Reality Check


A country still bogged down by the pressures of disparity and discrimination of caste, a country that still uses the word marginalized and ‘scheduled’ in its constitution to further divide the actual majority of its population under the various headings of minority and backwardness, a country where the rule of law is unruly, a country where the voices of the ever mute are silenced by the brutality that can only be inflicted by the ‘humans’ in the animal kingdom… is a country I belong to.

My country is an open market, and it is liberal. So ‘come invade my space’ is what it stands for. Therefore i am seen Marks and Spencer, walk Reebok, Carry Nike, drink Pepsi and eat KFC, because suddenly my country’s land is given away to global buyers for global capital. It’s the age of legalized land grabbing for rich corporates at the cost of our farmers and workers. I also wear Fab India… and that too is owned by someone from Uncle Sam’s…liberalism provides clever & innovative marketing strategies to many. How many of us thought we were being Indian even ‘Swadeshi’ by buying clothes from FAB INDIA? Many I am sure.

I see death, torture, and brutality every where I turn. It’s the reign of terror all over again. And this time it is in my own country against my own people and in my own life.

SEZ, SEZ, SEZ everywhere says the ‘state’. SEZ is a Special Economic Zone.. which is so special that it has created a huge hue and cry with regards to basic human rights of the poor and yet it is spreading its wings with the my state being the air beneath it. SEZ will be places of protected money on the map of the country where the law of the land will be a joke and tax will be a forgotten story for the big industries to reap super profit. And all this after the land has been forcibly seized from the poor tillers of the soil.
‘West Bengal today is single mindedly pursuing SEZ. It has earmarked as much as 140000 acres of land requisition from farmers on which to create these zones in nine districts’ (combat law, may-june2007). I know Chinese food is a hit with most in west Bengal but is it really necessary to adopt something from the Chinese that does not work even in China? The best know SEZ in China has turned out to be a nightmare. SEZ is a tool adopted by the CPI (M) in Bengal to manage capitalism Chinese style.

The Rnga Mati is now SEZ land. Tillers already under the clutches of poverty lost their voices that were slightly heard due to the communist stronghold there but due to ‘change in the policy of the same it resonates with silence. When such people from Nandigram and Singur protest peacefully by conducting a simple religious act of worshipping lord Gourango(the protector, irony) to ward off the evil and in their own way rise to have their voices heard… mayhem is what results.
Women get tortured and beaten, raped and stripped naked when the constitution states that no male policeman can even touch a woman. Women police squad just came forward to stack the mutilated bodies of the women after the men have had their fun into vans to be imprisoned. Children were torn apart.

How many more suicides do we want?
It started with the cotton farmers, now it will be the local vegetable “Thelawalas” because Reliance has suddenly started selling fresh and cheaper vegetables, as if ripping people off with their special telecommunication was not enough. Then it will be the already oppressed ‘dehati’ mazdoor who will not be absorbed by the SEZ because they of course are not ‘Specially trained’ but then again those who are wont have rights of their own. So it is a double edged sword.
Well I have a suggestion…kill all except the biggies because protest in my country which is supposedly democratic, equals torture. Use the trigger happy police squad to do it. They will do it well. Such a suggestion because it is true although unrecorded that when aware citizens want to lend their voices to the voiceless torture is what they get in return.

In a country where the state inflicts TORTURE how can we look forward to progress. Torture according to the UN is
“any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”

The state in more ways than one inflicts torture upon its citizens. By taking away the only form of livelihood from the poor by inflicting torture and force which are acts resulting in pain and suffering. It violates the right to life as guaranteed by the constituion under article 21 of the Fundamental Rights. Te right to life does not simply mean the right to breath and do all biological functions to be alive. It goes way beyond that and gives people the right not to be invaded, tortured, pained, humiliated and the right not to be touched by brutality that may result in the loss of LIFE.
A farmer kills himself every now and a then.The policy of the country forces them to do it and funnily enough suicide is a crime …. This happens in one of the largest states in the country that boasts of its capital’mumbai’ being the New York of India.why do we need a New York in India? Why can’t we remain Indians? In fact why can’t we learn to become Human again? Self reliant, self sufficient farmers find solace in death because our country wants to emulate somebody else’s greener looking lawn.STATUS: Right to life violated.

Its the era of Womens’ empowerment … is it really? An educated Dalit girl voices out her right to life and dignity against the torture of the upper caste and her whole family gets killed. The police and the Government hid it from the rest of us for long and once it in the open, protests made the govt feel threatened who conveniently blamed the ‘naxalites’ , who rae terrorists in their own conutry because they are aware of their rights and want them.

