Tuesday, 17 December 2013

London Based International Humanist & Ethical Union to Seek Justice for Sowjanya

"With this confidence in the strength of India’s civic society and the media, this media conference is being organised to bring to the attention of the nation the alarming facts relating to the Sowjanya case, and to invite the citizens of the country to rise and bring justice to a blameless child whose life was snuffed out in a savage manner, no less horrific than Delhi girl Nirbhaya’s case. Sowjanyas case is symbolic of the struggles of South Indian women and needs the same attention and action that the Nirbhaya case received. We intend to bring this case to the formal attention of the Child Rights Commission and the National Human Rights Commission "- Babu Gogineni- Executive Director of International Humanist and Ethical Union, London

Mangalore: On the first anniversary of the assault on Nirbhaya, the Delhi gang rape victim who succumbed to her horrific injuries on 28 Dec 2012, a delegation consisting of Babu Gogineni, of the London-based International Humanist and Ethical Union with Specialist Consultative NGO status with the United Nations Human Rights Council and 120 member organisations in over 40 countries, and Prof. Narendra Nayak, of the Federation of Humanist organisations with 70 Humanist and Rationalist member organisations in the country, visited the family of Kumari Sowjanya, a 17-year old child abducted and savagely violated and murdered in October 2012 in Dharmasthala, the well-known religious centre near Mangalore.

"India and Rape Statistics - With 24000 cases of rape officially reported in India in 2011, and with the suspicion that nearly 10 times that numbers go unreported, India is a country of grave concern for the safety of the girl-child and of women. This fact has been repeatedly pointed out in Human Rights fora and at the United Nations for India represents a significant proportion of the world’s population. In this context, we welcome the fact that in the past 12 months there has been massive public support to bringing to justice the perpetrators of crimes against women, and the number of reported crimes has gone up".

"From January 2013 to October 2013, 2844 rape cases have been reported whereas for all of 2012 in Delhi, only 706 cases had been reported. Sadly, the ground realities continue to be unaltered for most of the victims as of these 706 rape cases in Delhi, only one has resulted in a conviction. Justice Verma’s 3-member Commission identified the ‘failure of governance’ as responsible for the sorry state of affairs. As pointed out later, we find that this is also the case in Sowjanya’s matter".

" Despite this, there is a change in the mood of the nation today: because of robust public pressure, the previous impunity that rape accused and others accused of similar offences seemed to enjoy has somewhat diluted. In the last 12 months while the ground realities continue to intimidate and unjustly shame victims rather than the criminals, the perpetrators of the savage attack on Nirbhaya have been brought to book, Asaram Bapu and Narayan Sai are being investigated on charges of rape and intimidation and high-profile editor Tarun Tejpal is facing the music on sexual assault charges. Justice Ganguly is being hauled up ".

"India has shown that the high and mighty, irrespective of their position and power, are neither beyond crime nor are they beyond the reach of the law if the right diligence is shown by the citizens and media organizations. With this confidence in the strength of India’s civic society and the media, this media conference is being organised to bring to the attention of the nation the alarming facts relating to the Sowjanya case, and to invite the citizens of the country to rise and bring justice to a blameless child whose life was snuffed out in a savage manner, no less horrific than Nirbhaya’s case ".

"There is a clear miscarriage of justice and the outrage this has caused brought together hundreds of thousands of people of Dakshina Kannada who have risen as one to try to bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime. A Justice for Kumari Sowjanya social media campaign has 50,000 activists signed up. Everywhere in Dakshina Karnataka there are huge banners and tens of thousands of posters with the innocent face of Sowjanya questioning citizens of the country what they can do to bring justice to her – a vulnerable child of 17, raped and murdered. The campaign is supported by civil society and religious organisations save one ".

"The child was abducted, raped and murdered and the body was dumped near the banks of a stream flowing into the Netravathi river. The stream was over-flowing with water but the body found on the supposed scene of crime was dry, her clothes were dry as was her hand bag. Next to the body was a chit with a mobile phone number. There is photographic evidence of all this ".

