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Bihar -NREGA Sangharsh Morcha Condemns arrest of Activist, Sanjay Sahni


NREGA Sangharsh Morcha strongly condemns the arrest of Sanjay Sahni in Muzaffarpur, Bihar on 21 August and the police lathi charge on other members on Samaj Parivartan Shakti Sanghathan (SPSS) who were protesting outside the office of the district’s Deputy Development Commissioner (DDC). Sudha Devi of the Sangathan was badly injured on the head. Other Sangathan members who were hit include Indu Devi, Yoshoda Devi, Gulab Devi and Girija Devi.

SPSS (also known as MGNREGA Watch) is a collective of about 10,000 rural workers of Muzaffarpur. The Sangathan has been facing continuous harassment at the hands of the local administration because of their fight against corruption in government programmes. The harassment has taken the form of threats, violence and false FIRs against members of the Sanghthan.

Seven false FIRs have been lodged against various members of the Sangathan. The charges include holding government officials captive, “maar-pitai”, confiscating government documents, creating obstacles in routine government work. In February 2017 an FIR was lodged against Sanjay Sahni, the founder of the Sangathan under The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The most ludicrous FIR is the one filed on 31 March 2017 in which Sanjay Sahni has been accused of attempting to murder Shambhunath Singh, the Panchayat Rozgar Sewak of Ratnauli Gram Panchayat in Kurhani block. Sanjay Sahni was actually in Ranchi that day.

An independent team had conducted a fact finding mission about the FIRs and presented incontrovertible evidence of the false nature of the 31 March FIR. The others stand on very weak ground, with the incongruent testimonies of a small set of government officials weighed against consistent accounts of a large number of SPSS workers and other local actors. The local bureaucracy routinely employs FIRs as a strategic tool to quash and silence people’s voices and struggles for justice and are unabashed about being involved in such acts. The fact finding report was handed in person to the DGP, Bihar, in Patna in July 2017 who had issued a written directive to the DIG Muzaffarpur to follow up.

NREGA Sangharsh Morcha stands in solidarity with SPSS and strongly condemns the harassment of its members. It demands the immediate release of Sanjay Sahni, compensation for SPSS members lathi charged by the police and legal action against persons responsible for the harassment.

For more information, please contact Indu Devi (9576114607) or Manjushree Devi (9708901940) or write at [email protected] Contact numbers of Muzaffarpur police: 94318 22336 and 9431277673.

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MP Govt wilfully delaying the release of Medha Patkar, Case dairy not produced in the High Court on time

Various Organisations from Madhya Pradesh and People of Narmada Valley write letters to Prime Minister; Demand unconditional release of Medha Patkar, Santu, Vijay and Dhurji

MP Govt wilfully delaying the release of Medha Patkar, Case dairy not produced in the High Court on time

Rehabilitation related cases by Narmada Oustees faces judicial delays, Next Hearing on September 7

Please  take action and sign this petition and spread the word


Non-cooperation continues in the rehabilitation work as Govt maintains silence on Andolan’s demands

Badwani, Madhya Pradesh | August 21, 2017: A letter writing campaign to Prime Minister was undertaken in numerous villages of Narmada Valley demanding withdrawal of all criminal cases and unconditional release of Medha Patkar, Santu, Vijay, and Dhurji, NBA activists lodged in jail since August 9th. They gave detailed picture of the incomplete and unjust rehabilitation work and asked, “will the lakhs of people be drowned without complete and just rehabilitation? Will the lives of lakhs of people be sacrificed to pay the price of Development? Will you accept the drowning of lakhs of trees and cattle in independent India ?”

Along with these critical questions, they also requested the prime minister to take a serious note of the demands raised by the 32-year-long struggle, Narmada Bachao Andolan, and direct the Madhya Pradesh government to accept the ground-reality and complete just rehabilitation as per the NWDT Award and Supreme Court judgements of the 192 villages and one township affected from Sardar Sarovar Dam in Madhya Pradesh. Kisan Sangharsh Samit and many other organisations held demonstrations and also wrote letters to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan with similar demands.

Administrations delaying tactics, keeping Medha Patkar and other activists in jail

NBA condemns the Madhya Pradesh government’s attempts to keep Medha Patkar in prison through various delaying tactics. She has been in prison since August 9th. She was jailed after her release from the Indore Bombay Hospital same day. Since that day, administration has wilfully delayed and also imposed a number of false charges aganst her including that of kidnapping government officials on Day 7th of her indefinite fast. Last week, she was produced in the Kukshi court through video conferencing after a days delay on account of link failure where she was denied bail. Even today, the government delayed the bail proceedings in the Indore High Court by not producing the case diary. The bail application will now be heard later this week sometime, as we write there is no clarity on this.

NBA intensifies struggle 
On August 19, 2017, approximately 5000 people marched to the office of the SDM, Kukshi, and submitted a memorandum detailing about the illegal arrest of Medha Patkar, Santu, Vijay, and Dhurji, and asked for their unconditional release immediately. The march was organised as part of jail bharo andolan  by the NBA, challenging the numerous false cases filed by the Badwani and Dhar police against 2500 people from different villages. These are nothing but the intimidation and an attempt at muzzling the dissent and provoking the non-violent struggle of the people. NBA demands that State immediately withdraws these cases otherwise whole valley is ready to voluntarily go to jail. The Andolan remains committed to the struggle for justice and warns the government of non-cooperation in rehabilitation work if it does not release the arrested people immediately and withdraws cases. The project affected people have already started to refuse any assistance in the official work unless there is concrete dialogue on the demands raise by the Andolan. Yesterday, people politely asked the rehabilitation survey team to go back as MP government has still not acted on the people’s demands.

In High Court Today

Today, on August 21, 2017, the case regarding the arrest of Medha Patkar under section 365 was scheduled for the hearing. However, the office of Advocate General deliberately misinformed the Kukshi police station to produce the case diary (case no. 9029/17) on 22nd August, and not on August 21 – the day of the hearing. Thus police failed to produce the case diary on time and thereby delaying any decision on the case. Senior advocate Anand Mohan Mathur brought to notice this delay to the court at 10:30 AM and requested to proceed with the trial, the Honourable Justice then asked the government lawyer to arrange the case dairy by afternoon and adjourned the hearing till then. But till 4 PM, government lawyers didn’t produce the case diary in a clear attempt to delay the hearing in the matter. As per the latest reports, the hearing of the case has now been rescheduled to August 23, 2017. This only shows the desperation of the government and every attempt at keeping Medha Patkar in jail. NBA would like to make it clear that the governments delaying tactics is not going to dampen the spirit of struggle. They can delay proceedings but can’t defeat us.

Case in Indore High Court on the R&R

The Indore High Court has now given another date in the ongoing SLP filed by the Oustees of Narmada Valley, with regard to incomplete R&R as per the orders of Supreme Court and NWDT Award. The next hearing will be on September 7, 2017. The question on our minds is, can the lives of lakhs of people be sacrificed in the name of development? Will the people of Narmada Valley get justice before the government fills the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir to its full capacity by October 10, 2017 ? Can we silently allow the drowning of the age old Narmada Valley civilization, with lakhs of people, centuries-old villages, millions of trees, livestock, sites of religious and archaeological importance this easily ?


