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Hon'ble Justice M. N.

Venkatachaliah inaugurated PVCHR office of Varanasi

From Despair to Hope


December 2014
ISBN : 978-81-930543-1-4
@Jan Mitra Nyas (JMN)
Research and Report
Shirin Shabana Khan
Design
Rohit Kumar and Arvind Kumar
Printed at:
Narendra Computers and Screen Vision
Ghausabad, Varanasi-221002
Published By:
Jan Mitra Nyas (for PVCHR and Dignity)
SA 4/2 A, Daulatpur, Varanasi-221002, India.
Ph : +91-542-2586688
Email: pvchr.india@gmail.com, Website: www.pvchr.asia
Supported By:
Dignity: Danish Institute against Torture,
Copenhagen, Denmark
Disclaimer:
Any section of this report may be reproduced without prior permission of
the PVCHR/JMN for public interest purposes with appropriate
acknowledgement.

From Despair to hope

his write-up is based on the Anti torture initiative of PVCHR since its
inception. PVCHR was founded in 1996 by the ve eminent
personalities of Varanasi: Pandit Vikash Maharaj, Sarod Maestro. Dr. Lenin
Raghuvanshi, founding member of Bachpan Bachao Andolan and CoreMarcher of Global March Against Child Labour. Dr. Mahendra Pratap,
historian. Mr. Gyanendra Pati, Poet and Ms. Shruti Nagvanshi, social
activist.

Forward
This booklet aims to chalk out the process of anti-torture initiative of PVCHR
in historical context, empowerment of survivors and marginalized
communities such as bonded labourers, weavers, lower caste groups, who
have faced oppression and exploitation, abuse and mistreatment, in myriad of
ways and struggled their way to ensuring hope, human dignity and honour.
First of all, we are thankful to all the people categorized as 'survivors', who,
despite immense sufferings and pains, refused to bow down to oppression and
exploitation and fought daringly to ensure dignity, human rights and social
justice in the society.
Our sincere thanks to all the staffs and volunteers associated with PVCHR,
and particularly the grassroots workers whose uninching motivation,
courage and hard work has lit lights of hope and optimism in many lives,
brought positive change in their self-worth and led them to the path of
empowerment. We are extremely grateful to Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi, the Cofounder and CEO of PVCHR for mentoring this scientic process
documentation.
We extend our sincere thanks to Ms. Shirin Shabana Khan, Program
Director, PVCHR for her effort to bring this deliberation and helping in
contextualizing this booklet.Finally, we place on record our thanks to
Ms. Hope Chatterton Bentley from Leapnow, Mr. Sunil Kumar Kuksal (a
veteran human rights activist) & Mr. Gaurav Saigal (Senior Journalist)
for valuable input in edit.
Dr. Mahendra Pratap
President-Governing board, PVCHR
Shruti Nagvanshi
Co-founder and managing Trustee, PVCHR
For more information:
Website: www.pvchr.asia
Email: pvchr.india@gmail.com
Blog: www.pvchr.net, www.testimonialtherapy.org,
www.detentionwatch.blogspot.in
Brochure:
http://issuu.com/elias.schmidt/docs/brochure_pvcrh_2011/1?e=0

flQZ gaxkek [kM+k djuk esjk edln ugha] esjh dksf'k'k gS fd ;s lwjr cnyuh pkfg, (I
don't want mere rowing but my efforts are to bring about a change)

eoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) was formed in


1996 to introduce the concept of people's vigilance to establish rule of
law through participatory activism against extra judicial killing, police
torture, hunger, bonded labour and injustice by the caste system. Since
then PVCHR has been voicing in a continuous and uninterrupted manner
its concern for human rights. The strategy of PVCHR reects the same
sentiments as echoed in the version of Adrienne Rich if you are trying to
transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and
hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from
ground up.
The initial Objectives of PVCHR are:
The immediate and unconditional release of prisoners of consciencepeople detained for their beliefs or because of their ethnic origin, sex,
color, language, national or social origin, economic status and, who have
not used or advocated violence.
The prompt and fair trial of political prisoners
An end to death penalty, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment.
An end to political killings and disappearances
Eradication of slavery e.g. Child slavery and bonded systems etc
The concepts and objectives of PVCHR are quite visible
in its rst logo, depicting of a camer, a sh and a police
ofcer beating a person, all inside the globle. The
motto of the organization is Respect Survivor and
Abolish torture". As an organization of the people, by
the people and for the people, the survivor has always
been the central focus of PVCHR. All interventions
undertaken by PVCHR have contributed in making the
state accountable for the state of Torture and Organized Violence (TOV) in
the country. PVCHR has also contributed in making the issue of torture
visible at the national as well as international levels.
When PVCHR was founded, the situation of human rights in the state was
quite pathetic. According to Dr. Lenin, There was rampant practice of extrajudicial killings often covered up as fake encounters, custodial torture, forced
repression of public dissent and protest. The period between 1996- 1997
witnessed at least one extra- judicial killing in a month or two. There was
hardly any respect for human rights norms at that time. The National Human
Rights Commission (NHRC) was established in 1993. The process followed

the formation of PVCHR in 1996 in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh as a


Peoples' Vigilance Committee. These two processes were able to create extra
synergetic effects in the area of human rights in the state and as a result
today unconstitutional practice of extra judicial killings was brought under
control with almost no reports of it in Uttar Pradesh and different other parts
of India.
The statement of the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh published in
Dainik Jagran on 2nd November, 1997 while inaugurating the statue of
Sardar Vallah Bhai Patel in Maldahiya, Varanasi vfr mRlkg ls Hkjs eq[;ea=h ;gk

cksy x;s fd vijkf/k;ksa dks dej ds uhps ls rksM+ nks D;ksafd ij ekjksxs rks ekuokf/kdkj vk tk;sxkA
(An enthusiastic chief minister said here that criminals should be hit hard
below the belt as hitting them in the upper part will invite a protest for
human rights.)
After reading this statement Dr. Lenin wrote a letter to him on dated 3rd
November, 1997 vkidk Hkk"k.k i<+k ftles fy[kk gS fd vijk/kh dh Vkax rksM+us ls ekuokf/kdkj

esa dqN ugha gksxkA yxrk gS vkius vkbZihlh ds lsD'ku 330 o 331 ,oa Hkk iqfyl ,DV ds lsD'ku
29 dks ugha i<+k gSA lkFk gh ekuuh; loksZPp U;k;ky; usa lat; iwjh cuke fnYyh 'kklu ,vkbZvkj
1988 lsD'ku 414 esa fdlh Hkh O;f dh fxjrkjh lEeku iwoZd rjhds ls djus ,oa iqfyl }kjk
ekjihV u djus dk vkns'k fn;k x;k gSA vkids c;ku us mijks QSlys dk lh/kk&lh/kk mya?ku gSA (I
read your speech where it is said that nothing will happen if leg of a criminal
is broken. I think you haven't read the IPC sections 330 and 331 and the
Indian Police Act section 29. Also the Supreme Court in the case of Sanjay
Puri vs. Government of India (AIR 1988 section 414) ruled that any arrest
should be made with respect and police should not beat up the person who
is being arrested. Your statement is in violation of the Supreme Court's
verdict).
The Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) - UP chapter also led a writ
petition in Hon'ble High Court, Allahabad. The petition was led on the
ground that there is total negation of values of Human Right in the State of
Uttar Pradesh. Kalyan Singh, has openly said in a Press Conference that a
criminal should have no Human Rights, he should either be in Jail or dead.
There had been incidents of 156 encounter deaths in the garb of eliminating
criminals. According to the annual report of National Human Rights
Commission for 1996-97 8497 complaints were received from UP alone out
of a total number of 208333 complaints from all over the country.
http://www.pucl.org/reports/UttarPradesh/up-highcourt.htm
The increasing incidents of extra-judicial killings in India demonstrate that
the government has failed to take effective measures to ensure that the
rights of people are respected in practice. Police can usually commit

extrajudicial killings with impunity. The Indian media and NGOs have
documented hundreds of such killings but their efforts to x accountability
have always been hampered by systematic refusals by the police
administration. The absence of police records, including in many cases a
post-mortem examination or registry of arrest and detention, makes it very
difcult to disprove the claims put forward by the police and other security
agencies.
In June, 1997, Varanasi police killed Bablu Singh, Mr. Vidya Tiwari, Mr.
Pappu Singh and Mr. Rajendra Pandey in Manjmatiya village under Cantt
police station of Varanasi district. According to Dr. Lenin, On the same day
around 3:35 pm I received the information and I left on my scooter from the
ofce along with my brother Rahul Raghuvanshi to the place where the
killings took place. After meeting with the villagers it was concluded that
Bablu Singh was killed after he surrendered to the police. Two others, Vidya
Tiwari and Pappu Singh were also killed after surrendering. According to the
villagers only Rajendra Pandey was killed in the real encounter while trying
to ee. A relative of Rajendra Pandey who tried to escape was killed by the
police after a long chase. Bablu Singh, Rajendra Pandey and Vidya Tiwari
had criminal history but police failed to provide any information on the
criminal record of Pappu singh who was also killed in the encounter.
Photographs which appeared in some of the local newspapers raised doubts
over the nature of the deaths (brief from news published in daily English
newspaper the pioneer).
The fact nding report along with spot photographs of the incident were
sent to Justice Malimath, Member, National Human Rights Commission
(NHRC), H.E President of India and Amnesty International. On 9th June,
1997 this report was also released in a press conference held at Paradkar
Smriti Bhawan, Maidagin, Varanasi. After 5 days of the press conference
the editor of the daily Hindi newspaper AAJ published an editorial story dSlk
ekuokf/kdkj (What are Human Rights). The editorial also highlighted the role
of NHRC in investigating the cases of extra judicial killings. ^^ekuokf/kdkj

vk;ksx dks pkfg, fd ekuokf/kdkj lEcU/kh f'kdk;r feyus ij mlds gj igyq ij xEHkhjrk ls fopkj
djs] ekSds dh utkdr dks le>s vkSj ;g Hkh ns[ks fd tks vijk/kh iqfyl }kjk eqBHksM+ esa ekjs x;s os vke
turk ds fy, fdrus [krjukd FksA** (The Human rights commission needs to
investigate all angles of a case when a complaint is led in their ofce, think
on the circumstances and also look into the threats to common people from
those criminals killed in police encounter).
Whereas on March 29, 1997 Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah, Chairperson,
NHRC sent a letter to the Chief Ministers regarding the Procedure to be
followed in cases of deaths in police encounters. He also gave directions to

the Director General of Police to be followed in police stations with regard to


all cases where the death is caused in police encounters and similar
situations. http://nhrc.nic.in/Documents/CasesOfEncounterDeaths.pdf
On 12th November, 1997 Dainik Jagran also published a report on the
magisterial enquiry in this case. Dr. Lenin sent a letter to Shri R.K Singh,
SDM (Southern) Varanasi requesting him to take action under section 21 of
the Indian Constitution and initiate legal action against all the perpetrators
(police personnel in this case).
On 19th June, 1997 Dr. Lenin sent his comments on this editorial to Indian
Press Council, New Delhi with the following remarks:14 twu dks okjk.klh ls

dkf'kr vkt nSfud lekpkj i= dh lEikndh; esa frf;k dSlk ekuokf/kdkj ekud 'kh"kZd ls
dkf'kr gqbZA ;fn i<+k tk;s rks ;g eglwl gksrk gS fd ;g laiknd fd lksp u gksdj iqfyl dh
frf;k gSA iksaxk iaFkh] ?kqjgw drok: vkfn 'kCnksa dk bLrseky laikndh; esa 'kkfey gSA fofnr gks fd
lafo/kku ds vuqNsn 21 esa thou thus dk vf/kdkj gS lkFk gh Hkkjr esa baVjus'kuy dksosusaV vksa flfoy
,aM iksfyfVdy jkbV~l ICCPR ij gLrk{kj fd;k gSA ftles vuqNsn 6 esa thou thus dk vf/kdkj
dks fdlh Hkh Lrj ij lajf{kr fd;k x;kA iqfyl dks [kqye&[kqYyk vkReleiZ.k ds ckn tku ls ejus
dk dksbZ vf/kdkj ugha gSA ijUrq laiknd usa iqfyl dks tku ls ejus dk] iw.kZ vf/kdkj nsus fd 'kf'kkyh
larqfr djrs gq,] lafo/kku ds nk;js esa la?k"kZjr ekuokf/kdkjoknh dk;ZdrkZvks dks lh/kh&lk/kh iqfyfl;k
/kedh nh gSA lkFk esa gh Loa dks laiknd U;k;ky; cukdj ge tSls ekuokf/kdkj dk;ZdrkZvks dks
vijk/kh ?kksf"kr fd;k x;k gSA (On June 14 in the Hindi Daily Aaaj a reply to the
editorial What are Human rights was published. A careful reading of the
reply gave the impression that it was from the police side and not reecting
the thoughts of the editor. Words, such as 'Ponga Pandit' 'Ghuru Katwaru'
were used in the article. It may be noted here that article 21 of the
constitution of India gives every citizen the right to life. It should also be
mentioned here that India is a signatory to the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Section 6 of the ICCPR ensures the right
to life in all circumstances. Police have no right to kill anyone if a person has
already surrenderd in full public view. But the editor seemed to be not only
advocating the right of police to kill someone even after the surrender but
also threatening the human rights activists who worked within the
framework of the constitution of India. It appears that in his views he has
termed himself to be editor and judges and accused human rights activists
a being 'criminals').
Again on 29th June, 1998 intervention was sought in a case from National
Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with the following demands:
All encounter killings should be investigated by an independent agency
and prosecution should start immediately after quick, independent
scientic investigation
Sufcient restriction on the use of re arms
Formulate rules according to the UN Basic Principles on the use of force
and re arms.

Fix accountability of police ofcials after any violation of HR.


On this complaint the NHRC took cognizance (case no. 581/24/98-99) and
issued notice to Director General of Police, Lucknow on 6th October, 1998
to take appropriate action. The Director General of Police (Crime) in his
statement said that iqfyl dks dkuwuh ko/kkuksa ds rgr Qk;fjax ds funsZ'kA (police ring
under legal provision).
The indiscriminate use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators
contravenes key provisions of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force
and Firearms by Law Enforcement Ofcials, which interalia states.
Law enforcement ofcials, in carrying out their duty, shall as far as possible,
apply non violent means before restoring to the use of force or rearms.
Wherever the lawful use of force and rearms are unavoidable, law ofcial
agencies shall: (a) exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the
seriousness of the offence to achieve the legitimate objectives; minimize
damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life.
With respect to the policing of unlawful assemblies, article 13 of the Basic
Principle states that In the dispersal of assemblies that are unlawful but
non-violent, law enforcement ofcials shall avoid the use of force or, where
that is not practicable, shall restrict such force to the minimum extent
necessary
Article 14 adds, In the dispersal of violent assemblies, law enforcement
ofcials may use rearms only when less dangerous means are not
practicable and only to the minimum extent necessary. Law enforcement
ofcials shall not use rearms in such cases, except under the conditions
stipulated in principle 9. Principal 9 allows for the use of rearms in case of
self-defence or in defence of others against the imminent threat of death or
serious injury.
The basic principals also state that Government shall ensure arbitrary or
abusive use of force and rearms by law enforcement ofcial is punished as
criminal offence under their law.
In February, 1997 Mr. Upendra Kumar Singh was killed in the police ring
while he was returning home. He had nothing to do with the student
agitation at Uday Pratap College or with the police. The student Union of
Uday Pratap College went to submit a memorandum to the District
Magistrate of Varanasi. The students were stopped by the police force at the
gate of the University and clashes erupted between the police and students.
According to the statement of Ms. Kusum The place where Upendra Kumar
Singh died was quite far away from the spot where student of U.P College

were agitating and police ring was resorted to. (From the statement of
Mrs. Kusum Singh submitted to Chairperson, NHRC)
In March, 1997 Justice M.N
Venkatachaliya, Chairperson,
Justice V.S. Malimath,
Member and Shivaji Singh,
Senior Superintendent of
Police of National Human
Rights Commission conducted
an inquiry on this case at
Banaras Hindu University with
the concerned ofcials and
political parties in evening in
the ofce of Bachpan Bachao
Andolan in Daulatpur, Varanasi.| nSfud tkxj.k] okjk.klh bykgkckn] 2 ekpZ] 1997.
On the direction of Commission three families received the compensation of
4 lakhs rupees each and 10 thousand rupees to the 12 injured students. 8
students received from 400 1000 Rupees. 12200 Rupees were given to the
Udai Pratap College to cover the cost of the damages. But no disciplinary
action was taken against the concerned ofcials.

Police are bereft of decency and brazenly out all the norms to pin down the
innocent for extracting approval on the crime, which they have never
committed. According to Justice Anand Narayan Mulla former Chief Justice
of Allahabad High Court, There is not a single lawless group in the country
except police? Police is the organised gangster of criminals in uniform.
In 1998 Shri Chabbu Lal and his daughter Hiravati Devi were killed in police
ring and police led three FIR crime no. 45A3/98, 453B/98 and 453/98
under sections 147/148/149/323/504/506/307/336/332 of Indian
Panel Code against deceased Chabbu Lal, Hiravati, Jai Hind and others.
After a CBCID enquiry constable Piyush Kant Rai was found guilty and
Court sentenced him to life imprisonment with a ne of Rupees 10,000.
http://www.pvchr.net/2006/04/accused-person-and-constablepiyush.html
It is apparent that the police force is the biggest agency for the maintenance
of rule of law and protection of human rights. However, police torture is
prohibited under section 330 -331 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Forceful
approbation of crime by police under section 161 C.r.P.C is not admitted as
evidence under section 26 of the evidence act; if the statement is not given
before the magistrate. Then the question arises as to why police are taking
the hold of torture?
Rakesh Viz was detained in connection with the murder of his friend Sanjay
Singh who was shot dead. Rakesh Kumar Vij had been subjected to severe
physical torture, ill-treated and electric shocks had been administered to
him by making him urinate on a live electric coil in order to elicit information
about the murder by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police. This had necessitated
the hospitalisation of Rakesh in order to save his life. The NHRC took
cognizance of the matter and issued notice to the Director General of Police,
UP. The report received from the Senior Superintendent of Police, Varanasi
stated that the victim had sustained injuries as a result of a fall while trying
to escape from police custody. It also mentioned that Shri Rakesh Viz had a
criminal record. On the demand an inquiry by the State CBCID, initiated by
the UP Government, substantiated the Investigation Team's report.
On the direction of the commission, the UP Government constituted a
Medical Board to assess the extent of physical disability suffered by the
victim. The Medical Board submitted its report stating that the victim did
not suffer from any gross structural damage, and that most of his
complaints were subjective. The report also stated that the patient had
made a good recovery and that all his medical test results were within
normal limits. In view of grave apprehensions of miscarriage of justice, the
Commission got the victim examined by the Delhi Trauma and

10

Rehabilitation Centre, which gave an entirely different medical assessment.


