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Prison Baby Revisits Jails to Support Incarcerated

By Deborah Jiang Stein

WeNews guest author

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Deborah Jiang Stein was born in prison and now she’s back in a new role. “The women feel safe telling their stories in this circle. A corner of their filters drops–they know I won’t judge,” she writes in this excerpt from her memoir “Prison Baby.”


prison bars

Credit: Rob Crow/vividcorvid on Flickr, under Creative Commons


Prison Baby: A Memoir(WOMENSENEWS)–Something pulls me to return, and this time it’s not out of curiosity about my prison mom or desperation about my roots. This time it’s because I’m grateful for my freedom, my transformation. I’m also conscious that it could’ve been me who was locked up for the rest of my life. After all the hurt I’ve inflicted on others, I’m called to give back, to reach out where I’m comfortable and welcomed with open wide arms: women’s prisons.

It’s as if I’m on autopilot on a path I was born to stomp along. As if born with a job.

Untreated mental health issues can take a person down along with others around her. I lived it. Mental health support averted my future violence and curbed my addictions. In my previous life I tick-ticked inside, a time bomb ready to blast anyone in my path with the shrapnel of my anger. I hate to admit that if I’d refused to confront my disturbed self, I would’ve been a prime candidate for committing the kind of tragedy we read in the front-page news.

I return to prisons, my birthplace, and address the inmates there. My story is a natural fit for the women, and I share what I’ve learned, how life is less about what happens and more about what we do with what happens. Not a new idea, just one that takes practice to believe and to live day by day. I use my life to show how we’re all more than the sum of our parts.

Aren’t we all more than the worst things we’ve ever done? It’s possible to fulfill this any time we choose to walk out of our history and begin new, whenever we want to transcend and triumph. I’m proof of this. Of course, we can’t do it alone, but if we search, we’ll find others willing to help. One of the best influences we can have on our communities and the world at large is to grow in self-awareness.

Every Head Nods

As I speak in prisons, almost every head in the audience nods, incarcerated and staff alike. The women smile, show me I’m meant to follow this vision. On occasion I’ll conduct a writing workshop with women in prisons, and in one of my first, in a high-security unit, an officer leads me into a double-paned, glass-enclosed classroom with a guard stationed outside. Twenty women lean over their blank papers at two long folding tables, the same tables they use in the mess hall. Everyone calls them “girls,” no matter if they’re 17 or 70. They call me Teacher.

We open with an informal talk session. We chat and laugh, and some cry. Then they begin to set their thoughts down on paper, and most times no one knows what to write. The women shuffle their pages as I fire out story-starter ideas.

On the second workshop day, they write about their parents. One inmate blurts out in the middle of the workshop, “When I was 6 I tried to run away from home because a neighbor, a friend of the family, forced me to eat human waste and no one did anything.” I ache for her.

The women feel safe telling their stories in this circle. A corner of their filters drops–they know I won’t judge. The woman goes on. “Then my mother pointed her pistol and shot at me. She pulled the trigger, and I didn’t know if the gun was empty or not.”

My life hasn’t been so bad after all, I think.

Another woman looks straight ahead, listening. She’s the self-proclaimed in-house prison preacher and always quotes Bible verses to get everyone else into her religious groove. She’s also the queen of plucked eyebrows, arched to give herself a surprised look. A clunky cross hangs on her neck. “Sounds like a crazy woman,” she says about the inmate’s mother.

The woman goes on and on. “My mother whipped me with coat hangers, extension cords, or twigs off trees. Did I already mention the crow bar? But she didn’t ever shoot when she held a gun on me.”

I’m taking this all in, letting the stories roll.

Another woman, sprawled in her chair, interrupts the woman’s story about her mother. “You think God‘s watching over? I’d say your spiritual bubble is gonna bust.” Just then a woman turns to me and says, “Hey! You’re talking to a bunch of women with low self-esteem.”

I said I know, but I haven’t been the one talking. They have.

Detailing Anger

Once the group settles down, I say, “Now write a list of things that make you mad. Not only what’s pissed you off in here but also in your own lives.”

That’s all it takes. Everyone dives in. No one’s ever asked them before to detail what makes them mad. They all scribble page after page and rack up lists of unjust events. Then I suggest they pick one event from their list and write a story about it. It gets wild then! Topics like war, hunger, injustice.

It gets big. They go around the tables and start to read their stories. They cheer and hoot–until the preacher woman’s turn.

Her list turns out to be what’s important to her: “God, guitars, women and cowboy boots.”

“I just got outta 30-day lockup,” she adds, “for stealing someone’s cigarettes and then lying and picking a fight about it.” She says she’s also angry I’d had to cancel two earlier workshops.