"The police investigation into the case has been shoddy and unprofessional and does not inspire confidence. Evidence has been suppressed – the chit has been suppressed in the evidence; the post mortem report states that her vagina was found to be stuffed with mud and sand to destroy evidence. The police collected Sowjanya’s underclothes to cover her up – or was it an attempt to cover up partly the evidence? "

"Attempts were made to affect the credibility of the complainants. Kusumavathi, the mother of the murdered child was branded as mentally ill and by deception admitted to a hospital so that she would not be available to the media and neutral investigators. This was done by Balakrishna Pujari, Manager of Dharmasthala Agricultural. Did he have the medical qualifications to do that to a lady who he had not earlier ever met? Kusumavathi was rescued from the ayurvedic hospital – how is an ayurvedic hospital qualified to treat mental illness even if such illness existed? What is Mr. Pujari’s interest? Or whose interests was he protecting?"

"Public confidence is extremely low about the credibility of the investigation as indicated by the fresh CID probe initiated earlier this year. Vitthal Gowda, Sowjanya’s uncle, reported that he saw the police tutoring the accused at the alleged scene of crime. But the scene of crime identified by the police is not a credible scene of crime with no signs of struggle there. So where was the crime actually performed on a physically able victim who would surely have resisted as evidenced by wounds on her body? Who would have provided shelter for the crime to be perpetrated?"

"The family does not believe that the accused Santosh Rao under judicial custody at present was physically incapable of carrying out the crime singly and allege that the names they gave to the police were not properly investigated. Why is it that Sowjanya’s family has been provided with police security? Who is the danger from and what action has been taken to investigate this danger? People in the area live in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation as RTI documents have revealed over 400 deaths of people in the region, a fact unexplained by state wide statistics. Many fear the wrath of the land mafia and the impunity of the powerful persons of the region and are afraid of opening up their minds ".

"It has been explained that people come to Dharmasthala to commit suicide so they would directly go to heaven. What is the place of worship doing to prevent such suicides? If it is true that 60% of these deaths are those of young women, what is prompting young women to come here and die? What is the administration doing to prevent such suicides? How many psychiatrists have been deployed to address this crisis? If suicides are the reason for the deaths, how are we to explain why since the Sowjanya case became the focus of a public campaign, the so-called suicide rates have fallen?"

"It was alleged to us that in the feudal set up of the area where there is no freedom to contest elections without approval of the big wigs; women who are desired are abducted and raped and even those who dare to question are taught a lesson by their women folk being raped. Those who have asked for open investigation and those who have demanded justice as well as NGOs leaders and even the victim’s families, have been slapped with huge defamation cases, aimed at intimidating them into silence".

"Sowjanya was a child as defined by the law. The CWC Committee Chairperson, Asha Nayak has stated that she has not been given documents relating to the crime as per procedure. The CWC is a quasi-judicial body but has still not been given the charge sheet. We salute the immense courage shown by the family which in the face of pressure and intimidation have still managed to holdout. We are encouraged by the groundswell of support that the campaign has received, the media attention a few channels gave, but in view of the lack of convincing steps being taken by the local authorities we believe that an investigation by a neutral body with judicial supervision would be a better guarantor of justice for Sowjanya ".

"Sowjanyas case is symbolic of the struggles of South Indian women and needs the same attention and action that the Nirbhaya case received. We intend to bring this case to the formal attention of the Child Rights Commission and the National Human Rights Commission. The next steps would be to raise the questions at the meeting of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council at its next session in the first quarter of 2014 " said Babu Gogineni.

Babu also said already consoled by the support they received in their continued life of grief, the family of Sowjanya has agreed and is preparing to go to Delhi with their story. He also urged the state government to hand over the entire 464 unnatural deaths taken place in Ujire (Dharmasthala) over the past ten years to CBI probe. Prof Narendra Nayak said that there are many religious centres in the Dakshina Kannnada, but none of the places have witnessed such kind of brutal incident.

Sowjanya’s case symbolizes struggles of South Indian Women : Gogineni

Mangalore “Sowjanya rape and murder case was as horrific and as horrendous Nirbhaya’s case. It is unfortunate that while Nirbhaya’s rapists were caught within a year of the crime Sowjanya’s parents are still awaiting justice even after 14 months have passed. Is this disparity because of the fact that Nirbhaya’s rape happened in national capital while Sowjanya was murdered in a small village such as Belthangady.” said Babu Gogineni of London based International Humanist and Ethical Union a NGO which has Specialist Consultative status with the United Nations Human Rights Council during media briefing.
“Sowjanya’s parents will be taken to New Delhi where they will present their case, the matter will also be brought before the United Nations Human Rights Council. Such a horrific crime was committed on a child and we were shocked to that the Police Department has not even till this date has not given the charge sheet to the Child Welfare Committee chairperson despite it being a quasi judicial body.”Gogineni said.