Due to the discrepancies between the two medical reports, the Commission
then directed that Shri Rakesh Vij be referred to the All India Institute of
Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for reassessment of his health status. The
Commission also directed the State Government to bear all the medical and
travelling expenses of the victim.
According to the report from AIIMS,
the victim's spinal cord was
compressed leading to deterioration
of power in his lower limbs and in his
neurological functioning in lower
limbs, sensory loss of bladder and
bowel movement. There were 60 to
80 per cent chances of improvement,
but it is possible only if the victim
Mr. Rakesh Viz
undertook high-risk surgery. He was
suffering from hearing loss and
some of his teeth were missing. He was suffering from severe PostTraumatic Stress Disorder with no proven treatment.
The Commission thus directed the UP Government to pay Shri Rakesh Vij
Rs.10 lakhs by way of immediate interim relief. It was also directed to
arrange for the complete medical treatment of Shri Vij at AIIMS, New Delhi
or PGI, Lucknow, as Shri ViZ preferred. The expenses of the treatment as
well as the travelling expenses of Shri VijZ along with one attendant, from
his native place to the place of medical treatment, would also be borne by
the State Government.
The Commission also directed the prosecution of the police ofcers found
responsible for perpetrating various acts of torture on Shri ViZ. As
recommended by the State CBCID, disciplinary action is to be taken against
ve police personnel, including the Senior Superintendent of Police and a
Superintendent of Police, Varanasi.
The main reasons for the use of torture are feudal mind set and colonial
structure of police, scarcity of resources in the police department, political
intervention and absence of any independent investigative agency apart
from police department that is not impartial. Feudal society itself
acknowledges the torture. Police often fail to follow procedures as mandated
by the Supreme Court in DK Basu v. West Bengal case, including
production of a suspect before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest.
Two youth, Naseem resident of 68/19 Kacchi Sarai, Varanasi and person

11

Acchu were arrested in a raid in the Dalmandi area on 17th September,


1996. This evening Naseem committed suicide by hanging himself from the
ceiling fan at the Piyari police outpost of Varanasi, according to the police
report. But Sahara daily Hindi newspaper on 20 September published
another story about Naseem's death which said Acchu was a notorious
history-sheeter whereas the deceased Naseem had no previous criminal
record.
After interrogation, the outpost in charge and Acchu went out to conduct
another raid and left Naseem at the outpost under the guard of a constable.
Source said that the constable left duty for a little time and meanwhile the
youth committed suicide. When the constable returned he brought the
youth to the Sir Sunderlal Hospital who was in utter pain, where he was
declared to be brought dead. Later the body was sent for autopsy. The SP
(city) ordered a departmental investigation.
On 8th October, 1996 a letter was sent to the District Magistrate to demand
a magisterial enquiry into the case. Section 176 of the code of criminal
procedure states that a magisterial inquiry must be held when there is
death in police custody. The matter was also taken up with National Human
Rights Commission with case no. 24/3069/96-LD.
On 15th November, 1996 Dr. Lenin wrote a letter to ACM II and demanded
action against the Piyari outpost in charge because arrest, torture and
frustration were the main causes of the death, and these situations were
created by Piyari police outpost. The letter also demanded compensation to
the deceased family under section 79 of CPC.
On 4th December, 1996 ACM II wrote to Dr. Lenin in letter no. 442/a.n.m.d
442@vuenh@5-12-96 to submit the oral and written statements to
him/his ofce on 11th December, 1996 in this matter. On behalf of Dr.
Lenin, Mr. Shiv Pratap Chaubey went to the ofce of ACM II but he could not
contact with him. On 21st November, 1996 he wrote a letter to DM
requesting him to record the statement.
The rst Prime Minister of India Mr. Jawahar Lal Nehru said "Police is
standing on quadrilateral from where it can protect and also violates human
rights". They are biggest agency responsible to establish rule of law and their
necessary infrastructure is crumbling. Decaying colonial-era police
stations and police posts across India are stocked with antiquated
equipment and lack sufcient police vehicles, phones, computers, and even
stationery. A severe police stafng shortage is compounded by additional
demands on an already stretched out force. Police are routinely diverted to
protect VIPsusually politicians, business people, and entertainment

12

gures. Senior police ofcials frequently use low-ranking staff as orderlies


and even as personal family servants.
In 1997 PVCHR raised the issue of police reforms when in India only few
organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, PUCL
and etc were advocating for the police reforms. Dr. Lenin said vktknh ds 50 o"kZ

ckn Hkh iqfyl dk joS;k ugha cnykA iqfyl dk joS;k o pfj= vkt Hkh vaxzstks ds 'kklu tSlh gSA ns'k esa
102 o"kZ iqjkuk tsy ,DV gSA ogh nwljh rjQ ,,u eqYyk o jk"Vh; iqfyl vk;ksx dh fjiksVZ ykxq
djus fd bPNk 'kf fdlh Hkh ljdkj esa ugha gSA mUgksaus crk;k fd ckck Hkhe jko vEcsMdj ds usr`Ro esa
cus lafo/kku ds vuqNsn 21 esa thou thus ds vf/kdkj dks gj le; ,oa fdlh Hkh Lrj ij lajf{kr djus
dk kfo/kku gSA (Even after 50 years of independence the attitude of the police
has not changed. Cops behave and act even today as they did during the
British period. On the other hand no one is interested to implement the
recommendations made in the report of AN Mullah and various National
Police Commissions. He said that the provision under Article 21 of the
Indian constitution for right to life has to be preserved at all levels).
The organization successfully used the mainstream media i.e. newspapers
to monitor the cases of human rights violations from the northern part of
India (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and now Uttarakhand). The cases
were intervened with various concerned authorities such as the case of
death in police custody in Udham Singh Nagar now in Uttarkhand, Killing of
students in police ring and custodial deaths, torture and ill treatment in
prisons and forgiveness of inmates who spent more than 28 years in
Varanasi Jail and forgiveness of handicapped inmates etc.
In 1999 many daily Hindi newspaper such as Amar Ujala and Rashtirya
Sahara highlighted the worst conditions of human rights in Uttar Pradesh.
In a complaint to NHRC, Dr. Lenin requested it to call the meeting of
Secretary of Home Ministry & DG (P) for immediate curative and protective
action such as awareness drives among police ofcials. On that complaint
(case no. 13601/24/98-99) the NHRC issued notice to Home Secretary,
Government of Uttar Pradesh to respond in four weeks. After a detailed
analysis of various cases of torture it was demanded from NHRC to look into
the followings:
Because of the increasing number of cases of police atrocities and torture
of innocent people and human rights activists, It was suggested that a
permanent monitoring cell may be formed for the Varanasi and
Chandauli districts together which will send monthly reports to the
NHRC.
It is essential to impart proper training to the concerned police personnel
related to all forms of torture. It would be advisable for these police
personnel to have a handbook regarding child abuse, sexual exploitation,
bonded labour, illegal child labour and rights of detained persons etc.

13

The Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, was enacted in an attempt to address the
plight of children within the justice system. It was based on the United
Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile
Justice (the Beijing Rules). Generally, this law, like constitutional rights
and other legislation intended to protect children's rights, is ignored. The
Juvenile Justice Act prohibits the detention of juveniles in police station or
jails for periods longer than twenty-four hours. It also requires the
registration of "neglected" and "delinquent juveniles" and requires that
juveniles be sent back to their parents or guardians or to a remand home
immediately following either their identication as a "neglected juvenile" or
their arrest as a "delinquent juvenile." But, the act also makes the police
responsible for identifying neglected juveniles and arresting delinquent
juveniles.
From police custody, the children may be sent before a juvenile board, or a
juvenile court, headed by a magistrate with jurisdiction over juveniles who
have been arrested on a criminal charge as children coming in conict with
the law. Both the court and the juvenile board have the authority to send
children to institutions known as observation, remand, special and
juvenile homes. Thus, regardless of their status as juvenile offenders,
abandoned or orphaned children, or children awaiting trial, all children are
remanded to the same institutions.
In 1996, Dr. Lenin sought the intervention of NHRC in the cases of ill
treatment of children in the remand homes of Varanasi and Jaunpur. On
the complaint a two member investigating team of the National Human
Rights Commission compromising of Deputy Superintendent of Police Y.K
Gupta and Inspector Mahendra Singh Yadav visited remand home across
the Ganga region and met the inmates and authorities in connection with
the allegations of ill-treatment.
In 1998 again, Dr. Lenin sought the intervention of NHRC in cases of
violations of human rights of children in remand homes of Varanasi, Bijnor
and Haridwar and demanded: 1. A study of remand homes of UP by special
rapporteur 2. Instructions to the
secretary of department of social
welfare, UP about taking appropriate
action and 3. Continuous vigilance
and follow-ups. According to Dr. Lenin
He along with other human rights
activists visited the remand home in
Ram Nagar and they found that
several inmates were suffering from
stomatitis, Cheilosis and anaemia due

14

to malnutrition and lack of entertainment facilities in the home. He alleged


that the inmates were forced to work as personal servants at the residence of
home authorities.
The Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) along with many other voluntary
organizations including Panchnad, Yuwa Chetna Samiti, TK Computer,
Akhil Bhartiya Sadbhavana Association, Bal Dasta Virodhi Sanskriti
Manch, Alfa Computer, Social Welfare Society, Gorav Samagrah Vikas
Samiti, Manwadhikar Jan Nigrani Samiti (PVCHR) and Samparpan Seva
Samiti made a joint appeal for the improvement in living conditions of the
inmates lodged in various remand homes.
These organizations suggested that children should never be kept in
isolation or separation because such conditions lead to psychological
deprivation and anxiety among inmates. The inmates should be involved in
cultural activities and sports programmes. They should be treated as
children not criminals. They should be given proper education, computer
facilities and other professional trainings and regular check-ups should be
conducted to monitor their physical and mental health. (The pioneer Nov,
21 1996)
PVCHR has always intensied its
advocacy efforts and utilized the
voices of the people in the pursuit of
policy changes at varying levels.
Such visibility of the organization
has provided the leverage for its
positioning and proactive role in
relation to the Torture Prevention
Bill. According to Dr. Lenin, without
anti torture law and police reforms,
no real democratic and pluralistic
development can be achieved at the
grass roots level. PVCHR always took the opportunity to ag the campaign
for the ratication of United National Convention against torture (UNCAT),
rehabilitation policy for the survivors of Torture and organized violence and
immediate enactment of anti torture bill in the context of United Nation
Convention against torture (UNCAT) through various programmes,
initiatives and election campaigns.
In 1999, PVCHR held a campaign in 30 districts of Uttar Pradesh to
convince the political parties to incorporate in their agenda issues such as
providing remedy against child labour, child sexual abuse, inclusion of
primary education as a fundamental right, providing enough power to

15

National Human Rights


Commission, making
domestic law according to
the UNCAT against torture
and implementation of the
report of police commissions
and Jail Manual. The
declaration was signed by
many political parties such
as Bhartiya Janta Party,
Samajwadi Party, Loktantrik Congress and Apna Dal. Various political
parties also made commitments for including the above mentioned points in
their political agenda such as Communist Party of India (Marxiest), Janta
Dal, Samajwadi Janta Party and Communist party of India. The committee
was running this campaign in 30 districts of the state.
During the 2011 panchayat elections 305 candidates signed the declaration
in which 200 candidates won the elections. Showing the commitment
towards the issue, 100 village heads, BDC members and village Sabhas
were honoured with the Jan Mitra Award.
State level consultations and interface meetings with the Parliamentarians
were organised for the engagement of local legislators from various regional
and national political parties and members of Indian Parliament to explore a
dialogue towards building a national consensus on the Prevention of
Torture Bill. The dialogue process focused on structural factors, such as
legislative deciencies, weak institutions, impunity which perpetuate
torture as well as on strategic responses, including documentation, open
letter, litigation and advocacy. The organization raised the demand that
reservation should be given to women and minorities so that everyone can
participate and reap the benets of democracy. There should be strong laws
to deal with cases of police torture and fake encounters. That is the only way
to establish and uphold the rule of law. An appeal was made to the political
parties to raise their voices on behalf of the people of Uttar Pradesh to the
happenings in other parts of India. This will only pave the way for the
establishment of a Rastra-Rajya (Nation State) which is based on the
concept and values of equity, fraternity, secularism and non-violence.
The organization successfully brought various political parties such as
Indian National Congress, Samajwadi Party and political leaders like Dr.
D.P Tripathi, (Nationalist Congress Party), Mr. Ali Anwar, (Janata Dal
(United), Mr. Ram Bilas Paswan, (Lok Janshakti Party), Mr. Daddu Prasad,
(Bahujan Samaj Party), Mr. Mohammed Adeeb, (Independent M.P) and Dr.
Syeda S. Hameed (Member of Planning Commission and Chancellor,

16

Maulana Azad National Urdu


University, Hyderabad) and Mr. Deepak
Mishra, President (Chintan Sabha) in one platform on 9th December, 2014
in an Interface meeting with the Parliamentarians, Policy Makers and
Political Parties and Indian
Muslim Minority of Uttar
Pradesh. The occasion also
aimed to show solidarity for
forthcoming International
Human Rights defenders'
Day and World Human
Rights Day. Various heads
of the leading political
parties and Members of
Parliament participated in
the discussion and expressed their views on the status of Muslims in India.
India should strengthen the role of judiciary in condoning police atrocities
in Uttar Pradesh and allow the state to withdraw false cases lodged by police
against persons belonging to Muslim minority under various terrorism
related charges who were declared innocent by a judicial commission
headed by Justice Nimesh.
During the meeting the following issues were raised:
Ratication of UNCAT and enactment of Prevention of Torture Bill.
Enactment of Communal Violence Bill immediately.
Immediate restoration of rule of law and appropriate pro-survivors
rehabilitation and relief policy for the survivors of communal riots in
Muzzafarnagar, U.P.
PVCHR used 26 June -the International Day in Support of Victims of
Torture as a great occasion and opportunity to highlight and punctuate the
right to be free from torture in the country. The event coincides with the
annual anniversary of PVCHR as well. From such a very positive experience,
the event became an institutionalized activity for many civil society groups
who participated in an event of such global signicance.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_in_Support_of_Victims_
of_Torture
In 1999 PVCHR organized marches in three states Uttar Pradesh, Madhya
Pradesh and Bihar of India. In Varanasi a ve kilometre long torch
procession was taken out from Azad Park to Rajendra Prasad ghat with the
participation of 26 organisations including peoples' movements, NGOs,
social groups, religious organisations, womens organisations and cultural
organisations of Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

17

The procession included torture


survivors like Rakesh Viz the family of
Upendra Singh and dalit victims of
Piyari police atrocities. Victims of
communal violence, women activists
beaten by the police, rag pickers and
child labourers among others also took
part in the programme. Rakesh Viz
exhorted the people to come out against
police torture and urged the
government to ratify the UN convention against torture at the earliest. He
lauded the effort of NHRC in this direction in recent years.
The program culminated at Rajendra Prasad ghat with a street play
"Tamasha" performed by Prena Kala Manch. The play highlighted the third
degree punishment and the ruthlessness of police torture and showed that
in many cases innocent people become the scapegoat. Revolutionary songs
and slogans against torture, cruelty and inhumane treatment by the police
were the spirit moving events as
they formed part of the
programme during the
procession. According to Dr. Lenin
this year the main focus was the
question of reparation. He said
that article 14 of the UN
Convention against Torture
recognises the obligations of UN
member states which are party to
the convention, to ensure that
reparation is a fundamental
prerequisite for the rehabilitation
of the individual torture victim
and for the promotion of peace,
reconciliation and stability in
broken societies. It includes the right to rehabilitation, restitution,
compensation, satisfaction and guarantees of non -repetition. (Pioneer,
2007). He added PVCHR will observe the year 2000 as a year of Satyagrah
against torture.
The Hon'ble President of India Mr. K.R Narayanan, the International
Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, Justice VS Malimath, etc.
conveyed their best wishes and full support to the program.
PVCHR observed year 2001 as year of natural rights and social justice.

18

During that period incidents of atrocities on innocent people were on the


rise in the era of globalization. The organization also demanded
amendments in the police manual to check the ring on the vital parts of the
citizens during the demonstration on social and public issues. According to
Tanweer Ahmad Siddiqui, We sent a detailed report to the National Human
Rights Commission (NHRC). It was also demanded to take action against the
guilty police personnel under section 330 and 331 IPC. Since the policy of
liberalisation had been implemented, but at the same time cases of human
rights violations had increased alarming in the country. Expressing concern
over the increasing cases of human rights violations in UP, he said during
1999 2000 as many as 26829 cases were reported to NHRC.
In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, and an
attack on India's Parliament three months later, the Indian government
enacted Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in March 2002 to enhance
India's ability to crack down on possible terrorist threats. Indian legislators
acted quickly, declaring the Act to be a necessary weapon against terrorism.
In 2003 Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi condemned the use of POTA in the state. He
pointed out several loopholes in the implementation of this Act. A review
committee constituted under section 60 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act
2002 demanded suggestion from him. In his report he stated Moreover the
NHRC was not consulted. By the above fast track method, the government
was deprived of the experience and knowledge of NHRC. On the other hand
the existing laws continue to be misused by the law enforcement agencies
against innocent citizens of the country. He also criticized various sections of
the Act.
Section 3(5) of the Act criminalizes an individual for being a member of a
terrorist organization which means that the membership itself is a criminal
act nullifying the need for evidence of actual involvement in any illegal act
such as killing.
While section 20 providing exception for members of terrorist organization
who have not participated in the illegal activities or for such members of an
organization declared as terrorist after they become members, places on the
accused the responsibility to provide his/her innocent.
Section 21, section 48(2), section 32, section 27, section 48(6) and (7),
section (9) and others need rethinking. It may be noted that POTA was later
repealed by the Government.
The Indian Police have learnt the acts of demoralisation and community
punishment from the practice of the caste system and masculinity.
Demoralising the lower caste is very common with the goal to make them

19

silent, so that they do not raise their voice. The refusal of the police to
investigate cases of caste discrimination and gender discrimination is a
common practice and they often fail to register cases under Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. A majority of the
torture cases takes place in rural India. The prevailing social structure does
not allow someone from the lower caste, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes or from an economically backward section to assert his/her socio,
economic and cultural rights due to the fear of retaliation from the nonState actors.
The ght for Dalit rights in India has had a chequered history. They have
faced betrayals and been let down by their own political masters through
out history. Mainstream politics in India has only recently and reluctantly
acknowledged the space for Dalits. Till now, the main thrust of political
intervention has been in the shape of reservations in government posts
without adequately making them empowered to get a rightful and dignied
place in society.
There is a considerable amount of conspiracy nationwide by Hindu fascist
forces against the lower castes. This was evident from the nationwide spell
of destruction of statues of Dr B R Ambedkar. It is an irony that he is
considered as the father of the Indian Constitution and also a Dalit who
fought his way in a caste ridden Indian society.
In May 2000 lfefr usa rhu lnL;h; Mk0 ysfuu] Kku dk'k o Jqfr tkp ny xfBr dj fi;jh

dkaM ds iqjs ekeys dh iM+rky dhA tkp ds nkSjku ?kVuk ds p'enhn xokg o iSjksdkj ls ckr fdA
ek;kjke esa crk;k fd xzke iapk;r }kjk Lrko ikfjr dj ckck lkgc Mk0 Hkhe jko vEcsMdj dh ewfrZ
dh LFkkiuk gfjtu cLrh esa dh xbZA tc ewfrZ LFkkfir gks xbZ rks xko ds iwoZ /kku 'kj.k 'kadj flag
mQZ uSikyh flag us tkfrxr Hkkouk ls sfjr gksdj rF;ks dks fNikrs gq;s miftykf/kdkjh lnj ds
U;k;ky; ls ewfrZ gVokus dk vkns'k kIr dj fy;kA blds ckn 26 ekpZ dks jkf= 8%30 cts pkScsiqj
Fkkuk/;{k lnycy gfjtu cLrh igqpsA ;s lHkh yksx ewfrZ LFky ds ikl igqps vkSj Mk0 vEcsMdj dh
ewfrZ m[kkM+us yxsA cLrh ds yksxks us dgk fd ;fn ewfrZ gVkuh gh gS rks mls m[kkM+ fn;k tk; ysfdu
mls {kfrxzLr u fd;k tk;sA iqfyl usa ,d u lquh vkSj ewfrZ m[kkM+ dj pcwrjs dks vkaf'kd :i ls
{kfrxzLr dj VSDVj ij ykndj ys tkus yxsA cLrh okyks ds fojks/k ij iqfyl mu ij dgj cudj VwV
iM+h vkSj ,d ?kaVs rd fiVkbZ vkSj rksM+QksM+ dk rkaMo pyrk jgkA
bl ?kVuk ds lEcU/k esa fxjrkj vksadkj Hkkjrh] fnyhi dqekj o vjfoUn dqekj dh mez 16 o"kZ ls de gS
vkSj os o;Ldksa ds lkFk tsy esa can gS ftldh tkudkjh loksZPp U;k;ky; dks ns nh x;h gSA
(A three member committee was formed (Dr Lenin, Shruti and Gyan
Prakash) that probed the Piyari case. During the probe the members spoke
to the witnesses of the incident and the advocates. Mayaram told that the
Village Panchayat passed a resolution to build a statue of Baba Saheb Dr

