Tag Archives: Nandini Sundar

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

PETITION TO THE PRESIDENT, PRIME MINISTER AND HOME MINISTER OF INDIA

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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Remember, what the dormouse said …

Given the need to show ‘results’ in Chhattisgarh, the police are pulling some unlikely rabbits out of still stranger hats. The latest is Lingaram Kodopi, tipped by the police to be “Azad’s successor”, but as Jefferson Airplane reminds , If you go chasing rabbits…

The following piece appeared in The Hindu under the joint by-line of Aman Sethi and Smita Gupta.

In a press conference on Sunday, S.R.P Kalluri, Senior Superintendent of Police of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, identified the prime suspect behind the July 6 attack on the house of Congress worker and civil contractor Avdesh Singh Gautam. According to a press release circulated by the Chhattisgarh police, “this attack was masterminded by Lingaram Kodopi, a resident of Sameli village.”
“In the last few months, Kodopi had received training in terrorist techniques in Delhi and Gujarat,” the release stated, claiming that Lingaram was “in touch” with writer Arundhati Roy, activist Medha Patkar and Nandini Sundar, a sociology professor at the Delhi School of Economics. The police also said that Kodopi was tipped to succeed Communist Party of India (Maoist) central spokesperson Azad, after the latter was killed by the Andhra Pradesh Police on July 2 this year.

Nandini Sundar – Will counting caste reduce inequality?

Nandini Sundar’s recent Op-Ed for The Hindu on caste-enumeration in the latest round of the census. Read the entire article here.

But come back with your comments – what do you think about caste–enumeration?

Yesterday when the census enumerator visited, I asked him how he felt about the current debate on counting caste in the census: “Not comfortable at all”, he said, “I don’t even like asking whether someone is SC/ST or Other, leave alone what their caste is.” But, he added, “caste is an inescapable reality of Indian society.”

The debate on counting caste in the census has not moved on from 2001, when opinion was equally divided. Supporters of caste enumeration argue that census categories merely reflect existing classifications, and that only the census can provide the figures necessary to map inequality by caste. Opponents argue that the census does not mirror but actively produces social classifications and ways of thinking. They point to the history of mobilisation around caste in the census and the consequent dangers of both distorted data and increased social tensions. In neither case has much thought been given to how the data might be used, the different kinds of figures needed for different purposes, or alternative ways of collecting the required data. Read the rest of the article here

Police States, Anthropology and Human Rights: Nandini Sundar

Guestpost by Nandini Sundar

3rd January 2010

Ujjwal Kumar Singh, Professor of Political Science, Delhi University and I have just returned  (January 1st) from a visit to the police state of Chhattisgarh. Ujjwal had gone for research and I had gone for a combination of research and verification purposes to assess the livelihood situation of villagers for our case before the SC, both entirely legitimate activities. In Dantewada, we had checked into Hotel Madhuban on the 29th of December around 2 pm without any problems, only to be told later that night that the management required the entire hotel to be instantly emptied out because they were doing some puja to mark the death anniversary of the hotel owner. We refused to leave at night, and were told we would have to leave at 6 am instead because the rooms had to be cleaned. As expected, other guests checked in the next morning, puja notwithstanding.
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