parisar …………………………………………….परिसर

a forum of progressive students……………………………………………………………..प्रगतिशील छात्रों का मंच

Press Statement on the FIR against SAS Geelani, Arundhati Roy and Others

The Campaign Against War on People (CAWP) strongly condemns the registering of a FIR by the Delhi Police on 29 November 2010, under orders from a Metropolitan Magistrate, charging writer Arundhati Roy, Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, poet Varavara Rao, Delhi University professor SAR Geelani and others with sedition and with delivering “anti-India” speeches.

The speeches in question were delivered at a convention on the Kashmir issue, where, expectedly and inevitably, the possibility and ramifications of ‘Azadi’ or freedom, were repeatedly raised and addressed. It is ridiculous to propose that the Kashmir issue must or even can be discussed without engaging with this very serious question. Yet, by attempting to label such discussion ‘seditious’, ‘anti-national’ and ‘inflammatory’, the Indian state, through its arms of the judiciary and the police, is proposing to take precisely this ridiculous stand. It is seeking to enforce silence on the question of ‘Azadi’ through such drastic measures, as if by doing so it can erase the possibility of ‘Azadi’. This version of the ostrich syndrome is both dangerous and ill-conceived.

It is deeply disturbing that, from a convention reportedly attended by hundreds of people, who all participated actively in the discussion on ‘Azadi’, a few individuals have been selectively targeted for penalisation. The cry for ‘Azadi’ is being raised by lakhs of people across the Kashmir valley: does this mean that the government proposes to charge them all with sedition, as a means to arrive at a resolution? Or are these individuals being chosen for punishment because they are also well-known critics of various other questionable policies and actions by the Indian state?

This step is yet another in a series of attempts at various levels to quell the voices of dissent and difference that are inevitable in any heterogeneously constituted society such as ours. The presence and audibility of such voices is fundamental to any true democratic polity. The fact that the case has also been registered under, among others, Section 13 of the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is particularly troubling, and is an indication of the increasing intolerance of the state towards criticism. The sedition laws are an antiquated legacy of the British Raj, and ironically, were repealed decades ago in their country of origin. They are completely out of synch with the realities of today’s India, and evidently remain in place only as a tool to repress any questioning of the government.

We therefore demand the immediate quashing of the FIR against the said individuals, and call for the repeal of Section 124, dealing with sedition.

Campaign Against War on People


December 4, 2010 - Posted by | History, kashmir, movements, statements

1 Comment »

  1. I look at this episode-21st Oct Delhi Meeting “Azadi-The only way” – as an approach by Gilani to Indianise the Kashmir problem. From whatever comes as Nehru’s stand on Kashmir large number of Indians are not quite clear where do they stand vis-a-vis Kashmir and most of the younger generation take it to be a problem between the Govt leaders in Delhi, Pakistan and the two sides of Kashmir. Therefore, Gilani may
    be desiring to play a bigger role in the affairs of the Nation which
    is India. And I believe others like Arundhati and Vara Vara Rao have
    only added to the story to test how strong this Corporate guided
    Parliamentary system is. The country’s leadership must evaluate the
    21st Oct episode “Independence-The only way” in a positive way and
    must act in a mature way.
    I appreciate the tenor and direction of Press Statement by Parisar as this should be the most sensible approach for a Govt and the society if they do
    not feel weak on its knees by such events and happenning rather than
    kneeling down before the Magistrate. The concerned Magistrate must cancel or withdraw his order for filing FIR.

    Comment by Dr.V.N.Sharma | December 4, 2010

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