Resist Silent Emergency!-‘People’s Hearing on FABRICATED CASES’-Sept28-29


Dear Friends,

Sub: Invitation to a ‘PEOPLE’S HEARING ON FABRICATED CASES’

Venue: Constitution Club, New Delhi

Dates: September 28 – 29, 2012, Friday, Saturday.

The nightmare of the infamous Emergency of Mrs. Indira Gandhi was supposed to be over in 1977 when it was lifted after two years due to large scale public protest. Political parties, institutions and individuals who defended Emergency were discredited. The sigh of relief evoked a hope for a functioning democracy in India.

But today, we are entering into a similar phase of authoritarian governance without any formal declaration of Emergency. This Silent Emergency has regulated, controlled and restricted all space for democratic public protests against ruling governments. Custodial deaths and encounter killings have become a routine phenomenon. Rape, murder, loot, torture and arrests in Manipur, Nagaland and other north eastern states as well as Kashmir have even crossed the excesses of the Emergency period. Many discriminatory laws have been enacted to silence the Media without a censorship. Several discriminatory laws were enacted to enhance and strengthen the power of the State over civil society and crush dissent.

Laws to facilitate the corporate control and loot over the resources of people are being enacted. This has also become a major reason for the human rights violations against adivasis, dalits, minorities, farmers, fisher people, workers, activists and human rights movements. The human rights defenders who take up burning issues of the people are being targeted. False cases are being fabricated against activists, people’s movements, media, theatre activists, minorities, self-determination movements, dalits and adivasis in a major way. Thus thousands of innocent people are languishing in Indian jails without any trial.

In this context of the Silent Emergency in our country we would like to invite you to attend the ‘PEOPLE’S HEARING ON FABRICATED CASES’ which has the following objectives:

1. To defend fundamental rights, human rights and the Indian Constitution to preserve our democracy

2. To popularize some of the most brazen cases of fabrication of false charges against political dissidents and members of the Muslim, dalit and adivasi communities

3. To facilitate further legal action for freedom of these innocent people

4. To generate pressure on the mainstream media to play a more socially responsible role

5. To generate pressure on the institutions of Indian State for the release of undertrials.

The Programme:

The organizers expect the participation of around 50 victims, their family members or friends whose testimonies will be heard by a jury comprising of judges, lawyers, journalists, human rights activists and artists. After listening to all the presentations the Jury will report their observations and conclusions with clear recommendations for various institutions of the Indian State.

Organisers: Solidarity Youth MovementKerala, Indian Social Action Forum – INSAF, PUCL, AISA, SIO, Right to Food Campaign, KSMTF (Kerala Swathantra Matsya Tizhilali Federation), PPSS (Anti Posco Movement), ICR, Focus on the Global South, Justice for Maudany Forum, Visual Search, Moving Republic, SAHELI, Pedestrian Pictures, National Campaign Against Fabrication of False Cases, http://www.fabricated.in, Jamia Teachers Solidarity Assiciation, Jamia Student Solidarity Forum, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, National Adivasi Alliance, Kabani – The Other Direction, Human Rights Alert, Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM) – Kerala, Forum for Democracy and Communal Amity, Action for Social Equality, INSOCO – Indian Solidarity Committee for freedom democracy & human rights, Center for Harmony and Peace – Varanasi, PUDR, Socialist Front, Student of Resistance.
People’s Hearing on Fabricated Cases

Sept 28-29 Constitution Club, New Delhi

Programme Schedule

28-09-2012, Friday

Inaugural Session: 10am – 11.30am

11.30am – 1.30pm
Issue
Speaker

1
Koodankulam Anti Nuclear
P K Sundaram

2
Anti POSCO Struggle
Abhay Sahoo

3
Jaitapur Anti Nuclear
Vaishali Patil

4
Farmers Group, Madhya Pradesh
Dr. Sunilam

LUNCH BREAK

2.30pm – 6pm
Issue/Case
Speaker

5
Journalist Mhd Ahmed Kazmi
Shauzab Kazmi

6
Soni Sori
Himanshu Kumar

7
Gujarat Fabricated Cases
Zakiya Soman

8
Faseeh Mahmood
Sabih Mahmood, Manisha Sethi

9
Journalist Shahina KK
Shahina KK

10
Seema Azad, UP
Seema Azad

11
Jharkhand
Dayamani Barla

12
Odisha
Prafulla Samantara

13
Chattisgharh
Ajay T.G

14
DHRM, Kerala
Suresh

15
Email Surveillance Victims, Kerala
T. Mohammed Vellom
29-09-2012, Saturday

10am – 1.00pm
Issues
Speaker

16
Kashmir & North East
Anjum Zamrud Habib, Babloo Loitongbam, Kaka D Iralu, Neena Ningombam

17
Abdul Nasar Maudany
Dr. Sebastin Pol, Omar Mukhtar
LUNCH BREAK

2.00pm – 3.30pm
Issues
Speaker

1
Prisoners Issue
SAR Geelani

2
Repressive Laws
Preeti Chauhan, PUDR

3
Increasing repressive state under neoliberalism
Colin Gonsalves
3.30pm – 6.00pm

Concluding Session: Comments from the Jury

Jury:
Justice Rajindar Sachar
Dr. Binayak Sen
Saba Naqvi
Ajit Shahi
Dr. Ram Puniyani
K Satchidanandan

