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Category: Fabricated facts

Union gov’t shredded Right to Privacy Bill at the behest of intelligence agencies

Union gov’t shredded Right to Privacy Bill at the behest of intelligence agencies

Reporters Collective / by Shreegireesh Jalihal, Swapnil Ghose and Saras Jaiswal

Modi government gave in to intelligence agenciesʼ demands for a “blanket exemption” from a proposed right to privacy law. It effectively killed a decade-old assurance to bring in a law to protect citizens from illegal surveillance
In 2012, the Congress-led government assured Parliament that a right to privacy law was in in the making. The eagerly awaited law was supposed to be a bulwark against surveillance on individuals, with rules spelling out when the government could snoop on citizens.
… While the assurance was still on the table, controversies emerged around allegations of government snooping on dissidents, and journalists using Pegasus, an Israeli military-grade spyware.
Read more


Also read:
▪ AI Report: India’s exploitation of terrorism financing assessments to target the civil society (Amnesty.org / Sep 2023)
Police Linked to Hacking Campaign to Frame Indian Activists (Wired.com / June 2022)
Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line (The Wire / July 2021)
They were Accused of plotting to overthrow the Modi government – The evidence was planted, a new report says (Washington Post / Feb 2021)

‘BK 16’: Victims of Digital Invasion of the State / The Bhima Koregaon saga of injustice

‘BK 16’: Victims of Digital Invasion of the State / The Bhima Koregaon saga of injustice

‘BK 16’: Victims of Digital Invasion of the State

31/05/2024

Countercurrents.org / by Mubashir VP

Hindutva fascism grew and rose to power by abusing the facilities of formal democracy, spreading hatred under the guise of freedom of speech.
The Bhima Koregaon case and the arrests and imprisonment of human rights activists under the UAPA Act, which critics point out as an example of human rights violations stretching back to the two terms of the Narendra Modi government, have drawn much attention internationally. Moreover, it became notorious as a sign of the government’s reactionary approach to democratic rights, intolerance of dissident voices, and an attempt to terrorise civic life.
Read more


The Bhima Koregaon saga of injustice

31/05/2024

Tribune India / by Julio Ribeiro

Charges yet to be framed against the accused, even though the first arrests were made in 2018
ALPA Shah, whose family hailed from Gujarat, was raised in Nairobi, where my deceased wife, Melba, was born and lived till the age of 10. The Mau Mau movement in Kenya forced many families of Indian origin to leave that country. The Menezes of Goa – to which my wife belonged – was among the few families that returned to India. They sailed back to Goa, while Alpa emigrated to England.
Read more



March 2024 | Scroll.in | by Alpa Shah
An excerpt from ‘The Incarcerations: Bhima Koregaon and the Search for Democracy in India’, by Alpa Shah.
Read excerpt


The Bhima Koregaon Case: A Grave Injustice and Human Rights Crisis

31/05/2024

Radian News / by Mohd Naushad Khan

The Bhima Koregaon case is a complex legal and political matter in India, stemming from the violence that occurred on January 1, 2018, during the bicentenary celebration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra. This event holds significant historical importance, particularly for Dalits, who commemorate the British East India Company’s defeat of the Peshwa forces as a symbol of resistance against caste oppression.
Read more


Also read:
Incriminating document found in Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer ‘planted’; similar tampering found in other Bhima Koregaon accused: Reports American forensic firm (The Leaflet / Dec 2022)
Fabricating Evidence Against Life and Liberty: Tampering with Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer and its implications for Bhima Koregaon case (Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy / Dec 2022)
Police Linked to Hacking Campaign to Frame Indian Activists (Wired.com / June 2022)
Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line (The Wire / July 2021)
They were Accused of plotting to overthrow the Modi government – The evidence was planted, a new report says (Washington Post / Feb 2021)

New Book on Bhima Koregaon Case Tells Uncomfortable Truths, But Brings Hope / Book launch

New Book on Bhima Koregaon Case Tells Uncomfortable Truths, But Brings Hope / Book launch

New Book on Bhima Koregaon Case Tells Uncomfortable Truths, But Brings Hope

31/04/2024

The Quint / by Mekhala Saran

Alpa Shah’s book, ‘The Incarcerations’, is alive with stories of fearlessness, but also of the cost it extracts.

“Well, I am off to NIA custody and do not know when I shall be able to talk to you again. However, I earnestly hope that you will speak out before your turn comes.”

