On the call by Democratic Students Association – DSA Kerala, Joint statement by students organisations against the incarceration of 94 year old GROW Vasu, a veteran human rights activist.
We, the students, stand united to condemn the blatant violation of civil liberties through the incarceration of Vasu, popularly known as GROW Vasu, who was at the forefront of several people’s protests against corporates, fascists, and anti-people policies all over Kerala. Vasu was arrested and jailed in a seven-year-old case by Kerala Police on July 29, 2023, for his protest in front of the mortuary at the Kozhikode Medical College against the extra-judicial fake encounter of two ailing Maoist cadres, Ajitha and Kuppu Devaraj who were killed on November 24, 2016 by the Thunderbolt commandos of the Kerala Police under the Home Ministry led by CM Pinarayi Vijayan.
When CPI(M) and BJP joined hands together supporting the fake encounter, CPI who is a member of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) coalition government in Kerala and various regional and national based human rights organisations including CDRO slammed the encounter as staged and held Kerala government responsible for the murder. Vasu demanded a judicial investigation as per the Supreme Court guidelines mentioned in the 2014 judgement on PUCL vs. the State of Maharashtra against the Thunderbolt state commandos who killed the above-mentioned political activists. For demanding a fair probe, charges of unlawful assembly and obstruction of police in the discharge of their duty were slapped on Vasu and others. The state violated the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression by registering a case against him. The charges levelled against him remind us of the Emergency period. Kerala government which showed interest in repealing the cases registered against Sangh Parivar fascists who unleashed violence against police, Muslims, journalists, and civilians including women, during the Sabarimala unrest in 2019, decided to execute a long pending warrant against Vasu.
The arrest, incarceration, restricting Vasu from interacting with media, masking his face from the public using a police cap and censoring of newspapers given to him in jail show the undemocratic policies and anti-political prisoner policies of Kerala government and their double standard and bias in favour of RSS. CPI(M), who had protested against the arrest and institutional murder of Fr. Stan Swamy in custody, is silent on Vasu who is also suffering from various diseases including asthma.
Pinarayi Vijayan is following the footsteps of Narendra Modi and Yogi Adithyanath by giving a free hand to fake encounters and slapping cases against dissenters under UA(P)A and other IPC sections. The murder of Maoists in Kerala is part of a pro-imperialist, Brahmanic, and anti-people military operation by the Indian state, Operation Samadhan-Prahaar. The Kerala government under Pinarayi Vijayan has not only killed 8 Maoists extra-judicially but has got several civilians, mainly from marginalised caste and class communities, killed in police custody. The crackdown on activists in Kerala is no different from what is happening in BJP-governed states and social fascists in Kerala are strengthening the ideas of Police Raj encouraged by fascists. The class politics of the Kerala government are very much visible when they have selectively registered cases against Anti-NRC-CAA, Anti-farm bill, and Anti-Police atrocities protestors and exempted Sangh Parivar. The government has also registered UA(P)A cases and jailed activists for putting up posters demanding judicial investigation on the fake encounter of CP Jaleel. Pinarayi Vijayan who also handles the home ministry portfolio is giving impunity to the police from being held accountable for the crimes they have committed. We strongly protest against the social fascist actions of the CPI(M) led Kerala government.
We also stand with the political position taken by Vasu who was jailed after refusing to pay the penalty for a crime which he never committed and taking part in bail procedures as his sign of protest against the state. We urge the student community to rise against the police atrocities and the state which violates human rights. This joint statement represents our shared determination to protect the fundamental principles of democracy, free speech, and the right to dissent. We also urge the CPI(M) central committee to look into this matter and press the government in Kerala to take immediate action.
Our demands are:
1. Release Vasu by quashing the case registered against him.
2. Initiate judicial investigation on all fake encounters in Kerala.
3. Prosecute Police officers involved in the fake encounters and custodial deaths.
4. Quash all cases registered against Anti-NRC-CAA-Farm Bill-Police atrocities protestors and other people’s protests.
5. Pass a resolution against UA(P)A in the state assembly.
6. Ratify UNStandard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules).
7. Ratify UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
8. Protect Article 19(1)(a) of Indian constitution.
9. Release all Political Prisoners.
Statement endorsed by:
1. Progressive Students Collective (PSC) – Pakistan
2. National Students Federation (NSF) – Pakistan
3. Revolutionary Students Youth Movement (RSYM) – Bangladesh
4. All Nepal National Independent Student’s Union (Revolutionary) – (ANNISU(R)- Nepal
5. Revolutionary Students Front (RSF) – West Bengal
6. Student uprising movement for social welfare (SUMS)- Tamil Nadu
7. Dayar I Shauq Students’ Charter (DISSC)- Jamia Islamia Millia University
8. Aijaz Ahmed Memorial Study Circle – South Asian University, Delhi
9. Bhim Army Students Federation (BASF) – Delhi
10. Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch (BScem) – Delhi
11. Bhagat Singh Students Morcha (BSM)- Uttar Pradesh
12. Inqalabi Chatra Morcha (ICM) – Uttar Pradesh
13. Progressive Students Association (PSA) – JNU
14. Collective- Delhi
15. Students For Society (SFS)- Punjab
16. Democratic Students Union (DSU) – Delhi University
17. Parivartankami Chhatra Sangthan (PACHHAS), Delhi
18. Vishwavidyalaya Chhatra Federation (VCF) – Delhi, India
19. Students Islamic Organisation (SIO)
20. All India Revolutionary Students Organisation (AIRSO)
21. Fraternity Movement
22. Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS)- Delhi
23. Muslim Students Federation (MSF)
24. Chhatra Ekta Manch (C.E.M)- Haryana
_ Date: September 7, 2023