Counterview / by National Campaign to Defend Democracy
The National Campaign to Defend Democracy which is a coalition of over 100 organisations working on human rights issues would like bring to your attention the situation of five years of unjust incarceration under false and fabricated evidence of some of India’s finest intellectuals, thinkers, activists and lawyers.
This injustice which goes by the name of the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad Conspiracy case – started its nightmarish journey five years ago. Even as of today, 16 noted academics, intellectuals, lawyers, writers, poets, activists, stand charged with conspiring to overthrow the elected government, indulging in terrorist acts, sedition etc., although the evidence the back these tall claims of high treason is still absent. Read full statement
Speakers at a media conference, organised by the civil rights network Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), even as discussing “suppression of democratic voices” using suppressive laws in the light of the Tadwai case, where 152 activists of Andhra-Telangana were named under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), have demanded repeal of the “draconian” law. Read more
Remembering Father Stan and demand justice for the BK-16!
By People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) / fb Videos
Join us to remember Father Stan Swamy, and demand justice for his institutional murder.
We will have family members and friends of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, speak about the experience of the prison conditions and this unjust prolonged arrest.
We will also be joined by political leaders, international human rights organisations and lawyers, to help take the campaign forward to defend democracy! Repeal UAPA!
Release all political prisoners!
The tributes to Father Stan by his associates and his co-accused (which were read out) provided a clue to why his death continues to touch so many.
“We don’t want this to be forgotten or forgiven.” — senior advocate Mihir Desai.
“Do not forget, do not forgive.” This theme ran through the Zoom meeting organised by the National Campaign to Defend Democracy, a coalition of human rights groups, on the second anniversary of Father Stan Swamy’s death. Read more
Ashirvad and PUCL Karnataka – Remembering Father Stan Swamy
by PUCL India / @PUCLindia (July 4, 2023):
The National Campaign to Defend Democracy, a coalition of over 150 organisations, is hosting a discussion tomorrow at 9 PM to remember Father Stan Swamy & talk about the stories of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Let’s demand immediate bail and release of all the BK16!
Human rights activists to hold Sankalp Sabhas on July 5
The Telegraph / by Animesh Bisoee
Activists in Jharkhand have decided to take a pledge to continue their fight for jal, jungle and jameen, along with a demand for punishment to those responsible for ‘murder’ of Stan Swamy.
Human rights activists in Jharkhand have decided to take a pledge to continue their fight for jal (water), jungle (forest) and jameen (land), along with a demand for punishment to those responsible for the “murder” of Stan Swamy, on July 5 which marks the third death anniversary of the Jesuit priest. Read more
The Challenge to Live Fr. Stan Swamy’s Legacy Today!
Countercurrents.org / by Cedric Prakash
… Given the grim realities which throttle the nation today, one person whose physical presence is greatly missed today is that of Jesuit Father Stan Swamy. Two years ago on 5 July 2021, he said ‘good-bye’ to us, having completed his pilgrimage here on earth. He was arrested on 8 October 2020 on fabricated charges, incarcerated in the Taloja jail where he suffered very much. His terrible and untimely death is regarded by many as ‘institutional murder’. He has still not been declared ‘innocent’ by the courts. However, Stan (as he was called by all very lovingly) the man, mission and message -lives on in the hearts and lives of thousands everywhere. He has left us with a rich legacy and challenges us to live that legacy today. Read more
Video: Testimony of Stan Swamy, two days before his arrest on 8 October 2020.
I am not a Silent Spectator – Why Truth has become so bitter, Dissent so intolarable, Justice so out of reach
An Autobiographical Fragment, Memory and Reflection
Indian Social Institute, Bangalore | by Stan Swamy | August 2021
Edition: Aug 2021
Publisher: Indian Social Institute, Bangalore
Paperback: 149 pages Access a free PDF copy of the book here
Blatant use of UAPA by Telangana Police to suppress dissenting voices / Arbitrary FIRs
Blatant use of UAPA by Telangana Police to suppress dissenting voices
Countercurrents.org / by Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)
The draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has once again been invoked, this time in Tadwai, Telangana against an astonishing number of 152 activists and intellectuals, which includes retired Prof. G. Haragopal, Prof. Gaddam Laxman and Prof. Padmaja Shaw. What is more ridiculous and serious at the same time is that Late Justice H. Suresh also finds mention in the accused list. The FIR has come to light only after People’s Democratic Movement president Chandramouli applied for bail and FIRs filed against him were retrieved by the police where the names of the 152 activists mentioned above were also included. Read full statement
Dead judge, 151 others in Telangana police FIR
TOI / by Srinath Vudali
Former Bombay HC judge H Suresh, who died in 2020, and another dead man were among 152 people that Telangana police had charged last year under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for their alleged Maoist links.
