Democratic Illusions Infect Judiciary in India’s Repressive State

[The Indian state, thoroughly repressive toward over 90% of the people in India, has often claimed, since being “granted” independence by the British Empire, that it is democratic, even “the world’s largest democracy.”  This claim is belied by the brutal displacement and oppression of the majority of the people–the adivasis, dalits, the peasantry, the women of the oppressed castes and classes, Muslims, political opponents of the neo-colonial, semi-feudal state and their imperialist masters, and the Maoists (and all other opponents loosely, and falsely, labelled “Maoists”).  As the opposition continues to grow against the oppressive police state, the contradiction with the democratic myth has grown sharply, infecting even the ranks of the repressive judiary.  The rebellious people will carefully study how these “democratic dissidents in high places” will be dealt with by the repressive “powers-that-be”.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Person can’t be taken into custody just because he is a Maoist, Kerala HC rules

Person can’t be taken into custody just because he is a Maoist, Kerala HC rules

Justice AM Muhammed Mushtaq said that a Maoist can be arrested and put behind the bars only if he or she indulges in unlawful or anti-national activities.

KOCHI: In a significant development, the Kerala high court made it clear that a Maoist cannot be taken into police custody just because of his political leanings.  Justice A M Muhammed Mushtaq, in his order on Friday, said that a Maoist can be arrested and put behind bars only if he or she indulges in unlawful or anti-national activities.  “Being a Maoist is no crime, though the political ideology of Maoists would not synchronise with our constitutional polity. It is a basic human right to think in terms of human aspirations,” Justice Mushtaq said in his order.The court was hearing a petition filed by Shyam Balakrishnan of Wayanad stating that he was arrested and harassed by the Thunderbolt team — a special police unit – for alleged Maoist links. The court ordered a compensation of Rs one lakh for the petitioner and also asked to state to pay litigation costs of Rs 10, 000. Continue reading

NY Times urges Turkey’s Erdogan: “Don’t Discard the Mask of Democracy”

NY Times highlights possible plan to shut down critical media

NY Times highlights possible plan to shut down critical media

Demonstrators wave Turkish flags as they gather outside the İstanbul Courthouse to protest the detention of a number of people including the editor-in-chief of Zaman daily and an executive of Samanyolu television on Dec. 19, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

May 23, 2015, Saturday

MAHIR ZEYNALOV / WASHINGTON (todayszaman.com)

The New York Times has urged the US and other NATO allies to ask Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to turn away from “destructive path,” highlighting the prevailing fear among journalists that he might be preparing to shut down critical media outlets, including this newspaper. 

In an editorial titled “Dark clouds over Turkey,” the newspaper pointed to fear of critics that a new crackdown is starting to ensure that the ruling party he founded wins in upcoming parliamentary elections slated for June 7. Erdoğan didn’t make it secret that he wants to see the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to win necessary number of seats to expand his presidential powers.
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India jailed a revolutionary, but they can’t jail the revolution

FREE DR. GN SAIBABA!

FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

One year passed since the abduction-arrest of GN Saibaba by Indian state. With a 90 per cent disability Saibaba is lecturer of English at Ramlal Anand College, Delhi University and he is being deprived of proper medication and care that is needed for his safety and life. In the year he’s been in prison, his physical condition has deteriorated alarmingly. He is in constant, excruciating pain.

But he is denied of bail like many other in India and his ‘crime’ is to speak for the oppressed masses, Adivaisi, Dalits and Muslims.

To know more about him and his case (and many others), read Arundhati Roy’s article at:

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/professor-pow/294265

Writer, composer and singer of this song is Doc Jazz, and it was originally composed for the Palestinian activist Samer Issawi. Visit his site for more detail:

http://www.docjazz.com/index.php/articles/41-news/songnews/241-new-song-hungry-samer-issawi

Nepal: Grassroots Initiatives to Meet Earthquake Crisis, and Bypass Corrupt International Agencies

VOW_InitiativeFor immediate assistance and relief, VOW Media has set up a fund that we are managing independently. All financial records will be published online and it will be completely transparent. With the funds we collect, we will buy essential items, support older and form new citizen volunteer groups to assist and provide relief to survivors of the Nepal Earthquake. These groups will organise themselves and go out to neighbourhoods and various districts to distribute immediate relief.

In addition to distribution of relief materials we will also be assisting in the rebuilding of people’s homes once we have enough funds to do it. If there is anything in particular you would want your precious resources to be spent on, you can also let us know and we will make sure the money gets spent in the community you want.

Remember people, we will not take ONE single dime of the money you have donated to the relief and reconstruction fund. It will all be accounted for and spent wisely to support people in need.

You can transfer the money into our Dutch Bank Account to avoid all the bureaucracy in Nepal or send it via paypal:

Please direct payment to:

VOICES OF WOMEN MEDIA
ING # 4690420
BIC: INGBNL2A
IBAN: NL72INGB0004690420
PayPal Account: info@voicesofwomenmedia.org

Please write “Nepal” in the bank transfer details so we can track it easily.

