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Meet 10 ‘political prisoners’ of the Narendra Modi regime in jail without trial

Meet 10 ‘political prisoners’ of the Narendra Modi regime in jail without trial

The Telegraph / by Telegraph Web Desk

From Kashmir to Pune, here are some of the most high-profile names in India’s prisons for whom the criminal justice process has been made the punishment
From the barrage of detainees from the CAA-NRC protests to the infamous Bhima Koregaon arrests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s time in office has been marked by a number of ‘political prisoners’ who remain indefinitely behind bars, with their trials still pending.
Read more


Also read:
7/16 Bhima Koregaon Accused Get Bail, Courts Raise Prima Facie Doubts About Evidence (Live Law / May 2024)
▪ UAPA – CRIMINALISING DISSENT AND STATE TERROR – Study of UAPA Abuse in India, 2009-2022 (PUCL / Sep 2022). Download report


In What Language Does Truth Speak to A Tormented People. Statement by Sudhir, Rona, Surendra & Mahesh

In What Language Does Truth Speak to A Tormented People. Statement by Sudhir, Rona, Surendra & Mahesh

The Wire / by Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling and Mahesh Raut

Intimations on the sixth year of continuing incarceration of the BK-16.
We live in a moment where truth is treason. Under the fascist onslaught of Brahmanical Hindutva, truth has become consumed with fear – the fear of being watched, being surveilled, being criminalised, neutralised, or even eliminated. But the fear, at the end, is itself a whistleblower.
We, the BK 16, known after the eponymous Bhima Koregaon case, complete six years of incarceration on June 6, 2024 under the stringent anti-terror law, UAPA [Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act], where the onus is on the accused to prove their innocence; under heavy odds against the Modi dispensation that dubs speaking truth to power treason, anti-Hindu, an act of terror.
Read full statement


Also read:

‘We are all prisoners of conscience’, say those facing trial in Bhima Koregaon case on the occasion of fourth anniversary of their arrests (The Leaflet / June 2022)

Join Protest: June 6 Marks The Sixth Year Of Wrongful Incarceration In Bhima Koregaon Case

Join Protest: June 6 Marks The Sixth Year Of Wrongful Incarceration In Bhima Koregaon Case

by Campaign Against State Repression (May 27):
6 Years Of Wrongful Incarceration In Bhima Koregaon case
JOIN Demonstration at Jantar Mantar 6 June
Release All Political Prisoners !!
Repeal UAPA !!
Repeal NIA !!


Also read:
CASR: Release activists incarcerated in Bhima Koregaon Case (Countercurrents.org / June 2023)
Five years behind bars for five activists – Without bail, without charges being framed, without justice! (PUDR / June 2023)
CDRO: Five Years Since The First Arrests In Bhima-Koregaon Case (Countercurrents.org / June 2023)



‘We are all prisoners of conscience’, say those facing trial in Bhima Koregaon case on the occasion of fourth anniversary of their arrests (The Leaflet / June 2022)


IAPL: Unite against State Repression on Peoples Movements! (Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) / July 2018)
IAPL press note about arrest of Advocate Gadling & other people’s activists (Sanhati / June 2018)
PUCL Statement condemning Arrests of Activists in Maharashtra (Kractivist.org / June 2018)

Arrested: June 6, 2018

 


by Campaign Against State Repression

Release All Political Prisoners !!

JOIN Demonstration at Jantar Mantar 6 June
Release All Political Prisoners !!
Repeal UAPA !!
Repeal NIA !!



