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18 August 2011

Ban on Freedom Parade exposes communal bias of administration & police: PFI

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By Pervez Bari


Bhopal: The Central Secretariat meeting of the Popular Front of India (PFI) held at Calicut has alleged inter-state conspiracy of the administration and police in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the undemocratic and communally prejudiced act of preventing Popular Front of India from holding public programmes on the Independence day.


A Press release of PFI said that in these states, there was not only a ban on Freedom Parade, but any sort of public gathering by Popular Front activists were prevented as if they were not citizens of this country. This can only be viewed as a sign of communal bias which is on increase in the administration and police in these three states. It is also an illustration of the fact that the so-called secular governments in Kerala and Tamil Nadu are not different from the Hindutva BJP government, when it comes to delivering democratic rights to Muslims.


Popular Front of India and its predecessor state organisation were holding the patriotic programme Freedom Parade every year on the Independence Day since 2004 with the exception of last year when the C P I (M) government banned it as part of petty political vendetta. 


This parade programme by cadets in uniform with national flag in the forefront was later extended to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in 2008. These programmes have taken Independence Day celebrations which were confined to official ceremonies to the common masses. Freedom Parade has also gained appreciation from various corners as a positive step from among the members of minority Muslim community to strengthen the patriotism and civic sense.


Also it is noteworthy that in spite of the apprehensions purposefully created by a section of police and media; not even a single incident of law and order problem was reported connected to this programme all through these years, the release pointed out.


The release stated that when Popular Front of India was denied permission even to convene public meeting on the Independence Day, many other political and non-political organisations were allowed to hold public programmes of their choice on the day. The state administration in Kerala has gone to the ridiculous extent of creating media scare by flashing the news of “banning” PFI programmes even in districts were no such announcements were made. It is also unfortunate that when the executive orders were challenged, the High Court of Kerala has declined to intervene, in spite of the questions of fundamental rights raised before the judiciary by the organisation.


The Central Secretariat of Popular Front of India reiterated that as citizens of this democratic country, thousands of its activists throughout India would not surrender their right to celebrate the nation’s independence which was gained by our forefathers by sacrificing their sweat, blood and life. The meeting decided to continue its democratic and legal fights till the fundamental right to join the Independence Day celebrations is re-established, the release added.


PFI Chairman E. M. Abdul Rahiman presided over the meeting. General Secretary K. M. Shareef, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, O. M. A. Salam, Hamid Muhammad participated in the discussions.


[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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