Tamil Nadu – Turning into a fascist laboratory!!

Modi summons and meets Tamil Nadu journalists. A coward who will not do an open press conference wants to meet and browbeat journalists into submission.

Tamil Nadu – Turning into a fascist laboratory!!

Voices from the South

Press Club of India, New Delhi |  4th August 2018 | 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

As the entire country reels under an undeclared emergency, the attacks on democratic rights are not concentrated in a single region, but spread across the country, permeating across every state. In this context, Tamil Nadu is witnessing a complete breakdown of its democratic structure with increased repression on people’s movements. Each day, state sponsored repression on communities whose livelihoods are dependent on the natural resources as well as on the activists protesting environmental violations, nuclear power plants and other non-people oriented developmental projects, reach a new level. The state police is acting with absolute impunity, curbing the freedom of speech, expression and assembly, working for hand in glove with corporates.

The Union government is turning the state of Tamil Nadu into a “ laboratory of fascism “.  The weak and discredited Tamil Nadu government has been toeing the line of the BJP government at the center, in order to ensure its own longevity and stay in power. In recent times, the state witnessed brutal killings in police firings, the arrest of activists and community members under draconian laws such as UAPA, NSA and Sedition and so on. The police firing on the people’s peaceful demonstration in Thoothukudi killing 13 protesters and injuring hundreds, the arrest of 19 people who were distributing pamphlets on the Chennai – Salem corridor and slapping them with sedition charges, the arrest and custodial torture of lawyers representing activists, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board authorities approval of the Unilever’s failed remedial tests in Kodaikanal, police conducting raid in the house of Tamil documentary filmmaker Divya Bharathi shortly after the release of the trailer for her documentary “orutharum varela” (Nobody Came) on Cyclone Okhi etc are all symptoms of  a fascist government brazenly experimenting repression in its various forms to suppress peoples voices .

The plight of the activists and protestors is exacerbated by the state conniving openly with corporate to loot the natural resources with the intention to displace lakhs of people from their primary source of livelihood be it in the case of the coasts or that of the farmers and the landless. Each policy implemented by the Tamil Government if looked closely from the perspective of the communities, it is anti-environment as well as anti-people in approach. Hence the state of Tamil Nadu is in a situation of crisis, where the Central government is back-seat driving by unilaterally imposing the development projects in an undemocratic and authoritarian fashion. The corporates are relentlessly sequestering and squandering the natural resources that rightly belongs to the future generations of Tamil Nadu and across.

The representatives of People’s Movements in Tamil Nadu came together to discuss this statewide repression and an arbitrary crackdown on people opposing anti-people developmental projects in Chennai on 15th July 2018. It was decided that there needs to be an appraisal of the situation of the state within the larger civil society in the light of the incidents mentioned above. The activists and people’s movement representatives who have been falsely targeted by the state government and police to create an atmosphere of intimidation and threat decided to hold a Press Conference and Public Meeting in Delhi on 4th August 2018 from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Press Club , Delhi (1 Raisina Road , New Delhi ) .

Political and movement leaders from Tamil Nadu such as Velmurugan, Abdul Samad, K.M. Shariff, Kudanthai Arasan, Piyush Manush, Sundarrajan, Valarmathi, Krishnamurthy Kittu, Saravanan, Aruldas, Udayakumar and others from Tamil Nadu will be participating and will be sharing their experiences as well as their observations with respect to the current state of affairs in Tamil Nadu. They will be joined by Adv Prashant Bhushan, Soni Sori, Arundhati Roy, Medha Patkar (TBC), Kavita Krishnan and others.

We take this opportunity to invite responsible citizens in Delhi to kindly come for this important meeting, listen to the voices and pledge your solidarity and support for the activists from Tamil Nadu as well as help forge a way forward to address the pertinent concerns they are raising.

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