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Draconian Laws Promoting Authoritarian Rule Should Be Repealed

Draconian Laws Promoting Authoritarian Rule Should Be Repealed

Poster campaign by PUDR || PUDR welcomes bail to civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha (pudr.org / May 15, 2024)

Draconian Laws Promoting Authoritarian Rule Should Be Repealed

19/05/2024

Peoples Democracy / by G Ramakrishnan CPI(M)

… After BJP came to power in 2014, the situation in our country has gone from bad to worse. The situation now is akin to an undeclared emergency. The last ten years of the Modi government have seen unprecedented attack on democracy and democratic rights. The lawless laws, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), National Security Act (NSA), Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the central Agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), CBI and Income Tax department have been used to target the leaders of the opposition parties and those who criticise and oppose the policies of the Modi government at the centre.
Read more


Also read:
▪ Five years behind bars for five activists (PUDR / June 2023)
CASR: Release activists incarcerated in Bhima Koregaon Case (Countercurrents / June 2023)
▪ UAPA – CRIMINALISING DISSENT AND STATE TERROR – Study of UAPA Abuse in India, 2009-2022 (PUCL / Sep 2022). Download report


PUDR: Uphold Shoma Sen’s Bail Order – Release all Bhima Koregaon detainees!

PUDR: Uphold Shoma Sen’s Bail Order – Release all Bhima Koregaon detainees!

PUDR poster campaign, 2023.

pudr.org / by PUDR

PUDR expresses relief at the Supreme Court’s granting of bail to Prof. Shoma Sen on April 5, after nearly six long years of pre-trial incarceration. Charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the infamous Bhima Koregaon (BK) conspiracy case, Shoma Sen is the fourth accused to be released on ‘bail on merits’ by the Supreme Court, after Anand Teltumbde, Vernon Gonsalves, and Arun Ferreira.
Read full statement


Also read:
PUDR welcomes the release on bail of Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira today, but protests onerous bail conditions (PUDR / Aug 2023)
Five years behind bars for five activists – Without bail, without charges being framed, without justice! (PUDR / June 2023)
Stop Denying Political Prisoners the Right to Healthcare in Jails (PUDR / Sep 2022)

‘Never Adjusted Your Stand’: 9 Elgar Accused Congratulate Anand Teltumbde From Jail

‘Never Adjusted Your Stand’: 9 Elgar Accused Congratulate Anand Teltumbde From Jail

‘Never Adjusted Your Stand’: 9 Elgar Accused Congratulate Anand Teltumbde From Jail

05/02/2024

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Their co-accused who is out on bail, Teltumbde has been conferred the Basava National Award – Karnataka’s highest honour.
… Although a few have been granted bail on medical and technical grounds, nine remain behind bars at Byculla and Taloja prisons in Maharashtra. The latter have written a congratulatory letter to co-accused Dr Anand Teltumbde, on his being given the Karnataka government’s highest award, the Basava Award.
The letter, which the prisoners released through their lawyers, is being produced below.
Read more


‘A small streak of light’: Seven BK prisoners congratulate Anand Teltumbde on award

04/02/2024

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

The writer, who is on bail in the same case, was honoured with the Basava Award by the Karnataka government on January 31.
The seven people who are still in jail in the Bhima Koregaon case have congratulated their co-accused Anand Teltumbde for having been granted the Karnataka government’s Basava Award on January 31 and pushing “forward the wheel of democratic revolution of annihilating the caste system”.
Read more


Also read:
‘My state has done the greatest honour by putting me in jail’: Anand Teltumbde after receiving award (Indian Express / Feb 2024)

PUDR: Remember Bhima Koregaon Case. Remember Shoma Sen. Release Shoma Sen.

PUDR: Remember Bhima Koregaon Case. Remember Shoma Sen. Release Shoma Sen.

by Peoples Union for Democratic Rights @PUDR_Delhi (Jan 6):
#PeoplesUnionforDemocraticRights #PUDR #RepealUAPA
#StateOppression #democraticrights #BK16 #BhimaKoregaon16


Also read:
Shoma Sen’s Bail Hearing in SC Adjourned Yet Again, Until January 10 (NewsClick / Dec 2023)
Supreme Court quotes Watali judgment in Shoma Sen’s bail application (The Leaflet / Dec 2023)
“Hopefully waiting” writes Shoma Sen from prison (InSAF India / Jul 2023)

PUDR welcomes the Bombay High Court order granting regular bail to Gautam Navlakha

PUDR welcomes the Bombay High Court order granting regular bail to Gautam Navlakha

