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PUDR: Stop Denying Political Prisoners the Right to Healthcare in Jails / Statement by USCIRF

PUDR: Stop Denying Political Prisoners the Right to Healthcare in Jails / Statement by USCIRF

Stop Denying Political Prisoners the Right to Healthcare in Jails

10/09/2022

By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

Sep 10, 2022
On  8th September Vernon Gonsalves,  one of the 16 undertrials in the Bhima Koregaon case lodged in the anda cell of Taloja Central  Jail, was diagnosed with dengue and likely pneumonia.  Gonsalves age 65, had been suffering from fever since 30th August, but it took an appeal from his lawyer and the intervention of the Court for the Taloja Jail authorities to shift him to JJ Hospital for treatment. The fact that he was immediately put on oxygen support at the hospital, points to the apathy of the Jail authorities regarding the health of prisoners lodged in their custody.
The incident marked the two month anniversary of the Special Court rejecting Gautam Navlakha’s petition for a mosquito net. On 20th May the jail authorities had confiscated the mosquito nets of some inmates housed in the anda cell. Sagar Gorkhe and several others had gone on hunger strike expressing apprehensions about contracting malaria and dengue as Taloja is infested by mosquitos. The abysmal jail facilities and hostility of jail staff added to these fears which have all come true.
Read full statement


by The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (Sep 9):
+++ USCIRF Vice Chair Abraham Cooper: “We are relieved 65-year-old Dalit rights activist Vernon Gonsalves was finally able to receive medical care after being wrongfully denied it for over a week despite the severe deterioration of his health.” ++
+++ USCIRF Commissioner @StephenSchneck: “Medical neglect of prisoners of conscience like Gonsalves & others arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case continues despite the inhumane death of Father Stan Swamy. Pre-trial detention cannot be a de facto death sentence.” ++


Also read:
NIA court rejects plea to use mosquito nets in prison (The Leaflet / July 2022)
Hunger Strike unto death against the harassment from Taloja Central Jail’s apathetic administration (By Sagar Gorkhe / May 20)

Mumbai Court rejects regular bail plea of Gautam Navlakha [read order]

Mumbai Court rejects regular bail plea of Gautam Navlakha [read order]

Documents seized from Gautam Navlakha show link between him and Elgar Parishad case: NIA court

07/09/2022

Times of India / by Rebecca Samervel

In a detailed order denying bail to activist Gautam Navlakha (69) in the Elgar Parishad case, the special NIA court said the documents alleged to have been seized from his possession showed a nexus between him with the case.
In the five-page order, special judge Rajesh J Katariya said it was contended by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that Navlakha was found in possession of incriminating documents related to CPI (Maoist).
Read more


Offence serious, ample evidence: Court rejects bail plea of activist in Elgar Parishad case

07/09/2022

India Today / by Vidya

A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court rejected the bail application of journalist-activist Gautam Navlakha, arrested in April 2020, in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.
… Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty and advocate Vishal Goutham had submitted that “Navlakha is a member of CPI (Maoist) and he was in possession of incriminating documents related to CPI (Maoist), accessible exclusively to party members. He was actively involved in the activities of ‘Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation (CDRO) and used to receive group emails.”
Read more


Mumbai Court rejects regular bail plea of Gautam Navlakha [read order]

05/09/2022

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

A Mumbai Court today rejected the regular bail application filed by Delhi activist Gautam Navlakha who is one of the accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case.
Navlakha, who is human rights activist and former secretary of People’s Union for Democratic Rights, was arrested in August 2018, but was initially placed under house arrest.
Read more


Bhima Koregaon case: Gautam Navlakha’s bail plea rejected by special NIA court

05/09/2022

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

The 71-year-old activist was arrested on August 28, 2018 for his alleged involvement in the case.
A special National Investigation Agency court on Monday rejected a bail application filed by activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon case, PTI reported.
Special Judge Rajesh J Katariya rejected his plea. The detailed order has not been made public yet.
Read more


Special NIA Court Rejects Gautam Navlakha’s Bail Plea

05/09/2022

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

The 70-year-old activist has additionally appealed to the Supreme Court against a Bombay HC order dismissing his plea to allow him to be in house arrest instead of at Taloja prison.
A special NIA court in Mumbai on Monday, September 5, rejected the bail plea of activist Gautam Navlakha, in jail since 2018 over what the agency believes is his connection with the Elgar Parishad case.
Read more

NIA argues against Gautam Navlakha’s bail application, State denies him telephonic facility

NIA argues against Gautam Navlakha’s bail application, State denies him telephonic facility

