Maharashtra: Activists, Lawyers Added to ‘Union War Book’, Listed as ‘Enemies of the State’
The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha
While the exercise is carried out on the Union home ministry’s directive, the discretion of adding names and profiling people is entirely that of the state.
Even as several human rights activists and lawyers in Maharashtra face harassment, arrests and police cases, the state police has made things worse by adding them to the list of “enemies” as mentioned under the Union home ministry’s “Union War Book”.
In a detailed district-wise operation, the state’s home department along with the intelligence department has identified many human rights activists, lawyers, and academics and has begun the work of profiling them, almost like criminals, adding them to the ‘Union War Book’. Read more
City lawyer representing Bhima Koregaon case accused allege breach of privacy, writes top Maha officials
Nagpur Today / by Nagpur Today
A Nagpur-based lawyer Nihalsing B Rathod has sent a legal notice to high-ranking police officials of the state government and the Additional Chief Secretary alleging his profiling, surveillance and breach of privacy at the hands of the state police.
Rathod is representing some of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and was allegedly subject to surveillance last year by Pegasus spyware. He was informed by Whatsapp that his phone had been bugged using Pegasus. Read more
Maharashtra is adding activists to a secret list of the enemies of state
Newslaundry / by Prateek Goyal
A lawyer, a college professor and the wife of an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case haven been added to the Union War Book suspect list.
On July 7, at around 11 am, Nihal Singh Rathod, a human rights lawyer, received a call from a constable at the Pratap Nagar police station in Nagpur, Maharashtra. She had been directed by the police’s Special Branch to collect information about Rathod, the constable told him. No problem, Rathod said. Read more
Presence of Over 60 Women in Leaked List Highlights ‘Bodily Violation’ Posed by Spyware
The telephone numbers of more than 60 women – homemakers, lawyers and school teachers, journalists, scientists, civil servants and even friends of politicians – figure in the leaked database of probable surveillance targets selected by an Indian agency that uses Pegasus spyware, a count by The Wire has established.
The names of some of these women have already been published in earlier stories; the identities of others have been withheld at their request. Read more
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. Read more
Recalling the first set of arrests made in the questionable Bhima Koregaon violence case almost exactly three years ago, Nihalsing B Rathod, in this first of a three-part series, recollects the personal horrors of trying to track Surendra Gadling in the immediate aftermath of his arrest, details the events leading to the arrest of five more activists in August 2018, and explains how basic tenets of criminal law were violated by the Pune Police in making these arrests.
The morning of June 6, 2018, gave me a horrific memory that perhaps will never fade. Early in the morning, I received a phone call that police were at the house of Advocate Surendra Gadling again. The memory of the raid of April 17, 2018, was still fresh. Read more
Video: Bhima Koregaon accused continue to wait for bail
Vira Sathidar, a poet, writer, activist, and also one of the editors of a radical Anti-Caste Marathi Magazine ‘Vidrohi’ talks about incarceration of Sudhir Dhawale, founder of Vidrohi. Sudhir Dhawale along with two other activists- Surendra Gadhling and Prof. Shoma Sen were arrested by Police from Nagpur and are still in jail. These were among the first few arrests of Human rights activists by Modi Government under charges of being involved in Bhima Koregaon Violence and in a plot to assassinate PM Modi. The magazine stopped its publication due to various reasons, one being the constant threat of police surveillance. Watch video
Pegasus Snooping – Why Users No Longer Believe WhatsApp and Mobile Phones Are Secure
… When news broke that renowned Indian activists and lawyers had become victims of Pegasus, a chill went over all of us. It was an intensely strange experience to learn that we were being snooped on. Some time passed before we could understand what had really happened.
All of us were, in one way or another, connected with the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case. Read more
Lawyers Withstood Pressures and Defended Activists in the Bhima Koregaon Case
Lawyers who defended activists in the Bhima Koregaon case risked being branded anti-national, but they believed that they were innocent and it was necessary to uphold the rule of law and constitutional values, says Nihalsing B Rathod. Read more
Academics, Artists and Activists Condemn NIA Actions and Express Solidarity
Renowned Academics, Artists Support K. Satyanarayana, Condemn NIA ‘Harassment’
The Wire/ by The Wire Staff
New Delhi: A group of more than 700 academics, activists, artists and others have come together to condemn the harassment and arrests of right activists, academics and lawyers in the Elgar Parishad/Bhima Koregaon case. They have expressed their solidarity with Professor K. Satyanarayana, who teaches at the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) in Hyderabad, and has been summoned for questioning the case by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Read more
More Than 1,000 Scientists, Academics Condemn NIA Action in Elgar Parishad Case
The Wire / by The Wire Staff
New Delhi: A group of 1,039 scientists and academics have released a statement condemning the National Investigation Agency (NIA) action in the Bhima Koregaon/Elgar Parishad case. Statement …Most recently, we understand that the NIA has summoned the well-known scientist and activist, Prof. Partho Sarothi Ray, of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (Kolkata) to Mumbai on 10th September for questioning in this case… Read more
CDRO condemns the witch-hunt by the NIA and the choking of pro-people voices
Countercurrents / by Co-Ordination of Democratic Rights Organisation (CDRO)
Press Release, 8th September 2020
After the arrests of leading public intellectuals like poet Varavara Rao, Prof. Soma Sen, Prof. Anand Teltumbde, Mr. Gautam Navlakha, Ms. Sudha Bharadwaj, and others, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has trained its gun yet once again on democratic right activists, lawyers and other intellectuals.
One of their latest targets is Prof. Parthosarathi Ray, a leading biologist of the country, an Associate Professor working in Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata, and also a leading personality of the democratic rights movements of the country. Read more
Among those summoned are Nihalsing Rathod, the defence lawyer for some of the accused in the case, and Viplav Teltumbde.
Mumbai: After questioning several academics and activists, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has now issued summons to three lawyers in the Elgar Parishad case. Among the three lawyers summoned to appear before the agency’s Mumbai office on August 28 are Nihalsing Rathod, Viplav Teltumbde and a Nagpur-based lawyer. Read more
Human Rights Defenders Targeted by a Coordinated Spyware Operation
Amnesty International / By Amnesty Internatioanl & Citizen Lab
Amnesty International and the Citizen Lab have uncovered a coordinated spyware campaign targeting at least nine human rights defenders (HRDs) in India. Eight of the nine HRDs have been calling for the release of other prominent activists, popularly known as the Bhima Koregaon 11, most of whom have been imprisoned in Maharashtra, India since 2018. Read more