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. Read more
Open National Call: Defend Right to Dissent, Repeal Sedition Law, UAPA and Repressive State Laws
Call issued by several organizations across the country
Join National Action to Defend Democracy:
Defend Right to Dissent,
Repeal Sedition Law,
UAPA and Repressive State Laws,
Restore Right to Bail
The Institutional murder of the 84-year-old Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy in judicial custody on 5th July 2021 has brought home to all of us the urgency of the need to take up the defence of democracy against repressive laws. Father Stan, who spent a lifetime working with Adivasis in Jharkhand in defence of their rights, was arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case even though he had no connection with it and the police did not require him for any investigation. Father Stan died waiting for a chance to clear his name. In denying Fr Stan bail, the NIA judge, D. E. Kothalikar argued that “the collective interest of the community” outweighed Fr. Stan’s right to personal liberty. His death should shake the conscience of the nation and the judiciary as it “brings to an end a stark tale of injustice – one that has left the highest institutions of India’s justice system diminished.” But even after Father Stan’s death, the same court denied bail to Anand Teltumbde, another member of the BK-16, as the advocates, artists, journalists and intellectuals who have been imprisoned under the Bhima Koregaon case are called. …
An expert decodes Arsenal report—on planting evidence in activists’ devices—& its significance after Pegasus leaks.
In the light of Pegasus leaks, suggesting that Indian government used a spyware to snoop on politicians, constitutional appointees, journalists, and activists, the Bhima Koregaon case deserves fresh and sharp attention.
The Bhima Koregaon case (BKC) is a unique case in many aspects, but one aspect stands out – the planting of evidence through the use of malware as detailed by the Arsenal reports (Report one, two, three). Read more
Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line
The Wire / Sukanya Shantha
The families of activists figure on a leaked list of numbers that included some selected for surveillance by a client of Israel’s NSO Group. Read more
Government Cites Old RTI Response To Deny Pegasus Link, Says Media Didn’t Do Due Diligence
The Wire / by The Wire Staff
The ministry of electronics and information technology pointed to a response to an RTI from October 2019 in which the home ministry did not deny or confirm purchasing the Pegasus spyware. Read more
Forensic Methodology Report: How to catch NSO Group’s Pegasus
By Amnesty International
NSO Group claims that its Pegasus spyware is only used to “investigate terrorism and crime” and “leaves no traces whatsoever”. This Forensic Methodology Report shows that neither of these statements are true. This report accompanies the release of the Pegasus Project, a collaborative investigation that involves more than 80 journalists from 17 media organizations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories with technical support of Amnesty International’s Security Lab. Read more
Stan Swamy was ‘killed’, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut attacks Modi govt / Stan, UAPA and the Performative Solidarity of Politicians
Stan Swamy was ‘killed’, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut attacks Modi govt over activist’s death
The Indian Express / by Vishwas Waghmode
A government that is scared of an 84-year-old man is dictatorial in attitude but weak in the heart like Hitler’s and Mussolini’s, said Raut in his weekly column in party mouthpiece Saamana.
Hitting out at the Union government over the death of Father Stan Swamy, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said the tribal-rights activist was “killed” in jail. The Sena MP further asked whether the country’s foundations were so weak that an 84-year-old man could overthrow the Narendra Modi government, equating it with the ones of Hitler and Mussolini. Read more
Shiv Sena asks Centre if Father Stan Swamy was capable of overthrowing state
Hindustan Times / by Naresh Kamath
Raut said that while the prominent activists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case were guilty of provocative speeches before the violence on January 2, it required investigation to prove if they were actually conspiring against the nation. Read more
Father Stan, UAPA and the Performative Solidarity of Politicians
The Wire / by Farah Naqvi
For politicians expressing anguish and outrage in this moment of injustice, the best tribute would be to do what Fr. Stan Swamy did his entire life.
“Stan Smith (84) passes away. The system sucks. UAPA. No bail. Little hope of early trial. Others too languish in jail. Lawyers , Academics , Social Activists ….raise their voices for the voiceless. They too are now “voiceless”. The State calls them “ terrorists,” Kapil Sibal, Congress MP, tweeted on July 5, 2021.
Sibal got the name wrong. And he forgot to say sorry. For this casual disrespect to a martyr for democracy, even before dust had settled on his grave. He also forgot to say sorry for his own role in giving India the dark gift of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) that finally killed Fr. Stan Swamy. The gift that keeps on giving. Read more
His Death is Just a Statistic for Them: Anand Grover
The Citizen / by The Citizen Bureau
‘In other countries if one is wrongly prosecuted they can sue the police or the government’
Senior advocate Anand Grover has represented poet Varavara Rao and professor Shoma Sen imprisoned without trial since 2018 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in charges including a police-alleged plot to assassinate PM Narendra Modi.
Your reaction to Stan Swamy’s death?
It is a failure of the whole criminal justice system. Read more
UAPA Wrecking Lives: What Is The Human Cost? / Trying Without a Trial Is the Intent of Draconian UAPA Law
It is high time that the human costs extracted by the unjust detentions under UAPA are calculated and accountability is fixed on those investigating officers who trapped innocents by misusing the statute.
