The Tamil Nadu Q Branch police have arrested 13 members of Peoples Democratic Republic Party on October 6, 2012 in Kundrathur near Chennai city. They were discussing peacefully some party matters in a school building after getting due permission from the school Principal. Since the children of some of the members were studying in the school, the principal willingly permitted them to assemble and discuss in his school premises. They are now arrested and remanded to judicial custody in Vellore central prison. A case under section Cr.L.A 17 (1) is registered against them.
The police have said that they all belong to a banned political outfit and had assembled there secretly and planning some conspiracy. But only three of them, Durai Singavelu, Bhaskar and Palani were members of the Maoist party. They too left that party due to some political differences four years back and were openly functioning. Last year they declared a political outfit under the name ‘Peoples Democratic Republic Party’ and continued to function openly. They have a Face Book account in the same name and their party organ ‘Puthiya Porali’ is also openly distributed.
The other people arrested on that day with them are well educated and are working in various institutions. One is an Asst. Professor in International Tamil Institute, and another is an electronics engineer. The only woman arrested is the wife of Durai Singavelu. Their organization is not at all a secret one and they were functioning perfectly legally.
The police have said that they were planning to participate in the 2004 parliamentary elections and were discussing about organizing trade union branches in the nearby factories. One national newspaper has also reported that they were not taking part in any arms training and at the time of arrest they were only discussing some ideological matters. We wonder how such activities can be branded as conspiracy and illegal. The Constitution of India has made it a fundamental right for every citizen to assemble, organize and float a political outfit to propagate its policies. We firmly believe that by arresting these 13 people, the Tamil Nadu Q Branch police have violated their constitutional rights. It is to be remembered that last month the Q Branch arrested in a similar manner one Satish and a DMK party functionary Muralidharan near Chennai Anna Library and remanded them.
Arresting people who are functioning legally and openly and branding them as extremists has no place in constitutional governance. This is done with a view to threaten people against organizing themselves. We strongly condemn this act of the Tamil Nadu police and demand that Durai Singavelu and the 12 others arrested should be released immediately and the case against them should be withdrawn.
Prof. A. Marx, Peoples Union for Human Rights, Chennai.
G. Sugumaran, Federation for Peoples Rights, Puducherry.
S.V.Rajadurai (K.Manoharan), Veteran Human Rights activist, Coonoor.
Prof.P. Kalvimani, Movement for the Protection of Trbal Irulas, Tindivanam.
Advocate Rajini, Peoples Union for Human Rights, Madurai.