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An unpalatable action

An unpalatable action
Highlights

The Telangana police crackdown on the proposed rally against an alleged fake encounter raises many questions. Given the political context to the issue, it cannot be an action of law enforcement machinery.

The Telangana police crackdown on the proposed rally against an alleged fake encounter raises many questions. Given the political context to the issue, it cannot be an action of law enforcement machinery.

There should have been a political sanction to the decision to stifle the protest. The resurgence of Maoists, alleged fake encounter and a democratic protest against it are questions in the political realm.

Any attempt to treat them as mere law and order questions as well as a repressive response that obviously emanates from such a narrow understanding is unpalatable in the new state of Telangana.

It's unbecoming of a government to respond in such a manner as it owes its existence to a long-drawn agitation that at times brought the civil life and the economy of United Andhra Pradesh to a grinding halt.

Then, the democratic-minded people, whether or not they agreed with the demand for a separate state, acknowledged their right to voice such a demand in the political process and mobilised people for it.

Dissent is integral to democracy. Even outlawed protest can also be justifiable if the law seeks to impose unjustified curbs on democratic rights.

The police version is that they have intelligence reports on Maoist sneaking into the rally for which a call was given by several mainstream left parties and mass organisations.

Assuming that the police apprehension is true, the best course would have been opening a dialogue with the organisers of the rally, and making them accountable for any outbreak of violence.

Putting down any and every democratic protest on the pretext of intelligence reports and possible violence is uncalled for in a civilised democracy. In fact such protest would prove to be safety valves to the system preventing its breakdown.

All this is not to approve any violence in the name of Maoist revolution. Individual annihilation in the name of ideology is also reprehensible.

But, illegitimate use of force even by the State is not just unconstitutional as upheld by the apex court but even counterproductive. The brutal manner in which the woman Maoist was allegedly tortured and killed has shaken the democratic conscience of every citizen who hoped Telangana to be more democratic and egalitarian.

Abrogation of democratic rights on any pretext would strengthen the people's resolve to fight back. Authoritarian action would never undermine democratic demonstrations.

The story of Telangana movement is a classic testimony to this universal truth. The government might be wanting to prove a point. Even during the movement for a separate statehood, the detractors of this cause claimed that there would be Maoist resurgence in the small state of Telangana.

The government perhaps wants to disprove this claim. Yet, repression is no solution. A Planning Commission study itself revealed the development dimensions of the issue.

Unless the breeding ground of left extremism is checked, the solution continues to elude. The unresolved land question, the unabated tribal land alienation, the multiple forms of deprivation, the authoritarian administration etc., contribute to the challenge. State should formulate a humane, democratic and structural solution.

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