Skip to main content

Telangana ban on 16 civil rights groups: Govt has 'little regard' for dissent, civil rights

Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao with Narendra Modi 
By Our Representative 
The Telangana Praja Assembly (TPA), a coalition of rights organizations and people’s collectives and concerned citizens, have expressed “alarm” at what it has called “arbitrary and sweeping” decision of the Telangana government to declare 16 civil rights organizations as ‘unlawful’ at a time when the entire country is reeling under an “extra-ordinary pandemic” situation.
Signed by Jeevan Kumar of the Human Rights Forum; Meera Sanghamitra of the National Alliance of People’s Movements; Kanneganti Ravi of the Rythu Swarajya Vedika; P Shankar of the Dalit Bahujan Front; S Ashalatha of the Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch; Ambati Nagayya of the Telangana Vidyavanthula Vedika; K Sajaya of the Caring Citizens’ Collective; M Raghavachary of the Palamuru Adhyayana Vedika; and R Venkat Reddy, a social activist, a TPA statement demanded that the state government “must withdraw GO-73 declaring 16 organizations as ‘unlawful’.”
The Telangana government issued the government order (GO) No 73 on March 30, 2021 under the Telangana Public Security Act, 1992. The GO No 73 immediately came into effect.
The statement said, as per Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution of India, the freedom of association is available to every Indian citizen. “Thus, the declaration as ‘unlawful’ of entire organizations without any specific charge against specific individuals for violating law of the land is unacceptable and undemocratic”, it added.
It continued, “To support the contention of the state that all these groups are ‘front organizations’ of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist), some of the many questionable ‘actions’ mentioned in the GO are that they have been ‘encouraging or aiding persons to commit acts of violence’, ‘activists of these front affiliates are moving in urban areas, adopting urban guerrilla tactics’, and they have ‘staged protests for repealing the UAPA, farm laws and CAA/NRC’.
Other accusations include their ‘demand to release of Vara Vara Rao, Prof GN Sai Baba, Rona Wilson etc’, and ‘joining hands with several organisations and alluring the members into their folds inciting inflammatory statements, meetings, and rallies highlighting various issues against the Central and State governments’ etc., the statement said.
Calling these accusations “vague and sweeping without any onus on the government to prove commission of unlawful actions”, the statement said, “Many of the reasons listed clearly indicate that the government does not want public-spirited organizations to raise awareness on people’s rights and the responsibility of the state.”
It asked, “How and why is it a crime to seek the release of political prisoners like Varavara Rao or Rona Wilson or Prof. Saibaba or protest against draconian laws like UAPA? When the entire country has been protesting the anti-farmer farm laws and even the Telangana government initially took this stand, how is protesting against these destructive laws a crime? When the Telangana assembly itself passed a resolution against the unconstitutional CAA-NRC-NPR, how does opposing this become a reason for declaring these organizations as ‘unlawful’?”
“Ever since the formation of Telangana in 2014, the attacks on the right to organize and dissent have been incessant”, the statement asserted, adding, “From the shameless closure of Dharna Chowk to the recent NIA raids on activists in the Telugu states, the democratic space to question the failures and excesses of the state in the past seven years have shrunk completely.”
Telangana govt issued GO No 73 on March 30 under the Telangana Public Security Act, 1992. The GO immediately came into effect
It demanded, instead of such acts, at a time when Telangana, like the rest of India “is also facing the most severe pandemic crisis and can ill-afford to divert its resources or focus elsewhere”, the government “must invest all its energies and attention in ensuring maximum vaccination, increasing beds, pharma and medicare support, blood, plasma, oxygen supply etc to the Covid affected.”

