Statement against Murder charges against Professor Archana Prasad, Professor Nandini Sundar, Shri Vineet Tiwari and others.
All India People’s Science Network (AIPSN) strongly condemns the Chhattisgarh Police’s blatantly false FIR and charges of murder against leading academics and people’s rights activists, Professor Archana Prasad of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Professor Nandini Sundar of Delhi University, Shri Vineet Tiwari of the Joshi Adhikari Research Institute and others.
Professor Archana Prasad, a leading activist of the AIPSN, is well known for her detailed studies on tribal development and forest rights on which she has been working over the past two decades and has authored several acclaimed research papers and books. Known for her meticulous field studies, Professor Prasad and other colleagues in an investigative team last visited Bastar on 12-16 May, 2016, to collect information about conditions of the tribal population there.
During their visit to Bastar in May 2016, Professor Prasad and her colleagues faced harassment and intimidation by the local police, which is under the control of the Chhattisgarh Police Chief, Mr.S.R.P. Kalluri, a person with known RSS links.
Strangely, the above academics and others have been charged with murder of a local tribal apparently on 5th November, 2016, i.e. nearly six months after their visit to Bastar. Obviously this is a trumped-up charge with the sole purpose of intimidating and browbeating dissenting voices, and of curbing constitutional means of seeking redress for the exclusion and discrimination faced by tribals and other marginalised sections of society.
The AIPSN urges the Chattisgarh government to withdraw these charges and appeals to the President of India to intervene to stop this witch hunt and protect the constitutional rights of scholars, intellectuals and common citizens.
President, AIPSN General Secretary, AIPSN