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Category: Prison conditions

Prisoners of conscience / Court directs top cop to look into the mosquito menace in Taloja prison

Prisoners of conscience / Court directs top cop to look into the mosquito menace in Taloja prison

poster by @/bakeryprasad

Prisoners of conscience

16/11/22

Deccan Herald / by Jyoti Punwani

Is it just their relentless opposition to State policies that gets the NIA’s goat, or is it also their privileged background?
Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage. Sometimes they do, even for the most creative minds.
Take Maharashtra’s Taloja Jail, on the outskirts of Mumbai. For the last almost three years, it’s been home to some of the country’s most valuable public intellectuals, and also the site of their steady deterioration. The Bhima Koregaon trial is yet to begin, but the 16 accused have already been punished, by the NIA that’s handling their case and the jail authorities.
Read more


Court directs top cop to look into the mosquito menace in Taloja prison

16/11/22

Free Press Journal / by Staff Reporter

In his plea made on Tuesday, he said that there is no reply from the jail’s superintendent despite the court’s direction to the authority to file one.
Following an application by civil rights activist and accused in Bhima-Koregaon case, Anand Teltumbde, on Tuesday, a special court has directed the Deputy Inspector General of police (DIG, Prisons) to look into the mosquito menace in Taloja prison as the jail superintendent has not complied with previous orders to take precautions to control the situation despite repeated directions.
Read more


Also read:
Two more accused move court seeking mosquito nets (Hindustan Times / Sep 2022)
Gautam Navlakha approaches court again seeking mosquito net (Scroll.in / Sep 2022)
Bhima Koregaon accused calls off hunger strike (The Hindu / May 2022)
Hunger Strike unto death against the harassment from Taloja Central Jail’s apathetic administration (By Sagar Gorkhe / May 20, 2022)
by PantherAjay (May 27, 2022):
Jailed Shahir Sagar Gorkhe is not the only under trail prisoner who has been continually harassed and whose ‘Machchhardani’ stolen by the insolent jail administration. This is an attempt to condemn the unlawful treatment meted against the under trial prisoners and to safeguard their rights. Following is the account of a similar incident that was faced by another imprisoned writer and poet Ramesh Gaichor translated from the original written in Marathi.

As activist Gautam Navlakha is allowed house arrest, what does this actually involve?

As activist Gautam Navlakha is allowed house arrest, what does this actually involve?

Explainer: As activist Gautam Navlakha is allowed house arrest, what does this actually involve?

11/11/2022

Scroll.in / by Umang Poddar

When allowing him to leave Taloja jail for house detention, the Supreme Court on Thursday listed stringent conditions he would have to follow.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court allowed human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, who has been in Taloja jail since April 2020 in the Bhima Koregaon case, to be placed under house arrest for a month. The activist, who is 70 years old, said that he was suffering from various health ailments and had asked to be shifted out of jail.
While ordering house arrests, courts have the power to impose conditions as they deem fit, so that the trial is not hampered. In a 2021 case, the Supreme Court ruled that house arrests can also be used as a form of detention.
Read more


Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon accused struggle to find house in city

11/11/2022

Hindustan Times / by Charul Shah and Gautam S Mengle

Getting a house in and around the city has been a challenge – both due to financial reasons as well as the fact that they were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and charged under sections of the UAPA for alleged Naxalite links
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Elgar Parishad – Bhima Koregaon violence case accused Gautam Navlakha for a month’s house arrest on account of his old age and ill health.
Read more

4 years, 16 arrests and no framing of charges / Treatment, straw, books … things BK16 have asked courts for

4 years, 16 arrests and no framing of charges / Treatment, straw, books … things BK16 have asked courts for

poster by @/bakeryprasad

4 years, 16 arrests and no framing of charges: The many twist and turns of Elgaar Parishad case

10/11/2022

The Indian Express / by Sadaf Modak

With trial yet to begin, the Supreme Court recently asked the NIA court to expedite framing of charges in 2018 case
Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, was allowed on Thursday to be shifted to house arrest after he filed a plea in the Supreme Court considering his health.
On August 18, the Supreme Court directed the special court in Mumbai conducting the trial in the Elgaar Parishad case to decide on framing of charges and discharge pleas of the accused within three months. The delay in the framing of charges has meant that four years after the Pune Police made nine arrests and the National Investigation Agency made seven arrests in the case, the trial in the 2018 case is yet to begin.
Read more


Treatment, straw, books… things Bhima Koregaon accused have asked courts for

10/11/2022

The New India Express / by pti

In December 2020, Navlakha’s partner Sahba Husain said the former’s spectacles were stolen in jail and when his family sent him a new pair, the jail authorities refused to accept them.
The Supreme Court order permitting jailed activist Gautam Navlakha to be kept under house arrest for a month has brought to the fore several applications filed by the accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case lamenting lack of facilities in jail and denial of access to the same.
Besides seeking medical treatment, the accused in the case have time and again approached courts for permission to get books, chairs, drinking straws, spectacles and mosquito nets inside the prison have asked courts for.
Read more


