State repression during  COVID 19 is at its PEAK 

 In other news, what the government is busy with during the pandemic:

On 1st April, arrest under Sedition case, of a social activist in Uttarakhand, *Abhilakh Singh,* Secretary of Theka Mazdoor Kalyan Samiti in Pantnagar University, for a whatsapp message on a local public whatsapp group questioning the police repression during the pandemic.

On 1st April, arrest under Sedition, muder, attempt to murder, enmity between groups on grounds of religion etc. charges, of *Meeran Haider*, a research scholar in Jamia University for alleged involvement in violence in North East Delhi in Feb, where he was distributing relief during the pandemic till end March.

On 1st April, arrest of a teacher in Manipur Institute of Technology, *Konsam Victor Singh,* for a facebook post saying, "Does anyboby know how much has CM Biren contributed to the CM covid-19 relief fund?" He was let off after deleting the post and saying he has no hard feelings about the CM.

On 3rd April, *Dr. Laifungbam Debabrata Roy,* a senior public health physician in Imphal was locked up by the Manipur Police for a facebook post saying "the Manipur CM, especially at this time of crisis, should desist from wasting state resources, time and personnel in carrying out any personal political agenda or vendetta. It demeans and belittles the position occupied and the responsibility that entails.” 

On 7th April, arrest of *Soneswar Narah and Pranab Doley,* of an autonomous collective of farmers and workers Jeepal Krishak Sramik Sangha, in Golaghat district Assam, for questioning theft of 800 quintals of PDS rice in Kaziranga Co-op meant for people during the pandemic.

On 8th April, rejection of protection from arrest given to democratic rights activists, *Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha,* by Supreme Court and they've to surrender to NIA by 15 April. The judges felt that protection from arrest citing Covid situation is just an excuse that should be done away with.

On 8th April, rejection of bail by the Gauhati High Court given to peasant leader *Akhil Gogoi* by the lower court in NIA case earlier. The judges felt that 4 months of evidenceless custodial harassment of the activist was not enough. So, all different cases and bail arrest bail arrest game, was leading to this order of a longer term of custody and trial without outcome as punishment.

These are just tip of the iceberg examples. And also the Indian State is not alone. World over, States are using the Covid situation as an opportunity to increase repression, and trample on democratic rights, increase surveillance and prepare for ruthless accumulation, with greater impunity and consent. Choices seem to be between dying of hunger or dying of Coronavirus or being shut out by repression while facing more dispossession and exhaustion. Charming choices.

Anyhow, take heart from the joke someone made that the air is so clear because of Covid that the contradictions of the bourgeois mode of production are strikingly visible. That at least increases the horizon of choices that we can make and sides we need to urgently take.