We, the undersigned organisations, strongly condemn the unjust incarceration of journalist and human rights activist Dayamani Barla, and demand that the false cases against her be dropped and that she be released immediately. Barla was granted bail by a local court in Ranchi on October 18th, in a case related to a protest held on 25th April, 2006, demanding job cards for rural laborers under the Rural Employment Guarantee Act. However, on the day that she was supposed to be released, jail authorities announced that she had been re-arrested on a second warrant, for “obstructing government work” . We learnt that on October 29th, Barla was denied bail and remains imprisoned.We believe the reason for this incarceration is to intimidate Dayamani Barla, who is one of the leaders of the peaceful and resolute struggle of villagers against the acquisition of fertile land at Nagri, a village situated at few kilometers from the state capital, where the government wants to build IIM, IIT and National Law School campuses. As per some estimates, at least 500 tribal families will be displaced and their livelihoods will be destroyed if the land is acquired for said institutions , In January, 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 . We find the Government of Jharkhand’s indifferent and unjust response to this peaceful struggle appalling- some of the protesters have even expressed support for the institutions to be built, just not at the cost of the main source of villagers’ livelihood .
Dayamani Barla is one of the leading anti-displacement activists fighting illegal land-grab by by corporations and the government alike in various parts of Jharkhand and other parts of India. Known as the “Iron Lady of Jharkhand,” she is one of the national conveners of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), along with Medha Patkar and others and an Executive Committee Member of the India Social Action Forum (INSAF). She is also one of the leading voices of the Adivasi community.
Sincerely, Association for India’s Development Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee) Fabricated.in India Friends Association Indian Social Action Forum International Alliance for the Defense of Human Rights in India Manthan Samayiki Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan Mining Zone People Solidarity Group Moving Republic, Bangalore Our Developing World People’s Solidarity Concerns, Bangalore PUCL, Chhattisgarh ViBGYOR Film Collective, Thrissur