Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Change is possible: We can

6 kilometers away from the Varanasi airport and near to railway line of Pindra halt 60 families of musahar resides in southern part of Sarai village of Pindra block of Varanasi. While entering the ghetto it is easy to feel the changes happened in our life and development in the ghetto. A good connecting pavement road with solar light, electricity, re-boring of two hand pump and 19 families identified for the Lohia Awas Yojana (Housing scheme). Says Sunita, a local resident of Sarai musahar ghetto.

 This development happened with the continuous engagement of the community and PVCHR with timely implementation of the strategy. They sit together and decided to bring the complaint before the open hearing on atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SC) organized by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Varanasi on 25 – 26 November, 2013. They made complaint to the commission all the minutes of the folk school, community meeting and also individual testimonies.

 The musahars with the full confidence and without any fear were narrating entire self –suffering in front of the two presiding officers of the open hearing First time I feel honoured when Bada Sahab (Big official) listen my testimony very carefully.”  said Mutana, a community leader. Looking their confidence I remember the day when few bonded labours (Ram Dayal and others) from this village came to PVCHR office along with Mangla Prasad, Senior field activist[i]. They were very afraid and unable to share the self – suffering. Now after 2 ½ years they have been healed and transformed as human rights defenders; they are fearless and now ready to face and confront their perpetrators; they are now in a better position to reclaim and attain their rights.

Sarai is successful example of sandwich model of our initiative. One hand on the grass- root level breaking the culture of silence and eliminating the fear through psycho-social and the legal support and pressure from ground and above on the administration and state Government by National Human Rights Commission, Supreme Court, National and International players. If social movement are supporting most marginalized people on grass- root level and HRIs of this country become empathetic for the rights of most marginalized then you have model like Sarai village, says, Lenin Raghuvanshi, Founder and CEO of PVCHR
PVCHR and dignity initiative adopted Sarai village as torture free model village in 2010.  A village constructing a new culture which is driven by knowledge and spirit to deal effectively with any human rights violations and prevent any potential unrest by cultivating embracing attitudes. The community people are now speaking more gently and respectfully with one another. The community leaders have started taking the initiative of organizing the community meeting. During the meeting they are mindful of resolving disputes that are happening in their communities and those presented for resolution. As best as possible, they are trying to manage their own problems. On the whole, the people’s fear of the police has greatly decreased.

 The musahar ghetto of Sarai village is bonded labour free village. This was possible with the tireless process and community aspiration for change the community people decided not work as bonded labour in any establishment and now working under MNREGA Scheme. They understood the importance of education and now they enrolled their children in near Government Primary School. Bablu Said, “Our younger brother and sister faced discrimination in the school but after the intervention now they got uniform and getting same behavior like other children, Anganwadi is providing nutritious diet and ANM is regularly visiting our ghetto for immunization”.
Mahavir, Community leader, our self-respect increase when people from different places come to visit our places. First time Government officials are coming to visit our ghetto[ii]. Before that no one visit to our ghetto. We also have my own identity as our dignity. Children got their birth registration certificate and for voter ID card form 7 was filled by the concerned authorities. In the absence of these "identity" cards, even the most basic rights sometimes get trespassed, resulting in exploitation and discrimination, and even violence.[iii]

 Now the community leaders are monitoring all the schemes. We are inculcating their knowledge and skill through continuous capacity building workshops on various act and guideline and participation in various programme. Now the people from different communities are coming to this ghetto and seeking help from them. said Shiv Pratap Chaubey, Model Block Co-ordinator, Pindra Block

 Recently Fr Bernardo Cervellera, Director of Asianews and 31 other people from Italy visited Musahar ghetto Sarai village of Pindara, Varanasi as tribute honour to heroic nonviolence fight of Musahar people.  
The success of Sarai village achieved by the people of Sarai is making ripple effect struggle against poverty, injustice, caste system and torture and organized violence as a slogan: You can

 Shirin Shabana Khan is Program Director at management committee and Program Manager of PVCHR – Dignity initiative “Healing and Empowering marginalized Committee in India”


