THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An ‘undeclared emergency’ is prevalent in the country. A larger attempt is being made to shrink public discourse and dissent voice made to look discredited. Attacks on activists, terming them anti-national and a threat to national security are part of it, said activist and All-India Progressive Women’s Association secretary and CPI (ML) politburo member Kavitha Krishnan. She was speaking at the 14th N Narendran memorial lecture organised in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.
“Asking questions that are embarrassing, pursuing issues either as a journalist, as an activist or as a citizen is enough for being referred to as an anti-national. There is a concerted attempt to define such utterances as anti-national or threat to national security. If anybody raises his or her voice against Narendra Modi, she or he is labelled anti-national and a threat to national security as as happened to activists Priya Pillai and Teesta Setalwad.
Kavitha Krishnan observed that the situation was alarming, as neither the government nor any single party could create such a climate on its own. “For instance, in Kerala, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is being used ridiculously to go after activists and human rights campaigners. Innocent youngsters have been imprisoned.
Those who raise their voice against it are put under surveillance. It’s happening in Kerala where insurgency is not a big issue. Here, the ruling party is not BJP. We just can not put all the blame on Narendra Modi. There is something which is creating such a climate,” she pointed out.
The media plays a bigger role in creating it. “Of course, there are courageous exemptions. But media, especially the electronic, deals with such sensitive issues in such a way that the audience is made to believe what they say. And it is said in such an authoritative way that every reasonable argument is shut down. They hardly make people aware of the realities. And it isn’t that they are not thinking. It’s just that they are not briefed properly of the reality,” she said. Even the empathy shown by many when Yakub Memon was hanged is considered as anti-national, she added. “A Governor of the state was heard saying that such supporters should be put under police surveillance. Another BJP MP termed them as sympathisers of Pakistan. To resist this, the common man should declare their solidarity with those who stand for the marginalised,” she said.
N Madhavan Kutty, former Resident Editor, ‘The New Indian Express’ chaired the session.