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The BK16

The BK16

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” or “Elgar Parishad” 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.

The Case of the Reliance Workers Satyanarayan Karrela, Babushankar Vanguri, 
Shankar Gunde, Ravi Marampelli and Saidulu Singapanga

The BK16: Who is …?

Who is Varavara Rao?
All posts related to Varavara Rao
Who is Sudha Bharadwaj?
All posts related to Sudha Bharadwaj
Who is Sudhir Dhawale?
All posts related to Sudhir Dhawale
Who is Arun Ferreira?
All posts related to Arun Ferreira
Who is Surendra Gadling?
All posts related to Surendra Gadling
Who is Vernon Gonsalves?
All posts related to Vernon Gonsalves
Who is Mahesh Raut?
All posts related to Mahesh Raut
Who is Shoma Sen?
All posts related to Shoma Sen
Who is Rona Wilson?
All posts related to Rona Wilson
Who is Gautam Navlakha?
All posts related to Gautam Navlakha
Who is Anand Teltumbde?
All posts related to Anand Teltumbde
Who is Hany Babu?
All posts related to Hany Babu
Who are the Kabir Kala Manch artistes Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor?
All posts related to Kabir Kala Manch
Who is Stan Swamy?
All posts related to Stan Swamy

‘The Point Is Not to Surrender’: The Sudha Bharadwaj I Know

‘The Point Is Not to Surrender’: The Sudha Bharadwaj I Know

The Quint / by Smita Gupta

‘They call Sudha a terrorist, an anti-national. I have known her for over 30 years. You can’t find a better friend.’
“Sudha’s got bail!” These were the three words we have been desperate to hear for over three years and for which our brilliant and committed lawyers – Adv Yug Mohit Chaudhry and his team – have left no stone unturned; news her daughter Maaysha (Anu to all of us) has agonised over and lived for the past three years. And yet, I couldn’t believe it until I spoke to the lawyers myself. For all of us, Sudha’s friends and family, it is devastating that on some technicality the other co-accused were denied default bail.
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‘This fight is not just about Father Stan Swamy’: Father Mascarenhas

‘This fight is not just about Father Stan Swamy’: Father Mascarenhas / by Jyoti Punwani

‘Father Stan was concerned about other innocents who may be implicated and put inside without the slightest proof, the way he was.’
Father Mascarenhas, the former principal of St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, tells Jyoti Punwani why even though Father Swamy is no more, the legal fight to prove that the 84-year-old priest from Jharkhand was not what the State portrayed him to be, is important.
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Bombay HC Asks Jesuit Group to File New Plea if They Want Stan Swamy’s Name Cleared

Bombay HC Asks Jesuit Group to File New Plea if They Want Stan Swamy’s Name Cleared

Pic: Mumbai, Sep 2021

Indian Jesuits want Father Stan’s reputation restored


UCA News / by UCA News reporter

They believe the late activist priest was implicated in mob violence for standing up for the rights of indigenous people.
Indian Jesuits plan to appeal to a court to clear the stigma attached to their activist colleague Father Stan Swamy, who died under detention after being arrested under a draconian anti-terror law.
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Bombay HC Asks Jesuit Group to File New Plea if They Want Stan Swamy’s Name Cleared


The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Swamy died while his appeal in the high court against the NIA special court’s order denying him bail was pending.
The Bombay high court on Wednesday asked the lawyers of late Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Stan Swamy to file a fresh petition against observations made by a special National Investigation Agency court against him in the Elgar Parishad case.
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HC asks lawyers to file fresh plea against special NIA court’s observations against Stan Swamy


The Indian Express / by Express News Service

After his death on July 5, Swamy’s lawyers had requested the court to keep pending his appeals against special court orders rejecting his bail pleas on medical grounds and merits.
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked late Father Stan Swamy’s lawyers to file fresh independent plea raising grievances pertaining to the observations made against the Jesuit priest by the Special NIA Court while rejecting his bail pleas.
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Bombay High Court Disposes Father Stan Swamy’s Petitions ; Allows Jesuits To Initiate Separate Proceedings


Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

Four and a half months after Father Stan Swamy’s demise, the Bombay High Court has allowed the Jesuits to initiate separateproceedings to clear the odium attached to his name and reputation because of the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad case.
A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal disposed of as withdrawn Swamy’s bail appeal and anotherpetition challenging his prosecution under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
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Fr Swamy silenced over India’s coal and Adivasi

