Telengana: Statement on mass detention and arrests in Hyderabad

September 22, 2014

Human Rights Forum
Press Release
22-9-2014
Hyderabad

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) condemns the disallowing by the Telangana government of a seminar, rally and public meeting by the Forum For Alternative Politics in Hyderabad on Sunday. The reported preventive detention of over 200 persons by the police since the night before so as to foil the meeting is highly deplorable. Only a regime that is disrespectful of democratic norms would forbid free expression, the fundamental right to assembly and allow the police to resort to such actions.

HRF also takes strong exception to the continued ban on two TV channels in Telangana. Today marks 100 days of the ban. This is unprecedented and is extremely dangerous for Press freedom. The denial of any involvement in the ban by ruling TRS government functionaries is not at all convincing. It is widely believed that the Chief Minister is exhibiting a vindictive attitude in the whole matter. This was plainly evident in his intemperate remarks about the media at a recent public meeting in Warangal.

We also recall that after the new government has assumed office in Telangana there have been at least two other instances where the police have unleashed excessive force on agitators. One was the occasion when farmers in Chegunta mandal of Medak district protesting against irregular supply of power were set upon by the police. More recently, on September 10, Lambada residents of Krishna Thanda and Gurrambodu Thanda in Mattampally mandal of Nalgonda district who were opposing the proposal to set up a thermal plant in their area were also subjected to a lathi-charge by the police.

These are ominous signs and are totally unacceptable. We call upon the new government to henceforth desist from such undemocratic conduct and to be respectful of people’s rights.

VS Krishna S Jeevan Kumar
(HRF general secretary) (HRF president)

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COORDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANIZATION (CDRO)
Press Statement

Mass Arrest in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh: Black days of Emergency are here?

21st September 2014

The AP and Telangana State governments have coercively prevented the one day convention of the FORUM FOR ALTERNATIVE POLITICS in Hyderabad on 21 Sep 2014 from being held. This is a most condemnable, undemocratic and unconstitutional acts of the two governments. The meeting was scheduled between 10 am and 5pm and speakers from other states were invited to participate in the meeting. The convener of the forum, Mr Varavararao and a few other activists, have been taken in to custody by the police. Mr Kalyanrao , senior member of VIRASAM was arrested in Dachepalli (Guntur district) who was on his way to Hyderabad to the attend this meeting. Mr. Chilaka Chandrashekar (General Secretary APCLC) and many other leaders of peoples’ organizations were picked up from their houses and have been detained in Machvaram police station (Guntur district). Mr. Suresh Narayanrao and other office bearers of APCLC were detained in Kachguda police station in Hyderabad city. About fifteen members of Chytanya Mahila Samakya were also arrested and detained. Twenty Passenger Trains have been cancelled to prevent people from attending the convention in Hyderabad. It is reported that about 300 people have been arrested including the members of the Forum. Bojjaa Tarakam and Prof. Haragopal were not allowed to reach the venue of the meeting and were asked to return to their houses by the police and have been forced to remain indoors.

The police claim that the arrests are being made as preventive measure and had information that the Forum for Alternative Politics is a front Organisation of the Maoist Party. Since the mass organizations are banned they do not allow any kind of meetings conducted by them. Anticipating the situation Mr. Varavararao had moved a petition but it has been rejected by the High Court. Encouraged by the High court order the police surrounded the venue and erected barricades to prevent the people to reach and enter the venue (Sundaraiah Vignan Bhavan). A delegation of APCLC made efforts to meet the Chief Minister and request him to direct the police not to arrest the activists and give permission to hold the meeting. But the CM did not give an appointment to the delegation. Attempts were also made to meet the Home Minister and the Commissioner of Police but to no effect. The attitude of the government and the police is extremely hostile. They are determined to disturb the meeting and create a panic among the common citizenry. After frantic parleys the Home Minister spoke to a delegation and then the police agreed to free the activist but only after 9 pm attesting the unconstitutional and undemocratic intent of the government not to let the FORUM’s meeting happen.

