Tag Archives: Maoism

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

 

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Mumbai- Kashmir collaboration -Rapping for Kabir Kala Manch #protestmusic

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kkm (1)

Another Mumbai-Kashmir collaboration with lyrics and vocals of A-List (Bombay) and production from Shyn9n (Kashmir). This song is dedicated to the Kabir Kala Manch, a cultural group that has been wrongly charged as naxalites and imprisoned for their protest music.

Lyrics:

Let’s get to the point, this is the crunch,
Dedicate this joint to Kabir Kala Manch,
They’re poets, they say what the facts are like,
But the state is calling them Naxalites, (X2)

Who is Kabir Kala Manch? You browse in the news,
A group that was formed in 2002,
Of poets and artists who are loud with their views,
A real artist tells the crowd what was true,
The scripts were hard ‘coz of reality though,
This shit’s bizarre, where did equality go,
There’s no quality though, such a tragedy yo,
Could be a parody show what we gladly ignore,
Two dalits are raped and three killed everyday,
Can you relate or even say what it may,
Feel in the state where you deal with the hate,
But the scene is replaced with the cream of the fake,
Upper class Upper caste Privilege,
You say fuck all the past pillages,
But the past images are still in vast villages,
Even in the cities, you see caste still exists,
You think not, but the dream won’t last,
Get shot for saying “Jai Bhim Comrade”,
You think not, but the dream won’t last,
Get shot for saying “Jai Bhim Comrade”,

Let’s get to the point, this is the crunch,
Dedicate this joint to Kabir Kala Manch,
They’re poets, they say what the facts are like,
But the state is calling them Naxalites, (X2)

Just let the flow say what the pen spray,
Arrest Siddharth Bhonsle and Deepak Dengle,
But in the end they know the case is weak,
But the state it seeks to erase the steak,
Of being honest and true, so keep adjusting these,
Dates so they extend the custody,
Forget just or free, these are dark days,
After surrender of Sheetal Sathe,
Six months pregnant, let me hone this story,
Judicial Custody unlike Soni Sori,
Who they sexually abused, there is crazy stress,
For intellectual views, end up with ATS,
Sachin Mali under Anti Terrorist Squad,
So now poets can be terrorists, lord!
Please note there are no charges of violence,
It’s a cheap joke, we’ve largely been silent,
They sing of malnutrition and farmer suicides,
On that Bhagat Singh shit, this is martyr’s music right,
The real Bob Dylans, Tupacs of the nation,
While indie scene is just a simulation,
They the real deal, they not what militants be,
Some songs might endorse militancy,
But merely endorsing a view is not a criminal act,
While the losses accrue where the minerals at,
Corporates are robbing the nation blind,
But that’s all great, just don’t relate their crimes,
To the people, that makes these suckers jump,
That’s why they arrested Kabir Kala Manch,

Kabir Kala Manch,
That’s why they arrested Kabir Kala Manch,
Put your fist in the air like you gonna punch,
And sing for Kabir Kala Manch,
For Kabir Kala Manch,
Free Kabir Kala Manch,
Free Sheetal Sathe, Deepak Dengle,
Sachin Mali, Siddharth Bhonsle,
Free poets who speak up,
Free Kabir Kala Manch.

 

Listen the song below

 

https://soundcloud.com/alistrap/free-kabir-kala-manch-produced

 

Two members of Kabir Kala Manch stage ‘satyagraha’

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SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu

Mumbai, paril 3, 2013

Two activists of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali on Tuesday staged a “satyagraha” outside the Vidhan Bhavan (Maharashtra State Legislature) in protest against being accused as Maoists and absconders by the police under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). They were accompanied by political leaders and activists of the KKM Defence Committee.

Prakash Reddy of the Communist Party of India (CPI), who was present in the morning during the satyagraha, said the two activists were singers and fighting for an equal society.

“It is to publicly demonstrate that they have not committed any crime and had not indulged in any unlawful activity that they chose to come out today,” he added.

The Marine Drive police confirmed that the duo was brought to the police station and handed over to the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS).

The government does not want artists to perform or rebel, Mr. Reddy said.

In a statement, friends of the KKM Defence Committee said: “We wish this voluntary appearance of the KKM before the police to be a matter of public record and expect the police to restrain from torturing them or implicating them in any false case. We expect nothing less and nothing more than the due process of law.”

Appearing before the police, the KKM members stated, should not be construed as “surrender” but as a form of “satyagraha” to clear their name and establish the fact that their goal was to fight for justice within the confines of democratic conduct.

Clarifying that the KKM was a cultural organisation that had over many years spread its “anti-caste,” “pro-democracy” message through music, poetry and theatre, the statement said it was increasing atrocities on Dalits and weaker sections of society that led to the songs and words of the KKM admittedly becoming more militant.

