Press Release: Covid-19 a virtual death sentence, new persecution tool against Bhima-Koregaon accused
sabrang / by sabrangindia
Friends and families of undertrial prisoners narrate the worsening condition in Taloja and Byculla prisons, stressing a single fact – jail authorities must allow unconditional bail for all political prisoners!
Families and friends of the 15-accused in the Bhima Koregaon (hereafter called BK-15) case vehemently demanded the immediate release of undertrial prisoners from crowded jails, while talking about jail conditions during a press conference on May 15, 2021. Read more
Press Release: Bhima Koregaon, COVID-19 and custodial apathy in jails
By Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy
On May 15th, several family members of the 15 prisoners accused in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case addressed the press via an online press conference. Some of the arrestees have spent three years behind bars and continue to await trial. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages with greater intensity, several among those incarcerated have contracted the virus. Most of the arrestees are over the age of 60 and most suffer severe comorbidities. Despite the rapidly deteriorating health of the incarcerated, particularly most recently in the case of Prof. Hany Babu basic medical attention has been denied to them. Demanding that those imprisoned be released on bail in light of the looming threat of the pandemic, Prof. Babu’s wife Jenny Rowena, Adv. Surendra Gadling’s wife Minal Gadling, Fr. Stan Swamy’s friend Fr. Joseph Xavier, Mahesh Raut’s sister Monali, activist Harshali Potdar of Republican Panthers Jatiya Antachi Chalwal and friend of Sudhir Dhawale, Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj’s friend Smita Gupta addressed the press.
Harshali told us of conditions within Taloja Jail from Sudhir Dhawale who informed her that majority of the staff including cleaners and cooks inside prison have tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital inside Taloja is currently treating 60-65 people for the virus. No testing facilities are available inside jail. Instead, the jail is testing people who are fit in order to show that there are no cases. Eight persons inside Sudhir Dhawale and Vernon Gonsalves’ barrack have tested positive. Yet the prison staff have refused to test them. Sudhir Dhawale despite being over the age of 45 has been denied the vaccine as he does not have an Aadhaar card. Despite the fact that his documents have been confiscated by the police, being denied the right to be vaccinated while in the custody of the state raises the question, “whose responsibility is it now?” The letters being sent by them are reaching the family with a delay of over a month and video calls are not available. Despite the Prison Act 1894 that ensures that prisoners are entitled to basic medical facilities. However, in Taloja, there are no doctors, nurses, lab technicians, etc. but only three ayurvedic practitioners. Right to proper food and water, right to intermingle with other prisoners, communication with family members and lawyers through letters and calls, speedy trials, etc. – all of these rights are being violated.
By family members of the 15 human rights activists who are currently undertrial detainees
The Honorable CM, Maharshtra
Mr. Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray,
CM Office, Mantralaya,
154, Madame Cama Road,
Maharashtra – 400020
Subject: Plea for release of the Bhima Koregaon (BK) detainees during COVID-19 pandemic
We represent the family members of the 15 human rights activists who are currently undertrial detainees lodged at Byculla District Mumbai Prison and Taloja Jail, in the NIA case: RC-01/2020/NIA/MUM.
At a time when the entire country is faced with unparalleled devastation due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic it is particularly distressing times for us knowing that our loved ones are in jail with us having minimal knowledge of their health and wellbeing. Our anxieties have been further intensified recently learning about the death of a Taloja jail inmate due to COVID-19 due to delay in provision of medical attention. Another news report in recent times indicated that eight staff members at the Taloja Prisons have tested positive for COVID-19 and 40 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Byculla Prison. …
In the light of Covid-19 outbreak and deteriorating health of civil and human rights defenders in prisons, United Against Hate is organising a conversation addressing the issue, demanding immediate release of political prisoners. The dreadful conditions in overcrowded jails, which lack proper sanitation, hygiene and medical facilities, are conducive to spread of a virus like COVID-19 and have contributed immensely to their deteriorating health condition. Umar Khalid, GN Saibaba, Siddique Kappan, Akhil Gogoi, Jyoti Jagtap, Varvara Rao have already contracted COVID-19 behind bars. Khalid Saifi and Sudha Bhardwaj have also been unwell, as was reported by their families. It must be noted that many of them have comorbidities and have been on medications even before their arrests. It has been long since the arrests of these voices of dissent who fought for democracy, for rights of the people and for freedom from the repressive state. Their only crime is fearlessly speaking the bitter truth to power.
