WE the undersigned are alarmed at the tendentious reporting on the alleged involvement of Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani in the December 13 attack on the Indian parliament. In contrast the media has not carried his side of the story. As it is, having been charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) an innocent person has very little chance of escaping destruction of his/her life and liberty.
In a number of visits by several teachers and civil rights activists to Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani in Tihar Jail he has insisted that he is innocent of the charges levelled against him. He was picked up on the day of the incident from outside the Khalsa College and taken to some farm house where he was stripped and hung upside down, then beaten and the filthiest communal abuse were hurled at him. During the third degree that he was subjected to he was made to sign on blank papers as well as a statement that he was not tortured. When he was presented before the magistrate in his chamber several high ranking police officers were present. He chose to keep quiet when asked whether he was maltreated fearing further physical abuse. However, he refused to make any ‘confession’ since he maintained he was innocent. He told us that when he asked one of the officers who was interrogating him what was his crime he was was told ‘you are educated’. We believe Geelani’s guilt is that he is an educated Kashmiri Muslim.
Currently in judical custody he was removed from Ward 8 which houses Kashmiri detenues to Ward 2 which houses people charged with heinous crimes. We fear for his life because every time he is taken out of his solitary cell other detenues bay for his life.
The paranoia exhibited by the authorities is such that his wife and two children, both minors, were kept in Lodhi Road Police Station for three days and their whereabouts were hidden from their family and friends.
We appeal to every democratic minded person to protest against his persecution especially for projecting him as guilty without establishing the charges made against him. The rule of law in a democracy demands presumption of innocence. We, therefore, demand the withdrawal of the application of POTO and for the restoration of his civil liberties including his teaching position.
ND Pancholi, Anand Chakravarti, Tripta Wahi, Tapan Bose, K.M. Singh, Rajesh Tyagi, Vinod Khurana and Gautam Navlakha.
From: Leningrad, Russia.
In the past ‘Proletarskaya Gazeta’ has reported that rank-and-file troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) are forming union structures in a number of cities of Russia in order to defend their rights and interests against the arbitrariness and corruption of local authorities. The unions of the MIA in their struggle against the exploiting class have established official fraternal links with the Federation of Workers Unions of Russia, ‘Defence of Labour’. The ruling bourgeoisie is terribly afraid of the alliance of the workers unions and the rank-and-file troops of the MIA, and it’s doing its best to disrupt it. A year ago the authorities of Novosibirsk tried its best to liquidate the union of local rank-and-file troops of the MIA. Indictments have been fabricated against an activist of this union movement. Today the local authorities of Tomsk are using the same dirty methods, including the creation of conditions favourable for the physical liquidation of union activists.
We call on all the workers organizations of Russia and abroad, on all communists, honest and progressive people, to support in these hard times the rank-and-file troops of the MIA, who are being subjected to physical terror by the bourgeois authorities of Russia.
Letters of support should be sent to:
Region of Tomsk, Seversk
Ul. Pervomaiskaya, dom 3, k. 101.
Vladimir Nikiforov – Editor in chief ‘Proletarskaya Gazeta’
Anatolii Pizhov – Secretary of international relations of the executive committee of the Federation of Workers Unions of Russia, ‘Defence of Labour’
October 22, 2001
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