Also read:
7/16 Bhima Koregaon Accused Get Bail, Courts Raise Prima Facie Doubts About Evidence (Live Law / May 2024)
SC grants bail to Gautam Navlakha: All about the Bhima Koregaon violence case, other accused (The Indian Express / May 2024)
Bhima Koregaon: The process continues to clot as punishment as another year passes by (The Leaflet / Jan 2024)

‘BK 16’: Victims of Digital Invasion of the State / The Bhima Koregaon saga of injustice

‘BK 16’: Victims of Digital Invasion of the State / The Bhima Koregaon saga of injustice

‘BK 16’: Victims of Digital Invasion of the State

31/05/2024

Countercurrents.org / by Mubashir VP

Hindutva fascism grew and rose to power by abusing the facilities of formal democracy, spreading hatred under the guise of freedom of speech.
The Bhima Koregaon case and the arrests and imprisonment of human rights activists under the UAPA Act, which critics point out as an example of human rights violations stretching back to the two terms of the Narendra Modi government, have drawn much attention internationally. Moreover, it became notorious as a sign of the government’s reactionary approach to democratic rights, intolerance of dissident voices, and an attempt to terrorise civic life.
Read more


The Bhima Koregaon saga of injustice

31/05/2024

Tribune India / by Julio Ribeiro

Charges yet to be framed against the accused, even though the first arrests were made in 2018
ALPA Shah, whose family hailed from Gujarat, was raised in Nairobi, where my deceased wife, Melba, was born and lived till the age of 10. The Mau Mau movement in Kenya forced many families of Indian origin to leave that country. The Menezes of Goa – to which my wife belonged – was among the few families that returned to India. They sailed back to Goa, while Alpa emigrated to England.
Read more



March 2024 | Scroll.in | by Alpa Shah
An excerpt from ‘The Incarcerations: Bhima Koregaon and the Search for Democracy in India’, by Alpa Shah.
Read excerpt


The Bhima Koregaon Case: A Grave Injustice and Human Rights Crisis

31/05/2024

Radian News / by Mohd Naushad Khan

The Bhima Koregaon case is a complex legal and political matter in India, stemming from the violence that occurred on January 1, 2018, during the bicentenary celebration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra. This event holds significant historical importance, particularly for Dalits, who commemorate the British East India Company’s defeat of the Peshwa forces as a symbol of resistance against caste oppression.
Read more


Also read:
Incriminating document found in Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer ‘planted’; similar tampering found in other Bhima Koregaon accused: Reports American forensic firm (The Leaflet / Dec 2022)
Fabricating Evidence Against Life and Liberty: Tampering with Fr. Stan Swamy’s computer and its implications for Bhima Koregaon case (Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy / Dec 2022)
Police Linked to Hacking Campaign to Frame Indian Activists (Wired.com / June 2022)
Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line (The Wire / July 2021)
They were Accused of plotting to overthrow the Modi government – The evidence was planted, a new report says (Washington Post / Feb 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.
Read more


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.”
Read more


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.
Read more


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

Watch video

‘It Is Only by Chance That I Came Out of Prison Alive’ / GN Saibaba’s long struggle for justice / Video

‘It Is Only by Chance That I Came Out of Prison Alive’ / GN Saibaba’s long struggle for justice / Video

by Nihalsing / @Nihalsingrathod (March 7, 2024):
#GNSaibaba and #prashantrahi released

#hemmishra also released from Kolhapur jail

#prashantrahi with his daughter @shikharahi

And finally #maheshtirki also walks out


Injustice And Impunity: How The Justice System Failed G.N. Saibaba

19/03/2024

Feminism India / by Hajara Najeeb

A professor of the Department of English at Ram Lal College in New Delhi, G.N. Saibaba was incarcerated under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967, accusing him of having Maoist links
On March 8th, a frail G.N. Saibaba made his first public statement in ten years after a decade of torture and a lifetime of injustice. A professor of the Department of English at Ram Lal College in New Delhi, he was incarcerated under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967, accusing him of having Maoist links.
Read more


“I Don’t Know How I Survived” Professor G. N. Saibaba says the reality of being free is yet to sink in

09/03/2024

The Citizen / by Nikita Jain

There was excitement and anticipation as former Delhi University Professor G. N. Saibaba entered the room in his wheelchair. Accompanied by his wife Vasantha Kumari, daughter, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja amongst others, Prof. Saibaba smiled and waved at a few friends he recognised in the audience.
… Speaking about one his lawyers, Surendra Gadling, who himself is in jail for another case related to Elgar Parishad, Prof. Saibaba said that it was because of him that his case became stronger and it breaks his heart to see him behind bars. “Surendra Gadling is languishing behind the bars only for one reason, he stood for me and he argued most effectively in the sessions court during the trial.
Read more


