Friday, May 27, 2011

Repression in the Punjab - Free Harbhinder Jalal

by N.K.Jeet (Lok Morcha Punjab)

Harbhinder Singh Jalal, who has been editing a revolutionary Punjabi
magazine “CHAMKDA LAL TARA” (Shining Red Star), was arrested by Kharar
Police while he was traveling in a bus near Gharuan village. The
police alleged him to be the head of Punjab unit of CPI Maoist. A 32
bore pistol and some live cartridges were shown to have been recovered
from him.

In police custody Harbhinder was severely tortured and subjected to
third degree methods of interrogation. A case under S.10,13,18 & 20 of
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act; S. 25, 54, 59 of the Arms Act
and Section 121, 419, 420, 471 of the IPC has been slapped against
him. He was denied the legal assistance of his chosen lawyers. Lok
Morcha Punjab, along with his family approached S/Sh. R.S. Bains and
Harinder Pal Singh Ishar, Chandigarh based Human Rights lawyers, who
moved an application for permission to meet Com Harbhinder in police
custody and for his medical examination. The State vigorously opposed
this application on the fictitious ground of threat to national
security. However the court allowed the advocates to meet him daily in
the Police Station between 7 PM to 8 PM and also to get him medically
examined every 48 hours from the Civil Hospital.

On 9.5.2011, when Com Harbhinder was produced in court for further
remand, dozens of his friends and well-wishers from all over Punjab,
came to see him, but the police did not allow them to meet him. His
further police remand was sought on the plea that he was to be taken
to Ranchi to affect certain recoveries. Subsequently this pretext
proved to be false as he was not taken to Ranchi. Perhaps the court’s
order permitting his lawyers to meet him everyday in the extended
period of remand, acted as a dampener for the police. On 14.5.2011, he
was remanded to judicial custody and is now lodged in Ropar Jail.

On 6.5.2011, a heavy contingent of Ropar and Bathinda Police raided
his house at Rampura. Finding it locked, the police tried to find its
keys from the neighbors, abusing, threatening and misbehaving with
them. The people however refused to be cowed down and did not allow
the police to search his house in the absence of any of his family
members. To terrorize the people, the police raided the houses of two
trade unionists living in the locality. Next day, the police party
again came early in the morning along with some Municipal Councilors
of Rampura City and forcibly entered in and searched Harbhinder’s
house in the absence of his family members and any person from the
locality. The police took away a computer, a large number of books and
some domestic articles. This move was strongly opposed by the
democratic mass organizations of the area. Next day a strongly worded
statement denouncing the terror tactics of the police was issued
jointly by the Bharti Kisan Union ( Dakonda), Technical Services
Union, Democratic Teachers Front, and B.K.U. (Ugrahan).

Lok Morcha Punjab, Democratic Front Against Operation Green Hunt
Punjab, and a revolutionary paper SURAKH REKHA condemned the arrest
and false implication of Harbhinder Jalal in a criminal case. To keep
the people informed about this, we utilized the medium of Facebook by
posting news items and press statements on it. Now the DFAOGH Punjab
has decided to hold Conventions at Chandigarh and Rampura on this
issue along with the repressive measures taken at village Selbrah and
Kotra Kaurian Wala, against the people opposing opening of liquor

The planting of 32 bore revolver and live cartridges on Harbhinder
Jalal, seems to be a part of the Punjab Police’s crude attempt to
discredit revolutionary democratic movement in Punjab. Recently the
police unearthed a gang of serving police employees and Arms Dealers,
supplying country made illicit arms as genuine, by putting fake stamps
and markings of reputed arms companies on them. As many as 8 police
employees serving in various districts of Punjab have been arrested.
The DGP Punjab, with the aid of certain pliable press persons, has
been trying to link it with the Maoists, although up till now, no such
proof is forthcoming.

Lok Morcha Punjab views the arrest of Com Harbhinder; falsely charging
him with unlawful activities, waging war against the Govt, forgery and
cheating; subjecting him to third degree torture, and illegal raids at
his house and the houses of other trade unionists at Rampura, as
atrocious, totally illegal and undemocratic steps, deserving strongest
condemnation. These steps are aimed at stifling the political dissent,
and ruthlessly crushing of every attempt to organize the people
against the policies of liberalization, globalization and
privatization, being pursued by the anti-people and anti-national
rulers to ensure super profits for the MNCs and their Indian agents,
through unhindered exploitation of our rich natural resources. We call
upon all democratic people to join us in demanding withdrawal of the
criminal case registered against Com Harbhinder Jalal and his
unconditional release; putting an end to all repressive measures
initiated against revolutionary political and mass activists and the
people; and complete halt to neo-liberal economic policies.

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