“Independent India” Uses British Empire’s “Sedition” Laws to Suppress Dissent

The theatrical trailer of COURT, a winner of 17 International awards  An Indian reviewer said the film is a “remarkably assured, engrossing study of the power of the law and order machinery to crush protest through delays, deferred hearings and demands for further evidence.”  Forbes magazine in India said Chaitanya Tamhane, the director, is “Indian cinema’s new voice of subversion.”

Synopsis: A sewerage worker’s dead body is found inside a manhole in Mumbai. An ageing folk singer is tried in court on charges of abetment of suicide. He is accused of performing an inflammatory song which might have incited the worker to commit the act. As the trial unfolds, the personal lives of the lawyers and the judge involved in the case are observed outside the court.

.  .  .  .  .  .

A Law Less Majestic

Sanctioned by an archaic law and other draconian legislation, “sedition against the state” is a handy tool to fell voices of dissent
Ushinor Majumdar, Outlook India Magazine, week of May 18, 2015
SEDITION  —  Section 124A, Indian Penal Code, 1860: “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India.”
Punishment: Fine, or imprisonment of three years to life. Shall be punished with 104 (im­prisonment for life), to which fine may be added, or with impris­onment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.
Exception: Criticism, to be determined by the judiciary
UAPA  —  Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967: Following a constitutional amendment, UAPA was enacted to “impose, by law, reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, on the (i) freedom of speech and expression (ii) right to assemble peaceably and without arms and (iii) right to form associations or unions” 

Punishment: Penalties ranging from five years to life imprisonment along with fines. If the offence leads to loss of life, a death sentence can be awarded.
Unlawful associations: Secessionist and terrorist associations; to be determined and notified by ministry of home affairs

***

Behind every man who has been labelled ‘seditious’ by the State is a law that goes back 155 years. Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code dates to 1860, three years after the British were rattled by what came to be known as the Sepoy Mutiny. There is also the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, a handy tool to silence ‘dangerous’ people with ‘dangerous’ ideas. Why, a week before it was held unconstitutional, Samajwadi Party leader and UP cabinet minister Azam Khan used Section 66A of the Information Technology Act to penalise a Class 11 student in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh.
The police are arbitrary and indiscriminate in the use of the sedition law, arresting people even for activities like singing, acting in street plays, reciting poems, painting graffiti on walls, not standing up during the national anthem or for cheering the Pakistani cricket team. These have, of course, usually accompa­nied the more serious charges of sympathising, funding or acting with Maoists or suspected terror organisations.

Hyderabad: Demonstration for Release of Dr. GN Saibaba

 Demonstration for Immediate Release of Dr GN Saibaba on 9th May @ Hyderabad.

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 Rally from Sundaraih Park, Baghlingampally to Indira park at 10am

Dharna @ Indira park at 11.30am

organising by STRUGGLE COMMITTEE FOR RELEASE OF DR. G.N. SAIBABA

India: Teachers Hunger Strike for Freedom for Prof. GN Saibaba

imageIt will be one year on 9th May 2015 of continued incarceration of our colleague Dr. G.N. Saibaba. He languishes in jail without trial and without bail while his health is deteriorating fast. Please come and participate in the day-long hunger strike to save life of Dr. GN Saibaba and secure his early release from the solitary confinement in Nagpur Central Jail. Please circulate this message among your friends and encourage them to come and participate. Teachers and representatives of Teachers’ Associations from JNU, IP University, JMI, and Ambedkar University are joining the hunger strike.

 

Professor, P.O.W.

Picture of an armed terrorist? Dr Saibaba outside his house 

So afraid is the government of this paralysed wheelchair-bound academic that the Maharashtra police had to abduct him for arrest

Arundhati Roy, Outlook India Magazine, week of May 18, 2015

May 9, 2015, marks one year since Dr G.N. Saibaba, lecturer of English at Ramlal Anand College, Delhi University, was abducted by unknown men on his way home from work. When her husband went missing and his cellphone did not respond, Vasantha, Dr Saibaba’s wife, filed a missing person’s complaint in the local police station. Subsequently the unknown men identified themselves as the Maharashtra Police and described the abduction as an arrest.

Why did they abduct him in this way when they could easily have arrested him formally, this professor who happens to be wheelchair-bound and paralysed from his waist downwards since he was five years old? There were two reasons: First, because they knew from their previous visits to his house that if they picked him up from his home on the Delhi University campus they would have to deal with a crowd of angry people—professors, activists and students who loved and admired Professor Saibaba not just because he was a dedicated teacher but also because of his fearless political worldview. Second, because abducting him made it look as though they, armed only with their wit and daring, had tracked down and captured a dangerous terrorist. The truth is more prosaic. Many of us had known for a long time that Professor Saibaba was likely to be arrested. It had been the subject of open discussion for months. Never in all those months, right up to the day of his abduction, did it ever occur to him or to anybody else that he should do anything else but face up to it fair and square. In fact, during that period, he put in extra hours and finished his PhD on the Politics of the Discipline of Indian English Writing. Why did we think he would be arrested? What was his crime?

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