Skip to main content

BJP govt 'engaging' in scaremongering ahead of Jharkhand polls, inventing 'false' enemies

Counterview Desk
The civil society organization, Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JMM), even as condemning the attachment of well-known social activist Fr Stan Swamy’s belongings by the Jharkhand police on October 21, has said that the harassment is part of the state government’s growing attempts to stifle dissent and intimidate those fighting for justice.
"The haste of the police to declare Stan an absconder and attach his belongings, weeks before the state elections, indicates that it is an attempt by the BJP to invent a false enemy and engage in scaremongering in order to polarise the election in its favour", JMM says in a statement:

Text:

On October 21, a team of Khunti police attached the belongings of 83-year old Stan Swamy, a well-known activist of Jharkhand, from his residence at the Bagaicha campus in Namkum, near Ranchi. The police took away two tables, three chairs, one almirah and one mattress from his room. Stan was not present during this procedure.
The attachment was in connection with a sedition case filed against him and 19 other activists of Jharkhand in July 2018, over their Facebook posts in which they questioned state excesses in villages that conducted Pathalgadi and attack on Adivasi rights.
The posts have been framed as evidence of these activists’ endorsement of the Pathalgadi movement in Khunti in the particular FIR. Among other sections, they have been booked under 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000, which was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2015.
In fact, a recent fact-finding inquiry by Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM) found severe repression and violence in the Pathalgadi villages. Thousands of Adivasis have been wrongly charged with sedition.
In August 2018, Stan Swamy and three others (Aloka Kujur, Rakesh Roshan Kiro and Vinod Kumar) challenged the FIR in the Ranchi High Court and requested for its quashing. During the High Court hearing, the district court of Khunti, based on the prayers of the local police, issued an arrest warrant against them (under section 73 of IPC) on June 19, 2019.
However, such a warrant can only be issued if it is proved that the accused is hiding or trying to evade arrest. Before the warrant was issued, neither did the Khunti police visit the residences of Stan and others to inquire if they were present nor did it send them any notice.
This raises questions on the legality of the warrant itself. Interestingly, just a week before the warrant was issued, Stan’s room was raided by the Maharashtra police, in the presence of Jharkhand police, in the Bhima-Koregaon case (he along with ten other national activists are wrongly accused in the case). His presence at Bagaicha during the raid was reported widely reported in the media. And yet, the Khunti police got an arrest warrant issued in a week.
Following the warrant notice, the four persons filed an interlocutory application in the High Court to quash it. Subsequently, on July 22, 2019, the Khunti court, as prayed by the police, declared Stan an absconder. He subsequently appealed for quashing this order as well. On 24 September, the notice for attachment of his property was issued.
The irony of the Khunti police declaring Stan an absconder, even though he fully cooperated with the Maharashtra police in their investigations (and was available at his residence) in the same period was raised by his lawyer in the High Court. The government lawyer asked for additional time when he was asked by the Court to explain this paradox.
For the past several decades, Stan has been working for the rights of Adivasis and other underprivileged groups in Jharkhand
He was asked to justify the state’s orders, regarding the arrest warrant and declaring Stan an absconder, on the next hearing scheduled for October 23. The attachment of Stan’s belongings just two days before the hearing, while the matter was being debated in the High Court, indicates an attempt by the police to ensure that Stan’s appeal for quashing of arrest warrant becomes infructuous.
For the past several decades, Stan has been working for the rights of Adivasis and other underprivileged groups in Jharkhand. Among other issues, he works on displacement caused due to forced acquisition of land, the condition of undertrials and implementation of PESA. The Mahasabha strongly condemns the continuous harassment of activists and public intellectuals who are critical of the policies of BJP governments.
The harassments are wholly unjustified and are part of the government’s growing attempts to stifle dissent and intimidate those fighting for justice. The haste of the police to declare Stan an absconder and attach his belongings, weeks before the state elections, indicates that it is an attempt by the BJP to invent a false enemy and engage in scaremongering in order to polarise the election in its favour.
Stan is an exceptionally gentle, honest and public-spirited person. Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha has the highest regard for him and his work. The Mahasabha demands immediate quashing of the FIR and dropping of all frivolous charges against Stan Swamy and other activists and public intellectuals. It further demands action against the Khunti police for the repression unleashed by it in Pathalgadi villages and building a false case against Stan Swamy and others.

Comments

TRENDING

Australia least prepared to fight Hindu 'extremism', admits diaspora NGO group

Tiranga rally in Sydney: Cause of stir among diaspora By Our Representative  The Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence (AAAHAV) has said that Australia is “least prepared” to counter the allegedly “rising threat of Hindu far right extremism”. Calling upon politicians, federal and state governments to “urgently recognise the threat far-right Hindu extremism”, it asks “to take concrete steps to address this threat.”

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.