PUDR welcomes the Jharkhand High Court decision acquitting Jiten Marandi and three other adivasi poor peasants, earlier convicted and given the death sentence by District and Sessions Court, Giridih in Chilkari Firing of October 26, 2007 in the Girdih District, in which 19 persons were killed and many injured. This firing was allegedly done by CPI (Maoist) cadres aimed at immobilizing the Nagarik Suraksha Samiti, an alleged vigilante force of the former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi’s political party, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha.
A broad section of democratic circles were campaigning for acquitting Jiten Marandi, who is a leading cultural activist in Jharkhand. He was implicated in this case because of his active involvement in campaign against various MOUs signed with the big business houses in the state by the successive governments which would displace toiling advasi peasants from their land and also exploit the rich natural resources and cheap labour to fill the coffers of corporates. Jiten Marandi was slapped with numerous cases implicating him in many Naxal related incidents. He was given death sentence in the Chilkari incident. Jiten was falsely implicated in this case which has now been proved beyond doubt.
Jiten Marandi's acquittal by the High Court after he was given the death sentence by the Sessions Court once again signals the need to abolish the death penalty, especially in the present political climate where the likelihood of a miscarriage of justice more pronounced. In therefore welcoming the order by the High Court today, PUDR would like that the same standards of justice should also be applied in all the other cases in which Jiten and other poor peasants have been falsely implicated, without any evidence, in the name of Naxalism.
Paramjeet Singh and Harish Dhawan