#India-Jharkhand: Muffling dissent #Aparnamarandi #Dayamanibarla


 

MANOB CHOWDHURY 

Aparna Marandiwith her son in Ranchi after Frontline-, Dec 2012

JHARKHAND is leading from the front to shackle the many democratic people’s movements which have raised their voices against private mining and land acquisition in the State. In an unprecedented move, the State police, in late November and December, arrested several civil rights activists who have been leading the anti-mining struggle with the support of displaced tribal people

On December 8, Aparna Marandi, a long-time Dalit rights activist who has exposed many scams, including the high-profile Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme scam, and has led many demonstrations against land acquisition, was arrested on false charges, some activists say. Aparna, along with her infant son and three other activists, was arrested for her involvement in two different protests, the first of which was held six years ago and the second on November 30.

In custody, Aparna and the other activists were allegedly forced to sign forged documents and were presented before a magistrate only on December 10.

In a similar incident on November 24, the police arrested prominent anti-mining activist Xavier Dias and five of his colleagues for their alleged role in leading a protest against the Tata’s iron ore mine in Noamundi in the West Singbhum district of the State 21 years ago.  These are the latest in a spate of arrests, starting with the booking of another civil rights activist, Dayamani Barla. She was leading a protest against land acquisition in Nagri village near Ranchi on October 16 when she was detained in connection with a six-year-old case. Her bail plea has been rejected thrice by the Ranchi High Court.

The arrests were noticed only when they started to happen in an orchestrated way in the space of a month and for no immediate reason. The Jharkhand government has not made any statements so far. However, as of now, these arrests look like a witch-hunt against prominent activists of the State.

Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta

 

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