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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

Have We Seen the Last of Conspiracies? / The Kashmir Model to Discipline Indian Media

Have We Seen the Last of Conspiracies? / The Kashmir Model to Discipline Indian Media

Have We Seen the Last of Conspiracies?


Newsclick / by Ajay Gudavarthy

There is a need to now explain and create a sensible narrative about how conspiracies become narratives that favour the ruling dispensation.
The idea that “conspiracy theories” can explain politics is often rubbished, but now, after the recent revelations by Washington Post that a plot was allegedly hatched to compromise the laptop of jailed activist Rona Wilson, it has become imperative to see how conspiracies have been systematically used by the current regime.
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The Kashmir Model to Discipline Indian Media


The Wire / by Pamela Philipose

What is striking about recent developments in India is the manner in which the media, both legacy and social, have become entangled with the politics of the day. In fact, they have become the site upon which politics plays out.
Whether it is the raid conducted by the Enforcement Directorate on the offices of NewsClick, the ongoing counter-narrative to the farmer protests conducted by the BJP’s troll armies, the spiriting away of journalists by the police, the battles against tweets put out by Greta and Rihanna, the Twitter spats, or the ever-tightening surveillance net cast by the government on media operations, what is at stake, as Shoshana Zuboff reminded us in a different context, is “sovereignty over one’s own life and authorship of one’s own experience.”
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What About Personal Liberty Of Sudha Bharadwaj, Anand Teltumbde, VV Rao & Stan Swamy?

What About Personal Liberty Of Sudha Bharadwaj, Anand Teltumbde, VV Rao & Stan Swamy?

SC Protects Arnab’s Personal Liberty, Why Not Sudha Bharadwaj’s?


Kashimir Pen / by Web Desk

Leading human rights and constitutional lawyer Karuna Nundy applauded the Supreme Court for acting out its self-professed role as ‘sentinel on the qui vive’ and protecting personal liberty when ordering Arnab Goswami’s release on interim bail – but had some tough questions about the consistency of the court’s approach.
She noted that even though the Republic editor-in-chief had not only damaged people’s reputations by calling them terrorists and anti-nationals, and actually influenced the taking of state action against them – from Umar Khalid to the Bhima Koregaon accused – it was still a good thing that his case was heard on a priority basis by the apex court.
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Video: SC Protects Arnab’s Personal Liberty, But What About Sudha Bharadwaj’s?


en | 7:32min | 2020

The Quint / by The Quint

Supreme Court advocate Karuna Nundy explains why there are concerns over the consistency with which the apex court will apply its order granting Arnab Goswami interim bail, with Sudha Bharadwaj’s case a prime example.
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Video: What About Liberty Of Anand Teltumbde, Varavara Rao, Stan Swamy, Asks Kapil Sibal


en | 11:23min | 2020


The Supreme Court’s order on Wednesday in the Arnab Goswami case has major implications beyond just this one instance. Justice Chandrachud observed, “Forget Arnab Goswami for a moment, we are a Constitutional court…. If we as a Constitutional Court do not lay down law and protect liberty, then who will?” He went on to add, “If we don’t interfere in this case today, we will walk on path of destruction. You may differ in ideology but Constitutional courts will have to protect such freedoms…” The remarks come at a time when thousands languish in jails in want of bail. These include the old and the infirm, like 81-year-old Varavara Rao accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case and Father Stan Swamy who suffers from Parkinson’s.
After the Supreme Court’s observations that ‘constitutional courts have to protect freedoms’, will this set a precedent in other pending cases as well? We speak to senior advocate and Congress MP Kapil Sibal who was in Supreme Court in connection with this case.
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Concern over Arnab’s Health in Jail. What about Activists Like Varavara Rao and Stan Swamy?

Concern over Arnab’s Health in Jail. What about Activists Like Varavara Rao and Stan Swamy?

Concern over Arnab’s Health in Jail. What about Activists Like Varavara Rao and Stan Swamy?



