The Forest Rights Act

Fears for Safety of Gujarat Activists

Four Campaign-affiliated activists detained in Gujarat


This afternoon, Avinash Kulkarni, Bharat Powar and two others associated
with the Dangs Mazdoor Union were picked up by the police and the
intelligence bureau "for questioning" in Gujarat.  As at the moment of
writing they are still in police custody, though the police refuse to say
why they are being held and even claim that they have "not been arrested."
Avinash Kulkarni is being held in Kamrej Police Station, Surat, and Bharat
Powar is being held in Ahwa Police Station, Dangs; we do not know the names
or location of the other two detained people.   Such illegal detention is a
standard tactic that is used to concoct cases against people; the police
also use such abductions for purposes of torture.  We fear for the safety
and lives of these activists and demand that the Gujarat police release them

The DMU is a 15 year old organisation that has been organising people in
democratic mass movements for their rights.  They are affiliated to the
Adivasi Mahasabha, which in turn is affiliated to the Campaign for Survival
and Dignity, and they have played a key role in the struggle for the Forest
Rights Act and for people's rights to use, manage and control forests and
forest resources.  They have repeatedly resisted and exposed the Gujarat
Forest Department's attempts to evict people and seize their lands, and have
also been involved in the fight against communal forces and the Sangh
Parivar in the Dangs area.

We and many other organisations have repeatedly warned that the atmosphere
created by Operation Green Hunt will be used
, and is intended to be used, to
crush democratic and people's resistance movements of all types.  This is
yet another example.

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