20

Bhim Rao Ambedkar in the Harijan locality. After the statue was installed,
the former village head Sharan Shankar Singh alias Nepali Singh driven by
anti dalit feelings/hatred got the order from the court of SDM to remove the
statue. The facts were concealed before the court. After this the Chaubeypur
police station ofcer reached the same Harijan locality on March 26, at 8.30
pm with other policemen and started removing the statue. People present
there demanded that if the statue has to be removed it should be done
without damaging the statue but the cops did not listen and took away the
statue on a truck after damaging portion of the platform. When the villagers
resisted the action of the policemen they had to bear the brunt as police men
charged on them and beating went on for over an hour damaging all the
village properties.
Those arrested in the incident Onkar Bharti, Dilip Kumar and Arvind
Kumar were all minors below 16 years of age and lodged with adult
prisoners in jail. The Supreme Court of India was informed about the
incident.
PVCHR gave its report to the UP SC/ST Commission, NHRC and the UP
Governor which put the blame on people belonging to both the sections and
demanded an impartial investigation.
Modern India embarked on the road to freedom with a resolute face to
deliver social justice along with dignity to its millions of ever-enslaved,
downtrodden, poor and Dalits. In the last 67 years, however, little has
changed. The atrocities against Dalits have taken a more blatant and
bizarre form and in some parts of the country, they have shaken the
condence in humanity that calls itself civilised.
On 16 May 2001, a few Maoists Co-ordination Committee (MCC) members
came to Narketi village and summoned all the villagers for a meeting.
Around 100-150 villagers were present at the meeting. The meeting was
held under a tree near the village temple. The purpose of the meeting was to
call for a strike on the collection of tendupatta which the villagers sold in the
market to supplement their income. The purpose of calling a strike was due
to non-payment of dues owed to the villagers by the Forest Corporation over
the past year.
The Forest Corporation owed the villagers of Narketi Rs. 50,000/-, while in
the entire block the outstanding balance due to the people was
approximately Rs 17 lakhs. Another demand was for a raise in the wages
paid for the collection of the leaves from Rs. 32/- to Rs. 40/- per bundle.
(Each bundle consists of 100 bunches of 80 leaves each). The MCC told the
villagers that the U.P. government was giving far less than other states like

21

Madhya Pradesh and Bihar where the wages are as high as Rs 50-60 per
bundle.
Three ofcials from the Forest Department Viz . Kamlesh
Upadhyay(Vandaroga) Forest Ofcer; Kushi Ram Dubey, Forest Guard; and
Ram Lal, Watcher were also present. At around11 a.m. the meeting with the
villagers came to an end, and the MCC sent the villagers back to their
houses. The MCC continued to hold discussions with the Forest
Department personnel.
The villagers told that a police team came and began ring without giving
any warning. Around 25 rounds were red. The MCC people who were
present red in retaliation. The MCC took the three Forest Department
personnel and left the village. The police too left the village. After about three
hours, the police returned in ve or six vehicles and began beating those
villagers who were returning to the village from the forest. They left the other
villager and took Nakhru, one of the villagers, into custody. He was released
the next day on 17 May 2001.
That day the police beat men, women and even children. Anjani, Phuljari's
5-year-old girl was severely beaten on the hands by the police. She has been
so terrorised that for months she would run away if any stranger
approached the village. They destroyed the houses of those villagers whom
they suspected of having links with the MCC. They took away chickens,
farming implements, a bicycle, and broke household items such as pots,
utensils and plates.
The police took twelve people of the village into custody. One of the twelve in
jail stated that they were interrogated several times, and also beaten. At
3:00 a.m. in the morning he could hear Shyama (another person who was
taken into custody) screaming in terror and begging not to be beaten. The
following day six of them were released while the other six were detained and
have been in jail for nine months now.
In the past, we were told, if anyone from the lower caste breached the
unwritten law of caste hierarchy, the person would be beaten up in public.
With the passage of time, now such a person will be shot dead, the entire
village burnt down and its women raped. A bridegroom daring to ride a
horse during his marriage, an enterprising peasant digging a well on his
own land, or a boy who falls in love with a girl do you kill them? If they are
Dalits, they are killed. Yet, we say there is rule of law in India!
Dalits have an appalling rate of literacy. When the national average touches
67 per cent, among the Dalits it is a mere 32 per cent. And if one happens to
be a woman from that community, it is still less at 23 per cent. Only 6 per

22

cent Dalits own land. Most of them labour in someone else's elds or migrate
to cities sacricing their identity, as petty labourers.
A glaring social anomaly that is becoming increasingly apparent is the one
that exists between the lower castes or Dalits and the upper castes in Indian
society. This discrimination is manifested in several ways. The Dalits live in
a segregated, undeveloped part of the village. They cannot use the wells,
temples and other village infrastructure and other facilities that are used by
the upper castes.

fnukad 25 ekpZ] 2002 dks 'kke djhc 7%00 cts dks HkksFkw eqlgj iq= Lo lkfyd jke xzke Hksy[kk] Fkkuk
cMkxkao] okjk.klh vkius xko ds floku esa nhi flag ds can iM+s Hks ds jkLrs ls muds ?kj ljir dk
iSlk ekaxus gsrq tk jgk Fkk fd jkLrs esa gjgqvk pkSdh ds Hkkjh Jh ohjsanj dqekj feJk ,oa flikgh ds
lkFk eksVj lkbZfdy ls vk;s vkSj HkksFkw ds ikl eksVj lkbZfdy jksd fn,A njksxk vkSj flikgh dks
ns[kdj eSa #d x;k vkSj ueLdkj fd;k brus esa njksxk th ek&cgu fd xkyh nsus yxsA esjs ;g dgus
ij fd D;k fd;k gw fd tks xkyh ns jgs gSA rc rd muds lkFk dk flikgh ykBh esjs ij pyk fn;k
vkSj flikgh vkSj njksxk th nksuksa yksx feydj ykfB;ksa ls ekjus yxs vkSj eSa fpYykus yxk rks xko ds
yksx tqV x,A pwfd njksxk vkSj flikgh ekj jgs Fks blfy, dksbZ cpkus ugha vk;kA blds ckn eksVj
lkbfdy ij cSBkdj pkSdh gjgqvk ys x, ogk ykrks vkSj eqDdks ls ekjs o xyh fn,A esjs ?kj fd vkSjrs
vkSj xko ds reke yksx pkSdh igqps ysfdu njksxk ugha NksM+s vkSj eq>s Fkkuk cMkxkao ys x,A ogk
Fkkuk/;{k jkBkSj Fks os Hkh iwN&rkN fd;s vkSj eq>ls ,d lknk dkxt ij vaxwBk yxokdj 26 ekpZ]
2002 dks fnu esa djhc 10%00 cts thi ls pkSdh Hkkjh ohjsU dqekj feJ ys vkdj Fkkuk f'koiqj {ks= ds
gh ds MDVj 'kksHkukFk flag ds vLirky esa MDVj dks ikap lkS #i;k nsdj HkrhZ djk;s vkSj dgs fd
budk bykt djs lkjk iSlk eS nwxkA MDVj lkgc ,Dl&js djk;s] esjk ck;k iSj o nk;s gkFk fd gh
VwV x;h FkhA
(Bhotu son of Late Salik Ram resident of Bhelkha police station Baragaon
district Varanasi on March 25, 2002 at around 7 pm was on his way passing
through his closed brick kiln to the house of Pradip Singh to ask for due
money. He was waylaid by Harhua police-out-post in charge Virendra Singh
and a constable. According to Bhotu, Seeing the cops I stopped and greeted
them but in return the in-charge shouted on me and abused me badly. When I
replied and asked them what wrong I have done that makes you people so
angry. The constable accompanying the in-charge started hitting me
indiscriminately with the baton. When I shouted, villagers came for my help.
However, seeing the station police ofcer and a constable beating me none of
them could dare to come forward to help me. After beating me they took me to
the police-out-post and again thrashed me. By then my family members and
other villagers including both men and women gathered at the police station
but instead of leaving me they (cops) took me to Baragaon police station.
There was only one police ofcer at Baragaon police station named Rathore
who again questioned me and then next day on March 26, 2002 forced me to
give my thumb impression on a plain paper. Then I was taken to the hospital

23

in Shivpur police area where Dr Shobhnath, an orthopaedic doctor was told


by Virendra Kumar Mishra the in-charge of the police-out-post that my
treatment has to be done and all expense will be borne by the cops. He
initially gave Rs 500. The doctor did x-rays and found I had sustained
fracture in left leg and right hand).
The upper castes, usually economically better off, subjugate the Dalits with
threats if ever they try to break the caste barrier. They monopolise all the
facilities provided by the government, thus ensuring that the Dalits have no
opportunity to alleviate their social status. The Dalits are mostly illiterate as
they cannot afford the cost of modern education and hence they do not have
any knowledge of their rights.
The upper castes and landed classes threaten the Dalits with the help of
criminal gangs. Unfortunately, the very guardians of the law, the police,
either due to the lure of money or the prejudice against lower castes, are
often seen by the Dalits and lower castes as the greatest perpetrators of
terror. The lawlessness of the keepers of the law and their ability to get away
with it is a shocking revelation of the collapse of justice.
In 2000 2001 an organization with a well dened strategy started working
with the Musahar community (the mouse eating community). This
community is considered as Untouchable people tainted by their birth
into a caste system that deems
them impure, less than human.
Musahar are relegated to the
lowest jobs and live in constant
fear of being publicly humiliated,
paraded naked, beaten, and
raped with impunity by uppercaste Hindus seeking to keep
them in their place. Most of the
Musahar people work in someone
else elds or migrate to the cities.
Their standards of living force their children to work even in hazardous
industries. Dr. Lenin said, I visited their homes and found how these
communities live right next to the upper castes. Rice elds owned by the rich
people surround their homes. Some of their women just need to cross one
street to go and clean the houses of the upper castes.
There are two main causes for the rise and development of heinous crimes
like torture against deprived caste. First is the impression of low or deprived
caste people on rest of the society i.e. there is general impression in Indian
society that poor dalits and tribals are not only do menial work but they are
also the major source of anti-social and criminal elements.

24

Secondly, thinking and tradition of upper caste people. Historically, a


culture of silence has been permeated in Indian society. Privileged upper
caste people believe that they are beyond the law and laws are meant for
governing underprivileged low caste or untouchable community.
Discrimination between low caste and upper caste people started from
Vedic and later Vedic period and it still continues in modern Indian society.
The biased behavior prevalent in Indian society is also reected in
governmental bodies. That is why one nds most of the custodial torture,
violence and death are committed against marginalized and deprived
castes. Many dalits are tortured and subjected to humiliation and
degrading treatment in public like garlanded with slippers and sandals,
colouring their faces black and white, being forced to ride on donkey etc.
Indian police practice community punishment to demoralize dalit
community. Demoralizing lower castes is very common to make them silent,
so they cannot raise their voice. When a person from upper caste commits
crime, after trial the person is punished. However, when it comes to the
lower caste, entire community is punished. This punishment does not
originate from court of law, but carried out by upper caste in collusion with,
police who provides sound support in punishing lower caste.
PVCHR have been trying to build awareness among the Musahars and has
been arduously trying to put before the policymakers, their stories of torture
and trauma.

Belwa is the rst child centric and torture


free model village of PVCHR.

n 2000 PVCHR started its work in southern ghetto of Belwa village where
mostly people from other backward caste (OBCs) and dalits such as
Patels, Mushahars, Kohars, Lohars and Nuuts resides. The village has 8
purvas (divisions), but there is only one government school, which is not at
all sufcient to meet the education demands of the village. According to
Gaharu Mushars I had gone only once to the school and there upper caste
aristocratic children attacked me and hit on my head after that I never went
to the school. This clearly shows the people are full of biases towards us. But
now the situation has changed somewhat and we get the opportunities also
and therefore, now I am learning everything without any fear. Now we have
stopped doing such works like plucking leaves and making eating plates.
We want to be free from doing these dangerous and risky jobs. If somebody
provides us different types of jobs, we would want and do that. PVCHR with
the support from Fellowship from Ashoka Innovator for Public, Child Rights
and You (CRY) and later with the support of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT)
have been operating Pre- Primary Center and Non Formal Center to
educate the children of the marginalized community.

25

Bhotu, a 55-year-old bonded labourer and his brother Gaharu were freed
from the clutches of brick kiln owner Rajendra Tiwari. This work has been
hazardous with meagre wages. Some years ago Muneeb, Monu, Seema and
Karmina all aged between nine months and eight years died working in this
types of industry. Though the district administration claimed the kids died
because of various ailments but the villagers hotly contest this. "We cook
once in three or four days, can our children be healthy?" asks Kismati,
whose three-year-old son Muneeb died on May 29.
http://www.pvchr.net/2006/09/four-dead-and-still-counting.html
The primary health centre at Baragaon had recorded that the children were
suffering from severe malnutrition and weighed only 10 kg. PVCHR during
its health camp found that more than 80% of kids were malnourished. "It
took three deaths for the district authorities to issue Antodaya Anna Yojna
(AAY) cards (which entitles the holder to 35 kg of rice and wheat at a
subsidised price of Rs 95)," said Lenin Raghuvanshi of PVCHR.
Before that they survived on low-quality grain and chaff doled out to them
by the kiln owner instead of cash or just starved. "We go to work even when
someone has died and the body is at home.
It is almost noon by the time the women get around to cooking but the meal
is ready in a jiffy. A few rotis and a bowl of salt water ! Dip, dip, dip...and the
hungry children gulp down their rst and last meal of the day. ''By
evening, they will be crying again but a slap or two will quieten them down,''
says Laxmina, wife of a brick kiln worker and mother of three. Her face is
dead pan but her voice betrays her desperation. These months are the worst
in Belwa. With the brick kilns closed from July to October, the hamlet's
Musahars, the bottom rung in India's caste system, struggle to survive. And
it is children who are the most vulnerable.
Rajendra Tiwari maintained the culture of silence through police torture
and marginalized the OBCs and dalits communities by keeping them in
bondage, depriving them from education and seizing their identity cards. He
prevented the people of Badepur from voting and even stopped some people
from getting their photo-identity cards made. In November 2001, the Dalits
were mobilised to participate in NAFRE rally in Delhi to demand for a
change in the educational policy of the government. Mr. Tiwari sensed the
wave of dissension rousing in the Dalit community and openly threatened to
destroy the homes of those who attended the rally. His muscle men
disrupted the meeting in Belwa being addressed by the Convenor of PVCHR,
physically attacked and abused PVCHR activists and threatened to kill
them.

26

The result was visible in the February 2002 state election when for the rst
time, Dalit men and women openly challenged Mr. Tiwari. Many of the
Women had come armed with chilli powder and the men with Sickles. Many
of them could not vote did not have the proper documents. (It is again
because Mr. Tiwari had prevented their Ration Cards to be ready in time as
well as the inclusion of their names in the Voters List). The issue got wider
media publicity that helped in checking his abusive behaviour. The BSA/
ABSA also visited Badepur and conrmed the urgent need for a school. The
nal blow was the visit of an NHRC team and the transfer of the village
secretary from Belwa to Lakhimpur. By that time the people of Badepur had
become more condent .With nancial Help from PVCHR and their own
contribution of labour and material, the community school was improved
upon with better roong and rooms. The student population soon exceeded
200 children. PVCHR was developing it as a model centre.
http://tanweeras.blogspot.in/
In 2002 as being the member of District Vigilance Committee against
Bonded Labour Dr. Lenin led complaints, based on which there was a
criminal case against Rajendra Tripathi registered by Magistrate (Sub
Divisional Magistrate). The case is pending against Tripathi in court.
In the 24th, 2002 a local Newspaper, Dainik Jagran, published the news of
the raid mentioning that on the direction of NHRC, the SDM and some
labour ofcials raided the kiln of Tiwari and later an FIR was led against
him at the Phulpur Police Station under IPC 374. Gaharu complained that
Tiwari had paid Bothu Rs.800.00 but claimed that he had paid Rs.1400.00.
On the evening of the 24th both Bothu and Gaharu had complained before
the SSP who issued orders to the in-charge of Phulpur Police Station. Four
women bonded labourers, i.e., Champa Devi w/o Gaharu Musahar, Kismati
Devi w/o Waharu Musahar, Hirawati Devi w/o Late Ramavatar Musahar,
and Hirawati Devi w/o Bhothu Musahar, all belonging to the village Belwa
under police station Phulpur, had signed an Afdavit that they have been
working as bonded labourers. http://www.pucl.org/Topics/Industriesenvirn-resettlement/2002/musahar.htm
On May 2002, Justice Dr. Z.M. Yacoob, the Sitting Judge of the
Constitutional court of South Africa and the Chancellor of the University of
Durban visited Badepur and participated in a community lunch with the
Dalits. All of this brought positive changes and raised the condence of the
Dalit community. Rajendra Tiwari, the current village head of Belwa
village, never planned to open any school for the Musahars and he engaged
them as bonded labourers in his brick kiln factory. Even the BRC
coordinator in his report stated that 211children were employed in the
brickelds and this ghetto was marginalised due to political bias and
enmity.

27

In this context, on 8 August 2003, the


children held a Child Parliament in
front of the district headquarters and
demanded a school in their area. On
26 August 2003 they observed as
tehsil diwas (day), 250 children
walked 5 km from the Sant Kabir Jan
Mitra Kendra to Pindra tehsil and
submitted their demand to the Sub
Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of
Pindra. The SDM misbehaved with
the children and ordered a lathi-charge on the children and the villagers.
Dr. lenin of PVCHR was detained under Section 151 and released after four
hours while the other three activists were charged under Sections 107/16.
In fact, in August 2005, PVCHR supported a candidate against Tripathi as
the village head in the local election. Tripathi immediately responded by
ordering Ramasray Singh, a local criminal, to call the candidate S N Giri and
Dr. Lenin over telephone saying that he has been asked by Tripathi to kill
both Dr. Lenin and Giri for promoting a candidate in the village election.
Against this move, the AHRC issued an Urgent Appeal, which was
responded by three reporters from the United Nations, who wrote to the
Government of India to provide protection to Giri and Dr. Lenin. The
Election Commission of India also responded to the appeal by sending their
representatives to monitor the election and ordering the then District
Magistrate to provide every security to Giri and also to the Dalit voters
during the election. A criminal case was registered against Ramasray Singh
and he was arrested. The District Magistrate also issued shoot-at-sight
orders against the criminals sponsored by Tripathi, if they tried to prevent
the Dalits from participating in the electoral process. It was for the rst time
since Independence that the Dalits in Belwa exercised their right to vote. In
March 2006 the cases of Belwa was brought in the Sixty-second session of
United Nations General Assembly.
Item 6 of the provisional agenda RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION,
XENOPHOBIA AND ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION in the United
National http://www.pvchr.net/2006/06/belwa-in-un.html
In 2007 PVCHR and Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) organized
folk schools on the issue of the malnutrition. Eight children had died due to
severe malnutrition in the previous year in the belwa village. The PVCHR,
along with the AHRC and other national and local human rights
organisations, organised folk-schools in these villages, starting from Belwa.
The PVCHR also invited the district administration as well as ofcials from

28

the Uttar Pradesh State Commission for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled
Tribe to participate in these sessions. The member of the Commission Mr.
Rajbahadur Yadav participated in one of these sessions held at Belwa on 21
May 2007.
Meanwhile PVCHR also promoted establishment of community centers in
these villages, of which the community centre in Belwa was inaugurated by
the then DM Mr. Nithin Gokarnan. Mr. Gokarnan later served as the
Divisional Commissioner of Varanasi.
In December 2007, PVCHR also planned to erect two monuments in Belwa.
One was in the memory of the Musahar and the other for poor children who
died of starvation in Belwa. In another event the members of the Musahar
and other socially marginalised families took the solemn oath in one of the
folk school sessions. The content of the memorial tablet and the oath is in
plain and simple language. http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgentappeals/AHRC-UAU-004-2008
On 9 December, 2007 Rajendra Tripathi has led a complaint against Dr.
Lenin and his colleagues at the Phulpur police station making false
allegations against PVCHR and Dr. Lenin.
To
Police Station Ofcer,
Phulpur, Varanasi
Sir,
The applicant Mr Rajendra Prasad Tripathi, son of Raj Narayan Tripathi is a
resident of Belwa village within the jurisdiction of Phulpur police station of
Varanasi district.
He is a peace loving person. In the applicant's village, now Dr Lenin
Raghuvanshi, Ms Anupam Nagavanshi and Ms Shruti Nagavanshi of village
Pandeypur and Daulatpur and Mr Prem Nut, son of Mahangu, Ms
Kalawathi, wife of Sherbahadur of Belwa are running various NGOs Jan
Mitra Nyas (funding organisation), People's Vigilance Committee on Human
Rights, Sawitri Bai Phule Samiti, Bhagat Singh Youth Samiti, Voice of
People, etc. They are giving fake assurances and alluring illiterate and poor
people with money, Anthyodaya Anna Yojana Card (AAY Card), housing,
pension, allotment of land and jobs and in turn they are earning money.
They have compelled the villagers to get into class conict and are
interfering in the village committee politics by instigating the villagers by
making provocative speeches. It is their routine work to organise gathering
against the administration and other respected people of the village and

