October 7, 2012
Out of 640 district of India, 101 are reeling under Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA). This war against our own people has thrown up social and ethnic divides whose tragic consequences can be seen in the current bloodletting in Assam and the exodus of people from North East out of Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, etc.
We are also alarmed at the indifference shown towards uncovering of mass graves in Kashmir which may hold the key to solve the mystery of 8-10,000 victims of enforced disappearance. Accordingly, Coordination of Democratic Rights organisations (CDRO), as an association of civil rights and democratic rights organizations, gave a call for a Rally and Dharna on on 7th September, 2012 in Delhi.
The objective of this call was to protest against escalated forms of violence and repression that various sections of people within the country are being subjected to. Click this link for a report from the Dharna; an excerpt of this report is shown below.
The course of democracy in India is increasingly witnessing a violent assault not just on people’s rights but the very existence of people who dare to stand and act in negation of the status quo. The current year has been replete with mass violations of civil and democratic rights of people. The brutal and prejudiced side of the state is obvious in its “arrest or kill” policy towards those resisting corporate take-over of their land, forest and water in the name of counter Maoist offensives (such as killing of 17 adivasis in Bijapur district of Chattisgarh). Equally evident is the state-corporate partnership exploiting peoples’ resources in the name of industrial development. The conscious attempt of the state to target vulnerable sections of society, to ‘construct’ them as criminals is visible in numerous cases of Muslim youths being falsely implicated in terrorist cases by Anti-Terrorist Squads of different state governments. There have been increasing instances of sexual assault on women by paramilitary forces. Incidents of violence against and social boycott of Dalits as a repercussion of their assertion of legitimate rights are escalating. Physical attacks on social activists for raising genuine concerns against the fatal consequences of state policies that pass under the rhetoric of development, together with a massive and shameful deployment of draconian laws such as sedition and UAPA are being used against civil and democratic rights activists to silence their voices. Out of 640 district of India, 101 are reeling under Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) and in another 37 districts we find similar conditions. This war against our own people has thrown up social and ethnic divides whose tragic consequences can be seen in the current bloodletting in Assam and the exodus of people from North East out of Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad etc. We are also alarmed at the indifference shown towards uncovering of mass graves in Kashmir which may hold the key to solve the mystery of 8-10,000 victims of enforced disappearance.
Delhi Police, which directly operates under the Central Government, did not give the required permission for rally till the last day in the name of maintaining law and order. However, nearly 500 people from various states of India came for this programme to vent their anger against suppressing democratic dissent. Most of the people who had come from various states such as Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, etc, for this programme were part of the democratic and civil liberty organisations. Many others were victims of the repressive laws such as UAPA, Sedition etc. They all had come armed with posters, banners and other campaign materials expressing the violation of democratic rights in their states. These posters and banners were put up at the dharna site and slogans were raised to highlight the repressive and undemocratic role of central and various state governments in response of the genuine and democratic demands of the toiling masses such as farmers, workers, Adivasis, minorities, etc.