in Support of the Prisoners on Indefinite Hunger Strike Against POTA
In Tamilnadu ten prisoners are on indefinite hunger strike demanding the repeal of POTA, withdrawal of POTA cases on them, and withdrawal of all the cases of the POTA accused throughout the country. Seven of them are in the Central Prison, Chennai while three are women prisoners who are lodged in Vellore Special Prison for Women. All the ten of them are on an indefinite hunger strike since August 26, 2004. On September 2, 2004 the condition of three women prisoners deteriorated and they are now taken to the Vellore General Hospital for treatment. These prisoners are steadfast in their struggle and have refused to take any medicine or food till their demand is met. On September 1, 2004 these women prisoners became unconsciousness. The condition of three male prisoners in the Chennai Central Jail is also getting worse.
These prisoners are from a group of twenty seven who were arrested on 24.11.2002 near Uthangarai in Tamilnadu. Since then they are in the jail under this draconian act. No trial has yet begun even after the lapse of almost two years. Even their bail pleas are pending in the Madras High Court. These 27 people were arrested when they were attending a political class. The police had even killed one of them in a false encounter after taking them into custody.
The health of these prisoners is a matter of concern for all the democratic and justice loving people. Inside the jail walls hunger strike is considered as one of the highest forms of peaceful struggle. The latest information from Chennai is that 4 more prisoners have decided to join the indefinite fast.
The callous attitude which the Tamilnadu State government has adopted towards these political prisoners is condemnable and hereby we take this opportunity to remind our people of India that the provisions of POTA have given the rulers a more free hand in dealing inhumanly with the prisoners and denying them justice. It is a shame on the rulers that they are using this law indiscriminately to suppress the voice of the people, as persons as young as of 11 years and as old as of 85 years have been incarcerated under POTA in the country.
We are organising a Protest Dharna in front of the Tamilnadu Bhawan
on September 8, from 2 to 4 pm.
We will also submit a memorandum to be forwarded to the Governor of Tamil Nadu.
All democratic and justice loving forces must unite to stand in solidarity with these prisoners and to come in support of their demands. The POTA should be repealed and all the cases under POTA should be withdrawn. It is stark injustice when the courts continue to invoke these draconian laws after their lapse or withdrawal, as happened with the TADA prisoners.
We cordially invite you to JOIN and SUPPORT
Sept 7, 2004. Delhi
SAMAJIK AYAYA MORCHA