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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

Bhima Koregaon Accused (BK16) | 1 Dead, 1 on House Arrest, 3 on Bail: What of the Rest?

Bhima Koregaon Accused (BK16) | 1 Dead, 1 on House Arrest, 3 on Bail: What of the Rest?

poster by @/bakeryprasad

The Quint / by Rohini Roy

The remaining 11 continue to languish in jail — Who are they and what is the status of the case against them?
Anti-caste writer Anand Teltumbde, who walked out of jail on Saturday, 26 November, after he was granted bail on merits in connection with the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case said:
“I am definitely happy. It has been 30 months that I have been in prison. The sad part, however, is that we had to spend time in jail after being booked in a fake case.”
In the same case, two others, poet Varavara Rao and lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj – were granted bail earlier due to different reasons, while academic Gautam Navlakha was allowed house arrest on health grounds by a 19 November Supreme Court order.
Read more


Also read:
As Bhima Koregaon case completes its fourth anniversary, State reprisal is writ large in its twists and turns (The Leaflet / June 2022)
Bhima Koregaon: Who’s who of those arrested and the developments in the case pertaining to each (The Leaflet / June 2022)

Varavara Rao: The Conscience of Our Time / Red roses to the People’s Poet

Varavara Rao: The Conscience of Our Time / Red roses to the People’s Poet

Varavara Rao: The Conscience of Our Time

03/11/2022

Countercurrennts / by Moumita Alam

Two districts of Gujarat have begun to grant citizenship to minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians) from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. More than hundreds drowned in Morbi, Gujarat in the moribund madness we call celebration. We are at the pedestal in the Global Hunger Index. Everyday capitalism is devouring our air, water, and land. And the big giant 56 is roaring at the Naxals both with a gun and pen. He consciously or unconsciously acknowledges that the pen has the same power as the gun!
It’s this fear that has put brilliant minds behind bars. But are we not also within bars too? Invisible wires have enslaved us.
Read more


Red roses to the People’s Poet. The fight is on!

03/11/2022

By Release The Poet


en | 1:42min | 2022
Listen to the poem


Also read:
Can’t Allow Varavara Rao To Stay In Hyderabad For Three Months For Cataract Treatment, Will Delay Framing of Charges: NIA Court (Live Law / Sep 2022)
Supreme Court directs trial court to expeditiously frame charges and decide discharge pleas (The Leaflet / Aug 2022)

Sudha Bharadwaj restarts law practice after 3 years in prison

Sudha Bharadwaj restarts law practice after 3 years in prison

Sudha Bharadwaj

Hindustan Times / by Gautam S. Mengle

When she was released on conditional bail in the Bhima Koregaon case, for which she spent over three years in jail, one of the first things Sudha Bharadwaj asked her daughter to send from her home in Bilaspur were her black coat and her lawyer’s sanad.
Her black lawyer’s coat hangs from the back of her chair, the computer on the table has multiple windows open – the websites of various courts in Maharashtra – and a stack of handwritten letters await her attention.
Read more (for HT subscribers only)


by Kavita Srivastava (Oct 21, 2022):


Also watch/read:

● Video: The Conditions of Prisoners in Indian Jails

By All India Lawyers’ Association for Justice – AILAJ / March 2022


en | 1:21:23 | 2022
The huge number of undertrials, the overcrowding, and the disproportional numbers of Dalit, Muslim and Adivasi prisoners are part of the prison problem in India.
We are joined by Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj for a discussion on the Conditions of Prisoners in Indian Jails.
Watch video

● Sudha Bharadwaj speaks – A Life in Law and Activism

Publisher: Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Edition: January 2021
Language: English
Sudha Bharadwaj’s interview by: Darshana Mitra and Santanu Chakraborty
Pictures credit: PUCL
Cover Design / Layout: Vinay Jain
Paperback: 316 pages
Access a free PDF copy of the book here:
Sudha_Bharadwaj_speaks (2,1 MB)

The End: Lessons from UAPA series

The End: Lessons from UAPA series


Drawing by Arun Ferreira

Midday / by Ajaz Ashraf

This draconian law is rarely invoked against the upper caste Hindus who are not communists or Ambedkarites or atheists, which is a commentary on the nature of the Indian state.
This column has featured, over the past five months, stories of those families whose members have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act—and persistently denied bail. They continue to languish in jail. With the exception of Fahad Shah, editor of The Kashmir Walla, the column focussed on the accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence and the 2020 Delhi riot cases. Their tragedy is compounded as the charges against them are widely believed to be imaginary.
Read more


