We express our outrage at the coordinated and simultaneous nation-wide arrests of intellectuals, poets, lawyers, journalists, and civil rights activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navalakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, and Varavara Rao on August 28, 2018.
We strongly condemn the coordinated raids and humiliation of eminent Dalit scholars K. Satyanarayan and Anand Teltumbde; as well as civil rights activists Father Stan Swamy, Kranthi Tekula, KV Kumarnath, and Susan Abraham. Simultaneous raids took place in Mumbai, Delhi, Ranchi, Goa and Hyderabad.
This latest round of arrests and raids should be understood in the context of a brutal crackdown on dissenting voices fighting the majoritarian Hindutva politics and the corporate loot sponsored by the state, in different parts of the country. The arrests followed weeks of slander on corporate media, and were a spectacle of unchecked state power. The State’s justification for the arrests and raids has kept shifting.
This round of arrests is part of an ongoing trend to create a climate of fear. On June 6th 2018, leading human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling was jailed along with the Dalit rights activist and journalist Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, civil rights activist Rona Wilson and Professor of English Shoma Sen. The police broke into the houses of these activists, ransacked their houses, confiscated all books, computers and cell phones, and humiliated the activists and their families.
An increasingly majoritarian Indian state has unleashed a wave of violence against the religious minorities, educators, students, writers, journalists, and civil rights activists. The term ‘urban Naxals’ has been employed incessantly by media and politicians to smear the legitimate work of civil rights activists and divert attention away from severe structural economic concerns and Hindu terror. It is no mere coincidence that most of these activists have been at the forefront of fighting upper caste oppression against Dalits, communal hatred against Muslims, as well as corporate plunder that has rendered the Adivasi/Moolvasi population of India increasingly destitute.
As corporate capital and Hindutva forces gain deeper control of the Indian polity, and as the nation prepares for the general elections of 2019, we are likely to witness an intensification of intimidation, arrests, murders, lynchings and repression of Dalit, Muslim and Left political formations. We stand in solidarity with these people and denounce the state and non-state regime of terror. We salute the people’s resistance against the Hindu corporate State.
We demand the immediate release of those arrested as well as an independent and impartial inquiry by the National Human Rights Commission into the circumstances of the arrests.