Narmada Bachao Andolan remains steadfast in its resolve to fight this injustice and is not going to allow the governments to perpetrate this injustice. Our struggle has inspired many across the word and we know that they are all with us in this time of crisis.



Please  take action and sign this petition and spread the word


नर्मदा घाटी के गाँवगाँव से लिखी गई प्रधानमंत्री मोदी को चिठ्ठीमेधा पाटकर व अन्य तीन को रिहा करने की मांग


मेधा पाटकर को जेल से रिहा ना होने देने की हो रही शासकीय साजिशकोर्ट में नहीं पेश की गई केस डायरी


नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के पुनर्वास संबंधित याचिका में सुनवाई टलीफिर मिली तो सिर्फ एक और तारीख


जेल भरो रैली में सरकार को दी चुनौती पर नर्मदा घाटी बरकरारपुनर्वास के किसी भी कार्य में नहीं दिया सहयोग


बडवानीमध्य प्रदेश | 21 अगस्त 2017: आज नर्मदा घाटी के गाँव-गाँव ने देश के प्रधानमंत्री, श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी को चिठ्ठी लिख मेधा पाटकर, संतू, विजय, धुरजी की गैरकानूनी गिरफ़्तारी पर उन्हें बिना किसी शर्त रिहा करने की मांग की। प्रत्येक गाँव में चिठ्ठी लिख प्रधानमंत्री को अपने-अपने गाँव का चित्र बताते हुए पुनर्वास की स्थिति का विवरण दिया और साथ ही “क्या बिना पुनर्वास नर्मदा घाटी के लाखों लोगों को डुबाया जायेगा?”, “क्या विकास की कीमत लाखों लोगों की जिंदगी से लगायी जाएगी?”, “क्या लाखों की संख्या में जो पेड़ और मवेशी डूबेंगे, वो आपको मंजूर होगा?”, ऐसे कुछ सवाल करते हुए सभी गाँव के लोगों ने प्रधानमंत्री से यह निवेदन किया कि 32 सालों से चल रहे नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन और उसकी माँगों को गंभीरता से लेते हुए जल्द से जल्द मध्य प्रदेश सरकार को नर्मदा घाटी के 192 गाँव और 1 नगर के लाखों लोगों का NWDT Award और राज्य की पुनर्वास नीति के तहत पूर्ण और आदर्श पुनर्वास करें।


मेधा पाटकर को जेल से रिहा ना होने देने की सरकार की लगातार कोशिश चल रही है। जिस तरह मेधा पाटकर की 9 अगस्त को इंदौर के बॉम्बे अस्पताल से छुट्टी मिलने पर नर्मदा घाटी की तरह बढ़ने पर पीथमपुर बायपास पर ही गैरकानूनी ढंग से हुई गिरफ़्तारी, 11 अगस्त को कुक्षी कोर्ट में वीडियो कांफ्रेंस में तकनीकी बाधाओं के नाम पर सुनवाई अगले दिन के लिए बढ़ाना, 16 अगस्त को कुक्षी कोर्ट में बेल देने पर डूब प्रभावित क्षेत्र में ना जाने का बांड भरने की शर्त रखना और आज,उच्च न्यायालय की सुनवाई में केस डायरी पेश ना करके तारीख आगे बढ़वाने की शासकीय साज़िश से सरकार की बिना पुनर्वास नर्मदा घाटी के लाखों लोगों को डूबाने की मंशा स्पष्ट होती है।


19 अगस्त 2017 को लगभग 5 हज़ार लोगों ने कुक्षी में एस.डी.एम कार्यालय तक रैली निकाल,अपना ज्ञापन सौंप कर सरकार को यह साफ़ सन्देश दिया कि मेधा पाटकर, संतू, धुरजी और विजय की गैरकानूनी गिरफ्तारी हुई है और उन्हें जल्द से जल्द रिहा किया जाये। साथ ही 2500 अन्य नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के कार्यकर्ताओं पर जो गलत व झूठे मुक़दमे लगाये हैं उन्हें सरकार वापस ले नहीं तो यहाँ जितने भी उपस्थित महिला, पुरुष व बच्चे हैं उन्हें भी सरकार जेल में डाल दे। साथ ही साथ यह भी सन्देश दिया गया कि अगर जल्द से जल्द ऊपर कथित व्यक्तियों की रिहाई नहीं होती है तो घाटी का एक भी डूब प्रभावित सरकार की पुनर्वास के काम में सहयोग नहीं देगा। तब से लेकर आज तक जब कड्माल में पटवारी के साथ अन्य अधिकारी पट्टा आबंटन की प्रक्रिया के लिए पहुंचे लेकिन गाँव के लोगों ने अपनी मांग को सामने रखते हुए प्रक्रिया में भाग लेने से मना कर दिया। सेमल्दा और पिछोड़ी में भी कल पुनर्वास संबंधित सर्वे के लिए आये अधिकारियों को अपनी मांग ना पूरा होने की बात रखते हुए वापस भेज दिया गया।


आज 21 अगस्त 2017 को इंदौर उच्च न्यायालय में मेधा पाटकर की धारा 365 के केस में सुनवाई होनी थी। लेकिन अधिवक्ता जनरल ऑफिस से 18 अगस्त को, थाने में, 22 अगस्त को उच्च न्यायालय में मेधा पाटकर की केस डायरी (केस नंबर 9029/17) पेश करने संबंधित गलत सूचना दी गयी। अधिवक्ता जनरल ऑफिस के इस मेसेज को लेकर वरिष्ठ अधिवक्ता आनंद मोहन माथुर ने सुबह 10:30 बजे कोर्ट के सामने यह बात रखी और सुनवाई करने की अपील की जिस पर उच्च न्यायालय के न्यायाधीश ने इस मामले पर दोपहर में सुनवाई रखने की बात रखते हुए सरकारी वकील को मेधा पाटकर की थाने से केस डायरी मंगवाने को कहा। लेकिन शाम के 4 बजे तक भी सरकारी वकील द्वारा थाने में केस डायरी मंगवाने संबंधित कोई सूचना नहीं दी गई। अगली तारीख की सूचना कल शाम तक कोर्ट द्वारा दी जाएगी। इससे साफ़ पता चलता है कि शासन कैसे-कैसे हथकंडे अपना रहा है मेधा पाटकर को हिरासत में रखने के लिए।


21 अगस्त 2017 को उच्च न्यायालय के सामने होने वाली नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन की सुनवाई में भी अगली सुनवाई की तारीख 7 सितम्बर दे दी गई है। क्या विकास की कीमत लाखों लोगों की जिंदगी से लगायी जा सकती है? क्या देश का कानून सच में अँधा है? क्या इंसाफ की मांग करना भी अपराध है? क्या नर्मदा घाटी की संस्कृति, लाखों लोगों की ज़िन्दगी, सदियों से बसे घर, खेत खलियान, लाखों पेड़ और मवेशी, मंदिर-मस्जिद, पुरातत्व महत्व को इतनी आसानी से डूबाया जा सकता है?



