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Bhima Koregaon – Before the Law

Bhima Koregaon – Before the Law

Monthly Review / by Saroj Giri

In “Before the Law,” Franz Kafka portrays a countryman who can only be forever “before the law,” but never entering. “It is possible” to gain entry, says the doorkeeper, “but not at the moment.” The man gets old and is about to die—and only now does he understand that the gate was meant for him! “No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it.“
… Bhima Koregaon is, in terms of its empirics, so loaded with historical memory and the legacy of caste oppression that the so-called progressive left would rather take cover in the past-erasing, rarefied realms of the futuristic non-world of the constitution and the rights and innate liberties it supposedly guarantees to all citizens. Before the law, any day!
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Also read/watch:
The Bhima Koregaon Arrests and the Resistance in India (Monthly Review / April 2022)
Let’s Remember the Lesson of Bhima Koregaon: Down with the New Peshwai (Sanhati, by Sudhir Dhawale │ March 2018)

● Documentary: The battle of Bhima Koregaon – an unending journey

multiple Indian languages / en subtitles │ 50 min │ 2017

By pedestrian pictures

Direction and Camera – Somnath Waghmare
Editor – Deepu (Pradeep K P)

About the film
History speaks about great wars fought, brave warriors and clever kings and emperors. What history doesn’t do is justice to the wars, warriors and leaders of the oppressed. This documentary is about the 500 Mahar soldiers who offered to fight alongside their countrymen, against the colonisers. Rejected by the ruling class they joined forces with the colonisers and fought in the ‘Bhima Koregaon Battle’, defeating the Brahminical rule of the Peshwas. Just as history did, so do the media and ruling class today conveniently forget to acknowledge them. On​ the 1st of​ January, every year, 20 lakh (2 million) people gather at Bhima-Koregaon, Pune, Maharashtra to commemorate that battle. No national or local media covers the largest annual gathering in the region. The documentary captures the history of Bhima Koregaon and its relevance to contemporary Dalit issues and politics in the country. It tells the history of the​ ​Bahujans through the coverage of the events of this gathering.
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Report Release: In the Name of Development / Snooping on Civil Society

Report Release: In the Name of Development / Snooping on Civil Society

Poster by bakeryprasad

India Trains Its Sights on Dissent in Chhattisgarh – Snooping on Civil Society

28/10/2022

Voelkerrechtsblog / by Allison West

Development in the form of profit-driven resource exploitation ventures in India’s central state of Chhattisgarh, led by corporations and facilitated by the state, have wreaked havoc on the lives and livelihoods of the region’s indigenous Adivasi peoples. In the face of widespread dispossession, corporate land grabs, environmental degradation and militarized policing in Chhattisgarh, Adivasi activists and organized civil society play a vital role in monitoring, documenting and challenging ongoing human rights violations on the ground…
In 2020, Amnesty International and Citizen Lab uncovered a coordinated spyware campaign targeting nine human rights defenders in India, including several active in Chhattisgarh. Between January and October 2019, the targets received spearphishing emails with malicious links that, if opened, would have installed NetWire, a commercially manufactured Windows spyware that monitors a user’s actions and communications..
The common link between the human rights defenders targeted in the NetWire attack seemed to be a record of speaking out on behalf of those imprisoned in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon Case.
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Report Release: In the Name of Development – Indigenous Rights Violations and Shrinking Space in Chhattisgarh

03/11/2022

By India Justice Project & ECCHR

The report presents insights into the ongoing assault by the Indian state and powerful corporations on the indigenous peoples of the country through a case study of Chhattisgarh. In particular, the report highlights the legal and institutional means through which powerful state, military and corporate actors appropriate land and shrink space for Adivasi rights and resistance in Chhattisgarh.
Read full report (PDF, 72 pages)


Also read:
DISINHERITING ADIVASIS – THE GADCHIROLI GAME PLAN (KAFILA / June 2018)
Mining In Gadchiroli – Building A Castle Of Injustices (Countercurrents / June 2017)