29

they regularly conduct gherao in the district head quarter and against other
high ofcials.
The above people and their NGO's work are responsible to create class
conict and lawlessness. If legal action is not taken against the above
people, the situation of conict and disorder will be created. Sir, I urge you
to take legal action against the above people so there could be peace in the
village.
9 December 2007
Applicant
Mr Rajendra Prasad Tripathi
Village Belwa
The dream of marginalised people to educate their children was fullled,
albeit to some extent, with the inauguration of a school by elementary
education ofcer Pradeep Kumar Pandey on 2 August 2009 with the
exceptional contribution of Reshma Devi, a local resident of Belwa village.
She donated her own land and Jan Mitra Nyas (JMN)/PVCHR contributed
in bearing the expenses for its registration. The inaugural session was
witnessed by the key staff of PVCHR, Loreine B de la Cruz (Lou), chairperson
of Balay in the Philippines and Frauke Bergmann, interns from Germany
and many teachers from the nearby government school and other people of
the village.
In 2001 PVCHR formed a fact nding committee headed by Prof. Deepak
Malik (Ex- Chairperson Teacher Association, BHU) as a chairperson and cochaired by Dr. R.P Divedi (Director, Gandhi Adhyanpeeth, Mahatma
Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith) and member Dr. Lenin (Convenor PVCHR),
Advocate Tanveer Ahmad Siddiqui (Co-ordinator HRLN, Varanasi and
member, state council PUCL, UP) and Smt. Shruti Nagvanshi (Co-ordinator,
Savitri Bai Phule Women Forum) which looked into the procedures followed
during the arrest in Uttar Pradesh in the light of the provisions provided by
the judgement of Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of D.K Basu V/s West
Bengal.
This fact nding committee had investigated various cases related to
police torture during the period of arrest, interrogation and pre- arrest. The
committee met the victims and collected all the facts to be produced before
an Indian People's Tribunal (IPT) on Caste Based Atrocities on Dalits in
Varanasi and Surrounding Areas in UP. The IPT was presided over by a
panel headed by Justice K. Sukumaran (Retired Judge, Kerala and Mumbai
High Courts) with Dr. Kusum Singh (Professor in Gandhian Studies, Media
and Social Change), Deepika D'Souza (Co-convenor of the IPT), Sunil Scaria

30

& Devlyn Newnes (Joint Coordinators of the IPT) as its members. The jury
visited the villages of Narketi, Babatpur and Belwa in Varanasi and
Chandauli district. http://www.iptindia.org/wpcontent/pdf/report/Report-On-Caste-Based-Atrocities-On-Dalits-InVaranasi-And-Surrounding-Areas-In-Uttar-Pradesh.pdf
The jury recommended that:
1. An immediate judicial inquiry needs to be conducted against the police
ofcers involved in the various atrocities and police rings. Those
involved must be punished.
2. The people who have been victims of these atrocities must be provided
adequate compensation. This includes those who have lost a family
member, those injured, as well as those whose property and household
goods have been looted and destroyed. (List of items lost, people injured
annexed in annexure I and V). Such payments are in tune with legal
principles and judicial decisions.
3. It is advisable that the Government conducts an impartial and
independent inquiry into all cases of police torture and other atrocities.
A thorough investigation by an independent agency such as the
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) needs to be conducted into the
alleged collusion of the police with the local goons. Stringent
punishment has to be meted out to the perpetrators like police and the
upper caste maa.
4. A State Human Rights Commission needs to be put into place
immediately and provided with the necessary budgetary provisions
and infrastructure if it is to function efciently. It must have effective
powers and those practices that have been set in place in states that do
have such Commissions should be studied and followed.
5. The Guidelines provided by Justice D.K. Basu on arrest and detention
must be strictly followed.
6. Under no circumstance should people be tortured. The practice of
community punishment must be stopped immediately.
7. The powers of the Gram Sabha should be upheld when it comes to
implementing local policies.
8. The Scheduled Tribe Commission should be notied about the fact that
elsewhere in India, Kol, Mushar and Kharwar, are notied as
Scheduled Tribes but here they are clafed as Scheduled Castes. This
is important as Scheduled Tribes are entitled to special privileges
which at the moment they are denied.
9. Basic amenities like land titles, irrigation, water, schools and health
facilities must be provided to these people. There is a need to review the
existing government schemes that provide such facilities and
inspections by responsible ofcials should be conducted periodically,
to ensure that these people are not denied access to the benets of
these schemes.

31

10. The villagers should be made aware of their rights and judicial
decisions. However, if the entire village is illiterate, this poses a massive
problem. The Tribunal came across villages where there was not even a
single literate person. In the village of Narketi for example, even the
Pradhan and his father who was also a Pradhan before him were not
literate. This emphasises the necessity for literacy measures to be
taken ensuring total literacy among all sections of society.
It is important that these steps are followed and the government punishes
those guilty of victimising the weak and the underprivileged if faith in the
Rule of Law is to be restored. If not then people will be pushed to become
extremists and take up arms and the very fabric of the society will be
threatened.
In 2006 PVCHR received the rst project to work on the police torture as a
state partner of The EU-FNST-Peoples' Watch Tamil Nadu (PWTN) project,
National Project of Preventing Torture in India. In a span of three years
under this initiative 800 cases of police torture were documented in six
districts of Indian state of
Uttar Pradesh. The project
organised 197 awareness
programmes, regular Folk
Schools and Human Rights
Street Movements in Uttar
Pradesh, to encourage the
victims of custodial torture to
speak and stand up for their
rights so as to live with
dignity. The project
culminated in a Peoples'
Tribunal on Torture. An
eleven member jury headed
by Mr. Sanker Sen, former Director General- National Human Rights
Commission was constituted to conduct the proceedings. Other members of
the Jury included Mr. Ashok Chakravati(former Senior Director NHRC), Ms.
T.K Raja Lakshmi (Senior Assistant Editor, Frontline), Dr. John Dayal
(Chairperson, All Indian Catholic Union and member National Integration
Council), Mr. Chittaranjan Singh (National Secretary People's Union for
Civil Liberties), Mr. K.K Rai (Senior Advocate, Allahabad Court), Mr. Ram
Ashray Singh (Secretary General PUCL), Ms. Sandhya (Convener Mahila
Adhikar Manch), Ms. Kum Kum (Deputy Director, Mahila Samakhya), Mr.
Maheshananad Bhai (Bhumi Haqdari Morcha UP) and Ms. Padma
(Convener, Stree Adhikar Sangathan (UP). The jury heard 78 depositions
from the victims of torture, abuse, custodial violences etc.

32

At the end of the two days public tribunal, the jury drew the following
conclusions:That the overwhelming majority of the victims who had faced police torture
and harassment in some form belonged to the most socially and
economically depressed sections of society including women and
minorities.
That such torture tactics were more prevalent in those cases where a
certain amount of assertion of their rights was made by the victims and
where the victim questioned the methodology of the police.
That with rising consciousness among people about the language of "rights"
as well as growing economic insecurity, the incident of conicts between the
police and ordinary people had increased, mainly due to absence of rule and
law.
That almost no "human rights" institution of the state, including National
and state Human Rights Commission has been effective in dispensing
justice to the victims and that the devolution of the concept of rights had yet
to take place at ground levels.
That while these institutions and Government Commissions, including
Women and Child Rights Commission at the national and state level have
generated a lot of expectations amongst ordinary people, but at the same
time there was much disappointment among the victims as they had not
received prompt and effective responses they expected from these
institutions.
That there is a need for increased follow up actions by theses bodies upon
the receipt of complaints.
That there is a need to put in place a time bound accessible system for
providing compensation and interim relief to the victims.
That there should be no attempt to dilute any legislation aimed at
protecting scheduled castes and tribes such as Scheduled Caste and
Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. The act has been clearly
designed to protect the interests of those people and therefore needs to be
retained in its present form.
That police reforms, including better representation of these classes and
castes in various police agencies in the interests of the most marginalized
sections, is an absolute necessity. The police reforms should aim at
sensitizing the police.
That India needs to ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture

33

with immediate effect by passing a comprehensive domestic anti torture


law.
Police reforms in order to protect police forces from extraneous pressure
and sensitizing them to follow human rights norms are the imperative need.
Torture in any form by the state is unacceptable in a democracy.
This is a clear model of an organization that has undergone a thoroughgoing transformation -- from the more activist positioning and perspective
to a more professionalized conduct of promoting human rights in this new
generation. Such decisive action of PVCHR is in keeping with the challenges
of the signs of the times.
Musahars are facing police torture and they are imprisoned for ordinary
acts. Mushars are not released after the completion of the punishment
period. Their stigma is the curse of their life. All over India, the denotied
communities are jailed, mob-lynched, tortured to death in police lock-ups.
Worst of all, even India's other tribals treat the denotied tribes as
"expendable ones.
In 1871, the British Government of India "notied certain tribes as
"criminals" and passed the notorious "Criminal Tribes Act of 1871." Such
people were notied, who, according to the British, were nomadic cattle
grazers, wandering singers, acrobats, etc. These people lived in forests, or
were nomads.
The term 'Criminal Tribes' originates from the British colonial times. The
British initiated the Criminal Tribes Act in 1871, referring to around 150
tribes for their so-called criminal tendencies, giving the police wide powers
to arrest them and control and monitor their movements. The law in effect
was that anyone born into one of the tribes, under this act, was seen as a
criminal.
In 1959, the Government of India passed the "Habitual Offender's Act
"which is not much different from the "Criminal Tribes Act, 1871."
http://www.indiatogether.org/bhasha/budhan/birth1871.htm
According to Asha Musahar,This is not new to us. Police have been abusing,
harassing and booking me under false cases. I have seen this since I was
young almost from the age of 14 years just after my marriage. A burglary was
committed in Bharoari, as we are Mushahars, merely on suspicion police
came to our locality (basti). It was a wintery night, I was sleeping, and
suddenly there was knock on the door. I woke up and opened the door. I saw
the police at the door. It was 12'o clock in the night. They started beating me
and took up me, my father and uncle to the police station. Blood was oozing

34

out but none of the policemen cared to give us any rst aid. We were rushed to
Chowkhaghat jail and stayed there for eleven months. It was quite difcult to
manage the house. There was a constant fear of police coming during the
midnight hours in the minds of those living in the home. We had to toil hard in
the jail. Rotten chapattis and stale dal were served to us as food in the jail.
With utmost difculty, my grandmother could arrange some money to get my
father and uncle released. We were trying to settle down after 11 months of
incarceration. Just after a week a police jeep came to our house and took all of
us to the police station again. We were kept in the police station throughout
the night and next day, we were put behind the bars for 3 years. Our family
members tried to get a surety bond for our bail but they failed. We have to do
back breaking labour in the jail. At home, it was too difcult for my wife,
mother, and grandmother to arrange square meals a day. They could
somehow feed themselves. In jail at that time we used to think what crime we
have committed by being born as a 'Mushahar'. Without committing any
crime, we were rotting in the jails and my wife, mother, and grandmother
were waiting for us at home.
The records of the Phulpur police of Varanasi refer to them as hard working,
fearless and dangerous community. Police look for every opportunity to
implicate the community members on cases of petty theft and send them to
the prison. In more than 90 percent of cases of torture against the
Musahars, PVCHR has found that fake cases had been led due to collusion
between local maa and police/local administration. The prison ofcials
also desperately need them for doing the menial work like cleaning the toilet
and sweeping the complex. The PVCHR fact nding team also found that
Musahars are not even eligible for red cards as the state does not consider
them very poor. Many among the starving population of the community
even do not qualify to be considered for white card meaning they are not
below poverty line.
PVCHR has been providing legal support to the victims of torture by
adopting testimonial therapy as a specic therapeutic technique for them.
The aim of the testimony is to facilitate integration of the traumatic
experience and restoration of self-esteem among the torture victims. It had
lent them its helping hand in building up their organisation so that
Musahars are empowered in putting up a brave front against false
implication and unjustied incarceration.The police personnel in Phulpur
police station view the Musahars as enemies. After the situation started
improving, they changed their tactics and now target only few among them.
Now the numbers of cases have come down and police are restrained to
falsely implicate Musahars on fabricated charges. PVCHR has been raising
voice against impunity and trying to break the culture of silence

35

After two visits to India by the Danish organization Rehabilitation and


Research Center for Torture Victims (RCT), PVCHR piloted its rst project
on testimonial therapy in 2008. Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi along with Ms.
Inger Agger developed a manual Giving Voice for community workers and
human rights defenders in Uttar Pradesh, India on how to use the
testimonial therapy. PVCHR used testimony as a psycho legal instrument
for strengthening access to justice for survivors. PVCHR is using it in
separate cultural, psychological and anthropological contexts.
There is a need to introduce narrative therapy under Indian law as there are
no enforceable rights for the rehabilitation of torture survivors. Private
medical and psychological support is offered by only a few rehabilitation
centers and torture survivors can not access the public health facilities due
to lack of specialized rehabilitation services. Health care providers often do
not attend to these victims. The number of the psychologists and
psychiatrist are quite nominal in ratio in comparison to the population of
India. In the round table discussion with psychologists and psychiatrists
Using Testimony as a psychotherapeutic tool was organised on 25th
September, 2008 in Diamond Hotel, Varanasi. The following experts
participated in the discussion:Chief Guest Prof. K.C Gurnani M.D (Psychiatry) Head, Department of
Psychiatry, S.N College Agra, Guest of honor Dr. Inger Agger consultant
Rehabilitation and Research centre for
the Torture Victim (RCT), Denmark,
Dr. Sanjay Gupta HOD, Department of
Psychiatry Institute of Medical
Science, Banaras Hindu University
(B.H.U), Dr. Tulsi President Deva
International School for Child Care
(DISCC), Varanasi and Dr. R.G Saxena
Retired psychiatry Ranchi mental jail
and Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi Director
of People's Vigilance Committee on
Human Rights (PVCHR). During the
discussion 41 renowned psychologists, psychiatrists, Counsellors and
Human Rights defenders from Uttar Pradesh also joined.
For bringing testimonial therapy as therapeutic intervention for cases of
psychological trauma.
Interesting part of this therapy is that it has both a Western elements of
Anger Management and Classical Conditioning and an Eastern approach
of relaxation methods and Meditation.
It's a cost effective model of psychotherapy which does not require clinics

36

or hospitals but, directly one can do this intervention at the doorsteps of


the victim. For ex. at his house, in community or in a forest.
The economic cost of the whole approach seems to be very less than
regular psychotherapy session in a clinic or hospital.
In most cases, torture victims who have approached PVCHR for assistance
have never been referred for any kind of treatment.
In the context of impunity, limited access to justice and limited
rehabilitation services, PVCHR with RCT identied the need for a psycholegal approach.
The preliminary experiences of the study show that testimony has a
potential for creating new dynamics in the justice process; converting the
survivor's private pain into a new political voice to challenge impunity and
contributing to the establishment of the rule of law and people-centered
advocacy. The pain and the agony expressed in the testimonies help to
convince the judiciary and human rights institutions about the injustice
committed against the plaintiff. It was easier to elicit a coherent story from
survivors and it seemed to release their pain during narration of self suffering of being tortured. (An overview of the human rights issues in
India).
According to Ram Lal, We received the compensation of rupees 5 lakhs after
the direction from the National Human Rights Commission. My father did not
le his complaint to NHRC for compensation but was seeking justice. NHRC's
directive amply made it clear that my brother was killed by police in a fake
encounter and erring policemen should be given exemplary punishment. Still
now police is making pressure on our family. I am quite scared while
venturing out.
Ram Lal's nineteen-year-old brother Santosh Patel left his home in
Purabpur village, near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, at 5 p.m. on December 13,
2006, to join two friends for dinner. He then disappeared.
In a written statement, police said Patel and an accomplice stole a cashbox
from a small shop in Harahua market at 6:30 p.m. and ed on his
motorbike. Sub-inspector Ravindra Bhusan Maurya of the Harhua police
post, drinking tea at a nearby shop, heard noises and called Mahendra
Pratap Yadav, inspector for the Badagaon police station on his mobile
phone. Yadav chased Patel and his accomplice in his jeep from one
direction, while Maurya approached from the other. Finding themselves
cornered, Patel or his accomplice opened re. Police red back in selfdefence, killing Patel while his accomplice escaped in the darkness.