Supreme Court’s Concerns Regarding the Health of Gautam Navlakha Are Widely Shared

10/11/2022

Countercurrrents / by Bharat Dogra

The concerns expressed by a Supreme Court Bench on November 9 regarding the health of an elderly political prisoner Gautam Navlakha have been widely appreciated in the country. Justice Hrishikesh Roy found it disturbing that hardly any progress had been made since the charge-sheet against him was filed in October 2020 ( over two years ago). Justice K.M. Joseph stated, “ He is a 70 year old man. He is not in the best of health. We don’t know how long he will live.”
Read more


Gautam Navlakha Shifted To House Arrest, Who Are The Other Bhima-Koregaon Accused?

10/11/2022

Outlook India / by Outlook Web Desk

Gautam Navlakha, 70, has been in custody since April 14, 2020, and was lodged in Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case.
Even as activists, civil society members friends and family of jailed activist Gautam Navlakha celebrated the Supreme Court order to allow his plea to be placed on house arrest, many of the 15 activists, teachers and social workers accused and arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case continue to languish in jail.
Read more


Also read:
Relatives of BK16 Flag Prison Authorities’ ‘Criminal Negligence’ and Deteriorating Health of Undertrials (Newsclick / Sep 2022)
Stop Denying Political Prisoners the Right to Healthcare in Jails (Peoples Union for Democratic Rights / Sep 2022)
Supreme Court directs trial court to expeditiously frame charges and decide discharge pleas (The Leaflet / Aug 2022)
As Bhima Koregaon case completes its fourth anniversary, State reprisal is writ large in its twists and turns (The Leaflet / June 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)

Securing the right to health of political prisoners

Securing the right to health of political prisoners

The Leaflet / by Rohin Bhatt

It is time that the right to health becomes a reality, in letter and spirit to every person, irrespective of their incarceration status. This will have to be done through a wide scale, public health campaign, and rapid recruitment of qualified doctors with training in evidence-based medicine that can provide adequate care to prisoners.
It has been good law in India since Bandhua Mukti Morcha versus Union of India (1983) that the right to health is a fundamental part of right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution…
However, what happens when you are a political prisoner in India? These rights are vitiated, and the process becomes the punishment.
Read more


Also read/watch:
Relatives of BK16 Flag Prison Authorities’ ‘Criminal Negligence’ and Deteriorating Health of Undertrials (Newsclick / Sep 2022)
Stop Denying Political Prisoners the Right to Healthcare in Jails (Peoples Union for Democratic Rights / Sep 2022)
Hunger Strike unto death against the harassment from Taloja Central Jail’s apathetic administration (By Sagar Gorkhe / May 20, 2022)

● 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

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

Court Allows Activists Phone Calls With Families / Two more move court seeking mosquito nets

Court Allows Activists Phone Calls With Families / Two more move court seeking mosquito nets

Two more accused move court seeking mosquito nets

17/09/2022

Hindustan Times / by Charul Shah

Two more accused in the Elgar Parishad case – Anand Teltumbde and Sagar Gorkhe – have approached the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court seeking mosquito nets while alleging that Taloja jail is infested with mosquitoes.
Two more accused in the Elgar Parishad case – Anand Teltumbde and Sagar Gorkhe – have approached the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court seeking mosquito nets while alleging that Taloja jail is infested with mosquitoes.
Read more


Court Allows Jailed Activists To Talk On Phone With Families

17/09/2022

NDTV / by pti

The accused are currently in judicial custody and lodged at Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai.
A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here has permitted activist Anand Teltumbde and five others, arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, to have a telephonic conversation with family members for three minutes…
Sudhir Dhavale has filed an application in the court, seeking action against the prison medical officer and the jail authorities for allegedly not providing medical attention to him.
Read more


Also read:
Gautam Navlakha approaches court again seeking mosquito net (Scroll.in / Sep 2022)
Hunger Strike unto death against the harassment from Taloja Central Jail’s apathetic administration (By Sagar Gorkhe / May 20, 2022)

Gautam Navlakha approaches court again seeking mosquito net in prison

Gautam Navlakha approaches court again seeking mosquito net in prison

Seeking court’s permission to use a mosquito net !

