May 31st, 2009, Bhubaneshwar
Orissa Government should take the message from Supreme Court bail to Binayak Sen Release Abhay Sahu – safeguard human
rights and respond to people’s just struggles for land, water and forests
The recent grant of bail to Dr. Binayak Sen by the Supreme Court after a prolonged unjust denial is certainly a ray of hope for many activists of people’s movements across India struggling to safeguard the right to life and livelihood of the marginalized and nature-based adivasi, dalit, farming and other communities. The Government of Orissa, should at least by now take a lesson or two from the Court that by continuing to deny bail or randomly foisting false cases, it cannot produce even a shred of evidence against those who are, by peaceful and lawful means, asserting the constitutional rights of people. It should not wait for the Supreme Court to remind it of its lawful duty to provide ‘best of medical treatment and bail on personal bond’ (as the Court did for Binayak) but should take the right and just initiative itself to release Abhay Sahu and all anti-POSCO activists.
NAPM joins the democratic people’s organizations of Orissa and many other people’s groups all over India in expressing solidarity with Abhay Sahu and all the anti-POSCO activists and villagers who are continuing to be jailed, intimated or brutalized by the State or private goons for putting up courageous resistance to the South Korean steel giant and are not just exposing violations of law and human rights, but also the manner in which lands and resources are being doled to the POSCO at a pittance, in absolute disregard of not just environmental and forest laws, but the Constitution itself and Acts like PESA, according to which the local communities have the first right over the resources.
The victory of PPSS in the Dhinkia Panchayat polls and the recent vote for CPI from Jagatsinghpur in the Lok Sabha polls is a testimony of the people’s aspirations to elect those whose agenda is to safeguard people’s rights, resources and livelihoods. NAPM, along with other people’s groups continues to demand that the Orissa Government must immediately stop violating the right to life and health of Abhay Sahu, withdraw all the false cases foisted against him and members of PPSS, restrain the police and private mafias from inflicting physical and mental atrocities on the leaders and villagers and prosecute of all those responsible for human rights violations. We also insist that the State should reverse its policy of showing undue favouritism to corporates and prioritize the people’s agenda, if it really wants rule of law, peace and popular democracy to prevail. Please do write letters to the Chief Minister, Mr. Naveen Patnaik strongly demanding that Abhay Sahu and other activists who continue to be jailed unlawfully must be immediately released and the Govt. of Orissa should choose PEOPLE over POSCO.
E-mail: email@example.com or Fax: 0674-2400100
Medha Patkar (NBA & NAPM)
Thomas Kocherry (WFFP-NAPM-NFF)
Sandeep Pandey/ Arundhati Dhuru (NAPM-Uttar Pradesh)
Arvind Kejriwal (RTI Activist, Parivartan)
P. Chennaiah (A.P. Agricultural Workers Union)
Shaktiman Ghosh (National Hawkers Federation)
Suniti S.R. (NAPM Maharashtra)
Anand Mazgaonkar (NAPM-Gujarat)
Ramakrishnam Raju (NAPM, Andhra Pradesh)
Murad Hussain (NAPM, West Bengal)
Simpreet Singh (Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan)
Danielbhai and Hansa Mazgaonkar (Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal)
News Update Service
Sunday, May 31, 2009 : 1715 Hrs
Medha Patkar demands Abhay Sahu’s release
Bhubaneswar (PTI) Demanding immediate release of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) leader Abhaya Sahu, social activist Medha Patkar on Sunday asked the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa to hold talks with the PPSS and CPI on the proposed project of the South Korean steel giant.
“Abhaya Sahu should be released from jail immediately and unconditionally as he was arrested on false and fabricated charges in an arbitrary and anti-democratic manner,” Ms. Patkar told reporters here. Maintaining that Mr. Sahu, whom she met at Choudwar jail, was not a Maoist, she said if he is not released forthwith a campaign would be launched to press for it as in the case of civil rights activist Binayak Sen.
Ms. Patkar said about 36 cases slapped against Mr. Sahu were fabricated and false and there are no Maoist elements in proposed POSCO plant site. Instead of resorting to suppressive methods the government should invite PPSS for dialogue to sort out the issue, she said adding the CPI, which is against the project, should also hold talks with the government.
“It is unfortunate that the state government has not been holding talks with the people and PPSS though the issue affects the livelihood of so many villagers, the agrarian economy, fisheries and sentiments of local residents.” The government should realise that the project involves land, minerals and water which belong to the people and the state, she added.