The telegraph, Calcutta, India
Ranchi, Nov. 12: Human rights activist Binayak Sen today came out in open support of Jeetan Marandi who has been found guilty for the 2007 Chikari massacre, terming the death sentence to the tribal artiste “unlawful”.
Addressing a national convention organised by Jan Kalakar Jeetan Marandi Manch — a local body of artistes — at SDC Auditorium, Sen said, “An artiste and tribal rights activist, Jeetan was known to utilise the power of music to speak against government atrocities on the common man, especially tribals.”
“Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that he has been wrongfully convicted and is now set to be hanged. However, we will fight till his last breath to reverse the court’s decision,” he added.
On June 23, a sessions court judge in Giridih had served death sentence to Jeetan and his associates, Manoj Rajwar, Chatrapati Mandal and Anil Ram, for firing on a crowd watching a football match and killing 20 people, including Babulal Marandi’s son Anup, in Chilkari in 2007.
As many as 200 activists assembled for the daylong convention in Ranchi.
“Artistes world over have used their medium of music, song, painting, etc. to portray the wrongs of society. Jeetan was fighting against displacement, corporate and political loot among other ills. It is ironic of the state government that in the land of Birsa Munda, it has been staying mum on his case,” added Sen.
Actor-director R. Narayana Murty said the film fraternity and cultural activists of Hyderabad were united to fight for Jeetan. “We will be soon come to Ranchi in large numbers from the south. We have decided to launch an indefinite strike here demanding justice for Jeetan and his family,” he said.
The activists also demanded the high court’s intervention to bail out Jeetan. The apex court should call a fair trial to book the real culprits behind the Chilkari massacre, they added.
Sen also said that the basis on which the case was made against Jeetan was an “open secret”. He added: “The police kept on changing its version from time to time and ended up presenting false witnesses. None of the witnesses belonged to any of the victims’ families till date. It is a clear indication how the authorities have deliberately formed false charges against the cultural activists.”
accessed on 13th Nov 2011
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