Poster by PUDR, April 2023

pudr.org / Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

PUDR welcomes the Bombay High Court order granting regular bail to Gautam Navlakha, a well-known civil rights activist, author, and journalist, on December 19, 2023. The two-member bench comprising Justices AS Gadkari and Shivkumar Dige ruled that based on a perusal of the documents presented, there was no material evidence to infer Gautam Navlakha’s involvement in terrorist acts as shown in the chargesheet against him under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) by the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
Read full statement


Also read:
PUDR welcomes the release on bail of Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira today, but protests onerous bail conditions (PUDR / Aug 2023)
Five years behind bars for five activists – Without bail, without charges being framed, without justice! (PUDR / June 2023)

Video: Vernon v. State of Maharashtra: A Breakthrough in Bail Jurisprudence under the UAPA?

Video: Vernon v. State of Maharashtra: A Breakthrough in Bail Jurisprudence under the UAPA?

by PUCL India / @PUCLindia (Aug 7, 2023)

Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves were released after 5 years in jail!
Join our discussion on their bail order and to understand its implications! How can we advocate for the release of all political prisoners arrested under UAPA?


en | 1:29:01 | 2023
Watch video


UAPA disproportionately targets religious, ethnic minorities: Activist

10/08/2023

News Trail / by Umar Sharieef | NT

Discussing the Supreme Court’s decision in granting bail to activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferriera accused in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case, members from People’s Union for Civil Liberties said the bail order has significant implications for bail jurisprudence under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, UAPA, in the framework of criminal law.
The members highlighted the top court’s bail-granting powers under the UAPA, which flows from the Zahood Ahmad Watali judgment.
Read more


Also read/watch:
PUDR welcomes the release on bail of Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira today, but protests onerous bail conditions (PUDR / Aug 6, 2023)

● Video: Personal Liberty and the Indian Courts

en | 1h 42min | 2022
The discussion moderated by PUCL General Secretary, V Suresh, Arvind Narrain, VP Karnataka State PUCL and Kavita Srivastava, National Secretary PUCL

Watch video (PUCL fb page)

● Repeal UAPA – Persecution by Prosecution

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)

PUDR welcomes the release of Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, but protests onerous bail conditions

PUDR welcomes the release of Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, but protests onerous bail conditions

PUDR welcomes the release on bail of Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira today, but protests onerous bail conditions

05/08/2023

pudr.org / by Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR))

People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) welcomes the Supreme Court order granting bail on merits and release of Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, two of the accused in the infamous Bhima Koregaon case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
In a significant judgement, on 28 July 2023, the top court granted bail for two primary reasons: the fact that the accused had already been incarcerated for 5 years with the trial not having commenced yet, and that the NIA had been unable to justify, even prima facie, the allegations against them.
… However, what is even more disturbing is that the apex court has allowed for further conditions to be set by the special trial court, conditions that the latter may “consider fit and proper”. Accordingly, on July 31, the special NIA court has set further conditions which prohibit the duo from:
Read full statement:


Also read:
Gonsalves and Ferreira bail judgment: A step in the right direction but where will we go from here? (The Leaflet / Aug 5, 2023)
Bhima Koregaon accused asked to share phone location while on bail. Is this constitutional? (Scroll.in / Jul 31, 2023)
‘Brings Hope, But…’ Bhima Koregaon Families React to Gonsalves, Ferreira Bail ( The Quint / Jul 29, 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.
Read more


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)

Five years behind bars for five activists – Without bail, without charges being framed, without justice!

Five years behind bars for five activists – Without bail, without charges being framed, without justice!

Five years behind bars for five activists – Without bail, without charges being framed, without justice!

06/06/2023

By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

Five years behind bars for five activists
Without bail, without charges being framed, without justice!
Release all 15-surviving accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.

June 6, 2023 will mark five years that five activists are behind bars. They include Mahesh Raut, an anti-displacement campaigner, Rona Wilson, a political prisoners’ campaigner, Shoma Sen, a feminist activist and professor, Sudhir Dhawale, a Dalit rights activist and Surendra Gadling, a lawyer who takes people’s rights cases pro-bono.
Read full statement


Five Years Since The First Arrests In Bhima-Koregaon Case

06/06/2023

Countercurrents.org / by Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation (CDRO)

