Horrifying Human Tragedy called Mangalore SEZ

STATE TERRORISM-TYRRANY

THE HORRIFYING HUMAN TRAGEDY

CALLED MANGALORE SEZ

DEATH, DESTRUCTION AND RAPE

OF THE PLANET

EXTRACTED FROM

(A REPORT ON THE ATTACKS ON MINORITIES AND

THEIR PLACES OF WORSHIP IN KARNATAKA)

PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL ENQUIRY

Conducted at the instance of the

People’s Union for Civil Liberties, South Kanara

And

The Catholic Association of South Kanara

And

Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter

By:

Justice Michael F. Saldanha,

Retired Judge, Karnataka High Court.

President, The Catholic Association of South Kanara.

Chairman, Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter

God grant me the

Serenity

to accept the things

I cannot change…

Courage to

change the things I can

and Wisdom to

know the difference…

I have often been asked as to why the SEZ issue finds place in an

incisive report on communal attacks. Obviously, the basis for the

question emanates from the fact that SEZs are related to economic

and industrial development and are far distanced from communal

overtones and sociological issues such as class war not to mention

religious issues. The few of my friends who have read this chapter

raise their eyebrows in shock and disbelief when they found that in

the Indian context and more importantly, under the present

Government in Karnataka, and the religious persecution that has been

let lose in Dakshina Kannada that the euphemism of the term SEZ

turned out to be a horrifying genocide. True, the dominant forces

and the State Machinery did not physically hack the Christians and

the poor tribals to pieces but they did was even worse. To my mind,

an instant death howsoever horrifying would have been far more

merciful to a horrifying fate ahead.

In Judgment after Judgment, I had struck down the misuse of

acquisition powers by the State Machinery through coercive steps

for the benefit of the richest of the rich and the most powerful in the

land. It is this fattest class who are given prime land at insane prices

and all the possible tax concessions even to the extent of feeding

them lavishly with scarce commodities such as power and water by

physically throwing out lakhs of tribals and farmers from their little

holdings because they have no power to resist. We are told that the

Central and State Governments have strictly instructed the SEZ to

concentrate on barren land and not to touch green areas such as

paddy fields, farm lands, forests, lakes, rivers, wells and the like. The

authorities contend that they have not touched any such areas. The

truth of the matter is that the Mangalore SEZ does not cover even

one square centimeter of barren land. Every single piece of land had

FOREWORD

paddy fields, vegetable and fruit gardens, fruit trees, small farms, lakes,

rivers and wells. The Lokayukta has convicted the Land Acquisition

Officer and several of the Revenue Officials all of whom were heavily

bribed by the SEZ Authorities to forge and fabricate the revenue

records and convert them to read that paddy fields and farm lands

were barren areas. When I visited Mangalore, in connection with the

Church attacks, I was informed that the entire area covered by the

SEZ consisted of over 70% Catholics, all of whom grew paddy, organic

vegetables, they owned fruit trees and this fertile belt was well irrigated

by little rivers and thousands of wells have provided the highest quality

of water. All these little hamlets had virtually hundreds of chapels,

grottos and little prayer centres, all of which have been bulldozed by

the SEZ authorities. It was this complaint which took me to the area

after visiting Bajpe.

The villagers themselves met me and requested me to come and

see for myself as to whether the horror story was true and I found

that the reports were a gross understatement. On 8th November

2008, I personally witnessed the SEZ Officers led by a barbarian by

the name of Raghavendra Holla who was strutting around like a badshah,

a bunch of dangerous looking thugs who were designated as

the SEZ Contractors and a whole lot of earth moving machinery all

of which was being protected by the local police. The paddy fields

that were ready for harvesting were being covered with two feet of

soil and thereafter leveled out and photographed to give the

impression that it was barren land. The vegetable gardens which

provided Mangalore with the choicest of organic vegetables were

first bulldozed and then leveled under several feet of mud and again

photographed to give the impression that this was a barren area. I

told Holla and the Contractors that the wells, the streams and the

little lakes were precious and that they should not be destroyed.

Holla who claimed that he was the full brother of the then State

Advocate General – Mr. Udaya Holla, a Senior Counsel of considerable

merit, displayed his arrogance and if I may add, contempt for the

High Court because I had told him that the Judges would take a

serious view of what he and his hire links were doing there, ordered

the machinery to be brought out again, all the wells, the streams and

the two small lakes were filled with debris and leveled and

photographed and he told me that nobody will believe that they ever

existed. An elderly Christian lady who was a neighbor and outside

the SEZs designated zone told Swamiji and me that on the previous

night, the Contractors led by one Kotian who was an extremely

dangerous looking man and threatened to kill me if I opened my

mouth, had encroached into her little farm and taken away the cows,

goats, four pigs and all the poultry and sold them to the butchers

there itself. Merely because she came to complain, Holla sent the

Machinery to her farm and within 15 minutes, all the fruit trees and

vegetable gardens were destroyed and she was told that she should

move her belongings out before afternoon as the house was going to

be leveled down. All these under protection from the Police Officers

of the Bajpe Police Station who were also armed. Holla and his mafia

got the police to threaten the media persons and all of us including

Swamiji who was present that we would be arrested on the spot,

taken to the police station and beaten unconscious if we did not

leave. This is the summary of how the SEZ claimed to have acquired

the barren land.

This particular spot was farmed by tribals who formed the

poorest of the poor. In their own small way, they had set up a small

prayer shed which was like a chapel and some grottos which had

statues in them. There were also two or three similar religious

structures put up by persons professing the Hindu faith. These were

raised to the ground in our presence and Holla instructed the

demolition squad to drive the earth movers over the debris, so that

it was completely crushed and could never be recognized as being

the remnants of religious structures. What almost created a riot was

the fact that one small area was apparently used by the Christians as

a burial ground and there were several graves and crosses there.

When Holla had these demolished, sentiments ran high and the

persons present reacted violently. There was a joint operation by

the mafia and the police, I would equate one with the other who

mercilessly beat the poor villagers and drove them away. This is the

kind of respect that the BJP Government in Karnataka has for places

of worship and even for sacred spots like burial grounds. Not only is

it deplorable, unpardonable, but shameful to the worst degree. All of

this has been recorded by me in my letters to the SEZ Authorities, to

the Chief Justice of the High Court and to the Human Rights

Commission.

What I need to highlight is the fact that when arrogance reaches

demonic levels, public servants such as Holla rise to horrifying heights

or rather, sink to disgusting depths. This man who was dressed like a

cowboy wearing Rayban glasses with a string of gold chains dangling

from his neck and sporting a two lakhs rupee watch, had four mobile

phones with him which were being used constantly. For our benefit,

these were kept on the speaker mode, so that, all could hear his

conversations with two of his top officers by the name of Prasad and

Pai, as I understand, these two fellows were the SEZ’s big bosses.

Holla was reporting his every movement to them and they were

actively encouraging the fellow even to the extent of telling him that

money is no consideration and that he should call in additional

machinery and level the whole hamlet to the ground within the next

three hours. They also told him to get the police and the revenue

authorities to make an inventory that it was a completely barren

area, devoid of human habitation and even any water source.

Not one of my letters to the SEZ Authorities was either replied

nor have any of the above facts been disputed. The Judiciary of-course

is so very busy that even when I reported atrocities of these horrifying

dimensions to the Hon’ble Chief Justice, was any cognizance taken.

Essentially, the atrocities was part of the SEZ mafia in collaboration

with the police and the revenue authorities all of whom would have

normally come in for severe action had the High Court taken

cognizance, but this did not happen. It pained me to read in the papers

that the High Court was celebrating some kind of Centenary for

which the State Government had sanctioned over a Crore of rupees

which excluded a Centenary Arch costing Rs.68.00 Lakhs which to

my mind has disfigured the period building. The State Government

was also kind enough to make a gift to the High Court of a fleet of

expensive new cars. I did not feel sad because I spent fifteen long

years using a broken down Ambassador Car that was sent to the

garage on every working day. In my last year, I was thrilled to receive

a substandard brand new Ambassador Nova which I used for six

months and the log book showed that it had made 100 trips to the

Dealers in 180 days and the cost of replacements exceeded the value

of the car. When I took up the issue with the Vehicle Department, I

realized that the purchase of these vehicles is intended to feed a

large number of parasites starting from the High Court Department

to the State Government and the Dealers.

Later on, in this Chapter, I have dealt with the human trauma

and what has happened to the human beings who occupied this area

and what is to be done with that part of the District which is being

turned into a new Hiroshima. The irony of the matter is that the

media by and large fully supports the SEZs which regularly hold cocktail

parties and other enjoyable functions for them apart from which, ads

worth Crores of rupees are released. The entire population of the

area as also the State and the country have been indoctrinated with

the cheerful news that huge chemical complexes will generate

immense wealth and employment and prosperity to the region and

that even if it is at the cost of raping the earth, it is still worthwhile. I

would like the population of the sub-continent and of the earth to

whom thousands of acres of prime, fertile agricultural land has been

gifted for one thousandth the market value to know who the stake

holders in these SEZs are and how poor they are that the Central

and State Government should be kind and charitable to them. One

of the stake holders is the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, among

the biggest and richest Corporations in the sub-continent to whom

these concessions are being extended. I wrote to the Chairman of

the Commission recording the atrocities, the man probably threw

the letter into his waste paper basket, never even acknowledged it,

but obviously could not dispute one syllable of the horror story.

The most unpardonable and utterly disgusting fallout of the

SEZ Operation is that it has become a REAL ESTATE

GOLDMINE OF UNIMAGINABLE DIMENSIONS.

