Freedom Under Fire: Rape-accused Goa MLA Booked for Human Trafficking; JNU Hunger Strike Continues

A round-up of news, both bad and good, on the rights front from India.

JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar having his BP checked. Credit: PTI

JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar having his BP checked. Credit: PTI

Rape-accused Goa MLA booked for human trafficking

Goa MLA Babush Monserrate has been booked for human trafficking after an FIR was filed against him for allegedly raping a minor girl from his assembly constituency, a CNN News18 report says. The minor girl’s stepmother has also been booked for human trafficking by police.

Goa police recorded the statement of the minor girl on Thursday. The victim had recorded her statement before Child Welfare Committee wherein she had alleged that Monserratte has raped her several times in the past. The details of the statement were, however, not revealed by the police.

Superintendent of Police Karthik Kashyap said that Monserrate has been booked under section 3 and 4 of the POSCO Act, and relevant sections of the IPC and Goa Children’s Act.

Monserrate has denied all the accusations. He claimed that the FIR filed against him on Wednesday evening was a conspiracy against him.

JNU hunger strike continues

JNU students continue their indefinite hunger strike, currently on its eighth day. JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar had to be rushed to the health centre after his blood pressure fell to unsafe numbers. Fifteen students continue to be on hunger strike, all of whom have lost between three and six kgs in the last week.

Students are protesting against what they see as unfair punishment for a campus event held on February 9. They met with the vice-chancellor yesterday, who has termed their protest “unlawful”. Students were unhappy with the VCs response, and no compromise was reached.

Migrant labourer dies in Kottayam after being tied up by locals for alleged robbery

A migrant labourer from Assam died in Kottayam on Wednesday, after locals bound his hands and feet for alleged robbery, The News Minute reported.

The deceased, identified as Kailas Jyothi, had come to Chingavanam in Kottayam district on Wednesday morning and was wandering in the area after he was separated from his friends.

Chingavanam sub-inspector Shibu said that the police found Kailas lying on the road in the hot afternoon sun, frothing from the mouth and his hands and feet tied up. Although the police rushed him to the hospital, his life could not be saved. “We are awaiting post-mortem report to ascertain the cause of death. In case he died of being beaten up by the group, case will be charged under Section 302 of IPC,” Shibu added.

Members of Dalit samaj observe hunger strike

According to a report in The Tribune, activists of the Vishav Valmiki Kaumi Ekta Dharam Samaj observed a hunger strike on Bhandari Bridge in Amritsar on Tuesday, demanding an end to the exploitation of scheduled castes. The organiser of the protest, Balbir Singh Gumtala, said members of the community were being exploited as instead of regular jobs, the government had initiated contractual employment for safai sevaks and drivers.

MNREGA workers in Tamil Nadu complain of non-payment of wages

According to a report in The Hindu, over 200 workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme at Bommampatti village in Elachipalayam Union, Tamil Nadu said that wages under the scheme have not been paid to them for the past three months. Although workers were promised wages of 203 rupees per day, only 100 rupees was credited into their bank account, they added.

Do you know of any other incident we should highlight in this column? Write to me at [email protected].

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