Release the Arrested Activists in Kerala, Repeal Draconian Laws: RSC, TISS

As part of the Indian state’s war against people’s movements and freedom of expression, five more activists have been arrested and charged with UAPA in Kerala on 3rd May, 2016. The arrested activists are accused of putting up posters calling for the boycott of the upcoming assembly election in Kerala. Among the arrested, Ajithan, Sabu and Chathu are members of an organization called ‘Porattam’ which had given a call to boycott elections in Kerala, Dileep is a student’s activist and editorial committee member of a student’s magazine called ‘Padantharam’ and Gouri is part of Adivasi Samara Sangam. While four of them were arrested for putting up the posters to boycott elections, Dileep was dragged with them while he was talking to Ajithan Sabu, in Kerala Sahitya academy compound where he had gone to attend a meeting regarding the rape and murder of a dalit student named Jisha.

Kerala police has started “Operation Thunder Bolt” in 2013 in the Western Ghats said to be against the Maoist insurgencies. But in the name of the same, the state is witch hunting activists who have spoken against resource plunder and anti-people policy of the government. Comrade Ajithan was a worker and also a trade union activist in the diamond workers factory. Furthermore, he has also been part of many movements like Anti BOT-toll collecting agitation in Paliyekkara, Kathikoodam agitation against illegal mining, Ambattan Tharissu anti-mining agitation and people’s movement against money lending mafia in Kerala. Dileep was organizing students and parents who were trapped in student loans, and also was part of protests against the autonomy of colleges. Gauri and Chathu are from the adivasi community and have been condemning the state atrocities in the Adivasi colonies.

The Supreme Court verdict on the case, PUCL vs Union of India, states that “not to vote” and “campaign to not vote” is as much a right as to vote and campaign to vote. It is an irony that while the Kerala police has been manipulating evidences in the case of the murder and rape of a Dalit girl Jisha, yet the police is quick to charge draconian laws like UAPA on activists only putting up posters. In the time of corporate loot and resource plunder lead by the state and union government it is natural for the people to search for alternative movements than to blindly believe in a system of parliamentary election. Charging UAPA on activists is part of a larger agenda to silence any movement which can’t be bribed by the existing power structure.

• We urge the democratic right activists to immediately intervene for the release of the arrested activists
• We demand the immediate and unconditional release of activists Aithan, Sabu, Dileep, Gouri and Chathu and all other political prisoners across the country
• We demand to repeal UAPA and all other draconian laws

RADICAL STUDY CIRCLE, TISS MUMBAI