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Tag: Shoma Sen

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.
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May Be An Irregularity, Not An Illegality: Maharashtra Govt On Special NIA Court Not Taking Cognizance Of Case

May Be An Irregularity, Not An Illegality: Maharashtra Govt On Special NIA Court Not Taking Cognizance Of Case

May Be An Irregularity, Not An Illegality: Maharashtra Govt On Special NIA Court Not Taking Cognizance Of Case

23/07/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Maharashtra Government and the National Investigation Agency on Friday continued their arguments opposing Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad accused Sudha Bharadwaj’s default bail application.
The State submitted that in her entire petition Bharadwaj hasn’t averred at a single place that she was “denied justice” because a sessions court, and not a special court under the NIA Act, took cognisance of the chargesheet against her and and other accused on February 21, 2019.
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If Court is not empowered to take cognizance, does not mean proceedings can be set aside: NIA to Bombay High Court

23/07/2021

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

An affidavit stating the same was filed before the High Court in the petition filed by eight accused in the Bhima Koregaon case challenging the order refusing bail.
Merely because a court is not empowered by law to take cognizance and yet does so in good faith does not mean that the proceedings should be set aside on that ground alone, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) submitted before the Bombay High Court in the Bhima Koregaon case.
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136 Names Revealed On Snoop List So Far / Indian activists jailed on terrorism charges were on list

136 Names Revealed On Snoop List So Far / Indian activists jailed on terrorism charges were on list

136 Names Revealed By The Wire On Snoop List So Far

23/07/2021

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Over the past few days, The Wire – in collaboration with 16 other media organisations – has been revealing the names of people who were either persons of interest or forensically identified as having been targeted by clients of the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.
Those on the list include heads of state, political figures, activists, students, lawyers and journalists, among others.
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Pegasus exposé raises unjust detention cry

20/07/2021

The Telegraph / by Pheroze L. Vincent

The leaked database showed that the mobile numbers of several accused were on a list of those selected for surveillance by an unidentified client of NSO.
The families of the Elgaar Parishad-Maoist links detainees and one of their lawyers have said the new revelations about targeted surveillance have vindicated their stand that the prolonged imprisonment of the 15 surviving accused is unjust.
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From Ambedkarites and Labour Activists to Umar Khalid and JNU Students, Snoop List Targets All

20/07/2021

The Wire / by Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta, Sukanya Shantha and Kabir Agarwal

Leaked list of potential surveillance targets indicates attempt to keep tabs on critics of government policy.
The telephone numbers of an anti-caste leader and several prominent activists are part of a leaked database accessed by the Pegasus Project which includes individuals confirmed to have been targeted with the Israel based NSO group’s spyware.
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Indian activists jailed on terrorism charges were on list with surveillance targets

20/07/2021

The Washington Post / by Joanna Slater and Niha Masih

The Bhima Koregaon activists were also victims of an unidentified hacker who planted evidence on their computers, recent reports found.
When the Indian authorities began arresting lawyers and human rights activists in 2018, Sudha Bharadwaj did what she had done for more than three decades wherever she saw injustice. She organized. She spoke out. She asked courts to uphold the law.
Later that year, the police arrested her, too.
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Cops used Pegasus in Koregaon Bhima case, says Digvijaya Singh

20/07/2021

Times of India / by Suchandana Gupta

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh on Monday told TOI TOI that Pegasus was used by police in the Koregaon Bhima case, and even his name had surfaced, but he couldn’t be implicated because he had stopped using the phone that was mentioned in the ‘Naxalite letter’.
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Phones of ministers, journalists, lawyers and activists tapped by Pegasus spyware. Indians should worry

19/07/2021

The Leaflet / by Ramesh Menon

In the days ahead, we will know more about the investigations as they will be released in parts. Clearly, there is going to be a stormy monsoon session in Parliament as opposition members will question the government’s role in the snooping scandal. These revelations, if true, bode dangerously for the health of our democracy, writes Ramesh Menon as he recaps what we know about the Pegasus hacking allegations so far.
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Arsenal Report Can’t Be Relied Upon, Pune Police Opposes Rona Wilson’s Plea

Arsenal Report Can’t Be Relied Upon, Pune Police Opposes Rona Wilson’s Plea

Arsenal Report Can’t Be Relied Upon, Pune Police Opposes Rona Wilson’s Plea Alleging Planting Of Materials

