Skip to main content

Situation 'worse' than Indira's Emergency: PUCL calls for concerned citizens' campaign

Counterview Desk
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), India's premier human rights organization, in a statement issued on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Emergency, has described the situation today as worse than what it was on June 25, 1975, when the “Indian government waged a war on its own people, suspending the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”
Coming up with an actionable programmed, the statement, signed by Ravi Kiran Jain, president, and Dr V Suresh, general secretary, PUCL, says, “We are all witnessing the criminalisation and crushing of any form of democratic questioning of the government or expression of dissent and the targetted attacks on rights defenders and others who are exposing the highly repressive and fascist nature of rule in India today.”

Text:

June 25, 2020 marks the 45th year of the infamous Emergency declaration of Indira Gandhi. It is a day remembered as the day in 1975, when the Indian government waged a war on its own people, suspending the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and turning India into an authoritarian country.
June 25 is also the day when stalwarts of the Independence movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan and others gave a call to Indira Gandhi to resign as prime minister on grounds of constitutional propriety and democratic dharma, as the Supreme Court of India had refused to give a full stay of the Allahabad High Court order which had held her guilty of corrupt election practices.
June 25, 1975 also symbolises the intense dedication to democracy, rule of law and the Indian Constitution showed by thousands of ordinary citizens, who despite being illegally arrested, imprisoned and tortured, chose not to be cowed down by Indira Gandhi’s police state and instead defiantly fought to reclaim the Constitution and democracy.
On this day, June 25, 2020, PUCL re-dedicates itself to fight to protect, preserve and promote the Indian Constitution and its key values of secularism, respect for diversity, inclusion, social justice and equitable development. which the legendary Constitution Framers led by Dr. Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and a host of other leader, left behind for us as a democratic and constitutional legacy.
On this historic day, PUCL gives a call to the people of India to stand up for the Indian Constitution, rule of law and democracy. For we are living in a political situation marked by the politics of hate, division and violence; when we are seeing a calculated assault on the independence of constitutional institutions leading to the capitulation and abdication of constitutional responsibilities, including sadly, at times, by the judiciary.
We are all witnessing the criminalisation and crushing of any form of democratic questioning of the government or expression of dissent and the targetted attacks on rights defenders and others who are exposing the highly repressive and fascist nature of rule in India today.
In short, we are all witnesses to a state worse than the Emergency.
PUCL, as a civil liberties and human rights organisation formed in the middle of the Emergency by stalwarts like Jayaprakash Narayan, Acharya Kripalani, Krishna Kant and many others, declares its commitment to fighting to safeguard the Indian Constitution, rule of law and democracy. PUCL also invites other concerned citizens, especially the young people of India, and others, equally committed to asserting the moral authority of the Indian Constitution, to join hands to fight the situation of undeclared Emergency that has enveloped India. 
The campaign will seek to document frivolous manner of abuse of various laws by the executive and its serious repercussions on those who are falsely arrested and imprisoned
We specifically invite concerned citizens and others to work unitedly on the following immediate campaigns:
1. Initiate a citizen’s solidarity letter campaign addressed to all those arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case expressing solidarity with them for being 'prisoners of conscience’ and questioning the government and therefore being falsely prosecuted in the case and supporting the demand for their release on bail.
2. Simultaneously to launch a signature campaign using post cards and other creative modern forms like Twitter, Instagram and emails, sent to the President of India, the Chief Minister and the Governor of Maharashtra, and all MPs and MLAs of the state government demanding the immediate release on bail of all those imprisoned in the Bhima Koregaon case.
3. To launch a citizen’s campaign, along with other like-minded organisations, against the brutal suppression by the Delhi Police, under the guidance of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, of students and youth activists of Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Milia University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and other groups who have been in the forefront of demanding accountability of the Delhi police for violence unleashed against members of the minority community in Delhi in the wake of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests between December 2019 till March 2020.
The campaign will focus on exposing the false and motivated implication by the Delhi police establishment of leading rights activists like Harsh Mander, academics like Apoorvanand, leaders like Yogendra Yadav and many others who had extended support to the protestors at a time when armed hooligans supported by the ruling party and the police were targeting minority community in many parts of East Delhi.
4. To launch a campaign along with other like minded organisations, demanding the repeal of draconian laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Public Safety Acts (PSAs) in various states, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), section 124A, sedition law in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other laws which are being routinely abused all across the country.
The campaign will seek to document and highlight the frivolous manner of abuse of the various laws by the executive and the serious repercussions it has on the lives of not just those who are falsely arrested and imprisoned, but also on their families and immediate community, apart from sending a 'chilling message’ to others to not dare to dissent or question the ruling government.

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.