Andhra Pradesh : Statements condemning the banning of RDF – PUDR, HRF

August 20, 2012

Press Statement from Peoples Union for Democratic Rights

PUDR strongly condemns banning of Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), Andhra Pradesh Unit by Andhra Pradesh Government in the name of ‘Maoism’ under the draconian Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act, 1992. This is the latest instances amongst the series of repressive measures adopted to criminalize political opinion and legitimate activities of organizations and its members; to crush democratic voices and people’s movement in name of ‘fighting Maoism’.

RDF has been consistently opposing and campaigning against the ‘anti-naxal’ military operations, fake encounter killings, anti-people policies and militarization in the tribal regions of Central and Eastern areas. For campaigning against anti-people policy of government, Andhra Pradesh government termed the RDF, an organization which does not have a formal organizational structure nor has units across AP, a ‘frontal organization of Maoist’, a part of ‘Tactical United Front’, which carries out ‘unlawful activities’ in the state.

If state puts citizens behind bars or kills them in encounter for questioning its anti-people policy, for opposing its repressive regime, then it smacks of authoritarianism. Government should know that by branding oppositions as ‘Maoist’, banning democratic organizations and killing dissenters, it cannot suppress people’s voice, rather it will further deepen the subversion of constitutional democracy.

PUDR strongly condemns AP Government’s policy of suppression and repression of democratic voices rather than cleaning up its own acts and policies. Banning of RDF and other organizations is an act of direct assault on the democratic and civil rights movement. We oppose all the draconian laws which consistently used to stifle oppositions. We strongly condemn the act of banning and criminalizing RDF.

PUDR demands immediate revocation of banning all democratic organization and also immediate repeal of all the draconian laws.

Paramjeet Singh and Preeti Chauhan

(Secretaries)

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Press Release from Human Rights Forum

August 16, 2012

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) takes strong exception to the recent declaring of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) as an “unlawful association”. This is clearly part of an attempt by the government to proscribe that organisation. We also condemn the extension of the ban by one year (under the AP Public Security Act, 1992) on the CPI (Maoist) and six of its affiliates.

We are of the view that the AP Public Security Act is a political instrument disguised as penal law. What it proscribes is not violence – which has been proscribed ever since the birth of the State in history – but social sympathy and political like-mindedness with the view point of the naxalites. Such an approach is unacceptable in a democracy.

HRF feels there is a pressing need to have a meaningful and effective policy to handle the naxalite phenomena. We have consistently held that the naxalite movement is a political movement with a base among the people, particularly among sections of the most deprived and marginalised. The factors that have given rise to the naxalite movement are immense material deprivation, social oppression and un-freedom. A meaningful and effective governmental policy would be one that will address this deprivation. Instead of doing so, the government is treating the naxalite movement as an outbreak of sheer criminality and fashioning undemocratic tools to meet it. This is fundamentally antithetical to the democratic spirit.

A democratic government will address the many issues concerning the people that the naxalite movement has thrown up and not resort to banning parties and organisations. Apart from the ban being objectionable in principle, there is strong likelihood of its abuse against political opponents and those with dissenting views, particularly of the underprivileged. We have seen this over the years in AP.

HRF calls upon the government to desist from any undemocratic action against the RDF and to revoke the ban on the CPI (Maoist) and its affiliates. The government must make serious efforts towards addressing the Maoist movement politically. It is not our case that the instruments of the government must keep silent when the Naxalites indulge in violence. The police must deal with acts of violence, but they must do so fully respecting people’s rights and the Constitution. Banning parties does immense harm to the very notion of democracy.

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