Tag Archives: Mali

If pregnant Sheetal Sathe has to remain in detention, she must have adequate health care #KKM

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Photo: Amnesty International India asks authorities in the state of Maharashtra to ensure that if Sheetal Sathe, an arrested theatre activist, is to continue to be detained pending trial, she receives access to adequate pre-natal and post-natal care.

Sheetal Sathe is a member of Kabir Kala Manch, a group which uses protest music and theatre to campaign on human rights issues, including Dalit rights and caste-based violence and discrimination. She and her husband Sachin Mali were two of 15 people charged on 17 April 2011 of being members of, and supporting and recruiting for, the Communist Party of India (Maoist), a banned armed group, among other charges.

Sheetal Sathe is eight months pregnant, and Amnesty International India is concerned about her health needs, in particular her need for adequate nutrition and pre-natal and post-natal care. A rights activist who has met Sathe after her arrest, told Amnesty International India that Sathe does not receive adequately nutritious food or appropriate health care.Read More: http://t.co/AI2OclBX0Z

Amnesty International India asks authorities in the state of Maharashtra to ensure that if Sheetal Sathe, an arrested theatre activist, is to continue to be detained pending trial, she receives access to adequate pre-natal and post-natal care.

Sheetal Sathe is a member of Kabir Kala Manch, a group which uses protest music and theatre to campaign on human rights issues, including Dalit rights and caste-based violence and discrimination. She and her husband Sachin Mali were two of 15 people charged on 17 April 2011 of being members of, and supporting and recruiting for, the Communist Party of India (Maoist), a banned armed group, among other charges.

Sathe could not be traced by the police until 2 April 2013, when she and Mali appeared before the legislative assembly in Maharashtra in what they said was a protest against the charges made against them. Both were arrested, and Sathe is at present in judicial custody in a jail in Byculla, Mumbai. Her applications for bail have been rejected by trial courts in Mumbai.

Sheetal Sathe is eight months pregnant, and Amnesty International India is concerned about her health needs, in particular her need for adequate nutrition and pre-natal and post-natal care. A rights activist who has met Sathe after her arrest, told Amnesty International India that Sathe does not receive adequately nutritious food or appropriate health care.

Amnesty International reminds authorities that both Indian and international law make a presumption in favour of pre-trial release for all persons accused of penal offences. As specified in article 9(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a state party, it must not be the general rule to hold people in custody pending trial. The right to liberty of the person requires that deprivation of liberty should always be the exception, and imposed only if it is justified, necessary, reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances of the case. All possible non-custodial measures, such as bail or undertaking to appear, must be explored by the judicial authority before making a decision to remand in custody, and such detention must be regularly reviewed by a judicial authority.

The Supreme Court of India has said in several cases, including recently in Sanjay Chandra versus CBI in 2011, that bail should be the rule and detention in jail the exception, and that refusal of bail can be a restriction on the right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

With regard to pregnant women in particular, the UN General Assembly, in adopting the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners (“Bangkok Rules”), has emphasized that non-custodial measures should be preferred when deciding on pre-trial measures for pregnant women.

States have an obligation under international law to respect and ensure the right to health of prisoners. Specifically with regard to pregnant women, international standards require that if pregnant women are detained, the authorities must ensure that they receive regular health check-ups, adequate nutrition and proper pre-natal and post-natal care, including advice on their health and diet under a programme drawn up and monitored by a qualified health practitioner. Pregnant women must not be detained unless such facilities are provided.

Whenever possible, arrangements should be made for children to be born in a hospital outside the place of detention. Thereafter, special provision must be made for detained women with infants, taking full account of the best interests of the child.

These measures were also issued as directions by the Supreme Court of India in the case of RD Upadhyay versus State of Andhra Pradesh, and are included in the Model Prison Manual for the Superintendence and Management of Prisons in India.

Amnesty International India urges authorities in Maharashtra to ensure that Sheetal Sathe is provided with appropriate pre-natal and post-natal care, including adequate nutrition, as required by national and international law and standards. If authorities cannot ensure that she is provided with adequate care, then alternatives to custody, such as release on bail or personal bond, should be used.

Background Information

In April 2011, the Anti-Terror Squad of the Maharashtra Police arrested Angela Sontakke, who they claim is a senior member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), and filed charges against 15 Kabir Kala Manch members for allegedly having links with her. Subsequently they arrested six other persons. On 20 July 2011, the police filed a chargesheet against all seven arrested persons, and eight others who could not be located, including Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali, under India’s principal anti-terror legislation, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

In October 2012, the Bombay High Court granted bail to two of the seven arrested activists. The same court granted bail to four other arrested activists in January 2013, observing, “the membership of a terrorist gang or organization as contemplated by (the UAPA) has to be treated as an active membership which results in participation of the acts of the terrorist gang or organization which are performed for carrying out the aims and objects of such gang or organization by use of violence or other unlawful means.” The court also observed that “speaking about corruption, social inequality, exploitation of the poor, etc. and desiring that a better society should come in existence is not banned in our country…even the expression of views to the effect that a change in the social order can be brought about only by a revolution would not amount to an offence.”

