सोमवार, 7 फ़रवरी 2011

A state of intimidation: Sexual abuse and arrest of Godhra Muslim women

TCN investigates the case and digs out the unpublished inquiry report of National Commission for Women,

By Rehan Ansari & Afroz Alam Sahil for TwoCircles.net,

A simple arrest goes wrong, horribly wrong but incidents that follow are not less than a heinous crime. In December of 2009, Gujarat Police went to Geni Plot area of Godhra to arrest one Rafiq Husain alias Haji for alleged cow slaughter complaints against him. Police encountered resistance from Husain’s family and friends and he managed to give them a slip. Same night, a large battalion of police force came back to the area, forced their ways into many homes and sexually abused and assaulted many women.

On a complaint by Teesta Setalvad, Secretary of Citizen for Justice and Peace, a delegation of National Commission for Women (NCW) visited the area on a fact-finding mission. The NCW report released after an RTI application filed by noted RTI-activist Afroz Alam Sahil, documented findings, recommendations of the three-member NCW inquiry committee and also include submissions made to them by different parties including various NGOs. The Report which is being made public for the first time by TwoCircles.net makes for a difficult reading and shows the conditions that Muslims in Gujarat are living in and also difficulties that even a statutory government body like NCW faces in working in this state.


Rafiq Husain alias Haji has a number of complaints registered against him for stealing and killing cows. On December 19th, 2009 a group of policemen went to arrest him. They were able to catch him but his family and friends resisted and in that confusion Haji was able to escape. Later that night, a battalion of police force again descended in the Geni Plot area of Godhra. This time they arrested 31 people including eight women.

NCW Report

NCW noted that the Godhra Police allegedly forced themselves into the houses in around 1.30 in the night, abused and misbehaved with a woman observing iddat (religiously mandated seclusion), a mother with a new-born was badly beaten while she was holding her baby. The policemen indulged in crass acts like taking off their pants and displaying their genitals to the women.

NCW further observed, “The Senior Inspector Mr. A.V. Parmar, constables, Prabhatsingh and Suresh from Godhra had led the “criminal group” of Policemen.”

NCW is extremely critical of Police Sub Inspector, Parmar and the constables and said, “They crossed all the limits of indecency, when their gruesome acts included grabbing and applying brutal pressure on the breasts, buttocks and other private parts of the women victims, while verbally and physically assaulting them.” It further observed that on resisting the women were brutally beaten by lathis and kicked dangerously on the stomach and other body parts.

The commission also noted in its report that even after 14 days, marks of clots and of having sustained injuries were there all over the victims’ body. It reported, “The Children and young adults who had been eye witnesses of such violence are in a state of shock. The trauma has been so great, that family members of most of the victims still find it laborious task to even fall asleep at night.”

Magisterial Inquiry

The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Godhra court ordered an inquiry on December 28th, 2009 to look into the allegations by some Muslim women that they were physically and sexually assaulted by policemen while in custody.

The police allegedly showed the arrest only at around 5.30 p.m. on December 20th although the women were in detention from the wee hours of the morning around 3.00 a.m. However when the women were finally produced before the magistrate, who happens to be a woman, she listened to the victims, examined their injuries and ordered the police to take them right away to the civil hospital.

Even this, the police delayed and also forced the medical staff to get the medical examination done in their presence and by male staff.

A state of intimidation

Set up in 1992, National Commission for Women (NCW) is a statutory body to protect and promote the interests of women. The three-member NCW inquiry committee was repeatedly told by a group of people not to listen to the affected Muslim women. In its report the NCW noted that a particular group of around 60 people acted in an excessively aggressive manner.” They refused to move out of the corridors of Circuit house, where the NCW members were hearing all parties. The report noted that “even the Police force didn’t ask them to move away.”

The intimidation was so severe that NCW committee members feared that in such hostile circumstances, there was a possibility that the affected women might have been intimidated or attacked by this group and therefore NCW asked the Collector and the SP to get the crowd dispersed not only from circuit house but from the adjoining area and requested the women victims for their support and patience, in waiting for this mob to disperse and then only come to Circuit house to make their representation.

The representation of these NGOs also tried to influence the NCW and was malicious and defaming against Muslim Community specially Ganchi Muslims.

