[Reader-list] Chithralekha's Burning Auto

Vivek Narayanan vivek at sarai.net
Sun Jun 8 20:41:55 IST 2008

Hi all, this is a recent follow up related to an independent fellowship project by P. Jenny  and C. Christy, relating to their research on the Dalit woman autorickshaw driver in Kerala, Chithralekha...

First posting: http://mail.sarai.net/pipermail/reader-list/2007-March/008969.html

Final presentation: http://cid-eb2914bb9c5b6880.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Chithra%20Lekha/Chithra%20Lekha.doc

Chithralekha Gets a New Autorickshaw:


> Update As On 07-06-08*
> Dear friends,
> It is 10 months since the campaign to raise the targeted amount of Rs 1.5
> lakhs in rehabilitating Chithralekha by restoring her means of livelihood by
> procuring a new auto rikshaw for her, with the money raised from concerned
> citizens took off. The whole story needn't be repeated here, as we are too
> well aware of the background from which this campaign happened to take
> place.
> As we conclude on 7th June 2008, we have an amount of over Rs *1,53,700/*=
> collected  .
> *Please peruse here the details of contribution we received so far:*
> S/sri
> 1.Salim T.K ( Thalassery/ UAE):           Rs1,500.00
> 2.Dr.Jayasree A.K (Rajamundry,A.P) : Rs 1,000.00
> 3.Mr.K.K.Baburaj(Kottayam)          : Rs 1,000.00
> 4.Prof. Shiva Shankar
>  (Chennai Mathematical Institute)   : Rs 1,000.00
> 5.Sri.K.Panur (Kannur)                     :Rs    100.00
> 6.Dr.Jenny Roweena,                 }
>  Carmel Christy, Dr.Ranjith.R}     }     : Rs 10,000.00
>  and Dr.Hani Babu(Hydbad),       }
> 7.Jenson Joseph (Hydbad):                  Rs 1,000.00
> 8.P.V.Ayyappan(Trissur):                    Rs 1,000.00
> 9.Dr.A.V.Bharathan(Trissur):              Rs 1,000.00
> 10.Dr.M.R.Govindan(Thrissur)           Rs    500.00
> 11.Dr.K.K.Rahulan(Thrissur)             Rs     200.00
> 12.C.R.Parameswaran(Thrissur)       Rs     500.00
> 13.K.Venu(Thrissur)                        : Rs 2,000.00
> 14.Dr.A.K.Ramakrishnan
>  (MGU,Kottayam):                               Rs 1,000.00
> 15.Dr.V.C.Harris,
> (MGU,Kottayam):                                Rs 1,000.00
> 16.Dr.K.M.Seethi
> (MGU,Kottayam):                               Rs   500.00
> 17.Dr.N.J.Phillip(Kottayam)              :Rs 1,000.00
> 18.V.P.Zuhara(Kozhikkode)               :Rs   500.00
> 19.Deepa V.N( Kottayam):                 :Rs 5,000.00
> 20.Mythri, Roshni,
>  Sunitha, Vijaya(CDS,Tvm)  }            :Rs   500.00
> 21.Dr.Alice(CDS,Tvm)                       :Rs   500.00
> 22.Dr.Binita Thampi(CDS,Tvm)         :Rs   500.00
> 23.B.R.P.Bhaskar(Tvm):                      Rs 1,000.00
> 24.Dr.Ranjini Lakshmi(CDS):              Rs 6,650.00
> 25.Dr.Shivanandan(CDS,Tvm):             Rs   500.00
> 26.P.N.Gopeekrishnan(Thrissur)            Rs   500.00
> 27.M/s.SNA Oushadhashala(Thrissur)          Rs   500.00:
> 28Prof. V.G.Thampi (Thrissur):                    Rs   250.00
> 30.Prof.Hiranyan(Thrissur)     :                      Rs   500.00
> 31.M/s Anveshi (Kozhikkode):                       Rs 2,000.00
> 32.Dr.Mini Sukumar(Calicut University):         Rs 400.00
> 33.Ravi.P.C(Thrissur)                          :             Rs 500.00
> 34.Prof.N.N.Gokuldas,(Thrissur)     :               Rs 1,000.00
> 35.K.Radhakrishnan(Thrissur)              :            Rs  500.00
> 36.Dr.Jayaraj,(Thrissur) :                                 Rs 1,000.00
> 37.Anil, Altermedia(Thrissur):                            Rs 250.00
> 38.K.V.Abdul Azeez(Thrissur) :                      Rs  2,000.00
> 39.Dr.T.T Sreekumar (Singapur) :                    Rs 6,000.00
