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India – Who are the Five arrested for Bhima Koregaon Violence and alleged #PlotToKillPM ?

For all five, who are facing charges under stringent sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, interactions with the police and the state are not new.

Mumbai: On June 6, the Pune police, in a “joint operation” closely coordinated with the police of Nagpur, Mumbai and Delhi, arrested five persons. Since the arrest, the police have come up with several versions of  – from claiming that the five persons were behind the violence that disrupted this years’ annual celebrations at Bhima Koregoan memorial, to saying they were supporting Naxal activities to finally the most recent story – that they were plotting a “Rajiv Gandhi style” assassination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The initial FIR has been modulated and stringent sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act have been applied against them.

For each of the five, hostility from the police and the state is not new experience. The five include Sudhir Dhawale, writer and Mumbai-based Dalit rights activist, lawyer Surendra Gadling from Nagpur, Mahesh Raut, a young activist on displacement issues who is also a former Prime Minister Rural Development Fellow from Gadchiroli, Shoma Sen, a university professor and head of the English literature department at Nagpur University and Rona Wilson, a Delhi-based social activist who is a core committee member of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP).

A more detailed profile of each one of them provides a better picture of their background and their work.

Sudhir Dhawale: A silent organiser 

Born to a Dalit family in the slums of Indora, an Ambedkarite hub in Nagpur, 54-year-old Sudhir Dhawale has always preferred being a “foot soldier” in any movement. Best known for his coordination rather than his leadership skills, Dhawale is a well-known name in protests and fact-finding exercises post any human- rights violation in Maharashtra.

While the 2002 Gujarat riots led to him launching his radical bi-monthly magazine Vidrohi, he started a cultural-political organisation called ‘Ramabai Nagar-Khairlanji Hatyaakand Virodhi Sangarsh Samiti’ in 2006 following the murder of four persons from a family in Khairlanji in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

Sudhir Dhawale

The organisation, however, disintegrated soon after and another organisation, the Republican Panthers Jaatiya Antachi Chalwal (Republican Panthers Caste Annihilation Movement) was born on December 6, 2007, at the Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar memorial in Chaityabhoomi, Mumbai.

His friends and colleagues say Dhawale – a man of a very few words – took to political thinking at a very young age. In his younger days, he was actively involved in activities of CPI (Marxist-Leninist) People’s War, which was not a banned organisation then. Until 1994, he was active in the movement in Nagpur, and moved to Mumbai in search of a job.

His long-time friend, activist, Vira Satidhar, the lead actor of Marathi film Court recalls Dhawale’s early days in politics, calling them a time of as that of “trial and error”. Dhawale began with the left movement, stayed through his college life with different left-leaning cultural and political organisations. But he soon realised there was nothing for a Dalit in it.

“He was acutely aware of his Dalit identity and of the issues that a Dalit faces in our caste-ridden society. He moved away from the Left and developed his own political understanding over years,” Satidhar says.

Vidrohi started as four-page magazine and soon it became eight pages. “In a few years, it took the shape of a full-fledged magazine which was published twice every month and spoke of pertinent issues concerning the country. He is a sharp, perceptive and an independent thinker. His writings reflected that,” Satidhar adds. 

Having spent his life being a part of social movements, Dhawale’s interactions with the state and police have been routine. His magazine, though produced on a small scale, was potent enough to rouse the ire of the establishment. On January 2, 2011, he was arrested for his purported links with the Naxal movement. The shoddy investigations and the flimsy evidence gathered in the investigations were rejected by the trial court and he was released after spending 40 months in Gondia prison.

Dhawale returned in May 2014, this time more determined and resolved to take his magazine to a larger audience. His wife, the younger sister of Gadling, another person arrested with Dhawale, decided to part ways and move back to to Nagpur with their two children.

In June 2017, Dhawale floated an ambitious plan – of bringing Dalit leaders from across spectrum together on one platform to speak against the present regime. That’s when Elgar Parishad, a large-scale event with over 200 organisations participating in it was planned. “Unlike the leaders, who only participate in an ongoing movement momentarily and move on soon, Dhawale was a full timer, “ says his friend Satidhar.

At the Elgar Parishad too, Dhawale was involved in the planning and execution. “He meticulously planned everything. He had decided only Dalits and Bahujans would occupy the centre stage. He wanted to show the Bahujan strength to the state. He succeeded in it.” It was the success of the event, Sathidar feels, that led to his arrest.

Surendra Gadling: A people’s pro bono lawyer

Born in a same neighbourhood as Dhawale, every choice in 47- year old Surendra Gadling’s life has been “political”. Starting as an apprentice in the railways soon after finishing college, Gadling participated in many socio-cultural movements in Nagpur. Soon, he along his friends – Sambhaji Bhagat an activist, a people’s poet and balladeer and Vilas Ghogre, also a prominent poet and activist from Mumbai who committed suicide to protest against the 1997 Ramabai killings – started an organisation called Awhan Natya Manch. This group would organise cultural evenings in the bastis of Nagpur and engage in conversations around rights and oppressions.

Surendra Gadling

Very soon, the group realised it should do more. “They branched out into law. Since Gadling had a keen interest in labour rights and people’s issues, he considered studying law was an obvious choice,” says his partner, advocate Nihalsing Rathod.

Over the years, Gadling became a formidable force and a point person for cases of illegal killings, police excesses, fakes cases, and atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis in the region. He soon became an expert in special laws like UAPA, the Forest Rights Act, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. He also specialises in the cases of those who identify themselves as “political prisoners”. He was, until his arrest, handling the case of G.N. Saibaba, a wheelchair-bound Delhi University professor jailed for alleged Naxal links. He handled most of these cases pro bono.

His cases grew, but barely any money came, Rathod says. “In fact, when the police raided his residence early this year, they were surprised seeing his humble house in Bhim Chowk. In the raid, the police only got Rs 5,000 with his wife,” Rathod adds. Gadling lives with his two children, who are both still studying, and his wife and his mother in Bhim Chowk.

All five who have been arrested know Gadling as he has, at some point or the other, either represented them or some PIL they had filed in the high court. Along with working with the law, Gadling was an active member of Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR) and CRPP.

While Gadling’s family and lawyers are busy preparing for the legal battle that lies ahead, his colleagues are looking at those several hundred cases he has been handling and finding appropriate lawyers to appear in them. Advocate Mihir Desai will be now handling Saibaba’s bail application.

Over the past few years, Gadling has developed acute arthritis and has a severe blood pressure problem. Since the arrest, Gadling’s health has deteriorated drastically and he was moved to Pune’s Sasoon hospital on June 7. “He has been shifted to an ICU now and had to urgently undergo an angiography procedure,” his lawyer Susan Gonsalves told The Wire. She further confirmed that Gadling was moved to judicial custody from police remand on June 8 due to his deteriorating health condition.