PFI, NCHRO protest move

In a statement, Popular Front of India (PFI) general secretary Anis Ahmed, taking “strong exception” to the Telengana government decision of banning 16 organizations, said, “The reasons set out in the controversial order are vague and strengthen the suspicion that it is a mere vindictive action by the state government against political dissent.”
It believed, “Denying space to function democratically in the society pushes people to loose faith in our cherished democratic values. If the government has evidence against an individual or an organization for committing anything illegal, it should have brought its case before a court of law and proved. Instead, such repressive action is a disturbing trend and is detrimental to a democratic society.”
Another civil rights group, the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO), calling the state government move “authoritarian”, said, the 16 organisations including the well-known Revolutionary Writers’ Association, have been banned on account of their alleged connection with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and with the government also claiming that these have been “involved” in inciting people against the government, and in adopting “urban guerrilla tactics”.
Insisting that “there is no evidence that has been presented to back these claims”, the NCHRO statement, signed by Prof P Koya, its general secretary, said, “The government has also egregiously claimed that the organisations have been banned because their members have been associated with the effort to release Professor GN Saibaba, who is 90% handicapped and has been in jail continuously since 2016.”
“Additionally”, it said, “The Telangana government cited the case of Elgar Parishad, also known as the Bhima Koregaon case, in which 15 activists, writers, academicians, etc. are currently in jail. The government said that the now banned organisations were involved in the effort to release Rona Wilson and Varavara Rao, who have been locked up in the said Bhima Koregaon case.”
NCHRO said, “The Elgar Parishad case that the government has cited as part of the justification for banning the said organisations, have been exposed as a patent fabrication. In an investigation by the ‘Washington Post’, it was revealed that the files were planted in the laptop of Rona Wilson, the same files that have been presented as key evidence for the guilt of the accused in the case.”

Comments

TRENDING

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".

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

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.

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

Why is NIOH-ICMR 'official' making false claims on silicosis?: Health rights NGO

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, Dr Jagdish Parikh, trustee, health rights NGO People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, and Jagdish Patel, director, PTRC, have said that the claim being made for the use of biomarker for detection of silicosis raises concern about scientific tenacity of the diagnosis of the deadly occupational disease. The letter also objects to the reported claim by a top health official that it is possible to detect silicosis at the sub-radiological stage. It asks, “What is this subradiological stage of silicosis? We have not heard any such scientific term being used. Again, the report is using a term which is not found in any scientific literature so far. Is this term acceptable by ICMR? Is ICMR thinking of any explanation?” Text : This is with reference to our letter dated November 28, 2021. In our communication we had raised our concern about the scientific tena

Welfare? Govt of India spends just 19% of manual scavengers' rehabilitation budget

By Bharat Dogra*  While the Dalit community has been always known for higher levels of poverty as well as social discrimination, even within the Dalits there is a sub-section known for even worse levels of poverty as well as social discrimination. This is the section which was traditionally involved in manual scavenging. The shocking injustice they have suffered from over the years has been widely recognized leading to a ban on manual scavenging. At the same time there is urgent need for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging. Hence a self-employment scheme for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging was drawn up. The allocations and the expenditure for this scheme for the last eight years are shown in the Table below: Union Budget for Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of  Manual Scavengers (in Rs crore) By Budget Estimate we mean the original allocation made when the budget is presented. It is clear from this table that the actual expenditure

Dalit Hindi professor intimidated, harassed by saffron brigade: 400 activists, academics

Counterview Desk  Over 400 academics and activists have expressed alarm at the Lucknow University ‘protests’ on May 10 against Dr Ravi Kant, associate professor of Hindi and a Dalit, stating it is nothing but “intimidation and abuse” over his remarks on the online channel Satya Hindi, which were taken out of context and made viral on social media. “We are even more concerned that such an incident should occur within the confines a university campus, where free speech and expression without fear must ideally be the norm. Violence and intimidation over differences of opinion should never occur in a university”, the statement regrets, asking the authorities at the university and the Uttar Pradesh government to assure him and his family “protection from further harassment or intimidation.” Text: We are a group of academics and activists deeply concerned by the public heckling and intimidation of Dr. Ravi Kant, Associate Professor of Hindi and well known Dalit scholar, on the premises of t