In terms of sociological consequences, approximately 3.00 Lakh

tribals and subsistence level farmers aged between 1 month and 80

years have been physically uprooted and thrown out of their lands

and homes. The Law requires that if any such person is required to

be uprooted, that they have to be rehabilitated. When I was Advocate

General of Maharashtra, in the famous Nhavaseva Port Trust case,

where thousands of acres of lands were acquired to set up a multi

billion dollar port, it was at my instance and for the first time ever in

this country that the Central and State Governments followed a broad

formula that is set out below:

(a) That every single family who was required to move because

of acquisition of their lands was shifted into permanent

alternate accommodation that was made available before

they were divested of their possession. This was because

citizens at this economic level would be forced to migrate

to the closest city to die on the footpaths and the

compensations would be pocketed by the Project Officers

and the other officials after fabricating bogus documents. It

was therefore necessary that they be around and available

to receive their compensation. Several safeguards were

observed to ensure that the compensation does not get

diverted to Government Officers, Activists, Social Workers

and Lawyers.

(b) That at-least one member from each family was given

permanent employment in the new project, so that, they

did not have to starve. (irrespective of when the project

was completed, they would receive an equivalent of

subsistence allowance till their salary commence).

(c) Steps were taken to ensure that in not a single case, was the

education of the children disrupted even for a day.

(d) More importantly, the principles of the Land Acquition Act

were not followed and the concept which later years as a

High Court Judge, I incorporated in 17 of my Judgments was

used for purposes of fixing the scale of compensation. The

market value of the land at current rates in the hands of the

new project was the barometer and this amount was

computed. Undoubtedly, it came to much much more than

the stingy impractical and disgusting levels fixed a hundred

years back under the Land Acquisition Act (where the value

of a yielding mango tree is Rs.18/-) and the bulk of this amount

was really invested under a deferred payment scheme so

that the beneficiaries did not blow up the money nor were

they deprived of it by unscrupulous elements as always

happens and it was equally convenient of the project

authorities to pay the higher amount on a deferred payment

scheme over a prescribed period of time.

In the case of the Mangalore SEZ, none of this has happened.

Under the so-called rehabilitation scheme, the SEZ Officers have sold

the plots for payment in cash to the highest bidders, as a result of

which, these colonies have been fully populated by outsiders and the

Officers of the SEZ have become Crorepathis overnight. One of the

very convincing methods used by these corrupt officers is to arm

each of the occupants with a false affidavit which can be executed for

a hundred rupees stating that the person concerned was earlier

residing at so and so place and has been rehabilitated. We cross

checked 93 such cases and found that the results were 100% in that

the documents were fabricated and the persons were total outsiders.

As far as the Padav area is concerned, the position is even worse

because the fields in question were sought to be converted into a

kind of a temple colony. A large number of extremely suspicious

looking thugs were present there and they stated that they were

reconstructing temples belonging to family gods that were shifted

from elsewhere and each of these institutions is an extremely lucrative

money centre.

What is the impact on the women and children? All those who

were earning their livelihood by growing healthy crops, organic

vegetables, fruit and farm products have had to work as coolies and

construction labourers and sleep on the footpaths or slums of the

cities. Not a single one of over one lakh children has been able to go

back to schools and they will go back as beggars, criminals and drug

addicts. The men who cannot work as constructions workers will

turn into beggars, petty criminals, alcoholics and die a quick death.

The very worst consequence of these SEZ operations is that

since the nearby towns and cities cannot absorb the uprooted human

beings as every field right down to prostitution, crime and drug

addiction is beautifully saturated in the sub-continent. They are

required to migrate into the hills, forests and barren areas and live

like wild animals. This is the transformation that the SEZs have achieved

by converting a sizeable part of the population into so-called Naxalites

and Maoists. They are desperate human beings, their days are

numbered and their lives mean nothing and all they want is to settle

score with the forces that reduce them to this position and that is

why they are driven to violence. Once the situation gets as bad as

these, the Law Enforcement Agencies brand them as Terrorists and

are heavily rewarded and complimented for shooting them down.

Unfortunately, the sociological problem has not been understood

and is worsening and the Mangalore SEZ is one of the most shameful

and horrifying examples of precisely this.

(Justice M. F. Saldanha)

If any state can lay claim to be “Gandhi’s own country” it is

India, and sadly enough instead of venerating and perpetuating his

sacred principle of ahimsa, on his death anniversary this year, the

Home Minister of the country announced that every Maoist and

Naxalite will be shot dead. Nobody protested – these human beings

are regarded as dreaded terrorists and we are all led to believe that

they are “anti-social, a menace and a danger”. Would Gandhiji

have categorised them as pests to be eliminated at sight, but more

importantly, would he have approved of the violence on either side?

Many a time, he was quick to point out that an eye for an eye would

leave the whole world blind! The real tragedy is that he is not here to

stop these State atrocities.

The very Politicians who go around in Khadi and precariously

climb ladders to garland statutes of the Mahatma are totally committed

to the so-called policy of development which sanctions Industrial Areas

and Special Economic Zones. Nothing wrong in the policy as long as

it is properly executed- not the way a lethal gas plant was located in

the midst of the city- in the USA Union Carbide had to observe a 90

mile radius of a “no habitation zone” as the gas was so lethal- in India

life is cheap and happily NO POLITICIAN OR BUSINESSMAN DIED

OR WAS MAIMED! There is a mad rush to create the show-pieces

called SEZ’s on the graves of the villagers and by turning all the fertile

green areas into disgusting concrete jungles and factories. My

Shamefully enough, we have the country’s so-called richest and finest

corporate bodies such as ONGC involved in the Mangalore SEZ – in

West Bengal, it was the Tatas who were beaten back for the first

time, but were welcomed in Gujarat. The wild life has been annihilated,

the cattle has been butchered, the livestock has been eliminated, the

villages have been bulldozed, the water bodies have disappeared and

above all, the whole of the population has either been killed or driven

into the barren hills and what is left of the forests. It is theseRecently, when Arundati Roy told the

desperate human beings who are labeled as Maoists and

Naxalites because, like the proverbial wounded serpent, they

have decided to hit back at the very forces that reduced

them to this condition.

Central Government that the Adivasis and Tribals and the poorest of

the poor who have been consigned to the wilderness and whose

homes have been given to the industrialists and the richest of the

rich are not to blame for this human tragedy, that there must be a

stop to the insanity of locating SEZs in the wrong areas and that

rehabilitation and welfare measures required to be undertaken for

these desperate human beings, instead of shooting them, she received

strong criticism from the Media for “siding with the Terrorists.”

I revere Gandhiji for many reasons, the most important of which

was that he had compassion for the weak, he took up the cause of

the underdog and he had his sense of values well grounded. We were

brought up to believe in survival of the fittest- I ask, what about the

survival of the weakest? When he spoke of wiping every tear from

every eye, he referred to this strata of human beings and not to the

political class or the rich and famous who do not know what it is to

shed a tear, but who reduce the lives of the poorest of the poor to

an unending saga of endless misery and tears. Though he left us more

than six decades ago, his ideals are good for all time and if the insanity

of SEZs which he would never have approved of, is to be at all

curtailed, it will be through a return to the Mahatma. Below is an

extract from an inspiring publication “Gandhi’s Outstanding

Leadership” authored by my esteemed and exceptionally brilliant

friend Allan P. Nazareth, which I consider to be most appropriate:

“Because we are “The finite created for the infinite”, the

leadership we need, and deserve, has to be rooted in immortal

values. In the final analysis good and trustworthy Leadership

calls for moral judgments on what is right action, because history

has amply demonstrated that in the long run Truth alone

triumphs. Decisions based solely on technical knowledge do

not require leadership. To make right choices leaders need to

have deep understanding of the lives and ideas of the world’s

great moral philosophers and of those who have applied them

to solve some of its most difficult problems.

Leaders who inspire, and command universal respect, are those

who espoused Right rather than Might, and truth, justice and

non-violent conflict rather than hate, violence and war. Lincoln’s

words “Let us have faith that right maks might, and in that faith

let us to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it” are

still as powerfully inspiring as they were a hundred and forty

years ago when they were spoken. Napoleon’s words, uttered

at his remote St. Helena prison are significant. “Glory is fleeting,

obscurity is forever …. There are only two powers in the world

– the spirit and the sword. In the long run the sword will always

be conquered by the spirit.”

I would recommend the book to every right thinking Indian or

for that matter human being, but it would be difficult to put its contents

across to the political and business community neither of whom is

amenable to the art of reading. To those who receive this booklet,

another extract from the same book is worth reproducing:

“The prime component of Gandhi’s leadership was his elevated

vision that humans, the highest manifestation of God’s creation,

can and would live in harmony and peace, firmly adhering to

Truth, Justice, Love and Non-Violence. “Non-violence is the law

of our species as violence is the law of brute. The spirit lies

dormant in the brute and he knows no law but that of physical

might. The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law –

that of the spirit… It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had

violence i.e. hate rules us, we should have become extinct long

ago. Mankind has to get out of violence only through non-violence.

Hatred can only be overcome by love.

In his historical perspective, he saw dictators and tyrants

maintaining their fearful sway only temporarily. All empires built

with the sword end up in the dustbin of history; only those built

on the spirit with Truth, love and self-sacrifice by the great seers

and prophets have survived and flourished. Since humans are

created “in the image of God” and are imbued with the “Divine

Spark” they have to be led by Truth and love, not by fear and

hate. One has to live, and if necessary to die for Truth, but never

to hurt or kill anyone.

For Gandhi, Truth (Satya) was as real and omnipotent as God

himself. In fact, Truth is God, as Truth is what is and God is the

only reality that always is. “The world rests upon the bedrock of

Satya… which being what is can never be destroyed. This is the

doctrine of Satyagraha in a nutshell.” Truth is the ‘Right Path’ and

it is ‘Right that is Might’ not its opposite. He often quoted the

Bhagwad Gita’s core philosophical assertion ‘Satyanasti pao

Dharma’ (There is no greater duty than adherence to Truth).

Truth implies Justice, and both are essential requisites for the

attainment of peace. “Peace will come when Truth is pursued,

and Truth implies Justice”. Justice requires that the adversary’s

views and requirements be given due consideration. “Three fourths

of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world would disappear

if we step into the shoes of our adversaries and understand their

standpoint”. Justice also requires that the final agreement made

be acceptable to all concerned.

