#India- FREE APARNA MARANDI , Human Rights Violation by Jharkhand Police





*| India |, 11 December 2012*

Aparna Marandi, her four year old son Alok Chandra, Satish (16 years old)
her distant relative and her two friends Baby Turi and Susheela Ekka were
picked up the police on 8th December. The manner in which they were picked
up, interrogated and detained, are in clear violation of all established
procedures and rules. Aparna was forced to sign a confessional statement on
the basis of which she has been taken away to Dumka prison. All of them
were mistreated and mentally tortured during this unlawful interrogation.

Earlier in the day I and my colleagues at Video Volunteers, Anand Hembrom
and Tania Deviah, spoke at length with Baby Turi and her husband Damodar
Turi. Their detailed narration of the last 3 days (below) gives us enough
evidence of grievous human rights violation by the Jharkhand police :
illegal detention, violation of arrest guidelines, forceful confession,
intimidatory and abusive interrogation, threatening to seriously hurt and

Given that this is not an isolated incident, and marks a pattern of
silencing rights activists who challenge repression and exploitative
‘development’ projects , we must take strong and urgent action on this
matter. I urge you all to take this matter up in your respective individual
or collective capacities to ensure justice to all affected.


Aparna Marandi is the wife of cultural activist Jeetan Marandi. Jeetan was
a composer and singer and  sang about poverty, starvation, corruption,
oppression – realities of life in some of the most marginalized regions in
the country. The state reacted to his activism with draconian force and
incarcerated him. Despite being acquitted by the Jhakhand High Court,
Jeetan continues to languish in prison. It has been four long years since
he was arrested.

Since Jeetan’s arrest, Aparna has been indefatigable. With her son in her
arms, she would go from courts to police stations to government officers to
conferences to rallies in the streets in an effort to secure justice for
Jeetan. She is one of the most outspoken voices for human rights and
justice in grassroots Jharkhand.

Baby Turi is the Mukhiya (village council head) of Jitpur panchayat in
Tundi block, Dhanbad district of Jharkhand. Damodar Turi, a well known
human rights activist specifically working against displacement and forced
eviction, is Baby’s husband. Damodar is also accused of being a ‘Maoist
sympathizer’ and has baseless cases slapped on him since the last four

*Baby Turi’s Statement [Given on 11 December]*

On 8th December 2012, I along with  Aparna Marandi , her four year old son
Alok,  Sushila Ekka and Satish Kumar were to take a train from Hatia
railway station to go to Hyderabad to attend the Rajnitik Bandi Rihayi
Samiti (Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners) meeting. At 4pm,
while we were still sitting in the train and waiting for it to move, we
were approached by plain clothed police officers. They told us that they
were Railway Ticket Examiners and that we needed to be interrogated for
traveling on unconfirmed tickets. We were all were made to remove our
luggage and get out of the train. They asked us why we are going to
Hyderabad. Aparna said she is attending the meeting as her husband is a
political prisoner. ‘I will try everything I can to get my husband out of
jail because he is innocent’, she said.

From the railway station we were moved to the CBI office in Ranchi where we
were interrogated about our links to Maoist groups. They kept throwing
names at us but we did not know any of those people. We said that we have
no links or connections with any Maoists group or person. Through out that
questioning they used foul language and kept cursing. Their whole approach
was to scare us, intimidate and to make us to accept their charges and

At 10.30 pm on the same night (8th December 2012) they moved us to the
Women’s station in Ranchi. They kept us in the lockup room. We were given
very little food and after demanding it several times. They did not even
give some biscuits to Alok. They used abusive language and wouldn’t allow
us to use the toilet. They said we were faking the urge to use the toilet
because we wanted to walk around.  That night we slept in the lockup room
with one male guard outside. The guards took turns to keep an eye on us.

Next morning, on  9th December, Aparna was called out individually. They
started asking her about her connection to Maoists. They cursed her and
threatened her a lot. The poor thing was very scared. Aparna was asked to
sign a document stating that she was part of group who set a company’s
dumper (truck) on fire in Dumka and in the shoot out in Khatikhund. Aparna
was forced to sign it. She told us later that she had no choice but to sign
it because she felt her life ws in danger. The camera that you (Video
Volunteers) had given her was confiscated. They asked us to us to sweep the
lock up and do things like this. They weren’t giving us food. We told them
that we’ll give them money, just buy us some food! Aparna had picked up the
broom but we told her to drop it. Are we sweepers?