I tell her she would’ve missed out anyway because of her lockup time in segregation.

The women fall silent. No one has ever talked back to the preacher woman.

It turns out she had more lockup time than I had with my scheduled workshops. She never shows up again in one of my workshops.

These prison workshops show how redemption is made possible by hope. Hope alone won’t solve anything. Yet without hope, nothing’s possible.

I take myself into a bigger dream, visiting prisons in New York, California, Connecticut, on both coasts, North and South. I zigzag around the country, and women line up to fill metal folding chairs in prison gyms, and we shake hands, hug if allowed, and dig deep into our souls. Their openness moves me like nothing else I’ve ever known.

I traveled from prison to prison, across the country, to lead basic writing-skills and creativity workshops with incarcerated women, thrilled to witness hidden talents emerge. It took me this long before I was comfortable in front of people. At last I stepped out of my solitude.

Deborah Jiang Stein is a national speaker, writer and founder of the unPrison Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves to build public awareness about women and girls in prison and offers mentoring and life-skills programs for inmates. Follow her on Twitter.

For More Information:


Buy the Book, “Prison Baby: A Memoir”:

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The Science of Solitary Confinement

Solitary confinement

Solitary confinement (Photo credit: Chris.Gray)



Picture MetLife Stadium, the New Jersey venue that hosted the Super Bowl earlier this month. It seats 82,556 people in total, making it the largest stadium in the NFL.

Imagine the crowd it takes to fill that enormous stadium. That, give or take a thousand, is the number of men and women held in solitary confinement in prisons across the U.S.

Although the practice has been largely discontinued in most countries, it’s become increasingly routine over the past few decades within the American prison system. Once employed largely as a short-term punishment, it’s now regularly used as way of disciplining prisoners indefinitely, isolating them during ongoing investigations, coercing them into cooperating with interrogations and even separating them from perceived threats within the prison population at their request.

As the number of prisoners in solitary has exploded, psychologists and neuroscientists have attempted to understand the ways in which a complete lack of human contact changes us over the long term. According to a panel of scientists that recently spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Chicago, research tells us that solitary is both ineffective as a rehabilitation technique and indelibly harmful to the mental health of those detained.

“The United States, in many ways, is an outlier in the world,” said Craig Haney, a psychologist at UC Santa Cruz who’s spent the last few decades studying the mental effects of the prison system, especially solitary confinement. “We really are the only country that resorts regularly, and on a long-term basis, to this form of punitive confinement. Ironically, we spend very little time analyzing the effects of it.”

Exact numbers are hard to come by, but based on a wide swath of censuses, it’s estimated that between 80,000 and 81,000 prisoners are in some form of solitary confinement nationwide. In contrast to stereotypes of isolated prisoners as the most dangerous criminals, Haney estimates that a third of isolated prisoners are mentally ill, and a disproportionate are minorities, partly because alleged gang membership is grounds for placing a prisoner in solitary indefinitely.

The physical details of an isolated prisoner’s daily experience are worth examining. “Prisoners live in their cells, 80 square feet on average—a bit bigger than a king-sized bed. In this environment, you sleep, you eat, you defecate, you live all of your life,” Haney said. Most prisoners spent at least 23 hours per day in this environment, devoid of stimuli (some are allowed in a yard or indoor area for an hour or less daily), and are denied physical contact on visits from friends and family, so they may go years or decades without touching another human, apart from when they’re placed in physical restraints by guards.

This sort of existence takes a clear toll on prisoners, according to surveys and interviews Haney and colleagues have conducted with about 500 of those in isolation from four different states. Their work indicates that most of these prisoners suffer from severe psychological stress that begins when they’re put in isolation and doesn’t subside over time.

A majority of those surveyed experienced symptoms such as dizziness, heart palpitations, chronic depression, while 41 percent reported hallucinations, and 27 percent had suicidal thoughts—all levels significantly higher than those of the overall prison populations. An unrelated study published last weekfound that isolated inmates are seven times more likely to hurt or kill themselves than inmates at large.

These effects, Haney says, don’t only show how isolation harms inmates—they tell us that it achieves the opposite of the supposed goal of rehabilitating them for re-entry into society. “We are all social beings, and people who are in environments that deny the opportunity to interact in meaningful ways with others begin to lose a sense of self, of their own identity,” he said. “They begin to withdraw from the little amount of social contact that they are allowed to have, because social stimulation, over time, becomes anxiety-arousing.”

Huda Akil, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan, is interested in the neurological impacts of isolation, but is limited by the fact that no U.S. prison is willing to allow its otherwise isolated prisoners to take part in research. Instead, she and others must rely on more basic findings about how stimulation and social interaction affect the brain, and infer the potential impacts of isolation from that.

