South Asian Sisters

South Asian Sisters is a diverse collective of progressive South Asian women dedicated to empowering our community to resist all forms of oppression through art, dialogue, conscious alliances, and grassroots political action. We are dedicated to organizing “Yoni ki Baat,” an annual performance that encourages women to speak out against violence and end the stigma around our bodies and our sexualities.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Statement from National Alliance of People's Movements Regarding Caste-Based Reservations

c/o A wing, 1st Floor, Haji Habib Bldg.,NaigaonCross Rd., Dadar (E),
Phone 022-24150529,,,

Press Note/ May 21, 2006
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The People's Movements all over India demand that the Union government must
implement the constitutional amendment to reserve the seats for the other
backward communities without any delay and see that all the earlier
policies, decisions assurances regarding the affirmative actions in favour
of the backward castes are implemented fully.

We condemn the deliberate lethargy on part of governments regarding
implementing already approved policies of Mandal Commision recommendations.
Even now, thousands of seats in educational and professional arena are not
filled - rather they are made 'open' for want of 'suitable candidates' from
the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes or backward classes. We demand that
all the unfilled seats must be filed with the due representation of the
concerned classes.

With this we make a strong plea for strengthening the common school policy,
common technical and higher education policy and equipping them with quality
education, resources and due attention. The newly introduced elitist
streak in the higher technical education should be abolished. There should
be common public institutions imparting finest quality technical and
professional education. The privatization and coprporatization of
education and highly technical profession must stop. They are being educated
and employed on the basis of public spending. So they must follow the wishes
of the people of this country. Therefore there should also be reservations
for the backward classes in private enterprises.

For Efficiency and Creativity

The policy of reservations for the deprived classes in the higher and
technical education and professions is an opportunity to add to the quality,
creativity and efficiency in the educational and professional fields. The
reservations must be seen not as 'doling out' something for the 'deprived
classes', but it is mark of adding to the experiences, creativity and
knowledge bases of various aspects in our public life. Over 70 percent of the
workforce in the country is not just manual laborers; they come with their
own intelligence, imaginativeness, innovations and resourcefulness. It would
make our productive processes and economy varied and richer. Just look at
U.S. and other countries where all sections of populations are brought in
the vortex of education, sports and other professions. We have to be proud
of the fact that we would be much richer nation with the participation of
such brains in our social-economic activities in such a large and varied

From all these angles, it is high time that the private institutions,
industries and service sector also must be made to accept the reservation
policy. These industries will have to be made aware that they operate in
India, and they will have to follow the Indian Constitution and law. If they
threaten to go outside India, let them go and we shall see whether they get
such subsidized water, land, cheap labour, pliant state elsewhere in the
world. These industrialists are not making any favor for the people; rather
they exploit the people and resources of this country. In this connection,
we also disapprove and will oppose the policies of creating 'special
economic zones' (SEZ), where no India laws would be applicable.

Though we quite understand the apprehensions in the minds of the students
and professionals from the general categories regarding the narrowing space
for competition, that alone cannot be reason for opposing the reservations
for the hitherto backward communities. The Union and concerned state
governments should initiate the steps as to help the poor and deprived
students and professionals in the general category.

The unemployment and narrowing down the space for more employment and
educational opportunities is not due to the reservations of seats, but due
to the neo-liberal political economy that the ruling class in India has
adopted in collusion with the global capital. Even without the reservations,
the employment and education opportunities in various jobs in India are
being eroded and thousands of people are thrown out of existing jobs. We
demand that the Union and state governments must end the embargo on the jobs
in the public sector and should start thinking of creating more jobs.

We appeal to the agitating students and professionals not to hold
reservations responsible for their anxiety and to understand the deeper
economic crisis we all have been thrown. We also expect the supporters of
the reservations to reason with the agitating students and take them along,
caring for their sensitivities and interests. The young student and
professional community must not be pitted against each other, who otherwise
are the harbinger of the future changes and struggle in this country. We
have to strengthen a united struggle against the common adversary in form of
national and multinational corporate and imperialist vested interests.

