Jharkhand state government has banned Popular Front of India, in the state under section 16 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908. The press release appeared in the official website of the state chief minister on 20th February 2018 cites as the reason for the ban, the alleged influence of ISIS of Syria/Iraq on some members of the Front in southern states. Since the ban, the activities of the organization are stopped in Jharkhand. But it is reported that our members are being harassed and new cases were registered against some leaders and members alleging continuation of the activities. We condemn the harassment carried out by police and demand the state government to revoke the ban and withdraw of the false cases on our cadres.
The Jharkhand government had nothing to quote against the organization in the state of Jharkhand and had to rely on some fake reports belonging to the southern states. It is worth notable that the governments of Kerala and Karnataka had recently stated that there is no reason to ban Popular Front and no request to ban Popular front was sent to the central government. Hence the Jharkhand government imposing a ban based on reports from southern states is unreasonable. As for the allegation of IS influence, Popular Front, since the very beginning of its appearance, has time and again warned our members and public of the danger of such mysterious groups like IS.
What is the real reason behind Jharkhand government banning Popular Front of India? Ever since the declaration of the organization in the state in 2015, our members have stood in the forefront of fight against human rights violations such as hate speeches, lynching incidents and police atrocities. It is well known that the Hindutva Government of Jharkhand and its police have been unhappy with the activists of Popular Front for highlighting the multiple lynching cases in the state. Popular Front was instrumental in filing cases by the relatives of the victims in lynching incidents like that in Jamtara, Latehar, Ramgarh and Seraikela. An FIR was filed against the hate speech of BJP Leader Hisabi Roy in Pakur. At the time of the declaration of ban, the organization was fighting several cases including the six
lynching incidents and two cases against police atrocities, one against SP of Pakur and the other against SP of Jamtara. By enabling victims to fight by democratic and legal means, Popular Front was building confidence among the victims and the weaker sections and was also setting a new model for fighting injustices. It is because of this reason that Popular Front is targeted in Jharkhand. Finding our organisation an obstacle in getting away with their crimes, the state police plan to destroy the cases against them by eliminating the very petitioners.
The ban is a ploy used by the state government to suppress democratic forms of protest and dissent. The Jharkhand government is, in fact, trying to fail the judiciary through indirect means by the misuse of CLA Act. The act of imposing ban on particular organisation that stands for people’s rights, is a warning to all civil groups and mass movements that any voice of dissent would not be tolerated.
Popular Front believes in the great ideals of our constitution such as democracy, secularism and fundamental rights. We respect rule of law and role of judiciary. We will resort to legal recourse for getting the Jharkhand ban lifted. We hope that ultimately the truth will triumph and people’s right will be restored.