For one, there’s the fact that a large amount of brain activity is driven by circadian rhythms, which are in turn set by exposure to the Sun. Autopsies on people who have committed suicide after suffering from depression have shown that, in their brains, gene expression is significantly less aligned with circadian rhythms; other research has shown that restricting exposure to sunlight (and thereby interfering with circadian rhythms) increases the prevalence of depression. Thus, if inmates are already prone to depression, solitary probably makes them more so, she says. The proper functioning of the brain depends on daily Sun exposure, potentially explaining some of the symptoms experienced by prisoners in isolation, many of whom rarely see the Sun.

There are also troubling neurological implications of long-term isolation that stem from the fact that brain architecture can change over time. The hippocampus, in particular, has been found to dramatically shrink in the brains of people who are depressed or stressed for extended periods, a concern because it’s crucially involved in memory, geographic orientation, cognition and decision-making. No one has performed an autopsy on a person who lived in isolation for decades, suffering from depression the whole time, but Akil believes that in keeping inmates in full isolation, authorities are “ruining a very critical component of the brain that’s sensitive to stress.”

Apart from scientists, the Chicago panel featured activist Robert King, who spent 29 years isolated in six-by-nine-foot cell in a Louisiana prison before his murder conviction was overturned in 2001. Although he endured solitary confinement more successfully than most, he says—he maintained a hopeful attitude and never considering hurting himself—he experienced unmistakable physiological changes.

Most dramatically, King gets has difficulty navigating open spaces. “I lost the ability to meet with a broader terrain. I had become acclimated to shorter distances,” he said, attributing this change to the shrinkage of his hippocampus, “I cannot, even to this day, acclimate myself to broader distance. My geography is really shot.” His eyesight also deteriorated to the point where he was nearly blind, though it’s gradually improved since he was released.

It’s impossible to say how isolated prisoners fare as a whole fare compared to King, because there’s no systematic collection of data on their well-being in the U.S. prison system. But the researchers argue that just these hints of the damage wrought by solitary confinement—and the way it seems to make prisoners less-equipped to re-enter society after their sentence—indicate that it falls within a category of discipline banned by the eight amendment: cruel and unusual punishment. “It seems to me that it is time for us to have a serious discussion about the wisdom and humanity of this policy in the United States,” Haney said.

Joseph Stromberg writes about science, technology and the environment for Smithsonian and has also contributed to Slate, the Verge, Salon and other outlets.


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Tarun Tejpal using Mobile in Jail ?

Mobile Phone Seized From Tarun Tejpal in Jail

By IndiaTimes | February 24, 2014, 11:22 am IST

PANAJI: Jail authorities seized nine mobile phones, including one from the cell of Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal, during an inspection at the Sada sub-jail near Vasco town on Saturday.


Tarun Tejpal


Deputy collector Gaurish Shankhwalkar told reporters here that a surprise check was conducted in the morning in the Sada sub-jail.


“We found nine mobile phones, including one in Tejpal’s custody,” he said.


However, jail authorities refused to state whether the mobile phone was carried by Tejpal. They also refused to disclose anything about whom Tejpal shares his judicial lock-up cell.


Shankhwalkar said that a detailed probe into the incident which has been initiated, would reveal the truth.


Tejpal who is accused of raping his junior colleague has been lodged in the Sada sub-jail. His bail petition is scheduled to be heard by the Goa bench of the Bombay high court on March 4.

Read more here —

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#India – 40 Narmada Adivasi Oustees in Jail since 4 days #WTFnews

Demand Unconditional Release : Announce intense struggle


Hundreds storm offices of Collector and SP, Alirajpur


Condemn Illegal Eviction from 2.5 year old Jobat Zameen Hak Satyagraha


8th January: Hundreds of adivasis and farmers, representing a large number of oustees affected by the Sardar Sarovar and Jobat Dam Projects in the Alirajpur District of Madhya Pradesh, stormed the office of the Collector, Mr. N.P. Deheria yesterday and engaged in a day-long protest, demanding the immediate and unconditional release of about 40 adivasis, including 6 women, who were arrested on 5th January in a completely illegal manner from the site of the Zameen Haq Satyagraha at Jobat.


The protestors were stopped at the gates of the Collectorate by a large contingent of armed police brought in from Alirajpur, Badwani, Dhar and Thandla, while the women, men, elderly and youth, tried to barge inside for a dialogue with the Collector. The women, who had come along with little children demanded that their family members must be immediately released otherwise, they would sit on an indefinite protest at the Collectorate.