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A ray of hope for justice

Case Details of File Number: 142/33/10/2012-WC
Diary Number 20817
Date of Incident 1/1/1991
Direction issued by the Commission This proceeding shall be read in continuation of the earlier proceedings of the Commission dated 13.5.2013. The report of SP (Railways), Raipur dated 20.6.2013 shows that a sum of Rs. 50,000/- only was sanctioned by the DM, Korba on the report of Asstt. Commissioner, Tribal Development, out of which Rs. 25,000/- was paid to the victim Manju Binjwar as monetary relief in respect of crime no. 13/12 u/s 371/511/307 IPC and Section 3 (1) (10) of SC/ST (PA) Act of PS G.R.P., Bilaspur. The remaining amount is to be paid after the judgement of the court. The Commission has considered the above report. In the aforesaid crime, a charge sheet was submitted against the accused u/s 376/307 IPC in addition to Section 3 (1) (10) of SC/ST (PA) Act. The offences u/s 376 and 307 IPC were punishable up to 10 years imprisonment and even up to life time imprisonment. Therefore, this victim was entitled to get interim compensation under Item No. 17 and additional relief u/s Item No. 21 of Annexure-1.of the Schedule to Rule 12 (4) of the SC/ST (PA) Rules, 1995 as amended by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India vide notification dated 23.12.2011. Thus, the victim was entitled to get Rs. 1,20,000/- out of which 50% ought to have been paid after her medical examination and remaining as per of the judgement of the court. Besides it, she was also entitled to other help/reliefs that may be given to her under Item No. 21 of the above Schedule. The Commission had already directed the concerned authorities of the Railways at Raipur to pay the interim relief to the victim at an enhanced rate of Rs. 1,20,000/- vide its communication dated 13.2.2012 but it has not been complied with as yet. The DM as well as SP, Railways, Raipur are, therefore, directed to ensure that remaining Rs. 35,000/- i.e. half of the total monetary relief of Rs. 1,20,000/- is paid to the victim as early as possible. A report of payment along with proof be sent within six weeks positively. In addition to above monetary relief, other possible help, if needed, may also be provided to the victim under Item No. 21 of the Schedule. A copy of the said report should also be submitted to the Special Court trying the case under the Provisions of Rule 12 (7) of the SC/ST (POA) Rules, 1995.
Action Taken Additional Information Called for (Dated 11/28/2013 )

Saturday, February 22, 2014


A report on suicide and malnutrition among weavers in Varanasi was prepared by the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights in collaboration with ActionAid, an international anti-poverty agency. It said that about 175 weavers fell prey to financial hardships since 2002. The Economic Survey (2009-10) estimates that over 50 per cent weavers’ children are malnourished. There is a high prevalence of TB, particularly multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The survey also said that while the human development index of India is steadily improving, weavers and their children in Varanasi continue to die either by committing suicide or succumbing to malnutrition.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The impact of using social media

Post by PVCHR.

Padosiyo ke rahmokaram par jinda hai dampatti

The Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
New Delhi

Dear Sir,

I want to bring in your kind attention towards the news published in daily Hindi newspaper Jan Sandesh on 8 February, 2014 Padosiyo ke rahmokaram par jinda hai dampatti .

Therefore it is a kind request please direct for appropriate action to save the life of the couple.

Thanking you
Sincerely yours

Lenin Raghuvanshi
Secretary General
People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights
Sa 4/2 A Daulatpur, Varanasi

Friday, February 7, 2014

Witch Hunting in Sonbhadra: Reality and Intervention

Witch Hunting in Sonbhadra: Reality and Intervention


Shruti Nagvanshi[i] and Shirin Shabana Khan[ii]


It is impossible for Jagesari Devi (32), a tribal woman of Sonebhadra district, to forget the fateful day when she became a victim of witch hunting and her tongue was chopped off. She was branded a 'dayan' (witch) by a local 'ojha' (sorcerer). Though her wounds have healed, the scars remain forever. The unforgettable nightmare has rendered the Holi festival colourless for her.


"Am I really a dayan," wonders Jagesari, and following this inhuman act of others, today she can neither speak properly nor can eat or drink with ease.


Witch hunting is still prevalent and brutally practiced in the twenty-first century in the rural part of India. Almost every other day, a woman is branded a witch or victimised for witch-hunting in the hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh, where Government and NGOs deliberately keep mum on that issue. PVCHR came to know through local dailies and activists that witch hunting are committed in the remotest corner of the State as it is practiced in Mayourpur block of Dudhi tehsil in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh.


To probe into the fact that women branded ‘witch’, then a squad of the psycho therapist reached Mayourpur and provided the psychological support through testimonial therapy to the victimized women. They badly need to regain their dignity and honour through a form of social recognition in which their private truth is openly recognised and becomes public truth, and their suffering is acknowledged and becomes part of social memory. A general silence often surrounds political repression, as if it only exists in the minds of the survivor, but the narratives of the survivors will preserve history.