Whereas Gandhi was passionately dedicated to Truth even as a

youth, particularly after he learnt about Harishchandra’s

unshakeable adherence to it despite innumerable hardships, his

deep commitment to non-violence came only in his early thirties

after he read Christ’s Sermon on the Mount and Tolstoy’s The

Kingdom of God is within you. The strong non-violent traditions

of the Jain community of his native Gujarat had of course mentally

prepared him for this. Non-violence thus became his immutable

path for realization of Truth. For him it meant complete abstention

not only from all physical, mental and emotional injury to others

but also cleansing oneself of all hatred and desire for revenge.

One had to hate and confront evil but nonetheless love the evil

doer because even he is endowed with the Divine spark which

love can ignite and induce his conversion. “Non-violence is based

on the assumption that human nature in its essence is one and

therefore unfailingly responds to the advances of love… The

hardest metal yields to sufficient heat. Even so, the hardest heart

must melt before the heat of non-violence and there is no limit to

the capacity of non-violence to generate heat.

For him: “The objective of all non-violent activity is always a mutually

acceptable agreement, never the defeat, much less the humiliation

of the opponent” and “A non-violent revolution is not a programme

for seizure of power. It is a programme for transformation of

relationships ending in a peaceful transfer of power.”

Gandhi’s vision, though considered utopian by some and arcadian

by others, was actually an elevated, wide spectrum, deeply spiritual

yet practical one. Like the tall redwood tree, which views the

farthermost horizon, yet is fully aware of every environmental

nuance around its sumptuous girth and at its deepest root, Gandhi

perceived the macro and micro effects of human behaviour in

diverse fields. His vision can justifiably therefore be described as

extraordinary.”

Ultimately, the return to sanity and Gandhiji’s principles is the

only answer to the problem. As the subsequent events in Central

India have indicated, state violence has resulted in a backlash and the

consequences will be horrifying if it spreads. The Mangalore SEZ is a

horror story to beat all others and that is why, it is necessary to let

the world know the truth. It does not make pleasant reading but like

the bitter pill, if we are aiming at saving the sub-continent, it is a

must.

Justice Michael F. Saldanha

The greatest legal fraud and the social atrocity that has taken

place in the last decade has been the setting up of Special Economic

Zones by the Government of India and the State Governments, both

shamelessly acting as the agents of the vested interests. A large amount

of publicity is done creating the impression that the SEZ in question

is an unmixed blessing because it will provide jobs and economic

prosperity to the entire region. All the big and small businesses pour

money into the SEZ Company which in turn does high power publicity

and the first casualty is the Media. Huge unnecessary expenditure on

meaningless advertisements is undertaken and the whole of the media

regularly invited for so-called briefings at Five Star Hotels, after which,

the region is brain-washed into believing that the SEZ will create a

paradise on earth in that region. WE HAVE THE CLASSIC

The SEZ story has been a uniform social disaster all over the

country because the first thing that the vested interests do is to ask

for land which is extremely well situated i.e. close to all the facilities

and further more, where there is the best infrastructure such as

rivers, water supply and the like. The Central and State Govts. provide

prime land belonging to the poorest of the poor to the richest of the

rich as an INCENTIVE at 1868 acquisition rates in 2010 and all of

these end up as Corporate Assets worth thousands of Crores of

Rupees. To compound it all, the public are told that they will provide

Revenue whereas the fraud is that they are given TAX HOLIDAYS!

Next comes the Mega Fraud of providing jobs responsible research

THE GORY EPISODE

OF THE MANGALORE SEZ

evidences that not even 1% if those who have LOST THEIR

All these prime lands in this sub-continent are occupied by

villagers and they are all under cultivation producing different types

of ORGANIC crops, fruits and vegetables and other farm products

like milk, eggs, chicken, sheep and goats, pigs, cattle and the like. This

is the normal structure all over the country. Whereas prior to the

Mangalore SEZ the satellite images of the area reflect a total canopy

of dense green resembling a rain forest area, after the butchering of

over 30,000 trees by the kind-hearted officers of the SEZ today it

compares with the SAHARA DESERT. The occupants are Adivasis,

Tribals, Dalits and the poorest of the poor. None of these people

have any fighting power and taking advantage of the situation, the

following pattern emerges:

(a) That the local leaders are bought over and they are asked

to get the consent letters from all the villagers which are

obtained virtually at knife point. The few who resist

DISAPPEAR. While the SEZ officials naturally do nor admit

that as many as 427 persons have been murdered, they

politely contend that they have LEFT. (for their heavenly

abode!) I am not impressed by their honesty. It defies logic

and human intelligence to contend that every villager would

give up their everything for a pittance of money- whom

are they fooling?

(b) That documents are fabricated showing the receipt of so

called payments which are usually in cash. In the case of

the Mangalore SEZ, in many of the cases, bank accounts

were created and the so-called compensation was

deposited without the villagers even knowing about it.

Thereafter, the same persons who created the Bank

Accounts have withdrawn the money.

(c) Documents evidencing surrender of possession were also

fabricated by the local mafia and a record created that the

villagers had not only agreed to give up their lands, that

they had been paid compensation and that they have

surrendered the possession VOLUNTARILY AND

WILLINGLY- the SEZ Officers forgot to add the word

HAPPILY! The whole operation virtually stinks.

(d) The same mafia provided the so-called contractors who

were a bunch of thugs accompanied by musclemen and

the local police all of whom are on the payroll of the SEZ.

Bulldozers are brought, the entire village is demolished

within an hour usually at night, trucks of soil and debris

are kept ready, all the fields, farms and vegetable gardens

are buried under two feet of soil, all the trees are cut and

by the next day, before anybody can even raise a protest,

the area looks exactly like a barren piece of land. I HAVE

(e) What was even worse in this case was that all the land

records were destroyed and replaced with fabricated

documents to the effect that the area consisted of barren

land. The Government of India directions totally prohibit

paddy fields, vegetable gardens and farm lands being either

acquired or used for SEZs and in order to get over this,

the documents were fabricated. The matter was reported

to the Lokayukta because the local police had been

completely bought over and refused to register any

offences. The Upa-Lokayukta after holding an enquiry has

passed severe strictures against the State Government

and even directed a prosecution against the Government

Officers particularly the Land Acquisition Officer and the

Revenue Officers. Till today, nothing had happened. The

land in question was hurriedly allotted to some influential

persons who are supposed to have been rehabilitated and

they were told to hurriedly construct houses and temples

there to make it a fait accompli. THE HON’BLE HIGH

(f) The most shameful part of the entire SEZ operation is

that large and medium sized PRIVATE industry which

grabs this land which is a virtual goldmine, is misusing the

State powers under the Land Acquisition Act, These

powers are only permitted to be used in the case of

acquisition for public welfare projects like roads, dams

etc. I have in at least 10 Judgments struck down any

acquisitions of this type which entail public disaster and

do not cater exclusively to public welfare. The

compensation which is fixed at 18th century values never

ever reaches the beneficiary and the money- bags gets

these lands virtually free. In Judgment after Judgment, I

have pointed out that even if in a given instance, the

acquisition can be justified, nothing less than the currentIn not

market value has to be paid and this must reach

the beneficiary before they are dispossessed.

one case has this happened and it is shameful that the

Central Government and the State Governments are

functioning as agents of the vested interests.

(g) Every part of the country including Dakshina Kannada is

being ruined and devastated by these SEZs and the simple

results in terms of human misery are unthinkable. We are

then told that the country is facing a problem from

Naxalites and Maoists. These human beings have not

emerged from another planet nor have they come from

another part of the world. They are all peasants villagers

and farmers who have been forcibly thrown out of their

lands as happened in the case of the Mangalore SEZ, and

who have been driven into whatever is left of the hills and

forests. Earlier, they used to die on the footpaths of the

nearest city which is still happening but a few of them

who survived decide that they will put up a fight before

they are shot down by the police and the army. A 69

Why does this Chapter find place in this Report ? It is because

the incidents took place at the same time when the minorities were

attacked and it forms an integral part of the State terrorism that

Karnataka is facing. The victims consisted essentially of the members

of the Christian community. The rest of them were the poorest of the

poor, the KUNBI tribals. I have selected only one area, but this has

been the story of the Mangalore SEZ in respect of every inch of land

that they have illegally taken possession of. The elite of Mangalore, the

leaders of the Church, the businessmen and the Chambers of

Commerce who meet at the Five Star Hotels have commended the

Officers of the SEZ who are acting in tandem with them. The farm

lands that once produced organic vegetable for the full District, the

fruits, the coconuts, the poultry, the livestock and everything else that

was good for the region have been destroyed and we are told that

Toxic and hazardous chemical complexes of the same lethal character

as the Union Carbide Plant at Bhopal will come up in this region.

CLASS WAR/GENOCIDE/ SLAUGHTER OF THE

MINORITIES

It is the same class of human beings i.e. those belonging to the

upper class

have used the muscle power in the SEZ operation. They would not

have targeted any village or any area or any person who came within

their social status but the oppressed classes are easy prey, as happened

in Orissa. The minorities i.e. the Christians and the tribals, adivasis

and the backward classes are all soft targets. This is one of the most

shameful CLASS-BASED attacks in the history of Dakshina Kannada

and it is not over, because the SEZ Officers have proudly proclaimed

that the next phase of the SEZ is now being taken up!

Apart from the violence and the muscle power used by the State

Machinery and the unlimited illegalities, what has characterised this

operation is the fact that in this instance again, it is the State Machinery

that has been 100% responsible for the human social and ecological

disaster. What I can never condone is the fact that whenever there

were protests or any resistance, that extreme form of violence was

used by the State and the SEZ to put it down. One of the forms of

State Terrorism is to register unlimited number of criminal cases

against the victims and more importantly, any of the citizens who

come to their assistance. Every one of the social activists and

volunteers has been beaten up, arrested, the courts joining in cheerfully

and refusing bail and each of them has 30 to 50 criminal cases filed

against them. Nobody has been spared- I HAVE TWO CRIMINAL

What is even more pathetic is that apart from all of this appearing

in the local TV and papers, right down to our being threatened, the

kicking, bull-dozing and the drunken party, NOTHING HAPPENED.