– Anand Teltumbde, on the eve of his incarceration in April 2020

Alpa Shah’s book on the Bhima Koregaon incarcerations is not an easy read. When I first decided to review the book – before laying my hands on it – I thought it would not take me longer than a week.
Read more


A new book recounts how 16 activists were imprisoned as terrorists, without trial

27/03/2024

Scroll.in / by Alpa Shah

An excerpt from ‘The Incarcerations: Bhima Koregaon and the Search for Democracy in India’
Amnesty International India and Oxfam India released a joint response the day Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao were arrested. “The nationwide crackdown on activists, advocates and human rights defenders is disturbing and threatens core human rights values.”
Read more


by Shireen Azam / @shireenazam (March 26:)
A full full house at @LSEpublicevents for the book release of (Bhima Koregaon) Incarcerations by @alpashah001


Video| Book launch/discussion: The Incarcerations: BK-16 and the search for democracy in India

26/03/2024

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute, LSE Human Rights, Department of Anthropology and Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity

IN-PERSON AND ONLINE PUBLIC EVENT

Speakers:
Professor Alpa Shah.
Discussants: Professor Christophe Jaffrelot, Professor Tarun Khaitan and Priyanka Kotamraju
Chair: Professor Deborah James

Join us to launch and discuss Alpa Shah’s new book, The Incarcerations: BK-16 and the search for democracy in India.
As general elections fast approach in the world’s largest democracy, this event asks what democracy today must urgently ensure for our common future. In her latest book, Alpa Shah pulls back the curtain on Indian democracy to tell the remarkable and chilling story of the Bhima Koregaon case, in which 16 human rights defenders (the BK-16) – professors, lawyers, artists – have been imprisoned, without credible evidence and without trial, as Maoist terrorists.
Read more

Watch on LSE’s YouTube channel.


Interview | Alpa Shah: India is not a safe place any more

23/03/2024

The News Statesman / by  Gavin Jacobson

Narendra Modi’s Hindu supremacism is capturing major state institutions while repressing minority groups and political activists.
… Shah exposes how the state engaged in a prolonged act of cyberwar against the so-called “BK-16”, hacking their emails and implanting incriminating evidence on their computers in order to prosecute them. It is the best book I’ve read about the full-scale assault on democracy in India, and with the general elections scheduled to conclude in June, it’s essential reading for an understanding of what is happening to the country right now.
On 18 March I met Shah at her office at the London School of Economics.

Gavin Jacobson: When did you decide to write a book about the BK-16?
Read more


Hackers-for-Hire, Govt’s Media Control: Seven Takeaways From Studying the Arrests of the BK-16

15/03/2024

The Wire / by Alpa Shah

“…the evidence used to incarcerate the BK-16 was likely to have been implanted remotely through a hacker-for-hire mercenary gang infrastructure that has clients all over the world, but whose epicentre is in India.”
Excerpted with permission from Alpa Shah’s The Incarcerations: Bhima Koregaon and the Search for Democracy in India, HarperCollins 2024.
Read more


Hacker-for-hire gang with links to Pune police planted emails on the computers of Bhima Koregaon accused: new book

14/03/2024

The Hindu / by Vijaita Singh

The mercenary hacker gang, headquartered in India, remotely implanted evidence, according to LSE professor’s book; cites cybersecurity researchers to claim gang’s connection to a Pune police officer
The alleged evidence used to incarcerate 16 people in the Bhima Koregaon case was “likely to have been implanted remotely through a hacker-for-hire mercenary gang infrastructure that has clients all over the world, but whose epicentre is in India,” according to claims made in a new book.
Read more


The arrests putting Narendra Modi’s ‘fascist’ India on trial

14/03/2024

The Telegraph / by Andrew Whitehead

Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest, died in custody in India in July 2021. He was 84. He had spent nine months in detention and had been repeatedly denied bail; yet he had not been convicted of any offence.
… Alpa Shah, an anthropology professor at the London School of Economics, argues in The Incarcerations that the arrest of Swamy and 15 others – lawyers, academics, poets, activists – in what has become known as the “BK case” reveals India’s authoritarian creep.
Read more


Also read:
Why Courts Are Ignoring Concerns Of Planted Evidence In The Bhima-Koregaon Prosecution (article14 / Jan 2023)
Police Linked to Hacking Campaign to Frame Indian Activists (Wired.com / June 2022)

Bhima Koregaon: The process continues to clot as punishment as another year passes by

Bhima Koregaon: The process continues to clot as punishment as another year passes by

