From its very inception, Manushi has been paying special attention to human rights violations by the state machinery as well as combating the divisive agendas of our politicians whether on the basis of caste, class, region, language and religion. In addition to regularly publishing honest reports sent from different parts of India on these issues, Manushi has carried out its own independent investigations on several major incidents of intercommunity conflicts, riots and massacres. In addition, Manushi has often undertaken the task of building bridges between estranged communities during periods of severe hostility. A few salient examples are given below:
• 1981: Led a team of women to investigate police atrocities on tribal women in Chhotanagpur area following their demand for forest rights.
• 1984: We were active members of the Nagrik Ekta Manch set up during the November 1984 anti Sikh massacre in Delhi and other cities of North India. We not only worked in the relief camps but also but also helped in uniting divided families. Apart from dealing with the nature of the violence and the real political forces behind the massacre, we were the only ones to have provided documentation of the specific brutalities suffered by women. This became an important document for the Sikh community in its battle for justice and seeking punishment of the guilty. It also played an important role in explaining how the violence could not be described as a “riot” but was actually a “massacre.” This report was used by the subsequent commissions set up to enquire into the murders of 1984. It was also translated into Punjabi by the NRI Sikh community. At a time when the Govt acknowledged only 600 deaths, Manushi was able to give a more realistic figure for the killings because we had gone to all the affected areas personally and interviewed numerous affected families.
• 1985: Manushi Founder Madhu Kishwar was invited to lecture at Sikh gurudwaras in North America on the strength of its honest report of the 1984 massacre which had been grossly misreported in mainstream media. She was the first Hindu to address the Sikh community in their own gurudwaras at a time when communication channels between Hindus and Sikhs living overseas had completely broken down. Kishwar addressed at least 60 large gurudwara sangats in major cities of North America during this 2 month long speaking tour where she not only provided a non partisan account of the politics which led to the massacre but also urged the Sikh community to take a stand against Khalistani terrorists who had by then come to dominate many of the Sikh guridwaras. At the end of Kishwar’s speaking tour, she was able to bring together representatives of various gurudwaras to meet with non Sikh human rights activists of North America to form a human rights network.
• 1985: Manushi organized a meeting to honour the sacrifice of Shri Prabhu Dyal ----a Hindu employee in the factory of a Sikh family --who died from burns while successfully saving three Sikh women of his employer’s family. Sant Longowal presided over that meeting. Manushi also collected a purse for the widow of Shri Prabhu Dyal.
• 1986: Report based on visit to and stay at Longowal gurudwara and the last interview Sant Longowal gave before his assassination in 1985 which tries to expose the wide gap between the role played by Sikh leaders like Longowal and the negative stereotypes then cultivated by the mainstream mass media to paint all Sikhs as terrorists.
• 1987: an all women team of Manushi investigated the Meerut and Malliana Hindu Muslim riots and carried out a city wide survey of houses and commercial establishments destroyed during the violence in order to get an accurate idea of the nature of the violence as well as the losses suffered by each community. In addition, Manushi participated in several meetings and other endeavours to build bridges between the estranged Hindus and Muslims of Meerut and Malliana.
• 1988—1995: Manushi followed up the Meerut riots study with a study of citizens’ response to the divisive strategies adopted by politicians and the changing face of electoral politics in UP with special focus on the sharply polarized city of Meerut by studying the civil society initiatives for strengthening the healing process between Hindus and Muslims.
• 1993: Study of Bombay riots following bomb blasts in 1992. This was published as a special double issue of Manushi.
• 1993: Special reports on the fallouts of the Ram mandir campaign and interviews with Baba Lal Das, the Mahant of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya who was allegedly murdered by VHP goons for speaking against the destruction of Babri mosque and the illegal takeover of Ram Mandir by political gangsters after they looted its collection box and ancient idols.
• 1993--Solidarity meeting and fund raising campaigns for the Democracy Movement in Burma. 1994: Madhu Kishwar was part of a human rights team led by Justice Tarkunde to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Kashmir. Manushi established widespread contacts with diverse shades of political opinion in the Valley and helped them establish channels of communication with democratic rights groups in India so that their legitimate grievances could be given a fair hearing in the rest of the country.
• 1996: A second report following another visit to Kashmir to understand the ground situation and build bridges between estranged Kashmiri Muslims and concerned citizens in the rest of India.
• 2003: A Dialogue on the “Ethics and Politics of religious Conversions” between Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh leaders.
• 2004: Played an active role in bringing about a coalition between PDP and Congress Party
• 2005 and 2006: Reports based on firsthand accounts of the "On the Healing Touch" policy of PDP and factors that helped restore people’s faith in Indian democracy.
• 2006: Organized a dialogue on Religion and Violence between Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, and Christian leaders.
• 2008: Organized “Delhi Dialogues” between visiting US team of Obama administration and representatives of diverse regions of Kashmir to give the American administration a realistic idea of the diverse aspirations of people of J&K.
• 2009, November 7: Organized the first ever dialogue on “The Future of J& K” between separatist leaders and mainstream political parties—both national and regional.
* Manushi has also been involved in several Indo Pak peace building conferences.