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Month: February 2021

VV Rao’s Bail: Leading Newspapers Urge Courts to Protect the Fundamental Right to Liberty

VV Rao’s Bail: Leading Newspapers Urge Courts to Protect the Fundamental Right to Liberty

Varavara Rao’s Bail: Leading Newspapers Urge Courts to Protect the Fundamental Right to Liberty

27/02/2021

The Leaflet / by Manya Saini

Poet-Activist Varavara Rao’s extended judicial custody amid severe medical concerns has brought into question the rights of accused persons awaiting trial. Leading newspapers have pressed upon the need for judicial reform and argued that courts must come forward to protect the fundamental rights of citizens that are threatened by draconian laws like sedition and UAPA.
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Justice lives: Rao and Ravi granted bail

25/02/2021

The Telegraph / by editorial board

The momentum generated by these verdicts needs to be taken forward to kindle an informed debate on judicial reform.
A fair investigation is one of the prerequisites of justice. The infirmities in two separate investigations that were exposed and castigated by the courts in two recent judgments merit attention. The Bombay High Court granted conditional bail to the poet, Varavara Rao, infirm and an accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, observing that the National Investigation Agency had kept him in custody without framing charges for an extended period of time.
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Bail as right: On bail to Varavara Rao

22/02/2021

The Hindu / editorial

Laws, however stringent, cannot be allowed to trump basic rights.
n granting bail for six months to poet Varavara Rao in the Bhima Koregaon case on medical grounds, the Bombay High Court has affirmed the principle that even the stringent provisions of an anti-terrorism law are not invincible before a prisoner’s constitutional rights.
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Statement by Pen International

23/02/2021

By Pen International


Sharper Fights Ahead – Statement in view of VV’s Interim Bail

22/02/2021

By Release the Poet Committee

People’s Poet Varavara Rao’s interim (medical) bail granted by Mumbai High Court is a small but vital breakthrough, which was long overdue, is indeed an outcome of people’s rejection of state atrocities – but leaves no space for any self-satisfaction for them, who are unceasingly fighting in defense of VV and other victims of Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case.
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Varavara Rao’s bail: Hope for other accused

22/02/2021

The Times of India / by Shruti Ganapatye

With the Bombay high court granting bail to ailing activist Varavara Rao in the Bhima-Koregaon case on Monday, there is a renewed hope among other accused about similar relief coming their way.
Top lawyers, some of them representing the accused in the case, said though bail is difficult to secure in Unlawful Activitities Prevention Act (UAPA) cases, Rao’s case, where bail was granted on health grounds, has set a precedent.
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Video: VV Rao – Poet, Activist, Political Prisoner

22/02/2021


en | 5:54 | 2021

By Karwan e Mohabbat

Varavara Rao is no stranger to being imprisoned, but the 82-year-old is also the conscience of our society-an intellectual we need to protect from the excesses of a state determined to destroy dissent.
Watch video

Bhima Koregaon case: planted evidence?

Bhima Koregaon case: planted evidence?

Frontline [print edition March 12] / by Anupama Katakam

Investigations by Arsenal Consulting, a global digital forensics consulting company, have revealed that evidence had been planted in the activist Rona Wilson’s computer, raising larger issues of unethical surveillance and motivated targeting of individuals.
Rona Wilson, the New Delhi-based activist who was arrested in June 2018 for his alleged connections with banned extreme Left organisations, has steadfastly maintained that the evidence against him is fabricated and the charges are false.
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Telugu, Wheelchair & Blanket: How Varavara Rao slipped into dementia during his time in prison

Telugu, Wheelchair & Blanket: How Varavara Rao slipped into dementia during his time in prison

The Quint / by Nikhila Henry

The octogenarian slipped into dementia during his time in prison, thereafter believing that his wife was dead.
Varavara Rao was incoherent on the phone. The president of Viplava Rachayitala Sagham (Revolutionary Writers’ Forum) spoke in Hindi instead of Telugu, his mother tongue, in which he has penned many poems.
“Her body was taken to the mortuary. Many people visited,” Rao said.
P Hemalatha, his wife, patiently listened to him during the five-minute-long phone call in June 2020 from Taloja Central Prison, Maharashtra, even as she was unsure of what he meant.
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Video: VV Rao – Poet, Activist, Political Prisoner

22/02/2021


en | 5:54 | 2021

By Karwan e Mohabbat

Varavara Rao is no stranger to being imprisoned, but the 82-year-old is also the conscience of our society-an intellectual we need to protect from the excesses of a state determined to destroy dissent.
Watch video

