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Shoma Sen should have been released in 2018 / Explained: The Shoma Sen bail judgment

Shoma Sen should have been released in 2018 / Explained: The Shoma Sen bail judgment

Shoma Sen

Explained: The Shoma Sen bail judgment [read judgement]

08/04/2024

The Leaflet / by The Leaflet

The arguments, counter-arguments, and the many, many injustices and tethers of the judgment of the Supreme Court granting bail to former Nagpur University and women’s rights activist Shoma Sen, who spent six years in jail without a trial.
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Read judgement


‘Shoma Sen should have been released in October 2018’

09/04/2024

Rediff.com / by Jyoti Punwani

‘Shoma didn’t have the luxury of time. She was already suffering from so many ailments.’
Professor Shoma Sen, among the first to be arrested in the Elgar Parishad case, got bail on April 5, after spending almost 6 six years in jail. Advocate Susan Abraham explains to Jyoti Punwani why the Nagpur professor should have been out more than 5 years ago.

The question everyone’s asking is: If the Supreme Court has found no prima facie evidence against Shoma Sen, why did it take so long for her to get bail?
Read more

Senior activist Ajay Kumar’s arrest ‘imminent’ in same vein as Rona Wilson, Stan Swamy

Senior activist Ajay Kumar’s arrest ‘imminent’ in same vein as Rona Wilson, Stan Swamy

Counterview / by Counterview Desk

The civil rights coalition, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), even as condemning the “intensifying harassment” of activist, writer, lawyer and intellectual Ajay Kumar and is family by India’s investigative agencies, has said that “the arrest of Ajay Kumar under fabricated charges is imminent”, and may happen in the “similar vein” to that of his former associates like Prof GN Saibaba, activist Rona Wilson, late Father Stan Swamy, trade unionist Sudha Bharadwaj, others.
Read more/full statement


Also read:
Stifling of right to protest, freedom: Open letter to CJI Chandrachud (SabrangIndia / Jan 2024)

We don’t want more Bhima Koregaon bogus conspiracy case / Condemn the NIA’s raid in Andhra-Telangana

We don’t want more Bhima Koregaon bogus conspiracy case / Condemn the NIA’s raid in Andhra-Telangana

Condemn the NIA’s raid in Andhra-Telangana to suppress democratic voices critical of war of corporate plunder

06/10/2023

Countercurrrents / by Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization

On 2nd October, 2023, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted raids across various locations belonging to various democratic and pro-people activists in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.  The organisations that have been targeted, include, Coordination of Democratic Rights Organizations (CDRO), Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (AP CLC), Chaitanya Mahila Sangam (CMS), Pragatisheela Karmika Samakya (PKS), Patriotic Democratic Movement (PDM), Praja Kala Mandali (PKM), Vasantha Meghum, Virasam (RWA), Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Kula Nirmulana Porata Samiti (Struggle Committee for Caste Annihilation; KNPS), Amarula Bandhu Mitrula Sangham (ABMS), Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) and Human Rights Forum (HRF).
Read full statement


We don’t want more Bhima Koregaon bogus conspiracy case in the name of National Security

03/10/2023

Asianspeaks.com / by Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)

“In the overall situation in India, no form of democratic assertion is left untouched by the NIA’s repression in the name of Maoist links, whether they be organizations fighting for the rights of minorities, anti-caste organizations like KNPS, women’s rights organizations like the CMS or even Gandhian or Marxist-Leninist organizations. All forms of democratic assertions are under threat in this current spate of repression…”

Statement By Campaign Against State Repression

CASR STRONGLY CONDEMN THE NIA RAID IN TELENGANA AND ANDHRA PRADESH
In the early hours of 2nd October, 2023, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided 62 different locations in the states of Andhra Pradesh (53) and Telangana (9) as part of their recent string of raids all over the country against democratic rights organizations.
Read full statement


NIA Conducts Coordinated Raids on Rights Activists Across 62 Locations in Andhra, Telangana

03/10/2023

The Wire / Sukanya Shantha

The raids were in connection with the 2021 Munchingiputtu CPI (Maoist) conspiracy case. Devices and literature belonging to functionaries and lawyers of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyer and Human Rights Forum, along with various other rights bodies were seized.
Officials of the National Investigating Agency (NIA) arrived in groups of four and five in 62 locations across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on October 2, in coordinated raids at the homes of human rights activists and researchers.
The raid teams – comprising of NIA officers from Delhi and the local police – arrived between 5.30 am and 6 am on the day, and stayed at the locations till afternoon.
Read more