The Collector, came down thrice and heard the issues raised by the oustees from behind the gates, but could not given concrete and correct answers. After many hours of intense action and heated discussions with the Collector, SP, Addl SP and the Rehabilitation Officer, NVDA, it was assured that the process of offering land to the Jobat-dam oustees would begin within 3 days and process of showing land to the SSP oustees would begin within 10 days.


Shouting down the false information provided to the Collector by the NVDA officers that ‘the oustees don’t want land, that all have been paid compensation, that many are non-affected and that oustees are being provoked, the oustees stated that illegal submergence in the hilly villages of  Sardar Sarovar began since 1994 and submergence in Jobat began since 2003. However, till date, cultivable, irrigable, suitable and un-encroached land has not been provided to the affected families. The only land offered to the SSP-affected adivasis was bad, uncultivable, encroached land, which is in utter violation of law and orders of the Supreme Court.


It may be noted that the Collector of Alirajpur, deployed a large contingent of police force on 5th January, 2014 and illegally took into custody 40 Satyagrahis, including women, 75 year old and 2 children, who were camping at the Government Agricultural Farm, Jobat. It is well-known that hundreds of oustees have been on an indefinite Satyagraha, since the past 2.5 years and have been cultivating the land, not just as a protest, but also to feed their families, who have already faced illegal submergence since many years.


The Jobat Satyagraha is one of the longest non-violent, occupation struggles in recent history and has been resorted to by the oustees after umpteen attempts of petitioning, court cases and mass action by the adivasis. The oustees have been cultivating the land and have also reaped three harvests on this land. Infact recently the Collector also permitted the oustees to have a temporary power connection for irrigating the crop. However, since two weeks notices were being issued to the oustees to vacate the land, else they would be forcibly evicted. Our replies to these notices and appeal for a concrete dialogue were not responded to by the authorities and a brutal eviction drive ensued. It may be noted that the arrests are completely motivated and arbitrary, since the fact that the oustees have not yet been rehabilitated and the fact that all the officials, including the police have complete knowledge of the occupation since 2.5 years is well-known.


Infact, Dr. Afroz Ahmed, Director, Rehabilitation, Narmada Control Authority, indore and Kantilal Bhuria, Former Tribal Affairs Minister, Govt. of India also visited the Satyagraha and engaged in dialogue with the oustees. Dr. Afroz Ahmed also assured to raise the matter with the Rehabilitation Sub-Group, Delhi, after which a direction was issued by the Sub Group in its meeting on 12th September, 2013 to the Govt. of M.P. to offer Government farm lands in rehabilitation.


The arrests have been made seemingly under Section 151 Cr.P.C. i.e. ‘causing disturbance to peace in the area’, while the oustees were in the farm land and there was absolutely nothing they did to disturb peace in the locality. Secondly, an FIR registered against 100-150 ‘unknown people’ 2.5 years ago when the Satyagraha started, but no arrests were made, is now being used against these oustees in a wrongful and vindictive manner ! It may also be noted that in a similar case of illegal arrest and lathicharge at the Badwani Zameen Hak Satyagraha in June, 2007, the High Court, Jabalpur directed the Govt. of M.P. to pay Rs. 10,000 each to the arrested Satyagrahis and half payment has already been made, after the Supreme Court’s intervention and the case is still pending.


While in Sardar Sarovar, many hilly adivasis have not accepted any cash compensation, most of the Jobat Dam advasi oustees being illiterate, their signatures were taken on affidavits and were paid very meagre cash compensation, many years ago and their lands / houses were illegally submerged without being provided alternative cultivable land. In the presence of full media, the Rehabilitation Officer of the Narmada Valley Development Authority accepted that the applications of hundreds of oustees demanding land for land and for return of compensation, as per the Supreme Court’s orders in 2011 have not been attended to for more than one and a half year.


A day before, the oustees also marched to the office of the Superintendent of Police, Mr. Akhilesh Jha and questioned the arbitrary manner of arrests.  He was convinced that the contentious issue is lack of rehabilitation and that the police has no role to play. The oustees also submitted a complaint under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 demanding legal action against all the concerned officers for arresting the adivasis, evicting them for the land, causing destruction of the standing crop at the Satyagraha and submergence of their lands and homes, without lawful rehabilitation. The protestors issued an ultimatum to Government of Madhya Pradesh, through the Collector, Alirajpur to unconditionally release all the jailed oustees and begin the process of land-based rehabilitation, within 3 days, otherwise an intense struggle would follow.


Please do call the Collector and SP, Alirajpur to immediately release all the oustees unconditionally and begin the process of rehabilitation.


