Public statement: Saibaba and others; Acquitted and then not

The Supreme Court’s decision on Saturday suspending an order of the Bombay High Court on Friday discharging former Delhi University professor and renowned human rights defender GN Saibaba and five others in a case where they had been convicted for having alleged links to Maoists has invited sharp criticism from human rights groups and activists.

Read the full text of the statement by Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization, New Delhi.

Professor G.N Saibaba, Journalist Prashant Rahi, Student, and Cultural Activist Hem Mishra; Pandu Narote, Mahesh Tirki, and Vijay Tirki had been acquitted by the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on 14th October 2022 on the ground that the sanctions were irregular.  They were all convicted by the sessions court in 2017. Despite getting acquittal from High Court, the Brahmanical Hindutva Fascist government, hell-bent on keeping Saibaba and others in jail to kill them like Pandu Narote, Like Stan Swamy, approached the Supreme Court to stay the acquittal order. Supreme Court refused to stay the acquittal order but later, succumbing under the pressure of BJP-RSS led State, constituted a ‘special bench’ for a special sitting, on the very next day on 15th October, to hear a Special Leave Petition of Brahmanical Hindutva Fascist Maharashtra government to overturn the acquittal order of Bombay High court. The Supreme Court Bench of MR Shah and Bela M Trivedi held that the acquittal was not based on the Merits of the case and irregular sanction is not sufficient ground to acquit the accused in such a case of “grave nature”. The SC remarked that the “Brain is more Dangerous “in such cases and granting acquittal in such case of grave nature is a “Threat to National Security”.

The reason behind this state repression of GN Saibaba is not unknown and it is well understood that he was incarcerated to suppress the voices against Operation Green Hunt, which was a war waged by the Indian state on its own populace, to facilitate unprecedented corporate loot of resources. The trial court’s argument of “they are anti-development” while convicting Saibaba and others and the argument of the Supreme Court that “Brain is more dangerous” is reflective of the state-corporate nexus’s approach to silence every conscious mind that speaks against rampant corporate loot of people’s resources done by brute military might.

It is pertinent to mention that, due to the struggles spearheaded by GN Saibaba and other pro-people democratic forces and the people, the state had to roll back Operation Green Hunt. But the hunger for corporate exploitation was never doused and the state brought forth its new Genocidal Military Operation SAMADHAN-PRAHAR, an intensified and more brutal form of Operation Green-Hunt to facilitate the loot of resources by crushing every people’s resistance against it. This desperation to loot resources, by any means necessary, is reflective of the imperialist crisis throughout the world and its onslaught on our country and its resources to solve its crisis. This is the reason that the state wants to keep “dangerous minds” like Saibaba to carry on its war without witnesses, without any scrutiny by conscious pro-people minds.

 Therefore, to address the question of corporate looting of resources and crushing of people’s resistance against it by using brute military force, there is a need to fight for the release of Saibaba and others; those arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case; gain inspiration from the struggles of those who fought against Operation Green-Hunt, the struggles of GN Saibaba and others, and intensify the struggle against Operation SAMADHAN-PRAHAR, which is a genocidal Military Operation to break people’s democratic resistance against corporate loot of resources.

While we condemn this order of the Supreme Court to suspend the acquittal, even after years of imprisonment and struggling in prison for basic amenities of healthcare, it is also important to remember the sacrifice of Pandu Narote, murdered by denying medical care. It is important to understand the cause for which they paid the price in Liberty, their precious years, and, above all, life itself, and sadly, will continue to pay now. We should also remember the thousands of people’s activists, Adivasis, Dalits, oppressed minorities, and working-class people languishing in jail for demanding their basic democratic rights. This overturning of the acquittal order should only increase our resolve to fight for their release and for the repeal of draconian laws like UAPA which provides such arbitrary power to suppress the people.