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Dont Stiffle Democratic Dissent in Orissa !

Release Lenin Kumar and Abhaya Sahoo

by Committee For The Release of Political Prisoners , 16 December 2008

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- 185/3, Fourth Floor, Zakir Nagar, New Delhi


Press Statement

Condemn strongly the authoritarian attitude of the Orissa state government to stifle democratic voices!

Release Lenin Kumar the people’s writer and Abhaya Sahoo the people’s leader unconditionally!

The Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) strongly condemns the authoritarian attitude of the Orissa state government to stifle all democratic voices that dare to dissent against its anti-people policies not to say its connivance to the murderous deeds of the Hindu communal fascists. There is no other way one can understand the arbitrariness and the haste with which the state government have arrested Mr. Lenin Kumar, a well known intellectual who has been consistently raising his voice against the anti-people policies through his pen. What more this people’s poet, writer was gagged at the court premises in Bhubaneswar by the lawless police before the full glare of the media! And what is the crime of this people’s writer? He wrote a booklet after visiting the people who have been targets of Hindu communal violence strongly criticizing the government’s connivance and total inaction against the perpetrators of the violence on the people. The murderers and rapists who had their field day on the days when the communal fascist goons attacked the hapless people are still roaming freely without any charges or threat to their freedom of expression! This is the real face of the Orissa government-who is ready to strengthen the hands of the murderer than the victims. This is necessary for the government to implement its anti-people policies like hundreds of MoUs signed with the MNCs and the local monopolies that will give the rich land, water, minerals and forest wealth on a platter. The people hardly matters.

Media trial of the detained: Before the arrest of Mr. Lenin got confirmed the insidious police started feeding the obliging media with all kinds of stories regarding his association with the Maoists. On the contrary what the police while detaining him had claimed was that the booklet authored by Lenin titled Dharma Naamre Kandhamalare Raktara Nadi will incite communal hatred and hence violence! This shows that the police had intended to profile him in the media in a manner which will enable them to frame him. The Magistrate refused to give him bail saying that it was a serious charge. We would like to ask: Is writing and making the people aware about the fascist anti-people nature of the Hindu communal forces a serious charge under IPC? Are we leaving in a Hindu theocratic state?

Further the police have claimed that they have seized from Lenin’s computer images of the Maoists based in Bastar and that it is incriminating evidence. He has already made it clear that these images were from the award winning documentary of Ms. Vanaja who had shot the film in Bastar. We would ask again: Will the Orissa police arrest the Prime Minister of this India Mr. Manmohan Singh for giving the Goenka Award to Ms. Vanaja for the best documentary?

Basic Fundamental rights denied: Mr. Lenin who is well known artist and writer has been denied his basic food-access to pen, pencil and paper. The police have claimed that they have denied him these basic things due to security reasons! No where in the world can one hear such remarks reeking of sadism.

We from the CRPP once again reiterate the demand for unconditional release of a people’s voice.

It is in the same context the CRPP would bring to focus the arrest and incarceration of the people’s leader of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) Abhaya Sahoo who has been incarcerated in the prison despite his failing health. It is increasingly becoming evident day by day that the government of Orissa does not want to hear what the people of Orissa want say as how they would want to live their lives. Mr. Abhaya Sahoo was only trying to give expression to the aspirations of the lakhs of people of the region who just wanted to live a dignified life. He stood like a rock for them, with them. And for this the government who has blood in their hands has slapped initially 25 cases on him. Today we hear it has become 32. No one can say how many more are to come. But every one knows one thing very clearly. This is a definite strategy on the side of the government to keep him behind bars for life. The ailing Abhaya Sahoo was even denied bail on health. It should be noted that on his return from Vishakhapatnam for treatment on acute asthma, rheumatism, high blood pressure, heart ailment etc. that he was arrested by the Orissa police near Paradip. The CRPP strongly condemn the lawless and inhuman conduct of the Orissa police who had chained him to the hospital bed without a mattress while being administered medicine. Such barbaric attitude of the police should be condemned by all dignified freedom loving citizens of this country.

Every democratic person should rise in unison against such heinous, fascist design of the rulers. We should not allow Abhay Sahoo to be behind bars. We demand his unconditional release.

Release Lenin Kumar and Abhaya Sahoo immediately and unconditionally!

Release all Political Prisoners!

In Solidarity,

Amit Bhattacharyya (Secretary General)
- SAR Geelani (Vice President)
- Rona Wilson (Secretary, Public Relations)
- Prashant Jena (Secretary)
- Bansidhar Das (Convenor, Orissa Chapter)