The world’s largest democracy witnessed its police force killing 25 of its citizens in two encounters in Andhra Pradesh. “Encounters”, for the uninitiated, are a euphemism for killing unarmed civilians in staged gun battles. The police version of both the alleged encounters is such that it could be laughed-off had they not been about the deaths of civilians.
The police version of the first encounter is that newly formed Red-sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force spotted footprints of the “smugglers” and came across around 100 of them felling trees in the Seshachalam Forest at the foot of the Tirumala Hills.
[The arrest of civil rights activists in Andhra Pradesh is a dramatic extension of the state’s intensified suppression of rights activists. Eleven were arrested — for organizing a press conference, and for organizing a protest petition against — but police claimed this was only to deal with the “Maoist threat.” Here, below, is the response of civil liberty organizations, followed by a mainstream (police directed) article which equates Maoism with rights activism. — Frontlines ed.]
October 10, 2014
Detention of civil rights activists in Vishakhapattanam “a threat to constitutionalism, rule of law”: PUCL
Deccan Chronicle: “The police thwart the committee’s call for a public meeting in protest against operation Green Hunt, an anti-Naxal operation by the security forces in various the states”
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has strongly condemned “arbitrary and illegal” detention of civil liberties activists and human rights defenders in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, on October 9, 2014 when they were trying to hold a press conference at the Civil Library, Vishakhapatnam, to announce a meeting on October 12 to protest against Operation Green Hunt. “The hostile and intimidatory action of the police was supported at the highest level in the state government”, said PUCL, adding, this was clear “when the Vizag police arrested five other human rights activists who had gone to the Camp Office of DIG, Vishakhapatnam Range, to bring to his notice the illegal arrests of their colleagues.”
Signed by Prof Prabhakar Sinha, national president, PUCL, and Dr V Suresh, national general secretary, PUCL, the statement by the influential civil rights group said, “The fact that the Andhra Pradesh police released the activists subsequently does not mitigate from the fact that the government and police’s action constitute a serious threat to constitutionalism, rule of law and fundamental right to free speech and expression, assembly and dissent.”
APCLC district president Vijay Kumar, vice-president Harinatha Reddy and general secretary Bommaiah were also taken into custody and were put under house arrest top restrain them from attending the meeting of 42 people’s organisations scheduled to be held in Tirupati on Sunday to highlight their demands. They were released from house arrest on Sunday evening. (Photo: DC/File)
[42 Organizations demand release of Democratic Activists including Dr. GN Saibaba, APCLC leaders, and others. And they demanded an end to Operation Green Hunt, military withdrawal from tribal areas, and cancellation of multinational deals. Civil Liberties’ leaders were released after meeting was over. This is what the Indian State, and imperialists, deceptively call “the world’s largest democracy.” — Frontlines ed.]
Kurnool: Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee president and state convenor of Operation Green Hunt Vythireka Porata Samiti Prof S. Seshaiah has been taken into custody and put under house arrest by Anantapur police on Saturday night.
APCLC district president Vijay Kumar, vice-president Harinatha Reddy and general secretary Bommaiah were also taken into custody and were put under house arrest to restrain them from attending the meeting of 42 people’s organisations scheduled to be held in Tirupati on Sunday to highlight their demands. They were released from house arrest on Sunday evening.
It is reported that the police have stepped up surveillance on their houses and tapped their phones to know their movements.
[The recent ban of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) in Andhra Pradesh is but the latest of many fascist moves by the Indian government against democratic and revolutionary activists. Arundhati Roy has joined a growing protest of this ban, as reported below.
Noted writer Arundhati Roy with revolutionary writer Varavara Rao at the meeting of the Revolutionary Writers Association in Hyderabad on Sunday. Photo: G. Ramakrishna
Hyderabad, Indian Express News Service, Sept 24, 2012
Writer and social activist Arundhati Roy on Sunday demanded an immediate revoke of the ban imposed on Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) in the state.
Addressing the gathering at a meeting organised by the Viplava Rachaitala Sangham (Revolutionary Writers’ Association) against the ban, Roy termed the ban unconstitutional and urged the members to keep on with their struggle against state-sponsored violence. “RDF is not a armed organisation. It’s activities are in consonance with the Indian constitution. Then why is it banned?,” she questioned.
However, she said that the ban had indirectly helped the RDF in growing strong. “The ban has indirectly benefited the RDF. It has allowed it to grow stronger and the bond among it’s members and with the people grow deeper,” she said. She lauded RDF’s members for fighting for the human rights of the dalits and the adivasis in rural India.
