Protests were held at many cities in the country against the arrest of human rights activists, Left leaning intellectuals, poets and lawyers by branding them ‘urban Naxals’.
Uttar Pradesh: A dharna was organized on 29 August in Lucknow at the Ambedkar Statue in Hasratganj. It was attended in large numbers by intellectuals, political and social activists, writers, journalists, poets, cultural activists, and dalit rights activists.
In Banaras a protest meeting was held at the Ambedkar Park on 29 August attended by activists from CPI(ML), Insaf Manch and people’s organizations. The next day on 30 August a protest meeting was organized at the BHU Lanka Gate. The program was jointly organized by BCM, AIPWA, PVM, SFC, AISA, AFF, SC/ST/OBC Sangharsh Samiti, Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Vichar Manch, and Progressive Writers Association.
Protest marches and meetings were also organized at Allahabad, Jamaniya (Ghazipur), Mau, Sitapur, Jalaun, Pratapgarh, Rae Bareli and Gorakhpur.
Jharkhand: The citizens of Jharkhand, political parties, people’s organizations, intellectuals and journalists held a citizens’ march culminating in a human chain on 30 August at Ranchi. The march carried placards with poems of Varavara Rao and Dushyant Kumar and also the line from the Supreme Court order, “Dissent is the safety valve of democracy; if it is not allowed, the pressure cooker will burst”. Participating in the protest march were national award-winning film makers Meghnath and Biju Toppo, activist Jean Dreze, award-winning film maker Sriprakash, litterateur Mahadev Toppo, senior journalists Srinivas and Vinod Kumar, Dr Babban Choube, adivasi intellectual leader Premchand Murmu, activists Dayamani Barla, Bashir Ahmed, former Deputy Mayor and Congress leader Ajaynath Shahdev, Azam Ahmed, Nadeem Khan (AIPF), labour leaders Shubhendu Sen, Jagarnath Oraon, and hundreds of activists and citizens.
Bihar: The citizens of Patna organized a protest meeting at Kargil Chowk to protest against the raids on and arrests of human rights activists, lawyers, poets, and intellectuals who raise their voice for the weakest and most marginalized sections. The protest meeting was attended by well-known intellectuals, teachers, political activists, cultural activists, students and youth. They said that Modi’s emergency will meet the same fate as the 1975 emergency.
Among those who participated in the protest meeting were Samkaleen Janmat Chief Editor Ramji Rai, eminent physician Dr Satyajeet, theatre artists Javed Akhtar and Tanveer Akhtar, Prof Bharti S Kumar, Prof Daisy Narayan, Prof Shankar Ashish Dutt, former Bihar Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhuri, Ashok Priyadarshi, Rupesh, Dr Shakeel, Ranjeet Verma, and many others.
Rajasthan: A protest took place on Thursday, 30th August in front of the Collector’s Office, Udaipur to oppose the unlawful arrest of activists, writers, poets and lawyers. CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) , Janata Dal (S) and Loktantrik Adhikar Evam Sadbhavana Manch along with writers, poets, journalists and university professors participated in the protest demonstration. A memorandum addressed to the President of India was submitted to the district administration demanding immediate release of those arrested and withdrawal of all cases registered against them.
West Bengal: As a part of nationwide protests against the unlawful arrest and detention of human rights activists, dalit activists, writers and intellectuals all over the country, CPI(ML) organized and participated in several protest demonstrations in different districts of West Bengal demanding unconditional release and withdrawal of all charges against the arrested activists.
On 29th August CPI (ML) along with several human rights and progressive democratic mass organizations participated in the protest march called by APDR from Subodh Mullick Square to Esplanade, Kolkata. Hundreds of students, youth, intellectuals of Kolkata took part in this vibrant march and protested against the fascist regime of Modi Govt. On the next day, 17 Left and associated Parties including CPI (ML), CPI(M), CPI, Forward Bloc, RSP jointly organized a Protest Rally from Esplanade to Entally which received support and participation of thousands of people across different strata of the society. At Entally, the protest was presided by veteran CPI(M) leader Com. Biman Bose and addressed by CPI (ML) State secretary Com. Partha Ghosh, CPI(M) State secretary Com. Surjya Kanta Mishra, RSP leader Com. Manoj Bhattacharya, and Forward Bloc leader Com. Hafeez Alam Sairani. On the same day, Left Parties joined the Protest March called by CPI(ML) in Siliguri which was led by Com. Abhijit Majumder, Com. Gouri De, Com. Pabitra Singha from CPI( ML), Com. Ashok Bhattacharya, Com. Jibesh Sarkar (CPIM) and others.
On 31st August, AIPF organized a protest meeting in Chinsurah, Hooghly which was participated by activists from several progressive organizations like Save Democracy, Ganotantrik Lekhok Shilpi Sangha, APDR etc. Another protest meeting was also held on the same day in Onda, Bankura at the call of CPI (ML). Upholding the right to dissent, activists from several cultural and social organizations including Agnibina jointly organized a cultural protest on 2nd September at Naihati, North 24 Pgs. On the same day, CPI(ML) joined a protest march under the banner of Sampradayikata Birodhi Manch organized in Belgharia, North 24 Pgs. In North 24 Pgs, CPI (ML) and CPI(M) held another joint left march starting from the CPI(M) office at Belgharia to Agarpara, District office of CPI(ML). The march joined by leaders and activists from the left parties reverberated with slogans of “Modi hatao desh bachao”.
Karnataka: All progressive organizations of Bangalore, including CPI (ML), AIPF and PUCL, held a protest on 1 September 2018 condemning the arrest of prominent Rights Activists by the Modi Government. Police also registered cases against CPI(ML) – AICCTU activists comrades Lekha and Appanna citing no police permission. Similar protests were also organized by CPI (ML) at Gangavati and Harapanahalli too.
Delhi: In Delhi, a protest meeting was called on the Parliament Street on 30 August under the banner of Jan Ekta Jan Adhikar Andolan to protest the arrest of the five human rights activists. Hundreds of activists, residents of Delhi, students and faculty members from different universities in Delhi, journalists and others participated.
The protestors demanded action against Sanatan Sanstha and lynch mob terrorists, against whom the government was refusing to take action. CPI (M) leader Com. Brinda Karat, civil rights activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad, CPI (ML) CC member Com. Sucheta De, Aam Aadmi Party’s Minister for Social Welfare Rajendra Pal Gautam, Com. Pran Sharma, Delhi state organising committee secretary of the SUCI(C) and several others joined the protest.
Puducherry: The Puducherry chapter of AIPF held a protest demonstration on 4th September demanding the release of all intellectuals, writers, human rights activists who were recently arrested by Pune police and various state and central governments. The protest was led by Mangaiarselvan, National campaign committee member AIPF. The others who spoke among the protesters and general public were Balasubramanian, state secretary CPIML, Liaqat Ali National advisory committee member, Mohanasundaram, National council member AIPF, Balasundaram, National vice President AIARLA, and many leaders from various democratic organisations.All the speakers condemned the arrest of student Sophia at Thoothukudi airport who raised slogans against fascist BJP government. They gave a call to Save democracy Save Secularism, Save Constitution and Save India. A large number of activists participated in the demonstration.
Protests were also organized in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, in Azad Maidan in Mumbai and in Gwalior.