Mahesh Raut: A champion of Adivasi rights

Born in Lakhapur village in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, 30-year-old Mahesh Raut has lived with different relatives all his life. His father, a police Patil of the village, died when Raut was still in the school, and the family moved to nearby Wadsa village in Gadchiroli. Soon after, Raut and his two sisters were sent off to different relatives to pursue their studies. “I stayed with my mother’s elder sister, and Dada with my mother’s brother,” says his younger sister, who works in Mumbai. Raut’s grandfather was a local political leader and according to his family he was deeply influenced by his grandfather’s thoughts.

Mahesh Raut

Raut pursued his studies at a Navodaya school in Gadchiroli, and then moved to Nagpur to pursue higher education. In 2009, he joined the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai to study social work. This is where Raut’s perspective changed, his sister says. “Until then he was very serious about earning money and leading a comfortable life,” says the sister, who has been shuttling between Pune and Nagpur trying to arrange for lawyers and resources for Mahesh’s release. Before TISS, he also taught at a local school for a brief period and was also selected for a teaching post in Goa.

Raut was one of the youngest students of TISS to be selected for the most coveted Prime Minister Rural Development (PMRD) fellowship. Other fellows have now released a letter in his support and signature campaigns have been shown in support of the work he did in the tribal regions of Gadchiroli since 2011.

On the completion of his fellowship, Raut decided to work with the Adivasi community in the state. “He would be invited for guest lectures at different colleges. He would make some money out of it. Mostly, he was dependent on us for monetary support. We are proud of the path he chose,” the sister tells The Wire, talking over the phone from Gadchiroli. 

Activist Lalsu Nogoti, a Zilla Parishad member and an Indian Law Society’s Law College (ILS) alumni lawyer has worked with Raut very closely. Nogoti told The Wire that Raut has led and organised several protests in the region, especially against the Surjagarh mining project. “He only followed the constitutional path and ensured he chose only legal options in his fight for rights. He belongs to a backward community and is aware of the problems that his community and the Adivasis face. That made him a mass leader,” Nogoti says.

Raut, a central convener and committee member of the Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) had been actively campaigned along with Adivasi communities of the region to sell Tendu leaves directly into the market without the involvement of the middlemen.

His work in the region and constant confrontations with the police and state administration led to several cases being filed against him. “But this one is shocking. A man who has been busy working with the community is booked in such a serious crime. It is just absurd,” his sister says.

For past six months, Raut has been undergoing treatment for acute ‘ulcerative colitis’, a condition that causes the colon to enlarge. “He lost over seven kilos in a matter of a month. He was mostly home bound and was undergoing intensive treatment,” she says.

Rona Wilson: A perpetual campaigner for the release of ‘political prisoners’

Rona Wilson, a 47-year-old activist from Kolam district in Kerala, had made Delhi his second home since the late ’90s. Having come to the capital during his post-graduation days, Wilson almost immediately took to activism. “He was studying at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) at that time, I was at Delhi University (DU). We already had a vibrant students’ activism circle. Wilson became one among us soon,” recalls S.A.R. Geelani, a well- known human rights activist and Wilson’s friend for last two- decades.

Rona Wilson

Geelani is the founder of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), a committee he formed soon after his release from prisons in the 2001 Parliament attack case. “Rona was at the forefront of demanding my release. When I was released, he insisted we formed a group to help other such political prisoners who were incarcerated like me. He took up the responsibility of handling public relations,” Geelani adds. CRPP has been operating across every state and is closely looking into cases of those booked for agitating and questioning the state. Jagmohan Singh, the nephew of Bhagat Singh is also a part of the core committee of the organisation.

Geelani says that although Wilson’s arrest came as a surprise to many, the raid that was conducted at his house in April made it amply clear that Wilson would soon land in trouble. “He had nothing to do with the Elgar Parishar organised in Maharashtra. In fact, for the past few months he has been inactive and was only focussing on his research proposal which he recently sent to a university in England. After many years, he wanted to join a university and he had plans to pursue a Ph.D somewhere in London,” Geelani tells The Wire in a telephonic conversation.

Since his arrest, Wilson’s family has been inundated with calls and visits by local political leaders. Geelani says even BJP workers have been visiting them and that the family is terrified by the sudden attention. “Even though he has been active for so many years, this is the first ever case registered against him. He was not prepared for this sudden whisking away by the police. The charges he and others are booked under are all false and the state is up to some very sinister plans,” Geelani adds.

Shoma Sen: A passionate feminist and academic

For the past one month, 31-year-old Koel Sen had been busy planning for her mother Shoma Sen’s retirement and 60th birthday. “My mother would have finally taken a break from her routine after almost three decades. We were all very excited.” But after Shoma’s arrest on June 6, the celebratory mood has turned sombre and the family is now caught in a flurry of visits to lawyers.

Koel Sen and Shoma Sen (left).

Sen, an assistant professor and head of the English literature department at Nagpur University, has been associated with several women’s rights movement since her college days. A Mumbai girl, born to a Bengali Kayastha family, Sen moved to Nagpur soon after she completed her masters degree in Mumbai’s Elphinstone college. She pursued her M.Phil and Ph.D in Nagpur.

Koel recalls growing up at their Nagpur home, and says it was a very vibrant space where several meetings would be conducted. “But in 2007, with my father Tusharkant Bhattacharya’s arrest, things changed,” Koel says. Since then, both her parents have been less active in the outside world and mostly focus on their teaching and translation work, Koel tells The Wire.

On June 6, when her mother was arrested, Koel was in Mumbai. “I work in Mumbai as an independent filmmaker. I woke up to the news of these arrests. I did not know my mother was also one of them. When I found out, I left for Pune, where she was supposed to be produced,” says Koel.

Court and jail visits are not new for Koel. When her father was arrested in 2007, she recalls of having visited him in the prison several times. “My 20s were quite intense with lot of these happening in the family. My father was in the underground (naxal) movement some 30 years ago. But once he was released in 2011, he shifted his focus in writing and translation work,” she says. 

Koel says her mother, who was otherwise very active in her heyday while participating in human rights meetings and conferences, has slowed down over the years. “Over the past few years, she had been leading almost a bourgeois life, with two domestic workers and a driver at her disposal. She was really looking forward to a peaceful, comfortable life post retirement,” she says.

Like most of the others arrested, Sen too had no connection with the Bhima Koregaon event. “My parents are in solidarity with the movement. But that is all,” Koel says.

https://thewire.in

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Narratives of Police Illegality – Sudhir Dhawale and Arun Ferreira Cases

Sudhir Dhawale - on Left- Arun Ferreira on Right

EPW –Vol – XLIX No. 28, July 12, 2014 | Anand Teltumbde

All the so-called Maoist cases, including those of radical political activists Sudhir Dhawale and Arun Ferreira, present a pattern which clearly brings out the mala fide intention of police to hold some selected persons in jail for as long as possible and thereby terrorise others from following in their footsteps. In law, the courts are supposed to punish the guilty, but in these instances the accused are already punished by the police even before their guilt is established.

