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28 May 2011

In yet another instance of the state’s harassment of civil rights activists and organizations, Gautam Navlakha long term member of the of the Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Delhi, and for long a campaigner against state repression in Jammu and Kashmir, was detained by the J&K Police at Srinagar airport today and denied entry into the state. The reason being touted for the denial of entry is that S. 144 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC)has been applied in Badgam District (where Srinagar Airport is located ) and that Navlakha’s visit presents a threat to public order. No specific details or proof has been furnished to back up the police’s claim.

Navlakha is to be detained overnight and will be put on a flight for Delhi tomorrow morning. The incident is an illustration, albeit a minor ones of the arbitrariness and audacity with which fundamental rights are routinely violated (and have been for years) in the name of law and order in J & K.

PUDR condemns this action of the J&K Police and appeals to all democratically minded people to protest against such arbitray curbs on the fundamental freedom of movement in the interests of preventing the further erosion of the democratic nature of our polity.

PUDR demands that:

1) Gautam Navlakha be immediately released and allowed to proceed on his journey forthwith.

2) such undemocratic restrictions on the fundamental freedom of movement of citizens be revoked forthwith.

3) action be taken against those responsible for his arbitrary detention.

Paramjeet Singh and Harish Dhawan