The right to freedom of expression and the right to from associations and the right to protest and organise do not exist in my country in reality. It is present only on papers.
When people like Arun Farriera, Ashok Reddy, Dhanendra Bhurle, and Naresh Bansod muster the courage to lend their voice to the unheard voices, they are arrested under the Unlawful Act Prevention act, Terrorist and Disruptive activities prevention Act and Prevention of Terrorism Act.
How can asking questions in a democracy become ‘disruptive activity’? How is talking about burning issues of the poor become unlawful or for that be labelled as leftist? It is only human to be sensitive to their rights as well… leftist??? If such men are terrorists then every responsible citizen who acknowledges the existence of these problems needs to be arrested.

Not only this, the so called terrorists had been tortured in police custody and forcefully made to give consent to Narco Analysis. This could not be questioned by the court either because the court wants evidence, whether forcedor otherwise… it just needs to be written. How easu is it to ask a man to sign on a blank piece of paper after beating him to pulp in police custody for two months after repeated interrogatiom? Who would have the strength to oppose when 30ml off kerosene is poured into ones body anally? Yet all this happens when the accuused moves court to report torture in police custody. This is possible in our country because there is serious doubt as to whether the criminal procedure code applies uniformly in our country or is it that we are either conveniently ignorant or scared that we allow the courts and the police to become so powerful to decide on cases independently minus the democratic process.

Narco analysis is the worst form of torture and is a mockery of Article 21 of the Fundamantal rights. The right to life(Art 21) cannot be infringed by the State even during emergency because every person has a right not to be invaded, tortured, humiliated or be subjected to indignity. Narco analysis is conducted by injectingsome chemical into ones body to get them to tell the truth. The composition of the chemiical is debatable. According to some it is sodium pentothyle and others believ it is barbiturates of some kind or the other. Hence Narco analysis invades and subjects the individual to pain and force and violates basic human rights.
Article 21 also states that no person can be taken to any laboratory without consent. But anybody labelled as an activist, patriot, naxalite, movement leader is subjected to Narco analysis without consent.
Article 30 clause 3 states that the person might not even be able to talk under the influence of the chemical, therefore the validity of the test is questionable.
Also the person under the influence of the chemical halucinates and there is no gaurantee as to the truth behind what he is saying. The scientific backing behind the test is doubted because one cannot validate the info retrieved as the truth. It is just that police claims get agreed upon by the individual whether he does it in complete sense is not looked into.
Narco analysis is not tested enough which is why it can prove fatal and therefore it can become fatal. This needs the intervention of doctors. This is unethical and immoral and the common man needs to wake up and \question the system to make it more responsible.

Such instances show how the state violates its own rules and violates human rights, something it is meant to protect. The state does not violate these rights in case of everybody.
Rahul mahajan was not subjected to it
The police in the Gujrat carnage were not subjected to it
Manu Sharma was not forced to do go through it
Sanjay Dutt was not touched
Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surendra were subjected to it, the CBI gave a clean chit to pandher and placed the blame on Surendra. Allegations of organ trade were ruled out because some big shot doctor was involved who was in the news on a previous occasion for organ trade. Moreover Pandher was well acquanted with a number of ministers.

How can we stop harping on the human rights chord when such blatant violations are taking place? Why can’t the state see what it is doing? And because we cant we need to do what needs to be done… rise and let the state know that we do not approve of what it wants to do. However that is sounds like nothing but a lofty ideal because untill and unless the common man recognises where it is losing out nothing can be done.
India has beautiful laws and acts but it also has gaps within these and it knowingly maintains these to mould and change the laws to suit the interest of some in the name of progress. This progress again is defined by the State and people like u and me do not have a say in defining it. The irony here is that many people are not able to see the true picture because progress today is shown throw such brilliantly glass painted screens that reality gets foggy and forgotten by most of us easily.We refuse to see beyond the beautiful building erected for an MNC to sit in and realise that the company that might be maximising profit in crores of dollars might have paid less than a dollar to the hands that lay the foundation. Again how much do u get paid when u sit in that beautiful building and how many extra unpaid hours do u work just in order to keep the parent organization updated with the work that is happening in your office because geographically, you are in different time zones? YOU are the one who wants more of it still, as if the tag ‘cheap labour’ is not enough.
Progress for whom and who will it benefit? Not us… that is clear. Now analyze this – if the state is not for us and progress is not really doing me any good why do I still adhere to it. Should I not voice out? But my life gets taken if I do. What do we do?

Courtesy: Namrata Ghoshal

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