Co-Written by Navaneeth & Shini J K
“If you resist, you will disappear
if you step aside, you will be ruined
are part of the game
There is only one way from hereon
Just come quietly
partake in all of this
You will thrive”
This is an excerpt from one of Perumal murugan’s recent poetry collection named “A Coward’s Song” written during his literary exile after being hounded by fascist hindutva and casteist forces a year and a half back. Perumal murugan happens to belong to a series of other writers, public intellectuals and activists who have been targeted over the past 24 months by right wing fringe elements. Dhabolkar, Pansare and Kalburgi were there before Perumal Murugan!
More recently, the series of incidents that have happened in Kerala is highly alarming about the times we live in. There have been a series of arrests in Kerala under the current CPM Government on the allegations of disrespecting national anthem, supporting the Maoists and on suspicions of Maoist links following the shocking Nilambur fake encounter killing.
Ajitha and KuppuDevaraj were murdered in the Nilambur forest by the thunderbolt under the same CPM Government.
“We cannot allow the republic killing its own children, We hope there will be an answer. There will be a good and convincing answer.”
– 14 January 2011, SC Division Bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha on the fake encounter killing of Comrade Azad and Hemchandra Pandey.)
Many among the people who are now being targeted are under the threat of UAPA and Sedition charges when the very existence of these draconian laws are against the constitution and fundamental rights, in principle.
Rajeesh Kollakkandi, a human rights activist from Kerala and a member of Janakeeya Manushyaavakaasha Prasthaanam, got suspended from the service for helping the families of the Maoists attacked by the state. The charges on him are violation of code of conduct and he has been charged under UAPA.
(Mere membership of banned organizations cannot be grounds for incarceration, nor can speaking, writing or singing about socio-economic injustices be criminalised. – Bombay high Court in 2013, while granting bail for 4 members of Kabir Kala Manch)
Half a dozen people have been picked up by the police from theatre during the International Film Festival of Kerala for refusing to stand up for the National Anthem. Following this, well known Malayalam Film Maker and this year’s festival director Kamal was targeted by Yuva Morcha for being a Muslim, though he has always refused to live with a Muslim Identity.
The CPM which has now become the self proclaimed vanguards of the nation from Jingoistic Nationalism is no different from the BJP in power and other supporting right wing outfits in its fascistic tendencies. Anything that is forced can only be a mockery and people have all the right to not to conform to the ideas which they don’t believe in. A country, which has failed to address the oppressed identities including Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, Kashmiris, people from the north-east, sexual and linguistic minorities cannot all of a sudden demand everyone to stand up for its National Anthem.
Within a few days, Malayalam writer, theatre artist Kamal C Chavara has been picked up by the police on the complaint filed by the Yuva Morcha o the allegations of disrespecting national anthem in his novel “Smashaanangalude Nottupusthakam. A young activist Nadeer, who visited Kamal in hospital was then picked up, under suspicions of Maoists links, while him being a strong critic of Maoist ideology. Both their releases could happen because of the pressure built by their supporters. Nadeer’s house was still raided following his release.
Sudeep and Shafeek, two activists from Kerala have charges on them for supporting the accused. It is our right to question and critique the state and the judiciary when they go against the will, fundamental rights and well being of its people. The state always has possessed this classical tendency to criminalise the dissent, but recently, with BJP coming into power with the support of other right wing outfits and corporate giants, the socio-political situation has reached its worst. Similar instances have been repeating in Kerala under the CPM Government. And, to add on to this, it is important to remember that feudal, brahmanical and fascist tendencies of CPM, the so-called left, is not very new.
Few days back, five students from Maharajas College, Ernakulam have been arrested for writing on the walls. The lines which they chose are actually from a poem by well known Malayalam Poet Kureeppuzha Sreekumar. The students are released but still have charges on them on the principal’s complaint. We all started our fights writing posters and writing on the walls. When they criminalise the dissent, it’s high time to reclaim our spaces.
We have lost Rohit and Najeeb under the fascist regime. We can’t afford to loose more. There are more people who are inside and outside the jail with the charges of UAPA and sedition. Abdul Nazer Mahadani, Sakkariya, Thasleem, Shanto Lal, Ismail Hamza, Kannampilly Murali, M N Ravunni, Sabu, Gauri, Chathu, Ajithan, Arun, Anoop, Thushar Nirmal Sarathy, Jaison C Cooper, and the list never ends. Some are in Jail for years though there is not enough evidence against the allegations made against them.
The state has been using the draconian laws like UAPA and AFSPA for years against it’s own people to oppress the voice of dissent. These laws, while going against the fundamental rights, provide the state a chance to target people who raise their voice, without even going “extra judicial”. We have examples like Dr G N Saibaba, Kabir Kala Manch, Arun Ferreira and Koba Gandhi in the past. The state has been using the law as tools to prevent the struggles of the oppressed and the marginalised. This is high time we unite and stand against all the draconian laws and demand justice for the political prisoners all across the country.
Whatever manifests in the society through police-raj is a sign of having a corporate-fascist, right-wing state in power, both at the centre and the state.
We conclude with what Albert Camus once said, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” Love and Solidarity to the people who have been attacked and targeted by the state for raising their voices.
We Shall Fight,
We Shall Win.
Navaneeth(First Year Direction, FTII), Shini J K (Editing Passout, FTII)