Tag Archives: binayak sen

#India: Stop Misuse of Counterterrorism Laws #KKM

Standard


Charges Against Dalit Performers Raise Free Speech Concerns

(New York, June 26, 2013) – Authorities in India should conduct an independent review of apparent politically motivated terrorism charges filed against performers in a Dalit cultural group, Human Rights Watch said today. 

Members of Kabir Kala Manch, charged in 2011 under India’s draconian counterterrorism laws, remain subject to prosecution for their alleged support of Maoist militants. One of them, eight months pregnant, was denied bail and must wait until June 27 for an appeals decision on her bail application. Indian courts have repeatedly ruled that ideological sympathy should not be interpreted as active membership in a banned organization.

“The Indian authorities should not conflate shared sympathy for concerns about oppression and social inequity expressed by the Maoists with criminal complicity in violence,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should ensure that peaceful activists can speak out without fear of terrorism charges.”

India’s counterterrorism and sedition laws have been widely misused to target political opponents, tribal groups, religious and ethnic minorities, and Dalits, Human Rights Watch said. Amendments made to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2008 and 2012 could result in further misuse. 

In 2011, authorities in the western Indian state of Maharashtra charged 15 people with being members of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) – also known as Naxalites. Eleven of them have been arrested, six of whom are members of Kabir Kala Manch, a Pune-based cultural group of singers, poets, and artists. The group, largely consisting of Dalit youth, uses music, poetry, and street plays to raise awareness about issues such as oppression of Dalits and tribal groups, social inequality, corruption, and Hindu-Muslim relations. 

The state counterterrorism squad arrested two Kabir Kala Manch members, Dhavala K. Dhengale and Siddharth Bhosale, in May 2011. Dhengale’s lawyers allege he was tortured in police custody and was forced to make a confession, which he has retracted. Police also brought cases against four other members of the cultural group, who subsequently went into hiding. 

The authorities accused the six of being members of a “terrorist organization” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967. If convicted, they face sentences of up to life in prison. They have also been charged under numerous penal provisions dealing with extortion, cheating, and forgery. 

In January 2013, the High Court in Mumbai granted bail to Dhengale and Bhosale, noting that the charges filed indicated that they were sympathetic to the Maoist philosophy but not active members of the Maoist organization. The court said that “drastic provisions” added to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2008 required that membership in an illegal organization be interpreted in the light of fundamental freedoms such as the rights to free speech and expression, and thus “passive membership” was insufficient for prosecution. 

Following the court order, in April and May, the four other members of Kabir Kala Manch –Sheetal Sathe, Sachin Mali, Sagar Gorke, and Ramesh Gaichor – who had been named in the 2011 case, turned themselves in. All four remain in judicial custody as they wait for the police to file charges. A lower sessions court in Mumbai denied bail to Sathe, who is eight months pregnant. 

“This is not the first time social activists have come under attack or been arbitrarily arrested on unsubstantiated accusations of Maoist links,” Ganguly said. “Wrongful arrests of peaceful activists only hurt the government’s image and provide a fertile ground for Maoist propaganda.” 

Dr. Binayak Sen, a physician and human rights activist, was convicted in December 2010 and sentenced to life in prison for sedition, for allegedly acting as a courier for a Naxalite leader in jail, even though he had visited the leader under the supervision of jail authorities. After his arrest in 2007, Sen was awarded the prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, and rights groups and doctors’ organizations have campaigned for his release. Sen has appealed his conviction, and the Supreme Court in April 2011 ordered his release on bail in the interim saying: “We are a democratic country. He may be a sympathizer. That does not make him guilty of sedition.”

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly called on the Indian government to revise the definition of terrorism, and ensure that restrictions on organizations do not violate the rights to freedom of association and expression under international law. Human Rights Watch has also urged the repeal of provisions in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, such as those authorizing pre-charge detention for up to 180 days including 30 days in police custody, limitations on bail, and presumption of guilt in certain circumstances.

“Instead of arresting people who are using art to raise their voices against poor governance and social malaise, the government should focus on better safeguards for fundamental freedoms,” Ganguly said. “Too often, police, frustrated by their inability to stem criminal acts by various armed groups, have misused the law to arrest critics, social activists, or ideological supporters of these groups.”