I have elaborately recorded all of this in my letters to the State Human

Righrs Commission Chairman, the C.M., Home Minister, D. G. Police,

Central Minister Kamal Nath, Chairman ONGC and to the CEO of

the SEZ- no replies, no denials, NO ACTION.

What did hurt me really was that I wrote to the Chief Justice

recording all the above horrors with supporting material and

requested the High Court to take Suo Moto Action in the case. NO

REPLY, NO ACTION. That Hon’ble C. J. is now in the Supreme

Court dispensing a higher form of justice. I ask myself the question –

would this have happened if Infosys or Reliance were the applicants?

Is it not true that the status of the victim definitely counts and makes

all the difference. When will our legal system make some time for the

98% of the Indian population who do not belong to the rich and

famous class?

Hundreds of futile complaints have been filed before the Human

Rights Commission on behalf of the victims. I must say that it has

tried to do its best but it is a powerless organization, the State

Government has deliberately deprived it of any worthwhile

infrastructure and it has not been able to prevent or redress even

one of these atrocities. The Karnataka High Court has providedThat is not surprising because a battery of lawyers

zero relief.

representing the vested interests sees to it that nothing happens in

the Court(s) and the end result is just sad and horrifying. To crown

it all, every one of the women volunteers who tried to fight for these

helpless people, apart from arrests and criminal cases, were repeatedly

threatened that they would be molested and gang raped and that

they would be mutilated for life with acid thrown on them. This is the

proud track trcord of the Mangalore SEZ.

The last and equally serious area of damage and human misery,

but which is directly in line with this Report is the fact that the SEZ

and its Officers in the areas of which they had taken forcible

possession, have demolished as many as 123 Churches, Chapels,

Prayer Halls, Prayer Centers and Grottos belonging to the Catholic

community. Their explanation is that the allegation is false because

there are no records to show that they existed. For that matter,

there are no records (AFTER MANIPULATION) to show that

any villages, farm lands, wells or trees existed in that area. To think

that there is supposed to be a Rule of Law in the State of Karnataka,

that all of these atrocities have happened in this very State under the

present BJP Government, that zero relief is forthcoming and that

the injustice is continuing, shows that there is something very seriously

wrong with our justice dispensation system- it has been a disastrous

let-down, it has totally failed.

THE CASUALTY LIST

I now come to the most gory and blood curdling part of this

most sordid episode. In my letter to the Chairman of ONGC, one of

the country’s most prestigious Public Sector Units which is a partner

in the Mangalore SEZ, I had provided the Hon’ble Gentleman with

some statistics that nobody has looked at – the cost in terms of

human misery, devastation, destruction and raw blood that is the

price of this SEZ. The letter was also addressed to Mr. Kamalnath,

the Union Minister for this Project, to the Prime Minister, to the

Chief Minister and the Home Minister of Karnataka. It was duly

delivered to all of them. Nobody responded, which is understandable

because the facts are indefensible, but more importantly, nothing has

been disputed nor can it be disputed. The Central Government has

laid down an inflexible rule that SEZs can only be set up in barren

areas – more than 1/3rd of the sub-continent comes under this

category- and there is a clear prohibition against appropriating

agricultural land, farms, villages, hamlets and more importantly areas

inhabited by the weaker sections namely the poorest of the poor,

the tribals, the depressed classes and the adivasis. This rule has been

breached in the case of every SEZ set up in the country and the very

worst of the lot is the Mangalore SEZ. In other cases, the

(a) Agricultural lands illegally appropriated 100%.

(b) Fresh water wells destroyed – 2415.

(c ) Streams, Tanks and Minor water bodies destroyed – 614.

(d) Senior citizens over 70 years virtually finished off for life- 704.

(e) Senior citizens over 60 years virtually finished off for life- 548.

(f) Children/School/College going virtually finished off for life– 2150.

(g) Farmers ( men and women) virtually finished off for life – 4611.

(h) Tribals, Backward Classes and Christians – 100%.

(i) Upper Class persons – 0%.

(j) Number of Small Farms destroyed – 1616.

(k) Number of coconut trees destroyed – 6450.

(l) Number of other fruit trees – Mango, Jackfruit etc. – 13,860.

(m) Poultry including Broiler Farms and Ducks over 2,00,000

(n) Sheep and Goats over 18,000.

(o) Buffaloes over 11,000.

(p) Cows and Bulls over 19,000

(q) Pigs over 7,000

This is the trail of blood that this Mangalore SEZ has started

with. The later part of the Casualty list consists of birds and animals

belonging to households and little farms all of which have ended up in

the slaughter houses. The entire area has been bulldozed and I recall

telling the SEZ Officers headed by one Raghavendra Holla and a bunch

of thugs who had threatened to kill Swamiji, myself, all those who

accompanied us and even the media persons that they should atleast

spare the fresh water wells which were being filled up with mud and

levelled. I then realized that when the vegetable gardens and paddy

fields were being bulldozed and covered with one meter of mud that

the idea was to falsely contend that only barren lands had been

acquired. This was the same reason why every tree in the area was

also destroyed. The SEZs Officers and their contractors might have

become crorepathis but there is such a thing as Nemisis and it will be

interesting to see how long this ill-gotten wealth (BLOOD MONEY)

lasts with them and whether or not the tears anguish and deaths of

all these forms of life which includes the trees which also have life

and are precious, will not catch up with all of these persons.

CLASS WAR:

It was only in the Tata Case in West Bengal that the National

Media projected the very important fact that industry and big business

is built on the graves of the tribals, the backward classes and the

minorities. That is the story of the Mangalore SEZ. A checklist of

These are angles at which polite society and the rest of the well to do

Indians have never looked. Appropriately enough, I have entitled this

report “State Terrorism – Tyranny”. The reasons are more than

obvious. I do hope that a reading of this Chapter which will also be

published separately, will work as a rude eye opener. One does not

have to go to Africa and other parts of the world to witness the most

horrifying transgressions of Human Rights, it has happened in the

State of Karnataka and more precisely in Dakshina Kannada under

the euphemistic and glorious banner entitled Mangalore SEZ.

THE CREATION OF NAXALITES / MAOISTS:

Both these are extremely unpleasant terms and conjure up images

of violent human beings who spread death and destruction. The

Governments tell us that these persons should be shot at sight and

when this is done, the citizens rejoice. Has anybody ever tried to do

the elementary exercise of finding out as to who created them. None

of these human beings have come from another planet or from another

country. They are native Indians who have turned violent out of

desperation. Earlier, it was the powerful upper caste human beings in

the villages and the rural areas who threw them out of their lands

and their meagre possessions with the active assistance of the police

and the revenue officials and they were driven into what remained of

the forest or the barren hills. They resembled wounded animals driven

out of their habitat and forced to fight for their existence. I repeat

the words of 69 year old Giriya Gowda who wept when his house

was bulldozed, his vegetable gardens were destroyed, all his poultry

and cattle gone and even his wells filled up with mud and he was the

so called offender who had to be forcibly thrown out of his ancestral

land by the police, revenue authorities and the mafia hired by the

SEZ. He wept and told me that I have nothing left but before I go, I

will take a sizeable number of this lot with me. Can he be blamed for

this reaction?

The so-called Naxalites and Maoists are all the tribals, adivasis,

backward classes and the minorities who have been the victims of

terror and tyranny and who have no other language except to hit

back and try and get even. The Government produces SEZs for big

industry and this is the human price. This is the origin of these

movements and this is the reason why their ranks are increasing. It

was not very different in the Chambal ravines when women like

Phoolan Devi were tortured, humiliated, raped and subjected to

horrifying levels of tyranny and a few of them decided to fight back in

the same language and the Government classified them as Dacoits.

When the history of the Mangalore SEZ comes to be written, it

will be a horror story of an edifice built on graves.

JUSTICE M.F. SALDANHA (Retd)

 

the names of the entire SEZ brigade throws up the fact that

they belong exclusively to the upper caste and the privileged

class. Next we come to their Partners in crime namely the

Contractors who come from the same category. A

microscopic examination of the victims will indicate that

they all come from the category of Tribals, Christians and

backward classes. If this is not a class war or to use a more

appropriate term, virtual class genocide, what else is it ?

agricultural and inhabited areas illegally appropriated vary

from 15 to 40%. In the case of Mangalore SEZ, the breach is

100%. The list of Casualties:

CASES REGISTERED AGAINST ME BY THE OFFICERS/

AGENTS OF THE SEZ FOR HAVING VISITED THE AREA

THOUGH I HAVE NOT BEEN ARRESTED SO FAR! One

Raghavendra Holla who claimed to be the Major Domo of

the SEZ accompanied by a most dangerous and offensive

looking thug named Kotian were driving around the area in

an expensive SUV. Holla told me that he was the brother of

the State Advocare General (the AG subsequently denied

this and assured me that Holla would be dismissed from

service and prosecuted. Instead, he has become the General

Manager of the SEZ.) These were the two who threatened

to KILL us in the presence of the Police. When some of the

poor tribals begged that their standing crops be spared, rhey

were kicked by these two. One Marybai came to complain

that her house and vegetable garden which were outside

the designated area were being targeted. Holla and Kotian

sent the bull-dozers to destroy them immediately which was

done. The insolence was such that when I told them not to

destroy the fresh water wells, they filled them up with mud

in our presence. Shocking as it may sound, this is a sample

of the Human Rights violations in Karnataka’s Dakshina

Kannada! The next evening on my way to the Airport, O

stopped at the Bajpe Police Station asI was told that ithad

been taken over by the SEZ. Holla and Kotian had thrown a

big victory party, liquor was flowing like water, everybody

was dead drunk and having a great time at the taxpayer’s

expense. I spent ten minutes there UNNOTICED and

discreetly left. So much for Karnataka’s Police under Home

Minister Acharya.

who planned and executed the Church attacks, that

year old man Giriya Gowda, with tears in his eyes

told me that his paddy fields are gone, his vegetable

gardens are destroyed, his coconut trees and fruit

trees have disappeared, his cattle is finished, above

all, the bulldozer has destroyed his house, he and

his family are on the footpath and his grandchildren

are out of the village school. Despite his age, he

said that the Police and the Government Officers

assisted by the local mafia who represent the SEZ

and its Officers have done this to him and he had

resolved that he will take as many of them with

him before he dies. The Government will define

him as a Naxalite or a Maoist, the police will shoot

him down and the SEZ will come up over his dead

body.