Mayourpur, a place which is quite economically backward, where people have almost no access to the basic necessities of life be it education and health care. In this kind of situation, people tend to be steeped into obscurantism and superstition. And anything bad that might befall these villagers like bad crop, diseases, sudden and unexplained death of someone in the family, or drying of well tend to be considered the work of some evil ‘witch’. Thus begins a witch hunt to locate the person responsible. When daughter of Jagesari’s brother-in-law Sahdev died due to illness on August 1, 2010, she went to Sahdev’s house to condole the death, she saw that an ojha present there. He started branding Jagesari as a dayan (witch) and made her responsible for the death. The villagers gathered for the burial stood as mute spectators and her tongue was slashed as punishment. 



Manbasia (45) is another woman who has been subjected to inhuman ordeal in Ghaghari Tola Sahgora village, under Babhani police station, in Myorpur block of Sonebhadra district. After the demise of a boy in the village, she was not only attacked with sharp weapons but also paraded naked in public on July 17, 2010. "I was not a dayan, then why was I paraded naked?" she questioned. Her husband Jodhilal said he had to mortgage his land for his wife's treatment.


The frequency of such assaults and the dismal conviction rate, despite the existence of the Prevention of Witch Practices Act, has terrified victims into a silent acceptance of the cruelty.   Some of the most common concerns in relation to witch hunting are that in very few cases have the authorities actually responded to the complaints, and witch hunting is severely under reported, poorly investigated and prosecuted with negligible rates of conviction. The police often do not register FIRs.


The easiest way to grab a woman’s property in rural hinterland is to brand her a witch. Unbelievable but horrifically true in 21st century India, women in the interiors of states are beaten, paraded naked, disgraced, ostracised and then robbed of their land by anti-social elements and sometimes even greedy relatives. Witch hunting is a tool to oppress the critical thinking and wider participation of women in decision making process in the patriarchal society. In our Bhojpuri language they are called as Kan – Dayan (initial form of witch hunting).


However, the conviction rate for witch hunting crimes is dismal. The perpetrators, in most cases, are male relatives and their motive is to usurp the property of single women. The modus operandi is to disgrace and ostracise the victim. "


The fact is that it is not superstition that is at the root of many of these accusations of witchcraft but socio-economic factors: land-grabbing, property disputes, personal rivalry and resistance to sexual advances. In many cases, a woman who inherits land from her deceased husband is asked to disown the land by her husband's family or other men. If she resists, they approach the Ojhas and bribe them to brand her a witch. This strategy of branding a woman a witch is also used against women who spurn the sexual advances of the powerful men in the community.


PVCHR organized honoured these women on 10th March, 2011 on the death anniversary of Savitri Bai Phule[iii] known as Bharti Mahila Mukti Diwas. The honour ceremony was organized in the Varanasi city and it was riskier in the village. The objective of the ceremony was to get them to resettle back into village.


PVCHR immediately intervened and sent the testimonies to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi and Director General of Police (DGP) Lucknow
to draw its attention towards this social evil and get victims of witch hunting some justice, Mr. Deepak Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Sonbhadra in a vide letter no. एस /शि - 26 /11 dated 9th May 2011 directed to be vigilant in preparing a list of actors, who brand women as witch, especially the Ojha, Sokha and the others involved in this type of activity. It requested to hold regular meetings with an effort to create awareness against the practice of witch hunting.


On 25th September, 2011 PVCHR wrote open letter to Prime Minster of India[iv] and demand for a national legislation and special empowerment programme for the women in the witch hunting- prone area and awareness campaign to promote education and health. 





Annual Progress Report for year 2013

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Maulana Abdul Batin Nomani on Integrated approach of technology in education

SDTT-PVCHR initiative on Integrated approach of technology in education: 

Speech of Maulana Abdul Batin Nomani, the mufti of Benares. Please read this:

Monday, February 3, 2014

‘প্রভাবদুষ্ট রাজনীতি বাংলাদেশে ন্যায় বিচার প্রাপ্তিতে বড় বাধা’

Our Founder and CEO Lenin Raghuvanshis' interview published in the Manab Zamin (Bengali: মানবজমিন "People's Land") which is a major daily tabloid newspaper in Bangladesh, published from Dhaka in the Bengali language. It is the first and largest circulated Bengali tabloid daily in the world, with monthly website hits of 3,270,000. 590,000 visitors from 179 countries from all over the planet visit the web site every month, making it one of most visited Bengali-language online publications worldwide. The newspaper is also the only Bangladeshi newspaper to boast credentials and affiliations with FIFA, UEFA, and the English Premier League. It has also partnered with Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. in publicity for Hollywood productions, including Batman Begins, Superman Returns and Casino Royale.

