Praja Rajakiya Vedike
& Karnataka HIV Sonkithare Sanghatane
Bangalore, 5 Feb 2014:Praja Rajakiya Vedike (PRV) in association with Karnataka HIV Sonkithara Sanghatane along with Karnataka Sex Workers Union (KSWU) and Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum (KSMF) took out a Rally from Anandrao Circle (near VRL) to Freedom Park, in support of the agitating workers of Karnataka Stake AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS) Contractual Employees Association.
Their main demands include Regularisation of all contractual employees who are working in the AIDS control programmes into the Government setup and to apply sixth pay commission salary scale to all KSAPS contractual employees on par with Karnataka State Government employees.
For the last several years, doctors, the counsellors, lab technicians, and other para medical staff and nurses have been supporting and helping many of our members including people living with HIV, sex workers and sexual minorities but the Government instead of meeting the just demands of the workers is trying to divide and rule saying that ART (medicine for HIV positive people) services are being affected. “It is true that the services are temporarily affected but it is the duty of the government to see that people living with HIV are supplied with stocks which are given for one month in advance,” said Parveen of Karnataka HIV Sonkithara Sanghatane. “Instead of solving the problem, the government is trying to divide community from the counsellors who have been supporting us all along,” she added.
HIV positive leaders from Karnataka HIV Sonkithare Sanghatane from many districts, have arrived in Bangalore, to support the striking Contractual employees of Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society. For the last seven days, as part of a national-level agitation, about 2200 workers of HIV prevention programmes in the State, have gathered a Freedom park to demand regularisation of all contractual employees.
Bharathi, HIV+ and General Secretary of the Karnataka Sex Workers Union said, workers should be united. Governments are also violating labour rights in the HIV prevention programs where they employ sex workers, sexual minorities, drug users and migrants. By terming them as volunteers/ peer educators they are violating minimum wages act, contract labour act etc. She called for all these workers and KSAPS contract workers to join hands to support rights of both these sections.
Manohar Elavarthi, Jont Secretary of Praja Rajakiya Vedike said that the governments are systematically denying labour rights by making large sections them as contract workers. Like KSAPS contract workers, ASHAs, Anganwadi workers, contract municipal workers (paurakamikas) and many others are denied their rights in this process. He said that all workers from organised, unorganised and informal sectors should come together to defend the rights of all workers and to eliminate contract labour system and for the proper implementation of labour laws.
For details call Manohar at 96322 23460 or Parveen at 98809 52676
Bangalore, 27th December 2013
Welcoming Janatadal (Secular)’s stand on IPC 377:
Praja Rajakiya Vedike welcomes the stand of Janatadal (Secular) in welcoming the review petition filed by the central government challenging the recent Supreme Court of India’s judgement on Section 377 of the IPC. The letter written by former Prime Minister of India and national president of Janatadal (Secular) said that this step of central government of India protects the fundamental rights accorded by our constitution.
The letter also said “Janata Dal (Secular) has been supporting the sexual minorities’ movement for equal rights and justice for a decade. We will continue to support the struggles for human rights.
The laws of the land should reflect constitutional morality and guarantee fundamental rights to all citizens irrespective of them being a minority or majority. Constitutional guarantees can’t be denied to a section of population just because they are a ‘minuscule minority’. As a secular party we believe that laws should reflect the constitutional ideals and not the narrow-minded views of any section of public based on religion, culture, tradition etc.
If there is a discussion on IPC 377 in parliament, we will extend our support to repeal this outdated and draconian provision, brought to India more than 150 years ago by the colonial British rulers.”
Appeal to Bharatiya Janata Party to consider their stand:
We appeal to BJP to reconsider its stand and to extend support to sexual minorities with regard to IPC 377. The main opposition party at the centre should support the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India by reversing its stand on IPC 377.
Amend IPC 377 in Karnataka:
We appeal to all political parties in Karnataka to amend Section 377 of the IPC by excluding consensual sex between adults from the IPC 377. This is an opportunity for the political parties to show that Karnataka is in the forefront of defending sexual minority human rights in India.
Repeal Karnataka Police Act Section 36A:
We appeal to all political parties in Karnataka to repeal Section 36A of Karnataka Police Act, a draconian provision that gives enormous power to police to regulate transgenders.
Withdraw fabricated cases against sexual minorities in Hassan:
We deamnd the Government of Karnataka to withdraw the fabricated cases filed against 14 sexual minority persons in Karnataka.
Appeal to sexual minorities to participate actively in Electoral Politics:
We appeal to sexual minorities to join various political parties and participate actively in the electoral politics. Political participation and political power is central to human rights of any community. As of now there are almost no sexual minorities (who are open about their sexual preference/ gender identity) in the mainstream political parties. This needs to change.
