This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Abhimanyu Kumar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Out Now: Amnesty’s Scathing Report On How Govt. Is Violating Human Rights In Chhattisgarh

More from Abhimanyu Kumar

By Abhimanyu Singh:

Women in Chhattisgarh. Source: Wikipedia.

In a scathing report released on Monday, April 18, 2016, titled ‘Blackout in Bastar: Human Rights Defenders Under Threat’, international human rights organisation Amnesty International castigated the workings of the Chhattisgarh government when it comes to dealing with the Maoist situation in the state.

“For the last six months, the central Indian state has witnessed a sustained attack on journalists and human rights defenders. Conditions have been created where arbitrary arrests, threats to life, and organised hindrance to the work of journalists, lawyers, and other human rights defenders have led to a near-total information blackout.”

“Research by the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group in prisons in Bastar in 2013 revealed widespread apathy to the rights of pre-trial detainees(or ‘undertrials’). The lawyers found that,between 2005 and 2013, about 96 percent of all criminal cases in Dantewada resulted in acquittals. Yet many undertrials spent long periods in jail awaiting trial. In 2013, nearly half the undertrials in the Dantewada district jail had spent over a year in prison.”

The report, which is quite exhaustive in nature, goes into detailed allegations against the government, pointing out instances of arrest of journalists over trumped up charges. It cites the names of almost half-a-dozen journalists from local and national press, like Santosh Yadav and Somaru Nag, who have been put behind bars, or forced to leave like Malini Subramaniam. It cites the testimony of their close ones and editors and in all cases, it appears that they were being framed for reporting both sides of the story.

“Santosh Yadav’s reports put a spotlight on the harassment of Adivasis by the state police. Within days of the incident, he was arrested. He was accused of being involved in an attack by Maoist armed groups on security forces on 29 September, and arrested for alleged rioting, criminal conspiracy, murder, and being part of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) armed group, among other offences. He has been charged under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act – both of which violate international human rights standards – and other laws. If convicted, he could spend up to 10 years in jail.”

“”There is lot of fear in the villages in Bastar. They are scared of both police officers and Maoists. The local media in Jagdalpur is helpless, the police can harass them anytime if they don’t toe the police line. Truth is a casualty because of this,” said Jinesh Jain, Editor, Patrika.”

“Malini Subramanium is a journalist who contributes to the news website Scroll, and has consistently written on allegations of human rights violations by security forces in Chhattisgarh, including cases of sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and torture of journalists, and fake Maoist ‘surrenders’.”

The report also mentions the case of Bela Bhatia, an independent activist and the hounding she faced from vigilante groups like the Samajik Ekta Manch. The report makes it known that Bhatia faced persecution due to the help she provided to Adivasi women who reported rapes and sexual harassment at the hands of the security forces. Shalini Gera and Isha Khandelwal, lawyers with the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group were also similarly targeted, the report alleges, for providing legal support to these women. It mentions three alleged instances of the widespread sexual abuse at the hands of the security forces.

“On 21 January 2016, as Bela Bhatia and other activists were assisting Adivasi women from Bijapur in filing an FIR, a group named Naxal Peedith Sangharsh Samiti (Committee of Naxal Victims) shouted slogans against them for ‘defaming’ the image of security forces. On 29 January, the same group held a protest march in Bijapur against Bela Bhatia and Adivasi activist Soni Sori, in which they burnt effigies and warned the activists against returning to Bijapur.

“On 19 February, the police visited Bela’s home and questioned her landlord and his wife, and the head of the village council. The next day, the police called her landlord to the police station for questioning. Three days later, the police visited her home again and took photographs of her house.”

At the same time, it describes the travails of Soni Sori, an Adivasi activist, who has been active in highlighting the misuse of the law by the security forces. The overcrowding of the jails of Chhattisgarh with under-trials over flimsy charges of being a Maoist is also mentioned. The state has the most over-crowded jails when compared to the national average, for the last six years, according to the report.

The report recommends repealing the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for being draconian, unsound in law and denying basic human rights to the accused, along with the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act. It also recommends the release of all the journalists put behind bars and exhorts the authorities to conduct free and fair investigations into the charges.

You must be to comment.
  1. Peter Aremone

    This is the same Amnesty International Right?, which is being investigated by international agencies for links to ISIS & Islamic Terrorists with a lot of Amnesty members being arrested for funding ISIS.

More from Abhimanyu Kumar

Similar Posts

By Aditya Lakshmi

By Uday Che

By Abhishek Verma

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below