Madhuri Krishnaswamy, leader of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) which works for health and labour rights in south-western Madhya Pradesh, was remanded in judicial custody for a fortnight on Thursday.
Ms. Krishnaswamy, popularly called Madhuri Ben, and four others were summoned by Judicial Magistrate First Class D.P. Singh Sewach in Barwani in connection with a 2008 case of rioting and assaulting a public servant.
The police had filed a closure report in the case for lack of evidence, but the court, taking cognisance of the testimony of plaintiff Vijay Chouhan, summoned the respondents. Only Ms. Krishnaswamy appeared before the court and was sent to the Khargone Women’s Prison after she refused to seek bail. Two of the four others are already on bail. The others are expected to be arrested soon.
In 2008, Ms. Krishnaswamy alerted the health and police officials after a tribal woman gave birth to a child on the road after being evicted from a primary health centre by compounder Chouhan, who also filed the case against the JADS. He was suspended only to be reinstated later.
JADS activists picketed at six police stations in Barwani district on Friday. Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh was also in the district for the Congress’ Parivartan Yatra.
“We told him that arresting a person who exposed the government is injustice. He said he had spoken to the Chief Secretary. We also told him that we are only getting Rs. 22 to Rs. 26 as MGNREGA wages [instead of the stipulated Rs. 100],” Harsing Jamre of JADS told The Hindu.
District Superintendent of Police R.C. Burra said, “We had to arrest her as the court ordered it… He [Mr. Ramesh] asked about her and we gave him all the details of the case.”
Ms. Krishnaswamy is scheduled to appear before the Chief Judicial Magistrate on May 30.