PUCL Bulletin, 2000

PRESS RELEASE

PUCL-T.N. & Pondy views with grave concern the reckless and irresponsible utterances by some political leaders in the recent Rajkumar abduction issue. Whatever the political beliefs of Mr. Nedumaran, it should be recognised that he had undertaken the arduous mission to secure the release of Rajkumar on humanitarian grounds. He accepted the mission despite having recently undergone a by-pass surgery and was not in the best of health. The efforts taken by Mr. Nedumaran, in spite of his ill health was for the larger good of the amicable living of the people of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and deserves appreciation by all sections of the society. On the contrary, it is painful to note some political leaders only to get a political advantage are tarnishing the efforts of Mr. Nedumaran and others with unwarranted personal insinuations. What ever be the differences, this is not the time for such utterances. It is high time responsible citizens co-operate and act in unison to end the impasse and secure safe release of Rajkumar and others.

PUCL-T.N. & Pondy does not view Veerappan as a Tamil Nationalist or champion of any one's cause. He is to be apprehended and tried as per law. Rule of Law should prevail. The law is supreme and none is above it.

PUCL-TN & Pondy points out that the distinction between the 51 under trial TADA prisoners in Mysore and the 5 TNRT & TNLA activists in Tamil Nadu have not been appreciated at all. The 51 under trials are languishing in jails for years together without even any overt act alleged against them in the charge sheets itself. Similarly, the case of the TADA accused have to be seen distinctly from that of the crimes attributed directly to Veerappan.

This precisely was argued by PUCL - TN & Pondy, who along with other organisations filed a batch of 40 writ petitions before the Karnataka High Court as long back as October, 1999. The Writ Petitions sought dropping of TADA charges as the alleged offences committed by them was not to overthrow the sovereignty of India and thus did not amount to terrorist offences. Trial had not commenced for 3 years after charges were framed in the TADA case. The TADA Court and the State Government were unconcerned about the fact that till November 1999, and until after the Writ Petitions were filed, the State Government had not even selected a venue for the trial! Trial started hurriedly only because there were petitions before the High Court seeking interim bail! Unfortunately the Karnataka High Court dismissed the writ petitions without considering any of these issues, which violates the right to speedy trial.

In the recent case, the Supreme Court has passed strictures against the two State Governments for their failures but is shockingly silent about the failure of justice. After all, justice delayed is justice denied. The Supreme Court has failed to appreciate the plight of the accused persons languishing in jails for periods, which could be even more than period of sentences prescribed for the offences that are arrayed against them. The Apex court should have also considered that redressal of private justice such as resorting to abduction as a consequence of such judicial delays and failures of institutions that governs the society. The National Human Rights Commission has also failed to act as a catalyst and work for the release of the detenues.

It is imperative for us to recognise that the present crisis is mainly due to failure of institutions, more specifically administrative structure, the political system and also the judiciary. The whole issue has to be viewed with common concern for the release of the abducted persons and the safety of the people on both sides of the border. Instead there seems to be a play of words for the political mileage and personal agendas by some political leaders of both the States. It is more than 100 days since Rajkumar has been abducted, time is running out; all of us ought to be concerned about his health and its consequences. PUCL-T.N. & Pondy calls upon one and all to restrain their negative criticism and work in unison towards the release of Rajkumar and others. This is the time for us all to show that we can rise above narrow politics and work together for upholding the true democratic spirits.


Ravikumar V.Suresh
President General Secretary, 13. 11. 2000

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