Press Release by COMMITTEE FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
The CRPP strongly condemns the assault on Senior Lawyer and civil rights activist Prashant Bhushan by Hindu communal fascists. The infringement on the right of Prashant Bhushan to express his opinion on Kashmir that too to talk in favour of the democratic right of the people of Jammu & Kashmir to self determination is reflective of the shrinking spaces available for the people in the Indian subcontinent. We live in such times when the all round assault of the state on the people has attained insane proportions.
Let us once again recapitulate what has happened? A senior Supreme Court lawyer like Prashant Bhushan is assaulted by Hindu communal fascists for expressing his opinion fearlessly in favour of the Right to Self-Determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. On the other extreme a few days before a tribal teacher Soni Sori found it difficult to convince the court of the imminent danger to her life as she for all likelihood will be the target of brutal torture by the criminal Chhattisgarh police who have framed her up and hence should not be shifted from Delhi (where she was arrested) to Chhattisgarh. So in the case of Soni Suri we have the lawless police of Chhattisgarh working with impunity which a court is unable to prevent while a senior Supreme Court lawyer like Prashant Bhushan has become easy target for a televised assault by communal fascist elements. And in both the cases we have the jingoist, sensation-driven media speculating. In the case of Prashant Bhushan there is every attempt on the side of the media to slide into the binary of that what is ‘national’ and ‘anti-national’. In the case of the tribal teacher Soni Suri the media keeps playing up the ‘Maoist on the run’ tag along with insinuating reportage—that almost justifies the brutal torture meted out to her by the Chhattisgarh police—of whether she helped the Maoist or not. Had it not been for the dogged attempts of the civil rights activists the horrifying video clippings of Soni Suri writhing in pain in the X-ray room of a hospital wouldn’t have reached us.
The same reality of a tribal teacher Soni Sori is what we can see with every Kashmiri Muslim. Soni Sori is one of those representative example of an Adivasi who has so far refused to be part of the devious machinations of the Indian state to criminalize the resistance of the Adivasis against the four dreaded Ds—Destitution, Destruction, Displacement and Death. So, for the adivasi in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Jangalmahal, Orissa lawlessness is the State. Under the garb of law, the State acts with impunity on these people who have revolted against all exploitative policies. The people of Kashmir too have been brutally suppressed by the Indian State for the last sixty years putting into pale all henceforth recorded history of barbarism of mankind. But history tells us that despite the desperate attempts of the Indian State to rape, maim, kill and torture the people of Jammu & Kashmir, it had little impact on weakening the political will of the people for Azadi. Prashant Bhushan was only reflecting on this hard fact when he talked about the Right to Self-determination of the people of Kashmir. And in the brutal assault on Prashant Bhushan televised by the conniving jingoist media, all freedom loving people are once again reminded the fast diminishing space which we have struggled to win over for our right to dissent and freedom of expression for the betterment of humankind. No, we cannot lie low and let this happen.
We at the CRPP believe that while it is important to bring to book the communal goons, it is further crucial to look deeper into the larger edifice of the state that breeds such fascist elements as part of the state apparatus (police, paramilitary, army) and also as a fourth and fifth column which compliment the repressive logic of the state as civil society actors.
SAR Geelani, Working President
Amit Bhattacharyya, Secretary General
Rona Wilson, Secretary, Public Relations