NIA argues against Gautam Navlakha’s bail application, State denies him telephonic facility

23/07/2022

The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala

On July 22, Special Public Prosecutor for National Investigation Agency (‘NIA’), Prakash Shetty, argued against the bail application of journalist and human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case, charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The application was being heard before the NIA’s special court in Mumbai, by special judge Dinesh E. Kothalikar.
Read more


State denies phone call facility to jailed activist Gautam Navlakha

21/07/2022

Hindustan Times / by HT Correspondent

The state prison authorities on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court (HC) that Elgar Parishad accused Gautam Navlakha, booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), cannot be permitted telephone calls from prison as per the existing rules
The state prison authorities on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court (HC) that Elgar Parishad accused Gautam Navlakha, booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), cannot be permitted telephone calls from prison as per the existing rules.
Read more


Can’t let Gautam Navlakha make calls from jail, Maharashtra government tells HC

20/07/2022

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

The state government’s lawyer told the court that the activist could not be given the facility as he was facing charges of terrorism.
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday opposed activist Gautam Navlakha’s request to make phone calls from prison, PTI reported.
Read more


Also read:
● NIA court rejects plea to use mosquito nets in prison (The Leaflet / July 2022)

PUDR: When The Process becomes The Punishment

PUDR: When The Process becomes The Punishment

Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) / by PUDR

Tomorrow, 14th April 2022 marks the completion of two years of PUDR activist Gautam Navlakha’s surrender before the NIA. One of sixteen accused in the infamous Bhima Koregaon case, Gautam has been imprisoned in Taloja Central Jail, Navi Mumbai since 25 May 2020.  For more than six months now, since 12 October 2021, the nearly 70 years old Gautam, an undertrial suffering from multiple health problems has been in solitary confinement in one of 33 cells in the ‘anda’ circle, the High Security Area of Taloja Jail, a space meant to segregate those guilty of heinous crimes.
Read more


Also read:
How the ‘anda cell’ is used to discipline prison inmates (The Indian Express │ Oct 2021)
System of solitary confinement, ‘Anda Cell’, inside the jail be stopped (Groundxero │ Oct 2021)

Book review: Stan Swamy’s voice for the voiceless

Book review: Stan Swamy’s voice for the voiceless

Book review: A voice for the voiceless

28/01/2022

The Telegraph / by Mahtab Alam

Edition: Aug 2021
Publisher: Indian Social Institute, Bangalore
Language: English
Paperback: 149 pages
Stan Swamy was no silent spectator, his book makes it clear who he was.
Ever since the tragic death of the human rights activist, Father Stan Swamy, much has been written about him, including a few books. This is not surprising, given his contributions to human rights, especially the rights of indigenous people. However, what distinguishes this book is that it is a first-person account even though it is not an autobiography. Divided into 16 short chapters, including a Prologue and an Epilogue, it takes us on a journey where we are not just introduced to Stan’s personality and work but also get glimpses of the time period it covered.
Read more
Download full book (pdf file)


Framed to Die – The Case of Stan Swamy

By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

Edition: Aug 2021
Publisher: Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi
Language: English

Paperback: 45 pages
Download full book (pdf file)

Rally for the release of Gautam Navlakha held in Canada

Rally for the release of Gautam Navlakha held in Canada

Rally for the release of Gautam Navlakha held in Canada

01/11/2021

Countercurrents.org / by Radical Desi

On the 37th anniversary of the 1984 Sikh Genocide, South Asian activists gathered in Surrey to raise their voices for a jailed Indian scholar, who was behind documenting the tragedy and exposing those involved.
Gautam Navlakha was arrested on trumped up charges in April 2020, and is currently lodged in jail near Mumbai. His only crime is daring to question the powerful, and always standing up for the minorities and the oppressed.
Read more


Man behind early authentic field report on Sikh Genocide is in jail; will the world take notice?

24/10/2021

Straight.com / by Gurpeet Singh

Gautam Navlakha has consistently spoken out on behalf of people being persecuted in India.
As we approach the first week of November, marking the 37th anniversary of the Sikh massacre in India, a scholar who helped document the tragedy is struggling for his release from an Indian jail.
Gautam Navlakha, who was arrested in April 2020 on trumped-up charges along with other prominent scholars and social-justice activists, is currently lodged in prison near Mumbai. His only crime is that he dared to question the powerful and has always stood up for minorities and the oppressed.
Read more

Condemn The Solitary Confinement Of The Bhima Koregaon Accused!

