Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas time we take care of poor people

Christmas time we take care of poor people

Shabana Khan 19/12/2008 12:48:48 PM(IST)

Every year ''May 18 foundation' send interns to those organization who are awarded with Gwangju Human Rights awards and also to those organization who are linked with May 18 foundation. Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi Convener of PVCHR and Irom Sharmila Chanu were awarded with Gwangju Human Rights award in 2007.

My name is Taewook Kang, I am interns in People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) Varanasi from May 18 foundation, South Korea.

Before interviewing my plan I want to briefly introduce my organization. The May 18 Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization established on August 30, 1994 by the surviving victims of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, the victim families, and the citizens of Gwangju. The foundation aims to commemorate as well as continue the spirit and struggle and solidarity of the May 18 Uprising; to contribute to the peaceful reunification of Korea; and to work towards peace and human rights throughout the world. Thus the spirit of the May 18 is inherited and passed on, significantly influencing the progress of democracy in Korea.

Since its establishment, the foundation has carried out numerous projects in various fields, including organizing memorial events, establishing scholarships, fostering research, disseminating information to the public, publishing relevant materials, dispensing charity and welfare benefits, building international solidarity, and awarding the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

I visit Shivrampur village with Mr. Upendra Kumar, core team member of PVCHR and Ms. Catharina Freundl interns from Austria. I reside there for three days i.e. from 17th November, 08 to 19th November, 08. During my stay in Shivrampur village I saw one person was sleeping outside without any blanket and he wear cloth which hardly covers half part of his body, though outside temperature was very cool. This situation really touches me and I plan to upload online petition to receive donation and message from my country people. Inspite to this on 21st December, 08 to 22nd December, 08 I am planning to beg at Godawlia which is situated in heart of Varanasi city. I choose that place as lots of foreigners are living there. I will enrich them about the living condition of slum what I saw and ask them for little donation.

On 24th December, 08 I want to distribute some blanket and innerwear and convey message from my country people to them. In South Korea during Christmas time we take care of poor people, following the same tradition I want to affectionate the Christmas and New Year of those people who are residing in slum area.

Dalit Politics and PVCHR

Dalit Politics and PVCHR

Prashant Bhagat 30/7/2008 5:46:13 PM(IST)

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi is an icon in Uttar Pradesh province of India among the dalit community and the victims of caste based discrimination, torture and other types of exploitations. Lenin is convener of Peoples Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR). PVCHR is founded in 1996 with the objective of making child labour free villages. Lenin learned by working from the beginning that, structure of village in India is the ring of exploitation. His views on caste based exploitation, discrimination and social change took shape while he worked with child laborers and bonded laborers. He realized that caste, not class, was at work. By the end of 1996, Lenin was championing the rights of lower-caste people. Early experiences taught him that confrontation was dangerous and not the most effective method. Increasingly, Lenin recognized caste in all kinds of social conflict and envisioned a movement that could break the closed, feudal hierarchies of conservative slums and villages by building up local institutions and supporting them with a high profile and active human rights network.

Instead of tampering with the symptoms, ‘caste’ needed to be tackled by both its horns. On the one hand he created a democratized structure for the ‘voiceless’ to enable them access to the constitutional guarantees of modern India and on the other, his innovative advocacy forced the ‘state’ to sensitize its mechanisms to deliver social justice in a manner where Justice is not only done but perceived to be done.

Ensuring implementation of policy into practice regarding this Lenin has initiated Jan Mitra Gaon, or the People-Friendly Village. These villages have durable local institutions that work to promote basic human rights in the face of continuous discrimination. Lenin has adopted three villages and one slum initially, which include reactivating defunct primary schools, eliminating bonded labor, promoting girls to get education. The approach of the organization is two-fold: to have a strong grassroots organization to work for democratic rights of those in marginalized communities and second, to create the structure and dynamics to receive the assistance of national and international institutions.

Lenin''s work marks a shift in the Indian human rights movement, which has been reluctant to address injustices in the name of caste as a fundamental human rights issue. He is one of only a handful of activists to declare that such discrimination goes against democratic principles by promoting inequality. By working from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh–one of the most traditional, conservative, and segregated regions in India–Lenin demonstrates his resolve.

