Fwd: [FI-P] From CPI(ML)-India

Magnus Bernhardsen magnus.bernhardsen at SPAMnm.no
Sun Mar 4 13:26:57 MST 2001


Statement on the Arrest and Detention of
CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya
issued by CPI(ML)

On 1 March, a peaceful demonstration on the issue of increasing police
atrocities in the state of Jharkhand was being staged by CPI(ML)-Liberation
before the Jharkhand State Assembly in Ranchi. Within just two months of the
swearing in of the new BJP govt. led by Mr. Babulal Marandi, there have been
three major incidents of police firing killing around a dozen people, and on
the other hand, two successful statewide bandhs (general strikes) have been
called against it by CPI(ML) and other opposition parties.

This demonstration was led by Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of
the Party. There the police resorted to an unprovokedly brutal lathi charge
injuring more than 100 activists, and then arrested  41 demonstrators
including Dipankar Bhattacharya, who had received injuries. Contrary to the
ususal practice adopted while facing such political protests, the police did
not release the protestors after the demonstration was over. Initially the
police did not even reveal the whereabouts of  Dipankar -  only after four
long hours it was revealed that he was being kept in Jagannathpur Police

The police have made Dipankar Bhattacharya the main accused and clamped
around a dozen sections, including a number of non-bailable ones (Sec.307,
323, 324, 353, 147, 148, 149, 506, 431, 114 and 188 of I.P.C., read with
Criminal Law Amendment Act, as mentioned in the F.I.R.) on him and 5 others.

Dipankar Bhattacharya and others have been lodged at Ranchi Central Jail,
and have been being denied bail even to this date.

This act on the part of Jharkhand police and State administration is a
blatant violation of norms in a parliamentary democracy. It is beyond
comprehension why in the first place the Government of Jharkhand decided to
meet a peaceful protest by an opposition party with such brutality. Beyond
doubt this is a case of deliberate political vengeance to detain a General
Secretary of an all-India political party like CPI(ML) by framing him using
false non-bailable charges.

Even after fax messages to the Home Secretary and Home Minister asking for
their intervention by CPI(ML), and protest demonstrations in many places
against this violation of democracy, including one before the Home Ministry
in Delhi on 2 March, the Union Government has maintained silence on this

This kind of political vendetta resorted by the Government of Jharkhand with
the silent assent by the Union Home Ministry is unprecedented and portends
ill for a democratic polity. This may be the beginning of a new phase of
undemocratic repressive methods to silence political parties expressing the
discontent of the common people. Responding to the seriousness of the
incident a number of left and democratic forces and individuals have already
raised the demand that  Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of CPI(ML),
and other CPI(ML) activists must be set free unconditionally and

We appeal to you to express your protest against the politically motivated
detention of Mr. Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of CPI(ML).

Fax messages can be sent to :
1. Mr. K.R. Narayanan, President of India [ Fax No. 91-11-3017290 ]
2. Mr. G.M.C. Balyogi, Speaker, Lok Sabha [ Fax No. 91-11-3016212 ]
3. Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India [ Fax No. 91-11-3016857]
4. Mr. Prabhat Kumar, Governor of Jharkhand [ Fax No. 91-651-201101 ]

Thanking you,
Brij Bihari Pandey
Member, Central Committee,



[ CPI (ML) General Secretary, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya who is at
present incarnated in central jail, Ranchi, the Capital of Jharkhand state,
India. ]

March 4, 2001.

Letter from Birsa Munda central Jail, Ranchi

BJP Must Not Be Allowed to Reduce Jharkhand to a Police State

Three days after the March 1 gherao of Jharkhand Assembly, I am writing this
note from extremely overcrowded Birsa Munda Central Jail where I am
currently lodged along with 40 other comrades. These 40 comrades include one
young adivasi construction worker, Motu, who was picked up by the police
nearly an hour after we were taken into custody. His only crime was that he
happened to be standing near the site of the gherao and police lathicharge.
Motu's wedding was scheduled for yesterday, but he spent the day in our
company, privileged as a co-accused under section 307 and the Criminal Law
Amendment Act!
This so-called central jail of Ranchi has a sanctioned capacity of
accommodating 364 prisoners, but more than 2,100 prisoners are currently
lodged here. The number keeps swelling as hundreds of poor and mostly dalit
and adivasi prisoners who have been implicated in false cases are left to
languish for years without any legal aid or judicial relief. These are
prisoners who have already served their full prison term, but are being
forced to overstay for months and even years. There are nearly a hundred
septuagenarian prisoners who are incarcerated defying all judicial norms are
court rulings. And then there are dozens of innocent Muslim youths from
Doranda and adjacent neighborhoods in Ranchi, victims of the continuing
spree of indiscriminate firing on the day of Eid last December.
Soon after the deck were cleared for the formation of Jharkhand, Advani and
his colleagues made no bones about their vision of the new province. They
wanted a model of police state. The first budget of the new state presented
on March 2 this year has reiterated this priority earmarking as much as Rs.
90 crore for the police forces' modernization. All this talk of police
modernization and improving the morale of the police are aimed at
legitimizing the order of lawlessness imposed by the very machinery
entrusted with the task of maintaining 'law and order' and the so-called
'rule of law'. This is all the more necessary for the Sangh Parivar in its
bid to push through its project of saffronisation and appeasement of
multinational capital.
If a police state thus becomes a political imperative in the saffron scheme
of things, democracy remains the battle-cry for all who want to improve
their own living and working conditions, and free Jharkhand from the
clutches of communal fascists, mafia gangs and capitalist predators. After
the formation of Jharkhand as India's 28th province and the installation of
the RSS-led Babulal Marandi regime, the question has now been posed squarely
on the agenda of the day : Whose Jharkhand? What kind of Jharkhand? The
oppressed and fighting people of Jharkhand are determined to brave all odds
to intensify the battle for democracy and secularism, for a new Jharkhand in
a new India.
Let me take this opportunity to thank all comrades and friends who have
condemned the police crackdown on the March 1 gherao of Jharkhand Assembly.

P.S. The ongoing Taliban drive for demolition of rare Buddhist statues in
Afghanistan has rightly evoked worldwide condemnation. The cries of
condemnation emanating from the Sangh Parivar can however only be described
as an exercise in political hypocrisy of the most repulsive kind. A perfect
example of pot calling the kettle black. The history of pre-Mughal India is
replete with instances of demolition of Buddhist statues and the Sangh never
tires of glorifying this timeless civilization. And will anyone still tell
us how the demolition of Babri Masjid in December 1992, the end result of
what Advani and Vajpayee describe as independent India's biggest mass
movement, was any different from the Taliban spree of destruction?

-Dipankar Bhattacharya

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