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Tag: prison conditions

Side-effects of conscience: An account of prison medical care

Side-effects of conscience: An account of prison medical care

Vernon Gonsalves at jail. Drawing by Arun Ferreira.

The Leaflet / by Vernon Gonsalves

Accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and released on bail by the Supreme Court last year after having spent five years in prison without a trial, Vernon Gonsalves narrates a sordid tale of pathetic medicare in Indian jails. 

I have spent almost eleven years in detention, with considerable periods in the most populated prisons of Maharashtra. My first incarceration from 2007 to 2013 began shortly after I turned fifty. I had a second stint from 2018 to 2023, while I was in my sixties.
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Also read:
‘No Material’ to Demonstrate Terror Link, Yet Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferriera Spent 5 Years in Jail [Read judgment] (The Wire / Jul 2023)
Caged birds and prison songs: In chorus, Stan Swamy and the Bhima Koregaon accused kept hope alive (Scroll.in | by Vernon Gonsalves | Jul 2023)
Relatives of BK16 Flag Prison Authorities’ ‘Criminal Negligence’ and Deteriorating Health of Undertrials (Newsclick / Sep 2022)
Jailers’ apathy? Political prisoners’ right to life in India is ‘almost non-existent’ (Countercurrents / Sep 2022)
How the system broke Stan Swamy: A cell mate recalls the activist’s last days in prison (Scroll.in | by Arun Ferreira | Aug 2021)

Was the trial judge who convicted GN Saibaba biased? We will never know, and that is part of the injustice

Was the trial judge who convicted GN Saibaba biased? We will never know, and that is part of the injustice

Was the trial judge who convicted G.N. Saibaba biased? We will never know, and that is part of the injustice

24/03/2024

The Leaflet / by Nihalsing Rathod

The injustice of a trial judge filling the gaps in the prosecution’s case (which relied on ‘evidence’ in the form of bananas, umbrellas and newspaper cuttings) with judicial overreach to chop ten years off Professor G.N. Saibaba’s life.
The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court heard the appeal against the conviction of Prof. G.N. Saibaba and five others, twice. In both the judgments, it set aside the conviction.
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Branded Maoist, ex-political prisoners narrate how they were wrongfully incarcerated

21/03/2023

Counterview.net / by Our Representative

Celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, which fell on March 18, the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a joint platform of 35+ organizations, held a public gathering in Delhi titled “Life in Anda Cell: Political Prisoners and Wrongful Incarcerations” at the Press Club of India, Delhi, in order to mark the acquittal and prison experience of cultural activist Hem Mishra and his family. 
… Hem Mishra added, “it is not about just the 6 of us in my case. It is about all political prisoners. As long as the fight for jal-jangal-jameen remains, as long as the fight of Dalits, Adivasis, workers, peasants, oppressed nationalities remains, as long as the question of creating a better world for all people and a better state for all people remains, the fight of all political prisoners will rage on. At the end of the day, I am a bard who sings the songs of the people and I will continue to echo their cries. I am out of prison, but as long as all other political prisoners like Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale are inside prison, I feel I am only out from a smaller cage into a bigger one.”
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By Adv Surendra Gadling Defence Committee (Jan 2021):
With due credit to anonymous artist and to the jailed, to be jailed lawyers

IO Whose Role Bombay HC Questioned in Saibaba Case Was Also Part of Elgar Parishad Probe

13/03/2024

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

The Pune police, at multiple places in the Elgar Parishad chargesheet, claimed that some of those arrested in the Elgar Parishad case had a “direct association” with Saibaba.
At the end of 2018, when the Pune police first filed a chargesheet in the Elgar Parishad case, they claimed to be “heavily relying” on the investigation conducted in the case involving former Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba. By then, Saibaba and five others had already been convicted by the Gadchiroli sessions court.
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Also watch:

