Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI: In the wake of growing number of rights activists being booked under UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and NSA (National Security Act) and languishing in jails in the last four and half years, several rights activists, retired judges, advocates, writers, academicians and politicians came out on Friday demanding immediate release of such people and repeal of the draconian laws.
Addressing a protest gathering, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan shed light on the trend of arresting those who are facing repression, such as Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, Christians and those raising voices against such repression, while the perpetrators of violence and atrocities are not even being investigated.
Citing various cases he alleged that several activists and lawyers have been framed under false charges. “Activist Stan Swamy and 10 other activists have been charged with sedition in Jharkhand. Lawyer Surendra Gadling, who represented Prof. GN Saibaba, has been arrested after slapping a false case under UAPA,” said Bhushan.
He was addressing an event titled “Campaign Against State Repression on Rights Activists” where hundreds of people from various states across the country joined.
“The BJP government is looting the country and has forgotten its own promises to bring a strong Lokpal and to curb black money and corruption. Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi were allowed to flee the country under Narendra Modi’s watch. The attack on the people of this country as visible in Assam with the NRC is another effort by the current government to establish a Hindu state favorable to its ends,” he scathingly attacked.
While addressing the people, Justice (retired) Kolse Patil said, “We all are on government’s target. In Justice BH Loya’s death case, since when we raised voice, two have been killed, third person is in jail and fourth is me.”
Recalling the 2002 Gujarat riots, he said, “Those who are killers of thousands of people are in regime today and sitting in parliament. Lie is being spread every day. They are against Hindus and all Indians. They have nothing to do with democracy and constitution.”
Renowned author Arundhati Roy said that BJP-led government is ready to let the country burn in order to retain control in the 2019 elections.
“A Brahmin-Baniya” nexus is ruling the country. BJP has now become ‘Bharat Jalao Party’ and spreading hatred for political mileage everywhere before next general elections because they know that they are at verge of defeat, so they will do anything to retain the regime.”
Attacking the BJP over Assam’s NRC draft issue she said, “BJP has started its mission from Assam and now wants to enlarge that in Bengal, Delhi etc. it means they will decide who genuine Indian is.”
“In the upcoming (2019) elections people must need to get them thrown out of parliament,” she urged.
UAPA, NSA Misused
Kavita Srivastava, president of PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), highlighted the threats to all democratic institutions and activists in ahead of the 2019 elections.
“People have been arrested in the name of Maoist, Naxalite and terrorism. Journalists are constantly being threatened by the police, and activists thrown behind bars under UAPA and other draconian laws. BJP-sponsored hate crimes and lynchings have been unleashed to create panic among Muslims and Dalits,” she said.
“Besides the release of political prisoners, we also want that UAPA should also be withdrawn,” she demanded.
Bhim Army’s national president Vinay Ratan Singh spoke of the continued incarceration of the Dalit organization’s president Chandrasekhar Azad who is in Lucknow jail under NSA.
“Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adityanath government had offered release of Chandrashekhar on a condition to keep silent on caste oppression which they refused. Bhim army members who were teaching the children at free of cost, were slapped with false cases. During the 2nd April Bharat Bandh this year, Ambedkarites were targeted under a conspiracy by BJP,” he said.
Rajeev Yadav of Rihai Manch said that these arrests are a warning to the people that anyone who will speak will be jailed and today’s protest is an indication that people will not be threatened this way.
Yadav himself has been threatened by Uttar Pradesh cops for speaking on the police encounters.
Baby Turi from Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, Jharkhand, also demanded repeal of UAPA.
Why No Action against Right-Wingers?
Dr Dharamvir Gandhi, independent MP in Rajya Sabha, said, “The current situation is the outcome of alliance of Hindutva and corporate. They are dividing this country on religious grounds.”
He asked as to why the killers of MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare, Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh are roaming free.
While Aparna from IFTU, (International Federation of Trade Unions) questioned, “Professors, Activists are now behind bars for speaking about tribal rights and against the loot of lands in Jharkhand and Telangana while right-wing perpetrators of violence like Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, prime accused in Bhima-Koregaon violence, are roaming free.”
She also questioned the ban on Mazdoor Sangathan Samiti (MSS) in Jharkhand by the state’s BJP government.
Rinchin from WSS (Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression) also brought to the fore the two issues of repression on women and the loot of Adivasi lands in Jharkahnd.
Media Controlled by Sangh Parivar
Attacking on BJP and Sangh Parivar, CPI leader and Rajya Sabha MP D Raja called the effort of BJP to build a Hindu Rashtra an attempt to establish fascism and destroy democracy.
“It is unfortunate that a large section of media is taking their side,” he said.
Buta Singh from Association for Democratic Rights (Punjab) also held BJP responsible for media trials all over the country.
Prof. G Hargopal urged, “Our responsibility is to defeat them in next elections. If they come to power again, country will face more dangers than now.”