Skip to main content

Centre undermining federalism, attacking civil liberties: Jharkhand chief minister

By Our Representative
Opposition leaders, including Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Kechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and NCP MLA Supriya Sulehave have joined top human rights activists, lawyers and academics to denounce the arrest of Stan Swamy and other activists in the Bhima Koregaon case, even as calling for the repeal of the “draconian” Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Sending a video message to the virtual media conference, organized by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), the Jharkhand chief minister said, “Today, it is Stan Swamy, tomorrow it will be your turn, then it will be our turn. Tomorrow it will be your state, today it is our state.”  Criticising the Government of India for attacking “values of federalism”, he said, this is  reflected in the “auction of coal blocks without any consultation with the state government.” 
Asking  political parties to come together to oppose “the growing attacks by the Central government on civil liberties, federalism and the democracy itself”, he insisted, “When the country is subjected to anarchy, when Hitlerism is practiced at some places in the country, the opposition should not hesitate to stand together."  
Stan Swamy, a Jesuit, was arrested on October 8 to become the 16th activist to be sent to jail in the Bhima-Koregaon case. A month earlier, on September 7-8, cultural activists Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap, members of the Kabir Kala Manch, were arrested in the same case.
In his opening remarks, V Suresh, general secretary, PUCL, observed that while the vast majority of those accused under UAPA are “finally acquitted in the case, the stringent requirements for bail make it very difficult for those charged under this Act to get bail, and consequently, they end up being imprisoned for years under fabricated charges.”
Mihir Desai, human rights advocate at the Bombay High Court, said that “despite ample documentary evidence of the involvement of Hindutva leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote in the violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018, the Pune police chose to investigate only accusations against Elgar Parishad, a gathering organized by 250 Dalit and Bahujan groups.”
“The chargesheets relied entirely on unsigned, unverified, uncorroborated type-written letters and the testimonies of a few witnesses, whose names had not yet been revealed to the accused. The fact that the accused, especially the elderly ones, are being denied Covid bail points to the intention to persecute”, he added.
DMK MP Kanimozhi said, there were “growing attacks on the right to dissent”, adding, “The central government even used the pandemic as an opportunity to inflict anti-people laws on people. Political parties have to make a choice at this time – are they going to be silenced and subdued, or are they going to fight for people’s rights, states’ rights and democracy?”
Chargesheets in Bhima-Koregaon case rely entirely on unsigned, unverified and uncorroborated type-written letters
Sitaram Yechury of CPI-M, said similar to Bhima-Koregaon case, in the Delhi riots case, too, the perpetrators are going scotfree while the victims are being further victimised. D Raja of CPI, asked all organisations and political parties “to stand up for GN Saibaba, who is being denied bail despite being 90% disabled.”
Shashi Tharoor of the Congress called charges against Stan Swamy “preposterous”, and his arrest “inexplicable,” while NCP’s Supriya Sule said that the Bhima-Koregaon case happened in her area in Maharashtra, and she could vouch for the fact there is absolutely no connection between the activists (accused) and the violence, adding, :Whenever the state government wants to carry out a fair investigation, the central government intervenes and does not allow it”.
Rupali Jadhav of the Kabir Kala Manch said that her colleagues, arrested in the case in September, were being “coerced by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) to give false evidence in a statement before a magistrate under the threat of arrest”, adding, “They were being asked to implicate others who had already been arrested.”
Others who addressed media conference included well-known development economist Jean Dreze, Theodore Mascarenhas, the Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese, Ranchi, and Marianus Kujur, the director, Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi.

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.