Monthly Archives: November 2013

Dawn of Freedom

“Mother, see how the bird flies

Joyful, full of song.

I want to be like that, Mother,

How long will it be, how long?”

 

“Son, as the river is flowing

From the mountain to the sea,

As to his hive, unthinking,

Travels the honey bee.”

 

“So India is marching

Straight to her Freedom Day,

And nobody shall stop her

And nothing shall bar the way.”

 

“And you shall be free as the bird is,

Free as the air, my son!

The bars of your cage will be broken,

Your journey just begun”

Condemn the arbitrary arrest of Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (RDF) All India General Secretary Rajkishore by the Bihar State Police!

Rise! Resist! Liberate!

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)

revolutionarydemocracy@gmail.com

Press Statement

5 November 2013

Condemn the arbitrary arrest of Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (RDF) All India General Secretary Rajkishore by the Bihar State Police!

Release Rajkishore immediately and unconditionally!

On the 1st of November at 8 pm, RDF’s General Secretary, Rajkishore, was arrested by the Bihar State police at his home in the village of Bakhari in East Champaran now called Motihari District, forced to sign on blank papers, and whisked away to the Madhuban Bazaar Police Station in Motihari town. Around 150 to 200 armed police personnel surrounded the village of Bakhari, barged into Rajkishore’s house and interrogated him and his family. Rajkishore is seventy one years of age and is ailing from serious medical problems. He suffered a recent injury to his ears and fracture in both sides of his lower jaw when turned unconscious and fell on the floor. He has been undergoing treatment at the AIIMS in Delhi, is taking heavy medication and is on a liquid diet, and had been advised by his doctors to remain at home for the remainder of his recovery.

Two days after reaching home he was picked up by the state police forces and charged in a case numbered 88 dated to 2005 that concerned an incident in Madhuban Bazaar allegedly involving the CPI (Maoist). The charge includes Indian Penal Code (IPC) 396 ‘dacoity with murder’ and Criminal Law (Amendment) Act Section 17. He has been remanded to judicial custody on case number 88/2005 based on a ‘confessional’ statement made in 2006 by one of those arrested in the Madhuban case. The arrest warrant on Rajkishore has been pending since 2006. He had visited his village a number of times in all these years but the arrest warrant was never invoked in the past.

When he was produced before the magistrate, the state police officials claimed that he will be remanded in 13 more cases out of which 6 cases have been filed in the Madhuban Bazaar incidents in 2005. He was first interrogated at home and forced to sign on blank papers. Then he was taken to the Madhuban Bazaar Police Station where he was interrogated the whole night and the next day. He was then sent to judicial custody. When the police arrested him, they even took his diary and two books from his house which they subsequently returned. His family was not informed of where he was being taken and on what charges he has been arrested. The police forces, which came in such large numbers, did not bring an arrest warrant with them. The police have not revealed all the charges against him and have also not announced his arrest for three days. His lawyers in Motihari are currently attempting to find out the nature of the charges.

It is clear this arrest is a premeditated act by the Nitish Kumar state government in Bihar along with the National Investigative Agency (NIA) at the centre. In light of the changing political situation in the country, the Nitish Kumar state government is being blamed by the Congress and the BJP for not implementing the state led war on people codenamed Operation Green Hunt. In this context, competing with Congress and BJP led state governments, Nitish Kumar government has stepped it brutal attacks on the people and organizations. The paramilitary crackdown in the state of Bihar on people’s struggles and on activists participating in them has escalated over the last few years.

Recently, the Nitish Kumar government has aggressively undertaken a policy to arrest mass activists and leaders, seize their property and the bank accounts of these activists as well as their family members. The state government is attempting to silence any and all voices that have spoken against Operation Green Hunt by framing them in cases linked with the CPI (Maoist). Old and new cases have been framed and additional charges are being leveled against activists in keeping with the increasingly reactionary laws framed by the central and state governments branding people’s leaders as anti-national or terrorists. 200 such families have been harassed and their bank accounts seized over the last few months. It is then alleged that these families have members who went underground as part of the movement led by CPI (Maoist). Among them, the families of mass activists have also been targeted. Nitish Kumar asked the Centre to follow and implement the model of arresting and seizing the properties of those families believed to have links with Maoists. In addition to this, the NIA is working closely with the Bihar state government and state police force and particularly in this case of Rajkishore’s arrest their involvement is clear.

Rajkishore has been vocal against the Operation Green Hunt led by the central government and being implemented by the state governments of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. He has been an active part of people’s movements all over the country for the last forty years. He was the founder President of the Krantikari Buddhijeevi Sangh in Bihar. He was in the All India Executive of the All India League for Revolutionary Culture (AILRC) and later became its all India General Secretary. In 1992, he was one of the founder members of the All India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF). In 2005, when a number of progressive and democratic organizations merged to become RDF, he became its all India General Secretary. In 2012, in the all India conference of RDF held in Hyderabad, he was once again elected as the General Secretary. Over the years he traveled widely across the country and led numerous fact-finding teams and coordinated between people’s struggles across states.

In the recent months as his health deteriorated Rajkishore suffered two blackouts. The second blackout resulted in a fall fracturing both sides of his jaw severely damaging his ears making him bleed profusely for seven days. For this severe injury he had been undergoing treatment in AIIMS for the last month. It is in this condition the Bihar state police have arrested a well known and outspoken activist and leader of people’s struggles who stood up against the state sponsored war on people called Operation Green Hunt. The arrest of Rajkishore is not isolated as various activists of the RDF have been targeted by the central and state governments. The recent killing of the Vice President Ganti Prasadam and then the raid and harassment of the Joint Secretary GN Saibaba, the arrest and incarceration of the Executive Members Dandapani Mohanty in Orissa, Raja Sarkhel of West Bengal, Bengal RDF Committee Member Prasun Chatterjee are instances enough to show how the Indian state has been specifically targeting the RDF activists and its leadership.

