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Category: Solidarity

Why the Life and Times of Fr Stan Swami Matter Even More Today

Why the Life and Times of Fr Stan Swami Matter Even More Today

Indian Catholic Matters / by Verghese V Joseph

Fr Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of the marginalised and oppressed in India. His unwavering commitment to social justice and human rights earned him the title of the country’s oldest prisoner charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for his alleged role in a Maoist conspiracy. Swamy’s death on July 5, 2021, while still in custody, has sparked outrage and calls for justice from human rights organisations and individuals around the world.
Read more


Also read:
Jharkhand police to probe into Maoist links with Stan Swamy’s ‘Bagaicha’, 63 other frontal organisations (The New Indian Express / Sep 2023)
Can Father Stan Swamy’s PIL be the blueprint for justice to thousands of undertrials lodged under UAPA? (The Leaflet / Aug 2023)

▪ An Autobiographical Fragment, Memory and Reflection


Indian Social Institute, Bangalore | by Stan Swamy | August 2021
Edition: Aug 2021
Publisher: Indian Social Institute, Bangalore
Language: English
Paperback: 149 pages
Access a free PDF copy of the book here

▪ Framed to Die – The Case of Stan Swamy

By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)
Edition: Aug 2021
Publisher: Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi
Language: English
Paperback: 45 pages
Access a free PDF copy of the book here

A Mango Republic – The arrest and incarceration of the multitude of people …

A Mango Republic – The arrest and incarceration of the multitude of people …

Campaign, 2020

The Wire / by Natasha Narwal

The arrest and incarceration of the multitude of people languishing in our prisons is as political as that of Kejriwal. How many mangoes will it take to get them out?
With the heat waves and rising mercury, the season of mango is here. But this season, mango is not just a fruit, it also seems to be a key conspirator in the plot to get Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal out of Tihar Jail. The chargesheet is still awaited in the case, but its good name has been dragged through the mud. What’s a mango supposed to do?
Behind this comedy of errors lies the horror of dismantling of Indian democracy.
Kejriwal’s arrest and incarceration is a watershed moment marking the crisis of democracy and free and fair elections in the country. But this moment has long been in the making and all those who want to fight for a democratic future must confront this history.
Read more


Also read:
India – Fundamental Freedoms Deteriorate Further in Modi’s Second Term (CIVICUS / April 2024)
Five Questions on the Shameful Proceedings Against Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, Asif Iqbal (The Wire / Jun 2023)
The Uses (and Abuses) of Investigative Agencies (The Wire / Nov 2022)
Maharashtra is adding activists to a secret list of the enemies of state (Newslaundry / July 2021)
How Governments Avoid Due Process by Declaring Groups as ‘Front Organisations’ of Banned Entities (The Wire / Sep 2020)

PUDR: Uphold Shoma Sen’s Bail Order – Release all Bhima Koregaon detainees!

PUDR: Uphold Shoma Sen’s Bail Order – Release all Bhima Koregaon detainees!

PUDR poster campaign, 2023.

pudr.org / by PUDR

PUDR expresses relief at the Supreme Court’s granting of bail to Prof. Shoma Sen on April 5, after nearly six long years of pre-trial incarceration. Charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the infamous Bhima Koregaon (BK) conspiracy case, Shoma Sen is the fourth accused to be released on ‘bail on merits’ by the Supreme Court, after Anand Teltumbde, Vernon Gonsalves, and Arun Ferreira.
Read full statement


Also read:
PUDR welcomes the release on bail of Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira today, but protests onerous bail conditions (PUDR / Aug 2023)
Five years behind bars for five activists – Without bail, without charges being framed, without justice! (PUDR / June 2023)
Stop Denying Political Prisoners the Right to Healthcare in Jails (PUDR / Sep 2022)

Shoma Sen should have been released in 2018 / Explained: The Shoma Sen bail judgment

Shoma Sen should have been released in 2018 / Explained: The Shoma Sen bail judgment

Shoma Sen

Explained: The Shoma Sen bail judgment [read judgement]