Mr. N.P. Dehariya -Collector, Alirajpur – Ph – 09425188061


Mr. Akhilesh Jha, Superintendent of Police – Ph – 9753936277


Idibai            Surbhan Bhilala            Kamla Yadav                 Meera (09179148973) 

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#India – This isn’t bail, we are still living in jail, ‘exiled’ in Delhi- says Soni Sori

Ashutosh Bhardwaj : Newdelhi | Thu Dec 26 2013

Maoist exile
Soni Sori with nephew Lingaram Kodapi in Delhi. IE

Away from their forested home in Dantewada, two alleged Maoists are living in exile in a crowded lane in Delhi. Barred from entering their “motherland” Chhattisgarh, tribal teacher Soni Sori and her nephew Lingaram Kodapi, both accused in the Essar-Maoists payoffs case, spend their days meeting activists, students and reading Marx among other things.

“If you say Lal Salaam or use the word Marx in Chhattisgarh, you will be termed a Naxal and arrested immediately. In Delhi many people say Lal Salaam,” says Sori, 37.

“I am surprised that Marx is taught in colleges here. Arrest all these students,” adds Kodapi, 25.

In Chhattisgarh, Marx is considered to constitute Maoist literature — sufficient evidence for arrest under the stringent Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act.

After spending over two years in jail, the duo were released after being granted interim bail by the Supreme Court last month. But they were prohibited from entering Chhattisgarh.

“My tragedy is not the jail term. I could have lived with that. Tribals in my region (Bastar) are usually put in jail for no reason. The bigger tragedy is that I lost my motherland. Puri duniya men badnaam ho gayi main (I have been dishonoured in the whole world),” says Sori.

Her two daughters and a son live with her brother in Dantewada. “I cannot go back to my children. Their childhood has been destroyed,” she adds. After being released on bail, Sori was given little time to even meet her children, as she and Kodapi had to leave Chhattisgarh within 24 hours. They now live in the office of their lawyer, Colin Gonsalves. Always accompanied by a guard, they have to report to the nearest police station every week.

“Policemen in Delhi don’t know our case, they taunt us saying that we are notorious Naxals. They say `tumhen chhorna nahi chahiye tha. Supreme Court ne tum par meharbani kar di (you should not have been released. The Supreme Court did you a favour),” says Kodapi.

“It’s not bail. We are still living in a jail,” adds Sori.

These days, Kodapi is watching Steven Soderbergh’s Che, a gift from a British friend. He reads English books and quotes Nelson Mandela.

“The government of India has not done justice to tribals. We never asked for anything. We only want liberation, not reservations. My Constitution gives me the right to equality,” he says.

The duo have been acquitted in all other cases except the Essar-Maoists payoff case. Sori was in jail when her mother died last year. Her husband and co-accused Anil Futane reportedly succumbed to injuries he sustained in jail days after he was acquitted in August this year.

“They granted bail to the Essar general manager and B K Lala (Essar’s contractor), but denied it to us. If the high court had given me bail, I could have gone back to live in my village, but now I have been evicted, without a home,” says Sori.

Essar is alleged to have paid “protection money” to Maoists, and Sori and Kodapi are alleged to have acted as conduits.

Kodapi blames both the security forces and the Maoists. He says while the former wanted him to become a special police officer (SPO), the Maoists also wanted him to join their ranks. He refused both offers, he says.

“Maoists force tribal youths to join them. Several years ago, Badru (a Maoist commander) called me and asked me to fight against the police. I refused. Now, Badru is the police’s man,” he says.

He says the trial has steeled his resolve and “faith in the Constitution and non-violence”. “They have pitted me against myself. When they arrested me, I asked them to kill me, or else I will defeat them. Even if you keep me in jail for 20 years, I will come out and defeat you,” he says.

Read more here-–jail-says-soni-sori–exiled–in-delhi/1211809/

  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="" target="_blank"> #India – Soni Sori of #Chhattisgarh granted bail by Supreme Court #greatnews #HURAAAAH
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="" target="_blank"> #India – Tribal teacher Soni Sori – and her nephew Lingaram Kodopi get interim Bail


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Pakistani fishermen in Indian jails to be free soon #goodnews

Mahesh Trivedi / 22 December 2013

Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has said that efforts would be made to release the 200-odd Pakistani fishermen lodged in jails in India, mostly in Gujarat, at the earliest. 

Dr Manmohan Singh, however, told a delegation of fishermen and their leaders that he expected a reciprocal gesture from Pakistan.

He said this when a 10-member delegation of fishermen of Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, along with leaders of the Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy, the National Fishworkers’ Forum and a delegation of MPs from Gujarat, met him at his residence in New Dellhi recently.