भागीरथ धनगरदेवेन तोमरसनोबर बीकैलाश यादवसुर्भान भाईरोहित ठाकुरकमला यादव,रणवीर भाई

संपर्क: 9179617513 | 9867348307

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Thoughts On A Love-Letter From Prison

Porf G N Saibaba
Porf G N Saibaba

As the nation approaches yet another birthday, its seventieth, to be precise, this Independence Day, I am reminded of the letter that a dear friend of mine sent to his wife on her birthday (which also happened to be recently). She was kind enough to share that letter with many of us well-wishers – indeed, with the world, by posting it on various social media platforms (available at


It is a moving document, filled with (and filling its readers with) a deep, poignant sadness, and yet, suffused with a vision – a hope, a dream – that rings clearly, indomitably, through all the notes of sorrow, and weariness, and even despair. It is a testament as much to the sheer grit, endurance, faith, compassion, and generosity of heart of its writer, as to that of the people he refers to in his letter – in fact, the overwhelming majority of the people of India – the poor, the socially and economically excluded and oppressed, the marginalized and downtrodden, the abused, threatened and persecuted minorities…. And yet it is a letter that above all, reaffirms the writer’s commitment to his beloved, his love for her, his deep appreciation of her love and care, his pain at their being torn apart, his gratitude for their years together, and his conviction in their future together – it is, in short, a love-letter, greeting his wife with the only thing he can give her on her birthday – his own redoubled commitment to their love.

Who is this person, a puzzled reader might ask, and why is he so torn away from his wife that he cannot greet her on her birthday? And perhaps, above all, what is he doing writing about the poor and downtrodden of the nation, in his birthday greetings to his wife? Who does that??

An unjustly incarcerated man, serving a sentence of life imprisonment because of his commitment to those very poor and downtrodden – such a man does that. A man who has understood that the forces invested in keeping him in jail have suppressed public support for him substantially; a man whose consequent sense of loneliness has intensified to the point that he can share it only with his wife, whom he calls the ‘lone fighter fighting for [his] freedom’; and a man who nevertheless is so committed to the causes that have led to his incarceration, that he urges his wife to never give them up, whatever the consequences, and despite what has happened to him, so that their shared vision of a more just, humane, truly democratic society can be realized. For such a man, love cannot mean anything without this shared commitment, this shared vision, this indomitable refusal to give up – for such a man, his love for his wife is indistinguishable from his love for the people, and his commitment to her is no different from his commitment to his cause. And then, how can he write to his wife about their love and comradeship, without speaking of the very state that had violated those, when it separated the two of them so brutally?

Much has already come out in the news about Prof G N Saibaba, who was sensationally abducted from Delhi by the Maharashtra police in 2014, on charges of being a Naxalite, and subsequently found guilty and jailed for life. Much has also been written in the national press about the fact that Saibaba is 90% disabled, suffers from various chronic ailments including a heart condition, and that his health has been steadily deteriorating since his incarceration. His supporters have repeatedly pointed out, in the mainstream media, that even a cursory perusal of his charge-sheet, as well as of the adjudication, will reveal the absurdity of the charges against him; the gaping legal and procedural holes in the case; the baselessness of the judgement; and the complete injustice of the sentence. Nevertheless this alleged Maoist, apparently so dreaded that he will not even be moved to a hospital for medical care, continues to die a slowly accelerating death in Nagpur Central Jail.

I do not know if I will see my friend alive again, as a free man. The judicial process of review, going up to the Supreme Court, is a glacially paced, slow-grinding one. I fear that by the time the case reaches the Supreme Court, and a decision is made, the “anda cell” in Nagpur Central Jail will have claimed another victim. It adds to my sadness when I read his letter, and think of how he may never live to fight as a free man again, for the world he wants so passionately. It saddens me to think of the world as we know it without his grit and determination, his fierce commitment, his thoughtful decisiveness, his vision. I know it will be a vastly poorer world.

Saibaba had fought long and hard against the coming of that world – indeed, he had been gaining a reputation as one of the strongest voices in Indian civil society, especially against state repression and social injustice. been expecting knew his arrest was a possibility, before, that it. His very effectiveness in this fight was, as many of us – Saibaba included – began to apprehend, bound to provoke a strong reaction. When the Maharashtra police team came to interrogate him at his residence, we realized that our apprehensions were turning real; and when Saibaba was told by them that nothing would happen to him if he ceased all his political activity, our realization was confirmed. After that, we knew it was a matter of time before he was picked up by the state. We used to discuss the coming of this world, in which dissenting and protesting voices would be silenced, even through the extreme step of incarceration.

Saibaba is in prison now; unlike all we who sleep tonight though, secure in the belief that we aren’t, he knows he is in one. But the sad fact, with an irony far beyond the tragic, is that today, the terrorism of ‘national security’ has spread so much that people are slowly, voluntarily, allowing themselves to be imprisoned, in the belief that they need to be ‘secured’. And those who are not willingly walking towards their incarceration by ‘national security’, are being ‘imprisoned’ in various other ways, in ‘virtual’ prisons that they may not even be aware of. It is true that, unlike the ‘virtual’ prisons we occupy, Saibaba’s prison is real, its pain and isolation an everyday hell from which he may not be saved in time. But our ‘virtual’ prisons are far more insidious, as dangerous as Saibaba’s real one, and are being put in place systematically, incrementally, inexorably.

This ‘virtual’ prison system is taking shape as a complex, layered, integrated system of conditionalities, stipulations, pre-requisites, limitations and other such measures, that will monitor, regulate, control and sanction all social and economic relations, across the country. It is a system designed to enforce dependencies, especially financial and administrative, through which to thereby subjugate the populace. At the core of this, is the process of relentless privatization, through which the financial indebtedness of the populace will gradually become widespread and irreversible. This in turn will be facilitated and enforced by the state, through acquiring extensive and intimate information about each person, so that they are already always under continuous, perpetual surveillance. And this in turn is allowing the belief to spread that, ‘surveillance achcha hain’. (After all, in these achche din, if a daag can be achche, why not surveillance?!) This is the world that is tightening its glittering chains around the very people Saibaba fought so hard for. So, yes, of course, these ‘virtual’ prisons remain a far cry from the agonizing and life-threatening conditions that Saibaba himself is suffering in his “anda cell”, everyday. But what makes them as poisonous and lethal is the fact that we ourselves, its inmates, are being led to want it, and to want to perpetuate it, because its fetters – in the unforgettable words of William Blake – are ‘mind-forg’d manacles’.

I do not think his love for these people, his people, would lessen in any way, just because they too, are slowly succumbing to this world, where human voices will never wake them, and they will drown. Rather, I believe his sorrow will only increase, at the way in which a cynical, ruthless, unscrupulous, government can manipulate, deceive, and intimidate its own people into such a situation, where surveillance is a default setting, and in which being watched all the time is the only aadhar on which they can claim to be a part of this nation.

