Resolutions Adopted at the Meeting on 'Capital Punishment and the State of Indian Democracy'—19th February 2013

The following Resolutions were adopted at the Meeting on 'Capital Punishment and the State of Indian Democracy'—19th February 2013

1. This House expresses its outrage at the secret hanging of Afzal Guru, and the cynical and callous denial of his right to seek judicial remedy.

Citizens' Letter to the Hon'ble President to Protest the Secret Execution of Afzal Guru

Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association

13th February 2013

The Hon’ble President of India

Respected Sir

We write to you in deep anguish, despair but in outrage as well. Afzal Guru was hanged on Saturday (9th February 2013) in secrecy. We have been told – after the hanging – that you rejected the mercy petition filed by Guru’s wife Tabassum, on 3rd February. We believe that you made a grave error in rejecting the mercy petition.

Footsteps of Fascism: Hindutva Goons Attack Dalit College Teacher in Dhule

Following swiftly on the heels of communal violence in Dhule in which six members of the minority community were killed, comes the news of physical assault on Prof. Pramod Bhumbe, a Dalit teacher at the BR Ambedkar Samaj Karya Mahavidyalay. Friends in Dhule and Jalgaon inform us that Prof. Bhumbe while teaching his students about Indian social reforms movement, discussed certain episodes from the Hindu epic Ramayana. This was videographed by a student on his cell phone and the video clip later circulated and handed over to VHP and Bajrang Dal goons. The clip was quickly construed as proof of Prof. Bhumbe’s insult to Hinduism.

In Defence of Ashis Nandy: For Academic and Intellectual Freedom

On 26 January, 2013, at the Jaipur Literature Festival, Ashis Nandy, an eminent scholar and intellectual was attacked for his alleged "offensive" remarks against the backward communities - OBCs, SCs and STs - of India. He has been accused by a section of the media and political class of holding the backward communities responsible for the widespread corruption that ails the country. Those who are familiar with Nandy's work and his impeccable credentials would know that the accusation is farthest from the truth. Not only has he been grossly misunderstood but the accusation is an affront to his decades long deeply sensitive scholarship including that on the backward communities.

Passage of Amendments to UAPA: Further Erosion of Constitutional Rights

The pushing through of the amendments to Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the Rajya Sabha, despite protests and calls for further discussion and deferment, indicates the consensus between Congress and BJP on the issue of civil rights.

Citizens’ Appeal to Members of the Rajya Sabha : Reject the Draconian Amendments in the UAPA

It is saddening and surprising that at a time when more and more evidence is surfacing about the extensive abuse of anti-terror laws in targeting minorities, tribals, deprived sections as well as political activists, the government has chosen to move amendments in the present UAPA 2008. These amendments will make the law even more draconian and amenable to human rights violations.

You will remember that the amendments in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967 were passed in December 2008 without any thoroughgoing debate in the aftermath of the horrendous carnage in Mumbai. The Bill was not referred to any Parliamentary committee despite calls by several members for such a scrutiny and consultative process. Whilst the widespread sense of shock and reprehension at the Mumbai killings may have been weighing on the minds of the Hon’ble Members of Parliament then, four years later, surely, there is no reason to push through the amendments without a wider debate.

Fasih Mehmood’s deportation: Déjà vu, once more

In September, we brought out a report, Framed, Damned, Acquitted documenting 16 cases where trials of terror accused had resulted in acquittals for not only lack of evidence but obviously concocted evidence. Each of these cases was accompanied by a section on how media had publicly tried and ‘executed’ these unfortunate men when they were first arrested