Statements condemning the raid at the house of Kavita Srivastava by CG Police

October 3, 2011

PUCL Condemns Raid at the House of Kavita Srivastava at Jaipur

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) strongly condemns the outrageous and uncalled for act of raid at the residence of Kavita Srivastava, PUCL national secretary in Jaipur early morning today (3 October 2011). The raid was conducted by the Chhattisgarh Police with active assistance of Rajasthan Police, supposedly searching for a maoist. We understand that this was done at the behest of inputs from central intelligence agencies which prompted Chhattisgarh police to seek a search warrant. The raid is a scandalous act of maligning, intimidation and harassment to muzzle dissent at the behest of the government of Rajasthan which is out to victimise human rights activists who expose its misdeeds of atrocities against Muslim minorities and poor. The arrival of police with a truck load of them is nothing but to create fear amongst the family members of Kavita Srivastava and others. There is no doubt that the raids were a well thought out design to go after the human rights activists aimed at silencing them through the misuse of law and official machinery. In all its manifestations the present raid is in the series of acts of blatant vindictiveness aimed at sending a message to the larger human rights community that the present central and state governments have no faith in and respect for the value of dissent and protest as a cardinal principles as enshrined in our constitution. It is clear that Kavita Srivastava has been targeted primarily because of her role in pointing out Chhattisgarh government’s violation of human rights, Rajasthan government’s mindless use of force against Muslim minorities and centre’s anti-poor policies. PUCL appeals to the larger human rights community and freedom loving people of the country to come forward strongly to resist the unabashed crusade of the government against the human rights defenders in the country. PUCL also demands that the National Human Rights Commission must take a serious view of the matter and as per its commitment to protect the human rights defenders ensure that no further harassment is meted out to Kavita Srivastava and her family.

PUCL will hold a press conference with other human rights organisations tomorrow at 3: 30 at Indian Women’s Press Club, 5 Windsor Place, Ashoka Road, New Delhi.

Prabhkar Sinha, President PUCL
Rajinder Sachar, former President PUCL
Pushkar Raj , General Secretary PUCL
Mahipal Singh, Secretary PUCL
Chitranjan Singh, Secretary PUCL
V. Suresh , Secretary PUCL

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PRESS RELEASE : NAPM condemns unwarranted search of Kavita Srivastava’s Premises by Chattisgarh Police

New Delhi, October 3 : The witch-hunt of human rights activists by the Chattisgarh government continues, latest being the raid at Kavita Srivastava’s house by the Chhatisgarh Special Tasks Police Force today morning. Kavita is General Secretary of People’s union for Civil Liberties and prominent human rights activist. Chattisgarh Police armed with a search warrant and aided by Rajasthan police came looking for presence of Naxals in her house. Nearly 40 policemen were there, who looked through the whole house and left it in a mess. They didn’t find anyone but it was completely aimed at terrorising and harassing her and sending a message that Chattisgarh Government is not going to tolerate her work as PUCL, General Secretary in challenging Salwa Judum, Operation Green Hunt and constantly taking up the cases of political prisoners like Dr. Binayak Sen, Kopa Kunjam (both of them are out on bail now), Kartam Joga and many others. NAPM strongly condemns such vindictive action against rights activists.

As Kavita said in an open letter to the media today morning, ‘I have been targeted because they know that I have supported the struggle for restoration of human rights violation in Chhattisgarh and the rest of India. I have, through the PUCL, and other organisations worked against the arbitrary detentions in the State in the name of Maoism. Actually this act was to threaten me’. NAPM stands by her side, and stands for the rights of the human rights activists to carry on their work without any hindrance. We are not going to be terrorised by acts like these. They will only further our resolve to fight these tactics of the state and continue our struggle for deepening democracy, justice, freedom and peace.

We demand that the Chattisgarh Government restrains from such vindictive actions and rather work for protecting the rights of rights activists, general citizens and take special care in protecting the rights of dalits and adivasis in the conflict ridden districts of Bastar and Dantewada.

Kavita has been National Convener of NAPM as well. NAPM with PUCL and others will be holding a Press Conference on Tuesday, October 4th at Indian Women’s Press Club, New Delhi at 3:30 pm.

Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Prafulla Samantara, Arundhati Dhuru, D. Gabriele, P. Chennaiah, Maj. Gen (Retd.) Sudhir Vombatkere, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Anand Mazgaonkar, Sr. Celia, Ulka Mahajan, Suniti S. R., Rajendra Ravi, Vimal Bhai, Madhuresh Kumar

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Statement from Right to Food Campaign

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the arbitrary raid this morning (3 October), in Jaipur, on the house of Kavita Srivastava, General Secretary of PUCL and convenor of the Right to Food Campaign’s steering group. This is yet another instance of harassment of human rights workers under the cover of fighting Naxalism. Kavita Srivastava is the convenor of the Steering Committee of the Right to Food Campaign and PUCL is the petitioner in the Supreme Court case on the Right to Food which has recently challenged the Government on the issue of the poverty line.

Around 6.30 am a large contingent of armed Special Task Force Police, led by Deputy SP Rajendra Singh Shekhwat, descended on Kavita’s house claiming to be looking for a “khatarnak Naxalite”. In Kavita’s absence, the police harassed her 82-year old father and two domestic helpers. The raid was apparently conducted at the behest of the Chhattisgarh police, with the help of a “warrant” that merely carried Kavita’s address and the word “abhiyukt” (accused).

Kavita Srivastava has been a tireless defender of human rights for many years and has already been harassed earlier for her fearless opposition to the criminal activities of the Chhattisgarh government (arbitrary detentions, encounter killings, false cases, and such) under the garb of fighting Naxalism.

This is a wholly reprehensible act of targeting of human rights activists as well as a totally unacceptable attack on civil liberties in general. We condemn it and demand an unconditional apology from the Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh police on this reprehensible action. We would like to remind the Government that such undemocratic and arbitrary actions will not silence human rights defenders and instead amplify their voices against injustice and state repression.

Members of the Steering Group, Right to Food Campaign
Anjali Bharadwaj (Satark Nagrik Sangathan)
Annie Raja (National Federation for Indian Women)
Anuradha Talwar, Gautam Modi and Madhuri Krishnaswamy (New Trade Union Initiative)
Arun Gupta and Radha Holla (Breast Feeding Promotion Network of India)
Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey (Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Rajasthan)
Arundhati Dhuru and Ulka Mahajan (National Alliance of People’s Movements)
Asha Mishra and Vinod Raina (Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti)
Ashok Bharti (National Conference of Dalit Organizations)
Binayak Sen (People’s Union for Civil Liberties)
Colin Gonsalves (Human Rights Law Network)
Jean Drèze and V.B Rawat (Former Support group to the Campaign)
Lali Dhakar, Sarawasti Singh, Shilpa Dey and Radha Raghwal (National Forum for Single Women’s Rights)
Mira Shiva and Vandana Prasad (Jan Swasthya Abhiyan)
Paul Divakar and Asha Kotwal (National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights)
Prahlad Ray and Anand Malakar (Rashtriya Viklang Manch)
Subhash Bhatnagar (National Campaign Committee for Unorganized Sector workers)

Supported by
Veena Shatrugna, M Kodandram and Rama Melkote (Andhra Pradesh)
Saito Basumaatary and Sunil Kaul (Assam)
Rupesh (Bihar)
Gangabhai and Samir Garg (Chhattisgarh)
Sejal Dand and Sumitra Thakkar (Gujarat)
Abhay Kumar and Clifton (Karnataka)
Balram, Gurjeet Singh and James Herenj (Jharkhand)
Sachin Jain (Madhya Pradesh)
Mukta Srivastava and Suresh Sawant (Maharashtra)
Tarun Bharatiya (Meghalaya)
Chingmak Chang (Nagaland)
Bidyut Mohanty, Raj Kishore Mishra, Vidhya Das, Manas Ranjan (Orissa)
Ashok Khandelwal, Bhanwar Singh and Vijay Lakshmi (Rajasthan)
V Suresh (Tamil Nadu)
Bindu Singh (Uttar Pradesh)