A few days back only the FORUM FOR ALTERNATIVE POLITICS was formed by several intellectuals with Mr.Varavararao as its convener. The object of the forum is to inform the public about revolutionary politics and revolutionary parties and to subject the models of development and mainstream politics to a radical political scrutiny. Whatever be the politic of the FORUM, it has the constitutional guarantee to pursue it in constitutional manner. The government of Telangana or its police may have problems with the members of the FORUM but it has no authority whatsoever to curb its constitutional guaranteed rights to pursue its politics. It is their democratic right to engage in practice their politics within the bounds of the constitution of India. The government and the police are subverting the constitution by preventing the Forum from holding the meeting.

It will be in order here to remind the AP/Telangana governments that the Supreme Court of India in some of its decisions made observations that to sympathize with even the Maoist Politics and subscribing to its ideology are not offences. Characterising the FORUM as front organization of Maoist Party and banning its meetings and activities is not only unconstitutional but also undemocratic. The arrest all over the state reminds us the days of Emergency.

Further the dream that formation of new Telangana state will guarantee the basic rights and a repression-free society is cruelly shattered within hundred days.

WE Demand

· That all the arrested persons must be released immediately

· That the forum must be allowed to conduct meetings and other activities freely

· The state must restrain from curbing civil and political rights of the citizens

C. Chandrasekhar (CLC, Andhra Pradesh), Paramjeet Singh (PUDR, Delhi), Parmindar Singh (AFDR, Punjab), Phulendro Konsam (COHR, Manipur) and Tapas Chakraborty (APDR, West Bengal)
(Coordinators of CDRO).
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Constituent Organisations: Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC); Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West Bengal); Bandi Mukti Morcha (West Bengal); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR, Mumbai); Coordination for Human Rights (COHR, Manipur); Human Rights Forum (HRF, Andhra Pradesh); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), Assam; Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR); Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (OPDR, Andhra Pradesh); Peoples’ Committee for Human Rights (PCHR, Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum (PDF, Karnataka); Peoples Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR, Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (PUCR, Haryana) and Campaign for Peace & Democracy in Manipur (CPDM), Delhi

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Statement by Sanhati Collective

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the completely senseless and illegal action of the Telengana police in arresting the participants and organizers of the seminar and public meeting on 10 years of revolutionary movement which was to be held in Hyderabad today, 21st Spetember 2014. In the arrests which began in the middle of the night and have been happening throughout the morning, more than 200 people are reported to have been arrested.

Women and children have been picked up from their homes in the middle of the night by male police. Many attendees have been arrested directly from the Secunderabad railway station on their way to Hyderabad. Some of the attendees have been put under virtual house arrest. This includes diabetics and elderly people who are being forced to go without food as they cannot step out of their rooms under threat of arrest. Democratic rights activists and students who have protested against these arbitrary and illegal detentions have been arrested themselves.

All these are ominous signs that a regime completely disrespectful of democratic rights have been put into place by the K Chandrasekhar Rao government in Telengana. The TRS of KC Rao which came to power on the backs of a mass movement is showing its true colours in preventing a public meeting in Hyderabad. These unprecedented arrests, which the police is claiming to be “preventive detention” is a direct attack on the fundamental right of people to associate and assemble, as enshrined in the constitution. Also, it is a complete violation of the law for women to have been picked up by male policemen at night.

We demand the immediate release of the detained organizers and participants of this seminar and meeting and demand that the meeting be allowed to take place. We also call upon all democratic-minded people and organizations to protest against this absolutely undemocratic and tyrannical action of the Telangana state government.

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 COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

The Secretary of the Writers Union
Stat[ed] that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
–Bertolt Brecht
CONDEMN THE CLAMP DOWN ON THE PROGRAMME OF
FORUM FOR ALTERNATIVE POLITICS ON 21 SEPTEMBER 2014!
 
