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Thursday, June 30, 2022

‘More responsibility on civil liberties unions now’ – Mrit News

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Civil liberties unions in India are witnessing a new context, even as the movement reaches its 50th anniversary, and the responsibility to become a concerted voice and platform for people’s causes is now more than ever, Prof. Haragopal of Civil Liberties Committees-Telangana said on Sunday.

“India now, marked with incidents of lynching, threatening and unlawful arrests of minorities, activists and intellectuals, resembles Germany of the 1930-40s. The legislation has clearly changed from ‘inquire, arrest, produce evidence and conduct trial’, to attacks and arrests based on suspicion. The anti-social elements are not punished but even motivated by the governments,” he said, citing examples.

Prof. Haragopal was speaking at the CLC-Telangana’s 2nd State conference at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram here.

“We have a Prime Minister who believes that rights weaken society; there are groups that think the Constitution is no longer relevant and must be re-written, and there’s Telangana which was achieved through struggles and yet under the present rule democratic rights are suppressed,” he said.

The 2021 farmers’ protest that led to repealing of three laws and emergence of alternative media, Prof. Haragopal said, offered hope for change and appealed for concerted efforts of all stakeholders.

For speakers at the conference, The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been a political instrument to repress activists and voices that educate victims of the State.

“While Justice Krishna Iyer said bail is rule and jail an exception (a person is not guilty until proven), Section 43D (5) of UAPA says no person can be released on bail unless the public prosecutor is given an opportunity of being heard,” Prof. Laxman said, describing it as funny and undemocratic.

Another speaker Mr. Kranthi Chaitanya said “the judiciary should feel ashamed”, and said even Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana’s progressive statements were limited to mere words and did not result in action.

According to journalist-activist Pasham Yadagiri, only through collective political consciousness of the people and solidarity-based movements can the fight be taken forward.

Representing civil liberties committees from various States – Tapas Chakravarthi of West Bengal, Preet Pal Singh of Punjab, Gopal of Tamil Nadu, Damodar of Jharkhand and Phulindra of Manipur and others – denouncing UAPA, said its implementation has far-reaching implications on democracy, and demanded its repeal.

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