NCHRO holds Executive Council Meeting on 03 March 2019
03 March 2019
On 03 March 2019, The NCHRO held its Executive Council Meeting (Exco) in Bengaluru. Human rights activists and allies from across the country gathered in Paalana Bhavana, Bengaluru. In addition to standard Exco meeting content, we hosted a Seminar entitled, “VTR and Dalit-Bahujan Empowerment” followed by “2018 Mukundan C Menon Award Ceremony” in the afternoon session.(https://www.nchro.org/index.php/2019/03/03/nchro-conducted-a-seminar-entitled-vtr-and-dalit-bahujan-empowerment-followed-by-2018-mukundan-c-menon-award-ceremony/).
The Exco shared observations on positive and negative trends that impact the protection of human rights. The delegates to the NCHRO Exco Meeting were welcomed by NCHRO Secretary, Reny Ayline.
NCHRO Chairperson Prof A Marx presided over the meeting and thanked the participants for their important and enriching contributions. The morning session was a deep dive into the human rights situation in our country. The Exco was followed by a discussion on the recent NCHRO activity report.
“Accomplishing Human Rights” was the discussion led by Chair, Prof A Marx. Other Speakers included Vice-Chairperson Ashoka Kumari, General Secretary Prof P Koya , Ko. Sugumaran, Adv.Bhavani B Mohan, Adv.S Balan, Vilayodi Shivankutty, Adv.Amit Srivastava, Ansar Indori, etc. Concern for human rights is central in the dialogue.
The Exco highlighted the serious problems people have in accessing justice to enforce their human rights. The Exco noted that the new regional chapters can make significant contributions to promoting and protecting human rights in their respective States.
National Secretary Adv. A Muhammed Yusuff thanked NCHRO members for their participation in the Exco meeting.
At the end of the Exco meeting, the following Resolutions were adopted:-
- Eviction of forest dwellers
NCHRO welcomes the Supreme Court’s suspension of the implementation of its own controversial order to evict around two million forest dwellers from forests across 16 states. Earlier on February 13, 2019, the SC bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha, and MR Shah ordered to take measures to evict all of those who were not able to prove their claims to dwell in the forests. Now the bench has suspended this order and asked the 16 states and the competent authorities that decided on these claims to submit responses on how the claims over traditional forest land were processed. The earlier decision by the SC for eviction negates the claims of the Scheduled Tribes and other vulnerable communities living in the forests under the special protection of the Constitution. We demand that the central and the relevant state governments should take the necessary steps to make this temporary suspension permanent to protect the traditional rights of forest dwellers.
- Deescalate the tension in J&K
NCHRO condemns the deadly attack on military convoy that killed at least forty Indian Jawans in Pulwama. Twelve days after this attack, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out major strikes at Balakot in Pakistan. Following these attacks and counter-attacks tensions escalated sharply in the subcontinent. NCHRO fears such an escalation may lead to a full-fledged war that neither Pakistan nor India can afford. Both countries keep nuclear warheads and triumphalist jingoism by either side only lead to a disaster for both the countries. The political route is the only way to settle the problems between the two countries. The continuing troubles in Kashmir is the background in all these including the present escalation. NCHRO demands that all the stakeholders in the Kashmir issue should sit together and work towards a political solution to the problem.
- Stop the harassment of Kashmiris
Following the attack on Indian army convoy in Pulwama, Kashmiri workers, traders, and students were attacked by frenzy mobs in certain parts of our country. They were physically harassed and threatened to leave the state. It is reported that the mobs targeting Kashmiris were led by Hindutva affiliated organizations. NCHRO condemns such violence and communally motivated actions against Kashmiri people and leaders. We demand stringent action against those who attacked and harassed Kashmiri students, traders and workers. Such violence, hasty actions, and jingoist speeches will only lead to further alienation of Kashmir people.