Following a backlash from civil rights outfits , who pointed out that two of the accused had died long before the case was registered, the Telangana government directed police to drop six prominent people from the FIR. Read more
Arbitrary FIRs on Social Activists
Statement by National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
click to enlarge
TOI / by TOI Editorials
Telangana charging the deceased with UAPA brings to life how the most severe laws are casually misused by govts:
The Telangana case in which police charged two people dead for two years under the anti-terror law UAPA is a classic example of the casual misuse of one of India’s most stringent laws. The data is damning. Analysis of NCRB data by various experts show the conviction rate of people charged under UAPA is below 3%. Read more
Five years behind bars for five activists – Without bail, without charges being framed, without justice!
By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)
Five years behind bars for five activists
Without bail, without charges being framed, without justice!
Release all 15-surviving accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
June 6, 2023 will mark five years that five activists are behind bars. They include Mahesh Raut, an anti-displacement campaigner, Rona Wilson, a political prisoners’ campaigner, Shoma Sen, a feminist activist and professor, Sudhir Dhawale, a Dalit rights activist and Surendra Gadling, a lawyer who takes people’s rights cases pro-bono. Read full statement
Five Years Since The First Arrests In Bhima-Koregaon Case
Countercurrents.org / by Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation (CDRO)
6th June 2018. The nation’s conscience suffered yet another attack by the arrests of leading intellectuals and democratic rights activists by the Pune police in connection with the so-called Bhima-Koregaon (BK) case. These arrests snowballed into a series of arrests in subsequent months. Five years have passed, and barring a few activists out on bail, the arrested persons are still languishing in jail without a charge sheet being filed. Through this statement, the CDRO once again tries to remember the incidents leading to these arrests and subsequent events; so that people can unite in a struggle for the release of the BK-16 and the repeal of draconian laws. Read full statement
Five years of Bhima Koregaon arrests: CDRO marks ‘black day’
The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala
It was on this day in 2018 that five activists were first arrested by the Pune police in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad Maoist links and criminal conspiracy case. To mark this day, and by means of highlighting the plight of the arrested persons, the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation and People’s Union for Democratic Rights have issued press statements demanding the immediate release of all the persons behind bars in connection with the case. Read more
Release activists incarcerated in Bhima Koregaon Case
Countercurrents.org / by Campaign Against State Repression
June 6th became a day of one of the most audacious attack by the Brahmanical Hindutva Fascist state on the Democratic rights and political activists and began new era of rampant use of UAPA and conspiracy cases, which was, although known to the working class, the peasantry and the oppressed, have been largely unknown to the Urban democratic movement. June 6th, 2018 marks the first arrest in the infamous Bhima Koregaon ‘Conspiracy’ case, after series of raids in April 2018. The police arrested Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut. Read full statement
Five years after arrest, Bhima Koregaon case accused yet to get copies of proof against them
The Hindu / by Sonam Saigal
Special Public Prosecutor rubbished the allegation and said most of the material have been shared with them
It has been six years since Sudhir Dhawale, an activist; Surendra Gadling, a criminal lawyer practising in Nagpur; Shoma Sen, professor and Head of Department, English at Nagpur University; activists Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut were arrested in the caste-based violence that broke out at Bhima Koregaon in Pune in 2017. Read more
Students demand justice for 16 Dalit activists who have been behind bars for three years without official charges under the UAPA
In a powerful display of solidarity and support, over 50 students from Azim Premji University in Bengaluru gathered on Monday to demand the release of 16 Dalit activists who were arrested in 2018 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
These activists, who were advocates for marginalised groups, were accused of inciting violence during a celebration in Bhima Koregaon. Despite no official charges being brought up against them three years later, they remain behind bars. Read more
● Report: UAPA – CRIMINALISING DISSENT AND STATE TERROR (PUCL / Sep 2022) Download report
Organisation named after Stan Swamy calls to free rights defenders
The Telegraph / by Animesh Bioee
Shahid Father Stan Swamy Nyaya Morcha launches signature campaign in Ranchi, also demands the repeal of the anti-terror law UAPA.
An organisation named after Father Stan Swamy and formed to carry forward the late Jesuit priest’s legacy has launched a signature campaign in Ranchi demanding the release of human rights defenders jailed in several parts of the country and the repeal of the anti-terror law UAPA. Read more
‘Justice for Father Stan’ campaign evokes good response in India
UCA News / by UCA News reporter
A US-based digital forensic firm has revealed that digital evidence was planted on the priest’s computer to implicate him.
More than 3,000 people have taken part in a signature campaign, demanding justice for late Jesuit Father Stan Swamy and others accused in a sedition case filed by India’s pro-Hindu federal government.
The campaign, launched on Feb. 25 under the auspices of Shahid (Martyr) Father Stan Swamy Nyaya Morcha in Ranchi, the capital of eastern state of Jharkhand, where the late priest worked among tribal people, is getting support from people from all walks of life, according to its organizers. Read more
India’s UAPA law: Curbing Terrorism or Stifling Democratic Dissent?
