Observer Research Foundation / by Niranjan Sahoo & Jibran Khan
The Democracy Report 2020 by V-Dem Institute created quite a storm recently in India’s policy circles. The report claimed that the world’s largest democracy is on the verge of losing its status as a democracy. Noting India’s rapid slide into an autocracy, the Sweden-based report, which produces the most comprehensive analyses on the health of democracy across the world, cited trends of dramatic erosion of basic civil liberties, particularly media freedom and suppression of the freedoms of free speech and dissent as the key reasons for this major dip…
The last two years, in particular, have witnessed a sharp rise in the arrests of several prominent human rights defenders, civil society leaders, agitating leaders and even protesting students under the UAPA and sedition laws, including Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Varavara Rao, Anand Teltumde, Gautam Navlakha, and Arun Ferreira. Read more
Call to Dalits, minorities to join protest / Webinar report: Stand With Stan
Representatives of Christian and rights organisations hint at urgent need for the convergence against the current ‘fascist’ forces.
Christian organisations and human right groups have called for Dalits, tribal and minorities to join hands with other concerned citizens and protest attempts by the central government to silence voices of dissent by misusing the anti-terror law UAPA. Read more
Bhima Koregaon Case: A Critical Appraisal: Our Call – Free them All
Countercurrents / by Dr Prakash Louis
Background to Bhima Koregaon Event
The 1818 Battle of Koregaon is of importance for Dalits. On 1st January, 1818, 800 troops of the British Army, with large number of Mahars, Dalit Community of Maharashtra predominant among them, defeated a numerically superior force of the Peshwa Baji Rao II …
On 1st January, 2018, like every year, lakhs of Dalits poured into Bhima Koregaon. The commemoration has a record of being conducted peacefully and the village’s residents have a history of social harmony. But this year, tensions had begun to build in a neighbouring village over the question of which community had conducted the last rites of Maratha ruler Sambhaji – the Mahars or the Marathas. Read more
Webinar report: Stand With Stan
Countercurrents / by Indian Christians for Democracy
A webinar was organised with major initiative of Indian Christians for Democracy on 25th October, Sunday, 2020 from 11.00 to 1.00 pm …
The objectives of the webinar were 1) Keep pressure on for the release of all falsely accused and arrested; 2) False accusation, detention and arrest becomes a debating point and the government gives up this practice; 3) Nation-wide demand for the repeal of UAPA. Read more
PUCL and opposition political parties demand release of Stan Swamy and repeal of UAPA
PUCL and opposition political parties demand release of Father Stan Swamy and repeal of UAPA
Frontline / by Anupama Katakam
A multi-party press conference organised by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemned the arrest of Father Stan Swamy, a tribal rights activist and social worker based in Ranchi, Jharkhand. Swamy is the latest victim of the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) mission to hunt down people reportedly linked to the Bhima Koregaon incident, which the agency says was orchestrated by Maoist groups…
Leaders from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren have demanded Swamy’s release and said a movement to repeal the archaic and dangerous Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), under which activists, intellectuals and lawyers have been arrested, must gain momentum. Read more
‘Today it was Stan Swamy, tomorrow it will be us’: Opposition leaders call for repeal of UAPA
Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff
Hemant Soren, MPs Shashi Tharoor, Supriya Sule and Kanimozhi urged the people to speak up against the Centre’s attempts to ‘chip away at the rights of people’.
Opposition leaders on Wednesday expressed solidarity with 83-year-old Jesuit priest and human rights activist Stan Swamy, who has been detained under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case along with several other activists. Read more
Opposition leaders condemn arrest of activist Stan Swamy, demand repeal of UAPA
The New Indian Express / by Express News Service
Leaders from the Congress, Left and DMK slammed the arrest of octogenarian Stan Swamy over alleged links with the Bhima Koregaon case.