> 40.Dr.K.V.Devadhasan(Payyanur):                  Rs 1,000.00
> 41.V.P.Sreenivasan(B'lore/Payyanur)               Rs 1,000.00
> 42.K.M.Hrisheekeshan
> (Gurgav/Payyanur)  :      }                       Rs 1,000.00
> 43.K.M.Nandakishor(UK/Payyanur)       Rs 1,000.00
> 44.Dr.K.Aravindakshan(Thrissur)   :       Rs   500.00
> 45.T.P.Yakub(Kozhikkode)          :          Rs 2,000.00
> 46.Suresh,K.P.Mohsin,
> Dinesh,Dr.K.V.Balakrishnan,   }   :           Rs 500.00
> Dr.Geethakumari,Raju Kuttan,
>  (Calicut University)
> 47.Dr.Mohanakrishnan.V (Calicut University):     Rs 500.00
> 48.Smt.Ganga Parvathi Shankar (Pune)  :         Rs 1,000.00
> 49.Ajesh C.A (Calicut University)                       :Rs  500.00
> 50.O.P.Ravindran (Calicut University)   :                Rs 500.00
> 51.C.R.Ramesh(Thrissur)                    :      Rs 200.00
> 52.Harinarayanan (Mumbai)  :                Rs 1,000.00
> 53.U.K.Nair(Mumbai)            :                Rs 1,000.00
> 54.Harishankar,(Mumbai)      :                Rs 1,000.00
> 55.Dr.J.Devika (CDS) and others :         Rs 1,100.00
> 56.Balakrishnan V.Rtd Officer,
> Shipyard,Cochin
> (Narath,Kannur) :      }                             Rs    500.00
> 57.K.P.Girija (Hydbad)                :           Rs   500.00
> 58.Bindulakhsmi/Suprathik (Mumbai)    Rs 5,000.00
> 59.Prof.K.G.Shankara Pillai                 :       Rs 500.00
> 60.Prof.Sujatha.R,
> Chennai Mathematical Institute    }       :Rs 1,500.00
> 61.Mr.Pradeepan,Kannur                    :Rs    500.00
> 62.Prof. Alladi Sitharam IISC,B'lore     :Rs 2,000.00
> 63.Prof. Annapoorna Sitharam    ,,        :Rs 2,000.00
> 64.Prof Shobha Madan               ,,          :Rs 2,000.00
> 65.Prof Gadadhar Mishra            ,,         :Rs 1,000.00
> 66.Mr.Aftab Ellath(Champad/UAE)      :Rs 3,000.00
> 67.Mr.Krishnakumar.A.V(UAE)            :Rs1,000.00
> 68.Mr.Abdul Kareem M.K (UAE)        :Rs 1,000.00
> 69. A friend from New Delhi
>      (Prefers anonymity)        }                :Rs 5,000.00
> 70.Mr.Mitesh Damania (US)               :Rs 10,000.00
> 71.Dr.Ratheesh Radhakrishnan            : Rs 1,000.00
> 72.Ms.Smriti,Nokia Seimens
>  Network Group,B'lore.          }            : Rs 1,500.00
> 72.Mr.Vinod Chandran,
>  Ivory Group,Dubai           }                   :Rs  I,000.00
> 73.Mr.P.Dasan,
> Ani Gas Agencies,Kannur                    : Rs 1,000.00
> 74.Mr.P.Shekhara Poduval                   : Rs 1,000.00
> 75.Mr.P.C.Jose, Alakkode                    : Rs    100.00
> 76.Mr.Anil, Alakkode                            : Rs    300.00
> 77,Mr.K.K.Kochu                                 :  Rs    100.00
> 78.Mr.V.Krishnan ,Kannur                   :  Rs     50.00
> 79.Mr.K.Rajan, Kannur                         : Rs      50.00
> 80.Mr.K.M.Venugopalan,Payyanur       : Rs    500.00
>      81.Mr.Dileepraj (Thuravoor)                  : Rs 2,000.00
> 82.Ms.Reshma Bharadwaj                   :Rs 2,000.00
> 83.Mr.Damodar Prasad(C-dit)                     :Rs    500.00
> 84.Dr.T.V.Sajeev    (KFRI,Thrissur)             :Rs    500.00
> 85.Dr.V.J Varghese(CDS,Thiruvananthapuran) Rs 500.00
> 86.Dr.Hari P Sharma} (President,SANSAD,Canada) : Rs 5,000.00
> 87.M/s South Asian Network
> for Secularism And Democracy
> (SANSAD),Canada                                   :Rs 5,000.00
>  ** 88.Mr.Joy Charles(US)                             :Rs 5,000.00
>  89-92: Donations through Ambedkarscolarships:
> (*1).Mr.Benjamin Kaila.(US)              :  *Rs.5,000.00
>              *(2). Prof Anand Swarup, Australia     :*Rs.5,000.00
