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Shamim Modi being victimized by police-politician nexus in Madhya Pradesh

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,

New Delhi: In a clear case of growing hostility against human rights activists and those voicing for the voiceless, besides rising systematic discrimination against minorities, in BJP-ruled states, young woman social activist Shamim Modi has become the latest victim of the police-politician nexus in Madhya Pradesh.

Shamim Modi was arrested on 10 February in some old cases. She is presently languishing in Hoshangabad jail. One is a kidnapping case. The police alleged that she had kidnapped a tribal woman but the very tribal woman told the magistrate in the court that she was never kidnapped by Shamim, yet her bail application was rejected and sent to jail. She was arrested within 24 hours following a 48-hour ultimatum by the industries association demanding her arrest. Shamim has been involved in the struggle of the saw mill workers and the hammals (kulies) who have been denied the minimal legal entitlements. She was fighting against the nexus between politicians and forest mafia.

(R-L) Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadva, Sunil, president, Samajwadi Jan Parishad

“Shamim has been active in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh over a decade for the cause of tribals and saw mill workers. She has voiced against corruption and exploitation of the workers of the saw mills (mostly owned by Gujarati industrialists). She has fought for the rights of the poor. But since she tried to take on politicians and industrialists, she has been victimized by the local police,” said renowned political analyst and commentator Yogendra Yadav in a press conference in New Delhi yesterday.

Ever since Shamim fought assembly election against ex-revenue minster in 2003 she is being victimized by police. Just after results were announced she was arrested and released after 3 days. Now again after the assembly election, social worker and lawyer Shamim Modi, who is also president of Madhya Pradesh unit of Samajwadi Jan Parishad, was arrested by Harda police on 10th February and remanded to 14 days judicial custody by Harda CJM court. She was arrested after Harda industries association a day earlier gave a 48 hours ultimatum to district administration demanding that Shamim Modi and her husband Anurag Modi be arrested else they will close all their establishment.

For the last few months Shamim was instrumental in organizing laborers belonging to 60 saw mills and plywood factories in Harda y after organizing hammals working at various Krishi Upaj Mandi and ware houses.

Shamim Modi with glasses and in lined pink sameez on extreme right

“The four cases in which Shamim has been arrested are two years old and politically motivated. In last two years police even never bothered investigate the matter and having no intention either,” says a statement from Samajwadi Jan Parishad.

Addressing the press conference senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan said Shamim’s case indicates the country is heading towards becoming a police state. While the police has filed charge sheet in the case, it has not conducted any probe into the case, he said adding that hers was not a fit case for denial of bail as the victim of her alleged kidnapping act had told the court that she was never kidnapped.

Expressing his grave concern over the rising lawlessness of law enforcers, Prashant Bhushan said: We are living in a police state and it’s time to wake up and speak against police atrocities. Otherwise, we will slip into a totalitarian police state.”

Shamim Modi has done her master degree from Lady Shriram College, University of Delhi, M. Phil. from TISS Mumbai and L.L.B. from Bhopal University. As the vice president of Samajwadi Jan Parishad in Madhya Pradesh, she has contested two assembly elections and a Lok Sabha election. She has filed a number of cases of tribal and labour rights at the MP High Court. She was a member of the Tribal Subgroup of the Planning Commission of India that was involved in preparing the 11th Five Year Plan. She has been a trustee with renowned social worker late Baba Amte and Medha Patkar in the Jan Sahyog Trust.