For the past few days, we have been witnessing a brutal crackdown in Delhi on protesting voices. Even before the shameful lathi-charge in Ramlila maidan on June 5th 2011, the UPA had been threatening to curb down on protests in Delhi. And now, Delhi has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in some parts of Delhi, including Jantar Mantar – thus effectively trying to ban any kind of protest in Delhi. This is nothing but a highly condemnable attempt to muzzle dissenting voices and to curb democratic spaces. Not just has Section 144 been imposed, the Delhi government now demands that prior 'permission' will be required for holding any protest! This is a completely unacceptable assualt on the right to protest.
Kapil Sibal, representing the Congress and the government, has said that the brutal police action should ‘be a lesson for everybody.’ This is a direct threat to all anti-corruption protestors – to every citizen of India who dares to challenge Govt policies! At a time when the UPA has launched this offensive on democratic protests in Delhi, it is essential that the progressive and democratic voices come together to resist this crackdown. We appeal to you to express solidarity with the demonstration called by various civil society groups on June 8th, at Jantar Mantar.
Let's come together
- to protest the recent assaults, lathi charge and brutal crackdown on anti-corruption protestors including women and children.
- to resist the the imposition of Section 144 and restrictions on movement in several parts of Delhi and defend democratic spaces for dissent and protest
- to protest the crackdowns on people's resistance against corporate plunder, corruption and land grab in other parts of the country. For instance, in Jagatsinghpur, several platoons of the police are now deployed against the villagers opposing forcible land acquisition for the POSCO project.
Throughout the country, we have been seeing how any dissent is being muzzled by the state: through state-sponsored military campaigns like Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt, through the imposition of draconian laws like the UAPA, the CSPSA and AFSPA, and through jailing anyone who dares to criticise state policy.
At this juncture, we need to take the struggle against corruption forward, and this struggle cannot be separated from the struggle for a democratic India. The struggle against corruption is simultaneously a struggle against privatisation, against neo-liberal policies, against draconian laws like AFSPA and the sedition law, against state crackdowns on dissenting voices and against corporate dictation of our policies. It is simultaneously a struggle to defend the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across the country.
June 8th, 2011, 10 AM to 7 PM