Siddhi Joshi of Shri Siddhi Sarvajanik Trust which has its registered office in Panchmahal district, Shahera alleged that “Why the NCW is not taking steps to prevent atrocities on majority of women.”

NCW further reported their statements as “The area in which the alleged incident took place is a dangerous area. People support criminals there and it is very difficult for police to enter this area. Muslims are committing various crimes against women. They have abducted 3 women and converted them. They are married but have abducted 18 years old girl to marry her.”

About Ganchi Muslims they said, “Muslims from Godhra are decent but only Ganchi community who live in that area are criminals.”

Representations of Secular and other NGOs

NCW have also reported the representation of other secular NGOs. Prof. J.S. Bandukwala, President Gujarat PUCL had demanded strong action against P.I. Parmar and other accused named by women and was extremely critical of the inaction of SP and Collector.

PUCL and 105 people Human Rights and women’s organizations from Gujarat and more than 150 local residents of Godhra signed and submitted the memorandum which states, “We are not supporting any criminal. We believe that there should not be cow slaughter if it is hurting the feelings of our Hindu brothers. But in the name of combing operation the inhuman atrocities and sexual abuse on Muslim women by Police cannot be tolerated. Prof. Bandukwala himself has visited the area and women cannot describe their plight in words. The Police have not spared even a 15-day infant or a 60 year old widow who was in her iddat and the girl who was getting married that day.”

ANNADI, Aman Samuday and other NGOs also presented the case before NCW and was extremely critical of police atrocities specially P.I. Parmar and his colleagues. NCW has reported their statement as, “they were disturbed by the attitude and action/inaction of the entire state machinery and asked a direct question to the Collector and SP that: Is a Muslim life so cheap or being a Muslim is a crime in Gujarat? According to them the only relief in this entire episode was the inquiry ordered by the judicial magistrate against police under 202 of CrPC.”

Women were sexually assaulted and booked by the Godhra police
The police booked complaints against Salma (19), Naseembanu (22), Haksabibi (27), Fareeda (28), Ruksanabibi (30), Saraben (35), Rahimabibi (39), and Saberabibi (40) under sections 224, 225, 332, 333, 353, 506(2), 186, 147, 148 and 149 of IPC and Bombay Police Act for rioting, illegal assembly, causing hurt to public servant, resisting arrest and obstructing the arrest of another person. The women were released on bail on December 21.

NCW Recommendations

Three-member team of National Commission for Women consisted of Wasnuk Syiem, member of NCW, who led the team of Advocate Priya Hingorani and Professor Tripti Shah of MS University, Baroda.
The Commission submitted its report on April 26th, 2010, with 7 recommendations, including actions against the concerned police officers, compensation, counseling and security to the victims who have been traumatized by the inhuman act of the police personals, government lawyers for the case pending before the high court along with an apology by the state government.

“The Gujarat Government has to come out with a statement accepting responsibility for this serious atrocity and human rights violation, apologize to the women victims and circulate clear written instructions and warning to the police across the state so that similar atrocities do not happen in the future.” National commission for women recommended.

No Information available about the NCW Report and action on it

Teesta Setalwad, the complainant to the NCW told TwoCircles.net that the case is still pending in the High Court and despite repeated attempts they could not get the copy of the of report of National Commission for Women. She said, “We tried many times to get the report but failed due to which the case could not move forward in the high court.”

Alfazal Education & Charitable Trust of Godhra tried to get the report of NCW but in vain. Mohammed Yusuf of the trust said, "We have been trying to know about the commission report, even filed the RTI but could not get the report since last one year."

It is puzzling why the premier women body didn’t release this report and follow-through with the Gujarat government regarding action taken.

Cops' fleeing theory debunked? Sohrabuddin shot point-blank

NEW DELHI: The post-mortem report of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, who was killed in an alleged fake encounter by Gujarat police, says that he was shot five times from close range and one of the bullets went through his brain.

The post-mortem report, which has been made public for the first time through an RTI application, is an important evidence in the CBI's probe into the alleged fake encounter. It also states that the shots fired at his body were downwards in angle, suggesting that the victim was either lying or kneeling down when he was shot at. Gujarat police had claimed that Sohrabuddin was trying to escape when he was shot.