>       *(3). Prof K Ravishankar(US)              :*Rs 5,000.00*
>  *
> *(4).Mr Karthik Subramanian, US       :*Rs 5,000.00.
 <94.humaneight at gmail.com>A friend who prefers anonymity                  :
Rs   600.00
94.Mr Rajan Robert, Kollam                      : Rs 1,000.00
95.M/s Neethi Agencies,
Puthiyatheru,Kannur      }                          :Rs 1,000.00

                                         *TOTAL DONATIONS
** RECEIVED AS ON  07-06-2008:  Rs 153,700.00 *
*(Rupees One Lakh Fiftythree Thousand and Seven hundred ):*
 *This figure excludes bank charges for collection of  out station cheques
and DDs ;
it aslo excludes the small amount of interests accrued  for the money
deposited with the bank .                 **
Chithralekha had been violently deprived of her means of livelihood by
political actors encouraged by the characteristically casteist and sexist
hate toward a dalit woman who wanted to stand up against the hegemony at the
workplace. Eversince  her autorikshaw was destroyed in 2005 December by
putting it on fire , Chithralekha has been eking out livelihood by going out
for unskilled manual jobs in house construction and  farming  sectors.
Hence,   notwithstanding the outcome of the cumbersome legal battle in which
she needs support too, steps to immediately rehabilitate her became the
imperative for all concerned .

>  *The kind of caste- gender related violence that had been acted out
> against Chithralekha is  hoped to be remembered  only in the restricted
> context of a collective wish for it not showing up again, and otherwise, we
> would rather  forget it.*
> The Rehabilitation Committee based at Kannur is having a  public function
> at Kannur at 2pm on 7-06-2008; Ms.C.K.Janu of Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha,
> Keralam will hand the keys of a new Bajaj Diesel Autorikshaw to
> Chithralekha.Many leading figures and activists on the human rights front
> will either  give felicitation addresses directly or the  messages received
> from them will be to read over to the audience.
> Hence, the new vehicle is going to be gifted to Chithralekha with a view
> to creating a firm resolve to support Chithralekha in her struggle for
> justice ans right to live with honour , though in a much changed different
> atmosphere of goodwill and understanding, where the old hostilities are best
> expected to be rolled back.

> Yours sincerely,
> *Venugopalan.K.M,*
> *Convener,*
> *Chithralekha Rehabilitation Committee*
> *,Kannur.*
> *e-mail: kmvenuannur at gmail.com*
> *phone: 09447488215*
> *
>   [You may please read here the original message by the Chithralekha
> Rehabilitation Committee here, which may help  recap the whole story ]:*
> *[Following is the translated text of an appeal released at a press
> conference on 26-09-07 in Kannur, by the Chithralekha Rehabilitation
> Committee, Kannur, Kerala ] *
> Dear friends,
> Despite our pride in having achieved 100% literacy, we have to acknowledge
> sadly that Kerala's social life continues to be reigned by several unwrit
> rules of caste and gender, rather than by law. A series of incidents that
> took place at Edat (Payyanur, Kannur District) starting from organized abuse
> and harassment of a dalit woman at her workplace, physically  attacking  her
> for having complained to the police, and finally seeing her only means of
> livelihood, an autorikshaw, destroyed by unknown persons setting fire to the
> vehicle in the dead of night, and to cap these all, a CITU autorikshaw
> workers' union coming out openly to defend the accused persons, seems to
> demonstrate this.
