MASUM, West Bengal :: Human Rights Day – Collective observance with gratification & dismay

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) observed international human rights day with due revere and grit. MASUM organized human rights fairs at Tentulia in 24 Parganas (north), Baharampur in Murshidabad and Kolkata to observe the day. MASUM during the observance reiterated their stand on the issues relating with the citizens living along the Indo- Bangladesh bordering districts of West Bengal, facing atrocities by the Border Security Force and local police, non deliverance and shrinking livelihood options throughout the state in general and tribal hinterland in particular, where the underprivileged populace facing two pronged attack on their life and liberty by state and non- state actors. In all the programmes MASUM tried to make victims’ testimonies audible to civil society.

On 6th of December, a fair has been organized at Tentulia, a remote place of 24 Parganas (north) district. A number of NGO representatives and child rights groups and women rights groups were present during the observation. School students and children performed dance and sing chorus songs. Local activists of MASUM organize various competitive events for children like singing, dancing, sit and draw and other sports events. Nearly 500 locale population attended the event. Ms. Susmita Roy Choudhuri of MASUM, inaugurated the human rights fair with short introduction about human rights day and goal of MASUM. Later, Mr. Sabitabrata Ghosh elaborately discussed human rights perspectives.

A civic interaction and cultural programme has been organized on 8th December at Rabindra Bhaban, Bahrampur in Murshidabad district. A large number of people from adjoining parts of the district were present during the observance. Significantly, a good number of Santhal populations (migrant aborigines) from the district were present and performed their traditional dance and song. The event started with welcome address by Mr. Gopen Chandra Sharma; District Human Rights Monitor of Murshidabad. The Chief Guest of the occasion, Mr. Asim Pramanik, a senior media personality from the district discussed human rights doctrine and district specific issues of human rights violations. Mr. Subho Pratim Roy Chudhuri, coordinated the stage during the observance. Couple of victims narrated their horrified tales of torture and intimidation by Border Security Force and police personnel. Little children from neighborhood performed dances and song. Mr. Biplab Mukherjee of MASUM discussed on Universal Declaration on Human Rights and few universally accepted rights of the people. Star attraction of the day, tribal dance and Kavi Gan (Dual between ballads) were highly appreciated by the audience. The programme culminated with a candle light vigil.

On 10th of December, MASUM centrally observed human rights day at the vicinity of Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata. MASUM is observing international human rights day every year with deserved importance from its inception. This year’s observation was already earmarked for joint observance with other right based organizations. The observance was started with a heavy note due to the demise of nearly 100 patients at city based private hospital in a major fire accident. The organizers convey their condolence to the family of the deceased. Fraternal organizations; CAAMB, DISHA, Sangbad Manthan are few major organizations who displayed their visuals and publications. The place was adorned with colorful festoons and photographs regarding rights of the people and violations of the same by state parties. The festoons also visually depict the horrendous torture and violence by police and BSF upon commoners. The observance started with Boul song by Manindranath Boul and his disciple from Swarupnagar of 24 Pargans (north), he with few other Boul singers enthralled the audience through their rustic voice. The programme has been coordinated by Biplab Mukherjee of MASUM. The gathering was addressed by Mr. Mohit Roy of CAAMB, Mr. Sasanka Deb of DISHA, Mr. Anup Dutta of Uttar Kolkata Paribesh Prastuti, Mr. Subho Pratim Roy Choudhri of MASUM, Mr. Upangshu Mahato of Paribesh Dushan Pratirodh Committee. All of them discussed many dimensions of human rights discourses and sectoral movements for achieving rights of the people. Mr. Justice Malay Sengupta, Ex Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court and president of MASUM spoke about police highhandedness and Constitutional rights of the people against intimidations in detail. He as the Chairman of government appointed Committee on Release of Under Trial Political Prisoners, spoke about the initiative and its shortcomings in length. Ms. Sutapa Bandyopadhyay sang ‘peoples songs’. Speakers from MASUM discussed about Universal Declaration on Human Rights, international commitments of Indian State, Constitutional guarantees of life and liberty and state’s accountability to poorest of the poor of the society. Speakers made sharp attack on present criminal justice system and its limitation and continuing atrocities upon marginalized sections by state parties. The event concluded with vote of thanks and pledge for concerted effort with other fraternal organization for promotion and protection of human rights by MASUM.

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