Amnesty Groups Mobilize for Rights of Indigenous People in India

September 23, 2011

Kartam Joga
Human rights defender and prisoner of conscience, Kartam Joga.

Since 2005, Chhattisgarh has been at war with armed Maoist insurgents while aggressively pursuing massive and environmentally destructive development projects.

Not surprisingly, human rights have been pushed aside as an impediment to fighting terrorism and as a hindrance to development. Again and again, the Chhattisgarh government has jailed human rights, environmental, and indigenous activists on politically-motivated charges including Binayak Sen, Kartam Joga, Kopa Kunjam, Ramesh Agrawal, Harihar Patel, and most recently Lingaram Kodopi .

It has created and supported armed ant-Maoist militias that the Indian Supreme Court has since ruled unconstitutional. Thousands of locals caught in the crossfire or suspected of being Maoist sympathizers have been killed, tens of thousands have been forced from their homes. Rapes and extrajudicial killings are carried out with impunity.

This fall, groups in Amnesty USA’s Northeast region will send the Chhattisgarh government a strong message. Along with the Association for India’s Development,  Amnesty groups will be writing letters, signing petitions, planning events, and raising awareness about the persistent violations of human rights in Chhattisgarh. Our goal is to free political prisoners Kartam Joga and Kopa Kunjam, and to demand that Chhattisgarh’s government comply with India’s Supreme Court ruling by disbanding the violent militias it has created.

Whether you live in the Northeast or not, you can help. Sign AIUSA’s online actions for Kartam, Kopa , and to demand that the militias be disbanded for good, and get involved!

 Read about human rights issues in India by following @JamesMutti on Twitter.