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Category: Repression

The ‘Buts’ To Freedom Of Speech In India / Why Bail to Vara Vara Rao Augurs Well for Indian Democracy

The ‘Buts’ To Freedom Of Speech In India / Why Bail to Vara Vara Rao Augurs Well for Indian Democracy

The BJP’s Toolkit Is Not Working That Well

17/03/2021

The Wire / by Amit Shrivastava

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.
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The ‘Buts’ To Freedom Of Speech In India

17/03/2021

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.
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Why Bail to Vara Vara Rao Augurs Well for Indian Democracy

16/03/2021

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.
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Government’s game of prosecution – prosecution as a tool to silence critics

Government’s game of prosecution – prosecution as a tool to silence critics

Frontline / by A.G. Noorani

(Print edition: March 26, 2021)
The present dispensation uses prosecution as a tool to silence critics and opponents in a way that makes the legal process a punishment in itself.
Julio Ribeiro, a prince among police officers of the highest rank, notable alike for his high integrity and superb efficiency, rendered a great service by bringing home to the Indian reader the allegations of manipulating and planting in the Bhima Koregaon case. He had heard Mark Spencer, head honcho of Arsenal Consulting, a private digital forensics company. Ribeiro had heard Spencer on an Indian national TV channel “certifying that the police in India had been taken for a ride by an extremely clever hacker”. His article in The Indian Express on February 22 is entitled “The truth is out there” under the sub-heading “Allegations of manipulating and planting evidence in Bhima Koregaon case must be investigated.
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Women reject state surveillance – Women are not a “problem”

Women reject state surveillance – Women are not a “problem”

Poster campaign, March 8, 2021. Click to enlarge

The Green Left / by Kavita Krishnan

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan has proposed that every woman stepping out of her home be required to register herself with her local police station so that the police can track her for her safety.
Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde asked last month why women had been “kept” at the farmers’ protests and praised Supreme Court advocate AP Singh (a man with a record of victim-blaming and support for honour crimes) for giving an assurance that women would be sent home and kept out of the protests…
It is no coincidence, after all, that some of the inspiring Indian feminist figures of our times (to name a few — advocate Sudha Bharadwaj and teacher Shoma Sen, student activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita of Pinjra Tod, Ishrat Jahan and Gulfisha) are in prison today under draconian laws, and no judge seems able to see and end the appalling injustice of their incarceration.
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5,128 Cases Under UAPA Since 2015, 72% Rise in Last Five Years

5,128 Cases Under UAPA Since 2015, 72% Rise in Last Five Years

5,128 Cases Under UAPA Since 2015, 72% Rise in Last Five Years

11/03/2021

News Click / by News Click

According to the data, 30 cases were lodged on charges of sedition in 2015 followed by 35 in 2016, 51 in 2017, 70 in 2018 and 93 in 2019.
As many as 5,128 cases under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA and 229 on charges of sedition have been lodged across the country in a five-year period from 2015, the Parliament was informed on Wednesday.
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UAPA: 72% Rise in Arrests Between 2015 and 2019

10/03/2021

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Data revealed by the home ministry earlier showed that just 2.2% of the cases under the Act ended in court convictions.
There has been a 72% increase in the number of arrests made under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in 2019 in relation to those made in 2015, according to data provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Lok Sabha.
According to The Hindu, the MHA revealed that as many as 1,948 persons were arrested under the UAPA in 1,226 cases that were registered across the country in 2019. Between the years 2015 and 2018, 897, 922, 901 and 1,182 cases were registered and 1,128, 999, 1,554 and 1,421 people were arrested, Union minister of state for home G. Kishan Reddy said in a written reply.
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Over 72 per cent rise in UAPA cases since 2019, what does the Act entail?

