Unite against State Repression on Peoples Movements!
Repeal UAPA, NSA, AFSPA and other anti-people laws!
The solidarity extended by every section of society with those arrested in connection with Bhima-Koregaon, Advocate Surendra Gadling, Professor Shoma Sen and activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut, reveals the simmering rage amidst those of us who uphold the spirit of democracy. It is clear that state terror on social activists has now reached a stage where professionals and activists demanding democratic and constitutional rights for others are now being targeted. These professionals and activists find themselves charged under sections of draconian laws that deny them bail for long periods of time and jeopordises chances of fair trial. The continuing incarceration of Chandrasekhar Azad ‘Raavan’ of Bhim Army is a clear example of the use of draconian laws to keep activists behind bars.
The chain of arrests is becoming longer every day with police acting with impunity, criminalising thought and legal, academic, journalistic and professional conduct. From the streets of Thoothkudi to villages along the proposed Chennai-Salem Expressway, from Bhangar to Saharanpur, each university campus under siege – be it in Manipur University or Kolkata, Hyderabad or Delhi, and every part of the country where people are living in fear of police bullets, tear gas and lathis, or being sent to jail endlessly for daring to demand their rights, the assault on democratic principles and institutions is unmistakable and becoming severe. The revelations of conspiracy to kill and intimidate democratic intellectuals like Girish Karnad, Prakash Raj, KS Bhagawan and others must be seen in light of the brutal murder of Prof. MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh in Karnataka and are clearly in continuation of the killing of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar and Comrade Govind Pansare in Maharashtra.
The efforts to portray the constitutional rights of activists as a conspiracy against the government, further aggravated by media trial, reveals the underlying efforts of the current regime to clamp down on movements led by people all over the country. When people are defending their land, forests and resources, the government, on behalf of corporations, indulges in ‘encounter’ killings of adivasis, most often women and children, like recently in Gadchiroli. When activists expose the loot of resources and state violence in such areas, they are charged with UAPA. Over the years, several people have been arrested for speaking out against such loot and killings. Some of them, like Prof. GN Saibaba, Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi, Vijay Tirki, Pandu Narote, Mahesh Tirki, continue to languish in jail. Recently, Rajeev Yadav of Rihai Manch has been threatened with death for providing legal help to members of minority communities. The practice of ‘encounter’ killings preferred by the current government over the rule of law is distinctly visible in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, where Muslims are often the target of violence.
A section of media has connived openly to further corporate interests by banishing news of assault on peoples’ lives and livelihood, running a media trial of activists based on fictitious “letters”, and fabricating stories targeting lawyers, academics and activists. With more and more conspiracy stories, it is clear that it is being done to intimidate the discontented people and stem the tide of solidarity for the arrested people. The use of draconian laws like UAPA, NSA/PSA and AFSPA has become rampant and is based on flimsy grounds. Apart from those arrested in connection with Bhima-Koregaon and endless fabricated cases on members of Bhim Army, the convener of Telangana Democratic Front B. Durga Prasad and students of Hyderabad Central University namely Prithvi Raj and Chandan Mishra, leaders of Democratic Students Union Badri, Ranjit, Sudhir, Com. Madhu, K Prasad, and Y Shantha Rao and activists leading the struggle for podu land in Telangana, leaders of Majdoor Sangathan Samiti (MSS), including the president Bacha Singh and General Secretary of Vistapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) Damodar Turi, and hundreds of protesters in Thoothkudi including the defending lawyer S Vanchinathan, activists Piyush Manush and Valarmathi in connection with Chennai-Salem expressway, leaders of Bhangar movement in Bengal like Alik Chakrabarty, Kushal Debnath, Sharmishta Choudhary, Ratul Banerjee, Pradeep Singh Thakur and many villagers, eight trade union activist of Reliance cable works at Maharashtra are some of the instances where draconian laws are used to intimidate people and crush their struggles. Hundreds of people protesting against the dilution of SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act on April 2nd 2018 have been arrested whereas the police perpetrators of violence leading to more than a dozen deaths are roaming scot-free. It is against this neo-brahmanical offensive aided by corporate power and police machinery that we have to ensure a broad united resistance.
In such a climate, democratic organisations all over the country have come together against state repression. With the Parliament in session since mid-July, democratic voices all over the country have come together to express our outrage and show our solidarity in the face of divisive politics through a protest program. To this end, a protest programme ‘Kis Kis Ko Qaid Karoge…’ is scheduled for August 3rd (Friday) at 11 am 2018 at Parliament Street in Delhi jointly organised by democratic organisations all over the country under the banner of Campaign against State Repression on Rights Activists. As an all India Campaign, this effort will focus on the increasing repression on the people of this country and with this, we hope to send a clear message that people are united against such repressive measures and will defend their democratic and constitutional rights.
- We demand the actual perpetrators of violence during Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan, including Manohar “Sambhaji” Bhide and Milind Ekbote, be immediately arrested and charged.
- Immediate release of Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut.
- Immediate release of Chandrasekhar Azad ‘Raavan’ and other Bhim Army activists.
- Immediate release of leaders and activists of Bhangar Movement, quash all false cases against the people and stop land acquisition.
- Immediate release of Prithavi Raj & Chandan Mishra accused of plotting to “murder” the Vice Chancellor, HCU, Appa Rao.
- Release all arrested persons during Bharat Bandh of 2nd April 2018, punish guilty police.
- Immediate release of hundreds of residents of Thoothkudi and quash all false cases against the people. Immediate action against the Tamil Nadu police responsible for the death of 13 residents of Thoothkudi.
- Immediate withdrawal of false cases against those opposing the Chennai-Salem expressway.
- Immediate release of eight trade union activists of Reliance cable works Mumbai implicated in Bhima-Koregaon case in January 2018.
- Immediately release activists of Mazdoor Sanghathan Samiti (MSS) including Bacha Singh and lift ban on MSS and PFI in Jharkhand.
- Immediate release of Dr. GN Saibaba, Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi, Vijay Tirki, Mahesh Tirki and Pandu Narote.
- Immediate release of Com. Madhu, K Prasad, and Y Shantha Rao under UAPA and withdrawal of false cases against adivasis and activists fighting for podu land in Telangana.
- Immediately arrest and charge Hindutva activists conspiring to kill public intellectuals.
Campaign against State Repression on Rights Activists
Organising team: AISA, Bhim Army, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, BSCEM, CDRO, CEM, CRPP, Disha, DISSC, IAPL, IMK, KYS, LSI, Mazdoor Adhikar Sanghatan, Mazdoor Patrika, Morcha Patrika, NBS, NCHRO, Nowruz, WSS