Damodar Turi VVJVA Leader Arrested – Statements by Organisations

February 21, 2018

आदिवासी मूलवासी अधिकार मंच द्वारा गिरफतारी की निंदा (Condemnation by Adivasi Mulbasi Adhikar Manch)

Persecuted Prisoners’ Solidarity Committee (PPSC) – Press Statement

Statement from Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan

Statement from PUDR

लोकतंत्र बचाओं मंच द्वारा प्रेस वार्ता (Statement by Loktantra Bachao Manch) 

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Persecuted Prisoners’ Solidarity Committee (PPSC) Condemn arrest of Damodar Turi by Jharkhand Police 16th February 2018

Persecuted Prisoners’ Solidarity Committee (PPSC) condemns the continued repression on activists and groups associated with people’s struggles in Jharkhand by the police and administration. Damodar Turi, a member of the Central Committee of Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA), was arrested in the evening on 15th February 2018 from Ranchi. He was arrested after he walked out of a public programme organised by a joint front in Jharkhand called Loktantr Bachao Manch (LBM). The Manch has been formed by various organizations in Jharkhand in the face of the many undemocratic measures of the Jharkhand government, including the recent banning of a registered trade union, Mazdoor Sangathan Samiti (MSS). The LBM programme drew attention to the anti-people measures of the BJP government in Jharkhand including starvation related deaths following the compulsory use of Adhaar for availing PDS services, the banning of MSS, and the fake encounter of Motilal Baske in June 2017.

Turi has been arrested in connection to a case lodged at Giridih Mufassil Police Station on 7th November 2017. On 7th November, a public meeting and rally had been organised by the MSS marking 100 years of Bolshevik Revolution in Giridih. MSS has been banned thereafter in December 2017 with several of its members facing arrest and its offices being raided and shut down by Jharkhand Police. This case at Giridih was registered against 12 members of the MSS and 800 unknown persons. Turi had only participated in the programme.

Damodar Turi has been active in Jharkhand for years raising issues related to displacement of adivasis and moolvasis and forcible land acquisition by the government for handing over to corporations. Although he is not a member of MSS, but after the banning of MSS, the police has been attempting to connect him with the Trade Union and has foisted several cases upon him. The DGP of Jharkhand had on 20th December 2017 at a press conference stated that Turi was the main coordinator of the MSS and also has other cases lodged against him. In a statement issued on 22nd December 2017 the VVJVA had clarified that Turi is not a member of the MSS. He had been acquitted by a Court in Ranchi of the false case that was foisted upon him in 2009 wherein he was arrested with alleged ‘naxalite literature’. Prior to the banning of the MSS he had no case pending against him. But after the banning, he has been named in four FIRs connected to MSS. Apart from provisions of the IPC, these FIRs have also been lodged under draconian anti-people laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1908.

The VVJVA which came into existence a few years after the formation of the state of Jharkhand, has been actively raising issues concerning displacement of adivasis and moolvasis. It has been actively involved in their struggle for Jal-Jangal-Jameen. Over the years the VVJVA has raised issues including amendments to the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 and Santal Parganas Tenancy Act, 1949, against forceful land acquisition for Electro Steel Plant and Jindal Mining Project in Santhal Pargana, and of persons displaced due to the Tenughat power plant, Bokaro steel plant, Tiger Project Betla, and Kutaku Dam. The VVJVA has therefore been on the radar of the Government for long. In April 2017 the Annual Report 2016-17 by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India had, without any basis, termed the VVJVA as a frontal organisation of the CPI (Maoist). And now its activists are being targeted.

PPSC condemns the arrest and targeting of activists and groups raising and struggling for people’s issues in Jharkhand. We demand that Damodar Turi be released forthwith and cases registered against him and members of MSS be withdrawn with immediate effect.

Stan Swamy, Sudha Bhardwaj PPSC

 

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Statement from Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan

 

We strongly condemn the unlawful arrest of Damodar Turi (Central Convenor Committee member of Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan) by Jharakhand Police on 15 February 2018. And demand for immediate release for him.

