One Step Forward, Two Steps Back for Human Rights in Eastern India

Kartam Joga

Former prisoner of conscience and Adivasi rights activist Kartam Joga has been released in India.© Private

This week brought a rare bit of good news for human rights in the poor, rural, tribal districts of eastern India. After spending over two years in jail on false charges, human rights activist Kartam Joga was finally acquitted of all charges. Like Binayak Sen, TG Ajay, Kopa Kunjam, Ramesh Agrawal, and Harihar Patel before him, the government of Chhattisgarh tried to silence Kartam Joga for daring to demand that human rights and democratic principles be respected in Chhattisgarh. And once again, the courts found that the state had no case.

But that hasn’t stopped Chhattisgarh from continuing to imprison peaceful critics. Journalist Lingaram Kodopi and activist Soni Sori – both tortured by police – remain in custody after over a year in jail (Act here to demand their release).


Maoists Sabotage of Train Tracks Leave 71 Innocent Civilians Dead

Maoists guerrillas supposedly fighting for the rights of the poor in the eastern part of India dismantled part of train tracks in West Bengal (a communist ruled state) causing a train full of people travelling from Calcutta to Mumbai (formerly Bombay) to derail, killing 71 people.

Those 71 people were all innocent civilians many of whom were likely the poor that the Maoists claim to be fighting on behalf of.  This is the latest in a series of brutal attacks against civilians West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar.