Press Club of India, New Delhi
For over a year now, we have witnessed a political and legal battle over the right to dissent. It began with the right of dalits, bahujans, adivasis, Muslims, women and thousands from marginalised communities across the country to congregate at Koregaon on the banks of Bhima River near Pune to commemorate a battle fought two centuries ago. This, commemorated as an annual event, is a symbolic assertion of the historically oppressed Mahars against the dominant caste order of the Peshwas. This assertion by the most marginalised communities seemed to rankle the establishment. Read full statement
Dec1, Delhi: Democracy and Dissent – A Public Discussion
Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy (MRSD) press release condemns the continuous hounding of the human rights activists, people lawyers, trade unionists and other voices of dissent by the Indian state and use of draconian law like UAPA to imprison them for years without bail. The press statement also highlights the failure of the Maharashtra government to contain the violence unleashed by the right wing Hindutva groups. Read more
We, the members of civil society and more than 40 rights organisations including women’s rights organisations, dalit rights organisations, adivasi mass organisations, legal aid and research organisations, environmental groups, trade unions, students etc., have come together to register our condemnation of the continued hounding and reprisals by the state of human rights activists arrested allegedly in the Bhima Koregaon case.
… The Bhima Koregaon case marks a turning point in the use of state repression. An event to celebrate the valour of Dalits and OBCs is sought to be delegitimized by casting overtones of extraneous Maoist activity. Ten prominent human rights defenders, lawyers, professors, cultural, social and political activists, while homes of ten others have been raided. These arrests represent something more sinister – that the legal work of human rights defenders (trade union activists, anti-displacement activists, lawyers, poets and writers etc.) can be criminalized and deemed as terrorist activities that require the slapping of the draconian UAPA; and that all space for democratic dissent can be usurped by the State in the name of ‘Public and National Security’.
As part of an India-wide police operation on 28th August activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Varavara Rao were arrested and the homes of many more raided. Sudha Bharadwaj is a trade unionist and lawyer. The following pictures document protests from her working area in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh immediately after her arrest.