The UAPA Law – Curbing Terrorism or Stifling Dissent?
By Hindus for Human Rights
(DESH-VIDESH CONVERSATION SERIES – SPEAKING ACROSS THE DIVIDE) Digital Evidence Planting: New Age Threat to Rights Defenders
Presented by Safa Ahmed of the Indian American Muslim Council on behalf of a broad coalition working to secure the release of all the Bhima Koregaon prisoners
WHY ARE MOST OF THE BHIMA KOREGAON DEFENDANTS STILL IN JAIL DESPITE FORENSIC FINDINGS THAT INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE HAD BEEN PLANTED ON SOME OF THEIR COMPUTERS?
Good evening. Digital forensics is a dry, technical field, but the consequences of digital attacks play out like a vivid, terrifying, and painful movie. With the help of technical experts, journalists, and activists, I have prepared for you this narrative of what was revealed in the forensic analysis of the hard drives of three of the BK-16 – Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, and Father Stan Swamy. Read more
Invite: India’s UAPA law: Curbing Terrorism or Stifling Democratic Dissent?
The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and India’s Prisoners of Conscience (POCs): Targeting terrorism or stifling democratic dissent?
Saturday, January 21, 2023
6 pm PST,
7:30 am IST
The conversation will cover the history and the draconian provisions of the UAPA; how it compares to anti-terror laws in other democracies; the views of the State Department and USCIRF; what are some of the typical charges being made being under UAPA. Do they look unlawful to you? Some statistics: How many people arrested since the amended UAPA; Average time spent w/o trial or bail hearing; How many have gone to trial, etc.
Moderator: Govind Acharya, Amnesty International
Banojyotsna Lahiri, Activist, on Umar Khalid’s story and struggle
Yug Mohit Chaudhry, Author and Criminal Lawyer, on legal strategies on behalf of POCs and hurdles faced
Mihir Desai, Human Rights Lawyer, on the story and struggle of Bhima Koregaon 16 and what’s happening to lesser known detainees
Followed by a Q&A moderated by Govind Acharya Register here
Press Conference & Public Meeting: “Conspiracy of Conspiracy Cases”
Wives of Khalid Saifi, Hany Babu, GN Saibaba demand release of ‘political prisoners’
Maktoob / by Maktoob Staff
Life partners of jailed human rights defenders Khalid Saifi, Hany Babu and GN Saibaba who gathered in national capital Delhi on Thursday under the banner of Campaign Against State Repression, demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners incarcerated under the Bhima Koregaon and CAA-NRC cases.
This event titled “conspiracy of conspiracy cases” was held to discuss the recent developments in Bhima Koregaon and CAA-NRC case where top intelligence officers have disclosed that there was no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and Bhima Koregano violence, as well as multiple international forensic reports revealing that the evidence was planted on the BK accused. Read more
Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights
Countercurrents / by Our Representative
Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was “no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence.”
Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Read more
Karni Sena demands demolition of Bhima Koregaon memorial, ban on annual celebration
Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff
The battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818 pertains to victory of Dalit Mahars over Brahmin Peshwa-ruled Maratha empire who were known for caste segregation.
Karni Sena, which represents the upper caste Rajputs, has demanded that the Maharashtra government should demolish the memorial located near Pune that commemorates the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, and ban the annual celebration related to the event, The Indian Express reported on Friday. Read more
Police issue a warning ahead of the Koregaon Bhima congregation
Hindustan Times / by Nadeem Inamdar
The police order also prohibits the placement of flexes, hoardings, and banners without prior police permission and administrative approval.
In the wake of the 205th celebration of the battle of Koregaon Bhima at Perne Phata, Pune City Police have issued prohibitory orders imposing section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code from December 31 midnight till January 2, 2023 midnight to maintain law and order situation. Read more
On the fifth anniversary of the Elgaar Parishad, on 31 December, NewsClick spoke to former Justice BG Kolse Patil, one of its organisers, on how controversy overtook the event.
Few outside Maharashtra had heard of the Marathi word Elgaar, let alone understood its meaning, until 2018. Elgaar was the name given to a meeting of people, or Parishad, convened at the Shaniwarwada Fort ground, Pune, on 31 December 2017, a day before lakhs of Ambedkarites were to visit Bhima Koregaon village from around the country. The date 1 January 2018 was special, for it marked the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon, which the Ambedkarites frame as their victory over the army of Peshwa Baji Rao II (1775-1851). Read more
Number of Jailed Journalists at New Global Record, Seven Behind Bars in India
The Wire / by The Wire Staff
Six out of the seven jailed journalists are being investigated under or charged under the anti-terrorism law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The number of journalists across the world who have been put behind bars for practising their profession has reached a record high this year, said the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), adding that seven Indian reporters remain behind bars – a record high for the country. Read more
As seven journalists remain jailed, India continues to draw criticism over treatment of media: CPJ
Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff
In its annual report, the Committee to Protect Journalists said that across the world, a record number of 363 journalists were behind bars as of December 1.
As seven journalists remain imprisoned in India as of December 1, the country continues to draw criticism over its treatment of the media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Wednesday. The press body made the comment in its annual census of jailed journalist across the globe. Read more
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