Fr Swamy silenced over India’s coal and Adivasi

AsiaNews / by Giorgio Bernardelli

The Jesuit clergyman, who died in Mumbai after nine months in detention, wrote a scathing article against the Indian government’s policy of auctioning off 41 coal mines to private interests. India’s coal is front-page news in the wake of COP26 in Glasgow.
Fr Stan Swamy was a prophetic voice when he spoke about coal mines in India, an issue that is front-page news around the world.
That voice was first silenced with prison, then extinguished at the age of 83 when he died last July from the consequences of his detention.
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Why Suppressing Varavara Rao’s Poetry Furthers His Incarceration

Why Suppressing Varavara Rao’s Poetry Furthers His Incarceration

Campaign poster, Sep 2021

Why Suppressing Varavara Rao’s Poetry Furthers His Incarceration


The Swaddle / by Rohitha Naraharisetty

Varavara Rao, a Telugu poet and activist who is currently incarcerated under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, is seeing his voice being stifled even outside the prison system.
Varavara Rao has and continues to be, among the most persecuted poets in Indian history. He founded the literary magazine Srujana and was deeply involved with the Revolutionary Writers’ Association. His work revolved around prison violence, labor struggles, and human rights.
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Adverse legal opinion behind delay in releasing Varavara Rao’s book


The Telegraph / by Pheroze L. Vincent

Last October, Penguin Random House India had announced that an english translation of his Telegu poems would be published under its Vintage imprint in 2021.
The publication of the English translation of a collection of Telugu poems by P. Varavara Rao, the Hyderabad activist facing trial in the Elgar Parishad “terrorism” case, has been delayed because of adverse legal opinion the publisher is said to have received.
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Penguin’s Varavara Rao book in limbo? Co-editors say they have faith in publisher


The News Minute / by Balakrishna Ganeshan

Is Penguin planning to indefinitely postpone the release of ‘Varavara Rao: The Revolutionary Poet’ – a collection of poems by the revolutionary poet translated into English? The co-editors of the book have said that they have faith that the publisher, Penguin, wouldn’t do this. In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, November 10, journalist and translator N Venugopal, and writer and poet Meena Kandasamy, said that they trust publisher Penguin Randomhouse India, to publish the book, which is a compilation of 65 poems written by Varavara Rao.
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‘Legal Row’: Penguin Censors Poems, Then Stalls Varavara Rao’s Book Indefinitely


The Quint / by Nikhila Henry

Penguin Random House was expected to publish Varavara Rao’s collection of poems in June or July 2021.
Telugu poet Varavara Rao was 20 years old when he started penning poems. Six decades on, the 81-year-old poet’s lifelong work is now in limbo as Penguin Random House has stalled the publication of a collection of his poems, citing its concerns about the “nature of charges” levelled against him, The Quint has learnt.
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by Meena Kandasamy (Nov 9, 2021)

Click to enlarge

Penguin stalls Varavara Rao book over ‘nature of charges’ against him: Quint


Newslaundry / by NL Team

The publication of Telugu poet Varavara Rao’s collection of poems has been put on hold by Penguin Random House, with the publisher citing its concerns about the “nature of charges” levelled against him, according to a report in the Quint.
The 81-year-old poet, who was arrested along with other activists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in November 2018 for his alleged role in the Bhima Koregaon violence, is out on medical grounds and stationed in Mumbai.
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The Freedom to Write Committee of Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann is honoured to celebrate the life and work of the renowned poets, Varavara Rao (India) and İlhan Sami Çomak (Turkey), on the occasion of the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer.
Read more / register

As Sudha Bharadwaj Spends 4th Birthday in Jail, a Reminder That UAPA Enables Her Incarceration

As Sudha Bharadwaj Spends 4th Birthday in Jail, a Reminder That UAPA Enables Her Incarceration

Chhattisgarh, Nov 1, 2021

The Wire / by Mahtab Alam

In addition to her legal battles, Sudha Bharadwaj also fought to seek justice for the marginalised in Chhattisgarh.
On Monday, November 1, Chhattisgarh celebrated 21 years of its statehood. On November 1, 2000, the state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh. It was a result of longstanding demand and sustained struggles of local organisations and the population. One of the organisations which played a key role in the formation of the new state is Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM) or Chhattisgarh Liberation Front. The CMM was formed in the early 1980s under the charismatic leadership of trade union leader Shankar Guha Niyogi. He was murdered in September 1991. And one of those who decided to carry forward the unfinished work of Niyogi is his fellow comrade from early years of activism – Sudha Bharadwaj, a trade union activist, lawyer and teacher.
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No bail, no trial: Sudha Bharadwaj turns 60 in jail / Another birthday in detention

No bail, no trial: Sudha Bharadwaj turns 60 in jail / Another birthday in detention

No bail, no trial: Sudha Bharadwaj turns 60 in jail!


