Tag Archives: khairlanji

Pune’s cultural group members surrender before police

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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.

 

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India – Democracy needs their song- Kabir Kala Manch

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  • Special Arrangement
  • Special Arrangement
The Hindu, May  4,2013

They use poetry and song to fight for a just society but the state brands them Naxalites. Anand Patwardhan on the ongoing saga of the Kabir Kala Manch.

On the morning of July 11, 1997, Ramabai Colony in Ghatkopar had woken to find a garland of footwear on its statue of Dr. Ambedkar. As angry residents broke the windows of parked cars on an adjacent highway, the Special Reserve Police arrived and without warning, opened fire on the protestors. Then they took aim at the colony itself. Men, women and children — many of them bystanders watching from the “safety” of their own homes — were killed. Ten died that day, one a few years later.

I became something more than a horrified citizen when, four days later, poet and singer Vilas Ghogre, unable to bear the pain, hung himself in nearby Mulund. I had loved and recorded Vilas’s music over the years and I set about trying to understand why a Marxist Vilas reasserted his Dalit identity in death, tying a blue scarf on his forehead and writing “Long live Ambedkarite Unity” on a blackboard in his hut.

The journey took 14 years. I explored class and caste, followed court cases against the police and those they foisted against the victims of the firing, and followed other poet-musicians like Vilas who used their art for emancipation.

The 10th year brought me back to Ramabai Colony to a commemoration for the martyrs of Ramabai and Khairlanji. At Khairlanji village in 2006, four Dalits had been stripped, raped and murdered. The killer mob comprised non-Dalit co-villagers. Scores of accused with allegiance to influential political parties were acquitted. Six got the death penalty, later commuted to life. The court ruled that this was not a caste atrocity covered under the Prevention of Atrocities Act and no one had been raped. Although the bodies were found naked, rape was not investigated. When Dalits across Maharashtra took to the streets, the government described them as “Maoist inspired”. Three years later, it gave Khairlanji an award for being a model of peace. (“Tantamukti Gaon”).

In 2007, on the 10th anniversary of the firing, the sense of outrage and injustice was palpable at Ramabai Colony. Many musicians performed that day. But the most electric of all was the Kabir Kala Manch(KKM), a young group from Pune. As Sheetal Sathe’s strong, clear voice rang out, the words piercing hearts and minds, I knew right away that the legacy of Vilas Ghogre would never die.

I began to follow the KKM, filming performances in the city and countryside and in the slum where they lived. We spoke with Sheetal’s mother, an amazing woman in her own right, who despite her faith in the “goddess” tolerated the growing rational consciousness of the children she had educated through much personal sacrifice.

We filmed them lending musical support to a diverse range of activists who had taken on the venality of the system — from Medha Patkar’s non-violent confrontations to their own Mahatma Phule-inspired movement for inter-caste marriage.

But, as atrocities like Khairlanji continued, I began to sense a change. Ambedkar was now interwoven with Marx and I marvelled at how potent the combination was in the hands of young believers who challenged an older generation that had settled for crumbs from the high table. Despite this, nothing about the KKM was dogmatic. They tolerated my hodge-podge Gandhian, Left, Ambedkarite ideas. The film was taking a long time to complete and they saw bits of it on the edit table. They knew that Vilas Ghogre had been expelled from his Marxist group because upper class/caste leaders had failed to grasp the conditions of his life. Young and impressionable as the KKM was, they were internally democratic. Even in performance, while Sachin was the published poet and Sheetal and Sagar the accomplished musicians, the group saw to it that everyone got a chance to sing, write and perform.

In 2011, I lost contact with them and soon understood why. Deepak Dengle of the KKM had been arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), accused of being a Naxalite. As the police began a witch-hunt, KKM went underground. Sheetal’s mother insisted that her children had promised to fight only with “the song and the drum”.

Police-planted news articles began to appear drawing on a statement by Deepak Dengle that KKM was present at a meeting with Maoists. Deepak subsequently withdrew his statement, as it had been obtained under torture. Last month he was released on bail when Justice Thipsay of the Bombay High Court held that, even under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, mere membership of a banned outfit could not constitute grounds for detention, that an actual crime or intention to commit one had to be proved. Deepak, after his release, described how acid was used on his back and how his family was threatened.

