SPEAKERS OF SYMPOSIUM-
WITCH HUNTING IN INDIA ORGANISED BY HRDI
1. DR. CHARUWALI KHANNA: Dr. Charu WaliKhanna, is a leading women’s rights lawyer.
Dr. Charu WaliKhanna started her career in the world of advertising with a Diploma from Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai. Having achieved success at an early age and disturbed by the violence and inequalities in society, as lawyer she advanced the cause of vulnerable and marginalized sections of society, especially women. She founded Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar (SAFMA) a NGO with Special Consultative status of the ECOSOC of the United Nations. She has developed simple self help manuals for women in vernacular languages e.g. Hindi and Tamil on the special Constitutional provisions for women, Right to Life; Violence against Women including Domestic Violence, Dowry, Female Feticide, Sexual harassment, How to file a FIR, legal aid; Panchayati Raj & Governance.
Using law as a tool for development she has authored books: “Married But Not Legally Wed”,”Women Silent Victims In Armed Conflict : An Area Study of Jammu & Kashmir”; “Supreme Court & High Court Judgements relating to Women & Children” and “Laws on Violence Against Women. Research works include “Drug Abuse Among Scheduled Caste Women in Gwalior Madhya Pradesh- A Female Perspective” for Min. of Social Justice & Empowerment; “Human Rights Violations of Victims of Trafficking” and “Discrimination of Girl Child in Uttar Pradesh”on behalf of National Commission for Women. Dr Charu WaliKhanna, has organised and conducted numerous Gender Sensitization Workshops and seminars on gender and the law. In coordination with Delhi Police she conducted Gender Sensitization Workshops for constables in Police Stations of South Delhi District, in which the self help manuals are used as training tools.
2. SUTAPA DEB: A postgraduate in English literature, Sutapa Deb is an Indian television journalist. Her journey as a journalist began with Indian Express and India Today in Delhi. Eighteen years ago, she made the transition from print to television when she joined NDTV. As a television journalist she has reported on diverse issues and sectors among them education, women, children, health, labour, disability and unemployment, prompted by the belief that these were people’s issues. She travelled to villages in West Bengal, Manipur, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and other states to bring the voices of the rural to mainstream news coverage.
She is the driving force behind the pioneering series India Matters on NDTV.
In certain cases, the reports have made the administration take action. In, 2002, her documentary on the Unsung Heroes of the Gujarat Earthquake won her the Indian Telly Award for the best documentary of the year.
Sutapa Deb has been honoured with the ‘Commonwealth Broadcasting Association-Thomson Foundation Journalist of the Year’ award at the CBA’s Broadcasting Awards for 2008.
3. MS. SHASHI SAIL: has lived and worked in Chattisgarh since 1974 and there began her journey on feminist movement from a socialist, democratic prospective. She has done credible work amongst tribal women, dalit women, workers, armers and domestic workers in Chattisgarh. Her major campaign was an anti-liquor campaign which was called “Roti Banam Sharab”. She also lead to movement for legislation in support of domestic workers and also formed Trade Union of Domestic Workers. She is also the founder of National Alliance for Women. Her work on witch hunting is a part of the documentary on witch hunting created by Ms. Sutapa Deb. Presently she is living in a village in Mahasamundra District of Chattisgarh to have firsthand experience of pains and agonies being suffered by the villagers of India.
4. MADHU MEHRA: is a feminist lawyer, a founding member and Executive Director of Partners for Law in Development (PLD), a legal resource group working in the fields of social justice and women’s rights in India. PLD is a leading resource group on CEDAW with its resource book ‘Restoring Rights on Women: CEDAW’ widely used by NGOs and governments in South Asia, that is now available in four languages. She has worked at the Asia Pacific level since 1996 as a member of Asia Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW-AP).
5. DR. RITA NATH KESHARI: is Head of the Department of English, Arignar Anna Govt. Arts College, Karaikal (Union Territory of Pondichery) and has a Ph. D. from JNU, New Delhi.
Her published books are: The Transplanted Wife (a collection of short stories), 2005; Glimpses of Pondicherry (co-authored with P. Raja), 2005; The Post-colonial Encounter: India in the British Imagination, 2006; Busy Bee Book of Contemporary Indian English Poetry (co-edited with P. Raja), 2007 and Anguish and After (a collection of poems), 2008; Shadow of June (a novel), 2012, Never Alone (a collection of Poems), 2013 (forthcoming).
She has also contributed over 500 articles to newspapers, Journals and periodicals on woman rights and other social issues. She has also contributed a large number of articles and various other write-ups.
6. DR. RASHMI SINGH: is A Ph.D. in International Relations from JNU, Dr. Rashmi Singh is the executive members of HRDI and is also the defender of Human Rights of Indian Diaspora. She was the General Secretary of JNU Student Union and is presently the Chairperson of World Organisation of Students and Youths which has member students drawn from 57 countries. She is also the co-convenor of Youth against Corruption.
7. DR. PADMINI SINGH: Doctor of Philosophy, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. Dr. Padmini Singh is the Assistant Editor of “Yearbook on the International Humanitarian Law and Refugee Law”. She has also drafted reports on behalf of Government of India for onward submissions to the United Nations on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Presently Dr. Padmini Singh is working as Special Public Prosecutor for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
8. DR. ALOK SHARMA: is Assistant Professor in Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, her expertise is in Jurisprudence, Criminal Law and Women related issues. She has written a number of articles in International Journals on the issues of women. She has attended around twenty National and International Conferences and also presented various papers including a paper on ‘Corporal Punishment in Home’ in the HRDI International Conference on Indian Diaspora Issues this year in January. She is the Head of the legal Team of HRDI and the proposed bill has been drafted under her leadership.