Sign! Statement of protest on the ban imposed on RDF by the Andhra Pradesh government

By | August 14, 2013


We the undersigned strongly and univocally condemn the ban imposed on Revolutionary Democratic
Front (RDF) by the Andhra Pradesh government on 9 August 2012 under Andhra Pradesh Public Security
Act 1992. We stand opposed to this arbitrary and authoritarian action by the government on a peoples’
organization which goes against the principles of justice, freedom of expression, freedom of association
and of democratic dissent. Further the persistent use of ban as an instrument of policy is politically
motivated as is proven in history. It has been proved time and again that whatever might be the purpose of
evoking the policy of ban by the respective governments at various junctures it has hardly resulted in the
achieving the same. On the contrary it has only resulted in more and more atrocities on the vast sections
of the people with the policy of ban giving blanket powers to the police and paramilitary thus resulting in
increasing acts of impunity. We are therefore forced to believe that the imposition of a ban on RDF on a
series of unsubstantiated charges is not only devoid of any ground, but a direct assault by the government
on our democratic rights. Under the convenient plea 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.

Continuing the colonial legacy of bans, the governments in India have imposed bans, restrictions and
censorship on democratic dissent and freedom of expression in the past. The 21 months of Emergency in
early 1970s saw a severe clampdown on the right to associate, protest and express disaffection against the
government. The same policy was replicated by bringing into force a plethora of draconian laws such as
NSA, TADA, POTA, UAPA etc., complimented by equally stringent legislations in different states. For
instance, while AP Public Security Act was promulgated in 1992 to proscribe CPI(ML) Peoples’ War and
several peoples’ organizations, Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was banned under the TADA
in 2001 branding it as a ‘terrorist’ organization just after the attack on the World Trade Centre. Several
democratic organizations have been banned during the last decade in AP, Chhattisgarh, Odisha,
Jharkhand, Bihar and Maharashtra after branding them as ‘frontal organizations’ of the Maoist party. In
2010 the Delhi Police listed a number democratic and civil rights organizations as well as individuals who
are allegedly carrying out ‘unlawful activities’. This included organizations like APDR, CRPP, PUCL,
PUDR, IAPL, RDF, PDFI, DSU, and others. Thus, the politics of branding and banning peoples’
organizations have been arbitrarily pursued by the Indian government under different pretexts at different

The reasons for banning RDF in Andhra Pradesh as per the Government Order of 9 August 2012 include
“Opposing and demanding stoppage of anti extremist combing operations of the police and security forces
in the left wing extremism affected area of the States”, “Organising dharnas, rallies and other forms of
agitations”, “Opposing lawful actions of police and criminal justice system”, and so on. Such ‘charges’ go
against the very grain of right to political dissent which is constitutionally guaranteed. Such acts of the
government which are arbitrary in intent and authoritarian in content can only violate and vitiate the space
for political freedom and dissent of the vast sections of the people in a democracy and hence should be
opposed. We, the undersigned, therefore strongly oppose the ban imposed on RDF and demand that the
Andhra Pradesh government revoke this ban immediately and unconditionally.

The RDF requests people to go through the above statement and endorse your signature if you agree with it.
To endorse the statement, send the following details to
1. Your Name
2. Institution/Organisation
3. Full Address
4. email id
5. Any other detail
After collecting the signatures, a delegation will meet the Governor of Andhra Pradesh to lodge this protest.
The statement will be released to the media in a Press Conference in Hyderabad.

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