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



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. 

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

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.

Why convert growing badminton popularity into an 'inclusive sports opportunity'

By Sudhansu R Das  Over the years badminton has become the second most popular game in the world after soccer.  Today, nearly 220 million people across the world play badminton.  The game has become very popular in urban India after India won medals in various international badminton tournaments.  One will come across a badminton court in every one kilometer radius of Hyderabad.  

Faith leaders agree: All religious places should display ‘anti-child marriage’ messages

By Jitendra Parmar*  As many as 17 faith leaders, together for an interfaith dialogue on child marriage in New Delhi, unanimously have agreed that no faith allows or endorses child marriage. The faith leaders advocated that all religious places should display information on child marriage.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

Ayurveda, Sidda, and knowledge: Three-day workshop begins in Pala town

By Rosamma Thomas*  Pala town in Kottayam district of Kerala is about 25 km from the district headquarters. St Thomas College in Pala is currently hosting a three-day workshop on knowledge systems, and gathered together are philosophers, sociologists, medical practitioners in homeopathy and Ayurveda, one of them from Nepal, and a few guests from Europe. The discussions on the first day focused on knowledge systems, power structures, and epistemic diversity. French researcher Jacquiline Descarpentries, who represents a unique cooperative of researchers, some of whom have no formal institutional affiliation, laid the ground, addressing the audience over the Internet.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".