37

Patel's family disputed the police's account, and in January 2008 they
succeeded in getting an FIR registered against the police and other
individuals alleging a conspiracy behind the murder of Patel. According to
Patel's brother Ramlal, on December 13, Patel's friends Manoj Kumar Yadav
and Bully Yadav called him continuously from noon, urging him to attend a
dinner party.
Two hours after Patel left on his motorcycle for the dinner, one of his
brothers received an anonymous call saying that Patel had met with an
accident. A neighbour also received an anonymous call saying Patel was at
Pragya Hospital Harahua, but when they later checked they found the
hospital had no record of him having been there. In a statement to a local
magistrate, Patel's father, who died in 2008, said police denied knowing
Patel's whereabouts later that night, well after the time of the alleged
encounter killing.
The testimonial therapy is a short psychological approach to trauma that
utilizes the testimony method. The testimony is the truth telling and
emotion-pain sharing of the survivors with which truth is an important
aspect of the justice process. The testimony is viewed within the broad
framework of social construction and provides valid information of human
rights violations without humiliating the witness. More often than not, it
resulted in the survivors overcoming of depressive symptoms and coping
with difcult situations. Survivors rediscover self -worth and dignity. They
regain self-esteem through the recording of their stories in a human rights
context, as such; private pain is reframed with a political meaning.
On 8th August, 2007 Anita Devi (name changed) led an application under
section 156 (3) Cr.P.C in the court of the judicial magistrate (I), Varanasi
against constable Prem Kumar Rai Korauta. With the order of the court on
14th October, 09, an First Information Report (FIR) was lodged in the police
station in Lohta under crime no. 130/07, section 354 I.P.C & 3(I) X
Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 against
Prem Kumar Rai. After an investigation charge sheet was led against the
accused. The accused appeared and led the bail application. He
surrendered before the court. He was granted bail by the special judge of
Varanasi, on furnishing sureties of Rs. 4000. After the charges were framed,
a summon was issued to the informant. Anita received the compensation
under Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. She
was physically humiliated by lustful police constable. She was in trauma
and feeling of insecurity has been growning up in her heart and mind. She
was not in a proper mental state to ght her case in the court. But
testimonial therapy has made her will strong and she became condent and
fearless. After receiving a summon from court she deposed before the

38

magistrate without fear as a prosecution witness and her husband was also
examined as prosecution witness no III. Her husband was physically very
weak and poor. Afer this he also deposed before the court without any
hesitation and produced all the facts about the incidents that had taken
place with his wife in the fearful night. Both husband and wife by now
gathered enough courage to ght and get justice.
The survivors shared that they felt good when their stories and testimonies
were published. They valued its signicance in the pursuit of advocacy.
They understood that their case stories are important for advocacy in
various villages. They realised that it is very important and helpful to share
their stories to peers. It was clear to them that their testimonies are hope for
justice.
The testimony of Kaju was produced in fast track court (FTC) I, District
court, Varanasi as a supportive document for his case. On 1st June, 2009,
the court gave order in his case and accepted that Kaju was juvenile on the
date of incidence on 26/8/2001. So, the case was transferred from the court
for investigation to the juvenile board under the provision given in Juvenile
Justice Act. http://www.testimonialtherapy.org/2009/06/order-in-caseof-kaju.html, http://www.pvchr.net/2006/03/india-arbitrary-arrestand-fear-of.html
To increase the awareness about how torture engenders psychological
symptoms in survivors and how it affects their daily life, the rst national
consultation on 'Testimony to improve psychosocial wellbeing and promote
advocacy for survivors of torture and organised violence' was organized at
Viswa Yuvak Kendra, New Delhi on 16- 17 April, 2014. In this consultation a
National Alliance on Testimony Therapy (NATT) was formed by the
Panellists for further use of testimonial therapy in India. The consultation
was attended by key human rights organizations of India. The NATT
strategy focused on the issue of institutions and survivors through;
Healing
Legal Redress
Solidarity & Protection
Institutional Reform
In a span of ve years the organization created a pool of 147 trained
community workers and human rights defenders from the Indian states of
Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam,
Manipur, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh for providing psycho-social
support to survivors.
In 2010 NATT secretariat formally launched the NATT subscription form
and now 99 organizations from 16 states as members. In 2012 second

39

national consultation "Testimonial campaign contributes to eliminate


impunity for perpetrators of torture in India was held on 12 13 July, 2012
in New Delhi. The Chief Guest of the consultation was Hon'ble Justice K. G.
Balakrishnan, Chairperson National Human Rights Commission, Guest of
Honour: Mr. Pavel Svitil, Charg d'affaires, Delegation of the European
Union to India. In the program delegates from Manipur, Assam, Karnataka,
Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh,
Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and New Delhi also participated.
On the second day of the program a core team of NATT was formed with
SICHREM from Karnataka, PVCHR from Uttar Pradesh, BHRPC from
Assam, DASHRA from Bihar, Mr. Goldy George from Chattisgarh, Mustaq
Ahmad Sikander and Ms. Afsana Sayed from Jammu & Kashmir and Wide
Angle from Manipur.
The Alliance planned the following actions for the future:
1) Forming a group of well trained human rights defenders from
marginalized Communities and documenting cases of torture and
other forms of human rights violations;
2) Civil society groups should engage the elected representatives in a pre
legislative right - based debate from the panchayat level to the state
level on the 'status of marginalized communities;
3) Human rights institutions effectively intervene on the complaints of
human rights violations by the state and non state actors and provide
directions for delivery of justice, adequate compensation and
rehabilitation;
4) Effective media engagement results in the establishment of a strong
civil society network that challenges the present development
paradigm and social discrimination which are the main cause of
massive human rights violation.
5) Creation of model anti -torture and organized violence Villages for the
survivors and empower them to take up the role of the Defenders.
http://www.pvchr.net/2012/07/national-consultation-ontestimonial.html
Moreover after the 9/11 incidents, the taint of terrorism has been wildly
attached to all Muslims and they are being subjected to all sorts of
victimisation and harassment under the draconian anti-terrorist laws by
the security agencies including arbitrary arrest, detention and torture. The
Muslims as a community are treated as second-class citizens.
Discriminatory attitude towards Muslims is not only conned to social or
religious groups among Hindus but also State institutions like police have
fostered bias towards minority Muslims. This has been manifested and
reported widely by the media during the communal riots in Uttar Pradesh.
Social science research has shown that deep rooted perceptions about

40

Muslim victims or groups of victims, as a contemptible social group have


helped in justifying the acts of torture and other degrading treatment and at
the same time have given acceptance to the use of torture. Against this
backdrop, police brutality cannot be seen merely as incidents which take
place in isolation but gradually brutal actions have become part and parcel
of their mentality. All these factors have led to the institutionalisation of
torture in Indian criminal justice system.
Uttar Pradesh remains at the top among the Indian states that have seen
large scale communal riots and mindless mob violence targeted particularly
at the Muslim community in the post-Independence period. Anti-Muslim
bias in the police, and police violence and abuse, particularly against
Muslim youth, are repeated sources of complaints. Uttar Pradesh has been
reporting highest number of incidents of police brutality at National Human
Rights Commission (NHRC) during more than a decade.

?kj tyk ftldk mldks ltk]


tqYe dh bUrgk gks x;hA
Qqy xqyfp;k mBk ys x;k]
ckxoka dks ltk gks x;hAA
(Punishment to the one who's house was burnt,
It is extreme form of atrocity.
The ower was stolen by a bird,
The punishment was marked for the garden.)
PVCHR implemented a project Reducing police torture against Muslims
minority at the grass- root level by engaging and strengthening Human
Rights Institution in India in joint collaboration of Human Rights Law
Network with support from European Union from 2011 to 2013.
The project documented 1000 cases of Muslim community members, who
have been the victims of communal riots, arbitrary or illegal detention,
arrested and tortured by the police in these four districts of Uttar Pradesh as
dened by UNCAT. It has been observed and testied by the survivors that
many of them were subjected to torture just because they belonged to the
minority Muslim community. Most of these cases relate to rape, police
torture, custodial deaths, extra judicial killings, police encounters, sexual
harassment and communal riots. One sided action by the police
administration can be clearly marked in all these cases. It has been
observed that in all the cases pertaining to communal riots, many innocent
persons have been found to be implicated in false cases. In many instances
false cases have been lodged on people who have never lived in the areas
affected by rioting.

41

Creation of a data base ofcase studies were used intensely for the purpose of
advocacy. Case documentation has helped in making strategies for further
action and to address the root causes of torture. Cases, based on the merits
of fact-ndings, cases were undertaken for intervention at the national and
state level human rights institutions, authorities, and political parties and
in the court. PVCHR is continuously involved in follow ups of cases for its
logical culmination in further years.
In at least 1000 incidences of atrocities on Muslims, after sustained
advocacy, PVCHR succeeded in achieving some results such as
compensation to the victims, punishment to the accused/guilty,
institutional advocacy, and judicial intervention as per the status of the
case. In 223 cases the guilty policemen or ofcials were served notices and
disciplinary action was initiated after the intervention by the Hon'ble
Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, Governor, Director
General of Police and district level ofcers. When the administration did not
give a reply on the progress of the cases then Right to Information (RTI)
application was led and reply was obtained in 215 cases. The project had
also strengthened state legal service authority and in many cases they
extended their support by proving lawyers.
Years

st

1 year
nd

rd

Year

3 Year

Duration

Fact
Finding

Interventions

Response
Close

Judgment

1 January 2011 To 30
November, 2011

201

1143

1 December 2011 To 30
April 2013

606

1546

31

37

1 May 2013 To 31
December 2013

193

848

Total

1000

3537

40

44

The project intervened in 265 cases of communal riots and did spot visits. It
proled the communal riots of Muzaffarnagar and released urgent appeals
such as focus Truth of riot victims of Muzaffarnagar's relief camps:
Displaced, Hounded and Killed - in a Bloody Path of Politics and also
intervened on various hapless issues from the camps . On a complaint the
Vice President of India, Hon'ble Hamid Ansari intervened and directed the
Secretary Home, Ministry of Home Affair to take appropriate action. The
issue of relief of Muzaffanagar riot victims was also taken up for discussion
in a programme on Rajya Sabha TV called Desh Deshantar Muzaffarnagar: Hanging between relief & turmoil.
The project has contributed to be strengthening of human rights

42

institutions (National Human Rights Commission and National


Commission for Minorities) and in changing attitudes of HRIs towards the
Muslim minority. The project had compiled the results of a comparative
study of cases which showed the biased approach of the National Human
Rights Commission in taking actions for Hindus and Muslims. The study
has found that the commission sends Hindu cases directly for inquiry while
similar Muslim cases are transferred to the State Human Rights
Commission for action, on the ground that they are related to the particular
state. Repetition of such a behavior creates a pattern and leaves one
perplexed, wondering of the possible reasons. It reects a clear bias in
actions to inquire into complaints of human rights violations. The Muslim
cases transferred to the State Human Rights Commission were not
investigated and were left dormant. Every individual is entitled to the
realization of human rights, irrespective of their nationality, gender, caste,
religion, class or race. Everyone has equal social, economic and political
rights which are correlated and consolidate each other. This principle, the
foundation, on which NHRC is entitled to function, is at stake as revealed by
above mentioned study in which the complaints submitted to NHRC were
analysed. The comparative analysis of the cases shows wide differences in
actions that have been taken for similar types of cases. After the ndings
were made public, PVCHR (JMN) started receiving lots of responses from
NHRC on Muslim cases since 5 January, 2013.

43

In the whole of Uttar Pradesh, after the project completion the organisation
could build a team of around 1560 strong cadre of Human Rights Defenders
with 272 women HRD who were imparted trainings to acquire knowledge
and expertise on various government social schemes and their
implementation procedures, laws and guidelines. The project not only
focused on technical capacity building workshops but also organized
perspective building workshops focusing on fascist propaganda of branding
madrassas as hub of terror and nurseries of hate, police atrocities and
biases against Muslims during any communal violence. Several other
important issues were also addressed such as socio-economic, educational
and political status of Muslim community at large and the Sachar
committee ndings about the conditions of Indian Muslims. Other
minority-related schemes like the Prime Minister's 15-Point Program
covering issues of education, employment, housing and credit facilities, for
minority Muslims have not brought the desired results in addressing the
Muslim deprivation, or nor they have delivered any benets to poor Muslim
communities.
PVCHR organized an Independent People's Tribunal on Police Torture
against Muslims to highlight and present a systematic account and
assessment of the incidences of gross human rights violations suffered by
the members of Muslim
minority in the districts of
Varanasi, Moradabad, Aligarh,
Chandauli and Meerut in Uttar
Pradesh. The Tribunal had its
sitting for two days from April 3
to 4, 2013 at Varanasi, Uttar
Pradesh. Justice Shri Surendra
Nath Bhargava, Retired Chief
Justice of Sikkim High Court,
Sri S. R. Darapuri, Inspector
General of Police (Retd), Uttar
Pradesh, Shaheen Nazar,
faculty, Sharda University, UP and former Senior Editor, Arab News
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Jyoti Swaroop Pandey, IPS (Retd) from the Police
Reforms Commission, Uttarakhand, Shahina Rizvi, former head, Urdu
Department, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth University, Varanasi,
Irfan Ali Engineer, Director, Institute for Peace Studies & Conict
Resolution Mumbai, Maharashtra and
Utkarsh Sinha, Editor,
Avadhnama, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh were the members of the panel who
heard 30 selected cases of gross violations of human rights. Cases of
custodial deaths in Uttar Pradesh in recent years were placed before the
jury for its consideration.

44

Jury Recommendations

o put a check on the practice of torture, inhuman and ill-treatment of


innocents in police custody, the jury made the following
recommendations:
1. The jury unanimously agreed that in all the cases deposed before it,
they have noticed that discrimination has assumed an
institutionalized form which is manifested in the behavior of crucial
constitutional institutions of public importance like police and
judiciary. This discrimination is clearly visible in the attitude of Indian
police which is primarily responsible for growing cases of human rights
violations such as forcible and illegal arrest, false cases against
innocents, prolonged detention, custodial torture, rape and extrajudicial killings.
2. In its observation about the human rights situation in Indian state of
Uttar Pradesh the jury noted that increasing police power coupled with
ourishing feudal social structure in Uttar Pradesh, a vast majority is
oppressed on various grounds such as class, caste and gender. Gap is
widening between people and police which lacks accountability as a
result the victims of police harassment and torture do not get justice.
3. The jury suggested that police accountability mechanism should be
developed and strengthened in order to establish the rule of law.
4. The absence of proper police accountability promotes crime incidents,
communal riots and contributes to public sense of insecurity.
Accountability based policing system can put a check on the
institutional discrimination.
5. There should be dened provisions for reparation. Compensation is
hardly paid to victims of police accesses. Because nobody is paid and
no one pays and therefore police feels free to act in an undemocratic
manner. It is therefore required that a compensatory mechanism
should be evolved with international standards under which victims of
police atrocities and communal onslaughts can be rehabilitated in a
place of his or her choice with same economic standards.
6. Police should be sensitized to respect diverse cultures, traditions and
religions. Police personnel should be given on-job training for this
purpose and they should also be sensitized towards the culture of
human rights.
7. More often police action in any incident is found to be one sided. There
is a need to clearly identify the aggressor and the aggrieved. No attempt
should be made to target a person belonging to a particular religious
community specially the Muslim minority without credible evidences.
Indian Police have pre-conceived notions about the Muslims, for
instance the notion that Muslim is one such community that is always
involved in instigating riots and so on. This mentality provides the

45

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.
16.

17.

46

space and opportunity to the lower level police ofcials to act


arbitrarily. Such tendency and practice gets further encouragement
due to negligence shown by the senior level ofcers.
For an independent and unbiased functioning of the police, it is highly
essential that people from all communities, faith and religion should be
recruited in the force. Steps should be taken to develop spirit of
secularism among police personnel. A secular police force is crucial for
a country which is diverse in culture. Some lessons can be drawn from
developed western nations.
Police administration should strictly follow the reformatory steps
suggested by various police reform commissions from time to time and
the guidelines provided by the Supreme Court of India. Indian police
structure is the by-product of British colonial model which needs
transformation.
Cases related to death in police custody and death in encounter against
the concerned police ofcials should be registered and investigated in
the same manner as it is done in cases related to ordinary citizens who
attempt to kill or who has killed someone in self defence. In addition,
the responsibility to investigate cases related to death in police custody
should be entrusted to an independent and impartial agency.
Court proceedings are a lengthy process which takes many years to
ensure justice for the victim. Legal provisions with regards to police
custody during the trial period should be clearly dened. Judicial
magistrates or judges should be held responsible for not following the
due process of law or ignoring the legal process.
Police complaint committees should be ofcial formed at district levels
which should function as per the guidelines suggested by the police
commissions from time to time.
In Uttar Pradesh police administration there is a common practice of
giving out of turn promotions to police ofcials on the basis of their
work performance; this practice should be immediately stopped. The
practice has contributed to the culture of false police encounters.
Grievance Redressal Mechanism of State Human Rights Commission
should be further strengthened. There should be an impartial body
with sufcient men-power to investigate the cases of human rights
violations.
In cases related to police torture, use of Right to Information Act should
be promoted.
Supreme Court of India's guidelines with regard to bail procedure
should be strictly followed. This can help in providinng speedy justice
to the cases related to arrest and disappearance. This will also help
minimize the cases of human rights violations.
In general there is a practice when some people are arrested on the
basis of mere suspicion; they are presented before the media during

press briengs of senior police ofcials as a mark of good work by the


police. Photographs of such accused are immediately published by the
media. But when they are declared innocent and freed, they generally
do not gure in media reports. This practice should be immediately
stopped.
18. People should not expect police to achieve more than they can do as per
their capabilities. This tendency compels police administration to use
illegal methods and practices to achieve desired results.
In sum, all the jury members noted that increasing incidences of human
rights violations are a matter of serious concern for Indian society and
democracy as a whole. There is a need to reform the functioning of police
and improve its image so that faith of victims and people can be established
on the justice system in the country.
It was found in the most of the cases that police frequently avoid registering
FIR especially in the cases of the most marginalized communities and
issues related to the woman. This was also highlighted in the report of HRW
India: Overhaul Abusive, Failing Police System.
http://www.hrw.org/news/2009/07/29/india-overhaul-abusive-failingpolice-system
Aaradhana who was facing severe domestic violence on 26th July, 2013
went to lodge Dhina police station to lodge FIR against her husband and in
laws. In the police station Munshi (clerk) draft the complaint and called her
husband. In meanwhile Ran Vijay Singh came to police station to advocate
on the behalf of her husband. He spoke all things against him as her
husband was working for him. After hearing his talk Munshi started to
abuse her by using lthy words. FIR was lodged after intervention from IGP.
In 2012 JMN sent an urgent communication to the Honourable Chief
Justice of India to look into the problems in the Criminal Justice System
and nd ways to develop alternative mechanism to ensure justice for the
victims. JMN proposed the following suggestions:
Primarily, every victim faces two problems; (i) inability to le a First
Information Report (FIR), (ii) credibility of the investigation. Despite the
directions of the Honorable Supreme Court to le FIR in all the cases, police
refuse to comply with them, thereby proving a point about the level of
impunity the force enjoys. We believe that an alternate proposal must be put
forward to ensure that the police le an FIR in every case. JMN proposes
that in the event of a refusal by the police to le an FIR, the aggrieved person
can go to the ofce of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) to make the
complaint. The CJM should be empowered to receive the complaint both at
the ofce and at the residence. In case of wrongful connement and

47

custodial torture, the complaint can be made by victims or by anyone on


behalf of the victim. All these complaints should be noted in a Register,
followed by directions of the CJM to district police authority for necessary
action within 24 hours and report back. This complaint should be
considered as a First Information Report (FIR). The very next day that
complaint should be referred to the concerned Judicial Magistrate for
necessary action. Complaints can also be made through email, fax and sms.
Registration of a case in the judicial diary will automatically force the police
to follow procedure and establish accountability.
On 12 November, 2013 The Supreme Court ruled that it is mandatory for
the police to register an FIR if a complainant approaches to it for the
registration of a cognizable offence.
"Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the
information discloses commission of a cognisable offence and no
preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation," and, "If the
information received does not disclose a cognisable offence but indicates
the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to
ascertain whether cognisable offence is disclosed or not," the constitution
bench said in its judgment.
The apex court's constitution bench comprising Chief Justice P.
Sathasivam, Justice BS Chauhan, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, Justice
Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SA Bobde said action will be taken against the
police ofcer who fails to register First Information Report (FIR) on the
complaint of a cognisable offence.
"A perusal of the provisions manifests the legislative intent in both old codes
and the new code for compulsory registration of FIR in a case of cognisable
offence without conducting any preliminary inquiry," said Chief Justice
Sathasivam, speaking for the bench.
The court direction addressed the question of whether "a police ofcer is
bound to register a rst information report (FIR) upon receiving any
information relating to commission of a cognisable offence under Section
154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or the police ofcer has the
power to conduct a "preliminary inquiry" in order to test the veracity of such
information before registering the same?"
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-police-must-register-r-or-faceaction-rules-supreme-court-1918167
In 2001 PVCHR started using information technology for torture prevention
advocacy after a news report with a title Woman paraded naked in

48

Karnataka. According to the reported news she belonged to the scheduled


caste community and resided in Onenur village in Bellary district of Andra
Pradesh. The men were angry with the community, because she eloped with
a Dalit boy the previous month. When the boy returned to the village, he put
blame on the woman for instigating him. On the complaint NHRC took
cognizance and called the report from concerned authorities.
In 2005 PVCHR started its blog www.pvchr.blogspot.com when hardly any
organization in India was using new technology for the purpose of torture
prevention and advocacy. PVCHR uses communication tools and media to
reach out to the wider public and stakeholders in a cost effective manner for torture prevention and advocacy.
The objectives behind using IT for torture prevention advocacy are as
follows:
Web as the infrastructure for storing and dissemination of institutional
memories and custom references used with the objective to transform
private pain into political voice.
To create a closer, more intimate network of individuals & organizations
and to provide them an opportunity to participate in debates on various
activities & raise key issues.
To share information with the intention to enrich each other on activities
and also on testimonial therapy.
To reach out to the survivors and take the cases of suffering to the UN,
other allied human rights organizations, policy makers, academicians
and Civil Society at large.
PVCHR used online social media as a cost effective medium for the
monitoring of the cases of human rights violations across India through
Google alert on various thematic issues and following social media networks
like face book, twitter, etc.
The complaint to the concerned authorities is made through emails. Within
the 24 hours organization receives email conrmation from ofce of Director
General of Police and comment from various concerned authorities on the
investigation report. Even the ofce of Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh sent
the message of the action taken in concerned cases. PVCHR was the rst
complainant in the high prole case of rape in Delhi.
http://www.pvchr.net/2012/12/student-who-was-gang-raped-pushedfrom.html.
Advocacy and intervention resulted secure justice and compensate the
survivors and policy level interventions.
After the intervention of the organisation in the incident of loot and arson of