INVITATION- Seema Azad and Vishwavijay – speak in JNU on 3rd September


The singer was singing
And they question him
Why do you sing?
He answers them
as they seize him
Because I sing
And they have searched him:
In his breast only his heart
In his heart only his people
In his voice only his sorrow
In his sorrow only his prison
And they have searched his prison
To find only themselves in chains
Mahmoud Darwish

Friends,
As it is well known Seema Azad and Vishwavijay, two civil rights activists,

editor of a well known magazines and literary persons were arrested in
2010, were arrested from Khuldabad, Allahabad. Their ‘crime’ was that
they possessed literature of Bhagat Singh. The state saw them as ‘potential
terrorists’ as threat to the country. They were sentenced for life on charges
of criminal conspiracy, waging war and under several provisions of the
draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
As the Organising Secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in
Uttar Pradesh and editor of the  magazine Dastak Seema had
consistently reported and gave  voice to the growing dissent of the
people against the anti-people  policies of the government in the
form of Ganga Expressway which  brought forth the nexus of the
politicians, bureaucrats and the  land mafia. As we may recall the
Ganga Expressway can result in  the displacement of thousands of
peasantry. It was her initiative to  expose the increasing arbitrary
arrests, torture and incarceration  of Muslim youth in Azamgarh.

The magazine Dastak became a vehicle for expressing the voice of the
voiceless. And this is precisely what the government would want us to
believe as ‘waging war against the state’! And this is why the police officer
would find fault with both of them, for ‘waging war’ with the state, for
reading Bhagat Singh at a time when the state is flaunting a sham ‘growth
rate’, but the material condition of the people are deteriorating every day!
The verdict against Seema Azad and Vishwa Vijay w against the grain of
fundamental rights of the people of the subcontinent as it goes a long way
in criminally profiling any political dissent or opinion or even spreading
that as ‘waging war’ against the state. The state would tell us how we
should think and express ourselves. We can be only part of the state in
‘managing’ the perception of the people.

Seema and Vishwavijay were finally granted bail by the Allahabad High
Court this August. Huge public pressure that was mounted on the court by
consistent campaign by civil rights and democratic activists finally forced
the court to grant them bail. Although this is indeed a huge victory for the
democratic movement, it is also a grim reminder that even now thousands
of activists including cultural activists are still being incarcerated after
being framed as ‘terrorists’ or ‘extremists’ just because they dare to raise
their voices against exploitation and oppression of the people. Sudhir
Dhawale, Jeetan Marandi, Deepak Dengle or Utpal Bashke are a few
among the thousands who are languishing in various jails of the country,
charged with the ‘crime’ of being fearless cultural and literary activists who
stood by people’s resistance for land, livelihood and dignity. The fight to
release all these political prisoners must go on. As a part of that effort, we
invite you to this convention, where along with Seema and Vishwavijay
many other well known poets and writers will raise their voice against the
war that has been declared on our
fundamental rights by the Indian state.

उठाने ही होंगे  अभिव्यभि केख़तरे दमन के भख़लाफ़ प्रभतरोध की सस्ं कृभत

Uthane hi honge abhivyakti ke khatre: daman ke khilaf pratirodh ki sanskriti”

Speakers:
Seema Azad
Vishwavijay
Anjani
Manager pandey
Pankaj Bisht
Mangalesh Dabral
Madan Kas

Ranjit Verma
Neelabh Ashq
Anuj Lugun
Kapilesh Bhoj
Prashant Rahi
Vidrohi

3rd of September in SSS Auditorium JNU at 2pm.

Calcutta High Court proposes equal facilities for all prisoners #goodnews #prisoner


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, August 28, 2012

Image
There is good news for the thousands of prisoners, under trials or convicts, in Bengal. In its landmark verdict the Calcutta High Court on August 8 held that every prisoner, irrespective of class, colour, creed and race, was also entitled to special amenities provided for the political prisoners under the West Bengal Correction Services Act 1992. In his 30-page verdict, justice KS Ahluwalia held that what the Act proposes to give to the political prisoners are basic amenities, which are necessary for dignified human living, to which all prisoners ought to be entitled.

