. Mr. Raghuvanshi visited Orisa as part of of a fact-finding team for the European commission for the prevention of torture.

Speaking to AsiaNews, he says that "In the Kandhamal district, it is very clear that a cleansing of marginalized Christian populace is taking place by RSS, BajrangDal and VHP cadres (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad)."

The wave of violence has so far killed 61 people, injured 18,000, destroyed 4,500 homes, and burned and razed 181 churches. It was apparently motivated by the killing of Swami Laxamananda Saraswati, a leader of the VHP, last August 23. He was killed by a group of Maoists, but Hindu fundamentalist groups immediately accused the Christians of the assassination.

"In fact, on August 14," Raghuvanshi explains, "nearly 10 days before the death of Swami Laxamanada, a mob of RSS people came to Sahasipudar village and threatened the people of the perils of following the Christian faith . These extremists also warned the margnisalised Christian community that henceforth the Gita [editor's note: one of the sacred books of Hinduism] was their sacred book."

In Orissa, campaigns to reconvert Christian tribals and pariahs back to Hinduism date back for decades. The swami killed in August was himself a fierce promoter of this. Last December, on Christmas eve, he was the one who had pushed for new attacks against Christians, in which 13 homes were burned and 3 people killed, while thousands of faithful were forced to flee.

"After the December anti-Christian violence," Raghuvanshi says, "three families converted to Hinduism out of fear. It is most unfortunate, in a broken down church the picture of Swami Laxamandanda has been installed."

Mr. Lenin Raghuvanshi recently won the “Acha Peace Star” prize for his efforts for reconciliation among communities in India. Commenting further on the violence in Orissa and on his work with the fact-finding mission, he says: "We were witnesses to most deplorable and inhuman atrocities, most probably, these fundamentalists forces are whipping up communal frenzy with a view to the state elections scheduled next year. Here elections are won at the cost of human lives - how much lower can humanity stoop?"