This is the fifth day of incarceration for the nine SFI activists who were arrested for participating in a protest demanding the resignation of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy for his involvement in the multi-crore Solar Scam. Com. V Sivadasan, SFI’s all-India President, Com. Noor Mohammad (all-India Vice-President), Comrades P Laxmiah and Shatarup Ghosh (all-India Joint Secretaries), Comrades Y Ramu, Narendra Mandula and M Shobhan (Central Executive Committee members), and Comrades Rahul N and Nitheesh Narayanan (Executive Committee members of the SFI JNU Unit) have been remanded in Tihar Jail since Wednesday.
The nine activists, along with several others, were arrested on Tuesday, 9 July 2013, during a protest at the Kerala House in Delhi. The peaceful protesters, including women activists, were dragged, beaten up, punched, slapped and pushed into overcrowded police vans before being taken away to the Connaught Place police station. One of the police officers harassed a journalist and at one stage he charged at the protestors brandishing the burning stick on which the effigy of Oommen Chandy was burned. But the police have chosen to cover up their own brutality and excesses and have charged the protesters with non-bailable offences. At every instance the police indulged in dirty tricks to keep the arrested activists under confinement. On the first day they tried to delay every procedure to prevent the protesters from being taken to the court in time so that they could be kept in police custody. On the second day they argued that the medical report of some “injured” policeman has not come, following which the comrades were sent to Tihar Jail (the report, which came the next day, proved that the police was lying about the “injuries suffered” by the policeman); and on the third day the police argued that the activists must remain under custody to prevent any “obstruction” to the ongoing investigation! The court refused to grant bail to the nine comrades on the basis of such frivolous arguments, even as it was clear that the charges against them are baseless and fabricated.
The entire episode clearly smacks of political pressure from the Congress party, which is neck-deep in corruption. The Solar scam in Kerala is only the latest in the series of corruption scandals involving the Congress and its governments at the Centre and in the states. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his office have been found to have facilitated the deception of several people by duping them into investing in a solar energy company headed by a set of fraudsters. These criminals were able to continue their fraud even after several complaints were raised, thanks to their close relationship with the Chief Minister and his office. Witnesses have come out in the open to reveal that the CM made personal recommendations for the fraudulent company named 'Team Solar', and Oommen Chandy’s personal aide has already been arrested by the police. As the scam broke out, there were repeated demands from the Opposition led by the Left that a judicial enquiry be ordered into the issue, and as the CM himself was found to be complicit in the scandal, his resignation was demanded. Powerful popular protests in support of these demands have emerged in the recent days, with students, youth and other democratic sections actively joining the protests. But the Congress government has chosen to respond to these protests in a draconian manner by unleashing violence on the protesters. Numerous students and youth have been brutally beaten up, booked under non-bailable charges and thrown into jails. Police repression in Kerala against the protesters is still continuing unabated – SFI CEC member Com. R S Balamurali has suffered multiple injuries in police lathicharge.
The Congress and its governments in Kerala and at the Centre have been trying to prevent an independent enquiry so as to prevent the truth from being revealed, and the brutal repression unleashed on protesters all over Kerala and the fabricated charges leveled against activists in Delhi are part of the ploy to mute the popular demand that the Chief Minister should step down. The Delhi Police meanwhile has once again proven beyond doubt that it has long foregone its duties towards the common citizens and has become a vicious tool in the hands of its political masters. Be it during the anti-gang rape protests of last December or during numerous other protests against the government’s murky involvement in various scams, the Delhi Police has always been found standing on the side of the wrong doers.
SFI condemns the continuing brutality of the Kerala police and the travesty of justice that is being done under the pressure of the ruling party in Delhi. The Congress is mistaken in assuming that such political victimization will result in the silencing of left and democratic voices in this country. The SFI, in solidarity with the struggling masses of Kerala and the rest of the country, resolves to continue its fight against corruption and political authoritarianism to its logical conclusion.
Manu M R, President, SFI JNU Unit
Paaritosh Nath, Vice-President, SFI JNU Unit