05 August, 2021

The State As Strangler

Laws to fight Maoist terror are increasingly being used against peaceful dissenters

Tribhuvan Tiwari
The State As Strangler
Was Bhagat Singh a terrorist, patriot, a bomber or a revolutionary? Ever since her arrest on October 16, 2006, Sunita Narayan, a book publisher working from the national capital region of Delhi, has been grappling with that question. Sunita was on an annual visit to the Chandrapur district of eastern Maharashtra, where her company, Daanish Books, takes a truckload of books for sale during a fair held there in honour of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar to commemorate the day he embraced Buddhism.

Within hours of setting up her stall, lined with the works of Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, a study of the life of Bhagat Singh, and Bhagat Singh's own works translated into Marathi, policemen started trooping in. "First they asked me for a few copies of the books and then they started asking for all of them. By night, they were following us on motorcycles and finally at 1.30 am I was 'invited' for a cup of tea with the police superintendent," says Sunita. What followed was that Sunita was branded a member of the banned cpi (Maoist), and asked why she sported a...

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