49

the properties of people belonging to a particular community in the areas of


Naliakhali, Heerobhanga, Gopalpur and Goaldogra in the State of West
Bengal, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) gave directions to
the state government. (i)The state government ordered that all the damaged
houses would be restored to their original state and a committee was formed
for this purpose under the chairmanship of the SDO, Canning area, to
oversee this work. An amount of Rs. 2,87,12,000/- was released by the
Government to complete the restoration work. (ii) A temporary kitchen was
started at the site which fed around 500 persons daily and functioned till
20.3.2013. (iii) A house building grant of Rs. 10,000/- each was disbursed
to 117 households on 21.2.2013. (iv) A rehabilitation grant of Rs. 10,000/each was disbursed to the owners of the 26 shops gutted in the incident. (v)
A set of utensils has been provided to each victim family. (vi) A sum of Rs.
3,00,000/- has been paid to the family of the deceased Maulana Rohul
Kudas. http://www.pvchr.net/2013/06/rs-28712000-has-beenprovided-by.html
On a complaint regarding the case of witch hunting in Assam the Joint
Secretary, Political (A) Department, Govt. of Assam, Dispur, was asked to
submit a report to NHRC on the steps taken to eradicate the practice and
provide speedy compensation and justice to the kith and kin of victims. The
Commission received a report dated 20.08.2013 from the Joint Secretary,
Political (A) Department, Govt. of Assam, Dispur giving details of the steps
taken by the State Government in association with the NGOs and Assam
State Commission for Women to eradicate, control and create awareness on
witch hunting in the State. It is also mentioned that a draft bill conferring
right to protection against witch hunting has been prepared by a committee
under the Assam State Commission for Women, which is under
c o n s i d e r a t i o n
o f
t h e
G o v e r n m e n t .
http://www.testimonialtherapy.org/2014/03/a-hope-draft-billconferring-right-to.html
PVCHR associates followed upon the case through submitting comment on
the investigation report and lling Right to Information (RTI) to know the
current status of the case.
In April, 2011 PVCHR in consultation with a member organization of NATT
ofcially launched 'Detention Watch' to monitor any type of torture and
inhuman treatment of the adult and children in Judicial Custody, Police
Custody, Custody of Remand Home and Administrative Custody to extend
and strengthen the efforts and work of PVCHR focusing on the rights of
prisoners and rights of arrested persons during the times of detention.
The strategy of the Detention Watch is based on two premises -1.Policy to

50

practice and 2. Practice to Policy. Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees


the right of personal liberty and thereby prohibits any inhuman, cruel or
degrading treatment to any person whether (s)he is a national or a foreigner.
Various guidelines and directions from time to time have been given by
Hon'ble Supreme Court and High Court of various states for the well being
of prisoners and their rights during detentions.
[iii] The strategic actions based on past experience are as follows:
1. Court Intervention: Public Interest Litigation (PIL) [iv] and writ
petition.
2. Meta- Legal Intervention: With various concerned authorities and
National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi.
3. Rehabilitation of the acquitted prisoners.
4. Policy level intervention for prison reforms, advocating for the
implementation of various recommendations by the committee
and intervention on the trial procedures.
5. Monitoring the prison and homes through using of Right to
Information Act to know actual conditions of the prisons.
6. Visit to juvenile homes and correction homes for women in
collaboration with QIC-AC network.
7. Tracking the cases of custodial deaths, torture in police custody,
administrative custody and homes through various site alerts.
In 2012 at least 700 cases were documented and monitored by the
organization in police stations. Cases were reported to the National Human
Rights Commission and other institutions and urgent appeals were issued
to the United Nations. Of the total 343 cases were mostly of reported fake
encounters and custodial deaths in different detention centres. There was
only one case of reported police torture. In the second part of the document
contains 58 cases reported to the National Human Rights Commission and
majority of these cases were of custodial deaths with 12 cases of police
torture.
Two police inspectors along with 7 constables from Cholapur police station
of district Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh reached the village of Fakirpur and
forcibly took Pannalal Chauhan aged 39 years son of Late Basantu
Chauhan on 20 May, 2012. The next day the family members went to the
police station where they were told by the cops that they can not meet the
victim at the police station. They can meet him in the court as they will issue
his challan soon. The family waited at the court premise till the evening but
to their utter frustration the victim was not produced in the court. On May
22, 2012 the family came to know that condition of Pannalal was serious, he
was admitted to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhaya hospital by the policemen in
an unconscious state.

51

When family members reached the hospital they saw Pannalal was lying in
the hospital bed with a mask on his face and nose that was connected to a
gas cylinder. The doctors in the hospital referred Pannalal to Sir Sunderlal
Hospital in BHU but the cops didn't take him there. Instead the SO
Chulapur took him to a private hospital Shubham on Maqbul Alam road /
jail road. Upset with the developments, the family met circle ofcer Pindara
who replied assured the family, You people need not worry as we will take
care of all the treatment and related expenses. You should not do any legal
work in this connection. At the hospital the family was allowed to meet
Pannalal only after signing papers and when they refused to put their
signatures or thumb impressions, the cops tried to force them to do it. The
family was upset and left the hospital. Since then the family has been
avoiding the cops. The family called up at the ofce of the People's Vigilance
Committee of Human Rights and explained the entire case. After a short
discussion on the case it was decided that two representatives will meet the
family and decide the further course of action.
Finally three of the family members came to talk at the PVCHR ofce but
they were afraid of cops and initially hesitated to speak up. They looked here
and there thinking that people present in the ofce might be with the police
only. Gradually during the interaction they were told abouth some village
residents who were familiar both with the aggrieved family as well as the
organisation. They were also called to talk to the family. This was how the
conversation started and the aggrieved family could have some faith in the
organisation. PVCHR recorded their video statements at the nearby Arya
Samaj School but the family still remained quite apprehensive about the
organisation. Sometimes they said the organisation should not write and
le a complaint and sometimes they said, 'Our family members have been
beaten up for no fault of their own and we are running for our lives. We need
to save his life now.'
The family was repeatedly saying, They should return Panna in the same
condition as they took him. We have nothing else to say or demand. The
PVCHR representatives visited the hospital to see the conditions of Panna
and inform his family about his health. Meanwhile the organisation staff
sent a fax application to the National Human Rights Commission at about
2.08 pm on the basis of which a notice was issued to the SSP Varanasi on 26
May, 2012. The ofcial vehicles of the circle ofcer and station ofcer were
present at the hospital gate. Cops were deployed from right from the
entrance to the ICU. At the reception PVCHR representatives enquired
about the health of Pannalal, the hospital staff informed that the condition
of the patient was serious so he was shifted to the ICU ward and he was
unable to speak. They told that a short while ago the SDM had visited the
patient and then left the hospital. PVCHR representatives went to the ICU.

52

There were guards standing and without taking the Identity of the visitors
no one was allowed inside. When asked the person standing outside said
that Pannalal was not in a state to speak and there was no point for the
PVCHR representative to meet him. The PVCHR representatives told the
staff they wanted to meet the SO.
The staff said he was unaware about the presence of the SO. The situation
inside the hospital appeared as if all the staff members were aware about
the incident. The representative tried a second time to meet the SO and this
time he succeeded, entering with the attendants of another patient. On the
stairs the guards again reminded him that no one is allowed inside. He kept
on moving nodding his head in response and there he saw armed policemen
deployed inside. He avoided speaking to those policemen and asked from
the staff about Pannalal. The staff said, 'How come you people are inside?'
His question alerted the policemen and they also started staring at the
PVCHR representatives.
The PVCHR representatives said, 'Is the SO not here, I wish to see Pannalal'
and moved inside. The staff replied Ok but you cannot visit right now
without the permission of the doctor. Some journalists also came but they
met from outside only. The PVCHR representatives managed to see
Pannalal and saw he had a mask on his face and pipe attached to it. It
appeared as if the hospital staffs was looking for the family members on a
war footing.
Meanwhile PVCHR's ofce got calls from some of Pannalal's relatives in the
hospital that the SO has been calling them asking to bring the family
members to hospital to look after Pannalal. The SO even threatened that if
the family members do not look after him properly, their lives will be ruined.
The village head was also pressuring the family to go and look after the
victim. The village head was silent on other developments. Outside the
PVCHR representative saw the SO with a plastic bag containing medicine in
it. He delivered it at the ICU. Some of his supporters were talking in low voice
then suddenly the SO made a call to someone and started talking slowly and
gradually shifted aside. The talks then became loud where the SO was
threatening someone that they should come to see Panna. 'You people are
not doing right, come and see Panna and we shall see the expenses,' he said
over the telephone. Visibly upset with the reply from the other side, he
disconnected the call and came back to his supporters and started talking
to them. At this moment PVCHR representatives asked about Pannala's
condition and he said, 'He is OK.' The representatives came out and told this
to Pannalal's family members and the members of the committee.
Meanwhile the male members of the family of the victim were compelled to

53

stay away from the house during the night as the policemen came several
times looking for them. On 23 May, 2012 the Chief Minister, DGP, UP and
National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi were sent written
applications both written and video statements of the victim's family for
action on the case. A notice was later issued on 11 July, 2012 to SP
Varanasi.
PVCHR got the information that Pannalal was about to be discharged from
the hospital, So PVCHR representatives went to the hospital. They saw
many vehicles parked there with ags of several political parties on them.
Police jeep too was coming and leaving frequently. PVCHR representatives
asked the registration desk about Pannalal whether he was discharged or
not. The reply came, that papers were ready and we can not tell how his
health is? Yes but he is speaking now.
After coming back, the representatives kept a tab on the happenings sat the
hospital while standing at the main entrance. They tried nding Pannalal
but he could not be seen anywhere. Watching them it appeared as if Panalal
was dead as policemen were in anxiety moving from one place to another.
The SO frequently came and went back in his jeep. The constable who was
deployed outside the ICU was staring at them. As well as two constables
sitting in the jeep were supposed to be keeping a watch on us. The
supporters kept on coming and inquiring. They spoke to the SO and took
note of the situation and left. Village heads of several villages were also there
and they were with the station ofcer. Till midnight PVCHR could get no
information on Pannalal. After some time the PVCHR team came to know
that all of them had left, leaving the victim with the village head of Fakirpur
and also left the medicines that were being used for treatment, but they took
the papers related with the treatment. This was when the family members
had demanded the treatment slips and SO had refused to give them. The
PVCHR representatives noticed a hole on Pannalal's chest that was covered
with an adhesive tape. His condition was serious and he was then admitted
to Sir Sunderlal hospital in Banaras Hindu University. He was unable to
utter words due to weakness. Pannals's physical condition still remains bad
and his entire family living in abject poverty can hardly afford the expensive
treatment.
After the cops handed over Pannalal to his family, did not until any nancial
assistance. After all these developments, psychological support and
treatment were given to Pannalal by conducting sessions of testimonial
therapy. This helped the organisation to gain some level of condence and
mental strength, since PVHR had been ere struggling to achieve some
improvement in the situation. In this episode on 19 May, 2012 Pannalal had
a heated argument with a neighbour over water drainage.

54

PVCHR led an RTI application to get information abouta the conditions of


Samwasini Grah (women's shelter home), observation homes. It is to be
noted that PVCHR has been working in collaboration with QIC- AC to
monitor the juvenile homes in Uttar Pradesh. PVCHR representatives
regularly visit the homes.
Common Wealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRIs) sought support from
PVCHR to collect the identity card of Shri Gajraj Singh alias Goyadhar, an
Indian national detained in Rangpur Central Jail in Bangladesh beyond the
expiry of his sentence. However, instead of being released and repatriated,
he continued to languish in Kushtia Jail in Bangladesh, forcing overstay
and unnecessary detention for 1 year and 4 months. This is an intolerably
long period for any prisoner beyond the legal limits.
PVCHR and Women Forum Savitri Bai Phule Women Forum (SWF) led a
PIL with the Hon'ble High Court seeking directions on the following issues: Right to education to the children who are living in different prisons of
Uttar Pradesh along with their mothers. On that PIL Hon'ble High Court
also passed its Judgment.
To ensure the appointment of a doctor to be available to the women
prisoners in Naini Central Jails on a daily basis and one gynecologist and
a child specialist to visit the women's wards of Naini Central Jail
Dr. Lenin, Member of the NHRC Core group brought the issue of Right to
education and recreational facilities to the children languishing in jails with
their mother. The issue was also brought in the meeting of the NHRC.
http://www.detentionwatch.blogspot.in/2014/09/a-hope-of-inmates-ofvaranasi-central.html
The organization from time to time raised the issue of overcrowding of
prisons in India. On the complaint of the organisation the prison
administration of the state in letter no. 24/22-4-2014-48(3) / 14 informed
that that there are 66 prisons under operation in the state where 48970
prisoners are lodged against a total capacity of 8428 which is 172 per cent.
To overcome the problem of over crowing in prisons, the state has taken up
the task of constructing additional prisons in districts that do not have
prisons, additional barracks in the existing prisons and legal assistance to
those prisoners who are lodged in prisons under section 436(A) and 436 (1).
The details are as follows:
(1) The districts where there are no prisons - Kasganj, Chitrakoot, Gautam
Buddha Nagar, Ambadkernagar, Shrawasti, Bagpat, Sonbhadra,
Bareilly, Azamgarh prisons are being constructed which would
increase the current capacity to lodge 11326 prisoners. Apart from
this, work on increasing the number of barracks is underway in

55

different prisons, which would increase the capacity in a signicant


way.
(2) Under the CRPc Section 436 (A) and 436 (1) legal assistance is being
provided to identied prisoners and their case is being presented before
the court. In the year 2013 the total number of such identied
prisoners under section 436 (A) and 436 (1) was 2609 and out of these
200 were set free after legal process. Those identied under bailable
section 436 (1) were 22937 and out of these 19281 were freed.
It has been found that discriminatory attitudes towards a particular
community, especially Muslims has been the main reason behind their high
presence in prisons. On a complaint about discriminary attitude by PVCHR,
the National Human Rights Commission issued directions to Ministry of
Home Affair to take appropriate action. The Ministry of Home Affairs wrote
to the Chief Secretary of the concerned states for taking further appropriate
action on this sensitive matter.
The Indian jurisprudence on custodial violence is best represented by two
landmark cases, namely, the Nilabati Behera vs State of Orissa (1993) and
the D K Basu vs State of West Bengal.
Ram Lal a 23 Year old mining worker and native of Sagar Samar village
under Padri police station in Mirzapur district was allegally picked up by
Chunar police on the false charges of committing a theft.
According to Ram Lal's
testimony, I was put in
chains by 2 police constables
and taken to the residence of
Sub Inspector Sudhersan, a
'Daroga' and police post In
charge. From there I was
taken to factory near
Dagmagpur, which was
desolate place, where I was
pressurised and threatened
to accept the crime, which I
had not committed. At that
time, I was sweating profusely
and feared that police might kill me and throw me away. Whenever I think
about it I shudder with fear. Then, after 30 minutes, police took me to Bihari
Dhaba, where policemen took tea and poured alcohol in a glass and asked
me to drink. I had never touched alcohol, when Irefused to drink it, then
they abused and thrashed. One policeman forced me to drink two glasses of

56

alcohol. At that moment, it seemed I would die and then, police raided in
other 12 places.
Next day on 3rd May 2009, at around 12 noon, Sub Inspector Sudersan
called me at the police station. With an intention to create fear in my mind,
he put my right palm under his chair and then asked, Tell me, where are
the looted materials, who were the people involved in the burglary? There
was excruciating pain in my palm. Then also, he called policemen and asked
them to take me to the compound and thrash me continuously. Incessant
blows with the wooden stick were rained throughout my body, barring my
head. In the thumb nger of the right hand there was an injury and swelling
for many months together. After the beating, then I was pushed behind the
bar, without giving any food throughout the day. At around 1.30 am in the
midnight I was taken to Sub Inspector Sudershan's house and I was
interrogated thoroughly, even I was pressurised to narrate truth or lie. I was
grilled there for one and half an hour. Then the police constables brought
me back to the police station by thrashing and hitting me with the wooden
stick. Before putting me into the lock up, incessant blows were rained on
me. It became so intolerable that I fell on the ground. Without any food, I
was pushed in a lock up that was occupied by 15 inmates. Then, on 4th
May 2009, the Sub Inspector called me again and told me to sit on the stone.
Twice electric shocks were forcibly administered on me. I was getting
thirsty, when I asked for water, policemen did not heed to my request. When
third electric shock was given I became unconscious and remained in that
condition for 5 days.
The testimonial method adopted for therapeutic assistance to the torture
victims has been a very helpful tool for the human rights organisations.
Survivors of torture are often lonely and isolated from their community,
group, friends, and family. They feel that their dignity has been destroyed by
the police force that has stigmatised them as criminals. 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 the political repression, as if it only exists in
the minds of the survivor, but the narratives of the survivors preserve the
history.
Mohammad Aamir Khan was released from prison after fourteen years of
incarceration. He was an innocent person all throughout. PVCHR
recognized and honoured his courage and conviction in a ceremony where
the organization provided him with certain amount of money for his
mother's treatment. His mother got sick due to his prolonged imprisonment
and his father also died while trying to seek his release. This is what he had

57

to say about his experience and about the organization:


Despite what happened to me, how can I be against my country? I am
proud of the county and constitution of India. The democratic spirit has
been my inspiration. As a human rights defender now, I will work at the
grassroots level, create awareness among the victims and uphold human
dignity.
According to Amir Khan he is grateful to PVCHR for all help and now he
wants to work and serve the Muslim people and wants to be a symbol of
unity. In order to achieve these objectives in life, he wants to work in
partnership with PVCHR.'
In 2012 PVCHR developed the concept of group testimony which was
experimented among Karma tribal dance performers who struggle to
survive confronting social inequity and administrative apathy. The
organisation also held a group honor ceremony on 26th November, 2012 as
Karma Mahostav in Raup Ghasia Basti. In the honour ceremony the
professional theater players performed the play on the story of Mrs. Dulari.
She was brutally beaten by the police personnel who came to inquire about
her husband in the ghetto. During that time Dulari was in an advanced
phase of pregnancy. The group testimony included the documentation from
the golden past to the miserable future.
In November 1986, these tribal dancers performed in front of President at
'Apna Mahotsav' held in New Delhi. Even they were honoured and invited for
a dinner hosted by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi,
UPA Chairperson at the Teen Murti House on November 24, 1986. Later on,
from 7th to 24th, 1989, in Mumbai, there tribal dancers performed in the
presence of Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi. In 2001-2002, 16 performers
participated in Island Festival held at the Andaman Nicobar Islands.
Pushed to economic deprivation, the Ghasia tribe living in Raup village were
somehow eking out their living. In July and September 2003, within 3
months, there was heart wrenching incident when 18 children between the
age of 3 and 7 years died of hunger and malnutrition in their villages. The
local district ofcials' callousness was at the extreme showing their apathy
and ignorance about the incident while lcoal newspapers were prominently
covering the hunger deaths depicting tribe's abysmal conditions. After the
news reports, PVCHR decided to intervene and a team visited the villages
and spoke to villager there. The PVCHR team prepared a fact nding report.
The Ghasia tribes have been been subjected to police repression off and on.
They have been treated badly and police often unleash a reign of terror in

58

their villages beating menfolk and sexually assaulting the Ghasia women.
Peeved by police repression, the Ghasia tribes have protested in the past.
There have been cases when police retaliated by entering their homes in
dark night and tried to silence children, elderly people and pregnant women
by kicking them with their heavy boots. Ghasia men had their arms and
limbs broken on many occasions. The consequences of their ill treatment
and deprivation have been obvious and visible as the Ghasia community
has been forced to survive by begging on the streets. Intermittently, many of
the youths from the Ghasia ghetto were falsely implicated and pushed
behind bars. Most of them took loans to get their release on bails. Loans
were taken by mortgaging their ration cards to the money lenders, who
showed their dominance by wielding stronger clout and charging heavy
interest from the families of Ghasia youth. It pushed them further to
deprivation and destitution.
Then, PVCHR organised the basti dwellers and initiated a social process to
facilitate justice for tha Ghasia community. PVCHR in collaboration with
Care House Foundation and Parul Sharma, a Swedish resident of Indian
origin have planted 100 saplings of drumsticks in Raup village to tide over
infant and maternal mortalities. PVCHR has even petitioned NHRC on the
problems confronting the Ghasia tribe. In its follow up, villagers staged
protest 'dharna' at the district headquarter.
NHRC issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh Government for initiating action
on the long-standing demands of the Ghasia tribe and asked the State
Government to keep them posted with the development within a week.
Then, the district administration was thrown from its slumber and was
back in action. They pressurised the basti dwellers to downplay the deaths
of the children not due to hunger but out of any disease. Even they were
threatened of eviction if they didn't submit and change their version of
children's deaths. Facing ofcial apathy and highhandedness, a cycle rally
was organised to mark the starvation deaths of children's martyrdom,
which commenced on 7th December from Kavardih (Nogarh), Chandauli. It
culminated at Raup Ghasia basti on 10th December, which is Human
Rights Day. The cycle rally was able to draw the attention of the district
administration. In the district headquarter at Varanasi a memorandum
signed by 300 people was submitted with a charter of demand.
(http://www.pvchr.net/2012/11/karma-festival-way-to-dignity-oftribal.html
In 2010 PVCHR adopted 50 villages in ve administrative blocks Badagaon and Pindra blocks in Varanasi district, Tanda block in Ambedkar
Nagar district, Robertsganj block in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh,
Domchach block in Koderma district in the state of Jharkhand oinIndia to

59

develop as torture free model villages.


