Mrinal Sen
This is with reference to Abhjijit Ghosh Dastidar's discourse on Mrinal Sen in Frontier (February 24-March 2, 2019). Dastidar has situated Mrinal Sen's life-long creative journey in the world of films in the perspective of two eminent film directors of his time—Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak.

What is important in Mrinal Sen's journey is that he documented and responded to his own time in creative ways, and developed dialogic relationships with the younger film directors and actors/actresses. Rochona Majumdar has reminded concerned people in her tribute to Sen that some footages had been used in his Calcutta trilogy (Interview, Calcutta 71 and Padatik), which are a testament to the burning decades of the 1960s and 1970s. Some of the real-life rebel characters documented in these footages later became martyrs. The families of many of those martyrs, who disappeared from this world, saw their beloved ones for the last time in the footages.

What the noted Bengali actress and film director, Aparna Sen, said in her reminiscence after the demise of Mrinal Sen, should be kept in mind in making assessment of his creative work: "One of the things I loved most about him, was the zest he had for life and the relish with which he made his films... I think I have been influenced most of all by Mrinal Sen's ability and desire to continually reinvent himself. His work was experimental and cinematic in the truest sense".

While Aparna Sen highlighted personal dimensions of Mrinal Sen's creativity, Shabana Azmi's tribute testified how the personal and the social combined with each other to make Sen a great filmmaker: ''He was deeply invested in the society around him and owned up his own frailties with great courage. He had a lovely childlike curiosity, which he kept alive both consciously and unconsciously and that's what made him such an accomplished filmmaker".

The eminent Indian filmmaker, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, has put on record Mrinal Sen's political philosophy and his struggle to establish his distinct position in the world of filmmaking: "He, of course, had to fight a long battle to be noticed as opposed to the early recognition that came to (Satyajit) Ray in abundance from the beginning. But he never gave up. His films were greatly inspired by the hapless and the downtrodden. His concerns for the have nots and the uprooted in several Films of his served as a leitmotif... Cinema was his passion. He dreamed cinema, breathed cinema and lived cinema".

It is beyond doubt that Mrinal Sen's legacy was carried among the younger filmmakers of Bengal and beyond in diverse creative ways.
Arup Kumar Sen, Kolkata

Truth Wins
In a huge victory, the Gujarat High Court has granted anticipatory bail to CJP Secretary, Teesta Setalvad, and her partner and CJP office bearer, Javed Anand, in connection with a baseless case of alleged misappropriation of funds obtained by her education programme KHOJ. The complaint falsely states that funds were used for personal reasons, and to create and distribute printed materials that could cause communal disharmony, the polar opposite of the purpose and outcomes of KHOJ.

Both activists have cooperated fully with investigations ever since the allegations were first made in March 2018, producing all necessary evidence to prove the falsity of the claim. However, a vindictive state continued to push for custody in a bid to imprison and even possibly torture Teesta and Javed, in their relentless attempt to silence these fearless human rights defenders.

After exposing the criminal activities of a section of the Gujarat Police and of powerful politicians during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, CJP has been attacked time and time again.

CJP would like to continue to carry the Zakia Jafri case forward, fight to quash false cases against Adivasi human rights defenders, provide assistance in Assam in the midst of a citizenship crisis, fight hate and hate speech through various mechanisms, and continue to deliver human rights education through KHOJ.
Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP)

Defending Human Rights
On Wednesday, 15 protesters who stopped a UK deportation flight from taking off at Stansted airport in 2017 were handed suspended sentences. Having been charged under anti-terrorism legislation—rather than the lesser crime of aggravated trespass—they had feared immediate prison sentences.

For the 15 activists and their families, as well as human rights defenders in the UK, the news that they will avoid prison was a great relief. Three of the 60 people that the Stansted 15 prevented from being deported have since been granted leave to remain, another 11 have been able to contest their deportation orders.

Both the Stansted 15 case and the Wind rush scandal have done much to be lighter, awareness of the draconian nature of the UK government's immigration policy and—in the case the former—the potential abuses of counter-terrorism laws.

