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

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Withdraw False Charges

We, the undersigned, unequivocally condemn the foisting of a false case on Debaranjan, member of the Ganatantrik Adhikar Suraksha Sanghatana (GASS) in Odisha. Debaranjan has for several years now been deeply involved with people’s struggles in Odisha, first as a full-time activist in Kashipur, Rayagada District, then as film-maker, and most recently also as a member of the democratic rights group GASS. His has been among the consistent voices in Odisha for over 20 years against state repression of people’s struggles, atrocities faced by Adivasis, Dalits and other underprivileged communities, and against communalisation of the polity and in society. This is the political context in which he is being targeted.

Last week, Debaranjan was sought to be interrogated by the special branch of the intelligence department while he was engaged in work on a documentary film in Malkangiri District. Subsequently, a number of false charges were filed against him by the Malkangiri police, including charges pertaining to molestation under Section 354(b) of the Indian Penal Code, and under Sections 354 and 323 as well. We believe these charges to be patently false and absurd, and constitute nothing other than harassment and are part of the continued persecution of democratic voices in this country.

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