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08.02.2018, Kochi, Kerala: Kerala Police unleashed brutality against the Dalit Atmabhiman Convention organized by the Dalit Bhoo Avakasha Samara Munnani (Dalit Land Rights’ Organisation) in Kochi on 4th February. The convention was taking place peacefully while it was suddenly attacked by the police in the morning. As the police broke-in, many activists including the Chairman of Samara Munnani, C.S. Murali (also the President of Kerala Dalit Masabha), Gomathi and Penpillai Orumai, were injured. Activists present at the protest site were dragged through the road and arrested.

For the last few days, the NSS (Nair Service Society) has been occupying the public ground surrounding the Vadayambadi Temple in Vadayambadi in Ernakulam district, Kerala. Fortifying their occupation, NSS has built a ‘caste wall’ in order to prevent the Dalits entering the temple. A protest has been going on for the last few weeks by Dalit Bhoo Avakasha Samara Munnani to make available the property for public and to demolish the ‘caste wall’. The ongoing events are on air and many organizations and individuals have expressed their support to the movement.

On Ambedkar Jayanti last year (2017), a similar wall erected by the Society was pulled down by the protesters. The NSS then went on occupying the land producing fake land records and promptly built a huge arch entrance including a wall. The present protest programme, demanding the demolition of the wall, has been continuously facing threats from the government and police since its beginning. The activists till now have confronted all such threats and continued with the protest.

This uncompromising attitude, we feel, has resulted in successive attacks on the protest site and arrest of the activists, and even the media persons. During a similar incident on 21st January, two journalists Abhilash Padacheri and Ananthu Rajagopal Asha, along with one of the leaders of the movement, Mr. Sasidharan (KPMS Taluk Secretary), were arrested on false charges. Following their arrest, activist V.K. Joy was also put into custody. Mr. Joy is still behind the bars.

Today’s convention was organized to protest these recent happenings, particularly against the anti-Dalit attitude demonstrated by the Kerala government and the Police-Raj going on the state. However, the protesters were continuously harassed by the state officials in order to suppress the voice of dissent. Last day the Collector denied the permission to conduct the convention. In a way, he threatened the protesters for any possible circumstances. In the morning of the day of the convention, i.e. today, 2nd February, the goons of the Sangh Parivar and other right-wing fundamentalists approached the protest site and created ruckus by manhandling and threatening the protesters.

As of now, police seems to be silent and not ready to take any action against the perpetrators. In contrast to the lawful duty entrusted upon a public servant, The SI of the concerned police station, Sajan Saviour has been trying his best to suppress the movement with different means including public caste defamation. Eventually, he is same person who led the force today to the arrests. Among the activists, Gomathi, has been badly injured during the police action and was denied the hospital facility. Dr. P.G Hari, who questioned this discrimination at the police station, had to face their rage and he was physically manhandled by the policemen.

We also condemn the attack of the Sangh Parivar on Kerala’s people’s poet, Kureeppuzha Sreekumar for supporting the Vadayambadi struggle. Article 17 of the Constitution strictly prohibits untouchability. Still, such newer forms of untouchability, backed by state repression are shamefully unconstitutional. We appeal to the public consciousness in Kerala to isolate all forces which build caste and communal violence through their own ideological terms.

We Appeal:

· To all sections within the left and secular forces in Kerala to stand against the repressive forces who promote casteism and communalism and endorse equality that is enshrined by Babasaheb Ambedkar in our Indian Constitution.

· To the political leaders of Kerala to protect the values of the Constitution and law and order of our country as they have an additional role to preserve these values since they have taken an oath to protect the Indian Constitution before becoming any State or Central Minister.

We Demand:

· Release all the activists who have been arrested on the grounds of false charges immediately.

· Take back all the false charges against the arrested persons.

· Necessary actions should be taken against the police officials who are responsible for such brutality.

National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements strongly feels that these incidents give a clear indication of the growing repressive and anti-dalit attitude of the kerala government. We appeal to all the democratic individuals and organizations of India to rise in protest and express solidarity with the movement.

Endorsed by:

Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM

Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, and NAPM, Odisha

P.Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh VyavasayaVruthidarula Union-APVVU and National Centre For Labour and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)

Binayak Sen and Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)

Gabriele Dietrich, Penn UrimayIyakkam, Madurai and NAPM (Tamilnadu)

Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, (Tamilnadu)

Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party and NAPM, Uttar Pradesh

Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union, and NAPM, Karnataka

Maj Gen (Retd)S.G.Vombatkere, Mysuru, NAPM, Karnataka

Arundhati Dhuru, Manesh Gupta, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh

Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan and Prof.Kusumam NAPM, Kerala

Anand Mazgaonkar andKrishnakant, ParyavaranSuraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat

Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)

Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-MoolnivasiAstivtva Raksha Samiti, NAPM Jharkhand

Dr.Sunilam and Adv. Aradhna Bhargava,KisanSangharsh Samiti, and NAPM, Madhya Pradesh

Samar Bagchi andAmitavaMitra, NAPM West Bengal

Suniti SR, SuhasKolhekar, and Prasad Bagwe, NAPM Maharashtra

Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan

Gautam Bandopadhyay, NAPM, Chhattisgarh

Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM

KaladasDahariya, RELAA, Chhatisgarh

Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana-Andhra Pradesh

Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan SangharshVahini, NAPM, Delhi

Faisal Khan, KhudaiKhidmatgar, NAPM Haryana

J S Walia, NAPM Haryana

Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad,Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, and NAPM, Odisha

Guruwant Singh, NAPM Punjab

Richa Singh, SangatinKisan Mazdoor Sangathan, NAPM Uttar Pradesh

Arul Doss, NAPM (Tamilnadu)

Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand

Sister Dorothy, NAPM Bihar

Kamayani Swami and Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, and NAPM Bihar
Mahendra Yadav,Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar

Basant Hetamsaria, Ashok Verma, NAMP Jharkhand

Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao GharBanao Andolan, Mumbai and NAPM

Rajendra Ravi, Nanhu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Sunita Rani, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma, NAPM, Delhi

Aaquib Zabed Mazumder, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM, Telangana – Andhra Pradesh

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 24374535 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org | napmindia@gmail.com
Facebook : www.facebook.com/NAPMindia
Twitter : @napmindia

2 Comments

  1. Sally Dugman says:

    I’ll be honest. This caste orientation reminds me of racism in the USA. It reminds of people from different religious, ethnic and cultural groups attacking others outside of their own groups because they do not want to give up the privileges that their own groups have as opposed to the downtrodden and oppressed ones. It also reminds me of large-scale wars wherein one group tries to take the resources from another group. (It is always about gaining advantage for one’s own group.)

    In my opinion, this sort of behavior is evil and wrong in the extreme. Instead of trying to lift up all people and the natural world, people should cut them down? I THINK NOT!

    Surely, evolution honed us to survive by tribalism thinking since sometimes there is not enough of some resource for all tribes to survive. Let’s get past this thinking now. There is no need to act like our primitive ancestors these days.So throw out the caste system. It denigrates the quality of life FOR EVERYONE!

  2. Imagine – this is happening in Kerala, a state ruled by the Left ! How can the people, whom the Left is wooing for votes for the next election, trust its leaders ?