Kerala – Statement against police’s attempt to criminalise activists under the garb of “fighting terror”

May 1, 2014

COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
185/3, FOURTH FLOOR, ZAKIR NAGAR, NEW DELHI—110025

29 APRIL, 2014

CONDEMN STRONGLY AND EXPOSE THE CRIMINAL INTENT OF THE KERALA POLICE AND THE INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES TO CRIMINALISE PEOPLE’S LEADERS, ACTIVISTS AND MASSES OF THE PEOPLE OF KERALA UNDER THE GARB OF ‘FIGHTING TERROR’

CRPP condemns strongly the insidious efforts of the Kerala Police as part of their continuing terror in Kerala. All this is happening in the name of the so-called ‘war against terror’ as well as the much hyped ‘single largest internal security threat’—the Maoist movement. That the Kerala police have been issuing the look-out notice of certain alleged Maoists is news in the print and electronic media for quite some time. But this time the intention of the police—to criminalise all leaders, activists who have been openly working among the people for years—is very clear as is evident from the lookout notice they have issued.

A Lookout Notice placed by the Kerala Police in Mananthawadi Police Station limits in Wayanad district has the names of well-known social and human rights activists of Kerala. The Lookout notice, ostensibly containing names and pictures of alleged Maoists, also carry the names and pictures of Adv. PA Pouran, state general secretary of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (and also the President of the Kerala Chapter, CRPP), N Subramanian, social activist with more than three decades of public presence, Adv. Thushar Nirmal Saradhy, President of the Jankeeya Manushyvakasa Prasthanam (also secretary of the Kerala Chapter CRPP), MN Ravunni, general convener of Porattam (also one of the Vice Presidents, CRPP Central Chapter), CRPP member Nikhil, CHRD member KK Rajeesh, RDF President Sugathan, Secretary Ajayan, Joint Secretary Devarajan (all of them with years of public life), C. Ajithan, a trade union activist in public life for more than two decades, activist Karthikeyan, NCHRO member Vilayodi Sivankuti, Jaison Cooper, a social activist and Adv. Manuel, another activist with over two decades of public life. Around 40 people with their names and photographs have been shown in the Lookout Notice.

Such outrageous acts from the side of the police and the intelligence agencies have become a pattern, specifically designed to create in the public memory and self, a sense of acceptance of such perceptions or representation of people/activists and their activities as something to be viewed with suspicion, bordering on that what is accepted or received as ‘crime’. This is nothing but to isolate such people/activists from public life, so that any of denial of their fundamental rights by the State is coerced into consent from the public, as a necessary step in consonance with the general maintenance of ‘law and order’; for the safeguard of the so called ‘national interest’. In the prevailing political atmosphere of deepening fissures within the economy of the subcontinent in the form of increasing unemployment, retrenchment, cut in pay packets, general slump in real industrial production, the only way for the political class in the corridors of power is to latch on to the hyperbole of jingoism, hate and xenophobia which is very much the flavour and rallying point for all political parties contesting the present elections to the Indian parliament. In such situations those who strive to talk for or on behalf of the people, those who strive to rear the sapling of freedom, those who dare to raise public questions against denial of freedoms, discrimination and oppression become the prime targets of a belligerent State out to penalise every form of dissent against its anti-people policies. The last two decades since 1991 has seen increasing instances of brutalisation and criminalisation of every form of dissent of the people.

To publicise the names and pictures of persons, leading a public life with commitment to the people, participating in democratic struggles taking place in different parts of the state as well as outside, tagged along with the alleged Maoists who are supposedly operating in the forest terrain of the state shows beyond doubt the intentions of the police and the intelligence agencies to prepare further ground for their unhindered long history of impunity that has characterised the scenario of growing instances of gross violations of the rights of the masses of the people. The persons named above are not only staying in their usual places of dwelling and freely moving around having participated in numerous struggles such as marches, protest meetings etc. It is important for such a penal- state machinery to vilify and criminalise the defenders of human freedoms. This also shows that the State in its over drive to push the pro-market policies of loot and plunder of people’s resources and wealth in service of the international and local money bags have scant regards for the lives and livelihoods of the people. The State do not want to be accountable at any level and it fears that the gross violations of freedoms and the attendant miseries of the people if brought to the attention of the people of the subcontinent let alone the world can adversely impact on its plans to aggressively push the pro-market policies brushing aside all forms of dissent.

The Kerala police have however denied (TOI, TVM edition, 27 April, 2014) having issued any Lookout Notice on these activists and has downplayed it as just a dossier prepared for the police men “to make them aware of the threat”. Such an admission from the police further reinforces the serious concerns that we have noted above and is a clear cut admission of their criminal intention for the future. We at the CRPP demand that the Chief Minister, Home Minister and Director General of Police order a judicial probe into the incident and bring to book the officers responsible for vilifying and hence criminalising those standing for people’s causes by showing them in a wanted list of police. We call upon all democratic forces to rally against such insidious designs of the Kerala police and intelligence agencies. We also urge the State Human Rights Commission to order a probe without delay into such gross violation of human rights and growing impunity of the police.

In Solidarity,

SAR Geelani
President

Amit Bhattacharyya
Secretary General

Rona Wilson
Secretary, Public Relations