Volume 6, No. 1, January 2005

 

The Struggle by Revolutionaries in Chennai and Vellore Prisons in Tamilnadu

Swarna

 

In November, 2002 at Oothangarai of Dharmapuri district in Tamilnadu, Com. Siva was killed in a fake encounter and more than 20 comrades including two juvenile and 6 women were arrested and treated in an inhuman manner. The fascist Jaya foisted POTA against them. The juveniles were released after much legal battle. In Tamilnadu except the revolutionaries all who were arrested under POTA were released on bail. But the bail petition of revolutionaries is pending before the High Court for the past seven months without any progress. The prosecution is not ready for the argument and the Judges are not ready to even take up the case. The Fascist Jayalalitha government uses all dirty tricks to delay the bail.

In the last parliamentary general election the UPA alliance under the DMK used the POTA issue to effectively drub Jayalalitha in the elections. Both in the All India context and also in Tamilnadu context POTA issue was used as a vote catcher by the UPA alliance. After winning the election the UPA government was singing different tunes at different times on the POTA issue. In this situation the UPA government at the Center, after much pressure from democratic forces and civil right organisations and the general masses, has withdrawn POTA. But, it has announced that it will not withdrawn the cases of thousands who have been imprisoned under POTA.

Under these circumstances the revolutionaries in prison decided to undergo an indefinite fast to withdraw all POTA cases and scrapping the Act with retrospective effect. As part of the struggle they underwent a one day token hunger fast on 24.8.2004 and they continued their indefinite fasting from 26.08.2004, which continued for twenty days. Comrades. Thanga Pandian, Muthu, Suresh, Sathishkumar, Sakthivel, Manivasagam, Vinayagam, Reeta Mary, Reena Mary and Anandhi started their fast on Aug. 26. On Sept. 2, Comrades. Duraisingavel, Palani-samy, Madhian and Ravi joined with them.

After two days, the Q branch officers came for negotiations. Comrades refused to talk with these mercenaries. After which the DIG of prison tried his best to break the struggle by pleading with them. But his attempts failed. The state administration tried to confuse the comrades talking about the contridiction between the state and centre and threatened that forged case of attempt to suicide will be foisted against them. But these threats were thrown into the dustbin. All the efforts of state mercenaries were futile. The comrades continued their fast steadfastly, with determination inspite of their bad health

The health condition of comrades worsened day by day. On the third day, the health condition of women comrades deteriorated much. On the seventh day two male comrades got bleeding in their motions. On the nineteenth day one male comrade got high fever and could not speak. And many comrades could not even walk. Nearly each lost six to twelve kg.. Comrades who were under fast were kept in solitary confinement in cramped cells without ventilation. Even after seeing all these, the Jaya government refused to admit male comrades to the General hospital. The Human Right Organisation filed a Writ before the High Court, in Chennai to save the life of prisoners, but the fascist Jaya government refused to give them proper medical treatment.

There was solidarity from all walks of the people throughout the country for this just struggle. The prisoners in Bihar underwent a hunger fast in support of the demands raised by the revolutionaries in Chennai and Vellore prison. In Salem and Ponammallee prisons of Tamilnadu, there was a hunger fast for the same. In Tamilnadu, Civil Rights organisations and democrats held demonstrations at Salem, Thirupoor, Madhurai in support of this demand. Throughout Tamilnadu many revolutionary and democratic organisations took up propoganda in support of this struggle. Except the ruling class parties and other parliamentary parties, all other organisations openly supported the struggle. After the initial blocking out of this struggle news, the bourgeis media had to cover this news daily. Even the electronic media had to give coverage to the struggle. Throughout Tamilnadu the general masses were eagerly following the struggle and had shown immense sympathy for the revolutionaries who were waging a brave struggle in confinement. Especially the bold denial of forced drips by women comrades was appereciated by the masses. The human right activists here received solidarity messages from all over India almost daily. The civil rights organisations in Chattisgarh, Bombay, calcutta, Delhi, AP issued press statements in their respective states in support of the struggle. In Delhi, AIFTU, AIPRF, DSU, FDI, FDS, ICTU, IFTU, LOKRAJ SANGATHAN, NECOHR, PSU, PUDR, SAMAJI AYAYA MORCHA, AFPR, VIKALAP, YUVA BHARAT organised a dharna infornt of Tamilnadu Bhawan on September,8 between 2pm and 4pm. The struggle voices of comrades echoed even in BBC. There was solidarity messages from USA, Turkey, Anti Imperialist camp, Austria. The eminent democrats, Justice Rajinder Sachar, Ex-member of Parliament, Surender Mohan, Democratic right Activist Goutam Navlakha, Dr. Tripta Wahi met the Home Minister of India on 10th Sept., 2004 subm-itted a memorandum demanding immediate intervention in this struggle by the centre. Since there was no positive response from him, the team met Chair-person of the POTA Review Committee. He also told the same old story. The hunger fast ended after the civil rights team led by Justice Rajinder Sachar assured them to continue the struggle outside the prison walls.

This struggle has exposed the hypocrisy of the UPA government and it became clear to the masses that the promise of withdrawing POTA by the UPA before its expiry is nothing but the fraud. The struggle by revolutionaries has exposed the democratic mask of the UPA government.

At the same time the struggle has exposed the fascist regime of Jaya. The struggle had much political impact among the people of Tamilnadu

Though the struggle started initially within the walls of prison, it ignited the furies of democrats and civil rights organi-sations and common people. It proved that though the revolutionaries are behind bars, their revolutionary spirit will make many to march along with them. The struggle of revolutionaries in Tamilnadu prison rent the air. It has become a public issue and it became a part of agenda in almost all civil rights organisation in India.

All UPA partners in Tamilnadu who kept quiet cunningly during the struggle were forced to talk about this later. The cunning old fox Karunanidhi was compelled to issue statements to withdraw all POTA cases including the cases on revolutionaries. Even the so-called martyr of POTA Vaiko had to ask for the repeal of POTA with retrospective effect. The revisionist crocodiles are also now shedding tears for those languishing in prison. It is a political victory of determined revolutionaries who were ready to take the bull by the horns.

The Fascist Jayalalitha government tried to break the struggle and also the support of democrats and human right organisations by threats and force. But the steadfastness and determination of the revolutionaries and the commitment of those supporting the struggle prevailed. Jayalalitha faced yet another defeat and isolation at the hands of the revolutionaries. She had banned the erstwhile CPI (ML) (PW) and revolutionary mass organisations fearing the lapse of POTA would give it a chance to reach out to the masses. She is continuing the crude repression to wipe out the CPI (ML) (PW) [now CPI(Maoist)] since the last two years. But she failed in all her attempts. History has showed that the revolution and revolutionaries cannot be wiped out by repression. It is sure that the dreams of Jaya will be smashed by the people of Tamilnadu.

 

 

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