About newspaper:

‘প্রভাবদুষ্ট রাজনীতি বাংলাদেশে ন্যায় বিচার প্রাপ্তিতে বড় বাধা’

জাকারিয়া পলাশ | ৩ ফেব্রুয়ারি ২০১৪, সোমবার, ২:৩২ | মতামত: ১ টি
ভারতীয় মানবাধিকার কর্মী লেনিন রঘুভানসি বলেছেন, বিচারবহির্ভুত হত্যাকান্ড, রাষ্ট্রীয় বাহিনীর নিষ্ঠুর নির্যাতন, সংখ্যলঘুদের উপর হামলা, দুর্নীতি- সব মাপকাঠিতেই ভারত ও বাংলাদেশের মানবাধিকার পরিস্থিতি প্রায় একইরকম। অর্থ ও পেশীশক্তির প্রভাবদুষ্ট রাজনীতি প্রান্তিক মানুষের ন্যায়বিচার প্রাপ্তির বড় বাধা হয়ে দাঁড়িয়েছে। শিক্ষাবঞ্চিত, দরিদ্র, নি¤œবর্ণের যেসব মানুষ সহায়হীন তাদের জন্য অভিশাপ হয়ে দাঁড়াচ্ছে এই অবস্থা। নৃশংস হামলা ও চাঁদাবাজি, কথিত ক্রসফায়ার, ক্ষমতাবানদের বিরুদ্ধে মামলা বা অভিযোগ গ্রহণে অস্বীকার, মিথ্যা অভিযোগে গ্রেপ্তার, বেআইনি রিমান্ড এবং পুলিশি হেফাজতে মৃত্যু এখন নৈমিত্তিক ঘটনা এই দুই দেশে। বিচারবহির্ভূত হত্যা বন্ধে সরকার ও গণমাধ্যমের পক্ষ থেকে ক্রসফায়ারের পক্ষে প্রচারণা বন্ধ জরুরি বলেই মত দেন তিনি। সাউথ এশিয়ান নেটওয়ার্ক এগেইনস্ট টর্চার এন্ড ইমপিউনিটির (শান্তি) কো-অর্ডিনেটর লেনিন রঘুভানসি। ই-মেইলে পাঠানো প্রশ্নের জবাবে মানবজমিন অনলাইনকে তিনি বলেন, ভারতের উভয় প্রান্তে নিরীহ মানুষের মৃত্যু হচ্ছে। সীমান্ত এলাকায় ভারতীয় আধাসামরিক বাহিনীর মনোভাব হচ্ছে ‘বড়’ ভাইয়ের মতো। গণমাধ্যমের তথ্য অনুসারে নিরাপত্তা বাহিনীর সদস্যদেরকে খুব কমই দায়ী করা হয়েছে এমন সাজানো হত্যাকান্ডের পর। গণমাধ্যমের স্বাধীনতা প্রসঙ্গে তিনি বলেন, নামে মাত্র গণমাধ্যমের স্বাধীনতা আছে। কিন্ত প্রেস এখন বণিকদের করায়ত্বে থাকায় তা কাজে আসছে না। উড়িষ্যাসহ বিভিন্ন স্থানে অধিকাংশ খবরের কাগজ রাজনৈতিক দলের প্রতিনিধিত্ব করছে। সীমান্ত হত্যা খুবই গুরুত্বপূর্ণ বিষয় হয়ে দাঁড়িয়েছে। উত্তর প্রদেশের মানবাধিকার সংগঠন পিভিসিএইচআর-এর প্রতিষ্ঠাতা ও প্রধান নির্বাহী লেনিন আরও বলেন, বিচার না হয়ে অপরাধীদের দায়মুক্তি পেয়ে যাওয়ায় সাধারণ মানুষের মনে আইন মেনে চলার প্রতি অনিহা সৃষ্টি করছে। আইনের শাসনের বিচ্যুতি মানবাধিকার কর্মীদের কাজকে করে দিয়েছে কঠিন। মানবাধিকার রক্ষায় সক্রিয় নারী কর্মীরা শুধুমাত্র লৈঙ্গিক কারণে বাড়তি ঝুঁকির মধ্যে রয়েছেন। নারী মানবাধিকার কর্মীদের নির্যাতন ও হয়রানির ঘটনা এখনও মানবাধিকার লঙ্ঘন হিসাবে বিশেষায়িতই হয়নি। তারা তাদের পুরুষ সহকর্মীদের কাছ থেকেও কার্যকর সহযোগিতা থেকে বঞ্চিত হচ্ছেন বলে তিনি উল্লেখ করেন।