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On Human Rights Day, a look at India’s surging human rights abuses / Personal liberty in India

On Human Rights Day, a look at India’s surging human rights abuses / Personal liberty in India

On Human Rights Day, a look at India’s surging human rights abuses


National Herald / by NH Web Desk

The adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is marked as Human Rights Day on December 10, and December 2023 will mark the 75th anniversary of its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly.
… According to the Human Rights Watch, Indian authorities brought politically motivated cases, including under draconian sedition and terrorism laws, against human rights defenders, student activists, academics, opposition leaders, and critics, blaming them for the communal violence in February in Delhi as well as caste-based violence in Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra state in January 2018.
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Rights day: Call for release of Sikh political prisoners


The Times of India / by TNN

Chandigarh/Jalandhar/Bathinda: Human rights activists, academicians and various religious activists on Saturday asked the Centre to release all political prisoners.
… In Faridkot, farmer body Kirti Kisan Union (KKU) along with Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) and Punjab Students Union (PSU) took out a protest march and accused the BJP-led Centre of “not caring for the rights of protesting people and putting activists in jail on flimsy grounds”. They also accused the Centre of “mistreating activists” arrested for Bhima Koregaon and Delhi riots.
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The situation of personal liberty in India


Indica News / by Justice Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. 
In his Hamlyn Lecture, Lord Denning, the celebrated Judge of England, said, ” Whenever one of the King’s judges takes his seat in Court there is one application which by long tradition has priority over all others, and that is an application for a writ of habeas corpus. The counsel has only to say ‘My Lord, I have an application which concerns the liberty of a subject’, and forthwith the judge will put all other matters aside and hear it ”.
But what is the position in India?
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Will rely on ‘historic’ verdict to secure release of Elgar Parishad case accused: Lawyer

Will rely on ‘historic’ verdict to secure release of Elgar Parishad case accused: Lawyer

Pic credits: Committee for the Defence and Release of GN Saibaba

Supreme Court Stays Release Of Prof GN Saibaba & Others In UAPA Case, Suspends Bombay HC’s Acquittal Order (Live Law / Oct 15, 2022)

Will rely on ‘historic’ verdict to secure release of Elgar Parishad case accused: Lawyer


The Times of India / by Vaibhav Ganjapure

After securing acquittal for Prof GN Saibaba and four others primarily based on absence of sanction under UAPA’s Section 45 (1), his lawyers now have plan to rely on the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court’s verdict for securing the release of several accused who are also behind bars in the Elgar Elgar Parishad case.
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As GN Saibaba gets bail in Maoist link case, let’s recall the Elgar Parishad–Bhima Koregaon case


Free Press Journal / by Urvi Mahajan

More than eight years after his arrest, the Bombay High Court on Friday acquitted former Delhi University professor G N Saibaba in an alleged Maoist links case for want of valid sanction for prosecution under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA…
With GN Saibaba getting acquitted by the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench on Friday, here’s a look at the other Maoist-link case which is the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case.
In the Bhima-Koregaon case, the investigation was taken over by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2020, the initial probe being done by the Pune police. Most of the accused have spent years in custody, being arrested in August 2018.
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Bombay HC Frees Saibaba, Others in ‘Maoist Link’ Case


The Wire / by The Wire Staff

The Nagpur bench of the high court allowed the appeal of all six convicted persons, including Pandu Narote who died in August this year.
Former Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba and five others were acquitted in the Maoist links case by the Bombay high court, allowing their appeal against conviction and life sentence…
After Saibaba’s conviction, his lawyer in the lower court, Surendra Gadling; his colleague Hany Babu; and his close friend Rona Wilson were also arrested in years to come under the UAPA charges. While Gadling fought his case in court, Babu and Wilson had run a campaign for his release. All three are named as prime accused in the Elgar Parishad case of 2018.
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Also read:

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Silencing critics: Apex Court view ‘brain is more dangerous’ revoking Saibaba acquittal (Counterview / Oct 16, 2022)
“Urban Naxals” Are Making Frequent Requests For House Arrest: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta Tells Supreme Court [read order] (Live Law / Oct 15, 2022)

Prisoners of Conscience Under Modi Regime

Prisoners of Conscience Under Modi Regime

By Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

Since the BJP’s rise to power in 2014, the list of people -ranging from human rights activists to lawyers, and journalists to students – being persecuted for their identity and their fidelity to fighting for democratic and progressive rights, has grown rapidly. Starting from the arrests related to Bhima Koregaon in 2018 and protests against CAA in 2020 to the recent arrests of activist  Teesta Setalvad and journalist Mohammad Zubair, the current regime is bent on imprisoning any person who speaks uncomfortable truths and exposes their lies.
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Prisoners of Conscience in India. The Prisoners of Conscience in India (PoCI) documents and highlights the cases of people who have been imprisoned in India because of their peaceful expression of political, religious, or other conscientiously held beliefs.

