ILPS condemns cruel and inhumane treatment of political prisoners in India, joins calls for their immediate release

Issued by the Office of the Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) condemns in the strongest possible terms the cruel and inhumane treatment of progressives and revolutionaries being held in various detention and interrogation centers all over India. We support the calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners, especially those with serious illnesses or disabilities such as Mr. Kobad Ghandy and Dr. GN Saibaba who both urgently need proper medical care and facilities.

Mr. Ghandy and Dr. Saibaba are only two of the tens of thousands of political prisoners suffering cruel and inhumane treatment at the hands of Indian state security forces, languishing in subhuman conditions prohibited by international standards and even by Indian laws. Most have been abducted or arrested under false, if any, charges and evidences. Many have been accused of “terrorist acts” which have not been proven in court.

Mr. Ghandy who is suffering from cancer and serious cardiac and respiratory problems, has been transferred from one jail to another except to a Senior Political Prisoner facility where consideration is accorded the detainees’ frail health and medical condition. Dr. Saibaba is being held in isolation and denied the medical attention he needs as a 90% disabled person with a heart ailment.

Both are well known staunch fighters for the national and democratic interests of the Indian people against imperialism and the local reactionaries led by the Indian big comprador bourgeoisie and landlords. They exemplify the Indian revolutionaries and progressives who, since their youth, have chosen to dedicate themselves to the Indian people’s struggle for a society with freedom, genuine democracy and prosperity for all.

Kobad Ghandy, born in 1951, comes from a prominent affluent family living in a posh suburb in Mumbai. He went to the elite Doon School and St. Xavier College in Mumbai, and undertook his chartered accountancy in London where he was exposed to revolutionary ideas and decided to return “to understand my India”. He thereafter endured decades of hardship and untold sacrifice living and working among the Indian masses both in the cities and in the countryside for the Indian revolution.

Dr. Saibaba, born in 1967 to a poor peasant family, had been afflicted with 90% disability from age three. He literally had to crawl his way to get an education, finished on top of his class in SKBR College in Andhra Pradesh, got his Masters degrees from Hyderabad and became a fulltime activist of the All-India People’s Resistance Forum. He acquired his first wheelchair only in 2003 after he returned to academics and got his PhD while teaching at Delhi University.

Mr. Ghandy and Dr. Saibaba are widely acknowledged to have made outstanding contributions to arousing, organizing and mobilizing the Indian masses, especially the adivasis (tribals), dalits, peasants, workers, students and professionals in opposing the Indian reactionaries conniving with US imperialism to reap more profits while suppressing the people’s resistance to exploitation and oppression.

Mr. Ghandy and Dr. Saibaba have also played important roles in drawing international solidarity and support for the Indian people’s struggle, and promoting international solidarity between the Indian people and those of other peoples of the world. They inspired such anti-imperialist and democratic mass formations in India as the All-India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF) and the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) to join the ILPS.

We in the ILPS had an opportunity to work with the Indian anti-imperialist and democratic forces in realizing with resounding success the “Mumbai Resistance 2004 – Against Imperialist Globalization and War”. It was an international event held on January 17-18, hosted by the AIRPF and several other Indian mass formations, co-convened by the ILPS and participated in by several thousands from international and Indian grassroots organizations.

It is because of their revolutionary dedication and effectiveness that such activists as Mr. Ghandy and Dr. Saibaba and the tens of thousands of other political prisoners in India are being demonized, falsely charged with “terrorist acts” and penalized with unjust, cruel and inhumane prison conditions and treatment, in a vain attempt to neutralize them and break their will. Unwittingly, the Indian reactionaries merely turn these political prisoners into role models who continue to inspire others to rise up and persevere in the revolutionary struggle against oppression and exploitation,

The Indian Central government and its various state governments have escalated and intensified their campaigns to demonize as “terrorists” and persecute, harass, abduct, detain, torture and murder progressive and revolutionary leaders, especially in areas where open protest and armed movements have been gaining strength. This has notably increased since the US launched its “war on terror” and chose India to be its strategic all-round junior partner in the South Asia subcontinent.

In 2009, the Indian fascists launched a massive US-directed military campaign, Operation Greenhunt, in several states, where tribals and peasants in the hinterlands have risen up to resist and oppose several transnational mining corporations in tie-ups with Indian big compradors.

Some Indian states such as West Bengal have gone to the extent of amending their Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to deny the status of Political Prisoner to detainees accused of “terrorist acts”. Such cruelty and inhumanity has drawn widespread condemnation from a wide array of civil libertarians, human rights advocates and freedom-loving peoples in India and all over the world.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) joins all those who protest and demand a stop to these unjust and repressive policies and practices by the Indian state security apparatus that violate with impunity the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other norms on human rights and international humanitarian law.

We support the just struggles of the Indian people against imperialist plunder and intervention in India perpetrated in connivance with the Indian big comprador bourgeois and landlord classes.

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