ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Prisoners' Strike

When the four of us were arrested in Nagpur in May last year, it made headlines on the front page of the major dailies. Many attributed this single incident to the vigilance of the Maharashtra police in curbing the (so-called) Naxal menace. Only a few raised questions. But during the past 12 months that incident has proved to be part of a trend to apprehend social activists and revolutionaries and thrust numerous false cases on them. Such cases under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004 are so baseless in their charges that they do not even have an iota of a chance of conviction in a court of law. Take, for example, the case of Anil Mamane (currently at the Nagpur jail) and his three colleagues arrested at Nagpur station and accused of selling “inciting revolutionary” literature at the yearly assembly of dalits at Deekshabhoomi. For proof of such “inciting” literature, pamphlets appealing to dalits to struggle against caste oppression were shown as evidence. Together a total of 21 such social and political activists (eight in Nagpur, three in Mumbai and 10 in Chandrapur) have been arrested on charges of being “Naxalites” or “Naxal sympathisers” in the last one year. This trend is nothing but a sign of the times to come.

It has been social organisations and people’s movements on the path of struggle that are putting forward genuine development alternatives. The struggles at Nandigram, the anti-Posco movement or that of the Chhattisgarh tribals against corporatesponsored Salwa Judum are heroic examples. Obviously such alternatives are not palatable to the Indian ruling classes.

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