The liberal movement in any Country and more so in our Country has its positive side. It is under the spell of liberal movement that the ultra conservatism, ultra orthodoxy and ultra nationalism and the likes are held in cheque. It is under the spell of liberal movements that the extremist mindset out to target the vulnerable section of the society and vehemently stifle the dissent can be curbed to some an extent.
One is entitled to express the dissent over any issue. The Constitution has given the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 of the Constitution but subject to certain reasonable restrictions. The concept of reasonable restrictions is capable of widest interpretations and hence there is the scope of its misuse.
In the prevailing political atmosphere in the Country there is not only attempt to stifle the dissent but also sustain the campaign of violence against the weak and feeble section of the society. The worst part of the scenario is that all the wrong things are done in the name of nationalism and those opposing the Establishment for its commission and omission of mistakes are retaliated with the stigma of being anti national. The liberal voices are not only attempted to be curbed with the heavy outpouring of criticism but violence is also perpetrated.
It is in the teeth of the scenario when the Government of the day not discouraging the belligerence and bellicosity of the communal forces perpetrating the high degree of tyranny and repression and allegedly curbing the freedom of the intellectuals to express the dissent there lingered certain amount of suspicion over the police swooping down on the human right activists. The action was described as a follow up on a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister Modi which had unravelled after the seizure of a letter from Maoist sympathiser.
Those arrested included activists like Lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj from Faridabad, right activist Gautam Nanlakha from Delhi, activist Vernon Gonsalves and the Lawyer activist Arun Ferreira from Mumbai and 78 year old P. Varavera Rao.
The raids and arrests police said were based on names that emerged during the investigation of five other activists they had arrested in June in connection with Bhima-Koregaon violence.
While Pune Police termed raids and arrests a crackdown on “Urban Naxals” who they claimed were responsible for the violence many reacted with shock describing the action as “absolutely chilling” and “virtual declaration of Emergency”. It is treated as an assault over democracy. There are the allegations of the victimisation of the intellectuals.
Meantime the Supreme Court expressed dismay over the manner in which five activists were arrested in connection with the Bhīma-Koregaon violence observing that dissenting voices in a democracy should not be crushed.
“Dissent is the safely valve of democracy if dissent is not allowed then the pressure cooker may burst”, said Justice Y. Chandrachud. The Supreme Court is right as any amount of disdainful disrespect to the voice of dissent leading to the coercive action may lead to the insecure environment. The insecure environment would culminate into deep seated conflict creating the situation of deep concern and anxiety.
Subsequently, making out a case for the recent nationwide crackdown on human right activists by Pune Police, Maharashtra Additional Director General [Law & Order] Parambir Singh has claimed that they have enough evidence to prove that the arrested activist, including Telugu Poet Varavara Rao, Lawyer Activist Sudha Bhadwaj and activist Rona Wilson had links with outlawed naxal groups.
The police claim to have recovered the letters that establish the alleged nexus between the arrested and the naxal lot.
At a media briefing Maharashtra Additional Director General [Law & Order], Maharashtra Police brandished copies of the “email-letters” which purportedly spoke about arms procurement, muzzling democracy and raising funds to support their claims that the arrested activist had solid Maoist links.
The police also said that they have recovered “thousands of such letters” from the laptops seized from the accused.
But questioning the credibility of the letters, lawyer Susan Abraham, wife of Vernon Gonzales, one of the activists arrested, accused the police of not following the due process of law.
“This is just to prejudice the minds of the public and divert the attention from the real issues like involvement of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote [in Bhima-Koregaon Violence] and Sanatan Sanstha’s involvement in the killing of rationalists. There is no credential value of the letters as none of these was authenticated in the Court nor given to the defence lawyers”, Abraham said.
She asked why the police did not mention the “letters” in the Court if those were so important. “When the Pune Police filed a remand application in the Dist & Session’s Court on August 29 during the production of Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonzales and Arun Ferreira they had stated 18 reasons. Not a single reason mentioned any letter or procurement of arms. I don’t understand why such kind of maligning of the accused is being done when the matter is already in the domain of the Court. This is illegal”. Abraham fumed. This is reported in the Daily Mirror dated September 1, 2018.
Lawyer Mihir Desai also said that the letters appeared to be suspicious.
The Mirror further reported “Any such document, if it is so sensitive cannot be opened before the media before being examined by the Supreme Court. This is a actually part of the prosecution’s evidence”, a Senior Lawyer practising at the Bombay High Court Sanjay Kantawala said.
The authenticity of which are as per the version of the police incriminating in nature can be established by the Court only after the authenticity of the documents is examined. It is for the Defence Counsel in Supreme Court to suggest that those letters are not forwarded by the concerned accused. The possibility of someone faking the mail ID and sending the incriminating documents cannot be ruled out. However without verifying the accuracy of the documents the media briefing was uncalled for as the information fed at this stage tantamount to influencing the public opinion.
Advocate Abu Zaid Iraqi said that “The Apex Court can take sue motto action against the prosecution in pre maturely releasing the letters”.
Adv Anand Khanderao also feels that the arrest of these Human Right activist is to divert attention from some other sensitive issues.
Adv Abu Zaid Iraqi and Adv Khanderao Practise in Kalyan and Bombay Session’s Court.
Meanwhile the activist like Arundhati Roy, Jignesh Mevani and Aruna Roy protested against the arrest of the Human Right Activists by the Maharashtra Police for alleged Maoist link. Arundhati Roy said “They should raid those who make up lynch mobs and murder people in broad day light. It tells very clearly where India is headed. Murderers will be honoured and celebrated. Anybody who speaks for Justice or against Hindu majoritatianism is being made into criminal. What is happening is absolutely perilous”.
Justice Kolse Patil also denied any Maoist link of the arrested activists.
The Justice Kolse Patil said that the Elgar Parishad had been suddenly linked to the Koregaon-Bhīma riots when an earlier report had said the riots were linked to incitement by Hindutva activists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide.
To Mr. Patil the wrongful arrests of activists was an attempt by the State and the Central Government to divert attention from the recent arrests of Sanatan Sanstha activists.
The outpouring of the criticism against the arrest of the Human Right activist born out of suspicion is based on the premise that there is an attempt to the alleged politically influence the different components of the Government and more so the Law Enforcing Agency. The political interfering in the police functioning is the matter of serious concern. The prejudiced role of certain section of the police to prevent the repeated occurrence of mob lynching and the absence of action against those indulging in the inflammatory utteranas against the vulnerable section and turning a blind eye over the similar acts of commission and omission have put the credentials of the police at stake. The way the violence is taking place against the helpless and the weak has put a question mark over the credibility of the law enforcers. However the entire force cannot be tarred with the same brush. There are a lot of secular people in the force who don’t want any section of the society to be victimised on the basis of narrow consideration.
What is of no less significance to note that doubting the authenticity of the accusations of those arrested cannot be termed anti National and pro Mao. Those critising the arrest can never be the naxal sympathisers. The unlawful activities of whether naxals or any other group are to be brought to a halt and termination. The efforts are also required to bring the deviated into the National Mainstream. Any flawed approach to deal with the Human Right Activists or anyone else for that matter is like lynching the Secular Democracy itself and would be disgrace for us in the Comity of Nations.
The series of gory events are leading to undeclared Emergency with heavy misuse of nationalism is much more dangerous than declared Emergency. In Emergency there was no attempt to provoke assault over any particular section of the society but in a prevailing situation the intense hatred is provoked against the particular section to target it sometimes in the name of religion and sometimes in the name of Nationalism which has vehemently unhealthy effects.

Posted on Sep 11, 18 | 12:12 pm