On June 26,1975, Emergency was declared in India, robbing citizens of their basic democratic rights and ushering in a dark period of rampant human rights violations all over the country. Arrests of Indian citizens without charge or notification of families, abuse and torture of detainees, media censorship and use of public and private media institutions for government propaganda, forced sterilization of the minorities, destruction of slums and low income housing areas and authoritarianism were its main characteristics. All dissent was crushed. While the engineering student Rajan was tortured and killed in the Kakkayam torture camp, many others who were tortured are still alive to tell their tales.
The nightmare of Emergency was over in 1977 when it was lifted due to large scale public protest. Political parties, institutions and individuals who defended Emergency were discredited. The sigh of relief evoked a hope for a functioning democracy in India.
But today, we are entering into a similar phase of governance without any formal declaration of Emergency. This Silent Emergency has regulated, controlled and restricted all space for democratic public protests against ruling governments. Custodial deaths and encounter killings have become a routine phenomenon. Rape, murder, loot, torture and arrests in Manipur, Nagaland and other north eastern states as well as Kashmir have even crossed the excesses of the Emergency period. Many discriminatory laws have been enacted to silence the Media without a censorship. Several discriminatory laws were enacted to enhance and strengthen the power of the State over civil society and crush dissent. State terrorism today is beyond the imagination those who were responsible for the declaration of Emergency in the seventies.
Laws to facilitate the corporate control and loot over the resources of people are being enacted. This has also become a major reason for the human rights violations against adivasis, dalits, minorities, farmers, fisher people, workers, activists and human rights movements. While the mainstream media is compelled to ignore most of the people’s movements,for reasons of commerce those who work on human rights of the people are being victimized. The human rights defenders who take up burning issues of the people are being targeted. False cases are being fabricated against activists, people’s movements, media, theatre activists, minorities, self determination movements, dalits and adivasis in a major way. Thus thousands of innocent people are languishing in Indian jails without any trial.
Human rights lovers of this country and abroad came out on streets to campaign for the release Dr. Binayak Sen in recent times. However, hundreds of innocent adivasis are still suffering in the jails in Chhattisgarh. While the anti-POSCO movement leader Abhay Sahoo was released on bail recently, he is still being tied up with 51 fabricated cases. The villagers and activists resisting the South Korean multinational giant POSCO are facing over 1500 false cases and many of them cannot move out of their villages even to go to hospital due to this. They are jailed inside their own villages. While the leader of the anti-nuclear movement in Koodamkulam is facing over 200 fabricated cases, similar charges have also been instigated against over 6000 villagers. Muslim spiritual leader Abdul Nasser Maudany who supported the struggles of adivasis and dalits in Kerala was imprisoned in Coimbatore jail with fabricated charges for nine and a half years without trial and declared innocent and released later. However, he is imprisoned again with fabricated charges and he is suffering in jail in Bangalore today without proper medical care for his health problems. Maudany is becoming blind today. He has lost vision in one eye and the second eye is also affected. Writer and human rights activist Seema Azad is also behind bars today facing fabricated charges along with her husband. Seema Azad is the organizational secretary of PUCL in Uttar Pradesh. Journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi, journalist K.K. Shahina, adivasi activist Soni Sori, farmers’ movement leader Dr. Sunilam, Mumbai based activist Arun Ferreira, Activists protested against Nonadanga slum evictions in West bengal , advocate Shahnavas, dalit group in Kerala DHRM, Mumbai based theatre group Kabir Kala Manch, adivasi activist CK. Janu and her supporters and thousands of others have become victims of fabrication by the State in the recent past. This trend is not acceptable to any citizen who believes in democracy and human rights.
Therefore we appeal to all lovers of democracy and human rights to remember the trauma of this country through a declared Emergency during the 70s and express their strong protest against the emerging `Silent Emergency’ in India today. We appeal all citizens to:
- Organize protests against this Silent Emergency on June 26, 2012. If it is not possible on this day, please do it on a convenient day in your area.
- Organise public meetings remembering Emergency of the Seventies and against today’s Silent Emergency.
- Express your skills of writing, songs, posters, paintings, internet action, theatre or any other creative means of expressing your dissent.
- Organise film screenings of festivals to express concerns.
- Inform www.fabricated.in about your involvement (write to editor at fabricated.in)
We do hope that such collective action will generate some space for saving the remnants of democracy in this country.
- SP Ankit Garg , Do you have the Balls ? #SoniSori #Rape #Prison (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- The Trials Of A Political Prisoner: Arun Ferriera recounts custodial torture, life and irony in prison (kractivist.wordpress.com)