Posts Tagged ‘Ombudsman’

People fast for Jan Lokpal at Silchar, Assam

June 8, 2011

People fast for Jan Lokpal at Silchar, Assam

People of Barak valley fast for Jan Lokpal Bill at Silchar on 8 June, 2011

People of Barak valley fast for Jan Lokpal Bill at Silchar on 8 June, 2011

Silchar, 8 June: Sixty five persons did not take food for the whole day from 8am to 4pm on 8 June, 2011 and they along with others sat on protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office at Silchar, Assam to express solidarity with India Against Corruption movement and to denounce the unnecessary and excessive use of police force that led to injuries to about 70 protestors against corruption at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi in the early hours of 5 June, 2011.

People of Barak valley fast for Jan Lokpal Bill at Silchar on 8 June, 2011 (2)

People of Barak valley fast for Jan Lokpal Bill at Silchar on 8 June, 2011 (2)

These people represented Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) and other 20 mass organizations working in Assam, particularly the southern part of the state known as Barak valley, including 1. Asom Majuri Shramik Union, Silchar, Cachar; 2. Krishan Bikash Samiti, Banskandi, Cachar; 3. Sanmilito Sanskritik Mancha, Silchar; 4.  Centre for Integrated Rural Development (CIRD), Srikona, Cachar; 5. Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Silchar, Cachar; 6. Ever Green Society, Silchar, 6. Nari Mukti Sangstha, Silchar; 7. SrikonaClub, Silchar; 8. Chorus, Drama Organisation, Silchar; 9. SC, ST Student Development Forum, Assam University, Silchar; 10. Tarapur G.P. Bachao Committee, Tarapur, Silchar;12. Manipuri Diaspora, Silchar; 13. Mukta Sena (Club), Silchar; 14. COPE (NGO) Silchar; 15. Gono Bikash Sangstha, Assam, Silchar; Kalpotoru Club, Rongpur, Cachar.

People of Barak valley fast for Jan Lokpal Bill at Silchar on 8 June, 2011 (3)

People of Barak valley fast for Jan Lokpal Bill at Silchar on 8 June, 2011 (3)

Mr. Neharul Ahmed Mazumder, secretary general of BHRPC, spoke at length about corruption in India and ways of fighting it. He said, ‘the Jan Lokpal Bill is a small but very significant and necessary step in the struggle against corruption. Corrupt elements in the government and corporate world are desperately trying to kill the bill, according him. Mr. Biswajit Das, secretary, CHORUS, and Mr. Nirmal Kumar Das from Asom Majuri Shramik Union condemned the police action at Ramlila terming it as violations of basic human rights of the people and urged the people to come out against such repressive actions of the government wherever and in whatever form may they happen.

In a statement issued by BHRPC on 7 June the organization said, “The struggle against corruption can not be separated from the struggle for a democratic India that respects human rights and the rule of law. It is simultaneously a struggle against privatisation, against neo-liberal policies, against draconian laws like AFSPA and the sedition law, against state crackdowns on dissenting voices and against corporate dictation of government policies. It is simultaneously a struggle to defend the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across the country.”

People of Barak valley fast for Jan Lokpal Bill at Silchar on 8 June, 2011 (4)

People of Barak valley fast for Jan Lokpal Bill at Silchar on 8 June, 2011 (4)

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BHRPC denounces crackdown on anti corruption protest

June 7, 2011

Press Statement

For immediate release

07 June, 2011, Silchar

 

BHRPC to fast to denounce crackdown on anti corruption protest

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) strongly denounces the unnecessary use of brutal police force that led to injuries to about 70 protestors against corruption at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi in the early hours of 5 June, 2011, and demands a prompt and impartial investigation into the incident. However, BHRPC does not share, like many other human rights organizations, the political, social and economic vision of Swami Ramdev and considers many of his demands and rhetoric as highly objectionable and ill-advised, but feels that everybody should stand for all others’ right to peaceful protest, freedom from torture and ill-treatment and right to life.

 BHRPC also condemns the prohibitory orders by the Delhi police under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) under the jurisdiction of New Delhi district with a view to disrupt the announced peaceful protest and fast by Anna Hazare and activists of the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement on 8 June, 2011 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

 In solidarity with IAC, members of BHRPC along with other 20 organisations will fast on 8 June, 2011 in Silchar (Assam) in solidarity with the nationwide movement against corruption led by Anna Hazare and other movements against violations of human rights, repression and injustices. BHRPC urges the people of Assam, particularly the residents of Barak valley, to join the country in protest against repression of people’s voices by force and in demand of an effective anti-corruption institution under the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill.