Statement by CASR: Release Saibaba and Others / Mining in Gadchiroli

Statement by CASR: Release Saibaba and Others / Mining in Gadchiroli

Countercurrents.org / by Campaign Against State Repression

Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) Strongly condemns the Supreme Court’s order to suspend the Acquittal of Saibaba and Others in Gadchiroli case pertaining to alleged ‘Maoist link’.
… They want to keep in jail, every voice that foisted the state’s attempt to militarily loot the people of their resources and livelihood through Operation Green-Hunt, which Saibaba and other’s jailed in Gadchiroli case and Bhima Koregaon case have strongly resisted. They want to do so to continue the exploitation of people and their resources in far off Central Indian Regions, in North Eastern states, Kashmir and everywhere. This is not just an attack on Saibaba and others, but a clear sign of continuing and ever sharpening attack on all involved in the struggle for a democratic society.
Read full statement


Also read:
● Appeal to Supreme Court of India to review and reconsider Saibaba’s and Others Case (Countercurrents.org / by Defense Committee for the Release of Saibaba / Oct 18, 2022)
● Gadchiroli’s 300 Gram Sabhas Pass Resolution in Support of Activist Mahesh Raut (The Wire / Oct 2018)
DISINHERITING ADIVASIS – THE GADCHIROLI GAME PLAN (KAFILA / June 2018)
Mining In Gadchiroli – Building A Castle Of Injustices (Countercurrents / June 2017)

Vernon Gonsalves Is Latest Victim of Prison Staff’s Medical Neglect

Vernon Gonsalves Is Latest Victim of Prison Staff’s Medical Neglect

NIA court demands explanation from Taloja authorities on delay of treatment

09/09/2022

Hindustan Times / by Charul Shah

Only on September 5 Gonsalves was shifted to prison hospital as his condition had worsened.
The special NIA court on Thursday directed the superintendent of the Taloja Jail to provide proper medical treatment to Vernon Gonsalves, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, who has been diagnosed with dengue.
It has also reprimanded the prison authority for failing to respond to Gonsalves’s plea for medical treatment till Thursday.
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Vernon Gonsalves Is Latest Victim of Prison Staff’s Medical Neglect

08/09/2022

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

JJ Hospital has confirmed that Gonsalves has been suffering from dengue for close to two weeks and that he could have developed pneumonia too.
Over 10 days ago, Vernon Gonsalves, a Mumbai-based human rights activist and one of the 16 persons arrested in the Elgar Parishad case, had a high-grade fever. He fainted several times in jail and at one point couldn’t move. The Taloja central prison staff, however, only administered him paracetamol and refused to refer him to a hospital.
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Vernon Gonsalves on oxygen support after contracting dengue in prison

08/09/2022

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

His wife, lawyer Susan Abraham, told Scroll.in that the 65-year-old undertrial should have been admitted to hospital ‘long back’.
Activist Vernon Gonsalves, who is among those accused in the Elgar Parishad case, is on oxygen support in Mumbai’s JJ Hospital after contracting dengue in prison, his wife, lawyer Susan Abraham, told Scroll.in on Thursday.
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Pandu Narote’s Death: A Reminder of Stan Swamy’s Demise, GN Saibaba’s Struggles

08/09/2022

The Quint / by Mekhala Saran

When Pandu Narote died on 25 August, once again questions arose regarding the treatment of ailing inmates.
In February 2020, granting bail to Bhima Koregaon accused Varavara Rao, on medical grounds, the Bombay High Court had noted that “sending him back to prison is fraught with risk.”
… In May, 2021, while the second wave of COVID-19 wreaked devastation across the country, the family and friends of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, who have been lodged in Mumbai’s Taloja and Byculla jail, held a press conference drawing attention to the purportedly dangerous living conditions there. These included overcrowding, the lack of medical care, paucity of clean water, and flimsy access to basic human rights.
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► Also read/listen: Bhima Koregaon, COVID-19 And Custodial Apathy In Jails / Audio + Press Release (May 2021)
► Also read: Crowded Jails & COVID: 16 Bhima Koregaon Accused’s Kin Share Fears (The Quint / May 2021)

