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The 16 activists arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case are victims of witch-hunt

The 16 activists arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case are victims of witch-hunt

Frontline / by Anupama Katakam

The arrests and incarceration of 16 activists, known as the BK-16, on specious charges relating to the Bhima Koregaon violence case is part of the Central government’s systematic and methodical targeting of people who dissent and fight against oppression and for the causes of sections of society that a majoritarian government has no space for …
A look at the profile of each victim clearly indicates why the current regime feels threatened by their work.
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May Be An Irregularity, Not An Illegality: Maharashtra Govt On Special NIA Court Not Taking Cognizance Of Case

May Be An Irregularity, Not An Illegality: Maharashtra Govt On Special NIA Court Not Taking Cognizance Of Case

May Be An Irregularity, Not An Illegality: Maharashtra Govt On Special NIA Court Not Taking Cognizance Of Case

23/07/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Maharashtra Government and the National Investigation Agency on Friday continued their arguments opposing Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad accused Sudha Bharadwaj’s default bail application.
The State submitted that in her entire petition Bharadwaj hasn’t averred at a single place that she was “denied justice” because a sessions court, and not a special court under the NIA Act, took cognisance of the chargesheet against her and and other accused on February 21, 2019.
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If Court is not empowered to take cognizance, does not mean proceedings can be set aside: NIA to Bombay High Court

23/07/2021

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

An affidavit stating the same was filed before the High Court in the petition filed by eight accused in the Bhima Koregaon case challenging the order refusing bail.
Merely because a court is not empowered by law to take cognizance and yet does so in good faith does not mean that the proceedings should be set aside on that ground alone, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) submitted before the Bombay High Court in the Bhima Koregaon case.
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136 Names Revealed On Snoop List So Far / Indian activists jailed on terrorism charges were on list

136 Names Revealed On Snoop List So Far / Indian activists jailed on terrorism charges were on list

136 Names Revealed By The Wire On Snoop List So Far

23/07/2021

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Over the past few days, The Wire – in collaboration with 16 other media organisations – has been revealing the names of people who were either persons of interest or forensically identified as having been targeted by clients of the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.
Those on the list include heads of state, political figures, activists, students, lawyers and journalists, among others.
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Pegasus exposé raises unjust detention cry

20/07/2021

The Telegraph / by Pheroze L. Vincent

The leaked database showed that the mobile numbers of several accused were on a list of those selected for surveillance by an unidentified client of NSO.
The families of the Elgaar Parishad-Maoist links detainees and one of their lawyers have said the new revelations about targeted surveillance have vindicated their stand that the prolonged imprisonment of the 15 surviving accused is unjust.
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From Ambedkarites and Labour Activists to Umar Khalid and JNU Students, Snoop List Targets All

20/07/2021

The Wire / by Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta, Sukanya Shantha and Kabir Agarwal

Leaked list of potential surveillance targets indicates attempt to keep tabs on critics of government policy.
The telephone numbers of an anti-caste leader and several prominent activists are part of a leaked database accessed by the Pegasus Project which includes individuals confirmed to have been targeted with the Israel based NSO group’s spyware.
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Indian activists jailed on terrorism charges were on list with surveillance targets

20/07/2021

The Washington Post / by Joanna Slater and Niha Masih

The Bhima Koregaon activists were also victims of an unidentified hacker who planted evidence on their computers, recent reports found.
When the Indian authorities began arresting lawyers and human rights activists in 2018, Sudha Bharadwaj did what she had done for more than three decades wherever she saw injustice. She organized. She spoke out. She asked courts to uphold the law.
Later that year, the police arrested her, too.
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Cops used Pegasus in Koregaon Bhima case, says Digvijaya Singh

20/07/2021

Times of India / by Suchandana Gupta

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh on Monday told TOI TOI that Pegasus was used by police in the Koregaon Bhima case, and even his name had surfaced, but he couldn’t be implicated because he had stopped using the phone that was mentioned in the ‘Naxalite letter’.
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Phones of ministers, journalists, lawyers and activists tapped by Pegasus spyware. Indians should worry

19/07/2021

The Leaflet / by Ramesh Menon

In the days ahead, we will know more about the investigations as they will be released in parts. Clearly, there is going to be a stormy monsoon session in Parliament as opposition members will question the government’s role in the snooping scandal. These revelations, if true, bode dangerously for the health of our democracy, writes Ramesh Menon as he recaps what we know about the Pegasus hacking allegations so far.
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Bail after 3 years for the incarcerated Mumbai Electric Employees Union Workers

