Monday, May 08, 2006

Our organization has been in the field of Human Rights for the past one decade for which it has been widely acclaimed by several Indian and International Human Rights Bodies.Based in the Varanasi District of the State of Uttar Pradesh , India, PVCHR , is working in 40 villages of Varanasi District and in 80 districts of Five states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar , Jharkhand and Uttaranchal with a membership exceeding Fifty Thousand . In the past one decade PVCHR has been responsible for the detection , identification and rescue of almost 800 trafficked bonded child labourers belonging to the Dalit and other marginalized castes of India. Also have successfully obtained for Dalit victims of Human Rights abuses compensation worth Rupees .Forty Three Hundred Thousand. Apart from this PVCHR has helping Dalits fight legal cases for their rights. Presently for the past two years , PVCHR is engaged in organising the Dalit Community by forming special villages called JAN MITRA GANV OR PEOPLE’S FRIENDLY VILLAGE in three villages of Varanasi district where through special formed Community Based Organizations based on Age and Gender , the Dalit and other marginalized community are being guided to demand for their rights and challenge violation of those rights guranteed to them by the Indian Constitution and by International Convention to which the Indian Government is a Signatory . Recognising Education and Basic Health as two essential Rights PVCHR have successfully been pressuring the Government to establish Schools where there are none and improving the quality of those that exists . In the meantime with the help of International Aid Agencies it is running five centers for eduation .It was in recognition of these , that the ASHOKA : Innovators for Public has given the award of ASHOKA FELLOW 2001 . Similarly Dr.Zakaria Mohammed Yacoob , Sitting Judge of the Constitutional of South Africa and Chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville had agreed to be our Parton . Also several prominent retired Judges of both the Supreme Court , High Court and National Human Rights Commission are on our International Advisory Board. Apart from these several prominent individuals , Historians ,Professionals, Artists , etc have been involved in our foundation and continue to lend their support and participation ." India's independence from the fetters of British Colonialism has only freed the nation politically but socially and culturally it is still under feudal bondage.Democratization of the society needs to be done,as the scociety hasn't been freed from the clutches of caste system, communalism , conservative ideas and customs. The Hindu Fundamentalism occasionally raises its fangs in this scenerio, the dalits and advasis need to be organised and the anti people policies affecting them the most has to be challenged through movements. It is important and timely as the marginalised section has to be brought in a platform where PVCHR can not only struggle against the government 's plicies but also give a unified face to their resistence against the Globalisation and Liberalisation.This has given rise to a very intresting situation where in every village the settlement of the marginalised (Dalits etc) are located in the South.Similarly at the Global level the Northern Developed countries exploit the Southern world .PVCHR thus feels that it is important to counter all forms of marginalisation in all areas ,at every level ,at every step and in various ways. Only such concerted drive will ensure Human Rights .For this it is necessary to challenge the Caste System,patriarchy and Saffronisataion while at the same time empower the marginalised at the micro level and at the macro level the margilisation by economic Globalisation.Thus we make a voice for the South from the Village level to the Global level.SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS ON VARANASI.The city of Varanasi located on the banks of Ganga is claimed by the Brahmanical Forces as their cultural capital although it is also the work place of Gautam Buddha , Kabeer , Premchand who all fought against upper caste violence and discrimination .The law giver of Brahmanical forces called Manu who wrote the Brahmanical law book called Manusmriti had written that the lower caste Dalits , backwards , women are not entitled to receive any education . As a result over the yerars and spanning several generations , these marginalised communities have remainedilleterate.The children of these communities have been denied the right to be educated and have ended up as bonded labourers , bonded child labourers in Carpet , Silk and Sarees industries where they do not receive the minimum wages subjected to physical violence by their employers and compelled to work in extremely bad enviroment detrimental to their health .80% of this community is subjected to police atrocities and violence such as custodial deaths and rape and false encounters.Their woemen and girls are treated to all kinds of sexual abuses and humiliation .In the Block of Badeganv , in the village of Belwa located on the south of the block the whole Dalit & backwards Ghetto had been denied voting rights for the past twenty five years by the village headman or Pradhan . They were not registered in the voting list , nor given photo identification cards or ration cards all requiredto qualify a citizen to vote. Denied this they are turned back from the voting booth by the electoral officer .Uneducated and poor they cannot and do not know how to challenge this violence.Their children are not allowed to educate themselves because the Pradhan has not allowed any government school from coming up in that area while the private schools are too costly for them to afford.Consequently the children of the Dalits remains illeterate and end up as bonded labourers. Even in those Dalit Ghettos wherethere are government schools they have poor facilities , lack qualified and adequate teachers or frequent absentism.Further the Girls are engaged in caring for the infants of the family hence are unable to attend in schools .In most of these villages the upper caste children attend "Saraswati Shishu Mandirs" of the Brahmanical forces where they are taught to look down upon the dalit children thus developing caste bias from an early age. It is these who end up as administrators who then continue their caste biased administration against Dalits and other backwards.The Brahmanical forces capture the village adminsitrative bodies through physical violence and adminstrative corruption and deny the Dalits access to village common property and government schemes which are cornered bythe Brahaminical forces for their own benefits.