That is why today, as I read that letter again, I think of it not so much as a love-letter to his wife, on her birthday; but as a love-letter to the people of this country, on the eve of the birthday of the nation.

Prem Kumar Vijayan, Assistant Professor, Hindu College, Delhi

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May 17 Movement Activists, ​90 Days in Prison under the ‘Goondas Act’ #WTFnews


Human rights activists Thirumurugan Gandhi, Daison Jose, Ilamaran , Arun were arrested on 21.5.2017 for conducting candle light vigil for the dead in the Srilankan civil war.


Thirumurugan Gandhi, is one of the most committed and honest activist from Southern India, who fights for the democratic rights of all people for the past nine years. He consistently advocates for the democratic aspirations of Eelam Tamils, Palestinians, Kurds , Kashmiris ,Western Saharans and Sikhs. He has also spoken in the Geneva human rights sessions in the United Nations (UN) for the past three years in support of the nations without states, indigenous peoples and communities which have faced war crimes against the imperial forces. He has represented Tamil civil society in Permanent people’s Tribunal for Srilanka in Bremen, Germany (2013).

Human rights activists Thirumurugan Gandhi, Daison Jose, Ilamaran , Arun who were arrested on 21.5.2017 for conducting candle light vigil for the dead in the Srilankan civil war.


The arrested activists were denied bail and on 29/5/2017, the police levied charges under “The Goondas Act” in short, on four of the jailed activists Thirumurugan Gandhi, Daison Jose, Ilamaran , Arun.[1][2] These activists have voiced their support for various democratic people’s movements and human rights issues.

Ever since the end of the 2009 genocidal civil war in Sri Lanka, in which more than 1, 50,000 Tamils were massacred, the people of Tamilnadu have been conducting candle light vigils once a year to remember the genocide. The candle light vigil has been conducted in the marina beach in Chennai continuously for the past 6 years in the month of May, when at the peak of civil war thousands of Eelam Tamils were slaughtered daily by the Sinhala state. Thousands of people, including women and children participate in the candle light vigil to pay tribute to the killed Eelam Tamils. It’s a common practice by humanity around the world to remember the dead and pay tribute to them. The Tamils have a culture of paying tribute to the dead near the water bodies, a river or sea. The peaceful marina event that has been happening for 6 years is a reflection of the Tamil Culture.

Even the UN General Assembly resolution 60/147 adopted on December 16, 2005 clearly specifies about the Commemorations and tributes to the victims of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law[3]. To deny this right to the Tamils to pay tribute to the fellow Eelam Tamil brethren who suffered genocide at the hands of Sinhala government is to deny us our basic human rights.

The ‘Goondas Act’ which is leashed on the human rights activists, the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Forest Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum Grabbers and Video Pirates Act, 1982 (Tamil Nadu Act 14 of 1982), called “The Goondas Act” in short is a preventive detention law.

“Remembering the dead is a fundamental right of the culture of every people and begs the question of how weeping commons, remembering their loved ones, can threaten public order and safety?

‘Goondas Act’ is used by the state governments generally to attack and intimidate political opponents who speak truth to power. This legislation tramples upon the personal liberty of a citizen without giving him a chance to opt for judicial scrutiny, The Act is meant to be used only under exceptional circumstances in cases of grave and imminent threat to public safety and order. A total of 8,450 of them have been detained under the Goondas Act and the NSA since 2011 and many of them have been thrown outside by the court.

One of the main principles of legal jurisprudence is that any person accused of any offence should be given an equal chance to be heard and to defend himself in the courts of law, This preventive law denies the detained person this chance. The procedure requires that within seven weeks of detention, the detainee should be brought before the Board, which has three retired judges as its members. When these avenues fail, the higher courts can be approached. The majority of the cases have been habeas corpus petitions on which the higher judiciary ruled in favor of the victims, coming down heavily on the States mainly for non-application of mind and procedural lapses.

It is to be noted that the legal attack is part of the trend where the rulers of the Indian Union trying to dismantle, intimidate, coerce human rights activists. No one should be arrested for mourning the dead. We are worried about the shrinking democratic space for reason and deliberation, one of the cornerstones of a constitutional democracy. We condemn the attack on Human rights defenders, which is a message to other activists to silence them. We call upon all the democratic forces across the world to show solidarity to one of our fellow beings.

We insist the Human rights organizations to urge the Indian government and the Tamilnadu government to restore the right to peaceful assembly of citizens.

We request the Human rights organizations to release press statements in expression of solidarity.

We insist the Human rights organizations and other special interest groups to pressurize the state government to repeal the “The Goondas Act” immediately.

We request international community and organizations to come forward and condemn Indian government’s attack on human rights defenders Thirumurugan Gandhi, Daison Jose, Ilamaran and Arun Kumar.

We deplore the recent wave of arrests by the Government of Tamilnadu and the use of force to disperse peaceful protests. We urge you to write to the Indian authorities, Indian diplomatic representatives and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your respective countries to draw their attention to your concerns and forward them this statement.



– May 17 Movement TamilNadu, India Phone: +91-9884072010 mail: [email protected]

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DU Prof G N Saibaba’s case adjourned till Sept 29

Nagpur: Following inability of top criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani and senior counsel Nitya Ramakrishnan to appear, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing of criminal appeals filed by Delhi University professor G N Saibaba and others.

The petitioners who also included Vijay and Mahesh Tirki, Hem Mishra, and Pandu Narote challenged Gadchiroli sessions court verdict convicting them on March 7. Vijay was awarded ten years of rigorous imprisonment considering his limited role, others were sentenced to life. A division bench of Justices Vasanti Naik and Murlidhar Giratkar adjourned the hearing till September 29 after the accused sought time to take Jethmalani’s and Ramakrishnan’s dates, according to special public prosecutor Prashant Sathianathan.

On April 5, the division bench of Justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Vinay Deshpande had admitted both the appeals for final hearing.

All six accused were convicted under Sections 13, 18, 20, 38 and 39 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) along with Section 120B of IPC for criminal conspiracy for aiding and abetting Naxalite activities and waging war against nation. While pronouncing the verdict, Gadchiroli principal district and sessions judge Suryakant Shinde also named dreaded Naxalite Narmada Akka and Ramdar as other accused in the crime and directed the police to trace them. The court examined 23 witnesses that included panch witness and one approver.

The Gadchiroli police based their evidence on a memory chip recovered from Mishra after his arrest from Ballarshah Railway Station on August 22, 2013, with Mahesh and Narote. Data recovered from the hard disk of computer belonging to Saibaba after his arrest proved their role in the Naxalite activities. Rahi and Vijay were arrested on September 2, 2013, while Saibaba was arrested on May 9, 2014, from his home in Delhi.

