Politics of targeting Dr Cheruku Sudhakar : K Ramachandra Murthy డిసెంబర్ 10, 2011Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in agitation, Andhrapreneurship, bandh, Congress, Economy, Mulki, Nalgonda, politics, regionalism, Telangana, TRS, violence.
Tags: Kiran Kumar Reddy, Magunta Subbirami Reddy, NSA, PDA, Sakala Janula Samme
Cheruku Sudhakar, a Test Case!
The Hans India, December 10, 2011
K Ramachandra Murthy
Soon after the untenable PD Act was revoked, the dreaded NSA was invoked. It is entirely unwarranted and unethical
“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out, because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me”.
This was the confession of a German pastor Niemoeler who was taken away by the Nazis during the Second World War. The decision of the State government on Tuesday to order detention of Cheruku Sudhakar for 12 months in jail under the National Security Act (NSA) reminded me of the pastor’s plight as quoted by noted journalist and diplomat Kuldip Nayar in his book ‘Judgment’ which was written after he came out of prison as the Emergency was lifted in 1977.
Dr Cheruku Sudhakar was with PDSU when he was a student. I was not with that organization as a student. He worked for Janashakti group of Chandra Pullareddy. I don’t subscribe to the ideology of that party. Far from it. He differed with CP group on caste question and joined Veeranna group of Telangana Mahasabha.
I never rubbed shoulders with either Veeranna or Dr Sudhakar. He is a good poet and wrote several popular songs on social issues. Though I dabbled in poetry before shedding innocence, I cannot claim to be a poet.
Sudhakar did a lot of experiments in his life, like marrying a dalit and giving his daughter in marriage to a BC, although the wedding was performed in a pompous way unbecoming of a communist. He was actively associated with the Telangana movement and was instrumental in the success of 42-day Sakala Janula Samme.
He is rugged, emotional and an able organizer. I am only an observer, a commentator and a journalist and certainly not an activist. I describe myself as a liberal-social-democrat, if I may say so, and a concerned citizen.
That is precisely why I am annoyed with the decision of the government to incarcerate the poor people’s doctor of Nakirekal in Nalgonda district for effectively organizing a strike which was later condoned by the State government by taking a lenient view of the employees who participated in it. The strike was a part of the ongoing, peaceful agitation for a separate T-state.
The movement was acknowledged as constitutional and peaceful, representing the aspirations of considerable number (not all) of people in the region. Leaders and cadres of all political parties in T-region, with the exception of CPI(M)and Lok Satta were actively involved in the movement, organized dharnas, rasta rokos, got arrested, and went to jail.
The detention of the physician is illegal and in contravention of the Fundamental Rights enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution. Preventive Detention Act is meant to be used to nab bootleggers, smugglers and law-breakers.
The charges against the doctor, who was taken into custody under Section 151 Cr. P. C., include demanding of funds for irrigation project, minimum support price to agro products, etc. Soon after the untenable PD Act was revoked, the dreaded NSA was invoked. It is entirely unwarranted and unethical.
An appeal to the Chief Secretary of the State government Pankaj Dwivedi by senior and highly respected citizens like Chukka Ramaiah, Pothuri Venkateswara Rao, Prof Haragopal and Prof Rama Melkote had no effect.
Interestingly, the very same Dwivedi, when he was the district collector at Warangal, had refused to sign preventive detention orders against Revolutionary poet Varavara Rao. He may have some limitations as a chief secretary.
It is not surprising that a three-member committee concurred with the decision of the district magistrate and collector of Nalgonda to detain Sudhakar. The committee also ratified the case booked under NSA. Such committees usually ratify the official actions unless there are procedural irregularities.
India is one of a few democratic countries where the Preventive Detention law enjoys constitutional validity even during peace time. No such law exists in the US or England. The European Court of Human Rights held long ago that such laws are illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights. Freedom-lovers everywhere have a duty to oppose the indiscriminate use of black laws.
Why did the government pick up Dr Sudhakar and not someone else? This is a question which has been bothering those of us who believe in the rule of law. As a principle, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy goes by the rule book. Soon after he took over the reins one year ago, I met him along with the first three of the concerned citizens listed above (Ramaiah, Pothuri and Haragopal).
We requested him to use his authority to set former Naxalite leader Ganesh free since he had already served 15 years in prison, he has kidney problem needing regular dialysis and has a large family to support. He was accused of killing Magunta Subbirami Reddy, MP and owner of Udayam daily of which I was the editor.
Subbarami Reddy’s wife Parvatamma, a former MLA, also made an appeal to the government to release Ganesh because he had not shot but had, instead, been shot at, and the plan of the Naxalites then was only to kidnap the MP, who was considered a popular politician, in order to demand the release of a prominent Naxal leader. Ganesh was escorting the MP on December 1, 1995, when another Naxalite opened fire. The MP died on the spot and Ganesh was injured in the abdomen.
The chief minister did not oblige us, saying that if he agreed to our request there would be a lot of pressure on him from the factionists for the same kind of decision. Governor Narasimhan, who came to Andhra Pradesh from Chattisgarh, is known for his strong views on the Naxalite movement. The policy of the Union Home Minister Chidambaram needs no reiteration.
There have been reports, including the one by Justice Srikrishna Committee, that the Telangana movement is backed by Naxalites and that the extremists have infiltrated into the movement. This argument gets fortified if a person like Sudhakar, who is a known sympathizer of Naxalites and a strong votary of the T-State, is taken to task.
Besides proving that there are Naxalites behind the T-movement, a strong warning also could be sent to the students and other young activists who have been involved full-time in the movement that they also would, sooner or later, end up like Sudhakar in a jail. Such tactics are adopted by almost all governments. If the political executive is reluctant, the bureaucrats (IPS, in particular) would push it forward.
The police officials in AP have been starved of special privileges, out-of-turn promotions and slush money ever since the Naxalites left the State for Chattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jarkhand and West Bengal. There is reason to believe that at least some (certainly not all, of course) of the officers have a vested interest in having the Naxalite problem boiling.
It may sound uncharitable and irresponsible, but it is true. Otherwise, there is absolutely no reason to invoke NSA and put Dr Sudhakar in jail for one year. This threat might work. The T-movement might get weakened. The State may return to normality. But, true peace is not merely the absence of tensions; it is the presence of justice, as Martin Luther King Jr rightly said.