Back in 2012, we had formed a Kabir Kala Manch Defence Committee fearing for the lives of those branded as Naxalites. After our film Jai Bhim Comrade won a National award, the Maharashtra government added another cash award. This became the initial corpus for our defence work. Finally last month we were overjoyed when Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali made contact with our lawyers, to come over-ground. To prevent the police from claiming they had “caught” them, we ensured that they surfaced in the full glare of the media — at the State Assembly.

Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, leaders of the CPI and Defence Committee members and lawyers were present as Sheetal and Sachin sang outside the Assembly and declared that their action was not a “surrender” but a “satyagraha” for the freedom of expression.

Finally the ATS arrived to collect their quarry. That evening we met the Chief Minister who promised to prevent torture. In court the next day Sheetal, who is pregnant, was sent directly into judicial custody (where torture is rare but nutritious food even more so). Sachin was remanded to ATS questioning for two weeks. We learnt that he was not allowed to sleep for three days, but no bodily torture was done. This is certainly thanks to public pressure. It was reported that the ATS switched off its fax machine because of the volume of support for KKM. The police countered through the media that Sachin and Sheetal are indeed Naxalites.

Are they? I see them as fiery idealists who are fighting to make our society just and equitable. Does that distinguish them from Naxalites? The ATS seems confused. To me, the distinction lies in the fact that the only weapon Sachin and Sheetal fight with, is their poetry and song. Even if the worst were concluded — that KKM made contact with a banned organisation — what bewilders me is what the State actually wants from them now. They gave themselves up. They expressed the desire to sing freely again within the bounds of democracy. Other members from their group are still underground, waiting to see what develops. What is the message the State is sending? That it prefers to brand them forever as Naxalites and push them into the forest rather than allow them safe passage? Neither Sheetal nor Sachin is accused of any violence. Yet Sheetal’s bail application was refused. Are people who give themselves up going to run away?

Democracy needs their song.

Keywords: Kabir Kala ManchFreedom

India – That shrinking space for dissent #Protest

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RIGHT TO PROTEST

April 27, 2013, Times Crest 

The government’s action against the Kabir Kala Manch in Maharashtra as a naxalite outfit shows us just why we need to defend our right to protest, writes Anand Patwardhan

On July 11, 1997, Ramabai Colony in Ghatkopar, Mumbai, had awoken to find its statue of Dr Ambedkar desecrated with a garland of footwear. As angry residents poured onto the adjacent highway, the state’s Reserve Police Force arrived and opened fire, killing ten. In grief, poet-singer Vilas Ghogre hung himself in his hut in nearby Mulund.

I had loved and recorded Vilas’s music over many years and tried to understand why a Marxist like him had reasserted his Dalit identity by tying a blue bandanna as he died. I explored class and caste and followed other poet-musicians like Vilas who used their art for emancipation. The 10th year of this journey brought me back to Ramabai Colony where a commemoration was in progress to honour the martyrs of Ramabai and Khairlanji. After the rape and massacre of Dalits in Khairlanji village in 2006, protests had flared across Maharashtra. The government cracked down, describing them as “Maoist inspired”. Three years later it gave Khairlanji village an award for being a model of peace (” Tantamukti Gaon” ).

On 11 July, 2007, the sense of outrage and injustice was palpable at Ramabai Colony. Many musicians performed. But the most electric of all was a young group from Pune, the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM). As Sheetal Sathe’s strong, clear voice rang out, the words piercing hearts and minds, I knew that the legacy of Vilas Ghogre would never die.

I began to follow the KKM, filming their public performances, speaking with Sheetal’s mother who despite her faith in the “goddess” tolerated the growing rational consciousness of the children she had educated. KKM lent support to a range of movements that had taken on the venality of the system, from Medha Patkar‘s non-violence to their own Mahatma Phule-inspired movement for intercaste marriage.

