RANCHI – The arrest of noted social activist Dayamani Barla has drawn sharp condemnation from across the civil society. Meanwhile, accusing Jharkhand Government of carrying out vindictive move against the social activist, various social and rights group have started campaigning for her release amidst the festive season of Durga Puja.

The Jharkhand Police arrested Barla the very day after she was granted bail by a JMFC court in a six-year old case. Now Police has charged her with scores of cases  in connection with causing obstruction to the construction of state-run institutions at Nagri village, 20 kms from here.

Barla has been leading the agitation against ongoing forceful land acquisition by the state government to build the Indian Institute of Management and National University for Study and Research in Law (NUSRL) campuses.

The bail application would be heard by the Court on 29 October.

“Government has hatched a conspiracy to keep Barla behind the bars for a long period; it is very evident by the way Police is functioning. They will slap more cases once against Barla once she gets the bail.” says senior journalist and social activist Faisal Anurag.

From the day she began fighting against the corporate giant Mittal, she has become the enemy of the all political parties and governments. The current Chief Minister, being a Dalaal (broker) of corporate companies, is hell-bent to sabotage the voice of activists, says Anurag.

“I met her in the prison yesterday. She is confident and determined to fight and face the consequences.” he said.

Barla was at the forefront of the agitation against Arcelor Mittal’s proposed steel plant in the state. The $8.9 million project spread over 12,000 acres would have displaced almost 70,000 people from 45 villages.

Gladson Dungdung, another noted activist and a member of Planning Commission of India also sees a conspiracy behind the arrest of Barla. “This is a conspiracy by the Government and arbitrary move by the police.”

He also said that the Government wants her to be in prison until the construction of proposed Law and Management campuses is over at Nagri, where agricultural land is being acquired done forcefully.

“If the Government is in impression that Barla’s arrest would weaken the people’s movement, it’s a fallacy.” he adds.

Several other social activists from across the country have condemned the arrest of Barla. They have demanded government to release Barla immediately and to withdraw all the cases against her.