Nine Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have issued a letter to the EU High Representative, Frederica Mogherini, urging for the EU to cancel all agreements with India until human rights activists, that have been unjustly arrested, have been released and “the hunt against the Adivasis, Dalits, religious minorities and Kashmir, Manipuri people is stopped.”
The letter from the MEP’s specifically demands the immediate release of Prof. GN Saibaba, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Surendra Gadling, Prof Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawle, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raul, and Sudha Bharadwaj.
The letter also states:
“We, the undersigned Members of the European Parliament, condemn the raids on homes and arbitrary arrest of human and democratic rights activists across India, on August 28, 2018.
Amongst the people raided are Anand Teltumbde, Stan Swamy, Kranti Teluka and Prof K Satyanarayana. But the raids also included Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwa j, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves, all five are now under arrest charged under one of the most draconian laws: the UAPA, Unlawful Activity Prevention Act.
This is one of the most barbaric laws, copied from the colonial law book, which allows an indefinite detention (arrest) of any citizen the Government suspects of having an intent to commit a crime against the State.
These raids and arrests are the follow up of the arbitrary arrests, a few months ago … [of] lawyers, journalists and human rights activists who have been implicated in totally fabricated charges …
The lndian Government adds these most recent raids and arrests to the continuous and relentless repression on the democratic voice and aspirations of the lndian. This amounts to a very serious attack on the already crumbling state of democracy in India.”
IDSN’s welcomes the MEPs initiative to ask for the EU to act on the politically motivated arrests and the shrinking space for dissent and civil society in India. For more information on the situation see the IDSN/MRG press release India: MRG & IDSN strongly condemn latest arrests of prominent human rights defenders .
The nine MEPs that have signed the letter are:
MEP Maria Lidia Senro, MEP Ángela Valfino, MEP Palomo López, MEP Julie Ward, MEP Merja Killonen, MEP Ana Gomes, MEP Clara Aguilera, MEP Ciprian Tanasescu, MEP Claude Moraes