Dr. Sunilam & Dayamani Barla Behind Bars

Dr. Sunilam

Dr. Sunilam from Madhya Pradesh was convicted with life imprisonment on 18th October 2012 by a local trial court in a fabricated case and put behind Multai jail bars.

12th January 1998 was a black day for the farmers movement of our country. The Digvijay Singh led Congress government brutally crushed the non-violent farmers’ movement, misusing state police which fired bullets and 24 farmers were martyred and 150 farmers were injured.

The farmers of the district Betul, under the leadership of T.T. Choudhary, had given a memorandum to circle office on 12 December, 1997. In this memorandum they demanded compensation for their damaged crops. But their effort remained unheeded. Again on 18 December 1997 they submitted another memorandum with a short notice, otherwise they would start a big movement for their agricultural losses. Due to inactive conduct of Government officials, the farmers were bound to form “Kisan Sangharsh Samiti” and thousands of farmers started indefinite protest (Dharna) against the oppressive regime, in Tehsil Compound.

The state police continued its oppressive attitude towards farmers but on 9th January, 1998 around 75000 farmers marched in Betul and protested peacefully. The District Magistrate of Betul came forward and proposed compensation of only Rs. 400 per acre. This little amount was too insufficient and hurt the farmers’ sentiments. Again agitated farmers were on the crossroad and on 11th January, 1998 they lay siege of Multai Tehsil and all 450 villages of this tehsil. It was a historical Bandh (shutdown), while police administration tried hard to maintain normal traffic. Farmers opposed the intervention of police authorities. In response police and Congress hooligans fired few buses and in a conspiracy the police charged some farmer leaders for this arson. On 12th January 1998, farmer’s leader Dr. Sunilam decided to enter the Tehsil but the state police had already ordered to shoot farmers. Dr. Sunilam reached Tehsil office and requested again and again to stop such firing but police authority did not heed his request. They were acting on the order of their Chief Minister Digvijay Singh. The whole drama was to annihilate Dr. Sunilam and crush the farmer’s movement. He was arrested, brutally beaten by police and tortured.

Madhya Pradesh Government had lodged 66 cases on 250 farmers along with their leader Dr. Sunilam. Additional Session Court of Multai gave the terrible verdict in three cases on 18th October, 2012.

Dr. Sunilam is a socialist farmer’s leader and a courageous friend of the toiling masses. His struggle for the Madhya Pradesh farmers is a significant struggle after independence. Both the Congress and the BJP (prominent national parties) came into power and showed their negligence about this Multai incident. Both are capitalist parties following the pro-rich economic policies and have nothing to care for farmers and toilers of our country.

We appeal all democracy loving people, having faith in liberty to come forward and support Dr. Sunilam and his efforts as farmer leader.

Organise demonstrations and protests and memorandum to the President of India thro’ the Collector or send it directly to: President of India, New Delhi, India – 110 004. Telephone : +91-11-23015321 Fax : 91-11-23017290 / 91-11-23017824 or post at:
send protests to National Human Rights Commission, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110001. Tel.No. 23384012 Fax No. 23384863 E-Mail:, (Web:

Send protests to repeal fabricated cases against Dr. Sunilam to the MP- Chief Minister: c/o. Chief Secretary, +91755-2441848, fax- +91755-2441751/ 2441521,
Outside India:

Please also organise protests outside the Indian Embassy.

Dayamani Barla

The journalist turned anti-displacement, tribal, woman activist from Jharkhand, better known as the Iron lady of Jharkhand amongst people’s movements and activists or simply Dayamani Di was granted bail by a local court of Ranchi on Thursday afternoon.

But today when friends and colleagues of Dayamani reached jail to receive her, they were told that she is been arrested in a new case and can’t be let off. However, the jail authorizes refused to disclose the details of the case citing some ‘technical reasons’!