Anand Teltumbde ([email protected]) is a writer and civil rights activist associated with the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai.

Sudhir Dhawale, a well-known social activist, who was arrested by the police for his alleged links with the Maoists, was released from Nagpur’s central prison after being acquitted of all the charges by the Gondia sessions court on 22 May 2014. He was in jail for 40 months. Along with him, the eight other co-accused persons were also acquitted. In 2005, quite like Dhawale, the dalit poet Shantanu Kamble was arrested on similar charges, tortured over a period of 100 days before he got bail. He now stands cleared of all charges by the court. The radical political activist, Arun Ferreira, was confined in jail for more than four years, tortured and harassed, repeatedly rearrested in fresh cases after being acquitted in the earlier ones, before he finally got bail in the last case. The lesser known cases of arrests of 12 members of the Deshbhakti Yuva Manch of Chandrapur in January 2008 and the arrest of Bandu Meshram from Nagpur on very similar charges also come to mind. They all have been acquitted but not before torture and harassment at the hands of the police and humiliation of jail over periods ranging from one to three years. One is also reminded of the arrest of Anil Mamane and two others when they were selling books at Deekshabhoomi in Nagpur in October 2007.

There are scores of other cases from remote rural areas wherein young women and men, incarcerated in jails, were arrested on vague charges of being Maoists, many without even the charges being framed, and nobody to provide legal and other aid, helplessly facing ruin with the passage of time.

Procedural Injustice

Sudhir Dhawale has been a political activist right from his college days in Nagpur when he was part of the Vidyarthi Pragati Sanghatana (VPS), a radical students’ organisation in the 1980s. He never hid his ideological leanings and association with the mass organisations that professed Marxism-Leninism, known loosely as Naxalism, and now as Maoism. But he denied having connection with the Maoist party or its activities, least of all, the violent actions committed by it. After coming to Mumbai, he became active in the cultural movement and took a leading part in organising an alternative Vidrohi Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in 1999 in protest against the mainstream literary gathering, which is hugely sponsored by the state. This initiative took the form of Vidrohi Sanskrutik Chalwal, with its own bimonthly organ, Vidrohi, of which Dhawale became the editor. Soon Vidrohi became a rallying point for radical activists in Maharashtra. He drew on his literary flair in writing pamphlets and books to propagate revolutionary ideas in support of the ongoing struggles of adivasis and dalits. He played a leading role in the foundation of Republican Panthers on 6 December 2007, which identifies itself as “a movement for the annihilation of caste”. He was active in the statewide protests that erupted after the gory caste atrocity at Khairlanji, which was irresponsibly termed by the home minister of Maharashtra as instigated by the Naxalites. Dhawale was placed on the police scanner since then. At the personal level, he lived a spartan life devoted to these activities, which was supported by his wife, his comrade in VPS, who worked at the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial Hospital, Byculla in Mumbai.

After his arrest in Wardha, where Dhawale was invited to speak at a dalit literary conference, the police raided his house in Mumbai in a manner as though he was a dreaded terrorist. His wife, Darshana, and children had to undergo considerable hardship and humiliation. The education of his children was completely disrupted; his son failed in the 12th standard board exam. As regards a case of association on the basis of some statement by some accused person or the literature recovered from his house, evidence of this kind has been deemed inadequate in Supreme Court judgments in several cases. However, with an alibi that the courts would decide upon value of the evidence provided, the police irresponsibly persisted with its charge that he was involved in unlawful activities and Maoist conspiracy. The courts however acquitted him, trashing the police case, but to what avail? The police’s objective of punishing Dhawale and terrorising many activists like him was accomplished.

A Human Tragedy

There have been scores of cases before and after Dhawale’s arrest; Arun Ferreira’s is by far the most revealing of those featured in the media. Like Dhawale, people who knew Ferreira were outraged by the police charge and came forward to defend him until Senior Superintendent of Police Yadav, the then head of the Anti-Naxalite Cell had threatened that even they would be arrested as Naxal supporters. Ferreira underwent all kinds of torture and harassment, including a narco-analysis test, the result of which created a small stir as he had stated that Bal Thackeray was financing Naxalite activities in Maharashtra. Going by the authenticity which the police ascribe to narco-analysis, it should have at least interrogated Thackeray. Ferreira’s revelation under narco-analysis was far more authentic in terms of the police’s own schema than that of some accused person taking the very name that the police wanted him/her to state during interrogation. No charge against Ferreira could stick but police still managed to keep him in jail for over four years. Ferreira has sued the state for infringing his fundamental rights to liberty and freedom of movement, and demanded an apology and compensation of Rs 25 lakh. Others simply have to swallow the injustice.

The other eight persons, all dalits, acquitted along with Dhawale were also arrested on trumped up charges and were made to undergo torture, harassment, humiliation, and imprisonment. There are now 44 persons with a Maoist tag in Nagpur jail, seven of whom are women. Of course, they include the relatively recent inmates, Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi and the Delhi University professor G N Saibaba. The latter cases were flashed in the media and the police’s actions were widely condemned. But the others are nameless and faceless adivasi youth from the interiors of Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, most of them having been rounded up in the wake of some Maoist action nearby.

Two adivasi youth have been the oldest inmates of the Nagpur Central Prison. One is Ramesh Pandhariram Netam, 26, an activist of a student organisation, who is in jail for the last six years. His parents were reportedly activists in the mass movements identified as Maoist-inspired. His mother, Bayanabai, active in the Dandakaranya Adivasi Mahila Sanghatan, was arrested and killed during torture by the Gadchiroli police. The villagers had protested the killing but their voice never reached the mainstream media. His father is said to have surrendered two years ago. Whenever he was about to be released, the police would slap fresh charges and retain him in jail. This happened not once but thrice. Two months back, when he was about to be released upon the dismissal of all the cases against him, the police slapped two more charges to keep him in jail. The other adivasi youth is Buddhu Kulle Timma, 33, from an interior village of Gadchiroli district, who was also acquitted three years back but is still in jail as the police slapped six fresh cases on him. All the adivasi prisoners are illiterate peasants; one could well imagine the magnitude of their helplessness and the human tragedy that is unfolding.

Trial by Videoconferencing

The trials are being held by video-conferencing. The cases are heard in the Gadchiroli court with local advocates, but since the accused are not taken to court, there is no communication between them and their advocates. The accused are kept in the dark about what transpires in the court. They do not know what the witnesses deposed, what arguments were made and what the judge remarked. Videoconferencing effectively deprives them of all this relevant information. As a result, when they are required to make a final statement, they make it sans the context. There is at least one case in which a life sentence was given, which was mainly attributable to this misused technological application by the courts.