13/07/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Pune police that was stripped of the investigations into the Bhima-Koregaon Elgar-Parishad case by the Union government in January 2020, has filed an affidavit on the same lines as the National Investigation Agency(NIA) opposing activist Rona Wilson’s petition seeking to quash the case before the Bombay High Court.
The affidavit filed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Shrinivas Muralidhar Ghadge seeks dismissal of Wilson’s petition on grounds of maintainability, including stating that the report by USA based Arsenal Consulting is not admissible as it is not a part of any of the charge sheets filed by the investigating agencies.
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Pune Police opposes Rona Wilson’s plea alleging ‘planted’ evidence, calls it ‘premature’

13/07/2021

The Indian Express / by Express News Service

The Pune Police said the forensic report of the US-based consultancy was not a part of the chargesheet and can be looked into by the trial court and need to be dealt with currently by the high court.
The Pune Police has recently opposed a petition filed by Rona Wilson, an accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, seeking to quash a chargesheet filed against them claiming the charges levelled were based on material that was allegedly planted on electronic devices of the activist.
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Also read: Surendra Gadling’s Computer Was Attacked, Incriminating Documents Planted: Arsenal Consulting (The Wire, July 7)

Cognizance Of Chargesheet Vitiated As Pune Judge Wasn’t Special Judge Under NIA Act? / 8 Accused Seek Bail

Cognizance Of Chargesheet Vitiated As Pune Judge Wasn’t Special Judge Under NIA Act? / 8 Accused Seek Bail

By LawBeat (July 15):
BombayHighCourt bench led by Justice SS Shinde to hear Lawyer-Activist Sudha Bharadwaj, accused in the #BhimaKoregaon – #ElgaParishad case seeking default bail contending that the trial judge was not authorised to take cognisance of the 2019 charge sheet against her.


Produce papers showing Pune judge was competent to pass orders, HC tells Maharashtra

08/07/2021

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

In a petition seeking default bail, activist Sudha Bharadwaj said that Sessions Judge KD Vadane was an additional judge and not a designated special judge.
The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to produce documents to show that the judge who granted an extension to the Pune Police to file the chargesheet in the Bhima Koregaon violence case and took cognisance of it was authorised to do so, PTI reported.
… The court posted the matter for next hearing on July 15.
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Cognizance Of Bhima Koregaon Chargesheet Vitiated As Pune Judge Wasn’t Special Judge Under NIA Act? Bombay High Court To Examine

08/07/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Bombay High Court on Monday said that the Court’s records were consistent with lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj’s RTI replies, according to which Additional Sessions Judge (Pune) Kishore Vadane was not appointed as a Special Judge under the NIA Act in 2018/2019.
“Record is the same as you had annexed under RTI,” Justice SS Shinde heading the division bench said at the beginning of the hearing.
The court also asked the State if it had anything additional to show that the judge was assigned the case back then.
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Judge who extended chargesheet deadline not special judge under NIA Act, reveals Sudha Bharadwaj’s lawyer

06/07/2021

The Free Press Journal / by Staff Reporter

Trade unionist, human rights lawyer and activist Sudha Bharadwaj through her advocate Yug Chaudhry claimed that the special judge, who extended the time to file chargesheet into the Bhima Koregaon violence case, and also took cognisance of the chargesheet, was not a special judge under the National Investigation Agency Act.
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Sudha Bharadwaj’s Bail Plea: Bombay High Court To Verify If Pune Sessions Judge Was Competent To Take Cognizance Of Chargesheet

06/07/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Bombay High Court said it would verify with the Registry if Additional Sessions Judge Kishor Vadane was a Special Judge under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act in 2018/2019 and if he was authorised to take cognisance of the Pune police’s charge sheet against the accused in the Bhima Koregaon Elgar – Parishad Case.
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar heard Bharadwaj’s plea seeking bail in default Under Sections 439, 482 and section 167(2)(a)(i) of the Criminal Procedure Code read with section 43 D(2)of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. She has challenged two orders of Judge KD Vadane.
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8 accused in Bhima Koregaon seek bail as judge who rejected bail was not authorised

