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Archive for January, 2011

PIYUSH GUHA

Posted by Admin on January 5, 2011


Till arrest, not an inkling of Maoist or political links

Of the three men convicted of sedition by a Chhattisgarh court this week, the least well known is perhaps Piyush Guha, 40, a trader in tendu leaves whom even the Bengal police and Naxal sympathisers claim not to have heard of till his arrest in 2007.

In three years of courtship and then three more of marriage, Rupa Guha found no evidence of any links to politics, let alone Naxalism, she says. “He loves books and used to read a lot of Rabindranath Tagore. I never once saw him reading Maoist literature,” says Rupa, now 34, fighting what she calls a lone battle from her home in a North Kolkata lane, near Manicktala.

She said they would challenge the verdict in the Chattisgarh High Court and the Supreme Court if necessary. She is upset at the absence of support from any quarter, human rights groups or Naxals, when there is such an outcry for “others in the case”.

Guha grew up in Sagarpara in Murshidabad district, graduated in science from Gurudas College in Kolkata, got a diploma in hardware engineering and worked for two years in a private company. He then went into business, buying tendu leaves from Chhattisgarh for beedi makers in Murshidabad.

Rupa says he disappeared on May 1, 2007, their third wedding anniversary. “He called from Raipur and told me he had a reservation for May 2 and would reach home early on May 3. He had no cellphone but used to call twice a day. The calls stopped; I went to Raipur on May 5. On May 6, I was told he had been arrested,” says Rupa.

The Raipur police say they seized some letters for Maoists, allegedly routed from jailed Naxal Narayan Sanyal through Binayak Sen, and money allegedly meant to fund Naxal operations. Rupa says, “He was carrying Rs 50,000 as payment for tendu leaves.”

Shortly after the arrest, Piyush’s father Sunil Guha, a retired headmaster from Sagarpara village, died, allegedly of shock. Rupa was then living in Santoshpur but moved out after police raided the house and questioned her several times.

Three months ago, Piyush’s mother Usha Rani Guha died, hoping he could visit her once. “I appealed to the Supreme Court but he was not granted bail. The police and the court did not even grant him parole so that he could attend the last rites of his parents,” says Rupa.

Since the arrest, Guha has been to his home state once, brought on transit remand in connection with a 2005 terror case in Purulia. Ashok Prasad, SP of Purulia in 2007, said Guha had not been named in the original FIR. Police officers and people following the Naxal cause said they had never heard of him before. Guha was eventually granted bail in the 2005 case.

Today, Rupa supports herself with a small DTP unit in Sealdah. With her meagre earnings, she has been to Raipur 40 times over the past three years, attending every hearing, optimistic that the case against her husband was weak.

“I had full faith in the law and democracy and that is why I did not miss a single date of the proceedings. I believed there must have been some mistake somewhere in booking my husband under charges of sedition,” says Rupa, stunned by the verdict. IE

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India: Dalit Activist Sudhir Dhawale arrested on “sedition” charge in Maharashtra

Posted by Admin on January 5, 2011


Sudhir Dhawale protesting the arrest of Binayak Sen

Mumbai Mirror, January 3 2010

Dalit activist and editor of Marathi magazine Vidrohi, Sudhir Dhawale, was arrested on Monday morning at Gondia and charged with sedition (sec 124) and under Secs 17, 20 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

These sections relate to: raising funds for terrorist acts; being a member of a terrorist organisation and providing support to a terrorist organisation.

Gondia Sub-Divisional Police Officer Borate told Mumbai Mirror that Sudhir had been named by one Bhimrao, alias Bhanu Bhovate, whom he described as a “State Committee Naxalite leader”, arrested last week in Gondia.Bhovate had reportedly told police that he had given his computer, which had Naxalite literature in it, to Sudhir. Thus it was necessary to seize Sudhir’s computer, said Borate. The police searched Sudhir’s home in Byculla for over three hours in the evening.

