Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary C.K. Chandrappan has termed the preventive arrest of civil society leaders, including Anna Hazare, denial of the Constitutional right to dissent.
Denouncing the detention of Mr. Hazare and his team ahead of their scheduled indefinite fast against corruption, Mr. Chandrappan told presspersons here on Tuesday that it amounted to denial of the Constitutionally guaranteed democratic rights to dissent and protest.
He said mass protests against the ‘denial of fundamental rights' would sweep the country in the wake of the detention of Mr. Hazare. He said Mr. Hazare had the right to say what he wanted to say. Whether one agreed with some of Mr. Hazare's views and his ‘apolitical politics' could be debated separately, Mr. Chandrappan said, adding that the CPI was of the view that Mr. Hazare should be given the freedom to dissent and protest.
Mr. Chandrappan said hunger strike was a mode of protest practised by Gandhiji and others. Dubbing hunger strike as blackmail was not correct.
The Congress' stand that the Lokpal Bill was under the consideration of Parliament was an excuse. There was a widespread demand for an effective Lokpal, he said.
'Chandy should resign'
Mr. Chandrappan said the Left parties would intensify their agitation seeking the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the wake of the Vigilance court's order for continued probe against him in the palmolein import case.
Alleging that Mr. Chandy had weakened cases against other Ministers in his Cabinet who were facing charges, Mr. Chandrappan said people were concerned about the fate of the inquiry into Mr. Chandy's role in the palmolein case if it was being held when he continued as Chief Minister.
The protests planned on August 23 would mark the beginning of the agitation demanding the resignation of Mr. Chandy, he said.
Recalling the Supreme Court's order setting aside the appointment of P.J. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner on the ground that there was a pending case against him in the palmolein import case, Mr. Chandrappan said Mr. Chandy too had no moral right to continue as Chief Minister while facing a fresh inquiry into his role in the same case.
Seeking Mr. Chandy's resignation was a democratic demand, Mr. Chandrappan said, adding that it was very difficult to say that Mr. Chandy had no role in the deal. Mr. Chandy should not wait till he was ousted, he said.