Jivan Jungi, a leader of a federation of fishermen’s associations in Gujarat, told Khaleej Times that some 230 Indian fishermen and their 780 boats were in the custody of Pakistan while about 200 Pakistani fishermen and their boats were with India.

Gujarat Congress President Arjun Modhwadia, who was part of the team that met Dr Singh, said that the delegates also met Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid to discuss their demands specific to their departments. They demanded a ‘no-arrest policy’, implementation of the interim recommendations of the India-Pakistan judicial committee on prisoners and an agreement for fishing rights in a joint fishing zone.

They also sought unilateral and unconditional release of all Pakistani fishermen lodged in Indian jails, release of all Pakistani boats under Indian custody, centralised identity cards for all fishermen and a separate Fisheries Ministry.

They demanded that a high-level working group involving representatives from the fishing community should be constituted to monitor and prevent the arrest of fishermen and confiscation of the boats and facilitation of Indian and Pakistani fisher persons’ delegations to go to the other country to survey the condition of their boats in the custody of the other country.

One of their key demands was arranging an urgent meeting of the Task Force consisting of Indian Coast Guard and Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency.

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PRESS RELEASE – 1 of 148 Maruti Suzuki workers arrested gets bail after 11months

Imaan Khan, Provisional Working Committee member, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, got bail in a ruling by the Punjab&Haryana High Court  yesterday.
He is the only one among 149 arrested workers who has received bail since 18 July 2012, given the absolute lack of any evidence.

He was arrested on 24 Jan 2013 as he was active member of the workers resistance led by MSWU against the state repression and anti-worker management since July 2012. He was tagged with the other workers who are in jail since 18 July 2012 in cases from murder, rioting, etc, the only evidence being a confession got under police torture on another worker.

His bail comes after long struggle by terminated workers and jailed workers families led by the MSWU. But 148 workers still continue to languish in Gurgaon jail for the last 17 months without any bail.

Release all arrested workers immediately!
Down with state repression and capitalist offensive!

Long live workers struggle!

 issues by-  Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU).
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#India – Anti-Posco leader Abhaya Sahoo released from jail in Odisha #goodnews

Odisha: Anti-Posco leader Abhaya Sahu released from jail


Anti-Posco leader released from jail

TNN | Dec 1, 2013, 01

KENDRAPADA: Anti-land acquisition leader and president of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti(PPSS) Abhay Sahoo was released on Saturday, after six months of imprisonment. On Friday, the Orissa high court granted him bail.

This came two days after Jagatsinghpur district administration started GPS-based survey to construct a boundary wall for the poroposed Posco steel project.

Police had arrested Sahoo for the third time on May 11 at Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar while he was about to board a flight to Chennai for attending a conference.

After his release from jail, Sahoo criticized the police, alleging that they framed him with an ulterior motive. “The fight against Posco would be restarted with renewed vigour. It would go on till it reaches its logical conclusion,” said Sahoo. The movement against Posco had considerably weakened following his absence.

Police had arrested Sahoo on charges of murder, kidnapping, assaulting and preventing government officials from entering villages.

Police had first arrested Sahoo on October 12, 2008, at Bhutamundai in Jagatsinghpur district while he was returning to Dhinkia, a bastion of anti-Posco movement, from Bhubaneswar in a car. He was released from jail on bail on August 20, 2009.

He was again arrested on November 25, 2011, at Nuapokhari near Ersama in Jagatsinghpur district. He was released on bail on March 16, 2012.


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A short publication history of Bhagat Singh’s Jail Diary

Vol – XLVIII No. 42, October 19, 2013 | Chaman Lal, EPW

Bhagat Singh in jail

Bhagat Singh in jail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A biographer of Bhagat Singh and a chronicler of his works, writes about the publication history of Bhagat Singh’s “Jail Notebook”. This article is being published, when reports have talked about the possible release of the Notebook “for the first time” by the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Chaman Lal ([email protected]) recently retired from the Centre for Indian Languages, School of Languages and Cultural Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Almost anyone who is a serious admirer of the revolutionary Bhagat Singh would know about his “Jail Notebook” today; yet before 1981, hardly anyone other than Bhagat Singh’s closest family members knew about its existence. During the 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of Hindustan Socialist Republican Army activists Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev in 1981, Singh’s brother Kulbir Singh allowed a microfilm of the book to be made by the National Archives of India (NAI) and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML). He did so on the condition that the Notebook should not be published. The Jail Notebook was put on exhibition at the National Archives of India along with other documents of the revolutionary movements. Both NAI and NMML then kept the Notebook for reference and consultation among their records.

