Yogi led RSS-BJP Govt. in UP has once again resorted to suppression of democratic rights of the people, this time under the pretext of controlling Corona virus pandemic. Yesterday evening i.e. on March 23, 2020, UP govt. has arrested All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) General Secretary Dr. Ashish Mital from his house in Allahabad (UP). Another activist Mr. Umar Khalid has also been arrested. These arrests have been made to suppress the protest against CAA-NRC-NPR going on in Mansoor Park in the city.
UP govt. has made repeated attempts to remove the protesters from the protest site. This has been the Govt.’s attempt from the beginning i.e. much before any talk of Corona virus pandemic had started in India. Yogi Govt. has brutally suppressed women protesters in Lucknow, Aligarh, Etawa and several other centres in UP. This is in addition to large scale firings and killings by the police of the protesters in UP in December, 2019. A large number of Muslim youth and democratic rights activists and Muslim youth have been arrested in UP. People have been fined huge sums and have been forced to pay large sums of money for allegedly causing damage to property. Large hoardings of those falsely accused by the police have been put up in the capital Lucknow. All these violations of democratic rights have taken place only on the whims of the Govt. without any sanction of any Court or any basis in law. RSS-BJP have made UP a laboratory on impunity.
Dr. Mital has been charged under Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, another relic of colonial rule, shamelessly used by the presentday rulers. Even the provisions of this Act have been abused against Dr. Ashish and Umar Khalid. This Act empowers the designated official to require any person from refrain from doing an act or to deal with the property under his control in the interest of controlling an epidemic disease. The violation of that order is to be treated as under Section 188 of the IPC. The provisions of the Act have no bearing on the case against Dr. Mital.
The Admn. had issued a notice to Dr. Mital on March 21 in which he was asked to “immediately get Dharna by women stopped and fully cooperate with the Admn. If you do not do so, then presuming your full involvement, lawful legal action will be taken against you.” (Translated from Hindi original) Everybody knows that the Dharna was started by women against CAA-NRC-NPR which are attacks on secularism. People came out in protest in large numbers and several organizations supported these protests.
This direction of the Admn. and subsequent arrest for non-compliance of this Order is a gross abuse of the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 in that what is covered is the act under the power of the person or relating to a property under his control and cannot cover acts which are not his/her own. Now everybody knows that protests by women in exercise of their democratic rights have neither been initiated or conducted by any person or organization, rather these are expressions of the anger of the people against the acts of the Govt. How can the Govt. issue such unlawful order under the Act except through gross abuse of power.
This is an absolute travesty of fact that a person of the training of Dr. Mital, a trained doctor from the AllMS, New Delhi, would do anything which will amount to spreading any epidemic disease. In fact even the women protesters have been taking all the precautions against spread of Corona virus. Women protesters have themselves reduced the number of participants in protests in view of Corona virus threat. But what UP Govt. wants has nothing to do with precautions against spread of Corona virus but is meant to suppress the movement against CAA-NRC-NPR. It is utterly shameless on the part of the Govt. to use even such a looming tragedy for its nefarious designs.
Central Executive Committee of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) strongly condemns arrest of Dr. Ashish Mital, its General Secretary, and of other activists. We apprehend that UP govt. has taken this action against Dr. Mital also for his role in the peasant movement in UP, particularly in the region. Yogi Govt. has been protecting the illegal Mafia and suppressing the workers engaged in sand mining against which AIKMS has been continuously struggling. Dr. Ashish Mital is a member of the Working Group of All India KisanSangharsh Co-ordination Committee (AIKSCC) and has been playing an active role in building peasant movement particularly in UP.
It is also worth recalling that in order to put pressure on Dr. Ashish Mital, UP Govt. had sealed Ultrasound Centre of his wife, Dr. Madhavi Mital, on 8th March 2020. Dr. Madhavi Mital is a renowned Ultrasonologist in Allahabad (Prayagraj) UP. She has done her MBBS and MD in Radio Diagnosis from AIIMS, New Delhi.
CEC of AIKMS demands that Dr. Ashish Mital and other activists should be released unconditionally and immediately. We also demand that frivolous cases against him should be withdrawn.
(Issued by V. Venkataramaiah, President, AIKMS on March 24, 2020)