Delhi : Press Release and Resolutions of the Democracy and Dissent Meeting at the Gandhi Peace Foundation

June 4, 2014

The meeting of the Delhi University Committee Against Police Repression DUPR organized the convention Democracy and dissent: Understanding the Abduction and Arrest of Saibaba with the solidarity of several individuals and institutions. At the meeting speakers like Dr Aparna (CPI(ML), New Democracy), Justice Sahai (PUCL), Prateek Bombade (Senior Advocate, SC) Seema Azad (Editor, Dastak), Majeet (PUDR) expressed grave concern at draconian laws like the UAPA, and their use to silence democratic and dissenting voices within and outside the University. Varavara Rao and Arundhati Roy noted the relation between the deployment of the UAPA, the ongoing struggles of the adivasi across several states and the increasingly brutal and widespread corporate-state military actions. Several speakers also noted the corporate-state’s nexus and the actual aversion of these entities toward democracy, the Constitution and legalities. Raghuram (I P University), N Sachin, Karen Gabriel expressed concern at the manner in which the politics of branding has resulted in the criminalization of ideas and the sanction of illegalities, persecution and torture. They expressed concern about the ways in which the coercive apparatus of the State, including the judiciary is deployed against those who speak up for the impoverished, the marginalized, the dispossessed, the dalits, adivasis, women, and speak against the organized land grab and state-corporate loot of common resources. SAR Geelani and Prateek Bombade spoke about the ways in which the judiciary is complicit with the ruling elite.

Speakers also noted the ways in which Operation Green Hunt manifests first as a paramilitary operation, and now the state-corporate ownership of media, information and institutions. Now, even the universities are being sold to corporations. What does democracy mean now? Does democracy mean support neo-liberalism? It was noted that struggles are born in the corridors of the university and it is indeed the character of a University to generate and tolerate these. People like Saibaba are part of such struggles and the state attacks, isolates people within the university, and targets them. They also remarked on the conspiracy of silence on these issues, and issues of corporate loot, land grab and displacement among mainstream political parties and the largely corporatized mainstream media.

Resolution:

This gathering unanimously condemns the abduction and arrest of Dr G N Saibaba, and his continued incarceration and torture in the Central Nagpur Jail. We believe that the draconian UAPA is being used to suppress the voices of those individuals and organisations that are involved in the struggle against injustice, and the oppression and dispossession of the poor and marginalised. It is a matter of considerable shame that the law enforcement agencies of the state have violated legal procedures, regulations and basic human rights, and continue to do so with impunity. Saibaba’s rights as a Person with Disability (PwD) have been completely disregarded as well.

We condemn the complicity of the Delhi University in the attack on democratic voices and impulses that are integral to the very character of the University as a space. We condemn the Delhi University’s encouragement and normalisation of continuous police presence in the University campus. We also condemn the University’s participation in the state’s harassment and persecution of Saibaba through actions like show cause notices, suspensions and now an eviction order.