Soon, a copy of the Notebook was provided to “Gurukul” in Inderprastha, Delhi by Kulbir Singh’s younger son Abhey Sandhu. This was the time when L V Mitrokhin, the Russian scholar on Indian history, visited Kulbir Singh many times and obtained either the whole or parts of Notebook, took it to Moscow and wrote about its significance. L V Mitrokhin’s writing on Bhagat Singh’s notebook soon enabled other Indian scholars to pay attention to it. This author had for the first time seen the Notebook in the NMML in 1984, took extensive notes from it, and started writing about it in newspapers and journals.

The Jail Notebook was part of a bagful of documents, which Bhagat Singh had handed over to Kumari Lajjawati, the secretary of the Bhagat Singh defence committee and later principal of a college in Jalandhar. She was instructed by Bhagat Singh to hand over this bag to his comrade Bejoy Kumar Sinha on his release from jail. Sinha was transported for life in the Lahore Conspiracy case and was released in 1938, when the Indian National Congress led governments came to power in many provinces. Lajjawati showed that bag to Lala Feroze Chand, editor of The People, and who himself was a committed socialist. Lala Feroze Chand published a few documents from those papers, including an abridged form of the “Letter To Young Political Workers” written in 2nd Februay 1931, the “Regarding Line of Defence In Hari Kishan’s Case[1]” and “Why I am an Atheist” as part of the 27th September 1931 issue to commemorate Bhagat Singh’s first birth anniversary since his execution.

The last mentioned essay was lost during the Partition and many websites today are still carrying re-translated version of this essay from other Indian languages. I had reproduced The People’s first printed version of this essay in my latest book-Understanding Bhagat Singh which was released recently. The People in an editorial note had ascribed copyrights of the essay to S. Kishan Singh, father of Bhagat Singh. Bhagat Singh’s writings were being published from Bhagat Singh’s life time in many Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English papers, which were put into a volume for the first time by Virender Sandhu, the niece of Bhagat Singh and daughter of S. Kultar Singh, who was most close to Bhagat Singh’s heart. It was Virender Sandhu, who authored the most authoritative biography of Bhagat Singh’s whole family in 1968 in Hindi. Later Jagmohan Singh, another nephew of Bhagat Singh and son of Bibi Amar Kaur collected more documents and put them a volume in Punjabi titled Bhagat Singh ate Unna de saathiyhan de dastavez (Bhagat Singh and his comrades’ documents).

First Printed Version

Few years later, the monthly Indian Book Chronicle edited by Bhupinder Hooja in Jaipur started serialising the Jail Notebook of Bhagat Singh in 1992. Hooja had received its copy from his elder brother G B Kumar Hooja who had been the vice chancellor of Gurukul Kangri Haridwar (which must have obtained the Notebook’s copy from Gurukul Inderprastha). Bhupender Hooja, having reassured about the authenticity of the Notebook, then employed his resources with a lot of labour in annotating the sources of Bhagat Singh’s mentioned books, writers and quotations. The result was the release of the first printed edition of the Jail Notebook in 1994, which was released in the Jaipur Raj Bhavan by the then governor D P Chattopadhyaya[2]. The Jail Notebook got some good reviews in newspapers, but could not reach a mass readership as its publisher lacked a network of distribution and the book itself lacked enough aesthetic appeal. Yet its Hindi translation and other translations in Punjabi and other languages appeared after a few years, unfortunately without acknowledgment of Hooja’s work as the original editor and annotator.

After I joined the Jawaharlal Nehru University faculty in 2005, I convinced Leftword publications (based in New Delhi) to bring out a new edition of the Notebook and with Bhupinder Hooja’s permission, its new edition was brought out by Leftword in 2007. This was during the birth centenary of Bhagat Singh. The Notebook was supplemented with other essays (articles by Bhagat Singh and also articles on Bhagat  Singh such as by EV Ramasamy “Periyar”, and an introduction written by myself). Sudhanva Deshpande, the publisher of the book further improved the annotations, but the main credit of the book remained with Hooja.

The Marathi[3], (two) Bengali[4] and Urdu[5] translations of versions of the Notebook were published in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2010 respectively. A scanned and printed edition of the Notebook, edited by Babar Singh (the son of Kulbir Singh) and K C Yadav was also published during the centenary year (priced at Rs 999) by Hope India Publications, Gurgaon.

Abhey Sandhu, the younger son of Kulbir Singh, during the birth centenary year of Bhagat Singh, also got the Notebook published by both the Punjab and the Haryana government; in a scanned form by the former and in Punjabi and Hindi translations by the latter. These publications were not priced and were published by the public relations departments of both the governments for free distribution. When I was invited to address the Bhagat Singh youth awardees this year on 28th March at Mohali, I was pleasantly surprised to know that the awardees of the Punjab government were being gifted with a copy of the Jail Notebook. The government had pre-empted what I sought to suggest as part of my speech and I deeply appreciate this gesture.