Wanton Misuse of Powers

Each one of the accused underwent inestimable agonies, their families suffered incalculable distress, faced humiliation and disrepute in society, ruination of family relations, and lost, on an average, four to five years of their productive lives, all this for no fault of theirs. Invariably each one has suffered illegal torture during their police custody remand and humiliating conditions thereafter during judicial custody. One may not quarrel about the professional privilege of the police in arresting people and framing charges against them based on whatever information they had, but these charges are subject to judicial scrutiny and may or may not hold. But what if this privilege is wantonly and grossly misused? Unfortunately, all the so-called Maoist cases present a pattern which clearly brings out the mala fide intention of police to hold some selected persons in jail for as long as possible and thereby terrorise others from following in their footsteps. In law, the courts are supposed to punish the guilty, but as we have seen in these cases, the person is already punished by the police even before his/her guilt is established.

How can the police, the keepers of law and order, be oblivious of the law of the land? The Supreme Court has held that mere association with any outfit or adherence to any ideology, or possessing any literature, cannot be an offence unless it is proved that the person concerned has committed a violent act or caused others to do it. Merely being a passive member of even a banned organisation does not constitute a crime. If this is the law of the land, surely the police are expected to know it. In every case, the courts adversely comment on the conduct of police, but the police repeat such behaviour with impunity. If Dhawale gets out, Saibaba gets in to recreate the saga of police illegality!

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Fight continues for Dalit activist – Sudhir Dhawale

By Abhijit Sathe | May 31, 2014, 02.30 AM IST
Pune Mirror
Fight continues for Dalit activist
Sudhir Dhawale
Released from jail recently, Sudhir Dhawale is openly critical of reckless govt branding of activists as naxalites.

Sudhir Dhawale — the Dalit activist who recently walked free after three years in prison for allegedly being a naxal supporter — is back in Mumbai, where he edits a Marathi periodical Vidrohi; he says he is even more determined, after his acquittal, to continue his fight against caste discrimination in Maharashtra.

The court in Gondia which tried him observed that the revolutionary material recovered from his house in Mumbai as a follow-up to the case was ‘open source material.’

The activist, who in 2007 had launched the ‘Republican Panther Jati Antachi Chalwal’ a movement for eradication of caste in Maharashtra, is acerbic about how the government comes down on such activists and books them by stamping them as naxal supporters.

He dismisses the ‘Tanta Mukt Gaon Abhiyan’ (disputefree village project) in the state, mooted by the Congress-NCP government, as nothing short of a ‘khaap’, dominated by the upper class or NCP workers who have a nexus with local police. “This ensures that atrocities against Dalits and the oppressed don’t get reported,” he told Mirror.

A critic of both the Congress-NCP and BJP governments, Dhawale feels that Dalits and the backward people would find no change emerging with the arrival of the right-wing BJP government at the Centre.

“Both the Congress and the BJP have fascist agendas and are casteist. While people criticise Modi for what he did in Gujarat, what the Congress did to Sikhs during 1984 riots is no different,” Dhawale says.

Dhawale, a native of Nagpur, now settled in Mumbai, was attending the third Ambedkarite Sahitya Sammelan at Wardha in January 2011, when he was arrested by a joint team of ATS and ANO at Wardha railway station. Post his arrest, political leaders and social activists like Prakash Ambedkar, N P Patil, J V Pawar, Urmila Pawar, Anant Patwardhan met R R Patil to protest.

According to Gondia police, a surrendered naxal admitted to meeting Dhawale during a gathering of naxalites at a church in Vasai in 2006.

“Patil was so confident about my involvement as a naxal supporter that he told the delegation he would apologise to the state if I were to be acquitted. No apology has come so far from Patil,” Dhawale remarks.

At Bhandara, and subsequently at Nagpur jail, Dhawale said he came across 60-70 tribals who had been falsely charged with being naxal supporters, due to feeding naxalites who visited their villages. The tribals were so poor they had no one to fight their cases and their families could not afford to visit them in jail.

Fortunately, a group of advocates from the region have reached out to them to fight their cases. A PIL was also filed by a social activist from Nagpur, following which the government promised to set up a commission to probe false cases against them. But nothing has come up so far.

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Sudhir Dhawale , Dalit Activist who was released after 40 months- talks about his plans

Round Table India spoke to writer and political activist Sudhir Dhawale in Mumbai last week, after his release from a long term spent in prison due to false charges of being involved in Naxal activities. Arrested in January 2011, he was acquitted last week by Gondia’s sessions court after the police failed to produce substantial evidence against him. Here is the text of the interview: 

Round Table India: Forty months behind bars and finally you have been cleared off all charges, are there any plans ahead?

Sudhir Dhawale: Immediately after Khairlanji killings several political parties, Dalit activists, and lawyers came together. A need to have our own political front was felt. We launched ‘Republican Panthers’, on December 6, 2007. The front’s mandate was to construct a common political platform for Dalit activists along with left-leaning activists. Most of us either got targeted by the State or were forced to stay away from any political activities. I hope to revisit this front and revive it.

sudhir dhawale 1

RT: Will it be a political party or work for social causes.

Dhawale: No we do not wish to enter the political fray. Our work, as it was earlier, would focus on agitation, confrontation and providing the much needed support system to the victims of caste atrocities.

RT: What about your magazine Vidrohi. Did you manage to come out with the magazine after your arrest?

Dhawale: We managed to bring out four editions. But the team fell apart. My magazine was the first casuatly of my arrest. A ‘voice of dissent’ that we had so painstakingly built, was silenced by the State. But this is the first project I will begin now. Have to restart Vidrohi, with similar vigour. It will be a challenge to get the magazine published, but we will find a way out.

RT: Where you bothered by the police before your arrest? Most activists have complained of being stalked and harassed by the police for years before they are finally booked. It has happened in the case of Kabir Kala Manch activists, too.

Dhawale: Somewhere in 2006, around 200 different social groups from across Maharashtra had come together to attend one State level Parishad (conference). I was invited, too, as a speaker at that conference. It was organised by a Bhandara based women’s organization called Prabodh Mahila Sanghatana. Political, non-political organizations participated in it. BSP, RPI and other Dalit parties had participated too…

The then superintendent of police, Suresh Sagar sent out a circular saying Dhawale, a senior Naxal leader is participating and hence the conference can not be allowed. Sagar, also a Dalit officer, was SP during the Khairlanji massacre. But he did not care much about the atrocities. His role was just that of an officer of the ‘Anti Naxal Operations’ in the State.

RT: Was there constant fear looming over your head and others who vocally criticized the State?

Dhawale: Khairlanji made us all very restless. We were on the street seeking justice. This was seen as a direct threat by the State. I knew I will be picked up soon.

