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Category: Persecuted

Stories of Dissent – The BK16

Stories of Dissent – The BK16

By The London Story

Born in America, Sudha Bhardwaj is a human rights lawyer practising in the Chhattisgarh High Court. She renounced her American citizenship at the age of 18, in order to join the Indian civil liberties movement. Bhardwaj has lived in Chhattisgarh, a state with a large tribal population, for more than 29 years of her life. She has been helping tribals against the illegal acquisition of their land by the government and private companies.
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India Is Targeting Defenders of Indigenous Rights as “Terrorists”

India Is Targeting Defenders of Indigenous Rights as “Terrorists”

Scientific American / by Virginius Xaxa

Adivasis and their allies are being persecuted for protesting development that destroys the environment.
On October 8, 2020, Indian authorities arrested Stan Swamy, an 83-year-old Jesuit priest affected by Parkinson’s disease, from his home in the state of Jharkhand. Swamy is being held under an antiterrorism law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), that a group of United Nations’ Special Rapporteurs has condemned for enabling the Indian state to designate dissidents as terrorists and detain them for months without access to courts.
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2020 Witnesses the Deliberate Destruction of Democratic Rights Organizations in India

2020 Witnesses the Deliberate Destruction of Democratic Rights Organizations in India


Solidarity poster, July 2020

Sanhati India / by Partho Sarothi Ray

The large scale destruction of lives and livelihoods in 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in India and its inept handling by the government has been accompanied by another sort of destruction, much more deliberate and calculated. It is the destruction of the democratic rights organizations (DROs) of India, as part of a vicious plan of the BJP government to irreparably shrink the democratic space for a future that we can only tremble to think about.
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Sudhir Dhawale – Dalit leader remains in jail as government, court ‘wilfully’ disrespect previous judgments

Sudhir Dhawale – Dalit leader remains in jail as government, court ‘wilfully’ disrespect previous judgments

Counterview / by Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey, Kushagra Kumar

Writer, poet, artist, perennial protestor and Dalit leader Sudhir Dhawale, arrested and jailed in mid-2018, remains incarcerated under charges of the controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and assorted Indian Penal Codes. He has been accused of instigating violence at Bhima Koregaon event on January 1, 2018.
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Gadling in jail. Reason? As lawyer-activist he has been ‘unpleasant’ to India’s topcops

Gadling in jail. Reason? As lawyer-activist he has been ‘unpleasant’ to India’s topcops

Counterview / by Nilkantha Mandal, Sandeep Pandey, Kushagra Kumar

Surendra Gadling, now in jail in the Bhima-Koregoan violence case, is a human rights lawyer and Dalit rights activist based in Nagpur. He is known for taking up cases of extra-judicial killings, police excesses and atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis in Gadchiroli and Gondia districts of Maharashtra.
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The cost of voicing dissent: UAPA against G.N. Saibaba, Gautam Navlakha, Father Stan Swamy and others

26/12/2020

Countercurrents / by Kunal Pant

In 2016, a Supreme Court Judge asked the state of Maharashtra, “Do you want to extract a pound of flesh?” The statement was directed against the state for contesting the bail plea of Delhi University Professor G. N. Saibaba. Saibaba was arrested in 2014, a justification for which was to prevent him from committing what the police called “anti-national activities.”
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A top peace activist, Modi govt ‘equated’ Navlakha with a terrorist

A top peace activist, Modi govt ‘equated’ Navlakha with a terrorist

Counterview / by Priyanka Preet, Sandeep Pandey, Kushagra Kumar

Gautam Navlakha is a famed author, civil rights activists, human rights activist, journalist, an Editorial Consultant at the “Economic and Political Weekly”, probably the most internationally well known social sciences journal published out of India, the convenor of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir and the Secretary of the People’s Union for Democratic Rights.
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How Does an 83-Year-Old Jesuit End Up in Prison? / Video: In Conversation with Fr Stan Swamy

How Does an 83-Year-Old Jesuit End Up in Prison? / Video: In Conversation with Fr Stan Swamy

Solidarity poster & Crib in Mumbai

Christmas message: Where are we heading to?