Condemn The Solitary Confinement Of The Bhima Koregaon Accused!

By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

CONDEMN THE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AND CONTINUING HARASSMENT OF THE BHIMA KOREGAON ACCUSED BY TALOJA CENTRAL JAIL AUTHORITIES!
STOP PUNISHING POLITICAL PRISONERS FOR THEIR BELIEFS!

The high handedness of the Taloja Central Jail administration was evident in the events leading to the death of the octogenarian Bhima Koregaon undertrail, Stan Swamy on July 5, 2021. Almost immediately, the remaining BK undertrials protested the arbitrary jail conditions imposed by the then Superintendent, Kaustabh Kurlekar by observing a one-day hunger strike. However, far from bringing such persecution to an end, a new repressive regime has been installed by Superintendent UT Pawar. Its latest manifestation is the transfer of Vernon Gonsalves, Sagar Gokhale, Ramesh Gaichor, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale and most recently on 12 October 2021 Gautam Navlakha to the ‘anda’ circle, the high security prison area in Taloja Jail. Imprisonment in the anda cell is a form of solitary confinement which is blatantly illegal in the case of undertrial prisoners.
Read full statement

All-India campaign by civil society, labour and farmers’ organisations / Popular actions

All-India campaign by civil society, labour and farmers’ organisations / Popular actions


Read Call: OPEN NATIONAL CALL: DEFEND RIGHT TO DISSENT, REPEAL SEDITION LAW, UAPA AND REPRESSIVE STATE LAWS (July 27, 2021)


Bilaspur, Aug 14


Chennai based group to honour Stan Swamy on Independence day

14/08/2021

The Telegraph / by Pheroze L. Vincent

A Chennai-based group is hosting a series of discussions and cultural events that will culminate in music and satire webcast on Independence Day in honour of Father Stan Swamy.
The event, titled “Kelvi Koothu” in Tamil and “Dirge for Democracy” in English, has been organised by the Vettiver Collective, a group that agitates on social and environment issues by conducting unsponsored cultural events.
Read more


Proposed popular actions to resonate Tilak’s Swaraj is My Birthright, Gandhi’s Do or Die?

14/08/2021

Counterview / by Fr Cedric Prakash SJ

The institutional murder of 84-year-old Jesuit priest Fr Stan Swamy, who died on July 5, 2021 while still in judicial custody, has shaken the very foundations of democracy in India. The importance and the urgency to defend democracy and all that is precious in the Constitution of India against repressive and anti-people laws, is perhaps felt today, as never before…
On August 9, the National Campaign to Defend Democracy gained added momentum when 165 movements, platforms and organisations, representing thousands of citizens, gave a call for a country wide action to save our democracy
Read more


All-India campaign by civil society, labour and farmers’ organisations on Independence Day

12/08/2021

The Telegraph / by Animesh Bisoee

The National Campaign to Defend Democracy will take a pledge to to fight draconian laws, and uphold the right to question and show dissent
Over 160 civil society, labour and farmers’ organisations will as part of a nationwide campaign on Independence Day take a pledge to fight draconian laws, uphold the right to question and show dissent and oppose State actions that “deprive us of the freedoms of speech and opinion”.
The movement, named National Campaign to Defend Democracy and spearheaded by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (a conglomeration of human rights organisations) and trade unions, will also seek justice for Father Stan Swamy.
Read more

PUDR report: Framed to Die – The Case of Stan Swamy

PUDR report: Framed to Die – The Case of Stan Swamy

By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

Marking a month since Stan Swamy passed away in judicial custody in a private hospital, a month in which no official inquiry, even the mandated magisterial inquest, has not been initiated, Framed to die: The case of Stan Swamy documents the manner in which Stan Swamy was framed, fettered, and finally forced towards a fatal illness under due process of law called Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Framed to Die argues that Stan’s experiences of persecution provide an understanding of many others, including the 15 accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. Beyond chronicling Stan’s persecution under law, Framed to Die documents why Comrade Stan was a dissenter and a true patriot and why the state feared and criminalized his dissent under the UAPA.

Download full report (45 pages) here

The 16 activists arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case are victims of witch-hunt

The 16 activists arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case are victims of witch-hunt

Frontline / by Anupama Katakam

The arrests and incarceration of 16 activists, known as the BK-16, on specious charges relating to the Bhima Koregaon violence case is part of the Central government’s systematic and methodical targeting of people who dissent and fight against oppression and for the causes of sections of society that a majoritarian government has no space for …
A look at the profile of each victim clearly indicates why the current regime feels threatened by their work.
Read more