The UAPA Law – Curbing Terrorism or Stifling Dissent?
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?
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
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
Press Conference / Statement by MRSD: Fabricating Evidence – Tampering with Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer
In wake of the recent Arsenal report which exposes the malicious tampering with Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer, MRSD* organized a press conference on “Fabricating Evidence Against Life and Liberty: Tampering with Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer and its implications for Bhima Koregaon case” on December 22, 2022.
Speakers: Fr. Joe Xavier, Convenor of Fr. Stan Swamy Legacy Committee of the Jesuits and Former Executive Director of the Indian Social Institute. Fr. Frazer Mascarenhas, Former principal of St Xavier’s College in Mumbai and the Parish Priest of St Peter’s Church. Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate at High Court of Bombay. Nagarjuna G., Former Professor, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
*MRSD is a forum constituted by several democratic rights, civil society and people’s organisations to campaign for the release of human rights defenders falsely charged and imprisoned in the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy case, the repeal of UAPA and for upholding the citizens’ right to dissent.
Fabricating Evidence Against Life and Liberty: Tampering with Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer and its implications for Bhima Koregaon case
The latest report released by Arsenal Consulting, a Massachusetts-based digital forensics firm- proves that Father Stan’s computer was infiltrated by hackers since October 19th 2014, and more than 40 documents were planted in it. In his last video statement before his arrest, Stan had asserted that documents shown to him by the NIA were fabricated. Inspite of the same he was arrested on 8th October 2020 and subsequently died on 5th July 2021 in custody. Stan’s case represents not just grave injustice to the 84-year-old, but also the deep denigration of basic humanity by the system.
Fr. Stan was incarcerated in the Bhima Koregaon (BK) conspiracy case which has come to represent a major conspiracy against human rights defenders in India. Including Stan, 16 activists, lawyers, academicians have been arrested since 2018 in the case filed by the Pune police (later on transferred to NIA) following caste violence that broke out against Dalit visitors on January 1, 2018, in Bhima Koregaon village near Pune. Ironically, the police invoked UAPA, a law that Stan vehemently resisted, to arrest the BK-16 activists, and brand them as anti-nationals, urban naxals and members of a banned political party and even alleged involvement in a purported assassination plan on the Prime minister. The long list of allegations in the case is meant to arouse the deepest suspicion against these 16 accused, and against their work of defending democracy and people’s struggles.
Fr. Stan worked tirelessly especially for Adivasis in Jharkhand, their rights to land, forest, and against their false incarceration. Apart from being an activist, he also documented many instances of injustices in an impeccable manner. He also raised objections to instances of illegal mining and other supposed development projects which had the impact of displacing people from their home and hearths.
Fr. Stan’s arrest in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic, despite his ill-health and age, is a proof of the system’s apathy to human rights defenders. During his last months in prison, he repeatedly requested to be shifted to his residence in Ranchi. A patient of the Parkinson’s disease, Stan faced multiple challenges during his incarceration. Inspite of having contracted Covid and taking seriously ill, he was denied timely medical treatment and care in prison. However, no cognizance of this was taken, and the situation deteriorated resulting in the death of Fr. Stan, even while his application for bail was pending. His untimely and tragic death is a result of the sheer negligence of the jail authorities, NIA and failure of the entire criminal justice system to protect a defender of justice. Such denial of rights becomes even more stark with emerging documentary proof that the evidence presented in the case were fabricated. It must be noted that in April 2021, Arsenal consulting had already released a report proving the malicious hacking and planting of documents in computers of co-accused, Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling.
The fact that Fr. Stan died before he could get a chance to prove his innocence is jarring. This case shows the extent to which illegal cyber-attacks are being used in Digital India to build false criminal cases against innocent citizens who can then be jailed indefinitely under the UAPA law. Such is the desperation of the system to incarcerate human rights defenders and dehumanize the society at large. At the same time, the real instigators of violence at Bhima Koregaon, Milind Ekbote of Samastha Hindu Aghadi and Sambhaji Bhide of Shiv Chhatrapati Pratishan are not being prosecuted and are instead being shielded politically.
We call for: 1. Immediate release of all remaining co-accused in the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy case and quashing of the case against them on the basis of fabricated evidence. 2. Reparations and justice for the wrongful incarceration of Fr. Stan Swamy that resulted in his death. 3. Impartial and independent investigation into the tampering of electronic devices and fabrication of evidence against the BK-16 accused in the case. 4. Impartial and independent investigation into the role of Milind Ekbote, Sambhaji Bhide and other right-wing leaders and outfits for planning and inciting violence on Dalits in Bhima Koregaon and their prosecution in the FIRs filed against them. 5. Repeal of draconian UAPA law used as a tool to curb dissent and political opposition.
*Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy: MRSD is a forum constituted by more than 20 democratic rights, civil society and people’s organisations to campaign for the release of those arrested in the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy case, repeal of UAPA and for upholding the citizens’ right to dissent.