Jeeten Marandi and others in Death Row are Targets of Indian State’s Conspiracy!
Immediately Withdraw the Death Sentence Pronounced against Adivasi and Dalit Cultural Activists Jeeten Marandi, Anil Ram, Manoj Rajwar and Chhatrapati Mandal!
27 June 2011–The Giridih Lower court has awarded death sentence to peoples’ cultural activists Jeeten Marandi, Manoj Rajwar, Chhatrapati Mandal and Anil Ram in connection with the Chilkhari killings. On 27 October, 2007, Anup Marandi, the son of Babulal Marandi, ex-chief minister of Jharkhand, was shot dead by the Maoists along with 19 members of the Nagarik Suraksha Samiti, a vigilante gang promoted and patronised by the ex-chief minister.
Jeeten was deliberately and falsely implicated in this case, because Jeeten as a cultural activist has been exposing and opposing the anti-people and repressive policies of the state, through his organisations Jharkhand Aven and Krantikari Janvadi Morcha. Through his songs, plays and articles he consistently opposed displacement, corporate loot and state repression.
Jeeten had been arrested and jailed in the past too as he tried to spread consciousness among people through his cultural activities about the anti-people policies of the government. The state wants to strangle his bold voice. He was being implicated in the Chilkhari case because he wrote an article in three parts in a Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar. In the article he tried to explore the reasons behind the spreading of the Naxalite movement where he analysed and exposed the anti-people role of the state and showed the close relations the Naxalites have with the people. On 5th April 2008, after the third part of the article was published, the police immediately arrested its writer when he was returning home from a state committee meeting of Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, which took place in Ratu Road, Ranchi.
The state had first put the charge of sedition on Jeeten Marandi where they alleged that he has given ‘inflammatory speeches’ in the rally that took place on the issue of release of political prisoners on 1st October 2007, in front of Raj Bhavan in Ranchi. After that a series of false cases were slapped on him. Along with the Chilkhari case, the state had put two cases from Thana Gaon, one case from Pirtand police station and two cases from Teesri police station. It must be noted that when the cases of Pirtand and Teesri P.O. took place, Jeeten was in jail for different cases. This clearly reflects the real intention of the government to implicate him in false cases to silence his voice.
Even in the Chilkhari case, the police denied the possibility of involvement of Jeeten Marandi. While reporting the incident of Chilkhari the Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar published Jeeten’s photo in the first page calling him the prime accused of the case. Later
the editor of Prabhat Khabar acknowledged his mistake and publicly apologized to Jeeten. That time the police officers also confirmed that the prime accused of Chilkahri case was not cultural activist Jeeten Marandi, but allegedly a Maoist commander of the same name. But later the police changed its statement and said both cultural activist Jeeten Marandi and Maoist commander Jeeten Marandi are involved in the case. In order to involve the cultural activist Jeeten Marandi, three new witnesses were incorporate in the case. This is how the conspiracy to falsely implicate Jeeten Marandi was hatched.
On 24 March 2009 Jeeten Marandi was produced in the Sessions court for the Chilkhari case. There he was waiting in the Sessions lock up along with other accused, when a person who claimed himself to be the OC of Giridih Town police station came and met Jeeten Marandi, and left. Later the police constables forcefully took Jeeten out alone and took him to the Sessions court. Outside the Sessions lock up the Giridih P.S. O.C showed Jeeten to some people and said this is Jeeten Marandi, remember his face. Then all those people followed Jeeten till the court. In the sessions court they tried to take him out without signing the attendance register. Later the people to whom the police had shown Jeeten in the court gave false witness and said Jeeten Marandi was present when the incident happened. Jeeten Marandi even intimated the court of this whole incident. None of these so-called witnesses were the family members of the ones who died in Chilkhari. They were all members of Babulal Marandi’s party Jharkhand Vikas Morcha. The Sessions court sentenced Jeeten Marandi and three others to death on basis of these ‘witnesses’.
The sentence awarded to Jeeten Marandi and three others once again exposes the puppet nature of the criminal court procedures of the government and police. This is the way the criminal court implicates and frames people who resist the state policies or raise their voice against oppression or injustice. Especially the most oppressed sections, the dalits, adivasis, backwards sections and minorities are always targeted and are given the harshest of punishments like death sentence by the court. The ones who have been given death sentence in Chilkhari case, i.e. Jeeten Marandi, Manoj Rajwar, Chhatrapati Mandal and Anil Ram are also from extremely poor adivasi, dalit, and backward families. The use of the judicial process and criminal court proceedings that led into the capital punishment of Jeeten Marandi is not a new thing. Earlier also the revolutionary leader from Andhra Pradesh Kista Gaud and Bhumaiyya were sentenced to death. In Barah, Bihar, five poor peasants have been given death sentence. Justice Bhagvati from the Supreme Court had accepted earlier that ‘many times the police create witnesses in order to prove their cases’.
In the same case the Supreme Court said that death sentences can be awarded in the ‘rarest of the rare’ cases. But despite that in the Indian judicial system death sentences are being distributed like freebies. According to a report by the Amnesty International, as many as 140 death sentences were handed out in India during 2006-07. In 130 countries death sentence has already been abolished. But the country that claims to be the world’s largest democracy is not ready to end the practice of death sentence so that it
can use death sentences in largest numbers to strangle the voices of the revolutionaries and the people who dream to change the society and can implement the policies of loot and exploitation without any resistance or dissent.
Revolutionary Democratic Front demands the immediate withdrawal of the death sentence of Jeeten Marandi and three others and their unconditional release. The politicians and police officers involved in the conspiracy against Jeeten and the rest three must be punished. Death sentence must be abolished. RDF appeals to all intellectuals and democratic people and organizations to unite and intensify the struggle for the release and justice of Jeeten, Anil, Manoj and Chhatrapati without delay.
G N Saibaba
REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRATIC FRONT