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Bhima Koregaon, COVID-19 and custodial apathy in jails / Video + Press Release

Bhima Koregaon, COVID-19 and custodial apathy in jails / Video + Press Release

Video: Press Conference demanding immediate release of BK16 prisoners

15/05/2021

By Insaf

en + hindi l 1h20min l 2021
Watch video here


Press Release: Covid-19 a virtual death sentence, new persecution tool against Bhima-Koregaon accused

15/05/2021

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.
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Press Release: Bhima Koregaon, COVID-19 and custodial apathy in jails

15/05/2021

By Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy

Press Release
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.

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Jailed Professor Hany Babu Hospitalised With Eye Infection, Tests Positive for COVID / Sign Petition

Jailed Professor Hany Babu Hospitalised With Eye Infection, Tests Positive for COVID / Sign Petition

Jailed Professor Hany Babu Hospitalised With Eye Infection, Tests Positive for COVID

14/05/2021

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

His family has alleged that they were not informed about Babu’s health condition.
Delhi University associate professor Hany Babu M.T., who was arrested last July in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, has tested positive for COVID-19. He was first admitted to the JJ Hospital in Mumbai and later moved to GT Hospital. Babu, 55, developed an acute eye infection on May 3, since when his family and lawyers have been struggling to ensure that he is given proper medical care.
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Hany Babu hospitalised after testing positive for Covid, contracting eye infection

14/05/2021

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

The Delhi University professor’s family has demanded that he be shifted to a multi-specialty hospital.
Delhi University Professor Hany Babu, an undertrial prisoner in the Bhima Koregaon case, has tested positive for coronavirus and is admitted to JJ Hospital in Mumbai, his family said on Thursday.
Babu was earlier diagnosed with an acute eye infection, which his family said, could spread to his brain too. They have now demanded that he be shifted to a multi-specialty hospital where he can be treated for Covid-19 as well his eye.
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Sign Petition: Hany Babu needs urgent medical treatment, release him now: CJP’s plea to Maharashtra CM

12/05/2021

By Citizens for Justice and Peace

The professor, who is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, is suffering from acute eye infection that could cost him his vision! But prison authorities appear apathetic to his medical emergency.

Read more/ sign petition

Video: CJP Urges Maharashtra To Release Professor Hany Babu


en | 1:30 min | 2021
Watch video


Also read: Plea for release of the Bhima Koregaon (BK) detainees during COVID-19 pandemic (May 11, 2021)

Petition: Hany Babu needs urgent medical treatment, release him now / Statement by his family

Petition: Hany Babu needs urgent medical treatment, release him now / Statement by his family

By Sukanya Shantha (May 13):
Update: Prof. @hanybabu was hospitalized last night at JJ hospital. His swab sample was collected once again on admission. JJ Dean Dr. Ranjit Mankeshwar has confirmed that Hany Babu has tested positive for COVID-19 this time. He will be shifted either to St. George or GTB hosp +++


Sign Petition: Hany Babu needs urgent medical treatment, release him now: CJP’s plea to Maharashtra CM

12/05/2021

By Citizens for Justice and Peace

The professor, who is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, is suffering from acute eye infection that could cost him his vision! But prison authorities appear apathetic to his medical emergency.

Read more/ sign petition

Video: CJP Urges Maharashtra To Release Professor Hany Babu


en | 1:30 min | 2021
Watch video


Begging for something as essential as health services is heart wrenching: Hany Babu’s family

11/05/2021

The Caravan / by Jenny Rowena

Jenny Rowena, Babu’s wife, has released a press statement detailing how Hany Babu’s health has deteriorated after he did not receive proper medical assistance in Taloja Jail. Rowena has requested immediate access to medical assistance for Babu and more transparency from jail authorities. The statement is reproduced below.
Read statement


DU Professor Hany Babu Denied Medical Care After Developing Eye Infection

11/05/2021

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

Babu, 55, was arrested on July 28 last year by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and has since been in Taloja central prison.
Delhi University associate professor of English, Hany Babu M.T, arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad case has been complaining of an acute eye infection, pain, and gradual loss of vision since May 3. His family and lawyers have accused the prison authorities of denying immediate medical treatment to him.
… This is not the first time that frantic appeals have been made to the Maharashtra state government for urgent medical help. Other arrested activists and academics like Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Father Stan Swamy, Shoma Sen, Anand Teltumbde, and Varavara Rao have had to make several representations before the government and courts for basic medical treatments.
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Video: Prisoners in a Pandemic – Viral hate and a raging contagion

Video: Prisoners in a Pandemic – Viral hate and a raging contagion

Video: Prisoners in a Pandemic – Viral hate and a raging contagion

11/05/2021

By United Against Hate

hindi + en | 1h40min | 2021

Watch video at United Against Hate fb page here

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.


