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Month: June 2021

Appeal for the immediate release of human rights defenders in jail

Appeal for the immediate release of human rights defenders in jail


Prison diaries. Drawing by Arun Ferreira

theworldiswatchingindia.com / by CIVICUS, World Organisation Against Torture, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch

The undersigned organisations wish to draw the Human Rights Council’s attention to the health and safety of Indian human rights defenders in prison, detained on politically motivated charges, and at grave risk due to Covid-19. The human rights crisis unfolding in India, including the jailing of defenders, has been met with relative silence from the international community. The use of counter-terror legal provisions to incarcerate defenders has taken a serious turn with the impact of Covid-19. As India struggles to cope with a new and deadly wave of the virus, jailed defenders are at serious risk, many of whom have tested positive for Covid-19 or are showing symptoms. The denial of medical bail, basic medical facilities, and communication or access to families even in the midst of the current surge in cases and deaths in India, is an act of cruelty, and a violation of their right to life and dignity.
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Keeping Quiet is Not an Option: Nayantara Sahgal on „Sudha Bharadwaj Speaks – A Life in Law and Activism“

Keeping Quiet is Not an Option: Nayantara Sahgal on „Sudha Bharadwaj Speaks – A Life in Law and Activism“

Feminist Dissent / by Nayantara Sahgal

From a speech given on January 24, 2021

Keeping quiet is not an option. We must speak, write, paint, sing, dance for the freedom to dissent, and for our human rights.

Let me take a moment to explain why I am especially glad and proud to be releasing this book about Sudha Bharadwaj. I grew up to the sights and sounds of revolution. My family fought for freedom under Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership and my father died of his 4th imprisonment during British rule. The only mantra I learned was ‘Ishvar Allah tere nam, sabko sammati de Bhagvan’ (one of Gandhi’s favourite devotional hymns about the oneness of god). And the slogan of that long hard struggle for freedom was Inquilab Zindabad (long live the revolution).
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Also read: Sudha Bharadwaj Speaks – A Life in Law and Activism (PUCL, Jan 2021)
Access PDF copy of the book here

Rally for jailed Indian scholars held in Surrey, Canada

Rally for jailed Indian scholars held in Surrey, Canada


Surrey, June 27

Countercurrents.org / by Countercurrents

Close to the birthday of George Orwell and the 46th anniversary of Emergency in the world’s so called largest democracy, activists came together in Surrey on Sunday, June 27, to raise their voices against the incarceration of thinkers by the Indian authorities.
Organized by Radical Desi publications, the rally was held right outside the Indian Visa and Passport Application Center. The participants carried placards with pictures of jailed scholars who are being detained under trumped up charges for merely questioning the power and standing up for the poor and marginalized.
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There is freedom, but no mercy

There is freedom, but no mercy

The Indian Express / by T J S George

People are getting arrested as in the days of Indira Gandhi’s Emergency.
Freedom is a funny thing. When it is there, we don’t notice it. When it is not there, we don’t notice anything else. In a country as populous as India, half the people can take their freedom for granted without knowing that the other half is denied basic freedoms. This half-half reality is the defining feature of Narendra Modiji’s India.
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Special court rejects pleas for cloned copies of digital hard disc recovered by investigating agency

Special court rejects pleas for cloned copies of digital hard disc recovered by investigating agency

The Times of India / by Swati Deshpande

A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday rejected applications made by few of the 2018 Elgar Parishad case accused for cloned copies of digital hard disc recovered by the investigating agency.
The special National Investigation Agency Judge court said it heard arguments advanced for and against grant of such clone copies and by a common order rejected five applications.
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Also read: In Bhima-Koregaon Case, More Damning Signs of Planted Evidence (article14, April 2021)

On Sudha Bharadwaj’s bail plea, Bombay HC asks NIA, Maharashtra to respond by July 2

On Sudha Bharadwaj’s bail plea, Bombay HC asks NIA, Maharashtra to respond by July 2

Bombay High Court Seeks Reply On Sudha Bharadwaj’s Plea For Default Bail In Bhima Koregaon Case

22/06/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Bombay high Court on Tuesday directed the National Investigating Agency and State to file their replies in lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj’s plea seeking default bail on the grounds that the Pune judge was not authorized to take cognizance of the charge sheet filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against her, in 2019.
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar passed the order on Bharadwaj’s plea under Sections 439 and 167 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Advocate Sandesh Patil for the NIA sought time to reply to the contentions following which the respondents have been asked to filed their replies by July 2 and the matter is posted for hearing on July 3.
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On activist Sudha Bharadwaj’s bail plea, Bombay HC asks NIA, Maharashtra to respond by July 2

