[WSMDiscuss] Fwd: Reaffirming our faith in the Constitution on Ambedkar Jayanti. Arrest of Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha condemnable.

Madhuresh Kumar kmadhuresh at gmail.com
Thu Apr 16 12:05:27 CEST 2020

Dear all,

As the situation in the backdrop of Covid is unfolding across the world,
the State is acquiring unprecendted power and unleashing the terror against
dissenting voices. The similar scrip is unfolding in India too and here is
our statement on the criminalisation of activists, changes in the labour
and environment laws and continued attack on democratic insitutions. Read
and do share.
In solidarity,
Madhuresh, NAPM

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: napm india <napmindia at gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 10:41 AM
Subject: Reaffirming our faith in the Constitution on Ambedkar Jayanti.
Arrest of Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha condemnable.

*Reaffirming our faith in the Constitution on Ambedkar Jayanti*

*Selfless services of doctors, health and sanitation workers and
spontaneous relief efforts from ordinary citizens and civil society raises
hope for India*

*People’s Movements Condemn Continued Oppression of Civil** Liberties and
Targeting of Dissent*

*Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it,
social democracy. What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life
which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of

*B. R. Ambedkar*

*April 14/15, 2020*: As the country paid homage to Babasaheb Ambedkar on
his 129th birth anniversary, Prof Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha, two
of India’s finest public intellectuals and activists were taken in custody
by the Indian State for their ideas and lifelong commitment to the
democratic values and the ideals enshrined in the Constitution. *What could
be the greater irony for us as a Republic ?*

They join Sudha Bharadwaj and other advocates and rights activists arrested
for their alleged involvement in the infamous ‘Elgar Parishad - Bhima
Koregaon’ case! The case made out primarily under the draconian Unlawful
Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), with the sole purpose of witch-hunt
suffers from several lacunae and has barely moved forward. It has only one
aim: to target activists, criminalise dissent and suppress democratic

Their arrest, not surrender, needs to be seen together with the
registration of FIR against Siddharth Varadrajan, Prashant Bhushan, Ashlin
Mathew, Kannan Gopinathan in different parts of the country.  Read this
also with continued incarceration of peasants leader Akhil Gogoi for four
months now; arrest of Dr Kafeel Khan in Uttar Pradesh; arrest of Abhilakh
Singh, Secretary of Theka Mazdoor Kalyan Samiti in Pantnagar University;
Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, research scholars from Jamia University;
teacher Konsam Victor Singh and Dr. Laifungbam Debabrata Roy in Manipur,
Soneswar Narah and Pranab Doley of Jeepal Krishak Sramik Sangha in Assam
and many other arbitrary arrests over facebook posts, WhatsApp forwards and
most importantly for raising questions over the government actions.

These are just tip of the iceberg examples. Governments are using the Covid
lockdown to continue its agenda of destroying the democratic institutions
and processes, restrict fundamental rights and freedom and criminalise any
critique as sedition and anti-national. The federal character of the Indian
State is being put under the strain and being eroded constantly. This is in
line with the authoritarian tendencies seen elsewhere in the world where,
States are using the Covid situation as an opportunity to increase
repression, and trample on democratic rights, increase surveillance and
prepare for ruthless accumulation, with greater impunity and consent. The
choices offered are to dying of hunger and unemployment, being shut out by
repression while facing more dispossession and exhaustion or die of

The lockdown is being misused everywhere. We saw the excesses in beginning
of August with Jammu & Kashmir, but now the whole country is following the
same template. Courts make mild noises about decongesting the jails in wake
of the pandemic, but thousands of political prisoners, including dreadfully
sick and disabled Professor GN Saibaba, continue to languish there. Indian
State is only adding to their numbers rather than decongest those. The
courts too are under lock and key and there is no channel for any appeal
for justice. *How can one demand, insist upon or protest to seek full
compliance of the guidelines and rules put forth by the National Human
Rights Commission of India or even the United Nations Commission on human
rights ? However, we demand that government immediately withdraw these
false cases, stop witch hunt of dissenting voices and release all the
political prisoners languishing in the jails across the country. *

There is an undeclared emergency, unfortunately, admitted as a necessary
evil, in response to a pandemic. A perfect tool for curbing dissent and
establishing complete control. The wave of dissent generated by the
protests against the citizenship laws and birth of Shaheen Baghs across the
country can now be made history under the garb of an unfolding health
crisis, threatening the humanity. Unfortunately, the communal virus is
proving to be more dangerous than the Corona virus. The renewed targeting
of the minorities through social media, including fake documentaries and
videos, during these opportune environs is causing irreversible harm to the
national unity, integrity, peace and constitutional democracy. *Its time to
build social harmony and reject and give up monstrous dreams and projects
like NRC, NPR and CAA which discriminate and create further divisions in
the society. *

The national lockdown, initially announced for three weeks, has now been
extended till May 3rd. We all are in lock down. Our activities, including
those related to livelihoods of the poor are arrested. However, amidst this
corona virus pandemic, there are many happenings which are in full swing
including various decisions on changing labour and environment laws and
policies, transfer of public sector properties to the private and banking
and finance sector without much public debate. We cannot ignore the
simultaneous decisions being taken against the working class, the labour
force put to toil for the country's growth and sacrifice for the elites'
comforts. The abolition or abrogation of labour legislations is going to
prove to be against the interests of the same working class of unprotected
toilers who were thrown on the streets and haven't yet reached their
destinations, not just their home or villages but their struggle for decent
employment and fair wages.

