Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) is a Human Rights movement dedicated to upholding and defending the freedom and constitutional rights of all Indians. We call our focus areas our Four Pillars. These are:
Minority Rights - Rights of religious, ethnic, caste, gender and sexual minorities as well as persons with disabilities.
Freedom of Expression - A healthy and vibrant democracy always respects free expression and the dignity of different belief systems, cultures and languages. Hate speech, we believe, is an abuse of this freedom.
Criminal Justice Reform - CJP believes that our agencies - investigation, prosecutorial and judicial - need further democratisation to ensure both, quality and quick justice delivery.
Child Rights - CJP works to inculcate pluralism and Constitutional values in young minds. We also work in the field of Juvenile Justice Reform and protection of children from Sexual Abuse.
CJP in Action
2017-2018 saw us spearhead both, legal campaigns as well as citizens' interventions in ensuring police transparency and accountability when vulnerable communities are under threat. Some of our initiatives include:
- CJP has launched a campaign to drop all National Security Act (NSA) charges against Dalit Leader Chandrashekhar Azad 'Ravan' and release him. He has been languishing in jail since June 2017. CJP recently held consultations with office bearers of Bhim Army in Delhi and their lawyers in Allahabad. While our video appeal has been a useful tool to generate public option, our Change.org petition has drawn thousands of signatures.
- CJP along with the All India Union of Forest Working Peoples (AIUFWP) is fighting against the imposition of fabricated cases against Adivasi Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) in Sonebhadra. We are working with our team of lawyers to quash these fabricated cases against them in their unequal fight to save their land, water and forests from predatory interests. CJP has been working closely with them on ground in Sonbhadra, collecting evidence and audio-visual testimonials, as also with senior lawyers in Uttar Pradesh, with the aim to take the matter to the Allahabad High Court. These cases will be filed soon.
- After the attacks on the Dalit Community at Bhima Koregaon and the subsequent 'bandh' across Maharashtra, when the police started a cynical combing operation targeting Dalits, CJP swung into action by -
- collecting evidence from the ground by speaking to Dalit families from across Maharashtra
- bringing various activists and Dalit groups together for consultations with senior counsel Mihir Desai
- CJP has also helped Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid move Bombay HC to quash malafide FIR against them in the BhimaKoregaon case. The two youth leaders had been falsely accused of inciting violence.
- CJP and 32 eminent Indians including Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen and Anand Patwardhan, filed an intervention petition in the Ayodhya dispute case, urging SC not to treat this case like a land dispute and to find a secular solution to ensure lasting stability and peace. And though our petition was quashed, we will continue our peace initiatives on the ground. CJP may also intervene through a writ petition in the Supreme Court, pressing the issue soon.
- CJP has also issued a call to protest peacefully against the insidious and communal Rath Yatra that began in Ayodhya in February 2018. The purpose of the 41 day Yatra is purportedly to divide India along communal lines to mobilise support for the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. CJP's call has galvanised groups on the ground to protest the Yatra on its route, appealing for social peace and harmony.
- CJP is assisting POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti to quash fabricated cases against them in the Odisha High Court and possibly, the Supreme Court. CJP has not only written a letter to the CM of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, but also started an online campaign to mobilise support for these vulnerable communities.
- CJP has launched a countrywide campaign against Hate Speech. Informed by a wide network of conscientious citizens, we have managed to collect evidence of hateful speech and promptly brought them to the administration's notice, like in the case of Kasganj and Amroha in Uttar Pradesh where we have appealed to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to intervene. Often the ground evidence collected by us clearly contradicts the malicious reportage done by mainstream media.
CJP's Other Activities
Workshops and Training Sessions: CJP conducts a variety of workshops to empower media students, activists and legal practitioners and teachers, in the proper methods to conduct fact finding missions and document their findings. We also conduct Teachers Training workshops in Constitutional values, Pluralism, History and Social Sciences.
CJP's series of workshops on How to Spot and Stop Fake News are being held at different locations, Chennai, Mangalore, Mumbai and Varanasi. The one in February 2018 at Varanasi's Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth struck fear in the hearts of right wing extremists. They not only threatened us but also surrounded CJP Secretary Teesta Setalvad and tried to prevent us from conducting the workshop, the contents of which were designed to expose their modus operandi in spreading misinformation. The workshop however continued at another venue.
Legal and Community Resources:
Keeping in mind the need to provide help to defenders of constitutional values, CJP has put together comprehensive legal and community resources that address issues as wide ranging as gender, caste and child rights.
Read more about CJP's Other Initiatives
Read all about CJP's Impact
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