New Delhi: Condemning the arrest of woman tribal-activist and journalist Dayamani Barla in Jharkhand, rights activists in New Delhi on Thursday demanded that the "false cases" against her be dropped and that she be immediately released.

Members of Indian and international organisations said the reason for this incarceration is to intimidate Barla, who is one of the leaders of the peaceful struggle of people against the acquisition of fertile land at Nagri, a village situated near Ranchi for setting up a law university and an Indian Institute of Management (IIM).

The members of Association for India's Development, Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, People's Union for Civil Liberties, International Alliance for the Defence of Human Rights in India and others demanded her release.

"As per some estimates, at least 500 tribal families will be displaced and their livelihoods will be destroyed if the land is acquired for the said institutions. In January, the state bulldozed farms just when the winter crops, mostly potatoes and pulses, were to be harvested," the groups said in a joint statement.

"We find the Jharkhand government indifferent and (their) unjust response to this peaceful struggle appalling. We support these institutions in the state but not at the cost of the main source of villagers' livelihood," they said. Barla was granted bail by a local court in Ranchi on October 18, in a case related to a protest held in 2006 demanding job cards for rural labourers under the Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

However, on the day that she was supposed to be released on October 19, jail authorities announced that she had been re-arrested on a second warrant, for "obstructing government work"."She was denied bail on October 29 and remains imprisoned. We demand her immediate release," the activists said.

(Agencies)

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