Tag Archives: police abuse

The Dalit Foundation: an Urgent Appeal for Solidarity

Five Human Rights Defenders ( including three women ) of Dalit Foundation ( India) arrested and remanded to judicial custody on false charges on India’s 64th Independence Day ( 15th August 2010 ) in Tirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. Henri Tiphagne, Executive Director of People’s Watch has also been identified as an ‘absconding accused’ by the police in the same criminal case.

Continue reading The Dalit Foundation: an Urgent Appeal for Solidarity

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Tuesday 28th, late evening: 55 year old woman marcher knocked unconscious by a blow is threatened with surgical exploration of her abdomen "Then you’ll really have pain"


4pm IST, Bano Bee, 55, is struck in the chest and knocked unconscious

Her limp body is carried away by police…And placed in a jeep

At 4.01pm IST a kick in the chest knocks Ashraaf Bee, 60, senseless. Both women had walked 800km to see the Prime Minister

Bano Bee and Ashraaf Bee were taken unconscious from the rally and left at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, a hospital chosen by the police.

The conditions in the hospital were horrendous. Neither Ashraaf Bee nor Bano Bee were given their own bed, but were stuffed onto single beds with other, unrelated patients.

They were extremely distraught about the way they were treated both by the police and by the doctors in the casualty ward.

The doctor accused Bano Bee who is 55 years old, of malingering and threatened to explore her abdomen surgically to reveal the truth. “Then you’ll really have pain,” the doctor told her, “You can hold your stomach and walk around in pain instead of pretending.”

The hospital refused to let them see their own chest x-rays, giving them instead only a written report that they were fine.

They have been released and are back at the camp near Humayun’s tomb. We have decided they need independent medical examination because we suspect that the hospital is in collusion with the police to minimise and falsify their injuries. Right now they are waiting for some other doctors to arrive at the camp.

JAIL UPDATE, 22:43 IST, 18:13 BST

We don’t have an exact number of people originally arrested in front
of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, but we estimate it to be
between 200 and 300. We do know that among those arrested were 35
children (age 12 and under), including many infants.

Within just a few hours, the police offered to drop everybody off at
Jantar Mantar, where they could be cordoned off and comfortably
controlled by the police. But these Bhopalis were absolutely livid at
how they had been treated after walking 800 km. They refused the
offer, realizing the cops desperately wanted them out of their
custody. The police had neither the time nor the resources to do the
paperwork as well as feed and shelter so many people all at once. The
Bhopalis did not want to let these these thugs off so easily — how
dare they yank and drag them across the pavement from where they were
sitting peacefully, stuff them in buses, cart them to the jail, and
then hope for it all to end conveniently for themselves. People
started shouting spontaneously, “We are not afraid! We will spend the
night in jail!”

The police were slowly beginning to realize they had underestimated
how tough and determined the padyatris and other Bhopalis are. After
a bold stand by 38 people who were then arrested and jailed, the
police decided that even a few Bhopalis were far more than they wanted
to deal with, and all the remaining arrestees were separated and
compelled to leave.

Currently, everyone is out of jail.


The day had started off peacefully in the spirit of the long march, which had been marked by songs and dancing, and the walkers nurturing a naive trust that the Prime Minister of India would listen to their problems.

The marchers and their supporters from Bhopal, among whom were whole families with children, had gone to hold a rally outside the Ministry of Chemicals. The “Bhopal Cell” in this ministry is ultimately responsible for the well-being of the survivors of the gas- and water-catastrophes.

There were so many police outside the ministry that the photographer who took these pictures could hardly see the Bhopalis, who were outnumbered by the cops.

The crowd of Bhopalis, which was there by arrangement, had no idea of what was about to happen. The picture below was taken at 15:36 IST, shortly before the police attacked.

15:42 IST and still no inkling of what lay ahead.

Madhumitta Dutta, who had been talking to the police, was the first to be grabbed.

