en | 1h 42min | 2022
The discussion examines the recent three judgements relating to
► The denial of bail of Jyoti Jagtap by the Bombay High Court in the Bhima Koregaon Conspiracy case.
► The stay on the Bombay High Court judgement of acquittal/discharge of Dr. GN Saibaba and others by the Supreme Court
► The denial of bail by the Delhi High Court of Umar Khalid in the Conspiracy case of the Delhi Riots of 2020. Watch video (PUCL fb page)
A critical look at the three central agencies show how and why they were conceived and how they are being used today.
It has been over a decade since Supreme Court Justice R.M. Lodha described the Central Bureau of Investigation as a “caged parrot” that speaks in “its master’s voice” in 2013, highlighting disconcerting trends of the misuse of federal probe agencies.
… National Investigation Agency
The NIA’s political overreach was seen for the first time in June, 2020, when the Union Ministry of Home Affairs transferred the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case to it from the Maharashtra Police, which was conducting the investigation of the case from the inception. Human rights activists campaigning against the BJP’s Hindutva agenda congregated on December 31, 2017. Read more
● PUCL Report: UAPA – CRIMINALISING DISSENT AND STATE TERROR
Study of UAPA Abuse in India, 2009 – 2022
Published: Sep 28, 2022
PUCL’s study on the use and abuse of UAPA covering the period between 2009 and 2022, with special emphasis on the NIA. Download report
‘Disproportionate and Politically Motivated’: Diasporic Outfits Condemn Police Raids on ‘The Wire’
The Wire / by The Wire Staff
As many as 21 Indian diasporic organisations from across the globe saw the raids on ‘The Wire’ as part of an “ongoing deterioration of journalistic and press freedoms in India”.
We Stand with The Wire
We are writing as diasporic Indian organizations and allies to express our solidarity with The Wire. We strongly condemn the witch hunt to which they are being subjected by the state.
… Egregiously, the phones and laptops of the four Wire editors, the accountant, and the business officer were seized without being sealed and without provision of the hashtag value by the authorities for the seized devices at the time of the seizures. The hash value is the single most important forensic evidence that captures the total state of the electronic devices at the time of seizure. It allows for forensic experts to determine whether any tampering of the device took place after seizure. In short, the hashtag ensures the integrity of the stored data. Given the emerging evidence around electronic surveillance and the reports of planted and ‘fabricated’ evidence used to implicate political prisoners such as the Bhima Koregaon 16, we are highly concerned about any claims by authorities based on the data on the above devices. Read full statement
A Govt of India move to ‘force’ journos to join cacophony of state propaganda: CASR
Counterview / by CASR
The Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) condemns the raids carried out by Delhi Police at mid night on the house of the various editors of The Wire and its office based in Delhi, on the complaint of BJP Spokesperson Amit Malviya pertaining to series of articles about Amit Malviya enjoying special censorship on the contents being published on social media company named ‘Meta’.
… Be it in the arrest of academics, activists, lawyers, journalists and poets in the Elgaar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case or the incarceration of journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh, Siddiqui Kappan, Fahad Shah of ‘Kasmir Walla’, Asif Sultan and now several more, it is evident that the State is becoming more and more intolerant of any critical voice or dissent. At such times, it is imperative that democratic and progressive voices speak out, else risk being silenced forever. Read full statement
Report Release: In the Name of Development / Snooping on Civil Society
India Trains Its Sights on Dissent in Chhattisgarh – Snooping on Civil Society
Voelkerrechtsblog / by Allison West
Development in the form of profit-driven resource exploitation ventures in India’s central state of Chhattisgarh, led by corporations and facilitated by the state, have wreaked havoc on the lives and livelihoods of the region’s indigenous Adivasi peoples. In the face of widespread dispossession, corporate land grabs, environmental degradation and militarized policing in Chhattisgarh, Adivasi activists and organized civil society play a vital role in monitoring, documenting and challenging ongoing human rights violations on the ground…
In 2020, Amnesty International and Citizen Lab uncovered a coordinated spyware campaign targeting nine human rights defenders in India, including several active in Chhattisgarh. Between January and October 2019, the targets received spearphishing emails with malicious links that, if opened, would have installed NetWire, a commercially manufactured Windows spyware that monitors a user’s actions and communications..
