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.
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