Press Release – NAPM Condemns attack on Prashant Bhushan

October 13, 2011

Press Release by PEOPLES UNION FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS

PUDR strongly condemns the dastardly attack on Prashant Bhushan, senior advocate Supreme Court, in his chamber this afternoon, by two unidentified individuals, for his comments on the situation in Kashmir. The act happened in the presence of a TV crew belonging to Times Now, that later beamed the recorded footage of the attack on its channel. The three men belonging to Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena burst into the lawyers’s chamber and much to the surprise of those present, slapped and punched Mr. Bhushan, who fell on the floor. The fact that the men chose to attack Bhushan in front of a TV crew that was reportedly interviewing him, shows absolute brazenness on the part of those engaging in such cowardly acts of violence.

Harish Dhawan and Paramjeet Singh
Secretaries PUDR

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Press Release by COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

The CRPP strongly condemns the assault on Senior Lawyer and civil rights activist Prashant Bhushan by Hindu communal fascists. The infringement on the right of Prashant Bhushan to express his opinion on Kashmir that too to talk in favour of the democratic right of the people of Jammu & Kashmir to self determination is reflective of the shrinking spaces available for the people in the Indian subcontinent. We live in such times when the all round assault of the state on the people has attained insane proportions.

Let us once again recapitulate what has happened? A senior Supreme Court lawyer like Prashant Bhushan is assaulted by Hindu communal fascists for expressing his opinion fearlessly in favour of the Right to Self-Determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. On the other extreme a few days before a tribal teacher Soni Sori found it difficult to convince the court of the imminent danger to her life as she for all likelihood will be the target of brutal torture by the criminal Chhattisgarh police who have framed her up and hence should not be shifted from Delhi (where she was arrested) to Chhattisgarh. So in the case of Soni Suri we have the lawless police of Chhattisgarh working with impunity which a court is unable to prevent while a senior Supreme Court lawyer like Prashant Bhushan has become easy target for a televised assault by communal fascist elements. And in both the cases we have the jingoist, sensation-driven media speculating. In the case of Prashant Bhushan there is every attempt on the side of the media to slide into the binary of that what is ‘national’ and ‘anti-national’. In the case of the tribal teacher Soni Suri the media keeps playing up the ‘Maoist on the run’ tag along with insinuating reportage—that almost justifies the brutal torture meted out to her by the Chhattisgarh police—of whether she helped the Maoist or not. Had it not been for the dogged attempts of the civil rights activists the horrifying video clippings of Soni Suri writhing in pain in the X-ray room of a hospital wouldn’t have reached us.

The same reality of a tribal teacher Soni Sori is what we can see with every Kashmiri Muslim. Soni Sori is one of those representative example of an Adivasi who has so far refused to be part of the devious machinations of the Indian state to criminalize the resistance of the Adivasis against the four dreaded Ds—Destitution, Destruction, Displacement and Death. So, for the adivasi in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Jangalmahal, Orissa lawlessness is the State. Under the garb of law, the State acts with impunity on these people who have revolted against all exploitative policies. The people of Kashmir too have been brutally suppressed by the Indian State for the last sixty years putting into pale all henceforth recorded history of barbarism of mankind. But history tells us that despite the desperate attempts of the Indian State to rape, maim, kill and torture the people of Jammu & Kashmir, it had little impact on weakening the political will of the people for Azadi. Prashant Bhushan was only reflecting on this hard fact when he talked about the Right to Self-determination of the people of Kashmir. And in the brutal assault on Prashant Bhushan televised by the conniving jingoist media, all freedom loving people are once again reminded the fast diminishing space which we have struggled to win over for our right to dissent and freedom of expression for the betterment of humankind. No, we cannot lie low and let this happen.

We at the CRPP believe that while it is important to bring to book the communal goons, it is further crucial to look deeper into the larger edifice of the state that breeds such fascist elements as part of the state apparatus (police, paramilitary, army) and also as a fourth and fifth column which compliment the repressive logic of the state as civil society actors.

In Solidarity,

SAR Geelani, Working President
Amit Bhattacharyya, Secretary General
Rona Wilson, Secretary, Public Relations

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Press Release – NAPM Condemns attack on Prashant Bhushan

New Delhi, October 12 : The attack on Prashant Bhushan, a senior advocate and rights activists is extremely condemnable and only shows the growing intolerance and contempt for any differing opinion in a democratic country. Violence is not the way to express one’s point of view in democracy.

“Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena” which owned the attack proclaims itself as “a team of guys who are crazy for nation, those who can do anything for Nation. A task force against traitors, anti-nationals & corrupts. A team of people, those who are ready to take any action to teach anti-nationals & traitors.” It is extremely condemnable that a group using the name of Bhagat Singh and in the name of patriotism resorts to such action. We condemn such a heinous attack. In the name nationalism and patriotism such acts can’t be tolerated and those responsible for the act must be brought to book and strict action taken against them.

Millions of young people propelled by the duty towards the nation came on the street during the anti-corruption agitation, where Prashant Bhushan played a key role, but they respected the principles of non-violence, peace and freedom. We urge every one of them that patriotism doesn’t mean vanquishing of those who differ from us. India is a country with diversity of opinions and with myriad complexities and in a democracy we need to respect the difference and differing opinions.

Prashant Bhushan is well known and respected by social movements and civil society for his public work for more than two decades now. Apart from cases involving irregularities in government procedures in the Bofors scam and the 2G Spectrum allotment, he has appeared in numerous cases involving Sardar Sarovar Dam, Vedanta University Land Acquisition, Bhopal Gas Accident and many other cases which have been brought to him from time to time, at his own expense with no charges to people. His efforts through Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) have brought judicial accountability, corruption within judiciary and need for large scale reforms under public glare. Further, Prashant’s constant effort in trying to raise his voice against Operation Green Hunt and rights violations in North East and Jammu Kashmir has also raised hackles in certain quarters. This attack on him is a result of such acts of courage by Prashant over the years.

Political dialogue to address the needs, concerns and aspirations of people in any region on any issue is the basis of a democratic society, and use of force and violence by State or non-state actors must not be used to suppress dissent and protest.

Kuldip Nayyar, Justice (Retd.) Rajinder Sachar, Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Sandeep Pandey, Maj Gen (Retd) Sudhir Vombatkere, Prafulla Samantara, P Chennaiah, Arundhati Dhuru, Nikhil Dey, Sister Celia, Gabriele Dietrich, Rajendra Ravi, Ramakrishna Raju, Mukta Srivastava, Shankar Singh, Anand Mazgaonkar, Vimal Bhai, Ajit Jha, Madhuresh Kumar