Bangaloreans lend support to human right activist

Times of India

BANGALORE: Students, writers and film-makers thronged the Centre for Film and Drama (CFD) on Monday to express support towards and watch films made by journalist Ajay T G, who has just been released by the Chhattisgarh police on bail after being arrested on charges of Maoist links.

The CFD screened four films shot on life in Bhilai and Jharkhand, reflecting the varied working conditions of people – from ironsmiths to hospital workers – and different societal expectations on family, marriage , gender progress and community life.

Ajay, who hails from Kerala, stayed in Bhilai for almost two decades. The photojournalist is also part of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), which is spearheading a campaign for human rights in Chhattisgarh. His PUCL colleague, Binayak Sen, is in a Chhattisgarh jail on charges of lending covert support to Maoists.

Writer and historian Ramachandra Guha, who spoke soon after the screening, said Chhattisgarh was caught in a cycle of violence between the police, Salwa Judum and Maoists. “Adivasis are most affected. Dantewada district, in particular, has been hit badly. The arrest of Sen and Ajay reflects the conditions prevailing in Chhattisgarh,” Guha said.

Ajay was picked up after his camera was allegedly found in the Maoists’ possession. He will address a meet in Delhi on his arrest, the reasons given and the circumstances under which he was jailed.

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