In a refreshingly swift intervention in the affair concerning Roma’s arrest, the UP chief minister Mayawati has ordered the revocation of the cases under the National Security Act and she was released soon thereafter. Mayawati has also called for an explanation in this regard, from concerned police officers of Sonebhadra district. This is unimaginable in contemporary India, across the political spectrum from the Right to the Left. Rarely has such a prompt intervention been undertaken by those tempered in the logic of power and ‘institutions’. As a matter of fact, experience shows that, even in the best of cases, such complaints – even uproar – about the misuse of power, are routinely pushed through a mesh of bureaucratic ‘rules and regulations’ in a manner that leaves you wondering, in the end, whether there is really any desire on the part of the political leaders concerned to address the issue at hand.
Mayawati’s decision has been welcomed by Medha Patkar and other organizations and activists like Tahira Hasan of Tehrik-e-Niswan and Roop Rekha Verma of Sanjhi Duniya. It is worth remembering that while Medha Patkar has been supportive of struggle over land, elsewhere in the state, she has been quite forthright in welcoming this move. Jansatta reporter Ambarish Kumar, quotes Tahira Hasan and others to the effect that this step by Mayawati shows that she has decided not to go the Mulayam Singh way, for such a thing would have been unimaginable in his rule. Kumar also reports that CPI(ML) Liberation leaders have also welcomed this decision. This is important because, a large number of those killed or arrested by the police in these areas of UP, have actually been activists of the CPI(ML) Liberation and not ‘Maoists’ – who hardly have any presence in the region.