The post-mortem was conducted by a panel of five doctors of the Department of Forensic Medicine of BJ Medical College and Civil Hospital of Ahmedabad on November 26, 2005. The report was given to RTI activist Afroz Alam Sahil as part of an RTI reply recently. TOI has a copy of the post-mortem report.

The report says Sohrabuddin was shot three times on his leg and once on his upper body but probably the fatal blow was a shot to his brain that left an exit wound 1.2 cm wide in the back of his head. The post-mortem took place in the hospital at 4pm on November 26, 2005 and it was also found that 'rigor mortis' was present all over the body, suggesting that Sohrabuddin was killed at least 12 hours before his body was examined.

Sohrabuddin, along with his wife Kausarbi, was allegedly kidnapped by Gujarat ATS on November 23, 2005. He was coming to Gujarat from Hyderabad in a bus. He was allegedly killed early morning on November 26 on a highway near Ahmedabad.

शुक्रवार, 4 फ़रवरी 2011

Indian Black Money: The Swindler’s List

ASHISH KHETAN accesses the black list that has been kept away from Indians for two years 

It is almost two years since the German Government had passed on the names and bank account details of eighteen Indians who had stashed their alleged ill-gotten wealth in the LGT bank of Liechtenstein, a well-known tax haven nation, 190 km from Munich, Germany. 

Germany had officially handed over the list to the Indian Government on 18 March 2009. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee have since said more than once that this list cannot be disclosed to the Indian people. Opposition parties like the BJP and the Left Front have repeatedly said the names must be disclosed. The BJP has been accusing the government of shielding the names of the tax evaders and not doing enough to bring back the crores of rupees stashed away in tax havens. 

Thus, the list has become a subject of tremendous controversy and suspense. 

TEHELKA has accessed 16 of the 18 names, of which we are putting out 15 right now. These names include individuals as well as trusts. At this point, we are putting out 15 names without disclosing details like their addresses, the businesses they are involved in and the total money they have stored away in Liechtenstein. Abiding by the basic journalistic principle of proving the accused an opportunity to present their side of story, TEHELKA has approached each of these individuals involved and is awaiting their response. 

Once these individuals respond, we shall share the full details of who these people are and what they do. We shall also put out their responses. This, then, is the list. 

1. Manoj Dhupelia
2. Rupal Dhupelia
3. Mohan Dhupelia
4. Hasmukh Gandhi
5. Chintan Gandhi
6. Dilip Mehta
7. Arun Mehta
8. Arun Kochar
9. Gunwanti Mehta
10. Rajnikant Mehta
11. Prabodh Mehta
12. Ashok Jaipuria
13. Raj Foundation
14. Urvashi Foundation
15. Ambrunova Trust 

The three trusts in this list are registered outside India. 

The government has been claiming so far that a detailed investigation into all the bank account details provided by Germany is underway and making the names public would violate the agreement between two sovereign countries, India and Germany. 

According to highly placed sources, the investigation into the 15 names that TEHELKA is disclosing, is close to completion and the Central Board of Direct taxes would soon prosecute these trusts and individuals under the relevant provisions of the Income tax Act. 

The sources told TEHELKA that the two main charges proved against these individuals are of tax evasion and concealment of income.
The authorities also believe that some of these account holders could be fronts for high profile individuals. One name in particular is being investigated for suspected links with a well-known Indian politician. 

The name of the chairman of a major Indian corporation is also part of the list, but TEHELKA is holding back his name until we have his full version. 

According to Pranab Mukherjee, the German Government has provided the information under the strict confidentiality clauses of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, and hence they could not be disclosed at the stage of investigation. 

However, once the government launches prosecutions, the name would be made public, he had said. 

These 18 names are part of the list of 1,400 clients, which were stolen from the databank of LGT Group, the Liechtenstein bank owned by the principality's ruling family, and passed on to German tax authorities in 2008. 

The German government had paid as much as €5 million, or $7.4 million, for information on German account holders in Liechtenstein on a disk provided by an informant to the German Federal Intelligence Service, or BND. 

After this, Germany and England had launched massive investigations into the suspected tax evasions and have since prosecuted dozens of their citizens on charges of tax evasion and concealment of income. 

The German Government alone had initiated action against over 600 of its tax payers. 