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गिरफ़्तारी के 10 वें दिन भी मेधा पाटकर, विजय, शंटू और धुरजी भाई को रिहा ना करने से बढ़ रहा है घाटी के लोगों में आक्रोश

नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के कार्यकर्ताओं और विस्थापितों को झूठे आरोपों में फंसाकर गिरफ्तार करने का पुलिस प्रशासन का सिलसिला जारी, भय और  आतंक  फैलाना चाहती है सरकार


नर्मदा घाटी में मध्य प्रदेश सरकार की दमकारी नीतियों के विरोध में आज मनावर, कुक्षी, सोंदुल पट्टी और बड़वानी   में आयोजित की गयी बैठकें, आन्दोलन को और अधिक मजबूती से खड़ा करने का लिया गया संकल्प


बिना सम्पूर्ण पुनर्वास हटना विस्थापितों को है नामंजूर, अपने अधिकारों की लड़ाई में कोई समझौता नहीं करेंगे सरदार सरोवर बांध प्रभावित


गिरफ़्तारी के 10 वें दिन भी  मेधा पाटकर, विजय, शंटू और धुरजी  भाई को  रिहा ना करने से  बढ़ रहा है घाटी के लोगों में आक्रोश


धार, मध्य प्रदेश ||18 अगस्त 2017::  नर्मदा घाटी में हो रहे प्रशासनिक दमन और पुलिस  बर्बरता के खिलाफ नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के कार्यकर्ताओं तथा घाटी के विस्थापितों के द्वारा आज कुक्षी, मनावर तहसील, आदिवासी क्षेत्र  सोंदुल पट्टी, तथा बड़वानी जिले के सैकड़ों गांवों में बैठकें आयोजित की गयी जिसमें हजारों विस्थापित उपस्थित थे । पुलिस प्रशासन सरदार सरोवर विस्थापितों पर झूठे मुकदमें लगाकर उन्हें गिरफ्तार कर रही है ताकि आन्दोलन कमजोर पड़ जाए और सरकार अपनी मनमानी कर सके, सम्पूर्ण पुनर्वास तथा बिना मूलभूत सुविधाओं के अपने मूल गाँव खाली करने के लिए लोगों पर  दबाव बनाया जा  रहा है । मुख्य कार्यकर्ताओं और प्रमुख लोगों को कानूनी मामलों में उलझाकर, जेल में बंद करके सरकार लोगों में भय पैदा कर उन्हें पुनर्वास स्थलों को तैयार किये बिना , गाँव छोड़ने को मजबूर करने पर अमादा है ।  लेकिन नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन इस तानाशाही से डरने की बजाय और मजबूती के साथ सामने आ रहा है, लोगों में सरकार के प्रति आक्रोश और अपने अधिकारों के प्रति प्रतिबद्धता बढ़ रही  है और अभी भी घाटी में “बिना पुनर्वास हटेंगे नहीं” नारे सुनाई दे रहे हैं।

7 अगस्त को चिखल्दा गाँव में पुलिस द्वारा शांतिपूर्ण अनशन को बलप्रयोग द्वारा जबरन तोड़कर अनशनकारियों को गिरफ्तार करने से शुरू हुआ यह भय/आतंक  फ़ैलाने का सिलसिला अभी भी जारी है।  विजय, शंटू, धुरजी भाई को गिरफ़्तारी के 10 वें दिन तथा मेधा पाटकर को 12 वें दिन भी रिहा नहीं किया गया है। 307 (हत्या की कोशिश का मामला) तथा 365(अपहरण ) जैसे गंभीर आरोपों में  शांतिपूर्ण आन्दोलन के कार्यकर्ताओं को फसाकर सरकार जबरन गाँव खाली कराने की पूरी तैयारी में हैं लेकिन वहीँ विस्थापित भी अपनी सम्पूर्ण पुनर्वास की मांग को लेकर डटे हैं, इसको लेकर नर्मदा घाटी में लगातार विरोध प्रदर्शन हो रहे हैं।  कल नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के 80 कार्यकर्ताओं को बिना किसी शर्त कोर्ट द्वारा बरी कर दिया गया जिन पर  पुलिस द्वारा झूठे आरोप लगाए गए थे  परन्तु अभी भी हजारों अज्ञात लोगों पर मुकदमे लगाए गए हैं ।  बिना किसी अपराध के लोगों के साथ अपराधियों  जैसा व्यवहार किया जा रहा है, अहिंसक लोगों पर हिंसा बरपायी जा रही है, वह हरसंभव प्रयास किये जा रहे हैं जिससे आन्दोलन को समाप्त किया जा सके, लोगों की आवाजों को दबाया जा सके और हर उस संघर्ष को ख़त्म किया जा सके जो सरकार के भ्रष्टाचार, अलोकतांत्रिक, असंवैधानिक और अन्यायपूर्ण नीतियों का को उजागर  करता है   ।    

गाँव- गाँव की बैठकों में लोगों में सरकार के प्रति प्रत्यक्ष आक्रोश नजर आया । विस्थापितों ने सरकार को चुनौती देते हुए कहा कि सरकार आन्दोलनकारियों और मेधा  पाटकर को गिरफ्तार कर बिलकुल भी ये ना समझे कि नर्मदा घाटी के लोग डर गए हैं, बल्कि हम इस अराजकता के खिलाफ और अधिक सामर्थ्य और संख्या में खड़े हैं, गाँव वालों ने कहा कि मेधा पाटकर हर उस विस्थापित (मजदूर, किसान, कुम्हार, मछुआरा,  आदिवासी) के घर में बसती है जिसको सरकार उजाड़ने पर आतुर है और पुलिस प्रशासन जितने लोगों को झूठे मुकदमे लगाकर गिरफ्तार करेगी, हम उससे अधिक संख्या में गिरफ़्तारी देने आयेंगे और प्रशासन के जेलों में भी इतनी जगह नहीं बचेगी जितना हम में साहस बचा है ।

मध्य प्रदेश सरकार की अराजकता इस कदर बढ़ गयी कि आज उन्ही की पार्टी (भारतीय जनता पार्टी) के कड़माल तहसील कुक्षी जिला धार के अध्यक्ष तथा उपाध्यक्ष सहित  30 से अधिक कार्यकर्ताओं ने  पार्टी को अपना त्यागपत्र दे दिया। त्यागपत्र में स्पष्ट रूप से लिखा गया है कि इस सरकार  से हमारा भरोसा उठ गया है और जो सरकार अपने पुनर्वास के लिए लडाई लड़ रही की महिलाओं के साथ अभद्र व्यवहार करे, कार्यकर्ताओं तथा आन्दोलन की नेत्री मेधा पाटकर को झूठे आरोपों में फंसाकर जेल में रखे और 32 साल के संघर्ष के बाद भी पुनर्वास करने की बजाय हिंसक प्रवृति अपनाये, हम ऐसी पार्टी का हिस्सा नहीं रहना चाहते ।


इसी के साथ देशभर से नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के कार्यकर्ताओं और मेधा पाटकर की गिरफ़्तारी के विरोध में कार्यक्रम किये जा रहे हैं इसी कड़ी में आज उज्जैन में धरना प्रदर्शन किया गया ।