RT: The police in its chargesheet had documented your activities since early 1990’s. According to the chargesheet you were an active member of CPI (Maoist) for over two decades.

Dhawale: I am from Nagpur. I was actively involved in activities of CPI (Marxist-Leninist ) People’s War, which was not a banned organization. Until 1994, I was very active in the movement in Nagpur along with senior leaders like Kobad Gandhy and Anu (Anuradha Gandhy). While people started going underground around 1992-93, many like me moved to Mumbai in search of jobs and livelihood.

I had no criminal case (against me). A few small and insignificant ones like preventive detention and unlawful assembly charges were slapped against me for participating in protest. But it never went to the court.

RT: But they kept a close check on your movement?

Dhawale: Yes, they recognised all of us. We are old hands in the people’s movement. The ANO (Anti Naxal Operations) has a brilliant archive system in place. In my case, the police put together over two decade old pictures with Gandhy, seniors maoist leaders like Milind Teltumbde and Tushar Bhattacharya. Each time some one is arrested, they use these pictures to build their case. But it is not a solid evidence to prove anyone a naxal.

RT: Since 2006, several Dalit activists, professors, lawyers from Nagpur, and other parts of the State have been booked. Either under UAPA or rioting charges. Almost all of them had protested against the Khairlanji killing.

Dhawale: Dalits have always been an easy target, both for the State and the savarnas. Over hundreds of cases have been slapped against the protestors. Caste atrocity is a part of state oppressions. It is their conspiracy. As our voices became sharper, the State found it difficult to handle.

RT: Do you personally support CPI (Maoists)?

Dhawale: At that time (early 1990s)…yes. I did. You see, it was not a banned organizaton then. There was nothing illegal to associate with an organization that was legally constituted. Ever since it was banned, I have not participated in anyactivities. In fact, at the time of my arrest, I even told the police about my past work. I never hid anything from the police.
It is funny how the state machinery works. They use old pictures to pin us down. I must have met R R Patil some four-five times in his cabin. Will that mean I am government’s person. It is bizarre.

RT: Your books have supported naxal violence. Also, you have spoken of Naxalism as the only alternative.

Dhawale: I along with several other activists have been very active on the anti-caste front. It is not just the savarnas who are responsible for caste atrocities, but the State, too. I, through my writings have tried to expose the state. It caused a lot of restlesness. Talking about naxal movement, i have no qualms in saying I support it. I have several books in support of the naxals.. I have openly said so in the past and will continue to say so.

RT: Most arrests happened during the UPA government’s tenure. You are returning to face the NDA front. What is the feeling?

Dhawale: (Laughs). Achche din aa gaye hain. They are two sides of the same coin. Things will not be any different. Not that congress was pro-people and worked for its downtrodden and needy. It will continue to remain just as bad. Just days after getting elected, a man was burnt at Gondia. BJP man is allegedly involved in it. Fascism in the Congress’ period was covert. It will be overt now. Economic policies will continue to exclude the ‘antim vyakti’. Ambanis will continue to flourish, the poor will continue to get poorer..

RT: And what about the left front?

Dhawale: How different are they? What have they done for the people? Who got SEZs approved in parliament, what was their role during Nandigram and Singur agitations?

I am only glad they have finally been thrown out. This was bound to happen.

RT: In most Naxal cases, while the State goes overboard in booking and arresting people, similar approach is not seen in court. In almost all cases the police has failed in proving the cases. Be it Arun Ferreira’s case or Vernon Gonsalves’ case, most cases fell apart. However, almost every one spent five-six years behind bars.

Dhawale: Yes, in past most cases did end up in acquittal. But now the State with all its might is fighting the cases. They have started appointing special public prosecutors in cases where UAPA charges are applied. In my case too, a special public prosecutor appeared.

RT: How was the judiciary’s role in your case?

Dhawale: I applied for bail four times before the sessions court and three times before the HC. Several false claims were made by the police and the court bought it each time and rejected my bail application. The case was expedited by the HC and was to be concluded in three months, but it took over three years.

RT: An independent court proceeding is rare.

Dhawale: On the day of my judgement they engaged C-60 commandos all around the court. Four SDOs were put on the job. They had cordoned off entire court premises. Such high level pressure was put on the judge. The police made it look like a dreaded criminal was ferried to the court and high- level security was a must. Four Tata sumos, C-60 commandos deployed. Court was not allowed to work freely.

RT: What were the grounds given for your acquittal?

Dhawale: It is on a very technical ground. Norms as laid down under UAPA were not met. State sanctions, police mishandling of my case, coupled with lack of evidence led to my acquittal.

RT: How many youth are inside Nagpur jail, booked for Naxal activities?

Dhawale: There were some 60-65 of them when I was arrested- all Adivasi and Dalit boys and girls. After every naxal attack, young boys and girls get picked up and dumped in the jail.

RT: How are their cases handled, any legal recourse available for them?

Dhawale: It is a joke. No legal support is available. Cases get committed to the Sessions court, but these boys and girls are never taken to the court. The police make use of Video conference link for their production, all in the name of security. Their families are so poor that it is beyond their capacity to even travel to Nagpur to meet their children. No jail mulakat, no legal aid, these boys and girls are rotting in the jail. It is a mockery of the justice system.

RT: What cases are these?

Dhawale: Some are booked under UAPA, some for murder, attempt to murder. Everytime police is attacked in an armed retaliation by the Naxals, villagers are picked up. At the time of my release 44 youths- 36 boys and 8 girls were behind bars.

RT: What roles do you see Ambedkarities playing in the present political scenario?

Dhawale: Most Dalit parties are divorced from Ambedkar’s principles. One can not invoke Ambedkar and claim that he/she is an Ambedkarite. People like Udit Raj and Ram Vilas Paswan have been wooed by BJP. Ramdas Athawale, a panther from this State has been completely saffronised. It is a tough scene to expect any thing out of these leaders.

When was the last time that the so-called Ambedkarities came together. It took one Ramabai incident of 1997 to have people come under one platform and agitate. And then again everything went silent until 2006 when the Khairlanji incident happened. We have to be woken up from our deep slumber every now and then. Now there is some noise made after Nitin Aage’s killing.

The principled movement of the old days is scarce. Now it is all about being in power. So even if in the process you are betraying your own people, it does not matter. It is quiet gloomy. Prakash Ambedkar, a few years ago wrote a book on how the Ambedkar movement had died long ago. I completely agree with this. If one has to move forward, it has to start all over again. The rot is beyond any repair.