“The ban has forced mass migration of RDF’s members from Hyderabad to either Delhi or to the rural parts of the state but still the organisation has grown stronger in the state capital, she said indicating to it’s swell of ranks during the first national conference of the RDF in Hyderabad on April this year. Continue reading →
REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRATIC FRONT (RDF)
PRESS RELEASE — 11 August 2012
Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) has been banned by the Andhra Pradesh government on 9 August 2012 through Government Order No.430 under Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act 1992. This comes as the latest of the anti-people repressive measures that the Andhra Pradesh government have persistently adopted to over the last few decades to crush democratic voices and peoples’ movements under the garb of fighting Maoism. This comes as another glaring example of the hollowness of Indian government’s claim as ‘largest democracy of the world’. We strongly condemn this act of banning and criminalisation of our organisation and demand the immediate withdrawal of this authoritarian ban.
The Government Order brands RDF as “unlawful” and bans it “with immediate effect”. The GO links RDF with the banned CPI(Maoist) by calling it a “frontal organisation” of the Maoist party. Falsely implicating RDF as “part of Tactical United Front”, it dubiously enlists the following as “unlawful activities” of the organisation:
Sub serving the interest and objectives of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) whose avowed objective is to overthrow the lawfully established Government by means of force and violence through terrorist activities involving the use of firearms and explosives;
Urging people to fight against the Police and join the Maoist movement;
Opposing and demanding stoppage of anti extremist combing operations of the police and security forces in the left wing extremism affected area of the States and there by abetting and encouraging the violent activities of Maoist;
Organising dharnas, rallies and other forms of agitations in support of the unlawful activities of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and
Opposing lawful actions of police and criminal justice system and inciting the people to take violence against the democratically elected government established by law.
The arbitrary and knee-jerk reaction of the AP government in banning RDF in the state comes just three months after the organisation successfully held its First All India Conference in Hyderabad on 22-23 April 2012. The indication of the AP government’s response was visible during the conference as well. It banned the Public Rally of 23 April in an arbitrary manner by serving us a letter which alleged that some Maoists were present in the conference and that the Rally would ‘disturb’ the law and order situation of the state. Under instructions from the state government, Andhra Pradesh police also arrested a team of 35 cultural activists from Chhattisgarh on false charges and prevented them from attending the conference.
There is no organisational structure of RDF in Andhra Pradesh at present. It is therefore ridiculous to attribute the so-called unlawful activities to our organisation. Presently only the RDF All India President Varavara Rao (member of Virasam or Revolutionary Writers’ Association) and Vice-President Ganti Prasadam are our members from this state. The only activity conducted under the banner of RDF in Andhra Pradesh after the Conference was a round-table meeting that raised voices of protest against the recent massacre of 20 adivasis in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. This was a well attended meeting with the participation of several prominent intellectuals, writers and representatives of civil rights organisations besides being attended and addressed the meeting by three senior editors of newspapers. Is there any basis or justification for terming such a meeting as ‘unlawful’? Continue reading →
Times Now: Million march to Hyderabad disrupts normalcy
Mar 10, 2011–Massive traffic and security restrictions were imposed by police ahead of the ‘Million March to Hyderabad’ called by pro-Telangana groups, seeking introduction of a bill on the separate statehood issue in the ongoing Parliament session. Traffic restrictions came into force from morning hours and office-goers had to face problems reaching their destinations. The million march, aimed at sending across a message to the Centre on formation of Telangana is supposed to be held from 1 PM to 4 PM at Tankbund at the Hussainsagar lake in the heart of the city
HYDERABAD, India (Reuters) – Police fired tear gas Thursday at protesters demanding a separate state in southern India, a campaign that could potentially hurt the stability of the governing coalition already struggling with graft scandals.
A policeman fires a tear gas shell towards pro-Telangana supporters during a demonstration in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad March 10, 2011.
Businesses were shut in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state and where global firms including Microsoft and Google have their main India offices, as thousands of protesters, including lawmakers, students and local government officials, took to the streets.
The four-decade-old demand for Telengana state to be carved out of the economically less developed part of Andhra Pradesh gathered momentum last year after the federal government, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress party, accepted it in principle.
But the decision triggered a backlash from those opposed to breaking up Andhra Pradesh, a politically important state which sends the highest number of lawmakers to the federal parliament, forcing the ruling Congress-led coalition to backtrack. Continue reading →
Visakhapatnam: Two persons were killed and five injured when police opened fire to control villagers protesting against setting up of a thermal power plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam district on Monday.
“Two persons were killed and five sustained injuries in the incident at Vadditandra village,” said Srikakulam SP KVV Gopal Rao, adding some several policemen were also hurt.
The situation at the project site where East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd is developing a 2,640 MW Super Critical Coal fired power project in Santhabommali Mandal continues to be tense for the past two days after the policemen disrupted the fast undertook by some fishermen and villagers on Saturday. Continue reading →