Truths behind fabrication

Jun 24, 2012, 09:14 IST | Yoshita Sengupta

A new website, put together by activists and members of not-for profit organisations from across the country, reveals the truths behind several fabricated cases and brings to light the violation of democratic norms by the state

What is Fabricated(.in) about?
It is an effort to track the increasing number of cases involving human rights defenders, minorities and movements that have been fabricated by the state. 

Soni Sori is an Adivasi schoolteacher from Chattisgarh, being taken to court in Delhi in April last year. She was arrested and accused in cases of Maoist violence last year. Her case gained nationwide attention when she alleged that she was sexually assaulted and tortured by the police. file photo/ Imtiyaz Khan 

What’s the purpose of the website and what does the team seek to achieve?
The purpose is to share as much information as possible on fabricated cases, in which human rights are violated, inform more people about these issues and connect them to larger forums. The hope is that the website, through participation, information sharing and discussions, will strengthen the effort to secure justice for hundreds of victims of fabricated charges around the country.

What are the cases that the website deals with and writes about?
The website deals with all fabrications by the Indian State against activists and people. It exposes the unconstitutional violation of democratic principles by the state. So far, we have spoken about Soni Sori, Linga Ram Kodopi, the anti-POSCO struggle, Abdul Nasser Maudany, the Anti-Koodamkulam struggle, activist and writer Seema Azad from UP, Journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi, farmers’ movement leader Dr Sunilam, Mumbai-based activist Arun Ferreira, Abhijnan Sarkar, Debolina Chakrabarty from West Bengal, Dalit groups in Kerala DHRM, Mumbai-based theatre group Kabir Kala Manch and a few others.

When was the idea conceived and when was the website officially launched?
The website was launched in May 2012 in Thiruvananthapuram, when Abhay Sahoo, the leader of the anti-POSCO movement, who has been a victim of 51 fabricated cases, visited Kerala.

The idea was conceived almost a year ago. People involved with the project were getting updates on an increasing number of state-fabricated cases almost every day and we thought of providing all that information to them. Adivasi activist Lingaram Kodopi and Soni Sori were fabricated in false cases and the government gave a gallantry award to the police officer who tortured Soni Sori. Muslim spiritual leader Abdul Nasser Maudany, who supported the struggles of Adivasis and Dalits in Kerala was imprisoned in Coimbatore for nine and a half years without a trial and was later declared innocent. He is languishing in a prison in Bengaluru, under false charges, with no proper medical care. The list of such cases is endless, starting from Sanjiv Bhatt to cases against Dalit and adivasi activists to Kandhamal survivors and anti nuclear plant activists.

How did the site come about?
Last year, we had organised a one- day conference in Bengaluru called The Indian State and the Art of Fabricating Cases. The conference was organised by over twenty organisations in Bengaluru and was attended by over 250 people. We had speakers like Prafulla Samantara from NAPM in Odisha, K L Ashok, General Secretary of the Karnataka anti-Communal Forum, Fr Ajay Singh from Kandhamal, Prashant Paikare, the official spokesperson of the anti-POSCO movement, Dr Sebastian Paul, ex-MP, Kavita Shrivastava, the General Secretary of PUCL, and many others who raised several issues on fabricated cases against people’s movements, activists, adivasis, Dalits, minorities and other marginalised sections.

The website idea was crystallised during this conference. Satya Sagar (journalist), Wilfred D’Costa (activist), K Sajeed (activist) Anivar Aravind (software professional/activist) and KP Sasi (film maker/activist) got together on several occasions to discuss it and make it a reality. Anivar Aravind designed the website and organised the initial inputs and the forum was widened with the support of Dr Ram Puniyani, BRP Bhaskar and several other organisations.

Who are the people involved in the website?
The advisory board members are Ram Puniyani, Anand Teltumbde, Babloo Loitongbam, Saba Naqvi, Ajit Sahi, Bhasurendra Babu and Prafulla Samantray.
The initiative is supported by Posco Prathirodha Sangram Samithi (PPSS), Orissa Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh Adivasi Mulvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Jharkhand Himalaya Niti Abhiyan Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), Human Rights Alert, Manipur Justice for Maudany Forum, Solidarity Youth Movement, Kerala, Kerala Swathanthra Malsya Thozhilali Federation(KSMTF), Moving Republic, South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM), The Indian Solidarity Committee (INSOCO), PUCL Karnataka and National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO).
Volunteers help us with technical issues and organising content, while several journalist friends contribute stories.

Please elaborate on any on-the-ground activities.
Participants are involved with diverse activities. K Sajeed is one of the State Secretaries of the Solidarity Youth Movement, which is a mass organisation with over 1,000 units in Kerala. Wilfred D’Costa is associated with INSAF, which is a network of around 700 mass organisations in India. Satya Sagar is a freelance journalist, researcher and activist. BRP Bhaskar is a senior retired journalist and a public figure in Kerala. KP Sasi is a professional filmmaker and activist. Anivar Aravind professionally works as Technology Management Consultant (IT). So, individual members of the team work on the ground and have access to information. For example, Aravind, Sagar and Sasi worked together as the editors of Binayaksen(.net), the website that coordinated the online campaign for the release of Dr Binayak Sen.

How do you get authentic cases for the website?
The cases are obvious to anybody’s common sense. For example, look at Dr. Binayak Sen’s case — it was not just exposed, but he got many international awards and is now a member of the Planning Commission of India.

Journalist KK Shahina exposed the real side of the witnesses produced by the Karnataka police to frame Abdul Nasser Maudany. The prime witness, Jose Varghese, who was the landlord of Maudany, has stated in public that his testimony was forged by the Karnataka police.

He says, “I got a call from a man who introduced himself as Omkaraiah, the deputy commissioner of police. He asked me to come to Maudany’s house and bring a copy of the rent agreement. When I reached his house, Omkaraiah brought a person whose face was covered. The police told me that he was T Naseer, one of the key accused in the blasts case. They showed me a document written in Kannada and asked me to sign it.

Initially, I refused because I don’t know Kannada. Then they explained that they just wanted me to be a witness to their procedure of adducing evidence. So I reluctantly signed it.”

Later Jose Varghese was shocked to hear that he had been made the prime witness in the case. “I came to know about it when a news channel reporter came to interview me. I realised that what I signed was a testimony against Maudany. Within days, I filed a private complaint in the court.”

So this is how fabrication takes place, whereby thousands of innocent people are forced to languish in our jails for years.

Answers courtesy of team Fabricated(.in) 

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