In protest, activists present Pune police with ‘certificate of dishonour’
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In protest, activists present Pune police with ‘certificate of dishonour’

Even as policemen stood by, the activists presented them with a certificate of dishonour as a mark of protest against the police action against lawyer and trade union activist Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao, activist Gautam Navlakha, and lawyers Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves.

pune Updated: Aug 31, 2018 14:54 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune police,Pune,activists
Anjali Maydeo Ambedkar, wife of Prakash Ambedkar, took part in the protest on Thursday. (RAHUL RAUT/ HT PHOTO )

Revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s‘Hum Dekhenge’ filled the air at the entrance gate of Pune district collector’s office on Thursday evening as various activists and social groups gathered to protest against the arrest of the five people in relation to the Bhima Koregaon violence. Even as policemen stood by, the activists presented them with a certificate of dishonour as a mark of protest against the police action against lawyer and trade union activist Sudha Bharadwaj,P Varavara Rao, activist Gautam Navlakha, and lawyers Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves.

Almost everyone present in the protest expressed displeasure towards police inaction against Sanatan Sanstha while going to lengths in order to reprimand and arrest activists. Slogans like“Modi shahi nahi chalegi”, “Modi sarkar murdabad”,“Jo Hitler ki chaal chalega, wo Hitler ki maut marega” (the one who acts like Hitler will die like Hitler),“Modi sarkar hosh mai ao” (Wake up, Modi government) were raised by youngsters and senior citizens present at the protest alike.

“This is unacceptable. We call ourselves a democracy and allow such things to happen. This (the protest) is a mark of protest against fascist governments. The media has the responsibility to question what is happening,” said Abhinaya Vijaykumar, 28, a PhD candidate in education fromIndian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER). She learned about the protest through a women’s studies alumni group. Vijaykumar was accompanied by her friend, also a PhD candidate from IISER.

“One of the scariest thing is that these things (like arrests) are being done without the fear of protest or backlash. It is great that the courts put a stay on the arrest,” said Sandeep Varkey, 26, a candidate for PhD in Physics from IISER. “This is not about any political party. This is about our right to dissent. Had it been the Congress government doing this, we would have reacted in a similar way,” he added.

Various activists like Vidya Bal, Kiran Moghe, Nandini Jadhav, Milind Deshpande, Kishor Dhamale, Sunil Suptankar, Anjum Inamdar, along with Sujat Ambedkar,Anjali Maydeo Ambedkar, among others were present during the protest. The activists submitted a letter demanding withdrawal of cases against the five human rights activists along with arrest of Sambhaji Bhide in the case of Bhima Koregaon violence.

A“certificate of dishonour” was then issued to the Pune police for their recent action. A part of the sarcastic letter read,“Although there was stiff competition, and there are several other contenders among various official forces and governments across India vying for this (dis) honour, we have no hesitation in state that Pune police have excelled among all, and has succeeded in framing the most outstandingly false charges against activists, which is unique in the recent history of India.”

The organisations involved included Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Pary of India (Marxist), (CPI-M), Aam Aadmi Party, Akhil Bhartiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana (AIDWA), Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Preerna Abhiyan, among 28 organisations whose members participated in the protest.

First Published: Aug 31, 2018 14:54 IST