Also read:
Chronology Samajhiye: 5 Days, 4 Agencies Under Modi Govt Control Target Opposition, Journalists, Activists (The Wire | Soumashree Sarkar | Oct 6, 2023)
Blatant use of UAPA by Telangana Police to suppress dissenting voices (Countercurrents / June 2023)
● Telangana Govt to ‘Drop’ UAPA Case Against Prof Haragopal, Sudha Bharadwaj, 150 Others (The Wire / June 2023)

Truth and dare in Bhima Koregaon

Truth and dare in Bhima Koregaon

poster by @/bakeryprasad

The Leaflet / by Susan Abraham

The Bhima Koregaon–Elgar Parishad ‘Maoist’ conspiracy case is a grand experiment with truth where the State is daring the people to stand up for justice.
‘TRUTH or dare’ is a mostly verbal party game requiring two or more players. Players are given the choice between answering a question truthfully, or performing a ‘dare’. The premise is simple: Players take turns asking one another ‘truth or dare?’ If they choose truth, they have to answer a question of the asker’s choosing. If they choose dare, the asker dares them to do something rather than make a confession.
Suppose the State were to subject its citizens to a macabre version of this game by cooking up a conspiracy case and locking up people behind bars. Then tell them that in order to win their freedom, they have to choose the ‘truth’ of the conspiracy or the ‘dare’ to dissent.
This is the absurd logic that plays out when you try to make sense of the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy case.
Read more


Also read:
Five years of Bhima Koregaon arrests: CDRO marks ‘black day’ (The Leaflet / Jun 2023)

The SC Judgment Granting Bail to Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira Is Significant – Various Statements

The SC Judgment Granting Bail to Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira Is Significant – Various Statements

Gonsalves and Ferreira bail judgment: A step in the right direction but where will we go from here?

05/08/2023

The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala

The recent Supreme Court judgment granting bail to Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira after five years of incarceration without trial reiterates several established principles of law for the protection of individual liberty and overturns the infirmities in Zahoor Ahmad Watali and Arup Bhuyan (2023), but will it have a ripple effect on the cases of the more than four lakh undertails incarcerated in Indian prisons?
… the bail judgment holds that the letters recovered from the other co-accused persons, witness statements, or the mere possession of literature propagating violence or promoting the overthrow of democratically elected government, does not prove that the two accused were involved in terrorist acts within the definition of the UAPA.
Read more


Why the SC Judgment Granting Bail to Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira Is So Significant

30/07/2023

The Wire / by Mihir Desai

The judgment has substantial implications not just for the others still in jail in the Elgar Parishad case but also for the bail jurisprudence in UAPA cases.
The restrictive bail provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act have been widely used to deny personal liberty to activists, students, journalists and others.
… It is in this context that the July 28 bail judgment of the Supreme Court in Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira’s case needs to be seen. Undoubtedly for the two of them, who have been in jail for nearly five years, it has immense significance. But what should not be lost sight of is that the judgment also has substantial implications not just for the others still in jail in the Elgar Parishad case but also for the bail jurisprudence in UAPA cases.
Read more


Not Thwarted by Watali: Why Bail for Vernon Gonsalves & Arun Ferreira Matters

01/08/2023

The Quint / by Mekahala Saran

The Supreme Court judgment flatly refuses to accept the prosecution’s submissions without its own analysis.
In the days that followed Father Stan Swamy’s demise in 2021, the Bombay High Court is believed to have noted that he was “a wonderful person”. The eighty-four year old, a UAPA accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, was awaiting bail at the time of his death.
… So, when his co-accused Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira were finally granted bail, with the apex court shredding the prosecution’s case for their continued incarceration, Fr Stan Swamy’s friend Fr Joseph Xavier told The Quint that Fr Swamy would have been “very happy and proud to hear of this”, had he been alive.
Read more


On merits: On the Bhima Koregaon violence case

31/07/2023

The Hindu / Editorial

Following the Supreme Court bail order, the Bhima Koregaon case needs a re-look.
The Supreme Court order granting bail to activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira demonstrates how even under a stringent anti-terrorism law, denial of bail need not be the norm, and a preliminary assessment can lay bare the weaknesses of a police case. It is difficult for someone arrested under serious provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to get bail.
… This is the first time in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, in which activists and lawyers were arrested in 2018 on the charge of being part of a Maoist conspiracy, a court has recorded a finding that the accusations may not be true.
Read more


