Posts Tagged ‘Tamil Nadu’

Human rights defender Kalimuthu Kandhasamy in Tamil Nadu arrested for using the word human rights!

February 26, 2015

HRD Alert – India (a Forum of Human Rights Defenders) and Front Line Defenders have called for the release of Mr Kalimuthu Kandhasamy who was arrested in the morning of 26 February 2015.

[Kalimuthu Kandhasamy is the District Organizer of Citizens for Human Rights Movement (CHRM), which provides legal counsel and assistance to victims of human rights violations in Tamil Nadu, including by providing assistance in complaints before courts, human rights institutions, law enforcement officials and other relevant bodies. The organisation was founded by People’s Watch, an NGO that monitors human rights violations and provides legal assistance to victims in Tamil Nadu. The human rights defender also works as an assistant to a lawyer providing legal representation in People’s Watch’s cases.]

The accusations against Kalimuthu Kandhasamy include, ‘impersonating a public servant’, cheating, and improper use of emblems. And here comes the almost funny part: the charges against Kalimuthu Kandhasamy are reportedly in relation to the fact that CHRM contains the words “human rights” in its title. It is claimed that this is in violation of the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, which reportedly states that no non-governmental institution should have the terms “human rights” in its name (this amendment was made on the recommendation of the Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission [SIC] that no non-governmental institution should have the terms “human rights” in its name! Would seem a clear violation of the right to association). The accusations are being brought under sections 170 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 5 of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1950.

The human rights defender denies that either he or CHRM have posed as a public authority.

Short video with summary portraits of the winners of the Tulip award

January 11, 2013

A short documentary about the five winners of the Human Rights Tulip Award, the award of the Dutch government for human rights defenders. The winners are from Honduras, Congo, Iran, China and India. The films were done by the True Heroes Foundation (THF).

 

Tulip human rights award given in absentia to Dalit leader

January 10, 2013

Dutch newspapers and human rights groups concerned with the Dalits (untouchables) report that the winner of the Dutch Human Rights Tulip of 2012 has been barred from traveling to the Netherlands to receive his award in person on  Wednesday 9 January. Marimuthu Bharathan, a Dalit human rights defender from Tamil Nadu, was refused a passport by the Indian authorities, according to a press release by International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN).This is the second year in a row that the recipient of the Dutch Human Rights award will not be present at the ceremony in The Hague [Last year, Chinese activist Ni Yulan was in custody awaiting trial during the award ceremony.]The  jury of the Tulip has recognised Marimuthu Bharathan as a “tireless champion of better living and working conditions for his country’s Dalits”. Himself a Dalit, he works against caste discrimination by supporting Dalits who as manual scavengers are condemned to clean dry latrines with their bare hands. He also sets up Dalit organisations, campaigns for reforms of the corrupt police system, and fights for compensation and rehabilitation of Dalits who suffer human rights violations. Mr Bharathan’s work as director of the Human Rights Education and Protection Council in Tamil Nadu has put him on a collision course with the state’s authorities who consistently prohibit demonstrations for Dalit rights organised by him and disrupt his work.

According to Indian human rights organisations, this refusal appears to be connected with a false murder charge. “The passport refusal is yet another example of the disenfranchised position of the 200 million Dalits and the defenders of their rights in India. The Indian authorities clearly fail in combating discrimination and exclusion of Dalits and are themselves often the perpetrator of crimes against them. The systemic abuse and torture in police stations is an example of that,” said Gerard Oonk, director of the India Committee of the Netherlands and co-ordinator of the Dalit Network Netherlands.