(The Asian Age)
By Rashme Sehgal
Feb. 25: Is Madhya Pradesh going the Chhattisgarh way? The arrest of Shamim Modi, vice-president of the Samajwadi Jan Parishad in Harda in Madhya Pradesh, on February 10 and the refusal of the Harda district magistrate court to grant her bail has left activists convinced that her case could well end up being a repeat of Dr Binayak Sen’s case.
Dr Sen has been in lock-up for over 18 months. Shamim, a member of the tribal sub-group, had worked in preparing the 11th Five-Year Plan document and was also a trustee of Baba Amte’s organisation and of the Jan Sahyog Trust set up by Ms Medha Patkar. Having spent more than a decade fighting cases on behalf of tribals, her organisation had filed a PIL in the MP high court highlighting the nexus between the mining and the forest mafia. Agreeing that Shamim faced a threat to her life, the court had ordered that she be given two armed guards during the pendency of her writ petition.
The high court had also ordered compensation to three tribals on July 17, 2008 who had been handcuffed and paraded through the town, a case that had been fought by Shamim. She, along with her co-activist husband Anurag Modi, was also trying to ensure that the state labour laws were being implemented across 60 sawmills and plywood factories. They were also working with the "hammals" working at Krishi Upajmandi and railway warehouses. This had brought her in confrontation with local industrialists. Local activists allege that her arrest was precipitated following Harda Industries Association issuing a 48-hour ultimatum to the district administration that she be arrested.
(The Asian Age,