Petition: Covid-19 is a virtual death sentence for political prisoners! Release them now!
By Citizens for Justice and Peace
Political prisoners lodged in prisons across the country need to be released temporarily in the wake of the massive surge in COVID-19 cases. It is known that prison conditions are conducive to spread of a virus like COVID-19 and these political prisoners deserve to be released on bail. Read more/sign petition
Kin Allege Negligence as Prisoner in Taloja Jail Dies of COVID-19
The Wire / by The Wire Staff
Activist Varavara Rao had also previously complained about the healthcare facilities in Taloja jail in an an affidavit submitted to a court.
A 22-year-old undertrial prisoner lodged in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja jail has died of COVID-19 at a hospital, even as his family members alleged that the negligence of prison authorities led to his death.
The prisoner, identified as Vishal Anand Dasari, died at St George Hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday morning, a jail official said. Read more
Maharashtra’s Prisons Are Feeling the Brunt of a Crisis That Could Have Been Averted
The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha
Despite several directions from the Supreme Court and high court to decongest its overcrowded prisons in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has neglected the issue. Read more
Video: Father Stan Swamy’s 84th birthday celebrations online
Through his own writings from the prison, and know why the State fears him and why the Bhima Koregaon case is cooked up, along with messages of solidarity for his release and that of other Prisoners of Conscience.
Father Stan stands as a symbol of struggle and resistance against the repression of Tribals and has been falsely implicated and arrested since October 2020 in the Bhima Koregaon “conspiracy” case. A Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, he has worked in Jharkhand for over three decades on issues of land, forest and labour rights in order to create a world where there is love, peace and justice. #ReleaseFatherStanNOW #ReleaseAllBK16Prisoners
Also watch: Repeal UAPA – Persecution by Prosecution (PUCL, Jan 2021)
In letters, Stan Swamy speaks about co-inmates, life behind bars
The Indian Express / by Sadaf Modak
Swamy, who turned 84 on Monday, was arrested on October 8, last year, from Ranchi by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in the Elgaar Parishad case.
From his daily routine to the experiences of his co-inmates in jail, Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy’s communication through letters and phones calls with his colleagues and friends gives a glimpse into the 200 days spent in jail by the country’s oldest prisoner arrested in a terror case. Read more
Bhima Koregaon case shows ‘deteriorating democracy’ in India: Panelists at US congressional briefing / Watch video
Bhima Koregaon case shows ‘deteriorating democracy’ in India: Panelists at US congressional briefing
Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff
This came after a Massachusetts-based digital forensics firm found further evidence that 22 letters were planted in activist Rona Wilson’s laptop.
A US congressional briefing held by a coalition of Indian American and human rights organisations on Thursday said that the Bhima Koregaon violence case was a clear evidence of “deteriorating democracy” in India. The briefing took place on Thursday after a new report from a United States-based digital forensics firm revealed that a hacker planted 22 additional incriminating documents in activist Rona Wilson’s laptop. Read more
Video: India’s Most Important Human Rights Defenders Incarcerated Without Trial
April 22, 2021
On February 10, Washington Post showed how renowned human rights defenders in India were incarcerated on the basis of forged files planted using malware. Hear experts on digital forensics and human rights speak about the landmark Bhima-Koregaon case, seen as the most significant test case for human rights and rule of law in India.
