Skip to main content

Ultraleft takeover? Modi ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad were in PUCL, recalls top rights body

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to a recent statement by Union minister Arun Jaitley, where he accuses the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) of working for the "ultra-left" agenda, in a strongly-worded statement, PUCL has said, "It is incredible that a lawyer of his stature would not consult records and verify facts before launching an attack on a reputed organisation with which he had been associated from its second birth in 1980."
Jaitley, in a recent Facebook post https://www.facebook.com/notes/arun-jaitley/who-is-threatening-human-rights/805931829595367/ titled ‘Who is threatening Human Rights,’ said, among other things, that PUCL, "formed by constitutional liberals led by Jai Prakash Narayan", was "seized" by the ultraleft, which infiltrated "organisations like the PUCL and PUDR" in 1980s, adding, as a result, "The liberals got disillusioned with the Maoist takeover of the civil liberties movement", something that a few gullible could not "understand".
Accusing Jaitley of justifying the use of "unrestrained force even against a suspected terrorist who is not fighting but is just hiding", PUCL says, "Anticipating opposition from the rights organisations against human rights violations" by the Modi government, Jaitley has preferred to attack "human rights organisations to erode their credibility and mislead the people", adding, he "knowingly" distorts facts about PUCL "with which he had been associated for several years before he chose to pursue his political career."
Originally the People's Union for Civil Liberties and Democratic Rights (PUCL&DR), says PUCL, the PUCL&DR "was deliberately kept free from political ideologies so that people belonging to various political parties may come together on one platform for the defence of civil liberties and human rights."
Recalling that how it fought against the Emergency (1975-77), PUCL says, its 1980 conference "was attended by eminent persons from all walks of life and by the members of most political parties including the Congress." But, as "a section of the PUCL&DR was not willing to include members of RSS and did not join the conference", out of PUCL&DR were born "two organisations: the PUCL and the PUDR. PUCL adopted its Constitution and elected VM Tarkunde as President and Arun Shourie as General Secretary."
Pointing out that Jaitley was "very closely associated with the formation of the PUCL", the statement says, "The PUCL constitution adopted at the 1980 conference mandated that the PUCL should bring together all who were committed to the defence and promotion of civil liberties in India, regardless of their political ideology."
"Thus", it says, "The so-called ultra-left were not barred from joining PUCL in their personal capacity if they signed the pledge that they 'subscribed to the aims and objects of the organisation and agreed to abide by its constitution’."
"There were two conditions for a person joining PUCL", says PUCL. These were: "They must subscribe to its aims and objects and must abide by its constitution." It adds, "The aims and objects of the PUCL confine themselves to the issues of civil liberties and democratic rights and strictly exclude political issues or political ideologies. Thus, the question of the PUCL promoting the interest of the left or ultra-left or any other political party does not arise."
PUCL underlines, "All the liberals and the members of the political parties including Arun Jaitley, who joined the PUCL were fully aware of the constitution they had framed and adopted and were fully conscious that no person was an untouchable or an outcast for PUCL, if the person subscribed to its aims and objects and pledged to abide by its Constitution."
The statement continues, "PUCL members, including the Naxals, also did not discriminate against members on the basis of their ideology. For example, Ravi Shankar Prasad, an ABVP member, was elected as a Secretary, Bihar PUCL, in 1981 and held that post till 1988. He was elected as General Secretary in 1988. He resigned from the post only after he joined BJP, as members of political parties are not eligible to hold an office in PUCL."
It adds, Prasad "eventually left the organisation later because he felt that the PUCL had not acted impartially when it did not send a Fact-Finding Team to Ayodhya following the police firing on Kar Sevaks in 1990 in which a large number were killed. While he remained in the PUCL, he enjoyed the members' support on the basis of his performance."
PUCL says, "Jaitley has not referred to a single meeting of PUCL where the question of the takeover by the Maoists was raised by the 'liberals' who allegedly left. In fact, there could be no question of a takeover by the Maoists in the early 80s as Jaitley alleges, because the CPI (Maoist) was formed only in 2004 with the merger of the People's War Group, the Maoist Communist Centre and a few others."
Signed by Prof Prabhakar Sinha, former president, PUCL, and released by its national president Ravi Kiran Jain and national general secretary Dr V Suresh, the statement says, "PUCL continues to disapprove of violence as a means of resolving political problems and issues, but holds that even those who resort to violence must be dealt with according to the law of the land."
It regrets, "Rulers mislead the people into believing that the human rights organisations which stand for the protection of human rights of the alleged Maoists or terrorists are supporters of their ideologies or causes."
The statement tells Jaitley, before saying that "gullible liberals" alone remained with PUCL, he must remember who all were part of the organization "till the end" -- VM Tarkunde, Rajindar Sachar, Rajani Kothari, Prof Amrik Singh, HM Seervai, Asghar Ali Engineer, Nayantara Sehgal, Hemlata Prabhu, Aloo Dastoor, MA Rane, Baba Adhav , RB Mehrotra (Justice), Devbrat N Pathak, Yashpal Chhibbar, among other.

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

'Human rights trampled upon': Activists, litterateurs, academics 'reimagine' India

Bezwada Wilson, Romila Thapar, TM Krishna By Our Representative  The Reimagining India public lecture series, initiated by the civil rights group India Inclusive Collective, has brought together one platform about 50 prominent speakers in order to highlight how, over the last seven years, there have been “consistent attacks” on the democratic fabric of the country, with Constitutional and human rights of people being “trampled with impunity.”

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".

How are Tripura Muslims responsible for attacks in Bangladesh?: 'Concerned' citizens

Counterview Desk  Calling it a “retaliation” of Bangladesh violence, several “concerned citizens”*, including Magsaysay award winning social activist and academic Sandeep Pandey and PV Rajagopal of the Sarvodaya Samaj, have said that the recent attacks on Muslim community in different areas of Tripura is a the reflection of “growing trend of using violence against another community.”

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.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.