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Month: September 2020

PUNISHED FOR SPEAKING UP – The ongoing use of restrictive laws to stifle dissent

PUNISHED FOR SPEAKING UP – The ongoing use of restrictive laws to stifle dissent

By CIVICUS

The Indian government is using a variety of restrictive laws – including national security and counter terrorism legislation – to arrest and imprison human rights defenders, peaceful protesters and critics, global civil society alliance CIVICUS said today in a new report.

The report covers:
– The judicial harassment of activists, targeting of journalists and crackdown on protesters;
– How rights violations have continued during President Modi’s second term and throughout the pandemic;
– Calls for the immediate release of arbitrarily detained activists, protesters and human rights defenders.
Read full report

Industriall Global Union: Calling for the release of sister Sudha Bharadwaj

Industriall Global Union: Calling for the release of sister Sudha Bharadwaj

By IndustriALL

Calling for the release of sister Sudha Bharadwaj, leader of Industriall Global Union affiliate Pragatisheel Cement Shramik Sangh Union

Geneva, 28 August 2020

Honourable President,
I am writing to you on behalf of IndustriALL Global Union,, which represents more than 50 million workers in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors in 140 countries, including in India to call upon you to release our colleague and union activist, leader of Pragatisheel Cement Shramik Sangh union affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, who is kept in prison based on arbitrary and unclear accusations for already two years in India.
To read full statement click to enlarge

Exception becomes the norm as special laws are misused

Exception becomes the norm as special laws are misused

Times of India Blogs / by Pankaj Butalia

Delhi Police’s framing and subsequent reframing of charges, using UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act), against the young women of Pinjra Tod a few months ago is an example of the gross misuse of special laws enacted by the state for circumstances which lie outside the purview of ordinary laws. By definition such laws are meant to be temporary and exceptions but end up being permanent and the norm.
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Ominipotent state and impotent people: system weighed in favour of the ‘state’

20/09/2020

National Herald / by Aakar Patel

Indefinite ‘detention without trial’ is now the norm. The state is acquiring more power to crush the individual.
The criminal justice system everywhere is deliberately designed to protect the rights of the individual accused. And this is the correct way of seeing it although in our country it is the other way round.
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Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap sent to judicial custody

Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap sent to judicial custody

Free Press Journal / by Bhavna Uchil

Mumbai: After spending around 10 days in the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) custody, Kabir Kala Manch members Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap have been remanded in judicial custody by a special court on Saturday till 3 October.
Read more


Update by Kabir Kala Manch: Next court date 3rd October. Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichore will be shifted to Taloja jail and Jyoti Jagtap to Byculla jail.

The Only Institution Capable of Stopping the Death of Democracy Is Aiding it

The Only Institution Capable of Stopping the Death of Democracy Is Aiding it

The Wire / by A.P. Shah

The Supreme Court seems to have lost its way.
I speak here today of what I believe is one of the most troubling developments of our time: the decline of the Indian Supreme Court. As a former judge, at the very least I believe it is my duty to ring some warning bells…
This abuse of the UAPA and constant rejection of bail applications of accused as a means of silencing opposing voices can be seen most in the Bhima Koregaon cases, where mere thought has been elevated to a crime.
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Statement by Culture Workers Support Trust: Attempt to quell voices who speak out through art

Statement by Culture Workers Support Trust: Attempt to quell voices who speak out through art

Kabir Kala Manch performance, 2019

The Caravan / by Culture Workers Trust

The Culture Workers’ Support Trust (CWST) condemns the harassment of members of the creative community.
Statement Against State Repression of Culture Workers:
In Solidarity with Rahul Roy, Saba Dewan, Kabir Kala Manch, and Art Students facing harassment and false charges by the state, who are being targeted for exercising their democratic right to raise their voice against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, the National Register of Citizens, the National Population Register and state-sponsored brutality during the anti-CAA protests.
Read more / Full statement

The Making of Varavara Rao: Parts Seven and Eight

The Making of Varavara Rao: Parts Seven and Eight


VV with wife Hemalatha and the author

Indian Cultural Forum / by N Venugopal Rao

I wouldn’t have been who I am without Varavara Rao, and it is true for the generation I come from and the one that followed. Today’s Telangana wouldn’t have been what it is without him. I have written and spoken about him and his poetry in the past, but now he is on the deathbed, in a faraway hospital, being subjected to retributive torture by the powers that be. Now, with a never-before urgency, I want to speak and write about him, through an interminable torrent of words.
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Maharashtra: Families of Prison Inmates Worried / Lockdown for some, lockup for others

Maharashtra: Families of Prison Inmates Worried / Lockdown for some, lockup for others


Read PUCL Report: Imprisoned and Unsave

Lockdown for some, lockup for others

Deccan Chronicle / by Bela Bhatia

More humane provisions are needed for prisoners, including political prisoners and those charged under special laws.
It is obvious that the threat of the coronavirus, a communicable disease, is worst in places of high population density. The prison is one such place. About half a million persons are incarcerated in more than 1,300 jails scattered all over India. More than two thirds are undertrials… It is only high-profile cases like those of Binayak Sen, Varavara Rao and others incarcerated in the Bhima Koregaon case that attract national or even international attention. While this attention is justified, most people do not realise that thousands of powerless, impoverished people face similar or worse injustice.
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Maharashtra: Families of Prison Inmates with Co-morbidities and Age Issues Worried

News Click / by Varsha Torgalkar

Activists have been demanding the release of prisoners on health grounds. So far, six inmates have died of COVID-19 in prisons across state and 1,772 prisoners have tested positive out of total 11,267 tests conducted as per the Prison Department data.
Pune: On July 12, poet and activist Varavara Rao’s daughter addressed a press conference saying, “My father, Varavara Rao, an 81 years old poet, blabbered about his father’s funeral which was held 75 years ago. Whatever he talked was incoherent during the weekly call from prison to family. His co-prisoner, Vernon Gonsalves, told us that he is in no condition to walk and carry out his daily works,” The family had panicked after the call and held the press conference the next day.
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Arrests Politically Motivated – Sedition, Counterterrorism Laws Used to Silence Dissent

Arrests Politically Motivated – Sedition, Counterterrorism Laws Used to Silence Dissent

By Human Rights Watch

(New York) The Indian authorities are increasingly bringing politically motivated cases, including under severe sedition and terrorism laws, against critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should immediately drop baseless charges against activists, academics, student leaders, and others, and unconditionally release those in custody.
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Umar Khalid arrest: Erosion of democracy hasn’t been as blatant, ‘save Emergency rule’

Counteverview / by Counterview Desk/ Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)

In a statement, CASR said, “Following the model of the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case, the Delhi Police appears to be determined to target those who have spoken out against the communal discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) instead of those who incited the violence in North East Delhi leading to the death of over 50 persons, injuries to several hundred, loss of livelihood and displacement of thousands, particularly Muslim residents of the area.”
Read full statement


Stop crying wolf over democracy, enjoy the quality of sheep’s clothing

Economic Times / by T K Arun

… In the cases registered by the Delhi police, the focus is solely on those who protested against CAA. BJP leaders who held rallies, threatening to take the law into their own hands if the anti-CAA protests were not lifted, are off the police radar.
This playbook looks as if it has been copied from the police action in the wake of the Bhima-Koregaon violence, which saw a Dalit activist killed and several injured during an attack on Dalit celebration of the 200 th anniversary of the victory of Mahar troops of the British East India Company over the Peshwa’s army, ending Peshwa rule once and for all.
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