This Thursday, HfHR and our partners are hosting a Congressional Briefing on the #BhimaKoregaon case, in which Indian human rights activists have been incarcerated on the basis of forged evidence. Watch video
There Is No Case. Release the Bhima Koregaon 16 and Compensate Them
by American Bar Association Justice Defenders Program (April 22): +++ We are extremely concerned regarding further reports of evidence tampering to incriminate the #BhimaKoregaon activists and continue to call for their immediate release +++ We previously facilitated the work of @ArsenalArmed to conduct a forensic review of a computer seized by police and used as evidence in the #BhimaKoregaon cases. The report finds that an attacker used malware to infiltrate the laptop, depositing at least 10 incriminating letters +++ The latest report by Arsenal, facilitated by the Center, finds that 22 additional documents were also delivered to the computer by the same attacker +++ In light of the discovery of malware used for evidence tampering, we continue to call for the immediate release of all #BhimaKoregaon defenders +++ Our preliminary report on the #BhimaKoregaon cases identified potential procedural irregularities and possible fair trial violations +++/ Read preliminary report (Oct 2019) here (PDF)
There Is No Case. Release the Bhima Koregaon 16 and Compensate Them
The Wire / by Jignesh Mevani and Meena Kandasamy
A second report released on April 21, 2020 by Arsenal Computing contains more damning evidence of how files were planted on Rona Wilson’s computer.
It is a year since we jointly authored an op-ed denouncing the arrest of Professor Anand Teltumbde on Ambedkar Jayanti.
We highlighted the fact that his incarceration in the Bhima Koregaon case had less to do with any so-called conspiracy, and more to do with his Dalit-centred Marxist politics, which was seen as a direct threat to the corporate-Manuvadi government of Modi. Read more
More Proof Of Planted Evidence On Rona Wilson’s Computer / More Damning Signs of Planted Evidence
Forensics Firm Finds More Proof Of Planted Evidence On Rona Wilson’s Computer: Report
Medianama / by Advait Palepu
In its second report, Massachusetts-based digital forensics firm Arsenal Consulting found that a malicious software used by an attacker had planted an additional set of files on prison rights’ activist Rona Wilson’s computer. The firm said that there was no evidence that Wilson interacted with these files and documents, which are cited by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) in its charge-sheet against Wilson and others in the Bhima-Koregaon case.
The Washington Post and The Reporter’s Collective were the first to report on the findings of Arsenal Consulting. Read more
In Bhima-Koregaon Case, More Damning Signs of Planted Evidence
Article 14 / by Shreegiresh Jalihal/THE REPORTERS’ COLLECTIVE
A new report by a leading US digital forensic company offers ‘irrefutable’ proof of arrested activist Rona Wilson’s devices being hacked and explains how 22 files were planted. These files are key evidence in the Bhima-Koregaon case, where 16 academics, lawyers, artistes are imprisoned without bail or trial.
A new report from a US-based digital forensics company has said a hacker planted 22 “incriminating” files in activist Rona Wilson’s computer, days after violence in the Maharashtra town of Bhima-Koregaon in January 2018. Read more
All you need to know about the 16 accused, 3 charge sheets, and the controversial narrative surrounding the case.
When exactly did the Bhima Koregaon case, as it has come to be known, begin?
Was it on the day the first set of activists were arrested, back in June 2018? Was it the day when malware was allegedly planted on the computers of at least one of the accused, two years before that? Or do we have to go all the way back to the Battle of Bhima Koregaon itself to understand what’s really going on with this case?
And when will this case, which has dragged on for nearly three years with a trial nowhere in sight, end? Read more
Webinar: The Bhima-Koregaon case of imprisoned activists and India’s autocratic turn
Ideas Behind Bars – The Bhima-Koregaon case of imprisoned activists and India’s autocratic turn
The webinar is part of InSAF India’s campaign demanding the release of all jailed scholars, students and civic activists in India. 24 April 2021
USA: 10:30am EDT / 9:30am CDT / 7:30am PDT
UK: 3:30pm BST / Europe: 4:30pm CEST / India: 8pm IST REGISTER TO JOIN THE ZOOM WEBINAR HERE
+ Jed Crandall Associate Professor, Biodesign Center for Biocomputation, Security and Society and School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, USA
+ Suchitra Vijayan Author of Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India and Founder and Executive Director of The Polis Project
+ Tarunabh Khaitan Professor of Public Law and Legal Theory, and Vice Dean, Faculty of Law, Oxford University, UK Moderated discussion to be followed by Q&A with the audience.
This webinar aims to shed light on alarming authoritarian developments in India that have scarcely received adequate international attention. …