On Tuesday morning, Pune police conducted a widespread raid and simultaneous arrests of activists in Ranchi, Hyderabad, Delhi, Faridabad, Goa and Mumbai. Stan Swamy in Ranchi, Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha in New Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj in Faridabad, Dalit scholar Anand Teltumbde in Goa and Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai were arrested. These arrests must not be generalized.
These arrests have been made in relation to violence erupted on 1st January 2018 at Bhima Koregaon near Pune.
ARBITRARY ORGANIZED HOUNDING OF ACTIVISTS:
In last few months, the nexus of Police-Government-Section of mainstream media have unleashed an attack on the human rights activists, writers, lawyers tagging them as agents of Maoists or “Urban Naxal”. “Intent to strike terror in the people of India”; “Intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India”; Raising funds “knowing that such funds are likely to be used by a terrorist organization to commit a terrorist act.”
These were the charges slapped on five activists- Surendra Gadgil, a lawyer who fights for the release of political prisoners, English professor Shoma Sen, writer Sudhir Dhawale, forest rights activist Mahesh Raut and prisoner rights activist Rona Wilson by Pune police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 or UAPA on 6th June 2018. Arrests were made on the role in Bhima Koregaon violence which absurdly was linked to a plot to carry out a ‘Rajiv Gandhi style” assassination of Prime Minister Modi based on few letters in which original names of maoist leaders were used.
In counter to this, former Jharkhand director-general of police G.S. Rath, who dealt mainly with intelligence on Maoists from 2000 to 2013, told The Telegraph: “In my career, I never came across Maoists using original names in communications. They stuck to aliases.”
The vilifying streak continued- on July 4, the news channel Republic TV told viewers it had in its possession a letter showing a “direct link between urban Naxals and Kashmiri separatists.” Before any investigating agency, it concluded tagging civil liberty activists, student leaders who have been a vehement critic of Modi government as “Urban Naxals”. In BJP ruled states like Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh- respective state governments have routinely misused the law as a political tool to silence and harass activists, social researchers who have been opposing tooth and nail, government’s crackdown on human rights.
Last year, Bela Bhatia, a former visiting faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, based in a village eight kilometres from Jagdalpur in Bastar district was harassed by vigilante groups. She was accused of being “Naxal Agent”. The reason behind this was- she helped 14 women in registering FIR against repeated sexual violence by security personals. Even, economist Jean Dreze was accused as a foreigner, who was breaking the nation. Those critical of the Chhattisgarh administration were being branded Naxalites.
In 2007, Arun Ferreira, working as a community organizer in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region was arrested and described by the police as a “Maoist leader”. After spending nearly five years in jail, he was found innocent.
HINDUTVA’S OBSESSION WITH PHRASEOLOGY “URBAN NAXAL”:
If noticed, we may find the sudden surfacing of this particular word “Urban Naxal” and its episodic usage by BJP leaders and its supporters. The list goes on like this-
- The first person heading the list is filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, who keeps deep visceral animosity towards political opponents of BJP-RSS. This gentleman had even penned down a book named “Urban Naxal” which says anyone can be an urban naxal. He anointed the top woman capitalist of the country, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw as an #UrbanNaxal.
- Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami went forward doing a newshour debate with the hashtag- #UrbanNaxalExposed.
- BJP Lok Sabha M.P from Maharashtra, Poonam Mahajan out of rage against Kisan Long March of farmers, Adivasis said- The march to Mumbai was propelled by Urban Maoists.
- In this league, Union Minister of Finance made a surprising entry by tweeting its modified version- Half-Maoist
- Union Minister from Tamil Nadu Pon Radhakrishnan provided the ‘Urban Maoist’ justification for the arrest of an advocate for the agitation against Sterlite’s polluting copper plant in
- The Bastar Police arrested a Bangalore-based blogger and tweeted that they had got an Urban Naxal.
*BASTAR POLICE EXPOSED AN URBAN NAXAL*
Bastar Police arrested an Urban Naxal, Abhay Devdas Nayak, who came from Bangalore to Bastar to propagate the Maoist ideology. This is a big success for Bastar Police. On interrogation by Bastar Police, he admitted to work for Maoists. pic.twitter.com/qh5lPCOs61
— Bastar Police (@bastar_police) June 12, 2018
The word “Urban Naxal” does not exist anywhere in the law. It is something only coined by the BJP. It was manufactured by the right wing online trolls which later becomes a mainstream handy propaganda tool of TV debates, police twitter handles, high level press conference and print media headlines.
As per Gautam Navlakha, “The ambiguous nature of the term, is deliberate and such definitions can include anyone. The intention of the government, to keep the definition as vague as possible so that they can include anyone under the term. This is a fantastic, foolproof way to criminalize dissent in this country.” The anti-democratic, anti-India, communal forces are trying hard to undo what we have achieved in seven decades after freedom by brutal, synchronized crushing of dissent and political adversaries. Instead of arresting the mastermind of Bhima Koregaon, Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide, banning the terrorist organization Sanatan Santhan, Modi government is indirectly patronizing anti-India forces by not acting against them.
The political aim behind this phrase is to create social misunderstanding among the common man. This “Silent-Extermination Policy” of left inclined intellectuals, human rights activists, student leaders by the Modi government must be considered as anew unfolding emergency through the back door.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.