Arrest order against Medha Patkar travesty of justice: All India Kisan Sabha

The farmers' body said it stands in solidarity with Medha Patkar and called upon people to expose the corporate forces and ruling BJP.


Published Jul 04, 2024 | 8:29 AM Updated Jul 04, 2024 | 8:29 AM

Arrest order against Medha Patkar in defamation case travesty of justice

The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) expressed deep concern and dismay on Wednesday, 3 July at the five-month imprisonment imposed on activist Medha Patkar in a defamation case filed against her by Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena.

The farmers’ body also called it a mockery of justice that a renowned social activist is being punished based on fabricated materials while corporate forces succeed in misusing their power positions.

“AIKS expresses deep concern and dismay at the punishment of five-month imprisonment and 10 lakh fine against Medha Patkar in a defamation case filed by the present Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, V K Saxena,” the Left-affiliated farmers’ body said in a statement. The defamation case was filed in an Ahmedabad court in 2001 and was transferred to Delhi on the Supreme Court’s direction.

“VK Saxena, as an official of JK Cement and Adani Group since 1990, had opposed the movement for rehabilitation of Adivasis, Dalits, workers, and peasants of the 244 villages affected by the Narmada dam. In 2000, Saxena published an advertisement against Medha Patkar and Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and motivated articles were published against her allegedly at his behest,” said the farmers’ body.

Mentioning that the Supreme Court had called Delhi LG’s PIL as ‘Personal Interest Litigation,’ the AIKS said, “He had also filed a PIL against her in the Supreme Court, which had been dismissed with a comment that it was a ‘Personal Interest Litigation’ and had been fined 5,000. He is also allegedly an accused in a physical attack on her at a meeting at Sabarmati ashram, which is a pending case since 2002.”

Also Read: Missing case to murder probe: Kerala police arrest three accused; Kala’s teenage son rejects findings

The farmers’ body said it stands in solidarity with Patkar and called upon people to expose the corporate forces and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre, which together are suppressing the “voices of people fighting for protecting the livelihood rights of the poor.”

The AIKS, the farmers’ wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), condemned the successive state and Union governments for failing to ensure justice to the tens of thousands of victim families affected by the Narmada project.

It said even after the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 was enacted by the UPA government, the right of the farmers and rural workers in the Narmada valley for compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement was not ensured by the BJP-led governments of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

“AIKS strongly demands that the BJP-led NDA government provide justice for the victims of the Narmada project by ensuring them employment and livelihood support through rehabilitation and resettlement,” it added.

NBA leader Patkar was sentenced to five months of simple imprisonment by a Delhi court on 1 July in the defamation case filed by Saxena 23 years ago, when he headed an NGO in Gujarat. Patkar and Saxena are locked in a legal tussle since 2000, after she filed a suit against him for getting advertisements published against her and the NBA.

Saxena had also filed two cases against Patkar in 2001 for allegedly making derogatory remarks against him on a television channel and issuing a defamatory press statement.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)

(South First is now on WhatsApp and Telegram)