- Spell out the policy on Draconian Laws
In all over India, thousands of people are arrested under draconian preventive detention laws such as UAPA. Mostly activists, leaders of minority communities and Adivasis are arrested and kept in jails for years together. We demand that all political parties contesting in the coming parliamentary election should clearly spell their stand on such draconian preventive detention laws.
- Lift the Ban on Popular Front of India in Jharkhand
It is of great concern for human rights activists that Popular Front of India is once again banned by the Jharkhand state government. When it was first banned on Feb 12, 2018, NCHRO formed a fact-finding team and visited Jharkhand and met various sections of people, activists, and political party leaders and published a report in New Delhi on March 26, 2018. We found that more than ten organizations fighting for the rights of Adivasis and minorities were banned by the Jharkhand government under section16 of the Criminal Amendment Act (CLA). According to Fr. Stan Swami, an activist working among Adivasis of Jharkhand, about 3,000 young Adivasi under-trial prisoners are in Jharkhand jails. And the BJP ruled has gained notoriety for lynching and harassment of many Muslims by Hindutva mobs on false charges that they are trading beef. It should be noted here that in August 2018 the Ranchi High Court quashed the ban on PFI. Now exactly one year after the previous ban, the PFI is banned once again under false charges which are a repetition of what is found in earlier ban order. PFI is one of the very few national organizations working for the rights of victims within the ambit of Indian laws and constitution. It is also involved in many philanthropic activities during the tsunami and many other natural disasters. NCHRO condemns the ban on PFI by the Jharkhand government and urges it to lift the ban immediately.
6. Lift the Ban on Jammu-Kashmir Jamate-e-Islami
In the wake of the increasing tension in Kashmir Valley, the GOI has banned Jammu-Kashmir Jamate-e-Islami as a part of the crackdown. Jamaat-e-Islami in Kashmir is known to be active in educational and social work and the govt. seems to be in search of scapegoats and more interested in using harsh laws to suppress dissent. NCHRO condemns such acts and calls upon the authorities to lift the ban on Jammu-Kashmir Jamate-e-Islami without delay
7. Fr Stan Swami
Fr Stan Swami is working among the Adivasis in Jharkhand and now targeted by the Maharashtra police by involving him in the Bhima Koregaon case along with other so-called ‘Urban Naxalites’. NCHRO condemn the Maharashtra government targeting Fr Stan Swami for his human rights work and urges to drop its efforts to arrest him under UAPA.
8. Release the accused in Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case
The Tamil Nadu cabinet had recommended the release of all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to the governor under article 161 of the Constitution. The development came after the Supreme Court in Sept, 2018 directed Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit to take a decision on their release. A resolution was passed at the cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister. The Tamil Nadu assembly has also unanimously decided to release all these seven convicts who have spent about 27 years in prison. However, even after SC has permitted the governor refuses to release the convicts. Such acts of the governor are against natural justice and vindictive unbecoming of his office.NCHRO demands that all these seven people should be immediately released from the prison as per article 161 of the Constitution and directive of the Supreme Court.
9. Release the prisoners
Last year Tamil Nadu Government decided to release all those convicts who have completed 10 years in prison. Hundreds of prisoners have been released in the past six months. However, there are more than 81 Muslim prisoners in Tamilnadu prisons who are eligible to be released as per this decision. But most of them are not released even though they have served more than ten years in prison. The previous DMK regime also released thousands of prisoners on Anna’s birthday in three consecutive years. But only a few Muslims were released and that too after long struggle. Now there are 23 Muslim prisoners who have completed more than 20 years in prison. Three Muslim prisoners had spent more than 18 years in prison, three prisoners had spent about 14 years in prison and three Muslim prisoners have completed 11 years in prison. NCHRO strongly condemns the partisan attitude of the government and remind the authorities that India is a secular state and deplores such blatant discrimination. NCHRO urges the AIADMK Government to stop this discrimination and to extend the benefits to Muslim prisoners also.