Human Rights Forum (HRF) was formed in October 1998 with a strong understanding that violation or denial of rights arises in all situations of structured oppression and inequality and the democratic aspirations arising from all such situations, and resistance to such oppression, whether organized or not, whether collective or isolated, are equally important for the Rights movement: theoretically, practically and organizationally.
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) condemns in the strongest terms the foisting of a false case by the Malkangiri police on human rights defender Deba Ranjan. We believe that the case booked against him under Section 354 (B) of IPC (relating to molestation of a woman) and other charges to be a completely fabricated one. Its sole purpose is to try and demoralise and malign Deba Ranjan and to stop him and the organisation he works with, the Ganatantrik Adhikar Surakhya Sangathan (GASS) from pursuing their human rights work. We demand that the Odisha government immediately direct the police to withdraw the false cases registered against Deba Ranjan.
Over the past two decades Deba Ranjan has been a consistent and passionate voice against injustice both within and outside Odisha. As a writer, film maker and human rights activist he has highlighted and critiqued policies of destructive development, unbridled mining practices, displacement, police impunity, atrocities on dalits, women and adivasis, the inhuman and ugly politics of hindutva and more recently issues of farmers’ suicides in a context of acute agrarian distress. It is this activism that the police seek to throttle by the filing of this false case. They have stooped to the level of misusing law pertaining to sexual violence on women in their attempt to browbeat Deba Ranjan.
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) strongly urges the AP government to drop the proposal to set up a super thermal power project of 4000 MW capacity by the National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (NTPC) near Pudimadaka in the Atchyutapuram-Rambilli mandals of Visakhapatnam district. If the plant is established it would result in an environmental and human disaster in the area.
Residents in the region are already suffering acutely from the toxic pollutants being emitted by the NTPC Simhadri plant of 2000 MW capacity. There is a possibility of another 1000 MW thermal power being added by the nearly complete Hinduja National Power Corporation Ltd (HNPC) plant nearby. Both these projects are only about 20 km from Pudimadaka where a 4000 MW coal-based energy project is now being proposed.
There cannot be a better case than Yakub Memon’s to prove that capital punishment should be abolished in this country.
Yakub Memon is an accused in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case in which 257 people were killed. His brother Tiger Memon is prime accused in the said crime. The Supreme Court confirmed death penalty to Yakub. A mercy petition filed by Yakub’s brother was dismissed by the President. The TADA court which tried the case issued a death warrant while a curative petition was pending in the Supreme Court. The curative petition was subsequently dismissed by the court. Meanwhile Yakub filed a mercy petition and also a petition before the Supreme Court contending that the TADA court has not followed its rulings in the Shabnam case in which the court has strongly discouraged executions of persons on death row ‘in haste’. The whole case is falling apart as it is writ with procedural lapses and lack of evidence. There are several loopholes which make a strong case for commutation of the death sentence into life imprisonment.
Press Release 30-6-2015
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) views with extreme concern the precarious health situation in the Agency region of Visakhapatnam district. We call upon the government to rush medical and health personnel to the 11 mandals in Visakha Agency so as to prevent adivasis succumbing to cerebral malaria, gastro-enteritis, TB and typhoid. Health personnel have to be at least doubled in the Agency mandals and they must be recruited on a permanent basis. Importantly, it must be ensured that they remain in the Agency and carry out their duties. Unless a meaningful and concrete medical intervention takes place, HRF fears that there might be a general outbreak of falciparum malarial epidemic like the ones that claimed thousands of adivasi lives in the Visakha Agency in 1999, 2005 and 2010.
Press Release 1-6-2015
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the CCL Products (India) Ltd, located in Duggirala mandal of Guntur district, be immediately closed till such time the industry fully complies with environmental standards. The CCLP (India) Ltd industry manufactures a diverse assortment of instant and soluble coffee.
A fact-finding team of the HRF visited several villages in Tenali and Duggirala mandal to look into widespread concerns of residents in the area about pollution from the CCLP (India) Ltd. We were shocked to see for ourselves the utter brazenness with which the industry is flouting environmental protection norms.
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the police personnel who participated in the alleged encounters on the Warangal-Nalgonda border in Telangana and the Seshachalam forest near Tirupati in Chittoor district of AP resulting in the death of 25 persons today be booked under IPC 302 (murder) and other appropriate sections and criminally prosecuted. The criminal investigation into both the cases must be handed over to the CBI.
HRF believes that five undertrial prisoners who were unarmed, in handcuffs and under heavy escort were shot dead by the police while enroute Hyderabad for a court hearing. Going by preliminary reports, we also think the Seshachalam deaths were not the result of the STF resorting to the firing in the face of a serious threat to them from red-sanders smugglers but because the police shot to kill without sufficient threat. We recall that last year the STF shot dead 11 persons (5 in Kadapa district and 6 in Chittoor district) in several fake encounters in the Seshachalam forest. In all those cases they took the extra-judicial option even though in most of them they could have easily apprehended those who were cutting down the red-sanders. HRF would be soon conducting a comprehensive fact-finding into the Seshachalam killings.
The police simply cannot wash their hands off after declaring that they were under attack and they had to fire in self-defence. Whether there was a justifiable plea of self-defence is a matter to be decided by the courts and not the police. The law will not have it any other way.
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the Government revoke the lease granted to Singam Bhavani for mining of laterite in an extent of 35.84 hectares (86.05 acres) near Asanagiri village of Sarugudu panchayat, Nathavaram mandal in the Agency region of Visakhapatnam district. We urge the District Collector, who is custodian of the Constitutional rights of adivasis, to immediately intervene and cancel the public hearing for the proposed project slated for February 19 at Sundarakota village. Not doing so would amount to a mockery of the environmental clearance regime.
HRF calls upon the AP and Telangana governments to bring about a comprehensive ‘Drought Relief Code’.
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) calls upon the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments to bring about a comprehensive ‘Drought Relief Code’. This Code should encompass measures that must be implemented towards effective drought relief and mitigation. The duties of the State to the people affected by drought and the rights and entitlements of those who suffer from drought must be codified in this law. Such a code is imperative at the earliest because governments continue to exhibit adhocism and tokenism in the matter of addressing agrarian crisis and even providing relief to the drought-hit.
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) condemns the disallowing by the Telangana government of a seminar, rally and public meeting by the Forum For Alternative Politics in Hyderabad on Sunday. The reported preventive detention of over 200 persons by the police since the night before so as to foil the meeting is highly deplorable. Only a regime that is disrespectful of democratic norms would forbid free expression, the fundamental right to assembly and allow the police to resort to such actions.
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) finds unacceptable the decision of the AP Cabinet to locate the Capital city in the Vijayawada-Guntur region. We concur with the recommendation of the Sivaramakrishnan Committee that locating the capital in this area would entail loss of very precious agricultural land that would impact negatively upon food security and the environment and would also displace farmers and agricultural labourers in large numbers. Discarding this recommendation would amount to a historic blunder.