People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Janhastakshep, Citizens For Democracy (CFD) and Champa Foundation organized a public meeting on 25th June, 2017 at Gandhi Peace Foundation on the 44th Anniversary of imposition of emergency by Smt Indira Gandhi in 1975. The public meeting was organized to deliberate upon the undeclared threat of even bigger emergency under the present Modi government which is pursuing an even more divisive and reactionary agenda. The meeting was addressed by: Veteran journalist Sh Kuldeep Nayar, Civil rights lawyer Ms Nandita Haksar, Civil rights activist Prof Apoorvanand, Dr. Ashish Mittal.
At the end of the meeting the following resolution was adopted.
Janhastakshep and Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have organized this public meeting in Delhi on 25th June which shall always be remembered as the a dark in the history of modern India. In 1975 on this day the then Prime Minister of India had declared internal emergency; suspended the fundamental rights of the people and imprisoned thousands of political dissidents. Press was censored, their offices raided and their editors were either arrested or threatened .The atmosphere was ubiquitously filled with a sense of fear and apprehension. With the completion of 3 years of Modi government, the sense of fear and apprehension has far surpassed those of emergency days. The media today appears far more conforming and beholden to the rulers. The raid on the residence of the proprietors of NDTV was targeted to keep the media in line lest they develop other ideas.
During emergency the attack on people was unleashed using Government’s coercive apparatus and bureaucracy; however, today apart from a compliant bureaucracy and security forces people are also being targeted by the lumpen hordes of the Sangh Pariwar who enjoy government sanction. Mob lynching of innocent Muslims in the name of cow protection in different corners of the country is becoming the order of the day. Simultaneously, there is a concerted effort to implement the economic agenda dictated by national and international capital to accelerate the loot of the natural resources of the country. This has brought the Indian state in direct conflict with people in large parts of the country; armed resistance struggle by adivasis in central India is an example of this.
The near total neglect of agriculture has resulted in pauperization of the peasantry and a never ending cycle of farm suicides. The crying need for land reforms in the country has simply been thrown out of the agenda. The recent outburst of farmers in the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh is a reflection of the pent up anger of India’s peasantry and this is bound to grow sharper.
The naked repression of the democratic rights and natural aspirations of the Kashmiri people by Indian rulers was once again etched on the minds of people across the globe when the image of Farooq Ahmad Dar who was tied to the front of an army jeep to be used as a human shield, and taken around several villages to set an example of how stone throwers shall be dealt with, was beamed on their television screens. The army chief, has the temerity to say that he wished the Kashmiris were using bullets instead of stones such that the army could deal with them accordingly. Let alone the right to self-determination, this government has flatly refused to talk to the Kashmiri leadership. Under the circumstances, it is the patriotic duty of every Indian to steadfastly oppose the atrocities being committed by the security forces, including the army, in Kashmir.
In pursuit of their authoritarian designs the Modi government has mounted an attack on institutions of higher education to crush the voice of reason and dissenting ideas. UGC has put in place draconian regulations that shall curb student’s rights and facilities, shall police the teacher’s independence in teaching and guiding the students and shall keep a tight vigil over the kind of research. The programs of debates and discussion on the campuses are being regularly disrupted by the goons of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) who it seems have the exclusive right to label people as anti-nationals.
The recent caste violence in Saharanpur and the stand of the UP government only shows that BJP’s attempt to win over the Dalits into the Hindutva fold to bolster its numerical strength is only a sham and reinforces the upper caste and upper class credentials of Hindutva.
It is noteworthy that the executive and the ‘executive minded’ judiciary have increasingly come together in throttling the voice of the people by handing down a punishment like life imprisonment to workers who waged a struggle to assert their right to forming a union and in muzzling the voice of intellectuals who have stood by the side of the struggling masses under the provisions of the draconian UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act). The punishment given in the Maruti worker’s case, incarceration of Prof Sai Baba despite his severe physical disability and the murder charges slapped against Prof Nandani Sundar are cases in point.
The central government, under tutelage of the RSS, has no socio-economic and political program to offer for resolving people’s day to day needs and issues like unemployment, hunger, health care, education, caste oppression etc. and they seek to deflect people’s attention by raising superfluous issues like ‘cow/cattle protection’, ‘triple talaq’ etc.
All these are bad omen for democracy in the country. We call upon the Modi Government to stand by its constitutional obligations towards the people of India and to rein in the rogue cadres of the Hindu communal organizations who are wantonly going around attacking Muslim youth and men in the name of cow protection. However, it is unlikely that this government shall listen to good counsel unless people rise up in their numbers to oppose his murderous assault on democratic rights. This gathering calls upon various progressive political forces in the country to come together to lead the people of India in this struggle.
Signed by N. D. Pancholi, President, PUCL Delhi; Dr Vikas Bajpai, Co-convener, Janhastakshep