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The rape of Freedom of Opinion!

source: Another wold is possible

As in the case of "Naxalite" Arun Ferreira, if the government considers files in your computer as evidence of terrorist links, most of us will be in jail!

The fear of Reds crawling under your bed is making the police in India do strange things. People are being picked up and interrogated on the basis of the files in their computers and pen drives. And if the pen drive contains files about SEZs, land grabbing, atrocities against dalits and communal riots, you are in big trouble. Not only will you be taken to the police station, given a dose of truth serum and questioned in isolation, the police will also threaten to lock up anyone who dares to speak in your support. We don't know if Arun Ferreira from Bandra is a member of CPI(Maoist) or not, or if he has been involved in any violent act, but the police have already passed a judgement : He is a seditionist - a Naxalite threatening the Indian state. Part of the "evidence" is in his pen drive which has some files on "sensitive issues". They haven't produced any evidence of his involvement in any violent activity, but Ferreira is guilty because the police suspect he is guilty.

This is not funny. It's scary. If people can be put behind bars for what they have saved in their computers, half the journalists, academics, social activists, NGO workers and writers in this country should be in the police station waiting for their turn to be jabbed with sodium pentothal and talk in a daze about the "seditionist material" in their computers. And then they would throw you into a dingy cell where petty thieves, rapists and professional killers kick you day and night for being "anti national".

The police keep picking people merely on suspicion, trying to build cases on the basis of emails, phone calls, SIM cards, blogs and pen drives. The cases keep falling flat in the court while real terrorists walk in and out of the country at will, blowing up common Indians on trains and buses, at mosques and in temples, in cinema halls and offices. The real perpetrators of these crimes almost never get caught, tried or convicted.

Catching people for carrying "sensitive information" can't be a way of tackling national security issues. It has something to do with opinion. It has something to do with political opposition. It is all about trampling on liberties and stifling dissent. Governments around the world - from the US to China to Sudan to Colombia - have been itching to launch a war of terror on those who oppose them. and thousands of people with political opinions have been "fixed" through this "war on terror".

In this season of suspicion, I check my personal computer at home. There are hundreds of reports on human rights violations in India, police atrocities, dalit organizations, Naxalite groups and Nandigram, all downloaded from the net. I don't think it's safe anymore to save those files on the computer or a pen drive. It's better to keep all this in your mind. They don't have a machine with which they can read your mind. Not yet.

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posted by Resistance 5/31/2007 09:40:00 AM,

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