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Retract the Renewal of Ban on RDF in AP

RISE!                              RESIST!                                   LIBERATE!

REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRATIC FRONT (RDF)  --  Press Statement -- 21 August 2013

Retract the Renewal of Ban on RDF in Andhra Pradesh

Institute High level Judicial Enquiry into Cold-blooded Murder of Comrade Ganti Prasadam

Stop witch-hunting and Malicious Propaganda against People’s Organisations

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) condemns the renewal of the ban on the organization for another year by the Andhra Pradesh State government under the Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act 1992.

RDF was arbitrarily banned on the 9th of August 2012 by the AP government, a mere three months after it organized the first All India Conference in Hyderabad in April 2012. We continue to oppose and fight this ban on our organization that has been arbitrarily imposed by the state government in violation of the freedom of expression and right to association and the freedom to exercise democratic dissent.

Today, more than ever, it is clear for all to see that this policy of ban and targeting of organisations and people’s leaders is used by the state to silence the voice of the people. The renewal of the ban on RDF comes in the wake of the brutal assault and killing of RDF’s Vice-President Ganti Prasadam by the very same AP State government. It is now accompanied by a state sponsored media witch-hunt of RDF’s Joint Secretary GN Saibaba, a professor in the University of Delhi and criminalizing of the organisation in dailies like Dainik Jagran, Times of India and other newspapers with purported reports of intelligence agencies.

This ban imposed on RDF and the targeting of its leaders everyday is an open assault on the claims of democracy made by the government. This ban continues to be an excuse to commit atrocities on the vast section of society by declaring their aspirations ‘unlawful’ and providing absolute impunity to the police and paramilitary forces to crackdown on any and all expressions of democratic dissent. In utilizing draconian laws like the Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act of 1992 on people’s organisations, killing people’s leaders like Comrade Ganti Prasadam, fabricating cases and spreading malicious rumours through the media, we believe that these policies on part of the state reflect the hollowness of its claims to uphold democracy and rights accorded to everyone in this country.

The renewal of the ban on RDF reflects the continuation of the colonial legacy of bans, restrictions and censorship on the democratic practice of political dissent and it curbs the freedom of expression. The 21 months of Emergency in the 1970’s saw similar restrictions on the right to associate, protest and express disaffection against the government policies. This policy eventually found expression through the execution of a range of draconian laws like the NSA, TADA, POTA, UAPA, among others and reinforced the authoritarian powers of the state. Post 2001, this policy became part of the ‘war on terror’ campaign lead by an imperialist Western power, America. Since then, several people’s organizations across the country have been targeted and banned for expressing the will of the people. Over the last decade, several organizations in Andhra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, and Maharashtra have been branded as ‘frontal organizations’ of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Similarly, several democratic and civil rights organizations and individuals are now being targeted for carrying out ‘unlawful activity’ in the name of being sympathetic to a whole range of people’s movements in the country.

The arbitrariness of the claims and the authoritarian imposition of bans and selective targeting of organizations and individuals clearly show the intention of the state to suppress all forms and platforms for dissent. With the claim of countering Maoism, the state government has falsely implicated RDF as a frontal organization of CPI (Maoist) – another banned political entity – and has thereby continued with its policy of criminalizing and persecuting political dissent. This is in spite of the fact that upholding of and adhering to any ideology is not a crime but is a constitutionally guaranteed right of the citizens, which has been time and again pointed out by the Supreme Court. Keeping this in mind, we believe that this imposition of a ban on RDF in this arbitrary manner on unsubstantiated charges is a direct assault on our democratic rights.

On the 4th of July the Union government and the State government of Andhra Pradesh assassinated our beloved leader, Vice-President of Revolutionary Democratic Front, Comrade Ganti Prasadam in a brutal assault and cold-blooded murder in Nellore as part of Operation Green Hunt. Comrade Ganti Prasadam had dedicated his life to working class people and other revolutionary masses for the past 40 years. The targeting of mass revolutionary leaders of the Telangana movement and the criminalizing of people’s activists through fabricated cases and extended incarceration has been common practice of the Andhra Pradesh state government. Over the years, Comrade Ganti Prasadam repeatedly faced arrest for upholding genuine people’s movements. He fought incessantly for the rights of the oppressed masses and political prisoners in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Despite the repression he faced, he continued to participate in people’s movement by writing prolifically and engaging in contemporary political and literary debates apart from leading several organisations and movements. On the fated day, he was attending a meeting of the Association of the Relatives and Friends of Martyrs in Andhra Pradesh of which he was an Executive Member having lost his brother, Rajanna, in the Koppadingi fake encounter in Odisha.

After visiting a relative of a martyr, Comrade Ganti Prasadam was brutally attacked with knives and a pistol by a three-member vigilante gang outside a government hospital. He breathed his last in the early hours of the 5th of July. Today, once again we ask, who will account for this gruesome and cold-blooded murder of Comrade Ganti Prasadam. Bans are not enough; the state finds ways to eliminate the people’s leaders who express the genuine voice of resistance. This murderous attack on Comrade Prasadam should be seen as an attack on the legitimate democratic and revolutionary movement of the oppressed poor. RDF avows to avenge the political assassination of our Vice President and beloved leader of the revolutionary masses by raising the banner of revolt and resistance to defeat the treacherous anti-people policies of the comprador ruling classes of India and by mobilizing the vast sections of the people of the subcontinent into the New Democratic Revolution. RDF pays red homage to our beloved leader Comrade Ganti Prasadam and pledges to take ahead the New Democratic Revolution by rededicating ourselves to the poorest of the poor in the subcontinent.

The targeting of revolutionary leaders standing up for the genuine aspirations of the people as members of the Maoist party, an organization that was also banned arbitrarily, has been the policy of the state to malign and discredit dissenting voices. Time and again the media has played its part in furthering this effort of the state by publishing unsubstantiated and blatantly false reports as has been done against RDF’s Joint Secretary, GN Saibaba, in leading daily newspapers like Dainik Jagran and Times of India. The news article made baseless and defamatory claims that Saibaba is a state committee member of the CPI (Maoist). This targeting of aibaba clearly indicates the efforts of the state through the media to suppress uncomfortable opinions that expose the undeclared war on people waged by the Indian state in the name of Operation Green Hunt. As part of the policy to suppress the development of a revolutionary movement across the country, in 2009 the UPA government declared an all-out war on people codenamed Operation Green Hunt. Since then, the democratic and civil rights movement has opposed this effort through a massive campaign against OGH across the country and internationally.

In the face of such bans and political killings of revolutionary leaders, it is up to us to strengthen this campaign against the war on people and fight the anti-people policies of the state. And so today, once again, we vociferously and unequivocally condemn the ban on RDF and the brutal assault on its leader by the Union and state governments and its forces.

President                                                                                                         General Secretary

Varavara Rao                                                                                                    Rajkishore

09676541715                                                                                                  09717583539