With meager resources, but rich with confidence and conviction, Lenin in a short period of time has managed to amplify the voice of the marginalized in national and international fora through “Peoples SAARC”, rehabilitation and resettlement of weavers of Varanasi; Benaras Convention; UP Assembly Election Watch; prevention of torture; voice against hunger and many such activities. Recognition by the international community of Dr Lenin’s work is indeed the recognition for the millions whose hopes and aspirations rest on his slender shoulders.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Human Rights: Myths or Reality

Human Rights: Myths or Reality

Manoj Kumar Pandey/Shruti Nagvanshi 16/12/2008 10:54:59 AM(IST)

This year on 10th December United Nation is celebrated 60th anniversary of human rights day. On the occasion many world level organization and noble persons have conveyed their massages to the world. Their main objectives are that people live in peaceful live which ensures the human rights and dignity of every individual.

On the occasion the Laureates of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award who are Xanana Gusmao(2001), Basil Fernando(2003), Dandeniya Gamage Jayanthi(2004), Aan San Suu Kyi(2004), Wardah Hafidz(2005), Malalai Joya(2006), Angkhana Neelapha(2006), Irom Chaun Sharmila(2007), Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi(2007), Muneer A Malik(2008) have conveyed their massages to the world. They recognize the relevance of human rights in present scenario and said that though the human rights had been declared 60 years ago but still people are not enjoying their full human rights due to lack of political will. They also advocated the importance of enforcement of human rights to prevent further tyrannies and bloodshed. They also appeal to the government of states to recommit themselves in realizing the vision of the declaration. They also asked for stronger solidarity among civil society groups and leaders both local and international to protect the freedom and rights of all people especially the marginalized sectors in the society.

The massage from Laureates of the Gwangju Prize can be seen on:

On the occasion one Gwangju Laureate Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi of PVCHR (India) had expressed his opinion by saying that in spite of declaration there is lots of exploitation and attack on the Dalit women, domestic violence, killing of girl-children in the fetus. He also said that children are the soft target of exploitation. The position of girl children is worse and they are provided less opportunity of education and they are being engaged in domestic work. He also emphasized on the child sexual abuse, rapes, assault on them. There’s lot of discrimination in the family, society, school and the workplace. His opinion can be heard on

However where on one hand human rights are advocated at international level through many international institutions but the value of human rights is degrading day by day. In India many events of death due to starvation is occurring. The events of police torture are increasing. But there is no held in check for theses activities. The recent case of police torture is the torture of Dr Amar Deep Gupta in Varanasi by UP Police. The testimony of Dr Amar Deep Gupta and his vedio clips can be seen on

This testimony and video clipping state the brutal storey of police. The enquiry report of SSP Varanasi states that Addl SP Rajeev Malhotra conducted an enquiry take statements of all concerned officials along with Magistrates, CO, SO and complainant. During enquiry it comes to light that on the fateful day anti encroachments drive was on. The persons have given ample time to collect all the material of clinic. The drive was on the orders of High court under a writ. The persons there created ruckus and pelted stones towards police in which CO was badly hurt. After this Doctor and others arrested. Police in order to control mob took action in which few persons get hurt. CO was instructed to use patience during such operations. No further action is required.

If one goes to the above linkage he can easily find out way of controlling the mob by police. The Dr and his lawyer brother were trying only to show the paper belonging to their land and the police became arrogant and had beaten brutally along with abusive language.
India had also signed the united nation human rights charter. It indicates the facts that India has to adhere. India is a welfare state and it is the duty of State to protect the fundamental rights of every citizen and provide basic amenities to every citizen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Testimonial Therapy: A brief intervention to improve wellbeing in Victim of torture

Testimonial Therapy: A brief intervention to improve wellbeing in Victim of torture.

Shabana Khan 11/12/2008 10:16:06 PM(IST)

Testimonial therapy originally was developed in Chile during the military dictatorship in 1970s. It has been successfully for the psychotherapeutic treatment for the women’s refugee who are survivor of sexual torture, and has also been a therapeutic tool employed within social frame of active human rights movement. Most recently principles of cognitive behavioral exposure therapy and testimony therapy have been combined in narrative exposure therapy for treatment of traumatized survivor of war and torture. Later in 2008 Testimonial therapy was introduced in India in pilot project of three month and Manual for community worker and human rights defender “Giving Voice” Using Testimony as a Brief Therapy Intervention in Psychosocial Community Work for Survivors of Torture and organized Violence was revised and finalize in October, 2008 by Dr. Inger Agger from Rehabilitation and Research Center for Torture Victim (RCT) and Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR).

Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victim (RCT) in collaboration with the Transcultural psychiatry, psychiatry centre Copenhagen University. Hospital/Rigshospitalet supported by the Danish Medical Research Council organized International Rehabilitation Conference on 3rd December, 08 to 5th December, 08 in Denmark.

So, on the first day of workshop Dr. Inger Agger PhD, Peter Polatin, M.D, MPH and Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, B.A.M.S presents Outcome Studies in TOV survivor in Testimonial Therapy: a brief intervention to improve wellbeing in Victim of torture.

Testimonial therapy provided through trained community worker and human rights activists, helps victim of torture to tell their stories, and to receive psychotherapeutic and community support. Justice is the entry point in the testimonial method.

It is hypothesized that public testimony about human rights violation within the context of testimonial therapy serves as: 1.) a cathartic and positive reframing experience for the survivors, 2.) desensitization and alternative learning from volitionally re-experiencing the trauma, and or 3.) gratification and empowerment by active contribution to obtaining justice and preventing torture in future.

While some mental health workers believe the process of taking about traumatic experiences alone can be helpful, the focus of testimonial therapy is on collaboration and documentation, with the intention to use the testimonial to educate an uninformed public and to advocate for justice. Human rights activists who normally work with testimonies as legal documentation are trained to add a psychological dimension to an activity with which they are already familiar. Therefore, Testimonial therapy offers advantage when mental health skills are in short supply and in communities suffering under extreme and frequent human rights violations.

A collaborative three month pilot project was undertaken between RCT and People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) in Varanasi, India on “Testimony as a brief therapy intervention”. The project involves four weeks of training of PVCHR staff by a consultant who is expert in testimonial therapy, the development of context specific training manual, and the use of a monitoring and evaluation system for the purpose of outcome and evaluation comparing results of measures before the intervention and 2-3 month thereafter. Twelve community workers were trained to work in pair and to utilize testimonial therapy. Twenty three victims underwent treatment, under supervision. Most clients received 2 or 3 treatment sessions. Outcome measures issued were the WHO5, the pain analog, and a derived questionnaire utilizing ICF activity and participation categories.

The therapist allowed the survivors as much control over the story telling as possible, including the pace of the narrative and the amount of information shared. A transcript was created, and the testifier had a final say in its exact wording and eventual distribution. The therapist utilized the mindfulness and or other culturally appropriates meditative relaxation method to ensure that the testimonial process was not overwhelmingly distressing. A public delivery session was introduced, in which the survivor was honored after therapy (with consent), and the testimony read out and given to the survivor in a community ceremony.

The individuals who participated in this pilot study were mostly primary victims of torture. The perpetrators were almost always the police. Prior to participation in testimonial therapy, most of the participants were having difficulties functioning under stress. Many were able to work and support themselves with mind to moderate difficulty, but all had been doing better before they were tortured and had much more difficulty with income generating activities immediately after being tortured. Quite few had residual pain and, a low sense of well being. Many of them had three or more residual psychological symptom subsequent to the torture event. Many did not understand the issue of basic human rights or could not appropriately answer questions about issues related to politics and human rights. Most of them receive very low levels of health care after they had been tortured, although many of them had fairly extensive physical injuries. All had seen an attorney, reflection of the fact that they were involved with PVCHR.

After testimonial therapy all subjects demonstrated significant improvements in overall WHO 5 score. Four out of five individual item improved by atleast 40 %. ICF item showed less significant change, possibly because the question had not been well understood, but did never improve nevertheless.

The community ceremony component which was introduced into the project was observed to be quite dramatic in promoting improved subject demeanor. This would suggest a fourth hypothesis to explain the benefit of testimonial therapy: destigmatization and reintegration of the survivor into his family and community.