“Trafficking is the transporting of a person from one place to another by means of deception , kidnapping ,actual threatened or implied violence aided by person in position of authority eg.immigration Officers, Police Officers etc.”PVCHR & its founder Dr.Lenin, Member of District Vigilance Committee on Bonded Labor has been fighting for more than a decade, the meance of bonded labor in which Trafficking plays a dominant role. He has been responsible for the release of more than 800 bonded laborers. In the first six months of 2002 alone, PVCHR has released 38 trafficked laborers from Brick Kiln and Carpet Industry. PVCHR has documented the existence of child labor in the Silk Weaving Industry and also a recent study on Trafficking. It has been networking with other NGOs and Government Agencies in fighting this menace.The insight gained from this experience is that majority of the trafficked are f rom the Dalit and other marginalized caste and almost none from the Upper caste households though poverty exists among them also. Why is this so? . Brahmanism for centuries and generations had kept the Dalit and other marginalized castes segregated and deprived of their basic human rights. Even after Independence, inspite of a Constitution that proclaims equal rights, this particular section of the Indian population are not empowered in their home villages. Through deception, Gangsterism, Bending of rules and misuse of Official machinery the Dalits have been kept out of local self Governing bodies like Panchayats and denied access to development schemes. When the Dalits challenge these violations or demand their constitutional rights, a repressive Police Force is unleashed on the whole Dalit community, repressive laws like Gangster Acts and Arms Acts are falsely charged on them and then they are indiscriminately and inhumanely murdered in false encounters.Trafficking in India can be controlled and eliminated only when the social and economic conditions of the Dalits and Marginalized are improved by giving them greater empowerment by giving them greater representation in local governing elected bodies and are given greater and equal access to educations, development schemes and when they have control over common property resources.BADEPUR : A SYMBOL OF PEOPLE ‘ S INITIATIVE.LocationThe area or purva of Badepurv is located within the Village of Belwa in Badagaon block under Police Station Phulpur. The Village of Belwa has a majority of the upper Castes and a small percentage of minorites (Muslims ) But the purva of Badepur is almost totally populated by Dalits and other bavckward castes and is administered by the Belwa Gram Panchayat headed by a Lady Pradhan Mrs. Radhika Tripati whose husband Mr.Tiwari had been the Pradhan for the past twentyfive years.Not having equal having membership in the Panchyat, the Dalits do not have effective voice and power within it due to upper Caste suppression. For almost fifty years they had been unable to execise their voting power because the then Pradhan, Mr. Rajendra Tiwari (husband of current Pradhan Mrs. Radhika Tiwari) had effectively prevented them from exercising their voting rights by denying them Ration Cards, Photo Identity card & Registration of their names in the Voters list. Similary he prevented the opening of any Government Primary School while succesfully running his own private private School within the Village’s Primary Health Centre. As a result many of Dalit Children had no access to education. The Community then began runing its own community school which had no rooms and roofs. Mr. Tiwari also owned Brick kilns in which he used the Adults and Children of the Dalit community as bonded laboures.During State, Central & Panchyat election time he used his men to prevent the Dalits from reaching the Booth for voting. The administration took his side ignoring the welfare and rights of Dalits. He placed his wife as pradhan and misused panchyat powers and cornered goverment development shcemes for his and upper castes benefits.When the local Administration agreed to the opening of two “Anganbadis” Mr.Tiwari attempted to have them located near his house.In the year 2000 PVCHR began intervention by opening a Non formal education centre ( NFE) and began mobilising the Dalits and several members of the community came forward and became good activist . PVCHR filed several pettions and brought to the notice of the local administration, the illegal and Anti Dalit activities of Mr. Rajendra Tiwari violating the rights of Dalits. A Tribunal was held and the Indian Peoples Tribunal published and circulated widely how the Dalits of Belwa were being denied their Constiutional rights. In November 2001, the Dalits mobilised for the NAFRE rally in Delhi to bring about positive changes in the Educational policy the goverment. Mr. Tiwari sensed the rousing of the Dalit community and openely threatened to desroy the homes of those who attended the Rally. His muscle men disrupted meeting in Belwa being addressed by the Convenor of PVCHR, Physically attacked and abused PVCHR activist and threatened to kill them. PVCHR informed NHRC which alerted the local police & authorities Raid were conducted on his kiln and the bonded labourers were released. All of these were given wide publicity in the local media.The result was visible in the February 2002 state election when for the first time, the Dalit men and women openely challenged Mr. Tiwari. Many of the Women had come armed with chllie powder and the Men with Sickles. Although they could not vote due to not having the proper documents (again because Mr.Tiwari had prevented their Ration Cards from being ready in time nor the inclusion of their names in the Voters List ) the wide media publicity help check his abusive behaviour. The BSA/ ABSA also visited Badepur and confirment the need for a school. The final blow was the visit of an NHRC team and the transfer of the village secretary from Belwa to Lakhimpur.ImpactThe people Badepur had become more confident .With financial Help from PVCHR and their own contribution of labour and material the Community school was improved upon with better roofing and rooms.The student population soon exceeded 200 children. PVCHR is now evolving it as model centre. On May 2002, Justice Dr. Z.M. Yacoob the Sitting Judge of the Constitutional court of South Africa & the Chancellor of the University of Durban visited Badepur and participated in a communit Lunch with the Dalits. All of this has brought positive changes within the Dalit community whose confidence has increased.