Draconian Laws against CPI(ML) Activists in Ghazipur

Activists who organise the rural poor are being branded 'gangsters' and goondas' and booked under the draconian 'Gangster Act' and 'Goonda Act' in Mayawati's UP.

On 15 February 2010, some criminals attacked the Bhadaura Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Gahmar PS of Ghazipur district. Some ASHA workers were then at the PHC, and a local resident Firozeshah who had come with his wife when she was to deliver a child was killed by the attackers to prevent him from identifying them. Sanjay Singh who is a son of a doctor Surendra Singh who had retired from the PHC and who is notorious as a local criminal and who has several criminal cases against him, was the main accused in this incident. But the police came under pressure of powerful forces and released Sanjay Singh, and instead falsely implicated and jailed poor tribals for this incident.

On 25 February, the CPI(ML) held a dharna outside the Bhadaura PHC to demand the arrest of the real criminals and protest against the framing of the innocent tribals, and also to raise the issues of widespread corruption in the PHC.

In the presence of the Deputy CMO (Chief Medical Officer) who had come to accept the memorandum, Sanjay Singh came and threatened to shoot dead the Ghazipur district president of AIALA Shrikrishna Maurya who was among those leading the dharna. Subsequently Sanjay Singh was again taken into custody by the police – but under pressure from above he was promptly released.

When CPI(ML) activist Ramchandra Maurya (of Pachauri village, Gahmar PS) was returning from the dharna that night, he was attacked and beaten till bloody with hockey sticks. The next day (26 February), when CPI(ML) and AIALA leaders went to the Gahmar Police Station to file an FIR against the assault, the SO detained them at the thana. The attackers themselves had already filed false FIRs against the CPI(ML) activists! The police obediently acted on the complaint filed by the criminal Sanjay Singh under Sections 147, 504, and 323 IPC, and arrested four CPI(ML) activists. In addition, the Gahmar SHO on his own behalf filed another FIR under Sections 143, 186, 341 IPC as well as Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment (CLA) Act against Shrikrishna Maurya, CPI(ML)'s Bhadaura Secretary Rampravesh Kushwaha as well as comrades Divakar Pandey and Shiv Kumar Maurya. In light of the FIR filed against Surendra Singh and Sanjay Singh, the criminals, the latter were arrested but the SHO immediately withdrew Section 308 (culpable homicide) from the chargesheet, thus paving the way for easy bail. The district administration, acting on a police report that clubbed old cases together with the new ones, invoked the Goonda Act and Gangster Act against the CPI(ML) activists.

Before this, on 22 January 2010 when CPI(ML) held a dharna in the Nonahra thana area against harassment of tribals, party state committee member and Ghazipur district secretary Ram Pyare Ram and 11 other activists were beaten up in the police station and booked under a range of criminal charges and section 7-C of the CLA Act.

In November 6 2009, when the party state secretary Ram Pyare Ram went to meet the SP of Ghazipur, the SP himself threatened him that unless he stopped holding protest demonstrations he would have false cases slapped on him and be left to rot in jail.

These incidents show that there is an undeclared emergency in Ghazipur district. The CPI(ML) here has taken up issues of corruption in NREGA and mid-day meal schemes; of police harassment of tribals and poor people; of illegal grab of common lands by feudal strongmen; eviction of the dalits from land or failure to ensure holders of land pattas access to their rightful land. It is on the orders of the feudal forces and the powerful politicians who patronise them that the police and administration are using laws which are supposedly intended for criminals and thugs, to intimidate and harass CPI(ML) activists!

On 10 March, CPI(ML) began an indefinite dharna at the district HQs demanding that the false cases against innocent tribals and CPI(ML) activists be withdrawn, the role of the police and local administration in this intimidation campaign be investigated and action taken against them, and also action against the criminal elements responsible for attacks on local people and activists.

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