Dr Saibal Jana, chief physician of Shaheed Hospital at Dalli Rajhara,
Chhattisgarh has been arrested. He was picked up late at night by
Chhattisgarh police. The hospital was founded Chhattisgarh Mukti
Morcha led by Late Shankar Guha Niyogi and run by money collected from
the workers of the area. Dr. Jena’s arrest comes close on the heels of
the acid attack on Soni Sori and harrassment of her relatives.
Dr.Saibal Jana was arrested in a case related to the police firing on
agitating workers of the Bhilai Industrial Area on 1 July, 1992. Dr
Jana was, on that day, among the team of doctors providing medical
assistance to trade union activists of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha
who were injured. We believe that Dr Jana’s arrest in this case, after
a gap of 24 years, is motivated by sheer vendetta against him by BJP
led Raman Singh government, that has an ideological hatred of anyone
who stands up for the democratic rights of workers, farmers and
ordinary Indian citizens.
PL SIGN PETITION
This intervew with SUDHA BHARADWAJ of Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha was conducted by JUSTIN PODUR in Raipur on 5 March 2013
JP: As a lawyer and an activist, how do you see the relationship between legal work and activism?
SB: I see myself primarily as a trade unionist. I joined the union movement over twenty years ago, and it was the union that made me a lawyer. They felt that workers needed a good lawyer in their fight with the corporations. Our union is one of contract workers and has been striving to overcome divisions in the working class. Here, workers have a close connection with the peasants. So, we believe that working with the peasants is part of unionism.
When I got to the High Court, I found that all the people’s organizations were in a similar situation. The laws that give you rights are poorly implemented. When you fight, the status quo has many legal weapons, launches malicious litigation, etc. So we have a group of lawyers now (Janhit), and we work on group legal aid, not individual legal aid. The idea is that if you help a group, that can bring about some kind of change, create some space. I’ve also gotten involved with the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), for which I am the General Secretary in Chhattisgarh. Continue reading The Bastar Land Grab: An Interview with Sudha Bharadwaj