Thursday, September 14, 2023

India: the old State continue detaining democratic rights activists

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Featured image: Seema Azad (left) and Prafulla Samantara (right). Source: Hindustan Times and DNA India, respectively.

The old Indian State is carrying out a wide repressive campaign against democratic rights activists in the State of Uttar Pradesh. In addition to these numerous arrests, in Rayagada, Odisha, Prafulla Samantara, prominent activist against mining exploitations and against the destruction of nature has been temporarily kidnapped. We have reported before on the repression against democratic rights activists.

Maps of the States that form the Indian State. Source: Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa).

The civil rights group, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) denounced on 6th of September that the old Indian State is carrying out a great repressive campaign in Uttar Pradesh. This repressive campaign is being carried out by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The NIA is allegedly dedicated to counter-terrorism. The reality is that this agency is well-known by social movements, masses and activists for democratic rights in India. The NIA has accused and arrested numerous activists involved in struggles for democratic rights, housing and working struggles, environmentalism, etc., under the accusation of being “Maoists”, “Naxalites” or “leftist extremists” (they call this, Left Wing Extremism – LWE).

The CASR explains what happened in this repressive campaign: “Since the morning of 5th September 2023, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been raiding the offices of Bhagat Singh Students Morcha (BSM) in Benaras Hindu University. Simultaneously, NIA has raided the homes of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) State President Seema Azad, her partner and advocate Vishwavijay, advocate Soni Azad and organiser of a workers’ organisation Ritesh Vidyarthi along with political activist Manish Azad in Allahabad.”. The CASR also condemns the actions done by the old Indian State: “Abductions, violence, seizure of property and police brutality have become common practices by the state forces against all such dissent.”

Regarding the activist Prafulla Samantara, it was denounced that he was kidnapped on 29th of August. Then he was released the same day. Local media and journalists who are investigating the case, point out that the kidnappers were the police from State of Odisha. In addition, 23 other people who opposed the mining activities of the Vedanta-Maitri Company in the Rayagada district were arrested. The Prafulla Samantara activist was kidnapped when he went to a press conference to denounce the repression against the people of Rayagada, which oppose to mining exploitations and the activities of large companies in the area.


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