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Pune’s cultural group members surrender before police


Written by Saurabh Gupta | Updated: May 09, 2013 NDTV

MumbaiFour more members of Pune-based cultural group Kabir Kala Manch handed themselves over to the police for questioning on Tuesday in Mumbai.
The Kabir Kala Manch is a Pune based cultural group who have performed their unique brand of political theatre, poetry and music encompassing issues of class, caste, environment and human rights. The police have accused them of having naxalite links.Last month Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali who had spent two years in hiding gave themselves up outside the state assembly. SheetalOn Tuesday, four members who had been in hiding presented themselves before the public in front of Babasaheb Ambedkar‘s statue near the state secretariat. The group then met Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil and presented some of their songs before him.

After meeting them, Mr Patil told reporters “After the government’s appeal there must have been a change of mind on their behalf. They have decided to fight this in court in a legal manner. The police will not harass them. The government has made its policy clear. If someone who has naxalite links or is accused of having naxalite links comes forward, the government is willing to talk to them.”

Speaking to NDTV, Filmmaker and Activist Anand Patwardhan said, “This is a satyagraha and they are saying we have done no wrong. We are willing to submit ourselves through the new process of law.”

But Mr Patwardhan has defended them saying, “After incidents like Khairlanji and the lack of justice in the Ramabai firing case their songs became more militant and the state interpreted them as some kind of extremism. To my knowledge they have never been charged with any kind of violence.”

The Kabir Kala Manch Defence Committee has appealed for a speedy disposition of the cases that have been slapped against the members of the troupe.


Court Arrest proves they are innocent: Sheetal Sathe’s mother



Chandan Haygunde : Pune, Wed Apr 03 2013,  Indian Express
Both Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali used to write what they called “revolutionary songs and poetry” in Pune. The songs composed by the KKM like “Bhagat Singh tu zinda hai…” are often sung on different occassions by youths, activists and cultural groups in the city.

Family members say the duo got married through Satyashodhak vivah at the historic Mahatma Phule Wada a few years ago. While Sheetal is a postgraduate in sociology from Siddhivinayak College in Pune, Sachin got his MA from Fergusson College.

“I am happy they have surrendered. It proves their innocence,” said Sheetal’s mother Sandhya Sathe. She lives in a small hut in the Kaseadi slums of Pune. “I got phone calls as the news flashed on TV channels. I was happy to see Sheetal on TV after three years now. She has been a talented singer since her childhood. She had won awards during college days,” she said.

The mother said Sheetal left home about five years ago. “She got married to Sachin. Both had started working for KKM before marriage and wanted to do something for the backward classes,” she said.

KKM was formed by a Pune based activist Amarnath Chandaliya after the 2002 Gujarat riots. According to Chandaliya, Sheetal and Sachin along with Ramesh Gaychor, Sagar Gorkhe, Deepak alias Dhawala Dhengle joined the KKM in 2005.

The activists were lauded by prominent social activists in Pune for their performances in various colleges, slums, agitations and social functions. However, their names were included in the list of some 37 organisations prepared by the police for alleged Naxal links in 2008. The activists went into hiding after they were booked by the ATS in April 2011.