A Round Table on Encounter Deaths

The ‘Alternative Guidelines Towards Encounter Deaths’ and Strategies of Resistance
Date: 28 November 2008 Time: 3.00. p.m. Venue: Dayar-e Mir Taqui Mir, Jamia Millia Islamia (near the Vice Chancellor’s office)

Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Group invites you to a Round Table on the ‘Alternative Guidelines Towards Encounter Deaths’ with special focus on the extra-constitutional powers given to Special Forces and Strategies of Resistance keeping in mind the present context where the naked brutality of the police and armed forces have unleashed a reign of terror not only on the Muslim population residing in the country in the states of Kashmir, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala but also in the north-eastern states of India particularly Manipur. The logic of countering terrorism/armed resistance might have different contextual specificities but the laws used for ‘encounter’ and the manner in which the same is executed flouting all human rights guidelines is a major cause of concern today. The petition filed by Peoples’ Union of Liberties, Maharashtra and the alternative draft submitted to the Supreme Court and the favourable hearing it has received has strengthened the voices of alternatives across the country. While the Batla House encounter on 19th September has been the centre of our activities, it is necessary to link it to wider political struggles going on in the country as the incident is hardly an isolated one. In Delhi itself we have witnessed several encounters along with bomb blasts that keep happening like a ceremonial ritual giving the much needed masala for the media houses to run, elsewhere we read reports or view open terrorist activities of minorities being lynched and tortured to death by the self-proclaimed votaries of the Hindu majority and feel ‘protected’ by the distance that separates us from the event that might be a prime time show. The question is no longer confined to minority communities alone since it is not only religious or racial/ethnic scape-goating that is happening, but also in a calculated manner all voices that question the State and its institutions get throttled one way or the other. Civil rights movements therefore necessarily assume a kind of ‘defensive’ role – challenging the powers that be after an incident of violation has taken place. With the recent revelations of the CBI regarding the role of the Special Cell and the booking of criminals in saffron perhaps the tide is turning where an offensive campaign may be mobilized to instill policy changes in law that might be yet twisted to protect the rights of the people vis-à-vis the interests of the State.

The panel of initiators for the discussion are –
Prashant Bhushan –(Human Rights Lawyer) – Defence Counsel for the PUL petition in Supreme Court regarding alternative guidelines on encounter deaths; Sufian Siddiqui – (Supreme Court Lawyer), Bimol Akoijam – (JNU)

The discussants for the Round Table are – Gautam Navlakha – (Democratic Rights activist), Nirmalangshu Mukherji – (Dept. of Philosophy, DU), Tripta Wahi – (Dept. of History, DU), Vijay Singh – (Dept. of History, DU)

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