> Chithralekha had procured her autorikshaw under the PMRY Scheme in October
> 2004. Nevertheless, she had to wait for three months before the  permission
> to park her vehicle in the Payyanur College bus stop Autostand as well as
> the membership in the Union was given to her by the CITU Union.
> When finally she did succeed in this, she was greeted by an all-male group
> of non-dalit autoworkers by the following comments"Look, the pulachi (
> female gender for pulaya, name of a prominent SC)  is coming with with her
> auto".
> Since then, Chithralekha had to suffer a host of humiliations and untold
> sufferings. On 11-10-2005, Ajith, a fellow auto driver tore the hood of her
> vehicle. She complained to the Union only to be ridiculed and turned back.
> Further, a complaint made to the Police ended up with her tormentor being
> warned by the police.  Obviously outraged by this daring act of Chithralekha
> petitioning against a comrade  to the police, Ajith along with  Pavithran,
> Naveen and Rameshan physically attacked Chithralekha at her workplace, the
> auto stand on 14-10-2005 morning. They publicly dragged her out from the
> vehicle and drove one of the autorikshaws on to her body, which caused
> injury to her leg serious enough to stay as inpatient in the Payyanur Govt
> hospital for many days. As they were doing all these acts of brutality, one
> of them shouted these words" pulachies of your ilk in future shall never
> ride auto here, and it is the union's decision"
> The above incident has been booked by the Payyanur Police under various
> sections of IPC as well as under sections of the SC/ST Atrocities
> (Prevention) Act of 1999. This case with FIR No 367/05 is presently posted
> for trial before the Special Court (SC/ST Atrocities), Thalassery.
> We believe that but for the timely intervention of the District Level
> Monitoring Committee which is a statutory committee for monitoring such
> cases of atrocities against dalits, the above mentioned case would not have
> been booked at all;  on the contrary, the dominant caste-gender set up in
> combination with the generally existing status-quoist bias of individual
> police officers would have ensured impunity for the offenders and  further
> institutionalization of such crimes.
> Even against the  successful intervention on the part of the Dist Level
> Monitoring Committee to get the case booked and properly pursued,
> collectively expressed  hatred and openly displayed hostility against
> Chithralekha were only heading to a point of vantage. In the night of
> 31-12-2005, her vehicle was burned by unidentified persons. This incident
> was registered as FIR No 474/05 in the Payyanur Police Station.
> As we hear further stories of intimidation and demoralizing of witnesses by
> several quarters of vested interests with a view to weakening  of
> these  cases as such, we notice that unless the civil society actively
> involves in the process of bringing justice to the victim, this kind of
> crimes motivated by caste and gender is going to get institutionalized.
> Chithralekha is presently dependent solely on the Monitoring Committee that
> includes a few civilian(dalit) representatives and the State mechanism
> available. While it needs to be clearly reiterated that without such State
> mechanism it would not have been possible to bring the culprits to book
> under the relevant provisions of law, the ridiculously unwarranted attempts
> to impose virtual compromise on the victim by intimidating and demoralizing
> her witnesses and in many other ways need to be resisted. The absolutely
> unfair interventions of  political manipulators to  protect the non-dalit,
> male accuseds from the reach of law, in this case, should be effectively
> challenged by vigorous pursuit of the Rule Of Law by an informed civil
> society.
> It is worth mentioning in this context, that a citizens' action committee
> based at Payyanur was indeed on the scene until April 2006 to support
> Chithralekha. The committee though succeeded in getting an auto for her on
> rental basis and as  part of their endeavour to restore work to
> Chithralekha, it became defunct soon after the election campaign for the
> Kerala Assembly picked up momentum. Due to several reasons, Chithralekha was
> virtually compelled to return the hired vehicle to its owner. Since then,
> she had to support herself and her family by going outside for unskilled
> labour in the building sector, evenwhile she refused to compromise in her
> determined struggle against the cast-gender hostilities still propagated
> against her.