Besides taking action against its own citizens, the German Government had also shared this information with other countries including India. 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: "Investigations are on"

But the Indian names figuring in LGT Bank list are only a tip of the iceberg. Experts estimate that Rs 65 lakh crores of ill-gotten wealth earned by Indians is stored in Swiss banks alone. 

According to R Vaidyanathan, Professor of Finance at the Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru, the average amount stashed away by Indians in offshore tax havens between 2002 and 2006 was $136.5 billion. “These illegal funds lying in tax havens are not just related to the issue of tax evasion. It is capital flight from India and part of a corrupt nexus between politicians, bureaucrats and corporate companies,” says Vaidyanathan. 

Different Indian governments over the past 20 years have done little to bring this money back by making necessary changes in existing Indian taxation and foreign exchange management laws. 

Besides, the government has been slow in renegotiating double taxation avoidance treaties with different tax havens and making provisions for clauses under which the governments and banks could be compelled to disclose the account details. 

For instance, under the existing Indo-Swiss Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), information on the Swiss bank deposits of Indian residents could not to be revealed until the Indian Government furnishes evidence of criminality behind these banking transactions. 

Pranab Mukherjee: "We can't reveal the names"

India enters into DTAAs with other countries to encourage flow of foreign capital and technology, and also to check tax evasion. The purpose of a DTAA is to mitigate the hardship caused by dual taxation on the same source of income. Double taxation on a single source earned by an individual is possible under income tax, as taxation depends not on citizenship, but on residential status.

To date, India has signed comprehensive double taxation avoidance agreements with 77 countries. 

“I have asked the revenue department to reopen negotiations for all 77 double tax avoidance agreements with all countries that we have entered into so far, so that we can have real time exchange of information on tax evasion and tax avoidance,” Mukherjee had said at the India Economic Summit in November 2009. 

Since the recession hit the economies of developed countries, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has been leading a campaign for transparency in the international banking system, and making the tax havens to necessarily exchange information with other countries where tax evasions are involved. 

The US in particular has been proactive in using the might of its economy to make different tax havens fall in line, and share the names of US citizens who have deposited money in these tax havens. 

For instance, the UBS Bank, a Swiss bank and the world’s largest wealth management company, came under US scrutiny in June 2008 to uncover the identity of US nationals who maintained secret accounts in the bank and were defrauding the American revenue department. 

When the US Government threatened to prosecute the USB Bank, the bank paid a fine of $780 million and also agreed to reveal the details of the hidden assets of US nationals within a fixed time frame failing which it would face prosecution.


गुरुवार, 3 फ़रवरी 2011

Post-mortem report reveals that Sohrabuddin Shaikh was shot in the brain

By TwoCircles.net investigative team

New Delhi: Post-mortem report acquired through an RTI application reveals that Sohrabuddin Shaikh was shot five-times fired from a close range- one to his brain. He was shot three times on his leg and once on his upper body but probably the fatal blow was a shot to his brain that left an exit wound 1.2 cm big in the back of his head.

Post-mortem report was released after an RTI application was filed by Afroz Alam Sahil, an RTI activist. Though many arrests have been made related to Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi’s killings but it is the first time that post-mortem has been made public which is an important document for Sohrabuddin encounter case. 

The post-mortem was done by a team of five doctors of Department of Forensic Medicine of BJ Medical College & Civil Hospital of Ahmedabad. The post-mortem that started at 4pm on November 26th said that at the time of examination they found that “rigor mortis is present all over the body.” Rigor mortis is the stiffness of body due to death suggesting that Sohrabuddin was killed at least 12 hours before the time his body was examined.

Post-mortem report also highlight the fact that shots fired at his body were downwards in angle suggesting that the victim was either lying or kneeling down when he was shot at, discounting police theory that he was trying to escape.

A page from the post-mortem report showing entry and exit wounds of shots fired at Sohrabuddin's upper-body.

Shubhradeep Chakravorty who has made documentary “Encountered on Saffron Agenda” investigated several cases of encounters in Gujarat including Sohrabuddin Shaikh told TwoCircles.net that this post-mortem report backs-up his own investigation into this case which clearly showed that Sohrabuddin’s killing was a case of fake encounter. 

“If this post-mortem report was made public earlier, it could have easily proved that police stories about this killing were false.” Chakrovorty added, “one need to look at this report and can also check the old Police claim that how he was killed, by doing this one can learn how lies were manufactured in this case and elsewhere.” 

Chakravorty also said what lawyer Huzefa Ahmadi said in the documentary was relevant today. He had said that because after many months it is proved that encounter was fake we cannot get direct evidences and have to rely on the circumstantial evidences.

Sohrabuddin was killed in Ahmadabad on November 26, 2005 in a joint Gujarat- Rajasthan police operation. Police at that time claimed that Sohrabuddin was a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative and killed while trying to escape. 

Sohrabuddin Shaikh along with his wife Kausar Bi was kidnapped by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Gujarat police on November 23, 2005. Shaikh was coming to Gujarat from Hyderabad in a public bus. He was killed early morning on November 26 on a highway in Ahmadabad. In 2007, Gujarat government finally admitted that Kausar Bi was also killed and her body disposed off. 

In November 2006, Prashant Dayal, a journalist with Dainik Bhaskar investigated the killing and revealed holes in police version of events. This led to court-appointed investigations and arrests of Deputy Commission of Police DG Vanzara, IPS officer Abhay Chudasama, and state Home Minister Amit Shah.

Batla House encounter, Malegaon 2006 blasts need impartial probe

India abused terror suspects, mostly Muslims: Human Rights Watch
By TCN News,

New Delhi: Indian security forces and investigating agencies massively abused terror suspects, mostly Muslims picked after the spate of terror bombings in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi in 2008. The security forces carried out torture, religious discrimination and arbitrary arrests following these terror attacks, Human Rights Watch has said in its report released today in the National Capital.

India should reform its justice system to ensure that abuses did not take place during counter-terrorism efforts. While documenting the abuses that were commonplace after the spate of bombings in 2008 in Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad, Human Rights Watch has warned that abusive counter-terrorism tactics could backfire.

The 106-page report - The ‘Anti-Nationals’: Arbitrary Detention and Torture of Terrorism Suspects in India is based on more than 160 interviews with suspects, their relatives and lawyers, civil society activists, security experts and law enforcement officials in New Delhi, as well as in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
The report says that a majority of victims were Muslim men detained after the blasts in Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. These victims included about two dozen youths from Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh.

“Indian police are under tremendous pressure to identify the perpetrators of horrific attacks, but they need to do so without resorting to the use of arbitrary arrests and torture to coerce confessions," said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Not only do such unlawful responses alienate local populations, they risk allowing the real perpetrators to remain free and pose an ongoing threat to public safety."

The report focuses on the aftermath of three deadly bombings of major Indian cities in 2008 for which the Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility. At least 152 people died and hundreds of others were injured in the synchronized bombings of markets, hospitals, and other public places in Jaipur on May 13, Ahmedabad on July 26, and New Delhi on September 13 of that year. 

In sweeps across the country, state police, usually Anti-Terrorism Squads, brought in scores of Muslim men for questioning and promptly labeled many "anti-national" - implying they were unpatriotic. The police ultimately charged more than 70 alleged Indian Mujahideen members or associates from nine states in the 2008 attacks and in a related attempted attack on the port city of Surat in July 2008. All were held without bail.

In some states, police held suspects for days or even weeks without registering their arrest, in an apparent effort to get them to confess. Police in Gujarat and Delhi also manipulated criminal procedures to allow them to hold suspects for interrogation well beyond the initial 15-day legal limit after arrest. Many detainees have alleged they were the victims of torture, including the use of electric shocks. A released suspect held in a lockup of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch of the Gujarat state police, where some of the worst abuses occurred, said that detainees were kept blindfolded and shackled with their arms crossed over their knees. Detainees or their relatives also said they were beaten, and threatened with arrest and mistreatment of family members if they did not cooperate.

“Abuses of suspects detained in connection with the 2008 bombings occurred at every stage of custody, from police lock-ups where many were tortured, to jails where they were beaten, to courthouses where magistrates often ignored their complaints," said Ganguly. "This is what we would expect from China. The world's largest democracy can do better."