“Therefore, all these amenities except a separate kitchen should be provided to all prisoners. A common kitchen having proper hygiene and infrastructure run by the prisoners should be available to all the prisoners, irrespective of any class to which a prisoner belongs. For distribution of food, the State cannot create classes. However, it may provide food considering the health of an inmate.

A weak or sick may require healthier or special diet. Common reading room having newspapers, magazines and other books at fixed hours should be available to all prisoners,” the judge suggested.

“A slight improvement in the living conditions in prisons will erode the classification. Therefore, in changing times, the state is called upon to look into the provisions of the Act with a new humanistic approach and explore the feasibility that the prisons guided by reformative and restorative policy provide basic amenities to all and there remains no need to assign nomenclature to the prisoners for providing better facilities to one class ousting the other,” the judge said.

Holding the classification of prisoners and providing different amenities, prima facie, unconstitutional, the judge said: “To grade prisoners according to their status is alien to the constitution. There can be no distinction of a rich or poor prisoner and political prisoner or other prisoner while distributing basic amenities, which are necessary for a dignified human life.

The state, if it so desires, may consider to dispense with the classification of the prisoners and strive to make prisons the model jails as an example for other states to follow,” the judge said.

The judge ended his verdict by quoting the words of Nelson Mandela, who fought relentlessly against apartheid and remained confined for 27 years, for guiding the vision of everyone for betterment of jails: “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones”.

Purulia armsdrop convict and British national, Peter Bleach, who spent eight years in a city jail, welcomed the verdict. “This ruling will have far reaching effects. It will assist in the extradition of wanted foreigners to India because it will reassure foreign courts that Indian courts will indeed intervene and ensure justice and fair treatment in jail,” Bleach told HT from London.

The ruling came on a batch of petitions filed by advocate Subhasish Roy on behalf of seven alleged Maoists, including Chhatradhar Mahato, who have also been charged with waging of war against the state, seeking the status of political prisoner.

PRESS RELEASE- Maharashtra- More than150 political prisoners went on hunger strike on Independenceday


Mumbai-based activist Arun Ferreira kept a prison diary during his incarceration in Nagpur Central Jail.  Above cartoon is from the diary .

Aug 16, 2012 -Mumbai: The government of Maharashtra has recently imposed a fascist, anti-strike law covering public, semi-government and private sectors with a motive to gag workers and employees fighting for their own rights. To protest and urge the government to quash this high-handed, fascist law,  more than 150 the political prisoners  including male and female,in various Maharashtra  Jails  observed a one day hunger strike , according to Adv Surendra Gadling, who has been fighting for various political priosners in the state including Arun Ferriera.

The power echelons of the state seem to be striking contradictory notes while hailing stalwarts of social equality- Mahatma Phule, Shahu Maharaj and Dr. Ambedkar on one hand and openly guarding capitalist and foreign interests on the other by forcing anti-strike laws like the ESMA to render strikes and public protests futile. The audacity of power and selfish motives have clearly made them forget that Dr. Ambedkar himself had pitched a fight against the anti-strike laws imposed by the British raj.

The financial policies of the government have only resulted in social disparity, exploitation and injustice, pushing the majority of our population below the poverty line, while a handful of billionaires are only getting richer. Privatisation of government ventures and services has paved way for the contract culture, only to compound the workers’ helplessness by such tyrannical laws, a recent and a blazing example is the gagging of workers’ unrest in Maruti’s Manesar plant.

The brown sahibs are repackaging the archaic anti-labour laws in a new avatar and forcing the workers into slavery.  The political prisoners urge everyone to rise for our own liberties and interests against these middlemen of the western, capitalist MNCs and laws tailor-made to fit their interests.

‘Free political prisoners’


Arun Fererreira talk about Sudhir Dhawale

In his first public appearance after getting bail, Arun Ferreira, alleged Naxalite, spoke about the plight of political prisoners in India, at an event held by the Committee For Release of Political Prisoners in Mumbai yesterday.

Amidst a jam-packed hall swarming with journalists and activists, Mumbai-based Arun Ferreira, alleged Naxalite, made his first public appearance after he was released on bail from Nagpur jail recently. Ferreira, after returning to Mumbai, had refused to speak to the media. This much-awaited press conference came almost a week after his release. The event was organised by the Committee For Release of Political Prisoners at the Press Club in South Mumbai, yesterday. While shutterbugs clicked away, Ferreira took his position on the dais along with other members of the committee. Dressed in a blue jeans and a blue shirt, a small card dangling from his shirt pocket read ”FREE SUDHIR DHAWALE. The purpose of the event was to inform the media about the plight of political prisoners and eventually call for their release. “I have come here to highlight the plight of political prisoners in our country. Who are these political prisoners? Sudhir Dhawale is one of them. He was arrested in Gondia because the police claimed that he supports Naxalism. The evidence against him was a book, which he had written some six years ago. This book was used as evidence against him. Is this democracy?” asked Ferreira.