10/03/2021

Edex Live / by Edex Live

In July 2019, the ambit of UAPA was expanded. It was amended allowing the government to designate an individual as a terrorist without trial.
The Ministry of Home Affairs told the Lok Sabha that there has been over 72 per cent increase in the number of persons arrested under the anti-terror law UAPA.
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The sad saga of Kanchan Nannaware who died waiting for justice (by Shoma Sen)

The sad saga of Kanchan Nannaware who died waiting for justice (by Shoma Sen)

The Leaflet / by Shoma Sen

While the High Court of Bombay granted medical bail to Varavara Rao who is now free for the next six months to be with his family and take care of his health, Kanchan has not been so lucky. Shoma Sen, an undertrial in the Bhima Koregaon case understands what it means as she is also battling with several ailments. Here, she explains how the husband of Kanchan’ Nannaware, her co-accused who was in the male section of the same Yerwada Jail was not consulted nor was his consent taken before her surgery. It ultimately proved fatal:
While the Elgar Parishad case received wide and detailed media coverage and many columnists, shocked by the Kafkaesque absurdities of this case were analysing and commenting on it, a political prisoner in Pune Women’s Central Jail was suffering immense hardship due to ill health, till she finally passed away in early February.
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The Contribution Of Dalit Women Shahir In Maharashtra’s Anti-Caste Movement

The Contribution Of Dalit Women Shahir In Maharashtra’s Anti-Caste Movement

Feminism India / by Guest Writer

… Shahirs talk about caste discrimination and Brahminism, they talk about Shivaji Maharaj and Mahatma Phule’s thoughts. They also talk about how Babasaheb fought against casteism and spread the awareness in the masses about the messages that Babasaheb wanted to convey to them. Shahiri troupes are important part of contemporary movement of Dalit women…
Sheetal Sathe in her interview to the Marathi news channel talks about her journey in the movement.
When she was in college, she came in contact with activists from Kabir Kala Manch and music for which she have had a liking towards since childhood.
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The Making Of Sharjeel Usmani and His Speech At Elgar Parishad

The Making Of Sharjeel Usmani and His Speech At Elgar Parishad

The Wire / by Betwa Sharma

The 23-year-old former student of AMU is facing charges of sedition for his speech. He says he is fighting for his “fair share in Indian society”.
When Sharjeel Usmani was invited to speak at the Elgar Parishad event on January 30 in Pune, the 23-year-old did not think twice before saying yes. He was undeterred by the fact that over a dozen activists and thinkers had been jailed since the event was first held on December 31, 2017, to mark 200 years of the historic battle in which the Mahar regiment of Dalit soldiers defeated the Brahmin Peshwas. He was undeterred by the fact that he had already been charged for attempt to murder, rioting and promoting communal disharmony, following the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and spent two months in jail last year.
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Also read: The Making Of Sharjeel Usmani and His Speech At Elgar Parishad (Feb 2021)

Colin Gonsalves interview: Policemen who pursue malafide cases should face crippling fines

Colin Gonsalves interview: Policemen who pursue malafide cases should face crippling fines

Scroll.in / by Smitha Nair

The noted lawyer speaks about the need for a legal framework to make the state pay for violating civil liberties by way of wrongful prosecutions.
The recent spate of FIRs invoking sedition charges against journalists for allegedly sharing unverified information on social media about the death of a protestor during the farmers’ tractor rally on January 26 has prompted a former Supreme Court judge to call for an interventionist approach by the apex court to deal with the “rampant abuse of the criminal justice system”.
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Have We Seen the Last of Conspiracies? / The Kashmir Model to Discipline Indian Media

Have We Seen the Last of Conspiracies? / The Kashmir Model to Discipline Indian Media

Have We Seen the Last of Conspiracies?

13/02/2021

Newsclick / by Ajay Gudavarthy

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.
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The Kashmir Model to Discipline Indian Media

13/02/2021

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.”
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Video: The Needle of Doubt is Now on All Matters, says Mihir Desai / India’s democracy in decline

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

12/02/2021


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.
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Also Read: Computer of Rona Wilson was compromised, malware planted from outside: US Forensic Firm report (Feb 10, 2021)


India’s democracy in decline

12/02/2021

Washington Post / by Joanna Slater and Niha Masih

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.
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