Unprofessional Investigation 
“The investigation in this case has been shoddy and unprofessional further evidence is being suppressed. The accused have not only destroyed the evidence but also there have been instances when the police are tutoring the accused. We have been hearing about the involvement powerful family being involved in the case. It is quite unfortunate that the entire judiciary system has been used by the accused to protect themselves. So much the so that the people who have come up with open allegations, NGOs and even the victims’s families have been slapped with defamation cases. This has created fear among the people who are not able to reveal the truth for the fear that they also meet the same fate as others. While only few political parties extended their support to the victim’s family. Rest all are siding the accused,”he added.

Why young women are committing suicide
“The alarming factor is that of total suicides 60 per cent deceased include young women. Now the question should be raised as to why young women are committing suicide. What is driving them towards such a decision. Is there an underlying social or psychological problem? If that is so then counseling should be done? If this is not the case then are the women being killed? Gogineni questioned
“If they are killed then the matter must be investigated. However one positive trend is that from the day when Sowjanya’s case started coming to light the number of suicide case has reduced,”he added.

Let the people being accused come out to clear their image
“We have been hearing the names of a powerful family being stated as accused. And we also been hearing how this powerful family is citing these allegations as baseless. If the family and the people are so honorable then should come out in open and subject themselves to judicial investigation so that they can clear their name. But such a process is not being adopted.”Gogineni said.

Kusumalatha admitted to Ayurvedic hospital

“Further Kusumalatha by deception was admitted to Ayurvedic Hospital citing mental illness. If ever she was mentally ill then why should she be admitted in Ayurvedic hospital,”Gogineni said.

Sowjanya’s case is symbolic of the struggles of South Indian Women

“Sowjanya’s case is symbolic of struggle of South Indian Women and needs same action and attention that the Nirbhaya case received. People should come forward and fight for justice. ”Gogineni added.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Justice for Sowjanya: Protest reaches Bantwal, students join in

Bantwal, Dec 10: Mahesh Shetty Thimarodi, convener of Praja Prabhutva Vedike on Monday December 9 urged the student community to actively participate in the protests against injustice in Sowjanya rape and murder case disregarding pressure to stay away from it.

Thimarodi spoke at a protest rally held in front of BC Road taluk office in Bantwal in connection Sowjanya rape and murder case. The protestors demanded Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe into the case and also into other unnatural deaths in Dharmasthala.

He said that intense questioning of the then SI Yogish Kumar, SP, medical officers Adam and Rashmi would reveal the true colors of those who have influenced the investigation in Sowjanya case.

Sri Esha Vittaldasa Swamiji of Kemaru Math said that he will not remain quiet if the student community is troubled.  He commended the students who participated in the protest.  He assured that he would be with them always and that he could be contacted anytime over the phone.

He said that there are sincere policemen also in the police force and that it was a police officer who inspired him to join the protests.

Dr Harale, husband of Vedavalli who was murdered in Dharmasthala, said that he had remained quiet for the future of his children and said that God has awakened those who have been victims of injustice.  He lamented that some police officers favor the wealthy, thereby forgetting their duty.  Some ministers also bow before the rich, he said.

Kusumavati, mother of the late Sowjanya cried during the protest.  She said that Sowjanya woud have been in the forefront of protests against injustice if alive and that the girls of her age in the protest reminded her of her daughter.

Kumari Ashwija, who spoke at the meeting, said that it was necessary for students to wake up against injustice and protest.  Sowjanya’s father, Chandappa Gowda, members of protest committee Bhuvith Shetty and Santhosh were present.

Anil Gowda gave the keynote address.  Satish Salian welcomed the gathering.  Shailesh thanked.  Anand Kulal conducted the programme.

Students gathered in large numbers at the protest.  It was the third protest meeting held on Monday.  Large number of students and women participated in the rally that was taken from BC Road to Kaikamba Polali main entrance prior to the meeting.

Reported by: Daiji World

Finally! Sowjanya Case handed over to CBI officially(?).

My sincere and heart filled thanks to all the students and people who participated in the #JusticeForSowjanya protest yesterday in B.C.Road. In fact, the heat of the protest might turn into a positive move as some news papers have written today that "Sowjanya Case has been handed over to CBI officially".