06/07/2021

The Hindu / by Sonam Saigal

Eight accused in the Bhima Koregaon caste violence case moved the Bombay High Court on Tuesday seeking bail on the ground that the special judge at Pune who rejected their default bail was not authorised to do so. Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira filed the petition through advocate R. Sathyanarayanan.
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Also read: Bombay High Court Seeks Reply On Sudha Bharadwaj’s Plea For Default Bail In Bhima Koregaon Case (Live Law, June 2021)

Video: Jailed to Die? India’s incarcerated human rights defenders and the Covid emergeny

Video: Jailed to Die? India’s incarcerated human rights defenders and the Covid emergeny


en | 2h | 2021

By InSAF India

Public Appeal Meeting with family members of #BhimaKoregaon 16, and legal and human rights experts.

Watch video


By InSAF (June 19):
We’re Live now talking about India’s incarcerated human right defenders and the #covid emergency with @lsnul @jennyrowena @Aakar__Patel @koel_ko, Simi Korote, Shahrukh Alam and Father Xavier +++
Shahrukh Alam draws important comparison between Indian and other legal systems, noting how the Indian legal system allows for a lengthy period of detention even before the person is found guilty +++
She further notes on how recent #UAPA FIRs against political dissidents are against the right to political protest but are highly problematic in their treatment of dissidents from marginalised groups, openly criminalised and reek of islamophobia +++
Many of the speakers today pointed out, we need sustained international pressure – even for ensuring pasic rights for political detainees. Please consider signing and sharing our letter today +++
@Aakar__Patel notes how post 2014, under a majoritarian government, all minority communities have been sidelined. He further notes how this majoritarianism has resulted in specific legal implications, mostly for Muslims and other minorities +++
He also notes, “the only reason the Bhima Koregaon undertrials are still in jail is because of the state’s malice…”. Are we just going to allow our human right defenders to languish in prisons for the satisfaction of the Indian govt? We need accountability & justice! +++
Listening to Sagar Gonsalves speak about his father and his helplessness in ‘Jailed to Die? India’s incarcerated human rights defenders and the Covid emergency’ … enraging! +++
Father Xavier talks of how Father Stan Swamy, 84 year old in prison, has been criminalised for standing for the rights of the marginalised, specifically rights of tribal and adivasi communities. Shame on the Indian state! +++
Kudos to @jennyrowena for speaking so bravely about how her partner, Prof Hany Babu has challenged caste hierarchies within academia, politics and the country for which he is now being punished. She notes the disproportionate caste representation in these spaces +++
And how the only way to change this is to get freedom from the caste colony, demanding accountabilities Ty from the savarnas! She calls for the takeover of universities, legal system, political systems by Dalit-Bahujans for any hope of change in this country +++
@jennyrowena notes how her husband, prof Hany Babu had a severe eye infection in prison which has since even threatened his vision but was denied appropriate medical attention. This brutality of this legal system is horrific. We stand in solidarity with @jennyrowena & Hany Babu +++

Also Read: Prominent international figures support appeal for release of human rights defenders as India faces Covid emergency (InSAF India, June 10)

NIA, govt asked to respond to Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen’s petition seeking SIT probe by July 1

NIA, govt asked to respond to Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen’s petition seeking SIT probe by July 1

NIA questions maintainability of plea by Prof Shoma Sen seeking quashing of charges

17/06/2021

The Leaflet / by Gahena Gambani

Earlier this year, the Bhima Koregaon case made international headlines, when The Washington Post reported that cybersecurity firm M/s Arsenal Consulting had analysed the laptops of some accused, and reached the conclusion that malware had been planted on the same, presumably with a view to frame the accused.
Soon after, Shoma Sen, an assistant professor and the head of the English Department at Nagpur University, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon matter, approached the Bombay High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution and Section 482 of the CrPC, praying for a quashing of the sanctions against her under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. A similar petition had also been filed by her co-accused, Rona Wilson.
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NIA, Maharashtra govt asked to respond to Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen’s petition seeking SIT probe by July 1

17/06/2021

FPJ / by Narsi Benwal

The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Nizamoodin Jamadar on Thursday adjourned the hearing in the petitions filed by rights activists Rona Wilson and Shoma Sen till July 13. The bench has granted a last chance to the National Investigation Agency and Maharashtra government to file its response to the petitions by June 1.
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Hope Floats For Bhima Koregaon Political Prisoners After Delhi HC Order

