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Category: Repression

India: Dangerous Backsliding on Rights – Activists, Critics Targeted

India: Dangerous Backsliding on Rights – Activists, Critics Targeted

By Human Rights Watch

Activists, Critics Targeted: Growing Attacks on Muslims, Groups at Risk
Indian authorities intensified their crackdown on activists, journalists, and other critics of the government using politically motivated prosecutions in 2021, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2022. Tens of thousands of people died during a surge in Covid-19 cases, with the government failing to provide adequate health care to those in need.
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Bhima Koregaon Accused, Their Lawyers Write to SC’s Committee on Pegasus Spyware Targeting

Bhima Koregaon Accused, Their Lawyers Write to SC’s Committee on Pegasus Spyware Targeting

Elgar Parishad Accused, Their Lawyers Write to SC’s Committee on Pegasus Spyware Targeting

10/01/2022

The Wire / Sukanya Shantha

On January 3, the committee issued a public notice urging people to contact them in case they have reasons to believe that their phones were compromised using the malware.
Several human rights defenders and academics implicated in the Elgar Parishad case and their lawyers have sent their representation to the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Committee alleging that their phones were infected by the vicious Pegasus malware.
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Bhima Koregaon accused and their counsel write to SC’s Pegasus technical committee alleging snooping

08/01/2022

The Leaflet / by The Leaflet

On January 3, the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Committee (TC) to investigate the snooping allegations using Pegasus spyware had issued a public notice urging citizens to contact it if they felt that their mobile device had been infected…
The Leaflet learns that at least four accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, and their counsel, Nihalsing B. Rathod, have written to the committee separately alleging that their mobile devices had been infected with the Pegasus malware.
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Counsel Of Bhima Koregaon Accused Writes To SC-Appointed Technical Committee Suspecting Hacking Of His Device

09/01/2022

Live Law / by Srishti Ojha

A lawyer, who represented several persons implicated in the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case has written to the Technical Committee appointed by the Supreme Court to probe into the allegations of snooping through Pegasus, suspecting compromise of his mobile device by Pegasus Malware.
Advocate Nihalsing B Rathod, a practicing lawyer based in Nagpur has argued that his phone was intercepted for accessing the privileged communication and legal strategies drawn on behalf of his clients in the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad.
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Bhima Koregaon accused, counsel write to SC appointed Committee alleging phones were compromised

08/01/2022

Bar & Bench / by Abhimanyu Hazarika

Advocate Nihal Singh Rathod has offered to appear before the committee and submit his phone for probe.
A Nagpur-based lawyer on Friday wrote to the Supreme Court appointed Technical Committee probing the Pegasus spyware scandal, stating that he has reasons to believe his phone was hacked and compromised by the spyware.
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Also read:
Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line (The Wire / July 2021)

SC Judgment Review 2021 / Bail Under UAPA: Court in Review

SC Judgment Review 2021 / Bail Under UAPA: Court in Review

SC Judgment Review 2021: Terror

24/12/2021

Supreme Court Observer / by Gauri Kashyap

We discuss two judgments where the Court engaged with bail under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).
In 2021, the Supreme Court issued 865 judgments. In a series of posts, we conduct a thematic review of the most important judgments of the year. Here, we discuss two judgments where the Court engaged with bail under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).
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Bail Under UAPA: Court in Review

13/12/2021

Supreme Court Observer / by Ayushi Saraogi

Section 43D(5) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 lays down stringent provisions for the grant of bail.
In the aftermath of the Bombay terror attacks, the Union government enacted the UAPA Amendment Act, 2008. The Amendment introduced Section 43D (5), which required a Court to deny bail if there were reasonable grounds to believe that the case against the accused was prima facie true. The provision made bail difficult to secure, since it required the Court to assess guilt only by looking at the charge sheet prepared by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The accused cannot provide any evidence outside the chargesheet in their defense.
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Also read:
4,690 UAPA arrests between 2018-21; only 3.1% convictions (The Federal / Dec 2021)
UAPA: Lawyers Challenge Sections Defining ‘Unlawful Activities’ as Vague (Gauri Lankesh News / Nov 2021)
Bhima Koregaon Case: Trying Without a Trial Is the Intent of Draconian UAPA Law (The Wire / July 2021)

Indian anti-terror law snags more than terrorists / 4,690 UAPA arrests; 3.1% convictions

Indian anti-terror law snags more than terrorists / 4,690 UAPA arrests; 3.1% convictions

Indian anti-terror law snags more than terrorists

22/12/2021

Yahoo News / by Sarita Santoshini

Pendyala Pavana is no stranger to the world of social activism and government repression. Ever since she was a child she has seen her father, a revolutionary poet and activist, subjected to repeated criminal charges, accused of everything under the sun, including murder.
Twenty-four times he has been charged; 24 times he has been found not guilty. Still, Ms. Pavana is shocked by the way her father, Varavara Rao, is being treated in his latest ordeal. “It’s quite against natural justice, and his rights are completely denied,” she says.
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4,690 UAPA arrests between 2018-21; only 3.1% convictions

22/12/2021

The Federal / by The Federal

Authorities arrested 4,690 people across India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) between 2018 and 2021, but only 149 detainees have so far been convicted, according to figures provided by the government.
That means only 3.1 per cent of the arrests under the draconian law in the past three years have ended in convictions.
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There is no room for fake encounters, says NHRC chief Arun Mishra

