Anti-Posco leader Abhay Sahu arrested

By PTI | 11 May, 2013, abhaysahoo
READ MORE ON » tamil nadu | PPSS | POSCO | Patana village | explosion | Abhay Sahu
BHUBANESHWARAnti-Posco leader Abhay Sahu was arrested today in connection with several cases including a bomb blast in the proposed steel project site in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district, the police said.

“Sahu, who was to leave for Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu to attend a meeting there, was arrested from Bhubaneswar by a police team from Jagatsinghpur shortly before departure of his flight,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (Paradip), Bhabani Shankar Mishra said.

Acting on an information, the police team reached the state capital and arrested the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) leader before taking him to Kujanga near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district, the DSP said.

There are a total of 54 cases of different nature against Sahu, he said, adding the PPSSleader was on bail in 50 cases and the arrest was made in connection with four fresh cases involving a bomb explosion, obstruction in government work and other offences.

Claiming that he was implicated in false cases, Sahu said he was to leave for Coimbatore yesterday to attend a conference but deferred his visit as his son-in-law fell ill and was hospitalised.

Maintaining that he would continue to oppose the mega project proposed by the South Korean steel major, the PPSS leader said he was to take a flight to Chennai to attend the conference but police arrested him before his departure.

Sahu, who has been leading an agitation under the banner of PPSS against the mega steel project since 2005, had been arrested more than two years ago in connection with various offences.

He was released after obtaining bail in December 2011, police said, adding that four new cases were subsequently slapped against the anti-Posco leader.

One of the cases was related to an explosion allegedly during bomb making at Patana village in which three persons were killed on March 2, this year, police said.

Sahu would be produced before a court at Kujanga shortly, the DSP said.


Prisoner of an Image-Abdul Nasser Madani #fabricated

26 January 2013

Why no one speaks for , the ailing politician who has been kept behind bars for years on evidence that is suspect, and how reporting on him made me a target of the Karnataka police
BY Shahina KK EMAIL AUTHOR(S), The Open Magazine
TAGGED UNDER | Karnataka | prisoner | Abdul Nasser Madani
BETWEEN ARRESTS Madani meets the media after his acquittal in the 1998 Coimbatore blasts case; with his sons (in white) on the same day

BETWEEN ARRESTS Madani meets the media after his acquittal in the 1998 Coimbatore blasts case; with his sons (in white) on the same day

Two years ago, I did a story in Tehelka titled ‘Why is this man still in prison?’ It is a question that has still not been answered. Abdul Nasser Madani, a political leader in Kerala and the thirty-first accused in the 2008 Bangalore blast case, remains in jail without bail even though he is a wheelchair-bound chronic diabetic and there are strong indications that the evidence against him is fabricated. Two of the prosecution witnesses, quoted by the police as having witnessed Madani conspiring with a Lashkar-e-Toiba commander to carry out the blast, had told me that they had not seen Madani ever.

It was towards the end of the 1980s that Madani became a dramatic figure in the public life of Kerala. He was a charismatic religious scholar with an extraordinary oratorial flair. He became a crowd puller at a very young age, and had a huge fan following among Muslims. In 1991, he formed the Islamic Seva Sangh (ISS) in response to the riots that took place in Bhagalpur and Kerala following LK Advani’s rathyathra. Among secularists, Madani had no legitimacy and was perceived as just a reactionary counterpoint to the RSS.

Listening to his speeches and spotting his images in newspapers was suffocating and scary to me in the early 1990s. He demanded women cover their bodies. As a Muslim woman, I found it intimidating though I had distanced myself from religion. In course of time, I witnessed Madani metamorphose into the role of a wise politician who called for the emancipation of marginalised and oppressed communities like Dalits and Other Back- ward Communities, besides Muslims. The ISS was banned in 1992. When the Babri Masjid was demolished and unrest spread, Madani did not wait for the ban to be lifted. He disbanded the organisation and formed a political party called the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). It was something new to the state, which had traditionally had the limited option of oscillating between the Left Demo- cratic Front and the United Democratic Front. In the November 1993 by-election to the Ottappalam Lok Sabha constituency (the seat had been vacated by KR Narayanan, who moved to become President of India), the PDP supported the Left. Madani’s public life came to a temporary end in 1998 with his arrest by the Tamil Nadu police for his alleged involvement in the Coimbatore bomb blasts the same year.

None of the charges against him were proved and he was acquitted in 2007. But spending nine-and-a-half years in jail as a trial prisoner changed him. The old Madani who delivered belligerent public speeches was gone and the new one turned out to be serenely democratic, non-violent and peaceful in his political discourse. Madani was embraced by the CPM, and a new alliance was born, which would later prove costly for both. Madani could never live down his image of a man who misguided Muslim youth through inflammatory speeches.