तमिलनाडु में ग्रीन तमिलनाडु पार्टी द्वारा  मेधा पाटकर तथा  विस्थापित और नर्मदा  बचाओ आन्दोलन के प्रमुख साथी शंटू, विजय और धुरजी भाई  की अन्यायपूर्ण गिरफ़्तारी की कड़ी निंदा और विरोध व्यक्त करते हुए  प्रेस कांफ्रेंस का आयोजन किया गया।  कांफ्रेंस को पार्टी के नेता  और  परमाणु उर्जा विरोधी  एक्टिविस्ट एस पी उदयकुमार, MMK नेता और पूर्व विधायक प्रोफ. जहावरुल्ला, तमिझा वाल्वुरिमई नेता वेलमुरुगन, SDPI नेता तेहलान पकावी, दलित पैंथर उप जनरल सेक्रेटरी वान्नी अरासु, पूवुलागिन नन्बार्गल, जी सुनंदिराजन और जन आंदोलनों का  राष्ट्रीय समन्वय से डॉ. गब्रिएले, गीता रामकृष्णा और  अरुल डॉस द्वारा संबोधित किया गया । कांफ्रेंस में मेधा पाटकर तथा जेल में बंद अन्य साथियों की तुरंत बिना शर्त  रिहाई, विस्थापितों के लिए  अधिकृत मुआवजे तथा पूर्ण पुनर्वास की मांग की गयी । ग्रीन तमिलनाडु पार्टी द्वारा  तमिलनाडु में नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के संघर्ष के समर्थन में कार्यक्रम करने की भी बात की ।

कल रतलाम, मंदसौर, नीमच द्वाबरा तथा भोपाल में भी मध्य प्रदेश सरकार द्वारा अपनाये गए हिंसक और दमनकारी कार्यवाही के खिलाफ और लोकहितों की रक्षा में प्रदर्शन होंगे ।


कमला यादव. देवराम कनेरा, भागीरथ धनगर, रोहित ठाकुर, राहुल यादव, सनोवर बी, भगवती बाई, अमूल्य निधि, सरस्वती बहन, मंजुला बाई, पुष्पा बाई, कैलाश अवास्या


संपर्क – 91796175139867348307


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Tusharkant Bhattacharya abducted by Gujarat ATS was living a low-profile life

He developed lumber spondylitis, arthritis and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. Due to a weakened health he decided to retire from full-time activism

Shishir Arya

Tusharkant BhattacharyaTusharkant Bhattacharya
NAGPUR: Son of an employee at Sirpur Paper Mills, 62-year-old Tusharkant Bhattacharyawas a student leader in Sirpur-Kagazngar — the town in Telangana known for the mills set up by Birlas. After shifting to Maharashtra sometime in the 1980s, he remained a trade union leader taking up the cause of construction workers till 2000. His elder brother Kalol is also a prominent union leader at Sirpur but is attached to the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS).

In 2007, Bhattacharya was arrested in Patna for attacking his landlord. After being in judicial remand for six years, he was acquitted and since then Bhattacharya was been living at Bharat Nagar locality off Amravati Road here.

Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, now convicted for supporting naxalite activities, came to Bhattacharya’s house after he was released on bail from Nagpur jail last year.

After his release in 2013, Bhattacharya’s family says he has been living a low-profile life earning a living by translating books. Currently, he was translating a Telugu book by left-wing activist Varavara Rao into Hindi.

“Saibaba is known to me as a professor of English. As far as Tusharkant is concerned, he was always an activist with Leftist leanings but never directly related to any armed conflict or Naxalite activities,” his wife Shoma Sen told TOI. She heads the department of English at Nagpur University.

In the quite lane in which Rituraj Apartments, where the family resides, is located not many except the immediate neighbours know Bhattacharya and Sen. The couple has a daughter who is studying in Mumbai.

His neighbours do not remember of having any interaction with Bhattacharya except exchanging pleasantries whenever they seldom meet. However, they quietly admit of knowing through others that he was engaged in Leftist activism and had been jailed earlier.

Even though his neighbours term him a recluse, Bhattacharya was seen in several social programmes, especially hosted by the left parties.

As a part of a blanket crackdown, he was arrested in Patna where he staying to conduct a research on the Asura community of Bihar. It was a 30-year-old case,” said Sen.

Bhattacharya was arrested by the Bihar police but taken away by their Andhra Pradesh counterparts as the case was registered against him there. The police remand left him battered.

He developed lumber spondylitis, arthritis and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. Due to a weakened health he decided to retire from full-time activism. “In the jail, he helped uneducated inmates write petitions and spent time gardening,” said Sen.

“After coming back he hasn’t even delivered a speech. Even during the meeting in which I went as an activist, he remained only a spectator,” she added.

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#SundayReading – The story of Convict No. 276 and the Battle of Aberdeen

Prisoners on the Andaman Island   | Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

A battle and a betrayal. Fought between the Andamanese and the British, it finally pushed the tribe to extinction

In April 1858, Aga, a convict gangsman at the Ross Island penal settlement in the Andaman Islands shared an escape plan with his fellow prisoners incarcerated on the isolated island by the British after the 1857 rebellion.

The gangsman, with his limited geographical knowledge, reasoned that once they reached the shore opposite Ross Island, it would at most be a ten-day march to Myanmar, the capital of Burma, where the convicts could seek refuge.

The plan seemed infallible and the prisoners quickly accepted it.

The great escape

On April 23, 90 convicts boarded rafts made from felled trees bound with tent ropes and escaped Ross Island. After a two-day voyage, 40 convicts from the stations at Chatham Island and Phoenix Bay also joined them. When they landed, it was on the shores of Andaman Island, and a contingent of 130 convicts marched into the unfamiliar jungles under Aga’s command.

Everything seemed in order until Aga’s limited geographical knowledge was soon exposed. The convicts walked through thick jungles for 13 days with no sense of direction. Sometimes, Aga led them back to the same place they had passed days before.

Soon, they ran out of food and water. Those who could climbed the tall and branchless trees to get some fruit resembling the Indian plum. Water, equally scarce, was only found in the form of small springs oozing from the hills. Twelve convicts succumbed to starvation and were left behind to perish.

On the 14th day, when the contingent had penetrated about four miles into the jungle, it suddenly found itself encircled by some 100 armed indigenes. The convicts did not offer any resistance but only implored mercy through signs that the indigenes completely disregarded. In no time, the entire contingent was massacred. Only a few convicts escaped, and fled into the dense surrounding jungle.

Sepoy from the mutiny

Among these convicts was Dudhnath Tewari. A sepoy of the 14th Regiment of the Native Infantry, he had been convicted of mutiny and desertion. The Commission at Jhelum sentenced him to transportation for life and labour in irons. On April 6, 1858, Tewari was received at the British Penal Settlement at Port Blair when he arrived from Karachi. He was labelled Convict No. 276. The escape was planned less than 20 days after Tewari’s arrival on Ross Island.

During the encounter with the indigenes, Tewari was hit by three arrows. He managed to escape and reach a creek, where he spent the night with two other convicts.