Political Prisoners Unite the British Raj and ‘New India’

Political Prisoners Unite the British Raj and ‘New India’

The Wire / by Partho Sarothi Ray

Just as the British rulers used to refer to political prisoners during their rule as ‘terrorists,’ the rulers of today also call people imprisoned for opposing them ‘terrorists’.

Today, September 13, is Political Prisoners Day.

“Ora Bhagat Singher bhai, ora Khudiramer bhai,
Samasta rajbandider mukti chai, mukti chai”
(‘They are the brothers of Bhagat Singh, they are the brothers of Khudiram,
We want the freedom of all political prisoners’)
– Popular Bengali song by Bipul Chakraborty

On September 13, 1929, Jatin Das, the 24-year-old revolutionary freedom fighter, died in Lahore Jail after a 63-day long hunger strike, demanding humane treatment of political prisoners under the British Raj…
The current government has similarly instituted cases like the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case and the Delhi riots case to allege ‘conspiracies’ and thereby imprison a large number of activists and critics and demonise them as ‘anti-nationals’ and ‘terrorists’.
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Video: Custodial Violence, Judicial Negligence and State Apathy


en │ 52min │2022

By The Polis Project

On 5 October 2020, Atikur Rahman, journalist Siddique Kappan, student Masood Ahmad, and taxi driver Mohammad Alam were arrested in Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh in, India They were on their way to meet the family of a Dalit woman who was raped and murdered by a group of men from the dominant caste in Hathras…
The denial of medical treatment and bail must be seen as a part of a larger pattern of abuse of power directed toward dissenters and political prisoners in India. On 5 July 2021, 84-year-old Jesuit priest and human rights defender Father Stan Swamy died in judicial custody at the Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai, India.
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India’s President Droupadi Murmu and ‘an Unbroken History of Broken Promises’ – by Suhda Bharadwaj

India’s President Droupadi Murmu and ‘an Unbroken History of Broken Promises’ – by Suhda Bharadwaj

Sudha Bharadwaj

The Quint / by Sudha Bharadwaj

Draupadi Murmu has difficult tasks cut out for her if she is to protect rights and ensure justice to the Adivasis.
The reference in the headline is to the passionate essay by the late Dr BD Sharma of the same title. The continuing criminalisation of the Adivasi peoples is seen even in the 75th year of our Independence.
In the past couple of weeks, several very important events have taken place that will deeply affect the Adivasi people of our country.
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Also read:
● Now that an Adivasi is president, will Big Media finally report on Adivasi issues? (Newslaundry / July 2022)
● Jailed Or Punished, With Or Without Trial: How The State Misuses The Law Against India’s Inconvenient Citizens (article 14 / July 2022)
● Narendra Modi’s Government Is Using False Charges of Terrorism to Repress Its Opponents ( / April 2022)
● Organisation In Jharkhand Is Holding The State Accountable (YKA / April 2022)
● Gadchiroli’s 300 Gram Sabhas Pass Resolution in Support of Activist Mahesh Raut (The Wire / Oct 2018)
● Press Release Of The Joint Fact Finding in Gadchiroli by CDRO, IAPL And WSS (WSS / May 2018)

CPJ calls on EU to hold India to account for media clampdown

CPJ calls on EU to hold India to account for media clampdown

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) / by CPJ

The Committee to Protect Journalists on Wednesday called on the European External Action Service to hold Indian authorities accountable for widespread and severe press freedom violations when they meet for the annual India-EU Human Rights Dialogue on Friday, July 15 …
Gibson also called on the EU to press India for action on the following press freedom violations and attacks on journalists documented by CPJ:
▪ The ongoing pretrial detention of Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde, Siddique Kappan, and Manan Dar under India’s draconian anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. 
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Also read:
For the second consecutive year, India drops on freedom score (The Hindu / March 2022)
Freeedom in The World 2022: The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule (Freedom House / Feb 2022, booklet)

