Sunita , owner of Danish Books has been summoned by the Chandrapur Police for interrogation today, 16 October 2006 along with Sh. Vijay Vairagade, a local social activist and his 16 year old son who is a minor. The police claim that they have clinching evidence against Sunita which proves beyond doubt that she has Maoist affiliations and is indulged in activities which are subversive in nature. However, the local thana and the police is not ready to part with any information regarding these charges to the lawyers who are there to represent Sunita.
It has been claimed by the police that Sunita belongs to Jehanabad of Bihar and her first husband was killed in police encounter. They also claim that 15% of the literature seized from the stall of the Daanish Book is of offensive nature and supports the politics of the Maoists.
To put the record straight Sunita has no connection with Jehanabad. Her parental family hails from Naugachiya District of Bihar. Actually by establishing a relationship between her and Jehanabad which is known for Naxal politics the MH police want to prove that she is also a naxalite. The police claim about her first husband being killed in police action is also a issue of imagination. Her first husband is a known leftist political activist and is based at Patna and very much alive. She is now married to Shri Dhruva Narayan, a reputed publisher, who has to his credit titles by Noam Chomsky, Samir Amin, Tariq Ali and other nationally and internationally reputed authors. Sunita has been active in student and women's movements and has worked with the National Commission for Women, a statutory body constituted by the Government of India for two years. She has also worked with Books For Change, a subsidiary of the ActionAid India, an international agency .
Sunita is a known publisher and distributor and she visits all major book exhibitions and fairs and put up her stall everywhere. As publisher and distributor gets calls from all kinds of people and they also visit her stalls. Chandrapur being on centre of police action against naxal activities in the region, police use their extraordinary powers to harass anybody. For last few months they have been raiding the houses of social activists and journalists and seizing books and implicating them in false criminal cases. According to reliable sources, the Chandrapur police intends to book Sunita under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
One needs to recall that yesterday on 15 october,2006 in a shocking and bizarre incident the Maharashtra Police, Chandrapur had seized 41 books from the stall of Daanish Books, which were displayed in the book exhibition which is held every year on 15-16 October, on the occasion of the Deeksha Day celebrations to mark the day when Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism 50 years ago . The books seized by the police for containing dangerous , anti state material include books like Marathi translation of the Thoughts of Bhagat Singh, Ramdeen Ka Sapna by B.D. Sharma, Jati Vyavastha- Bhartiya Kranti Ki Khasiyat by Vaskar Nandy, Monarchy Vs Democracy by Baburam Bhattarai, Nepali Samargaatha: Maowadi Janyuddha ka Aankhon Dekha Vivaran (The Hindi edition of eminent American Journalist Li Onesto's celebrated book Dispatches from the People's War in Nepal, Translated by Anand Swarup Varma), Daliton par Badhati Jyadatiya aur Unka Krantikari Jawab, Chhapamar Yudhha by Che Guevara and books on Marxism and Leninism and people's struggles. Non of the books seized by the police is banned or declared offensive by any state agencies.
A contingent of nearly 70 armed policemen surrounded the stall of Daanish Books this afternoon and remained there for more than three hours, making a list of books they wanted to seize. Earlier they made a list of more than 200 books. After a long argument Sunita had on telephone with the Chandrapur S.P., they removed many books and left with 41 books some of which have been mentioned above. They left the place after threatening Sunita that she would be arrested as they had information that she had Maoist links. When contacted, the S.P. assured Sunita that nothing would happen to her and he would personally come to see her next morning. But press circle is abuzz with rumours that Sunita might be arrested tomorrow as police suspect her to be a member of some Maoist outfit.
Friends, Sunita and Daanish Books are a familiar feature of many pro-people programmes or events where they put up their stalls unfailingly. They are publishers of repute with strong pro-people leanings. They publish and display books which are at many times critical of the state policies. Is it a crime to publish and display such books in a democracy like India? That such an action can be taken by the police without any hesitation shows that India is fast turning into a police-state and police feels free to indulge in such unlawful activities in the name of containing terrorism. They can seize books, arrest people and even kill them without any fear of public outrage.
We express our solidarity with Sunita and her colleagues at Daanish Books and condemn this highhandedness of the Chandrapur Police. We demand a statement from the Home Minister, Maharashtra on this incident.
This is an appeal to all of you to condemn this highhandedness of Chandrapur police and a request to all of you write to the S.P., Chandrapur condemning this incident and asking for their apology.
Telephone and Fax numbers of SP and DM of Chandrapur:
SP--Mr. Kadam 07172-255202 Fax: 07172-255800, Mobile: 09822943358
DM--Mr. Sanjay Jaisawal 07172-255300
Apoorvanand, Unv. Of Delhi
Shabnam Hashmi, ANHAD
Harsh Mander, AMAN BIRADARI
Ram Puniyani, AISF, Mumbai
Anand swaroop verma, Freelance journalist and writer
Aditya nigam, Fellow, CSDS
Khurshid anwar, ISD
Nivedita Menon, Unv of Delhi
Purushottam Agrawal, JNU
Dilip Simeon, Fellow, Nehru museum amd Teen Murti Library,
Jamal Kidwai, Aman Trust
Charu Gupta, Fellow, Nehru Memorial Library
Mukul Sharma, Amnesty International, India
Vijay Pratap, Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam
Imtiaz Ahmad, JNU
Poorva Bhardwaj, Nirantar
Jaya Mehta, Sandarbh Kendra, Indore, IPTA
Vineet Tiwari, Gen. Secretary, MP Progressive Writers' Association, Sandarbh Kendra, IPTA
Nasirruddin haider Khan, Journalist, Lucknow
Arshad Ajamal, Social Activist, Patna
Rupesh, , Social Activist, Patna
Kavita Srivastava, PUCL, Jaipur
Premkrishna Sharma, PUCL, New Delhi
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Prabhakar Sinha, PUCL
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Vidya Bhushan Rawat
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Hari Sharma, SANSAD
D Narasimha Reddy, Hyderabad
Ganesh N Devy, Baroda
Kamla Prashad, National Progressive Writer's Association
Tanvir Akhtar, IPTA
Bhanu Bharati, Playwright and threatre director
Alok Rai, Professor, Deptt of English, DU
Arun Kumar, JNU
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Kamal Nayan Kabra, IIPA
Ashok Vajpeyi, Poet
Vishnu Nagar, Poet and Journalist
Abhishek Srivastava, Freelance Journalist, New Delhi