Undertrial Prisoners in the Bastar Division

November 6, 2015

The Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group or JagLAG is a group of committed human rights lawyers who have been working towards documenting the plight of adivasi undertrial prisoners in Bastar and providing them legal aid in the trial courts. The following presentation contains data obtained by them from the NCRB and through RTI from the courts, prisons and police stations of Bastar which has been collated and analysed to clearly show how the criminal justice system has been misused by the state in Bastar to arrest and imprison large numbers of adivasi men for prolonged periods of time under severe, and mostly false charges. This is a means by which the state is waging war on the adivasi people of Bastar with the aim of breaking the backbone of the Maoist insurgency which has been going on in central India over the last decade.

As the meticulous work by JagLAG has exposed the way in which the criminal justice system in Bastar has been subverted by the state to persecute and victimize large sections of the adivasi population, and has endeavoured to provide legal aid to the victims of state repression, they have themselves been targetted by the state and its agents. Recently, the Bastar District Bar Association, in an unprecedented move, has taken a resolution that JagLAG lawyers will not be permitted to practice in Bastar District Courts under the pretext of prohibiting “outside lawyers”. By this highly unethical move, the bar association has tried to prevent the exemplary legal aid work done by JagLAG lawyers. The following presentation is a clear example of the importance of the work that JagLAG is doing which requires that all democratic-minded people stand in solidarity with them.

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