Jeetan Marandi is a cultural activist from Jharkhand and also one of the secretaries of Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners. He was arrested in 2008 and accused by the police of being involved in the murder of 20 villagers, including the son of former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, in Chilkari in 2007. He was sentenced to death in June 2011 by a lower court in Jharkhand. He has been an active participant in the movements against forcible land acquisitions in Jharkhand - and was actually arrested while he was on the way back from one such rally organized by the Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikash Andolan, almost an year after the killings. The police chargesheeted him under various clauses of the penal code, and it has also been alleged that false witnesses were brought forth during the trial, leading to the death-sentence. This case falls into the larger pattern of victimization of the cultural political activists as well as those adivasi voices who are resisting the various injustices being inflicted by the state.
In his writings and songs one finds the pain of starvation, loot and displacement going on in Jharkhand today, and one finds an attack on the system that is responsible for it. His songs are the voice of popular resistance. This is the source of his popularity and the cause of the government’s anger. He has been arrested while leading workers’ movements, sent to jail for participating in anti-government protests, and accused of inflammatory speech. Despite this he has continued awakening the masses. Whether it the issue was displacement or corporate loot Jeetan Marandi was there with his troupe. He was there in the fight to release political prisoners. Perhaps it became difficult for the government to tolerate this man who was becoming the emblem of popular resistance in Jharkhand. It became necessary to silence this voice of opposition. It became even more urgent to suppress him because his voice was becoming a weapon in the resistance against the loot of jal-jungle-zamin and mineral resources by national and multinational corporations. Every act of repression was making it even more potent. This is the truth behind the conspiracy against Jiten Marandi, this is the reality of Jharkhand today.
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