Jailed poet Varavara Rao is suspected to have dementia; he also suffers from multiple ailments including neurological disorders. Activist Stan Swamy, also in jail, has Parkinsons. Meanwhile, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari is concerned about the health of Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami.
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Was it freedom of expression when Arnab Goswami called activists anti-national?


Counterview / by Vidya Bhushan Rawat

India’s prime time ‘hyper entertainer’, Arnab Goswami, was arrested by the Maharashtra police for charges of ‘abetment of suicide’ of an architect and his mother, who has worked for the so-called ‘number one’ channel, but did not get paid …
In fact, Fadnavis should face an independent commission for upturning the entire Bhima Koregaon violence case into a conspiracy theory and then putting so many intellectuals in jail.
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Arnab Goswami arrest does not set India down a slippery slope – it’s been sliding down one for years

05/11/2020 / by Shoaib Daniyal

Dramatic scenes flashed on India’s TV screens on Wednesday morning as Arnab Goswami, the editor-in-chief of the Republic TV network, was arrested from his home in Mumbai.
Goswami has played a big part in changing India’s media landscape, pioneering a loud, jingoistic brand of journalism that does not shy away from flaunting its leanings towards the Bharatiya Janata Party…
Sudha Bharadwaj, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, has explicitly blamed Goswami for making “false, malicious and defamatory allegations” against her by sharing a “fabricated letter”.
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The Maharashtra Police Is Getting Dangerously Politicised and Partisan


The Wire / by Ashish Khetan

The police has shown no compunctions in going after the critics of the political outfit in power – be it the left-leaning academics under the BJP’s rule or a rightwing media head under the present Shiv Sena-led coalition…
Param Bir Singh, the current police commissioner, has a troubling track record of leading investigations that suit the political party in power. In August 2018, while he was serving as the additional director general of police (law and order) under the BJP-Shiv Sena government, Singh held the infamous press conference in which he released the ‘conclusive evidence’ against the human rights activists and academics accused in the Bhima Koregaon case of waging war against the nation, even as the matter was being heard by the Supreme Court.
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From Kashmir to Gujarat, Journalists Continue to Get Arrested. But It Hasn’t Angered Our Netas Like Arnab’s Arrest



The arrest of Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami has been condemned by ministers, many calling it an attack of press freedom. But will they continue their outrage when the next journalist is assaulted in Delhi or arrested in Gujarat?
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World body calls Urban Naxals rights’ defenders

World body calls Urban Naxals rights’ defenders

The Pioneer / By Rajesh Kumar

Taking note of arrest of six prominent human rights defenders and lawyers — branded “Urban Naxals” — the Special Rapporteurs of Human Rights Council (HRC) has written to Permanent Mission of India (PMI) in Geneva seeking information about Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Sudha Bhardwaj, Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhawale.
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False allegations against Degree Prasad Chouhan

False allegations against Degree Prasad Chouhan

Statement by Frontline Defenders

Following the arrest of human rights defender Sudha Bharadwaj and four others on 26 October 2018, there is an imminent threat of false charges being brought against Dalit activist and human rights defender, Degree Prasad Chouhan. The police have already implicated the defender by name in a fake letter produced by them on 31 August 2018, which they claim was written by advocate Sudha Bharadwaj. There is a clear attempt by the police to smear the human rights defender as a Maoist militant and draw a false link between Degree Prasad Chouhan and the Bhima Koregaon violence which took place in January 2018.
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Chhattisgarh: Why does Congress support ‘urban Maoists’ and then speak against Naxalism, asks Modi

Chhattisgarh: Why does Congress support ‘urban Maoists’ and then speak against Naxalism, asks Modi /By Scroll Staff

… “The ‘urban Maoists’ who live in air-conditioned homes in the cities, look clean and whose children study abroad, remote-control the adivasi children in the Naxal-dominated areas,” Modi said. “I want to ask the Congress why it supports the ‘urban Maoists’ when the government takes action against them and come to Bastar and speak against Naxalism,” he said.
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