COURT OF KARNATAKA, LIKE WHAT

HAPPENED IN THE BHOPAL CASE, IS STILL

HEARING THE PETITION LONG AFTER MOST

OF THE POOR VICTIMS ARE DEAD.

PERSONALLY WITNESSED THIS BEING DONE

ON THE MORNING OF 8TH NOVEMBER 2008 IN

A VILLAGE CLOSE TO MANGALORE

OCCUPIED BY CHRISTIANS WHO WERE ALL

AGRICULTURISTS AND PROVIDED MOST OF

MANGALORE’S ORGANIC VEGETABLES. THE

REST OF THEM WHO CARRIED OUT THE

SAME AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS WERE

KUNBI TRIBALS. THE POLICE WERE PRESENT

IN LARGE NUMBERS PROTECTING THE

MAFIA, THE SEZ OFFICERS WERE PRESENT

THERE AND MAINTAINED THAT THEY HAD

DONE EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO LAW. I

HAD REGISTERED MY STRONG PROTEST

AGAINST THESE ATROCITIES AND SO HAD

THE SWAMIJI WHO WAS PRESENT THERE.

THEY REFUSED TO LISTEN AND BY EVENING,

WE CAME TO KNOW THAT THE POLICE

HAVE REGISTERED CASES AGAINST ALL OF

US WHO HAVE VISITED THE AREA UNDER

SERIOUS CHARGES OF RIOTING, TRESPASS

AND EVEN ATTEMPT TO MURDER. THESE

CASES HAD BEEN FILED BY THE OFFICERS

AND CONTRACTORS OF THE SEZ. THIS THE

ROLE OF THE STATE MACHINERY.We were

fortunate to escape with our lives on that day

EVERYTHING get employed! The harsh truth is that these

so called SEZs are the biggest real estate scam of the

Century. Judging from the dangerous Chemical units

proposed for the Mangalore SEZ, this is another MEGABHOPAL

in the making.

EXAMPLE OF BHOPAL WHERE THE WHOLE WORLD

COULD NOT UNDERSTAND AS TO HOW A PLANT

USING LETHAL CHEMICALS WAS SET UP RIGHT IN THE

HEART OF BHOPAL CITY AND THE DISASTER HAS

RIGHTLY BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE HIROSHIMA OF

INDIA. THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED IN ANY OTHER

COUNTRY ON THIS PLANET.

research indicates that not even one single SEZ in this

country has observed the basic norm that no green areas

such as forests, no water bodies such as lakes and rivers and

no human habitations such as villages and hamlets can be

touched and that all these SEZs must be set up in the area

comprising of the country’s 39.68% of barren areas. The truth

is that on an average 93% of the land that is forcibly acquired

using muscle power and the state machinery riddled with

INTRODUCTION

corruption comprises of villages and green areas as also

water bodies. IN THE CASE OF THE MANGALORE SEZ,

THE FIGURE IS AS HIGH AS A DEPLORABLE 97%.

Karnataka DGP Ajai Kumar Singh succumbs to Home Minister

Karnataka DGP Ajai Kumar Singh succumbs to Home Minister

Dr Ajai K. Singh has all but exonerated three criminal police officers of Karnataka who joined the RSS and the Bajrang Dal and saffron outfits which attacked Mangalore churches and convents and manhandled priests, nuns women and kids and worshippers without any provocation a few months ago.

Immense video evidence and all inquiries including one by Tranparency confirmed they were complicit in the attacks and were guilty of the worst acts of bestiality and sacrilege.

The officers are:

SATISH NAIK IPS SP MANGALORE RURAL

INSPECTOR GANAPATHY MANGALORE EAST

DSP JAYANTH SHETTY DSP MANGALORE RURAL.

The departmental inquiry has found them guilty and suggested they should be dismissed.

The Karntaka chief of police Dr Ajai is respected for his integrity and his secular credentials. But he has succumbed to governement and ministerial pressure, we are constrained to report. He has let off the three criminal cops with a warning.

He has disappointed the miniscule Christian community when he should have protected it with all the might in his command.

More details will follow.

BG Koshy,Koshy Holdings Pvt Ltd, 101 M.B. Centre, 134 Infantry Rd, Bangalore-1, India
91-80-22868800/Fax-91-80-22865800
bgkoshy@gmail.com
Office:   koshyholdings@gmail.com


BG Koshy,Koshy Holdings Pvt Ltd, 101 M.B. Centre, 134 Infantry Rd, Bangalore-1, India
91-80-22868800/Fax-91-80-22865800
bgkoshy@gmail.com
Office:   koshyholdings@gmail.com


BG Koshy,Koshy Holdings Pvt Ltd, 101 M.B. Centre, 134 Infantry Rd, Bangalore-1, India
91-80-22868800/Fax-91-80-22865800
bgkoshy@gmail.com
Office:   koshyholdings@gmail.com

IHRO] PUCL-AP call for unconditional talks between Govt-Maoists

IHRO] PUCL-AP call for unconditional talks between Govt-Maoists

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) – Andhra Pradesh unit deplored over growing violence in various parts of the country due to war like situation between the Government armed forces and banned CPI (Maoists) cadre. A round table conference organized in Hyderabad on August 21, 2010, in association with local human rights group Surakha, welcomed the call for talks from the highest authorities in the Government of India, including President and Prime Minister and also positive response from the Maoists.

However, the meeting felt that pre-conditions listed out by two sides may not reflect their sincerity towards finding a solution in peaceful and democratic way by sitting together. It suggested that both sides should show their sincerity by unilateral initiatives that creates conducive environment for talks. The Government of India and Maoists should take lead in facilitating talks at national level, it said.

PUCL-AP felt that it was ordinary, poor and marginalized people mostly victims of present violent environment existed in various parts of the country due to war-like situation. Stating that thousands of poor people are forced to leave from their villages losing their livelihood, it said the violent environment creating unprecedented inhuman conditions.

PUCL-AP General Secretary Jaya Vindhyala said that they have been trying to convince both Government and also the naxal groups to resolve their problems across table with out resorting to violence since 1999. PUCL-AP organized several round table conferences by brining together leaders of political parties, civil society organizations, human rights groups, intellectuals and mass organizations aiming at brining pressure on both the sides to agree for talks with a theme “Cease Fire – Talks”.

IT organized public meetings, conducted signature campaigns, rasta rokos, submitted memorandums to President, Governor, Chief Minister, Home Minister and other authorities. Appeals were made to the then naxal groups People’s War and Jana Sakthi.

The continuous campaign resulted in facilitating talks after change of government in Andhra Pradesh in 2004. The then Home Minister K Jana Reddy announced six months cease fire and to stop encounters. Also ban on naxal groups was not extended. For the first time in the post-Indian history, Government and Naxal representatives set across tables in Hyderabad and discussed on some major concerns.

However, due to foul play triggered by some vested groups, who were determined to fail this process, the process of talks was not continued. During this period only People’s War and MCCI merged and formed into CPI (Maoists) and decided to spread their activities all over the country. Immediately PUCL-AP stressed the need that the talks should not be confined at state level and steps should be taken for talks at national level and urged the Government of India to take initiative. But there was not response.

Jaya said they have been insisting the Government to explore all possibilities to reach out Maoists through dialogue rather then using force. “When the government is ready for a dialogue with foreign-based extremists groups, why it is hesitating to talk with it’s our own people (Maoists) ?”, she asked.

The Round Table meeting pointed out that a dialogue between Government and Maoists is urgently needed to protect and promote Right to Life and security of the ordinary poor and indigenous people.

Surakha Convenor Prof Keshava Rao Jadav presided. He expressed concern over missing of thousands of people and killing of hundreds of common people in encounters by security forces in Kashmir and Manipur and other parts of the country and said ordinary, innocent and poor people are worst victims of present violent environment. “All the parties should shed violence immediately to ensure peace and security to the common people”, he said.

Revolutionary Writer Vara Vara Rao said that Maoists are not putting any conditions for talks and they are ready for `sacrifice’ by accepting for talks. “We are insisting only to create conducive atmosphere for talks by ordering judicial probe into the encounter death of Maoists top leader Azad, stop encounters, lift ban on these organizations”, he said. Detailing that top Maoists leadership is ready for talks and Azad was in fact on the process of preparing ground for such environment. “Killing of Azad is sending wrong signal on the intentions of the government with regard to talks”, he alleged.

PUCL-AP President K Chandrasekhar said as the problem now spread to many states, the talks should be held at all India level.

CPM state leader T Veeraiah said that the experiences gained during talks held in Hyderabad six years ago should be taken into consideration before starting a dialogue at national level. The question is whether talks needed to restore peace or to get justice to the poor people, he asked.. He said that Center should not treat Maoists problem as a mere law and order issue.

Former MLA P Janardhana Reddy said that the Government should demonstrate its commitment for talks by unilaterally withdrawing armed forces from the Maoists infest areas, suspending encounters and combing operations. He said that rights organizations should take leave to create conducive environment for talks between these two groups in the country.

