Blatant act of intimidation
Press statement on home ministry notice to citzens
-- Pushkar Raj General Secretary, PUCL, 17 May 2010
PUCL views with serious concern the Home Ministry's unwarranted statement appearing in press threatening arrest of those who criticize the so called policy of home department of Govt of India in dealing with tribal Maoist problem.
The threat to use Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (which itself is a shame for any democratic government to have enacted) is a gross attack on the fundamental right of free speech guaranteed by the constitution. PUCL fully reaffirms its and of other human Right organisation's right to criticize unrestrainedly the wrong policies of the Home Department.
These threats given in the press can only bring shame to our democracy and is a crude and unsuccessful attempt to curb the fundamental Right of speech. PUCL calls upon the Home Ministry to withdraw this obnoxious circular and offer a public apology for its threat to the public that they might be booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 on the lame excuse of supporting the violence in the tribal areas. It is quite clear that the government is targeting those who are pointing out its inhuman omissions and faulty policies of dealing with the maoist problems in the tribal areas. PUCL firmly believes that under our constitution every group or individual has a fundamental right of free speech, howsoever distasteful to the Home Ministry’s narrow minded thinking. The home ministry advisory is a blatant act of intimidation and it goes against the basic tenets of democracy and our constitutional values.
PUCL strongly condemns it and demands that it should be withdrawn with immediate effect. -- -- Pushkar Raj General Secretary, PUCL