In the south Asia region, spate of organised violence, police torture, discrimination, physical and psychological attacks on religious minorities have emerged as a real threat for the pluralist and secular democracies. Attacks on Hindu and Christian communities in Pakistan and Bangladesh and targeting of Muslim and Christian communities in India are being increasingly used as a political weapon by the communal and fascist forces. In an attempt to strengthen the composite secular culture and establish rule of law in the country.
In this context People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) had initiated for the project “Reducing police torture against Muslims at the grass –root level by engaging and strengthening Human Rights Institution in India” written by Dr. Mohan Lal Panda Advisor PVCHR & Founder of AAM Consultancy in close connection with the management committee of PVCHR.
The project implemented in four districts (Aligarh, Moradabad, Meerut and Varanasi) of Uttar Pradesh from 2011 with its project partner Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) with support from European Union.
In last 3 years 1500 cases of human rights violations reported through comprehensive fact finding exercises. These cases relate to police torture and communal violence which have affected the minority Muslim community most in Uttar Pradesh. These organisations have legally intervened in these cases and have prepared an analytical report based on the facts and ground experiences during the course of action.
In the project, focus group discussion was organized on the various issues. It has helped in bringing together HRD, leaders of religious groups, representatives of CSOs and CBOs and contributed in strengthening of Civil Society of the particular areas. This focus group discussion contributed in enhancing the involvement of civil society in the effective promotion of communal harmony, public-police relationship and media coordination. It has also generated debated and discussion among people, which further helping in breaking the communal barriers and reducing the religion-based prejudice. Discussion was held on hate and divide by the Hindu fundamentalist and communal organizations and it helped in change of attitude towards the accused or detained population. Participants also reflected and shared about the cruelty and inhuman behaviour of the police forces and committed to function as independent voice for protection of the rights of minorities and act as whistle blower in the face of abuse and torture.
The focus group discussion contributed in the process of making the community people developed courage and become fearless towards confronting the police as their perpetrators. The testimony became an instrument for nurturing hope and regaining honour and human dignity towards achieving justice. The HRDs and Community leaders are now starting to speak up; they become fully aware of the atrocities happening in their society. With the new-found consciousness and awareness of their rights, the survivors' belief on the rule of law was enhanced.
Based on collected data, and inputs from various stakeholder groups a video documentary titled “Muslim & Police: A Perspective” has been prepared on the basis of interactions for almost three months at the grass root level with the members of Muslim community in various Muslim dominated districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Keeping in view the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2014, an interface is being organised with various Members of Parliament and representatives of political parties from Uttar Pradesh on the “International Human Rights defenders’ Day” and eve of “World Human Rights Day”. Progressive citizens, Human Rights defenders and survivors of Muslim community from various parts of Uttar Pradesh are participating in this dialogue on 9 December 2013 at Constitutional club, New Delhi. The dialogue will commence with the screening of the video documentary, “Muslim and Police: A perspective”.
Brief about few dignitaries in documentary:
Sant Vivek Das: Sant Vivekdas Acharya Saheb is the Acharya of Moolgadi, and thus the supremo of the entire Kabirpanth. Sant Vivekdas has re-established the critical intellectual tradition of the panth as well as in understanding of Kabir philosophy. He has single handily battled against the distortions and deviations, which had crept in the panth, in different branches of Kabirpanth and in the philosophy itself through misinterpretations and counter practices. He has opened a new vista in the panth by attracting an array of intellectuals, philosophers and scholars.
Maulana Batin Naumani: he is the mufti of Benares. The 44-year-old Nomani is a simple man, intent on preserving Kashi's Holy Spirit. Last year, he took the initiative to form a sadbhavana committee and keeps in close touch with Hindu religious leaders like Mishra, Rajendra Tiwari, mahant of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and Swami Avimukteshwaranand of Kedar Ghat.
Pandit Vikash Maharaj: one of the founder members of People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) a membership based organization in Varanasi and 14th generation of musician in the prestigious and oldest musician family of Banaras Gharana (traditional Music School) in Varanasi, India.
Dr. Mahendra Pratap: he is one of the founding member and president of Governing board of PVCHR. He is associated with UP History Congress as ex-chair and worked closely with Janab Irfan Habib,a famous historian of India(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irfan_Habib). Recently,he is member of executive committee of Indian History Congress.
Voice over by:
Mr. Shafiq has been associated with the All India Radio as a Presenter in Urdu and Hindi languages for the past 30 years. As a voice over artist he has contributed in many commercial programs of All India Radio including Hind to Urdu translation. He has been part of many television films for back ground voice over. He has lent voice in broadcasting messages of social and political relevance for radio and television.
Mr. Surjan Singh, educated in a prestigious boarding school in Dehradoon, has been a voice- actor for the past 10 years. He has lent voice to channels like National Geographic Channel, The History Channel and Star News. He has been part of audio-video films, television and radio commercials, international award winning documentaries.