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GROUP FAST ENTERS 6th Day

PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES–CHHATTISGARH
Post Box No. 87, Main Post Office, Raipur – 492001: Chhattisgarh: India
E-mail: pucl.cg@gmail.com

GROUP FAST ENTERS 6th Day AGAINST THE BLACK LAWS & FOR RELEASE OF Dr. BINAYAK SEN, AJAY TG & Ors

“State Government Demonstrates TOTAL INDIFFERENCE & APATHY TOWARDS DEMOCRATIC & PECEFUL PROTEST”
- Dr. Sandeep Pandey (Activist on Fast for 10 Days)

DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION DUMPING GARBAGE NEAR THE VENUE OF GROUP FASTING

21st June, 2008: Raipur (Chhattisgarh)

The Group Fast against the Black Law (in Chhattisgarh) and for the release of Dr. Binayak Sen, Ajay T G and others entered its 6th day with 47 members of Ekta Parishad (Kanker) led by Mr. Ratneshwar Nath joining in the 24-hours dharna/chain fasting, 9 members of Baiga Mahapanchayat (Lormi) led by Ms. Rashmi Diwedi, while 9 members from Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Jamul) led by Adv Sudha Bhardwaj completed their 24-hours fasting today. Others who joined in support and solidarity were Dr. Anurag Bhargava of Jan Swastha Abhiyaan (Ganiyari, Bilaspur), Dr. Ilina Sen, Ms. Chandrika and Ms. Nazma (Roopantar), Arundhati, Sirish Agraal, Jontahan, Anurag Tiwari (Asha Parivaar, Lucknow), besides regular volunteers from Chhattisgarh Bal Shramik Sangathan, Asha Parivaar & PUCL.
From Ekta Parishad, those who spoke at the occasion were Ratneshwar Nath, Shivrani ji, Dashrath Markaam, Aagantu Ram, Sunder Markam, Bishu Pardi. Others who spoke expressing solidarity with the cause were Dr. Anurag Bhargava of Jan Swastha Abhiyaan, Adv Gautam Bandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha. Mukti songs were sung by Chandrika of Roopantar, and Kumud Nandgave, Ramesh Dewangan of Chhattisgarh Bal Shramik Sangathan.

While the morale of those fasting for the past six days (Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Com Prem Narain Verma, Ram Prakash & Faizal Khan) was very high and hopeful, the BJP Government in the State demonstrated its total indifference and apathy towards democratic & peaceful method of protesting through Fasting. Expressing concern at the growing ruthless character of the State, Dr. Sandeep Pandey (Magsaysay Award Winner) said that the failure of the state to listen to the voices of peaceful protest and respond to the people’s cries are the major reasons for resorting to extra-parliamentary means by the victims of injustice and violence.

Dr. Sandeep Pandey also referred to an article entitled “Gandhi! Tum Nikal Bhago Chadm Gandhivadiyon ke beech se” (Gandhi! You must escape from the midst of pseudo-Gandhians!) by Sri Vishwaranjan, Director General of Police of Chhattisgarh appearing in the Hari Bhoomi daily published from Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh. In this article, the DGP has poked fun at the Group Fasting and those participating in it.

He has also categorized Dr. Sandeep Pandey (a known Gandhian Social Worker given the prestigious Magsaysay Award who has led a very courageous people’s struggle by peasants and women in Uttar Pradesh against Coca Cola, one of the Multinational Giants), Adv Kanak Tiwari (Senior Advocate, a Gandhian intellectual), and Himanshu (a Gandhian Social Worker of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram working among Tribals in Dantewara for the past three decades) as Pseudo-Gandhians. And, of course, he also drags into his “categorization as pseudo-Gandhians” all those who are opposed to “Salwa Judum” (a state sponsored militant movement arming citizens to combat naxalism), which is presently being investigated by the NHRC at the direction of the Supreme Court of India in a Writ Petition filed by Prof. Nandini Sunder & Others, who were part of Independent Citizens Initiative Team to study the uprooting and displacement of about 70,000 tribals from their land and villages due to Salwa Judum.

The timing of this article’s publication authored by the DGP of the State itself reflects the BJP Government’s attitude of targeting and branding all those voices of dissent that do no toe the official line, be they human rights defenders, progressive intellectuals, Gandhian workers, doctors, journalists, lawyers and social activists and organisations committed to preserving and promoting the fundamental rights of the citizens. According to the PUCL, while it should be left to all those targeted by the DGP to respond individually to the vilification campaign against them, it is not lost on all those who have been following the BJP Government’s attempt at “targeting” and “branding” of the human rights defenders and rights-based organisations with an ulterior motive to silence their voices of dissent and democracy.

In a statement issued today, PUCL has also strongly condemned the District Administration’s insensitivity in locating the fasting and protesting groups and individuals in Burha Talab at Raipur, which is also the dumping ground for garbage and dust collected from the capital city by contractors and civil administration. In spite of repeated requests, the Raipur Municipal Corporation has failed to clear the vicinity from such foul-smelling garbage that is the breeding ground for mosquitoes and more likely cause for epidemics like cholera and gastroenteritis. The PUCL and other participating organisations are deciding to make this an issue, and get the ground cleared for all times. According to the PUCL, the scant regard for the democratic and peaceful protest demonstrates BJP Government’s authoritarian tendencies.

The PUCL has also expressed concern that the District Administration has not yet conducted any medical check-up on the fasting individuals. It has also not provided any protection to the protestors although written information has been provided to the District Administration about the Group Fasting.

Rajendra K Sail
President
Mobile: 094242-01288