Jaya Vindhyala suggested that the message of this round table meeting seeking “Cease Fire and Talks” should be taken forward by forming into a coordination committee, involving all non-political civil society and human rights groups and interested individuals. She said that these efforts should be made at all India level too.

Ch.Narendra, Kqbal Khan, Riazuddin, Hanumanth Naik (PUCL), Mutyala Yadav (Telangana NGOs union), Vithal Rao (Telangana Lawyers Forum), Akula Bhumaiah (TTS), Nurul Avilan, M A Beig, G Srinivasa Murthy (Socialist Party), T Venkat, P Vinod, K Rajendra Prasad (TVV) Vijaya Kumari and Vimala Kumari also spoke.

People Verdict Kandhamal

 

NATIONAL PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL ON KANDHAMAL

JURY’S PRELIMINARY FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS

24 AUGUST 2010

The National People’s Tribunal (NPT) on Kandhamal, held in New Delhi on 22-24 August 2010, was   organized by the National Solidarity Forum – a countrywide solidarity platform of concerned social activists, media persons, researchers, legal experts, film makers, artists, writers, scientists and civil society organizations to assist the victims and survivors of the Kandhamal violence 2008 to seek justice, accountability and peace and to restore the victim-survivors’ right to a dignified life. 

The jury of the NPT was headed by Justice A.P. Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.  Joining him as jury members were Harsh Mander (member of National Advisory Council), Mahesh Bhatt (film maker and activist), Miloon Kothari (former UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing), P. S. Krishnan (retired Secretary, Government of India), Rabi Das (senior journalist based in Bhubaneswar), Ruth Manorama (women and dalit rights activist), Sukumar Muralidharan (Delhi-based free lance journalist), Syeeda Hameed (member of Planning Commission, Government of India), Vahida Nainar (expert on international law, mass crimes and gender), Vinod Raina (scientist and social activist with a specific focus on right to education), Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat (former Chief of Naval Staff) and Vrinda Grover (advocate, Delhi High Court). 

******

Introduction

Thousands of dalits and tribals belonging to the Christian minorities in the Kandhamal region of Orissa were victims of organized violence starting in August 2007.  According to government figures during the last bout of violence from August to December 2008, in Kandhamal district alone more than 600 villages were ransacked, 5600 houses were looted and burnt, 54000 people were left homeless, 38 people were murdered. Human rights groups estimate that over 100 people were killed, including women, disabled and aged persons and children; and an unestimated number suffered severe physical injuries and mental trauma. While there are reports of four women being gang-raped, many more victims of sexual assault are believed to have been intimidated into silence.  295 churches and other places of worship, big and small, were destroyed. 13 schools, colleges, and offices of 5 non-profit organizations damaged. About 30,000 people were uprooted and lived in relief camps and continue to be displaced. During this period about 2,000 people belonging to minority communities were forced to repudiate their Christian faith.  More than 10,000 children had their education severely disrupted due to displacement and fear. Today, after two years, the situation has not improved, although the administration time and again claims it is peaceful and has returned to normalcy. With a view to create conditions for justice and accountability for the violence, the National Solidarity Forum organized a National People’s Tribunal (NPT) on 22-24 August 2010 at the Constitution Club in Delhi.  The objectives of the Tribunal were:

1.    To provide a platform for victim-survivors and their families to voice their experiences, perceptions,  demands and aspirations to civil society at large;

2.    To study and analyse the long-term and short-term causes and impact of the Kandhamal violence;

3.    To assess the role, conduct and responsibility of various organizations, groups of individuals or persons, in influencing, precipitating and escalating the violence;

4.    To assess the role played by the state and district administration and public officials, including the police, before, during and after the pogrom;

5.    To assess the functioning of the criminal justice system for fixing criminal accountability and prosecuting the guilty;

6.    To study and analyse the various rights of victims and survivors that have been violated during the violence and thereafter;

7.     To recommend both short-term and long-term remedial measures for promoting an efficient delivery of justice and reparations, and for strengthening peace-building, prevention of communal violence and secularism; and

8.    To present the findings and recommendations before civil society, including the media, and to persuade the government and other agencies to pursue the necessary follow up action to restore dignity, right to life, justice and peace to the victim-survivors of Kandhamal violence.

The Tribunal heard 43 victims, survivors and their representatives, and 15 experts who presented studies / fact-finding reports on the Kandhamal violence.  Documentation related to each case, consisting of affidavits, court documents, medical and other supporting documents, as well as copies of reports and studies on the violence were placed before the jury for its perusal.  The depositions were on a range of issues including a) adivasi and dalit rights to religious and culture freedom; b) role of police, administration and the criminal justice system; c) issues relating to housing, compensation, relief, rehabilitation, food and livelihood, displacement and migration of the victims; d) impact on children and their education; e) gender violence and violations of human rights; and f) role of media, political parties, and civil society in peace and reconciliation processes. Formal invitations were extended to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Ministry of Women’s Development and Child Welfare, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, as well as the National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and National Commission for Women   to participate in the proceedings of the Tribunal.  However, there was no participation from the concerned ministries and commissions.

PREAMBLE

The jury records its shock and deep concern for the heinous and brutal manner in which the members of the Christian community, a vast majority of who are dalits and tribals were killed, dismembered, sexually assaulted and tortured. The deliberate destruction of evidence pertaining to these crimes came to the attention to the jury. There was rampant and systematic looting and destruction of houses and places of worship and means of livelihood. The victim-survivors continue to be intimidated and systematically denied protection and access to justice.

From the testimonies heard and the detailed reports received, the jury is convinced that the carnage in Kandhamal is an act of communalism mainly directed against the Christian community, a vast majority of who are of scheduled caste origin and anyone who supported or worked with the community.  It is clear to us that there was deliberate strategy of targeting of the community, fed by groups of the Hindutva ideology such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and the active members of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The jury is further convinced that the communal violence in Kandhamal was the consequence of a subversion of constitutional governance in which state agents were complicit. 

The jury acknowledges and appreciates the courage, determination and resilience of the victim-survivors and the human rights defenders supporting them, who have braved physical, psychological and economic hardships and intimidation to tell their stories before this Tribunal, thereby breaking the culture of silence. After listening to the myriad accounts of all the victim-survivors and their representatives, as well as the experts who presented a summary of their studies / fact-finding reports on the Kandhamal violence, the jury offers the following preliminary findings and recommendations:

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

The jury observes that a majority of victim-survivors and their families are from marginalized groups, particularly from the dalit and adivasi (SC and ST) Christian community, and that most live in abject poverty and on the brink of despair. The victim-survivors and their families are yet to obtain justice, rehabilitation or regain a right to life with dignity.  The victims/survivors have undergone incredible hardships, including physical and psychological trauma, threats and humiliation, deprivation of a dignity, an extensive loss of movable and immovable property, a source and means of livelihood and their right to a decent standard of living – including food, housing, education and health services.  They have faced persecution in all its forms – such as social and economic boycott as well as religious, caste-based and cultural discrimination. They live under a constant threat to their lives and personal security and continue to suffer from trauma. The consequence is that even two year after the outbreak of the violence, the victim-survivors are unable to return to their villages and resume their normal way of life.  They continue to be subjected to constant and overt manifestations of communal, caste and class-based discrimination. All victim-survivors and their representatives who deposed before the Tribunal strongly articulated their demand for justice and security.

The jury observes that communal forces have used religious conversions as an issue for political mobilisation and to incite horrific forms of violence and discrimination against the Christians of SC origin and their supporters in Kandhamal. The object is to dominate them and ensure that they never rise above their low caste status and remain subservient to the upper castes. The jury observes, with deep concern, that a range of coercive tactics have been used by the communal forces for conversion or re-conversion of a person into the Hindu fold, including threat, intimidation, social and economic boycott and coercion, as well as the institutionalization of humiliating rituals.  The state and district administrations have, on no occasion, intervened to protect the freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

The jury observes, with concern, the institutionalised communal and casteist bias of state agencies, and their deliberate dereliction of constitutionally mandated duties, their connivance with communal forces, participation in and support to the violence and a deliberate scuttling of processes of justice through acts of commission and omission. The state agencies have blatantly failed to extend much-needed institutional support to victim-survivors and protect them from ostracism, socio-economic boycott and subjugation by non-state actors.

SPECIFIC OBSERVATIONS

A.       State’s Complicity and Collusion

  • Institutional Bias: All testimonies and reports have pointed towards the complicity of the police – senior officers as well as the constabulary – during the phase of violence, and their collusion with the wrongdoers during the phase of investigation and prosecution. Based on the testimonies, the jury concludes that this was not an aberration of a few individual police men, but evidence of an institutional bias against the targeted Christian community.

 

  • Failure to Prevent the Violence: The police deliberately failed to prevent the violence by a) non-implementation of the recommendations made by the National Commission for Minorities in its reports of January and April 2008; b) permitting the funeral procession of Swami Lakshmananda through a 170 kilometre route through communally sensitive areas; c) allowing hate speeches and incitement to violence; d) allowing a series of programmes by the communal forces (such as the bandh of 25 August 2008, shraddhanjali sabhas and dharnas by Hindu religious leaders).  In particular, the permission given by the state administration to the funeral procession cannot, in any way, be a mere lapse of judgment. The state agencies displayed long overdue political resolve when they stopped VHP leader Praveen Togadia from visiting Kandhamal in March 2010. This late awakening was however, of little help to the victim-survivors of the district.

 

  • Suspension of Police Officials: Many witnesses deposed about the failure of the police to protect them from the violence and their refusal to register First Information Reports subsequently. There were long delayed actions to check police complicity, when five police officials were suspended for misconduct and negligence in connection with the sexual assault on Sister Meena, and the identification of 13 police officials for failure to protect persons and property in Kandhamal by A.K. Upadhyay, DIG (Training).

