We are deeply disturbed that the authorities in Tamil Nadu have not taken any notice of the 11 political prisoners who are on indefinite hunger strike since August 26, 2004. We are informed that the condition of the prisoners, including three women, has deteriorated and their lives are in danger. It is a matter of great concern that when the Central Government has decided to repeal POTA, it is Tamil Nadu government which is not willing to consider the demand for withdrawal of POTA cases against the prisoners. It is not ready to hear repeated pleas of the people throughout the country who are concerned with the health condition of the hunger strikers.
The prisoners are justified in their demand to lift cases against them. Firstly, they are being held inside the prison for a long time without trial. Secondly, they are political prisoners and they should be given the right to protest and to be heard through democratic means. Going on hunger strike inside the jails is one of the democratic means the prisoners usually adopt throughout the world. It is resorted to only when all channels of protest in the jails make no impact. The intransigence of the Tamil Nadu Government has forced the prisoners to take such a step which entails a danger of bringing death to the hunger strikers themselves rather than of hurting any other person.
We strongly wish that the voice of these prisoners should be heeded by the government of Tamil Nadu.
To the prisoners we say that their cause is justified and we support their cause. It has now become a public issue and their struggle has become a part of the over all struggle for democratic rights. Some of the eminent concerned citizens such as Justice Rajinder Sachar, Ex-Member of Parliament Surender Mohan, Democratic Rights Activist Gautam Navlakha, Dr. Tripta Wahi and others met the Home Minister of India on 9th September 2004 and submitted to him a memorandum demanding immediate intervention in this matter.
We appeal to the brothers and sisters sitting on indefinite hunger strike that as their cause is being taken up by the people outside of the jails they should end their fast. We will continue to take up you cause and hope that this cause would find mass support among the intellectuals, democratic, human and civil rights activists and justice loving people throughout the country.
So, please end your fast and accept our congratulation for standing uprightly and determinedly against oppression and injustice.
September 11, 2004
- Justice Rajinder Sachar
- Justice Ajit Singh Bains
- Shri Surender Mohan, Ex-MP
- Dr. Nirmala Deshpande
- Prof. Ali Javed, DU
- Gautam Navlakha
- Dr. Tripta Wahi, DU
- Prof. Jagmohan Singh
- Hari Singh Tarq, President AFDR Punjab
- Prakash Rao, Convenor, Lok Raj Sangathan
Dr. Darshanpal President ALL INDIA PEOPLES RESISTANCE FORUM (AIPRF) firstname.lastname@example.org