Activist Shamim Modi Survives Attack on Life

Activist Shamim Modi Survives Attack on Life

Newsletter May - Aug 2009

On the afternoon of 23 July 2009, Shamim Modi, an activist of Shramik Adivasi Sangathan and the Vice President of Samajwadi Jan Parishad (SJP) in Harda, was viciously attacked in her home by the watchman of her housing society in

Mumbai with a wooden laathi and a knife and left for dead. She survived due to her own presence of mind by putting up a fight, warding off lethal blows to her vital organs. She received about 118 stitches, but is out of danger now.

Shamim, also currently Asst. Prof. at TISS, Mumbai, has been harassed systematically for her work among adivasis in Harda and Betul, MP, most recently in organising saw mill workers to fight for minimum wages and better working conditions. In fact, on 10 February 2009 she was arrested on false charges and subsequently granted bail. In the previous issue of

our newsletter (Jan-Apr 2009) we had published the report of a fact finding team, which included a member of

Saheli found that Shamim’s arrest was evidently driven by the nexus between local industrialists and the state machinery.

For the past few years, Shamim has been threatened, attacked and granted security by the High Court, due to threats to her life. She has been specifically threatened with death by ex revenue Minister of MP, Kamal Patel, who she

suspects to be behind this attack, as the attack had the hallmarks of a contract killing. The Mumbai police is

working on this lead, and also seems to be exploring other theories.

It is complete callousness of the police that Shamim’s attacker is still absconding and that there is a complete media blackout about this incident, with newspapers failing to even mention it. The incident shows the precariousness of activists confronting the state, especially in Madhya Pradesh.