 

  • Destruction of Evidence by Public Officials: The jury is constrained to observe that public officials have colluded in the destruction of evidence and there is testimony directly implicating the District Collector in this misdemeanour (Case No. 24)

 

B.  Communal Forces, Freedom of Religion and Discrimination

  • Forcible Conversions: Testimonies pointed towards forcible conversion of Christians to Hinduism during the violence and subsequently, as a condition for their return to their villages. No known action has been initiated against any of the perpetrators by the administration under the provisions either of criminal law, or the state’s Freedom of Religion Act.   

 

  • Serious Violation of Religious Freedom: The violent intimidation of the Christian community, accompanied by social sanctions against the practice of Christianity, the destruction and desecration of places of worship, the forcible conversions to Hinduism, the killing and torture of victims and survivors for their refusal to repudiate their faith, are all acts violative of the constitutional guarantees of right to life, equality and non-discrimination, as well as the right to religious freedom. 

 

  • The Role of Hindutva forces: The accused identified in all witness testimonies were members of Hindutva organisations.  This is substantiated by the response of Orissa Chief Minister, to a query raised in the state Legislative Assembly, on 23 November 2009.  In his written response, Mr. Naveen Pattnaik said that pursuant to investigation, 85 members of the RSS, 321 members of the VHP and 118 members of the Bajrang Dal had been arrested.

 

  • Discrimination on the Basis of Caste and Religion: The targeted violence against dalit Christians, as well as the continued discrimination against them are violative of Constitutional guarantees of equality, non-discrimination, right to a dignified life and the prohibition of untouchability. Further, they amount to a serious violation of all provisions of the UN Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), a convention ratified by India. The Concluding Observations of its forty-ninth session held in August/September 1996 (as it reviewed India’s tenth to fourteenth periodic reports under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, 1965), the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination affirmed that “the situation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes falls within the scope of” the Convention.[1] The Committee states that “descent” contained in Article 1 of the Convention does not refer solely to race, and includes the situation of scheduled castes and tribes.

 

C.       Sexual Violence and Other Gender Concerns

  • Silence and Invisibility: The jury observes, with deep concern, that silence continues to prevail in matters of sexual assault. This applies at all levels, including documenting, reporting, investigating, charging and prosecuting cases. Though witness testimonies show that sexual violence was rampant, there are only five reported cases, and an even smaller number that have been registered and are pending in the courts. One of the testimonies refers to the gang rape (Case No. 3), but none of the accused has been formally charged.

 

  • Special Vulnerability of Women: While all victims and survivors face intimidation and threats, women face the additional danger of sexual violence not just against themselves but also against their daughters (Case No. 12).  The immediate consequence of such threats is a hightened sense of vulnerability and a restriction on their movement. The jury observes that the threat of sexual assault against women continues to be used as a tool to prevent families from returning to their villages, to prevent women from resuming their livelihood activities, and pursuing justice.

 

  • Violation of international covenants: The pattern of violence against women is violative of constitutional guarantees of equality, non-discrimination on the ground of sex as well as a right to life with dignity.  In addition, the attacks violate international standards, including the UN Convention on Elimination of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) which has been ratified by India.  The CEDAW Committee, through General Recommendation 19, has clarified that gender-based violence, that is,   violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately, amounts to discrimination against women.

 

D.       Failure of the Criminal Justice System

  • Arbitrary Exercise of Discretionary Power: The jury observes, with concern, an arbitrary exercise of the discretionary power vested in the police and the prosecuting agencies.  In many instances, the police have refused to register FIRs, have delayed registering FIRs by 2-5 months, and dissuaded victim-survivors from registering FIRs and coerced them to omit the names of perpetrators and other details from the FIRs, particularly if they indicated the complicity of public officials or members of communal organizations.  Victim-survivors were also shunted between various police stations for registration of FIRs in contexts where their safety was at risk. 

 

  • Arrests: Many victim-survivors deposed before the jury that the perpetrators of heinous crimes had not been arrested, and were roaming freely and continuing to threaten, intimidate and humiliate them. Testimonies point to an inordinate delay in arresting the perpetrators, and a failure to arrest many more, contributing to an overall climate of impunity.  Honest police officials who attempted to arrest perpetrators were threatened. Testimonies indicate that victim-survivors were often threatened with arrest under fabricated charges in order to silence them and deter them from pursuing justice.

 

  • Investigation & Prosecution: The deliberate destruction of evidence, particularly of killings, through the burning or disposal of bodies, has resulted in the absence of forensic evidence in many cases. Investigations were marked by a neglect of the basic requirements of gathering evidence, which severely impaired the efficacy of the prosecution. Delay in obtaining forensic evidence, failure in obtaining corroborative evidence and the rampant intimidation of victim-survivors and witnesses,  have led to many acquittals.

 

  • Appreciation of Evidence by the Fast Track Courts: Upon perusal of judgments, affidavits and statements, the jury concludes that the judicial weighing of evidence failed to recognise the extraordinary context in which these mass crimes have been committed. Minor discrepancies in witness testimonies in court have been given undue weightage, leading to an alarmingly high number of acquittals.

 

  • Judgment and Sentencing: Studies indicate that lenient sentences have been awarded without an acknowledgment of the gravity of the crimes committed and their consequences, both in terms of heinous killings and assault, as well as rampant looting of movable property and destruction of immovable property belonging to the dalit and adivasi Christians. A fine of Rs. 2000 has been mechanically imposed, without any correlation with the value of property destroyed.  Further there seems to have been little attempt to apply S. 357 of the Cr.PC which provides for an imposition of a higher amount of fine, which could be recovered and paid to victim-survivors as compensation.
  • Gaps in Indian Criminal Law: The jury observes that clear gaps exist in the criminal law to prosecute and punish those responsible for targeted mass violence. These include the absence of investigative procedures and evidentiary rules relating to mass crimes, such as punishing for murder even in the absence of the body of deceased. The protections guaranteed by law to public servants obstruct their accountability. Such gaps make dispensation of justice in contexts of mass violence extremely difficult.

 

  • Relevance of International Criminal Law: The testimonies shows that the Kandhamal violence meets all the elements of Crimes Against Humanity as defined in applicable international law. The jury has come across cases where victims were dismembered or burnt alive, constituting the crime of torture under jurisprudence of international courts and tribunals. (The International Criminal Court’s definition of torture in Article 7 does not require that torture be committed by public officials.)  That a victim was forced to drink cow urine and shave his head amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

 

E.        Protection of Victims and Witnesses, Access to Justice & Fair Trial

  • Willingness to Testify in Court: Those who deposed before the Tribunal were keen, ready and willing to depose before the Fast Track courts.  However, they face severe intimidation and threats. Despite the concerned authorities being informed, no steps have been taken to provide any protection to the witnesses and victim-survivors.   
  • Hostile Atmosphere in Court: The atmosphere in the trial court (Fast Track courts) was described as hostile. The atmosphere was fearful as the accused were accompanied by a large number of persons representing the accused, and from communal forces.  The atmosphere in court is not conducive to a fair trial.  There has been no initiative taken, either by the Prosecutor or the court, to hold the proceedings in camera.

 

  • Absence of Safe Passage: Victims who have dared to lodge complaints & witnesses who have courageously given evidence in court are unable to return to their homes. There is no guarantee of safe passage to and from the courts. They are living in other cities and villages, many of them in hiding, as they apprehend danger to their lives.

 

  • Threat of Sexual Assault: Women victims and witnesses have received constant threats of sexual violence and rape to themselves and their daughters.  Ironically most of the accused roam freely and live in their villages and homes.

 

  • Absence of Free Legal Aid: Since most of the victim-survivors are from underprivileged communities, there is a dire need for quality legal aid services at state expenses.  None of those who deposed before us had been extended free legal aid services.  Most victim-survivors have been supported in court through the initiatives of non-profit organizations.  The failure of the state to provide free legal aid has contributed substantially to an absence of fair trial.

 

F.        Concerns Related to Children

The most important finding related to children status in Kandhamal is sense of hopelessness, injustice discrimination and fear prevailing among children, threatening to severely impact their growth and development.

  • Mental Health: Children are in deep state of mental trauma. There has been no trauma counselling for the affected children and adolescents in Kandhamal. Even today they have night mares of running in the jungle, with the killers in pursuit, are scared of any loud sound and are afraid of people walking in groups or talking loudly.
  • Education: Large number of children has dropped out of school due to financial and social insecurity and many have them have gone out for work. Many of them had to discontinue their education due to discrimination meted out to them by the school authority and also in some cases by children in schools. Many children were forced to change school and many of them opted for residential schools out of the state. Post violence many dropped out due to the inability of the families to bear the expenses, fear, and also due to lack of facilities to commute to school. 
  • Child Labour: Many children have left education and have gone to Kerala, Surat and neighbouring states. Even girls have gone to Udhagamandalam (Ooty) and working in coffee plantation.  there is no data available with the district Labour Office regarding the present status of child labour in the state. Last child labour census in the district was done in 1997.
  • Child Trafficking: There are rise incidences of trafficking for children, mainly for labour, sexual exploitation and abuse. Though there are no consolidated data on number of children being trafficked post violence in the district, we have come across some instances. 

 

G.       Reparations  

  • Compensation: Compensation for loss of life, injuries and loss of / damage to property has been awarded in an extremely arbitrary manner.  The amounts awarded are grossly inadequate and do permit victim-survivors to regain the standards of living enjoyed prior to the violence.  The award of compensation does not recognize sexual assault or the extent of loss of house and movable property destruction, the exclusion of which has caused immense difficulties to victim-survivors and their families.

 

  • Relief and Humanitarian Assistance: From the testimonies of victim-survivors and reports, it is evident that the relief camps did not provide for basic facilities such as nutritious food, clean water and sanitation, or adequate security.  There was a lack of trauma counselling, medical assistance and other forms of humanitarian assistance that ought to have been made available to all victim-survivors in the relief camps. 