“It is this militancy that brought them under the police scanner,” the KKM Defence Committee said.

The police arrested KKM members and some of them had to go underground. Two of their members were charged and arrested under the UAPA, the statement said adding that recently the Bombay High Court granted bail to two arrested members of the KKM, Deepak Dengle and Siddharth.

It ruled that unless the police made out a case that an actual crime was committed by the accused, they cannot interpret the UAPA to arrest people merely on the basis of an alleged ideology.

 

Kabir Kala Manch activists court arrest

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Wednesday, 3 April 2013 –

Mumbai: An artiste-activist couple from a Pune-based theatre group Kabir Kala Manch, accused of having Maoist links, surrendered to police outside the high-security precincts of Maharashtra legislature here Tuesday.

The duo, Sachin Mali and Sheetal Sathe of the Kabir Kala Manch, have been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for having Maoist links.

“We wish to come clean of all allegations slapped against us mentioning us as providing aid to and assisting the Naxal (Maoist) movement. We wish to co-operate with the agencies and wish to have our names cleared,” Mali said as he was being escorted away by police under tight security.

The couple, which had gone underground and remained wanted for several years, have contended that their surrender is like a “revolution” and that they expected restraint from torture or being implicated in false cases by the authorities.

However, it was not clear why they chose to surrender in a public place in south Mumbai which is under a high security cover in view of the ongoing legislature session.

After their surrender, the Mumbai police placed them under formal arrest and handed them over to the Anti-Terrorist Squad for interrogation and further investigation.

“A formal arrest has been registered with the Marine Drive Police Station and later they were handed over to the ATS for further investigation. The case is now being probed by the ATS, as it has the primary charge of investigating Maoist activities in the state,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Ravindra Shishwe told media persons after the developments.

Asked for his reaction, Home Minister R.R. Patil said his department was investigating the matter and he would not be able to comment on it till detailed information is received.

 

Bombay HC- A warning and guide to the police in all states.

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Digital Maoism

 

Prabhat Sharan, Deccan Herald

 

The Bombay high court’s observations, while  granting bail to four persons who were accused of being Maoists by the anti-terrorist squad (ATS) of the state, should be a warning and guide to the police in all states.

 

It is well-known that the police foist unconvincing charges on people, harass them, rob them of their freedom and take them to court. Many times it is calling a man a dog and trying to hang him.

 

To be found with a copy of the Communist Manifesto or any other work that advocates social change, to write a poem or stage a play that criticises  injustice and iniquities was enough reason to be locked up by the police many years ago. The experience of the street theatre group which highlighted the pervasiveness of corruption and inequalities in society shows that the situation has hardly changed.

 

The artistes of the theatre group , Kabir Kala Manch were booked under the strict provisions of the anti-terrorism law for alleged allegiance to the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and for inciting violence to subvert the state, and some of them have been in jail for over two years. The evidence produced by the ATS is their possession of books available in the market and the literature has not been banned. It is possible that many of the ideas which the police found criminal could be found in text books also.

 

Castigating the police, the court has said that it is not wrong to raise social issues and advocate a change of the social or political system. Many thinkers, social activists and leaders of the past and present could be considered guilty and criminal if there was a sweeping ban on demands for a better society.

 

Corruption, poverty, social injustice and the oppression of the weakest sections of society are  vital issues that need answers and solutions. The inability of the state to address these issues and improve the social and economic status of the people in the margins should be of concern to all citizens.

 

While these issues are raised in public the answer of the state should not be to come down with a heavy hand on those who do so. It is not just a matter of freedom of expression but of what to express and work for. It is not the first time that courts have made it clear that faith in an ideology is not a crime. Unfortunately it has to be said again and again.

 

 

 

Ultra vires regulations- does association with a banned outfit make you a TERRORIST?

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SUVOJIT BAGCHI, The Hindu , fEB 22, 2013

Mere association with a banned outfit or studying its literature does not tantamount to being a terrorist, says a recent Bombay High Court judgement

Freedom of speech:Sheetal Sathe, lead singer of Kabir Kala Manch.

Freedom of speech:Sheetal Sathe, lead singer of Kabir Kala Manch.

The definition of a ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ has been a major topic of continuous debate in India especially in recent months. Can a person collecting and studying literature of a banned party be defined as a terrorist? Can a song with revolutionary lyrics — despising social inequality — be called an act of terror? Or is it that quoting Mao Tse Tung or Karl Marx in a street theatre be defined as a terrorist ploy?

A recent judgement by the Bombay High Court has stated that such acts are not terrorism. Even the judge went on to say, “… 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 any offence.”

The judgement — delivered while granting bail to four members of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), a Pune-based cultural group of Dalit protest singers — has been lauded by social activists and lawyers in Chhattisgarh and other States where a large number of tribals are languishing in jail allegedly for participating in Maoist rallies or providing food to the rebels. The KKM members were arrested and booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) allegedly for being members of the banned CPI-Maoist.

