Strong condemnation after ED questions researcher Navsharan Singh

Singh had been an active supporter of people’s movements and a prominent participant in the farmers' protests that shook the Union government in 2020-21.

Dozens of individuals and organisations, from India and abroad – civil society organisations, academics, farmers’ unions – have expressed their solidarity with researcher, author and activist Navsharan Singh, who was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for seven hours on May 10. She was summoned under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Singh has been an active and prominent supporter of and participant in the farmers’ protests that shook the Union government in 2020-21 – leading to Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally recalling three contentious farm laws his government had introduced. She is also on the board of Aman Biradari, a trust headed by rights activist Harsh Mander. During the day long questioning, Singh was reportedly asked about her association with Aman Biradri and the case against Mander.

The Samkyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of farmers’ groups that had spearheaded the protests, has released a strong statement saying, “It may be kept in mind that Dr. Navsharan was one of the leading supporters of the historic farmers movement at the borders of Delhi and took the message of the farmers to an international audience. There is no doubt that Modi Govt. is taking revenge on her for supporting the farmers and SKM shall extend all support to her in her quest for justice.”

Joginder Singh Ugrahan of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta (Ugrahan) has also said that the researcher is being targeted for raising her voice against the Modi government. He also alleged that like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the PMLA is being used to target and harass dissenting voices.

The All India Kisan Sabha has similarly the ED’s move, “the BJP Government’s sinister attempts to harass activist and supporter of the farmers’ struggle,  Dr. Navsharan Singh”.

The All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP)has also released a statement expressing solidarity, saying, “We see this act of ED a vilified and notorious act to target the intellectuals and activists to help the fascist regime to eliminate all the dissenting voices that questions the present fascist Government.”

The Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) has dubbed Singh’s questioning by ED as “unfortunate” and “undemocratic”. Navsharan Singh has a PhD in political science from Carleton University in Canada. More than 20 organisations from Canada have also issued a joint statement in support of Singh, linking the ED’s action to the Modi government’s arrests and targeting of other progressive voices. “An accomplished scholar and women’s rights activist in South Asia, Dr. Singh also has a long history of grassroots work and has taken the baton of such work from her late father [eminent theatre personality Gursharan Singh]. By reaching out to the impoverished and the disenfranchised in rural Punjab and elsewhere, her support and advocacy work has earned her the love and respect of the masses, as was evident when she courageously supported the Indian farmers’ struggle against the draconian laws of the Modi government in 2020-2021. …To those of us who have known or are familiar with Dr. Navsharan Singh and her grassroots and academic work, her harassment by the regime’s investigative agencies is outrageous and unacceptable, and must be resolutely opposed,” the statement reads.


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