 

  • Safe Return or Resettlement: Many victim-survivors have been forced or duped into returning to their villages, where they have faced continuous threat, intimidation and fear of attacks if they did not repudiate their faith. Many victim-survivors and their families continue to live on the outskirts of their villages, without any source of livelihood.  The state and district authorities have taken no proactive measures at creating an atmosphere conducive for the safe return of victim-survivors to their villages.  By failing to recognize the right of all victim-survivors and their families to a safe return to their villages or resettlement at state expense, the state has grossly violated the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement 1998.

 

  • Reconstruction of Houses and Places of Worship: Some victim-survivors have been provided inadequate compensation for rebuilding their houses and many excluded from an award of compensation altogether.  A majority of places of religious worship that had been damaged or destroyed during the violence, have not been re-built.  The amounts awarded as compensation to some are grossly inadequate for re-building such structures, while many others have been denied compensation altogether on technical grounds.  The jury strongly believes that reconstruction of houses and places of worship at state expense would restore a sense of confidence and justice among the victim-survivors and their families, and restore them to a life with dignity.  

 

  • Livelihood and Education: Many educational institutions that had been damaged or destroyed during the violence are yet to be rebuilt, thereby depriving children from victim-survivor communities of their right to education, jeopardizing their future opportunities and causing a generational setback for emerging deprived dalit communities.  Many victim-survivors who lost their source of livelihood, including agricultural land and government jobs, due to the mass displacement that took place, have received no assistance from the state for a restoration of the same.  Many testimonies presented before the jury highlighted the fact that victim-survivors have been illegally deprived of employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act subsequent to the violence.

 

  • Peace-building: Although village level peace committees had been set up, the testimonies before the jury as well as studies and reports indicate that such committees have not enjoyed the confidence of the victim-survivors and have been used as a platform for further intimidation.  Notably, there has been no involvement of women in peace-building and negotiating processes, which violates standards set by international law, particularly UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

 

H.  Human Rights Defenders

Non-profit organizations and human rights defenders have been targeted for their role in assisting victims with aid, relief, rehabilitation and process of justice. Victim-survivors have testified with regard to the destruction of personal and official property, attacks and damage to the offices of such organizations.  These are contrary to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders that calls upon the State to protect Human Rights Defenders and their work.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Enquiry into and suspension of police and administrative officials responsible for grave dereliction of duty.

 

  • Proactive prevention of programmes planned by Hindutva forces that are divisive and propagate hate such as kalash yatra, Shraddhanjali sabhas (memorial meetings) and dharnas by Hindu religious leaders of Orissa held to perform rituals to eliminate the ‘enemies of Hindus.’

 

  • Sections 153 A and B of the Indian Penal Code be strictly enforced.

 

  • National Legal Services Authorities at both State and Central level to set up legal cell to assist victims to register FIRs where they were not registered or inaccurately registered, re-open closed cases, and transfer pending cases to outside the Kandhamal jurisdiction.

 

  • A Special Investigation Team (SIT) be constituted to re-examine the already registered FIRs for accuracy, examine registrations of fresh FIRs, the trials that resulted in acquittals due to intimidation and/or lack of evidence and recommend the trials that need to be transferred or fresh trial conducted outside Kandhamal;

 

  • Proactively identify cases of sexual assault has been grossly underreported due to fear and intimidation; and recognize and charge sexual assault in FIRs where they have not been so recognized.

 

  • Appoint Special Public Prosecutors who enjoy the confidence of the affected community.

 

  • State must provide protection to victims and witnesses before, during and after the trial process according to the guidelines provided in the recent judgment of the Delhi High Court.

 

  • Endorse the recommendations of the National Advisory Council of drafting a new bill on mass crimes against impunity and secure accountability for mass crimes. The draft be in accordance with the emerging international standards of individual criminal accountability for mass crimes as set in the statute of the International Criminal Court and jurisprudence of international courts and tribunals.

 

  • Both the State and Central government adopt at the very minimum the Gujarat compensation package to enhance the compensation already announced.  In addition, victims of sexual assault be included as a ground eligible for compensation and employment. , Compensation for loss of livelihood

 

  • All mechanisms set up to improve the criminal justice response, provide reparations, including compensation and rehabilitation be based on human rights indicators and standards that recognises the fact that even after two years thousands continue to be displaced.

 

  • State make all effort to provide medical and psychological, particularly trauma counselling to the victims/ survivors, particularly the women and children.

 

  • The specific educational needs of the children who have suffered displacement as a result of the violence be address with measures such as bridge school under the Sarva siksha Abhiyan, Kasturba Balika Vidhyalaya for SCs and STs girls; and residential ashram schools.

 

  • The livelihood schemes of the state and central government be particularly provided to the affected community including M G Narega and special thrust be given for the affected youth in the PM’s skill training mission.

 

  • The special component plan for the SC and the tribal sub-plan for STs should given priority focus to the schemes directed at the affected community. Dalit Christians to be provided all non-statutory benefits available to schedule castes.

 

  • All training centres both of administrative and police to focus on education and awareness about rights, secularism and constitutional guarantees to minorities.

 

  • Restitution and Rehabilitation to follow the international standards set in paragraphs 16-18 and 25-29 of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and paragraphs 52 to 68 of the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development based Evictions and Displacement, 2007.

 

  • The State should recognize the Internally Displaced Persons’ right to return to their homes and create all possible enabling conditions to facilitate such safe return in accordance with the above standards.

 

  • Review The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act 1967 given the failure of the state machinery to prevent the violence and protect lives and properties of the people.

 

  • Designate the affected areas as communally sensitive, appoint officers with professional integrity and sensitivity to the overall communal context and be alert to any early warning signs and develop appropriate response mechanisms to halt the brewing of hate mobilization and religious and caste-based discriminative activities.

 

  • Given the fact that human rights violations continue to take place as outlined in this report, the NHRC should take immediate steps to initiate an investigation into the incidences of violence.

 

  • The National Commission on protection of Children Rights should investigate the need for children of the affected community to receive trauma counselling, to respect and promote their right to education and nutrition, take specific steps to prevent child labour and child trafficking. Appropriate agencies at the central and state levels need to respond to these issues.

 

  • All efforts by the central and state government to improve the situation in Kandhamal must comply with the provisions of international human rights instruments that India has signed and ratified including CERD, CAT, CEDAW, CESCR, CRC, , UNPCR, UNDHR.

 

  • Confidence-building and peace-building initiatives by the state and district administration should have the participation of members of the affected community, particularly women.

 

  • The state and district administration should, with immediate effect, implement the recommendations of the National Commission for Minorities, issued in their reports of January, April and September 2008

 

Justice A.P. Shah, Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court

Harsh Mander, Member National Advisory Council

Mahesh Bhatt, Film maker and activist

P. S. Krishnan, Former Secretary, Government of India

Miloon Kothari, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing

Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, Former Chief of Naval Staff

Syeeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission         

Vahida Nainar, Expert International law

Sukumar Muralidharan, Free lance journalist

Vinod   Raina, Scientist and Social Activist, Right to Education

Ruth Manorama, Dalit & women’s rights Activist

Vrinda Grover Advocate                                 t

Rabi Das Senior Journalist, Bhubaneswar

Attack on Churches

19th August 2010

The Hon’ble Mr. V.S. Acharya,

Home Minister of Karnataka,

Vidhana Soudha,

BANGALORE.

Hon’ble Home Minister,

On 26th January 2010, I undertook the painful duty of recording that during the short tenure of under two years of the BJP Government in this State, that 500 attacks on the Christian community had taken place. The State Government is acting in total violation of the Constitutional Mandate which guarantees freedom to practice and propagate one’s religion and this hate campaign has official sanction.  There are organizations and institutions in this country which are maintaining a careful record of the increase in the number of these attacks in the State of Karnataka, as also of the fact that those involved in them are rarely arrested and even if arrested, the cases are clandestinely withdrawn.  The victims are always wrongly arrested and your Government refuses to withdraw those cases and to crown it all, you have officially gone on record stating that all the attackers involved in such serious offences under the IPC are political activists according to you. This is a total aberration.

August 15, 2010 brought the number of such attacks to exactly 1000, an increase of 500 in the last six months. The most sensational one came from your Party MLA – Prahlad Remani who is supposed to be the BJP MLA from Khanapur in Belgaum District.   The attack was made by him in the course of his official address at the flag hoisting on Independence Day.  I was in Pune attending a Conference on that day and the                  TV channels have shown his speech live.  Among other statements, he has attacked the

Contd…2

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL INDIA

(Karnataka Chapter) :2:

Christian community by stating that the British had sown the seeds of Christianity in this country (the man requires to be re-educated because this is factually false) and that Christianity and Christians have to be weeded out and thrown out of this country. This is a serious offence of inciting communal disharmony along with several other allied offences because it immediately provoked violence and tension in the whole District.  The State, in such situations is required to register an offence and immediately proceed according to Law.  This was not done.

What is most atrocious is that when several complaints were lodged with the Police Authorities and an FIR was registered that instead of upholding the Law, the State Government immediately transferred the SP who had very rightly taken action. This was done by the Chief Minister and the Home Minister.  This shows that the Statements made by the MLA are officially supported by the State Government and that the subversion of the Law and the legal process has also come from the Vidhana Soudha.  The citizens of this State are protected by the Constitution of this country and therefore, demand from the State Government that action according to Law must follow.

In the course of the last two years, there have been a whole series of cases where the State Government has incited, supported and shielded such communal attacks.  The record also shows that the Law has been misused not only against the victims but against the Media whenever such cases have been highlighted and the International Human Rights Commission and the Press Council of India have taken serious note of this. The Central Government and the International Organizations have taken careful note of the fact that the State Govt. spends an average of Rs.50 Crores a day on self publicity in order to ensure that grave incidents of the present type are not reported. All these incidents are representative of a total breakdown of the Rule of Law in this State, it is a matter of deep regret that they have taken place even on a sacred day like August 15th and we demand that the Rule of Law be restored.

For TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL INDIA,

(KARNATAKA CHAPTER),

(JUSTICE MICHAEL F. SALDANHA)

CHAIRMAN.