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India: Slanderous accusations against People’s Union for Civil Liberties

A Letter to India’s Home Minister

by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties, 2 April 2010

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Source: PUCL, March 2010

Defamatory and slanderous allegation against the PUCL

— Letter to the Home Minister by PUCL President, Prabhakar Sinha, 30 March 2010

[ See also, An attempt to silence independent voices ]

Dear Mr. Chidambaram,

I wish to bring to you the highly objectionable uncalled for aspersions against PUCL made in the final Report of 18/02/2010 in FIR 58/2009of 20/09/2009 under section 173CRPC filed by Bhisham Singh ACP Special cell NDR, and forwarded by Alok Kumar Dy. Commissioner of Police Special cell Delhi. I must protest at this false and defamatory allegation against PUCL.

PUCL was formed in 1976 under the leadership of Jaya Prakash Narain Ji. It has had consistent record for upholding human Rights. Of course it has raised and will continue to raise its voice against the excesses and illegalities of the governments and public authorities.

A charge sheet has been filed against Kobad Gandhy under various sections of unlawful Activities (P) Amendment Act 2008, 419/420/468/479/120-B I.P.C. which will be answered by the named individuals, parties PUCL has no concern with it. But I am outraged at the audacious untrue allegation made at Pg. 15 of the Final Report to the effect “other civil Liberties and Human Right organization i.e……..PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties) (Emphasis supplied) ……. also take up the issues of their outfit CPI (Maoist).These organizations play a very important role to broaden the base of the outfit. Their outfit CPI (Maoist) has assigned codes to various front organizations to maintain secrecy. The leaders of these organizations send reports to their party/outfit in the same way.” The allegation regarding PUCL is a total lie and is hereby repudiated. Similar outrageous statements have been made with regard to other organization, with which PUCL is not concerned - I am sure they will reply as they deem fit.

The whole tenor of the allegations seems to be effort to present PUCL as a front organization of CPI (Maoist) which is a total lie. PUCL is an independent Civil Liberties organization founded in 1976 by Jaya Prakash Narain Ji. It has had as its President Mr. Tarkunde, a great believer in Human rights and Civil Liberties. Of course PUCL condemns any violation of Human Rights, by state agencies and does not accept the lame excuse by State agencies of the alleged party or individual acting prejudicially to law or security to condone State terrorism or illegality against any party or citizen of the country.

Our position in this respect has been categorically stated in the resolution adopted by the National Convention on 7 March, 982 in Madras, which reads as follows:

“The PUCL reaffirms its faith in the democratic way of life. It appeals to all to use the utmost the agencies and methods available in an open society. Apart from other factors, violence, even for laudable objectives, will legitimize counter-violence by the State and other groups. It affirms that even those who have taken to violence are entitled to due process of law. We believe this commitment is the very faith of an open society and also that adhering to this commitment is an effective way of converting all to the democratic and peaceful way of transforming our society.”

PUCL is like an open book with no secret chapters. However, in spite of this, the Special Cell of Delhi Police has in the charge sheet filed against Kopad Ghandy’, in which it is stated that our organizations i.e. .....People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), is a front organization of CPI (Maoist)

This is a total lie. Such slanderous accusation is possible only because the police are not made answerable for their conduct as is imperative under a democratic system. When such grave allegation are made by the agencies of a democratic government, it must be done conscientiously and with a greater sense of responsibility.

I hope Prosecution agency CBI will be properly advised to withdraw this defamatory observations in the FIR. If it is not done, PUCL of course will resort to all the legal avenues to proceed for defamation against CBI and the department under which it functions.

Of course PUCL will on its own take all legal courses open to it against the state agencies for making such defamatory and slanderous allegation against it. It is in this context that I am requesting you, if you feel proper to look into this matter of violation of constitutional rights of bodies like PUCL. Could I also request you to ask the public prosecutor to look into the matter and on his own examine the matter with a view to withdrawing the allegation which are baseless – this course will avoid bitterness and a necessary collision course because PUCL obviously cannot permit such scandalous imputations to be made with impunity by State agencies and will take necessary legal steps.

With best wishes,

Prabhakar Sinha
- President National PUCL