Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights

लोकशाही हक्क संरक्षण समिति

Cpdr Press Releases

 The Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights CPDR planned demonstrations to protest against the government’s plan to hang Yakub Memon on 30 July at the Nagpur Central Jail. The demonstrations were planned today 28 July 2015 at 5 pm Near Dadar Railway Station East. There was a significant support from youth organizations and students to the demonstrations and we expected a good turnout of activists and public support. During the entire day the Police repeatedly phoned up the CPDR activists, whose numbers were given on the CPDR pamphlet and kept asking the details about demonstration and about the police permission, clearly to spread scare among the activists.

The venue, the East side of the Dadar Railway Station was already filled up by police and media people. As the activists reached the spot with placards, pamphlets and banners, they were pounced upon by the police who whisked them away to the Matunga Police Station. The activists however managed to shout slogans and throw some pamphlets to people. In all they arrested about 50 people which included students of Tata Institute of Social Science TISS and some other institutes, and were charged under Unlawful Assembly and Mumbai Police Act. They were detained for nearly three hours during which the police reverberated with various slogans denouncing the death penalty to Yakub Memon. Advocate Pradeep Mandyan of CPDR reached the Police Station and mediated their release on PR. Among the arrested were Maharukh Adenwala, Susan Abraham, Suresh Rajeshwar, Monica Sakhrani, Jyoti Punyani, Arun Fereira, Sudhir Dhawale and Feroze Mithiborwala of Bharat Bachao Andolan.

Other activists escaped the arrest and distributed pamphlets at various railway stations including CST.

Anand Teltumbde 

General Secretary

Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights

 

 

Bojja Tarakam, a well known Ambedkarite leader who was also thickly associated all progressive movements in Andhra Pradesh passed away on 17 September 2016. He was suffering from brain tumour from 2007 and was 77when he died. 

 

He came from East Godavari district from an ardent Ambedkarite family. His father Bojja Appala Swamy was a teacher and leader of Republican Party of India and represented Amalapuram assembly constituency between 1952 and 1962. In that way he was naturally propelled into the Dalit movement but instead of confining himself to that identity, imbibed its spirit to identify with all kinds peoples’ resistance movements.

Bojja Tarakam was a man of integrity, and had courage of conviction to stand against any odds on the side of people. He was closely associated with many progressive organizations, such as the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC), Revolutionary Writers Association (Viplava Rachayitala Sangham-Virasam or RWA), Beedi Workers Association, India-China Friendship Association, Ambedkar Youth Associations, and Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP). He was president of Republican Party of India (RPI) and later formed the Andhra Dalit Maha Sabha.

He was one of the few Ambedkarite leaders who remained steadfast on peoples’ side when others were easily lured by the pelf and power and offered themselves to be coopted by the ruling parties. He was one of the few RPI leaders, who stayed above the factional politics of the party and reflected Ambedkarite spirit of struggle against injustice. It’s a veritable tribute that he was arrested during the Emergency and was put behind bars from July 1975 to July 1976. He was one of the few Dalit leaders who while advocating the Dalits to rise against atrocities without depending on others, did not show any trace of sectarianism or identity obsession, and embraced others whosoever wished to join such struggles. He was one of the few senior Dalit leaders who was keenly aware of the mounting challenges the lower strata of people faced and genuinely worried about ways to meet them

A strong protagonist of Dalit-Muslim unity, he genuinely empathized with the Muslims when they were targeted by the state as terrorists. Muslim in Hyderabad loved him as their great friend outside the community. He always stood with them when no one dared to come forward. In the repression following the post-Godhra carnage of Muslims carried out with complicity of the state in Gujarat, many Muslim youths were arrested from Hyderabad in the fabricated cases alleging their links with ISI. Bojja Tarakam, led the fact finding team exposed the nexus of Gujarat and Hyderabad police who targeted the Muslim youth. As we all know, despite all kinds of harassment those youth underwent, they were eventually proved innocent.

Again in 2007, when a bomb blast took place at Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad, it was Bojja Tarakam, who formed and led the fact finding team and came out with a report that declared that the bomb blast was the handi work of Hindutva terrorists. He did not mince words in calling the state terrorist when the police acted in prejudicial manner after the blast. He boldly argued the case filed by the Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee against the police firing that made the High Court issue a notice to the state as to why a case u/s 302 should not be filed against the police personnel who opened fire on innocent people.

He was pained by the anti-people behavior of the newly born state of Telangana for which hundreds of Dalits and poor people sacrificed their lives. In 2015, five Muslim youth under trial were killed by the escort police while taking to the court, where they were likely to be acquitted. Bojja Tarakam spoke out boldly in the press conference held the next day against the state.

Tarakam sir, as he was respectfully referred to by young activists, was always at the forefront of the legal battles for justice for Dalits who suffered gory atrocities at Karamchedu, Padirikuppam, Neerukonda, Chundur, Vempenta, Lakshmipet and other places since 1980s.

He was saddened by the blatant anti-Dalit coalition of the Modi government in Delhi and KCR government in Telangana that took a toll of a life of promising youth in Rohith Vemula and brutally repressed the voices of protests in Hyderabad central University. In spite of his failing health he argued the case of Rohith Vemula’s social boycott at University of Hyderabad this year. He lamented that nothing had changed for the Dalits during the last seven decades.

 

Bojja Tarakam was a multi-dimensional personality combining in him a prolific writer, public intellectual, poet, activist and a lawyer who used his profession to help the most marginalised people in their legal struggles. He regularly wrote in his periodicals in Telugu besides penning several books on rights movement that include Kulam Vargam, Police Arrest Cheste and Dalitulu Rajyam. A popular book written by him “What is to be done when Police arrests you?” has become a Handbook for all the activists in AP and Telangana and elsewhere.

CPDR salutes such a great friend of people!