Meet the women engaged in an endless battle with the state to free family members arrested under stringent laws.
On Friday morning, the Bombay High Court rejected the parole application of GN Saibaba, the Delhi University professor undergoing a life sentence in Nagpur jail since 2017 for “Maoist links”. Read more
All the people who are the focus of this blog have been accused of being associated with what has come to be known as the Bhima-Koregaon case.
To mark the bi-centenary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon in 2018, more than 200 Dalit, Bahujan, Ambedkarite and other organisations came together. The coalition organised the hugely successful and massively attended event, ‘Elgar Parishad’(loud declaration committee), on December 31, 2017 in Shaniwarwada in Pune, once the seat of Peshwai power. This event, as per the organisers, was organised to expose the Navi Peshwai — an era of increasing repression on movements, alienation of minorities, increasing caste atrocities, anti-poor development policies and more.
Charges against the Activists
● That they had made inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad.
● That they are acting on behalf of, or are members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoists).
● That they were plotting to assassinate the Prime Minister.
Lack of Evidence
As it turns out, most of those arrested were not even at the Elgar Parishad event, the charges about the links to Maoists entirely shown to be based on fabricated evidence and so far the charges about the assassination plot had not even a single piece of evidence produced.
On March 16, 2020, the Supreme Court of India rejected the anticipatory bail application of Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha. On April 8th the Supreme Court granted them one more week time to ‘surrender’ to the police.
Teltumbde’s writing has exposed the hypocrisy of the votaries of neo-liberal capitalism, caste deniers and Hindutva triumphalists. It is they who seek to silence him today.
… A consummate polymath, Anand Teltumbde is at once comfortable with hard-nosed political-economic analyses of globalisation, as with the cultural-politics of caste identities and caste-class dialectics, or with the techno-business strategic policy formulations that figure in trade journals. Read more
Gautam Navlakha is a Delhi-based veteran journalist, author, civil liberties, human rights and peace activist best known for his fierce and sustained critique of the Indian state’s militarism against its own citizenry in three broad zones – the northeastern states, Kashmir valley, and the central Indian forested zone in Chhattisgarh. …
Maaysha, Sudha’s daughter:“If fighting for the rights of adivasis, fighting for workers and peasants, fighting against repression and exploitation and giving up one s whole life for them is being a naxalite then I guess naxalites are pretty good.”
“The 6th Annual Harvard Law International Women’s Day Portrait Exhibit showcases the astounding contributions of women around the world to the areas of law and policy. The honorees — each of whom were nominated by HLS students, faculty or staff — are powerful voices in their respective fields, whether they are sitting on a high court bench, standing in front of a classroom, or marching in the streets.”
Or whether they are sitting in jail.
Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj is a 2019 honoree of the Harvard Law International Women’s day exhibition and is sitting in a jail cell in Pune. How did these conflicting positions come about? …
In one of her letters to her daughter, Shoma writes, “They can keep me locked inside, but my mind is completely free”
A reputed academician, a Dalit and Women’s Rights activist, a teacher and dissenter, Shoma Sen is all of the above and more. Born and raised in Mumbai, she moved to Nagpur with her partner and daughter with a strong resolve to protect and promote democratic rights of the most marginalised people in the society.
Shoma has been a respected academic for almost three decades. She has been actively involved with the Women’s Department of Wardha Vishwavidyalaya and taught in various colleges across Nagpur. During the time of her arrest she was the Head of the Department of English at Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University. She has written extensively on post-colonialism and women’s studies for several decades. …
The letters, which The Indian Express has access to, reveal a slice of their lives behind bars. Some talk about when they can possibly see the gallows, some are abstract ruminations on life and freedom, while some dwell on the circumstances of their arrest and merits of the case. Read more
‘Life not comfortable in jail, Shoma has lost 7 kgs´
Nagpur: “It’s Independence Day and the second year of my unfreedom begins. Last year on 14th August, I was shifted into the separate cell, my compact little world,” reads a letter written from Yerawada Jail by Shoma Sen, one of the five accused in Bhima Koregaon violence case, to her husband, Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya in Nagpur on August 15 this year. Read more
Vernon Gonsalves is now reading Anne Frank’s Diary to convicts and running classes in prison
It has been a year since poet Varavara Rao, unionist and human rights lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, and activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira have been arrested and charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for their alleged links with the CPI (Maoist) and for their alleged role in the Bhima-Koregaon violence.
Their family members, who spoke to The Hindu on Wednesday, said, “The process has become the punishment”, and it is extremely disheartening that it has become very difficult for them to even get bail. Read more