Atrocities like Khailanji began to make KKM more edgy. Ambedkar was now interwoven with Marx and the young believers challenged an older generation that had settled for crumbs from the high table. Yet nothing about the KKM was dogmatic and they remained internally democratic. Sachin the published poet, and Sheetal and Sagar, the accomplished musicians, saw to it that everyone got a chance to sing, write and perform.

In 2011, I lost contact with the group, but soon understood the reason. Deepak Dengle of the KKM had been arrested by the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS), accused of being a Naxalite. A startled KKM went underground even as Sheetal’s mother insisted that her children would fight only with “song and drum”.

Police-planted articles began to appear in the media. Accusations against KKM drew on “confessions” obtained in police custody like the one by Deepak Dengle alleging that KKM attended a meeting where Maoists were present. Deepak subsequently withdrew his statement stating that it was obtained under torture. He was recently released on bail after the Bombay High Court held that alleged membership of a banned outfit could not constitute grounds for detention, that an actual crime or intention to commit one would have to be proved. Deepak, after his release, described how acid was used on his back during torture and how his family was threatened.

In 2012, a few citizens and I had formed a Kabir Kala Manch Defence Committee, fearing for the lives of those branded as Naxalites. We met the chief minister of Maharashtra and the home minister, who informed us that the charges against the KKM were not serious. Finally we were overjoyed when a lawyer friend informed us that Sheetal and Sachin had made contact and wanted to come overground. To prevent the police from claiming they had “caught” them, the surfacing was arranged outside the state assembly, in full public glare. Prakash Ambedkar and CPI leaders accompanied members of our committee as Sheetal and Sachin sang a song, declaring that their action was not “surrender”, but a “satyagraha” for the freedom of expression.

Eventually the ATS arrived to collect its quarry. We met the CM that evening and he promised to prevent torture. In court the next day, Sheetal, who is pregnant, was sent directly into judicial custody while Sachin was remanded to ATS questioning for two weeks. We learnt that although Sachin was not allowed to sleep for three days, there was no physical torture. Meanwhile, the volume of support for KKM was so sustained that the ATS switched off its fax machines. But they countered through the mainstream media that Sachin and Sheetal were indeed Naxalites.

Are they? I see them as fiery idealists who are fighting to make our society just and equitable. Does that distinguish them from Naxalites? The ATS seems confused. To me the distinction lies in the fact that the only weapon Sachin and Sheetal fight with is their poetry and song.

But in the worst-case, even if it were concluded that they made contact with a banned organisation, what bewilders me is the question of what the state wants from them now? They gave themselves up. They expressed the desire to sing freely again within the bounds of democracy. Other members from their group are still underground, obviously watching to see what the state does. What message is the state sending? That it prefers to brand them as Naxalites and push them into the forest rather than allow them safe passage?

Last week, Sheetal’s bail was refused. Neither she nor Sachin are accused of any act of violence. Are people who give themselves up going to run away? Surely our democracy needs their song.

The writer is a documentary filmmaker

 

AISA – In Solidarity with Kabila Kala Manch

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10 April 2013

In an extension of the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ against cultural expressions which questioned state violence and rampant atrocities against dalits and tribals, activists of Maharashtra based radical Ambedkarite cultural group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) were framed under  the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) as being ‘Maoists’ and ‘Naxalites’.

The KKM is a cultural organization that has over many years spread its anti-caste, pro-democracy message through music, poetry and theatre. During recent years, when atrocities on Dalits and weaker sections of society began to increase, as witnessed in incidents like the rape and murder of the Bhotmange family in Khairlanji, the songs and words of the KKM admittedly became more militant. It is this militancy that invited the wrath of the police and the state. Anand Patwardhan’s acclaimed documentary film “Jai Bhim Comrade”, which won a National award as well as Maharashtra State recognition, elaborately features the performances  by Kabir Kala Manch. In 2011, the Maharashtra govt slapped UAPA on KKM and arrested several of its activists, while forcing two activists – Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali to go underground to avoid false framing. Recently the Bombay High Court granted bail to the two arrested members of KKM, Deepak Dengle and Siddharth, ruling that unless the police makes out a case that an actual crime has been committed by the accused, they cannot interpret the UAPA to arrest people merely on the basis of any alleged ideology.

