______________________ Jan 24th, 2014 ___
Today, thousands of innocent activists, including indigenous peoples, have been imprisoned and harassed for simply demanding their rights to the land that they work upon and, to stop the destruction of their homes and livelihoods. Due to their valiant attempts to stop the environmental destruction caused by mining companies, the dispossession of their homes and ancestral lands for the building of industrial parks, or the harassment and rape of women, these activists have been branded as ‘Maoists’ and unfairly imprisoned.
Furthermore, the Indian government has started a McCarthyist witch-hunt against all activists and intellectuals, for example the case of Professor G.N. Saibaba, who have sought to elaborate and explain an alternative revolutionary vision of India’s future. The Indian government, in effect, is harassing and trying to intimidate activists and intellectuals not for what they have may or may not have done, but for what they simply think and believe. They are not arresting people for belonging to an illegal party or movement, but for simply sharing their vision and ideas. Indeed, the Indian government has effectively deemed anyone who opposes the neo-liberal imagination of India’s future as a grave threat to Indian internal security.
It is thus incumbent on all of us, progressive and revolutionary-minded people alike, around the world, to support these villagers, activists and intellectuals because if such arbitrary arrest and harassment is made acceptable in the ‘world’s largest democracy’ then we have effectively hollowed out the very basic freedoms that are supposed to characterize a free and democratic society.