The following is a press statement from the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO), issued in public interest following the arrest of revolutionary poet Varavara Rao and other activists.
The AP and Telangana State governments have coercively prevented the one day convention of the FORUM FOR ALTERNATIVE POLITICS in Hyderabad on 21 Sep 2014 from being held. This is a most condemnable, undemocratic and unconstitutional acts of the two governments.
The meeting was scheduled between 10 am and 5pm and speakers from other states were invited to participate in the meeting.
The convener of the forum, Mr Varavararao and a few other activists, have been taken in to custody by the police. Mr Kalyanrao , senior member of VIRASAM was arrested in Dachepalli (Guntur district) who was on his way to Hyderabad to the attend this meeting. Mr. Chilaka Chandrashekar (General Secretary APCLC) and many other leaders of peoples’ organizations were picked up from their houses and have been detained in Machvaram police station (Guntur district). Mr. Suresh Narayanrao and other office bearers of APCLC were detained in Kachguda police station in Hyderabad city. About fifteen members of Chytanya Mahila Samakya were also arrested and detained. Twenty Passenger Trains have been cancelled to prevent people from attending the convention in Hyderabad. It is reported that about 300 people have been arrested including the members of the Forum. Bojjaa Tarakam and Prof. Haragopal were not allowed to reach the venue of the meeting and were asked to return to their houses by the police and have been forced to remain indoors.
The police claim that the arrests are being made as preventive measure and had information that the Forum for Alternative Politics is a front Organisation of the Maoist Party. Since the mass organizations are banned they do not allow any kind of meetings conducted by them. Anticipating the situation Mr. Varavararao had moved a petition but it has been rejected by the High Court. Encouraged by the High court order the police surrounded the venue and erected barricades to prevent the people to reach and enter the venue (Sundaraiah Vignan Bhavan). A delegation of APCLC made efforts to meet the Chief Minister and request him to direct the police not to arrest the activists and give permission to hold the meeting. But the CM did not give an appointment to the delegation. Attempts were also made to meet the Home Minister and the Commissioner of Police but to no effect. The attitude of the government and the police is extremely hostile. They are determined to disturb the meeting and create a panic among the common citizenry. After frantic parleys the Home Minister spoke to a delegation and then the police agreed to free the activist but only after 9 pm attesting the unconstitutional and undemocratic intent of the government not to let the FORUM’s meeting happen.
A few days back only the FORUM FOR ALTERNATIVE POLITICS was formed by several intellectuals with Mr.Varavararao as its convener. The object of the forum is to inform the public about revolutionary politics and revolutionary parties and to subject the models of development and mainstream politics to a radical political scrutiny. Whatever be the politic of the FORUM, it has the constitutional guarantee to pursue it in constitutional manner. The government of Telangana or its police may have problems with the members of the FORUM but it has no authority whatsoever to curb its constitutional guaranteed rights to pursue its politics. It is their democratic right to engage in practice their politics within the bounds of the constitution of India. The government and the police are subverting the constitution by preventing the Forum from holding the meeting.
It will be in order here to remind the AP/Telangana governments that the Supreme Court of India in some of its decisions made observations that to sympathize with even the Maoist Politics and subscribing to its ideology are not offences. Then what is the fault of the FORUM???
Characterising the FORUM as front organization of Maoist Party and banning its meetings and activities is not only unconstitutional but also undemocratic. The arrest all over the state reminds us the days of Emergency.
Further the dream that formation of new Telangana state will guarantee the basic rights and a repression-free society is cruelly shattered within hundred days.
That all the arrested persons must be released immediately. That the forum must be allowed to conduct meetings and other activities freely. The state must restrain from curbing civil and political rights of the citizens.
C. Chandrasekhar (CLC, Andhra Pradesh), Paramjeet Singh (PUDR, Delhi), Parmindar Singh (AFDR, Punjab), Phulendro Konsam (COHR, Manipur) and Tapas Chakraborty (APDR, West Bengal)
(Coordinators of CDRO).
Constituent Organisations: Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC); Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West Bengal); Bandi Mukti Morcha (West Bengal); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR, Mumbai); Coordination for Human Rights (COHR, Manipur); Human Rights Forum (HRF, Andhra Pradesh); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), Assam; Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR); Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (OPDR, Andhra Pradesh); Peoples’ Committee for Human Rights (PCHR, Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum (PDF, Karnataka); Peoples Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR, Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (PUCR, Haryana) and Campaign for Peace & Democracy in Manipur (CPDM), Delhi.