Bail after 3 years for the incarcerated Mumbai Electric Employees Union Workers

tnlabour.in / By Thozhilalar Koodam

After 3 long years, the five workers of Mumbai Electric Employees Union are out on bail. The State which arrested these workers under UAPA in the aftermath of Bhima Koregaon incident has not been able to prove any of its charges. These workers were guilty of one thing only, they were to organise contract workers against their mighty owner Reliance. As they could not be charged of these activities as treason, the State keeps finding flimsy charges to keep hundreds of activists and workers in jail under other pretexts.
While they still have a long way to go to clear the charges against them, their union Mumbai Elecrtic Employees Union has released the following pamphlet in solidarity with the arrested workers and to continue the struggles of exploited contract workers against their management. This pamphlet was translated in hindi, tamil and telugu and was distributed among workers.
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Three years after Bhima Koregaon: How criminal law was violated

Three years after Bhima Koregaon: How criminal law was violated

The Leaflet / by Nihalsing B Rathod

Recalling his bruising experiences with an unjust criminal justice system as part of the legal team of the activists arrested in the questionable Bhima Koregaon violence case three years ago, Nihalsing B Rathod, in this second of a three-part series, recollects how basic tenets of criminal law were violated by the Pune Police in arresting Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Fereira, and Vernon Gonsalves at various points, and extending their detention, as well as that of Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale and Mahesh Raut. All this while, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde exhausted all legal options to evade arrest, as the judiciary looked on, condoning the deprivation of the activists’ liberty and denying their bail applications, sometimes making gestures that filled the activists’ legal team with hope but ultimately continuing the farce that is the Bhima-Koregaon travesty.
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Also read part one: Bhima Koregaon: Marking three years since the first arrest (June 7, 2021)

Mahesh Raut, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor test Covid positive at Taloja jail

Mahesh Raut, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor test Covid positive at Taloja jail

Bhima Koregaon case: 3 accused test Covid positive at Taloja jail

03/06/2021

Sabrangindia / by Sabrangindia

Mahesh Raut, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor have tested positive after an RT-PCR drive was conducted at Taloja.
After Father Stan Swamy tested positive for Covid-19 at Holy Family Hospital, an RT-PCR test drive was conducted at Taloja jail for all inmates. The Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case accused Mahesh Raut, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor have tested positive.
According to Republican Panthers Jatiya Antachi Chalwal activist Harshali Potdar, who was also questioned by the NIA in the Bhima Koregaon matter, the three accused persons have been quarantined in a very congested room in the Central jail. Despite testing positive, neither medical treatment of any kind has started, nor they have been given a medical diet to follow.
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Co-inmates of Stan Swamy who attended to him test negative

03/06/2021

The Indian Express / by Express News Service

Stan Swamy, the 84-year old Jesuit priest arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case, requires assistance to complete his daily chores in jail.
Days after Father Stan Swamy tested positive for Covid-19, two of his co-inmates who were attending to him, tested negative at Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday.
One of his co-accused, Arun Ferreira, and another inmate usually help him in jail.
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In prison, waiting is a habit turning slowly into addiction: Varavara Rao’s older prison diaries

In prison, waiting is a habit turning slowly into addiction: Varavara Rao’s older prison diaries

Scroll.in / by Varavara Rao

An excerpt from Varavara Rao’s ‘Captive Imagination: Letters from Prison’, published in 2010.

A day without toil
A night without love
A waiting on the shores of history…

Of the four days of life for which we have begged, two are lost in hope and the rest in waiting, said Bahadur Shah Zafar. In life outside, there is action to separate the hope from the waiting. Action could, of course, lead you to more hope and more waiting. But, lost in activity, time seems to slip through your fingers, your toes, from before your very eyes. Life in prison is not like that.
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Also read: FRAME UP OF INDIAN POLITICAL PRISONERS REVEALED – New Edition of COLORS OF THE CAGE by Rao’s co-accused human rights activist Arun Ferreira (Feb 2021)

Frame Up Of Indian Political Prisoners Revealed – New edition of Colors of the Cage

Frame Up Of Indian Political Prisoners Revealed – New edition of Colors of the Cage

