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Category: Call for action

Webinar: Freedom For Varavara Rao (Sep 29)

Webinar: Freedom For Varavara Rao (Sep 29)

Join Irish PEN, Scottish PEN and guests as we share poetry readings and updates on the case of renowned Indian poet, Varavara Rao.

Wed 29 Sept. 7pm

This free event will provide an overview of Rao’s remarkable life and include readings of poetry he has produced over his decades-long career. We will also provide an update on Rao’s case, and share information about the ways that attendees can demonstrate their support.
The event will be chaired by Professor Ignatius McGovern and will feature a rare opportunity to hear from Rao’s nephew, Venugopal Nellutla, who published ‘The Making of Varavara Rao: An Intimate Portrait by a Nephew’ in 2020. The event will also include poetry and prose readings from Professor Bashabi Fraser, Leela Soma, June Considine and Kate Ennals.
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Joint Statement: Freedom for Varavara Rao

Joint Statement: Freedom for Varavara Rao

By PEN International

As PEN Centres we wish to highlight the case of renowned Indian poet, Varavara Rao, to all those who care about the defense of freedom of expression for writers. We call for all charges to be dropped against Rao, and hope that you will join our campaign to ensure his freedom.
Varavara Rao is an 82-year-old poet and activist who was arrested in 2018 along with several other activists in India on charges of inciting violence under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). 
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PUDR report: Framed to Die – The Case of Stan Swamy

PUDR report: Framed to Die – The Case of Stan Swamy

By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

Marking a month since Stan Swamy passed away in judicial custody in a private hospital, a month in which no official inquiry, even the mandated magisterial inquest, has not been initiated, Framed to die: The case of Stan Swamy documents the manner in which Stan Swamy was framed, fettered, and finally forced towards a fatal illness under due process of law called Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Framed to Die argues that Stan’s experiences of persecution provide an understanding of many others, including the 15 accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. Beyond chronicling Stan’s persecution under law, Framed to Die documents why Comrade Stan was a dissenter and a true patriot and why the state feared and criminalized his dissent under the UAPA.

Download full report (45 pages) here

Book release: I am not a Silent Spectator. An Autobiographical Fragment, Memory and Reflection

Book release: I am not a Silent Spectator. An Autobiographical Fragment, Memory and Reflection

I am not a Silent Spectator – Why Truth has become so bitter, Dissent so intolarable, Justice so out of reach

An Autobiographical Fragment, Memory and Reflection


Indian Social Institute, Bangalore / by Stan Swamy

Edition: Aug 2021
Publisher: Indian Social Institute, Bangalore
Language: English
Paperback: 149 pages

Access a free PDF copy of the book here

Video: Book release. I am not a Silent Spectator – An Autobiographical Fragment, Memory and Reflection


en / hindi | 2h | 2021

By Jamshedpur Jesuits

Release of Fr Stan Swamy’s Memoir at XISS, Ranchi, Jharkhand
03 August 2021

Watch video

Postcard to Prison #postcardtoprison

Postcard to Prison #postcardtoprison

By InSAF India

The Bhima Koregaon (BK-16) are 16 human rights activists in India who are being imprisoned on charges of “terrorism” that United Nations experts have condemned as an effort to suppress political dissent. Join us in writing solidarity messages to the BK-16. InSAF India will regularly collect the messages and send them to the Taloja and Byculla prisons.
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Book Release: Salaakhon Mein Qaid Avaazein (Imprisoned Voices)

Book Release: Salaakhon Mein Qaid Avaazein (Imprisoned Voices)

By Family Members and friends of BK16

“Salaakhon Mein Qaid Avaazein”
Edition: June 2021
Language: Hindi
Paperback: 69 pages

Access a PDF copy of the book here (15MB)
(Salaakhon Mein Qaid Avaazein is free to download, but contributions are welcome!
Write to us at booksbywss(at) if you would like to contribute.)

“Salaakhon Mein Qaid Avaazein” is a book on the Bhima Koregaon Conspiracy case. It is a tribute to those individuals who, while fighting for truth and justice, have themselves become victims of a grave and flagrant injustice.
Sixteen sterling citizens of this country, all of them well-known dissidents and renowned human rights activists, have been arrested in this fictitious case, so far. They have been accused of conspiring with the banned Maoist party to cause violence in Bhima Koregaon on 1st January, 2018, by inciting the oppressed Dalit and Bahujan people against the government. Among the accused (known as BK-16) are professors, writers, lawyers, cultural activists, trade unionists, poets, etc.
The book, while providing a background of this fabricated case, gives a profile of each of the BK-16 and also carries original pieces of writing by them.

“सलाखों में कैद आवाज़ें” एक कोशिश है, भीमा कोरेगांव के षड़यंत्र को सामने लाने की। ये किताब एक कोशिश है उन्हें याद करने की जो न्याय और मानवता के लिए लड़ने के बावजूद आज खुद ‘न्याय के षड़यंत्र’ का शिकार बने हुए हैं।
पिछले तीन साल से इस देश के 16 ‘सच्चे नागरिक’ (जिन्हें बीके-16 भी कहा जाता है) सलाखों में कैद हैं, जिनमें जाने-माने मानवाधिकार व सांस्कृतिक कार्यकर्ता, प्रोफेसर, लेखक, कवि, वकील व ट्रेड यूनियन कार्यकर्ता शामिल हैं। उन पर आरोप है कि उन्होंने प्रतिबंधित माओवादी पार्टी के साथ मिलकर 2018 में भीमा कोरेगांव में हिंसा भड़काने और दलितों व बहुजनों को शासन के खिलाफ उकसाने की साजिश रची।
इस फर्जी केस पर रोशनी डालते हुए, यह किताब हमें बीके-16 से रूबरू कराती है और उन के लिखे हुए खत व रचनाओं को भी संकलित रूप से रखती है।



hindi + en | 1h56min | 2021

By United Against Hate / PUCL

Speakers: Kavita Srivastava, Nivedita Menon, Kavita Krishnan, Meera Sanghamitra, Sabika Naqvi, Lara Jesani; Moderated by Banojyotsna Lahiri.