I overheard the police officer talking to her superiors on the phone. She
said ‘we have captured four Naxals and we are taking good care of them
Sir.’ Although it was a women’s police station, there were many CRPF men
guarding both the inside and outside the station. Through that day we were
photographed many times by the police.

When the media persons came, there was more tension. They told us we had
informed the media and that we were lying that we hadn’t contacted anyone.
We know that many activists in Ranchi and elsewhere were calling the SP to
know about our whereabouts and that the SP said that he doesn’t know about
any such arrests. All that time we were in the lock up.

Sushila too was interrogated. ‘How come people from different districts are
here together’, they asked. We explained that we knew each other since
Jeetan and Damodar were arrested under false charges in 2008.

They asked me if I knew about a CRPF camp near my village. I said yes. They
asked if I knew about the murder of a landlord there. I said no. They said,
‘how come you don’t know about it when you are the Mukhiya of the village’.
I said that I was not the Mukhiya (village council head)  at the time of
that killing. The police woman accused me of wining the election with the
support of the Maoists. They were trying very hard to make us accept that
we are Maoists.

Only women police officers were interrogating us. But CRPF men were all
over the station. They even accompanied us even when we went to use the

On the evening of the 9th I and Susheela and Satish were asked to write and
sign a document stating that we were taken in for interrogation with Aparna
Marandi and were released without harm and that the police had not
misbehaved with us. We were asked to write that we had gathered in Hatiya
railway station to meet Jeetan Marandi. But we refused to write that part
because this was not true. Jeetan Marandi has been in jail for 4 years so
how can we have gone to meet him at the railway station?!  We protested
vehemently. We insisted that we will only write the facts and they
relented. However, they made us write that we were picked up for
questioning on the evening of the 9th. We told them that we want to put the
actual date which was the 8th. But they started cursing us again and even
threatened to kill us and so we relented to this and allowed them to put
the date as 9th .  We wrote and signed that statement because the three of
us were totally scared for our lives.

That night we were again made to sleep in the lock up. We were not allowed
to contact any our relatives nor did they inform any of our relatives of
our whereabouts or charges on us.

The following day, on 10th of December, at about 11am Aparna was taken away
to be produced before the magistrate in Ranchi. We came to know later that
she was taken to Dumka jail from there.

One police officer wanted the three of us to also a sign the confession
document of Aparna Marandi wherein she was made to write that she was
involved in the two incidents of Maoist attack. We started worrying badly.
Just then another police officer told her that the 3 of us need not be
added to Aparna’s. ‘We’ll slap some other case on them’, she said.

At 4pm on 10th December , Sushila, Satish and I were released. We don’t
know what will happen next. We just know that they have taken our photos
and our signatures on this document. We don’t know how Aparna is doing.

*Damodar Turi statement:* *[Given on 11 December]*

I am the State Convener of the Visthapan Virodhi Janvikas Andolan (People’s
Campaign against Displacement). I have charges under UAPA and under section
17 and 18 CRPC Act filed against me since 24th June 2008.  No FIR was made.
No information was given to me or anyone about this. That night at 9pm,
police surrounded my office in Ranchi and arrested me. Police officers from
5 stations were present, about 100 police men.  They started beating me in
the office itself. They beat me in the vehicle on the way. In the station
they beat me in various ways, kicks, slaps, with sticks. Then they took me
to Lalpur Police Station and began third degree torture. They kept throwing
names of Moist leaders at me and asked me how I knew them. I said I don’t
know any of them and that my work is against displacement and for the
development of Adivasis and Dalits. ‘So you are against all the companies
that want to come to Jharkhand is it”, they asked me. I said that my work
is to secure the rights of the marginalized people. They then asked me how
I met various activists and leaders and where we get funding from. I showed
them receipts of how people donated small funds to the movement. They did
not listen. They confiscated the cash in my office and claimed that it was
“levy ka paisa” (money collected as levy*). I felt upset and protested that
this is not levy money. They tortured me more and made me sign a statement.
The same night they moved me to the Muffosil police station. They
threatened me that they will kill me in an encounter. I told them who I was
and and what my work was and that this fact will not change no matter how
much they tortured me. I told them to go ahead and kill me in an encounter
if they want.