The pandemic has also driven home the point that the most important sectors
of our economy health, sanitation, water supply, cleanliness remain
neglected and people engaged in those are the real warriors and s/heroes.
Doctors, nurses, safai karmacharis, health workers and others have been
working non-stop even without protective gears, putting their lives at
stake. *We need to think through as a nation going forward after the
pandemic and fix our priorities and build a clean and healthy nation.*

The farmers who through struggles, are partly saved from the inevitable
suicides, are again the worst hit. In spite of various official orders,
even during lock down, there is no procurement by the state of the
perishable and non perishable produce and hardly any  channels made
available for marketing those, with the support price that is MSP or
reasonable price for non- MSP crops like fruits, vegetables and hilly
millets. They are thrown as a prey for the profiteers  and big traders and
hoarders. Same has been true about fishworkers and dairymen, artisans,
hawkers, and small traders too. The livelihood security linked with the
food security of the poor and middle class is banished. All this and much
more is invariably breaching the faith in the constitutional framework of
values and principles that is preserved by the Indian society, especially
the socio-economically oppressed over decades. *The measures announced by
the government is proving to be insufficient. There is need to increase
financial allocations for vulnerable sections and also that measures
announced don’t remain on paper but get implemented, before its too late.*

Their voice through the media committed to justice, secularism and
socialism like* the wire* or *NDTV*, is also being throttled through false
accusations and unjustifiable legal actions. The corporations, who are the
partners, not only in the battle against coronavirus but engaged in the
profit war at the global economic forum, on the other hand, are protected
and promoted even during covid-19. This is ruthlessly pursued amidst the
fear and intimidation faced by others. In this medical emergency, the
courts and governments side with the private health industry and not with
people and deny free test of Corona affected patients, health care to those
affected and stand for the right of business and profit at any cost. This
says a lot about the state of affairs and commitment of State to the

Ambedkar Jayanti is the day we all must remember the ideals of an
independent India, achieved after sacrifices and martyrdom those in
Jallianwala Bagh and the struggle for independence. As we move forward and
battle this pandemic, we must remember that as a nation so many ordinary
people have risen up to the occasion and reached out to help those in
distress. Social movements, trade unions, women’s and farmers
organisations, NGOs, charitable trusts and others have taken upon them to
extend solidarity and look after those in need. This encourages us to
continue our struggle for building a better India even as struggle with the
excesses during the state of lockdown. This pandemic has exposed the
diverse faultlines, pluralities, strengths and weaknesses of our society.
As we look ahead, there is a need to rethink our modes and missions and
priorities as a nation. Thus:

·       A pledge on this day should, therefore, be for getting prepared,
united, and mobilized with courage and commitment, to be reflected in every
message and media that is within our reach.

·       A pledge should also be for alternative economic and developmental
paradigm with no or least depletion of natural resources, which can prepare
us for fighting not only pandemics like this but unfolding climate crisis

·       A pledge for self reliance of societies and communities with
democratic principles, socialist goals and processes.

·       A pledge to combat communal hatred, casteism and wiping off social
distancing that is up in the air, during the opportune pandemic !

·       Pledge to remain firm and speak up for human values of love and
compassion, extend solidarities and build alliances across diversities of
thought and action.

We do and we will continue to stand together with the vision of Ambedkar,
Gandhi, Periyar, Marx, Lohiya and others as reflected in the visionary
Samvidhan. And we urge, as Prof Teltumbde did in his open letter to all of
us that …”you will speak out before your turn comes.” let us keep speaking
and raising our voice against injustices and for a better India.

*Samvidhan amar rahe!*

*Medha Patkar,* Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of
People’s Movements (NAPM); *Dr. Sunilam, Adv. Aradhna Bhargava,* Kisan
Sangharsh Samiti; *Rajkumar Sinha*, Chutka Parmaanu Virodhi Sangharsh
Samiti, NAPM, Madhya Pradesh;

*Prafulla Samantara,* Lok Shakti Abhiyan, NAPM Odisha;

*Sandeep Pandey,* SP(I); *Richa Singh*, Rambeti, Sangatin Kisaan Mazdoor
Sangathan; *Arundhati Dhuru,* NAPM, Uttar Pradesh;

*Meera Sanghamitra, *NAPM Telangana;

*Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere*, NAPM Karnataka

*Gabriele Dietrich,* Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai; *Geetha
Ramakrishnan,* Unorganised
Sector Workers Federation; Suthanthiran; NAPM Tamilnadu

*Basant Hetamsaria,* NAPM Jharkhand;

*Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant, *Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, NAPM Gujarat;

*Vimal Bhai, *Matu Jan sangathan, NAPM, Uttarakhand;

*Pradip Chatterjee*, National Platform for Small Sclae Fish Workers, NAPM
West Bengal

*Suniti SR, Sanjay M G, Suhas Kolhekar;* *Bilal Khan,* Ghar Bachao Ghar
Banao Andolan, NAPM Maharashtra;

*Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan,* Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan; *Mahendra
Yadav, *Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar;

*Rajendra Ravi*; *Sanjeev Kumar*, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch;
Kumar, Anil TV*, NAPM Delhi.

*For any further details, contact: 7337478993, 9958797409 **napmindia at gmail.com
<napmindia at gmail.com>*

*National Alliance of People’s Movements*National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B,
Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 24374535
Web : www.napm-india.org | napmindia at gmail.com
Facebook : www.facebook.com/NAPMindia
Twitter : @napmindia

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*National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)*
WhatsApp + Phone : (+91) 98 1890 5316 / +33 769 49 8891
email : kmadhuresh at gmail.com | Twitter / Skype @kmadhuresh
www.napm-india.org | www.inanantiqueland.wordpress.com

Fleig, Elina, Kumar, Madhuresh, Weber Juergen (eds.) *(2013)* *Speak Up!
Sozialer Aufbruch und Widerstand in Indien*(English Title: Social Movements
and Resistance in India*)* Assoziation A : Berlin.
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