The next morning, a band of 60 indigenes, embarking upon canoes from the shore, spotted them. They chased them again into the jungle and shot at them. Two convicts died on the spot, but Tewari lay down and pretended to be dead.

The indigenes pulled him by the leg from his hiding place. He begged for mercy but the archer shot at him, wounding his hip and wrist. Tewari feigned death a second time, but the relentless archer pulled the arrow out from his hip and aimed another shot. Tewari pleaded again, and was surprisingly granted mercy this time.

The indigenes put Tewari into their canoe, smeared medicinal mud all over his body, and took him to the nearby Tarmugli Island.

While Tewari’s survival was itself a miracle, his inclusion in the community was most unimaginable. The indigenes who had accepted him belonged to the Termugu-da sept of the Aka-Bea-da tribe—one of the ten Andamanese groups.

On the islands

Before the British colonised the Andaman Islands, four fiercely hostile communities—the Andamanese (now called the Great Andamanese), the Jarawa, the Onge and the Sentinelese—had exclusively inhabited these remote islands.

In 1789, the British established a penal settlement on Chatham Island in the southeast Bay of Great Andaman. It was moved to the northeastern part of the island in 1792 and eventually abandoned in 1796 due to the inhospitable climate.

After the 1857 scare, the British set up a penal colony on Ross Island the next year to incarcerate Indian political prisoners. The advent of the British led to large-scale deforestation and destruction of indigenous resources.

“The Andamanese were naturally alarmed and enraged at the manner in which their country was being cleared and appropriated on all sides, and conflicts with the convicts and with the Naval Guard, in which the latter were the aggressors, only increased that alarm,” wrote Maurice Vidal Portman, the officer in charge of the Andamanese, in A History of Our Relations with the Andamanese (1899). The Andamanese resisted the colonisation of their islands and retaliated by undertaking numerous raids in 1858 and 1859.

The inside story

Tewari, whom the Andamanese had admitted into their community, enjoyed their warmth. Within a couple of months, his wounds had healed completely and he was in the best of health.

Initially, the community had looked at Tewari with great suspicion, never trusting him with weapons or permitting him to pick up a bow and arrow, even in sport. Soon, however, Tewari became an insider. He discarded clothes, shaved off his head, got used to Andamanese food habits and language, and actively participated in various indigenous ceremonies and rituals.

After four months of his stay in the community, an elderly Andamanese named Pooteah married off his 20-year-old daughter Lipa to Tewari. The Andamanese did not demand any work or role from Tewari. For a year and 24 days, he wandered with them from one island to another, coming in contact with some 15,000 indigenes who lived near the sea shores and on the banks of salt water creeks in the interior jungles.

Meanwhile, the British were aggressively expanding their base in the Andamans, which led to frequent confrontations. The Andamanese, unless resisted, refrained from attacking the convicts, who bore marks such as iron ankle rings.

They primarily targeted the authorities—the British officers, or the section, sub-division and division gangsmen who donned red turbans, badges and coloured belts.

The Andamanese undertook three major raids in 1859. On April 6, 200 armed indigenes raided 248 convicts who were clearing the jungle at Haddo, on the mainland opposite Chatham Island; on April 14, about 1,500 Andamanese attacked the convicts at Andaman; and on May 17, a large number of indigenes attempted a well-organised raid on the Aberdeen convict station, on the south of Port Blair, with the aim to exterminate the British.

The Quisling

The last raid, known as the Battle of Aberdeen, proved devastating for the Andamanese. Tewari, who had now spent a little more than a year with the community, had enough information about the attack being planned by the indigenes. He travelled with the attacking party along the coast and forewarned the superintendent of the penal settlement.

When the Andamanese warriors faced the pre-warned British soldiers, it was an unequal battle.

The former fought with knives, axes, bows and arrows against a larger and well-armed enemy. While the British suffered hardly any losses, a large number of the Andamanese were annihilated in a single day.

“The Battle of Aberdeen was the most serious collision with the Andamanese… None of the convicts were wounded, but several of the savages are supposed to have been… Had not Dr. Walker received notice regarding it from Life Convict Dudhnath Tewari, No. 276… who had become cognizant of the arrangements for the fight which had been arranged in detail for some time previously, very serious damage might have been caused,” wrote Portman.

The aftermath

The battle was to prove decisive. It quelled organised resistance from the Andamanese forever, and established the colonial Empire firmly in these remote islands. The British obtained a first-hand and rare account of Andamanese society from Tewari, which helped them to contain a hostile community and further expand their penal colony.

The British set up the ‘Andamanese Homes’, where the Andamanese were kept and provided medicines and free rations such as sugar, rice, tea and tobacco. The islanders were also deployed to capture runaway convicts and protect the settlement against other hostile indigenes.

Soon, the Andamanese were overtaken by alien diseases, with outbreaks of syphilis and measles in 1870 and 1877.

Measles alone wiped out half of them, their population diminishing sharply from 3,500 in 1858 to 2,000 in 1888 and 625 in 1901. Their numbers kept dwindling—455 (1911), 209 (1921) and 90 (1931).

After independence in 1947, a large number of refugees and migrants were also sent to the Andamans for resettlement, which pushed the native community to the margins. In 1949, the entire community was relocated to the tiny Bluff Island, after which their population declined to 23 in 1951 and reached an all-time low of 19 in 1961.

In 1969, they were again relocated, this time to the slightly bigger Strait Island, where they now live on government doles.

The Andamanese are today listed as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group. In 2013, their population was recorded at 57, a large portion of which, however, is mixed race. Within less than two centuries of their contact with outsiders, the once strong and assertive Andamanese had been fully subdued and pushed to the verge of extinction.

A memorial

While the Battle of Aberdeen is yet to receive due mention in history of indigenous resistance, there is a memorial in Port Blair that commemorates it. ‘This monument is built in the memory of those Andamanese aborigines who bravely fought the Battle of Aberdeen in May 1859 against the oppressive and retaliatory policy of the British regime,’ reads the inscription. Every year on May 17, islanders visit the memorial to pay tribute to the Andamanese warriors who, with simple bows and arrows, took on the largest empire of all time.


For his ‘good service’ to the British Empire, Convict No. 276 was granted pardon on October 5, 1860, and sent home. In December 1866, Tewari was sailing from Calcutta to Rangoon with Major Wraughton, and the ship halted at Port Blair.

The officer in charge of the Andamanese, one Mr. Homfray, took Tewari to the Andamanese Home in great excitement. The indigenes immediately recognised the familiar face of Convict No. 276.

The women abused him for deserting Lipa, who had been in her final stages of pregnancy and later had a miscarriage.

Tewari remained unmoved. He made no move to meet his wife. Since her husband was alive, Andamanese men too did not approach Lipa.

The community changed her title to ‘Modo Lipa’, signifying a ‘deserted bride’ or a woman who has lost her husband while still young and without children.

The author is a social science nomad who travels to remote places to dig out some fascinating stories.