 

Read mor ehere – http://roundtableindia.co.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7502%3Aupa-and-nda-are-two-sides-of-the-same-coin-sudhir-dhawale&catid=119&Itemid=132

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#India needs an anti-fascist force, says Dalit activist acquitted after 40 months in jail

The country needs an anti-fascist force, says activist acquitted after 40 months in jail
Sudhir Dhawale, a dalit rights activist accused of having Maoist links, was declared innocent on May 15.
Aarefa Johari · 
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On May 20, after spending three years and four months in Nagpur Central Jail for crimes he did not commit, dalit rights activist Sudhir Dhawale finally walked out as a free man.

His arrest in January 2011 had outraged social activists in Maharashtra. Dhawale is a well-known poet, political commentator and publisher of Marathi magazine Vidrohi, and had attended a dalit literary gathering in Wardha district just before he was detained by the police. He was charged with sedition and, under the controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation and waging war against the state. Meanwhile in Mumbai, the police barged into his modest home where his young sons were alone, gathered several books as evidence and allegedly coerced his wife to sign the list of seized articles.

Last week, after the prosecution failed to prove even a single case against him, the sessions court finally acquitted Dhawale – and eight other political prisoners – of all charges. His acquittal has come four months after Arun Ferreira, another Mumbai-based social activist who spent five years in jail for being an alleged Maoist, was cleared of all charges against him. Just two weeks before Dhawale’s release, however, GN Saibaba, a Delhi University professor, was arrested by the Maharashtra police for allegedly having links with Maoists.

Despite being forced to spend 40 months in prison without bail, Dhawale is cheerful and completely unresentful. “I have been saying for a long time that the Indian state is fascist, anti-people and has been involved in the atrocities committed against marginalised people,” Dhawale told Scroll.in in Mumbai just before a meeting with members of the organisation that he founded, the Republican Panthers Jatiya Antachi Chalwal (annihilation of caste movement). The group works across Maharashtra to organise marginalised groups and respond to hate crimes, and Dhawale has already plunged back into work.

Unsurprisingly, his biggest concern these days is India’s newly-elected Bharatiya Janata Party-led Democratic Alliance government under Narendra Modi. “As such, the BJP and Congress are two sides of the same coin, with similar ideologies that disregard the poor and the marginalised,” said Dhawale. “But the BJP – which is essentially the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] – is more openly fascist, so we will have to be prepared for more oppression.”

For nearly a year, the BJP has been criticising the former Congress-led government for being too soft on Naxalism, despite the fact that thousands of paramilitary troops are stationed all over central India’s Maoist-affected areas. “Usually, actual military forces are used to protect foreign borders, not fight a country’s internal wars. But who knows, the Modi government could do anything,” said Dhawale.

Most of the development that Modi has been promising, he claimed, will actually benefit multinational companies. “Most of these multinationals have their eyes set on acquiring land in central India, which is rich in natural resources but is also the place where most adivasis live,” said Dhawale.

Throughout his jail term, Dhawale had been occupied with trying to understand the nature of fascism and people’s movements. He wrote five political commentaries in prison, of which two have been published. One is about the Shiv Sena’s deceased founder Bal Thackeray. The second is on Anna Hazare and his movement against corruption. “Hazare did start a jan andolan, but it was obvious that it was a movement for the middle-classes, attempting to address only the symptoms of a corrupt system and not the system itself,” said Dhawale.

While Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal have become the face of people’s movements, Dhawale believes the focus needs to shift to the many smaller, scattered grassroots movements across the country that are already working for the marginalised. “With this new government, it is time for all these movements to come together, be vigilant and create a strong anti-fascist force.”

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Sudhir Dhawale, Dalit activist and editor of Vidrohi magazine, released after 40 months

Written by Sukanya Shetty | Mumbai | May 23, 2014 12:40 am

SUMMARY

Dhawale, a Dalit activist and editor of Vidrohi magazine which openly criticised the state over cases of social inequalities, was arrested on January 2, 2011.

Forty months spent at Nagpur prison in the company of over 60 tribal and Dalit youths, all booked in various cases of alleged Naxal activities, Sudhir Dhawale wants to pursue his unfinished dream — To relaunch a well-networked agitation against caste atrocities in the  state.

Dhawale, a Dalit activist and editor of Vidrohi magazine which openly criticised the state over cases of social inequalities, was arrested on January 2, 2011.

Police said Dhawale was involved in Naxal activities in Maharashtra.

He was, however, acquitted last week by Gondia’s sessions court after  police failed to produce substantial evidence against him.

Most of the books seized from his residence in Byculla were available online or in the market, the court observed.

 “I was under police scanner since 2006, in the post-Khairlanji phase, where activists and intellectuals came together and questioned the state. It was after a long time that Dalits had begun organising. Our agitations resonated in the remotest areas. They began arresting us (Dalits) in false cases,” claims Dhawale. In the Khairlanji massacre on September 2006, a Dalit family was wiped out by dominant caste villagers.

Dhawale had launched a political front, Republican Panther, on December 6, 2007. The front’s mandate was to construct a commonpolitical platform for Dalits.

“We had decided to intervene in every case of atrocity across the state. Agitation and protesting was not enough, our aim was to build a mass base and ensure the government was held responsible each time a Dalit basti was burnt, a Dalit youth was killed or a Dalit woman was sexually assaulted,” Dhawale said.

Dhawale’s release comes at a time when the incidents of caste-related atrocities have increased greatly in the state. Last month, a 17- year old Dalit boy was killed in Ahmednagar for falling in love with a girl from a dominant caste. A Dalit sarpanch was killed in Jalna district for allegedly opposing political activists from dominant caste.

“But dissenting voices are stifled. We rarely see the oppressed caste fight back. Sustained agitation that we saw post-Khairlanji is no more a common sight. Many of us who participated in protest rallies then (post-Khairlanji) have been booked in cases. We were labelled as ‘Naxals’. I want to go back to those activists, youths, and relaunch our struggle,” Dhawale said.

Dhawale was booked for conspiring and waging war against the nation. However, later he was tried only under the conspiracy charge.

In an over-100 page judgement delivered by sessions judge R G Asmar, the judge has pointed out discrepancies in the investigation and lack of substantial evidence.
[email protected]

 

Read mor ehere –  http://indianexpress.com/article/india/regional-india/40-months-on-court-acquits-naxal-activist-sudhir-dhawale/

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Mumbai-based dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, released from Prison after three years

40 MONTHS AFTER HIS ARREST OF NAXALITE CONNECTIONS, SUDHIR DHAWALE ACQUITTED. THE COURT SAID THAT LITERATURE SEIZED FROM DHAWALE’S RESIDENCE WAS ‘AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET’

Sudhir Dhawale at Free Binayk Sen Protest in Mumbai

Sudhir Dhawale at Free Binayk Sen Protest in Mumbai

May 16 2014 : Mirror (Mumbai)
Abhijit Sathe and Jyoti Punwani

The court found the police investigation was not done properly, and said literature seized from Dhawale’s Byculla residence in 2011 was `available on the internet’
Mumbai-based dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, who was facing trial in Gondia district of eastern Maha rashtra for allegedly supporting naxalites and being a member of the CPI (Maoist), was on Thursday acquitted of the charge by a local court.

