Skip to main content

Adivasi protest follows Madhya Pradesh tribal rights leader's arrest in a 'false' case

By Antaram Awase, et al* 

In the continuing assault on the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), on August 28, Nitin, an activist of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, was arrested after being implicated in a false case. This is the latest in a series of attacks by Madhya Pradesh government against JADS over the past few months when in addition to campaigning for forest rights and they started protesting against state connivance in massive deforestation in Burhanpur district .
On 2nd March, 35 Adivasis of Guarkheda (Baladi) village had been arrested following a fracas with forest department personnel, and Nitin’s name was added later even though he was not present during the incident.
Four tribals including two women of Guarkheda (Baladi Panchayat) forcefully taken away from their homes by forest personnel. People of the village attempted to find them and also informed Sangathan activists, including Nitin of the incident.
Nitin immediately contacted the DFO and District Collector, Burhanpur, seeking their intervention in the matter to ensure that due process of law is followed and no violence is committed against those picked up. The villagers were also informed about this conversation.
According to the villagers, when people reached the Burhanpur range office in search of the four picked up by the forest personnel, they heard them screaming from being beaten up, from inside a locked room. It is alleged that that a clash between the villagers and the forest officials ensued , after which 35 adivasis including 15 women were arrested by the police.
Recently, we came to know that Burhanpur Police has made Nitin a co-accused in this case, and it is being alleged that Nitin incited the attack on the range office via the phone! Upon surrendering before the Court Nitin has been arrested, and been remanded to police custody. Upon being summoned by the police to record his statement, Nitin had twice gone to Lalbagh PS in March, but both times the police had put it off on different pretexts.
After the Sangathan publicly protested the role of the administration in the massive deforestation in the area, the activists of the organization began to be targeted by the police and administration alike.
Due to the awareness generated by activists of JADS regarding the Forest Rights Act and other constitutional rights of Adivasis, the organization has been subject to malicious prosecution by the forest department.
The most recent attacks of repression started recently against the organization when it publicly opposed the administrative collusion in deforestation of over 15,000 acres of pristine forests. Organization activists myself and Dilip Sisodia were sent to jail. Adivasi activists were implicated in many cases and Sangathan activist Madhuri was externed from the district!
Burhanpur has a long history of atrocities against adivasis, where the forest department has routinely picked up, illegally detained and beaten people over the years. The entire community can attest to the lakhs that have been extorted over decades by corrupt forest officials for allowing their forefathers to settle and cultivate in the area. Through JADS, tribals are raising their voice, demanding their forest rights and constitutional rightsand are firmly opposing atrocities being committed against them.
Since graduating from the reputed Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Nitin has been with JADS for the past 5 years and has played an active role in the organization's awareness campaign for legal forest rights.
Adivasis members of JADS reached Burhanpur in large numbers and protested Nitin’s arrest which they said was an attack on their non-violent struggle for legal and constitutional rights. Nitin Bhai has been falsely implicated. We are not going to be cowed down by such attacks, but will unite and continue to fight for our rights!
*JADS activists Ashabai Solanki, Nasribai Ningwal, Valsing Sastia



Avoidable Narmada floods: Modi birthday fete caused long wait for release of dam waters

Counterview Desk  Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), has accused the Sardar Sarovar dam operators for once again acting in an "unaccountable" manner, bringing "avoidable floods in downstream Gujarat."  In a detailed analysis, SANDRP has said that the water level at the Golden Bridge in Bharuch approached the highest flood level on September 17, 2023, but these "could have been significantly lower and much less disastrous" both for the upstream and downstream areas of the dam, if the authorities had taken action earlier based on available actionable information.

Biden urged to warn Modi: US can declare India as worst religious freedom offender

By Our Representative  During a Congressional Briefing held on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, Nadine Maenza, former Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), has wondered why the Biden administration should raise issues of mass anti-minority mob violence  -- particularly in Haryana and Manipur -- with Modi. Modi should be told that if such violence continues, the US will be “compelled by law” to designate India as one of the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom, she urged.

From 'Naatu-Naatu' to 'Nipah-Nipah': Dancing to the tune of western pipers?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Some critics have commented that the ecstatic response of most Indians to the Oscar for the racy Indian song, “Naatu-Naatu” from the film, “RRR” reeks of sheer racism, insulting visuals and a colonial hangover. It was perhaps these ingredients that impressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one critic says.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Asset managers hold '2.8 times more equity' in fossil fuel cos than in green investments

By Deepanwita Gita Niyogi*  The world’s largest asset managers are far off track to meet the  2050 net zero commitments , a new study  released by InfluenceMap , a London-based think tank working on climate change and sustainability, says. Released on August 1, the Asset Managers and Climate Change 2023 report by FinanceMap, a work stream of InfluenceMap, finds that the world’s largest asset managers have not improved on their climate performance in the past two years.

Evading primary responsibility, ONGC decides to invest Rs 15,000 crore in sick subsidiary

By NS Venkataraman*  It is reported that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will infuse about Rs 15,000 crore in ONGC Petro-additions Ltd (OPaL) as part of a financial restructuring exercise. ONGC currently holds 49.36 per cent stake in (OPaL), which operates a mega petrochemical plant at Dahej in Gujarat. GAIL (India) Ltd has 49.21 per cent interest and Gujarat State Petrochemical Corporation (GSPC) has the remaining 1.43 per cent.

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.

Sales, profits of Indian firms 'deteriorate', yet no significant increase in cost pressures

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad's (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), a monthly exercise, has said that while cost perceptions data does not indicate significant increase of cost pressures, sales and profits of the Indian firms have deteriorated.

'State-sanctioned terror': Stop drone attack on Adivasis, urge over 80 world academics

Counterview Desk  A joint statement, “Indigenous Peoples’ Un-Freedoms and Our Academic Freedom: A Call for Solidarity”, endorsed by over 80 signatories, including international academics, activists and civil society organizations, as well as diasporic Indian academics and researchers, working with Adivasi (indigenous) communities in India, has made an urgent appeal to prevent future drone bomb attacks by the Indian state on Adivasi villages.