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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 32 New Delhi August 1, 2015

Bangalore Citizens Decry State-sponsored Intimidation of Human Rights Activists

Friday 31 July 2015

The following is a statement by the Bangalore citizens against state-sponsored intimidation of human rights activists and civil society organisations.

The CBI raid on the residence and office of activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand, on July 13 and 14, 2015 is a shocking development. Socially conscious citizens perceive this as a political vendetta to insult, humiliate and intimidate the couple fighting for the rights of the victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Needless to state, the search and raid operation has all the colours of having been directed by powerful interests against whom Teesta Setalvad had filed cases on the Gujarat genocide of 2002. It has been a relentless struggle for Teesta and Javed to fight for the victims of the Gujarat carnage. This battle for justice for the victims has become even more difficult since vested interests assumed power in the Central Government.

Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand’s are not isolated cases. The official machinery of the state has been used to silence dissent consistently over the past several decades. The state has been complicit in the misuse of its powers over investigative agencies which have been used to intimidate, terrorise and harass those working for the causes of the poor, to uphold human rights and against injustice. Recent examples of such targeting include S. R. Hiremath of the Samaj Parivarthana Samudaya, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Binayak Sen and many others.

Such highhandedness of the state is witnessed in the way certain laws that exclusively govern civil society organisations are being amended to curtail basic rights of civil society organisations and people’s movements to work freely and with enjoyment of all Fundamental Rights. The current administration at the Centre is further manipulating these laws fundamental to safeguarding freedoms of individuals and organisations advancing social justice, while sparing no effort to benefit corporations and particular business houses. This when there is a relentless effort to whittle down schemes that guarantee the Right to Life and Livelihoods of ordinary people by cutting down on social safeguards and withdrawing a variety of subsidies that support the poor and also massive reduction in allocation to the social sector.

The trend clearly is one of attacking defenders of justice, instead of providing justice to the victims of violence, with fabricated cases being filed with impunity against the defenders of justice. We are wary that a culture of attacking, terrorising and even getting rid of those who defend the rights of the victims is gradually becoming an accepted practice. Reports in the media have highlighted the Vyapam case in Madhya Pradesh, where several whistleblowers and advocates of the Right to Information Act have been targeted.

At this juncture, what those who fight for justice need is all the support from people of goodwill to defeat the evil designs of certain vested and politically powerful interests. While there is a need to battle those who are determined to wipe out the memories of the Gujarat carnage and escape responsibility for their criminal deeds, it is equally necessary that we stand against the culture of state terrorism, intimidation and violence.

Endorsed by:

1. Girish Karnad, Actor, Film Director, Writer and Playwright

2. Govind Rao, Actor, Poet, Resource Person and in social movements

3. Maj Gen S.G. Vombatkere (Retd), Mysore.

4. Dr Ambrose Pinto, SJ, Principal, St. Aloysius Degree College

5. Bhargavi S. Rao, Environmental Support Group

6. Leo F. Saldanha, Environmental Support Group

7. A.R.Vasavi, Social Anthropologist, Bangalore

8. Dr Suvrat Raju, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, TIFR

9. Prithvi Reddy, Entrepreneur and Political Activist

10. Dr Sreeramappa Chinnappa, Medical Officer

11. L. Ashok, Komu Souharda Vedike

12. Ajay Marshal, Photographer

13. Robin Christopher, Alternative Law Forum

14. Manohar Rangnathan, Human Right Activist

15. Dr Selvaraj Arulnathan, SJ, Director, Indian Social Institute

16. Mark Rasquinha, Associate Professor, Jain University

17. Roshan Sylvester, Associate Professor, Jyothi Nivas College

18. Vinoo Sudhakar, Associate Professor, St. Aloysius Degree College, Bangalore

19. Professor Etienne Rassendran, St. Joseph’s College

20. Professor Chandan Gowda, Azeem Premjee University

21. Professor Babu Mathew, National Law School of India

22. Ramyani Chakrabarty, M. Tech, Trainee Teacher

23. Jagadish Chandra, New Socialist Alternative

24. N. Jayaram, PUCL, Bangalore

25. Ms Madhu Bhushan, Social Activist

26. Rakesh Narayan, PUCL

27. Jagadeesh Byata, Social Activist and Lawyer

28. Keya Acharya, journalist, Bangalore.

29. Dr Akhila Vasan, Karnataka Janaaroyga Chaluvali

30. K.B. Obalash, Karnataka Janaaroyga Chaluvali

31. Vijaya Kumar S., Karnataka Janaaroyga Chaluvali

32. T.N. Gopalan, Journalist

33. Ms Anita Cheria, Open Space

34. Ms Anasuya Byndoor, Swaraj Sangatane, Karnataka

35. Pradeep Esteves, Context India

36. Sumi Krishna, Independent Scholar

37. Ms C.K. Meena, Writer

38. Bobby Kunhu, Advocate

39. Asma A.N., Independent Journalist

40. Syed Tanveeruddin, Environmental, RTI, Human Rights and Social Activist, Mysore

41. Uma V. Chandru, Activist, Bangalore

42. K.P. Sashi, Documentary Maker

43. Dr Arati Chokshi, Citizen

44. Himanshu Trivedi, Associate, Lawyer, Barristers & Solicitors

45. Anita Ratnam, Executive Director, Samvada Youth Resource Centres & Baduku Community College For Alternatives

46. Pushpa Achanta, Journalist & Trainer

47. Antony Melvin D. Paul, Founder and Lead, Pound Head

48. Mallikarjun L.S., RTI Activist,

49. Dr Arati Choksh, Science Activist

50. Joseph Britto, Indo Bloom Ltd.

51. Dr Lawrence Surendra, Environmental Economist

52. Benazir Siddiq

53. Rajitha Vipparthi

54. Ms Shanthala Damle

55. Manasi Pingle

56. Fr. Adolf Washington

57. Ms Lakshmi Nilakantan

58. Ralph Paul Coelho

59. Kshithij Urs

60. Ms Meena Subramaniam

61. Kirtana Kumar

62. M.V.K. Anil Kumar

63. Richard D.

64. Merlin Francis

65. Shaheen Shasa

66. B.V. Mahesh Kumar

67. Nitin Basrur

68. Pramod Krishnamurthy 

69. Benjamin T.

70. Hiroo Advani

71. Anil Kapur

72. S. Gopal, Kundalahalli

73. Pramod Krishnamurthy

74. Ms Pushpa Surendra

75. Nitin Gujaran

76. Snigdha Samal

77. Akhlaque Ahmed

78. Karthik Ranganathan

79. Chetana Ajit

80. Murali S.

81. Zephyrine Goveas

82. Prashant Paikray

83. Sheela Gowda

84. Meena Artwani

85. Sridhar Raman

86. Sudha Nagavarapu

87. Mani Kalliath

88. Sr. Leonie