The next morning they took me to a press conference. At first the hall was
empty. Then they took me out of the room and when they brought me back in,
on each of the tables they had laid out *Lal Chingari* pamphlets, alongside
brochures of my organization. Lal Chingari is the pamphlet brought out by
the Moists. I tried to protest and told the press who I am and that the Lal
Chingari pamphlets were not mine. SP (Superintendent of Police) MS Bhatia
told the media persons gathered there that the Lal Chingari were recovered
from my office. The fact is that they did not find any such thing on me or
in my office. This was the only evidence they produced to prove that I am a
Maoist. The press then wrote both sides of the story.

This is the context under which my wife’s recent arrest plays out. In the
biggest democracy in the country, there is a lot of suspicion against the
Adivasi and Dalits. A lot of us are targeted as Maoists and Naxals. We have
no forum to voice our sorrow. There is a report stating how 100s of
Adivasis have been jailed with such charges. All the armed operations
against Maoists have targeted defenseless Adivasis and Dalits in this
state. That is the systematic attempt of the Government. My wife and her
companions are being treated this way because they are Dalits. If they were
women from upper class or upper caste families, I don’t feel they would
have been looked at with such suspicion.

My wife and others were detained illegally. They were picked up police men
in plain clothes, they had no name tags, there were no women police at that
time. This is a blatant violation of law and laid down procedures. They
were not told the reason of their arrest. They weren’t allowed to use the
toilet and were mentally tortured. They were not given adequate food and
had to fight for it. They police used abusive language. They were detained
for more than 24 hrs and were not produced before a Magistrate. The police
kept talking about their connection to Maoist leaders. There were threats
to beat kill them.

Stalin K.DirectorVideo Volunteers – Empowering CommunityVoices

Koodankulam: Statement of Justice A P Shah

 No Celebration Goes Unpunished

Nityanand Jayaraman

A few days ago, India celebrated the 60th year of parliamentary democracy. Meanwhile, in many corners of Independent India, democracy was being celebrated through the fundamental act of speaking out. In Jagatsinhpur, Orissa, a community had closed itself within the village of Dhinkia refusing to yield to police pressure, enticements and threats, and refusing to allow the Korean steel major POSCO to take over their fertile lands to set up a steel plant. A courageous tribal teacher – Soni Sori – is being treated in a hospital in Delhi. She celebrated democracy by speaking out against maoists and the armed police in Chattisgarh. For this, the police shoved stones down her vagina, after our judiciary in Delhi handed her over to police custody despite her fears that she’d be tortured by the police. The survivors in Bhopal — who have seen nearly a dozen prime ministers and their false promises, more than a 1000 demonstrations, several dozen hunger strikes, more than 2000 kms in padayatras — staged a rail blockade last December, a few days before the 26th anniversary of the disaster. They wished to pressure the State Government and the Indian Government to present true figures of the numbers of people injured or killed. The State Response was brutal: lathi charge, tear gas lobbed. Cases of attempt to murder and wielding deadly weapons against more than 2000 people, including 80-year old women barely capable of wielding their walking sticks.

In Koodankulam, Tamilnadu, fisherfolk, farmers and traders who are voicing their concerns over the risks posed by a nuclear power plant in their neighbourhood are being hounded by the State. A total of 287 FIRs have been filed in just one police station – Koodankulam P.S. – between September 2011 and April 2012 implicating more than 55000 people in cases involving criminal charges ranging from unlawful assembly to sedition and waging war against the state. At least 3500 people are known to have been charged with sedition and waging war against the state. Details about 178 FIRs are not yet available. FIRs are not being disclosed. One has to go to court to get a copy of the FIRs. Holding demonstrations, conducting hall meetings, printing posters, distributing handbills and voicing opinions critical of nuclear energy is banned in the district of Tirunelveli. The restrictions are relaxed as you move away from the epicentre. But they can still be felt even in Chennai where the police denies permission for protests against nuclear energy.

Such a crackdown on free speech – the foundation of democracy – needs to be condemned. But we live in curious times. Even the media condones this intrusion into the most fundamental of constitutional rights. Even as the media pontificates and resists, rightly so, the dangerous proposals by the Supreme Court or the Press Council chairman to regulate and perhaps control the media, it condones and even participates in the denial of Idinthakarai residents to speak out against a project that they feel will change their lives forever, for the worse. Regardless of one’s point of view on nuclear energy, the assault on free speech requires greater scrutiny and critique.