How India has become a land of conspiracies that turns warriors battling injustice into villains

How India has become a land of conspiracies that turns warriors battling injustice into villains / by Apoorvanand

From Bhima Koregaon to the Delhi riots, from the cases against Teesta Setalvad and Mohammed Zubair, reality has been inverted.
Conspiracy! The sinister word has reappeared with the arrest of human rights advocate Teesta Setalvad and former police officers Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt by the Gujarat police on the weekend. The arrests were prompted by the Supreme Court, which smelt something fishy about the case in which the petitioners contended that the conspiracy behind the 2002 Gujarat violence had not been investigated thoroughly.
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The contemporary relevance of Internal Emergency 1975-77

The contemporary relevance of Internal Emergency 1975-77

The Leaflet / by Arvind Narrain

On June 25, we mark the 47th anniversary of the declaration of Emergency by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. The events of the emergency have long since faded into history, but there are uncanny resonances with the contemporary context…
The use of the UAPA and the NIA by the current regime is, in Vajpayee’s language, the ‘beginning of the police state’ and a ‘blot on democracy’. Advani’s warning of the use of MISA against the opposition finds a resonance in the use of UAPA and NIA against protestors, be it the Bhima Koregaon 16, anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protestors, Kashmiri protestors or a range of dissenters across the country. 
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‘Death of Imagination’ / Hindutva, Sangh Parivar, UAPA: Penguin Censors Words From VV Rao’s Book

‘Death of Imagination’ / Hindutva, Sangh Parivar, UAPA: Penguin Censors Words From VV Rao’s Book

Penguin Random House Drops ‘Hindutva’, Other Words From Varavara Rao’s Latest Book: Report


The Wire / by The Wire Staff

The said words, from the book which is yet to be released, have been removed by the publishers’ legal team purportedly to avoid attracting charges such as sedition or defamation.
Penguin Random House India’s legal team has allegedly removed words like ‘Hindutva’, ‘Sangh Parivar’ and ‘saffronisation’ from Telugu poet Varavara Rao’s latest book Varavara Rao: A Revolutionary Poet, the Quint has reported.
The book, which is yet to be released, will become the first English-translated collection of poems by the 81-year-old Rao, who was arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. He is at present out on medical bail.
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‘Death of Imagination’: Meena Kandasamy on Penguin Censoring Varavara Rao’s Book


The Quint / by Nikhila Henry

Meena Kandasamy, an editor of Varavara Rao’s book, says climate of fear among publishers is real in India.
Penguin Random House (PRH), a leading publisher in India, has prescribed removal of several words including ‘Hindutva,’ ‘Sangh Parivar,’ and ‘Ayodhya,’ from Telugu poet Varavara Rao’s book – Varavara Rao: The Revolutionary Poet.
Poet, novelist, and translator Meena Kandasamy, who is one of the editors of the book, speaks to The Quint in an interview about the legal vetting.
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Hindutva, Sangh Parivar, UAPA: Penguin Censors Words From Varavara Rao’s Book


The Quint / by Nkikhila Henry

References to ‘revolution,’ saffronisation’ and ‘Ayodhya’ in poet Varavara Rao’s poems were flagged by Penguin.
Penguin Random House India, a leading publisher in the country, has prescribed censorship of Telugu poet Varavara Rao’s poems for fear of being slapped with sedition and defamation charges, reveal comments from the legal team of the publisher, posted on the latest edit of the book Varavara Rao: A Revolutionary Poet.
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Also read:
‘Legal Row’: Penguin Censors Poems, Then Stalls Varavara Rao’s Book Indefinitely (The Quint / Nov 2021)

Ten recusals in Bhima Koregaon raises the question: Should judges disclose reasons for withdrawal?

Ten recusals in Bhima Koregaon raises the question: Should judges disclose reasons for withdrawal? / by Umang Poddar

Would disclosing reasons reduce the controversy around mass recusals?
On April 19, Justice Sadhana Jadhav of the Bombay High Court recused herself from hearing petitions related to the Bhima Koregaon case. She was part of a two-judge bench that was hearing petitions relating to the quashing of cases against activists Rona Wilson and Shoma Sen and the bail plea of advocate Surendra Gadling, amongst other petitions.
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