New Delhi, 25th Sept 2012
Swami Agnivesh giving a copy of the Supreme Court of India’s landmark judgment on the plight of Adivasis of Chhattisgarh to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Navi Pillay during the 21st session of Human Rights Council in Palais des Nation – Geneva, Switzerland.
President of the World Council of Arya Samaj and former Chairperson of the United Nations Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Swami Agnivesh had a very fruitful meeting with Mrs. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The meeting took place in Palais des Nation in Geneva during the 21st Session of the UN Human Right Council on 14 Sept 2012. Swami Agnivesh put forth the serious violation of Human Rights of India’s aboriginal or indigenous people called Adivasis, particularly in the mineral rich areas of Chhattisgarh at the hands of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). He gave her a copy of the landmark Judgment by the Supreme Court of India (Prof. Nandini Sunder and others Vs. Union of India) date 5th July, 2011 by Justices Sudarshan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar. Swami Agnivesh highlighted the cultural genocide of Adivasis at the hands of the State sponsored vigilante group called Salwa Judum in its various incarnations. He underlined the uprooting of nearly 85,000 tribals from close to 900 villages of Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur districts of Bastar Region; the burning down of three villages viz Thimmapuram, Tadmetla, Morpalli; and the condition of nearly 1,700 innocent Adivasis languishing in Jails of Jagadalpur on flimsy charges for last many years. He also noted the incidents of rape and murder of Adivasis between 11-16 March 2011, and the murderous assault on Swami Agnivesh and his team carrying relief material to affected Adivasis on 26 March, 2011. He also gave a graphic picture of atrocities heaped on tribals on the night of 28th June, 2012 in which 19 of them were killed in cold blood including seven innocent school-going children.
Swami Agnivesh requested the UN High Commissioner to intervene in this matter with the Government of India. SwamiAgnivesh told the High Commissioner for Human Rights that he had already met the President of India Mr. Pranab Mukherjee on 23 Aug and given him a memorandum seeking justice for the Adivasis.
The UN High Commissioner thanked Swami Agnesh for his briefing and expressed serious concern about reports of this kind. She highlighted the work of her office for the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous and tribal populations in other mineral rich areas of Africa and Latin America. She recalled for instance a recent visit she had made to Guatemala where she met indigenous communities and highlighted their concerns. Swami Agnivesh invited the High Commissioner to visit India and meet Adivasi victims and their families, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed her interest in visiting India again.
The HC and Swami Agnivesh also discussed other issues of concern in India. She underlined the potential of interfaith initiatives to break down longstanding prejudices and overcome social and cultural injustices.
Swami Agnivesh was accompanied at the meeting by Dr. Rama Mani, Co-Convener of Agents of Transformation and Councilor of the World Future Council.
President – World Council of Arya Samaj
Chairperson – Bandhua Mukti Morcha