Rights Defenders Condemn India’s Political Arrests of Activists

[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 

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

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.”

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