“Was Stan Swamy a Maoist?” By A Fellow Traveller

“Was Stan Swamy a Maoist?” By A Fellow Traveller

Stan Swamy

Academicfreedomindia.com / by a Fellow Walker

In this post, a fellow traveller of Stan’s in prison shares his reflections about the Jesuit priest who became one India’s foremost human rights defenders: the background to Stan’s own awakening and then participation in the continuing resistance movements among the most marginalised of Indian citizens, its indigenous peoples, the Adivasis: 

People call him Father Stan Swamy. This way of addressing is different from the Maoist usage. He opted for the Christian way of life in the Jesuit order when he was an adolescent. He migrated from Tiruchirappalli in Madras State to Jamshedpur which was, at that time, part of the undivided Bihar State. Jamshedpur is the habitat of tribal people. The people who work in the coal reserves and steel factories, and the people who live in the nearby forests are all tribals. Being idealistic from a very young age, Stan was influenced by the preaching and practice of Jesus Christ.
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The fight to save the earth / Sudha Bharadwaj on the Climate, Trade Unions and a Just Transition

The fight to save the earth / Sudha Bharadwaj on the Climate, Trade Unions and a Just Transition

The fight to save the earth

02//08/2022

Dawn.com / by Jawed Naqvi

In her book This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein flags the most challenging threat humanity has ever faced: the war our economic model is waging against life on earth. Sudha Bharadwaj began translating the book in Pune’s Yerawada Jail. President Droupadi Murmu could gain useful insights from it. As a representative of India’s most exploited and threatened community of Adivasis, oldest inhabitants of the land, she could exchange notes with Bharadwaj in Mumbai.
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Interview: Sudha Bharadwaj on the Climate, Trade Unions and a Just Transition

29/07/2022

The Wire Science / by Nagraj Adve

Nagraj Adve spoke with trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj for The Wire Science.

While in Yerawada jail, you began to translate Naomi Klein’s book on global warming, This Changes Everything, into Hindi. What made you do it? And what were the challenges, in terms of doing it while in jail and in the translation?

I had always been concerned about ecological devastation in Chhattisgarh due to the limestone quarries and cement plants, vast coal mines, power plants and their ash dykes, sponge iron plants spewing black dust, and the rivers running red with iron ore – things that, as a trade unionist and later as a lawyer representing landowners fighting land acquisition, I had observed at close quarters. But I was always caught up with the battles of the present moment – the notices, the court cases, the jobs, the environmental hearings.
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by Naomi Klein / @NaomiAKlein (Jul 29, 2022)
Little in my writing life has moved me as much as trade unionist Sudha Bharadwaj’s account of translating “This Changes Everything” into Hindi when she was in jail under horrific conditions as a prisoner of conscience.

Fridays For Future India / @fridays_india (Jul 30, 2022)
Lawyer & social activist, Sudha Bharadwaj in an interview with @nagrajadve on the #climatecrisis and the challenges facing a fair transition away from coal in India;
Must Read!

Interview: Sudha Bharadwaj on the Climate, Trade Unions and a Just Transition

Interview: Sudha Bharadwaj on the Climate, Trade Unions and a Just Transition

The Wire Science / by Nagraj Adve

Nagraj Adve spoke with trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj for The Wire Science.

While in Yerawada jail, you began to translate Naomi Klein’s book on global warming, This Changes Everything, into Hindi. What made you do it? And what were the challenges, in terms of doing it while in jail and in the translation?

I had always been concerned about ecological devastation in Chhattisgarh due to the limestone quarries and cement plants, vast coal mines, power plants and their ash dykes, sponge iron plants spewing black dust, and the rivers running red with iron ore – things that, as a trade unionist and later as a lawyer representing landowners fighting land acquisition, I had observed at close quarters. But I was always caught up with the battles of the present moment – the notices, the court cases, the jobs, the environmental hearings.
Read more


by Naomi Klein (Jul 29, 2022)
Little in my writing life has moved me as much as trade unionist Sudha Bharadwaj’s account of translating “This Changes Everything” into Hindi when she was in jail under horrific conditions as a prisoner of conscience.

