The International Committee to Support the People’s War in India has called
January 25th to be the International Day of Solidarity and Struggle for the
release of political prisoners in India. This call is welcome as it recognizes
the need of the hour.
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