> On the 29th August of this year, a new initiative to support Chithralekha
> came to existence by forming a new  forum based at Kannur, the District
> headquarters. The meeting convened by Dr D.Surendranath was personally
> attended by Mr. K.K.Kochu,the well known dalit leader.Several other
> prominent dalit activists and intellectuals had also extended thier support
> to this initiative. This committee was named as Chithralekha
> Punaradhivasa  (Rehabilitation) Committee and it took stock of the situation
> as a whole.,against the background of conspicuous lack of any collective
> expression of solidarity with her continuing struggle.The next meeting of
> this committee on 4-09-2007resolved to extend unconditional support to
> Chithralekha in her struggle for justice.The committee identified the urgent
> need of rehabilitating Chithralekha, with the work as well as a
> nightmares-free workplace restored to her. For this, it was decided to
> purchase a new autorikhshaw for her by collecting the necessary fund from
> the people. For carrying out this effectively and transparently, Dr
> Surendranath(Chairman), Mr.P.K.Ayyappan (Treasurer) and Mr.K.M.Venugopalan
> (Convenor) would jointly operate an account in the Thalap branch of the
> Kannur District Central Co-operative Bank in connection with collecting and
> depositing of a targeted fund of Rs1,50,000/=
> While we ourselves fully endorse the above mentioned objectives of the
> Chithralekha Punaradhivasa Committee,Kannur, we would like to request the
> entire civil society of Kerala to come forward in support of these causes
> ,viz; of ending hostilities toward a dalit woman and allowing the law to
> take the right course on the one hand, and helping rehabilitation of
> Chithralekha by restoring her means of livelihood and work.
> Hence,we request everybody to make contribution to the Cithralekha
> Rhabilitation Fund  either by depositing direct to *Chithralekha
> Rehabilitation Committee SB Ac. No.1* of *Thalap* branch of *CDCC bank of
> Kannur ( Kannur District Central  Co-operative Bank)*, or by sending in  *Ac.Payee
> Cheque or crossed DD payable at Kannur, or Money Order, to the following
> address :- *
> *Dr.D.Surendranath,*
> *Chairman,*
> *Chithralekha Rehabilitation Committee, *
> *Pallikunnu P.O., Kannur.
> *
> Among the persons who have already signed this draft are ---Bhargavi
> Thankappan (former Dy Speaker,Kerala Assembly), L.Natarajan ( Retd
> IAS),K.C.Venu ( Retired Director, Public Relations, Thiruvananthapuram)
> K.K..Kochu (Dalit activist and writer),Sunny Kapikkad (Dalit writer and
> activist, Kottayam) , M.B.Manoj ( Poet and Dalit activist, Kottayam), Rekha
> Raj (Dalit Women's Forum, Kottayam), K.Panur (Senior campaigner and writer
> on Adivasi-Dalit issues & Human Rights, Kannur), K.Venu , Dr.M.Gangadharan,
> Dr .A.K.Ramakrishnan (School Of International Relations, MG University,
> Kottayam), K.Ajitha (Campaigner in Womens' issues and the leading activist
> in Anweshi, Womens'Organization, Kozhikkode) , A.Vasu ( Human Rights
> activist, Kozhikkode), Dr.J.Devika (CDS, Thiruvananthapuram), V.P.Zuhara (
> Nisa,Organization For Progressive Muslim Women, Kozhokkode) , Anivar Aravind
> (Greenyouth Forum& GAYA, Trissur), B.R.P.Bhaskar (senior Human Rights
> campaigner and journalist, Thiruvananthapuram), Dr.V.C.Harris (School Of
> Social Sciences, MGU, Kottayam) , C.K.Janu (leader, Adivasi Gothra
