15 nov 2011
by Nivedita Menon
Summarized version of statement by concerned academicians, students and activists.
For full text of the statement visit
86 families in Kope Gram Panchayat, including Bhukhan and Niyamat, were part of a larger movement to secure legal entitlements over forest land under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, which was opposed by the same corrupt contractors involved in committing malpractices in the NREGA Programme. His team exposed a scam involving Rs 2.5 lakhs leading to an FIR being filed against the local Block Development Officer. Within days after this, on 2nd March 2011, Niyamat was beaten to death. The fact finding report published by Gokul Basant- Nandlal Singh has hinted towards possible involvement of Maoist with corrupt middlemen, illegal contractors, forest department and local administration.
Maoists have temporarily withdrawn their threat to Bhukan Singh. However, there is no mention of any action being taken against the ‘one member of their lower level committee’ whom Maoists hold responsible for issuing threats to Gokul Vasant and others for condemning Niyamat’s killing. Nor do we find any commitment towards rectification to prevent such crimes by their cadre against those working for democracy, transparency and accountability.
All this raises serious questions about the political methods of Maoists and their ‘people’s court’ that does not have any respect for universally accepted procedures of law and jurisprudence.
Democratic rights and respect for different opinion or dissenting views have been the bedrock of people’s resistance and mass struggle against corporate plunder, State repression and Neo-liberalism in its various avatars.
We the undersigned feel that such actions are highly reprehensible and should be unequivocally condemned. We further think that the CPI (Maoist) should put an end to their settling political or other differences through murder and threat to life.
We also take this opportunity to express our concerns regarding the investigation of the murder, dearth of larger policy for protection of grass root activists and the need to adequately compensate and provide secured job to Niyamat’s wife and sister immediately.
The above is a summarized statement for media which tries to reflect as best as possible the full text of the statement signed by:-
Concerned Academicians, Students and Activists – Ashish Ranjan ; Harsh Kapoor ; Himanshu ; Jairus Banaji ; Jayati Ghosh ; Jyoti Punwani ; Kamayani Bali-Mahabal ; Karen Coelho ; Madhumita Dutta ; Nagaraj Karkada ; Ranjani Kamala Murthy ; Rohini Hensman ; Satya Sivaraman ; Shalini Gera ; Srinivasan Ramani ; Sukla Sen ; T.N. Gopalan; Venkatesh Athreya ; Vijayabaskar M ; Xavier Dias ; Students from universities /institutes across India and other professionals. There were 115 signatures till 8/11/11.