Probe abuse of 9 Muslims for Malegaon 2006 blasts

Human Rights Watch also called on the Indian authorities to immediately launch a thorough and impartial investigation into the case of nine Muslim men held as suspects for more than four years and allegedly tortured in connection with deadly bombings in 2006 at a Muslim cemetery in Malegaon. Investigations in late 2010 and early 2011 revealed that Hindu extremists are now the lead suspects in that attack and other major bombings in 2006-07 in India previously attributed to Islamist militant groups. The attacks at mosques in Hyderabad and Amjer, on a passenger train linking Pakistan to India, and at the cemetery in Malegaon killed at least 115 people and injured nearly 350 others.

Probe Batla House encounter 

Human Rights Watch has come down harshly on the National Human Rights Commission for its dubious enquiry into the September 2008 Batla House encounter. 

NHRC, the Indian government body, is officially mandated to investigate allegations of human rights violations, has responded tepidly to complaints involving terrorism suspects, Human Rights Watch said. Most glaring was its investigation into the so-called Batla House encounter, a police raid after the Delhi bombings of September 2008 in which two Indian Mujahideen suspects died in circumstances that aroused suspicion. Ordered by the Delhi High Court to probe the two suspects' deaths after ignoring its own guidelines that require all killings to be investigated, the Commission produced a report that exonerated police while relying almost exclusively on the police version of events. A new and more serious inquiry into the causes of death is needed, Human Rights Watch said.

“The National Human Rights Commission has lost its voice when it comes to counterterrorism abuses," said Ganguly.
The report also includes allegations that some of the 11 Hindus arrested for a September 2008 bombing incident in the city of Malegaon, Maharashtra state, were also subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, and religion-based ill-treatment. 

However, Human Rights Watch said that the authorities have shown welcome restraint in responding to three more recent attacks in 2010 that they attributed to the Indian Mujahideen. These include a bombing in the city of Pune in February that killed 17 people at a restaurant frequented by foreigners; a motorcycle drive-by shooting in New Delhi in September that injured two Taiwanese tourists; and a bombing in December in Varanasi, Hinduism's holiest city and a popular tourist site, that killed a one-year-old child and woman in her sixties.

"While the authorities' recent responses to attacks are encouraging, if India is to achieve long-term success in countering militant violence, it will need to transform individual acts of restraint and respect for the law into institutional changes," Ganguly said. "That includes the police putting an end to the ugly assumption, all too common after the 2008 bombings, that only Muslim groups were likely suspects in the attacks."


*Repeal unlawful provisions of counterterrorism laws, including overly broad definitions of terrorism, expanded police powers of search and seizure, the presumption of guilt under certain circumstances, and draconian pre-charge detention periods.

*Enact the pending Prevention of Torture Bill, but only after ensuring it conforms with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

*Sign into law criminal procedure amendments, already passed by parliament, requiring the police to record a formal reason for making a warrantless arrest - thereby closing a glaring legal loophole that fuels impunity.

*Professionalize India's police forces and codify the full set of guidelines on arrest and detention for police officers that are contained in the landmark 1997 Supreme Court case D.K. Basu.

*Fully investigate allegations of wrongdoing by police and other officials, including the accusations of alleged Indian Mujahideen suspects and Muslims previously rounded up in attacks now blamed on Hindu extremists, to end the culture of impunity for crimes against terrorism suspects and others in India.

बुधवार, 2 फ़रवरी 2011

फासीवाद के बढ़ते कदम और न्याय की अवधारणा

  राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार जनसम्मेलन      
स्थान- संजरपुर, आजमगढ़, उत्तर प्रदेश
                    तिथि- 20 फरवरी 2010, रविवार
         समय- 10 बजे से 5 बजे तक

    पिछले दिनों एक के बाद एक आए न्यायालयों के फैसलों के चलते मानवाधिकार आंदोलन के सामने एक चुनौती आ गई है कि जब लोकतंत्र में न्याय पाने के एक मात्र संस्थान न्यायालय भी सत्ता के दबाव में निर्णय दे रहें हैं तो ऐसे में नागरिकों के मानवाधिकार को कैसे सुरक्षित रखा जाए। वरिष्ठ मानवाधिकार नेता और पीयूसीएल के राष्ट्रीय उपाध्यक्ष विनायक सेन को जिस तरह बिना ठोस सुबूत के रायपुर की एक अदालत ने उम्र कैद की सजा सुनाई या फिर पिछले साल पांच फरवरी 2010 को उत्तर प्रदेश की पीयूसीएल की संगठन मंत्री सीमा आजाद को माओवाद के नाम पर गिरफ्तार किया गया, उससे अंदाजा लगाया जा सकता है कि आम बेहैसियत लोगों को आतंकवादी या नक्सलवादी बताकर जेलों में सड़ा देना हमारे तंत्र के लिए किताना आसान होता है।

