PRESS STATEMENT January 21 2010
It is an act of grave injustice and irony that in a democratic country like ours that more and more rights and social activists are being arrested on the charges of being a naxal sympathiser, sedition and other such heinous crimes. Sudhir Dhawale , a Dalit writer, journalist and editor of “Vidrohi” from Maharashtra, was arrested and detained while returning from the “ Dalit Yuva sahitya Sammelan” in Wardha on January 3rd. He was arrested at Gondia and charged with sedition (sec 124) and under Secs 17, 20 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). He is a well-known name in Dalit and Left circles, and one of the founders of the Republican Panther Jaatiya Antachi Chalwal (movement for annihilation of caste), formed on December 6, 2007, Dr Ambedkar’s Mahaparinirvan Day, at Shivaji Park. This group grew out of the anger of Dalit youth against the Ramabai Nagar firing (1997) and the Khairlanji killings (2006).
It is shocking that news reports based on a PTI news without ever looking in to the history of the person have dubbed him as a Naxal supporter. For nearly two decades Suhdir has worked relentlessly for justice to dalit communities involving numerous cases of dalit atrocities, Ramabai firing case, Manorama kamle gang rape and murder case, Baban Misal massacre in Ahmed Nagar and many such heinous crimes within the frame work of Indian constitution and democracy. He has been arrested and booked under the sedition as well as waging war against the state just because he has been writing the truth, Just because he is been mobilizing dalits to fight against atrocities and injustice and just because he has been found with books related to left philosophy. This is completely anti-democratic, violative of his fundamental rights and travesty of justice.
This is yet another desperate act by the state after similar charges were levelled by the Sessions court against the human right activist Binyak Sen leading to Life imprisonment.
We at National Alliance of People’s Movements strongly condemn such arrest and detention of a dalit activist and demand immediate release of Sudhir Dhawale, as this is a total onslaught on democracy and violation of fundamental rights of freedom of expression and speech. We demand Immediate release of Sudhir Dhawale and action against the guilty security officials for their wrong doings.
It is time to come together as collective and launch a nationwide struggle against the injustices meted out to the defenders of human and democratic rights in particular and the marginalized communities in general.
Ulka Mahajan, Mukta Srivastava, Gabriele Datrich , Madhuresh Kumar, Rajendra Ravi, Sunitee S.R.