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. Read more
India Is Targeting Defenders of Indigenous Rights as “Terrorists”
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. Read more
2020 Witnesses the Deliberate Destruction of Democratic Rights Organizations in India
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. Read more
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. Read more
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. Read more
The cost of voicing dissent: UAPA against G.N. Saibaba, Gautam Navlakha, Father Stan Swamy and others
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.” Read more
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. Read more
How Does an 83-Year-Old Jesuit End Up in Prison? / Video: In Conversation with Fr Stan Swamy
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. Read more
How Does an 83-Year-Old Jesuit End Up in Prison?
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. Read more
In Conversation with Father Stan Swamy
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. Read more
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. Watch video
Prison life, a great leveller: Stan Swamy shares a poem from jail
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. Read more / read poem
Varavara Rao in Prison: Maoists and Other Enemies of the Indian State
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. Read more
Why were Activists Like Anand Teltumbde Who Work For the Disadvantaged Jailed?
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. Read more