▪ Video: INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MEETING

en | 1:07 min | 2024

By INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM IN INDIA (InSAF)
Celebrating the Second Acquittal of Professor GN Saibaba, Prashant Rahi, Mahesh Tirki, Hem Mishra and Vijay Tirki and the late Pandu Narote
Years in solitary confinement Years of shuttling from one bail plea to another Endless health ordeals, systematic discrimination The custodial death of 32-year old co-accused Pandu Narote The shocking overnight reversal of an acquittal order The life and trials of GN Saibaba and his co-accused remind us of the extent the repressive Indian state will go to in order to silence voices of dissent But on 7 March 2024, they finally walked free, after being acquitted for the second time on 5 March 2024, exonerated of all charges On 10 March 2024, we came together to celebrate this overdue step
We will not be silenced

Co-sponsored by
International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India (InSAF India) South Asian Diaspora Action Collective (SADAC) Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) (IWA-GB) India Labour Solidarity (UK) Foundation The London Story The Humanism Project, Australia Hindus for Human Rights Free Saibaba Coalition (USA) Boston South Asian Coalition (BSAC) India Civil Watch International (ICWI) South Asia Solidarity Group, London

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‘From Phansi Yard’ by Sudha Bharadwaj wins Best Author in Non-Fiction @AutHER Awards

‘From Phansi Yard’ by Sudha Bharadwaj wins Best Author in Non-Fiction @AutHER Awards

by Jayati Ghosh @Jayati1609 (March 18):

Absolutely delighted to learn that Sudha Bharadwaj has deservedly won the best author award for non fiction with her sensitive, insightful and illuminating book on the lives of women in an Indian prison.

Here’s a typically thoughtful and compassionate response from #SudhaBharadwaj after news of the award:



by AutHER Awards – Creating Lasting Impressions / @AutherAwards (March 17):
A round of applause for Sudha Bharadwaj, winner of the Non-Fiction category at #AutherAwards. Her remarkable book ‘From Phansi Yard: My Year With The Women Of Yerawada’ has made a profound impact on the jury’s hearts
by Juggernautbooks / @juggernautbooks (March 17):
‘From Phansi Yard’ by Sudha Bharadwaj wind Best Author in the Non Fiction Category for @AutherAwards
A heart congratulations to Sudha Bharadwaj!

by Chiki Sarkar / @Chikisarkar (March 17):
Thrilled that Sudha Bharadwaj wins best non fiction in the ⁦@AutherAwards awards.
We are so proud to be publishing this wonderful book ⁦@juggernautbooks


From Phansi Yard: My Year with the Women of Yerawada

Author: Sudha Bhardwaj
Publisher: Juggernaut
Pages: 216
Order


Also read/watch:

▪ From Phansi Yard: My Year With The Women Of Yerawada, by Sudha Bharadwaj (Excerpt)

Artice 14 / by Samar Halarnkar / Sudha Bharadwaj | Nov 2023
Arrested on 28 August 2018, human rights lawyer, teacher and IIT graduate Sudha Bharadwaj is among 16 accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, charged under  sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967…

EXCERPT
On 1 November, I mark my second birthday in custody. Diwali was in late October this year, and Shoma Di has saved a bit of her Diwali faral (snacks, in Marathi) as a treat for me. She gives me a beautiful card with a hand-drawn Sudoku on the front and a ballerina ‘dancing away to her freedom’ on the inside. It’s an ode to my Sudoku mania.
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▪ Video: Barkha Dutt speaks to Sudha Bharadwaj on her book ‘From Phansi Yard’

Mojo Story | Nov 2023


en | 21:03min | 2023
Barkha Dutt speaks to Trade Unionist, activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj on her book ‘From Phansi Yard’. The book records stories of her time in jail. She is out on bail after 3 years in the 2018 Bhima-Koregaon violence case.
Sudha speaks about her days in jail and how her time in a women’s prison made her aware of the gender gap in legal aid. “Many women are jailed- because their husband committed some crime and are now absconding- they don’t even know about the crime,” she says.
Sudha further says that she lives in the house of a friend, as she “can’t afford rent”. Trade unions support her, she does legal cases for them, she says.
Watch video

▪ A Cage with a View: Under-trial life in an Indian jail

National Herald | by Sudha Bharadwaj | Oct 2023
The jottings that make up this book were my way of coping with incarceration. Some prisoners pray, some weep, some just put their heads down and work themselves weary. Some fight defiantly every inch of the way, some are inveterate grumblers, some spew gossip. Some read the newspaper from cover to cover, some shower love on children, some laugh at themselves and at others.
I watched through the bars, and I wrote.