Sabrangindia / by Sabrangindia

The human rights defender has been accused of waging a war against the government and booked under terror charges in the Bhima Koregaon case
Trade Unionist, lawyer, professor, writer, Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested on August 28, 2018 and has been lodged in Byculla jail since then. She has been accused of criminal conspiracy, sedition under the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act charges of funding a terrorist activity, conspiracy, being a member of terrorist gang or organisation, and supporting a terrorist organisation.
Born on November 1, 1961, Bharadwaj has turned 60 today. This is the fourth birthday she has had to spend behind bars.
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Human rights defender Sudha Bharadwaj spends another birthday in detention



Human rights defender and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj will be spending her 60th birthday in detention today, more than three years after she was arrested on baseless charges under a draconian anti-terror law. Global civil society alliance CIVICUS calls on the Indian government to halt the ongoing persecution against her and release Bharadwaj immediately and unconditionally.
Read full statement

‘If You Try to Be Safe and in the Middle, You Will Never Succeed’


The Wire / by Monobina Gupta

Note: This article was originally published on July 18, 2018, and was republished on November 1, 2021, Sudha Bharadwaj’s 60th birthday.

Sudha Bharadwaj has spent nearly three decades working with the most marginalised sections of people in the conflict-ridden state of Chhattisgarh. Away from the media glare, her ear firmly to the ground, the trade union activist and lawyer has been up against powerful corporates and state administrations headed both by the present BJP dispensation and before that, the Congress party.
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The Prison Song of Surendra Gadling

The Prison Song of Surendra Gadling

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

While out on temporary bail in August, the rights activist sang a song written by Kabir Kala Manch’s Ramesh Gaichor for his friends and colleagues about the sordid conditions in prison.
Mumbai: Surendra Gadling, a human rights lawyer from Nagpur, has always considered courtrooms his stage. Between serious arguments, he would casually break into songs of cultural and political resistance. He would be commonly found invoking political theories and remembering shahirs from the Dalit community amid serious legal arguments. His court appearances usually attracted an eager audience from among his peers and junior lawyers.
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Video: The Prison Song of Surendra Gadling

hindi | 11min | 2021

51- year-old Gadling, a well-known criminal lawyer in Nagpur, was once a cultural activist, who sang songs of political resistance. The 11- minutes- long rendition tells you what it means to be incarcerated in Indian prisons. From food, water, to medical care, everything is a struggle, Gadling narrates. The song was recorded by one of Gadling’s colleagues and was made available to The Wire after obtaining his consent.
Watch video

Also read: India’s Jail Stats: 7 In 10 Undertrials, 1 In 3 Dalit/Adivasi (IndiaSpend / Oct 2021)

Teacher, companion, motivator: Adivasi-rights activist Dayamani Barla remembers Stan Swamy

Teacher, companion, motivator: Adivasi-rights activist Dayamani Barla remembers Stan Swamy

The Caravan / Dayamani Barla

To understand the life struggle of Stan Swamy, it is necessary to understand the history and struggle of the Adivasi community in Jharkhand and the country. There is a need to understand the traditional rights that Adivasis have on natural resources such as water, forest, and land. It is only then that we can appreciate what Swamy stood for and fought for.
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Video: One Year Of Incarceration – Free Sagar Gorkhe, Jyoti Jagtap and Ramesh Gaichor

Video: One Year Of Incarceration – Free Sagar Gorkhe, Jyoti Jagtap and Ramesh Gaichor

By Kabir Kala Manch


41 min | Sep 8, 2021

Protest against the arrest of Sagar Gorkhe, Jyoti Jagtap and Ramesh Gaichor
Watch video (Kabir Kala Manch fb page) here

The crushing power of street performances from the margins:
A profile of Kabir Kala Manch’s Sagar Gorkhe, Jyoti Jagtap and Ramesh Gaichor

By The Polis Project and maraa

Kabir Kala Manch
Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) is an urban grass-roots performance group at the helm of a socio-political movement rooted in cultural struggles of the most marginalized communities in India. KKM was formed by working-class youth from low-income Dalit and Bahujan caste communities in Pune as a response to the 2002 pogrom in Gujarat.
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