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Tamil Nadu PUCL: Press Release

R. Murali, President

Gana Kurinji, General Secretary

Tamil Nadu PUCL

In Tamil Nadu nowadays the voices of the peoples for their rights are being crushed by iron fists. Afraid that the people having tasted victory in the Jallikattu protests will be encouraged to take up protests against the State, the TN government has resorted to severe repression in order to instill fear amongst the people and prevent them from fighting for their rights. In the protests against the hydrocarbon projects at Kathiramangalam and Neduvasal the TN government let loose the police to repress the people. Despite this the continued protests against NEET and demands for the Cauvery Water Management Authority frightened the government and urged by the corporate power caused it to unleash repression in a most ghoulish manner against its own people in Thoothukudi. Now the Government has started to crush the protests erupting against the eight lane super highway between Salem and Chennai.

Almost daily, in a callous manner and without listening to the voices of the peoples, the government through the police is willy-nilly arresting and foisting false cases on people. There exists in Tamil Nadu an undeclared Emergency with the government fearing democratic expressions of the people. Not willing to accept that the people have constitutional and legal rights, the government is trampling human rights. The Peoples Union of Civil Liberties strongly condemns the use of the police by the government as its tool for repression.

Raising voices against the government in public meetings leads to arrests. Distributing pamphlets expressing dissent against the government policies is met with arrests. Persons going in support to public protests are branded without evidence as anti- nationals and terrorists. Travelling to different places and speaking against the government is made out to be a grave mistake. The police, acting in this arrogant fashion against the basic constitutional rights of the peoples, is to be denounced.

In the same manner, in Tamil Nadu permission is being routinely denied to social and civil groups for their public meetings or protests. Having to seek judicial intervention for holding every such event indicates the extent to which the democratic spaces have shrunk. For example, just recently eighteen people, including six women, have been arrested and put in jail simply because they distributed pamphlets criticizing government policies.

Moreover, in the Thoothukudi protests on more than 250 persons many cases, from 15 upto 45, have been registered. In addition, some sections of the people are being threatened to depose as favorable witnesses. Peoples Union of Civil Liberties firmly deplores such actions. Along with the 13 Thoothukudi killings, 7 persons have been foisted with anti national cases and many have been jailed. The list of extra-judicial actions keeps increasing. Apart from these individuals such as Valarmathi, Vanchinathan, Mansur Ali Khan, Piyush Manush, Mugilan and activists belonging to organizations such as Peoples Power (Makkal Adhigaram), Communist Parties, Tamil Nationalists are being targeted by the police and repressed. Most of the arrests are against the guidelines given by the Supreme Court in the well known `D.K. Basu case' while arresting individuals. Many rules are being broken in the arrests that are being made.

Social activists are being treated like murder convicts by the police in Tamil Nadu. Not only in Tamil Nadu but in India an Indian citizen has the right to go anywhere and protest. Peoples Union of Civil Liberties warns that this denial of basic rights bythegovernmentwillleadtoacivil war in Tamil Nadu. It is not acceptable that the government repeatedly takes up growth and development projects that not only ignores the plight of the farmers but harms them whilst favoring only the corporates. PUCL stoutly censures the Tamil Nadu government functioning like an anti people government. PUCL demands that the Tamil Nadu government revokes all cases against the

persons jailed for protesting against the government projects and also releases them. PUCL also calls upon the government to listen and give importance to the opinion of the people so that projects are undertaken with the true consent of the people. The continued functioning of the government in its anti democratic ways and turning the nation into a police state will endanger the independence of the nation.

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