The common link between the human rights defenders targeted in the NetWire attack seemed to be a record of speaking out on behalf of those imprisoned in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon Case. Read more
Report Release: In the Name of Development – Indigenous Rights Violations and Shrinking Space in Chhattisgarh
By India Justice Project & ECCHR
The report presents insights into the ongoing assault by the Indian state and powerful corporations on the indigenous peoples of the country through a case study of Chhattisgarh. In particular, the report highlights the legal and institutional means through which powerful state, military and corporate actors appropriate land and shrink space for Adivasi rights and resistance in Chhattisgarh. Read full report (PDF, 72 pages)
India today, is enveloped in darkness! As the nation embroils itself from one issue to another, the burden is felt by the ordinary citizen, as never before and in more ways than one. Fascism throttles the country; at this juncture, one cannot help, but reminded of that immortal epigram composed by Bertolt Brecht in 1939. Brecht, a playwright and poet, who was vehemently anti-Nazi wrote, “In the dark times / will there also be singing? / Yes, there will also be singing. / About the dark times.”. In these dark times, the people of India cry out in one voice, from the depths of their being “Let there be Light”!
… At the same time, human rights defenders, those who have taken a visible and vocal stand for justice and peace, those who have taken up cudgels for the excluded and exploited, the marginalised and the minorities are at the receiving end of a brutal vengeful system. Many, as those in the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy case are still languishing in jail without trial. Read more
This draconian law is rarely invoked against the upper caste Hindus who are not communists or Ambedkarites or atheists, which is a commentary on the nature of the Indian state.
This column has featured, over the past five months, stories of those families whose members have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act—and persistently denied bail. They continue to languish in jail. With the exception of Fahad Shah, editor of The Kashmir Walla, the column focussed on the accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence and the 2020 Delhi riot cases. Their tragedy is compounded as the charges against them are widely believed to be imaginary. Read more
PUCL Report: UAPA – CRIMINALISING DISSENT AND STATE TERROR (#RepealUAPA campaign)
By V. Suresh, Madhura SB and Lekshmi Sujatha (PUCL)
Study of UAPA Abuse in India, 2009 – 2022
Published: Sep 28, 2022
PUCL’s study on the use and abuse of UAPA covering the period between 2009 and 2022, with special emphasis on the NIA. A first in the series of a larger collaborative work as part of #RepealUAPA campaign. Download report
PUCL report alleges abuse of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act
The Hindu / by The Hindu Bureau
Report by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties says ‘suo motu power’ by Centre to transfer investigation from the State police was a ‘serious threat to federalism’
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has released a report titled ‘UAPA: Criminalising Dissent and State Terror’ on the alleged abuse of the legislation during 2009-22, and demanding the law be repealed. Read more
97.2% of UAPA accused jailed for long periods and eventually acquitted, study finds
The News Minute / by Jahnavi Reddy
The PUCL study found that 8,371 persons were arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act between 2015 and 2020, while only 235 were convicted under the draconian anti-terror law in the same period.
A total of 8,371 persons were arrested in 5,924 cases under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) across India between 2015 and 2020, according to a report by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), which sheds light on the Union government’s alleged abuse of the anti-terror law and calls to repeal it. In the same period, however, only 235 persons were convicted under the UAPA. Read more
NCHRO calls for solidarity to Lawyers and Human Rights Defenders who are arbitrarily detained
By National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO)
This letter elaborates our concerns about the unlawful detention of lawyers and other human rights defenders who were arrested on September 22nd, 2022 in an early morning raid along with over 100 others across the country by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the principal counter-terrorist task force of India and Enforcement Directorate. The activists have been arbitrary detained under repressive laws including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Such detentions have become a regular practice of the present government…
The Bhima Koregaon case is just one emblematic example of the Indian authorities’ increasing use of anti-terror legislation, particularly the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to punish those who ask questions about the illegitimate anti-minority and anti-poor stances. Read full statement
The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) halts its work in the country
The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) halted its work in the country as the news came that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had banned the organisation. This is a reprisal for the organization’s human rights work. The NCHRO is very proud of the vital human rights work carried out by the confederation. As a result, we are suspending all our activities. Effective immediately, NCHRO halted all its programmes and we are not engaged and responsible for any posts on social media. We will pursue legal remedies against this injustice.
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. Read full statemnt
In this post, a fellow traveller of Stan’s in prison shares his reflections about the Jesuit priest who became one India’s foremost human rights defenders: the background to Stan’s own awakening and then participation in the continuing resistance movements among the most marginalised of Indian citizens, its indigenous peoples, the Adivasis:
People call him Father Stan Swamy. This way of addressing is different from the Maoist usage. He opted for the Christian way of life in the Jesuit order when he was an adolescent. He migrated from Tiruchirappalli in Madras State to Jamshedpur which was, at that time, part of the undivided Bihar State. Jamshedpur is the habitat of tribal people. The people who work in the coal reserves and steel factories, and the people who live in the nearby forests are all tribals. Being idealistic from a very young age, Stan was influenced by the preaching and practice of Jesus Christ. Read more