The country is witnessing another round of crackdown on Human Rights Activists. While Arun Ferreira (Advocate), Sudha Bhardwaj (Trade Unionist, Teacher and Advocate), Gautam Navlakha (Editor and Writer), Varvara Rao (Writer and Literary critic) and Vernon Gonsalves (Academic) have been placed under house arrest, along with them, houses of Prof Anand Teltumbde, Fr Stan Swamy (Tribal rights defender), Prof K. Satyanarayana and many others were also searched over the last two days. In these dark times, PUDR wishes to share the following statement by our member Gautam Navlakha, who is also facing arbitrary arrest by Maharashtra Police.
This entire case is a political ploy against political dissent by this vindictive and cowardly government, which is bent upon shielding the real culprits of Bhima Koregaon and thus divert attention from its own scams and failures,which stretch from Kashmir to Kerala. A political trial must be fought politically and I welcome the opportunity. I have to do nothing. It is for the Maharashtra police, working at the behest of their political masters, to prove their case against me, and my comrades who too have been arrested. We, in PUDR, have collectively and fearlessly fought - for more than forty years - for the cause of democratic rights and I, as part of PUDR, have covered many such trials. Now I myself will be a witness to a political trial with a ringside view.
तू जिंदा है तू ज़िन्दगी की जीत पर यकीन कर
अगर कहीं है स्वर्ग तो उतार ला ज़मीन पर
ये ग़म के और चार दिन सितम के और चार दिन
ये दिन भी जाएंगे गुज़र
गुज़र गए हज़ार दिन
तू जिंदा है ...
On behalf of all PUDR members,
Shahana Bhattacharya, Sharmila Purkayastha
29th August 2018