The Dalit population continued to experience discrimination, exploitation
and oppression, sustained and supported by the corrupt criminal justice
delivery mechanism in the country. This is evident in the context of Uttar
Pradesh where PVCHR is mainly operating its programs and projects. The
police enjoy impunity and police ofcers freely use corrupt methods and
practices at the expense of the most marginalized section of the population
not only in this state but also in other parts of the country.
Torture and police atrocities further aggravate the already dire poverty
situation and marginalization of the downtrodden people in the majority of
villages in different parts of the country. Torture normally happens in the
rural areas, in the far-ung villages of the country where Dalits caste and
minority people are unable to ght effectively for the defence of their rights.
They are the primary targets and victims of torture by the police. Without
the awareness of their rights, these marginalized peoples suffer in silence
and brokenness.
But injustice and exploitation of the people cannot always proceed smoothly
unscathed. Small steps for justice can accumulate and result in qualitative
change in due time. The model village processes are based on the resilience
theory. According to Dr. Lenin Torture free village is a village where every
individual is assured of his or her social, political, economic, and cultural
rights as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is living
together within the society without any form of torture and organized
violence (TOV). PVCHR believes in participatory activism, which means
collective demand generations as peoples' advocacy and social
transformation creates torture free villages through Testimonial therapy
based on healing, education and empowerment.
Psychological rehabilitation of the survivor leads to a certain degree of
restoration of physical and mental states. This opens the possibility of
his/her participation in a community movement and ultimately becoming a
human rights defender.
The testimonies provide a lot of subjective information about the plight of
the victim which the court takes into account when the bail application of
the victim is considered. The human sufferings are never recorded in the
court proceedings. However, these references of human sufferings often go
in favour of the victim in front of the well prepared perpetrator.

60

Variable
Sex

Age

Type of Victim

Caste

Religion

Education

Occupation

61

Category
Male
Female
15-30
31-60
61+
Primary
Secondary
Upper
Backward
Scheduled
Tribe
Indigenous
Hindu
Buddhist
Muslim
Christian
None
Primary
Secondary
BA
MA
Religious school
Other
Unemployed
Landless laborer
Household work
Agriculture
Business
Government service
Private service
Other

N (%)
253 (53,8)
217 (46,2)
157 (33,3)
286 (60,7)
21 (4,5)
357 (76,0)
113 (24,0)
19 (4,1)
168 (36,0)
243 (52,0)
36 (7,7)
3 (0,2)
398 (84,5)
14 (3,0)
57 (12,1)
2 (2,4)
218 (59,7)
72 (15,3)
57 (12,1)
11 (2,3)
9 (1,9)
1 (0,2)
36 (7,6)
62 (86,8)
68 (14,4)
177 (37,6)
53 (11,3)
8 (1,7)
7 (1,5)
8 (1,7)
202 (42,9)

WHO-5:
Risk of
stress/depression

P-scale:
Participation
restriction
Pain Analogue

Anger Analogue

Human Rights
Activist indicators

62

Baseline
N (%)
Average
14,8
High risk (0 - 422 (89,6)
35)
Some risk (36 - 31 (6,6)
50)
Low risk (>50) 16 (3,4)
Average
36,1

Follow-up
N (%)
50,2
145 (30,8)

No
Mild
moderate
Severe
Extreme
Average
No pain (0)
Low (1-2)
Medium (3-4)
High (5)

70 (14,9)
64 (13,6)
79 (16,8)
150 (31,8)
98 (20,8)
3,1
23 (4,9)
152 (32,6)
150 (31,6)
141 (30,3)

253 (53,7)
88 (18,7)
58 (12,3)
32 (6,8)
7 (1,5)
0,94
146 (32,7)
266 (59,7)
32 (7,2)
2 (0,4)

Average
No anger (0)
Low (1-2)
Medium (3-4)
High (5)
Political party
member
Works in
political party
Member of HR
movement
Believes in HR

3,46
16 (3,4)
111 (23,8)
163 (34,9)
177 (37,9)
17 (3,6)

0,93
134 (30,2)
284 (63,9)
23 (5,2)
3 (0,7)
10 (2,1)

19 (4)

10 (2,1)

43 (9,1)

100 (21,2)

399 (84,7)

435 (92,4)

80 (17)
219 (46,5)
13,9

Along with testimonial therapy, public ceremonies are organized to honour


the survivors of torture. These ceremonies provide an opportunity to bring
back the survivor back to the same community/society that has isolated
him/her for being tortured. The testimonies are read out in the presence of
the villagers, invited guests, local politicians and elected
representatives.The local media is invited with a view to generate a debate
and discussion at the local level because it contains human sufferings,
institutional malpractices, and failure of constitutional guarantees.
Testimonies can be used as urgent appeals and for the advocacy work.
The diagram for the torture free village

63

64

The core strategy of a model village is based on four pillars is as follows


1. Policy to Practice: Grass root level implementation as model village
2. Practice to Policy: People Centric Advocacy
3. Collaboration for learning and replication of model
4. Organization Building and Capacity Building
In the model mentioned above process policy changes are turned into reality
with a tedious process towards the establishment of torture free villages.
This process is focussing on survivors and institutional reforms through;
1. Healing (Testimonial Therapy)
2. Legal Redress
3. Solidarity and Protection in a local context
4. Institutional Reform (Advocacy)
An entry point:
After the selection of the village, a situational analysis is prepared on the
basis of personal interviews and focus discussions with community to
understand what people think about torture and organized violence. It also
helps to understand the present scenario of the village and whether they will
break the chain for a change or will remain silent.
The analysis report is rst shared within the group (model team) and then it
is shared with the community in the focus discussion/community meeting.
After getting feedback from the community the report is shared with various
concerned authorities.
Discussions and meetings are essential parts of the process. But it should
be kept in mind that such meetings should not give a negative impression,
and people should get creative ideas from these discussions to bring about
change. The entire process should be designed to develop faith in law and
justice. For developing faith, incidents of violation of rights should be
treated with care and they should be brought to the attention of the
concerned department/authorities, local administration and human rights
organisations through registered posts so that they do not go unnoticed.
During discussions, the focus should be on issues like which
problem/issue concerning the community has to be solved by which
department/agency and who is the responsible person. We should never
take people for granted or think they are illiterate or unaware and always
keep in mind that people in the community have practical knowledge based
upon their experiences. They should be provided with the names of
responsible ofcials, accountable departments and systems functioning in
easiest possible language, preferably regional language for their easy
understanding. Verication of the level of their understanding should also
be done frequently to assess how much people have gained from the

65

discussions, meetings and data sharing. For sharing information, local


phrases and sayings should be incorporated. While developing model
villages people should be made to understand the impact of procedures and
their absence so that they can get a rst-hand account of the problem and
its root cause. While taking initiative to solve small issues, workplans have
to be made at small levels.
After the analysis of baseline survey data the rst phase of campaign "Meri
Pehchan" (My identity) agged in 72 model villages of Badagaon, Pindra
blocks of Varanasi, Tanda block of Ambedkar Nagar, Robertsganj block of
Sonbhadra, Chaka block of Allahabad and Domchach block of Jharkhand
state of India. The motive of 'my Identity' campaign is a way to break the
culture of silence by promoting the idea that I am someone as my identity as
my dignity. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tpnewdelhi/identity-spells-dignity/article4926143.ece
Comprehensive process:
Folk school-Education for life: The concept originally came from the
Danish writer, poet, philosopher and pastor Nikolaj Frederik Severin
Grundtvig (17831872).The challenges marginalized communities face
today are many, and they need to develop skills beyond the mere numerical
and literacy skills.
Education for life has a well rounded developmental impact on the
marginalized individual. She/he should try to develop life skills that will
make him/her an asset to society and able to re-build society based on the
principle of social justice. Education for life in the 21st century includes the
ability to facilitate change, think critically, work in teams, create and
quickly adapt to new changes in technology, be a self-managed learner,
communicate effectively, and understand the needs of the communities in
which we live and to which we contribute.
Folk Schools are an important tool to make people aware of the issues such
as discrimination and the laws related to them, so such public schools
should be organized to make people aware about social structures based
upon equality. Folk schools work in dual way.
On the one hand people develop understanding about the region and its
problem, and on the other hand representatives of the society share their
problems, pains and opinions about the village/place with other people.
This could be a way to change personal view into common view and
thereafter make a work plan. In the public school people should be made to
sit in a way that makes a full circle therefore there is a mix of men and
women and people should be motivated to speak up.

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One of the community leaders interviewed for the purpose of evaluation


from the village of Mangari, shared his thoughts which are given below:
'Before, I could not speak and make my voice heard to pursue
my rights due to fear. But after knowing that we have rights and we can
use it because it is for all of us, I thought, if I would not overcome my fear,
how could I take action to reclaim my rights, our rights. I really gave it
much thought and regularly attended the folk school. Slowly, I began
to voice my opinion in community meetings until the time that I became
ready to face my perpetrator. I took the initiative of taking my
community to le complaints to the concerned police station and state
authorities. I also led my community to make the follow up on our cases
with the support from PVCHR.'
In the selected villages, folk schools are organized twice in a month to make
people aware about issues such as discrimination and the laws (D.K Basu
guideline, D.V Act, 2005, Sc/St (PoA) Act) related to it and demand
enactment of laws against torture. Hence such folk schools are organized to
make people aware about social structures based upon equality..
The initial stages of un-censoring require:
1. Location from which you can break the rules of censorship while
assuring protection for yourself.
2. The will to break such rules of censorship.
3. Creating an audience for you, this may be small, at the beginning.
4. Keeping at it day in and day out until taboos such TOV slowly begin to
eliminate.
In the Community, leaders and people now start to speak up as they become
fully aware of the atrocities happening in their society. With the new-found
consciousness and awareness of their rights, the survivors' beliefs on the
rule of law are enhanced. They are now uniting and ghting for their rights
both as individuals and as a community. They are now able to dial 100 and
report cases of abuse, torture and violence in their communities. Also, they
can now send telegrams to report cases happening in their village. The
Kajari Mahotsav was able to facilitate the elimination of the caste feeling as
both the upper and lower caste are able to participate together in the said
festival. With the Right to Information also discussed in their folk school,
the leaders are well utilizing it for their interests.
The meeting of the folk school also included discussion on the role of various
concerned institutions such as National Human Rights Commission
(NHRC) and National Scheduled Caste Commission. Folk school sessions
are dedicated to the basic rights which a human being ought to be given
(such as housing schemes, ration cards, ICDS schemes, water pumps,
electricity and immunizations). Now many model villages are associating
themselves with various government schemes to receive the bents.

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Facilitating Critical thinking:


Critical thinking is a process, the goal of which is to make reasonable
decisions about what to believe and what to do. Philosophers emphasize the
importance of survivor's exposure to causality and logic. Improvement in
survivor's cognition allows them to produce new ideas and confront
problems by reasoning through them. This 'critical thinking' allow survivors
to explore their own concepts, derive conclusions and dispute the reasoning
of others.
Because we all are continually making decisions, critical thinking is
important to us in personal and professional situation, as well as in societal
aspects of our lives.
Developing Leadership:
The objective is not to teach survivors how to become leaders but to enable
survivors to develop their full potential. The prime objective is to teach them
basic ethics and values so that they become strong individuals with the
capabilities to become a leaders. The best way to teach survivors about
leadership is by rst telling them why individuality and ethics are
important. Leaders are the most pro-active people in any group so survivors
need to be taught to take the initiative. Discussions with real life examples
of leaders and stories of ghting survivors will inspire and motivate
survivors.
Helping survivors analyze a situation and take different perspectives is also
an effective way of teaching how to approach situations differently. Learning
from each experience is a very important trait of a leader. Leaders are
knowledgeable, so encourage children to read the newspapers and books
regularly as reading can be a great source of inspiration for aspiring leaders.
Lastly, teach survivors to set goals and high standards. This does not mean
we force survivors to achieve the impossible, but we do enable them to aim
for the best and more importantly, empower them in getting there. These
leaders were honored with the certicate for their valuable contribution.
Two days training for community leaders organized in ve administrative
blocks on D.K Basu guideline, Sc/St (PoA), D.V Act, and the use of RTI.
The survivors are able to transform their private pains intos political
campaigns. This contributed to the breaking of the culture of silence and
healing of the survivors. They are transformed as human rights defenders.
The TT's nature of honouring the victims in society becomes the driving
force for the victim to pursue his/her case and become a survivor and
human rights defender in the process. As a survivor one could manage to
reclaim his/her voice. A survivor becomes empowered defender for the
fellow victims who still may not have overcome their pain and suffering.

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After the honor ceremony, the survivors expressed their satisfaction with
the process and this ritual apparently became a turning point in the
healing process. Seemingly, the ceremonial element represented the social
recognition needed. It re-connected the survivors with their community and
ensured that their private truth became part of social memory. The
ceremonies are organized as follows:
1) At public demonstration in front of Government Head Quarters
2) At Folk School meetings popular schools for the poor and
marginalized
3) At community center meetings in the villages
4) At street plays and performances
5) Peoples' tribunals that bring attention to critical human rights issues
6) At religion institutions (for creating broader solidarity)
7) At forums for survivors
Meta Legal Intervention:
Complaints in standard complaint format from victims of TOV are taken by
trained Human Rights workers working in 6 blocks of Jharkhand and Uttar
Pradesh. Torture victims needing assistance go to one of the workers
associated with PVCHR where their complaints are recorded on a standard
complaint sheet. Thereafter this complaint is drafted in a letter by the
Human Rights workers who send it to the relevant government authorities
such as the Senior Superintendent of Police, District magistrate, the
headquarters of the police ofcers in the relevant province and also to the
Human Rights Institutions at provincial and national levels.
The same letter is forwarded to the PVCHR central ofce. Afterwards the
central ofce of PVCHR contacts the relevant Human Rights worker which
sent the letter, gets further information and prepares the complaints as a
petition for meta legal intervention or an Urgent Appeal in urgent matter
and sends it to regional organizations such as Forum Asia and international
organizations such as frontline Defenders, OMCT, FIDH, Amnesty
International etc by email. PVCHR also drafts letters for the relevant UN
Rapporteurs and other UN agencies and informs them about the incident.
PVCHR also appeals to the local government authorities and Human Rights
Institutions at national and provincial levels. In urgent cases, PVCHR
releases Urgent Appeal (UA).UA creats a lot of pressure for the Government
from national and international levels.
Each stage of the case documentation is done locally by lawyers who are
assigned the case. Such documents may consist of petitions to the courts.
The lawyers draft the materials on the basis of legal requirements. At
further stages when the case proceeds to the court under section 156 IPC or
200 Cr.Pc, inquiries are made by investigation ofcers and nally a case

69

against the perpetrators may be led by the government. Thereafter trials


take place and the evidence which is given is collected by the courts in their
records. Legal assistance and the recording and analysis of the processes
create effective and meticulous documentation of the cases. For this,
complaints, court transcripts and judgments are used as empirical data.
These documents are to be used to decide wherever it is possible to develop
advocacy tools for providing assistance to victims. Thus the knowledge
developed through the project forms the basis for developing practical tools
for addressing the actual problems in the implementation of law against
torture. The project contributes to revision of the exiting laws in the maual
for activists.
In cases involving female victims, exceptional care is taken to ensure that
the victims are handled by human rights defenders and lawyers from the
same sex. The network group has already developed solidarity strategies to
protect the victim away from public curiosity during court hearings by
accompanying the victim to the court and police stations. Special care is
taken for the separate testimonial therapy of the victim by experts who are
aware of the gender sensitivity involved in the issue.
Legal intervention:
In the past, PVCHR has led cases of public importance in the High Court
under Article 226 of the constitution on the basis of violation of the
fundamental rights, particularly violation of Article 21 which guarantees
protection against torture, cruel and inhuman treatment and punishment
under right to life.
Medical support to Victims of TOV
In selected cases the PVCHR takes care of the victim's need for medical
treatment. Often victims are re-victimized at the time of treatment. In order
to avoid this and if circumstances warrant, support is provided to the
victims for medical treatment. However, it doesn't mean that the project
provides medical treatment to all survivors.
The situation warrants utmost care in case of women victims. Often
hospitals can be a place of further persecution for women victims.
Corruption in the system and the lack of proper understanding of
psychological trauma often pose the risk for a woman victim being
subjected to sexual abuse and insults at the hospital.
Protection and solidarity
PVCHR developed its own means of providing protection to the victims. This
was necessitated by recurring and increasing threats to the victims, their
family members and other witnesses. As of today, there are no witness

70

protection mechanisms in India. Witness and victim protection has at no


time been a matter of priority or concern for the state or for any state
institutions, in particular the court. Often requests for protection are
turned down by the court.
Prevention of torture is not possible without strong action being taken up by
the network for the protection of victims and the human rights defenders.
Given the extreme and serious nature of threats that exist for the victims of
torture, witnesses and human rights defenders, protection is an important
component of this project.
Protection of victims has been done in the past by various activities. PVCHR
continues to provide shelter, accompany victims to courts and police
stations, stay with the victim, relocate victims to neighboring areas, issue
repeated public appeals, work closely with good police ofcers and seeking
protection from the court among other strategies.
Solidarity is not a matter of altruism. Solidarity comes from the inability to
tolerate the affront to our own integrity, passive or active collaboration in
the oppression of other and from the deep recognition of our most expansive
self-interest. From the recognition that, like it or not, our liberation is bound
up with that of every other being on the planet, and that politically and
spiritually, in our heart of hearts we know anything else is unaffordable." Aurora Levins Morales
The most important knowledge is of the difference it makes for people. 'We
should inspire people through the processes of testimonial / honour
ceremonies of testimonial therapy. With a view to create solidarity across
social and economic boundaries, PVCHR has also been successful in
organizing ceremonies with victims of different types of violence i.e. bomb
blasts, police torture, bonded labor and domestic violence. These victims
represent different castes, genders and religions.
PVCHR is formally developing block level and village level organization
building processes with 50 percent participation of women. Women are
encouraged to develop leadership qualities through leadership development
programmes and ght back unitedly in solidarity against TOV in a
sustained manner as an independent peoples' action. Leadership building
training, Kajari Mahotsav, Door to door campaign and the neo dalit
movement are major activities of united solidarity movement. United
solidarity movement is ghting the root cause of torture and organized
violence and working for economic empowerment.
Economic empowerment enhances the access of marginalized communities
to governmental schemes and other services related to food security, such