This article is not about how the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act(UAPA) is leading to blatant violations of civil liberties and how the act is being used to criminalize dissent. Much has been written and commented about this aspect by several constitutional scholars.
Experienced criminal law practitioners have highlighted that the stringent bail provisions of UAPA result in innocent persons languishing as undertrials on flimsy and fanciful chargers, only to be acquitted several years later. There is no need to add to the overwhelmingly compelling critical commentarries about UAPA. Read more
Trying Without a Trial Is the Intent of Draconian UAPA Law
The Wire / by Rajshree Chandra
‘Trial by process’ is the political and organisational logic of the UAPA.
An 84-year-old Jesuit Father, Stan Swamy, charged for inciting violence in Bhima Koregaon (BK), died inside the panoptic walls of the Taloja jail on July 5. Despite his age, despite his Parkinson’s-ravaged body, despite his tremors, despite his Covid infection, despite all his frailties, he had been denied bail repeatedly. Rather than his ailing, failing body becoming a ground for bail and appropriate medical care, his body became yet another ground on which the National Investigation Agency (NIA) waged its vicious war.
Now with one gone, there are 15 other bodies, 15 other grounds, 15 other citizens on whose imprisoned bodies this diabolical war shall continue, in which law will be upheld procedurally, but justice denied. Read more
Video: The Bizarre Evidence That Put Stan Swamy & The BK 16 in Prison
On Monday, 5th July, Fr. Stan Swamy passed away after eight months in prison – conditions that exacerbated his Parkinson’s. He was one of the jailed human-rights advocates also known as the Bhima Koregaon 16.
The evidence that surrounds the case is bizarre. The Wire breaks down the story, looking into the investigation conducted by Arsenal Consulting, a Boston-based digital forensics firm that has claimed the evidence for the arrests of the activists, was planted on their computers. Watch video
10 BK undertrials hold hunger strike / Statement by family members and friends of the BK16
10 Bhima Koregaon case accused demand judicial inquiry into Stan Swamy’s death, hold hunger strike
Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff
They blamed the National Investigation Agency and Taloja Jail’s former superintendent for the death of the tribal rights activist.
Ten accused in the Bhima Koregaon case on Wednesday went on a day-long hunger strike to protest against the “institutional murder” of tribal rights activist Stan Swamy, reported PTI. They also demanded a judicial inquiry into the activist’s death. Read more
Statement by family members and friends of the BK16:
The Institutional Murder of Fr. Stan Swamy
By family members and friends of the BK16
We, the friends and family members of those accused in the Bhima Koregaon Conspiracy case, are deeply pained and shaken to the core by the loss of Father Stan Swamy. This is not a natural death, but the institutional murder of a gentle soul, committed by an inhuman state. Having spent his life amongst the Adivasis in Jharkhand, fighting for their right to resources and lands, Father Stan did not deserve to die in this manner, far from his beloved Jharkhand, falsely imprisoned by a vindictive state. …
In June 2020, the special NIA court rejected interim bail pleas of poet Varavara Rao and former professor Shoma Sen, who sought bail citing their health conditions in light of Covid. Rao was subsequently granted temporary bail by HC for six months.
In May, a vacation bench of the High Court hearing a medical bail filed by Maaysha Singh, the daughter of activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, said prisoners are entitled to access their own medical records and that prisoners should be allowed to make a phone call to a family member after a hospital visit. The court disposed of the medical bail plea after Singh’s lawyer submitted that Bharadwaj had received treatment. Read more
An Account Of Father Stan Swamy’s Struggles For Basic Rights
Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim
Father Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old Jesuit priest who spent over 60 years of his life working for the most marginalised communities, for Adivasis and against the illegal detention of minors branded as Maoists in Jharkhand, passed away at the Holy Family hospital on Monday, his last wish unfulfilled.
… Father Swamy’s lawyer Sharif Shaikh had argued during his first application for interim bail on medical grounds in October 2020 that he could not sign even his vakalatnama and a thumb impression had to be taken.
But NIA opposed his plea. They accused the old man of trying to take “undue benefit” of the pandemic. Read more
Taloja jail official who wanted Elgaar accused shifted gets transferred
Had sought accused in Bhima Koregaon case to be shifted to other prison.
Taloja jail superintendent Kaustubh Kurlekar, who recently sought the transfer of the male accused in the Bhima Koregaon case to another prison, has been moved to another posting attached to the office of the Inspector General (prisons) as a part of an administrative shuffle, a senior prison department official said. Read more
Elgar Parishad Accused Could Soon Be Separated, Moved to Different Prisons Across Maharashtra
The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha
The Taloja Central jail authorities have moved NIA court claiming that the lawyers and family members of those arrested have been giving ‘fake information’ to the media.
The activists and academics arrested in the Elgar Parishad case now have a new challenge before them – the possibility of being separated and thrown into different prisons across the state. Read more