“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.

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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

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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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One Year After the Police Abduction of Professor GN Saibaba

Anti operation green hunt front calls for building peoples movement, demands Prof Saibaba` release

BATHINDA: Anti operation green hunt front on Monday held a massive convention at Teachers Home Bathinda.

Delhi University Professor GN Saibaba, political prisoner

The convention presided over by revolutionary Telgu poet and Maoist sympathiser Varavara Rao marked the first anniversary of detention of eminent human rights activist and Delhi University professor Saibaba. Saibaba was arrested in April 2014.

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the poet Varavara Rao

Varavara Rao, who is in Punjab for the last two days, given a clarion call to build a peoples` movement against the operation green hunt and asked the persons subscribing left leanings to oppose the arrests of human rights activists in the name of such operations.

GN Varavara Rao said “It is learnt that the union government in next few days is trying to put heavy arsenals in the Dandakarnia area with 1.5 lakh Army Men to put the area under its total control. The various governments have already snatched jungles, land, mines from the adivasis to handover to the big corporates and the poor adivasis are treated as second rate citizens in their own country”.

When people raise voice in the favour such persons are branded as anti national and they are put in jail as has been done with Prof Saibaba, who is handicapped. The present Narendra Modi government was also pursuing the same policies.

He said the union government working on the diktats of US and other Western forces is allowing the corporates and multi national companies to indulge in open loot in the areas where adivasis somehow are making both ends meet. The all present in a resolution demanded release of Saibaba and another rights activist Hem Mishra.

 

India: Political Prisoner Saibaba on Hunger Strike for Basic Rights

Press Release

Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners

Condemn The Continuing Incarceration And Violation Of The Rights And Dignity Of Political Prisoner Dr. G N Saibaba!
  • The Case Of Dr. G N Saibaba Exposes The Vindictive Nature Of A Legally Challenged System!
  • Release Dr. G N Saibaba Unconditionally!

 

Image result for Dr. GN Saibaba

Eleven months have passed after Dr. GN Saibaba was abducted from the Delhi University North Campus premises on 09 May 2014 by the Maharashtra police. Dr. Saibaba was produced in the remote far flung Aheri police station in the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border to be charged under several sections of the worst draconian legislation the UAPA. Dr. GN Saibaba, joint secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) and a tireless campaigner against the policies of loot and plunder of the successive governments in India, euphemistically called as Operation Green Hunt (OGH) had become the target of ire of the state with mounting criticism from the opinionated sections of the progressive, liberal middle-class as well as the rising protests of the vast sections of the people against the so-called development policies of the government which would and is resulting in the loss of livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of dalits and adivasis—the poorest of the poor in the subcontinent.

In the last eleven months of his incarceration, Dr. Saibaba has repeatedly brought before the court as well as the jail authorities the pressing need for his grant of bail, not on any humanitarian grounds, but on the merit of law as sanctioned by the provisions that are there for the differently-abled. He has pointed out to the judge in many of the video conferences—as he was produced in the court only once and the rest of the dates of hearing / production have been met through the video conference facility, which is also a grievous infringement of his fundamental right—that the facilities in the Nagpur Central Jail are little or none to meet even the survival requirements of a 90 percent disabled and wheel chair bound person like him. But as we can see, the court preferred to stand by the prosecution, in an atmosphere vitiated by the media which profiled the wheel chair bound activist academic as a dreaded and dangerous demagogue having links with a proscribed organization, the CPI (Maoist). In the due course of his fight for justice through his lawyers, Dr. Saibaba’s plea for bail was twice rejected by the Sessions Court of Gadchiroli and once by the Nagpur bench of the Maharashtra High Court. But the facts can’t be belied. Saibaba’s concern about his fragile health grew larger as he was diagnosed with a bend spinal cord resulting in rib crowding and the lungs getting affected. Being a heart patient the troubles with his heart further compounded and the latest medical report requires him to undergo an angiography the post-recovery of which can be fatal in the prison stay. Further tests showed stones in the gall bladder. Continue reading