Revolution#116, January 20, 2008
From A World to Win News Service
India: Kerala Police Arrest Editor of People’s March
January 7, 2008. A World to Win News Service. Following is a December 31, 2007 press release from Rajkishor, General Secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front of India. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On December 19, the Kerala police, under the orders of the Ernakulum Police Commissioner, raided the room of Govindan Kutty, 65, the editor and publisher of People’s March—which is not a banned publication—and confiscated all his literature and computer hard disk. Govindan Kutty was arrested under the charges of spreading sedition and indulging in unlawful activities and was remanded in judicial custody by a lower court at Aluva in Kerala. He was implicated in a fabricated case under a number of clauses like section 134A and 163B of the Indian Penal Code and 13 of (1) b of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and sent to Aluva prison.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the state, under the close instructions of UPA Government at the Centre, resorted to this crackdown on the popular revolutionary magazine. [Revolution editors’ note: The Left Democratic Front is the ruling coalition in the state of Kerala, including revisionists (phony “communists”) and others. The UPA is the United Progressive Alliance, the ruling coalition heading the Indian government, dominated by the Indian National Congress party.] Govindan Kutty, according to his lawyers, was harassed and psychologically tortured for a day in the name of interrogation before being sent to judicial custody. Ever since he was arrested he was on hunger strike protesting against the trampling down of his right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
He continues his protest within the four walls of the prison, demanding his unconditional release. His lawyer, who met him two days ago, said that his health condition was serious, given his age and chronic ailments he has been suffering. His life is under a serious threat.
The arrest of Govindan Kutty and the police crackdown on the office of the publication was an attack on the freedom of press.
As hundreds of thousands of people from all corners of the world know, the People’s March supports all revolutionary movements, including the Maoist movements in India, Nepal and elsewhere. It is a fully legal publication registered with the registrar of newspapers of the Government of India, with the RNI number KER ENG/2000/2051, and the postal registration number KL/EKM/614/2007-09. The magazine has been coming out for over seven years (since 1998), meeting all the legal requirements. The magazine has been freely available not only in bookstalls all over India, but also in prominent libraries in New Delhi and other major cities in India and abroad.
The People’s March publishes news reports and interviews with Maoists, both from India and abroad, like all other hundreds of magazines and newspapers in India. It is People’s March today which is under attack, tomorrow all other media will face the same threat if we don’t raise our voice against this attack on freedom of the press.
A year ago the website of People’s March was blocked by the Indian government without assigning any reasons. When its editors started publishing the online magazine through a blog on Googlepages, it was also blocked by Google in December 2007, under the pressure of the Indian government. [As of January 7, 2008, www.peoplesmarch.googlepages.com was working again.]
The arrest of the editor and the foisting of fake charges against him are nothing but an attempt of the government of India to further stifle freedom of speech in the country. The so-called largest democracy in the world with a gigantic army, paramilitary and police force feels threatened by a mere monthly magazine with a limited circulation of a few thousands in print. This action displays the fascist character of the Indian state and the cowardly action of the Kerala police.
The Revolutionary Democratic Front appeals to all democratic and revolutionary organizations and individuals to raise their voice against the arrest of the editor of People’s March, a popular independent revolutionary newspaper from India.
We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Govindan Kutty and that the government allow the continued publication of People’s March. We hold the government entirely responsible in the face of any damage to his health or threat to his life due to his hunger strike in jail.
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