Sudhir has been remanded in police custody till January 12. He had addressed a Ambedkar-Phule Sahitya Sammelan near Wardha on Sunday, and was on a train when he was arrested. Borate said they had been trailing him for the last few days, emphasising that his arrest had nothing to do with the Sammelan.

Expressing shock at his arrest, award-winning documentary maker Anand Patwardhan compared it to that of Binayak Sen. Read the rest of this entry »

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The need to enlarge protests around Binayak Sen to all cases of sedition – PUDR Statement

Posted by Admin on January 5, 2011


Jan 4, 2010

Dear friends and comrades,

The recent countrywide demonstrations against the unfair verdict in the Binayak Sen case have been really heartwarming. The demonstrations have brought many of us together, who feel enraged and upset over the judgment. Clearly, if our numbers continue to grow, we will soon be in a position of strength and will ensure the release of Binayak and many others.

The case against Binayak Sen has become a focal point to oppose the attempts by the state to criminalise civil rights activities. Yet, we strongly feel that in order to make the entire campaign into a success we have to enlarge the present focus from the individual, Binayak Sen, to include the co-accused, Piyush Guha and Narayan Sanyal, and also take into consideration the plight of others who are similarly imprisoned in unfair cases of sedition.

Consider the following : Piyush Guha, the supposed courier in this case, has never been granted bail. He lost his parents in the course of these three years but was not given the right to even attend to the last rites of his parents. Piyush was kept in illegal custody and tortured for five days and he was only produced when the Chhattisgarh PUCL issued a statement demanding his whereabouts. His family lost its breadwinner and his wife, Rupa Guha, has been carrying out a lone fight for three and half years. Our efforts in demanding the release of Binayak must include the release of Piyush Guha.

Narayan Sanyal, the other co-accused has been in jail for five years already. He is old and ailing and is suffering from a chronic and painful ailment, fibromatosis. Despite directives from the court, he has not received any serious medical treatment in prison.The argument that his being a Maoist ideologue is sufficient to keep him in prison for the rest of his life is unfair, cruel and undemocratic particularly since the other cases in which he has been arrested have nearly collapsed. As has been pointed out by many, the decision to charge him with sedition happened only after the police arrested Binayak Sen. Narayan Sanyal’s case (even his supposed role in the present one) is a fit case for us
to ask not only for his release but also to demand a repeal of the ban against CPI(Maoist).

Our campaign must focus on demanding the repeal of undemocratic ‘security’ legislations like UAPA, CSPSA etc or under unfair provisions of the IPC like ‘sedition’ (S 124 A) and ‘waging war’ (S 121 of IPC) . The most recent conviction of Asit Sengupta, editor ofthe well known journal, World to Win is most worrying. Sengupta was arrested by Chhattisgarh police (and illegally detained, of course!) in January 2008 and never granted bail. On the same day when Binayak, Piyush and Sanyal were given life imprisonment, the same day Asit Sengupta was convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment for his work as an editor and publisher by another Raipur court. Kopa Kunjam, activist of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (Dantewada) who was working to re-settle displaced Adivasis in Netra villa, has been implicated in a murder case. Nine activists, including Kartam Joga of Adivasi Mahasbha, campaigning against landgrab in Lohanmdiguda, (Bastar) have been accused of involvement in the attack on CRPF personnel. There are innumerable incidents of this nature which are taking place in Chattisgarh and elsewhere where joint operations are going on.

Friends, we need to fight together to ensure that :

1. The entire miscarriage of justice begun in 2007 should be rectified and all the victims should be unconditionally released and compensated for their unfair stay in jail.
2. Withdrawal of undemocratic ‘security’legislations like UAPA, CSPSA etc
3. Repeal of archaic and colonial provisions like sedition and waging war from the IPC
4. Improvement of facilities in jails, particularly medical treatment of prisoners

Harish Dhawan and Paramjeet Singh
(Secretaries PUDR)

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