Condemn the attack on the right to dissent

All over the country, the armed forces of the state are attacking protesting people with a vengeance. The UPA government has unleashed a fascist offensive to suppress the right to dissent.

All over the country, the armed forces of the state are attacking protesting people with a vengeance. The UPA government has unleashed a fascist offensive to suppress the right to dissent.

The right to dissent stems from the right to conscience. People have every right to differ from the authorities on the course for our country, and to act according to their conscience and express their dissent in various forms.

In Koodangkulam, masses of people of the area, women, their children and their men folk, a majority of them fisher folk, have been protesting for over a year against the operationalising of the nuclear power plant. They have raised pertinent issues about safety and security of the people of the area. Overruling their objections, without any regard for their views, the Central and Tamilnadu governments have unleashed a reign of terror. On September 10, 2012, one fisherman was killed in police firing. Over 1500 people have been charged with "waging war against the state" — the colonial sedition act, under which Shaheed Bhagat Singh and countless revolutionaries who preceded him and followed him were charged with, convicted under, and hanged. The state has unleashed a barrage of propaganda painting those opposing the plant as "anti-national" and "foreign funded". There are reports that the army has been deployed against the protesting people.

In Mumbai, a young cartoonist was arrested and charged with "sedition" for a cartoon, before being released on bail after public protests. Many other writers and cartoonists are even now being persecuted by the authorities in different states, for raising questions about the political authority through their works of art.

In Madhya Pradesh, people who have been protesting against displacement as a result of the Narmada Dams, were forcibly evicted from their jal Samadhi at Hardi. These villagers had declared that the government should reduce the height of the dam in their area, so that their lands did not get flooded, or allow them to drown in the floods. When the waters rose above their shoulders, the state did not break the dam or open its breaches. It forcibly picked up the protesting villagers and arrested them. It must be noted that the people of the area had long pointed out that the authorities had permitted such a height for the dam as would ensure submergence of their villages, without any regard for their livelihood or rights.

In his independence day speech, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned those opposing "economic development" with dire consequences, accusing them of being  a threat to "national security". It is clear that the people of Koodangkulam, the villagers of the Narmada Valley, as well as the workers in Manesar-Gurgaon and other industrial belts who are fighting for their right to form unions of their choice, are all being branded as anti national elements, just because their resistance comes in the way of the aggressive drive of the big capitalists.

The Communist Ghadar Party of India condemns the UPA government for attacking the right to dissent. The concerns raised by the people of Koodangkulam, or of the Narmada Valley are legitimate concerns, which they have been raising for a long time. By refusing to address these concerns, and instead resorting to force to quell dissent, the Indian state is in contempt of its own people. To arrest cartoonists for sedition, for using their art to awaken people, reveals that the authority is unable to justify itself except by brute force.

The Communist Ghadar Party of India calls upon all men and women of conscience to unite and defend the right to conscience of our people, which is being ruthlessly attacked by the Central government, for the sake of pushing ahead with the program of the big monopoly capitalists, aimed at placing India in the elite club of biggest imperialist powers of the world.      

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