The Month of May marks one year of arrest of equal citizenship activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita and 1000 days of wrongful incarceration of Human Rights lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj. All three are fearless voices of dissent, dreamers of a equitable and just tomorrow.
Join this session honouring all the brave and unapologetic women who refuse to be silenced despite the continuous intimidation by this fascist regime and resist the institutionalized discrimination against women.
Watch @ PUCL FB page

Bhima Koregaon, COVID-19 and custodial apathy in jails / Video + Press Release

Bhima Koregaon, COVID-19 and custodial apathy in jails / Video + Press Release

Video: Press Conference demanding immediate release of BK16 prisoners


By Insaf

en + hindi l 1h20min l 2021
Watch video here

Press Release: Covid-19 a virtual death sentence, new persecution tool against Bhima-Koregaon accused


sabrang / by sabrangindia

Friends and families of undertrial prisoners narrate the worsening condition in Taloja and Byculla prisons, stressing a single fact – jail authorities must allow unconditional bail for all political prisoners!
Families and friends of the 15-accused in the Bhima Koregaon (hereafter called BK-15) case vehemently demanded the immediate release of undertrial prisoners from crowded jails, while talking about jail conditions during a press conference on May 15, 2021.
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Press Release: Bhima Koregaon, COVID-19 and custodial apathy in jails


By Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy

Press Release
On May 15th, several family members of the 15 prisoners accused in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case addressed the press via an online press conference. Some of the arrestees have spent three years behind bars and continue to await trial. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages with greater intensity, several among those incarcerated have contracted the virus. Most of the arrestees are over the age of 60 and most suffer severe comorbidities. Despite the rapidly deteriorating health of the incarcerated, particularly most recently in the case of Prof. Hany Babu basic medical attention has been denied to them. Demanding that those imprisoned be released on bail in light of the looming threat of the pandemic, Prof. Babu’s wife Jenny Rowena, Adv. Surendra Gadling’s wife Minal Gadling, Fr. Stan Swamy’s friend Fr. Joseph Xavier, Mahesh Raut’s sister Monali, activist Harshali Potdar of Republican Panthers Jatiya Antachi Chalwal and friend of Sudhir Dhawale, Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj’s friend Smita Gupta addressed the press.

Harshali told us of conditions within Taloja Jail from Sudhir Dhawale who informed her that majority of the staff including cleaners and cooks inside prison have tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital inside Taloja is currently treating 60-65 people for the virus. No testing facilities are available inside jail. Instead, the jail is testing people who are fit in order to show that there are no cases. Eight persons inside Sudhir Dhawale and Vernon Gonsalves’ barrack have tested positive. Yet the prison staff have refused to test them. Sudhir Dhawale despite being over the age of 45 has been denied the vaccine as he does not have an Aadhaar card. Despite the fact that his documents have been confiscated by the police, being denied the right to be vaccinated while in the custody of the state raises the question, “whose responsibility is it now?” The letters being sent by them are reaching the family with a delay of over a month and video calls are not available. Despite the Prison Act 1894 that ensures that prisoners are entitled to basic medical facilities. However, in Taloja, there are no doctors, nurses, lab technicians, etc. but only three ayurvedic practitioners. Right to proper food and water, right to intermingle with other prisoners, communication with family members and lawyers through letters and calls, speedy trials, etc. – all of these rights are being violated.

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Video: Father Stan Swamy’s 84th birthday celebrations online

Video: Father Stan Swamy’s 84th birthday celebrations online

en + hindi | 1h34min | 2021

By PUCL & friends and co-travellers of Father Stan Swamy

The PUCL along with the friends and co-travellers of Father Stan Swamy,
invite you to join online Father Stan’s 84th birthday celebrations.

Watch video @ PUCL fb page here

Through his own writings from the prison, and know why the State fears him and why the Bhima Koregaon case is cooked up, along with messages of solidarity for his release and that of other Prisoners of Conscience.
Father Stan stands as a symbol of struggle and resistance against the repression of Tribals and has been falsely implicated and arrested since October 2020 in the Bhima Koregaon “conspiracy” case. A Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, he has worked in Jharkhand for over three decades on issues of land, forest and labour rights in order to create a world where there is love, peace and justice.
#ReleaseFatherStanNOW #ReleaseAllBK16Prisoners

Also watch: Repeal UAPA – Persecution by Prosecution (PUCL, Jan 2021)

Three Day consultation on 20th, 21st and 22nd January, 2021
► Repeal UAPA – Day Three (en + … | 2h 51min | Jan 2021)
► Repeal UAPA – Day Two (en +… | 2h 22min | Jan 2021)
► Repeal UAPA – Day One (en + … | 2h 17min | Jan 2021)

In letters, Stan Swamy speaks about co-inmates, life behind bars


The Indian Express / by Sadaf Modak

Swamy, who turned 84 on Monday, was arrested on October 8, last year, from Ranchi by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in the Elgaar Parishad case.
From his daily routine to the experiences of his co-inmates in jail, Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy’s communication through letters and phones calls with his colleagues and friends gives a glimpse into the 200 days spent in jail by the country’s oldest prisoner arrested in a terror case.
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