There is no room for fake encounters, says NHRC chief Arun Mishra

Drawing by Arun Ferreira

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

The head of the country’s statutory human rights body said that speedy justice was key to rule of law.
National Human Rights Commission chief Arun Mishra on Friday said that suspects in cases should not be jailed without trial and that there was no room for fake encounters. Mishra, a former Supreme Court judge, added that justice was the source of a peaceful society…
As recently as on Wednesday, South African non-profit organisation Civicus put India on a list of countries with “repressed” democratic values. The report had flagged the use of draconian anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against activists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case, repression of the farmers’ protest and the imposition of curfews in Jammu and Kashmir.
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Also read:
In Jharkhand, Scheduled Tribes Still Battle Flimsy Criminal Cases Filed With Little Evidence (Indiaspend / Oct 2021)
The ‘Encounter Raj’ mindset: Stop mocking those who stand for human rights. Demonising them endangers every citizen (Times of India / July 2020)
Chhattisgarh: Story of another ‘encounter’ (The Indian Express / Dec 2019)
Press Release Of The Joint Fact Finding in Gadchiroli by CDRO, IAPL and WSS (WSS / May 2018)

India among countries classified as ‘repressed’ in global report / 293 journalists imprisoned globally

India among countries classified as ‘repressed’ in global report / 293 journalists imprisoned globally

India among countries classified as ‘repressed’ in global civil ratings report

09/12/2021

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

India features on the list of nations with “repressed” democratic values in a report released by South African non-profit organization Civicus ahead of the United States summit on democracy scheduled to start from December 9…
In India, the report noted, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, was abused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep several people “in pre-trial detention on baseless charges and deny them bail”.
The report mentioned the detentions made under UAPA in the Bhima Koregaon case, including those of activists Sudha Bharadwaj and Stan Swamy.
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Record number of 293 journalists imprisoned globally in 2021, says report

09/12/2021

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

The data published by the Committee to Protect Journalists also said 24 journalists were killed this year till December 1 for their work….
The Committee to Protect Journalists report also showed that seven journalists were behind bars in India. These include Siddique Kappan, Manan Gulzar Dar, Aasif Sultan, Rajeev Sharma, Tanveer Warsi, and Bhima Koregaon case accused Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde.
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Even after Stan Swamy’s death, the fight to get justice for Jharkhand undertrials is still alive

Even after Stan Swamy’s death, the fight to get justice for Jharkhand undertrials is still alive

Scroll.in / by Riddhi Dastidar, IndiaSpend.com

While the fight has faltered, Swamy’s friends and colleagues are taking forward the work he had lived and died for.
“Until his last breath, Stan had hope in the judiciary,” recalled Sheela*, a Delhi-based lawyer who asked to be anonymous for fear of being targeted. “He was waiting for the July 3 hearing where his interim bail plea was to be taken up. I think when that did not happen, he finally lost hope.”
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Constitutional Conduct Group: Open Letter to Citizens of India

Constitutional Conduct Group: Open Letter to Citizens of India

Constitutionalconduct.com / by former civil servants of the All India and Central Services

Dear fellow citizens,
We are a group of former civil servants of the All India and Central Services who have worked with the Central and State Governments in the course of our careers. As a group, we have no affiliation with any political party but believe in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India…
It would be pertinent to recall here that the term “fourth-generation warfare” is normally employed in relation to a conflict where the state is fighting non-state actors, such as terror groups and insurgents. Civil society now finds itself placed in this company. Earlier, the term “Urban Naxal” was being used to denigrate individual human rights activists. Clearly, under the New Doval Doctrine, people like Father Stan Swamy would become the arch enemy of the Indian state and the prime concern and target of its security forces.

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What do Bhima Koregaon and Hathras have in common? Siddique Kappan, says UP police

What do Bhima Koregaon and Hathras have in common? Siddique Kappan, says UP police

Newslaundry / by Akansksha Kumar

UP police is convinced press releases on Siddique Kappan’s phone are proof of him ‘receiving instructions’ on behalf of PFI
Based on an examination of the chargesheet by defence lawyer Madhuvan Dutt Chaturvedi, Newslaundry has learnt that a series of WhatsApp messages, recovered from Kappan’s phone, have been interpreted by UP police’s special task force as evidence of the organisation Popular Front of India “trying to interfere” in the case of violence at Bhima Koregaon in 2018.
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NIA raids human rights activist’s Srinagar residence / Statement by PUCL

NIA raids human rights activist’s Srinagar residence / Statement by PUCL


Drawing by Arun Ferreira

Release Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez

24/11/2021

Countercurrents / by PUCL

Press Statement
PUCL calls for the immediate release of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez, who was arrested on 22nd November 2021, by the National Investigating Agency under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Indian Penal Code…
PUCL firmly believes that the present action is one more attempt on part of the present establishment to silence peaceful, non violent dissenters. In the context of what has happened in recent times concerning cases of Bhima Koregaon, Delhi riots, Tripura violence, farmers protest, the tool kit case, Siddique Kappan case and various others across the country, Khurram’s arrest is one more instance of a brutalizing state machinery being used against human rights defenders.
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NIA raids human rights activist’s Srinagar residence over terror links

23/11/2021

Deccan Herald / by Zulfikar Majid, DHNS

The probe agency sleuths carried out searches at Khurram Parvez’s residence in Sonwar and office at Amira Kadal.
In an early morning swoop, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Monday carried out searches at the residence and office of human rights activist Khurram Parvez in Srinagar, in connection with a terror funding probe…
The NIA has reportedly found links between Parvez and charge-sheeted activist Gautam Navlakha, who was arrested by the probe agency last year.
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by Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur HRDs (Nov 22):
I’m hearing disturbing reports that Khurram Parvez was arrested today in Kashmir & is at risk of being charged by authorities in #India with terrorism-related crimes. He’s not a terrorist, he’s a Human Rights Defender