> Mahasabha, Wynad), Prof Sara Joseph ( Literatuer and Womens' Rights
> campaigner,  Thrissur), Advocate P.A.Pauran (PUCL-Kerala, Manjeri),
> K.Haridas ( writer and Human Rights activist, Mumbai ), Dr.Jenny Roweena
> (Writer and Researcher in Gender and Caste Issues ,Hydbad), Carmel Chrity
> (Research Scholar, Hyderabad Central University & activist researcher In
> Gender and Caste  ), Elizabeth Philip( Sahaja, Womens' Rights organization,
> Kottayam), Ranjith Thakappan ( Lecturer, Indira Gandhi Open University, New
> Delhi), I.Gopinath  (Media Initiatives and Human Rights activist, Thrissur),
> Sarat (Thirdeyefilms , Ernakulam), A.Arun (Research Scholar, Hyderabad
> Central University), P.Baburaj (Thirdeye films,Ernakulam), K.K.Ushakumari
> (Janakeeya Samskarika Kendram, Kodungallur), Radhika Menon (Forum For
> Democratic Initiatives,New Delhi), Vinod.K.Jose ( Human Rights activist and
> Fellow, Columbia Journalism School, New York), K.P.Sasi( Human Rights
> activist and film maker, Bangalore), Bauraj.K (writer and activist,
> Kodungallur), Shyla.K.John (Secretary, AIMSS, Kerala), Advocate Kasthuri
> Devan (social activist, Kannur), Dr.A.K.Jayasree( womens'rights
> campaigner,Rajamundri, A.P) ,Dr.K.M.Seethi (School Of International
> Relations and Political Science, MG University, Kottayam), Deepa V.N
> (Sahayatrika, Kerala), Girija K.P (Kerala),S.Sanjeev (Kerala), Rev Sunil Raj
> (Bangalore), Mustafa Desamangalam ( Media and Films activist, Kerala),
> Sudeep Joseph (Bangalore), Bobby Kunju (Human Rights and Legal activist,New
> Delhi),Sandhya P.C (GAIA,Thrissur, Kerala), Anil Tharayath Varghese
> (National Centre For Advocacy Studies, Pune), Dr.Ratheesh Radhakrishnan
> (Kerala), Shinaj.P.S(Hyderabad Central University), I.K.Shukla (Writer, Los
> Angeles ) ,Sushovan Dhar (Radical Politics,Mumbai).Subhash Lokjith (Pune),
> Sukla Sen, (Peoples' Media Initiative, Mumbai ), George Pulikuthiyil
> (Jananeethi Institue, Kerala), Bindhulakshmi (Hyderabad), Ajay(People's
> Watch), Dr.Sanal Mohan (School Of Social Sciences, MGU,Kottayam), Salim.T.K
> (Greenyouthsgooglegroup), Savad Rahman (Journalist, Kochi),Rajesh
> Ramakrishnan (Activist and Researcher, New Delhi), Dr.Soma Marik( Kolkatha),
> Dr.T.T.Sreekumar ( Academic / Asst Professor, National University Of
> Singapore), Gilbert Rodrigo (Pondicherry Fisher peoples' forum),T.Peter
> (Secretary, National Fishworkers' Forum & President, KSMTU,Kerala),
> Dileepraj ( writer and Human Rights campaigner, Kerala ).
> We look forward to your co-operation in further spreading the message.
> Thanking you,
> K.M.Venugopalan.
> for Chithralekha Rehabilitation Committee, Kannur .
> *Kindly use the following postal addresses/ emails as well, for future
> communication: *
> Dr.D.Surendranath,
> ( Chairman, Chithralekha Rehabilitation Committee),
> Pallikkunnu P.O;
> Kannur-4,
> Kerala (State),
> S.India
> Pin code- 670004
> email: dskannur at gmail.com
> phone: 04972-701279
> K.M.Venugopalan,
> Convener, Chithralekha Rehabilitation Committee, Kannur.
> email: kmvenuannur at gmail.com
> phone: 09447488215.
> C.K.Vishwanath,
>  Member, Chithralekha Punaradhivasa Committe, kannur
> email: ckvishwanath at gmail.com
>           ck_vishwanath2000 at yahoo.com
>           ck_vishwanath at yahoo.com
> phone: 04985-277680.
> With immense gratitude to everybody and In solidarity,
> K.M.Venugopalan, Convener.

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