15/09/2022

madhyamam / by Editorial Desk

Most people will remember that two years ago, an elderly man had to approach the court to seek access to a straw to drink water in prison because he suffered from tremors. Fr Stan Swamy was in jail for leading legal battles for the rights of tribal communities. His punishment included the denial of the basic right to drinking water comfortably… Prominent human rights activist and journalist Gautam Navlakha is a trial prisoner in the same Elgar Parishad case in which Stan Swamy was accused and arrested. Two days ago, Navlakha approached a special NIA court for permission to use mosquito nets in the jail.
Read more


Gautam Navlakha approaches court again seeking mosquito net in prison

14/09/2022

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

He filed the application in court days after another accused person, Vernon Gonsalves, contracted dengue in jail.
In his plea, Navlakha told the court that the area in which the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai is located is prone to dengue and malaria. “The applicant [Navlakha] is very troubled due to the influx of mosquitoes at the prison and is unable to sleep at night even after using mosquito repellents,” the plea added.
Read more


Gautam Navlakha approaches court again seeking mosquito net

13/09/2022

The Indian Express / by Sadaf Modak

Navlakha’s application filed through lawyers Wahab Khan and Chandni Chawla said that despite these directions passed by the court, Gonsalves contracted dengue and has been unwell since August 31. Gonsalves is currently admitted at state-run J J Hospital.
Days after his co-accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, Vernon Gonsalves, contracted dengue in Taloja Central Jail, activist Gautam Navlakha again approached court seeking a mosquito net. Over the past few months, undertrials at the prison and jail authorities have faced-off over lack of mosquito nets in the prison. In May, jail authorities seized mosquito nets of undertrials stating that the strings and nails used to tie the nets can be a security risk…
Meanwhile, the special court will hear Gonsalves’ application for temporary bail on medical grounds on Friday. The court on Tuesday received a report from JJ Hospital where he is admitted.
Read more


Also read:
NIA court rejects plea to use mosquito nets in prison (The Leaflet / July 2022)
Hunger Strike unto death against the harassment from Taloja Central Jail’s apathetic administration (By Sagar Gorkhe / May 20, 2022)

‘No cop was free to take Vernon Gonsalves to JJ hospital due to fest’ / Jailers’ apathy?

‘No cop was free to take Vernon Gonsalves to JJ hospital due to fest’ / Jailers’ apathy?

‘No cop was free to take Vernon Gonsalves to JJ hospital due to fest’

13/09/2022

Times of India / by TNN

Taloja jail authorities have said Elgar Parishad case accused Vernon Gonsalves who tested positive for dengue on September 7 after several days of fever could not be admitted that day since there was no police escort due to Ganeshotsav and he was admitted to state-run JJ hospital on September 8 with an escort.
Read more


Jailers’ apathy? Political prisoners’ right to life in India is ‘almost non-existent’

13/09/2022

Countercurrents / by By Deepika Tandon, Shahana Bhattarcharya (PUDR)

On 8th September Vernon Gonsalves, one of the 16 undertrials in the Bhima Koregaon case lodged in the anda cell of Taloja Central Jail, was diagnosed with dengue and likely pneumonia. 
Gonsalves age 65, had been suffering from fever since 30th August, but it took an appeal from his lawyer and the intervention of the Court for the Taloja Jail authorities to shift him to JJ Hospital for treatment. The fact that he was immediately put on oxygen support at the hospital, points to the apathy of the jail authorities regarding the health of prisoners lodged in their custody.
Read more


Medical treatment was provided to activist Vernon Gonsalves in jail, NIA court told

12/09/022

MidDay / by pti

The activist (65), who was in judicial custody and lodged at the Taloja jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, was on September 8 admitted to the state-run JJ Hospital, where he is undergoing treatment for dengue.
Activist Vernon Gonsalves, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, was under constant medical treatment in jail once his ill health came to light and before he was diagnosed with dengue and admitted to a government hospital, prison authorities told a special NIA court here on Monday…
The activist’s plea for temporary bail on medical grounds is likely to be heard by the court on Tuesday.
Read more


Also read:
Relatives of BK16 Flag Prison Authorities’ ‘Criminal Negligence’ and Deteriorating Health of Undertrials (Newsclick / Sep 2022)

MRSD: Release Activist Vernon Gonsalves on immediate Medical bail

MRSD: Release Activist Vernon Gonsalves on immediate Medical bail

By Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy

PRESS STATEMENT
Statement by Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy – a campaign of 40+ civil society groups

MRSD is distressed to learn about the health situation of 65 year old activist, poet, and writer Vernon Gonsalves, incarcerated since 2018 in the Bhima Koregaon/Elgar Parishad case. Gonsalves started developing several symptoms, such as fever, cough, dizziness, and nausea starting on August 30, as per the affidavit filed by his lawyers in Court. However, his health condition was met with neglect and it was only after pleading several times that he was finally taken to the state-run JJ hospital on September 6. Instead of continuing his treatment there, he was taken back to jail the same day. Upon hearing about this from other co-accused, Gonsalves’ lawyers and family members moved the NIA court seeking temporary bail on medical conditions. During the hearing, the lawyers told the Court that apart from Dengue, he may also be suffering from Pneumonia.

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