The APDR is part of the countrywide civil and human rights movement. Since its inception in 1972, the association with its branches spread throughout West Bengal, India has been working for the protection of civil and democratic rights of the people and against all forms of state repression. In the context of state repression that has been sweeping for last few years all over India, the necessity of such organisations has been increased. Reckless abuse of power in the name of development and maintenance of law and order by the higher state machinery have not only led to the common human rights being violated, even the provisions of the prevalent law of the land have been neglected at every step. APDR has fraternal relations with the civil and democratic rights organisations across the country and the Amnesty International and other international organisations.

First Declaration (Issued on 9th September 1972)

DEMOCRATIC and human rights are the indispensable preconditions for the development of individual and society. Over centuries, people [of all lands have been in the ceaseless struggle for attaining these fundamental rights and getting them well-entrenched and expanded in their social organisations. In India, too, tradition of movement for achieving these human rights forms a glorious chapter of our history. In days of the British whenever the alien rulers struck at the national and democratic movement, robbed us of the fundamental human rights and resorted to repression and detention without trial, the people from all walks of life came forward to protest against those. It was in this way that the people of India have been fighting without respite over a long period for a number of basic human rights, which ultimately won constitutional recognition. These are freedoms of association, freedom to call mass meeting freedom of religion and political belief and right to have a secure life etc The solemn promise that these rights will remain unchanged and be protected by the prevalent laws of the Indian Union have also been enshrined in the constitution. But the orgy of slaughter and brutal repression that have been sweeping for last two years all over India was unknown even in the days of British Raj. Reckless abuse of power in the name of maintaining law and order by the executives of the administrative machinery have not only led to the common human rights being trampled underfoot, even the provisions of the prevalent law of the land have been violated at every step. Various detention laws of the British regime have been brought back under old and new names (P.V.A., M.I.S.A., D.LR. etc.).'Workers of different political parties and other common people in., their thousands have been detained under these draconian measures. At the same time, many others in thousands have been implicated in cases under false charges and thrown behind the bar. Persons released on bail are re-arrested within the very premises of the court under newly fabricated charges. The extent of arrest due to political reason is so great that according to the Government's own admission number of prisoners have far surpassed the capacity of the jail. Added to this is the supply of worst possible food, extremely frightening sanitary condition and facilities for treatments only in name. As a natural consequence, different incurable and infectious diseases have been playing havoc with, the lives of the hapless prisoners. "Already many have died of these diseases untreated and many more are on their way to it. Guardians and friends of the prisoners are getting no response from the Govt. even after repeated appeals. That is, persons who beyond doubt have been detained due to political reasons are, far from being recognised as the political prisoners, being refused even the minimum facilities, which are assured for all categories of prisoners by the jail code. Even the rights to have a weekly interview of a few minutes’ duration with their relatives are not being allowed. Recently following the footsteps of the former British rulers, prisoners are being deported to such far-off places from West Bengal that their relatives are getting no information about their wards. Unspeakably barbarous tortures inflicted upon the prisoners under the plea 6f extorting confession during their detention in Police Custody have already maimed arid are going to maim many of them. Many others have developed insanity. These shameful episodes have come to happen, although according to Indian laws, let alone physical torture, even ill-behaviour towards the prisoners is strictly prohibited. Topping this list of shameful record is the -incidents of indiscriminate killings. Leaving aside the unheard of a campaign of slaughter that is continuing outside, what any civilised society will shudder even to think- of, have - also come to pass-unarmed helpless prisoners in their hundreds are being beaten or shot to death in a most cold-blooded fashion under different pretexts in jails and police custody. That is, the executive organ of the state have, hi complete defiance of all constitutional provisions, on their own, been implementing the sentences of death, which can be decided upon by the Judiciary only. Yet judicial authority is surprisingly silent about it. None of the important urban or rural areas, nor any section of the common people, be it intellectuals, middle class, workers, peasants or students has been spared of this marauding march of death and repression. And the most promising section of our population viz. students and youths have become the cruellest victims of this barbarism. Of course, in translating his ideal reality if anyone oversteps the limits of law the Government may have the right to take legal action against him. But in doing so, Government too, by the similar logic, cannot overstep the same limits of law. We vehemently condemn all the above activities which stand against humanity, are illegal and undemocratic. We appeal to all petitions of our people including workers, peasants, intellectuals and students - whatever differences of opinion and party affiliation we have, let us agree to a united effort to end this reign of terror and repression and also to end mutual in-fighting amongst us. Come forward and raise the following demands before the Government unitedly:— Immediately withdraw all laws of detention without trial (P.V.A, MISA, D.I.R.etc). Withdraw all cases under the false charge. Persons arrested due to political reason are to be granted recognition and facilities due to be political prisoners. Political prisoners are to be kept in jails nearest to their places of habita¬tion, deportation too far off jails must stop. Make, proper arrangements for treatment within the; jails and if necessary in outside hospitals. Reintroduce the system of weekly interview of the prisoners Torture or ill-treatment with the people detained in police custody or in jail must stop and treatment to them must be as given in the Indian laws. Executive personnel connected with' the' incidents of slaughter and physical violence inside and outside the Police and jail custody must be prosecuted under the same charges in the court of law. No obstruction should be raised to political parties and "individual to express their thought. The administrative machinery should not be utilised to further' the interests of any particular party. Stop all sorts of inter-party clash and terrorization. Stop all kinds of individual killing. Punishing Government employees in any way due to their belief in particular political ideology must stop. The government must bear the full expenses of defense of all accused of police cases. Impartial and thorough investigations in all cases of mass killings inside DumDum, Alipore, Berhampore Midnapore, Bahkipur(Patna), Hazari-bag, Gaya, Bhagalpur etc) or outside (Barasat, Diamond Harbour, Burdwan, Kalna, Baranagore, Howrah, Bantra, Bhawani Dutta Lane etc) the jail and police custody case must be conducted and complete reports thereto must be published promptly. Stop all sorts.of assaults on newspapers and journals. Stop all sorts of assaults on the unions and mass organisations of the worker, employees, peasants, students and other sections of the people. There must be1-no imposition of any restrictions upon the cultural activities of the people and no assaults on the same on the grounds (real or imaginary) of any ideological motivation. Withdraw all the police cases filed at the instigation of jotedars and landlords against the thousands of poor peasants, share-crappers and landless labourers in the countryside. The Proper atmosphere at this old places of work and habitation must be immediately restored for the individuals, who were compelled to leave the same due to political reasons, so that they many return, work and live there with safety. Release all political prisoners. Restore all the rights of civil liberty all over the country. Lastly, our appeal is:— (a) Relatives and friends of political detainees, victims of slaughter arid repression due to political reason please contact us at the address given below and (b) Build up local A.P D.R. (Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights) organisations in your own localities. Office Address: Sri Kapil Bhattacharya (President, APDR) 18(N) Madan Baral Lane, Calcutta - 700012, West Bengal, India Phone: 24-1598 (office remains open between 7 P.M - 9 P.M. on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)

1st Committee of APDR:

Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty
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