Hope Floats For Bhima Koregaon Political Prisoners After Delhi HC Order

Hope Floats For Bhima Koregaon Political Prisoners After Delhi HC Order

16/06/2021

Outlook India / by Preetha Nair

Kin and lawyers of imprisoned activists say the ruling will help in the delivery of justice.
For the past month, Jenny Rowena has been living in a hotel in Mumbai to attend to her husband Prof Hany Babu, who is undergoing treatment for a severe eye infection in a Mumbai hospital. Babu, a Delhi University associate professor was arrested by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in July 2020 in connection with Bhima Koregaon- Elgar Parishad violence and was lodged in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja jail since then.
Babu is one of the 16 prominent activists, who are facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for their alleged role in the 2018 violence and links with the outlawed CPI (Maoist) outfit. One of the high-profile cases in the country involving eminent activists, lawyers, and academicians, the Bhima Koregaon case has invited criticism of international forums for the lack of due process.
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Granting bail to activists, Delhi HC exposes abuse of UAPA – but flaws inherent in the law remain

16/06/2021

Scroll.in / by Sruthisagar Yamunan

Despite the principles set by the Delhi High Court, bail under UAPA will remain discretionary.
On Tuesday, when the Delhi High Court granted bail to Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha in the Delhi riots cases in which the three activists have been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, it was this simple exercise of “lifting the veil” thrown on the case by the prosecution that has led to a significant precedent.
… As seen in several recent cases, including those against activists in the Bhima Koregaon case in Maharashtra, the trial courts, more often than not, tend to agree with the prosecution on the prima facie truth of the case.
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Wrong to treat criticism as sedition: Lawyers welcome Delhi HC verdict quashing UAPA case against activists

16/06/2021

India Today / by Aneesha Mathur

Lawyers have welcomed the decision by Delhi High Court stating that protesters have the right to criticise the government. They also hailed the Court’s verdict defining the lines between criticism of the government and activities that destabilize the country.
… Lawyer Vrinda Grover also said the HC verdict was “significant” since there has been indiscriminate use of the law in recent years… He added: “In this context, we must raise the issue of incarceration of 16 human rights defenders in the Bhima Koregaon case under UAPA for almost three years and the trial is yet to commence. The judiciary must intervene and not allow the criminal legal machinery to be used by the State to suppress fundamental freedoms of citizens, otherwise democracy is in peril.”
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Also read: Supreme Court Issues Notice On Delhi Police Appeal Against Bail Granted To Student Activists In Riots Case; Says HC Judgment Shall Not Be Treated As Precedent In Meantime (Live Law, June 18)

Bhima Koregaon: Marking three years since the first arrest

Bhima Koregaon: Marking three years since the first arrest


Click to enlarge posters

The Leaflet / by Nihalsing B Rathod

Recalling the first set of arrests made in the questionable Bhima Koregaon violence case almost exactly three years ago, Nihalsing B Rathod, in this first of a three-part series, recollects the personal horrors of trying to track Surendra Gadling in the immediate aftermath of his arrest, details the events leading to the arrest of five more activists in August 2018, and explains how basic tenets of criminal law were violated by the Pune Police in making these arrests.

The morning of June 6, 2018, gave me a horrific memory that perhaps will never fade. Early in the morning, I received a phone call that police were at the house of Advocate Surendra Gadling again. The memory of the raid of April 17, 2018, was still fresh.
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Remembering Shoma Sen on the third anniversary of her incarceration – A HEROINE IN OUR HEARTS

Remembering Shoma Sen on the third anniversary of her incarceration – A HEROINE IN OUR HEARTS

By Release Rof Shoma Sen

A HEROINE IN OUR HEARTS

In these sanitized times
Of death-tainted rivers
And doom-scented air,
When that which we
Cannot even see
Has brought us to our knees,
When falsehood rules
And each passing day
In every possible way,
Turns us into curtsying fools,
Dancing in a living hell,
We think of you, in your tiny cell,
Still unbowed, still full of grace,
Raising your maskless face
To watch a small bird fly
Free across a stillblue sky.

And although our facile arts
Can no longer comfort us,
This treasonous vision does,
Of you, the heroine in our hearts.