COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
185/3, FOURTH FLOOR, ZAKIR NAGAR, NEW DELHI-110025
IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE POLITICAL PRISONERS WHO ARE ON HUNGER STRIKE IN ODISHA JAILS FOR THEIR DEMAND OF SPEEDY TRIAL
10 April 2015
RELEASE ALL THE POLITICAL PRISONERS LANGUISHING IN VARIOUS JAILS IN ODISHA FOR YEARS TOGETHER WITHOUT ANY TRIAL SOLELY DUE TO THE DELIBERATE DELAY INDULGED IN BY THE PROSECUTION!
POLITICAL PRISONER STATUS TO ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!
PUNISH THE OFFICERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CRIMINAL DELAY!
CONSITUTE AN IMPARTIAL JUDICIAL INQUIRY INTO SUCH WIDESPREAD INSTANCES OF IMPUNITY IN ODISHA, CHATTISGARH, JHARKHAND, WEST BENGAL, BIHAR, DELHI, JAMMU & KASHMIR, KERALA, KARNATAKA!
ALLOW CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS, FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF POLITICAL PRISONERS TO VISIT AND HEAR OUT TO THE
Once again the political prisoners in Odisha are on hunger strike. Again for the simple demand of speedy trial for their cases. And most of them have been languishing in the jails for around 4-8 years. Odisha jails have be witness to several hunger strikes from political prisoners since 2011 demanding for clean and better food, corruption free prison administration and last but not the least production in the courts on all dates and speedy trial of their cases, as in most cases the Investigating Officers or the police witnesses play the villain often failing to show up in the courts on the stipulated dates for the trial procedure to continue and finish in a time bound manner. In many cases the lamest of excuses have been entertained by the courts to the extent that the Odisha Human Rights Commission have summed up the situation quoting from the observations made by the trial court in Nayagarh on the ST case no 147/2010 and 94 / 2010 which reads as follows :
“there is no recovery of arms looted from them. Even the seized materials are not produced in the Court. No ballistic examinations has been done with regards to the arms and ammunitions recovered in the dense forests of Gusmah in Ganjam district. The so-called seizure of arms was done in the absence of independent witness. None of the accused persons has been arrested by the Investigating Officer. Rather by merely submitting remand prayers to the SDJM, Nayagarh to bring them from various jails, they have been entangled in this case. It is very sorrowful state of affairs.”(emphasis added)
The above mentioned para is highlighted in the petition filed by Bishvapriya Kanungo, advisor and Narendra Mohanty, convenor of the Campaign Against Fabricated Cases (CAFC) before the Odisha Human Rights Commission urging the body to intervene immediately to address the just demands of the political prisoners thus ensuring their fundamental rights as under trial prisoners and at the same time dissuading the prisoners on hunger strike to call off the same without further inflicting injuries to their body.
To be particular, this time the prisoners on hunger strike are seven of them in Jharpada jail—namely Kamalakanta Sethi, Padmabati Tukruka alias Sujata, Kishor Kumar Jena, Ashutosh Soren, Ranjit Sana, Rabi Dulal and D. Keshav Rao—since 30th March and 5 prisoners in Bhanja Nagar jail such as—Malati Majhi, K. Anita Majhi, Telem Soni, Kadam Bijal and Kandra Dalabehera—since 31st March 2016.
The above named prisoners state that though they are behind bars for the last 4-8 years as under-trial prisoners, their trials have been unduly delayed day by day. They are neither granted bail nor produced regularly at courts on the fixed dates for hearing, though the high court has given strong instructions to complete their trial within certain time frame. While their trial is delayed without any reason the police have been framing fresh cases on these prisoners. In some cases even after granting bail or acquitted by the courts fresh cases have been slapped on the prisoners—which is increasingly becoming a pattern in states like Chhatisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Jharkhand—which violates their fundamental rights as guaranteed by the constitution of India. The struggling prisoners while demanding speedy trial of their cases has also raised the need to be recognized as a political prisoner in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of the UN Charter on Declaration of Human Rights to which the India is also a signatory.
The prisoners of Jharpada who are on hunger strike have intimated the matter to the Chief Minister, Governor, Chief Justice of Odisha High Court, Home Secretary and National Human Rights Commission. In the mean time, the prisoners of Bhanja Nagar who have been on hunger strike have aired their grievances to the Superintendent of Jail and Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhanja Nagar. It is further reported that the five political prisoners of Bhanja Nagar jail have called off their hunger strike on the 9 April 2016 while Kishore Jena and Ashutosh Soren on hunger strike in Jharpada have been admitted to hospital in Bhubaneswar on the 7 April 2016. How insensitive and criminal the police can be is further evident as there are photographs in the newspapers of Under Trial Prisoner Kishore Jena admitted at the Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar lying on the bed with handcuffs!
We at the CRPP strongly condemn the undue delay in the trials of under trial political prisoners. It is indeed becoming a pattern of approach deliberately resorted to by the state to ensure that political prisoners undergo conviction even without trial by prolonging their incarceration in the prisons. Further in cases where the prisoner manages to get some relief through bail or acquittal through trial the state and the lawless police is ever ready to slap fresh cases and re-arrest the prisoner from the very prison premises where there were lodged before.
The CRPP while reiterating its demand for the unconditional release of all political prisoners call for the constitution of a high level judicial enquiry into the growing instances of impunity and total disregard for procedures let alone court orders—regarding the need to expedite trials without delay—thus resulting in the grave miscarriage of justice with an average delay of no less than 6-8 years becoming the norm and a silently accepted state of affairs in states like even the capital of India! It is a tragedy to note that wherever the prisoners are able to reach out to the larger public at least the information is being shared. But there are numerous instances wherein the news trickles down very late to the dismay of the struggling prisoner inside whose only way of keeping themselves alive is to protest against all forms of injustice, discrimination and mistreatment even within the four walls of incarceration. With retributive justice become the norm for more and more governments in the world, particularly in South Asia, the fight for the release of political prisoners cannot be separated from the principal struggle for a better, humane world where the finer and sublime qualities of human existence gain precedence of narrow self-interest and avarice.
SAR Geelani Amit Bhattacharyya Sujato Bhadra S Bhattacharje
President Secretary General Vice President Vice President
MN Ravunni P. Koya Prof. Jagmohan N. Venuh
Vice President Vice President Vice President Vice President
Malem Rumita Kundu Bansidhar Das Hany Babu M
Vice President Orissa Chapter Orissa ChapterMedia Secy
Secretary, Public Relations