Fr Stan Swamy’s bail plea order to be given by special NIA court on March 11

Fr Stan Swamy’s bail plea order to be given by special NIA court on March 11

Fr Stan Swamy’s bail plea order to be given on Mar 11

27/02/2021

The Times of India / by TNN

A special NIA court is likely to pronounce an order on the bail plea of Jesuit priest and tribal right rights activist, Fr Stan Swamy, arrested in in Elgar Parishad case on March 11.
NIA had opposed his bail plea and submitted that there was sufficient evidence against the 83-year-old, and the offence was grave.
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NIA court order on Stan Swamy’s bail plea on March 2

24/02/2021

The Hindu / by Special Correspondent

Stan Swamy sought bail on the ground that the prosecution had failed to establish how he had taken part or committed or incited the commission of any unlawful activity.
The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court will pass its order on Father Stan Swamy’s petition for bail in the Bhima Koregaon violence case on March 2.
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Poem by Stan Swamy

20/02/2021

Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy / by Stan Swamy


Special Court set March 2 to announce the result of Stan Swamy’s bail application

19/02/2021

UCA News / by UCA News reporter

Suspicions are growing that the sick priest’s bail is being delayed for political reasons.
A special court is set to pronounce its verdict on the bail application of an elderly Indian Jesuit activist five months after his arrest and detention on charges of sedition.
The special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the federal anti-terror agency, has set March 2 to announce the result of the bail application of 84-year-old Father Stan Swamy.
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Varavara Rao granted interim bail in Surajgar arson case [read order]

Varavara Rao granted interim bail in Surajgar arson case [read order]

Sabrangindia / by Sabrangindia

Rao’s lawyers cited Bombay High Court’s judgement granting bail on medical grounds while securing bail in this case.
The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court has granted temporary bail to 82-year-old Telugu poet Varavara Rao for 4 weeks, following the Principal bench order granting him bail on medical grounds.
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+++ Bombay HC grants bail on medical grounds to Varavara Rao for six month [read judgement] +++

+++ Bombay HC grants bail on medical grounds to Varavara Rao for six month [read judgement] +++


By Live Law (Feb 24):
Accused Varavara Rao approaches the Bombay High Court seeking a month to comply with his bail condition of submitting two solvent sureties to the Special NIA Court +++

By Bar & Bench (Feb 24):
Bombay High Court will hear Bhima Koregaon accused Varavara Rao’s application tomorrow seeking directions for making change in the formality of submitting surety to the Special NIA Court for releasing Rao on bail +++


Bombay HC Grants Varavara Rao Six Months’ Bail on Medical Grounds

22/02/2021

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Within this period, the poet must remain within the jurisdiction of the special NIA court that is hearing the charges him against in the Elgar Parishad case.
New Delhi: The Bombay high court on Monday granted poet and rights activist Varavara Rao six months’ bail on medical grounds. Within this period, however, the poet must remain within the jurisdiction of the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court that is hearing the charges against him in the Elgar Parishad case, the court said.
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Bombay High Court Grants Varavara Rao Bail For 6 Months On Medical Grounds

22/02/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Bombay High Court on Monday granted bail on medical grounds to 81-year-old ailing Telugu Poet Dr Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case.
The High Court observed that it was a “genuine and fit” case for granting relief in view of the advanced age of the petitioner and inadequate facilities at Taloja jail hospital. The bench added that if it denies relief to Rao, it will be abdicating its constitutional duties as a protector of human rights and right to health covered under Article 21 of the Constitution.
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Bombay High Court grants bail to Bhima Koregaon accused Dr. Varavara Rao for six month [read judgement]

22/02/2021

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

“We feel that with the condition of the under trial, it would be inappropriate to send him back (to jail),” the Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale ruled.
The Bombay High Court on Monday granted bail to 82-year-old Bhima Koregaon accused Dr. Varavara Rao on medical grounds.
The Court has granted the octogenarian bail for a period of six months.
The order was passed by a Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale in two separate pleas – one by Rao praying for bail and the other by his wife Pendyala Hemlatha seeking the Court’s intervention in view of the alleged violation of his fundamental right to health.
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Varavara Rao granted six-month bail on medical grounds [read judgement]

22/02/2021

The Leaflet / by The Leaflet

The Bombay High Court Monday granted six months medical bail to 82-year-old Dr. PV Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. Dr. Rao is facing charges under the unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act’ (UAPA).
A division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Manish Pitale said it would have abdicated its duty in protecting his fundamental rights if it had denied bail to the ailing Telugu poet.
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Bombay High Court verdict on February 22 in bail plea by accused Varavara Rao

21/02/2021

Bar and Bench / by Neha Joshi

Rao is presently lodged in Nanavati Hospital after the State informed the Court their willingness to shift Rao to the private hospital as a special case. The verdict will be pronounced at 11 am tomorrow.
Besides Rao’s plea for bail, the Court will also pronounce its verdict on a plea filed by his wife Pendyala Hemlatha seeking the Court’s intervention in view of alleged violation of his “fundamental right to health”.
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Allegations of planting evidence in Bhima Koregaon case must be investigated

Allegations of planting evidence in Bhima Koregaon case must be investigated

The Indian Express / by Julio Ribeiro

This is a fit case where the courts should intervene to ensure justice. If the charge of planting evidence is proved, then it is incumbent on the NIA to investigate and ascertain the identity of the culprit.
Boston is an American city that is known to numerous Indians. A degree from MIT is much sought after. A few years ago, my wife and I spent a few days there as my nephew, my sister’s son, was residing in that city. Police martyr Hemant Karkare’s daughter resides there now.
Soon, Boston will be known to policemen in India for something quite different.
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From FIR to Malware Claims: A Timeline of the Bhima Koregaon Case

From FIR to Malware Claims: A Timeline of the Bhima Koregaon Case

The Quint / by Vakasha Sachdev

When exactly did the Bhima Koregaon case, as it has come to be known, begin?
Was it on the day the first set of activists were arrested, back in June 2018? Was it the day when malware was allegedly planted on the computers of at least one of the accused, two years before that? Or do we have to go all the way back to the Battle of Bhima Koregaon itself to understand what’s really going on with this case?
Here’s a complete timeline of this controversial case: from its origins in a dodgy FIR, to the moment the Supreme Court could have nipped all this in the bud; and from the filing of 3 charge sheets, to the 16 arrests made under its vague and dubious mandate.
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Allegations of planted evidence raise questions about hacking ecosystem in India / Designs of India’s Surveillance State

Allegations of planted evidence raise questions about hacking ecosystem in India / Designs of India’s Surveillance State

Allegations of planted evidence raise questions about hacking ecosystem in India

19/02/2021

Cyber Scoop / by Shannon Vavra

Recent allegations that planted evidence may have been used to frame an activist in a terrorism case are raising new questions about the surveillance and hacking ecosystem in India.
The human rights activist in question, Rona Wilson, is one of several people accused of plotting to overthrow the Indian government in connection with a violent demonstration in Bhima Koregaon, India in 2017…
While it may be unclear who exactly is responsible for the reportedly manipulated evidence against Wilson at this time, the possible links between pro-India hacking operations and the global commercial sector of surveillance software have begun to emerge in recent research.
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Unprecedented Tampering In Bhima Koregaon Case: Forensic Firm Chief

19/02/2021

Outlook/ by Preetha Nair

Mark Spencer is the president of Arsenal Consulting, a forensic firm that recently released a report that concluded that incriminating evidence was planted on the computer of Bhima-Koregaon accused and activist Rona Wilson.
In an email interview with Outlook, Arsenal Consulting’s President Mark Spencer elaborates on the process involved in analyzing the data and larger issues with regard to the case. Spencer also contests the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) claim of no ‘planted evidence’.
Excerpts from the interview.
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Sinister Designs of India’s Surveillance State

19/02/2021

NewsClick / by Suhit K Sen

How the Bhima Koregaon case has progressed so far gives credence to the claim that malware was planted on activist Rona Wilson’s computer.
On 10 February, Rona Wilson, one of the first batch of activists arrested by the police in the Bhima Koregaon/Elgar Parishad case, filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking the dismissal of the case against him. In support, his lawyers provided a forensic report showing that evidence had been planted against him.
Read more


Also read: Prison-rights activist Rona Wilson’s hard disk contained malware that allowed remote access (The Caravan, March 2020)

The Making Of Sharjeel Usmani and His Speech At Elgar Parishad

The Making Of Sharjeel Usmani and His Speech At Elgar Parishad

The Wire / by Betwa Sharma

The 23-year-old former student of AMU is facing charges of sedition for his speech. He says he is fighting for his “fair share in Indian society”.
When Sharjeel Usmani was invited to speak at the Elgar Parishad event on January 30 in Pune, the 23-year-old did not think twice before saying yes. He was undeterred by the fact that over a dozen activists and thinkers had been jailed since the event was first held on December 31, 2017, to mark 200 years of the historic battle in which the Mahar regiment of Dalit soldiers defeated the Brahmin Peshwas. He was undeterred by the fact that he had already been charged for attempt to murder, rioting and promoting communal disharmony, following the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and spent two months in jail last year.
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