A postcard campaign agitating for the release of jailed rights activist Hidme Markam, who is from the Adivasi community, has been launched on Social media. Users on the social media platform are being urged to send postcards to the authorities of the Jagdalpur Central Jail in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district where she is being held.
“As a mark of solidarity with her struggle, we urge you all to send postcards to Hidme, writing messages of hope, strength or drawing some art, if possible. Below is the Campaign Call in Hindi and a sample postcard template, with the Jail address and some pointers for the message. You can compose your own message and send her the cards,” a message was communicated on the campaign Facebook page.
“Please do join this Campaign and send a card, since it is important for the police, jail authorities and Chhattisgarh Govt. to know that Hidme is not alone in this fight for justice and freedom. The world is watching and demanding her release”, the Facebook post on the present campaign reads.
The 28-year-old activist from the Burgum village in South Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district was arrested on March 9 at an event to commemorate International Women’s Day. At the event, attended by hundreds of villagers at Dantewada’s Sameli village, a large group of paramilitary, local police and officers of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) took Markam away. She was subsequently charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) among other laws.
Against Hidme’s wrongful detention in April 202, over a thousand activists, academics, journalists, filmmakers and concerned citizens from across the globe petitioned Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel demanding the release of Adivasi human rights defender and environmental activist Hidme Markam and “take pro-active steps to end the cycle of repression against Adivasis in Chhattisgarh.”
Now after 10 months another postcard campaign has been launched in solidarity with Hidmes’s struggles.
Markam had long been fighting for Adivasi rights in the conflict-ridden Bastar region, fighting against excesses committed both by the local police and paramilitary forces as well as the region’s Maoists.
Read More about Hidme Markam Why Hidme Markam, A Tribal Rights Activist Detained by the Police
Markam’s arrest came at the time when agitations against false and prolonged incarceration and forceful acquisition of tribal land by corporate giants have been at an all-time high in the state, reports the Wire
As convener of the Jail Bandi Rihai Manch, Markam had been fighting hard for the cause of Adivasis who had been incarcerated in false cases and had thus been languishing in jail. She had accumulated information on incarcerated people from virtually every village in the region and was preparing to fight a legal battle for their release when she was arrested.
Her arrest had even prompted a letter from several UN human rights rapporteurs to the Union government expressing concerns about arbitrary detention and her treatment in custody as well as calling into question its use of the UAPA, a point that rights bodies continue to question India over.
“The demand for the release of Hidme Markam is not simply one to oppose police excesses or harassment of activists, but also a demand to assert the rights of the people of Chhattisgarh. It is a demand to uphold democracy and defend human rights,” the Twitter post on the present campaign reads.