South Asian Diaspora in Canada Condemns the Political Persecution of Dr. GN Saibaba

SANSAD — South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy

Release political prisoner GN Saibaba

SANSAD News-release June 16, 2014

South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) condemns the illegal arrest of Professor GN Saibaba, who teaches English in Ram Lal Anand College of Delhi University by Maharashtra Police on May 9. We further condemn his cruel detention in solitary confinement without regard to his disabilities, his suspension from Delhi University by the university administration following his arrest, and the denial of his bail plea by the Gadchirol sessions court in Maharashtra on June 13. We strongly protest these violations of human rights and civil liberties. We demand the immediate release of Professor Saibaba and his reinstatement in his teaching position in Delhi.

Professor Saibaba is an outspoken civil liberty activist, who as the deputy secretary of Revolutionary Democratic Front has been campaigning against the Indian government’s counter-insurgency measures known as “Operation Green Hunt.” His home in Delhi had been raided four times since September 2013 by the police before his arrest and transportation to Maharashtra on May 9 without warning and without access to a lawyer. Dr. Saibaba is a paraplegic who lost the use of his legs to polio as a child. He has 90% disability and has been bound to a wheel chair since he could afford one after his arrival in Delhi. Continue reading

Fascism, Fundamentalism and Patriarchy

[This article was written by Anuradha Gandhy in 2001 on the verge of the reactionary Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi becoming the chief minister of Gujarat, where in the Gujarat riots of 2002 fascist Hindu nationalists murdered thousands of Muslims in what became billed as “The Final Solution.”  Modi, now the newly-elected Prime Minister of India, is moving to consolidate even more repressive power on a national level, forge even stronger collaborative relations with imperialism and with Zionism, expand the military and arms-export industries, enforce an exclusive Hindu-language public usage in a country where 60% of the people speak non-Hindu languages, and further intensify patriarchal and caste-driven relations and attacks on adivasi peoples.  The following article, pathbreaking when it was written, provides significant analysis and background on relations which have only become more oppressive. — Frontlines ed.]

Anuradha Gandhy– [from Wikipedia: “Anuradha Ghandy (1954 – April 12, 2008) was an Indian communist, writer, and revolutionary leader. She was a member of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist. She was mostly involved in propaganda, and in CPI(Maoist)’s insurgency into urban areas. Among the policy papers drafted by the Marxist movement, Anuradha had contributed significantly to the ones on castes and ‘Feminism and Marxism’. She made the guerillas realise the potential of worker cooperatives in areas like agricultural production, in Dhandakaranya. She was also critical on shifting patriarchal ideas that were then dominant in the party.”  —  Frontlines ed.]

 

Exactly one year after the carnage in Gujarat began; the country is still reeling from the horror of the events. Narendra Modi’s expected victory in the assembly elections has further strengthened the position of the Hindutva fascist forces not only in Gujarat but also in the country as a whole. Reviewing the strategy of Hindutva forces and the lessons from Gujarat become even more relevant now. Here we are concerned with the impact of the Hindutva fascist forces on women and on the women’s movement.

The agenda of the Hindu fascist forces is political. Their strategy is the maximum political mobilisation of the Hindu masses and their aim is the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra. It will be noticed that the present phase of Hindu fascist growth can trace its growth with the neo-liberal economic policies of the early 1980s. And the aggressive policies of economic reforms and globalisation of the 1990s is accompanied with the aggressive policies of Hindutva. The reasons for this is not far to seek: the policies of economic reform have led to the extreme impoverisation of, not only a large section of the masses, but even of sizable sections of the middle classes; so there was urgent need to divert peoples’ attention from their mass destitution through the whipping up a frenzy against Muslims and other minorities. Besides, mass anger against the blatant capitulation to the imperialists, particularly the US, is sought to be diverted through fake nationalism, like slogans of cultural nationalism and Hindu Rashtra.

The extreme and continued polarisation of Hindu society in Gujarat along religious lines, the sense of brazen confidence with which the attacking, looting and killing was carried out and the active participation of a section of the women from the upper castes, shows that the Hindu fascist forces have been successful in Gujarat in taking their agenda forward. They have penetrated and succeeded in converting a section of the Hindu masses to their ideology and imbue them with the goal of Hindu Rashtra. What horror this portends for the oppressed sections — the lower castes, women, especially women of minority communities and the poor —does not need mention.