25/12/2020

The Telegraph / by Fr J Felix Raj, SJ

It is now a global festival that has transcended the perimeters of religion and symbolises different sentiments – love, friendship, hope, benevolence, forgiveness and amity.
This Christmas, I remember my fellow Jesuit, Fr. Stan Swamy. December 25 is his 79th day in jail. I wonder how he is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ at Taloja.
As a true Jesuit, I am confident that he is reaching out to the fellow prisoners and sharing with them the joy of the newborn divine Baby Jesus, and if the jail authorities do not ask him to appeal to the court for permission, he would distribute some sweets and wish them all a Feliz Navidad.
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How Does an 83-Year-Old Jesuit End Up in Prison?

24/12/2020

The New York Times / by Nikhil Kumar

Father Stan Swamy spent decades fighting for the rights of India’s marginalized people. In October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imprisoned him under antiterrorism laws…
Before he was arrested in October under India’s antiterrorism laws, Father Swamy spent decades championing the welfare of the Indigenous tribespeople who account for around a quarter of the population in Jharkhand, one the country’s most resource-rich yet impoverished states.
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In Conversation with Father Stan Swamy

24/12/2020

Countercurrents / by Vidhya Bhusan Rawat

None would ever have imagined that an octogenarian Stan Swamy would face such a harsh treatment for his committed work for the Adivasis of Jharkhand. When the governments of the world over honor activists who work in tiring circumstances and devote their time to areas far away from their places than we must realise that it is not for money or fame but for pure committment and convictions. Father Stan Swamy was born in Trichy and as a Tamilian Christian he had enormous opportunities for him but he dedicated over thirty years of his life to the service of Adivasis in Jharkhand.
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Video: In Conversation with Father Stan Swamy

en | 34 min | 2017

This conversation was recorded about three years back at the Ranchi office of Father Stan Swamy when I visited Jharkhand. Hailing from Trichy district in Tamilnadu, Father worked tirelessly for the Adivasis in different parts of the country. He was also associated with Indian Social Institute, Banglore but his love was Jharkhand where he dedicated his entire life since 1990s.
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Prison life, a great leveller: Stan Swamy shares a poem from jail

Prison life, a great leveller: Stan Swamy shares a poem from jail

Sabrang India / by Sabrangindia

Jesuit Priest Father Stan Swamy (83) writes he’s pained to see so many young inmates in Taloja Jail, shares a christmas message of compassion.
Jesuit Priest Father Stan Swamy, the 83-year-old human rights defender, who is lodged in Taloja Jail, has written a short poem in his latest communication from jail. As he prepares to spend Christmas in jail, instead with his beloved tribal community and his colleagues back home in Ranchi, Swamy shares thoughts on equality, compassion, and even of oneness with nature, that is perhaps what most inmates hold on to as they await justice.
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Varavara Rao in Prison: Maoists and Other Enemies of the Indian State

Varavara Rao in Prison: Maoists and Other Enemies of the Indian State

VERSO / by Aditya Bahl

Aditya Bahl protests against the continued imprisonment of the Marxist poet, Varavara Rao, and examines how the current cycle of rightwing repression is part of a much longer political history, shaped by the changing relationship between the Indian state and capitalism.
In Captive Imagination, a collection of essays written in the prison during the late 1980s, Varavara Rao, the Telugu poet and a leading Maoist ideologue in India, narrates a rather uncanny state of affairs.
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Why were Activists Like Anand Teltumbde Who Work For the Disadvantaged Jailed?

Why were Activists Like Anand Teltumbde Who Work For the Disadvantaged Jailed?

The Leaflet / by Niharika Ravi

The Human Rights Watch has called the detention by the Indian government of civil rights and Dalit rights activist, Anand Teltumbde as “wrongful” and “politically motivated”.
“Indian authorities are using draconian counterterrorism laws against activists simply for criticizing the government or raising their voices against injustice. The authorities should immediately release Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha and the other activists wrongfully detained in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of the Human Rights Watch.
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