Bondita Acharya

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Bondita Acharya
Bondita Acharya.jpg
Bondita Acharya

(1972-12-12) 12 December 1972 (age 48)
OccupationHuman rights activists
  • Jogananda Goswami
  • Mrinalini Goswami

Bondita Acharya (Assamese বন্দিতা আচাৰ্য) is a human rights defender from Jorhat, Assam, in Northeastern India.[1][2][3]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Bondita Acharya was born in Jorhat district of Assam on 12 December 1972.[4] Her father's name was Jogananda Goswami who was a Chemistry Professor at Jagannath Barooah College, Jorhat. Her mother, Marinalini Goswami, was the Principal of ME Girls School, Jorhat, Assam.[4] She is single parent of her son Palash Acharya after she lost her husband Keyur Acharya due to myocardial infarction. [4]

Education[edit | edit source]

Acharya did her schooling from Balya Bhavan, Jorhat. She did her 11th & 12th from JB College, where her father was professor. She pursued her Graduation from College of Home Science, Assam Agricultural University and Post Graduation from Department of Extension and Communication, Faculty of Home Science, MS University, Baroda, Gujarat.

Career[edit | edit source]

She became part of Women in Governance – India (WinG-India) in 2009. She has been involved in documenting customary laws of north-eastern India and attempting to amend them, in order to improve women's rights,[5] and in publicising and taking legal action over "forced disappearances" of women, including teacher and rights activist Majoni Das.[6] She is the northeast coordinator of the NGO Human Rights Defenders Alert.[7] She has been part of several fact-finding missions to document cases of sexual violence, human rights violations,[8] witch hunting,[9] and conflict situation in the Assam region of India.

Acharya is also very active participant of "Women's Earth Alliance".[10]

Acharya is one of the Gulmakai Champions of Malala Fund.[11] The Gulmakai Network is Malala Fund’s signature initiative, which supports the work of education champions in developing countries. Malala Fund aims to close to this gap by connecting our Gulmakai Champions with each other and to the tools, training and partners they need to spark social and systemic change. There are 38 Gulmakai Champions.[12] Bondita and PBET trained 60 education promoters from three tea gardens to increase awareness for the Plantation Labour Act (PLA) and Right to Education (RTE) Act. If successful in ensuring that tea plantations in Assam are PLA and RTE compliant, Bondita’s work will impact 15,200 girls. [13]

Controversy[edit | edit source]

On April 4, 2017, following a complaint from Bharatiya Janata Party member Mridupawan Bora, three people were arrested in Jorhat, Assam for possessing 500 grams of beef meant for consumption. The consumption of beef is taboo in Hinduism. The law under which the three were arrested, the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, does not criminalize the possession or consumption of beef, but, rather, sets forth the conditions under which cattle can be slaughtered, causing a question of whether the three could be arrested under the auspices of the act.[14] Acharya condemned the arrests on social media.[15] Bajrang Dal, a Hindu nationalist organization, issued a press statement demanding that Acharya issue a public apology for condemning the arrests.[1]

On 10 April 2017, Acharya filed a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department in Guwahati, Assam, after she was the target of violent threats on social media for condemning the arrest of three people for the possession of beef on 4 April 2017.[16] Acharya was threatened with death, rape and acid attacks by members of Bajrang Dal.[14][2]

Helping NRC re-verification claimants[edit | edit source]

Bondita Acharya, a woman activist from Jorhat district, said "The sudden summoning of hundreds of people from lower Assam has caused untold miseries to NRC claimants who have appeared for re-everification of citizenship data. It is great to see locals of Mariani, Amguri and Jorhat, among others, come forward to give food to people who have come for NRC hearings from hundreds of miles away".[17]

Volunteers from various organizations, including Bondita Acharya have come forward to help out NRC claimants.

Humane side to NRC: A healing touch

NRC re-verification: Good Samaritans give shelter, food to those who have to appear for hearings.

‘Only doing our duty’: In Upper Assam, locals pitch in to help thousands appearing for NRC hearings.

In Photos: How Good Samaritans Helped Those Travelling for NRC Re-Verification.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Bondita Acharya Receives Death Threats". Front Line Defenders. 2017-04-12.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Singh, Bikash (10 April 2017). "Women rights activist claim to have received life threat for her comments on beef consumption". The Economic Times. India. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  3. EMN (31 August 2018). "A call to be human rights defenders". Eastern Mirror. Nagaland, India. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Bondita Acharya - Centre for Applied Human Rights, The University of York". Archived from the original on 2018-05-21. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  5. Bhat, Afsana (10 September 2012). "Advocates Press to Modernize Customary Laws, Tribal Leadership in Northeastern India". Global Press Journal. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  6. "Assam court moved over woman activist's disappearance". Deccan Herald. IANS. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  7. Mitra, Naresh (2 August 2018). "Experts slam plan to collect biometrics". The Times of India (Mumbai edition). Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  8. Assam Tribune (30 October 2016). "HR body flays Nagaon admin over KNP eviction". NELive. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  9. Begum, Anjuman Ara (14 July 2015). "Witch-hunts in Assam: Criminalising the practice won't magically end it". Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  10. "Bondita Acharya". Women's Earth Alliance. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  11. "Malala Fund announces 13 education activists as Gulmakai Champions | Malala Fund". Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  12. "India | Malala Fund". Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  13. | Malala Fund | Malala Fund Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2019-10-05. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Assam: Activist Threatened With Rape, Acid Attacks For Condemning Beef Arrests". The Wire. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  15. "INDIA: Assamese Human Rights Defender Bondita Acharya violently threatened on social media. | Lanka Socialists Forum". 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  16. "WHRDs condemn online threats against Bondita Acharya". AWID. 2017-05-02. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  17. Aug 6, Kangkan Kalita | TNN | Updated; 2019; Ist, 12:13. "Volunteers come to rescue of NRC reverification claimants | Guwahati News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-10-05.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External links[edit | edit source]