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Medha Patkar
National Convenor **

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*Sanjay M.G.*
*P. Chennaiah*
National Co-Convenors

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*Sanjay Sangvai*

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lakireddy Bali Reddy Denied Early Release

Press Release

ASATA, Maitri, and South Asian Sisters

For Immediate Release

Monday 22nd May 2006

Lakireddy Bali Reddy denied early release.

Judge Claudia Wilkens reinstated the sentence of Lakireddy Bali Reddy, and all the conditions of release after the completion of 97 months was reinstated. This was a huge victory for community organizations, who have been working on the case for the past six years, and have put in tremendous effort to educate the community about the heinous crimes committed by Lakireddy Bali Reddy.

The courtroom was filled with Lakireddy’s supporters, and advocates for his victims. The U.S Attorney's office had recommended reinstating the sentence based on the probation report. Defense attorney Ted Cassmen minimized the trauma experienced by the victims, arguing that the emotional trauma was not that extreme, and what victims experienced was not more than one may expect when a crime of this nature is committed. The defense lawyers also downplayed the role played by Reddy in the obstruction of justice. Instead, he argued, if any obstruction of justice was done, it was by the translator Uma Rao.

Anirvan Chatterjee from the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action was relieved at the conclusion of the hearing. “We’re happy with the outcome,” he said. “Justice for Reddy’s victims has been slow to arrive, but this verdict sends the message that expensive lawyers can’t erase exploitation.”

Says Mukta Sharangpani from Maitri, “In addressing cases such as this one, one must look at the systemic inequalities that make possible such situations. These conditions give rise to an economic desperation which compels families to make incredibly hard choices, and young girls to look upon their abusers as their protectors.”

Leena Kamat from South Asian Sisters highlighted the exploitation inherent in Reddy’s action. “This case involved a mix of the worst kinds of exploitation, involving gender, caste, immigration status, and age discrimination. It was disappointing that more attention was not brought to this case in the community. It would have been a travesty if the sentencing was reduced over the claims given.”

In March of 2001, the U.S. Federal Court found Lakireddy Bali Reddy (owner of Pasand Restaurant in Berkeley and Santa Clara) guilty on counts of bringing undocumented immigrants to the U.S. for immoral sexual purposes. Since 1986 Reddy has brought many undocumented immigrants to the United States to have sex with him and to work for little or no pay in his many businesses and apartments. Reddy in a plea bargain arrangement pled guilty to charges of trafficking of girls for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity, of conspiracy, and of fraud and received a relatively light sentence. Specifically, Reddy admitted to a Federal Court that he illegally brought into the U.S. girls under the age of 16, including a girl as young as 13, for unlawful sex. All his victims were minors at the time they were brought into United States. Besides being culturally and socially isolated, they were also sexually abused.

Reddy put his victims in a situation where for many years they were unable to learn their rights and did not realize what freedom meant. This is not because such sexual predation is culturally acceptable in India. The victims and survivors on this case were scared of Reddy’s power and they were unaware of how American law could protect them. We cannot speak on behalf of the victims, but as community members, we feel that an early release is re-victimizing the victim, and while his business continues to thrive and he continues to be respected in the general Indian community, there has been no remorse for his actions.

Trafficking in children and women is unfortunately a familiar reality in many parts of the world. This crime steals children and women from their families, and subjects them to physical and emotional abuse. According to a Congressional Research Service report for Congress trafficking of people for prostitution and forced labor is one of the fastest growing areas of international criminal activity. An estimated 1 to 2 million people are trafficked each year worldwide; with as many as 50,000 to the United States. An overwhelming majority of those trafficked are women and children.