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Medha Patkar formally arrested in four cases, including kidnap #WTFnews


Social activist Medha Patkar. (File |EPS)

BHOPAL: Fasting Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar now stands arrested by the Madhya Pradesh police in four cases, including a recent case pertaining to the alleged kidnapping of revenue department staff in Dhar district in the state.

Presently lodged at the Dhar district jail (350 km from Bhopal), Patkar was arrested by the district police on Wednesday evening, hours after she was discharged from the Bombay Hospital in Indore.

She was booked under Section 151 (r/w Sections 107, 116) of the CrPc for possible breach of peace as she wanted to go back to the venue of her indefinite fast for the Sardar Sarovar dam displaced families in Chikilda village of Dhar district.

Since then Patkar has been lodged at the district jail, where she has been formally arrested by the Dhar police now in three more cases, including two previous cases of assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty (Section 353 of IPC) and a case pertaining to the attempted kidnapping of
revenue department staff at the venue of fast in Chikilda village on August 1.

The kidnapping case pertains to NBA activists allegedly taking revenue department staff, including nayab tehsildar Kamal Mandeliya, forcefully from Batgaon village to Chikilda on August 1.  Once taken to the venue of Patkar’s indefinite fast, the NBA activists snatched from the revenue department staff, government files and handed it over to Patkar.

“Medha Patkar has now been formally arrested in four cases, including a case lodged under Section 365 (kidnapping or abduction),” said MP Police IG (Law and Order) Makarand Deuskar in Bhopal on Friday.
In Dhar, meanwhile, Patkar couldn’t be produced before the judicial magistrate first class (JMFC-Kukshi) court, due to technical problems such as failure to establish video conferencing facility between the Dhar district jail and JMFC-Kukshi court.

“The court has adjourned the hearing for Saturday in the cases in which she has been arrested,” Dhar district superintendent of police Virendra Singh said. Also, Patkar refused to fill the bail bond in the case of possible breach of peace in which she was arrested on Wednesday.

The bond entails a personal surety of Rs 10,000, besides an undertaking by Patkar not to go to the Sardar Sarovar dam submergence zone site where she was fasting in Chikilda since July 27.

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When Gujarat lawkeepers turn abductors

‘How can the police, especially the Gujarat police, earn their laurels if they stick to the rule book?’ asks lawyer Susan Abraham.

Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya

Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya’s arrest on the early morning of Tuesday, August 8, as he was alighting from the Gitanjali Express returning home to Nagpur traversed many rules of criminal jurisprudence.

The 62-year-old semi-invalid — he suffers from a chronic back ailment — was arrested by the Gujarat police and whisked off to Nagpur airport to be taken on a flight to Surat.

Was he a fugitive?

An outlaw?

An absconder from a case?

None of these.

Bhattacharya was leading a normal middle class life with his wife Dr Shoma Sen, head of the department of English literature at Nagpur University, spending most of his waking hours doing freelance writing in Hindi and translations, being equally prolific in Hindi and English.

He was returning home to Nagpur from Kolkata after a longish stay with his government employee sister to rally legal help for his brother Aseem Bhattacharya who was lodged in Alipore jail in Kolkata.

He was not allowed to contact Shoma, or return home, and at the moment, his whereabouts are unknown.

By law, the Gujarat police ought to have sent a summons to the openly known address of his residence at Nagpur to appear before the concerned court and case in Gujarat.

Bhattacharya would have been able to make arrangements for his bail and presented himself without all the hungama (fuss).

But how can the police, especially the Gujarat police, earn their laurels if they stick to the rule book?

If the abduction was not brazen enough, what is more shocking is the case in which Bhattacharya was kidnapped by the Gujarat police.

It happens to be Crime Register No I-37 of 2010 with the Kamrej police station, Surat.

Bhattacharya is the 22nd person arrested in the case. All the 21 others have been released on bail.

This was another reason why the modus operandi — abducting Bhattacharya — from Nagpur was totally uncalled for.

The sections registered in the case against all the accused are, of course, serious in nature.

No less than Sections 120(B), 121(A), 124(A), 153(A) (B) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 38, 39 and 40 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (amended in 2004 as the freshly minted anti-terror law after the successive repeal of TADA and POTA).

Some of the mandatory fields in the First Information Report registered by the Kamrej police station on 26.2.2010 reads like straight out of a Kafka novel.

Time – Any time till today.

Nature of offence – Creating of class conflict, and rousing feeling of dissatisfaction among religious minorities and tribals living in the forests by doing misleading propaganda, causing anti-national sentiments and so on.

Names against whom the FIR was lodged – Unknown members of CPI (Maoist) and others.

The background to this case is equally Kafakesque.

In the spate of arrests that took place all over the country post-2007, with the then UPA governments declaring Naxalism to be the ‘biggest internal security threat’, there were a spate of arrests in urban centres all over the country wherever the Maoists were leading struggles in adjoining rural areas.

Modi-led Gujarat, not to be left out of the reckoning on the map of curbing Maoists (which, of course, came with meaty budgetary allocations), created a case which as the Gujarat high court later observed was ‘roving in nature’.

In fact, Justice Anant S Dave, while granting bail to the other accused in the case in Criminal Miscellaneous Application No 12435 of 2010 in Vishvanath @ VishuVardhrajan Aaiyar vs State of Gujarat in order dated 18.10.2010, noted ‘forming a union or carrying out a movement in respect of labourers or tribals of the area to protect their statutory right as well as fundamental rights under the Constitution of India against a section of influenced and established group of the society and expression of anger or even writing or authoring any document or material or a book, cannot be considered as an anti-national activity amounting to waging a war against the nation.’

The most bizarre turn of events is this. Tushar Bhattacharya was already an undertrial in Cherlapally jail, Hyderabad, when the FIR in C R No I-37 of 2010 was registered on 26.2.2010.

He surely could not be accused of being a Houdini and committing the offence from behind bars!

The last and most incriminating part of the police kidnap drama is that Bhattacharya, while an undertrial lodged in Cherlapally jail, Hyderabad in 2010-2013, had made not one but two applications to the court of the judicial magistrate first class (JMFC), Khattor, under whose jurisdiction the case was lodged.

Having learnt that his name figured in the chargesheet, he plainly asked to be produced in the court as an accused if that really was the case.

The two letters are dated May 9, 2011 and July 22, 2011.

Why did the same Gujarat police not show any alacrity in having Bhattacharya produced in the court then?

In fact, Kobad Ghandy‘s name also figures in the same case.

Ghandy, a well known political activist who has been an undertrial since 2008 and is currently lodged in the Vishakapatnam central jail, has also written letters to the court of the JMFC, Khator to be produced in the case, but he too has not been produced in the case by the Gujarat police.

The Gujarat police knows fully well that Tushar Bhattacharya and Kobad Ghandy will eventually get the benefit of the bail order granted by the Gujarat high court to the other accused in the same case.

Why then this drama over Bhattacharya’s abduction?

Does it have something to do with a desperate Gujarat government wanting to whip up some more nationalist frenzy through its media about persons unknown to the people of that state being nabbed as dreaded Maoists?

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