Amnesty International statement on the arrest of Ajay TG

Free Binayak Sen Campaign

India: Concern over the arrest of filmmaker and human rights defender
T.G. Ajay in Chhattisgarh

Amnesty International, ASA 20/010/2008

Amnesty International is concerned over the apparently arbitrary arrest
of T. G. Ajay, a film-maker and human rights defender who has been
documenting problems faced by adivasi (indigenous) communities in
protecting their rights, in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

Ajay is the second human rights defender to be arrested under the
Chhattisgarh State Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA), in the state. He
is a member of the state executive committee of the People’s Union of
Civil Liberties (PUCL).

Ajay is being held in Raipur jail, where Dr. Binayak Sen, general
secretary of the state PUCL and a physician working on access to health
for adivasis, today completed one year of imprisonment. Dr. Sen now
faces a trial on charges of aiding a banned Maoist organisation, the
Communist Party of India (Maoist). 1

On 5 May, Ajay was arrested at his residence at Superla in Bhilai and
charged at the Bilaspur High Court under Section 124A of the Indian
Penal Code (sedition) and Sections 3, 4 and 8 of the CSPSA.

Amnesty International has reason to believe that the charges against
Ajay are politically motivated. Ajay has been actively engaged, since
2004, in documentation of human rights violations as part of the PUCL’s
ongoing efforts to protect the rights of adivasi communitiesin the face
of escalating violence in the Bastar-Dantewada area of Chattisgarh
between banned Maoists and Salwa Judum, an armed anti-Maoist militia
campaign widely regarded as supported by the state government. The PUCL
has been instrumental in bringing to light unlawful killings of
adivasis, sexual assault of adivasi women, abductions and forced
displacement.

On 22 January 2008, following the arrest of a woman Maoist in
Bastar-Dantewada, the Chhattisgarh police searched Ajay’s residence and
seized his computer hard disk. On 26 March, Ajay filed a petition in the
High Court seeking its return.

Amnesty International calls on the Union and Chattisgarh governments

* to ensure Ajay’s prompt and fair trial in accordance with
international standards of fairness.
* to take concrete measures to ensure that human rights defenders
in Chhattisgarh are not subject to harassment or intimidation and enjoy
all the rights enshrined in international law.

Background

Since 2005, Chhattisgarh, especially the Bastar-Dantewada forest area,
has experienced an escalation of violence between the Maoists and the
Salwa Judum. Civilians have been routinely targeted on both sides,
resulting in at least 300 deaths. Also, 30,000 adivasis displaced from
their homes continue to live in special camps where they face increased
risk of violence. The Chhattisgarh state government claimed that it
enacted the CSPSA to take action against the Maoists.

The CSPSA allows for arbitrary detention of persons suspected of
belonging to an unlawful organization or participating in its activities
or giving protection to any member of such an organization.

Human rights organizations in India have demanded the repeal of CSPSA as
it contains several provisions which violate international human rights law:

* Vague and sweeping definitions of “unlawful activities” for which
organizations may be rendered “unlawful”, such as “uttering words… which
propounds the disobedience” of “established law and its institutions”.
Such definitions enable the government to arrest and detain individuals,
as well as seek their punishment, on grounds that may not be clear to
them, in violation of the principle of certainty in criminal law,
reflected in Article 15 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, to which India is a state party;
* Threats, as a result, to other key human rights including freedom
of expression and association, provided in Articles 19 and 22 of the
ICCPR, respectively;
* All offences under the CSPSA are “cognizant and non-bailable”;
hence all those charged under the Act are detained, often for months,
before being tried. In Dr. Sen’s case, he was detained on 14 May 2007,
his trial commenced on 30 April 2008 and is currently adjourned till 23
June 2008.

Public Document

****************************************

International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London
WC1X 0DW, UK

www.amnesty.org

1 Amnesty International, India: Chattisgarh government detains human
rights defender, refuses to arrest police officials suspected of
involvement in unlawful killings of adivasis, AI Index: ASA 20/013/2007,
24 May 2007. See
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA20/013/2007/en/dom-ASA200132007en.html

AJAY TG IS BACK HOME: BACK WITH GUSTO FOR ANOTHER INNINGS

AJAY TG IS BACK HOME: BACK WITH GUSTO FOR ANOTHER INNINGS

Dear friends,

Ajay TG was released from Jail today the 5th of August only after 8 pm. It took them till four pm today to get all the papers ready. The work of notarising the property list of Ajay took no time in the jail in the morning. However, the Bail sureties that were to be presented by Shobha, Ajay's wife and the other person required that the Tehsildar verify and counter sign it. The Tehsildar asked the Patwari to verify the papers. The Patwari was not available till very late. However all the work was done and the papers were finally filed in Court by 4pm. Following which the release order was made out and sent to the Jail and then the formalities in Jail took a more than an hour. The entire process made it late evening. It was worth the waiting for all.