It’s by chance I came out of prison alive: G N Saibaba after release from Nagpur jail

08/03/2024

Indian Express / by Express News Service

Saibaba also said he was “sad” that Surendra Gadling, his lawyer during the trial in the case, was behind bars in the Elgaar Parishad case.
Former Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment over his alleged Maoist links, was released from Nagpur Central Jail on Thursday morning, two days after his acquittal by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.
Read more


‘It Is Only by Chance That I Came Out of Prison Alive’: G.N. Saibaba

07/03/2024

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

“It is only by chance that I came out of prison alive,” 56-year-old former Delhi University professor S.N. Saibaba said in his first press briefing since his release from Nagpur Central jail on Thursday (March 7).
The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court on March 5 acquitted him and five others on “terrorism” charges.

The trial in the lower court was handled by Nagpur-based human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling. Soon after the trial was completed in the Gadchiroli sessions court, Gadling was arrested in the Elgar Parishad case. Saibaba, on Thursday, said that his lawyer Gadling was targeted only for handling his case.
Read more


GN Saibaba’s long struggle for justice: Why the Bombay HC had to overturn his conviction – twice

09/03/2024

Scroll.in / by Vineet Bhalla

The former DU professor was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017. The High Court has now acquitted him, finding no evidence against him.
Human rights activist and former Delhi University professor GN Saibaba’s acquittal by the Bombay High Court for terror-related offences under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on Tuesday and release from the Nagpur Central Jail on Thursday was the culmination of an arduous legal struggle.
Read more


Saibaba Acquittal: From Lack of Sanction to Dodgy Evidence, HC Judgment Tears Into State’s Case

06/03/2024

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

‘The prosecution has failed to establish the seizure of incriminating material from the house search of G.N. Saibaba,” the judges said. “The prosecution has also failed to prove the electronic evidence in terms of the provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, and the Information Technology Act.”
In its detailed judgment acquitting former Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba and five others of ‘terrorism’ charges, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court has virtually shredded the state’s case against the six to pieces.

Saibaba’s lawyer jailed in Bhima Koregaon case
Incidentally, Saibaba’s defence in the trial court was handled by the Nagpur-based human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling, who, soon after the completion of trial, was himself arrested in the Elgar Parishad case.
Read more


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

Watch video


Also read/watch:
Wives of Khalid Saifi, Hany Babu, GN Saibaba demand release of ‘political prisoners’ (Maktoob / Jan 2023)

▪ Bombay High Court Refuses Bail To DU Professor Hany Babu

(Live Law / Sep 2022)
Delhi University Professor Hany Babu mobilising rallies and co-ordinating the defence of convicted professor GN Saibaba was not just helping a fellow academic, but prima facie following a leftist handbook, the Bombay High Court said in its order refusing him bail.
Read more

▪ Video: Personal Liberty and the Indian Courts

25/10/2022


en | 1h 42min | 2022
The discussion examines the recent three judgements relating to
► The denial of bail of Jyoti Jagtap by the Bombay High Court in the Bhima Koregaon Conspiracy case.
► The stay on the Bombay High Court judgement of acquittal/discharge of Dr. GN Saibaba and others by the Supreme Court
► The denial of bail by the Delhi High Court of Umar Khalid in the Conspiracy case of the Delhi Riots of 2020.
Watch video (PUCL fb page)

▪ Rona Wilson’s iPhone Infected With Pegasus Spyware, Says New Forensic Report

(The Wire / Dec 2021)
Arsenal Consulting was engaged by Wilson’s defence lawyers to study the electronic evidence submitted against him in the Elgar Parishad case.
… Wilson, who was a core part of the 17- member Committee for Defence and Release of G. N. Saibaba, also received a message which said “Free Dr Saibaba and Oppose the suppression of Dissent in India. Please sign the petition here clicking [link]” on October 8, 2017.
Read more

