Tag Archives: Gautam Navlakha

Constructing Democratic Rights Activists as Conspirators: Preeti Chauhan


The recent arrest of activists and intellectuals, and raids on various others connected with rights activism across five states in India is a grim reminder of the shrunken space for protest, criticism and dissent in our democracy today. This tendency to muzzle opposing voices has been on brazen display over the past four years though earlier governments had also tried to brand civil rights activists as ‘Maoists’ and as anti-development and anti-progress in a sense. The case against Dr. Binayak Sen, an office bearer of People’s Union for Civil Liberties comes to mind who was also alleged to be a Maoist.

The entire episode raises many questions on the motives of the government for this kind of concerted clampdown on human rights defenders. As of now, the charges against the activists seem far-fetched and entirely fabricated. Most of the activists who are now in jail or under house arrest are long-time members of the civil liberties movement in our country in the post-emergency period. Civil and democratic rights organizations and their activists have faced the charge of being fronts of this and that organization earlier too, and some have been attacked and killed also as in Andhra Pradesh. But what is important to understand is the location of the civil and democratic rights movement vis a vis democracy in India. Continue reading Constructing Democratic Rights Activists as Conspirators: Preeti Chauhan

Statement Issued by NSI on the recent arrests : Democracy Under Siege !

A Statement Issued by New Socialist Initiative (NSI) on the recent arrests of human rights defenders and public intellectuals

Democracy Under Siege !

With Ground Slipping Fast Beneath Its Feet, BJP government Resorting to Draconian Measures !


New Socialist Initiative strongly condemns the arbitrary and malicious manner in which the Pune Police, at the behest of its saffron masters, raided the houses of leading human rights activists, lawyers, professors and poets in different cities simultaneously and arrested five of them – Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao – under concocted charges.

Demanding immediate release of all these persons unconditionally and withdrawal of fabricated charges filed against them under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) , it also said that appropriate action should be taken against the guilty policemen as well involved in this act. Continue reading Statement Issued by NSI on the recent arrests : Democracy Under Siege !

The Ice-Cream Flavour Mint’s Editors Don’t Like

“There are some tropes that refuse to die,” said a “Quick Edit” titled “Of Political Tourists” in Mint on Tuesday, 14 June, “In Jammu and Kashmir, it has to be stone pelters, marauding security men and an ineffective government.” The edit forgot another trope there: the lies and obfuscation that the Delhi media indulges in when it comes to Kashmir. A good example of this is the “Quick Edit” itself, even if it was just 157 words long.

The “Quick Edit” derided human rights work as if it ‘human rights’ is an anti-national and unconstitutional ideology. It supported the Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to disallow the journalist and human rights activist Gautam Navlakha into the Kashmir Valley. In doing so, it echoed the views of the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah, that activists should be kept away from Kashmir in the summer as they cause political unrest. No wonder that Mr Abdullah recommended the “Quick Edit” on Twitter with a brief comment: “LOL. Short but says it all :-)”.

The edit derisively called activists like Navlakha “political tourists”; would the editors describe the security forces stationed in Kashmir as ‘military tourists’? The edit argued that allowing Navlkaha and activists like him into Kashmir would affect “peace and economic rebuilding,” and said that such people “should be kept away and fed ice cream. There are plenty of flavours in New Delhi.” This suggests that last year’s bloody summer in Kashmir was caused or at least aided by Mr Navlakha and other human rights activists. Perhaps Mint‘s editors were enjoying ice-cream in Delhi and did not want to indulge in conflict tourism. Ignorance, however, should not lead to lies. It is thus pertinent to recall what happened in Kashmir last year.

On 8 January 2010, Inayath Khan, 16, was returning from a computer coaching in Srinagar and was killed by CRPF personnel who were chasing away protestors. After the bullet hit his thigh, he was hit by a CRPF vehicle and eyewitnesses say, CRPF personnel trampled upon him with their boots and beat him with their gun butts.

On 31 January, a 13-year-old, Wamiq Farooq, was shot in his head by the J&K police with a tear gas shell. He was playing carrom in a room when this happened.

Continue reading The Ice-Cream Flavour Mint’s Editors Don’t Like