By Common Notions

Colors of the Cage: Memoirs of an Indian Prison
by Arun Ferreira
foreword by Naresh Fernandes
introduction by Siddhartha Deb
February 2021

As Common Notions publishes the new edition of Colors of the Cage (2021) by political prisoner and human rights activist Arun Ferreira, news is breaking that makes it abundantly clear that, just like his earlier arrests, his current detention is based on falsehood and political repression …
In May 2007, Arun Ferreira was picked up at a railway station in western India, detained by the court, and condemned to prison for an expanding list of crimes: criminal conspiracy, murder, possession of arms, and rioting, among others added during his detention. In one of the most notorious prisons in India, he was constantly abused and tortured. Over the next several years as he began to write Colors of the Cage, each of the ten cases slapped against him fell apart. At long last, acquitted of all charges, he prepared to reunite with his family.
Ferreira refused to surrender hope and continued to fight for his freedom. He succeeded and walked out of the prison in 2014 and then used his prison experience to become a lawyer for other political activists. In 2018, he was arrested once again in what is shaping up to be a major frame up. His next hearing is February 28th.
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Also watch: Video: Arun Ferreira speaks about Life in an Indian Prison (en | 12:51 min | 2014)

Farmers’ groups attempt to ‘broaden’ struggle / Jailed activists join farmers protests [full statement]

Farmers’ groups attempt to ‘broaden’ struggle / Jailed activists join farmers protests [full statement]

Farmers’ groups along Delhi border attempt to ‘broaden’ struggle

11/01/2021

Counterview / by Harsh Thakor

A protracted war of resistance appears to be unfolding on the border of Delhi, whee protesting farmers have intensified their struggle against the three agricultural laws. A massive tractor march was planned as a precursor to a similar rally on the Republic Day. Farmers are being mobilized under the guidance of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and other organisations in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
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Their full statement (click to enlarge)

Several Elgaar Parishad accused on day-long hunger strike in support of protesting farmers

23/12/2020

The Indian Express / by Express News Service

Three other accused in the case, Sudha Bharadwaj, Jyoti Jagtap and Shoma Sen, are lodged separately at Byculla women’s jail.
To show solidarity with protesting farmers, some of the arrested accused in the Elgaar Parishad case who are lodged at Taloja Central Jail observed a day-long symbolic hunger strike on Wednesday.
The accused, including Mahesh Raut, Anand Teltumbde, Surendra Gadling, Hany Babu, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Rona Wilson, said in a statement issued through their lawyers that since they cannot join the farmers on the ground, they want to show solidarity with their cause through a hunger strike on December 23, which is observed as National Farmers’ Day.
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Jailed activists join farmers protests, symbolic hunger strike in solidarity

23/12/2020

Indie Journal / by Indie Journal

The activists have criticised the Central Government for bringing in the farm laws.
On farmers’ day, today, several intellectuals and activists detained in the Bhima Koregaon case will be undertaking a day-long symbolic hunger strike, in solidarity with the farmers protesting against the farm laws. The activists have criticised the Central Government for bringing in the farm laws, calling it a “sinister plot to make farmers slave of the corporate giants”.
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Also read: FARMERS’ UNION EXPLAINS WHY IT IS DEMANDING JAILED ACTIVISTS’ RELEASE (Dec 14)

Gadling in jail. Reason? As lawyer-activist he has been ‘unpleasant’ to India’s topcops

Gadling in jail. Reason? As lawyer-activist he has been ‘unpleasant’ to India’s topcops

Counterview / by Nilkantha Mandal, Sandeep Pandey, Kushagra Kumar

Surendra Gadling, now in jail in the Bhima-Koregoan violence case, is a human rights lawyer and Dalit rights activist based in Nagpur. He is known for taking up cases of extra-judicial killings, police excesses and atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis in Gadchiroli and Gondia districts of Maharashtra.
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The cost of voicing dissent: UAPA against G.N. Saibaba, Gautam Navlakha, Father Stan Swamy and others

26/12/2020

Countercurrents / by Kunal Pant

In 2016, a Supreme Court Judge asked the state of Maharashtra, “Do you want to extract a pound of flesh?” The statement was directed against the state for contesting the bail plea of Delhi University Professor G. N. Saibaba. Saibaba was arrested in 2014, a justification for which was to prevent him from committing what the police called “anti-national activities.”
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