The Bhima-Koregaon case of imprisoned activists and India’s autocratic turn
The webinar is part of InSAF India’s campaign demanding the release of all jailed scholars, students and civic activists in India. 24 April 2021
USA: 10:30am EDT / 9:30am CDT / 7:30am PDT
UK: 3:30pm BST / Europe: 4:30pm CEST / India: 8pm IST REGISTER TO JOIN THE ZOOM WEBINAR HERE
+ Jed Crandall Associate Professor, Biodesign Center for Biocomputation, Security and Society and School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, USA
+ Suchitra Vijayan Author of Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India and Founder and Executive Director of The Polis Project
+ Tarunabh Khaitan Professor of Public Law and Legal Theory, and Vice Dean, Faculty of Law, Oxford University, UK Moderated discussion to be followed by Q&A with the audience.
This webinar aims to shed light on alarming authoritarian developments in India that have scarcely received adequate international attention. …
The Washington Post newspaper has published a report in which Arsenal Consulting, a digital forensics firm, exposes the “extremely dark” and “very organised” hacking of activist Rona Wilson’s laptop to plant incriminating evidence related to the Bhima Koregaon incident. Sixteen activists are facing charges under UAPA and have been lodged in jail without bail in Bhima Koregaon case. Some tweets and posters shared during the tweet storm today:
Dalit Camera: What kind of a country puts its intellectuals behind bars for something they didn’t do?
Dalit Camera: When the government doesn’t have an answer to the storm of questions raised against, it resorts to arresting those speaking the truth fearlessly. Shame!
NAPM India: National Alliance of People’s Movements demands the govt #FreeBK16 in light of #EvidencePlanted – it is draconian to jail #HumanRights activists based on fabricated evidence and no trial!
Elgar Parishad: After Armed Arsenal report it is evident that Elgar Parishad – Bhima Koregaon case is completely fabricated. We demand immediate release of BK 16
Jignesh Mevani: India’s prominent intellectuals are in jail for one simple reason: they can think and oppose an autocratic government! There is no legal basis, no trial, and even the evidence is planted! The world should take note!
Cedric Prakash: It is important that all the illegally incarcerated are freed immediately
COLLECTIVE: COLLECTIVE demands arrest of Sangh rioters Shambhaji bhide, Milind Ekbote. India will be a country of #Andolanjeevis, not bootlickers of imperialism.
Sudha Bharadwaj spends 900 days in detention
Civicus.org / by CIVICUS
▪ 13 February 2021 marks Sudha Bharadwaj’s 900th day in pre-trial detention
▪ Questions raised about validity of letters used to incriminate Sudha
▪ Indian authorities have limited the number of books she can receive
February 13 marks 900 days since Indian activist Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested and imprisoned. On this day, global civil society organisation CIVICUS calls on the Indian government to immediately release Bharadwaj and drop all charges against her.
Since 2018, Sudha and 15 other activists, writers and lawyers have been arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). Read more
United States: Ask President Biden and Secretary Blinken to Demand Fr. Stan’s Release
For four months, Fr. Stan Swamy, SJ has been wrongly imprisoned in India. Multiple efforts to secure his release have been denied by the courts, even though he is 83 years old and suffers from Parkinson’s disease…
Join us in urging the United States to: condemn the incarceration of Fr. Stan Swamy, ask the Indian Government to release him immediately, and ask the Indian Government to stop arbitrary arrests of innocent citizens. Read more
Video: 100 Days of the incarceration of Fr. Stan Swamy, SJ and the brutal face of the Indian State
Moderator: Apoorvanand, Teacher and Writer
Special Address: Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
Speakers: Mihir Desai, Xavier Dias, Dayamani Barla, Aloka Kujur, Virginius Xaxa, Dorothy Fernandes
Performances: Mallika Sarabhai, “I Shall Rise” (Maya Angelou’s poem) Santhali Dance by Shikari Pada Santhal Pargana and other cultural expressions from Jharkhand Performance video of arrested artists from Kabir Kala Manch
• On 15 January: HUNDRED DAYS of the incarceration of Father Stan Swamy and the brutal face of the Indian State
• On 20, 21, 22 January: Repeal UAPA, the draconian legal tool to indefinitely put dissenters behind bars, using the bogey of national security and extremism.
• On 24 January: “Why does the Indian State fear Sudha Bharadwaj”. The Release of a PUCL published book on Advocate, activist, trade unionist, lawyer and mother Sudha Bharadwaj.
Dear Friends, SALAAM!
During the last 20 months since the 2019 elections, we have all witnessed the depths to which the present ruling party can descend to crush, subvert, deny, undermine and weaken the institutions, structure and processes of rule of law and constitutional democracy. Brazenly and with impunity, the government has used the law and the police agencies to stifle and silence democratic voices of dissent through false prosecutions and persecution of rights defenders and undemocratic measures to curb the lawful activities of organisations. What is most distressing is the near-total abdication of their constitutional duties to safeguard constitutionally mandated fundamental rights and crushing of dissent by constitutional institutions, including the Supreme and High courts.