22/06/2021

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

Bharadwaj argued that the judge who allowed Pune Police more time to file the chargesheet against her was not a special judge and hence cannot take cognisance.
The activist had moved the High Court for default bail on June 11. Bharadwaj sought bail on the grounds that the Pune Police did not file a chargesheet against her within 90 days, as required under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The inquiry in the case was later taken over by the National Investigation Agency.
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Sudha Bharadwaj Moves Bombay High Court Seeking Default Bail

11/06/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

Lawyer-Activist Sudha Bharadwaj, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad case, has approached the Bombay High Court seeking default bail contending that the trial judge was not authorised to take cognisance of the 2019 charge sheet against her.
Her application under section 167 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code cites RTI replies to demonstrate that the court of Additional Sessions Judge Kishor Vadane in Pune was not authorised to take cognisance of the 1,800-page supplementary charge sheet filed by the Pune Police in February 21, 2019.
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Amid pandemic, India’s political prisoners struggle with failing health in unequipped jails

Amid pandemic, India’s political prisoners struggle with failing health in unequipped jails


Prison diaries. Drawing by Arun Ferreira

Amid pandemic, India’s political prisoners struggle with failing health in unequipped jails

22/06/2021

The Caravan / by Nileena MS

As of 6 June this year, five of the 16 persons accused in the Bhima Koregaon case have spent over three years in jail without trial. These 16 individuals include lawyers, academics, a poet, a priest and activists. They are among scores of political prisoners in the country who have been arrested under the Narendra Modi government. Seven of the 16 have tested positive for COVID-19, and many of the others suffer from serious conditions, including comorbidities. Despite a rampaging second wave and increasing reports about worsening health conditions in jails, India appears intent on keeping its political prisoners behind bars.
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Vaccination drive in Maharashtra prisons going slow

22/06/2021

The Hindu / by Sonam Saigal

Only 4,409 of 33,971 inmates have received at-least the first dose.
The vaccination drive across 47 prisons in Maharashtra has been rather slow with only 4,409 inmates having received at least the first dose out of the total 33,971 inmates, that it houses.
According to the Maharashtra Prison Department, there are 28,716 under-trials and 5,255 convicts lodged across the State of which 3,338 under-trials and 1,021 convicts have been vaccinated.
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Also read: Imprisoned and Unsafe – Prisoners and the Pandemic (PUCL, Sep 2020)

Bail after 3 years for the incarcerated Mumbai Electric Employees Union Workers

Bail after 3 years for the incarcerated Mumbai Electric Employees Union Workers

tnlabour.in / By Thozhilalar Koodam

After 3 long years, the five workers of Mumbai Electric Employees Union are out on bail. The State which arrested these workers under UAPA in the aftermath of Bhima Koregaon incident has not been able to prove any of its charges. These workers were guilty of one thing only, they were to organise contract workers against their mighty owner Reliance. As they could not be charged of these activities as treason, the State keeps finding flimsy charges to keep hundreds of activists and workers in jail under other pretexts.
While they still have a long way to go to clear the charges against them, their union Mumbai Elecrtic Employees Union has released the following pamphlet in solidarity with the arrested workers and to continue the struggles of exploited contract workers against their management. This pamphlet was translated in hindi, tamil and telugu and was distributed among workers.
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UAPA bail orders come down hard on attempts to equate protest with “Terrorism” / A Cry for Justice

UAPA bail orders come down hard on attempts to equate protest with “Terrorism” / A Cry for Justice

Delhi HC UAPA bail orders come down hard on attempts to equate protest with “Terrorism”

21/06/2021

The Leaflet / by Kavita Krishnan

The Delhi HC bail orders vindicate what pro-democracy activists have been saying since last year: The Delhi Police investigation is blatantly biased and has spun a fantastic conspiracy theory to falsely accuse anti-CAA protestors, especially those of the minority Muslim community, of the very “riots” that was planned and targeted against them making them the victims, says Kavita Krishnan.
…In the Bhima Koregaon case, and the Delhi riots case, as well as several cases involving unarmed protestors all over India, we have seen how the UAPA is used to criminalise protest and punish protestors.
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A Cry for Justice that Keeps Getting Louder

21/06/2021

The Leaflet / by Cedric Prakash

A regime that oppresses the weak and suppresses those who speak against it will always have to deal with more and more dissent. The key to peace and justice in India lies in following the Constitution, writes Cedric Prakash.
… From Aisha Sultana to Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha. From Khori to Lakshadweep. From Tihar Jail to Taloja Jail. From Fr Stan Swami to Umar Khalid. From the Bhima-Koregaon sixteen to the other UAPA-incarcerated. From Sulabh to Siddique, from farmers to workers, from the unemployed to the refugees, from minorities to the marginalised, from the caregivers to the academics, from the toolkits to the brazen headlines, from rising costs to lack of vaccines—the cries for justice in India have never been so shrill and clear!
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