[OPE-L:5333] (Fwd) (Fwd) An appeal

Ajit Sinha (ecas@cc.newcastle.edu.au)
Thu, 10 Jul 1997 23:13:48 -0700 (PDT)

[ show plain text ]

>Dear Ajit,
>You may not remember my friend ela from D. school, Sanjoy Ghose is
>her brother and an old acquaintance of mine. Can you please circulate
>this message on your various discussion groups? regards,

>An Appeal
>For the Release of Sanjoy Ghose
>We the undersigned are deeply distressed and concerned over the abduction
>of Sanjoy Ghose, social worker, by suspected ULFA militants in Upper
>Assam on Friday 4th July 1997. Sanjoy was abducted along with Chandra
>Doley, a colleague from their place of work in Bongaon on Majuli Islands
>in the Brahmaputra. Chandra Doley after being roughed up escaped from the
>abductors and returned the next day. A graduate from the Institute of
>Rural Management, Anand (IRMA), Sanjoy Ghose for the last year and half
>was involved with the setting up and running the Association of Voluntary
>Agencies for Rural Development ( AVARD ) North East.
>From 1986 to 1995 Sanjoy did pioneering work in Western Rajasthan. He set
>up URMUL Trust in 1986 in Bikaner with the chief objective of
>empowering the local people to address their own development needs. By
>1995, URMUL expanded into a network of organisations addressing the
>concerns of the poor in the districts of Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer
>in western Rajasthan. Sanjoy's activities in the field were matched by
>the writer in him who wrote extensively and spiritedly on development
>issues. Sanjoy was one of the first to realise the need for media
>advocacy for the NGOs and struggle based groups, and established CHARKHA
>as an interface between NGOs and the mainstream media.
>It was the same pioneering spirit that took him to the Majuli Islands in
>upper Assam along with Shumita a women's activist and also his wife and
>Dr. Sunil Kaul who after having resigned from the Indian army chose
>to work as a health worker in the rural areas. In the course of the last
>year and a half Sanjoy and his team established an excellent rapport
>with the local community especially the women and the youth. They became
>an inspiration for the young adults on the Islands who joined them in
>attending to the needs of the community. They motivated the community to
>volunteer labour for various activities, including checking soil erosion
>on the island. They were also involved in initiating a continuous
>dialogue on "Development" with voluntary organisations and individuals
>from most of the North East states.
>More significantly, the local community began to ask uncomfortable
>questions not only of those who had grown rich by skimming off the money
>meant for the development of the poor, but also of the prevailing gun
>culture.When a series of anonymous but slanderous allegations began to be
>raised against AVARD-NE, the Majuli group decided to hold a public
>meeting and audit of all development works in the area. The meeting on
>June 1, 1997 was very well attended and opinions were expressed openly by
>a cross section of society. The vested interests and militant outfits
>were obviously affected by this process..
>There can be no justification for abducting an individual who was
>initiating a process of dialogue and debate of even the works and efforts
>initiated by the organisation he represented. We appeal to the conscience
>of the ULFA militants and urge them to release Sanjoy Ghose immediately.
>We express our solidarity and extend our moral support to Shumita, the
>AVARD- NE team and the women and youth who have been urging ULFA
>militants to release Sanjoy.
>This appeal is from friends of Sanjoy Ghose in Rajasthan. Please
>circulate it as widely as possible and send the signed copy to newspapers
>and to AVARD- NE at P. O. Box 91, Jorhat 785001, Assam, India .Tele/fax
>: 0376-325528.
>Majuli camp office telephone no : 03775- 3451. E.mail: Sanjoy@