Eighty-four year old Father Stan Swamy who had spent decades serving the tribal people of Jharkhand, was arrested on trumped up charges, subjected to endless interrogations, and confined to Taloja jail for over eight months. As he battles illness, his endurance has left a message for the world says Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. Read more
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”. Read more
India’s Hindu Nationalist Project Relies on Brutal Repression
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. Read more
Is Ignoring Criticism of Human Rights Abuse Affecting India’s Image?
The government’s intolerance of criticism by foreign institutions’ of its failure to listen to the global concern of the sharp rise in the violation of human rights and its persistent unwillingness to take action against the violators leading to the erosion of the democratic values in the country, has motivated lawmakers of western countries to push a bill in their respective parliaments decrying the claim of the Modi government of India being a democratic country. Read more
The ‘Buts’ To Freedom Of Speech In India / Why Bail to Vara Vara Rao Augurs Well for Indian Democracy
Despite the BJP-RSS’s repression tactics having a terrifying and chilling effect on the right to protest, two of India’s largest movements have taken shape since 2019.
By now, it’s fairly obvious that the NDA government has a standard toolkit for dealing with what it regards as troublesome movements. The script goes like this …
The police stand on the sidelines as first propaganda and then violence is unleashed by either the Sangh parivar organisations or others. We’ve now seen this in JNU (in 2016 and again in 2020), in Bhima Koregaon, in the Republic Day incidents, and most terrible of all, in the Delhi killings of February 2020. Read more
The ‘Buts’ To Freedom Of Speech In India
Feminism India / by Guest Writer
A trembling, disillusioned father told his daughter to flee her homeland for her safety. This seems like a plot taken straight from a classic wartime story fraught with separation and grief. In reality, such was the conversation my friend had with her father following the unlawful arrests of activists. The Disha Ravi toolkit case was the last straw.
The ‘buts’ to the freedom of speech in India only seem to point to a dictatorial reality, much like that of Airstrip One in George Orwell’s 1984, where even the mere thought of protest is met with prosecution. Read more
Why Bail to Vara Vara Rao Augurs Well for Indian Democracy
NewsClick / by Ajay Gudavarthy
Collective rights cannot remain intact without a collective spirit. The Bombay High Court has shown such compassion lives on in India.
It restores faith in the judiciary and augurs well for Indian democracy that the Bombay High Court has granted bail to revolutionary poet VV Rao on medical grounds. In a sense, the current regime and VV, as he is known among friends, are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Read more
Anand Teltumbde, a professor and writer, is currently incarcerated in the Taloja prison in Maharashtra, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He is awaiting trial in what is broadly termed the Bhima Koregaon case.
The ongoing debate on the Narendra Modi government’s programme to privatise public sector enterprises, or PSEs, has a certain ring of déjà vu. The proponents of privatisation argue, in support of the government, that private sector has always been more efficient than the public sector. Unbeknownst to them, this argument in its logical extension might lead to a preposterous but valid question: Why not privatise the government itself? Read more
by Bar & Bench (March 11):
Anand Teltumbde, accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence, has produced before the Special NIA Court, Mumbai the report filed by the Massachusetts-based firm Arsenal Consulting in his pending bail application +++
Have We Seen the Last of Conspiracies? / The Kashmir Model to Discipline Indian Media
There is a need to now explain and create a sensible narrative about how conspiracies become narratives that favour the ruling dispensation.
The idea that “conspiracy theories” can explain politics is often rubbished, but now, after the recent revelations by Washington Post that a plot was allegedly hatched to compromise the laptop of jailed activist Rona Wilson, it has become imperative to see how conspiracies have been systematically used by the current regime. Read more
The Kashmir Model to Discipline Indian Media
The Wire / by Pamela Philipose
What is striking about recent developments in India is the manner in which the media, both legacy and social, have become entangled with the politics of the day. In fact, they have become the site upon which politics plays out.
Whether it is the raid conducted by the Enforcement Directorate on the offices of NewsClick, the ongoing counter-narrative to the farmer protests conducted by the BJP’s troll armies, the spiriting away of journalists by the police, the battles against tweets put out by Greta and Rihanna, the Twitter spats, or the ever-tightening surveillance net cast by the government on media operations, what is at stake, as Shoshana Zuboff reminded us in a different context, is “sovereignty over one’s own life and authorship of one’s own experience.” Read more
Video: The Needle of Doubt is Now on All Matters, says Mihir Desai / India’s democracy in decline
Video: Not Just Bhima Koregaon, the Needle of Doubt is Now on All Matters, says Mihir Desai
hindi | 23:12min | 2021
Newsclick / Bhasha Singh in conversation with Mihir Desai
In a special offering by Newsclick, senior journalist Bhasha Singh spoke to Mihir Desai, a senior advocate at the Bombay High Court about the new revelation by The Washington Post in the Bhima Koregaon case which has revealed that offensive material was planted through a software on arrested political activist Rona Wilson’s laptop. The disclosure is important because it almost makes it clear that electronic evidence was planted in the Bhima Koregaon case and there is a strong sense of fear that it may happen in other cases as well. Watch video
The future of the world’s largest democracy is looking increasingly less democratic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most dominant Indian leader in five decades, while the country’s independent institutions have rarely appeared weaker…
One case in particular has become a litmus test for the rule of law and freedom of expression in India. Three years ago, police in a state controlled by Modi’s party began arresting activists under a stringent anti-terrorism law. Read more
To Be Punished Until Proven Innocent – Jails Are Full Of Undertrials
Our jails are full of undertrials. Are they being punished before their guilt is established in court?
“There is no reason why these undertrial prisoners should be allowed to continue to languish in jail, merely because the State is not in a position to try them within a reasonable period of time. It is possible that some of them, on trial, may be acquitted of the offences charged against them and, in that event, they would have spent several years in jail for offences that they are ultimately found not to have committed. What faith would these people have in our system of administration of justice? Would they not carry a sense of frustration and bitterness against a society that keeps them in jail for so many years for offences they did not commit?” Read more
2020 Witnesses the Deliberate Destruction of Democratic Rights Organizations in India
The large scale destruction of lives and livelihoods in 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in India and its inept handling by the government has been accompanied by another sort of destruction, much more deliberate and calculated. It is the destruction of the democratic rights organizations (DROs) of India, as part of a vicious plan of the BJP government to irreparably shrink the democratic space for a future that we can only tremble to think about. Read more