India’s President Droupadi Murmu and ‘an Unbroken History of Broken Promises’ – by Suhda Bharadwaj

India’s President Droupadi Murmu and ‘an Unbroken History of Broken Promises’ – by Suhda Bharadwaj

Sudha Bharadwaj

The Quint / by Sudha Bharadwaj

Draupadi Murmu has difficult tasks cut out for her if she is to protect rights and ensure justice to the Adivasis.
The reference in the headline is to the passionate essay by the late Dr BD Sharma of the same title. The continuing criminalisation of the Adivasi peoples is seen even in the 75th year of our Independence.
In the past couple of weeks, several very important events have taken place that will deeply affect the Adivasi people of our country.
Read more


Also read:
● Now that an Adivasi is president, will Big Media finally report on Adivasi issues? (Newslaundry / July 2022)
● Jailed Or Punished, With Or Without Trial: How The State Misuses The Law Against India’s Inconvenient Citizens (article 14 / July 2022)
● Narendra Modi’s Government Is Using False Charges of Terrorism to Repress Its Opponents (Jacobin.com / April 2022)
● Organisation In Jharkhand Is Holding The State Accountable (YKA / April 2022)
● Gadchiroli’s 300 Gram Sabhas Pass Resolution in Support of Activist Mahesh Raut (The Wire / Oct 2018)
● Press Release Of The Joint Fact Finding in Gadchiroli by CDRO, IAPL And WSS (WSS / May 2018)

Will Murmu Remain Help Unseen Adivasis Be Seen at Last? / Defending India’s Human Rights Defenders

Will Murmu Remain Help Unseen Adivasis Be Seen at Last? / Defending India’s Human Rights Defenders

Will Droupadi Murmu Remain a BJP Electoral Ploy or Help Unseen Adivasis Be Seen at Last?

21/07/2022

The Wire / by Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta

BJP is sure to celebrate its own decision to get an Adivasi President elected more than Murmu’s own achievements as a loyal political worker. It remains to be seen if they will let her have her own voice.
… Those who have been working for Adivasis’ causes point out that while BJP may congratulate itself in nominating Droupadi Murmu, their governments have mostly struck down or dismissed autonomous movements led by Adivasis. People like Father Stan Swamy (who passed away due to alleged medical negligence while in jail), Sudha Bharadwaj, or Surendra Gadling, all of whom have devoted their lives to improve the conditions of Adivasis, have been arrested under charges of terrorism in the Elgar Parishad case.
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Defending India’s Human Rights Defenders

21/07/2022

South Asian Voices / by Ria Chakrabarty

On July 5, 2021, Jesuit Priest and human rights defender Father Stan died in Indian custody at the age of 84. He was the oldest person to be arrested by the Indian government for terrorism. Father Stan’s incarceration led to a global outcry against the Indian government’s brutal treatment of Indian human rights defenders.
Father Stan is one of a mushrooming group of prisoners of conscience whom the Indian government has jailed over the past few years.
Read more


Also read:
● ‘Religious Freedom Worsened’: US Body Names India as ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (The Wire / April 2022)
● 2022 ANNUAL REPORT (U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) / April 2022)

Jailed Or Punished, With Or Without Trial: How The State Misuses The Law Against India’s Inconvenient Citizens

Jailed Or Punished, With Or Without Trial: How The State Misuses The Law Against India’s Inconvenient Citizens

Article14 / by Mani Chander

The arrests and continued incarceration of fact-checker Mohammad Zubair, political activist Javed Mohammed and the exoneration of 121 Adivasis accused of terrorism are the latest evidence of how the State adopts extra legal methods of dealing with ‘inconvenient citizens’- including journalists, dissidents, activists or the poorest Indians – to push official narratives of conspiracy and terrorism. The common threads: manipulation or egregious misinterpretation of laws, changing accusations, unknown or untraceable complainants and the abandonment of due process by police and courts.
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