 BHRPC considers that the use of force must be in accordance with the strict necessity to uphold peace and human rights. The right to life and freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and right to freedom of the thought and expression which includes right to dissent and right to protest are enshrined in the constitution of India as well as provided in international human rights law and standards, including in treaties binding on India, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by the country in 1979. These cannot be violated by the government as has been done in this case.

 BHRPC has been witnessing with concern the increasing tendency of excessive use of force and highhandedness of the governments in dealing with peaceful protest against injustices and anti-people government policies throughout the country including opening fire on the protest against nuclear power project at Jaitapur, Maharastra killing one; deployment of heavy police force against the villagers opposing forcible land acquisition for the POSCO project in Jagatsinghpur, Orissa; illegal arrest of Akhil Gogoi, secretary general of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti in Guwahati, Assam on 10 April, 2011 while addressing a press conference.

 BHRPC believes that the struggle against corruption can not be separated from the struggle for a democratic India that respects human rights and the rule of law. It is simultaneously a struggle against privatisation, against neo-liberal policies, against draconian laws like AFSPA and the sedition law, against state crackdowns on dissenting voices and against corporate dictation of government policies. It is simultaneously a struggle to defend the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across the country.

Neharul Ahmed Mazumder

Secretary General

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People of Barak valley march against corruption

May 1, 2011

People of Barak valley march against corruption, demand Jan Lokpal Bill

A still from the street play of CHORUS presented before the peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-1)

A still from the street play of CHORUS presented before the peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-1)

 Hundreds of people came out in the streets of Silchar in Assam today in support of the campaign against corruption launched nation-wide by India Against Corruption and marched about 4 kilo meters along the heart of the city from below the statue of Shaheed Khudiram at Dakbangla to below the statue of Netajee Subhash Chandra Bose at Rangirkhari point. The march started at about 5pm after a street play by CHORUS, a local drama organization. People were holding placards written in both English and Bengali and shouting slogans.  Some of the placards read ‘we condemn smear campign against the Bhushans’, ‘down with vilification campaign against the civil society’, ‘repeal sedition laws and enact the Jan Lokpal’ repeal repressive laws/AFSPA and enact the Janlokpal’, ‘destroy the corruption cartel of big corporations-politicians and bureaucrats’, ‘stop corruption in broad gauge project’ etc.

les' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-1)

les' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-1)

 The march was organized by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) along with other 20 odd local organizations including 1. Asom Majuri Shramik Union, Silchar, Cachar; 2. Krishan Bikash Samiti, Banskandi, Cachar; 3. Centre for Integrated Rural Development (CIRD), Srikona, Cachar; 4. Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Silchar, Cachar;  5. Cachar Jamiot Ulema Hind; 6. Ever green Society, Silchar, 7. Nari Mukti Sangsta, Silchar; 8. Srikona Club, Silchar; 9. Chours, Drama Organisations, Silchar; 10. SC, ST Student Development Forum, Assam University, Silchar; 11. Tarapur G.P. Bachao Committee, Tarapur, Silchar; 12. Student Democratic Forum, Assam University, Silchar; 13. Manipuri Diaspora, Silchar; 14. Mukta Sena (Club), Silchar;15. Swabhiman, Silchar; 16. Minority Student Forum, Assam University, Silchar; 17. COPE (NGO) Silchar; 18. Gono Bikash Sangtha, Assam, Silchar.

 The event started at 4pm with a very compact and beautiful street play presented by CHORUS. The play showed how inequality of power and unaccountably of those who wield the rein breed corruption and injustices that do not spare any one and eventually eats up those who initially got benefit from the situation. It was a story of two beggars. One is blind and another is limp. But the limp one was more powerful and got corrupt.

A still from the street play of CHORUS presented before the peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-2)

A still from the street play of CHORUS presented before the peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-2)

 “People of Barak valley came out in streets in hundreds to demands an effective Jan Lokpal at the centre”, said Neharul Ahmed Mazumder, secretary general of BHRPC. He added that corrupt forces of the country were shaken to see the recent outpouring of public outrage against the corruption and they launched smear campaign against the Bhushans and other civil society members in the joint committee formed by the government to draft a Lokpal Bill. “We wanted to send a message that the civil society members do not eed to be distracted by the diversionary tactics as people from the remotest of the corners of the country are with them.”

