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 Among other sections, they have been booked under 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000, which was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2015.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

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.