In 2009, the Malayalam media was flooded with stories about the complicity of Madani and his wife Soofiya in a few cases that allegedly had terror links. The stories had the typical characteristics of crime reporting with information based largely on ‘highly placed sources’ with no substantiating evidence. This display of antagonism by the media was later interpreted by Kerala’s Left intellectuals as an expression of discontent towards the CPM for allying with the PDP in the 2009 parliamentary polls. Their telling defeat in that election made the CPM believe that the PDP factor had been ruinous to the party. From then on, they kept a distance from Madani. When the Karnataka police arrested him in August 2011, the CPM was in power but it chose to maintain a strategic silence.

The charge against Madani was that he had conspired with T Naseer, reportedly LeT’s south Indian commander, to carry out the 2008 Bangalore blasts. Even before the arrest, Jose Verghese, one of the prosecution witnesses against Madani, had filed a complaint in the National Investigation Agency court claiming that his testimony was forged. He was the owner of the house in Ernakulam that Madani had got on rent after his return from Coimbatore jail. In an interview given to me in 2010, Verghese disclosed why he had gone to court disclaiming his testimony. The police arrived at his house in Kochi (the one rented to Madani, though he had moved out by then) and he was asked to be present. They had brought along a man whose eyes were covered with a piece of cloth. The police told Verghese that the man was LeT commander T Naseer. He was asked to sign a document written in Kannada and told that it was just a statement of their visit and examination of the place. Later, Verghese learnt from the media what the document said—that he had seen Madani and Naseer at that house ‘conspiring to carry out the blast’. Another witness, MM Majeed, a former PDP worker who had testified that he had seen Madani with Naseer, had terminal cancer and was on his death bed on the day the police claimed to have recorded his statement. Another witness was Madani’s brother, Jamal Ahmed, who also moved a complaint in court against the Karnataka police for cooking up a witness statement supposedly made by him.

Till recently, the media and political parties in Kerala had kept mum about these obvious holes in the police charges, and Madani remained a taboo topic for years. Public memory of the case was revived largely through the efforts of the few who continued to argue for the human rights of prisoners. According to his lawyers, his bail pleas have been rejected more than a couple of times on insufficient grounds. According to people who visited him in jail, Madani’s health deteriorates day by day. He moves in a wheelchair ever since he lost one of his legs in the 1993 bomb blast at a public meeting, carried out allegedly by the RSS. The accused in that case were acquitted in 2009 after Madani refused to identify them in court declaring that he did not believe in revenge.

Repeated pleas from his relatives and lawyers to facilitate his treatment had till recently got no result. A recent medical report said Madani has almost completely lost his eyesight. In an open letter to the media, sent from jail, Madani said the authorities had refused to take him to hospital even on producing a medical report that stated he was suffering from acute diabetic retinopathy. The doctors had advised continuous medication and weekly check-ups, but he was only taken to a doctor after a lag of seven months. “His health is critically bad. He has swellings on his legs and face, which is a typical symptom of kidney trouble. One surgery has been conducted on his nose, which has developed an acute infection due to high blood sugar. His nose is plastered. He told me that he has terrible pain in the amputated leg,” says MA Baby, CPM Politburo member and former minister of Kerala who recently visited Madani in jail.

Leaders of the Indian Union Muslim League—a party that had never offered any comment on the false witnesses in Madani’s case—visited him in jail and are now demanding that the government safeguard his human rights. Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker, a prominent Muslim community leader in Kerala, called on the Karnataka home minister and demanded justice in Madani’s case. The CPM too has finally broken its silence. Party leaders visited Madani in jail and expressed grave concern about his health. They demanded that he be shifted to a hospital at the earliest. “We suspect that the evidence against him is fabricated,” said MA Baby to the media while exiting Bangalore’s Parappana Agrahara prison. Even Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has expressed concern. In a meeting with his Karnataka counterpart, Jagadish Shettar, Chandy urged him to ensure medical treatment for Madani. Malayalam news channels have brought back the Madani case on their primetime bulletins, and such pressure has led to some results. Earlier this month, the trial court ordered that Madani be shifted to hospital and granted permission to his wife and son to stay with him. He was finally moved to a private hospital for treatment last week.

What Madani demonstrated in politics was never a model. As a political party, the PDP was a grand failure. It is a nondescript entity full of Madani followers rather than a party with a mass base. In the absence of Madani, the party had no way of surviving or exerting any influence. However, his case is unique: the media always treated him with suspicion; he was imprisoned for a decade, later found innocent, re-arrested and imprisoned.

