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Gadchiroli court rejects bail plea by Gadling

Gadchiroli court rejects bail plea by Gadling

The Indian Express / by Chandan Haygunde

Gadchiroli Sessions Judge S C Khati passed an order in this regard on September 23. Following the Surjagad incident on December 27, 2016, an offence was lodged at the Etapalli police station in Gadchiroli district.
A court in Gadchiroli has rejected the bail application filed by lawyer Surendra Gadling in connection with an incident of arson in December 2016.
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Govt opposes bail pleas of Rao, Gadling

Govt opposes bail pleas of Rao, Gadling

The Times of India / by TNN

Nagpur: Justifying detention of Naxal sympathizers Vara Vara Rao and lawyer Surendra Gadling for their alleged role in a case of arson wherein around 80 vehicles were torched at Surjagarh mining site in Gadchiroli in 2016, Maharashtra government on Tuesday informed that more names of Maoists and their sympathisers could be revealed as the probe progresses.
In an affidavit submitted to the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court, the government justified the extension of investigation period and the duo’s detention due to non-receipt of e-mails from Yahoo, the web services provider company.
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The Incarceration of Mahesh Raut

The Incarceration of Mahesh Raut

Image Courtesy: Scroll.in

NewsClick / By Saurabh Sinha

His crime- raising his voice against illegal mining in Gadhchiroli, reading, understanding and deliberating for the rights of tribals and other communities- in the state of Maharashtra.
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Who is Mahesh Raut?

Who is Mahesh Raut?


Mahesh Raut (left) and Lalsu Narote. Foto credit: Javed Iqbal/ The Wire

By India Civil Watch

Lalsu Nogoti, an elected district council member from Bhamragad in Maharashtra is speaking about the work of Mahesh Raut:

“He first came to us as a part of the PMRD [Prime Minister’s Rural Development] fellowship in 2013. He would visit every village with other government officials and meticulously note down grievances and parallelly also research on several village and state-level policies that could come to our rescue. His work in the formative years helped us build our struggles in the coming days.”

Four months after Mahesh Raut was arrested, accused by the state of being an ‘urban naxal’, 300 gram sabhas (people’s councils’) from the two districts that Mahesh worked in, issued a resolution in his support. The resolution lists Raut’s work in the area and the challenges the villages have been facing since his arrest, challenges mostly from private mining operations of large corporations such as Lloyd’s Metal and Energy Limited, Corporate Ispat Alloys, Gopani Iron, and Ispat (Jindal Steel Works) – all of them aided by the strongarm tactics of the Indian state and the presence of a very large paramilitary force in this region. Mahesh Raut, a graduate from one of India’s premier and oldest social science universities, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), had been working with villagers to highlight the grave injustices being done to them with respect to the implementation of the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) and Forest Rights Act (FRA) in the region for the last six years. Both these laws are central Constitutional guarantees for the right to land and livelihood for India’s rural poor especially the most vulnerable indigenous populations – the adivasis.

The Wire reports that senior activists and members of the gram sabha say Raut was involved in a crucial agitation at the time of his arrest:

“At Surjagad, the onslaught of mining companies has increased in the past years. Raut along with other activists from the region was in the process of filing a petition in the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court on June 7 and he was arrested just a day prior,” said Sainu Gota of Gatta village, an Adivasi leader and now a member of the zila parishad from the region.

Who Is Mahesh Raut?
Born in Lakhapur village in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, together with his family he had migrated to the neighbouring Gadchiroli district during childhood. He pursued his initial education in Gadchiroli and then moved to Nagpur for higher education. In 2009, he joined TISS in Mumbai to study social work. The two years at the institute and later a PMRD fellowship upon the completion of his master’s degree in 2011 gave him an opportunity to work on forest rights and other issues (such as organizing against exploitative contractors and large companies to get better rates for tendu leaves – the indigenous tobacco leaves harvested by large numbers of adivasi workers in this region) directly impacting adivasis in eastern Maharashtra.

Mahesh Raut’s commitment to social justice and his personal valuation of social welfare above personal gains has always secured him respect and adoration amongst his peers and community. Thus about 80 former fellows of the PMRD as well as former rural development minister (Mr. Jairam Ramesh) have come out in strong support of Mahesh:

“He has been one of the best performing Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellows (PMRDFs) who served in Gadchiroli district (a conflict area district) for two years in close coordination with the district administration. Raids on his house and detention had become very common for him in last few months because of his tireless work with Bharat Jan Andolan, an organisation started by late B.D Sharma (IAS). Mahesh has been instrumental in mobilizing people for participative decision making in areas affected by mining projects and has been constantly raising voice for the people’s welfare. His work on PESA and FRA has been noteworthy and acclaimed by then District Collectors and State departments under Government of Maharashtra. Moreover, he was actively involved in the process of deepening democracy through strengthening gram sabhas in the tribal areas. How can a person working to deepen democracy be ‘anti-state’ as claimed by state security agencies? Development often means taking sides of people and taking collective action for people’s betterment within the ambit of law and constitution.

India Civil Watch
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Gadchiroli Police takes custody of Surendra Gadling, P Varavara Rao, prompting senior lawyers to say this is ‘ever-greening of charges’

Gadchiroli Police takes custody of Surendra Gadling, P Varavara Rao, prompting senior lawyers to say this is ‘ever-greening of charges’

The Leaflet / By Nishant Sirohi

Gadchiroli police in the late hours of January 30, 2019, took custody of noted human rights lawyer and Nagpur-based Dalit rights activist Surendra Gadling and activist-poet-writer P Varvara Rao from Pune’s Yerwada Jail authorities. The Police made the arrests in connection with another alleged case of involvement of Gadling and Rao in so-called “unlawful activity” related to the Surjagadh case of 2016. With these arrests, the apprehensions of “ever-greening” of charges on the civil rights activities becoming a reality.
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Police take custody of P Varavara Rao, Surendra Gadling in ’16 Maoist attack case 

Police take custody of P Varavara Rao, Surendra Gadling in ’16 Maoist attack case 

Times of India / By Vishwas Kothari, Asseem Shaik

PUNE: The Gadchiroli police on Wednesday took custody of veteran activist-poet-writer P Varavara Rao and activist-lawyer Surendra Gadling from the city’s Yerawada jail authorities in connection with a UAPA case related to the 2016 Maoist attack at Surjagadh.
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Gadchiroli’s 300 Gram Sabhas Pass Resolution in Support of Activist Mahesh Raut

Gadchiroli’s 300 Gram Sabhas Pass Resolution in Support of Activist Mahesh Raut

The Wire / By Sukanya Shantha

Villagers have highlighted the work done by the forest rights activist in the area and the challenges they have been facing since his arrest in June 2018.

Mumbai: Four months after Pune Police arrested Mahesh Raut, forest rights activist and former Prime Minister Rural Development Fellow, terming him an ‘Urban Naxal’, as many as 300 gram sabhas (village councils) from Etapalli and Bhamragad tehsils of Gadchiroli have passed a resolution in his support.
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