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.”

Text:

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.

Comments

TRENDING

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

'Attack on free expression': ABVP 'insults' Udaipur professor for FB post

Counterview Desk   People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, condemning what it called "insult of Professor Himanshu Pandya" by students affiliated with with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) in Udaipur, has said he was evicted from the class where he was teaching after raising "ugly slogans", forcing him to "leave the university".

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. 

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Moving towards sustainable development? Social, environmental implications of HCES data

By Dr Vandana Sehgal, Dr Amandeep Kaur*  Sustainable development, the high time agenda, encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions, aiming for a balance between all these aspects to ensure long-term well-being and prosperity for all. One of the crucial aspects of sustainable development is consumption patterns. Consumption patterns refer to the way individuals, households, and societies use resources and goods. Sustainable consumption patterns entail using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, and considering the environmental and social impacts of consumption choices.

Heatwave in Bundelkhand: 'Inadequate attention' on impact on birds, animals

By Bharat Dogra, Reena Yadav*  While the heat wave and its many-sided adverse impacts have been widely discussed in recent times, one important aspect of heat waves has not received adequate attention and this relates to the impact on birds and animals.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".