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Press Release – Stop State Terrorism; Stop Harassment by Police

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

Press Release

Stop State Terrorism; Stop Harassment by Police

An appeal by Honorable Judges, leaders, journalists, writers, playwrights, theatre practitioners from the state in support of the social activists

Sudhir Dhawale at Free Binayk Sen Protest in Mumbai

Sudhir Dhawale at Free Binayk Sen Protest in Mumbai

 
Republican Panther Jaati Anth Movement, and editor of Vidrohi magazine, writer and journalist journalist, Sudhir Dhavale, and Sharad Gaikwad, Shankar Patil, Bhai Ri Pa Corporator Arun Kambale and other activists are being mentally harassed by officers of the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Deonar and Pune.

In this regard, on 9 October 2014, Urmila Pawar (writer), Ramu Ramanathan (playwright), Jatin Desai (Senior Journalist) addressed a press conference.

Urmila Pawar protested the stand taken by the Government and its police department. “Instead of facilitating Sudhir Dhavale and other activists, the government is harassing them, we will not tolerate this. How do we live? Should we be not be organised? The state does not implement the rights enshrined by the Constitution and ATS is terrorising the activists. We will not tolerate this,” she warned.

Playwright Ramu Ramanathan said, “Sudhir Dhawale is an important literary and journalistic voice of our times. The Gondia Session Court has acquitted him after he spent 40 months in prison. In spite of which he and other activists are being deliberately harassed. This is against the Constitution and in violation of fundamental rights and freedom.” He appealed to the people to be aware of their fundamental rights and express their voice through people’s art.

Senior journalist, Jatin Desai while protesting the police intimidation against activists and artists, congratulated the Nobel Prize Winners from both India and Pakistan and appealed that “citizens and social organisations support the people who are resisting the government against encroachment on forest, land and water and violation of human rights, and freedom.”

Sudhir Dhawale pointed out how the police is harassing activists. He said, “The police is coercing activists to confess to false allegations failing which they are being threatened by ATS to be placed under arrest within six months.” Republican Panther’s Sharad Gaikwad is being repeatedly summoned to Pune and being interrogated.

Important activists are summoned and being made to sit in the ATS office. Dhawale said, “It seems the ATS is spreading more terror in the name of containing it.” Dhawale warned that such atrocities against human rights should not be tolerated in a civil society.

For further details please refer to the protest letter (below) which has been signed by Honourable Judges, Former Police Officer, leaders of political parties, and artists and activists in Maharashtra.

 

 

Date: 13 October 2014

On 1 September 2014, officials of ATS, Pune arrested two social activists viz. Arun Bhelake and Kanchan Nanavare as suspected naxalites in Pune. They were given third degree treatment and made to issue a statement.

This statement was used by ATS to implicate other progressive social activists in this alleged arrest case. And so, the Bharatiya Republican Paksha Bahujan Mahasangha’s Govandi Corporator Hon. Shri. Arun Kamble, Republican Panther’s Jaatiant Movement’s State President Sharad Gaikwad, Rahul Seva Mandal’s President Shankar Patil, Kabir Kalamach’s Rupali Jadhav from Pune and mass movement’s key members from Pune are being summoned to the ATS office in Pune for “enquiry”.

They are made to sit at the office for the entire day after which their statements are recorded. They are being called to the ATS office multiple times for interrogation and the same questions are repeated, again and again. While a person is expected to cooperate with the authorities for an enquiry for a legitimate case, but ordering them to come to Pune every now and then, under the pretext of enquiry and making them confess as per incorrect statements under coercion can be considered as mental harassment of activists in Maharashtra.

These activists are being asked to disclose name, address and contact details of other members form the above mentioned organisations. Some of persons who are names are not even remotely connected with this case nor have any summons been issued or pending against them. This act of ATS is an attempt to intimidate the members of these organisations and members of civil society.

Harassment of Sudhir Dhawale 

On 15 May 2014, after 40 months, Gondia Session Court acquitted Sudhir Dhawale, the Editor of Vidrohi (a bimonthly magazine) and member of Republic Panthers, however, the police continues to harass him. On the 28 September, the police entered his Govandi residence and conducted a search without any warrant nor summons. After which they interrogated him. The police bundled him into a van and escorted him to Deonar police station; they confiscated his mobile phone. After which Dhawale was made to give a written statement and mentally harassed him.

This constant harassment of members of these organisations and senior social activists by the police under the pretext of alleged enquiry must be vehemently protested by all progressive thinkers, intellectuals, artists and social organisations.

Elections are conducted regularly, and our votes are meant to change governments. This gives us the illusion of a democratic country. However, we can see an invisible emergency-like situation which is prevalent. It is an absurd situation where our country’s Constitution confers the freedom of expression on us but the reality is, there is suppression of expression. Not just that citizens are systematically harassed by the police for adhering to a particular ideology.

In this sense, we the undersigned demand:

–       Definition of Terrorism should be clarified post 9/11

–       Intimidation of social activists by the police should cease, immediately

–       Mental harassment of members must be stopped, immediately

–       We must have the right to raise our voice against anti-democratic elements

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

1.        Retired Supreme Court Judge Hon. Shri P B Savant

2.        Retired Bombay High Court Judge Hon. Shri B G Kolse Patil

3.        Former Home State Minister Bhai Vaidya

4.        Prof N D Patil (Senior Leader)

5.        Prof. Pushpa Bhave

6.        Hon. Shri. Balasaheb aka Prakash Ambedkar

7.        Prof. Anand Teltumbade, Writer

8.        Govind Pansare (CPI-Leader)

9.        Ramu Ramanathan, Playwright

10.        J V Pawar, Writer

11.        Urmila Pawar, Writer

12.        Jatin Desai, Journalist

13.        Retired Bombay High Court Judge Hon. Shri. Suresh Hosbet

14.        Suresh Khopade, Ex-Police Officer

15.        Col. Sudhir Sawant

16.        Usha Umbhore

17.        Shahir Sambhaji Bhagat

18.        Sushama Deshpande, Theatre practitioner

19.        Sumedh Jadhav, Social Activist

20.        Teesta Setalvad, Human Rights Activist

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