Young Journalists League Statement
Following resolution was adopted at a meeting organized by the Young Journalists League at the Press Club of India on February 11, 2007:
We, the undersigned, condemn the arrest and persecution of journalists, in the name of cracking down on the ‘Left Wing Extremists’ or for their expose’ of scams or other corrupt practices, the ban imposed on Peoples March, as well as the sale of literature considered “unlawful” or proscribed by the authorities. We consider all these as placing curbs on our freedom of expression and an attack on our right to dissent.
Once the government declares any ideology or idea or political activity as “unlawful” andproscribes an organisation it transforms what is legitimate activity into “criminal” which subverts a fundamental precept of democracy that ‘ideas and issues should not be chained’. We, decline to accept that just because the Government, state and central, declare some ideas to be abhorrent, and gag their proponents, that we begin to regard these organizations, or individual’s associated with them, as untouchables and remain mute while their voices are silenced. For us politics of proscription is a throwback to the period of colonialism and Emergency when the authorities decided what people could read, write, think, express, organise themselves around or demand.
Our concern is that it is such undemocratic practices of the central or state government, which inspire and help the retrogressive elements in our society to use their muscle power to muzzle free expression and to promote their own brand of intolerance to browbeat journalists, burn books or persecute anyone who dares to dissent.
We consider it unacceptable to deny our own people the right to express, print and circulate their views and participate in public debates. It is incongruous, if not ironical, that our constitutional democracy can wage war against the ‘Left Wing Extremists’ but fears spoken or written words expressed by them or their sympathisers.
We reiterate that it is through the promotion and protection of ‘battle of ideas and ideologies’ that open politics become attractive.
Therefore, we urge the government to lift the ban impose on People’s March, drop charges and release Gobindan Kutty, Prashant Rahi, Praful Jha, A K Sengupta, Dharmendra Sriram Bhurle, Anil Mhamane and withdraw the case filed against Sunita and Vira Sathidar of Daanish Books.
We also demand prosecution of all those who have attacked journalists for writing fearlessly and have exposed various scams.
Anand Swaroop Verma
Jaspal Singh Sidhu
Rajendra Singh Negi
Rakesh Kr Singh and 50 others
Those who want to add their name to the resolution can send their names to: