June 1, 2012-Kabir Kala Manch Defence Committee delegation met Maharashtra Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chauhan today. The delegation comprised of Prakash Ambedkar, Anand Patwardhan, Sumedh Jadhav, Ratna Pathak Shah, Ramu Ramanathan, Simantini Dhuru and Kamayani Bali Mahabal.
A report in the Mumbai Mirror below-
A group of activists met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday asking him to stop the police from branding functionaries of the Pune-based Kabir Kala Manch, a cultural troupe, as Naxals, and arresting them.
The activists of the KKM Defence Committee met the CM included film-maker Anand Patwardhan, human rights activist Kamayani Bali Mahabal, N ational leader of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh Prakash Ambedkar, actress Ratna Pathak Shah and playwright Ramu Ramanathan.
The Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), came into the limelight and the radar of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), as well as the state Anti-Naxal Operations Unit after one of its members – Deepak Dengle- was arrested on May 12, 2011 for his alleged Naxal links.
While the state went on to add a host of charges against writer Dengle, primary among them was that the KKM was being used by the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) as a ‘front’ to indoctrinate city youth in Naxal ideology.
The police’s investigations at the time revealed that Dengle had been part of a training camp organised by the CPI (maoist) in Pune’s Khed taluka and some other members of the Kabir Kala Manch were also present there.
In a statement, the Kabir Kala Manch expressed dismay that in a state like Maharashtra, which gave birth to thinkers like Jyotiba Phule and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, government figures show that on an average two dalits are killed and three women are raped every day, making for chilling statistics.
In the statement, the KKM said, ‘Today while Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhonsle of KKM are in prison, many other members including lead singer-poets Sheetal Sathe, Sagar Gorkhe and Sachin Mali have gone underground after threats from the police. All are charged with being Naxalites and the ATS is using an uncritical media to plant regular allegations against the KKM. Even these allegations do not accuse the KKM of any violence, but are dependent mainly on guilt by association.’
Drawing parallels with Dr Binayak Sen, who was jailed for close to three years before the Supreme Court intervened, the KKM said that it hoped that Sen’s incarceration and subsequent bail would have made the government more careful before branding people as Naxals.
The KKM Defence Committee has urged the state government to withdraw all false charges against members of the KKM, free the cultural activists who are currently in prison, and allow them to perform in public again.
- In defence of the shahirs (kabirkalamanch.wordpress.com)
- KKM defence Committee to meet CM for Kabir Kala Manch activists (kabirkalamanch.wordpress.com)
- Ashok Dengle’s Poem- ‘ Kis Kis Ko Kaid Karoge ‘ (kabirkalamanch.wordpress.com)
- Panel to fight targeting of Dalit youth (kabirkalamanch.wordpress.com)
- People must have space to express anger against injustice (kabirkalamanch.wordpress.com)