Dhawale was arrested at Wardha in January 2011 and booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) after the Gondia police claimed that his name had figured during interrogation of one of alleged naxalites. For three years, Dhawale was lodged in Nagpur prison even as civil liberties activists protested that he had been falsely implicated.

On Thursday, District Judge R G Asmar in his 108-page order acquitted Dhawale, giving him the benefit of doubt on the grounds that investigations were not done properly and the prosecution could not prove Dhawale’s role in the case. Since there are no more cases against Dhawale, he is expected to be released on Friday afternoon, his lawyer Harshad Lingayat told Mumbai Mirror.

Dhawale, who edits the Vidrohi magazine from Mumbai that takes up social inequality and Dalit issues, was picked up by Gondia police at Wardha railway station on January 3, 2011 when he was returning to Mumbai after attending the Ambedkar-Phule Sahitya sammellan there.

Lingayat said the judgment noted that the documents seized from him -books, articles, magazines -were either available on the internet or in the market. Secondly, there was no evidence that he was propagating what was written in them. As for Dhawale’s own writings, the judgment said Dhawale was simply exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech.

The documents seized included Sudhir’s writings on Charu Mazumdar, founder of the Naxalite movement, as well as books by Suniti Kumar Ghosh (who died recently) and Arundhati Roy.

Surendra Gadling, the senior defence lawyer in the case, described it as one of a series of “bogus cases“ foisted upon those opposing the government. Gadling had defended Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sridhar, and Sudhir Dhawale, all of whom had been arrested on charges of being Maoists and then acquitted after spending many years in jail.

He also described the arrest of Delhi University professor G N Saibaba as part of the same attempt.

“The Supreme Court has said that even if you are a member of a banned organisation, unless you instigate or indulge in violence, you cannot be charged. But our police seem impervious to Supreme Court rulings,“ he said.

The Gondia police had charged all arrested under UAPA, and with criminal conspiracy. “During the course of the trial, we could prove that the alleged incriminating material found at Dhawale’s house was in fact opensource material. There was no propagation of ideas nor any terrorist act,“ Lingayat said.

The court also found that the investigating officer had not visited the spots of incidence, nor had he intimated the DGP about the recovery of proceeds of terrorism. In all 39 witnesses, which included panchas who were present during seizure of material, were examined.

The court found that there was contradiction between witnesses and the prosecution theory. Some of them were declared hostile, while the court found the versions of some of them to be `tutored’

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Press Release – Appeal by 177 undertrial prisoners on indefinite Hunger strike

Indefinite Hunger Strike to commence on 30th January 2014

By 177 undertrial prisoners of Nagpur Central Prison

 

Sudhir Dhawale at Free Binayk Sen Protest in Mumbai

Sudhir Dhawale at Free Binayk Sen Protest in Mumbai

 

This is an appeal to intellectuals and human rights organizations/activists about the Indefinite Hunger Strike that will be launched from Thursday 30th January 2014 by at least 177 under trial prisoners, including 7 women, who are detained in Nagpur Central Prison Nagpur, Maharashtra.  The prisoners who are going to participate in the strike are all under trial prisoners who have been charged under UAPA, MCOCA, and/or murder charges under IPC).

It is a settled principle of law and a directive of the APEX COURT of this country that “BAIL is the rule and Jail is an exception”.

In spite of repeated rulings of the Supreme Court that bail ought to be granted at the earliest and that the gravity of the charges should not be the reason for not granting bail.  The prison population is ever increasing and hundereds and thousands of under trial prisoners are languishing in jails because bail has been denied to them.

The under trial prisoners are thus deprived of their legal and constitutional right of getting bail, even in lingering procrastinated trials. Besides, almost all are denied their right of physical attendance in courts, fair and speedy trials and reasonably speedy Judgments.

The prisoners of Nagpur central jail, having tried all means, such as petitioning the Bombay High Court, government of Maharashtra, felt that they had no other no alternative but to launch an Indefinite Hunger Strike till their demands are achieved.

A memorandum dated 20th January 2014 and signed by 177 under trial prisoners has been sent to the Honourable Chief Justice of Bombay High Court with copies to Principal Judge, Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) and other officials through the Superintendent of Nagpur Central Prison Nagpur. The memorandum includes the following demands:

 

  1. The directives of Honorable Supreme Court that “Bail is the rule and Jail is an exception” should be implemented as a principle with regard to bail and bail should be granted in a definite and short time period;
  2. Those charges with supposedly serious crimes should also be granted bail.  after charge sheet is filed, albeit with conditions if required;
  3. In order to establish the right of fair and speedy trial to all Accused, after the closure of a trial, Judgment should be delivered in a relatively definite and short time period.  If the trial is delayed due to some unavoidable reasons, then the under trial bail should be granted bail.  More so in the cases of those under trial prisoners whose bail application/s has/have been refused earlier.
  4. The right of a fair trial cannot be established through Video Conference (V.C.) method. V.C.s should not be an option during trials and under trial prisoners must be compulsorily brought to court on their trial dates.

Friends, we are committed to sit on Indefinite Hunger Strike till our demands are mrt.  The success of our struggle cannot be achieved without your solidarity and active support from outside.  So it is our humble and hopeful appeal to you to kindly extend your support in favour of our just demands and struggle.

 

With regards

1]            Sudhir Dhawale

2]            Diwakar Jha

3]            Gautam Pillewan

and other under trial prisoners.

 

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Students, unemployed youths and marginalized section on Radar of Maharashtra Police #Hemishra #Sudhirdhawale

Shreya Roy Chowdhury & Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Aug 25, 2013,

NAGPUR/NEW DELHI: Gadchiroli police have arrested a former student of New Delhi‘sJawaharlal Nehru University, identified as Hem Mishra, at Morewada village in Etapalli taluka of Aheri tehsil in the Naxal hotbed of Gadchiroli district, on Thursday. Mishra was picked up along with two others, in the forests adjoining the village, for their alleged links with Naxalites.

Police said that the trio, from whom a microchip and crucial documents have been recovered, was working as Naxal couriers at the behest of a top cadre. The other two have been identified as Pandu Narote and Mahesh Teerki. The three have been remanded to police custody for 10 days. The Facebook profile of Mishra shows him as a “believer in Leninist-Marxist and Maoist views”.

The arrest of Mishra, who has completed his masters in mass communication from JNU, once again underlined the reach of the Naxals in urban areas. Police said that Mishra, a native of Almora inUttarakhand, had the microchip and a letter meant to be delivered to top woman cadre Narmada akka, is a divisional committee member. Police have also come across some sensitive mobile clips which they claim were messages from the Naxals to the cadres in city areas.

