31 January 2014

Adivasi Leaders Still Under Arrest

There have been some developments in the case regarding the arrests of four Adivasi leaders in North Bengal protesting against the gang rape of a tribal woman in West Bengal.

On 28th January, the Sub-divisional court at Jalpaiguri , while granting bail to all four accused in two cases, denied them bail in a third case and remanded them to 14 days of judicial custody. On the same day, about 1,000 people organised a protest at Nagrakata police station in Jalpaiguri asking for the release of their leaders. The FIRs filed in the cases by the police have been recovered and state that a Government vehicle was destroyed, and swords and other arms were seized during the arrest, but no seizure list or other evidence has been given with the FIRs. Fourteen others have been also falsely listed as accused in these cases. These 14 consist of the entire active leadership amongst the Adivasis in that area. On 30th January, a mass deputation to the District Magistrate Jalpaiguri has been organised to protest the arrests and the arbitrary cases.

The local leadership suspects that the false cases have been filed and arbitrary arrests are being made to suppress all forms of protest from within the Adivasi community, establishing the hegemony of the ruling party as the lone voice that should exist. This is despite the fact that voices from within the Adivasi community condemning the Labhpur gang rape are vital for restoring the comparative safety that Adivasi women have enjoyed within their communities. They also suspect that the action is also aimed at suppressing their struggle for a decent and just wage in the tea plantations.

It is vital that support be extended to the trade unions leaders from the Adivasi community to make both their protest against the atrocities on women and their struggle for a just wage successful. Many of you have written asking for concrete ways in which to protest. We therefore appeal to you to send protest letters /faxes/emails to one/all of the following addresses:

  • Shri MK Naryanan, Governor, State of West Bengal, Tel: 033 2200 1641, Fax: 033 2200 0020, email: governorwb@nic.in     
  • Smt Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, Minister in Charge, Home Affairs and Minister in charge Tribal Development, Tel: 033 2214 5555/ 2214 5588 Fax:2214 5480, email: cm@wb.gov.in. cm@wb.nic.in
  • Shri Gautam Deb, Minister in Charge, North Bengal Development, Tel: 033 2214 5484 Fax: 2254 4582, email: micnbdeb@wb.gov.in
  • Shri Basudeb Banerjee, Home Secretary, Tel: 2214 5656, Fax: 22143001, email: sechome@wb.gov.in
  • Smt Pritha Sarkar, DIstrict Magistrate, Tel: 03561 230127, Fax: 03561-224811, email: dmjpg@wb.nic.in
  • Shri Amit P. Jawalgi, Superintendent of Police, Tel: 03561 230492, Fax: 03561 230140, 230597

Support Group for Tea Workers

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