71

as the Rural Employment Guarantee Act and common property resources.It


is done through breaking silence, eliminating fear, organization building,
education and building solidarity based on one for all and all for one.
Kajari Mahotsav facilitates the elimination of the caste feeling as both the
upper and lower castes are able to participate together. The women folk
school on neo dalit became a great opportunity to unite on the basis of
reconciliation, democracy, secularism and non violence. By the end of the
process, people lit up the candles to usher in the forging of unity of the
people who experienced brokenness. It is the unity against the caste
system, the historical system of exclusion. It is also a unity of all poor from
all communities against sufferings.
PVCHR understands the value of TT for creating understanding and public
solidarity. The soft narrative of the victims is used to create compassion and
emotional support. The voices of the victims are in the written narratives
and brought to the notice of policy makers. The well written TT stories are
like 'soft feelings' in comparison with the legal urgent appeals and they are
documented to elicit a positive reaction from an otherwise unsupportive
Indian media. Even international media has taken up the TT stories, which
were also mentioned during the recent UPR review of India.
Change is possible: We can
At a distance of 6 kilometers from the Varanasi airport and near to railway
line of Pindra halt, 60 musahar families reside in the southern part of Sarai
village of Pindra block of Varanasi. While entering the ghetto it is easy to
feel the development and changes that have taken place in our lives and in
our ghetto. A good connecting pavement road with solar light, electricity, reboring of two hand pumps and 19 families identied for the Lohia Awas
Yojana (Housing scheme), Says Sunita, a local resident of Sarai Musahar
ghetto.
This development was possible after the continuous engagement and efforts
of PVCHR and the local community with the timely implementation of the
strategy. The community sat together and decided to bring the complaints
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 with all
the minutes of the folk school, community meeting and also individual
testimonies.
The Musahars, with full condence and without any fear, narrated all the
fear in front of the two presiding ofcers of the open hearing First time I feel
honoured when Bada Sahab (Big ofcial) listened to my testimony very

72

carefully, said Mutana, a community leader. Looking at their condence on


can remember the day when few bonded labours (Ram Dayal and others)
from this village came to PVCHR ofce along with Mangla Prasad, Senior
eld activist. They were very afraid and unable to share the self suffering.
Now after tow and half 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 a successful example of the sandwich model of PVCHR's initiative.
In this effort PVCHR helped in breaking the culture of silence at the grassroot level and instil condence among people by eliminating their fear
through psycho-social and legal support. This also happened by generating
pressure from on the administration and state Government by the National
Human Rights Commission, Supreme Court and
National and
International players. If social movements are supporting most
marginalized people at the 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 the dignity initiative adopted Sarai village as a torture free
model village in 2010. The model village was seen 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 embracing
positive 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 a bonded labour free village. This
happened after a sustained process and community aspiration for change.
The village community decided not to work as bonded labour in any
establishment. They are now working under the MNREGA Scheme. They
understood the importance of education and now they enroll their children
in a nearby 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 treatment like other children, Anganwadi
is providing nutritious diet and ANM is regularly visiting our ghetto for
immunization.
Mahavir, a community leader says, Our self-respect increases when people

73

from different places come to visit our places. First time government ofcials
came to visit our ghetto. Before that no one came to visit our ghetto. We also
have our own identity as our dignity. Children got their birth registration
certicates and for our voter ID card form no 7 was lled 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.
Now the community leaders are monitoring all the schemes. We are
inculcating their knowledge and skill through continuous capacity building
workshops on various Acts and guideline and by participatiing in various
programmes. 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 Asia News and 31 other people
from Italy visited Musahar ghetto in Sarai village of Pindara, Varanasi as a
mark of tribute and honour to the heroic non-violent ght of Musahar
people. The success of Sarai village achieved by the people of Sarai is
making ripple effects on the struggle against poverty, injustice, caste
system, torture and organized violence with the slogan: You can
The 'torture free' model villages within the selected blocks stand as a symbol
of concrete expression of protective space for the community people in
continutiy and raise the awareness of the local population in a sustained
manner against the prevalence of torture and organized violence (TOV)
asserting their rights to be free from TOV.
Wall Painting: Wall paintings in all model villages with slogan for rights and
the slogan helpline
T- shirt: 100 t- shirt with the slogan
Long live testimonial movement and
we are proud that we did not believe in
caste were distributed to community
leaders with the photo of Baba Bhim
Rao Ambedkar.
Survivor to bare-foot worker:
Challenging the impunity through
breaking the silence is based on
eliminating the fear, hopelessness and
fragmentation of the survivors in an empathetic safe and secure
environment. Psycho social and legal support through Testimonial

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Therapy converted the survivors into human rights defenders/barefoot


workers based on the concept of justice, democracy, non violence and
human dignity.
Door to Door campaign:
After the mass awareness campaign the door to door campaign against
torture and organized violence (DDCATOV) in its torture free model village
was developed by PVCHR under its initiative Promoting psycho legal
framework to reduce torture and organized violence. In the process of the
door to door campaign against torture and organized violence the PVCHR
activists and community leaders visit each and every family of the targeted
marginalized communities in model villages - Increase public participation
in the ght against torture and organized violence Inculcate a better
strategy with the involvement of the community for developing torture free
villages and link the torture and organized violence with social and
economic rights. PVCHR activists sensitize them on all the Acts, directives
and guidelines issued by Hon'able Supreme Court, National Human Rights
Commission such as D.K Basu guideline, SC/ST (PoA) Act and D.V Act,
2005, RTE Act, Right to Health etc. At the end, gatherings are organised at
one place to create a comprehensive strategy for developing torture free
village. The DDCATOV campaign was divided in to four phases to cover the
targeted blocks: First phase: Badagaon block of Varanasi district and Tanda
block of Ambedkar Nagar district; Second phase: Robertsganj block of
Sonbhadra district Third phase, Pindra block of Varanasi district Fourth
phase: Domchach block of Koderma district of Jharkhand.
Stickers: Three stickers in the Hindi language were
launched in an attempt to spread the anti-torture and
anti -violence message to every home in the country.
Stickers that read, You are welcome in anti torture
anti -violence house You are welcome in anti- torture
and anti -violence ofce, You are welcome in antitorture and anti -violence society. The home owners
and ofces were encouraged to post the stickers in their
doorways and other visible areas after taking a pledge
through their signatures to prevent torture and
organized violence
Tools:
Active listening is a communication technique that requires the listener to
reect back what they hear to the speaker, by way of re-stating or
paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words, to conrm what
they have heard and moreover, to conrm the understanding of both
parties.

75

The ability to listen actively demonstrates sincerity, and that nothing is


being assumed or taken for granted.
Responding:
Listening is an interaction between speaker and listener. It adds action to a
normally passive process. The speaker looks for verbal and nonverbal
responses from the listener to determine if the message is being listened to.
Usually the response is nonverbal because if the response is verbal, then
the speaker/listener roles are reversed in turn and so the listener becomes
the speaker and is no longer listening. Based on the response, the speaker
chooses to either adjust or continue with his/her communication style.
Non-verbal behaviour:
Look at the person with sufcient but not excessive eye contact
Feel the interest in the other person
Show in the posture of your body that you are interested in the other
person
Silence:
Do not be afraid of silence in the conversation
Give the other person an adequate or (for you may be) long time to react to
what you have asked him/her
The other person may need time to think or to react in an emotional way
If you jump too quickly, you may impede the process
Use the rules of communication and active listening to describe the
trauma
Open questions
Repetition of small phrases
Summaries of facts and feelings
Non-verbal behaviour
In 2010 2012, Dignity PVCHR project has provided an opportunity to
PVCHR to develop its capacity to be the knowledge hub. Considering the
geographical position and huge population of this country, it has
considerable implications not only at the country level but also at the subregional level as well regional level (South Asia).
The PVCHR has a massive documentation system in place and they are
often consulted and quoted by reputed human rights watchdogs such as
the Amensty Internatinoal and the HRW. For example, a new report of HRW
on police torture and child sexual abuse has acknowledged the legal
assistance provided by lawyers from PVCHR in torture cases.
PVCHR is combining a bottom up rights based empowerment approach

76

with a top down advocacy and lobby strategy to cooperate, collaborate and
coordinate which incluses; an opportunity to engage various government
agencies including the National Human Rights Commission at the district
and provincial levels and an opportunity to raise and represent the voices of
the communities. On the other hand, it is also an opportunity for PVCHR to
combine the strength of the communities in a convention where various
representatives of the villages meet and learn from one another.
Coordination and collaboration is established at varying levels: between
communities and PVCHR; between and amongst communities, within
model blocks; between and among civil society groups such as NATT in line
with freedom from torture agenda, with government authorities, from the
state level to the national level; with the United Nations with regional and
international bodies, with diplomatic channel and with academician.
PVCHR promotes testimonial therapy in an Indian context among civil
society groups, with government agencies, parliamentarians and within
villages and blocks. There is a need for a cultural transformation so that
these stakeholders would be open and active for such kind of intervention.
The formation of the National Alliance on Testimonial Therapy (NATT) was a
milestone which demonstrated the appreciation of the values of psycholegal form of intervention for survivors of torture and their families and
communities. The collaboration and coordination established within the
National Alliance was a good beginning to meet and overcome the existing
challenges for the ongoing work on torture and organized violence.
The second phase of the project is to develop and scale up the role of PVCHR
as a knowledge hub in the country with radiating inuence at the subregional level in terms of TOV and the broader human rights movement. The
knowledge hub and its inuence is largely based on the support of focal
points which would be indentied from and located within the
communities. They would work to further develop healing and psychosocial
support, in sustain the heightened advocacy for justice and prevention and
engage all actors and multi-stakeholders at varying levels at the national,
sub-regional and international levels through active cooperation and
Dignity.
The communities and partners of PVCHR in the National Alliance on
Testimonial Therapy (NATT) will be responsible for the documentation
based on the learning from the grassroots level to be used for enhanced
advocacy. The purpose is to bring about policy changes with a clear
objective to effect improvements in the criminal justice system and
simultaneously improve the governance system for torture prevention.

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Empowering affected communities to raise their voices for a change


requires greater support at varying levels from various instrumentalities
and champions within and outside the country. The use of communication
tools and media will have strong bearing and wider reach on torture
prevention and advocacy. The rich experience of PVCHR with the use of the
new media will be of a great help for this component of people's advocacy.
Uttar Pradeshn is both geographically biggest state of the nation and has
the largest population, and so has the distinction of the maximum number
of cases of torture among all Indian states. The plights of Human Rights
Defenders are no less pathetic here than other states. Everyday newspapers
carry the stories of the struggle faced by the human rights defenders in the
remotest part of the state.
There are many security risks for the human rights defenders i.e.
obstruction in their day to day work, receiving threats to their lives for
pursuing the cases of corruption, caste atrocities, gender based violence
and communal fascism from village level goons to government ofcials,
police and other security agencies. In 2010 NHRC had listed 25 cases
related to human rights defenders. Out of them, 12 cases were from UP.
Human rights defenders respond to the threats in many ways; like
complaining to the concerned local administrative and police authorities,
ling complaints with judiciary, staging protests before the authorities to
draw the attention of concerned authorities as well as to drawing the
attention of the public at large. They also share the incidents of threats and
harassments with other human rights organisations both within the
country and with international rights based organisations.
On 16 March 2011 PVCHR organized a meeting on the situation of human
rights defenders in which 260 human rights defenders from 45 human
rights organisations across Uttar Pradesh participated and shared the risks
and challenges faced by them with Shri Anil Parashar, Focal person,
Human rights defenders, National Human Rights Commission. In the
meeting Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi demanded that 9 December, the day on
which the United Nations adopted the Declaration on Human Rights
Defenders in 1998, be designated Human Rights Defenders Day. He
announced the protection of human rights defenders as the need of the
hour and stressed that the state cannot avoid its responsibility to take care
of right activists in the light of Article 2 of the declaration on human rights
defenders by United Nations.
The same year PVCHR organized a convention on human rights defenders
in Varanasi. In the convention the speakers expressed their concern about
increasing threats to human rights defenders. The state president of
People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Chittaranjan Singh, advocated for

78

proper security to human right activists and said the state and democratic
forces should come forward for their protection and establish rule of law. He
further noted that the people should be informed about the Human Rights
Day and Human Rights Defender's Day to know their rights. Speaking on
the occasion, other speakers also pointed out the cases of human rights
violations by the police. They also condemned the life threat given to PVCHR
general secretary Lenin Raghuvanshi.
The message of NHRC was also circulated on the occasion. The NHRC in its
message said that 9 December declared as Human Rights Defenders Day to
acknowledge and pledge continued support to the human right defenders
who are working for the creation and sustenance of a rights respecting civil
society.
According to NHRC's message, the nation as well as international
community around the world are increasingly realizing and acknowledging
the role and contribution of human rights defenders in strengthening the
human rights regime throughout the globe. NHRC considers the human
rights defenders as its partners in the endeavour to fulll its role as an
institution for promotion and protection of rights of the common man. The
NHRC understands that there are many security risks for human rights
defenders and they have to tread a very risky and difcult path to perform
their tasks. NHRC has always been aware of the problem and harassment
experienced by human rights defenders.
The inaugural session was followed by the testimonies of human rights
defenders. Many human rights defenders including Duryodhan Reddy from
Orissa, Mahatim Mushahar from Jaunpur, Mangala Rajbhar from
Varanasi, Mohammed Salim Ansari from Mordabad, Ram Kripal and
Muharram Ali from Ambedkar Nagar and Managal Singh from Mahoba were
also felicitated on the occasion for their works.
PVCHR always stands with human rights defenders facing threats and
regularly pursues the complaints of harassment of HRDs with the National
Focal Point on human rights defenders of National Human Rights
Commission, Shri Anil Parashar. The organization releases urgent appeal,
provide legal support, fact-nding of the incident of human rights
violations, provides psycho-social support to the victims and supports the
campaign against torture.
Two individuals Mangal Singh and Ram Mohan Verma, are ghting against
illegal mining in Kabrai of Bundelkhand
According to Mangal Singh, The biggest incident in my life occurred on 3rd
November, 2011 when lessee (Mining owner) Ms. Farhad Sultana lodged an

79

FIR against me alleging that a week before at around 11 am near Kabrai


quadilateral I stopped her car and intimidated and threatened her with
death and asked money from her. The case was registered against me under
section 387. After getting the information I instantly informed the I.G about
the false case and escaped from my house.
After escaping I was wandering here and there and pleading with the
government. At that time I was very upset because my family members were
threatened, intimidated and harassed. Due to fear my children were not
going to school and they were being intimidated by the mining contractor in
the school. My wife was very worried and got mentally up set over it. Due to
the fear her condition deteriorated day by day.
I was upset and worried too and eager to meet my family. But I was not able
to contact them due to constant fear of my life. It was more painful for me
when I could not join my family during festivals. At that time I was in great
pains and I stayed mentally disturbed. I felt afraid about the well being of my
family. Each and every moment I was surrounded with fear for responses of
the lessee and administrative ofcials. They attempted many times to attack
me with the intention to kill and so i remained mentally tortured. I felt more
terried with idea that if anything happens to me then what would be the
fate of my family. Who will look after them, children were still very young
and so on. I spent enough money to ght numerous fake cases and my
nancial situation got worse. Still the case is pending.
http://www.pvchr.net/2011/04/india-death-threat-to-humanrights.html
Hari Lal, MNREGA Fighter and leader of Voice of People (VOP) of District
Kaushambi was killed in broad day light at 12.00 noon in his village Lahna,
Block Manjhanpur district Kaushambi on independence day, 15 August
2010. He was muderd by the construct killers closely associated with the
corrupt Gram Pradhan Tirath Lal. Thousands of members of the VOP and
other organisations gathered in the village and made a nearly violent protest
in which they burnt the houses of the killers. A heavy contingent of armed
police lead by District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police, Circle Ofcers
and SHOs of various police stations entered in the village and let loose the
reign of terror over the villagers, women and children. Two FIRs had been
lodged against the leaders and members of the VOP including the common
villagers.
The leader of VOP Parvez Rizvi was named in both the FIRs. One FIR was
lodged under sections 307, 322, 334, 352, 147, 148, 149 IPC and 7 under
Criminal Amendment Act in which 5 persons were named. The second FIR
was lodged under sections 353, 336, 506, 427, 352, 436, 392, 147, 148, 149

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IPC and 7 under the Criminal Amendment Act. Both of the FIRs were
registered by the police and in both the FIRs VOP leader Parvez Rizvi was
named.
Hari Lal, a Dalit was active in organizing the labourers and the marginalised
people against the corruption in MNREGA in all 3 blocks namely
Manjhanpur, Kaushambi and Sarsawan of district Kaushambi. On several
occasions, he and other leaders lead thousands of labourers to the district
Headquarters against the looting and siphoning of funds by the contractors,
gram pradhan and ofcers in the implementation of welfare schemes. On
one occasion, DM, Kaushambi was compelled to come to the Rally of the
labourers and made to promise the distribution of unpaid wages and on
many occasions, BDOs were gheraod for hours and compelled to distribute
the wages. Hari Lal was also active with the other leaders of VOP to build a
strong trade union of Bidi Workers under the banner of "Kaushambi Bidi
Mazdoor Manch". On 01.07.2010 about 4000 Bidi Workers and their
supporters held a massive rally in the district head quarter Manjhanpur
under the leadership of Parvez Rizvi, Hari Lal and others.
The constant protest and opposition by VOP and Hari Lal infuriated the
Maa elements in which the Kaushambi police played an active role. It is to
be noted that the Kaushambi Police was informed in advance that the life of
Hari Lal was in danger and the Maa elements had threatened to kill him,
but the Kaushambi Police maintained silence and after the brutal murder of
Hari Lal, in the garb of maintaining law and order, the Kaushambi police
harassed and arrested the VOP leaders and the common villagers.
The investigation team of the NHRC visited Allahabad and issued notice to
Chief Secretary to revoke fake cases imposed on social worker of Allahabad
Mr. Parvez Rizvi. PVCHR demanded an investigation by a high level
committee in the meeting of human rights defenders in Varanasi.
Mr. Mahesanand, Secretary, Gramya Swaraj Samiti organized a protest
march in Dudhi from tehsil to Robersganj district head quarter of
Sonbhadra with ve thousand tribals and covered 100 km of distance from
March 10th to 15th. The march was organised after a resolution passed by
the villagers of Sundari on 15th January, 2011 soon after the reinauguration of Kanhar Dam. He faced threats to his life from the local
contractor, police, state and political parties.
PVCHR, National Alliance on Testimonial Therapy (NATT) and its
allies still ghting for realisation of torture free society and
watching the positive change going on...

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Way of struggle: Lenin Raghuvanshi


Raghuvanshi Lenin
is the Lenin of his motherland
his nerves squirming with pain of injustice
his voice rising in passion for social justice
As Buddha suffered from pain
from his enclave
who found the path of freedom from pain
in the social code of conduct of spirituality
Raghuvanshi Lenin has seen and known
the reason of grief from depth
in the contemporary contexts
the nation and powerful energies
are more blameworthy than human being
The claw of exploitation
tightens continuously
the nerves of throat and wisdom
the silent roots of malpractice
are silent against oppression and injustice
(one has to work like Chanakya to uproot them)
as an intellectual worker like a modern Buddha
not leaving behind wife (Shruti) and son (Kabir)
but taking them along, so that they also feel
the wounds of society
the pain of people
living in the society
they can treat and cure
and give some rst-aid
and feel Lenins pain and outcry
they should do positive revolt
like the two hands of Lenin - left and right
and full the role as part of family
not just as Lenins family
but also as peoples family
like the parts of the body
and can sacrice the comforts
attachment towards luxuries
for the sake of global human being
for the interest of entire humanity

Raghuvanshi Lenin is the Lenin of India


related to the Kings lineage
associating with it, being with it
in the contemporary times
digging out paths for the people
from deep inside the system
He names his child as Kabir Karunik
to make him walk through the lifes tough
workshop
and see the secret source of Lenins speech
the tragic sorrow caused by discrimination
and experience the meaning of being Kabri
as his father Lenin
knows the meaning of his name
in Indian contexts
He knows and wants to show
that the lineage of all the people,
the lineage of Shri Ram
can be cultivated
not by chanting the name of Ram
but by following the path of Ram - public service
in the true sense, including kings lineage
along with Buddha,
along with Kabir,
along with Lenin
and the people of the universe
in the form of entire Humankind

Professor Dr. Pushpita Awasthi


Netherlands
21/11/2014