On 16th October 2012 she was sent to to 14 days judicial custody, after she surrendered before the court in a fabricated case of 25th April 2006. She was charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)-1860, including Section 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), for participating in a protest demonstration, which blocked the road, demanding job cards for rural laborers under the celebrated employment guarantee act, then the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and now the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). She had availed bail in the matter at that time from the concerned police station and the matter was almost a closed one.
However, recently, when the State government and its Police were not feeling comfortable with Dayamani’s anti-Displacement activities at Ranchi’s Nagari village, they chose to re-open the case. They started sending notices at her rented house and harassing her friends, comrades and relatives. One day, the police reached her house to confiscate her belongings. She somehow managed to escape this situation and decided to surrender before a Court, instead of getting arrested by Police. Notably, she was not alone against whom the case was registered in 2006, the case was registered against 10 named persons other than Dayamani and one thousand unnamed persons, but the police chose to act only against her, for obvious reasons. Interestingly, the rural populaces are still facing difficulties in getting job cards, a legal right of every adult citizenry. “While the government is sending me to jail for no crime, the demands made in the said protest are yet to be fulfilled,” Damayani made this point before leaving for jail while talking to reporters.

Dayamani Barla, one of the leading anti-Displacement activists of our time is fighting many battles against corporate giants and government alike in various parts of Jharkhand. She led the successful struggle not allowing the steel gian ArcelorMittal to start project in Jharkhand. However, her battle is not limited to the state of Jharkhand alone.  As one of the national Conveners of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), along with Medha Patkar and others and as a leader (also former National President) of the India Social Action Forum (INSAF), she is not only part and leader of various people’s movements and campaigns across India but also represents India at the international level. For hundreds of activists across India and abroad, she is one of the sources of inspiration. Her courage to fight against injustices at various levels is not only exemplary but simply unmatched. She is a tireless and selfless activist, with strong capabilities and guts take on anyone, including governments. She is totally uncompromising, when it comes to displacement. This is what makes government and corporate afraid of her.

Hence, this not the first time when she is intimidated or harassed but the government is leaving no chance to target her. Early this year, on 14th January, in the evening, a police mobile van of Chutya Thana (Ranchi) landed at her hotel (Dayamani for livelihood and family support, along with her life-partner runs a small hotel, dhaba  at Club Road Ranchi) and started to harass her staff asking about her links with anti-social elements, meaning Maoist. The Sub-Inspector making the ‘enquiries’ neither had any written permission or an order. The following day, when she met SSP Ranchi, Mr. Saket Kumar at latter’s residence to ask why she was being harassed in this manner, his response was that the allegations were being made on the basis of an complaint and the fact that she participated in the “Free Jiten Marandi Convention”, in which Binayak Sen, Gautam Navlakha Varavara Rao were also present. However, when asked how it constituted a crime, the SSP refused to talk.

The recent intimidation and arrest is due to her leading a restless, successful and mostly peaceful (except once when police opened fire on villagers) struggle against the acquisition of fertile land at Nagari, a village situated at few kilometers from the state capital and where government wants to build the Indian Institute of management – IIM, Indian Institute of Technology – IIT and National Law School. Contrary to the propaganda spread by government and its machinery, the protestors do want these institutions to be built but not at the cost of the main source of livelihood of villagers. And they have suggested alternative landsl in the neighborhood for the said purpose but the government is adamant. As per modest estimates, at least 500 tribal families and their livelihood will be destroyed if the land is acquired. In January 2012 the state bulldozed farms just when the winter crops, mostly potatoes and pulses, were to be harvested. Following that, the police filed FIRs against 12 villagers! But even then the struggle is still on. And this is what is worrying the government most. The government is desperately trying to crush the movement by hook or crook.

Organise demonstrations and protests and memorandum to the President of India thro’ the Collector or send it directly to: President of India, New Delhi, India – 110 004. Telephone : +91-11-23015321 Fax : 91-11-23017290 / 91-11-23017824 or post at:

Send protests to National Human Rights Commission, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110001. Tel.No. 23384012 Fax No. 23384863 E-Mail:, (Web:

Sign protests to repeal fabricated cases against Dayamani Barla at Jharkhand CM’s web:

Outside India:
Please also organise protests outside the Indian Embassy.

We must remember that it is not just a matter of Dr. Sunilam or Dayamani Barla or MP or Jharkhand alone, or cases in isolation. Harassment of activists on flimsy pretexts and conviction in fabricated cases has become trend of our times. And this must resisted robustly by human rights activists and organizations everywhere. Isn’t it a joke that the farmers leader is convicted in a case of police firing killing 24 farmers! 

The time has also come to speak out against the executive mildness of the Courts as well. Something needs to be done urgently. Are we ready or waiting for our turn?

Indian Social Action Forum – INSAF

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