Instead of dealing with the genuine issues of livelihood, dispossession and displacement of the working people arising from the neoliberal model of development in India, the government has in fact decided to clamp down on dissenting voices. All voices which point to the problems of the current development paradigm – a paradigm which enriches a few at the cost of impoverishing the many, a paradigm which imposes enormous and often irreversible costs on the environment for short term corporate profits – are branded as enemies of the State and hounded by the intelligence agencies, police and paramilitary. All voices which oppose the corporate plunder of the resources of the country, the minerals, the forests, the water and the land, all voices which caution against the continued dispossession of the tribal people in East-Central India are being targeted, put under surveillance and intimidated. All voices which speak out against the systematic violence perpetrated by the State’s agencies – police, paramilitary, secret police – and State-supported vigilante groups like Salwa Judum and Harmad Bahini are being threatened with grave punishment. The list of people and organizations who have been targeted is long and growing: Binayak Sen, Arundhati Roy, Gautam Navlakha, Kirity Roy, Akhil Gogoi, Gladson Dungdung, Seema Azad, Kopa Kunjam, PUDR, APCLC, PUCL, APDR, CRPP, … Of course this list is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Behind this list of people known and easily recognized is a hundred time long list of people who have been killed, raped, jailed, tortured, maimed, people who are not known and have not been heard of. We oppose this growing authoritarianism of the Indian state and urge all democratic-minded people to raise their voices against the brazen attempt to curb Constitutionally-guaranteed democratic dissent in this country.
Sanhati, 07 May 2010
An Appeal against the Home Ministry’s Act of Intimidation
This is to inform you that the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Government of India has been monitoring my activities almost everyday, which I got to know from an officer of the Ministry who visited to my office at 11 AM on 29th of April 2010. He informed me that I was taken seriously by the Ministry in 2008 when I had started raising serious questions against the Arcelor Mittal Company, who has signed an MoU for 12 Mt Steel Plant with the investment of Rs. 40,000 crore. Mr. Arjun Munda then the Chief Minister of Jharkhand had shown it as the biggest achievement of his one-year tenure. We the Adivasi youth had protested under the banner of Jharkhand Indigenous People’s Forum against a tie-up between the DON BOSCO ITI and Arcelor Mittal Company. Consequently, they had to break the tie-up.
According to the officer, the Ministry’s monitoring was intensified against me when I had written a letter to Mr. P. Chidambaram the Home Minister of India on 19 March 2010 asking him to stop the Operation Green Hunt. I had also given him 10 points suggestions for dealing with the issue of Naxalism. When this letter reached to the Ministry, there was anxiety in the office and it was immediately sent back to it’s Ranchi unit and asked to submit a report immediately about me. Since, there was no any evidence against me related to so-called anti-national activities therefore no action was taken against me.
However, the officer has asked me to send him a copy of my writing whenever I write a piece in future. I should report him about the programme if I organize or participate especially related to the issues of land, forest, water, Adivasi and operation green hunt. I should also report him about all the major activities I do in daily basis. It is obvious that the Ministry of Home Affairs has been monitoring my activities under pressure from the corporate houses. Hence, the Ministry is promoting the acts of intimidation and seizing my right to freedom of thought and expression.
Therefore, I appeal to all the civil society organizations, people’s movements and individual to oppose the unconstitutional acts of the Ministry of Home Affairs for the protection of my rights, the democracy and the Indian constitution.
Postscript: My friends also informed me that there is an attempt to book me under the charge of Sedition or any other serious offence.
(Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from Jharkhand. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)