ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Narratives of Police Illegality

All the so-called Maoist cases, including those of radical political activists Sudhir Dhawale and Arun Ferreira, present a pattern which clearly brings out the mala fide intention of police to hold some selected persons in jail for as long as possible and thereby terrorise others from following in their footsteps. In law, the courts are supposed to punish the guilty, but in these instances the accused are already punished by the police even before their guilt is established.

Sudhir Dhawale, a well-known social activist, who was arrested by the police for his alleged links with the Maoists, was released from Nagpur’s central prison after being acquitted of all the charges by the Gondia sessions court on 22 May 2014. He was in jail for 40 months. Along with him, the eight other co-accused persons were also acquitted. In 2005, quite like Dhawale, the dalit poet Shantanu Kamble was arrested on similar charges, tortured over a period of 100 days before he got bail. He now stands cleared of all charges by the court. The radical political activist, Arun Ferreira, was confined in jail for more than four years, tortured and harassed, repeatedly rearrested in fresh cases after being acquitted in the earlier ones, before he finally got bail in the last case. The lesser known cases of arrests of 12 members of the Deshbhakti Yuva Manch of Chandrapur in January 2008 and the arrest of Bandu Meshram from Nagpur on very similar charges also come to mind. They all have been acquitted but not before torture and harassment at the hands of the police and humiliation of jail over periods ranging from one to three years. One is also reminded of the arrest of Anil Mamane and two others when they were selling books at Deekshabhoomi in Nagpur in October 2007.

There are scores of other cases from remote rural areas wherein young women and men, incarcerated in jails, were arrested on vague charges of being Maoists, many without even the charges being framed, and nobody to provide legal and other aid, helplessly facing ruin with the passage of time.

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