//Torture victims campaign against violence

Torture victims campaign against violence

Sam Daniel, NDTV.COM

Sunday, July 2, 2006 (Madurai):

In a unique initiative in Tamil Nadu, victims of torture are coming together to campaign against violence.

The aim is to build awareness on the various forms of torture at home, in the classroom, at the work place or even at a police station.

In the now infamous Melavalavu case near Madurai, a dalit panchayat president and six others were murdered by upper caste people.

The wife of the deceased leader, Manimekalai fought for a decade to bring the killers to justice.

"I do not want something like this to happen to anyone else," said Manimekalai.

Fighting back

Human rights activists say suffering in silence is no solution and instead fighting back is the best way forward.

"The awareness created is going to result in a lot of steps people would take to ensure that issues of torture do not go unchallenged," said Henry Tiphagne, Executive Director, People's Watch.

India has not yet ratified the UN convention against torture. Activists say while India is in the race for the top UN assignment there could be no better time for the country to pledge its support to international convention.

"These conventions would open up to the citizens new avenues for appeal against torture," said Vasanthi Devi, Former Chairperson, SCW.

Most of these torture victims have got justice with support from the Human Rights Organisations.

They now have a message, which clearly says that the victim can become a victor.