A minute after the previous picture was taken, with fear spreading among the mothers with young children, Ashraaf Bee was kicked in the chest and collapsed.

Women with children were not spared. There were between 200-300 people in the crowd of Bhopalis, a large number of them were children. Some children had been brought from Bhopal precisely because it is their young generation which is bearing the pain caused by Carbide’s birth-defect causing chemicals. Look at the children on this page and read their stories.

35 children under 12 years old were taken into police custody.

Even as the police buses, ordered up and on the spot before the marchers and their families even arrived, carried them away, the people were singing.

Throughout every footsore mile of their extraordinary journey, these people have refused to be daunted, have kept up their spirits with dancing and song. This setback will only strengthen their determination to win justice.

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Police beat women who asked politicians to obey Indian Supreme Court order

Toxic chemicals abandoned at its factory by Union Carbide have poisoned the drinking water of 20,000 people. In May 2004 the Indian Supreme Court ordered local politicians to provide the communities with clean, safe drinking water. The politicians ignored the order.

On Tuesday 17 May, 300 people, overwhelmingly women, many with children and babies in arms, went to government offices to protest. They banged spoons on tin plates in a “Wake Up” (in Hindi “Neend Udao”) protest. The politicians’ response was to send in the riot police.

Pictures of police kicking and punching women and children have shocked the world. Amnesty International has expressed concern and asked the Bhopal authorities to bring those accused of violence to book.

The survivors of Bhopal have suffered enough. We need the help of every decent person whose sense of justice is as outraged as that of the women who dared to raise their voices against the politicial bullies.

Protest pictures here.
Media stories about Bhopal

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Bhopalis in massive water protest as State government ignores Supreme Court order


Please join us in taking urgent action.

From Sathyu in Bhopal. Thurs 14. Picture by Maude Dorr.

We were about 350 people in all. About 10 men, the rest all women. We reached the Director’s office [Director, Department of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation, Madhya Pradesh Government] around noon. The office is right opposite the Governor’s residence and hence within a high security zone, but it took a while for the police force to respond.

Survivors, police and all in Director’s office

By the time the first posse of cops arrived the women were all inside the Director’s office. The Director himself was not there, just his office staff. All the rooms were occupied by the women, some even adjusting the coolers to suit their comfort. The big rooms and the corridor reverberated with slogans:

Stop poisoning our children
Arrange for a clean water supply
Implement the Supreme Court’s order
Madhya Pradesh Government stop lying.

The banners we hung outside said “We want water from Kolar Reservoir through pipe lines”. More than a dozen TV and newspaper reporters were on the scene recording the occasional clashes with the cops. There were two trucks with policepersons in full riot gear and two riot control vans in the office compound.

We told the police officials that we would be peaceful and would end the occupation only after a written assurance from the Director about laying down pipelines to bring water to these communities. An hour into the occupation the Director came and a meeting was organised with the demonstrators in the presence of media persons and the police officials.

Bhupal singh agreed to provide us with a written assurance regarding supply of piped water. While it wasn’t what we had aimed for [we wanted an assurance that a pipeline would be laid within one month] it was possibly the first clear response we have got on this so far. There was much cheering and more slogan chanting by the women as they left the Director’s office.

We can help them by writing, faxing or emailing in protest to:

Mr Iqbal Ahmed
Secretary, Department of Gas Relief
Government of Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
email: digrr@mp.nic.in
phone: +91 755 441424
fax: +91 755 257 1399

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Aye aye aye, what’s all this then?

Hysterically funny news has just reached us. Chief Minister Gaur visited a Bhopal police station the other day and was appalled by the size of the pandus. He has ordered them to go jogging and practice yoga. They are to clean up their filthy police chowkis and must watch movies on good behaviour.

We would like particularly to draw the Chief Minister’s attention to the distressing condition of Reserve Inspector Chauhan. As you can see from the picture below, the portly fellow is scarcely able to mount into his police vehicle. Exercise will also make him better able to swing his fist into the faces of people he dislikes.