I remember that there are multiple editions of the revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil’s autobiography in Hindi and I was pleasantly surprised to see Swami Agnivesh bringing out the edition of that autobiography at just Rs 5 per copy and which his organisation distributed to school students almost free of cost. The Notebook is now part of the Government of India’s publication division;  asShaheed Bhagat Singh:Dastavezon ke Aiene Men, released by the veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar in presence of Abhey Sandhu and Kiranjit Sandhu, two nephews of Bhagat Singh, on 19th December 2007, an anniversary of the martyrdom of the revolutionaries Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqualla Khan.

I understand that some more editions of the Notebook have also been brought out by other publishers and individuals, including by Abhey Sandhu himself. There is no harm in multiple editions of such inspiring books. It is only when someone makes the false claim that the “Jail Notebook is being published for the first time” that one should rightfully take umbrage.


[1] Hari Kishan was tried and executed by the British for shooting at the Punjab governor Geoffrey De Montmorrency at a convocation ceremony of the Punjab University at Lahore on 23rd December 1930.

[2] Hooja acknowledged three of us who had written on Bhagat Singh’s works before – Kamlesh Mohan from Chandigarh, Shiv Verma, the communist leader who was a comrade of Bhagat Singh from his HSRA days and me. All three of us had written on Bhagat Singh’s ideology and his works.

[3] The Marathi version was a translated form of my Hindi book – Bhagat Singh ke Sampooran Dastavez (2004).

[4] One Bengali version was translated from the Leftword edition of the Notebook.

[5] Some parts of the Notebook were published in Urdu in the Urdu version of my book – Bhagat Singh ke Syaasi Dastavez (2010)


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#India – Gujarat police, VHP activists beat Muslims in lockup #WTFnews

Wednesday October 23, 2013 7:02 PM,

Mumbai: Over two dozen Muslims who were detained for slaughtering “cow” during Eid al-Adha on October 16 and later charged for attacking police personnel in Sansrod village near Karjan some 40 kms from Bharuch were allegedly beaten mercilessly by Gujarat policemen. The policemen later allowed activists allegedly belonging to Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal to beat the Muslims who were under the police lockup.

“Over thirty Muslims who were arrested in last one week for slaughtering cow during Eid were mercilessly beaten by the Gujarat police. Not only this, the police also allowed the activists belonging to VHP and Bajrang Dal to beat them in police lock-up”, an activist and lawyer Altaf Husain of Ahmedabad said while talking to on phone.

He said that it is beyond imagination how police allowed outsiders to beat someone who were under their custody, and demanded immediate action against those involved in this grave act.

Another activist Zahoor S. claimed to have photographs with marks on the bodies of the Muslims showing the brutality of the police and the alleged VHP and Bajrang Dal activists.

A Mumbai based Urdu daily had also published a report with photographs on Tuesday showing the police brutality against the Muslims, who were arrested by them.

According to Advocate Alatf Husain the police had raided Sansrod village, situated around 15 km from Karjan town, after receiving information that cows were being slaughtered inside the Muslim-dominated area. They detained four persons immediately, and also beat a Muslim girl who objected to the police arrest. This resulted in a brawl between the police and the locals.

“After the arrest of 04 persons on October 16, the police arrested 07 others next day and another 17 on Oct 18. They registered FIR against over 120 people for attacking the police”, he said.

SP (Vadodara Rural) Sandeep Singh however said that they found four persons engaged in slaughtering a cow and held them, upon which a group of villagers protested, surrounded the police team, and attacked them with swords and stones.

It is learnt that after the arrest and alleged beating by the police and VHP and Banjrang Dal activists, the Muslims in the village are living in a state of shock and fear.

“People are living under continuous fear as the police have arrested some people who were gathered for a funeral”, Altaf Husain said.

Interestingly, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Gujarat State (JUHGS) general secretary, Quiyum Haque’s letter, on Monday wrote to the police claiming that the cops have included names in the FIR on the basis of information from their informers.

In his letter sent to police he claimed that one of the accused Khurshid Tudi is in the United Kingdom and another, Latif Behra, is in South Africa.

“Also, two of the accused mentioned in the FIR – Hasan Ganja and Yakoob Zamindar- have already died. An accused Musa Ganja is 65-year-old and is suffering from asthama while Umarji Musa’s both eyes were recently operated upon”, he claimed.


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