India: New Arrest in Kerala Spurs Broad Protests

[Continuing the ever-intensifying state repression of democratic and dissenting activists, the recent arrests in Kerala State of India have brought new waves of angry protest and demands for the release of political prisoners.  See the following statements from the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), followed by the statement from the Democratic Student Union (DSU).  —  Frontlines ed.]

Release Thusar and Jaison Cooper!

release1Statement by the Committee for the release of Political Prisoners

31 January 2015

Condemn the arrest of Thusar Nirmal Sarathy, Secretary Kerala Chapter, CRPP and Jaison Cooper, People’s Activist.

Release Thusar Nirmal Sarathy and Jaison Cooper Immediately, Unconditionally

Friday, the 30th January turned out to be a day when the Kerala state machinery and its lawless police brazenly demonstrated yet again that they can’t for once uphold the law of the land while dealing with political dissent of any nature. If post-1947 India have demonstrated that successive governments at the centre or the states used its police and the state machinery for targeting political rivals from different political combinations of the day, it is incriminating to note that all the governments that occupied power throughout the last 68 years have been unequivocal in maintaining the state of permanent emergency for tackling political dissent of the people!

On the 30 January 2015, the Kerala police and the special branch arrested Jaison Cooper in Ernakulam from his work place and Adv. Thushar Nirmal Sarathy from Calicut while he was addressing the press about a protest programme to be held there the following day against the increasing violations of the fundamental rights of the people in the state. At the same time, the police raided the residences of Thushar Sarathy, Advocate Manuel Joseph who is a people’s activist, Ms. Jolly Chirayath, convener of the Women’s Collective, and a artist activist. From the residence of Thushar Sarathy the police took away several case files without even bothering to record the list of the ‘seizures’ that they have done. Even the search was conducted without any warrant being shown to the custodians of the residences.

As increasing instances of impunity have become the hallmark of the police and investigating agencies in the Indian subcontinent with the Kerala police refusing to be different, one can only foresee a motivated police out to incriminate, frame those who are critically looking at the policies of the government. For the police, the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the constitution of the largest democracy seemed to, for every practical purpose, remain in permanent suspension, all in the name of ‘national interest’, ‘national security’ and last but not the least that weapon of mass destruction—‘development’.

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