My own story runs parallel to Madani’s. I recorded the conversation with the fake witnesses against Madani on a hidden camera. After the story was published, I was booked for ‘intimidating the witnesses’ despite the visuals showing them voluntarily telling me everything. For a long time, I travelled to Bangalore every 15 days to present myself before the investigating officer. This was the condition on which I had been granted anticipatory bail by the Karnataka High Court.

When I was framed by the Karnataka police, a couple of newspapers reported the police version as is, without even attributing it to a source, making it look like the charges against me were genuine. Many fellow journalists from my previous stint as a television reporter stopped calling me. Contrary to the conspicuous silence maintained by newspapers, Malayalam weekly magazines came up with cover stories, correctly identifying it as a violation of freedom of the press. A few days ago, a chargesheet was submitted in my case and phase two of the legal battle has begun. I am back to giving interviews to news channels, delivering speeches at public meetings, talking about how people are being framed and how bleak the prospects are for a truly free press in the country.



Join Convention- intensified assault on Maruti workers: 7 Sept, ISI, Delhi


Indian Social Institute (Lodhi Road, Near Sai Temple)

2 pm – 5 pm

to be addressed by

Maruti workers
S Kumarasami, President of the Pricol Auto Factory Union (Coimbatore), and All-India President, AICCTU,

 Workers and Labour Organisers of Delhi-NCR

Prabhu Mahapatra
Vrinda Grover

Rakhi Sehgal
Neelabh, Editor, Outlook

Colin Gonsalves
ND Pancholi, PUCL
And Other Concerned Citizens

Dear friends,
We are all aware that the recent events in the Maruti’s Manesar factory are in no way an isolated occurrence. In fact, in recent years, there have been several similar incidents in factories all over the country. The incidents at Maruti, Graziano, Rico, Pricol, etc point to a disturbing situation in which industrial democracy is being eroded and even ruthlessly crushed.
The fallout in the Maruti case is especially disturbing. We find that police and paramilitary battalions and ‘ex-Army’ forces are being deployed on the shop floor and around the factory. There is a deliberate attempt at political mobilisation in villages against the workers: village ‘leaders’ are holding meetings in Haryana accusing Maruti workers and unionised workers in general of being ‘anti-development’ and ‘anti-Haryana.’
We feel there is a need to discuss the implications of these developments for our democracy, and to discuss how to break the encirclement in which the working class is increasingly finding itself, in spite of very remarkable trade union struggles.
Towards this, a Convention will be held on 7 September, at ISI, 2 pm-5 pm. At this Convention, Maruti workers will share their own experiences and facts regarding the incident of July 18. S Kumarasami, President of the Pricol Workers’ Union, (also National President of the AICCTU), who is himself facing cooked-up charges of attempt to murder in the 2009 Pricol case, will speak about the Pricol workers’ struggle. Workers and labour organisers working in the Delhi-NCR region will also speak.
We very much hope you can join us in this Convention, and help the workers’ voices to be heard above the shrill cries for ‘reform’ of labour laws and ‘discipline’ for the workers…
In solidarity,

Santosh Roy, Secretary, AICCTU, 7838497013
Sandeep Singh, President, AISA, 9868033425
Kavita Krishnan, 9560756628

WTF news-Robbed Rs 100 ( 2$) ? stay in jail for seven years

1 Feb 2012
COIMBATORE: Two Coimbatore youth have been awarded seven years in jail each for waylaying and robbing a man of Rs100 and a wrist watch two years ago.

Handing down the punishment on Tuesday, the Fourth Additional Sessions Court judge A K A Rahman also imposed a penalty of Rs10,000 on the two.

According to the prosecution case, on the night of February 7, 2010, the accused Rajendran and Askar Ali, both aged 27 and residents of Selvapuram, had brandished a knife and waylaid one Saravanan who was proceeding to a pharmacy to buy medicines. They relieved him of Rs100 and a watch on a street in Selvapuram Muthusamy Colony.

Additional Government Pleader M K Elangovan argued the case for the prosecution during the final trial.

The conviction of the two youth set tongues wagging outside the court hall as people felt that Rs100 was too paltry a sum warranting seven years’ imprisonment.

However, senior lawyers pointed out that in the eyes of law the quantum of punishment is not proportionate to the amount robbed.

“As per Sec 392 of the IPC, whoever commits robbery shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable for fine. The judge has rightly invoked this provision,” a senior lawyer explained.

The lawyer added that the accused had threatened the victim at knife-point, which was a serious offence.


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