He further added. “Since 2011, none of us have been produced before the Sessions court in Gadchiroli. This is unacceptable.” Talking of another incident, Ferreira said, “In Nagpur, you have privatised bus service. The employees from the public transport department demanded that they wanted permanent jobs. They started protesting for the same. Without giving any explanation, the government jailed them for 15 days. Jailed for what? Jailed for demanding their rights. Can you call these people criminals?” Ferreira, who completed his master’s thesis on ‘political prisoners in India’, pledged to fight for their cause till the end. He said, “I also wanted to address the issue, where people are being re-arrested, time and again. After acquittal, the police slap some more charges against them. Then you are again arrested, and this is an endless cycle. It goes on and on. In 2007 when I was arrested there was no chargesheet or FIR against me. I was in jail and suddenly my name started cropping up in a few cases, where the police stated that I was absconding. Finally when I was acquitted, the police slapped two more cases against me and I was re-arrested. Data obtained from the police department might state that the number of so-called Naxals arrested has increased over a period of time, but most of the arrests being made are not new. A large number of people have been re-arrested again and again. In fact the former Principle district judge of Gadchiroli SS Ahmed had commented on this modus operandi of the police and the way they deal with political prisoners.”

 Torture
P A Sebastian, President of the Committee For Release of Political Prisoners, said, “Many like Arun, who are languishing in jails, are not criminals, but political prisoners. Their views and the states’ views are not similar and this is the reason they are confined in jails and tortured for years together.” Out on bail after four years and eight months, Ferreira has filed a criminal writ petition against the state and others before the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, demanding compensation of Rs 25 lakh. Ferreira had been acquitted in 11 different cases and one case is still pending before the court. When asked if he sympathised with the Naxals , Ferreira refused to elaborate. Instead, Maharukh Adenwalla, spokeswoman , Committee For Release of Political Prisoners, answered, “If somebody’s opinion or views happens to be different from the state’s he/she is made out to be a Naxal. This is in order to fit into their scheme if things.” Ferreira later explained, “Whenever the state sees red, it retaliates. Any ideology that is different than the state’s ideology is perceived as a threat. Nowadays you see any sort of movement that questions the policy of the state has been suppressed.” When a member of the audience asked, if he was in favour of violence, Ferreira replied, “There are movements, which were meant to be non violent. Due to circumstances, violence creeps in. In such a scenario, it is not right for one to back out from the movement. At least, I wouldn’t do that.” Ferreira admits that life in prison has taken a toll on his health. “The police has mastered a technique where a person will be tortured, but there will be no visible marks on his body. I too faced that. A doctor is supposed to check our heath after every 14 hours. The doctor will ask us if there is pain in any part of our body, but he/she will not take note of what we say. One of my co-accused was tortured. Police put petrol in his rectum, but when the doctor gave his report, he said that the person had piles.” He added that the prison manual too needs to be changed. “The prison manual is archaic and there are no rules or regulations in a jail. Everything is decided by the jailor. From how much food you eat to how many letters you can write or receive. If you have enough money you will have a better place to sleep, if you don’t then you are miserable. Even in jails, money is everything. Caste, creed and everything else is very much prevalent in jails too. It is not an equaliser.”

Statement
When asked about his alleged statement about Maoists and Shiv Sena, Ferreira clarified, “There were reports that during narco analysis, I had said that many political parties, including Shiv Sena and its chief Bal Thackeray, have been funding Maoist activities in Mumbai. But this is false. One Dr Malini, who was in charge of the narco analysis, which was conducted in Bangalore, asked me a lot of questions. She asked me for which organizations I had worked, to which I told her about various activist groups I have been associated with. I also told her that various political parties like the Congress and the Shiv Sena have youth wings. The doctor did not know anything about the Shiv Sena. Hence, I had to explain to her that the Shiv Sena is a party and Bal Thackarey is its chief. This was then edited and put together and reports claimed that I had made that statement.”

While Ferreira spoke on various issues, he refused to answer any question related to his family. At the end of the event, when somebody asked him how he survived all these years, Ferreira tersely replied, “I too am surprised, how I survived all these years.”

Who is Sudhir Dhawale?
A resident of Byculla, Sudhir Dhawale, an activist was arrested from Wardha railway station by a team of Gondia police and a team from the Nagpur division of ATS, while trying to board a train to Mumbai. He was taken to Gondia and produced before a local court which awarded police his custody until January 12, 2011. He was also booked for waging war against the state and charged with sedition

Midday- Sudheshna Chowdhury