Protest against the arrest of political prisoners


On April 8th at Sangrur the Kirti Kisan Union, Punjab Students Union, Naujwan Bharat Sabha and Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Commitee raised a protest demanding unconditional release of all the political prisoners who have been framed by the Indian state. A march was staged of around 100 persons to the District Collectors office. It comprised of students, youth, intellectuals farmers dalit agricultural labourers and intellectuals. Although not large in numbers, it had qualitative effect .Most significantly it was staged on the very day Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru flung a bomb in the parliament house to symbolise liberation from colonial slavery. Today to confront Neo-fascism at its helm the work of the martyrs has to virtually be resurrected in the modern context, with thousands of genuinely democratic minded persons languishing behind prison bars.

Speakers summarised how activists like Gautam Navlakha , G.N Saibaba, Rona Wilson, Anand Teltumbde ,Varavara Rao, Umar Khalid, Sudha Bharadwaj, Devinder Ghullar etc.were simply branded for waging a conspiracy against the state  as they were posing a question to the autocratic character of the rulers or confronting fascism from looming. They touched upon the nexus between the nefarious anti -people economic policies that supported corporate plunder by the BJP Govt. and how genuine democrats challenging them were framed as Maoists or terrorists. The opression on activists of Muslim minority and dalits was given priority as well as in Kashmir. Most vehemently all the black laws were condemned bi it the national security act, Kashmir Public Safety Act, AFJAP etc.They explained how the rulers were leaving no stone unturned in penetrating the poison of Hindu religious fundamentalism to divide and rule the people just like the British. The subtle parallel of British colonial laws with the ones enforced today was explained and why morally the comrades who threw the bomb in the assembly should be resurrected to confront the tyranny of saffron fascism. The gross violations of basic amenities to political prisoners was highlighted..They asserted in the days to come the tentacles of the central rulers would sharpen even more with state repression to crush all political dissent today almost simmering at a boiling point .It was resolved to build a movement for the release of all political prisoners and build solidarity to all struggles waged within jails.

Rupinder Singh Chaunda of Naujwan Bharat Sabha,,Mukesh Malaudh of Zameen Prapti Sangarsh Committee, Sukhdip Haman of Punjab Students Union and Bhupinder Longowal of Kirti Kisan Union were the main speakers. Other important participants were Bikhar Hathua, Paramjeet Kaur, Kuldip Singh, Bhajan Singh, Sudhir Bhawanigarh. Jasdeep Bahadurpur, Aman Varisht.

Heartening to witness the dedication of the activists with the organizations most consistently in recent times raising the baton against the fascism of the ruling BJP,be it on Kashmir,Federal autocracy, repression on minorities or attacks by corporates.This trend leaves no stone unturned that challenging Neo-fascism of the BJP is the need of the hour. It is important that such qualitative protests should engulf the entire nation to give a fitting blow to policy of incarceration of activists.

A day later on April 9th the Martyrdom of the 18 Sewewala martyrs was commemorated in the very village in Faridkot, who were assassinated by Khalistani fundamentalist terrorists on April 9th, 1991.They were all part of a sustained movement of the Anti-Communal and anti-repression front’ to challenge Khalistani fundamentalism and state terrorism and killed in cold blood when staging a conference. Speakers like Laxaman Sewewala of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and Harbinder Kaur of BKU(Ugrahan) adressed how their struggles and martyrdom was significant today with rulers wishing to use religion to break the struggles of the toiling people and how an alternative had to be built to challenge the oppressive rule of the BJP. They traced the secular revolutionary democratic history of the Punjab Students Union and Naujwan Bharat Sabha in the 1970’s and how Sikh fundamentalism mushroomed after the subsiding of left democratic movement. The action sled by Comrades like Megh Raj Bhagtuana and Jagpal Singh were recounted who perished at the hands of the Khalistanis on April 9th.The anti –people nature of economic policies from 1991 in era of globalisation was spoken about and how a genuine movement needed to be built which has taken shape in recent times .Most healthy participation by agricultural labourers, farmers and youth.

Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist. Toured India, particularly Punjab .Written on Mass movements for various blogs.

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