Shine a Light has been doggedly uncovering such miscarriages of justice for a decade through its reporting on the UK's immigration and removal system. The latent Shine piece places this week's landmark trial in a wider context. As Shine a Light editor Clare Sambrook writes:
"Thanks to government disinforma-tion, media distortions and under-reporting there's a gap between what, most people know  of these thing and what's experienced by the people who are detained."

There is an important investigation report published this week by the Turner Prize-nominated collective Forensic Architecture. The group of architects, filmmakers, journalists, lawyers and scientists, based at Goldsmiths, University of London, have a track record of uncovering new leads in oases of war crimes or other human rights abuses through their innovative digital reconstructions.

Their latest investigation, into the killing of Tahir Elci, a prominent Kurdish human rights lawyer, sheds new light on a highly politically sensitive case that has remained unsolved for three years.
Mary Fitzgerald, Editor-in-Chief, Open Democracy, London

'No' to Sanctions
The cause for peace and disarmament will be greatly helped if there is a broad-based unity at world level for opposing US sanctions on Iran. Already the European Union has firmly opposed the arbitrary and unilateral imposition of the sanctions by the USA after going back on the nuclear treaty with Iran. Several other countries including Turkey, Russia and China have criticised this action. This opposition should now be broadened further to include not only governments of other countries but also the various peace and democracy movements including those based in the USA. Within the USA there should be a strong people's movement for taking back these sanctions while at the same time taking wider steps to bring peace based justice to the more and more troubled Middle-East Region.

Earlier the sanctions imposed on Iraq had resulted in a huge humanitarian crisis which claimed several hundred thousand lives particularly those of children. By and large the world simply watched on as this humanitarian crisis unfolded in a war and invasion affected country which actually needed large-scale help. While the humanitarian crisis may not become so acute in Iran which is relatively much better equipped to face the sanctions, there are other very serious implications of these sanctions and its chain effects can lead to very serious disruptions for world peace and stability. Hence early efforts should be initiated, particularly in the USA, to roll back these entirely unjust and unjustified sanctions.
Bharat Dogra, New Delhi

Appeal for Unity
We, as citizens of Mumbai, a city that has been target of brute acts of terror from across the border several times, and all of India, strongly condemn the latest such attack at Pulwama when the country has lost 44 selfless, jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Kashmir on February 14. The aftermath of the attack has left us numbed with inescapable grief, even rage. First and foremost we send out our deepest condolences to the families of the bereaved CRPF jawans.

We need to stand united in this moment of grief and even anger and ensure that none of these takes an unhealthy and ugly turn. We need to honour what India and its forces stand for while unequivocally condemning not just the brutal attack on our forces but the reportedly inciteful video of JEM put out with the singular aim of fomenting a communal and hate filled response. Those responsible for the attack are criminals who are misusing a politicised and perverted version of faith to justify violence and bloodshed. They must be called out as such.

Those from our security forces and police who are victims of such terror attacks must remain central to our discourse. We must demand not just compensation but reparation and justice for the families of jawans from the CRPF, Army, BSF, C1SF and police who fall victim to these terror attacks.

As Indians coping with the Pulwama attack we must ensure that our response remains united and not divisive. An internal atmosphere of fear and instigation, whether it is against Kashmiris or Muslims in general will not just corrode our unity but affect our holistic and healthy response to this tragedy. Reprisal violence against innocents cannot be an answer.

If we allow terrorists to divide us, we aid them in their quest to destroy the idea of India. India's democratic principles and Constitutional values are their greatest fears. That is what they hope to destroy. So let's not allow them to do that.

We are a democracy. So, as Indians, while we stand united in our grief and outrage, we must also exercise our right to question. These are questions that do not in any way take away from this and other acts of terror but seek to build on our strengths in fighting terror of all kinds. The government of the day needs to answer these questions from citizens especially as we are about to enter into an extremely emotive election season. Election speeches too must be monitored and watched, so that while condemning the terror attack they are in no way inciteful of hatred and violence against sections of our citizens.

There are procedures in both national and international law for bringing to justice perpetrators of terror attacks. Justice must be our lasting and unequivocal demand.
Teesta Setalvad, Irfan Enginner, Javed Anand

Vol. 51, No.36, Mar 10 - 16, 2019