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‘From Phansi Yard’: Sudha Bharadwaj’s writings from Yerawada Jail reflect on paradoxes of freedom

‘From Phansi Yard’: Sudha Bharadwaj’s writings from Yerawada Jail reflect on paradoxes of freedom

Sudha Bharadwaj[/caption]

Scroll.in / Sharmila Purkayashsta

Bharadwaj and her co-accsued, Shoma Sen, were lodged in solitary cells for almost fifteen months.
It is a truism that if you’re impoverished and incarcerated then you’re as good as forgotten, because life behind bars replicates existing inequalities, and those without resources are also the most unequal in jail.
Read more


From Phansi Yard: My Year with the Women of Yerawada

Author: Sudha Bhardwaj
Publisher: Juggernaut
Pages: 216
Order


Also read:

■ Sudha Bharadwaj speaks – A Life in Law and Activism


Publisher: Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Edition: January 2021
Language: English
Sudha Bharadwaj’s interview by: Darshana Mitra and Santanu Chakraborty
Paperback: 316 pages
Access a free PDF copy of the book here:
Sudha_Bharadwaj_speaks (2,1 MB)

Prison writing sheds harsh light on our states and societies

Prison writing sheds harsh light on our states and societies

Himalmag.com / Sharmila Purkayastha

‘For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit’, an anthology of prison poems, testifies to the coercive nature of the state and society – yet its under-representation of regional poets speaks of wider exclusions.

My dangerous personality
That you do not understand:
The secret is poetry.

‘Poetry’ by Varavara Rao, 30 December 1987. Translated by N Venugopal

What is it about poetry that states and governments in power find difficult to accept? Varavara Rao, a well-known revolutionary poet and long-time detainee of the Indian government, writes in ‘Poetry’ about the enduring resilience and power of verse to voice people’s concerns in the face of surveillance and propaganda. He expands on the poet’s “dangerous personality”:

You go on about surveillance
Poetry gets ignited and continues to fire.
You go on about governance
Poetry talks about people even in sleep.

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Notes from prison | Talk with Sudha Bharadwaj

Notes from prison | Talk with Sudha Bharadwaj

Notes from prison

19/01/2024

The Telegraph / by Lakshmi Subramanian

‘Phansi Yard’ is more than just jottings of a sensitive prisoner. Like all jail diaries, it documents the everyday — the quality of food, limited access to clothing, the absence of privacy — with great attention and, alongside, records individual stories with real sensitivity, framing them within a larger social context
The prison diary has remained an enduring genre in all societies with its extraordinary capacity to document the self and interrogate power structures.
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Lawyer’s ballad of Yerawada Jail reflects on the lives of 76 prisoners

13/01/2024

Deccan Chronicle / by Anand K Sahay

This resident of Phansi Yard has a writer’s sensibility, and says in a matter-of-fact way
This is a remarkable document of life observed from the Phansi Yard or Death Row of the Yerawada Women’s Jail in Pune by an extraordinary individual who made a conscious choice to be a trade union worker and human rights lawyer in order to stand with marginalised people, rather than build a career as a mathematician after emerging with a shining degree from IIT, Delhi.
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From Phansi Yard: My Year with the Women of Yerawada

Author: Sudha Bhardwaj
Publisher: Juggernaut
Pages: 216
Order


#keeptalking | Anuradha Sen Gupta talks to Sudha Bharadwaj

08/01/2024


en | 32:47min | 2024

By anuradhasays

Trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj is used to fighting rights battles. She started her career in Chhattisgarh in the late 1980s as a trade unionist and later studied law in order to fight legal cases directly. Even though she has been on the side of many losing battles, giving up or opting out has never been an option. Despite the setbacks and personal challenges, the biggest one being arrested in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, Sudha who is out on bail, retains her good cheer and optimism. In a wide ranging conversation with Anuradha SenGupta, Sudha talks of women who are incarcerated, the underbelly of capitalism, the rights of workers and her hope for the new year.
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Also watch/read:

■ Video – Book Release: Why is the state afraid of Sudha Bharadwaj?

