Last night a large number of policemen went to individual houses in Shinde-Vasuli village and broke down doors in over 20 houses. Fearing harassment by police, many villagers have left the village. The list of persons charged by the police now includes an additional 20 who are missing from the village. 44 persons are thus charged with committing dacoity (punishable by 10 year jail sentence), causing damage to property (punishable by 2 year jail sentence), causing damage by fire (punishable by 7 years imprisonment), destruction of building by fire and/or explosive substance (punishable by 10 years jail sentence). While there is significant police presence in a large area, Shinde-Vasuli has been specially targetted. According to residents the police aim to terrorize people into submission on the issue of the construction of the Dow R&D lab in this village.
There are still 14 villagers imprisoned and charged with serious criminal offenses despite the fact that Banda Tatya Maharaj Karadkar and his followers have accepted full responsibility and took pains to video tape themselves taking responsibility during the attack itself. These villagers are being scapegoated because the government dares not go after the Warkaris. Please call the following numbers at any hour to request the release of the villagers who are clearly falsely charged:
Collector of Pune Mr. Dalvi
Residence No. +91-20-26361817 / 26362828
Superintendent’s mobile: +91-9423116999
1) The villagers are clearly not responsible for the fire and property destruction at the Dow site in Chakan, the Warkaris have taken full responsibility. This is a glaring example of scapegoating and miscarriage of justice. Release the villagers immediately.
2) Your thoughts on Dow’s right to build in Chakan given its refusal to respect Indian law and widespread local opposition.
The entire area – including the surrounding villages – has been cordoned off by a huge police force. Yesterday afternoon and post midnight the police arrested 16 villagers (who were not part of the warkaris who caused damage at the construction site) under charges of dacoity and arson. Top police officials – who have been recently transferred to Pune (replacing at least one sympathetic official) – are determined to crush the opposition.
July 25th, Shinde near Pune:
Please take action immediately to help get the Shinde villages released and protect them from almost certain physical abuse.
The warkaris, under the leadership of Banda Tatya Maharaj Karadkar, have destroyed the construction site of the notorious Dow Chemical at Shinde.
The construction site of Dow’s planned R&D centre near Pune on Friday
Since then, four arrested villagers have not been released, instead more arrests are made. The authorities do not have the courage to arrest the Warkaris, who are the major sect propagating the egalitarian and progressive bhakti movement in Maharashtra.
Collector of Pune Mr. Dalvi, residence: +91-20-26361817 / 26362828
Superintendent’s mobile: +91-9423116999
Call around the clock! Talking points:
1) I am very concerned that the rights of the villagers are being violated; for what reason have they been arrested? Have they been charged with anything?
2) The villagers must be well treated, if any harm comes to them there will be international outrage. If they are held without having committed any crime, or required to pay exorbitant sums in order to be released from jail, there will also be international outrage.
3) Please release the villagers you have arrested unless you can provide some evidence that they are guilty of some crime.
More Background on the incident:
CONDEMN THE MAHARASHTRA GOVT’S COWARDLY HARRASSMENT OF INNOCENT VILLAGERS
The Warkaris, under the leadership of Banda Tatya Maharaj Karadkar, destroyed the construction site of the notorious Dow Chemicals at Shinde.
After the destruction of the construction site by the warkaris, the police have now unleashed terror on the common villagers who have been fighting against Dow Chemical peacefully and non-violently. The latest information is that the Police have now surrounded the village and have laid nakabandi to all the roads going towards Shinde at Vasuli phata, Sadumbre, Shindegaon-Mindewadi, Koregaon phata, Varale. The police have launched a combing operation in the village and have started arresting innocent activists and villagers.
They have arrested Madhusudan Patil Maharaj, President of Bhamchandra Dongar Bachao Warkari Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti. He had just returned from Pandharpur. Up till now the police have arrested Gorakshnath Panmand, Pandit Panmand, Rajaram Panmand, Mauli Temgire, Appa Matale, Shantaram Panmand, Shantaram Baban, Sham Hari Panmand, Shivnath Panmand and Banda Tatya Maharaj Karadkar, one of the prominent leaders and revered Kirtankar of Warkari. Sampradaya bravely took the initiative and led his followers and warkaris to destroy the construction site of the notorious Dow Chemicals and he publicly took the responsibility and has challenged the authorities to stop the warkaris from destroying the construction site of the proposed plant of Dow Chemicals. The warkaris of entire Maharashtra are now determined to throw Dow Chemicals out of their sacred land of Sant Tukaram Maharaj and Sant Dnyaneshwar of the Bhakti Movement.
The government authorities, who have no courage to oppose either their American masters’ pet project of the notorious US multinational Dow Chemical or the Warkaris of Maharashtra – who carry strong resentment against the notorious Dow Chemicals – are instead unleashing reign of terror on the common villagers of the Shinde and surrounding villages.
We strongly condemn Government’s cowardly act and demand that the innocent villagers should be immediately released.
National Convenor – Yuva Bharat