From the senior activists and lawyers to younger activists like Safoora Zargar, the state has walked at turtle space in granting bail or even protecting the health of the political prisoners during a pandemic. The state of our prisons and the necessity to decongest them is well known. The author explores the democratic and constitutional implications on keeping political prisoners, with comorbidities, locked during a pandemic. Read more
Chained Muse: Notes from Prison by Varavara Rao/ How To Read A Letter From Jail
In November 2019, when the Bhima Koregaon accused were still housed in Yerawada Central Prison and their case had not yet been transferred to the NIA, the Telugu poet penned some thoughts about his experience there, and the carceral nature of the state. Read more
“Read it not once, but many times,” says Mohammad Aamir Khan explaining the process clearly over the phone. “Each word has a story. Try to feel the pain behind each word.”
Khan, 39, should know. After he was “kidnapped” one night (he never uses the word arrested because he was snatched from the street, tortured, made to sign blank sheets of paper, and then produced in a court only a week later), Khan spent 14 years in prison, incarcerated for serious crimes he never committed, before being acquitted in 2012. Read more
Bhima Koregaon inmates can barely communicate, worried about their health: Families
On the evening of 11 July, the 81-year-old poet Varavara Rao called his wife, Hemalatha, from the overcrowded Taloja Central Prison in Maharashtra, sounding incoherent and delirious, according to a press release circulated by his family …
Families and lawyers of others who have been imprisoned in connection to the Bhima Koregaon case have pointed out they are barely able to communicate with the inmates during the pandemic. At least four of the 11 undertrial prisoners have pre-existing medical conditions that make them vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. Read more
VV Rao’s daughter Pavana and wife Hemalatha in May 2020
By Vara Vara Rao’s Family
DON’T KILL VARA VARA RAO IN JAIL !!
We, the family members of Varavara Rao, world-renowned Telugu revolutionary poet and public intellectual, who is incarcerated in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Jail, are very much worried about his deteriorating health. His health condition has been scary for over six weeks now, ever since he was shifted in an unconscious state to JJ Hospital from Taloja Jail on May 28, 2020. Even as he was discharged from the hospital and sent back to jail three days later, there has been no improvement in his health and he is still in need of emergency heathcare. …
Rao, who has been in jail for close to two years, has been unwell since the lockdown and his family claim that he is suffering from memory loss.
Mumbai: The health of 78- year-old political activist, poet and writer Varavara Rao, who has been in jail for close to two years, has worsened. His family has alleged that the prison department has been blocking information on his condition from reaching them. Read more
VARAVARA RAO NEEDS MEDICAL HELP: FAMILY
The Hindu / by Sonam Saigal
81-year-old famous poet not receiving any treatment inside jail, they say.
Varavara Rao, 81-year-old famous poet incarcerated at the Taloja jail, called his family after eight days on Saturday and spoke about his parents’ death, said his daughter Pavana …
Mr. Rao’s appeal against rejecting his bail is slated to be heard by the Bombay High Court on July 17. Read more
This is the background note for signatures sought by July 15 10:00 p.m. for an online petition to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.
The Hon. Chief Minister of Maharashtra
Respected Chief Minister,
We, the citizens of a democratic republic appeal to you regarding the eleven persons- Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. Read and sign petition
BACKGROUND NOTE: INDIA’S 11 ACTIVISTS FACE ‘MALAFIDE’ INTENTIONS, POLITICAL VENDETTA, EXTRANEOUS CONSIDERATION
The Constitution of India, Article 21, guarantees protection of life and personal liberty to every individual. Yet, the rights of activists and lawyers incarcerated under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) since 2018 in Maharashtra jails are at grave risk due to the delay and dragging of cases since the last 24 months. Read more
Covid-19 in prison: Is India doing enough? / Gendering the Pandemic in the Prison
Vijay Raghavan, professor of criminology at Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences, shares that Indian jails continue to be overcrowded despite efforts for decongestion…
Bail requests of those accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence case have consistently been rejected, even when some of those accused are old and have co-morbid conditions. Read more
GENDERING THE PANDEMIC IN THE PRISON
The India Forum / by Pratiksha Baxi & Navsharan Singh
The threat of mass contagion in prisons poses specific challenges to women, children and gender and sexual minorities in prisons and other custodial minorities. Older women prisoners, detenues and undertrials in overcrowded pandemic-struck prisons have been denied bail, while pregnant women, lactating mothers, and mothers and their children, women with disabilities, and women with co-morbidities continue to be incarcerated in overcrowded prisons. Read more
Sudha Bharadwaj Denied Basic Right of Phone Calls in Jail / Interview with Maaysha
Mumbai: Maaysha saw her mother, Sudha Bharadwaj, last on February 22. It was a day after Maaysha’s birthday; she turned 23 this year. In the mulaqaat (meeting) at Yerwada prison in Pune, Bharadwaj – an academic and human rights activist – was barely given five minutes to talk to her daughter who had travelled from Delhi just for this meeting. Read more
MAASHA FEELS PM NARENDRA MODI WON´T LISTEN TO HER PRAYERS OF RELEASING HER INNOCENT MOTHER
Maaysha and Sudha Bharadwaj
News 21 / by Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra
In a lengthy telephonic interview with Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra, Special Correspondent of TheNews21, Maaysha describes her pain and struggle within and outside the system, her process of learning to cope with the situation in the entire two-year journey minus mother. Read more
Prisoners ‘dumped’ at quarantine facility: Nearly 300 Taloja jail inmates
Mumbai Mirror / by harmeen Hakim & Shruti Ganapatye
Prisoners and rights activists say decongestion exercise an eyewash.
“We’re living like animals here.” Khyamuddin Sayyed minced no word in the letter he sent his lawyer, Amrish Salunkhe, on June 14 from his temporary prison in a Kharghar school. Read more
No Headway in Decongestion of Maharashtra Prisons, Despite SC Directive
Mumbai: On March 23, the Supreme Court of India asked the state governments to decongest prisons in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus inside jail premises. The Maharashtra government, led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, subsequently constituted a high-power committee (HPC) to decide on the prisoners to be released. However, the decongestion process in Maharashtra seems to be going nowhere. Read more
1,414 INMATES ABOVE THE AGE OF 60, STATE TELLS HC
The Hindu / by Sonam Saigal
The State government has informed the Bombay High Court that as of Friday, 1,414 inmates lodged in prisons across the State are above the age of 60, while 425 of them have co-morbidities.
Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told a Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M.S. Karnik that as on May 11, there were 1,340 inmates above 60 years, and as of June 26, the number was 1,414. The court expressed surprised over the numbers, to which the AG replied crime rate has not decreased. Read more