Arundhati Roy and several other intellectuals, writers, social activists and common citizens from around the world demand the release of Jaison Cooper, and Thushar Nirmal Sarathy, arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Jaison Cooper, a well-known social activist and blogger, actively engaged in a variety of people’s struggles in Kerala, India has been taken into police custody from his office on 29 January 2015 , Thursday morning without any notice or arrest warrant. The police who took him into custody told his colleagues in the office that he would be released if any of his colleagues reach the police station. Accordingly two persons working in the same office reached the Thevara Police Station.
The police however the changed their earlier version and told them to wait for 10 minutes as the Circle Inspector of Police needed to have a word with them. The police then said that Cooper will not be released and detained in the station. This was followed by a series of police action in different parts of Ernakulum on the same day. The residents of advocate Thushar Sarathy, Secretary of Janakeeya Manushyavakasa Prasthanam (People’s Human Rights Forum), advocate P.J. Manuel and artist-activist Jolly Chirayath, Convener of Sthree Koottayma, a Kochi-based feminist collective were raided without fulfilling any legal requirements.
The police has seized several files connected with the cases handled by advocate Thushar from his residence. The police also collected several books from his library, all of them available from any bookshop. The cops took several notices and pamphlets linked with various peoples struggles from the residences of Advocate Manuel and Ms. Jolly. The police have also not given the receipts of the goods seized in the raids as required under the law. The absence of a specific seizure list by the police prepares the ground for a further abuse of the legal framework to aid in the repression of these activists. Moreover, it is also learnt that mobile phone and computer records were scanned at length by the police.
On Friday, 30 January 2015, the police had formally recorded the arrest of Cooper under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (section 13 b of UAPA). The police presented him in the court at 1.30p.m. and the court granted his custody to the police for the next six days. The police also arrested advocate Thushar from Kozhikode the same day while he was attending a press conference about a protest meeting by human rights activist to be held in Kozhikode on Saturday.
It must be mentioned that Thushar Sarathy, being a civil rights activist in the forefront of people’s struggles has been systematically under police surveillance. News-reports from Kerala have highlighted how he was not merely under surveillance from the police, but he, along with Jaison Cooper, was also included in a “Maoist look-out notice” for his participation in the struggle against illegal quarrying carried out by the people of Ambittantharissu village in Palakkad district. As a logical step in the repression curve, the police have gone ahead and arrested him. These arrests are clearly a step to criminalize every form of opinion and to punish every act of dissent.
We, the undersigned, believe that this police action is a well concerted political act to silence all voices raising critical questions about the political, economical and social issues in the country. The act of the police should be condemned by all people believing in the freedom of expression and the right to dissent. The incident also shows that the police in Kerala under a Congress Regime are no different from the Hindu Fascist regimes in other parts of the country.
We, the undersigned, place the following demands before the Chief Minister of Kerala and call upon him to:
1. Release the activists Jaison Cooper and Thushar Sarathy unconditionally
2. Punish the police officers responsible for framing and defaming people’s activists
3. Prevent the torture and intimidation of Jaison Cooper and Thushar Sarathy as long as they remain in police custody and to protect their right to silence and dignity.
Arundhati Roy, Writer; Vara Vara Rao, Writer; SAR Geelani, Activist; Sanjay Kak, Filmmaker; K Satchidanandan, Poet; Sujato Bhadra, APDR, West Bengal; Bernard D’Mello, Intellectual and Writer; Dr. Anand Teltumbde, intellectual-activist, IIT Kharagpur; KP Sasi, Activist, Filmmaker, Bangalore; Monica Narula, Artist, RAQS Media Collective, New Delhi; Nandini Chandra, Faculty, Delhi University; Jayan Cherian, Filmmaker, New York; Suma Josson, Filmmaker; Tu Senan, International Convenor, Tamil Solidarity, London; Jagadish Chandra, Secretary, New Socialist Alternative, Bangalore; Arun Ferreira, Political Activist and Writer; Chittibabu Padavala, Journalist, Mumbai; Meena Kandasamy, Writer, Chennai; Mosarrap Khan, Editor, Cafe Dissensus, New York; Leena Manimekalai, Filmmaker, Chennai; Anuradha Roy, Writer; Sabitha TP, Poet, Delhi/London; Ranjitha Gunasekaran, Journalist, London; Binu Mathew, Editor, Countercurrents.org; Hany Babu, Faculty, Delhi University; Bobby Kunhu, Human Rights Advocate; MC Raj, Novelist and Dalit Activist, Tumkur; Kyoko Nakajima, Novelist, Kyoto, Japan; Amita Kanekar, Novelist, Goa; Nabina Das, Writer and Poet, Hyderabad; Priti Aisola, Writer, Canada; Prince Ennares Periyar, Writer and Film Maker, Chennai; Apurva Kulkarni, Artist and Critic, Goa; Tamil Maga Prabhakaran, Journalist- News7
Prominent signatories from Kerala
BRP Bhasker, Human right activist and Sr. Journalist; K.E.N Kunjahammad, Left Thinker; P.K. Pokker,Left Thinker; T.N. Joy, Writer, Social and Human right Activist; K.M Venugopal, Writer and CPIML liberation leader; C.R. Parameshwaran. Writer; K.S.Madhusoodanan,High Court Advo cate, Human Right Activist; K.P. Sethunath Journalist; Jolly Chirayath, Cultural and FeministActivist; Dileep Raj Writer, Social Activist; Reshma Bharadwaraj Writer, Feminist Activist; Rekha Raj Writer,Dalith, Feminist Activist; Civic Chandran Social Activist; N. Subrahmanyan Enivironmental, Aniti- Nuclear, Social Activist; C.S Murali Dalith Acctivist; Mythri Research Scholar and Social Activist; Ashalatha Poetess; Arundathi Research Scholar and Social Activist; Deepak Narayanan Director, Writer and Social Activist; Sajid Khalid Solidarity; Deepa Vasudev Social and Gender Rights Activist; Rupesh Kumar Director and Dalith Activist; Johnson Joseph Social and Gender Rights Activist; Ajith Kumar A.S Social Activist; Jenny Sulfath Research Scholar and Social Activist; Jisha Josh, Director and Social Activist; Thasni Banu, Feminist and Human Right Activist; Raja Gopal,Journalist; Chandramohan S, Poet; Maitreya Maitreyan ,Social and Gender Rights Activist; Nikhila Henry, Writer and Journalist; Poly V arghese, Musician