Indian Church leaders welcome grant of bail to activists

31/08/2023

UCA News / by Michael Gonsalves

Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves with Father Stan Swamy and others were accused of plotting to overthrow government
Church leaders and rights activists have hailed the bail granted by India’s top court to co-accused of the late Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy, booked under a terror-related law.
India’s Supreme Court granting bail to lawyer Arun Ferreira and trade unionist Vernon Gonsalves “is indeed a significant move,” Father Nicholas Barla, secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Commission for Tribal Affairs, told UCA News.
It will boost the morale of the other “activists working for the rights of tribal people, forest-dwellers, and Dalits (former untouchables),” he said.
Read more


What Next after the Vernon Gonsalves Judgment

30/07/2023

The Proof of Guilt / by by Abhinav Sekhri

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court has allowed appeals filed by Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira [Reported as Vernon v. State of Maharashtra, Crl. Appeal No. 639 / 2023 (Decided on 28.07.2023) (“Vernon”)] which challenged the dismissal of their bail applications by the Bombay High Court, and has directed that they must be released on bail. The judgment comes almost five years after their arrests, and has been welcomed as a ray of light in what is possibly one of the darkest corners of present Indian jurisprudence — grant of bail in cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 (“UAPA”). I need not elaborate the reasons for this praise for Vernon here, all of which is merited, as these have been comprehensively discussed on the ICLP Blog. Instead, I wish to flag the challenges ahead that must be resolved to make sure that the judgment in Vernon is not reduced to a forgotten relic by the sands of time.
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Recovering the Basics: The Supreme Court’s Bail Order in Vernon Gonsalves’ Case

29/07/2023

Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy / by Gautam Bhatia

Over the last decade, the bail provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act [“UAPA”] have been one of the most significant sites of constitutional struggles for personal liberty and State impunity (see  and ). A number of convergent factors (as discussed by Abhinav Sekhri in ) are responsible for this: the UAPA’s broadly-worded provisions (e.g. “membership” of terrorist gangs) lowers the threshold for initial arrest and custody, and the pace of the trial process means that years will pass before a final determination of guilt or innocence. In that context, bail is the only remedy that stands between an individual and a decade in jail without trial.
Read more


‘Brings Hope, But…’ Bhima Koregaon Families React to Gonsalves, Ferreira Bail

29/07/2023

The Quint / by Fatima Khan & Mekhala Saran

The Supreme Court has granted bail to Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Even as the Supreme Court granted bail on Friday, 28 July, to two accused in the Elgar Parishad case, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, the families of the other accused in the same case said that the verdict inspired some hope “but should not be celebrated too much.” Moreover, some even questioned the “insensitive bail conditions.”
Read more


Also read:
Why the Bombay High Court granted regular bail to Dr. Anand Teltumbde: An explainer (The Leaflet / Dec 2022)
A Professor’s Supreme Court Bail Hearing Is A Bellwether Case For Govt’s Use of India’s Anti-Terror Law (article14 / Nov 2022)

No evidence against Gonsalves, Ferreira; mere possession of violent literature not terrorist Act: SC [Read judgment]

No evidence against Gonsalves, Ferreira; mere possession of violent literature not terrorist Act: SC [Read judgment]

‘No Material’ to Demonstrate Terror Link, Yet Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferriera Spent 5 Years in Jail [Read judgment]

29/07/2023

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

It took five-full years of incarceration and several rejections of bail applications before both the trial court and the high court before the Supreme Court finally could notice that the country’s premier investigating agency, the National Investigations Agency (NIA), has shown no evidence to keep two men in their custody.
The Supreme Court on Friday, July 28, in a detailed 54-page bail order observed that human rights defenders Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferriera were both held in jail even when “no material has been demonstrated by the NIA before us that the appellants are members of the terrorist organisation”.
Read more


Mere Possession Of Extremist Literature Not ‘Terrorist Activity’ Under UAPA; No ‘Credible Evidence’ Against Vernon & Arun: Supreme Court [Read judgment]

29/07/2023

Live Law / by Awstika Das

Mere possession of literature even if it inspires or propagates violence by itself would neither amount to a ‘terrorist act’ within the meaning of Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2002, nor any other offences under Chapters IV and VI of the Act, the Supreme Court of India held while granting bail to Bhima Koregaon-accused and activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira. This verdict was delivered yesterday by a bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia.
Read more
Read judgment


No evidence against Gonsalves, Ferreira; mere possession of violent literature not terrorist Act: Supreme Court [Read judgment]

28/07/2023

Bar & Bench / by Debayan Roy

The Court noted that there was no evidence of Gonsalves and Ferreira committing any terrorist act that would attract the stringent provisions against grant of bail under the UAPA.
Mere possession of literature through which violent acts may be propagated will not fall within the scope of ‘terrorist act’ under Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the Supreme Court said while granting bail to Bhima Koregaon violence accused Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira on Friday [Vernon v. State of Maharashtra].
Read more
Read judgment


