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 massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

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.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”