To view the 2010 Human Rights Watch report “Back to the Future: India’s 2008 Counterterrorism Laws,” please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2010/07/28/back-future-0

To read the December 2012 Human Rights Watch news release “India: Reject Amendments to Counterterrorism Law,” please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/14/india-reject-amendments-counterterrorism-law

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on India, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/india

 

Advertisements

विद्रोह हा प्रत्येकाचा जन्मसिद्ध हक्क आहे – डॉ. गिरीश कर्नाड

Standard

_MG_9537.JPG

 

कबीर कला मंच च्या सीडीचे प्रकाशन

मुंबई / अजेयकुमार जाधव

आज प्रत्येक स्वतंत्र नागरिकांना विद्रोह माझा जन्मसिद्ध हक्क आहे हे बोलण्याचा अधिकार आहे असे मत सुप्रसिद्ध नाट्य सिनेकलावंत डॉ. गिरीश कर्नाड यांनी व्यक्त केले.कबीर कला मंचच्या गाण्यांच्या सीडीचे प्रकाशन कर्नाड यांच्या हस्ते करण्यात आले त्यावेळी टे बोलत होते.

कोणत्याही कलाकारांच्या विरोधात अन्याय झाल्यास त्याचा निषेध करायलाच हवा.कबीर काल मंच हा दलित सांस्कृतिक ग्रुप आहे. यामधील कलाकार हे आपला अनुभव कथन करत होते यामुळे त्यांना देशाचे शत्रू समजून जेल मध्ये टाकले जाते. अशा लोकाना जेल मध्ये टाकणे चुकीचे आहे. समाजात ही भीती पसरवली जात असून पोलीसच ही भीती निर्माण करतात असे कर्नाड म्हणाले.

मावोइस्ट व नक्सालीस्ट याचे नेमके नियम काय आहेत असा प्रश्न उपस्थित करून जर या लोकांची पुस्तके घरी ठेवणे, वाचणे हे चुकीचे असेल तर माझ्या घरात मावोइस्ट व नक्सालीस्टची पुस्तके आहेत या पुस्तकांचे मी वाचन करतो म्हणून मी सुद्धा मावोइस्ट व नक्सालीस्ट आहे असे कर्नाड म्हणाले. विनायक सेन व असीम त्रिवेदी यांच्या बाबत सरकार वेगवेगळी भूमिका घेते याचा निषेध व्यक्त करून विद्रोही लेखक सुधीर धवळे यांना सोडवण्यासाठी जे काय करता येईल टे करून धवळे यांना सोडवण्यासाठी प्रयत्न करू असे कर्नाड म्हणाले.यावेळी डॉली ठाकूर, माजी पोलीस अधिकारी सुधाकर सुराडकर, कॉम्रेड प्रकाश रेड्डी उपस्थित होते.

Every artist has the right to be rebellious: Girish Karnad

Standard

 

 

_MG_9525.JPG

 

Press Trust of India / Mumbai October 04, 2012, 21:05

Stating that “rebellion” is the right of every artist, veteran actor and filmmaker Girish Karnad today said reading or possessing books on Naxalism is not a crime.

The 74-year-old playwright said Aseem Trivedi, the political cartoonist who was charged with sedition by Mumbai Police, and human rights activist Binayak Sen, accused by the Chhattisgarh Government of having links with Naxals, received different treatment in the cases in which they were arrested.

“Aseem Trivedi was granted bail soon after he gathered support from various sections of the society. On the other hand, Binayak Sen was refused bail on several occasions,” Karnad said.

He was speaking at a programme organised by the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) here this evening.

KKM is a cultural group consisting of Dalit “protest” singers and poets. Two activists of the Manch were arrested by Maharashtra Police last year for alleged Naxal links.

Calling the people associated with the organisation as “rebellious and enemy” of the state is unfair, the award-winning playwright maintained.

Lokmanya Tilak said Swaraj is my birthright. I would say rebellion is the right of every artist. An independent individual has every right to be rebellious.”

Karnad said there is no exact definition of Naxalism and Maoism. Claiming that he reads a lot on Maoism, the filmmaker questioned, “Does that mean I am a Maoist?”

“I have many books on Naxalism and Maoism. If reading books on Maoist ideology is a crime, then I am also a Maoist,” he state