By People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Jan 2021en + hindi | 2h 53min | 2021

Topic: Why is the state afraid of Sudha Bharadwaj?
A long interview conducted with Sudha over several days before she was arrested is now being published as an online book “Sudha Bharadwaj Speaks – A Life in Law and Activism”, and will be released at this webinar by the well-known writer, Nayantara Sahgal. Sudha’s daughter, Maaysha, her lawyer Yug Chaudhary, social activist Harsh Mandar, historian Uma Chakravarti amongst other coworkers & colleagues, will also share their experiences and memories of working with her.
Watch video @ PUCL Facebook (videos)

■ Sudha Bharadwaj speaks – A Life in Law and Activism


Publisher: Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Edition: January 2021
Language: English
Sudha Bharadwaj’s interview by: Darshana Mitra and Santanu Chakraborty
Paperback: 316 pages
Access a free PDF copy of the book here:
Sudha_Bharadwaj_speaks (2,1 MB)

Excerpts from ‘From Phansi Yard: My Year with Women of Yerawada’ by Sudha Bharadwaj

Excerpts from ‘From Phansi Yard: My Year with Women of Yerawada’ by Sudha Bharadwaj

By People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)

Sudha Bharadwaj’s recently published book ‘From Phansi Yard: My Year with the Women of Yerawada’ is a tenderly written collection of her memories, through which one gets to witness her resilient spirit, and yet, her vulnerabilities. In the book, she observes, reflects and chronicles stories of women prisoners, prison conditions and her own journey.
… The book begins with an interview, in which she narrates her story, her memories of the beginning of her activism, her relationship with her daughter and the work she did with the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha. Here are some excerpts from the book, that illustrate the warmth and compassion with which she wrote about her fellow prisoners (whom she has numbered and left anonymous), and her unyielding courage with which she survived incarceration.
Read more


From Phansi Yard: My Year with the Women of Yerawada

Author: Sudha Bhardwaj
Publisher: Juggernaut
Pages: 216
Order


Also watch/read:

● Video – Book Release: Why is the state afraid of Sudha Bharadwaj?

By People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Jan 2021en + hindi | 2h 53min | 2021

Topic: Why is the state afraid of Sudha Bharadwaj?
A long interview conducted with Sudha over several days before she was arrested is now being published as an online book “Sudha Bharadwaj Speaks – A Life in Law and Activism”, and will be released at this webinar by the well-known writer, Nayantara Sahgal. Sudha’s daughter, Maaysha, her lawyer Yug Chaudhary, social activist Harsh Mandar, historian Uma Chakravarti amongst other coworkers & colleagues, will also share their experiences and memories of working with her.
Watch video @ PUCL Facebook (videos)

● Sudha Bharadwaj speaks – A Life in Law and Activism


Publisher: Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Edition: January 2021
Language: English
Sudha Bharadwaj’s interview by: Darshana Mitra and Santanu Chakraborty
Paperback: 316 pages
Access a free PDF copy of the book here:
Sudha_Bharadwaj_speaks (2,1 MB)


● Video: The Conditions of Prisoners in Indian Jails

By All India Lawyers’ Association for Justice – AILAJ | March 2022

en | 1:21:23 | 2022
The huge number of undertrials, the overcrowding, and the disproportional numbers of Dalit, Muslim and Adivasi prisoners are part of the prison problem in India.
We are joined by Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj for a discussion on the Conditions of Prisoners in Indian Jails.
Watch video

Sudha Bharadwaj: What I knew in the abstract I was now living, feeling and observing

Sudha Bharadwaj: What I knew in the abstract I was now living, feeling and observing

Sudha Bharadwaj

The Leaflet / by Freny Manecksha

In this interview, trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, who was jailed in the Bhima-Koregaon matter and has just produced a book on From Phansi Yard: My Year with the Women of Yerawada, tells Freny Manecksha how prison changes one for the worse, but also for the better.