On 25 November 2002, tiring of nothing whatever being done about the toxic chemicals abandoned in Union Carbide’s factory, the local people decided to begin a clean-up themselves. The chemicals have been lying in the factory since THAT NIGHT when thousands died in the gas leak. Some are heaped in the open air. Twenty monsoons have washed their toxins deep underground and into drinking wells. Lead, mercury and organochlorines have been found in breast milk of women living nearby. People are getting sick. Union Carbide (Dow Chemical) disclaims responsibility. The corporation blames the local government and the government blames the corporation. Meanwhile nothing at all is being done to protect the local people.

People were fed up. They said, “If no one else will clean up this factory that is poisoning us, by god we’ll do it ourselves.” On 25 November 2002 local people entered the factory along with friends and experts who know how to handle poisons. Their plan was to begin containing the visible waste, lock it in sealed drums in a warehouse and hand the keys to the authorities.

Police arrived with rifles, shields and batons. Our friends sat on the ground to protest. Champa Devi Shukla (joint-winner of this year’s Goldman Award) led the chant of ‘Jhadoo Maro Dow Ko!’ (Whack Dow with a broom!) Reserve Inspector Chauhan came wading into the crowd. He grabbed a young man and he and another copper dragged him to the police truck and he was flung in. Not without difficulty, Chauhan climbed in.

‘Who gave you permission?’ Chauhan threw the first punch. Hauled back for the next. ‘I asked you, Where’s your permission?’

Back came the fist. Our friend tried to shield his face. Third punch landed. At this point the police spotted our video camera. This happened just before the 18th anniversary. In a few weeks it will be the 20th. The poisons sleep in peace, the killer plant goes on killing.

If you want to help us do something about the poisons and the contaminated water, get involved. The more people pile on the pressure the harder it will be for Dow and politicians to ignore. A resolution has been tabled in the US Congress, calling on Dow to assume responsibility for Union Carbide’s mess and clean it up. US citizens should lobby their representatives to support this resolution, #503.

Meanwhile here is a poster (large PDF, 1.6megs) of the incident described above. If you would like copies for distribution to colleagues, friends or to put up in schools and colleges, please email us.


Yoga and jogging 10 km twice a day followed by lectures on good behaviour and a movie in the night — this has become the routine for policemen in this Madhya Pradesh capital on the orders of Chief Minister Babulal Gaur.

On a surprise visit to police stations in Bhopal last week, Gaur was annoyed to see flabby and out of shape policemen. He was also aghast to see the dirty conditions and poor maintenance of police stations.

“Reduce your weight and keep police stations clean and in order,” Gaur curtly told the policemen.

The very next day, most police stations were cleaned and whitewashed. Old, unwanted files were destroyed and necessary ones were kept in order. New tablecloths and curtains replaced soiled ones.

One task over, Bhopal’s Deputy Inspector General of Police Sanjay Singh and Superintendent of Police Pawan Shrivastava sat together to frame a plan for reducing the weight of their men.

On Friday, 60 policemen reached the Police Training and Research Centre where they were first given lessons in yoga. They were then made to jog 10 km.

In the afternoon, the batch again assembled at the centre to attend lectures on good behaviour. The evenings were reserved for more yoga and jogging. For entertainment in the night, the policemen were shown a movie.

“This programme will be conducted for batches of policemen every week. Once the programme is over, the policemen will be asked to practice yoga in their homes for half-an-hour every day,” a senior police official told IANS.

“The men are being given a week’s off while they attend the yoga classes. The whole exercise will continue till all policemen learn the basics of yoga and are physically fit,” he said.
But a retired state police chief said the effort to reduce the weight of police personnel would not bear fruit.

“Just three or four months back, the policemen of Bhopal were taught yoga at the behest of Sanjay Singh. But the chief minister still found the policemen overweight,” the retired officer said on condition of anonymity. “That means Singh’s efforts were useless. I feel that strong action must be taken against overweight policemen. After all, policemen need to be the fittest.”

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