APCR holds Para-Legal Social Workers’ Workshops in Assam

Guwahati: Aiming at building of a nationwide network of grassroot legal social workers dedicated to using the legal system to defend rights of the underprivileged sections of the society, Association for the Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) organized two training workshops in Assam during 26-27 and 29-30 December 09 at Guwahati and Badarpur respectively. Inaugurating a two days workshop here in Guwahati on 26th December 09, Dr. Shakeel Ahmed, Director, APCR urged that- “there is an urgent need to act beyond celebration of victimhood.” Until, we start using legal mechanism not only defend the underprivileged and oppressed sections of the society but also to bring culprits to the book of law, situation is not going to change, he added. Explaining the rationale of training of para-legal social workers, he argued- this is required for because of three reasons: Firstly, the increasing human rights violations demand enhanced efforts in the field, a group of activist at every level. Secondly, the existing human and civil rights groups are facing dearth of workers, especially the youths. And finally the suffering people need trained facilitators and crisis managers from their own locality and communities to avoid the over dependence on outside initiatives, which very often are not available in critical circumstances. This workshop is the first step to achieve the above mentioned target. Speaking in the workshop, Dr. Shyam Bhadar Mehadi, senior human rights educator and former representative of NHRC in Assam emphasized on the need of human rights education among general masses and asked the participants to carry forward this massage to remotest areas of Assam. A brief overview on Situation of Human Rights in India and how deal with it was presentation by Mahtab Alam, Coordinator, APCR. In his presentation, he informed the participants about various existing mechanism and its optimum utilization. A session on criminal justice system in India dealing with important issues and information relating to First Information Report (FIR), Arrest and Cases, etc. also held, in which Adv. Shanatanu Sarkar of Guwahati High Court, Mr. Ataur Rahman, former IGP of Meghalaya and Mrs. Baharun Saikia, member, Law Commission, Assam interacted with the participants respectively. This session was chaired by Mr. Rohini Kumar Das, Senior Advocate, Guwahati High Court. The workshop dealt with number of conceptual as well as practical aspects of human rights, judicial system, criminal justice, rights of detainees, Extra- ordinary laws and right to information, etc. Others who made their presentations at the workshop include Mr. Waliullah Laskar of Barak Velly Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), I H Borbora, RTI activist. A similar two days workshop held in Badarpur of Barak Velly as well during 29-30th December 09. In both the workshops, more than seventy grassroots workers participated from far flung areas of Assam. Participants have been assigned a ten point follow up program for another six month which deals with conceptual as well as practical works. An ad hoc network of para-legal social workers has been also formed for the period six month.