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.