On 14 May, 2012, Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle organised a public hearing. Justice (Retd) A.P. Shah, former Chief Justice of Madras and Delhi High Courts, presided over the hearings. Advocate Geeta Ramaseshan and Prof. Prabha Kalvimani assisted him. In the course of the hearings, members of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy deposed live from Idinthakarai over skype. Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan deposed live from Delhi over skype. Twelve people from villages around Idinthakarai spoke about how their lives have been made living hell by the police and intelligence officers. Lawyers assisting and observing the abuse of the Indian Penal Code submitted analyses of the cases against the protestors. Human Rights Protection Committee, the organisation that is assisting the protestors with their bail applications, presented an analyses and their experiences, while People’s Union of Civil Liberties made a submission on the absurdity of the cases filed. Meera Udayakumar, wife of PMANE convenor S.P. Udayakumar, and Porkodi, wife of Muhilan, an activist that has been in jail and denied bail since 19 March, spoke about the harassments and psychological trauma they have faced in the last few months. Revathi, a friend of Satish Kumar – the other young activist jailed for having the gumption to speak out – spoke about how Satish was blindfolded and beaten, hand-cuffed and led to court as if he was a terrorist. All this, for the crime of speaking out.

The public hearing was livestreamed, and a recorded version of the proceedings can be viewed at:


It is very easy for all of us – I stay in Delhi; I need AC; I need electricity as do all of you from Madras. We are away from Koodankulam. Those 70,000 farmers and those fishermen; who cares for them? Life is very cheap in our country. So we think in our terms. “Oh, there is electricity shortage. What should we do?” We don’t even think about it. It is only 2.36 percent that comes from nuclear energy. There are ways and means [of generating electricity from other sources], but I’ll not go into that. Lastly, about the risk factor. Japan, just imagine, it is one of the most advanced countries, and till the accident happened, they claimed that their nuclear reactors are absolutely safe. And then, the Japanese Government has decided to abandon nuclear energy altogether. And there are four other countries which have put a moratorium on nuclear energy – Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Three countries. They have declared that they will not be using nuclear energy from now on. I don’t want to enter into any kind of argument with [our scientists]. I have great respect for them. They say there is zero percent chance of any mishap. That is too tall a claim. When they say that there is zero percent chance, they also say that “we’ll have a review of all the projects, all the nuclear power plants.” So naturally, there is a fear. Now, on this fact alone, there is a worldwide concern over nuclear energy. You want to contain these 70,000 people, because they protest against nuclear energy? And what is it that they want to say? See their demands. Very reasonable. Every project, even a project involving 50 crore rupees on public land is required to conduct a public hearing and a EIA — environmental impact assessment. You won’t believe this, but EIA for Koodankulam project was conducted in 1988 – 22 years back, when there were no rules. And the EIA was required only for the allocation of money from the Planning Commission. There was no people’s hearing. There was nothing. So, even that EIA was not released to the people. They should conduct a fresh EIA. That is their demand.

The second demand is – they have conducted a safety analysis. So why not release it to them? Let the people understand that they have conducted the analysis, and that these are the issues. Please talk to them, and satisfy them that it is not. . .that it is risk-free or relatively risk-free. The next is site evaluation. There has been concern on this, because this comes in a seismic area. That is the claim. That report is also not available to people. I want to tell you that Areva’s CEO came to India. Areva is the company which is setting up plants in Jaitapur. According to him, whenever you put up a power plant, you should do it in consultation with people, because people should be completely convinced that there is no risk to their lives. Now, you don’t even supply to them the basic documents. Secondly, what about the risks? Suppose that something happens. What is the great hurry in rushing with the project?

In a democratic country, we have the right of a peaceful protest; right to assemble is a fundamental right; right to gather in a public place and protest is a fundamental right if it is not disturbing the public tranquility. The right to free speech and expression is the most fundamental right of all. Supreme Court says that – there is no hierarchy of rights but it is the arc of all fundamental rights. It is definitely the most fundamental of rights. I have certain views. People may say that nuclear energy is good for the country, and some people may say that it is bad for the country. When I say that I have serious doubts about nuclear energy, will you brand me as anti-patriotic, as anti-national, as a person who should be charged with sedition or waging war against the state? What have these people done? They have protested against this particular plant. And there is not a single incident of violence. And what have the state authorities done? There are analyses produced before us of the cases instituted against them. Can any one of you explain to me how a peaceful protest against a nuclear plant, where people say that “we do not want a nuclear plant in our place,” amounts to sedition? Which ingredient of sedition is established here? Then you also invoke the provision related to waging war against the country. Where is the question of waging war against the country? They are residing there. They are concerned. In Chernobyl, the entire area – Chernobyl happened in 1986.

