Become a Defender of Justice and Liberty, Join CJP

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

Ever since our relaunch in 2017, we have spearheaded both, legal campaigns as well as citizens' interventions to empower and assist our fellow Indians navigate complex and extremely divisive political ploys, and hate-filled communal minefields. We also worked to ensure police transparency and accountability when vulnerable communities are under threat. Some of our initiatives include:

Our campaign to defend Indian citizens in Assam:

When over 1 crore people were excluded from the partial draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was published in Assam on December 31, 2017, CJP swung into action. From keenly combing through reports and studies by eminent scholars on the subject to sending our own fact finding team to ascertain ground realities in June 2018, to mobilizing a team of nearly 1000 local volunteers to aid the hapless, impoverished and unlettered people through the process of filing claims in wake of exclusion from the complete draft released on July 30, 2018, CJP remained committed to ensuring that no genuine Indian citizen suffered.

In 2019, as a part of our Citizens for Assam campaign, we took a delegation of eminent lawyers and journalists to Assam to showcase the plight of Indians in the state. In August 2019, CJP, determined to make sure that no genuine Indian citizen suffers, moved Supreme Court asking for it to take a closer look at the idea of citizenship, the definition of illegal immigrant and also the wider concerns about decedents of people whose citizenship is under the scanner.

From August 21 to 23, 2019, we conducted a three-day workshop in Guwahati where legal scholars and practicing lawyers helped equip local, district level lawyers and paralegal volunteers with in-depth skills and training to navigate the complex issue of citizenship after the publication of the list. Many more such workshops are planned across Assam as a part of our Empowering Assam initiative.

We also conducted a study of over 1000 FT orders to ascertain the key reasons behind decisions where the applicant ended up being declared foreigner. We are also developing a manual to help our paralegals navigate the complex legal processes at FTs.

In October 2019, we in association with the Peoples Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), organised a solidarity meeting in Mumbai for people facing the citizenship crisis in Assam. People who had attempted suicide due to helplessness, been falsely accused of being foreigner, and families of detention camp victims shared their stories at this meeting titled Who is an Indian.

In fact shortly after this we got together with to help Biki Dey, son of detention camp victim Subrata Dey, resume his education. Biki had been forced to quit school and look for a job to support his family after his fathers death. His mother and grandmother earned a mere Rs 48 per day by sewing cloth bags!

We are currently working to help secure the release of people who have spent more than three years in a detention camp in accordance with a May 2019 order of the Supreme Court. More information about out Assam campaign may be found here.

Our campaign to protect Forest Rights and Adivasi Human Rights Defenders:

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.

In May 2018, after police brutally assaulted women and children in Lilasi village in Sonbhadra, CJP and AIUFWP wrote to the NHRC to intervene. The NHRC then ordered the District Magistrate to conduct a probe.

In June 2018, when Sokalo Gond, Kismatiya Gond and Sukhdev Gond were taken into custody illegally by the UP police and their whereabouts remained a mystery for weeks, CJP and AUIFWP moved a habeas corpus petition before the Allahabad High Court. This forced the police to produce these Adivasi HRDs in court and eventually led to their release. While Kismatiya and Sukhdev were released first, we remained relentless in our pursuit of justice till even Sokalo was released.

On February 13, 2019, the Supreme Court had ordered the eviction of thousands of Adivasi and forest dwelling families from their traditional habitat. Though the order was subsequently stayed, the fate of these people still hangs in the balance and their future remains uncertain. Therefore, in August 2019, Adivasi human rights defenders Sokalo Gond and Nivada Rana moved Supreme Court praying for justice for millions of forest dwellers, especially women, who have been denied forest rights, and now face the prospect of eviction from their traditional habitats. The duo filed an intervention application in the ongoing case led by Wildlife First. The application was backed by CJP and AIUFWP.

In September 2019, in a major breakthrough for Adivasi organisations and advocates of rights of forest dwelling communities, the Supreme Court of India has admitted all the 19 intervention applications, including the one backed by CJP, that had been filed before it urging it to stop the eviction of millions of forest dwellers.

On the occasion of 66th birth anniversary of the leading womens activist Bharati Roy Chowdhury, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) participated in providing constitutional law training in a community meet organised with the objective of reinforcing women leadership in grassroots activism and advocacy. The training was conducted along with the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) on 13 November 2019 at the Unions Women Empowerment Centre in the village of Nagalmafi, Saharanpur. Established, frontline women leaders as well as young women activists participated in this three-day programme from far-flung forest regions in the country. More information about our forest rights campaign may be found here.

Our campaign for Dalit and Adivasi Rights

 

CJP is committed to defending rights of historically oppressed communities. Since 2017, we have spearheaded several campaigns and initiatives to this effect. Here are a few examples:

  CJP 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.

  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 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 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.

Our campaign against hate and communalism

From inception, Communalism Combat (Sabrang India) and Citizens for Justice and Peace, have been committed to combating hate speech, particularly since it frequently incites violence against marginalised communities. From our on-ground work through dialogue and Mohalla Committees, to winning a NASSCOM Award for our technology-driven Peace Map initiative, we have constantly devised innovative solutions to pre-empt the outbreak of targeted violence. 

  In January 2019, we launched Hate Hataoa revolutionary new app designed to fight hate, that can be used by anyone with a smartphone! Hate Hatao will enable people to report instances of hate speech, threats and hate crimes, to CJP by giving us the appropriate evidence, such as a screenshot, video or a picture. CJP will then take this up as a complain to authorities such as the National Human Rights Commission, Press Council, National Broadcasters Association, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms or law enforcement agencies. We will also lodge FIRs and pursue the cases in court. The user will then receive real-time updates on the status of their submitted report.

  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. More details may be found here.

  We have also taken news broadcasters to task for airing divisive and hate filled content. The National Broadcasting Standards Association (NBSA) ruled in our favour in one such case. Other such cases are also in the pipeline.   

  In December 2017, 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.

  In February 2018, CJP 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 was purportedly to divide India along communal lines to mobilise support for the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. CJP's call galvanised groups on the ground to protest the Yatra on its route, appealing for social peace and harmony.

 

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

For any queries please write to [email protected]

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