Surendra Gadling’s Computer Was Attacked, Incriminating Documents Planted: Arsenal Consulting (The Wire / July 2021)

‘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)

Bhima Koregaon: The process continues to clot as punishment as another year passes by

Bhima Koregaon: The process continues to clot as punishment as another year passes by

Poster by #bakeryprasad

The Leaflet / by Ayaz Parrey and Sarah Thanawala

Many of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon–Elgar Parishad case have now spent one more year incarcerated without a trial. A far cry from the verbiage of high judicial officials that even a day’s denial of liberty is too much.
… Here is a recap of the major developments in the case this year, of bail applications granted, stayed and pending; the consistent pleas for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to comply with the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973; and the courts heeding to medical conditions-related pleas of the accused.
Read more

Since Evidence Tampering Not Ruled Out, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson Want Chargesheets Quashed

Since Evidence Tampering Not Ruled Out, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson Want Chargesheets Quashed

Since Evidence Tampering Not Ruled Out, Accused Want Chargesheets Quashed

19/10/2023

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson petitioned the Bombay high court alleging that norms were violated in searching and seizing electronic documents from them. 
Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson, named as accused in the Elgar Parishad case, have alleged in their petition before the Bombay high court that the prosecution violated the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and Information Technology Act, 2000 in searching and seizing allegedly incriminating electronic documents from them.
They urged the division Bench of Justice A.S. Gadkari and Justice Sharmila U. Deshmukh on Monday, October 17, to quash the chargesheets against them.
Read more


Bombay High Court hears petition seeking quashing of chargesheets against Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson

17/10/2023

The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala

Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing on behalf of Sen and Wilson, argued that the prosecution violated principles of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and Information Technology Act, 2000 in searching and seizing allegedly incriminating electronic documents.
On Monday, the Bombay High Court heard pleas by women’s rights activist and academic Shoma Sen, and activist and researcher Rona Wilson for quashing chargesheets filed against them.
… The matter is posted for further hearing on October 23.
Read more


Lawyer Raises Concerns Over Security Of Devices Seized In Bhima Koregaon Investigation: Report

17/10/2023

MediaNama / by Aarathi Ganesan

Lawyer Anand Grover argued that simply sealing electronic devices upon seizure did not ensure that the data within had been secured. He also noted that electronic devices could be easily tampered with, without any indication.
The electronic evidence recovered from activists Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson in the Bhima Koregaon investigation was improperly secured upon seizure, advocate Anand Grover alleged before the Bombay High Court yesterday, The Leaflet reported.
Read more


Also read:
Incriminating evidence planted in computers: The Trojan solved the Bhima Koregaon case! (Anchored Narratives / Jan 2023)
Cyber Attackers Who Targeted Rona Wilson Could Have Been Engaged by Same Entity: Report (The Wire / Feb 2022)

Truth and dare in Bhima Koregaon

Truth and dare in Bhima Koregaon

poster by @/bakeryprasad

The Leaflet / by Susan Abraham

The Bhima Koregaon–Elgar Parishad ‘Maoist’ conspiracy case is a grand experiment with truth where the State is daring the people to stand up for justice.
‘TRUTH or dare’ is a mostly verbal party game requiring two or more players. Players are given the choice between answering a question truthfully, or performing a ‘dare’. The premise is simple: Players take turns asking one another ‘truth or dare?’ If they choose truth, they have to answer a question of the asker’s choosing. If they choose dare, the asker dares them to do something rather than make a confession.
Suppose the State were to subject its citizens to a macabre version of this game by cooking up a conspiracy case and locking up people behind bars. Then tell them that in order to win their freedom, they have to choose the ‘truth’ of the conspiracy or the ‘dare’ to dissent.
This is the absurd logic that plays out when you try to make sense of the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy case.
Read more


Also read:
Five years of Bhima Koregaon arrests: CDRO marks ‘black day’ (The Leaflet / Jun 2023)