Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Press statement by Free Software Movement of India - District Magistrate of Indore bans criticism of de-monetisation on social media // Dhirendra Jha: Rattled by cash crisis, BJP calls off Modi's December 24 rally in Lucknow

Dangerous order by district magistrate of Indore banning any criticism on social media of de-monetisation by Govt. of India - Press statement by Free Software Movement of India

Free Software Movement of India (fsmi.in) - Press release
22 November 2016

The District Magistrate of Indore has issued an order – Order/2956/RADM/2016, Indore/Date 14/11/2016 under Section 144 – banning any criticism on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc., on exchange of old currency that is “objectionable” or can “cause incitement”. The order is attached here. This, in effect, is a blanket ban on any criticism of the Government on its failure to provide sufficient new notes for the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes that it has demonetised. 

Clearly, having failed to remonetise the economy and putting the common man to immense hardship, the government now wants to clamp down on all criticism on its failures.

The use of Section 144 for censorship of social media also goes far beyond what the Supreme Court has held in its various judgements. The Supreme Court, in Madhu Limaye and Anr v. Ved Murti and Ors. ((1970) 3 SCC 746), held that the use of Section 144 is justified only for prevention of public disturbance or violence, and urgency as the only ground for using this section. 

The state and central governments have been using Section 144 arbitrarily in shutting down the internet and going far beyond what its powers are under Section 144. It has now extended such powers, earlier used only for banning public assembly, to now attacking peoples rights of Freedom of Speech, guaranteed under the Section 19. 

It shows the desperation of the Central and the Madhya Pradesh governments that having failed in the elementary task of providing money to the people for conducting their day to day lives, they are resorting to such draconian measures to stifle all legitimate criticism.

The Free Software Movement of India demands that this Order of the District Magistrate be immediately withdrawn and the Madhya Pradesh government issue an apology to the people for this action.

Yours Sincerely
Kiran Chandra Yarlagadda
General Secretary
Free Software Movement of India
Sy. No. 91, Beside AALIM,
Greenlands colony, Gachibowli ’X’Roads,
Sherilingampally, Rangareddy Dt.,
Pin: 500032
Ph: +919490098011


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Rattled by cash crisis, BJP calls off Modi's December 24 rally in Lucknow 
Panicked by widespread financial stress caused by the withdrawal of high-value currency notes and unsure about attracting an adequate crowd for a rally Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to address Lucknow on December 24, the Bharatiya Janata Party has cancelled the much-publicised event.
The rally aimed to mark the culmination of the BJP’s four Parivartan Yatras in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, which were flagged off early this month.

The decision to cancel the rally was taken on Monday, the day before a rattled prime minister defended the demonetisation decision at the BJP’s parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday.
On Monday, BJP President Amit Shah held a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Finance Secretary Shaktikant Das to assess the impact of the financial stress caused by the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes.

The decision to cancel the Lucknow event was also prompted by the relatively small crowd at the prime minister’s rally in Agra on November 20. “The turnout at Modi’s rally in Agra was not up to the mark,” said a BJP leader who did not want to be identified. “The party fears that the financial stress would accentuate in the course of the next one month, and holding a rally in the capital of UP on December 24 may, therefore, be counterproductive.”

Leadership unnerved: The BJP launched its Parivartan Yatras to swing the electoral mood in Uttar Pradesh in its favour. Modi was to address public meetings almost every week in the state – which goes to polls early next year – to enhance the impact of the yatras, finishing up with a grand rally in Lucknow on December 24, the eve of the birth anniversary of BJP veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

However, last week, the party decided to reschedule Modi’s rally in Kushinagar, scheduled for November 25, to allow its leaders and cadre in eastern Uttar Pradesh more time to mobilise crowds. The rally is now scheduled for November 27.

“Since the anger is more apparent in urban pockets than in villages, the party may still go ahead with Modi’s rallies scheduled to be held in rural settings of the state,” said a BJP leader. The BJP brass appeared to be struggling with the repercussions of demonetisation within days of the government’s having taken the step. Some of the party’s own parliamentarians were reportedly outraged by the move, leading the BJP leadership to cancel two consecutive meetings of its MPs last week.

Many party MPs saw Modi’s emotional speech at the BJP parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday as a means of preventing dissident voices from coming out in the open. “The prime minister, who seemed rattled, broke down during his speech,” said one BJP MP who was present at the meeting. “It was after this that the parliamentary party passed a unanimous resolution endorsing his great crusade.” The resolution commended Modi for his “historic, revolutionary, daring and pro-poor” decision in national interest.

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