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Jun-25-2011 21:35printcomments

'Jeetan Marandi death sentence; a black day in Jharkand'

Among the suspected killers, one gave a statement to police: Our human rights activist Jeetan Marandi was not even in that village at the time.

Jeetan Marandi and other defendants.
Jeetan Marandi and other defendants.

(RANCHI Newzfirst) - In a press statement Stan Swamy, Member of Jharkhand Bachao Andolan and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) - Ranchi Unit has said that Jeetan Marandi is a human rights activist and his death sentence in Jharkand is a black day.

Jeetan Marandi along with three other Maoists was sentenced to death in Chilkari massacre. The massacre happened on 26 October 2007 there was a firing incident allegedly by Maoists in Chilkari village, Giridih district, Jharkhand. 19 persons were killed including a son of a former chief minister.

Among the suspected killers there was one Jeetan Marandi who gave a slip to the police and disappeared and has not been traced since. The statement says that: Our human rights activist Jeetan Marandi was not even in that village at the time. Instead of tracing the killer-suspect, the police implicated the human rights activist Jeetan Marandi, arrested him, charge sheeted him under various clauses of the penal code, produced doctored witnesses and finally succeeded in having him sentenced to death.

The press statement says that, “Jeetan Marandi is not a naxalite; he is a cultural and human rights activist. Jeetan is a talented artist, adept in composing music, songs, enacting street plays. He has been using his artistic skills to entertain and awaken people about their problems in different villages of Giridih district. Naturally the local administration and police felt he was becoming a thorn in their flesh and were looking for an opportune occasion to remove this thorn.”

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It further elaborates that, “It so happened that one of the suspected killers in the afore said massacre also had the same name of Jeetan Marandi who slipped away from the spot and has not been traced since. The police also did not make any serious effort to nab him. Very conveniently they arrested our human rights activist Jeetan and made him one of the accused. It does not take much for the police to fabricate so called ‘witnesses’ who would testify in the court that they saw artist Jeetan on the spot of the massacre. And for the court the so called ‘eye-witnesses’ is what counts most.”

The statement also noted the point that, “Woh subah kabhi to ayegi (A new dawn will break some day) is the song that Jeetan burst forth loud and clear in the court room as soon as the judge pronounced his sentence of capital punishment.

Jeetan’s life- companion Aparna holding their two-year old son in her arms joined in the revolutionary song.

The inside story is a political plot by the powerful political party of the former chief minister to keep the masses in silent servitude in connivance with the district police.

Any exposure of this plot by an artist hailing from the oppressed Indigenous community could not be tolerated.”

The statement concludes that “It is now up to all those who heed the voice of their conscience and have regard for human rights to stand in solidarity with Jeetan and Aparna in their quest for justice. Encouragingly, some legal professionals and human rights groups in Jharkhand are coming forward to accompany this heroic couple in what may turn out to be a long battle”.

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June 26, 2011 4:33 am (Pacific time)

For those of us who are ignorant, it might be useful to attach a map and explain where this is.

Jharkhand (Hindi: झारखण्ड, pronounced [ˈdʒʱaːrkʰəɳɖ] ( listen)) is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15 November 2000. 

Editor: I think it is I who displayed ignorance, you are right and thank you.  This man and others are considered 'Reds' according to some India media.  The bottom line is that there is substantial evidence or at least a point to investigate, the allegation that this man was nowhere near the crime scene.  Without fully knowing, I suspect that this is akin to the 'McCarthyism' period in American history where anti-Communist fever led to a genuine series of witch hunts.  Thank you for adding these thoughts.  I will add a map to the story.

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