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One year later: process has become punishment, say activists’ family members

One year later: process has become punishment, say activists’ family members

The Hindu / by Sonam Saigal

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.
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Who is Arun Ferreira?

Who is Arun Ferreira?

By India Civil Watch

Arun Ferreira is a human rights lawyer from Mumbai, India. He is a member of the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR) and the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL). He studied at Mumbai’s St. Xavier’s College where he developed a strong social conscience, and organised the institution’s canteen workers to demand better work conditions. After college, he worked with slum dwellers in Mumbai before becoming a community organiser in Vidarbha (rural Maharashtra state).

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Who is Vernon Gonsalves?

Who is Vernon Gonsalves?

By India Civil Watch

Vernon Gonsalves is trade unionist, activist, an academic (former professor of business management in a college in Mumbai) and a writer, who writes extensively on Dalit and adivasi rights, the conditions of prisons in India and the routine violation of rights of prisoners. Along with Arun Ferriera, he has authored a number of popular articles on the condition of Indian jails, the abuse of authority by Indian police, and draconian laws such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), a piece of ‘anti-terror’ legislation with a wide ambit and vague concepts, which allows its misuse against academics, lawyers and human rights defenders. Equally importantly, their writings expose the hypocrisy of democracy in India.

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Who is Sudhir Dhawale?

Who is Sudhir Dhawale?

By India Civil Watch

After spending close to four years (2011-2014) in jail in India (where he was denied every kind of human right) on charges of being a ‘Naxalite’, Sudhir Dhawale was acquitted of all charges. Reflecting on his traumatic experience, Sudhir soberly identifies his private struggle as being part of a much larger public and collective struggle for democratic values. Sudhir:

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Who is Mahesh Raut?

Who is Mahesh Raut?


Mahesh Raut (left) and Lalsu Narote. Foto credit: Javed Iqbal/ The Wire

By India Civil Watch

Lalsu Nogoti, an elected district council member from Bhamragad in Maharashtra is speaking about the work of Mahesh Raut:

“He first came to us as a part of the PMRD [Prime Minister’s Rural Development] fellowship in 2013. He would visit every village with other government officials and meticulously note down grievances and parallelly also research on several village and state-level policies that could come to our rescue. His work in the formative years helped us build our struggles in the coming days.”

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Who is Rona Wilson?

Who is Rona Wilson?

By India Civil Watch

Rona Wilson is the 47-year old Public Relations Secretary of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP). He was arrested under the UAPA on June 6, 2018, in Delhi, at the same time as Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, and Mahesh Raut in Nagpur and Sudhir Dhawale in Mumbai, and accused of channeling Maoist funds for the Elgar Parishad and fomenting violence in Bhima Koregaon.

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Who is Stan Swamy?

Who is Stan Swamy?

By India Civil Watch

On the morning of August 28, 2018 Maharashtra police raided the one room home of Fr.Stan Swamy, who lives on the outskirts of Ranchi on Bagaicha campus, under suspicion of him being involved in the violence at Bhima Koregaon. The police confiscated his laptop, mobile phone and several CDs, and a recent press release on the Pathalgadi movement by Women against Sexual violence and State repression (WSS).
What does an 82 year old Jesuit priest has got to do with Bhima-Koregaon case? Everything, if he is a stalwart of people’s causes.
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Who is Gautam Navlakha?

Who is Gautam Navlakha?

By India Civil Watch

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. He has been actively involved with the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) – one of India’s leading civil liberties and democratic rights defence organizations- working to protect, extend and help implement fundamental rights as guaranteed in the Indian constitution.
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