Sign Petition: Covid-19 is a virtual death sentence for political prisoners! Release them now! (CJP, May 2021)


Also read: In India and Around the World, Prisoners’ Rights Violated During Pandemic: Report (The Wire, March 2021)

Petition: Covid-19 is a virtual death sentence for political prisoners! / Covid-19 in Taloja & Byculla jails

Petition: Covid-19 is a virtual death sentence for political prisoners! / Covid-19 in Taloja & Byculla jails

Petition: Covid-19 is a virtual death sentence for political prisoners! Release them now!

06/05/2021

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

07/05/2021

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.
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Maharashtra’s Prisons Are Feeling the Brunt of a Crisis That Could Have Been Averted

02/05/2021

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.
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Maharashtra’s Prisons Are Feeling the Brunt of a Crisis That Could Have Been Averted

Maharashtra’s Prisons Are Feeling the Brunt of a Crisis That Could Have Been Averted

Maharashtra’s Prisons Are Feeling the Brunt of a Crisis That Could Have Been Averted

02/05/2021

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.
… The total prison capacity of Maharashtra’s jails is 24,032. As of March 31 this year, 35,124 prisoners were languishing across different Central and district prisons. In April, the number must have further increased. This alarmingly high number – 11,000 more than the actual capacity or 146% occupancy – continues even after the state was directed to work towards decongesting prisons over a year ago.
… Cultural and anti-caste activist Jyoti Jagtap, who was arrested last year for her alleged role in the Elgar Parishad case, is among those who have been infected and has been kept at a temporary centre. Her lawyers have been struggling to establish contact with her to know her medical condition. The temporary set-ups lack basic telephone facilities and many prisoners’ families have complained of their inability to check on the health and well-being of those incarcerated. Meanwhile, advocate and academic Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in the same case and Jagtap, has started showing symptoms.
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‘Jail chief has no authority to comment on health of inmate´

02/05/2021

The Hindu / by Special Correspondent

Civil rights activists respond to reports of Byculla jail superintendent’s statement on Sudha Bharadwaj.
Several civil rights activists on Saturday said “the jail superintendent is no authority to give an opinion on the clinical condition of a jailed person” while responding to news reports on the Byculla jail superintendent’s comments on the health of Sudha Bharadwaj, one of the accused in the Elgaar Parishad case.
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Video: Father Stan Swamy’s 84th birthday celebrations online

Video: Father Stan Swamy’s 84th birthday celebrations online


en + hindi | 1h34min | 2021

By PUCL & friends and co-travellers of Father Stan Swamy

The PUCL along with the friends and co-travellers of Father Stan Swamy,
invite you to join online Father Stan’s 84th birthday celebrations.

Watch video @ PUCL fb page here

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)

Three Day consultation on 20th, 21st and 22nd January, 2021
► Repeal UAPA – Day Three (en + … | 2h 51min | Jan 2021)
► Repeal UAPA – Day Two (en +… | 2h 22min | Jan 2021)
► Repeal UAPA – Day One (en + … | 2h 17min | Jan 2021)


In letters, Stan Swamy speaks about co-inmates, life behind bars

27/04/2021

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.
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Vernon Gonsalve’s third birthday in a crowded jail

Vernon Gonsalve’s third birthday in a crowded jail

By Sagar Abraham-Gonsalves @ fb

Yesterday was my father’s birthday. For a third year he spent it in a crowded jail and for a second year in a row he did so under the serious threat of a pandemic out of control. The threat seems far more severe this year and he, now aged 64, still very much falls in the category of vulnerable people. In the absence of an individual, memories are what we tend to hold onto and so I thought of sharing a memory from his earlier birthday in prison in 2019.

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Sudha Bharadwaj, currently in Byculla jail, has been showing covid like symptoms

Sudha Bharadwaj, currently in Byculla jail, has been showing covid like symptoms


Drawing by Arun Ferreira

38 inmates of Byculla jail test positive

21/04/2021

The Hindu / by Special Correspondent

Jyoti Jagtap, accused in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, and Indrani Mukerjea, prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, have tested positive for COVID-19 among 38 other inmates in Byculla jail.
A prison official, requesting anonymity, said Sudha Bharadwaj and Shoma Sen, also accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, have been vaccinated but have fever and an upset stomach.
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Byculla Jail: 40 Female Inmates Reportedly COVID-19 Positive

21/04/2021

she the people / by Tanvi Khauri

Byculla Jail COVID-19: The deadly wave of coronavirus raging through Maharashtra, making it the worst-affected state in India, has reportedly reached Mumbai’s Byculla Jail. 40 inmates, including former media executive Indrani Mukerjea, have tested positive for the virus, as per reports. Media quoted authorities saying they have been shifted to a quarantine facility.
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Bombay High Court Takes Suo Motu Cognisance Of Covid-19 Surge In Prisons

17/04/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Bombay High Court on Friday took Suo Motu cognisance of the surge in Covid-19 cases in various prisons across Maharashtra based on newspaper reports.
One hundred and ninety-eight prison inmates tested positive in 47 prisons across the State as of April 14, 2021, according to the reports. Additionally, eighty-six staff members have also tested positive.
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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)