Poster by #bakeryprasad

The Leaflet / by Ayaz Parrey and Sarah Thanawala

Many of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon–Elgar Parishad case have now spent one more year incarcerated without a trial. A far cry from the verbiage of high judicial officials that even a day’s denial of liberty is too much.
… Here is a recap of the major developments in the case this year, of bail applications granted, stayed and pending; the consistent pleas for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to comply with the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973; and the courts heeding to medical conditions-related pleas of the accused.
Read more

Supreme Court seeks guidelines for search and seizure of electronic devices

Supreme Court seeks guidelines for search and seizure of electronic devices

Poster by #bakeryprasad

Supreme Court calls for norms on seizure of devices by probe agencies

08/11/2023

Hindustan Times / by Utkarsh Anand

A 2-judge bench of the apex court is hearing a petition demanding regulation of the police’s power to search or seize digital devices.
… The issue of seizure of digital devices like phones and laptops has become a flashpoint in the Bhima-Koregaon caste violence case with the accused alleging that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) planted evidence on the laptop of Rona Wilson.
Read more


‘Incomplete reports’, ‘financial toll’: The burden of digital device seizures on journalists, outlets

08/11/2023

Newslaundry / by Tanishka Sodhi

Be it the searches at NewsClick, BBC, the Wire, or at the homes of journalists in several states over the last few years, the seizures of journalist’s digital devices have often underlined two issues – pertaining to journalistic privilege and the fundamental right to privacy.
… The Bhima Koregaon case is another prominent example in which activists have alleged violation of due process.
Read more


Supreme Court seeks guidelines for search and seizure of electronic devices

07/11/2023

The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala

The development gains significance in light of the crackdown on media such as Newsclick and the letter written by several journalists groups to the Chief Justice of India against it.
On Tuesday, a two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court batted for having guidelines in place to govern the search and seizure of phones or other digital devices belonging to media personnel.
Read more


Also read:
NewsClick raids: Indian law has few safeguards when electronic devices are seized (Scroll.in / Oct 2023)
Fabricating Evidence Against Life and Liberty: Tampering with Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer and its implications for Bhima Koregaon case (Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy / Dec 2022)
Incriminating document found in Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer ‘planted’; similar tampering found in other Bhima Koregaon accused: Reports American forensic firm (The Leaflet / Dec 2022)
Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line (The Wire / July 2021)

Since Evidence Tampering Not Ruled Out, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson Want Chargesheets Quashed

Since Evidence Tampering Not Ruled Out, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson Want Chargesheets Quashed

Since Evidence Tampering Not Ruled Out, Accused Want Chargesheets Quashed

19/10/2023

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson petitioned the Bombay high court alleging that norms were violated in searching and seizing electronic documents from them. 
Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson, named as accused in the Elgar Parishad case, have alleged in their petition before the Bombay high court that the prosecution violated the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and Information Technology Act, 2000 in searching and seizing allegedly incriminating electronic documents from them.
They urged the division Bench of Justice A.S. Gadkari and Justice Sharmila U. Deshmukh on Monday, October 17, to quash the chargesheets against them.
Read more


Bombay High Court hears petition seeking quashing of chargesheets against Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson

17/10/2023

The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala

Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing on behalf of Sen and Wilson, argued that the prosecution violated principles of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and Information Technology Act, 2000 in searching and seizing allegedly incriminating electronic documents.
On Monday, the Bombay High Court heard pleas by women’s rights activist and academic Shoma Sen, and activist and researcher Rona Wilson for quashing chargesheets filed against them.
… The matter is posted for further hearing on October 23.
Read more


Lawyer Raises Concerns Over Security Of Devices Seized In Bhima Koregaon Investigation: Report

17/10/2023

MediaNama / by Aarathi Ganesan

Lawyer Anand Grover argued that simply sealing electronic devices upon seizure did not ensure that the data within had been secured. He also noted that electronic devices could be easily tampered with, without any indication.
The electronic evidence recovered from activists Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson in the Bhima Koregaon investigation was improperly secured upon seizure, advocate Anand Grover alleged before the Bombay High Court yesterday, The Leaflet reported.
Read more


Also read:
Incriminating evidence planted in computers: The Trojan solved the Bhima Koregaon case! (Anchored Narratives / Jan 2023)
Cyber Attackers Who Targeted Rona Wilson Could Have Been Engaged by Same Entity: Report (The Wire / Feb 2022)

Jesuit priest accused of terrorism was victim of digital hacking

Jesuit priest accused of terrorism was victim of digital hacking

Illustration by #bakeryprasad

Independent Catholic News / by John McManus

Today, Jesuit Missions, the international mission and development office of the Jesuits in Britain, along with the international Xavier Network, are calling on the Indian Government to clear Fr Stan’s name, especially in light of new evidence which proves that he was systematically targeted during a four-year campaign, during which time falsified evidence was planted on the priest’s computer.
Read more


Also read:
Fabricating Evidence Against Life and Liberty: Tampering with Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer and its implications for Bhima Koregaon case (Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy / Dec 2022)
Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line (The Wire / July 2021)

The Secret Of The Sealed Cover!