Ajay was given a big welcome back. Shobha his wife, several of his friends, family members from both sides including Shobha's brother Babu, her sister were all there. The most difficult moment was the reunion with his parents.

Ajay spoke over the phone to some of us. When he spoke to me he was very happy. He said that he would not lose a single day to plan next step on the “case” front. He said that he will be calling his lawyers and working it out

Ajay's release has rekindled hope that things will change in Chhattisgarh..

Kavita Srivastava

Ajay T G finally released

COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF AJAY TG

HABIB TANVIR | ARUNA ROY | KAMAL CHENOY | DR BANWARI LAL SHARMA | USHA RAMANATHAN
HARSH MANDER | SIDDHARTH VARADARAJAN | SUDHIR PATTNAIK | RANJAN PALIT | AMAR KANWAR

www.releaseajaytg.in

Dear Friends,
This is to inform -

That Ajay Tg was finally released from prison late this evening on the 5th of August 2008.

That the combined efforts of several activists , friends , film makers , journalists and organisations put enough pressure on the Chattisgarh police to accept that they did not have any evidence against Ajay TG.

That the Chattisgarh police failed to file the charge sheet against Ajay TG within the mandatory 90 day period . Ajay was therefore granted statutory bail .

That the police have not closed the case. The bail order placed conditions on Ajay which required him to present a personal bond of Rs Fifty Thousand, two sureties of Rs. 25,000 each, submit an affidavit of a list of his movable and immovable property, appear at the local police station on the 2nd Monday of every month and denied him the right to travel outside India without the permission of the court.

That we condemn the attempt of the Chattisgarh police to intimidate Ajay TG and keep him in a state of fear and silence.

That our campaign will continue until the case against Ajay TG is formally closed and that Ajay TG's films will continue to be screened all across the country, especially his film 'Anjam ' which is about the life , work and arrest of Dr. Binayak Sen.

regards

AMAR KANWAR
Committee for the Release of Ajay TG.
New Delhi
India
Email : releaseajaytg@gmail.com , www.releaseajaytg.in

--
AMAR KANWAR
New Delhi
India

Email :
amarkanwar@gmail.com

Ajay TG granted bail

AJAY TG GRANTED BAIL ON 4th AUGUST

RELEASE 5th AUGUST

Dear friends,

So
there is good news for all of us. Ajay TG was granted bail today,
however, the release will happen tomorrow. Today Chandra Kumar Kashyap
Judicial Magistrate First Class, Durg District, granted bail to Ajay
the 4th of August around five pm. The bail was granted under sec 167
(2) (a) (i), which is called statutory bail in local parlance. Since
the ninety days had expired and the police had not furnished the charge
sheet thus the magistrate who was authorising the detention had to
grant him bail.

During
the remand hearing on 2nd of August morning the police took further
remand for the 12th . The bail had been applied on 2nd evening itself
at 4.45 pm as the ninety days period was over at 5pm. Since the court
asked for the case diary it was slated for Monday morning. Today Ajay's
two friends Dilip Ingley and Bose Thomas were there when the matter got
listed and the order was reserved for the evening when they were joined
by Ajay 's lawyer Mahedra Dubey and Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj. The order
after stating why bail was being granted also stated the conditions
under which he would be released. They are
1. Ajay will furnish a personal bond of fifty thousand rupees.
2. Two sureties of Rs. 25,000 each.
3. On affidavit he will give a list of the movable and immovable property he has.
4. Every 2nd Monday of the month he will give his attendance in the local police station.
5. He will not move out of the country without the permission of the Court.
While
the two sureties (condition 2) was prepared in advance it was condition
(3) which has caused the delay in the release. The Court has asked the
lawyers of Ajay to take the notary public to the jail tomorrow morning
and get the list of property signed and notarised after which he will
be released.

You may be aware that AJay TG was arrested on the 5th August under Sections 124 (A) IPC and Sec 3, 4 ,8 (1)(2)3 of Chhattisgarh Public Security Act, 2005.

We hope this is the beginning of good news for Ajay TG. Will keep all of you informed of the developments.

Kavita Srivastava