Counterview / by Counterview Desk
Making the 84th birth anniversary of Father Stan Swamy – the veteran Adivasi rights Jesuit priest languishing Taloja Jail, Maharashtra, for about four months for his alleged role in Bhima Koregaon violence – as the occasion, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), a civil rights organisation, has demanded that “lakhs of undertrials with no justice in sight” should be released immediately.
Pointing out that Stan Swamy too is an undertrial, JMM said, was involved in a study carried out in 2014-16, which revealed that about 97 percent of the surveyed undertrial prisoners “were falsely accused of being Maoists”.
en | 40min | 2021
By America – The Jesuit Review
For almost six months, 84-year-old Stan Swamy, S.J., has been held in a Mumbai jail on charges of sedition and contravention of India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act) (U.A.P.A.) of 1967. Repeated requests for his release on humanitarian grounds have been denied. In this episode of Behind the Story, America editor Ricardo da Silva, S.J., is joined by two Jesuits who know Fr. Swamy—Xavier Jeyaraj, S.J., and Cedric Prakash, S.J.—to assess Fr. Swamy’s current situation, why his request for bail has been twice denied and the next steps in his legal case.
A roadmap of our conversation:
02:12 — The situation of Father Stan Swamy, S.J. as of April 2020
04:10 — The accusations brought against him
05:58 — The circumstances that mitigate against his release
08:35 — Links to Bhima Koregaon and Elgar Parishad
12:55 — The evidence the National Investigation Agency alleges to have against him
17:25 — The Maoists; the Naxalites and the Communist Party of India?
22:55 — The campaign for his release #StandwithStan?
25:00 — Father Swamy’s work and ministry to the most impoverished of India
28:25 — What the Vatican knows about the situation and what the Catholic Church is doing
30:00 — The larger politics at play and the threats to democracy in India
34:45 — The future of his case and further attempts to grant bail on humanitarian grounds
Siasat / by Yunus Y Lasania
The Telangana government on Friday banned 16 organisations, including the Revolutionary Writers Association, known as Virasam, claiming that these are frontal bodies of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and are engaged in “tactics” that “wage war against the state”. The order was passed by chief secretary Somesh Kumar, with effect from March 30 this year.
… The Government Order also clearly states that the organisations are also being banned for demanding the release of Prof. GN Sai Baba, Rona Wilson, and writer Vara Vara Rao (who is from Virasam), who are all currently in prison with regard to the Elgar Parishad case, on allegations of conspiring to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Also read: Andhra govt, Centre ‘collude’ to repeat Bhima Koregaon type case against rights activists (Counterview, April 2021)
Bhima Koregaon case shows ‘deteriorating democracy’ in India: Panelists at US congressional briefing
Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff
This came after a Massachusetts-based digital forensics firm found further evidence that 22 letters were planted in activist Rona Wilson’s laptop.
A US congressional briefing held by a coalition of Indian American and human rights organisations on Thursday said that the Bhima Koregaon violence case was a clear evidence of “deteriorating democracy” in India. The briefing took place on Thursday after a new report from a United States-based digital forensics firm revealed that a hacker planted 22 additional incriminating documents in activist Rona Wilson’s laptop.
Video: India’s Most Important Human Rights Defenders Incarcerated Without Trial
en |1h30min | 2021
By Hindus for Human Rights
April 22, 2021
On February 10, Washington Post showed how renowned human rights defenders in India were incarcerated on the basis of forged files planted using malware. Hear experts on digital forensics and human rights speak about the landmark Bhima-Koregaon case, seen as the most significant test case for human rights and rule of law in India.
This Thursday, HfHR and our partners are hosting a Congressional Briefing on the #BhimaKoregaon case, in which Indian human rights activists have been incarcerated on the basis of forged evidence.
Jacobinmag / by RB Moore
The Indian state under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meting out vicious repression against dissenters to his right-wing Hindu nationalist vision. Yet that constant need to crack down on protests also reveals something: his far-right project is undeniably brittle.
… An event called the Elgar Parishad, organized on December 31, 2017 in the city of Pune, Maharashtra, was an attempt to bring together the opposition movements that had emerged during Modi’s first term. Convened by two retired judges with a history of anti-caste and anti-Hindutva activism, the event drew participation from roughly 250 anti-caste, progressive, and left organizations and featured fiery speeches, musical performances, and cultural programs.
The event was set for the day before an anti-caste commemoration in the nearby town of Bhima Koregaon, which celebrated the military defeat of the notorious casteist Peshwa rulers on January 1, 1818 at the hands of the British.