NEW DELHI: Leaders from across the political spectrum called for the repeal of UAPA and said there was an urgent need for Opposition parties to unite to fight the ruling party in order to protect the country’s constitutional values. Read more
Report and Videos of the PUCL Press Conference: The Bhima Koregaon Conspiracy Case
PUCL organised a virtual Press Conference on 21st October, 2020 to condemn the illegal arrest of Fr. Stan Swamy of Jharkhand and 15 other activists in the Bhima Koregaon case. The Press Conference was to create a platform for different civil society groups and political parties to jointly condemn the brazen abuse of UAPA by the Central Government against dissenters and demand repeal of draconian anti-human rights laws like UAPA and anti-sedition law. The following is a summary of the speeches made by different speakers. …
Expressing displeasure at the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act (UAPA) 2019, Errol D’Souza, the director of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad said that a progressive society will not have such a law…
Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee as mentioned in the tweet of the director was founded with the motive of fighting for the adivasis and marginalized in the armed conflict zones of central and eastern India. Activists, academic Stan Swamy, Sudha Bharadwaj, Partho Sarothi Ray are associated with the platform. Read more
Branding Innocent Citizens As Terrorists: UAPA, A Law On Loose
Abha Singh, a former civil servant and an advocate, writes on how UAPA has been misused to arrest those who disagreed and criticized with the policies of the State.
What do Varavara Rao, an 80-year-old Marxist poet from Telengana, Sudha Bharadwaj, a 60-year-old civil rights activist who spent 30 years working for the marginalized in Chhattisgarh, Hany Babu, an English professor in DU, Arun Ferreira, a lawyer in Mumbai, young student activists Natasha Narwal, Safoora Zargar, Sharjeel Imam and Umar Khalid have in common? Read more
PUNISHED FOR SPEAKING UP – The ongoing use of restrictive laws to stifle dissent
The Indian government is using a variety of restrictive laws – including national security and counter terrorism legislation – to arrest and imprison human rights defenders, peaceful protesters and critics, global civil society alliance CIVICUS said today in a new report.
The report covers:
– The judicial harassment of activists, targeting of journalists and crackdown on protesters;
– How rights violations have continued during President Modi’s second term and throughout the pandemic;
– Calls for the immediate release of arbitrarily detained activists, protesters and human rights defenders. Read full report
Exception becomes the norm as special laws are misused
Delhi Police’s framing and subsequent reframing of charges, using UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act), against the young women of Pinjra Tod a few months ago is an example of the gross misuse of special laws enacted by the state for circumstances which lie outside the purview of ordinary laws. By definition such laws are meant to be temporary and exceptions but end up being permanent and the norm. Read more
Ominipotent state and impotent people: system weighed in favour of the ‘state’
National Herald / by Aakar Patel
Indefinite ‘detention without trial’ is now the norm. The state is acquiring more power to crush the individual.
The criminal justice system everywhere is deliberately designed to protect the rights of the individual accused. And this is the correct way of seeing it although in our country it is the other way round. Read more
A total of 3005 cases registered and 3974 arrest made under UAPA between 2016 to 2018
The Central Government Wednesday informed Parliament that a total of 922, 901 and 1182 cases were registered in the country under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) during the year 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively. Read more
Maharashtra: Families of Prison Inmates Worried / Lockdown for some, lockup for others
More humane provisions are needed for prisoners, including political prisoners and those charged under special laws.
It is obvious that the threat of the coronavirus, a communicable disease, is worst in places of high population density. The prison is one such place. About half a million persons are incarcerated in more than 1,300 jails scattered all over India. More than two thirds are undertrials… It is only high-profile cases like those of Binayak Sen, Varavara Rao and others incarcerated in the Bhima Koregaon case that attract national or even international attention. While this attention is justified, most people do not realise that thousands of powerless, impoverished people face similar or worse injustice. Read more
Maharashtra: Families of Prison Inmates with Co-morbidities and Age Issues Worried
News Click / by Varsha Torgalkar
Activists have been demanding the release of prisoners on health grounds. So far, six inmates have died of COVID-19 in prisons across state and 1,772 prisoners have tested positive out of total 11,267 tests conducted as per the Prison Department data.
Pune: On July 12, poet and activist Varavara Rao’s daughter addressed a press conference saying, “My father, Varavara Rao, an 81 years old poet, blabbered about his father’s funeral which was held 75 years ago. Whatever he talked was incoherent during the weekly call from prison to family. His co-prisoner, Vernon Gonsalves, told us that he is in no condition to walk and carry out his daily works,” The family had panicked after the call and held the press conference the next day. Read more