 The joint statement of the organizers said, “In Assam there is already a Lukayukta (State Ombudsman) in existence since 1989 constituted under the Assam Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act, 1985. However, its existence is only in papers. Legally it is ineffective and practically dysfunctional. Corruption in Assam is, by no means, lesser in amount of money involved or its effect in defeating the rule of law and justice than what is happening in the rest of the country. Assam needs to amend its Lokayukta Act in line with the Jan Lokpal Bill, as it will be shaped in its final version, to make it effective.

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-2)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-2)

 “Moreover, corruption needs to be fought in other fronts also. A strong and effective Lokpal can only provide deterrence and disincentives for corruption by investigating and prosecuting the corrupt officials and politicians. Thus, it can only check the supply side of corruption. There is a huge demand of corruption from giant corporations that came into existence due to the privatization of essential services and natural resources under the name of liberalization. It is not possible to curb corruption without changing the government policies.”

The march ended at about 7pm at Rangirkhari point.

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-8)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-8)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-7)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-7)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-3)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-3)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-4)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-4)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-5)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-5)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-6)

Peoples' march against corruption in Silchar, Assam on 1 May 2001 (image-6)

Peoples’ March Against Corruption

April 30, 2011

Join

Peoples’ March Against Corruption

In Silchar, Assam

At …. , on 1 May 2011

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) and other 20 odd grassroots organizations working in Barak valley in Assam invite the citizens of India residing in Barak valley to join a Peoples’ March Against Corruption to be started approximately at 4 pm on 1 May 2011 from below the statue of Shaheed Khudiram at Dakbangla, Silchar, Assam. The march will end at below the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at Rangirkhari, Silchar covering about 4 km.

The march is organized to show support and solidarity with the movement launched and led by India Against Corruption for an effective legislation to constitute a Lokpal (Ombudsman) at the centre to fight against corruption. It is also to express peoples’ denunciation to the smear campaign launched by corrupt forces against the senior advocate Mr. Prashant Bhushan and his father former law minister Mr. Shanti Bhushan, who are the members of the joint committee to draft a Lokpal Bill constituted by the government, and other members of the committee.

The recent outpouring of public outrage at corruption and support to the campaign for a strong Lokpal Bill appears to have made some sections of politicians, the media and the business interests that control both, afraid and desperate.  They are trying to weaken the movement, and particularly, to discredit the joint committee by indulging in personal attacks on the civil society members. Instead of debating the details of the proposed Lokpal Bill, and deliberating ways of making it more effective and people friendly and invention of other measures of curbing corruption, they are focused on character assassination of members of the Committee.

In Assam there is already a Lukayukta (State Ombudsman) in existence since 1989 constituted under the Assam Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act, 1985. However, its existence is only in papers. Legally it is ineffective and practically dysfunctional. Corruption in Assam is, by no means, lesser in amount of money involved or its effect in defeating the rule of law and justice than what is happening in the rest of the country. Assam needs to amend its Lokayukta Act in line with the Jan Lokpal Bill, as it will be shaped in its final version, to make it effective.

Moreover, corruption needs to be fought in other fronts also. A strong and effective Lokpal can only provide deterrence and disincentives for corruption by investigating and prosecuting the corrupt officials and politicians. Thus, it can only check the supply side of corruption. There is a huge demand of corruption from giant corporations that came into existence due to the privatization of essential services and natural resources under the name of liberalization. It is not possible to curb corruption without changing the government policies.

Mass organizations and masses of Barak valley will march to draw the attention of leadership of the movement to these issues and to the fact that they don’t need to be distracted by the diversionary tactics as people from the remotest of the corners of the country are with them.

Convener Organisations:

1. Asom Majuri Shramik Union

Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

2. Barak Human Rights Protection Committee

   Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

3. Krishan Bikash Samiti

   Banskandi, Cachar, Assam.

4. Centre for Integrated Rural Development (CIRD)

    Srikona, Cachar, Assam.

5. Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti

Silchar, Cacahr, Assam.

