In the past few months, the government, by repeatedly asserting its perception of the Maoists as the ‘biggest threat to internal security’, by criminalising the CPI (Maoist), and through a sustained project of trying to build a consensus against various forms of popular upsurge and dissent, has been creating ground for the onslaught that is now in the offing. No matter what they say about using the air force only for surveillance, it is clear enough that in this elaborate plan to wage war against its own people, the state will not, if needed, flinch from aerial bombardment. The idea that the IAF could be allowed to ‘retaliate’ in ‘self-defence’ while carrying out its so-called surveillance tasks is already being contemplated and bandied about in the top echelons of the Indian state and security establishment. Furthermore, the spate of arrests in Kolkata, and even Delhi, has created an atmosphere that resembles, to an alarming degree, the one created by Senator McCarthy’s ‘anti-communist’ witch hunt in the US of the 1940s and 1950s. It becomes important in such a situation to come together and question this sequence of events and the narrative that buttresses it. We invite you to a Press Conference-cum-public meeting – on October 19, 2009, at the Press Club of India, between 12pm and 3pm – in which we seek to discuss the following:
1. The government’s plan to wage war against, and possibly bombard, the people of the concerned area.
2. The arbitrary arrest of dissenting political organisers, dissident intellectuals and student activists in the name of curbing ‘Maoism’.
3. The validity of the idea of outlawing an organisation completely and thereby banning all its activities and, in effect, taking away all forms of expression from its members.
The meeting-cum-press conference is to be addressed by Parthasarathi Ray of Sanhati, writer Arundhati Roy, senior Supreme Court lawyer and civil rights expert Prashant Bhushan and members of the PUDR. You are cordially invited to attend the meeting and participate in the discussion that will follow.
Venue: Press Club of India, Raisina Road (New Delhi)
Date: October 19, 2009
Time: 12.00-3.00 pm