The UAPA, under which Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali have been charged, uses sweeping and overbroad definitions of ‘acts of terrorism’ and ‘membership’ of ‘unlawful’ organizations, and does not comply with India’s international legal obligations

Amendments to the UAPA in 2008 extended the minimum period of detention of suspects from 15 to 30 days and the maximum period of such detention from 90 to 180 days, avoided adequate pre-trial safeguards against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees and reversed certain evidential burdens of grave crimes and required, in certain circumstances, the accused persons to prove their innocence.

Human rights groups in India have highlighted several instances where the UAPA has been abused, with the use of fabricated evidence and false charges to detain activists defending the rights of Adivasi and Dalit communities and peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association.

#India- Why Is This Pregnant Woman Still In Jail ? #Vaw #Womenrights #mustshare

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Denied bail again, Sheetal Sathe may give birth behind bars. Is this the human face of justice?

ANAND PATWARDHAN

15-06-2013, Issue 24 Volume 10

ON 2 JUNE, eight months pregnant,  (KKM) activist was denied bail by the Mumbai Sessions Court. Sheetal, along with her husband and other members of the cultural group, had come overground in full media glare in April this year after being accused by the Anti- Terror Squad of the Mumbai police of being Naxalites.

They had courted arrest voluntarily, and had chosen to face the due process of law. But clearly, this system is faulty. Bail is usually denied when there is a possibility of the accused running away, but in this particular case, since the accused gave themselves up there are no grounds to suggest that they are going to run away.

Denying bail to somebody who is eight months pregnant is inhuman. It looks increasingly certain that Sheetal and Sachin’s child will be born in jail. We all know what conditions in jail are like. The food is extremely poor at the best of times. Hygiene is non-existent. Though Sheetal is getting medical checkups, her nutrition remains a major cause for concern.

There is not much to prove that these people — youths who use music and poetry, not guns, to protest the institutionalised inequalities rampant in our country — are Naxalites. Even if you assume that they were in some way attracted to the ideology, the Supreme Court has established that mere membership of a banned organisation is not something punishable by itself, in that there is a distinction between active and passive membership of a banned outfit. In fact, the Bombay High Court granted bail to Deepak Dengle and Siddharth Bhonsle, two other members of the KKM who were arrested in 2011 in the same case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, saying that sympathy for an ideology does not incriminate someone. It was that decision that gave Sheetal and Sachin hope for a fair hearing.

These people have not committed a violent crime. Even the State does not accuse them of having committed one. They are being victimised for what they think, or to put it more accurately, what the State assumes they think. By restricting people from singing songs, performing plays or speaking out against injustice, it is reducing the space for dissent a democracy naturally allows. If people are not allowed to voice their grievances publicly, they will be pushed underground. So, in effect, the State is forcing people like them to go against the law.

The  attack in Chhattisgarh has also negatively impacted the general atmosphere. If anyone is accused of being a Naxalite in these volatile times, it becomes a very hard thing to overcome in court or in society.

We are trying to go to the High Court as soon as possible, hopefully before the baby is born. In Sheetal’s case, of course, bail is urgent, but it is important to remember that this is not just an injustice to her. It is an injustice to all the accused who were expecting a chance to have their side of the story heard. In a country where people accused of masterminding the fixing of lucrative cricket matches are given bail in no time, why are radical musicians and performers, one of whom is pregnant, being denied bail? Does justice in this country depend on one’s bank balance?

Patwardhan is a founding member of the Kabir Kala Manch Defence Committee.

(As told to Nupur Sonar)

letters@tehelka.com

 

Pregnant Sheetal Sathe of Ka bir Kala Manch denied bail

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Express news service : Wed Jun 05 2013,

A SEWREE fast track court Tuesday rejected radical musical group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) activist Sheetal Sathe’s bail application. After being underground for over two years, Sathe (27), who is eight months pregnant, surfaced outside Mantralaya in April along with her husband Sachin Mali (27) and had courted arrest.

They were declared absconding accused in a case registered in 2011 against 15 persons for their alleged role in supporting and funding Naxal activities in the state. Sathe and Mali are facing charges under several sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for their alleged involvement with the banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist). While seven persons were arrested in 2010, Sathe, Mali and six others were declared absconding accused.

Her lawyer Vijay Hiremath had moved the bail application on humanitarian grounds soon after her arrest. Sathe and Mali had gone underground in the wake of arrests of other KKM members in 2010. However, following their release on bail, the couple courted arrest. They were arrested on April 2 by Maharashtra ATS. A month later, two more KKM members courted arrest.