6. Cachar Jamiot Ulema Hind

    Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

7. Ever green Society

    Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

8. Nari Mukti Sangta

 Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

9. Srikona Club

    Srikona Club, Cachar, Assam

10. Chours, Drama Organisations

      Silchar, Cachar, Assam

11. SC, ST Student Development Forum

      Assam University, Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

12. Tarapur G.P. Bachao Committee

       Tarapur, Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

13. Student Democratic Forum

      Assam University, Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

14. Manipuri Diaspora

      Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

15. Mukta Sena (Club)

      Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

16. Swabhiman

      Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

17. Minority Student Forum

      Assam University, Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

18. COPE (NGO)

     Silchar, Cachar, Assam.

19. Gono Bikash Sangtha, Assam

      Silchar, Cachar.

Forwarded Statement: INDIA: A responsible government will listen to the people

April 7, 2011

Forwarded Statement

April 7, 2011

Dear friends,

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) is pleased to forward the  Statement issued jointly by the Asian Human Rights Commission and (1) Madhya Pradesh Right to Food Campaign Support Group; (2) Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangthan; (3) Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Morch; (4) Sarokaar; (5) Baal Panchayat; (6) Nagrik Adhikar Manch; (7) Yuva Samvad; (8) Prasoon and (9) Vikas Samvad; human rights organisations working in India regarding the people’s movement demanding the Government of India to legislate the Jan Lokpal Bill without any further delay.

INDIA: A responsible government will listen to the people

Veteran human rights defender and anti-corruption activist, Mr. Anna Hazare has started an indefinite fast in New Delhi, on 5 April, demanding the Government of India to legislate the Jan Lokpal Bill without any further delay. The Bill is a model law against corruption, drafted and proposed by the civil society in India to the government. The Bill, if enacted by the Parliament, would create two independent institutions in the country, the Lokpal in the centre and the Lokayuktha in the states, mandated to accept complaints from the general public concerning corruption, and to investigate and prosecute persons suspected of corruption. The Lokpal and the Lokayuktha, if constituted, are conceived to be independent bodies like the Supreme Court and the Election Commission and to remain immune from any form of external influences. Several civil society groups in India have joined Hazare in his struggle.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) along with the above named organisations expresses solidarity to the struggle and joins hands with the rest of the civil society in the country in the fight to create an environment to constitute a corruption free India. We believe that the civil society initiative in India will lead the way and will form the bedrock of inspiration for similar movements in South Asia.

Dealing with corruption is a taboo for governments that holds fort in New Delhi and at the state capitals. For the past 42 years, a draft Bill to constitute a Lokpal has been pending before the Indian Parliament. No government was interested in dealing with the subject, or if interested, was unable to get the law passed. Even though the country’s economy advanced to become the fourth largest in the world in terms of GDP dollar estimates derived from purchasing power parity, India still does not have an independent functioning mechanism to deal with corruption. In that, India is one of the alarmingly corrupt countries of the world, being ranked 87 consistently for the past nine years, by global corruption monitoring agencies like the Transparency International.

Corruption and the concept of a socialist, secular and democratic republic cannot go together. Corruption undermines justice, liberty, equality and fraternity, the core values of India’s constitutional framework. Freedom and sovereignty has no purpose or meaning should corruption remain the central cord with which the social fabric of a country is woven and if corruption determines the balance of power in interactions among the people and between the people and their government. Social evils like caste-based discrimination can be only addressed adequately in a corruption free environment. Rightly conceived social welfare measures will deliver timely results should corruption be brought under control. Effective control of corruption could be the silver bullet with which poverty can be eliminated. Corruption undermines fair trial and thus sustainable development and progress. A corruption free environment is thus the dream of every aam admi and in that perspective Hazare’s protest represents the whole of India, including those who have formed the government and those who opposes it.

While having a legislation that envisages the constitution of independent and capable institutions is a prerequisite to contain corruption, it will be devoid of legitimacy, should it lack adequate consultation in the process and if the law does not receive the support of effective implementing entities.

A good law must ideally represent the will of the people, for which they must be heard. The collective wisdom of Indians must be thus held supreme and the civil society must take the lead to therefore consult the people, gathering opinion of what they wish to have as a corruption prevention entity in the country. The Parliament cannot and must not be held the sole representative body for this purpose, since many members of the Parliament lacks moral and legal legitimacy as they have benefited from the existing corrupt environment. It is thus for the civil society of the country to take the lead, in consultation with the government, to decide upon a transparent and mature process through which an all inclusive and time bound consultation could be held to deal with the subject.