Hindutva, Dalits and Neoliberal Order
The Leaflet / by Anand Teltumbde
This is an extract from Hindutva and Dalits; Perspectives for Understanding Communal Praxis Edited by Anand Teltumbde and published by SAGE. It contains essays by numerous writers like Shamsul Islam, Ram Puniyani, Meena Kandasamy, Suhas Palshikar and Martin Macwan.
One year on, no sign of freedom for Anand Teltumbde
The Goan / by The Goan network
Draconian UAPA ensures Ambedkar’s grandson-in-law completes a year in detention.
Even as unworthy politicos in Goa and across the nation sang hosannas to pay homage to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on Wednesday, in a secluded corner cell of a Mumbai jail Dr Anand Teltumbde, the grandson-in-law of the Dalit icon and the architect of the Indian Constitution, spent the first day of a second year in detention.
The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha
Nothing perturbed Vira Sathidar, not even the constant harassment by the NIA or the local Nagpur police.
On October 21 last year, when I finally could access one of the countless rounds of supplementary chargesheets in the Elgar Parishad case, I had immediately called Vira Sathidar. His name was among the list of many “Urban Naxals” named in the chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). It was not surprising, but concerning, nevertheless. No “crime” was attributed to Vira Sathidar, but he was named several times. “Asta tey tasa (It is usually like that in these cases),” he told me in his signature Nagpuri drawl. Nothing perturbed Vira Sathidar, not even the constant harrowing by the NIA or the local Nagpur police. He was used to police raids and their persistent harassments.
Drawing by Arun Ferreira
Andhra govt, Centre ‘collude’ to repeat Bhima Koregaon type case against rights activists
Counterview / by Counterview Desk
In a comprehensive statement, running into about 3,500 words, India’s premier human rights organisation, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), even as condemning the recent “unprecedented attack” on rights activists by the Andhra Pradesh government, with the Centre’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) and stood in “solidarity”, has said that the main aim of the “witch hunt” is to silence dissent.
Signed by Ravi Kiran Jain and Dr V Suresh, respectively President and General Secretary of PUCL, the statement, drawing a parallel with the Bhima Koregaon case, said, this time too the NIA cover was used to level the allegation that the activists were all supporters and “front organisations” of Maoists.
NIA Raids 33 Activists in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
The Leaflet / by The Leaflet
On 31st March & 1st April 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided the homes of at least 33 human rights and civil liberties activists, members of women’s groups, Dalit organizations, labor unions, and social and cultural movements in 31 locations spread across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The NIA alleged that the activists were all supporters and “front organizations” of Maoists. These raids resemble the ones carried out in the Bhima Koregoan case….
In the past few years, the NIA has frequently stepped in to take control of UAPA cases in states which are not governed by the BJP.
Also Read: NIA takes over Andhra probe against activists (Hindustan Times, March 2021)
Drawing by Arun Ferreira
Amnesty International report slams India
Pakobserver / by News Desk
The London-based rights watchdog, Amnesty International has slammed India for its clampdown on civil liberties in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir as well as punitive lockdown in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, use of force against the anti-CAA (Citizenship (Amendment) Act) protests, farmers’ protests and handling of Delhi riots.
… On arbitrary arrests and detentions, the Amnesty International said that seven human rights activists – Father Stan Swamy, Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe, Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, Hany Babu, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde – were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for their alleged involvement in violence during the Bhima Koregaon celebrations near the city of Pune in 2018.
Full report: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT 2020/21: THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S HUMAN RIGHTS (April 2021)
Excerpts: US State Dept Report Records Increasing Use of UAPA by Indian Government
The Wire / by The Wire Staff
The report cites the conditions in which the incarcerations of a pregnant Safoora Zargar, and ageing activists Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj and Stan Swamy progressed.
The US state department released the 2020 human rights report last week, accompanied by renewed rhetoric of putting emphasis on human rights at the heart of American diplomacy.
From the India chapter, here are excerpts from the report on the use of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) from its section on ‘Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees’.
Drawing by Arun Ferreira
Pakistan Today / by Shazia Cheema
The laws based on personal agenda to maintain and retain power have paved the way for civil unrest.
Law and order have always perceived as a relative situation although it meant to serve the purpose of maintaining order and peace, it has been observed that laws are not always enough to keep harmony in society. Law made by man for man has a coherent tendency to create craves between state and society.
The textbook example of that is Indian laws named UAPA, TADA, and POTA. These three laws created for the safety of society have been immensely used to subjugate the population of India and have been criticised by the civil society that named these laws as “Draconian Laws”.