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

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Mark Lee: A spiritual leader who thought conventional religions are barrier to liberation

  By Harsh Thakor*  The Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) lost Roger Edwin Mark Lee, who was a devoted disciple of Jiddu Krishnamurti, one of the greatest and most self realised spiritual philosophers of our time. Mark passed away due to pneumonia complications on April 6, 2024, at he Ventura Community Memorial Hospital in California. His exit was an irreparable loss to the spiritual world.

Fossil fuel projects: NGOs ask investors to cut TotalEnergies’ main sources of finance

By Antoine Bouhey, Lara Cuvelier, Helen Burley*  Reclaim Finance has joined 58 NGOs from around the world, including Banktrack, in signing an open letter calling on banks and investors to stop participating in bonds (loans granted by investors and facilitated by banks) issued by TotalEnergies. The 58 NGO signatories include 350.org , Amazon Watch, BankTrack, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR, Papua New Guinea), Justiça Ambiental (Mozambique) and Friday for Future (Uganda), Oil Change International and Urgewald (Germany).