For more information contact: 96322 23460/ 94839 50202
Jeeva Video Magazine 1 “Sruthi-Saranya Love Story” is a true story about two young lesbian women from Kerala falling in love and fighting for their love against all odds. The film explores how these women met, the reaction of their families when they found out and the support sought by them to live their lives as they wished. The film particularly focuses on the legal impediments faced by lesbian couples, the denial of right of a woman to choose her partner, lack of availability of space to express one’s gender and sexual identity and the patriarchal control over women’s sexuality.
Praja Rajakiya Vedike
Death beckons, a day after the Sexual Minority Pride Rally
Condoling the death of Vamshi Raju, a transgender person
Bangalore, 25 Nov 2013: It’s just a day after the Pride Rally. The sexual minority community from far and near danced with gay abandon and shouted slogans in their attractive attires even as sparkling rainbow colours set the mood for members of sexual minorities to come out of the closet and indulge in a public show of affection and togetherness on Sunday to create awareness among the public and especially families of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.
But all is not well and the community is still not accepted by even the families who have a member who has a different sexual orientation/gender identity than the one normally accepted. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members undergo regular violence at the hands of their own families, neighbours and many other sections of the society, not to talk about the police atrocities.
“Vamshi Raju, a 21-yar-old Engineering student and a transgender from Yeshwantpur, who danced openly on Sunday at the Pride Rally was captured by TV Cameras and the family could not miss these visuals in the evening news. Sunday night there was a big fight as he returned home from the rally. Unable to bear the denial from his own family, a depressed Vamshi committed suicide,” said Manohar Elavarthi, a human rights activist and joint secretary of Praja Rajakiya Vedike (PRV).
“It is not the first time. Even last week he faced severe physical violence by his father at his home and had to seek shelter in a transgender friend’s house at about 11 pm,” added Manohar. “He was going through a lot of family harassment for more than a year. His family was harassing him so that he won’t interact with sexual minority community members. They have even stopped him from going to his college for 2 months last year,” he revealed.
Acceptance at homes, not just from the public, is a big challenge for members of the sexual minorities who come out into the open with their sexual and gender preferences. Praja Rajakiya Vedike demands the police to investigate and file an FIR immediately. Though he was a pant-shirt Kothi, Vamshi was open about his identity and used to dress in a saari on occasions. A lot of members from these communities face tough mental health issues that needs to be addressed by NGOs and the government agencies to assure them that they too have equal rights as all citizens of India.
Many human rights organisations, Community Based Organisations, NGOs working for the rights of Sexual Minorities have condemned the harassment meted out to the Vamshi and conveyed their deep condolences at the death of another member of the community.
For details call Manohar at 963222 3460 or 94839 50202
Over 200 people protested at Town hall today to condemn the police terror in Hassan against Sexual Minorities last week. The protest is organised by Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum. Praja Rajakiya Vedike and many other organisations took part in today’s protest.
Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum
Protest to condemn police terror on sexual minorities in Hassan
Bangalore, 11 Nov 2013: Over 200 sexual minorities including hijras and other supporters protested at Town hall today to condemn the police terror in Hassan against Sexuality and Gender Minorities last week.
They demanded withdrawal of all cases including under section 377 against the 13 members of the sexuality minority community in Hassan.
During the midnight hours of Nov 3 and 4, when the whole country was celebrating Diwali, the Hassan police carried out a systematic raid arresting 13 persons under Section 377 of the IPC and other sections. They were charged under 3 separate FIRs.
In the first FIR the complainant, a 21-year college student, alleged that in 2011 he was coerced into having sex with 6 persons. These 6 persons, according to him, threatened him saying that they would reveal his history in his college as well as to his parents. He said that he was forced into having `unnatural’ sex and hence he was infected with HIV. It is only now in 2013 that he had the courage to report on what had allegedly happened to him two years ago.
“The police began the midnight operation by going to the house the programme officer of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, an NGO implementing the State government’s HIV prevention program, and pressurised him to identify the project staff members. From there the programme officer was taken to the house of a sexual minority person, who was in turn coerced to give the names of other sexual minorities. Using this method, the police arrested 5 from their homes and 8 from other public places,” said Mallappa, President of Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, which formed a coalition of organisations to fight these type of harassment.
“The arrests and methods used clearly indicates their intention of spreading fear and terror among the gender minority community and the huge visibility in the media resulting in shaming and humiliating the arrested persons. All of the arrested were also harassed in the jails,” he added.
The modus operandi was to target members of the community, ignoring the fact that as per the judgement of the Delhi High Court in Naz Foundation v. NCR Delhi, sexual minorities are full citizens of India.
