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Bant Singh - Urgent!

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  • anjalisaga
    Dear friends: Please look at the following appeal we have received from the Forum for Democrative Initiatives in New Delhi. It reminds us of the courageous man
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2006
      Dear friends:

      Please look at the following appeal we have received from the Forum
      for Democrative Initiatives in New Delhi. It reminds us of the
      courageous man Bant Singh, a Dalit and an activist for the
      Agricultural Labourers Association in Punjab. Back in July 2002 his
      daughter Baljit Kaur was gang-raped. Bant Singh and his daughter
      Baljit decided to decided to wage a struggle against the rapists. For
      a whole month the police would not even file a case; the village
      panchayat (council) dominaed by powerful upper-caste locals put
      pressures on the father and the daughter, not to press for legal
      cases. They persevered. Ultimately they won the legal battle. The
      rapists were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

      But the village powerfuls didn't leave Bant Singh alone. Three times
      he was assaulted by their hit-men, in August 2005, December 2005, and
      on January 5, 2006. The last one was a deadly one. Both his arms and
      one leg had to be amputated. But Bant Singh is holding out. "They have
      taken away my limbs, not my spirit and not my voice". He still holds
      rallies and sings peoples songs.

      For details on the incident, petition and protests, newspaper reports
      following it, please see

      www.punjabdalitsolidarity.blogspot.com

      St. Stephen's Hospital in Delhi is willing to medically rehabilitate
      Bant Singh, with artificial limbs. This needs big funds.

      We urge you to salute this courageous and indomitable fighter by
      giving what you can. All the details are in the message below. There
      are pictures of him and also of his daughter, with her own statement,
      in the link above.

      many thanks

      hari sharma
      for SANSAD
      *******************


      Dear friends,
      Early this year, we had sent you information about the barbaric,
      gruesome attack on Bant Singh, a dalit singer and leader of AIALA, the
      organization of agrarian labour, in Punjab. You had also signed the
      petition and expressed solidarity. A pdf file with details is also
      attached with this email.

      As you may know Bant Singh has shown exemplary courage in the face of
      extreme adversity. He refused to surrender to the demands of the caste
      panchayat when they asked him to drop the case against the rapists of
      his minor daughter. He relentlessly pursued legal justice by declaring
      that the struggle that he pursued for his daughter was also the
      struggle for the dignity of similarly oppressed dalit women. He
      continued to organize agricultural workers for their rights and wages
      brushing aside dangers to his person. And when his arms and legs were
      smashed to a pulp (and subsequently amputated) by politically powerful
      landlords he comforted his friends and said, "They have taken my limbs
      but I've got my voice - I can still sing!"

      Medical Rehabilitation of Bant Singh

      While Bant Singh continues to defy the fetters imposed by disability
      following the barbaric assault, he is currently facing several
      difficulties. He is unable to move on his own, a surgery is pending in
      the leg that was left intact but dysfunctional. He has 8 very young
      children to look after; his piggery-the work that had freed him from
      the feudal bonds of being tied to the landlords' fields-has collapsed
      and there are multiple medical complications.

      What needs to be done

      Bant Singh's courage will be a source of inspiration to all but we
      need not be mere spectators to the tragedy unleashed on him. We can
      express our solidarity by helping him access the best possible medical
      rehabilitation, so that he is back on his feet. Doctors have pointed
      out that with the current developments in medical technology, it would
      not be impossible to fix artificial limbs, both arms and legs, for
      him. Given the nature of amputation and the extent of prosthetic aids
      required, it is an expensive procedure but this is also necessary to
      prevent his organs from getting atrophied.

      The St. Stephen's Hospital, Delhi, is attempting to medically
      rehabilitate Bant Singh. While this procedure has started, there is an
      urgent need for funds so that the best possible prosthetic aids can be
      acquired for him. We urgently seek your financial support for this
      purpose.

      Bant Singh's rehabilitation would give all struggling people immense
      courage and hope. We owe it to Bant Singh to enable him to walk again.

      You can draw your cheque/ DD in favour of AIALA, and send it to U-90,
      Shakarpur, Delhi 110 092.

      For further details and queries on nature of contribution, you could
      contact:

      Forum for Democratic Initiatives

      fdidelhi@... , fdi_delhi@...
      9868038981/ 9811625577 / 9910074470 / 9818416968/ 9818514952
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