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Month: September 2020

Branding Innocent Citizens As Terrorists: UAPA, A Law On Loose

Branding Innocent Citizens As Terrorists: UAPA, A Law On Loose

The Logical Indian / by Abha Singh

Abha Singh, a former civil servant and an advocate, writes on how UAPA has been misused to arrest those who disagreed and criticized with the policies of the State.
What do Varavara Rao, an 80-year-old Marxist poet from Telengana, Sudha Bharadwaj, a 60-year-old civil rights activist who spent 30 years working for the marginalized in Chhattisgarh, Hany Babu, an English professor in DU, Arun Ferreira, a lawyer in Mumbai, young student activists Natasha Narwal, Safoora Zargar, Sharjeel Imam and Umar Khalid have in common?
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NHRC asks for home ministry’s reply over Amnesty India’s decision to halt operations

NHRC asks for home ministry’s reply over Amnesty India’s decision to halt operations


AI #FreeBK11 poster

NHRC asks for home ministry’s reply over Amnesty India’s decision to halt operations

30/09/2020

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

The NHRC referred to Amnesty India’s statement and said the group’s allegations were ‘serious in nature’ and have been strongly answered by the home ministry.
The National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday issued summons to Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and the Ministry of Home Affairs, in relation to Amnesty International India’s decision to stop operations in India as the government allegedly froze its bank accounts. The commission has sought the replies within six weeks.
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Amnesty International says work in India halted after govt freezes bank accounts

29/09/2020

Hindustan Times / by Arpan Rai

Amnesty further claimed that it has been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all ongoing campaign and research work
The government had declined permission to receive foreign funds to Amnesty International India Foundation Trust that has been critical of security agencies in several cases including the arrest of activists such as Sudha Bharadwaj, Rona Wilson and Varavara Rao, who was accused of being a Maoist ideologue.
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Amnesty International India Shuts Down, Blames Government’s ‘Reprisal’

29/08/2020

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

The decision, which will see close to 150 employees lose their jobs, came after the recent move by the Enforcement Directorate to freeze the organisation’s accounts.
Mumbai: After a successful eight-year run in India addressing several crucial human rights violations amid growing hostility and the government’s clampdown on civil liberties, Amnesty International (AI) India has decided to shut its operations in the country. The decision, which will see close to 150 employees lose their jobs, came after the recent move by the Enforcement Directorate to freeze the organisation’s accounts.
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Who is Stan Swamy?

Who is Stan Swamy?

By India Civil Watch

On the morning of August 28, 2018 Maharashtra police raided the one room home of Fr.Stan Swamy, who lives on the outskirts of Ranchi on Bagaicha campus, under suspicion of him being involved in the violence at Bhima Koregaon. The police confiscated his laptop, mobile phone and several CDs, and a recent press release on the Pathalgadi movement by Women against Sexual violence and State repression (WSS).

What does an 82 year old Jesuit priest has got to do with Bhima-Koregaon case? Everything, if he is a stalwart of people’s causes.

“When I decided to join the Jesuits, I sought to know where I will be needed more. I came to know about the Indigenous Adivasi people in central India and I lived in an interior Adivasi village for two years and came to appreciate their values … sense of equality, cooperation, sharing without counting, community-bond, consensus decision making, closeness to nature etc.  At the same time, I saw how these beautiful people were being exploited and oppressed by unscrupulous outsiders. I wanted to make something of my life that would make even a small difference in their search for dignity and self-respect. That’s what I am still trying to do during the last four decades.“ (Stan Swamy)

This life defining decision has put Stan Swamy in the forefront of struggles that ranged from the right to food to anti-displacement movements to protests against false imprisonments to land alienation.
Stan Swamy, who moved to the Chaibasa area of undivided Bihar in the 1970s, embarked on life of activism by associating with the 1996 campaign led by the Jharkhand Organisation Against Uranium Radiation (JOAR), a campaign against Uranium Corporation India Limited that successfully stopped the construction of a tailing dam in Chaibasa which, if constructed, would lead to the displacement of adivasis in Jadugoda’s Chatikocha area. After vociferously raising these issues, he moved to work with the displaced people of Bukaro, Santhal Parganas and Koderma and has continued to work for them. He has been a vocal critic of the government’s attempts to amend land laws and the land acquisition act in Jharkhand, termed as ‘Land Bank’, which he sees as the most recent plot to annihilate the Adivasi people and a strong advocate of the Forest Rights Act, Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA), Tribes Advisory Council (TAC), Samatha Judgement etc.
In 2010 Stan Swamy published a book titled, ‘Jail Mein Band Qaidiyon ka Sach’ exposing the arbitrary and unlawful arrests of tribal youths with alleged links to the Naxal Movement. In his book, he highlighted that the average monthly income of 97 percent of these tribal households was less than Rs 5,000, which meant they simply could not afford to hire lawyers to take up their cases. In 2015 when a report was published discussing the plight of the arrested youths, Stan Swamy came into the State machinery’s radar. According to the report 98% of the 3000 arrested were falsely implicated and had no links to the Naxal Movement. Some served years in jail without a trial. He has selfless contributed to pay for the youth’s bail bonds and approached lawyers to represent these cases in the court of law. As part of the Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee, Stan Swamy along with Sudha Bhardwaj, has questioned the illegality with which some undertrials have been put in solitary confinement following the banning of Mazdoor Sangathan Samiti in December 2017.
Working tirelessly to have the PESA Act implement in the state’s scheduled areas, his efforts culminated in the Pathalgadi movement in 2017 in the districts of Khunti, Simdega, Seraikela and Gumla in Jharkhand.  The government’s response was to try and suppress the movement by booking around 20 leaders, including Father Swamy, under charges of sedition on 30 July 2018. It led to well-known intellectuals and activists like Vasvi Kido and Santosh Kido describing the government action as a witch hunt and an attempt to malign the image of the Church in Jharkand. It is hardly a secret that Chief Minister Raghubar Das and the BJP are keen to check the Church’s influence among the tribal community.
As testimony to his tireless endeavours to retain the secular fabric of the country, Stan Swamy has also been closely engaged in fostering communal harmony through secular platforms like Sajha Kadam.
He founded of Vistapan Virodhi Janvikash Andolan (VVJA), an all India platform for different movements that are campaigning against human rights violations caused by displacement of adivasi people, dalits, and farmers from their lands.
As a writer and with meticulous documentation skills he laid threadbare several of the government’s anti-people policies.