08/04/2024

The Leaflet / by The Leaflet

The arguments, counter-arguments, and the many, many injustices and tethers of the judgment of the Supreme Court granting bail to former Nagpur University and women’s rights activist Shoma Sen, who spent six years in jail without a trial.
Read more
Read judgement


‘Shoma Sen should have been released in October 2018’

09/04/2024

Rediff.com / by Jyoti Punwani

‘Shoma didn’t have the luxury of time. She was already suffering from so many ailments.’
Professor Shoma Sen, among the first to be arrested in the Elgar Parishad case, got bail on April 5, after spending almost 6 six years in jail. Advocate Susan Abraham explains to Jyoti Punwani why the Nagpur professor should have been out more than 5 years ago.

The question everyone’s asking is: If the Supreme Court has found no prima facie evidence against Shoma Sen, why did it take so long for her to get bail?
Read more

Top Global Academics Flay Recent Pattern in India of Jailing Critics Without Trial

Top Global Academics Flay Recent Pattern in India of Jailing Critics Without Trial

Campaign poster, 2020

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has voiced his support for the statement – among whose authors is Amitav Ghosh – saying such imprisonment without trial was “certainly among the worst injustices that the country has made into a regular arrangement”.
Sixteen prominent academics released a statement expressing concern over the prolonged detention without trial of writers, journalists and activists who were critical of the Union government.
Read more / read the full text of the two statements

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)

Kejriwal Arrest: This Coup Against Our Constitutional Setup is a Wake-Up Call

Kejriwal Arrest: This Coup Against Our Constitutional Setup is a Wake-Up Call

Campaign, 2020

The Wire / by Apoorvanand

One knows that the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal or Hemant Soren is to scare political leaders and the people and stun them into inaction. Is this how we want to live? Are we actors in this theatre of democracy or mere spectators?
… But in India and especially under the BJP government, investigation is used as a ruse to punish the critics and opponents of the government by jailing them. This is exactly what was done to P. Chidambaram and many others.
Recently, we heard the agencies informing the court that it did not need Shoma Sen’s custody for investigation. She is in jail for more than five years in the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy case.
Read more


Also read:
State-sponsored attacks of surveillance reveal an erosion on Indians’ right to privacy, especially journalists, political opposition (SabrangIndia / Nov 2023)
India: Weaponizing Counterterrorism: India’s exploitation of terrorism financing assessments to target the civil society (Amnesty International / Sep 2023)
The Uses (and Abuses) of Investigative Agencies (The Wire / Nov 2022)
AUTHORITIES HARASS AND SQUEEZE FUNDING OF NGOS WHILE ACTIVISTS, JOURNALISTS TARGETED IN INDIA (CIVICUS / Feb 2022)
Maharashtra is adding activists to a secret list of the enemies of state (Newslaundry / July 2021)
How Governments Avoid Due Process by Declaring Groups as ‘Front Organisations’ of Banned Entities (The Wire / Sep 2020)

Was the trial judge who convicted GN Saibaba biased? We will never know, and that is part of the injustice

Was the trial judge who convicted GN Saibaba biased? We will never know, and that is part of the injustice

Was the trial judge who convicted G.N. Saibaba biased? We will never know, and that is part of the injustice

24/03/2024

The Leaflet / by Nihalsing Rathod

The injustice of a trial judge filling the gaps in the prosecution’s case (which relied on ‘evidence’ in the form of bananas, umbrellas and newspaper cuttings) with judicial overreach to chop ten years off Professor G.N. Saibaba’s life.
The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court heard the appeal against the conviction of Prof. G.N. Saibaba and five others, twice. In both the judgments, it set aside the conviction.
Read more


Branded Maoist, ex-political prisoners narrate how they were wrongfully incarcerated