Emboldened by these developments in the court that there can still be an iota of justice even in these unjust times, and encouraged by signs of a growing democratic concern against witch-hunt, absconding activists Sachin Mali and Sheetal Sathe decided on their own volition to appear  before Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha and the police on 2 April 2013. In appearing before the police, KKM members stated that their act should not be construed to be a “surrender” but as a form of “satyagraha” to clear their name from false framing and assert their democratic right to fight for justice. KKM activists made it clear that their voluntary appearance before the police must be treated as a matter of public record and that the police must be restrained from either torturing them or implicating them in any false case. Maharashtra  police, however, immediately arrested them and handed them over to the ATS. On the next day, a metropolitan magistrate court sent Sachin Mali to ATS custody till April 10 and Sheetal Sathe to judicial custody till April 17.

Maharashtra police has a long track record of politically motivated framing and witch-hunt. We have not forgotten how dozens of Muslim youths were picked up on false charges after the 2006 Malegaon blasts and how these innocent youths had to spend more than five years in jail, suffer custodial torture and social ignominy for the crimes which were later proved to be the handiwork of the terror network of  Sadhvi Pragya-Col. Purohit-Aseemanand saffron brigade! On the other hand, Maharashtra govt habitually bows down before the open violence and fascist terror tactics of the MNS-Shiv Sena-Sanghi saffron brigade.

Therefore, in the present struggle against witch-hunt and in defence of our freedom of expression, we must not fail the KKM or ourselves.

 

Revolutionary Cultural Front, JNU – Let us arm every song with dreams, in the time of war…

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Revolutionary Cultural Front

JNU, New Delhi

 

Let us arm every song with dreams, in the time of war…

         The songs, poetry and theatre of Kabir Kala Manch cannot be imprisoned in jails!
The valiant struggle of the people, against structural violence and injustice
cannot be crushed by draconian laws, branding or witch-hunting!

 

…Quite amazing, the moonlight that

Floods this room—

I cannot even see the moon outside.

To relieve this solitude

I draw out my blood

And transfuse it

With poetry that is heavy

With the sound of handcuffs.

 

Chain them if you will…

 

The birds of freedom

Will break into flight

To the sound of pioneer songs.

 

Watch carefully,

Poetry burns quickly

Spreading like a forest fire.

Watch more carefully,

Poetry can stir people…

 

Poetry is an open secret…

It reaches in a trice

Those it is meant to reach…

The secret is,

My poetry was born

From the pangs of struggle,

Cover it if you must—

You will see it escapes through

The spaces between your fingers,

Its vibrant , anguished notes

Snapping in anger

Setting tears on fire

And flowing forth—

A river of blood-red syllables.

 

Varavara Rao

(while in solitary confinement

in Secunderabad Jail 1985-89)

 

 

On April 2nd, 2013 , Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali of the Kabir Kala Manch(KKM), a political cultural organisation, courted arrest outside the Vidhan Sabha Bhavan, Bombay. Members of this organisation had been hounded by the state for more than two years now, a period when they were unable to perform and take their politics to people openly. The KKM had been vocal since 2002 against caste based discrimination, atrocities on dalits, structural violence against the oppressed masses, spreading a revolutionary message for several years now through music, poetry and theatre. As Maharashtra witnessed incidents of gross violence and injustice inflicted on the dalits by the dominant caste and the state authorities as in the case of the rape and murder of the Bhotmange family in Khairlanji (2006), the songs and plays of KKM became more militant. It is this militancy that brought them under the police scanner. In 2011, KKM members were forced to go underground after police began to brand as ‘Maoists’ and hounded them. Two of their members , Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhonsle were charged and arrested under the UAPA, by the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) in April-May 2011.

 

After two years of prolonged struggle, on the 31st of January this year, the Bombay High Court granted bail to the arrested activists. Justice Thipsay gave the verdict that sympathy for Maoist philosophy is not sufficient ground to conclude that the accused are active members of any terrorist organisation and further stressed that their activities were well within the fundamental rights to freedom of expression assured to citizens. The court also accepted that raising issues of social and economic inequality, exploitation and oppression of the poor and downtrodden or even expressing the view that a change in the social order can be brought only by a revolution is not a crime.

