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: http://helpline.rb.nic.in/GrievanceNew.aspx
send protests to National Human Rights Commission, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110001. Tel.No. 23384012 Fax No. 23384863 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com (Web: http://nhrc.nic.in/
Send protests to repeal fabricated cases against Dr. Sunilam to the MP- Chief Minister: c/o. Chief Secretary, +91755-2441848, fax- +91755-2441751/ 2441521, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also organise protests outside the Indian Embassy.
We must remember that it is not just a matter of Dr. Sunilam or MP alone, or a case 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 this farmers’ leader is convicted in a case of police firing killing 24 farmers!
Something needs to be done urgently. Are we ready or waiting for our turn?