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PUCL, May 2007

Dharna at Jantar Mantar Bhawan against repression of civil liberties in Chattisgarh

May 31, 2007

A large number of human rights organizations staged a protest dharna at Jantar Mantar today to protest against the atrocities against the human rights activists in chhattisgarh and demanded release of Dr. Binayak sen, General secretary , PUCL – Chattisgarh.

Interestingly the protestors had to shift the venue of the protest to Jantar Mantar that was originally Chattisgarh Bhawan because of presence of over hundred policemen and women who claimed that the area was under section 144 and senior officials threatened to arrest the protestors if they gathered there. As one protestor succinctly put it ` the impact of situation in Chattisgarh is palpable around Chattisgarh Bhawan in Delhi also.’

The protestors demanded the repeal of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Chattisgarh Special Power Security Act (CSPSA) that have been used to suppress the people in general and human rights activists in particular and throttle any dissent against the state that has been functioning more as a police than a democratic state.

Today’s protest was in line with the call for a series of protests given by PUCL to all its state branches in collaborations with the like minded organizations all over the country. In Raipur also a large number of human rights activists from all over the country have gathered today to protest against the anti-democratic actions of the state.

The protestors who numbered about hundred reiterated that the charges against Dr. Binayak Sen are not only baseless but are malicious and motivated and are aimed at paralyzing PUCL Chhattisgarh for raising issues of state atrocities. It may be noted that PUCL Chhattisgarh has been exposing fake encounters by the police in the state and has been vindicated as high court too took cognizance of these reports.

The protestors also maintained that the provisions relating to sedition and waging war of the UAPA and CSPSA are designed so as to be abused by the law enforcers and to suppress the fundamental political rights of citizens. These provisions are merely a tool in the hands of the security forces to harass intimidate and suppress the sane voice of dissent in the state and are aimed at destroying the valves of communication and space for civil liberties available in a democracy.

The protesting organizations included PUCL, PUDR, Saheli, All India Drug Action Network, Medico Friends Circle, NAPM, Socialist Front, Worker’s Solidarity.

Pushkar Raj Secretary PUCL

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014