On June 26,2012 , there was a successful PROTEST on the 37th ‘anniversary’ of Emergency at Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai saw around 30 activists gather to protest the silent emergency that is in force all over the country with no democratic space to protest.
In an irony we all expected, we were thrown out of our place of protest twice. First the railway police threw us out of their premises asking us to protest outside their jurisdiction. When we did that, the state police came in and threatened to arrest us! However, we had over an hour of protest full of sloganeering and we managed to distribute over 4000 leaflets and reach about 10,000 people , about the oppression of peoples movements across the country right from the north-east to the nuclear hotbeds of Jaitapur and Koodankulam and torture of the political prisoners. Arun Ferriera who was recetly released from nagpur jail also joined us in the protest.
RESIST UNDECLARED EMERGENCY
26th June, 2012. Today it is 37 years since Emergency was imposed in 1975. If we see our present times, it is clear that we are under a state of an undeclared emergency with life and liberty of the people of India being the biggest casualty. Just as in 1975 and the year after, when the State suppressed any opposition to its policies and abolished civil rights, the State today arrests hundreds of democratic activists without reason or on false charges, abuses and tortures detainees, imposes media censorship. The State is complicit in the destruction of slums and low income housing areas and is pushing us into insecure jobs by snatching away permanent employment. The situation is worse in the villages and tribal areas where lands and forests are being looted and peasants are being forced to commit suicide. All people’s movements and any kind of dissent is crushed.
Authoritarianism appears as the State’s main characteristic
The nightmare of Emergency was formally over in 1977 when it was ‘lifted’ due to large scale public protest. All those who defended Emergency were discredited. The sigh of relief evoked a hope for a functioning democracy in India. But today, a similar phase of governance prevails 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. According to the Asian Human Rights’ Commission, in India, over the last 10 years an average of four people have died per day in police or judicial custody. 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. Unmarked graves of thousands of Kashmiris were unearthed recently.
The increase is not only on the attack on the life and liberty of ordinary people but also human rights defenders wherein a large number of people find themselves booked on false charges and inside the Jail without bail being granted to them. Those who are opposing the loot of the country and the people are charged with Sedition (desh-droh). Over fifty such draconian laws have been legislated by the Centre and various States such as UAPA, MCOCA and AFSPA.
Defenders of Human rights of this country and abroad came out on the streets to campaign for the release of Dr. Binayak Sen in recent times. However, hundreds of innocent adivasis are still suffering in the jails in Chhattisgarh.
While the anti-POSCO movement leader Abhay Sahoo was released on bail recently, he is still being tied up with 51 fabricated cases. The villagers and activists resisting the South Korean multinational giant POSCO for seven long years are facing over 1,500 false cases and many of them cannot move out of their villages even to go to hospitals for treatment. They are jailed inside their own villages.
While the leaders of the anti-nuclear movement in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu) are facing over 200 fabricated cases, similar charges have also been instigated against over 6,000 villagers. The anti-nuclear struggle in Jaitapur (Maharashtra) too is facing similar issues. Last year, a peaceful protestor Tavrez Shejkar was killed in police firing.
Writer and secretary of PUCL Uttar Pradesh Seema Azad is also behind bars today facing fabricated charges along with her husband. Journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi, journalist K.K. Shahina, adivasi journalist Lingaram Kodopi, adivasi teacher Soni Sori, farmers’ movement leader Dr. Sunilam, Maharashtra based activists Arun Ferreira and Sudhir Dhawale, activists protesting against Nonadanga slum evictions in West Bengal, dalit groups in Kerala, Maharashtra based cultural group Kabir Kala Manch, Jharkhand cultural activist Jiten Marandi, and thousands of others have become victims of fabrication by the State in the recent past.
This trend is not acceptable to any citizen who believes in democracy and human rights.
We therefore appeal to all those who believe in democracy and human rights to remember the trauma of this country through a declared Emergency during the 1970’s and express their strong protest against the continuing Undeclared Emergency in India today and support people’s justified struggles!
1. Repeal All Draconian Laws including SEDITION, UAPA and AFSPA !
2. Release All Political Prisoners held under such draconian laws!
3. Restore all democratic rights of the people including the right to organize and protest!
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