The International League of Peoples’ Struggle – Philippines chapter vehemently condemns the massive crackdown on legal activists and rights defenders currently happening in India.
In the past days, illegal arrests and arbitrary house raids were conducted against known activists and rights defenders in different areas. Among those arrested were:
- Varavara Rao (Writer & Poet)
- Vernon Gonsalves (Writer-Activist)
- Arun Ferreira (Writer-Activist)
- Gautam Navlakha (Social Activist)
- Sudha Bharadwaj (Activist Lawyer)
At the same time, police barged into the houses of:
- Stan Swamy (Catholic Priest & Activist)
- Anand Teltumbde (Professor & Social Scientist)
- Pavana (Daughter of Varavara Rao) & K. Satyanarayana (Professor)
- Anala Rao (Daughter of Varavara Rao) & KV Kurmanath (Journalist)
- Kranti Tekula (Journalist)
- Jiten Yumnam (Journalist and Human Rights Advocate)
Rao, Gonsalves, Ferreira, Navlakha and Bharadwaj were arrested on far-fetched charges of plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and alleged connections to the violence at Bhima Koregaon last January. Similar arrests were already done by the police last June (known as the India 5).
These personalities (writers, lawyers, scholars and activists) are well-known for their works in defense of the rights of the oppressed in India. They have also actively voiced out their opposition to the repressive actions of the Modi government.
The crackdown on activists must be immediately stopped. This is essentially criminalizing the right to dissent. It only shows the desperation of the government to cover up their anti-people policies and actions.
The Filipinos are no strangers to maneuvers like this. Numerous attacks on activists have been perpetrated by the Philippine government in the form of trumped up charges, illegal detention and extrajudicial killings. But our experiences over the years have shown to thwart these attacks, we must not cower down.
We are one with the People of India in condemnation of the growing repression and crackdown against activists. We call on the international community to pressure the Modi government to free Rao, Gonsalves, Ferreira, Navlakha and Bharadwaj be freed immediately, as well as the India 5, GN Saibaba and other political prisoners.
STOP THE ATTACKS AGAINST ACTIVISTS!
Free Rao, Gonsalves, Ferreira, Navlakha and Bharadwaj!
Drop trumped up charges against activists! Free all political prisoners!
ILPS Philippines Statement / 30 August 2018