Mere possession of certain literature is not ‘terrorist act’ under UAPA, says Supreme Court

29/07/2023

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia made the observation while granting bail to Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Merely possessing certain literature which might be used to propagate violent actions cannot be charged as a “terrorist act” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Supreme Court said on Friday, reported Bar and Bench.
Read more


Also read:
Supreme Court grants bail to Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, with tethers (The Leaflet / July 28, 2023)
Why the Bombay High Court granted regular bail to Dr. Anand Teltumbde: An explainer (The Leaflet / Dec 2022)

Blatant use of UAPA by Telangana Police to suppress dissenting voices / Arbitrary FIRs

Blatant use of UAPA by Telangana Police to suppress dissenting voices / Arbitrary FIRs

Blatant use of UAPA by Telangana Police to suppress dissenting voices

21/06/2023

Countercurrents.org / by Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)

The draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has once again been invoked, this time in Tadwai, Telangana against an astonishing number of 152 activists and intellectuals, which includes retired Prof. G. Haragopal, Prof. Gaddam Laxman and Prof. Padmaja Shaw. What is more ridiculous and serious at the same time is that Late Justice H. Suresh also finds mention in the accused list. The FIR has come to light only after People’s Democratic Movement president Chandramouli applied for bail and FIRs filed against him were retrieved by the police where the names of the 152 activists mentioned above were also included.
Read full statement


Dead judge, 151 others in Telangana police FIR

21/06/2023

TOI / by Srinath Vudali

Former Bombay HC judge H Suresh, who died in 2020, and another dead man were among 152 people that Telangana police had charged last year under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for their alleged Maoist links.
Following a backlash from civil rights outfits , who pointed out that two of the accused had died long before the case was registered, the Telangana government directed police to drop six prominent people from  the FIR.
Read more


Arbitrary FIRs on Social Activists

19/06/2023

Statement by National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

click to enlarge

Dead wrong

21/06/2023

TOI / by TOI Editorials

Telangana charging the deceased with UAPA brings to life how the most severe laws are casually misused by govts:
The Telangana case in which police charged two people dead for two years under the anti-terror law UAPA is a classic example of the casual misuse of one of India’s most stringent laws. The data is damning. Analysis of NCRB data by various experts show the conviction rate of people charged under UAPA is below 3%.
Read more


Also read:
● Telangana Govt to ‘Drop’ UAPA Case Against Prof Haragopal, Sudha Bharadwaj, 150 Others (The Wire / June 17, 2023)
● Activists Haragopal, Sudha Bharadwaj, 150 Others Booked Under UAPA Last August; Accused Unaware (The Wire / June 16, 2023)
● Report: UAPA – CRIMINALISING DISSENT AND STATE TERROR (PUCL / Sep 2022) Download report
The Govt is out to silence Dissenters through Arrests: Justice Hosbet Suresh (Sabrangindia / Oct 2018)

Telangana Govt to ‘Drop’ UAPA Case Against Prof Haragopal, Sudha Bharadwaj, 150 Others

Telangana Govt to ‘Drop’ UAPA Case Against Prof Haragopal, Sudha Bharadwaj, 150 Others

Drawing by Arun Fereirra

Telangana Govt to ‘Drop’ UAPA Case Against Prof Haragopal, Sudha Bharadwaj, 150 Others

17/06/2023

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Chief minister of Telangana, K. Chandrashekar Rao, is said to have inquired about the case with the state police chief and asked him if it can be diluted.
The Telangana government is said to have decided not to pursue the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) case filed against Prof Haragopal, Sudha Bharadwaj, and 150 others after chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao directed the state police chief to “drop” the case, The Hindu reported.
Read more


Work of fiction by police, says Professor Haragopal on UAPA charges against him, 151 others

17/06/2023

The News Minute / by IANS

The former professor of political science was reacting to the booking of a case under UAPA by Tadvai police of Mulugu district last year.
Human rights activist and former University of Hyderabad professor, G. Haragopal, who, along with 151 others, were booked by the Telangana Police under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for alleged links with Maoists, said on Friday that they had no information why the action against them was taken.
Read more


KCR intervenes to drop UAPA charges against rights activists

17/06/2023

The Statesman / by Statesman News Service

The move came in the wake of outrage of outrage over registration of cases against human rights activist Prof Haragopal and 151 others under the the draconian law.
Following an outrage over registration of cases against human rights activist Prof Haragopal and 151 others by Telangana Police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao directed the state DGP Anjani Kumar to withdraw the draconian law.
Read more


Activists Haragopal, Sudha Bharadwaj, 150 Others Booked Under UAPA Last August; Accused Unaware

