By Sheshu Babu*
Prison walls or iron bars can’t hide truth, torture or harassment can’t detain anyone for long…
That was proved on April 3, 2019 when a brave woman Nirmalakka travelled from Sukma to Kunta for two hours with around twenty journalists after her release from jail in Chhattisgarh. After 12 years in jail, she was finally acquitted from all cases. (“Framed in 157 cases, woman gets acquitted in all, released after 12 years from Chhattisgarh prison”, by Shams Ur Rehman Alavi, newsbits.in). Her family members reached Jagdalpur central jail along with court orders accompanied by lawyers.
Life of struggle
In 1989, at the age of 22, Venkatalakshmi alias Nirmala began to work among the people leaving her native place in Andhra Pradesh. In 1994, before moving to forest area of Chhattisgarh, she learned about the lives of tribals besides, she learned languages like Tamil, Hindi, Marathi , Kannada and tribal languages Gondi and Halbi and formed a political base for future movements.
She started to acquaint with socio-economic and cultural situation of the adivasis and how they are being exploited by the corporates who are occupying forests for their wealth and mining purposes. She stood by them and helped them by treating their wounds sustained in gunfire.
Despite the ruthless oppression of state and ‘salwa judum’ atrocities and her failing health, she continued to provide staunch and effective leadership for the poor women with her speaking firepower.
On July 5, 2007, she was imprisoned along with her husband and others. She was even subjected to torture in front of the villagers and threatened them with dire consequences if they dare to follow her.
Trial and release
She was not allowed to appear for trials in the first few years. Even in the court warrant, nothing was mentioned except her name till she protested the procedure. She used to prepare her arguments and had her lawyers argue on the notes prepared by her for ten years. She had to struggle all these years to defend herself.
At last, she was not proved guilty in any one of the cases. There was no evidence to prove her links or involvement in any terrorist or extremist violence. She was incarcerated for her ideological beliefs.
Nirmalakka is free of all charges now.
Truth has won!
*The writer from anywhere and everywhere, supports human rights