Skip to main content

Activists' arrest across India is an "attempt" to create prejudice against those working for the poor

Counterview Desk
Former National Advisory Council member under the UPA government, Aruna Roy (ex-IAS), and senior activists Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), have said that the activists arrested across India, following raids, should be immediately released, calling the BJP rulers' move as nothing but “motivated hounding of human rights defenders”.

Text of the statement:

The Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS, Rajasthan) condemns the mala fide allegations and the coercive use of state power, in the arrest/raids of Sudha Bharadwaj (a civil rights and labour lawyer from Chhattisgarh; presently teaching at the National Law University, Delhi); Gautam Navlakha(former President of Peoples’ Union for Democratic Rights and a journalist); Anand Teltumbde (human rights activist and management professional, writer, civil rights activist and political analyst); Father Stan Swamy (80-years-old human rights activist based in Ranchi); Varavara Rao (77-years-old poet and prominent activist) and senior activists Arun Ferreira and Susan Abraham.
The Pune police in a series of raids and arrests on August 2018, 27 and 28, deliberately pinned serious allegations on these activists for the Bhima Koregaon incident, ignoring the main role of the Hindutva leader Sambhaji Rao Bhide and his associates in initiating violence.
A few months earlier,Surendra Gadling (a Maharashtra civil rights and trade union lawyer), Rona Wilson (an academic and activist involved in the Committee for the Defence of Political Prisoners), Prof. Shoma Sen (Nagpur University), Sudhir Dhawale (activist and publisher) and Mahesh Raut (activist and former Prime Minister Rural Development Fellow) were also arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon incident.
Nikhil Dey, Aruna Roy, Sanjay Singh
So far all the arrests have been made citing baseless allegations and reflect a prejudiced targeting of people who have had the courage and the intellectual rigour to question the miscarriage of law and the violation of constitutional rights. They are well-known academics and human rights defenders, who have defied all odds and the possible pall of violence imposed by unlawful majoritarian fundamentalist forces. Given the absence of any credible evidence, these arrests are clearly a part of the political conspiracy to silence any dissent and critique of the party in power.
We also strongly condemn the attempt to mislead people through the deliberate use of the term ‘Urban Naxals’ both by BJP politicians and those in the media, who are acting in tandem with the government to create a media trial. This is an attempt to construct a hostile citizenry prejudiced against those working for the poor and marginalised with a carefully-choreographed media trial.
We are in fact proud of the academic and intellectual history of India from the time of the independence movement, and laud those who have expressed their views without hesitation. They have been a crucial support for those impacted by violence and discrimination, even at a cost to themselves.
They have used non-violent means and avenues available through law and the Constitution to defend the rights of the poor and marginalised. This harassment is a blatant attempt to prevent the intelligentsia from raising their voices against injustice, oppression and exploitation. It is a prelude to making sure that the space for dissent and democratic expression is closed, and even the threats to the Constitution go unchallenged. The people of India must realise who is really trying to undermine the Indian Constitution and its values.
It is the duty of all citizens to voice their support for those who work to amplify the voices of the voiceless. We demand that the BJP governments both in Maharashtra and at the Centre stop targeting human rights workers for narrow political gains. The (mis)use of such repressive legal instruments, makes a mockery of the rule of law, and will have very grave consequences for the Indian polity.

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.