Dissent

Scholars, Activists Condemn Intimidation of Researchers by Chhattisgarh Govt

Statement condemns threats of criminal case against academics and political activists investigating human rights abuses in Bastar

Minpa villagers outside Sukma thana, Chhattisgarh. Credit: Nandini Sundar.

Minpa villagers outside Sukma thana, Chhattisgarh. Credit: Nandini Sundar.

The following is the full text of a statement from the Safdar Hasmi Memorial Trust condemning recent statements by the Chattisgarh home minister Ram Sewak Paikra against academics and political activists investigating human rights abuses in Chhattisgarh, and the harassment of their local contacts and hosts by the police. The statement has been signed by a number of scholars and activists. 

We strongly condemn the Chhattisgarh government and its police force for using intimidation and threats of a criminal case against academics and political activists investigating human rights abuses in the southern parts of the state, especially Bastar and Dantewada. A fact finding team consisting of Professor Archana Prasad, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Professor Nandini Sundar, Delhi University (DU) and Vineet Tiwari, researcher at CPI’s Joshi-Adhikari Institute recently visited the area for five days between 12 and 16 May 2016. They were accompanied by Sanjay Parate, Chhattisgarh State Secretary, CPI-M.

After the visit the team was accused of spreading dissent against security agencies and supporting the ‘Maoists’. The statement by the state home minister Ram Sewak Paikra in the Times of India reportedly calling the three reputed Delhi based academicians ‘anti-nationals’ and ‘Maoist’ is part of a recent and explicit trend to stifle the freedom of expression and movement through a state crackdown on political dissent. The threat of an FIR and further harassment looms large. The local contacts, escorts and villagers who hosted the team are being harassed and intimidated by the police in order to fabricate evidence and ensure that they help no other study team in the future.

The press release by the team clearly indicts both the Chhattisgarh state and Maoist violence and reveals how ordinary Adivasis, struggling for a dignified existence and protesting against the violation of basic rights have little space to voice genuine grievances.

This is the latest in a long line of actions to criminalise dissent, free expression and movement and stifle fair reportage of events which have become hallmarks of the Chhattisgarh government.

We appeal to all democrats to condemn this brazen attempt at intimidation by the State and its security agencies.

Utsa Patnaik, (JNU)
Surajit Mazumdar, (JNU).
Jayati Ghosh, (JNU)
Ritoo M. Jerath, (JNU)
Dr Rajarshi Dasgupta, (JNU)
Mohinder Singh, (JNU)
Vikas Rawal, (JNU)
Udaya Kumar, (JNU)
Chaman Lal, (JNU)
Dr. Mallarika Sinha Roy, (JNU)
G. Arunima, (JNU)
Ayesha Kidwai, (JNU)
Prabhat Patnaik, (JNU)
C P Bhambri, (JNU)
Lata Singh, (JNU)
C.P.Chandrasekhar, (JNU)
Dr. C. Sadasiva,(DU)
Rajni Palriwala, (DU)
B.P. Sahu, (DU)
V. M. Jha, (DU)
Amar Farooqui, (DU)
Madhu Prasad, (ex DU)
Nina Rao, (ex DU)
Biswamoy Pati, (DU)
Madangopal Singh, (DU)
Shaswati Mazumdar,(DU)
Abha Dev Habib, (DU)
Sanjaya Kumar Bohidar, (DU)
Vijaya Venkataraman, (DU)
Rudrashish Chakraborty, (DU)
Nandita Narain, (DU)
Sukumar Muralidharan, Journalist
Ram Puniyani, Author, Activist
Farah Naqvi, Writer and Activist
Teesta Setalvad, Editor, Activist
Harsh Mander, Author, Activist
Prabir Purkayastha, Activist
Katyayani, writer and Activist
Satyam, Journalist and Activist
Roopsingh Chouhan, CPI (MP)
Sarika Shrivastava, NFIW (MP)
Rajan Kshirsagar, BKMU (Maharashtra)
Harsh Kapoor, www.sacw.net
Githa Hariharan, Author, Activist
Shabnam Hashmi, Activist
M. K. Raina, Theatre
Ram Rahman, Photographer
Sohail Hashmi, Historian
S. Irfan Habib, Historian
P. K. Shukla, Historian
Arjun Dev, Historian
Santosh Khare
Babulal Dahiya
Devisharan Gramin
K. S. Parthasarathy
Jyothi Ananthasubbarao
Satyananda Mukund
Dr. Siddana Gowda Patil
Murali Krishna
Surendra
Ashok Bhowmick
Dr. B. K. Kango
Sukumar Damle
Rajen Bawadekar
Charul Joshi
Manasi Pingle
Veena Hariharan
Rajat Datta
Brahma Prakash
Kalyani Menon Sen
Krishna Jha
Abhishek Srivastava
S.P.Shukla
Sandeep kumar
Subhash Gatade, Writer
Neelima Sharma, Activist
Shamsul Islam, Activist
Rohit Azad
Nivedita Menon (JNU)
Aditya Nigam (CSDS)
Dr. Vivek Monteiro
Nandini Rao
C.P.Chandrasekhar, (JNU)
Irfan Engineer
Dr. Jaya Mehta
Chirashree Das Gupta