As the new state emerged and from its inception, the sellout of its natural resources to foreign transnational companies and their domestic lackeys began through hundreds of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) shattering the aspiration of exploited and oppressed masses. He immediately stood against such moves of newly formed state government, and participated and organized struggles for the Jal-Jungle-Jameen of the peasants, adivasis of Jharkhand. In 2006, he took the initiative to form ‘Visthapan virodhi smanway samiti, Jharkhand and  All India level organization Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan to resist Memorandum of Understanding to plunder natural resources of mineral-rich areas.

From the last 20 years, Damodar has been participating in various mass struggles in Ranchi, Bokaro, Girdih, Gumla, Santhal Pargana. In particular, his immense contribution to the struggle against the Operation Green Hunt, a multipronged militarily attack on people by then Congress Regime in the name to curb Maoist revolutionaries to grab land and natural resources for corporates. He led the struggle against the death penalty to cultural artist Jiten Marandi in 2011 itself. He took initiative to fight for justice for Moti Lal Baske who was killed by State armed forces in a fake encounter in the name of Maoist. Damodar was one who vehemently opposes amendments in Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act (CNT) and Santhal Pragana Tenancy Act (SPT) to facilitate land grabbing in favor of corporates. This has made him the sore in the eyes of state government who is again unleashing a tranche of anti-people policies.

Damodar has been on the target of Jharkhand police since he questioned the policies of state government from its very inception. Firstly, the state police tried to implicate him under draconian law POTA under which thousands of struggling masses were implicated falsely soon after the formation of new state. At that time, even his family was not spared from torture. Later, in 2008 he was incarcerated in jail for 9 months for a false case under UAPA. He was tortured in custody and it is the indomitable spirit which the government is trying to crush. In that case, he was acquitted recently.

Turi has been arrested in the case related to organizing a public meeting and rally marking the 100 years of Bolshevik Revolution in Girdih, but it is apprehension that he may be implicated in false cases. Arrest of Damodar Turi, All India Convenor of Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA)

 

Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan

Central Convenor Committee,

Tridip Ghosh (08002115224), Madhuri (09179753640), Prashant Paikrey (09437571547), J. Ramesh (09948410798), Damodar Turi, Mahesh Raut (09405324405).

janandolan@gmail.com, vvjv.andolan@gmail.com,

 हम झारखंड पुलिस द्वारा १५ फरवरी २०१८ विस्थापन विरोधी जन विकास आन्दोलन के केन्द्रीय संचालन समिति सदस्य दामोदर तुरी इनकी फर्जी और बेबुनियाद आरोपो के तहद की गयी गिरफ़्तारी का विरोध करते है और उन्हें तुरंत रिहा किये जाने की मांग करते है.

दामोदर तुरी इनकी गिरफ्तारी का देशभर में विभिन्न जनवादी गुट विरोध कर रहे है. झारखंड के विभिन्न क्षेत्रो में झारखंड के इस दमनकारी तरीके के खिलाफ जन आन्दोलन आवाज उठा रहे है.

इसी संघर्षो को आगे ले जाने के लिए हम देशभर के सभी जनवादी ताकतों से ये अपील करते है की वे दामोदर तुरी इनकी गिरफ्तारी के खिलाफ आवाज उठाये और उने तुरंत रिहा करने की मांग को मजबूती के साथ रखकर पूंजीवादी मुनाफाखोरी के लिए काम कर रहे बीजेपी की ब्राम्हणी-फासीवादी झारखंड सर्कार के जन विरोधी नीतियों के खिलाप आवाज उठाये.

हम देश भर के जन संगठनो, यूनियन, लोकतान्त्रिक राजनैतिक गुट, नागरिक स्वतंत्रता समूह, मानवाधिकार समूह, बुद्धजीवियों और विद्यार्थी आंदोलनों से अपील करते है के वे इस गिरफ़्तारी के खिलाफ स्टेटमेंट जरी करे, विरोध सभायो और चर्चायों का आयोजन कर कर दामोदर तुरी इनकी रिहाई की मांग रखे.

हम प्रसार माध्यमो के संवेदनशील तबके के साथियों से अपील करते है की वे इस मुद्दे को उठाये, दामोदर तुरी इनकी फर्जी गिरफ्तारी पर लिखे एवं राज्य की जनविरोधी, आदिवासी विरोधी कार्यक्रमों का पर्दाफाश कर विस्थापन विरोधी आन्दोलनों को मजबूती दे.