21/03/2023

Counterview.net / by Our Representative

Celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, which fell on March 18, the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a joint platform of 35+ organizations, held a public gathering in Delhi titled “Life in Anda Cell: Political Prisoners and Wrongful Incarcerations” at the Press Club of India, Delhi, in order to mark the acquittal and prison experience of cultural activist Hem Mishra and his family. 
… Hem Mishra added, “it is not about just the 6 of us in my case. It is about all political prisoners. As long as the fight for jal-jangal-jameen remains, as long as the fight of Dalits, Adivasis, workers, peasants, oppressed nationalities remains, as long as the question of creating a better world for all people and a better state for all people remains, the fight of all political prisoners will rage on. At the end of the day, I am a bard who sings the songs of the people and I will continue to echo their cries. I am out of prison, but as long as all other political prisoners like Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale are inside prison, I feel I am only out from a smaller cage into a bigger one.”
Read more


By Adv Surendra Gadling Defence Committee (Jan 2021):
With due credit to anonymous artist and to the jailed, to be jailed lawyers

IO Whose Role Bombay HC Questioned in Saibaba Case Was Also Part of Elgar Parishad Probe

13/03/2024

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

The Pune police, at multiple places in the Elgar Parishad chargesheet, claimed that some of those arrested in the Elgar Parishad case had a “direct association” with Saibaba.
At the end of 2018, when the Pune police first filed a chargesheet in the Elgar Parishad case, they claimed to be “heavily relying” on the investigation conducted in the case involving former Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba. By then, Saibaba and five others had already been convicted by the Gadchiroli sessions court.
Read more


Also watch:

▪ Video: INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MEETING

en | 1:07 min | 2024

By INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM IN INDIA (InSAF)
Celebrating the Second Acquittal of Professor GN Saibaba, Prashant Rahi, Mahesh Tirki, Hem Mishra and Vijay Tirki and the late Pandu Narote
Years in solitary confinement Years of shuttling from one bail plea to another Endless health ordeals, systematic discrimination The custodial death of 32-year old co-accused Pandu Narote The shocking overnight reversal of an acquittal order The life and trials of GN Saibaba and his co-accused remind us of the extent the repressive Indian state will go to in order to silence voices of dissent But on 7 March 2024, they finally walked free, after being acquitted for the second time on 5 March 2024, exonerated of all charges On 10 March 2024, we came together to celebrate this overdue step
We will not be silenced

Co-sponsored by
International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India (InSAF India) South Asian Diaspora Action Collective (SADAC) Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) (IWA-GB) India Labour Solidarity (UK) Foundation The London Story The Humanism Project, Australia Hindus for Human Rights Free Saibaba Coalition (USA) Boston South Asian Coalition (BSAC) India Civil Watch International (ICWI) South Asia Solidarity Group, London

Watch video

‘From Phansi Yard’ by Sudha Bharadwaj wins Best Author in Non-Fiction @AutHER Awards

‘From Phansi Yard’ by Sudha Bharadwaj wins Best Author in Non-Fiction @AutHER Awards

by Jayati Ghosh @Jayati1609 (March 18):

Absolutely delighted to learn that Sudha Bharadwaj has deservedly won the best author award for non fiction with her sensitive, insightful and illuminating book on the lives of women in an Indian prison.

Here’s a typically thoughtful and compassionate response from #SudhaBharadwaj after news of the award:



by AutHER Awards – Creating Lasting Impressions / @AutherAwards (March 17):
A round of applause for Sudha Bharadwaj, winner of the Non-Fiction category at #AutherAwards. Her remarkable book ‘From Phansi Yard: My Year With The Women Of Yerawada’ has made a profound impact on the jury’s hearts
by Juggernautbooks / @juggernautbooks (March 17):
‘From Phansi Yard’ by Sudha Bharadwaj wind Best Author in the Non Fiction Category for @AutherAwards
A heart congratulations to Sudha Bharadwaj!

by Chiki Sarkar / @Chikisarkar (March 17):
Thrilled that Sudha Bharadwaj wins best non fiction in the ⁦@AutherAwards awards.
We are so proud to be publishing this wonderful book ⁦@juggernautbooks


From Phansi Yard: My Year with the Women of Yerawada

Author: Sudha Bhardwaj
Publisher: Juggernaut
Pages: 216
Order


Also read/watch:

▪ From Phansi Yard: My Year With The Women Of Yerawada, by Sudha Bharadwaj (Excerpt)

Artice 14 / by Samar Halarnkar / Sudha Bharadwaj | Nov 2023
Arrested on 28 August 2018, human rights lawyer, teacher and IIT graduate Sudha Bharadwaj is among 16 accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, charged under  sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967…

EXCERPT
On 1 November, I mark my second birthday in custody. Diwali was in late October this year, and Shoma Di has saved a bit of her Diwali faral (snacks, in Marathi) as a treat for me. She gives me a beautiful card with a hand-drawn Sudoku on the front and a ballerina ‘dancing away to her freedom’ on the inside. It’s an ode to my Sudoku mania.
Read more

▪ Video: Barkha Dutt speaks to Sudha Bharadwaj on her book ‘From Phansi Yard’

Mojo Story | Nov 2023


en | 21:03min | 2023
Barkha Dutt speaks to Trade Unionist, activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj on her book ‘From Phansi Yard’. The book records stories of her time in jail. She is out on bail after 3 years in the 2018 Bhima-Koregaon violence case.
Sudha speaks about her days in jail and how her time in a women’s prison made her aware of the gender gap in legal aid. “Many women are jailed- because their husband committed some crime and are now absconding- they don’t even know about the crime,” she says.
Sudha further says that she lives in the house of a friend, as she “can’t afford rent”. Trade unions support her, she does legal cases for them, she says.
Watch video

▪ A Cage with a View: Under-trial life in an Indian jail

National Herald | by Sudha Bharadwaj | Oct 2023
The jottings that make up this book were my way of coping with incarceration. Some prisoners pray, some weep, some just put their heads down and work themselves weary. Some fight defiantly every inch of the way, some are inveterate grumblers, some spew gossip. Some read the newspaper from cover to cover, some shower love on children, some laugh at themselves and at others.
I watched through the bars, and I wrote.

Read more

IO Whose Role Bombay HC Questioned in Saibaba Case Was Also Part of Elgar Parishad Probe / Video

IO Whose Role Bombay HC Questioned in Saibaba Case Was Also Part of Elgar Parishad Probe / Video

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

The Pune police, at multiple places in the Elgar Parishad chargesheet, claimed that some of those arrested in the Elgar Parishad case had a “direct association” with Saibaba.
At the end of 2018, when the Pune police first filed a chargesheet in the Elgar Parishad case, they claimed to be “heavily relying” on the investigation conducted in the case involving former Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba. By then, Saibaba and five others had already been convicted by the Gadchiroli sessions court.
Read more


Also read/watch:
‘It Is Only by Chance That I Came Out of Prison Alive’: G.N. Saibaba (The Wire / March 2024)

▪ Video: INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MEETING

en | 1:07 min | 2024

By INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM IN INDIA (InSAF)
Celebrating the Second Acquittal of Professor GN Saibaba, Prashant Rahi, Mahesh Tirki, Hem Mishra and Vijay Tirki and the late Pandu Narote
Years in solitary confinement Years of shuttling from one bail plea to another Endless health ordeals, systematic discrimination The custodial death of 32-year old co-accused Pandu Narote The shocking overnight reversal of an acquittal order The life and trials of GN Saibaba and his co-accused remind us of the extent the repressive Indian state will go to in order to silence voices of dissent But on 7 March 2024, they finally walked free, after being acquitted for the second time on 5 March 2024, exonerated of all charges On 10 March 2024, we came together to celebrate this overdue step
We will not be silenced

Co-sponsored by
International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India (InSAF India) South Asian Diaspora Action Collective (SADAC) Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) (IWA-GB) India Labour Solidarity (UK) Foundation The London Story The Humanism Project, Australia Hindus for Human Rights Free Saibaba Coalition (USA) Boston South Asian Coalition (BSAC) India Civil Watch International (ICWI) South Asia Solidarity Group, London

Watch video