“Just when the struggle for equal citizenship of sexual minorities is slowly getting established, the mass scale of the Hassan arrests pushes sexual minorities underground. The arrests are a reminder of the arbitrary power vested in Section 377 of the IPC in local police officers and hence the urgent need for the repeal of this draconian provision,” said human rights activist Manohar Elavarthi, who founded Sangama, which fights for the rights of sexuality minorities.
The protesters main demands are:
Withdrawal of prosecution against all the accused under Section 377 of the IPC
Suspend and Prosecute Mr Ravi D Channanavar (SP), Mr Mahesh JE (PSI), Mr Krishna SK (PSI) and other police officers responsible for the fabrication of cases
Compensation to all the arrested for the harm to reputation done by the false and frivolous prosecutions.
Ensure that there is no sexual abuse/harassment of sexual minority prisoners in the jail by ensuring separate cells
Repeal Section 377 of the IPC
According to Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum (KSMF), the protest was organised along with Abhayaspandana, Alternative Law forum, Aneka, Apthamitra, Jeeva, Jyothi Mahila Sangha, Karnataka Sex Workers Union (KSWU), Milana, Navasahaja, Navaspoorthy, Nisarga, Pragathi, Praja Rajakiya Vedike (PRV), Prakruthi Seva Samsthe, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)-Karnataka, Raksha, Sadhane, Samara, Samara Dharwad, Samara Doddaballapura, Samara Jayanagara, Samara Ramanagara, Samara Yeshwanthpura, Samatha, Sammelana, Sangama, Sanjeevini, Sarathya, Sneha Society, Shristy Sankula, Sweekar, Vimochana and other supportive organisations.
For details call Mallappa, KSMF, at 95915 40181 or Manohar Elavarthi at 94839 50202.
We regret to inform you that an error creeped in due to oversight while receiving communication over phone in the para 4 where advocates Mr. BT Venkatesh and Ms. Asha were misquoted.
This note is being issued to clarify the original statement attributed to advocates Mr. BT Venkatesh and Ms. Asha should be read as follows: But unfortunately emotional blackmail has happened in Saranya’s case where the girl was forced to return to her parents.
Praja Rajakiya Vedike
Bangalore, 14 Aug 2013: Sruthi, a lesbian from Kerala, put up a brave front and declared today that she would fight legally for the release of Saranya, her friend and partner, from the clutches of her family.
Addressing a press conference at the Institute of Agricultural Technologists on Wednesday, the 21-year-old B.Com graduate narrated how she was threatened by the Kerala police in the Kerala High Court premises yesterday. “Mr Anil Kumar, the Sub-Inspector, was forcing me to go back to my parents and threatened me of dire consequences. But I told the honourable court that I do not want to go back to my parents house,’’ Sruthi said.
The Press Conference was arranged by ReachLaw and Praja Rajakiya Vedike to reveal the details of a campaign taken up to press for creating guidelines to deal with cases of Habeas Corpus petitions relating to women. Prominent city lawyer and human rights activist, Mr BT Venkatesh, a partner in Reach Law, a law firm and Mr Elavarthi Manohar of Praja Rajakiya Vedike addressed the media along with Sruthi.
“The Shornur SI Mr Anil Kumar also threatened me and others including advocates Ms Asha Unnithan, Mr Jahangeer Paleri, Mr. Abhilash and Ms. Nithu, a human rights activist and when we reminded him that he is in the court premises, he tried to intimidate us by saying `come out of the court, we will see’,’’ said Mr Venkatesh, who along with advocate Ms Asha Unnithan, represented Sruthi, fought and won the case. They filed a complaint with the Registrar General of the High Court of Kerala that Kerala police have threatened them in the premises of the court.
In reply to a question, Mr Venkatesh also narrated the landmark judgment in the case Rajmohan MS vs State of Kerala in the Kerala High Court where the honourable court ruled that even a friend or partner or a spouse can file a Habeas Corpus petition. He felt that abuse of procedures during Habeas Corpus petitions should be looked into and urged for urgent guidelines to be framed. “We have started an online petition LET WOMEN DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES: relationship, marriage, friendship… Need for guidelines in cases of Habeas Corpus on avaaz.org (http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/LET_WOMEN_DECIDE_FOR_THEMSELVES_relationship_marriage_friendship_Need_for_guidelines_in_cases_of_Habeas_Corpus/?fbdm)
requesting the public and after a few days we will submit the petition to honourable Chief Justice of Kerala High Court Justice Manjula Chellur,’’ said Manohar Elavarthi. He also said “women are no way less than men, adult women are capable of making their own decisions like any human being in the society. Any section of society treating adult women as property of their father/ husband/ son/ family is illegal and is highly condemnable.”
On Tuesday, the honourable High court of Kerala dismissed the case of Habeas Corpus petition filed by the mother of Sruthi, alleging that the Bangalore based well-known NGO Sangama had detained her against her will.
For details call Manohar 963222 3460