हम आजमगढ़ के लोग जिन्होंने अपने कई निर्दोष बच्चों को बाटला हाउस से लेकर विभिन्न मामलों में फर्जी एनकाउंटर में कत्ल किए जाते, जेलों में सड़ाए जाते और न्याय मिलने की आस में जब न्यायलय पहुंचे अपने वकीलों को पीटे जाते देखा है और खुद इसके कहीं न सुने जाने वाले गवाह हैं। देश में मानवाधिकार रक्षा के लिए बने राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार आयोग की भूमिका को भी देख चुके हैं कि किस तरह उसने हमारे मासूमों जो बाटला हाउस में मारे गए पर फर्जी जांच रिपोर्ट पेश कर एनकाउंटर के नाम पर सत्ता द्वारा ठंडे दिमाग की की गई हत्या को जायज ठहराया। पोस्ट मार्टम रिपोर्ट तक को झूठे तर्को के आधार पर लंबे समय तक छुपाया गया। इस दहशत और आतंक के माहौल में पिछले दो सालों से हमारे दर्जनों लड़के लापता हैं और एक आशंका लगातार बनी रहती है कि अगला नंबर किसका है।

इन साझा अनुभवों ने हमारे सामने स्पष्ट कर दिया है कि अब इस देश की लोकतांत्रिक व्यवस्था पूरी तरह से ध्वस्त की जा चुकी है। जिसके सबसे ज्यादा शिकार समाज के सबसे दबे-कुचले समूह और उनके सवाल उठाने वाले लोग हो रहे हैं। इस सिलसिले में सबसे अधिक दुखद न्यायालय के राजनीतिक दुरुपयोग है। जिसने देश के अंदर राज्य प्रायोजित आतंकवाद को वैधता देने के लिए यहां तक तर्क दिए हैं कि अगर फर्जी एनकाउंटरों पर न्यायिक जांच होगी तो पुलिस का मनोबल टूट जाएगा। यानी न्यायपालिका अब खुद ही भारत को एक लोकतांत्रिक देश से सैन्य राष्ट् में तब्दील करने की फासिस्ट मुहीम की अगुवाई करने लगी है। अयोध्या मुद्दे पर तथ्यों के बजाय धर्मोन्मादी आस्था के आधार पर फैसला हो या बाटला हाउस एनकाउंटर पर जांच की मांग से इसकी पुष्टि होती है कि यह फासीवाद सिर्फ चुनावी रास्ते से नहीं बल्कि कानूनी रास्ते से स्थापित किया जा रहा है।
ऐसे में हम आजमगढ के लोग जिन्होंने बाटला हाउस और उसके बाद हुए विभिन्न कथित आंतकवादी वारदातों अपने लोगों और अपने शहर के प्रति सरकार, नौकरशाही और न्यायपालिका के फासीवादी व्यवहार को देखा है, आज इस निर्णय पर पहुंचे हैं कि लोकतंत्र में न्याय की पूरी अवधारणा पर ही नए सिरे से बहस जरुरी हो जाती है। इसलिए लंबे समय से राज्य प्रायोजित मानवाधिकार हनन का केंद्र बन चुके आजमगढ़ में हम पूरे देश में चल रहे मानवाधिकार हनन और उसमें न्यायपालिका के राजनीतिक राष्ट्रीय इस्तेमाल पर एक राष्ट्रीय जनसम्मेलन आयोजित कर रहे हैं। इस महत्वपूर्ण आयोजन में हम आपसे शामिल हाने का आग्रह करते हैं।

संपर्क सूत्र- मसीहुद्दीन संजरी (09455571488), शाहनवाज आलम (09415254919), राजीव यादव (09452800752), तारिक शफीक (09454291958), रवि शेखर (09369444528), विनोद यादव (09450476417)