Testimonial Therapy as it has been developed in this project is both an individual and community based model, best adapted to a situation where work with the trauma has been delayed. The usual format is brief (3-4 sessions). In this very small pilot study, brief testimonial therapy appears to improve the well being of the subject who have completed treatment. However, a more extensive study is needed to verify these results, and better measures of ICF A & P function should be used.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Message of Dr. Lenin on the 60th Anniversary of UDHR

Being innocent I was tortured by the UP police

Being innocent I was tortured by the UP police

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi/Karmanaya 6/12/2008 10:18:14 PM(IST)

My name is Dr. Amardeep. I am an inhabitant of Chaukaghat under jurisdiction Jaitpura police station in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh. Professionally I am doctor. I own a clinic in Chaukaghat known as Deep Clinic, where I do my practice.

Very awful incidence has been started from 28th December, 07 in my life. With out any prior information anti encroachment team start demolishing few part of my clinic, in which all surgical equipment i.e. medicine, furniture and other commodities were masked and destroyed.

Again on 29th December I went to meet officer, however I was unable to meet him and I return back to my home. I saw they were demolishing remaining part of my clinic, and then I start showing paper to the officer that time it was approximately 11 a.m. Four- five officers of P.W.D, many officer from police department, Magistrate and approximately 30 -40 police constables were in that team. When I tried to show the paper of my land and house then police officer denies. He ordered police officer to take me with paper of house to police station. Approximately 15- 20 police constable including S.O of Jaitpura police station hold my hand and one police constable hold collar of my shirt and they beat me with lathi (stick), from my clinic to Pani Tanki (Water tank “Area known by this name). After that Circle Officer (C.O) came and ordered police constable to beat him brutally, “owing to him I was injured.” May be that was the reaction of mob, as they were watching me when I was continuously beaten. Mean while police did lathi charge. When police was beating me that time I felt any how to save my life. Police were abusing me by using filthy word. After getting order from C.O they brutally start beating me with stick, puch – slap, shoes and butt of riffle. C.O beat me with stick.

My younger brother was also there, then Chowki in charge said he is lawyer arrest him otherwise he will create problems. So, police start beating my brother. They beat with stick and butt of riffle which result fracture in my brother’s leg. That time I was unable to think any thing. Due to the continuous beating both of us became faint. When we were faint police took both of us in tempo. When I become conscious I found myself in Jaitpura police station. Lots of blood was coming from my brother leg. Paint and hanky was drenched with blood. I was feeling dizziness then also police officer ordered me to clean blood. Due to fear any how I clean blood with my hand. Police officers provide water for cleaning the blood but not for drinking. Some police constables abuse me by using filthy word but other stopped them for doing so. In police station they provide tea but no water to drink.

When my sister who is lecturer in Ayurvedic College and my wife and my brother’s wife receive information about this incidence, they immediately enquire about us near Pani Tanki. Police was brandish lathi towards them and also abuse them by using filthy word. After that they receive information from any journalist that we are detained in Jaitpura police station. Firstly in police station they were not allowed to meet us, but after pleading they were allowed them. In police station my younger brother physical condition starts deteriorating due to continuous bleeding for more than one hour. Then he was admitted in Kabir Chaura hospital.

When some of my friends from the doctors unions and other few known people came to meet me, so after looking my condition they negotiated with officer about my treatment. In night they took me to hospital with the ambulance. After medical diagnosis doctor prepare my medico – legal. My condition starts revitalizing after admitting in hospital for few days due to continuously glucose drip for 6 – 7 days. After returning from hospital, I got treatment in private hospital as fracture occurs in my leg. For three month I was in my house due to lack of physical fitness.

I cannot sleep in the night, I only think Police implicate me in fake case and I am afraiding that the police may not implicate me in more fake case. I have been selected for Ayurvedic medical officer through Public Service Commission. I am very much worried that due to implication in false case I may loose my job. I want to live my remaining life with peace. I want that I may be released from this fake case. Being innocent I was tortured by the police and they implicate me in fake case. No case is filed in court against the perpetrator and we want justice.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Right to Information: Problems and Hindrances

Right to Information: Problems and Hindrances

Manoj Kumar Pandey/Shruti Nagvanshi 5/12/2008 5:59:06 PM(IST)

Official Secrets Act had been passed during British Period at the regime of Lord Curgeon. According to this the security and unity of the country can be maintained if the public document would be made confidential from the general public, in practical they had made every document confidential. Hence the citizens were being deprived from not only public information but also their personal information. Due to this Act the public officers were continuously terrifying the citizens by making the thing confidential. This tradition had been maintained even after the independence, but due to this practice corruption, exploitation, inactivity, inefficiency, have been rampant at large scale.