In his interrogation, Mishra told Gadchiroli police that he was not a student of JNU. “However, he claimed to be residing in a JNU hostel,” said Mohd Suvez Haque, the SP of Gadchiroli.

TOI learns that Mishra was a member of JNU’s Democratic Students’ Union (DSU). According to fellow DSU member, Bono, Mishra had a “problem in his hand” which required surgery. He was heading for Prakash Amte‘s hospital in Hemalkasa for it. “We were told that he was on the way to the hospital when he was picked up. We were not being able to contact him for the last three-four days and we were told by the local journalists what had happened. It’s a sensitive area. Otherwise, they can’t possibly have any real case against him. He’s just a student,” said Bono.

Morewada, where Mishra was picked up, is around 140 kms from Hemalkasa. “Mishra did not tell us about any medical problem nor did he mention Amte,” said Haque.

Haque said that the trio was spotted moving around mysteriously in Morewada. “When caught, Mishra had the microchip deceptively wrapped in a piece of paper which he had in his pocket. The materials recovered from Mishra are leading us to several crucial links and soon another major operation may follow,” said Haque.

Based on the information, the SP did not rule out the possibility of flushing out some top Naxal cadres from their hideouts soon. “The three has specifically revealed that they were working for Narmada. Narote and Teerki are also ready to repeat their statements in court,” added Haque. “We are also investigating into Mishra’s JNU connections as well as if Naxals had made any inroads into the university.”

Narote and Teerki have no previous records and reside in Morewada. “Narmada had asked them to bring Mishra to her,” said Haque.

DIG Ravindra Kadam (Naxal range) said the Naxal journal ‘Our Urban Perspective’ clearly revealed how they were planning to expand into towns and cities. “Students, unemployed youths and marginalized section of the society were in their radar,” he said.

A social networking site was flooded with messages supporting Mishra whom was being described as an “activist championing the cause of the poor and downtrodden”. The Revolutionary Democratic Front, a so-called rightist body, has condemned the arrest of Mishra.

In 2011, the state Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) had nabbed Mumbai-based Sudhir Dhawale in Wardha where he had come to attend a symposium. Dhawale had been conducting his activities from his wife’s official nursing quarters at Byculla’s Central Railway hospital in Mumbai. In 2007, the ATS had nabbed two top cadres from Govandi in Mumbai _ Vernon Gonsalves and Shridhar Shrinivasan. Naxal think-tank Kobad Ghandy was nabbed from Delhi in 2009. While Gonsalves has been released, the other two are still in jail.

Earlier this year, Gadchiroli police had rounded up one Mahesh Raut and Harshala Potdar under suspicion for being Naxal sympathisers. While Raut was from Brahmapuri in Chandrapur district, Potdar hailed from Virar near Mumbai. The duo claimed to be students doing research in Gadchiroli under fellowship obtained through Prime Minister Gram Vikas Yojana.

About Hem Mishra:

Is a student of Centre for Chinese and South East Asian Studies in New Delhi

A second year student in BA Chinese but “deregistered” this year

Had collected a diploma in engineering before coming to JNU

Member of Democratic Students’ Union in JNU

Cultural activist and sings, performs in concerts regularly

  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-hem-mishra-jnu-student-sent-to-10-days-police-custody-in-gadchiroli-wtfnews/" target="_blank"> #India – Hem Mishra- JNU student and 2 others sent to 10 days police custody in Gadchiroli #WTFnews
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/crpp-statement-on-arrest-of-jnu-student-and-cultural-activist-hem-mishra/" target="_blank">CRPP Statement on arrest of JNU student and Cultural Activist Hem Mishra
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-condemn-arrest-of-hem-mishra-a-jnu-student-and-a-cultural-activist-by-maharashtra-police/" target="_blank"> #India- Condemn arrest of Hem Mishra, a JNU student and a cultural activist by Maharashtra Police
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PRESS RELEASE- A Crusade for Creativity- BOL KE LAB AAZAD HAI TERE @26Jan #Mumbai #Foe #Republicday

freedom_of_speech
PRESS RELEASE

Bol ke lab azaad hain tere…….

History has been witness to the systematic deprivation of the oppressed. Right from their attempts to acquire knowledge and make it a vehicle of their liberation, to the production and expression of critical thought and action, the atrocities against the edict of equality enshrined in the constitution have been manifold. Even though the titles and identities of oppressors seem to have changed, the nature of oppression remains identifiably similar; the practice of slavery keeps resurfacing in one form or the other.

Yet, the history of the struggles of the subalterns against such tyranny is just as rich and rousing. We seek to stand up to the tall legacy of these struggles and continue the fight against the dilution of our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms. We denounce the Corporate Media that is all money and no soul, no courage, no character. The media not only manufactures consent but systematically marginalizes subaltern movements by consistently turning a blind eye towards them and privileging middle and upper class rage and issues above all else.

We condemn the State agencies and fascist forces that seek to gag the crusaders of truth and justice. The clamp down on people’s movements against nuclear plants in Koodankulam and Jaitapur, frequent Zillabandi, police firing and lathicharge incidents in response to people’s protests, the landgrab of mining and industrial capitalists in adivasi areas, the moral policing and vandalism of despotical forces, as well as the arrests of cultural revolutionaries like Sudhir Dhawale and members of Kabir Kala Manch who sought to write and sing about the gaffes, among others, must stop.  These are blatant violations of our fundamental Right to Freedom of Expression orchestrated by the State and powerful non-State actors.

To register our protest, we have organised a Cultural Protest Programme in opposition to the atrocities against the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression in our country.

Event:  Srujanacha Algaar- A Crusade for Creativity

Time & Date: 5:00 – 9:00 pm, Saturday, 26 January 2013
Venue: Dr. Ambedkar Bhavan, Gokulpasta lane, behind Chitra Cinema, Dadar (W), Mumbai.
Programme: Revolutionary Cultural Gala to be presented by a new vibrant team of performers

Music (Hindustani Classical, Ghazals, Vidrohi Shahiri, Parivartanachya Ovya, Global Gondhal, Laavani, Rap, Rock) Poetry recitation, Dance performances,  Song of Kabir by Niraj Arya,  Rap Performances – MC Manmeet Kaur and Ashwini Mishra of Alistrap

Short Plays to be presented entirely by new and young performers and cultural activists.

An invitation extended by Sambhaji Bhagat, Ramu Ramanathan, Anand Patwardhan, Kamayani Bali Mahabal and other supporters of the Freedom of Speech and Expression

 

THE FACEBOOK EVENT HERE-https://www.facebook.com/events/401313879956734/

Media Contact:

Anisha George                                           Sambhaji Bhagat

Tel: 9820171019                                       Tel: 9323801194

Email: [email protected]

 

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