Skip to main content

Even during 1975-77 indoor meetings opposing Emergency weren't banned: PUCL, Delhi

Counterview Desk 

Taking strong exception to Delhi police barring a meeting on media freedom in Kashmir, well-known human rights organisation, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, (PUCL), Delhi, has said, the real motive was to gag the freedom of speech on an important public issue involving rights of the people of Kashmir. The move, it added, is in “violation of the constitutional rights of the citizens and are harmful to our democratic system.”
“Banning an indoor public meeting is totally arbitrary, malicious and unconstitutional. Even during the infamous Emergency (June 1975 to March 1977) indoor meeting opposing the Emergency were not banned”, PUCL said in a statement, calling upon the government and the police to desist from following “such unconstitutional and unlawful methods.”


The People’s Union for Civil Liberties, (PUCL), Delhi, strongly deplores the notice of Delhi Police directing Gandhi Peace Foundation (GPF), New Delhi, to cancel the meeting on “Media Blackout and State Repression in Kashmir” organized under the banner of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) comprising various organizations to be held on 15th March, 2023 at the GPF.
The reason given by the police in its letter is that the police had received input about a disturbance to law and order in the area. Another reason given by the police is that no permission was sought from the police for holding the meeting.
It is obvious that the reasons advanced by the police do not hold any ground. The meeting was to be held inside the auditorium of the GPF and no permission is required to hold an indoor public meeting.
There is no such law. If the police suspected any disturbance, it could have taken adequate measures to control the law and order situation. Large number of indoor public meetings are held in Delhi on various burning issues and there is no requirement to take permission.
Another reason given by the police is that an anonymous group was organizing the meeting and it could not verify the details of its members in spite of its efforts. This reason is also baseless.
CASR is a well-known body of civil rights activists and organisations which has been organizing public meetings, demonstrations from time to time in Delhi and its activities are covered by the media. On 5th December 2022 it held a Press Conference at Surjit Bhawan, New Delhi, demanding unconditional acquittal of Prof GN Saibaba and others who have been in jail for years in cooked up charges in Bhima Koregaon case. This press conference was also addressed by D Raja, well known leader of CPI.
The meeting on Kashmir at Gandhi Peace Foundation was to be addressed by eminent personalities in public life 
CASR also held a public hearing on 12th January 2023 at Surjit Bhawan demanding release of political prisoners framed under the yoke of laws like Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, i.e., UAPA, which was addressed by well-known professors and activists and was very well covered in the media.
This meeting on Kashmir was to be addressed by eminent personalities in public life like Justice Hussain Masoodi, a Rajya Sabha MP and retired High court judge, Prof Nandita Narain, well known activist and former Chairperson of DUTA, CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami, film maker Sanjay Kak and Shahid Saleem, the Chairman of the United Peace Alliance. All are well known figures in public life.
It is quite clear that the law and order problem is not the issue, real motive was to gag the freedom of speech on an important public issue involving rights of the people of Kashmir. Banning an indoor public meeting is totally arbitrary, malicious and unconstitutional. Even during the infamous Emergency (June 1975 to March 1977) indoor meeting opposing the Emergency were not banned.
The present government and the police must remember what Gandhi ji said as far back as 1921, in a message he wrote in Young India, “In a democracy people are not like sheep. In democracy we must jealously guard freedom of expression and thought and action”.
PUCL Delhi therefore urges upon the government and the police to desist from following such unconstitutional and unlawful methods which are in violation of the constitutional rights of the citizens and are harmful to our democratic system.



Importance of Bangladesh for India amidst 'growing might' of China in South Asia

By Samara Ashrat*  The basic key factor behind the geopolitical importance of Bangladesh is its geographical location. The country shares land borders with Myanmar and India. Due to its geographical position, Bangladesh is a natural link between South Asia and Southeast Asia.  The country is also a vital geopolitical ally to India, in that it has the potential to facilitate greater integration between Northeast India and Mainland India. Not only that, due to its open access to the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh has become significant to both China and the US.

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.

Regional political dynamics 'leading to' institutional violence in SAARC University

By Sandeep Pandey*  South Asian University is a university set up in Delhi by member countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Maldives – which is open to students from all these countries. However, as SAARC is receiving little attention these days because of regional political dynamics, it appears as if SAU has lost significance too. Because of the hiatus in peace process between India and Pakistan, the Board of Governors of this University is dysfunctional.

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".

'BBC film shows only tip of iceberg': Sanjiv Bhatt's daughter speaks at top US press club

By Our Representative   The United States' premier journalists' organisation, the National Press Club (NPC), has come down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for recent "attacks on journalists in India." Speaking at the screening of an episode of the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question,” banned in India, in the club premises, NPC President Eileen O’Reilly said, “Since Modi came to power we have watched with frustration and disappointment as his regime has suppressed the rights of its citizens to a free and independent news media."

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Natural farming: Hamirpur leads the way to 'huge improvement' in nutrition, livelihood

By Bharat Dogra*  Santosh is a dedicated farmer who along with his wife Chunni Devi worked very hard in recent months to convert a small patch of unproductive land into a lush green, multi-layer vegetable garden. This has ensured year-round supply of organically grown vegetables to his family as well as fetched several thousand rupees in cash sales.

Over-stressed? As Naveen Patnaik turns frail, Odisha 'moves closer' to leadership crisis

By Sudhansu R Das  Not a single leader in Odisha is visible in the horizon who can replace Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. He has ruled Odisha for nearly two and half decades. His father, Biju Patnaik, had built Odisha; he was a daring pilot who saved the life of Indonesia’s Prime Minister Sjahrir and President Sukarno when the Dutch army blocked their exit.

Anti-Valentine's Day push: Sectarian move to 'restrict, constrict' India's cultural milieu

By Ram Puniyani*  Indian culture is diverse and plural. It has been enriching itself by accepting the diversity irrespective of religion or geographical boundaries. This gets reflected in all aspects of our life, be it food habits, clothes, art, architecture, social occasions, customs and religious traditions. This is the natural grain of any open and thriving society. With the rise of sectarianism the effort is to restrict and constrict our culture in particular. 

Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Ban Ki-moon, others ask Bangladesh PM to 'protect' Yunus

Counterview Desk  A campaign has been launched to support Bangladesh-based economist, micro-finance guru and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, seeking signatures from citizens across the globe in order to “protect” his work, life and safety.