CONDEMN THE WHITE TERROR OF THE TRS GOVERNMENT! CONDEMN THE ARRESTS OF MORE THAN 800 PEOPLE DENYING IN THE NAME OF LAW AND ORDER!
 
RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE AND RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
ARE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS!
 
 

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) led Telangana government which has promised ‘Golden Telangana’ to the people of the region has flattered to deceive. Notwithstanding the song and dance of a different arrangement that will bring succor to the long standing demands of the people of Telangana, TRS has deceived the people on the fundamental principle that marks a democratic polity—the right to freedom of expression and the right to assemble and express freely the socio-political aspirations of the people. For any polity to thrive these are the fundamental safeguards that should be protected and promoted at any cost and incidentally the TRS government have proved that they fear these very principles which enhance the initiative and imagination of the people! Like every other seat of political power in the Indian subcontinent, the TRS government too have seen to it that the constitutional guarantees to the people of the subcontinent be violated with impunity!

The wee hours of 21 September 2014 saw the Telangana state machinery showing its real anti-people repressive face as it went on an arresting spree of people’s activists, leaders of people’s organizations, intellectuals, students, people’s lawyers, civil libertarians—whosoever was suspected to be / to have reached Hyderabad to participate in the seminar / public meeting at the Sundarayya Vignana  Kendram under the banner of Forum for Alternative Politics (FAP) with the topic being “Ten years of United Revolutionary Movement in India”. By early morning more than 800 people were detained in various police stations in the city. Some were detained straight away at the railway station as they descended from the trains. Of those arrested included the Convener of the Forum, revolutionary poet Vara Vara Rao, noted adivasi cultural activist Jeetan Marandi. Advocate Ravindranath, secretary of the CRPP regional chapter as well Advocate Ramaswamy, Joint Secretary were also detained as they were moving along with other civil libertarians to be part of the programme. Other leaders such as Padma Kumari, C. Chandrasekhar, Varalaxmi, Kalyan Rao, Gadar and several others were also detained. The entire area surrounding the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram soon turned out to be a war zone with hundreds of armed police surrounding the area along with water canons ready. No one was allowed anywhere near the venue.

Prof. Haragopal noted civil libertarian and public intellectual was denied an appointment with the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao as he was forcibly sent back. Little doubt, the Telangana government was desperate to stop the people from speaking their mind, at least for a day! But such an arbitrary action, white terror to stifle political opinion had only triggered further indignation on this fascist authoritarianism of the government from different sections of the society!

And what is that even conducting a seminar in an auditorium deliberating politics, be it revolutionary or radical, which has become a threat to this democracy? What is it that invited such a desperate action from the ruling classes? It is this potent fear of the ruling classes of the growing realization of the people that in the policies that fetch glory for the powers that be of the subcontinent, the broad sections of the people have seen their grave!

The prime minister of India in his address from the Red Fort on 15 August 2014 called for a moratorium, for ten years hence, to spell out in his own words, to “all contentious issues”. Narendra Modi, in other words, was calling for peace, to pave way for a much vigorous implementation of policies; of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation; all in the name of development, which Manmohan had failed to do for the sagging morale of the corporate money bags. But as the poet says, when the leaders speak of peace the common folk know that war is coming! And it was this knowledge of the people, of the imminent danger to their lives and livelihoods, the politics of this loot and plunder as well as the possible alternatives that are there before them that the Forum for Alternative Politics wanted to deliberate on the 21 September. It was precisely that narrative and its revelation that the powers that be wanted to stifle, all in the name of law and order, peace, as claimed by the police chief of Hyderabad before the media!

It becomes significant that all progressive and democratic sections of the society come forward and condemn such fascist designs of the state to curb the fundamental rights of the people. As criminalization of dissent / political opinion is fast becoming the order of the day in an increasingly penal state that is India a united struggle for the rights of the peoples of the subcontinent becomes inevitable!

In protest and in solidarity,
SAR Geelani
President
Amit Bhattacharyya
Secretary General
Rona Wilson
Secretary, Public Relations