Tag Archives: Archana Prasad

Withdraw false charges lodged by Chhattisgarh police against academics and political activists


We, the undersigned, are outraged by recent charges of murder that have been laid against

Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar, JNU professor Archana Prasad, Vineet Tiwari (of Joshi Adhikar Sansthan, Delhi), Chhattisgarh CPI(M) state secretary, Sanjay Parate, Mangalram Karma, and Manju Kawasi, CPI activist and Sarpanch of Guphidi in Sukma district, by the Chhattisgarh police in the killing of Shamnath Baghel.

The charges are patently fabricated, and follow a pattern of intimidation by the Chhattisgarh police every time evidence is released of their lawless prosecution of the war against the Maoists. Earlier this year, Sundar, Prasad, Tiwari and Parate were part of a fact-finding team that looked at the impact of Maoist violence and state excesses on ordinary villagers in Bastar, finding that they were victims of fake encounters, rapes, arrests, beatings, IED blasts, and killing of informers, implicating Maoists, police, and security forces. The residents of Bastar were also found to be facing the renewal of attacks by civilian militias armed by the state. At that time too, the district administration of Bastar had tried to implicate the fact-finding team on fake charges on the basis of a contrived complaint. More recently, when the police were charge-sheeted on the basis of evidence gathered by Sundar and others for carrying out arson in an operation in 2011, they retaliated by burning effigies of her and other activists and journalists in order to intimidate and incite violence against them.

Sundar and others have put on record their unequivocal condemnation of the killing of Shamnath Baghel. Their writing and interventions on the ongoing war in Bastar have consistently condemned all forms of violence, whether by the state or by the Maoists.

We are saddened by the climate of silencing of dissent that is becoming widespread in India and concerned that the work of researchers, journalists, lawyers and activists is being monitored and controlled to quell critical scrutiny of governmental actions. We believe such silencing of opposing views poses a grave danger to the democratic values of India.

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Sahmat statement on intimidation and threats to scholars and activists

Guest Post : Sahmat statement on intimidation and threats to scholars and activists who investigated human rights abuses in Chhattisgarh

Date 24.5.2016

We strongly condemn the Chhattisgarh government and its police force for using intimidation and threats of a criminal case against academics and political activists investigating human rights abuses in the southern parts of the state, especially Bastar and Dantewada. A fact finding team consisting of Prof. Archana Prasad, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Prof. Nandini Sundar, Delhi University (DU) and Vineet Tiwari, researcher at CPI’s Joshi-Adhikari Institute recently visited the area for 5 days between 12-16 May 2016. They were accompanied by Sanjay Parate, Chhattisgarh State Secretary CPI-M.

After the visit the team was accused of spreading dissent against security agencies and supporting the ’Maoists’. The statement by the state home minister Ram Sewak Paikra in the Times of India reportedly calling the three reputed Delhi based academicians ‘anti-nationals’ and ‘Maoist’ is part of a recent and explicit trend to stifle the freedom of expression and movement through a state crackdown on political dissent. The threat of an FIR and further harassment looms large. The local contacts, escorts and villagers who hosted the team are being harassed and intimidated by the Police in order to fabricate evidence and ensure that they help no other study team in the future.

The Press Release by the team clearly indicts both the Chhattisgarh state and Maoist violence and reveals how ordinary Adivasis, struggling for a dignified existence and protesting against the violation of basic rights have little space to voice genuine grievances.

This is the latest in a long line of actions to criminalize dissent, free expression and movement, and stifle fair reportage of events which have become hallmarks of the Chhattisgarh government.

We appeal to all democrats to condemn this brazen attempt at intimidation by the State and its Security Agencies.

Bishnupriya Dutt, (JNU)
Ranjani Mazumdar, (JNU)
Surinder Jodhka, JNU)
Neeladri Bhattacharyya, (JNU)
Jaivir Singh, (JNU)
Vivek Kumar, (JNU)
Sachidanand Sinha, (JNU)

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