Protest was massive and a revolution too considering the immediate response by the state govt. To be very honest, the protest would have been yielded 'nothing' without the help of 'ಸೌಜನ್ಯಪರ ಹೋರಾಟ ಸಮಿತಿ', Janapara Mahesh Shetty Thimarody and Eshaswamiji Swamiji's blessings and Sowjanya families participation. I would like to thank Pradeep Ajjibettu,Santhosh KumarPranam RajPratheeshPrashanth AjjibettuVivek RajBharath ShettyAbhi RaiGururaj BantwalShailesh BcroadSandesh ShettySathish Salian,Mahesh ShettySharanu AcharyaShivaraj KulalJeethu Kotian and many others for making this event successful amidist the odds offered by many so called 'Leaders' and 'Protectors of Hinduism'.

We the people used to get plenty of calls to abort the protest as it was according to them an attempt to defame the holy land Dharmasthala. Well, people never gave attention to their false propaganda about our blog and pooled in large numbers. That's what we needed badly.  

And nothing perishes here itself. We will observe the CBI moves, and CBI probe should be made under the knowledge of Supreme Court so that we can trust it. Let us hope for the good. Good days are ahead. 

(Mahesh Shetty Thimarodi, Kemaru Sri, Sowjanya parents, Dr. Harale, Charan Jumadi Gudde were present at the protest)

Bhuvith Shetty

Beltangady: Dharmasthala unnatural deaths - Protest intensifies

Beltangady, Dec 9: “The government which had promised to transfer the Sowjanya rape and murder case to the CBI has cheated the people. The protests will continue until the investigations are conducted and justice is done in the case,” said Praja Prabhutva Vedike president Mahesh Shetty Thimarodi.

He was speaking at a mammoth protest meeting held in connection to Sowjanya's murder and other cases of unnatural deaths that have occurred in Dharmasthala over the past several years. The meeting urged for transfer of the Sowjanya case and other similar cases of missing girls and unnatural deaths to the CBI, monitored by the Supreme Court.

Demanding to know whether the government had joined hands with the suspects in the case, he said that the police are trying to suppress the protesters. He urged the government and the police to act before people revolt and take suitable action against the killers.

"There are attempts to spread confusion in Beltangady taluk. Police should take suitable action against those spreading rumours. The taluk welfare committee should clarify to the people whether they are for justice or against justice," he said.

Esha Vittaldas Swamiji of Kemar Sandeepani Ashram said, "Our culture desists rape. Our culture encourages raising our voice against injustice. The government should clarify on whose pressure did it back off after promising CBI enquiry into the incident," he said.

Author Atradi Amritha Shetty said that the Tulu people have challenged injustice and the rulers will fail in front of the sea of people.

Kusumavati, mother of Sowjanya and Dr B R Harale, husband of Vedavalli teacher expressed their anguish in front of the protesters. 
Chandappa Gowda, father of Sowjanya was present on the dais.

Jayaram Gowda and Ravi Kumar Baramelu also spoke. Anil Kumar welcomed the gathering. Satish Mannadka thanked.

Though people from different taluks had gathered at the protest meeting, Ujire residents were more in number.

Via: Daiji World

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Time to payback them and louder 'Justice For Sowjanya' voice. We will win one day.

Dear all,

The more they stop us the more we grow. Now we are matured enough to break the stones they threw at our path in the past. I feel very proud and glad to inform you all that on 9-12-2013 we the Justice For Sowjanya blog crew and ಸೌಜನ್ಯಪರ ಹೋರಾಟ ಸಮಿತಿ, ಬಂಟ್ವಾಳ will be staging a massive protest in B.C Road (Bantwal) demanding CBI investigation to be done under the authority of Supreme Court as we suspect there will be a chance of a biased investigation and CBI can be monitored by some influential people.

So, we need to payback them fully for their lame allegations on our Blog that we are maligning Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala or some people associated to it. In fact, we have never done that because we too belong that section of theists who carry an immense respect for Lord Manjunatha. Even we had challenged the petitioner to prove his allegation true, but He never reverted us back as he doesn't have any proof to prove his point right. Our reply to Mr. Rajendra Das - 

Facing all such obstacles we stood firm and our voice for 'Sowjanya' never became low. In fact, it helped us to fight back and generate more public support. Such public support yielded in staging a massive protest in Bantwal.

I request all of you to join us on this 9th Dec and make this protest successful. I reckon, we have 50,000+ Facebook supporters, but we could hardly get time for all these apart Facebook or other online stuffs. Please make yourself free on 9th and gather in front of Thaluk Office, BC Road in large numbers or you can even join us in our protest march which begins from Kaikamba.