Ashoka students call for class boycott next week, demand university reinstate Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Arvind Subramanian
The Indian Express / by Express News Service
In a statement issued late Friday night, the elected student body said that the two professors’ controversial exit had eroded their trust in the university administration to protect students from “external pressures”.
… “Here, it is crucial to acknowledge the socio-economic capital required to make these demands and protest for these changes given the larger political context of the country. The state crackdown on academics and activists has only worsened during the pandemic. We stand in complete solidarity with all the academics and activists who have resisted the state’s brutality, organized in support of targeted groups and been subject to imprisonment and torture for it including, but not limited to the Bhima Koregaon 16, peaceful anti-CAA protestors and most recently Nodeep Kaur and Shiv Kumar,” the statement reads further. Read full article
Letter from Prison by Stan Swamy / Statement by Jesuits in India
by Cedric Prakash (March 21):
Do JOIN: Special Day of Prayer and Fast for Fr Stan Swamy and others JCSA is inviting you to a livestreamed prayer service *PRAYING TOGETHER*
Date: Sunday, Mar 21, 2021 07:30 PM Indian Time +++
Jesuit Stan Swamy remains in jail, bail postponed again
UCA News / by UCA News Reporter
An elderly Indian Jesuit arrested more than five months ago on charges of sedition remains in jail as a special court postponed its verdict on his bail application for the third time.
The verdict on the bail application of 84-year-old Father Stan Swamy was postponed again on March 16 by the special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) based in western India’s Mumbai city.
“The frequent postponements have disappointed us,” said Father A. Santhanam, a Jesuit lawyer based in Tamil Nadu state who is closely following the case. Read more
The ‘Buts’ To Freedom Of Speech In India / Why Bail to Vara Vara Rao Augurs Well for Indian Democracy
Despite the BJP-RSS’s repression tactics having a terrifying and chilling effect on the right to protest, two of India’s largest movements have taken shape since 2019.
By now, it’s fairly obvious that the NDA government has a standard toolkit for dealing with what it regards as troublesome movements. The script goes like this …
The police stand on the sidelines as first propaganda and then violence is unleashed by either the Sangh parivar organisations or others. We’ve now seen this in JNU (in 2016 and again in 2020), in Bhima Koregaon, in the Republic Day incidents, and most terrible of all, in the Delhi killings of February 2020. Read more
The ‘Buts’ To Freedom Of Speech In India
Feminism India / by Guest Writer
A trembling, disillusioned father told his daughter to flee her homeland for her safety. This seems like a plot taken straight from a classic wartime story fraught with separation and grief. In reality, such was the conversation my friend had with her father following the unlawful arrests of activists. The Disha Ravi toolkit case was the last straw.
The ‘buts’ to the freedom of speech in India only seem to point to a dictatorial reality, much like that of Airstrip One in George Orwell’s 1984, where even the mere thought of protest is met with prosecution. Read more
Why Bail to Vara Vara Rao Augurs Well for Indian Democracy
NewsClick / by Ajay Gudavarthy
Collective rights cannot remain intact without a collective spirit. The Bombay High Court has shown such compassion lives on in India.
It restores faith in the judiciary and augurs well for Indian democracy that the Bombay High Court has granted bail to revolutionary poet VV Rao on medical grounds. In a sense, the current regime and VV, as he is known among friends, are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Read more
Parliamentarians have not raised voice against injustice done to Teltumbde: Rudraswamy
Writer and activist Anand Teltumbde has been in prison on false charges, but no parliamentarian has raised a voice against the injustice done to him, said H.M. Rudraswamy, a senior leader of the Dalit Sangharsha Samiti. Read more
Government’s game of prosecution – prosecution as a tool to silence critics
(Print edition: March 26, 2021)
The present dispensation uses prosecution as a tool to silence critics and opponents in a way that makes the legal process a punishment in itself.
Julio Ribeiro, a prince among police officers of the highest rank, notable alike for his high integrity and superb efficiency, rendered a great service by bringing home to the Indian reader the allegations of manipulating and planting in the Bhima Koregaon case. He had heard Mark Spencer, head honcho of Arsenal Consulting, a private digital forensics company. Ribeiro had heard Spencer on an Indian national TV channel “certifying that the police in India had been taken for a ride by an extremely clever hacker”. His article in The Indian Express on February 22 is entitled “The truth is out there” under the sub-heading “Allegations of manipulating and planting evidence in Bhima Koregaon case must be investigated. Read more
Women reject state surveillance – Women are not a “problem”
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan has proposed that every woman stepping out of her home be required to register herself with her local police station so that the police can track her for her safety.
Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde asked last month why women had been “kept” at the farmers’ protests and praised Supreme Court advocate AP Singh (a man with a record of victim-blaming and support for honour crimes) for giving an assurance that women would be sent home and kept out of the protests…
It is no coincidence, after all, that some of the inspiring Indian feminist figures of our times (to name a few — advocate Sudha Bharadwaj and teacher Shoma Sen, student activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita of Pinjra Tod, Ishrat Jahan and Gulfisha) are in prison today under draconian laws, and no judge seems able to see and end the appalling injustice of their incarceration. Read more
US representative Juan Vargas has urged US secretary of state Antony J Blinken to take up the matter of octogenarian Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy, who is in Tajola jail in Maharashtra on charges of terrorism, with the Indian government as part of US foreign policy. Blinken has assured the Congressman to look into the matter. Read more
Former civil servants urge Govt to bring legislative changes to prevent “planting” of incriminating material
A group of former civil servants has expressed concerns at reports alleging the planting of incriminating material in Rona Wilson’s computer, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
“The reports that the police and other investigative agencies may have violated constitutional guarantees and judicial pronouncements in the practices adopted in search and seizure operations, as well as the possibility that they may have been party to planting incriminating material in personal digital devices and harvesting evidence therefrom, have caused us grave concern”, the statement signed by former civil servants reads. Read more
Video: The case against the Bhima Koregaon political prisoners
Sixteen individuals across India have been arrested since 6 June 2018 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). They are human rights defenders working for the democratic rights of India’s poorest and most oppressed: Dalits, Adivasis, indigenous people, and women. All of them have been outspoken critics of Hindutva. Watch video