 

Last week cultural activist and member of Visthpan Virodhi Jan Vikas Manch, Jeetan Marandi was finally released from the Birsa Jail by the Ranchi High Court. The Sessions court had implicated him in a false case and had awarded a death sentence to him and three other activists in 2007 by declaring them guilty of murdering Jharkhand CM’s son and of treason. Jeetan’s songs are a decade long uncompromising and vehement battle against the state-corporate nexus that is looting the natural resources of the country today, displacing thousands of tribals and peasants, and branding all political dissent as ‘terrorist’. In December 2011 he was acquitted from the case by the High Court, but Jeetan and others had to remain in jail thereafter, as the Jharkhand Govt.  once again invoked the Jharkhand Crime Control Act (2002) against him. In the face of massive protests in various parts of the country demanding his release, the fascist state, its puppet judiciary and its henchmen in the police, had little choice but to concede to the progressive sections as well as revolutionary masses.

 

Revolutionary Cultural Front appeals to the students to raise their voice against this deeply casteist-communal and fascist state and its tried and tested tactics of maintaining a façade of democracy. While welcoming the judgements that have freed Jeetan Marandi and granted bail to Deepak Dengle, let us recognise that ‘fundamental rights’ have never been onoffer, but were fought for and defended tooth and nail at every step by the struggling oppressed masses. And we must continue fighting in our songs, theatre and writings in solidarity with the masses that are fighting valiantly against this state and ruling class, to establish a new society.

 

Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali’scourting arrest yesterday screams out an account of the witch-hunting, branding and monitoring project of the state to stub out the music that is not in tune with the deafening cacophony of the vested interests of corporate houses,ruling class and caste, and that of the state. Whether the imprisonment of Seema Azad, Varavara Rao, Rambali or Gadar, cultural activists have always been targeted, incarcerated and tortured by the state machinery for the revolutionary spirit and zeal they have inspired in the masses. Under immense pressure from civil democratic rights activists they have even been released. But thousands are still languishing behind bars having been charged with the‘crime’ of taking forward a fearless cultural and literary activism that stands by the people’s resistance for their land, livelihood and dignity. Sudhir Dhawale and Utpal Bashke are two names among these thousands. The fight to release all political prisoners including cultural activists must go on in our songs,pamphlets and protests along with upholding the spirit of their politics.

Solidarity Statement -Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) for KKM

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Stand in solidarity with the members of Kabir Kala Manch! Resist the branding, persecution and witch-hunt of people’s artists and activists!

Nausea served in the plate , the untouchable nausea 
The disgust grows in the belly, the untouchable disgust 
It’s there in the flower buds, it’s there in sweet songs 
That a man should drink another man’s blood, 
This is the land where this happens 
This is the land of hellish nausea 
– Excerpt from a song written by Sheetal Sathe
किस किस को कैद करोगे?/ लाखों हैं मुक्ति के पंछी, कैद करोगे किसको
लेकर पिंजरा उड़ जाएंगे खबर न होगी तुझको/ इस पिंजरे की सलाखों का लोहा हमने ही निकाला है
ये लोहा पिघलाने हमने अपना खून उबाला है/लोहा लोहे को पहचानेगा, फिर क्या होगा समझो
लेकर पिंजरा उड़ जाएंगे खबर न होगी तुझको 
– From Deepak Dengle’s poem ‘Kis Kis Ko Kaid Karoge’ penned by him in jail
 
