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31st January 2012 – All India Campaign against Sedition and other Repressive Laws

All India Campaign against Sedition and
other Repressive Laws

31st January, 2012,10 am onwards
Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi

Planning meeting 9th January, 2012GPF 4 pm to 6 pm

A daylong meeting was convened by the PUCL on the 16th of December to discuss and plan the launch of an All Indian Campaign against Sedition Laws. This was a follow up to the meeting held on the 7th and 8th May, 2011, in which members from various branches of the PUCL, and representatives of several democratic rights organizations like the PUDR, APDR, CPDR, CDRO, APCLC, Masum, Human Rights Alert, Manipur, NAPM, participated and it was decided that a million signatures should be collected and presented to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha demanding the repeal of sec. 124A IPC and sec. 2(o) (iii) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967 and other anti-sedition laws provisions in other legislations.

The follow up meeting on 16th December, 2011 was held at Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi. It had over 40 people participating which included members from the PUCL state branches of Rajasthan, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, UP, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and the national executive of the PUCL along with members from and other democratic, human rights and people’s organisations like the PUDR, New Socialist Initiative, INSAF, Human Rights Law Network, People’s Democratic Front of India, CDRO, Agriculture Workers Union, Karnataka, CHRI, NAPM, Right to Food and Work Campaign, Rajasthan along with several free lance media persons among others.

The decisions taken are as follows:

  1. To launch the `All India Campaign against Sedition and other repressive Laws’ as a collective campaign of all democratic rights and human rights organisations, mass movements, rights bodies, professionals and concerned citizens. This campaign should be launched on the 31st of January, 2011 at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in Delhi (originally we had planned 30th JanuaryMartyr’s day, but due to the non availability of the hall, the launch has been shifted to the 31st with a press conference in Delhi on the 30th of January, 2011).
  2. A Steering group would be formed with representatives of different organisations which had participated in the May and Dec, 2011 meetings, with state level coordination to be undertaken in different states. Even organisations that were unable to attend the 16thDecember, 2011 meetings would be invited to be part of the Steering Committee. Gautam Navalakha of PUDR and Asish Gupta of CDRO undertook to contact other human rights organisations with the invitation to participate.
  3. On behalf of the PUCL, the 4 national Secretaries Kavita, Mahipal Singh, Chittaranjan Singh and Suresh would coordinate with PUCL state units to participate in this effort. Similarly other concerned individuals would also be invited to be part of the campaign.
  4. Pushkar Raj, PUCL National Secretary would continue with the coordination of the All India campaign along with the support of the PUCL national secretaries and representatives other member organization till the steering committee is formally launched.
  5. The planning meeting for the All India convention will take place at Gandhi Peace Foundation at 4 pm on the 9th of January, 2012 to chart out the strategy and plan for the January 31st, 2012 All India launch. (Pushkar Raj, Kavita Srivastava, Mahipal Singh, Parmajit to coordinate among others)
  6. It was felt that the campaign must work in different groups:
    1. A group which works on the documentation and research side of the law. On the basis of the format given below, information and case studies should be provided to this committee so that a report could be consolidated and released on the 31st of January, 2011. ( Proposed names Pushkar Raj, V. Suresh and Gautam Navlakha, Venkatesh to coordinate with others)
    2. A group will coordinate the public education campaign on the subject with students, farmers, workers, tribals, dalits, minority groups and other human rights workers and members of other organizations, through public meetings and signature campaigns. (Proposed names Chittranjan Singh, Anil Chaudhary, Subhash Gatade among others)
    3. Outreach work, especially with the legal fraternity. (Justice Sachar, Usha Ramanthan, Ravi Kiran Jain and others)
    4. A group would simultaneously also begin addressing legal support needs with the local organisation which would have identified victims along with it working on the social support and rehabilitation side of the victims. ( Colin Gonsalves, Himanshu, N D Pancholi and others)
    5. A media group which through alternative and main stream media, web based and otherwise, would aggressively highlight this issue. ( Ajit Sahi, Anand Panini and others)
  7. The All India documentation study of the use and abuse of sedition laws should be on the following parameters:
    1. State wise / District wide / Police Station specific list of Cases (FIRs) in which sedition charges u/s124A IPC and Sec. 2(o)(iii) Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967 were invoked along with other criminal law sections in the last 10 years;
    2. Description of status of each of the cases listed above in terms of (a) still pending investigation; (b) whether a charge sheet has been filed, if so what are the charges; (c) status of trial, and number of years pending; (iv) if trial concluded, whether the accused is/are convicted for offence u/s 124A IPC and UAPA, and other charges with details of sentence; (v) whether appeal filed and pending or decided.
    3. Even if it is not possible to get details of all cases described in (ii) above, attempt should be made to collect details in as many cases as possible.
    4. To sub-categorise the list of cases in (i), (ii) and (iii) above in terms of the following categories of cases where sedition charges were invoked: (a) workers’ strikes, (b) farmers’ agitations, (c) dalit struggles, (iv) tribal rights groups, (v) minority rights issues, (vi) students’ agitations (vii) rights defenders, (viii) women’s movements, (ix) protests against development projects / displacement (x) others.
    5. List out the background of the accused in all cases involving sedition charges.
    6. Prepare case studies of major cases involving sedition charges highlighting the details of (a) glaring absurdity of the case, (b) human interest, (c) political vendetta, (d) impact on families, (e) length of arrest and difficulties in bail.

PLANNING MEETING FOR THE ALL INDIA CONVENTION WILL TAKE PLACE AT GANDHI PEACE FOUNDATION ON THE 9th January, 2011 (Monday) from 4 pm to 6 pm. Please come on time.

We are,

Pushkar Raj, V. suresh, Mahipal singh, Chittranjan Singh , Kavita Srivastava

Dated: 26th December, 2011

All queries and emails should be sent to: puclnat@gmail.com with copies to kavita.pucl@gmail.com and rightstn@gmail.com, please mails related to this always write subject: sedition

If by post : Pushkar Raj, General Secretary, PUCL,
270-A, Patparganj, Opp. Anandlok Apartments, Mayur Vihar-I, Delhi-110