6th June 2018. The nation’s conscience suffered yet another attack by the arrests of leading intellectuals and democratic rights activists by the Pune police in connection with the so-called Bhima-Koregaon (BK) case. These arrests snowballed into a series of arrests in subsequent months. Five years have passed, and barring a few activists out on bail, the arrested persons are still languishing in jail without a charge sheet being filed. Through this statement, the CDRO once again tries to remember the incidents leading to these arrests and subsequent events; so that people can unite in a struggle for the release of the BK-16 and the repeal of draconian laws.
Read full statement


Five years of Bhima Koregaon arrests: CDRO marks ‘black day’

06/06/2023

The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala

It was on this day in 2018 that five activists were first arrested by the Pune police in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad Maoist links and criminal conspiracy case. To mark this day, and by means of highlighting the plight of the arrested persons, the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation and People’s Union for Democratic Rights have issued press statements demanding the immediate release of all the persons behind bars in connection with the case.
Read more


CASR: Release activists incarcerated in Bhima Koregaon Case

07/06/2023

Countercurrents.org / by Campaign Against State Repression

June 6th became a day of one of the most audacious attack by the Brahmanical Hindutva Fascist state on the Democratic rights and political activists and began new era of rampant use of UAPA and conspiracy cases, which was, although known to the working class, the peasantry and the oppressed, have been largely unknown to the Urban democratic movement. June 6th, 2018 marks the first arrest in the infamous Bhima Koregaon ‘Conspiracy’ case, after series of raids in April 2018. The police arrested Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut.
Read full statement


Five years after arrest, Bhima Koregaon case accused yet to get copies of proof against them

05/06/2023

The Hindu / by Sonam Saigal

Special Public Prosecutor rubbished the allegation and said most of the material have been shared with them
It has been six years since Sudhir Dhawale, an activist; Surendra Gadling, a criminal lawyer practising in Nagpur; Shoma Sen, professor and Head of Department, English at Nagpur University; activists Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut were arrested in the caste-based violence that broke out at Bhima Koregaon in Pune in 2017.
Read more


Also read:
Bhima Koregaon: Who’s who of those arrested & the developments in the case pertaining to each (The Leaflet / June 2022)
Marking three years since the first arrest (The Leaflet / June 2021)
Two years of Bhima Koregaon Arrests (The Leaflet / June 2020)
What has happened to the five activists who were arrested a year ago (Scroll.in / June 2019)
IAPL press note about arrest of Advocate Gadling & other people’s activists (Sanhati / June 2018)

Release Gautam Navlakha Immediately! Release all political prisoners. / BK16 Solidarity

Release Gautam Navlakha Immediately! Release all political prisoners. / BK16 Solidarity

By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

Today, 14 April 2023 marks four years, seven months and eighteen days since Gautam Navlakha’s arrest on 28 August 2018. A well-known human rights activist, respected journalist and writer of long standing, Gautam has now been incarcerated for three years since 14 April 2020 when he surrendered at the NIA office in Delhi.
Read more


Also read:
Protest the Arrests of Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde: Demand release of the 11 arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case (PUDR / April 2020)
Protest and Solidarity Statements on the arrests of Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha (free-them-all.net / April 2020)


Gautam Navlakha

Gautam Navlakha has a tremendous archive of writings from the 1980s to the present, documented by The Friends of Gautam Navlakha.
To read some of his recent writings and a full list of his articles with Economic & Political Weekly, the NewsClick newsportal and the platform Sanhati visit: Gautam Navlakha – Journalist, Human Rights Defender, Political Prisoner


#BK16: Solidarity in New York, Berlin and Amsterdam

14/04/2023

By IndienKoGruppe / @IndienKoGruppe (April 14):

Freedom for political prisoners in India. “Dissent is the safety valve of democracy” (Supreme Court of India) Solidarity from New York, #FreeBK16
#BK16 solidarity from Berlin Freedom for political prisoners in India. Dissent is no crime, it is “the safety valve of democracy”
Ambedkar Jayanthi in Amsterdam, in solidarity with Bhima Koregaon activists in jail. #FreeBK16
Petition by Amnesty International: Act now to demand the release of the BK16!
Since 2018, Indian authorities have arrested 16 activists under a draconian anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case. 11 of them continue to languish in prison without trial. The repression of activists must end.

INDIAN AUTHORITIES MUST RELEASE ALL IMPRISONED ACTIVISTS IN THE BK16 CASE!
Act now to urge the Union Home Minister of India, Amit Shah to:
– Drop all charges against the 16 activists and immediately release the 12 who remain in detention
– Pending their release, ensure that they are granted prompt, regular, and unrestricted access to medical care and other basic necessities
– Repeal or substantially amend the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Read more / sign AI statement