Growing Fundamentalism Worldwide — What it means for Women

The rise of Hindu fascist forces is part of the world-wide rise of fundamentalism and fascism.. Imperialism faced with its worst ever crisis since the inter-war years is encouraging and promoting fundamentalist forces and fascist organisations and propaganda. “Imperialism strives for reaction everywhere” Lenin. As Hawley has argued, “fundamentalist perspectives on gender cast a uniquely revealing light on the nature of fundamentalism as a whole.” As it is, all religions have been patriarchal in the moral code they sanction and the social arrangements they uphold. And one of the central points of fundamentalist propaganda is a conservative ideology of gender — all fundamentalist forces, be they of the Christian denominations in the US, or Hindu, or the New Religions in Japan or Islamic forces — they proclaim the specific agenda of restoring the centrality of the family and home in the life of women and patriarchal control over her sexuality. Hence ideologues of the New Right even in the US are claiming that there is a moral crisis in American society and this is because of the fact that women are working outside the home. Though they have mobilised actively around opposition to abortion rights for women, they begin by arguing that welfare state expenditures have raised taxes and added to inflation, pulling the married woman into the labour force and thereby destroying the fabric of the patriarchal family and hence the moral order of society. According to Jerry Falwell of the Moral majority, “ children (in the US) should have the right to the love of the mother and a father who understand their different roles and fulfil their different responsibilities…to live in an economic system that makes it possible for husbands to support their wives as full time mothers in the home and enable the families to survive on one income instead of two.” Continue reading

Police Use Water Cannons On Women In India Protesting Rape

[The report of multiple rapes and hangings horrified millions, and throughout India angry protests by women were brutally suppressed by police.  The official response, dismissive of women’s rights, was clear; as The Daily Mail reported, “Three men have been arrested over the killings. Two policemen were held on suspicion of trying to cover up the crime…..Shortly after the incident, a lawmaker from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party described rape as a social crime, saying ‘sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong.’  The controversial remarks came as political leaders of Uttar Pradesh – the state where the two cousins aged 12 and 14 were raped and hanged – faced criticism for failing to visit the scene.  Another regional politician from Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the crime of rape could only be considered to have been committed if it is reported to police.”  –Frontlines ed.]

Shannon Greenwood, ThinkProgress.org, June 3, 2014

Women protesting the rape and murder of two teenage girls are sprayed with water cannons by police in Lucknow, India on Monday.

Women protesting the rape and murder of two teenage girls are sprayed with water cannons by police in Lucknow, India on Monday.

The brutal gang-rape and murder of two teenage cousins in India last week has sparked a new wave of protests across the country as sexual violence and the government’s response returns to the spotlight.

The two girls, who went missing last Tuesday night after leaving their home in search of a place to find a place to relieve themselves, were found raped and hung from a mango tree in their village the following morning.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 IMAGE TAKEN FROM VIDEO, BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE, INDIA OUT The father of one of the victims reported the girls missing to authorities, but said it took more than 12 hours for police to begin their effort to find them — by then it was too late. Four suspects have since been arrested, two of whom are police officers.

Continue reading

“Resist the McCarthy-ian tactics of branding and false framing of intellectuals, students and democratic rights activists!”

Statement by the Democratic Student Union, Delhi — June 3, 2014
DSU: “Condemn the abduction and arrest of Dr. G.N. Saibaba by the notorious Maharasthra Police!”

“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act” George Orwell

 It is precisely for this ‘crime’ of speaking the truth in the face of the lies and deceit that seek to hide the untold injustice and oppression perpetuated by the Indian state, that Dr. GN Saibaba has been arrested. Dr. GN Saibaba, a faculty member in DU and a widely known political activist, was clandestinely abducted on 9th May by plain-clothed policemen of the Maharashtra police just steps away from his residence as he was on his way back from examination duty. Saibaba, who suffers from 90% disability and is wheelchair bound, was blindfolded and pushed into a vehicle that swiftly took him to the airport from whence he was flown to Nagpur. The surreptitious manner in which a public figure like him was literally abducted by the police itself testifies that they were wary of the fact that they do not have any substantive evidence to back their hoax of “nabbing” him for alleged “Maoist links”. It has been obvious for quite a while now that the Indian state has been desperate to brand him and frame him under certain cooked up charges. The sole purpose being, to gag a voice of dissent that dares to speak the truth despite repeated threats and intimidations.