ASATA, the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, works to educate, organize, and empower the Bay Area South Asian communities to end violence, oppression, racism and exploitation. ASATA was founded around the Reddy case in 2000, and has been a visible force at his hearings, standing in solidarity with the victims in the case, while engaging in community outreach and advocacy. You can find out more about ASATA and its work online at

Maitri is a free, confidential, nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, which helps South Asian women facing domestic violence, emotional abuse or family conflict. We provide peer support and referrals to legal help, emergency shelters and counselors. You can reach the Maitri hotline at 888 8-MAITRI; you can also call our office at 408 436-8393. Our email address is and our website is

South Asian Sisters is a diverse collective of progressive South Asian women dedicated to empowering our community to resist all forms of oppression through art, dialogue, conscious alliances, and grassroots political action. We are dedicated to organizing “Yoni ki Baat,” an annual performance that encourages women to speak out against violence and end the stigma around our bodies and our sexualities. You can find out more about the group at


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Reddy Resentencing Hearing Monday, May 22

*PLEASE* forward widely..
If inapplicable to you specifically then please
forward to:
-Local Student Groups
-Other email forums that can help get the word out

For REDDY's victims: Mon, May 22, 2:30pm
Stand up for Lakireddy Bali Reddy's victims at his
resentencing hearing
Monday, May 22 - meet outside at 2:00pm
Session begins at 2:30pm
In the court room of The Honorable Claudia Wilken
United States District Court, Northern District of CA

1301 Clay St, Oakland, CA (Courtroom 2, 4th
Inside Oakland Federal Building
Nxt to Oak 12th St. /City Center BART

In 2001, Berkeley landlord Lakireddy Bali Reddy
pled guilty to trafficking
young Indian girls from poor low-caste families for
forced sex, and dozens of poor workers to work in
his businesses under extremely bad working
conditions. One of his victims died, and many are
now recovering in India.

Reddy's been granted a resentencing, claiming that
his victims'
testimonies were coerced, and that the trauma
they suffered was
overstated--but legal maneuverings can't make us
forget the powerful Reddy family's exploitation of
poor rural South Indian men, women, and girls.

Join us at Reddy's resentencing hearing, as we let
the courts know:


Hello Everyone,

Reddy is the owner of Reddy Realty and owns a
disgusting amount of Berkeley's property --
restaurants and apartment buildings included.
Approximately 6 years ago towards the end of
2000, a young girl died of carbon monoxide
poisoning in her apartment, and her sister,
managed to survive. This was the first crack that
lead to the ' Reddy Scandal' which uncovered the
fact that he was importing young women from
South India, taking advantage of them sexually and
subjecting his other laborers, whom he hired
illegally (in restaurants and such) to deplorable
working conditions.

He wants to get his 7/8 year sentence reduced to 3
and 1/2 years.
Seeing as Monday is a working day -- it is much
harder for people out-of-school to get out of work
commitments, but IT'S JUST ONE DAY.

There also has not been much publicity about this,
as you can imagine, so that the turn out of
protesters on the day of the actual trial is low, or at
least kept to a bare minimum.
We cannot let him get away with this.
He is trying to get his sentence slashed down to
almost HALF the amount of time he was originally
set for, and may be out in 3 and 1/2 years if his
request is honored by the judge.

I need you to fwd along this msg to other email
forums you may be on, to family & friends, people
local to the area - STUDENT GROUPS (who aren't
tied down to work as much) and to ANY and
EVERY person you think can get together at the
Oakland Courthouse on Monday to PROTEST this
re-sentence trial.

The courtroom seats about 40 people -- we need at
least 60 to be literally outside the door, so that the
judge can see that this cannot and will NOT be
tolerated by the South Asian Community.

There are at LEAST 200,000 South Asians in the
SF/ bay area alone, and only 200 or so people
showed up to protest the sentence last time. That
is shameful. We are trying to branch out to all
community members in opposing this.

Reddy's exploitation CANNOT go unnoticed, and
we need your help.
Groups such as: Narika, Maitri, and Asata are also
working with us on this.

PLEASE PRINT OUT the flyer and distribute it
around campus, forward it to other student groups
like I said before, and just get the word out so that
people show up to ththe Courthouse on Monday to
prove to the judge, and Reddy that he won't get
away with this, and to show the victims, that they
have not been forgotten by their ccommunity
Thanking you in advance,

Anjali Verma
South Asian Sisters