16/06/2023

The Wire / by Sumit Jha

The Telangana Police had registered the case in August 2022 accusing them of conspiring to ‘take over the power of the democratically elected government at gunpoint’. The issue came to light only on Thursday, June 15.
… Prominent among those named in the FIR, apart from Prof Haragopal, Prof Padmaja Shaw of Osmania University (OU), Telangana Civil Liberties Committee President Prof Gaddam Laxman, Indian Association of People’s Lawyers’ Justice (Retd) H Suresh, activist Sudha Bharadwaj, human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling, and activist Arun Ferreira.
Read more


Telangana Police filed charges under UAPA against 152

16/06/2023

The Statesman / by Statesman News Service

However, the people, including two professors, named in the FIR were unaware of the charges under UAPA until the matter came to light during another trial.
… The charges under the UAPA were brought against the 152 accused after the police carried out combing operations on 19 August, 2022 after receiving a tip off that the Maoists were holding a meeting at Berelli village. When the police reached a temporary shelter, the Maoists escaped into a dense forest. The police seized some Maoist literature and kit bags on the spot and the names of Prof Haragopal and Padmaja Shaw, Prof Gaddam Laxman, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira were apparently found in the literature left behind.
Read more


Also read:
● The UAPA Versus Khurram Parvez, an Extreme Law Versus a Rights Defender (The Wire / June 2023)
● Report: UAPA – CRIMINALISING DISSENT AND STATE TERROR (PUCL / Sep 2022) Download report
Telangana govt bans Revolutionary Writers Association, 15 other orgs (Siasat / April 2021)
Andhra govt, Centre ‘collude’ to repeat Bhima Koregaon type case against rights activists (counterview.net / April 2021)
The Govt is out to silence Dissenters through Arrests: Justice Hosbet Suresh (Sabrangindia / Oct 2018)

Criminalisation of passive membership under the UAPA

Criminalisation of passive membership under the UAPA

The Leaflet / by Mihir Desai

The running motif of the recent Supreme Court judgment on the UAPA (and POTA and TADA) is that under the guise of sovereignty and integrity of the nation, the Parliament can do anything and pass any law. The judgment is likely to lead to more arrests and denial of bail, and further stigmatise dissidents and their work. It virtually sanctions a police State.

Additionally, the First Schedule to the UAPA, which lists banned terrorist organisations, mentions in many entries that their ‘frontal organisations’ are also banned. These frontal organisations are not notified anywhere and suddenly make their first appearance only in chargesheets. For instance, in the Bhima Koregaon cases, the chargesheets filed by national investigation agencies implicate persons on the basis of their membership of frontal organisations such as the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights and the Indian Association of Peoples Lawyers, among others. These organisations were never notified as unlawful or banned. But by the present judgment, mere membership of these organisations will render all members liable to prosecution and punishment.
Read more


Also read:
UAPA – CRIMINALISING DISSENT AND STATE TERROR – Study of UAPA Abuse in India, 2009-2022 (PUCL / Sep 2022)
NIA Opposes Stan Swamy’s Bail; Calls PUCL, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan ‘Maoist Fronts’ (The Wire / Jan 2021)
2 years, 3 charge sheets & 16 arrests — Why Bhima Koregaon accused are still in jail (The Print / Oct 2020)

Maharashtra: Top Cop Accuses Decades-Old Cultural, Rights Orgs of Working as ‘Naxal Fronts’

Maharashtra: Top Cop Accuses Decades-Old Cultural, Rights Orgs of Working as ‘Naxal Fronts’

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

At the recent police conference attended by PM Modi, Gadchiroli DIGP Sandip B. Patil claimed in a paper that 15 cultural and rights organisations are actually “active frontal organisations of Naxals.” Behind this claim is little evidence.
In 2017, the artiste couple Shital Sathe and Sachin Mali publicly announced their decision to split from the cultural outfit, Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) after 15 years of association.
Read more


Also read:
UAPA – CRIMINALISING DISSENT AND STATE TERROR – Study of UAPA Abuse in India, 2009-2022 (PUCL / Sep 2022)
Kabir Kala Manch: A History of Revolutionary Singing and State Repression (ritimo / April 2022)
The Security Playbook Used To Erode Democracy In Modi’s India & How The Tide Might Turn (article 14 / March 2022)
Maharashtra: Activists, Lawyers Added to ‘Union War Book’, Listed as ‘Enemies of the State’ (The Wire / Jul 2021)
From ‘tukde tukde gang’ to ‘urban Naxal’: How media trials enable the government to stifle dissent (Scroll.in / Sep 2018)