The Secret Of The Sealed Cover!

Rising Kashmir / by Dr. Swati Jindal Garg

Even though there is a specific law that defines sealed cover jurisprudence, the concept also finds a mention in Rule 7 of order XIII of the Supreme Court Rules and Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872
… In the Bhima Koregaon case also, wherein activists were arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Supreme Court had relied on information submitted by the Maharashtra police in a sealed cover. In the case of activist Gautam Navlakha, the police had submitted a sealed envelope including information recovered from the electronic devices seized from the activist. 
Read more


Also read:
NIA highlights Gautam Navlakha’s ‘Pakistani connect’ to oppose bail in Elgar Parishad case (India Today / Feb 2023)

India’s UAPA law: Curbing Terrorism or Stifling Democratic Dissent?

India’s UAPA law: Curbing Terrorism or Stifling Democratic Dissent?

The UAPA Law – Curbing Terrorism or Stifling Dissent?

24/01/2023

By Hindus for Human Rights

(DESH-VIDESH CONVERSATION SERIES – SPEAKING ACROSS THE DIVIDE)
Digital Evidence Planting: New Age Threat to Rights Defenders
Presented by Safa Ahmed of the Indian American Muslim Council on behalf of a broad coalition working to secure the release of all the Bhima Koregaon prisoners

WHY ARE MOST OF THE BHIMA KOREGAON DEFENDANTS STILL IN JAIL DESPITE FORENSIC FINDINGS THAT INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE HAD BEEN PLANTED ON SOME OF THEIR COMPUTERS?

Good evening. Digital forensics is a dry, technical field, but the consequences of digital attacks play out like a vivid, terrifying, and painful movie. With the help of technical experts, journalists, and activists, I have prepared for you this narrative of what was revealed in the forensic analysis of the hard drives of three of the BK-16 – Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, and Father Stan Swamy.
Read more


Invite: India’s UAPA law: Curbing Terrorism or Stifling Democratic Dissent?

20/01/2023

By Hindus for Human Rights / @Hindus4HR

The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and India’s Prisoners of Conscience (POCs): Targeting terrorism or stifling democratic dissent?
Saturday, January 21, 2023
6 pm PST,
7:30 am IST
The conversation will cover the history and the draconian provisions of the UAPA; how it compares to anti-terror laws in other democracies; the views of the State Department and USCIRF; what are some of the typical charges being made being under UAPA. Do they look unlawful to you? Some statistics: How many people arrested since the amended UAPA; Average time spent w/o trial or bail hearing; How many have gone to trial, etc.

Moderator: Govind Acharya, Amnesty International
Panelists:
Banojyotsna Lahiri, Activist, on Umar Khalid’s story and struggle
Yug Mohit Chaudhry, Author and Criminal Lawyer, on legal strategies on behalf of POCs and hurdles faced
Mihir Desai, Human Rights Lawyer, on the story and struggle of Bhima Koregaon 16 and what’s happening to lesser known detainees
Followed by a Q&A moderated by Govind Acharya
Register here

Why Courts Are Ignoring Concerns Of Planted Evidence In The Bhima-Koregaon Prosecution

Why Courts Are Ignoring Concerns Of Planted Evidence In The Bhima-Koregaon Prosecution

Poster by #bakeryprasad

Article14 / by Abhinav Sekhri

Independent forensic experts have raised concerns of evidence being planted in the ongoing Bhima-Koregaon prosecution (ongoing for 45 months, with not even charges framed yet). But India’s tightly regulated criminal process severely restricts the right of accused persons to introduce new material. It speaks to many important concerns for the state, such as speedy trial, but a general rule that brooks no exception does more harm than good.
It has been almost 45 months since the police began investigating the theory of a larger conspiracy in the cases emanating out of the Bhima-Koregaon violence of January 2018. 
Read more


Also read:
Incriminating evidence planted in computers: The Trojan solved the Bhima Koregaon case! (Anchored Narratives / Jan 2023)
Hackers Planted Files to Frame an Indian Priest Who Died in Custody (Wired / Dec 2022)
Police Linked to Hacking Campaign to Frame Indian Activists (Wired.com / June 2022)