Tamil Nadu – Turning into a Fascist Laboratory!!!
Voices from the South
4th August 2018| Press Club of India, New Delhi| 2:00 to 6:00pm
New Delhi| Over the past couple of months the political and social fabric of Tamil Nadu has been slowly deteriorating under an oppressive government, a violent police force and a complete disregard for human life for “development”. “In the name of development, harmful and devastating infrastructure projects are being imposed upon the people of the state. Most are being done without following right procedures, one of them being the absolute disregard for Environmental Impact Assessment.” Said Udaykumar while addressing the audience and media. While talking about the protests that have enveloped the state, he further said, “By shooting at Thoothukudi protestors, the government sent a clear message to all of us, the message was to not raise our voices for justice, to not speak out against oppression and to not oppose the state for any reason.”
The state is witnessing violence like never before. “The police are using any way possible to penalize lawyers, activists and any other “anti-national” elements. From illegal arrests, custodial torture and full-fledged murders, the police are in cahoots with the state-corporate nexus.” Said Advocate Senmani. Each day more and more traditional communities living in potentially resource rich areas are being pushed out, by the show of guns, to lay new harmful development plans. The social fabric of the state is being stretched to its limits, innocent citizens of the country, protesting for their right to live safely and to rightly govern their own lives and property are being shot at the behest of the authorities. The situation in the state is so bad that people’s right to dissent is being punished as well. “The state has openly targeted me and others people like me who have fought vehemently against it. We are being hounded, we are not allowed to assemble in public, we are penalized for passing out information to the general public, this is highly undemocratic!” stated Advocate Velmurugan.
The Tamil Nadu government is formulating and putting to practice anti-people and anti-environment policies every day. From the crisis in Thoothukudi to Unilever washing its hands off of improper disposal of mercury in Kodaikanal, the people are battling a repressive state that is singularly interested in development projects. “This is not something new, incidents like these happens in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and other areas and now the target is Tamil Nadu. We have to be aware and recognize the signs of fascism right now and fight against it actively. We need to stand in solidarity with our people, the media needs to cover these stories, the media has to stand by the people and only then maybe we can find a solution to this.” Said Arundhati Roy while talking about the growing fascism within the country.
The government is cracking down on every democratic voice, organization and pressure group. While the entire country is reeling under the central government’s relentless undemocratic imposition on its people, Tamil Nadu is battling fascism at its peak. Advocate Prashant Bhushan addressed the audience as well, he said, “This country is under immense turmoil, we are being put through our paces by a government that only cares about stabilizing private parties and their control over the country’s resources.” Furthermore, while talking about the growing threat to the people p the country, he talked about the fact that police is a middleman doing the government’s dirty work. “By levying multiple cases on activists, protestors, lawyers and others the government is making sure that the people can create change are being forced to go from court to court, unable to work with the people and unable to organize for legitimate causes,” he said.
Advocate Vanjinathan spoke about the state’s open threats to its own people, “While they shot those at the Thoothukudi protests, the government made sure to convey that any political party, organization, group or association of people that is found opposing the government or protesting will face the same fate. Activist Kavita Krishnan added to this by saying, “This act of shooting protestors should be seen as an attack on all of us, we are all being targeted and framed. The media in this country need start representing its people, they have to critique, they have to expose the state and other such fascist systems, they should be a part of the people. We in Delhi need to raise our voices and stand in solidarity with the people of Tamil Nadu.
It for this very reason that it is time to bring the conversation of freedom and social justice out of the state and to the nation’s attention. Civil society at large needs to be made aware of the ongoing war within the state and it should force the central and the state government to reverse their bullying tactics and to revert the state back to a peaceful and safe region. The Delhi Solidarity Group organized the public meeting and stands in solidarity with the people of Tamil Nadu in their fight against fascism.