To remove these evils “right to know” had been made fundamental right under right to freedom of speech and expression provided by Article 19 (1) (a). It is said that it is the era of transparency so there is no use of making any thing confidential. It includes the right to know about the information of conduction of government except the matter relating the security of country and public interest, in which case the information can not be revealed. So right to know is the fundamental right where no restriction can be made except the ground of restrictions given in Article19 (2).

The main objectives of this Act are to secure access to information under the control of public authority, to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority. The demand for this right had been insisting since last many years, and it was said that right to information is the most essential right under democratic system, so that every citizen may know how the authority perform their action. The objectives of this Act are to improve transparency and openness.

Problems and Hindrances: But after the enforcement of this Act there are many irregularities in implementation.

Though there is clear penal provision for not providing information within specified time, but it is not enough. The official deliberately does not provide information. Many times our organization members had not received required information from Education Department, Children Department and Community Development Society (CDS).
Many times our organization members received wrong information in relation to ration card and ration shop.
Where an application is made to public authority for an information which is held by another public authority, the public authority to which such application is made, shall transfer the application to that public authority and inform the applicant immediately about such transfer, but the former public authority returns the application to the applicant which charges extra postage cost and unnecessary delay and sometimes the validity of the postal order may be expired. Thus authorities are clearly violating the provisions of section 6(3).
Some organization members have been threatened by the quota holders about whom the information has been demanded.
Many times the authority refused to provide information by saying that the required information does not belong with their designation and department. Lots of money is spent in follow up procedure. So for any information he has to pay two, three or more times for postage.
Lacks of resources are the main problems. The authorities are not entertaining hand written application. Fees and postage charges are also creating hindrances to the poor people.
Many times the authority is providing indirect information or insufficient information.
The illiterate people are not able to exercise their under Right to Information as they are totally unaware about this Act.

India became free from British Rule 60 years ago. The government officials have continuously exploited the citizens in name of confidentiality. Due to this the citizens are being deprived from many scheme of the government which has been introduced time to time for welfare purposes. Confidentially causes lots of corruption in offices of government department, like about the scheme, budget of the scheme, functioning of the scheme, and so on. Many scams had taken place in budget of various schemes. The government officials do not tell the citizens about the scheme, and they misappropriated the budget and the citizens remained unaware about the scheme. It causes loss to government and citizens both. So Right to Information Act, 2005 provides the citizens right to know about the functioning of government. But making Law or Act is not enough; its implementation is foremost thing. As it is said that every law should be followed in letter and spirit both so if this Act would be implemented properly, after next 60 years the India can be assumed corruption free and there would neither any exploiter nor any body being exploited.

Suggestions: Though as per section 7(1) of the Act, information should be provided within 30 days from the date of filing of application but the public authority takes 30 days in providing information. There should be immediate action on application for information. Thirty days duration provides opportunities to authorities to delay in providing information.

Though there is penal provision for providing wrong information, yet it does not provide any relief to the applicant. The applicant should be provided required information immediately.
The quality of the paper of information is inferior, and it destroys very shortly.
Though there is penalty for noncompliance of right to information act, but there should be penal provision to make the Act more effective.
There should be review committee at district level in the presidency of DM, which reviews the application for information along with the action taken on the application. The committee should inquire the numbers of application from every department; know about the action taken by the authorities on the application. The committee should also check that how many information have been provided and how many application have been kept in pending.
There should be a review committee at state level which inquires the activities of district level review committee quarterly. It should ask DM about its monthly activities and report.
All information regarding the submitted application, action taken on such application, and information provided on such application should be published at the official website of district, so that any body can check the status of his application.
Proper advertisement of this Act should be made, like NREGA. It should be made in all mode like print/electronic media, hoardings at conspicuous place, so that people will become aware about this act, and they may use their right more efficiently and skillfully.
Misuse: there is no chance of misuse of this Act as the information which is required is provided from government officials. No body can misuse it. No any case of misuse has been come in to light from the date of enforcement of this Act.

Manoj Kumar Pandey is the Asst. Director (legal) of PVCHR and Ms Shruti Nagvanshi is the Core Group Member of PVCHR