The AHRC is of the opinion that having a law unaccompanied by an effective implementation framework is destined to fail. To begin with, the present entities in India that deals with corruption must be thoroughly scrutinised. Of particular importance are: (1) the Central Bureau of Investigation, (2) the Central Vigilance Commission, (3) prosecutorial agencies and (4) the local police. In any jurisdiction of the world where corruption has been successfully prevented, the police have been kept away from the entire process. Within Asia, like in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea, where the governments have been successful in keeping corruption relatively low, the corruption prevention framework has completely excluded the police from playing any investigative role on allegations of corruption. On the contrary, it was the police who have been brought under the scanner and prosecuted in the first phase of controlling corruption in all the four countries. Even today, these countries keep a watertight separation between policing and corruption prevention. If the success in these countries could be emulated in India, which has been the case also in some of the western countries, the presence of police officers on deputation, irrespective of their ranks must be prevented in the whole corruption prevention apparatus. Once the corruption within the police is controlled, it is relatively easy to deal with the failing rule of law environment, that must be revived to effectively deal with corruption.

A drive against corruption must also reflect its seriousness within the prosecutorial service. The hard work and labour of an investigation will be futile should the prosecutor fail in her job. The existing standard of prosecution in the country is not capable in discharging its legal mandate. The practice of appointing special prosecutors in selected cases must be dropped. Instead, the entire prosecution service must be reviewed and its standards improved drastically, to fit a justice system that guarantees fair trial. In the excuse of easing the job of the prosecutor, processes once suggested by shortsighted government committees like the one that was headed my former judge, Mr. Malimood, must not be adopted.

The appointment of the members for the proposed Lokpal and Lokayuktha must be open, transparent and practical. It must not be based on the sheer pleasure of the government or of seniority in service, as it is the case for the CVC, nor should it be cumbersome as suggested by the Jan Lokpal Bill. A simple, transparent process must be devised. In most jurisdictions where independent and capable corruption prevention agencies exist, such processes also have been devised. Similarly, both institutions must have its own independent staff to function, appointed not on deputation from other government services as it is currently the case concerning the human rights commissions, but selected on the basis of merits and trained and equipped to discharge their job.

Indeed such processes would entail heavy expenses, which could not become a tenable excuse for a country like India, nor can the government deny such spending since it would smother the very functioning of an essential institution that the country need for its very survival and if it respects democracy as one of its founding norms. Indians might be poor India is not.

In addition to the above suggestions, an effective law against corruption must also guarantee time-bound investigation and trials. One of the curses of India’s justice apparatus is the inordinate delay in investigation and adjudication, which together can take more than 20 years. In cases concerning corruption, the experience so far is that the investigation itself could take more than two decades. The law could also consider providing a wider interpretation and definition to the term ‘corruption’. In today’s context, corruption need not necessarily be limited to financial corruption. The country’s governments are notorious for formulating polices with corrupt or otherwise malicious intentions. In that, policies that illegally profits any government or entities therein implemented through corrupt means or with malafide intentions must also be brought within the scope of corruption. Contrary to the mistaken perception that such wider definition of corruption would defeat the law, it has been successfully implemented in many countries, that has helped to bring in added responsibility and accountability within governments.

Contrary to what has been repeatedly projected by some of the political parties in the past few months, corruption in the country and its magnitude today cannot be held as the fault of any single government. Every political party in the country has an unshakable responsibility in deteriorating the conditions in India to the levels as it is today. Those political parties that pledge support today to the movement led by Hazare, understandably for sheer political mileage, have their own rotten skeletons inside their wardrobes. Yet this does not mean that these entities must not be consulted during the people’s consultative process. As a citizen of the country, everyone, including those who are part of the ruling coalition today, has a right to be part of the consultation, as individuals. Preventing corruption, for that matter is not the vested agenda of any particular political party. It is a decisive cause for the country, in which every political party that believes in democracy has a responsible role to play.

The AHRC wishes Hazare good health and supports him and his colleagues in this unique movement, which has the potential, not only to change the destiny of Indians, but also that of the region for a better tomorrow. It is also the responsibility of all civil society groups inside and outside India to join the campaign and extend support to Hazare and his friends.

The AHRC call upon the government of India to ensure that all necessary steps are initiated to ensure that Hazare’s fast finds a meaningful end. By doing so, the government is not succumbing to the sloganeering of the political opposition, but is respecting its people and thus fulfilling its mandate.

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-050-2011