Sunday, February 26, 2017

Judicial probe sought into midnight arrest of Telangana statehood leader, "repressive" action against others

Prof Kodnandaram
By Our Representative
The recent Telangana government to refuse permission for holding a rally and a dharna in Hyderabad, even as resorting to mid-night arrest of senior leaders such as Prof N Kodandaram and hundreds others, who were central to the struggle for Telangana’s statehood, has attracted strong criticism from civil society activists across India.
Sponsored by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), chaired by Prof Kodnandaram, the permission for the rally was sought for February 22 to protest against the alleged repressive measures of the state government of forcible land acquisition and rising unemployment of the youth.
Apart from barging into Ram’s house doors, says a report, the police “leg-twisted” senior women’s rights activist Sandhya, “physically attacked” on Justice (retired) Chandra Kumar, who had come to to address a press conference, and “roughed up” hundreds of youth in the capital and across various districts, preventing them to attend the rally.
Strongly taking exception to the "repressive" move, a statement, issued by prominent citizens, including well-social activist Medha Patkar and top Right to Information activist Aruna Roy, says “Barely a month ago, dharnas planned against the draconian, anti-farmer Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2016, as also by cultural activists against the crackdown on Arunodaya Cultural Centre and Vimalakka were foiled by the government by denying permissions.”
The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), the apex body of tens of mass organizations across India, which has distributed the statement, says at stake is the issue of jobs and livelihood security for lakhs of Telangana’s youth “whose struggle also led to victory of the statehood agitation.”
Seeking judicial probe into arrest and ban the  rally, others who have signed the statement include Prafulla Samantara, of the Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Odisha; Binayak Sen of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties; Gabriele Dietrich of the Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai; Vimal Bhai of the Matu Jan Sangathan, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar of the Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, Gujarat; Bilal Khan of the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai; and Meera Sanghamitra of NAPM, Telangana-AP.
Quoting “unofficial estimates”, the statement says, “At least 25 lakh graduates (including many lakh post-graduates) and 25 lakh non-graduate youth are in search of employment in the state”, adding, the permission to hold rally was withdrawn on the day “the Chief Minister spent his day at Tirumala, splurging away crores of rupees from the state, in the form of gold jewels to ‘Gods’ in neighbouring Andhra State.”
Giving examples of how Telangana is reeling under “severe agriculture distress and hundreds”, the statement says, there were 1,400 farm-suicide families, as per the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data for 2015-16 alone, adding, yet none has received any compensation.
Asking the chief minister to issue a White Paper on the total number of jobs created in various sectors since the state was formed, and also announce a time bound action plan to expeditiously fill up all vacancies in government posts, even as ensuring employment to youth of the state, the statement seeks “particular priority to youth from Dalit and other socio-economically marginalized backgrounds.”

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