The judgement by Justice Abhay Thipsey has specifically questioned Section 20 of UAPA which penalises members of ‘terrorist gangs or organisations involved in terrorist acts’ with imprisonment for life. Quoting extensively from several verdicts of the Indian and U.S. Supreme Courts, the judgement says that Section 20 of UAPA challenges Article 19 of the Indian Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech, right to form unions and assemble peacefully.

According to the judge, KKM members were arrested for practising rights guaranteed by Article 19. Moreover, the same section of IPC, 120B, which was used against Afzal Guru for allegedly abetting a criminal conspiracy, was also used against KKM members for associating with a banned outfit.

Deconstructing various sections of IPC and UAPA used to frame charges against KKM members, Justice Thipsey said, “Mere membership of a banned organisation will not incriminate a person unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence,” quoting, inter alia , from a Supreme Court judgement.

Justice Thipsey added if “passive membership” of a banned party is criminally liable, then parts of UAPA may become ultra vires . “It is very clear from the observations made by the Supreme Court that if Section 20 were to be interpreted in that manner (passive membership as active terrorism), it would at once be considered as violative of the provisions of Article 19 of the Constitution of India, and would be struck down as ultra vires ,” page 37 of the judgement stated.

Justice Thipsey has also expressed “surprise” that KKM members were arrested for organising “street plays wherein social issues such as the eradication of corruption, social inequality, widening gap between the rich and the poor, the exploitation of poor, etc.” are addressed. “There is nothing wrong in raising these social issues,” he said.

“The same views (regarding social inequality) are expressed by several national and eminent leaders and the expression for these views cannot brand a person as a member of CPI-Maoist. On the contrary, such a reasoning would indicate that these issues, which are real and important, are not addressed to by anyone else, except the CPI-Maoist, which would mean that the other parties or social organisations are indifferent to these problems faced by the society,” the judgement said. Advocating the teachings of Karl Marx or “having some faith in the Maoist philosophy” is also not criminally liable, said the judge. The judgement has also emphasised that possessing of banned literature of an outlawed political party (CPI-Maoist in this case) is not an offence.

In large parts of India, especially in States where tribals are in jail for being alleged sympathisers of the CPI-Maoist, the judgement has acted as a shot in the arm of the activists and the lawyers. “This is a landmark judgement in context of Chhattisgarh, as there are more than 2,000 tribals languishing in various jails. However, I am not sure if this verdict will be taken into cognisance while passing a judgement,” said K.K. Dubey, who represents several under-trial tribals in south Chhattisgarh. Activists in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand have also welcomed Justice Thipsey’s judgement.

Protesting against expolitation of poor no crime: Bombay High court

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Prabhat Sharan Mumbai, Feb 5, 2013, DHNS

Court orders release of four artistes alleged to be Maoists

Last week, the Bombay High Court granted bail to four street theatre artistes for allegedly having Maoist connections, observing that “speaking about corruption, social inequality, exploitation of the poor etc and desiring a better society should come into existence and is not banned in our country.”

Granting bail to Dhawala Dhengle, Siddarth Bhosale, Mayuri Bhagat and Anuradha Sonule, against a surety of Rs 30,000 each, Justice Abhay Thipsay said: “Highlighting and creating social awareness on corruption, the widening gap between the rich and the poor and exploitation of the poor is commendable and cannot be considered an evidence of being members of a terrorist organisation.”

The artistes, belonging to a street theatre group named “Kabir Kala Manch,” were picked up the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in 2011 on grounds that they were inciting the people to violence and members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Though police had detained seven people initially, four of them were still in jail since the ATS claimed to have found “incriminating documents and books” in their possession.

Going through the evidence submitted by the state, Justice Thipsay said: “Many of the books found are available in the market and there is no denial of that by the state. In any case, the said literature is not banned and reading thereof is not prohibited.”

On charges that the theatre group was advocating violence through street plays, Justice Thipsay told the public prosecutor: “There is nothing wrong in raising social issues and emphasising that a change in social order is required. The same views are expressed by several national and eminent leaders and a person cannot be branded a member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) for expressing such views.

“On the contrary, such a reasoning would indicate that these issues, which are real and important, are not addressed by anyone else, except the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which in turn would mean that other parties or social organisations are indifferent to these problems.”

Expressing surprise at the evidence based on which the artistes were imprisoned, Justice Thipsay said: “It is surprising that highlighting the wrongs prevalent in the society and insisting that there is a need to change the situation was considered as evidence and used to convince the court of them being members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).”

The judge further observed that even the expression of views “to the effect that a change in social order can be brought about only by a revolution” would not amount to any offence. Those who advocate the teachings of Karl Marx are certainly not committing any crime.

DOWNLOAD FULL JUDGEMENT HERE