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 Among other sections, they have been booked under 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000, which was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2015.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

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Dalit, Adivasi protest in Jharkhand against 'illegal' transfer of land for development

By Rishit Neogi Displacement and eviction are not new terms. It is surprising that they are still continuing and have become a tool in the hands of state backed corporates to forcibly occupy lands in the name of development.