India Civil Watch
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indiacivilwatch/
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E-mail: indiacivilwatch at gmail.com

By Jhakhand Janadhikar Mahasabha

Stan Swamy wrote at least 74 articles, notes and books in the last two decades on several questions including land rights, undertrials, Adivasi rights, fifth schedule and PESA, hunger and development model. Always vocal on peoples’ issues.
See list of Articles, notes and books written by Stand Swamy (1999-2020)

Decimation drive – The recent arrest of three Dalit rights activists

Decimation drive – The recent arrest of three Dalit rights activists

Frontline / by Anupama Katakam

The recent arrest of three Dalit rights activists in connection with the Elgar Parishad is seen as an attempt to stifle dissent.
MEMBERS of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), a Pune-based cultural activist group, knew it was only a matter of time before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) reached their doorstep. The NIA arrested 12 people in connection with the Elgar Parishad, and as one of the primary organisers of the meeting that hosted 250 Dalit organisations, the KKM was definitely on the radar.
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Dubbed urban Naxal, Arun Ferreira a ‘victim’ of BJP govt’s sectarian, vendetta politics

Dubbed urban Naxal, Arun Ferreira a ‘victim’ of BJP govt’s sectarian, vendetta politics

Drawing by Arun Ferreira

Counterview / by Atul, Sandeep Pandey

Arun Ferreira is a civil rights activist and human rights lawyer. He has been behind bars since June 6, 2018, when he was arrested in connection to the Bhima Koregaon event held earlier that year. Like many other activists, he was slapped with Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, sedition and other anti-terror related offenses allegedly for inciting the ensuing violence that police claimed was calculated to disturb public peace.
Ferreira has spent years in jail on similar charges previously as well.
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Case against activist Sudha Bharadwaj – Why SC turned down her bail plea

Case against activist Sudha Bharadwaj – Why SC turned down her bail plea

The Indian Express/ by Sadaf Modak

On Thursday, the Supreme Court turned down activist Sudha Bharadwaj’s application for interim bail. The court said that since the plea was on medical grounds, it will not be able to entertain it as the medical report did not back her claims. It, however, said Bharadwaj has a “good case on merits”.
What is the case in which Sudha Bharadwaj and 14 others are arrested?
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+++ Correction: Letters implicating Sudha Bharadwaj were found on the computer of Rona Wilson. The Caravan conducted a cyber-forensic examination of the contents of Wilson’s hard disk, a copy of the disk that was presented in court by the Pune Police and supplied to all the accused. Our investigation revealed that the disk contained malware that can be used to remotely access the computer and plant files. We also found several other discrepancies, pointing towards manipulation of evidence in the case. +++

Case Against Hindutva Leaders Ignored, No Justice in Sight for Bhima Koregaon Violence Victims

Case Against Hindutva Leaders Ignored, No Justice in Sight for Bhima Koregaon Violence Victims

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

Even after the fall of the BJP government, the Sena-NCP-Congress coalition has also not shown any inclination to prosecute Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide.
Mumbai: On January 2, 2018, a day after a violent mob attack on Dalit community members visiting Bhima Koregaon, anti-caste activist Anita Sawale had filed a case accusing Samasta Hindu Aghadi president and Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote and Shiv Prathistan Hindustan leader Sambhaji Bhide as the “masterminds” of the attack.
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Friends & family of Sudha Bharadwaj disappointed as no relief was granted by SC on medical grounds

Friends & family of Sudha Bharadwaj disappointed as no relief was granted by SC on medical grounds

Press Note by Friends and Family of Sudha Bharadwaj

Friends and family members of Sudha Bharadwaj disappointed
no relief was granted by Hon’ble Supreme Court on medical grounds

The hearing of Sudha Bharadwaj’s Special Leave Petition for medical bail in the Supreme Court on Thursday did not yield any relief for her, giving a big jolt to the immense faith vested by Bharadwaj’s friends and family members in the Apex Court’s humanitarian rationale.
Although the Apex Court advised filing a regular bail as this was a ‘good case on merits’, by denying medical bail to 58-year-old Sudha Bharadwaj, the Hon’ble Court is risking the possibility of Covid 19, given Bharadwaj’s serious comorbidities.

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