Justice A P Shah

Today, the entire area in 30 km radius is not permissible for human habitation. The reason is that the radiation effects are lingering. People are afraid. They are asking questions to you. And then, apart from anything else, you go on filing cases against them, not only cases are filed, but the other thing is cases against whom? There are thousands of people. Every possible provision in IPC is invoked. And then, you don’t investigate the cases. Those that are [not clear] you ensure that they don’t get bail. You are slapping new charges against them. Not only that. Bus service is curtailed. Other facilities are denied. Most shockingly, a professor came here, an associate professor of [Manonmaniam] Sundaranar University. He said they wanted to organise a debate on nuclear energy. So the IB chief warned them “what business? You should not hold this debate.” So you cannot have a discussion on this? Are we living in a democratic country or not?

We celebrated with great flourish the 60th year of parliamentary democracy. Is it parliamentary democracy that when a person is peacefully protesting, you file FIRs against him under most sections under IPC? It is not fair. It is not the way state authorities should deal with citizens. These citizens have some serious concerns. Here, they say Christian community. In Jaitapur, there are no christian communities. In Jaitapur, what I heard is something extraordinary. They say that people from outside Jaitapur are coming there. This is one country. So why cannot we go?

According to me, if you want the proof that democracy is alive in this country, I would say that this 70,000 people’s protest or their protest is an indication that there is a democracy in this

country. We can debate and protest. They can continue with their protest for ten years. You must talk to them. I’m saying. . .my suggestion, my appeal to the state authorities, and my appeal also to those who are sitting on fast, is please withdraw these. Let them withdraw their agitation. Let the documents, whatever is possible – I’m not saying the Information Commission has

said all these documents have to be given, that is ultimately for the courts to decide – but where there is no national security, no issues, information should be given to people. Please talk to

them. Please understand their grievances. Perhaps, they will accept. They will be convinced. When you say that democracy is by the people, for the people, of the people, you cannot ignore people’s protest in this fashion. We, living in cities, we have no right to condemn this agitation because our interest is in a different sense — that electricity supply will be augmented etc.

I feel that it is high time that both the state authorities and the agitators should change their positions and have a dialogue. It doesn’t augur well for the country where a section, a sizable section of people are persecuted because they are opposed to a certain project.

Koodankulam: Protests all over India, activists being arrested in Tamil Nadu

Internationally recognized symbol. Deutsch: Ge...

Internationally recognized symbol. Deutsch: Gefahrensymbol für Radioaktivität. Image:Radioactive.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

March24- Update

With no signs of dampening of people’s morale in Idithakarai, the situation in Koodankulam is getting crucial. And the government has pitched up its intimidation in response.

On March 23, 2012, concerned citizens, anti-nuclear groups and civil society organisations all over India observed a national day of protest supporting the people in Tamil Nadu opposing the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). 1-day hunger strike was organised in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and other places of the country. In Chennai, the Koodankulam Support Group’s hunger strike entered 3rd day today. The National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) held a day long sit-in and hunger protest at Jantar Mantar near the Indian parliament in New Delhi.

At the grassroots, the indefinite fast of 15 people including Dr. S P Udayakumar, Pushparayan and others, entered 6th day today. The people observing hunger-strike also include  Melret and 7 women.  The health condition of  fasting activists is on a constant decline, particularly the falling blood pressure of Pushparayan is a concern.  The immediates demands of the hunger-strike in Idinthakarai are: release of 10 activists arrested on March 19th from Koodankulam, removal of the heavy police deployment in the area and adherence to AERB guidelines for commissioning of reactors that includes elaborate safety drills and other steps.

While the Additional Director-General of Police (Tamil Nadu) claimed that situation in Koodankulam is ‘normal’ and police has not obstructed mobility of people and goods, the people in the region are intimidated by heavy police presence and arbitrary arrests of activists, slapping serious charges of sedition and war on Indian state.  Vanni Arasu was picked up on his way from Chennai to Madurai at midnight. Another anti-Koodankulam activist, Satish Kumar was picked up at Tirunelveli yesterday. Neither their location nor the charges under which they were arrested is known so far.

More here with Latest Pictures


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