As happened in the emergency period and other times in our history as an independent nation, citizens are now standing up to say “Enough is enough” and are fighting to safeguard the Indian Constitution, rule of law and democracy. …
Human rights defender Stan Swamy, has been harassed since 2018: OHCR
Sabrang / by Sabrang India
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Special Rapporteur on minority issues; write to Indian Govt over Fr Stan Swamy’s prolonged detention.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; the and Special Rapporteur on minority issues, have made public a letter they had written to the Indian Government expressing their concern over the “alleged arbitrary detention of human rights defender Stan Swamy”. Read more
Endorse: International appeal to United Nations regarding Fr. Stan Swamy, S.J
By Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat – Society of Jesus
Fr. Stan Swamy, SJ is a 83 years old Indian Jesuit priest incarcerated for alleged anti-national activities. He was arrested on October 8, 2020. The antecedents of this case can be traced back to 1 January 2018 violence against the Dalits across the state of Maharashtra. One Dalit youth was killed and countless of number of Dalits injured. Even though all evidence pointed to the role of right-wing leaders in the violence that erupted after the annual celebration at Bhima Koregaon, the state thought it convenient to foist false cases against human rights defenders who are known to stand up for the poor. Read more / read & sign appeal
India: Call to UN for release of Fr Stan Swamy
Independent Catholic News / by ICN
The Jesuits of India, together with an international network of civil society organizations, have appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to obtain the immediate release of Jesuit Father Stan Swamy, 83, who has been imprisoned since 8 October on charges of sedition with 15 other human rights defenders in India. The appeal is a joint initiative of the Jesuits, Claretians and other congregations and organizations present at the United Nations. Read more
Organisers of the Elgaar Parishad say the event will be held on Jan 30 / COVID-19 Dampens Celebration
Organisers of the Elgaar Parishad say the event will be held on January 30
Frontline / by Anupama Katakam
After the Pune Police refused permission for the Elgaar Parishad this year, retired judge B.G. Kolse-Patil, who is one of the main organisers, said they would go ahead and hold the event. Until 2017, the Elgaar Parishad was an annual gathering of primarily Dalit rights activists in Pune. The event was not held for two years since then because of a relentless witch-hunt and subsequent arrest of activists who are reportedly connected to the event. Read more
COVID-19 Dampens Jan 1 Celebration at Bhima Koregaon, Few Hundreds Attend with Limited Passes
Newsclick / by Varsha Torgalkar
The Pune Police had also closed all the roads going towards Bhima Koregoan, with only those with passes being allowed to proceed. However, many who had travelled from other cities complained that they were not aware of the concept of passes. Read more
Denied permission, ex-judge Kolse-Patil says he will hold ‘Elgaar Parishad’ on Jan 30
The Hindu / by Shoumojit Banerjee
He accuses govt. of directing police to keep a watch on him.
With the Pune police denying permission to hold another ‘Elgaar Parishad’ on December 31, retired Bombay High Court judge B. G. Kolse-Patil — who was among the chief organisers of the original and controversial ‘Elgaar Parishad’ held in December 2017 — has announced his resolve to hold the event on January 30, 2021, on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. Read more
Denied December 31 nod, Elgaar Parishad organisers say will hold event on Jan 30
The Indian Express / by Express News Service
Justice (retd) Kolse Patil said, “We will now hold it on January 30, at the Ganesh Kala Krida Manch in Pune. And if not there, we will hold it on the streets. If not allowed to do that, we will fill the jails.”
Organisers of Elgaar Parishad, who were denied permission by Pune City Police to hold the conference on December 31, have said they will hold it in Pune on January 30. They also said that if police deny permission for the conference again, they will hold the conference “on the streets”. Read more
Elgar Parishad organisers ask Sharad Pawar to ensure SIT probe
Free Press Journal / by pti
Organizers of the Elgar Parishad demanded on Thursday that NCP chief Sharad Pawar should fulfil his `assurance’ of an SIT probe into the case related to the 2017 conclave.
The Pune district administration denied permission for the annual Elgar Parishad – which is held on December 31 – this year citing the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more
Police issue notices to 530 social media groups ahead of Bhima Koregaon anniversary
Hindustan Times/ by Nadeem Inamdar
The Pune rural police have served notices to as many as 530 social media group administrators, warning them not to allow posts pertaining to inflammatory messages in the wake of January 1 anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon. Read more
Sign Petition: Land Rights Activist Mahesh Raut Needs to be Free
On 6th June 2018, Mahesh Raut, a land and adivasi rights activist, was arrested in relation to the Elgar Parishad case through the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The police charged Mahesh just as he was filing a petition to protect citizens whose lands are mined against their will. Members of Socialist Party (India) recently released a petition seeking signatories in support of Mahesh in the name of freedom of speech. Read more
Representatives of Christian and rights organisations hint at urgent need for the convergence against the current ‘fascist’ forces.
Christian organisations and human right groups have called for Dalits, tribal and minorities to join hands with other concerned citizens and protest attempts by the central government to silence voices of dissent by misusing the anti-terror law UAPA. Read more
Bhima Koregaon Case: A Critical Appraisal: Our Call – Free them All
Countercurrents / by Dr Prakash Louis
Background to Bhima Koregaon Event
The 1818 Battle of Koregaon is of importance for Dalits. On 1st January, 1818, 800 troops of the British Army, with large number of Mahars, Dalit Community of Maharashtra predominant among them, defeated a numerically superior force of the Peshwa Baji Rao II …
On 1st January, 2018, like every year, lakhs of Dalits poured into Bhima Koregaon. The commemoration has a record of being conducted peacefully and the village’s residents have a history of social harmony. But this year, tensions had begun to build in a neighbouring village over the question of which community had conducted the last rites of Maratha ruler Sambhaji – the Mahars or the Marathas. Read more
Webinar report: Stand With Stan
Countercurrents / by Indian Christians for Democracy
A webinar was organised with major initiative of Indian Christians for Democracy on 25th October, Sunday, 2020 from 11.00 to 1.00 pm …
The objectives of the webinar were 1) Keep pressure on for the release of all falsely accused and arrested; 2) False accusation, detention and arrest becomes a debating point and the government gives up this practice; 3) Nation-wide demand for the repeal of UAPA. Read more