RDF condemns this arrest in the strongest possible terms and demands his immediate and unconditional release. We appeal to all democratic and progressive individuals and organizations to stand united and condemn his arrest and appeal for his immediate release.

 

Varavara Rao                                                                                                                                                                                                                           President

G N Saibaba
Joint Secretary

Join the Delhi University Community against Police Repression

Kis Kis Ko Qaid Karoge!
Cultural Activists of Kabir Kala Manch and Republican Panthers in Delhi University

Join the Delhi University Community against Police Repression
on the 6th of November (Wednesday)
in the Arts Faculty Lawns
at 12 noon
for performances by Kabir Kala Manch, the cultural team of the Republican Panthers, and other cultural organisations.

Speakers:

Ashok Bhowmick, painter

Nandita Narain, DUTA President
Sanjay Kak, filmmaker
Ranjit Verma, poet

Achyutanand Mishra, poet
Karen Gabriel, DU teacher

G N Saibaba, DU teacher

Abha Dev Habib, EC Member DU

Arjumand Ara, DU teacher

Sanjay Joshi, filmmaker JSM
Voices of protest never sit well with the establishment. But the music takes root in the hearts and minds of those living the reality of struggles against oppression. Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) and the cultural team of the Republican Panthers are two revolutionary Dalit cultural groups from Maharashtra who have actively taken up the call of the oppressed in fighting caste and class injustice armed with self-composed songs, poems, and cultural performances. These weapons of cultural expression are the reason they have been targeted by the state, their activists charged with sedition, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA] and other sections of the Indian Penal Code, and continue to languish in jail for years. After KKM’s Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhonsle were arrested in 2011 along with five other activists, Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali were arrested in April 2013. Soon after that, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap, and Rupali Jadhav also courted arrest for being wanted by Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS). When songs of dissent are enough to criminalize activists of Kabir Kala Manch and the Republican Panthers, when rallying Dalits against caste oppression is enough to keep Sudhir Dhawale in jail without trial for years, where Narendra Dabholkar pays with his life for consistently speaking against superstition, it comes as no surprise that the state that produced Jyotiba Phule and Babasaheb Ambedkar is now infamous for using the law, judiciary and the police to brand those who speak up against the establishment as terrorists.

This kind of targeting is mirrored across the country. Time and again, cultural activists have been targeted by the state for being able to reach out to a wide section of society through their art and activism. Jeetan Marandi, a well known adivasi cultural activist from Jharkhand, was incarcerated for years pending death penalty for writing about people’s movements and was only recently acquitted by the High Court, Utpal Bhaske, another adivasi cultural activist was recently picked up from Ranchi for speaking about people’s issues, Lenin, an artist and writer from Orissa, was arrested for participating in anti-displacement struggles, and most recently Hem Mishra, a cultural activist and student of JNU, was arbitrarily arrested, tortured for three days, accused of being a ‘Naxal courier’ and is now being charged with a range of cases because he stood with those resisting state oppression. Anti-displacement activist Ispat Hembram in Jharkhand, prominent women’s activist of democratic movements like Jayeeta Das in West Bengal, and other such activists continue to languish in jails on similar trumped up charges. Dr. GN Saibaba, a teacher in the University of Delhi, was threatened with arrest even as his university residence was raided by motley of state and central police and intelligence officials. In the state of Andhra Pradesh, the police under the garb of a vigilante group brutally murdered people’s leader and activist Ganti Prasadam for leading local struggles for land and livelihood and rallying people against the state led war on people codenamed Operation Green Hunt. By targeting social and cultural activists, the state intends to silence the voices that expose the bonds that tie the interests of the high caste, ruling elite with big business and corporations. The state and the corporations thrive by exploiting the poor, the marginalized and by subjugating those asserting their rights. By oppressing the poor, landless labourers, by disenfranchising and persecuting Dalits, adivasis, minorities, and women socially, economically and politically, the interest of the ruling class is preserved. And thus, the state has and will continue to use all means at its disposal to suppress voices speaking against the feudal, castist, communal, corporate nexus.
Within the University of Delhi, this selective targeting of students, intellectuals and organisations has been clear over the last few years. The DU administration, using the Delhi Police as its right-arm, systematically suppresses protests by the university community with brutal force. The unwarranted use of water cannons and lathi-charge against students protesting the embodiment of communal-fascism Modi’s visit to the university, the subsequent filing of an FIR against students and teachers for protesting the excessive violence of the police, the use of police to beat up and disperse students protesting denial of UGC mandated scholarships, the brutal attack on students protesting lack of accommodation, and the continuous heavy deployment of police within the university campus space at all times clearly reflects the fascist nature of the state and the university today. At the same time, the struggle against the Four Year Under-Graduate Programme (FYUP) recognized the systemic discrimination the FYUP perpetuates through the exit point system that privileges the high castes and the elite sections of society even as seats reserved for SC/ST/OBC are flouted at every step within the university. The roster system adopted by the university explicitly disadvantages the Dalits and minority sections applying for jobs as teachers in DU. When prejudice finds such deep roots within the university and in society, it is up to us to recognize it, remain united and weed it out of the system. If songs of resistance are hard to hear for this communal-fascist state, let us sing louder and in one voice – kis kis ko qaid karoge!

 

DELHI UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY AGAINST POLICE REPRESSION