JOINT STATEMENT ON THE ARBITRARY ARREST OF DR.SUNILAM AND DAYA MANI BARLA
We the undersigned are appalled and anguished by the continuing state
repression on mass movements and social activists by a pro-business state
which is giving up its democratic pretensions with each passing day to
suppress all genuine protests by farmers, workers, adivasis and different
marginalized social groups who are driven to the brink of starvation,
dispossession, mass peasant suicides imposed on them by an increasingly
authoritarian state which goes out of its way to serve its imperial masters
and the big business. Binayak Sen and Seema Azad were given life sentence
by an equally complicit judiciary. The former were guilty of taking sides
with the oppressed masses. Thousands of false criminal cases were imposed
on the activists of POSCO and Koodankulam. The list is endless. The latest
examples are Dr Sunilam and Dayamani Barla.
Imprisonment of Dr Sunilam, a socialist politician from Madhya Pradesh has
been received with a sense of deep concern and dismay as part of a trend to
silence voices of public interest by misleading the judiciary to save
vested interests. Dr Sunilam has been part of Indian People's Movement
against WTO and anti-corruption movement in the country. Former legislator
and President of *Kisan Sangharsh Samiti*, Dr Sunilam led Kisan Andolans.
On 12 January, 1998 which was a black day for the farmers’ movement of our
country, the State Government under the leadership of Digvijay Singh
brutally crushed the non-violent farmers’ movement using the state police.
Taking note of Dr Sunilam’s background, the appeal for supporting him
merits endorsement of all the concerned citizens who love democracy and
cherish citizen’s liberty.
The case of Dayamani Barla who is a journalist turned anti-displacement,
tribal, woman activist from Jharkhand as part of a similar trend to harass
public interest persons. She was granted bail by a local court of Ranchi on
October 18, 2012. But she was arrested again when friends and colleagues of
Dayamani reached jail to receive her, they were told that she is been
arrested in the Nagadi case and can’t be let off. She was sent to Jail on
October 16, 2012 in fourteen days judicial custody, after she surrendered
before the court in a matter of April 25, 2006. This not the first time
when she is intimidated or harassed but the government is leaving no chance
to target her. The recent intimidation and arrest is due to her leading a
restless, successful and mostly peaceful (except once when police opened
fire on villagers) struggle against the acquisition of fertile land at
Nagari, a village situated at few kilometers from the state capital and
where government wants to build IIM, IIT and National Law School. The
government is desperately trying to crush the movement, by hook or crook.
It is not a matter of Dr Sunilam and Dayamani Barla alone. Harassment of
activists on fake pretexts and conviction in fabricated cases has become a
trend that merits the response of the sane legal, social and political
minds to defang the bite of the strategic lawsuit against public
We condemn this dastardly act of incarceration of Dr Sunilam and Dayamani
Barla and urge the governments of MP and Jharkhand to withdraw all cases
against them and release them unconditionally.
Chitranjan Singh of Pucl & Others