“Sympathy for Maoist philosophy with a likelihood to indulge in various violent activities is not sufficient ground to conclude that the accused are presently active members of the terrorist organization,” the Bombay High Court had held while granting bail to four KKM members last year.

mumbai.newsline@expressindia.com

 

Dharna and protest meet in support of KKM at Lucknow

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 Protest at Gorakhpur in support of KKM

Lucknow, U.P. 4 May, 2013

 

Jan sanskriti Manch called a day long dharna and protest meeting at GPO park, Lucknow to protest repression on Kabir Kala Manch demanding immediate release of Sheetal Sathe & Sachin Mali and withdrawal of false cases against KKM activists. Many litterateurs, journalists and representatives of different progressive organizations joined the protest. Poet Naresh saxena, theatre artist Rakesh of IPTA, Tahira hasan, national Vice president of AIPWA, Ramayan Ram, U.P. state president of AISA, poets Bhagwan Swaroop Katiyar of Jan Sanskriti Manch, Ajay Singh and Pragya Pandey, literary critic Virendra Yadav of PWA,   Ashish Tripathi of PUCL,  O.P. Sinha of Workers’ Council, K.K. Vats of Alag Duniya addressed the protest meet. Kaushal Kishore, convenor of Jan sanskriti Manch , Lucknow conducted the meeting. Subhash Rai, Chief Editor, ‘Samkalin Sarokar’, writers Usha rai, R.K. Sinha, Shyam Ankuram, B.N. Gaud, veteran communist trade unionist Ganga Prasad from  Lenin Pustak Kendra, Rajeev Yadav of Rihai Manch, AISA activists Seema Chandra & Sudhanshu Vajpai participated in Dharna and protest meet among others.

 

Released by Kaushal Kishore, convenor, JSM, Lucknow , Contact- 08400208031

 

 

Meena Kandasamy accepts award in the name of Sheetal Sathe and others #womenrights

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Meena Kandasamy at the India Today Woman Summit 2013, awards were given out to those women who had broken the glass ceiling and had reached the top of the pyramid with their hard work.:


Thank you India Today. I’ve never got a prize before and I would like it to sort of remain that way. So, instead of collecting this India Today Woman’s Storyteller Award in my name, I want to collect it in the name of women who are saying all the bitter truths. And at this juncture, because these are few words I get to speak to very powerful women and men, I want to take this in the name of Sheetal Sathe, of Kabir Kala Manch, who was writing poetry and singing songs about all the problems and who is now being alleged of being a terrorist or a naxalite. And in the name of Rinu Srinivasan and Shaheen Dada who put up a facebook post and had to go to jail for that. And in the name of all the journalists like Shahina who was covering the Madani case and was legally persecuted for that. Story telling, even if it looks like a very leisurely pastime has a lot of repercussions and not everybody gets away with speaking out their mind telling the truth. This award is not for any individual. I think whenever there is a moment of crisis, we are acting as a collective. I can take this award only in the name of all Indian women who are speaking out, and facing persecution.

 

You can watch the video  here http://indiatoday.intoday.in/video/india-today-woman-awards-2013-winners/1/266664.html

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

 

Musical Protest for release of Kabir Kala Manch Members

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Hirawal at Gandhi Maidan against arrest of KKM activists

Jan Sanskriti Manch Against Arrest of Kabir Kala Manch Activists

 

On 17th April, Jan Sanskriti Manch issued a statement calling for immediate release of the cultural activists Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali of Kabir Kala Manch of Maharashtra. Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali and the Kabir Kala Manch are remarkable public performers of revolutionary music against caste, class and gender oppression, corporate land grab, and state repression. Their organization has been branded a Maoist outfit and its activists had been pushed underground for a long time. Recently, they defied the ban on their organization and performed openly, after which Sheetal and Sachin were arrested. JSM called for protests all over the country against this attempt to silence the revolutionary music of KKM.

On 22 April, Hirawal organized a musical protest at Gandhi Maidan against the incarceration of Kabir Kala Manch activists. Hirawal on this occasion performed Sheetal Sathe’s song Bhagat Singh Tum Zinda Ho, followed by several other revolutionary songs. Hirawal will conduct a campaign from May 1-5, during which they will distribute leaflets and perform music among people, demanding that the voices of Sheetal and Sachin be freed.

JSM and AISA held a protest march and mass meeting in Allahabad against the arrest of Sheetal and Sachin and against rape and sexual violence, in which Janmat editor Ramji Rai, JSM General Secretary Pranay Krishna, Meena Rai, manager of Janmat, Prof. Rajendra Kumar, AISA leader Ramayan Ram participated.

JSM will hold protest programmes at several other places also, in the near future.