–         विस्थापन विरोधी जन विकास आन्दोलन द्वारा जरी किया गया विस्तृत स्टेटमेंट साथ में जोड़ा है

–         साथ ही पीड़ित बंदी सहयोग समिति (PPSC), लोकतंत्र बचाओं मंच झारखंड, आदिवासी मूलवासी अधिकार मंच झारखंड, वि.वि.जे.वि.ए. की तेलंगाना एवं आंध्र प्रदेश समिति, पी.यु.डी.आर. यादी द्वारा दामोदर तुरी इनकी गिरफ्तारी के खिलाफ जारी स्टेटमेंट भी साथ में जोड़े है.

विस्थापन विरोधी जन विकास आन्दोलन

केन्द्रीय संयोजक समिति,

त्रिदिब घोष (08002115224), माधुरी (09179753640), प्रशांत पायीकरे (09437571547), जे. रमेश (09948410798), दामोधर तुरी, महेश राउत (09405324405).

janandolan@gmail.com, vvjv.andolan@gmail.com,

 

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Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)          

Release Anti-Displacement Activist Damodar Turi

 Stop Incarceration of Social Activists!

20th February 2018

PUDR condemns the arrest of anti-displacement activist and founder member of “Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan” (VVJVA) Damodar Turi, on February 15, 2018 at Ranchi, an hour after the “Loktantra Bachao Manch” (Save Democracy Forum) organized meeting had ended. He was not shown a warrant for his arrest and was presented before the Giridih Court next day and sent to judicial custody. His arrest was under a case registered at Giridih Mufassil Police Station on November 7, 2017. In this case, twelve persons and 800 unknown persons were booked for participating in a public rally organized by a Trade Union called Mazdoor Sangathan Samiti (MSS), in support of hundred years of Bolshevik revolution and for “attacking” government servants and “preventing them from carrying out their duties”.  MSS was banned by the Jharkhand Government on 22nd December 2017. According to Turi’s advocate, soon after the banning of the MSS, the Jharkhand police has implicated Damodar Turi and several others in three other FIRs in Giridih, Bokaro Thermal and Dhanbad. They have been booked under draconian laws like s. 17 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908 which penalizes membership and participation in activities of an unlawful association and s. 13 of the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act, 1967 which penalizes participation in unlawful activities apart from other provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

Damodar Turi is a well known grassroots activist in Jharkhand working against displacement with decades of work behind him, and is not a member of MSS. Accusing him of being a member of a banned organisation appears to be a deliberate attempt to prevent him from working on  people’s issues. One of the reasons why PUDR opposes proscription of organisations is because declaring someone a member of an organisation that the Government has chosen to ban, effectively criminalises them and hampers peaceful and pro-people political activity. 

VVJVA as well as MSS were accused by the Union Home Ministry not too long ago of being associated with CPI(Maoist) in their last Annual Report. The state’s alleging such linkages with a banned organisation is a repressive strategy as VVJVA and MSS have been raising issues of Adivasi and Moolvasi people’s rights over forest land and championing the enforcement of Fifth Schedule, PESA and FRA which protect forest land diversion for non-forest use. Activists like Damodar Turi are targeted because they incessantly work to raise issues which concern the public at large. The issue could be displacement or illegal land grab by government or corporate group or killing of civilians by police or para military forces, sexual violence against women or even starvation deaths. Lately the BJP-RSS government in Jharkhand was found assiduously working to erode the rights of Adivasis flowing from Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 and Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act, 1949 and to make it easier for the corporate sector and non-Adivasis to acquire rights over land which they covet for its minerals or real estate value. So the arrest of Damodar Turi of VVJVA sends a warning to deter all those working among people and championing their concerns and causes.

PUDR is concerned that by foisting cases on activists who take up people’s issues and accusing them of being hand-in-glove with banned organizations, the Jharkhand government is doing its utmost to curb protests against its nefarious policies which benefit corporate groups. 

PUDR demands that:

1.      Charges against Damodar Turi be withdrawn and he be released immediately

2.      Ban on MSS be revoked

 

Shashi, Shahana

Secretaries, PUDR