“But the irony is on the day they (Adivasis of Sarkeguda, Chhattisgarh) are vindicated, seven years after they began their fight, I, their first lawyer, am in jail 1,000 kilometers away! Yet it is a happy day.”
Read more


Also read:
Prison Occupancy Rose In 2022, Despite Campaign To Release Undertrials. Three in four prisoners continue to be undertrials, a majority of whom belong to oppressed caste groups (Indiaspend.com | Shreehari Paliath | Dec 2023)

● Sudha Bharadwaj speaks – A Life in Law and Activism


Publisher: Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Edition: January 2021
Language: English
Sudha Bharadwaj’s interview by: Darshana Mitra and Santanu Chakraborty
Paperback: 316 pages
Access a free PDF copy of the book here:
Sudha_Bharadwaj_speaks (2,1 MB)

“For the freedom to breathe” – Sudha Bharadwaj’s book: From Phansi Yard (pics)

“For the freedom to breathe” – Sudha Bharadwaj’s book: From Phansi Yard (pics)

by PUCL India / @PUCLindia (Dez 5, 2023)
PUCL Maharashtra and Free Speech Collective invite you to a book reading and conversations at 6 pm on Dec 9, 2023 in Bandra, Mumbai, “For the freedom to breathe” On the occasion of 75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 25 years of the UN Declaration on HRDs


by PUCL India / @PUCLindia (Dec 11):
‘For the Freedom to Breathe’ by PUCL Maharashtra & Free Speech Collective. Reading by Ratna Pathak Shah of excerpts from ‘Phansi Ward’, discussion between Freny Manecksha and author Sudha Bharadwaj, talk by Sukanya Shantha on ‘Criminal Justice and Prisons-the Media’s Blind Spots’


by naresh fernandes / @tajmahalfoxtrot (Dec 9)
Ahead of Human Rights Day, a reading and discussion about Sudha Bharadwaj’s searing, funny book about her time in jail in the farcical Bhima Koregaon case.


by Dilip D’Souza / @DeathEndsFun (Dec 9)
Commemorating 75 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Sudha Bharadwaj speaks about her book, “From Phansi Yard: My Year with the Women of Yerawada”.

Mumbai. Dec 9, 2023

Sudha Bharadwaj’s book and the drama on a revolutionary on death row

10/12/2023

Countercurrents / by Vidyadhar Date

The reading by Ratna Pathak Shah last evening from Sudha Bharadwaj’s book about days in the death row in jail, reminded me of a thrilling Marathi play “Thank You Mr Glaad” about a Naxalite revolutionary. The movement has taken little note of the play written by Anil Barve. It was also a big popular hit and was produced by Prabhakar Panshikar, a very popular actor and producer, in the 1970s.
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Sudha Bharadwaj: ‘So Writing Was My Way Of Reaching Out To The Women I Saw’

Sudha Bharadwaj: ‘So Writing Was My Way Of Reaching Out To The Women I Saw’

Free Press Journal / by Anushka Jagtiani

The lawyer and activist talks about her time in prison and From Phansi Yard, her currently released book
Sudha Bharadwaj chose to surrender her US passport and dedicate her life to fighting the battles of exploited labourers in Chhatisgarh. Her activism led to her arrest in 2018 in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case along with 15 others, and she spent three years in jail — in Pune and Mumbai. She is currently out on bail and therefore cannot comment on the case as an under trial.
She speaks about her time in jail, the unlikely friendships she made, and how she became ‘vakeel aunty’ to many poor inmates and even helped get some out on bail. 
Read more


From Phansi Yard: My Year with the Women of Yerawada

Author: Sudha Bhardwaj
Publisher: Juggernaut
Pages: 216
Order


Also read:

● Sudha Bharadwaj speaks – A Life in Law and Activism


Publisher: Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Edition: January 2021
Language: English
Sudha Bharadwaj’s interview by: Darshana Mitra and Santanu Chakraborty
Paperback: 316 pages
Access a free PDF copy of the book here:
Sudha_Bharadwaj_speaks (2,1 MB)