Skip to main content

Undeclared emergency enforced by governments at centre, states, also by aggressive army of “proud Indians”

Counterview Desk 
Several civil rights organizations have decided to hold a national meet of human rights defenders on March 22-23, 2017, at Rajendra Bhavan, New Delhi. The seminar has been organized by PEACE in association with INSAF, PCSDS, HRDA, others. A concept note ahead of the high-level meet under the banner “Reclaiming Rights, Asserting Freedoms”:
Thousands of activists and human rights defenders are struggling to survive the suspension of constitutional rights and rule of law that defines the political climate in India today. This undeclared emergency is being enforced not only by the governments at the centre and in the States, but by an aggressive army of “proud Indians” who have bought into a distorted, monochromatic and ahistorical idea of the nation.
In this supposedly patriotic world-view, India is seen as the most glorious civilisation imaginable, reaching unprecedented heights of progress under a leader who can do no wrong. Anyone who refuses to swallow this idea and uncritically support each new prescription for economic, political and social “vikaas” is anti-national by definition.
Anyone who questions the wisdom of the rulers and their diktats is a dangerous threat to the nation, and a legitimate target for violence unleashed by the state as well as by vigilante gangs of “patriots” who operate with the encouragement and blessing of the state.
These so-called “offences against the nation” cover a wide range of acts. Challenging government policies; using instruments such as the RTI Act or the SC/ST Atrocities Act; challenging misuse of power by caste, class or political elites; mobilising to resist forcible eviction or land acquisition; publicly protesting violations of rights and freedoms; investigating police violence such as rape, sexual assault, torture, encounters and custodial deaths; seeking justice for state-sponsored violence; following one’s own choices and inclinations in personal spaces such as bedrooms and kitchens, or even failing to stand for the national anthem – all these have become risky and life-threatening acts in India today.
A toxic political climate has been created and normalised, in which the Constitution itself is no longer sacrosanct. Democratic rights and freedoms guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution - right to equality and dignity, right to dissent, right to equal treatment before the law, freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of movement - are now identified as the greatest threats to democracy.
Those who insist on demanding, claiming, upholding and protecting these rights and freedoms are identified as dangerous and seditious enemies of the state, to be silenced and suppressed by any means.
No effort is spared in the mission of silencing and suppressing these defenders of rights and freedoms, whether social activists, journalists and writers, lawyers, leaders of movements, researchers and academics, whistleblowers, NGOs and professional associations. They are targeted with murderous attacks, hounded and slandered.
Rape, sexual assault and sexual violence are the patriotic prescriptions for women activists. Draconian laws for “maintenance of order” and “public security” are invoked to arrest and incarcerate human rights defenders as “terrorists”, “Maoist sympathisers” or simply “traitors”.
They are subjected to torture and sexual violence in jail. Their families are threatened and attacked by goon squads. False cases and concocted charges are foisted on them, and they face torture and mistreatment in prison. Their families are ostracised and often reduced to penury.
Lawyers are prevented from fighting their cases. Trolls pursue and attack them online and on social media. Their attackers both in and out of uniform are protected by their political affiliations and flaunt their impunity.
Democratic institutions are being systematically undermined and destroyed. Universities are being re-conceptualised as indoctrination centres where unpatriotic tendencies of rationality, independent thinking and critical questioning are discouraged.
Obedient robots are given charge of cultural and academic institutions, where they are busily erasing the boundaries between myth and history, science and superstition, justice and appeasement. Parliament, the courts and human rights institutions are treated with open contempt by the rulers and are increasingly reduced to mute bystanders and helpless witnesses to the attempted murder of democracy.
But resistance is alive. Despite the concerted campaign to silence and suppress them, thousands of human rights defenders, students, activists and concerned citizens continue to stand their ground and are fighting to assert, protect and claim the rig hts and freedoms granted by the Constitution.
* Let us come together to affirm and celebrate our solidarity, commitment and collective strength, and chart the way forward.
* We will not remain isolated!
* We will not remain silent!
* We will not allow this situation to continue!

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Industries dumping effluents into Narmada, destroying Adivasis' organic farms: Medha

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar believes that it is not just rehabilitation issues which nag the Sardar Sarovar dam affected people, especially Adivasis who have lived along the Narmada river for centuries.  The river water is now facing excessive sand mining, on one hand, and effluent discharge in Narmada and its tributaries, on the other, making people increasingly restive, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part 2*): *** Q: Apart from rehabilitation, which other issues, in your view, are affecting people living next to the Narmada river today? A: Since in 2019, when they filled up the dam to the full reservoir level, 138 metres, we notice, the river is going down and down and down... Q: Is it because of the climate change? A: Partly, but the main reason is illegal, unbound, unwanted sand mining. Just as Yamuna got finished, Narmada is following the same pattern. We won the case against illegal mining. There are also a number of judgments, like

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Ukraine: Why Gandhi's thinking offers serious alternative to today's 'violent' civilization

By Prem Singh*  Splintered lies the ethics, In varying degrees Which both have bent The Pandavas less, the Kauravas more Oh, when will this bloodletting end …? – 'Andha Yug', Dharamveer Bharati. The Russia-Ukraine war shows no signs of ending. However, there continue to be constant statements, discussions, and write ups from leaders, diplomats, experts, officials, scholars and ordinary citizens on various aspects related to the war. Whatever the significance of this whole exercise in the discussion of the causes, implications, effects, consequences etc. of war, it has been if little help in exerting any positive influence. It seems that modern violent civilization doesn't appear to have many options, not only by politicians and diplomats, but also by various experts and scholars who have taken their stand on the war. It can also be said that that they do not perceive modern civilization as violent. The UN general secretary says that the Russia-Ukraine war is an absurdity, a

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

This Maoist justified US, western Europe's anti-Soviet stance, even Bhindranwale

By Harsh Thakor*  A glaring example of the extent to which those seeking to identify themselves as revolutionaries can go in making odd compromises with those normally considered as “class enemies” in Marxist jargon is late Kondapalli Seetharamiah. Few know that this Maoist organiser two decades ago was so enamoured by the Chinese three worlds theory that he called for a united front with the United States and other western countries against what he considered Soviet social imperialism! This wasn’t the only “compromise” Seetharamiah made during his career as a revolutionary. On Punjab he took a most eclectical stand of supporting Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, thus soft-pedalling the terrorist Khalistani movement. Among his other opportunist alliances, about which few are aware of, include support to the Akalis in Punjab, on one hand, and the NTR Telugu Desam regime in Andhra Pradesh, on the other – all part of his anti-Congress thrust. Also known as KS, this Maoist started his career as

Custodial death of Muslim youth: Govt of India told to ratify UN convention on torture

Counterview Desk  Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), Hooghly, West Bengal, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has drawn to the custodial death of a Muslim youth following his torture in police custody after registering a "false case" based on manufactured records. Seeking "proper investigation" the whole incident, Roy in his plea insists, the incident legitimizes his organisations' long-standing demand "for immediate ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment." Text : Here I want to draw your kind attention to one incident of custodial torture by the Deganga police personnel and the subsequent custodial death of one Muslim man from the Other Backward Class community in Dum Dum Central Correctional Home. The name o