Also read:
And the future of Stan Swamy (Midday.com / Oct 2022)
And a place Sudhir Dhawale calls home (Midday.com / Aug 2022)
And Ramesh Gaichor’s patriotic songs (Midday.com / Aug 2022)
And prayers to Lord for Arun Ferreira (Midday.com / Aug 2022)
And Vernon’s letters to his son (Midday.com / July 2022)
And comrades admire Jyoti Jagtap (Midday.com / July 2022)
And they wait for Mahesh Raut (Midday.com / Jun 2022)
And the letters of Rona Wilson (Midday.com / June 2022)
And Allah’s call to Hany Babu (Midday.com / June 2022)
And Ma died waiting for Surendra (Midday.com / Jun 2022)
And Ma can’t sing with Sagar (Midday.com / June 2022)
And he waits for Shoma Sen (Midday.com / May 2022)
And she waits for Gautam Navlakha (Midday.com / May 2022)

Video: Sudha Bharadwaj on activism, her time in jail & why Chhattisgarh will always be home

Video: Sudha Bharadwaj on activism, her time in jail & why Chhattisgarh will always be home


en | 13:32min | 2022

Newslaundry / by Manisha Pande; NL Interview

The trade unionist and lawyer sits down with Manisha Pande in Mumbai.
Sudha Bharadwaj loves mathematics, wonders whether she gave her daughter the “right” kind of childhood, and became a lawyer when she was 40 years old.
“Had I not become a lawyer,” she says, “I don’t think I would have been very easily accepted as a leader.”
Sudha was released from Mumbai’s Byculla Jail in December last year after spending three years in prison. She was arrested in connection with the #BhimaKoregaon violence and was repeatedly denied bail until December 1. She was also dubber an ‘urban naxal’ by TV channels that made little attempt to understand her work. Sudha says she now wants to go to her real home, to Chhattisgarh, where she’s lived since the 1980s.
In this interview, she talks about her childhood in Bilaspur and her educational journey, culminating in IIT Kanpur. Her mother, a #JNU professor, helped shape the ideology of this self-proclaimed #Marxist – though she confesses her mother had many “apprehensions” – who began working with trade unions at the age of 25.
Working with people on the ground, Sudha is only too aware of how “alien” the judicial process is to the majority of India’s population. “The notification comes out in the gazette. You are somewhere, miles away in a village which is not even accessible, and nobody even tells you about it,” she says. She also thinks it’s important for young lawyers to cut their teeth by representing the most marginalised.
In Byculla jail, where she remembers she once saw #RheaChakraborty, Sudha continued her work, trying to secure legal aid for those imprisoned with her. She believes in the importance of a “united front” – the farm law protests are an example, with people holding differing ideologies coming together – and worries that the lack of this unity gives rise to dogma.
Watch 13 min video clip here

by newslaundry (Oct 21, 2022):
‘He was never an opportunist in his politics.’ @Sudhabharadwaj talks about labour law leader and founder of the #Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha Shankar Guha Niyogi and the actual movement that led to his assassination.
Watch video clip (3:46min)

by newslaundry (Oct 20, 2022):
In conversation with @MnshaP @Sudhabharadwaj details the #Sarkeguda encounter case in #Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district in which unarmed villagers including minors were killed, and the legal battle that ensued.
Watch video clip (4:30min)

by newslaundry (Oct 19, 2022):
‘So much money goes to defend the state.’ Speaking with @MnshaP, @Sudhabharadwaj
talks about legal aid in India and how there is no level playing field for citizens.
Watch video clip (2:34min)

Watch the full interview (for subscribers only) here

And the future of Stan Swamy

And the future of Stan Swamy

Midday / by Ajaz Ashraf

Stan had modelled himself on Jesus, becoming a dissident both inside and outside the established order. Like Jesus, he, too, was crucified—by the State. Now, every time an adivasi stands up for his rights, he is resurrected.
Joe, please come over to Ranchi,” Father Stan Swamy said to Father Joseph Xavier, director, Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru, over the telephone on September 30, 2020. Stan sensed the National Investigation Agency was planning to invoke against him the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and whisk him away to Mumbai, where the Bhima Koregaon case accused had been dumped into jail. He knew it would not matter to NIA sleuths that he was 83 years old, his body ravaged by Parkinson’s disease.
Read more


Also read:
Framed to die: The case of Stan Swamy (PUDR / Aug 2021) 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.

