The Indian government is using a variety of restrictive laws – including national security and counter terrorism legislation – to arrest and imprison human rights defenders, peaceful protesters and critics, global civil society alliance CIVICUS said today in a new report.
The report covers:
– The judicial harassment of activists, targeting of journalists and crackdown on protesters;
– How rights violations have continued during President Modi’s second term and throughout the pandemic;
– Calls for the immediate release of arbitrarily detained activists, protesters and human rights defenders. Read full report
Exception becomes the norm as special laws are misused
Delhi Police’s framing and subsequent reframing of charges, using UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act), against the young women of Pinjra Tod a few months ago is an example of the gross misuse of special laws enacted by the state for circumstances which lie outside the purview of ordinary laws. By definition such laws are meant to be temporary and exceptions but end up being permanent and the norm. Read more
Ominipotent state and impotent people: system weighed in favour of the ‘state’
National Herald / by Aakar Patel
Indefinite ‘detention without trial’ is now the norm. The state is acquiring more power to crush the individual.
The criminal justice system everywhere is deliberately designed to protect the rights of the individual accused. And this is the correct way of seeing it although in our country it is the other way round. Read more
Statement by Culture Workers Support Trust: Attempt to quell voices who speak out through art
The Culture Workers’ Support Trust (CWST) condemns the harassment of members of the creative community. Statement Against State Repression of Culture Workers:
In Solidarity with Rahul Roy, Saba Dewan, Kabir Kala Manch, and Art Students facing harassment and false charges by the state, who are being targeted for exercising their democratic right to raise their voice against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, the National Register of Citizens, the National Population Register and state-sponsored brutality during the anti-CAA protests. Read more / Full statement
Maharashtra: Families of Prison Inmates Worried / Lockdown for some, lockup for others
More humane provisions are needed for prisoners, including political prisoners and those charged under special laws.
It is obvious that the threat of the coronavirus, a communicable disease, is worst in places of high population density. The prison is one such place. About half a million persons are incarcerated in more than 1,300 jails scattered all over India. More than two thirds are undertrials… It is only high-profile cases like those of Binayak Sen, Varavara Rao and others incarcerated in the Bhima Koregaon case that attract national or even international attention. While this attention is justified, most people do not realise that thousands of powerless, impoverished people face similar or worse injustice. Read more
Maharashtra: Families of Prison Inmates with Co-morbidities and Age Issues Worried
News Click / by Varsha Torgalkar
Activists have been demanding the release of prisoners on health grounds. So far, six inmates have died of COVID-19 in prisons across state and 1,772 prisoners have tested positive out of total 11,267 tests conducted as per the Prison Department data.
Pune: On July 12, poet and activist Varavara Rao’s daughter addressed a press conference saying, “My father, Varavara Rao, an 81 years old poet, blabbered about his father’s funeral which was held 75 years ago. Whatever he talked was incoherent during the weekly call from prison to family. His co-prisoner, Vernon Gonsalves, told us that he is in no condition to walk and carry out his daily works,” The family had panicked after the call and held the press conference the next day. Read more
Arrests Politically Motivated – Sedition, Counterterrorism Laws Used to Silence Dissent
(New York) The Indian authorities are increasingly bringing politically motivated cases, including under severe sedition and terrorism laws, against critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should immediately drop baseless charges against activists, academics, student leaders, and others, and unconditionally release those in custody. Read more
Umar Khalid arrest: Erosion of democracy hasn’t been as blatant, ‘save Emergency rule’
Counteverview / by Counterview Desk/ Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)
In a statement, CASR said, “Following the model of the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case, the Delhi Police appears to be determined to target those who have spoken out against the communal discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) instead of those who incited the violence in North East Delhi leading to the death of over 50 persons, injuries to several hundred, loss of livelihood and displacement of thousands, particularly Muslim residents of the area.” Read full statement
Stop crying wolf over democracy, enjoy the quality of sheep’s clothing
Economic Times / by T K Arun
… In the cases registered by the Delhi police, the focus is solely on those who protested against CAA. BJP leaders who held rallies, threatening to take the law into their own hands if the anti-CAA protests were not lifted, are off the police radar.
This playbook looks as if it has been copied from the police action in the wake of the Bhima-Koregaon violence, which saw a Dalit activist killed and several injured during an attack on Dalit celebration of the 200 th anniversary of the victory of Mahar troops of the British East India Company over the Peshwa’s army, ending Peshwa rule once and for all. Read more
NIA Court Extends Police Custody Of 3 Kabir Kala Manch Members Till Sep 19
A special court in Mumbai on Friday extended till September 19 the NIA remand of three members of Kabir Kala Manch arrested in connection with the Koregaon Bhima – Elgar Parishad case.
Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe (32), Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor (36) and Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap (33), who were arrested earlier this week, were produced before special NIA Judge D E Kothalikar on Friday after their first remand period of four days ended. Read more
KKM arrests raise a question on democracy, says Sagar Gorkhe’s partner Rupali Jadhav
Free Press Journal / by Bhavna Uchil
In a video recorded just before they were arrested by the National Investigation Agency on Monday, Sagar Gorkhe can be heard saying that the agency had asked him and fellow Kabir Kala Manch member Ramesh Gaichor to give confessions that they are linked with Maoists and if they do so, they will be spared arrests. They said they refused it. Read more
Struggling to find evidence in Bhima Koregaon case, NIA is now resorting to outright bullying
If the courts do not intervene to pull up the agency, its strategy of intimidation will continue unabated, vitiating the entire trial.
On September 7, the National Investigation Agency arrested two members of the Kabir Kala Manch cultural group, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor, in connection with its inquiry into the violence at Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra on December 31, 2017. A day later, Jyoti Jagtap, another member of the group, had been arrested. Read more
Varavara Rao’s sons-in-law appear before NIA in Mumbai
Varavara Rao’s sons-in-law appear before NIA in Mumbai
Telegana Today / by Telangana Today
The Mumbai unit of the NIA had summoned them a few days ago asking them to appear before it as a witness under Sections 160 and 91 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc).
Hyderabad: Revolutionary writer P Varavara Rao’s sons-in-law K. Satyanarayana and KV Kurmanath appeared before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case this morning. Read more
‘Not Sure Whether My Husband Will Return Home After NIA Questioning’, Says VV Rao’s Daughter Pavana
Outlook / by Preetha Nair
The NIA has summoned K Satyanarayana and KV Kumarnath for questioning in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.
The National Investigating Agency (NIA) is set to question two sons-in-law of revolutionary poet-writer Varavara Rao, the family says that the harassment at the hands of the state continues despite the deteriorating health condition of the incarcerated poet. Read more
EFLU Teachers’ Association stands in Solidarity with Prof. K. Satyanarayana
Statement by The English and Foreign Lanuages University Teachers´ Association
Click to enlarge
When The Dust Settles: An Ode To India’s Incarcerated
This story has been told before. But it is important that it be told at every given opportunity. This is the story of how the state subverted the rule of law to stifle dissent. This is a story of how the judiciary in part – abetted – and in part – thwarted the state’s attempt to incarcerate those who dared to speak against its excesses. Above all, it is a story of the resilience and unrelenting courage of those incarcerated. Read more
India claims that its constitutional checks and balances prevent the abuse of counterterrorism laws; the evidence, including cases of false imprisonment and torture, suggests that these checks and balances are insufficient not only to protect civilians from abuse under counterterrorism laws but to protect them from terrorism itself. Read more