A large number of activists, intellectuals, students and teachers turned up in front of Maharasthra Bhawan on 10th May to protest against the dastardly abduction and arrest of Dr. GN Saibaba

Continue reading

Brazil: World Cup’s Nationalist Hype Fails to Curb Struggle Against Displacement

Dispatches From Brazil’s World Cup:  Real Estate Frenzy Provokes ‘Psychological Attack’ to Oust Favela Residents
Dave Zirin, The Nation, on June 18, 2014
Graffiti on the walls of Vila Autódromo. On the Brazilian flag, instead of "order and progress", "freedom" is written across the iconic blue globe. June 17, 2014. (Photo by the author)

Graffiti on the walls of Vila Autódromo. On the Brazilian flag, instead of “order and progress”, “freedom” is written across the iconic blue globe. June 17, 2014. (Photo by the author)

 

Before returning to the favela Vila Autódromo for the first time since 2012, I had already been told that the community would not look the same. As a friend said to me, “It will resemble a perfect smile with several teeth knocked out.” Vila Autódromo is situated just yards away from the site of the 2016 Rio Olympic village, and Olympic planners as well as construction interests have long targeted this close-knit community for demolition. Located on an achingly beautiful lake, where glittering new high-rise condominiums have sprouted “seemingly overnight”, the city’s business and political leaders see prime real estate, with pesky favelados in the way of their development dreams.

Despite a fierce resistance to their removal that has stymied the efforts of Olympic planners, I had heard before arriving that 150 of the 500 families living in Vila Autódromo had left. I expected many of their homes, places I had visited, to now be piles of rubble. What I did not expect was the absence of trees. Continue reading

UK: Human Rights Activists and Lawyers Protest Political Arrest of GN Saibaba in India

[The following letter from British human rights activists and lawyers is an important internationalist act in solidarity with political prisoners in India, and particularly Professor GN Saibaba.  And it is doubly important for coming from the UK, where the repressive system of colonial laws in India was created, and continues under the purportedly “independent” and “democratic” regime in India today.  In 2012, the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) in India wrote, “…the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) (1967) …. was copied from the Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance brought by the British in 1942. Today the same law has been revamped with more teeth and implemented. Since the 1950s till date every draconian law that received the gravest wrath of the masses of the people was then rehashed into another law with yet stringent clauses. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the present UAPA is in a way a clever rehashing of the old MISA, NSA, TADA, POTA etc. rolled into one made more stringent with the worst kind of clauses to stifle all forms of dissent.” — Frontlines ed.]

June 20, 2014
Letter to the Chief Justice : Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
http://www.campacc.org.uk

Your Honour,
We the undersigned would like to express our concern over the manner in which the government is increasingly resorting to the indiscriminate use of custody. In particular, the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 2008 (UAPA) is being abused indiscriminately to harass, intimidate and dissenting voices. This is part of the escalating effort to impede free speech and even thought, contrary to the Constitution of India as well as International principles of Human Rights. Such actions become pernicious in the context of the wide-ranging powers and impunity that have been available to the police and paramilitary forces under this Act. This is illustrated by the fact that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reportedly issued instructions that persons and organizations who raise issues of human rights violations in Maoist areas must be targeted and arrested.
The recent abduction of Dr. G. N. Saibaba was particularly shocking. Dr. G N Saibaba, Asst. Professor with the Department of English, Ram Lal Anand College, Delhi University, was arrested by the Maharashtra Police on 9 May 2014 for his alleged links with Naxal leaders. He has been an active member of the Delhi University community, a very popular and respected teacher, and an important voice on democratic norms within and outside the university. He has been a vocal and important critic of the Indian state’s policies with regard to its paramilitary action in Central and Eastern tribal areas, commonly known as Operation Green Hunt. Along with other intellectuals, he has drawn attention to the blatant human rights violations of the Adivasi peoples of these regions. In particular, he has pointed out the enormous financial stakes in claiming the region for private industrial and commercial development at several national and international forums. Along with other intellectuals, he has criticized such models of “development” and their usefulness for the local populace in any participatory democracy. His sustained critique has earned him the ire of the powers that be. For some time now, they have been looking for a way to silence this very significant voice.
Dr. Saibaba is wheelchair bound, suffers from 90% disability and post-polio residual paralysis of both lower limbs. He poses no flight risk whatsoever. He is also a heart patient with blood pressure issues. Furthermore, he suffers from chronic and intense back pain as a result of the disability and being wheelchair bound. He has always cooperated fully with the investigation and did not need to be arrested. The National Human Rights Commission has already issued notice to the Maharashtra and Delhi police forces for violation of Dr. Saibaba’s rights in the course of the earlier investigation. Continue reading