And a place Sudhir Dhawale calls home (Midday.com / Aug 2022)
And prayers to Lord for Arun Ferreira (Midday.com / Aug 2022)
And Vernon’s letters to his son (Midday.com / July 2022)
And comrades admire Jyoti Jagtap (Midday.com / July 2022)
And the letters of Rona Wilson (Midday.com / June 2022)
And Allah’s call to Hany Babu (Midday.com / June 2022)
And Ma can’t sing with Sagar (Midday.com / June 2022)
And he waits for Shoma Sen (Midday.com / May 2022)
And she waits for Gautam Navlakha (Midday.com / May 2022)

And a place Sudhir Dhawale calls home

And a place Sudhir Dhawale calls home

Sudhir Dhawale

Midday.com / by Ajaz Ashraf

It is more a face than a place this Bhima Koregaon accused can refer to as home; one who stayed against all odds and continues to share his goal—to unite progressive forces to socially transform India.
Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in,” wrote poet Robert Frost. His profound observation defines the relationship between Sharad Gaikwad and Sudhir Dhawale. They are not related; they did not know each other until 2004, when the politics of protest brought them together. Yet when Sudhir had nowhere to go, it was Sharad who rented a room for his friend to reside in. 
Read more


Also read:
And prayers to Lord for Arun Ferreira (Midday.com / Aug 2022)
And Vernon’s letters to his son (Midday.com / July 2022)
And comrades admire Jyoti Jagtap (Midday.com / July 2022)
And the letters of Rona Wilson (Midday.com / June 2022)
And Allah’s call to Hany Babu (Midday.com / June 2022)
And Ma can’t sing with Sagar (Midday.com / June 2022)
And he waits for Shoma Sen (Midday.com / May 2022)
And she waits for Gautam Navlakha (Midday.com / May 2022)

Of 16 Arrested Accused in Elgar Parishad Case, One Dead, Two Out on Bail and Rest in Jail

Of 16 Arrested Accused in Elgar Parishad Case, One Dead, Two Out on Bail and Rest in Jail

poster by @/bakeryprasad

Of 16 Arrested Accused in Elgar Parishad Case, One Dead, Two Out on Bail and Rest in Jail

19/08/2022

The Wire / by pti

With the Supreme Court stipulating that charges in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case be framed within the next three months, the focus has shifted now to the status of the accused.
With the Supreme Court stipulating that charges in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case be framed within the next three months, the focus has shifted now to the status of the accused.
In the case that is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), of the total 16 arrested accused, Jesuit priest Stan Swamy died at a private hospital here last year during judicial custody, while Telugu poet Varavara Rao is currently out on medical bail. Only one accused – Sudha Bharadwaj – is out on regular bail.
Read more


Also read:
Who’s who of those arrested and the developments in the case pertaining to each (The Leaflet / June 2022)
As Bhima Koregaon case completes its fourth anniversary, State reprisal is writ large in its twists and turns (The Leaflet / June 2022)

“Was Stan Swamy a Maoist?” By A Fellow Traveller

“Was Stan Swamy a Maoist?” By A Fellow Traveller

Stan Swamy

Academicfreedomindia.com / by a Fellow Walker

In this post, a fellow traveller of Stan’s in prison shares his reflections about the Jesuit priest who became one India’s foremost human rights defenders: the background to Stan’s own awakening and then participation in the continuing resistance movements among the most marginalised of Indian citizens, its indigenous peoples, the Adivasis: 

People call him Father Stan Swamy. This way of addressing is different from the Maoist usage. He opted for the Christian way of life in the Jesuit order when he was an adolescent. He migrated from Tiruchirappalli in Madras State to Jamshedpur which was, at that time, part of the undivided Bihar State. Jamshedpur is the habitat of tribal people. The people who work in the coal reserves and steel factories, and the people who live in the nearby forests are all tribals. Being idealistic from a very young age, Stan was influenced by the preaching and practice of Jesus Christ.
Read more

The Importance of Anand Teltumbde’s Thoughts in a Republic of Caste

The Importance of Anand Teltumbde’s Thoughts in a Republic of Caste

The Wire / by M.S. Sriram

Anyone engaging seriously with Teltumbde’s work will know his beliefs are antithetical to the crimes he is being accused of.
As an email circulates to support a campaign to name Professor Anand Teltumbde in the list of world’s top thinkers to be listed in Prospect magazine, it is time to take note of his important work: Republic of Caste (2018) and put it in perspective. This is more important in the context of the campaign to have a “har ghar tiranga” for the Amrit Mahotsav of Azaadi. If the 75th year of this nation’s freedom cannot be celebrated with a free man and a free mind, the flying of the flag is but symbolic.
Read more