Three days back, Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) courted arrest outside the Vidhan Sabha Bhavan in Bombay. In May 2011, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had arrested two of KKM members Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhosle and charged them under various sections of the draconian UAPA. The charges against them were that they were Maoists who spreading issues of caste oppression and social and economic inequality. For the last two years, all that the prosecution could present in the court as evidence to prove its claims were some books and the fact that KKM highlighted the wrongs present in society and the need to change it through their songs, plays and music. This witch-hunt that the state subjected KKM to so as to prevent them for performing and taking its message to the people forced its other members to go into hiding, and the state had declared them as ‘absconders’ since. This witch-hunt by the state of Kabir Kala Manch singers, a group of young Amberdkarite singers, faced a determined opposition from the progressive and democratic sections and eventually forced the court to grant bail to its arrested members. In a landmark judgement, the Maharashtra High Court observed that highlighting issues of social and economic inequality, far from being a crime, is commendable.Questioning the logic that leads anyone raising issues of social inequality and caste oppression being branded a Maoist, the judgement interestingly observed that such a reasoning “would indicate that these issues, which are real and important, are not addressed to by anyone else, except the CPI-Maoist” and all “the other parties or social organisations are indifferent to these problems faced by the society!” While courting arrest on Tuesday, Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali have made it clear that this should not be perceived as ‘surrender’ and all they expect is a fair trial without they being subject to any torture and physical abuse.
Kabir Kala Manch is a radical Ambedkarite cultural organisation formed in 2002 that looks at art and music as an active agent of change. In various parts of Maharashtra, it spread the message of annihilating caste, providing land to the tiller and issues of structural violence and social inequity through their music – all issues well within the constitutional ambit. However, just like a large section of rights guaranteed by the constitution none of these have ever become a reality for the struggling masses of this country, and thus KKM pointed out that this can only be achieved through revolution. The group also questioned the appropriation and the hollow canonization of Ambedkar by the various parliamentary parties for their vested interests, and stressed the need to imbibe and apply his radical ideas in the struggle for justice and dignity. Parliamentary parties and cultural groups affiliated to them uses the fact – that the constitution was penned by Ambedkar – in order to blunt the anger of the people against the system. KKM however candidly pointed out that Ambedkar himself had observed that he would be the first one to burn it down if it failed to give justice to the dalits and the other oppressed people. KKM emphasised the need to bring together the radical ideas of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh to fight the oppression inherent in the society today.
The issues KKM highlighted – of caste and feudal oppression, and socio-economic inequity – are issues that the Indian state wants to silence and blanket out of public purview. The state of Maharashtra has seen vibrant movements ever since the transfer of power against the grotesque reality of caste oppression. The Indian state has done its best to divert the attention of the dalit masses away from questioning the very roots of caste oppression. This it has done either through offering some crumbs to a section of self-seeking dalit leadership and co-opting them in the rat race of parliamentary politics or by creating schisms, splits and confusions amongst groups like the Dalit Panthers that broke away from the established leadership. None of the parliamentary parties have worked towards realizing the vision of Babasaheb Ambedkar of annihilating caste. Rather, committed to an inherently Brahmanical and feudal social order, all of them have been complicit in perpetrating caste massacres and oppression. There is not a single day that passes without atrocities on dalits in some part of the country or another. But in spite of the all the crafty manoeuvres of the Indian state, the anger of the dalits against this systemic oppression has erupted time and again. The militant protests after the firing in the Ramabhai Colony in Mumbai which forced many of parliamentary leaders to flee or the spirited protests all over Maharashtra and other parts of the country against the brutal murder of Bhaiyalal Bhotmange’s family in Khairlanji in 2006 reflect the rage of the dalit masses against this casteist-communal state. This anger, even in these dark times, serves as a hope to all who are committed to the vision of the annihilating caste. KKM merely gave a voice and expression to this outrage of the oppressed, and was in turn hounded for this ‘crime’. However, what KKM lent their voice to, was not merely oppression that this communal-casteist state carries on, but also the fight for justice and dignity that the people are carrying on in spite of great odds and difficulties. The arrest and witch-hunt of the members of the KKM only reflects the mortal fear and the growing schizophrenia of the Indian state as it faces the wrath of the oppressed. DSU stands in complete solidarity with Kabir Kala Manch and appeals to all progressive and democratic sections to come together to ensure the immediate release of Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali as well as complete acquittal of the rest of its members so that they can resume taking their message to the people through their songs and music.

 

 

Lokshahir Sambhaji speaks on Kabir Kala Manch

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Sambhaji Bhagat  who taught the Kabir Kala Manch members in Pune, talks about his personal relationship with the members of Kabir Kala Manch and recites one of the poems of Deepak, who has been in jail for a year now