The section on India talks about the use of draconian laws like the UAPA and the use of the FCRA to target NGOs who do not toe the government’s line.
Civicus, a global civil society alliance, has kept India’s status as ‘repressed’ when it comes to civic freedoms in its new report, People Power Under Attack 2022. In 2018, India’s civic freedoms had been categorised as ‘obstructed’ – but it was downgraded to ‘repressed’ in 2019 has stayed in that zone ever since.
The section on India talks about the use of draconian laws like the UAPA and the use of the FCRA to target NGOs who do not toe the government’s line:
“In India, anti-terror laws such as the repressive Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act have been systematically used by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep student activists and HRDs – such as people the state alleges to have instigated violence in the village of Bhima Koregaon in 2018 – in detention. Read more Read full report „People Power Under Attack 2022“
‘Show Us Where They Asked People To Pick Up Guns’, SC Tells NIA In Bail Pleas Of Gonsalves and Ferreira
Supreme Court continues hearing the bail pleas of Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira
The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala
Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, representing the National Investigation Agency, alleges involvement of Gonsalves and Ferreira in alleged terrorist acts through letters and documents.
On Wednesday, a division bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia, continued hearing arguments on behalf of trade unionist, activist and academic Vernon Gonsalves, and activist and lawyer Arun Ferreira for the grant of regular bail. Gonsalves and Ferreira have filed bail applications at the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Bombay High Court dated October 15, 2019, rejecting their bail pleas. Read more
‘Show Us Where They Asked People To Pick Up Guns’, Supreme Court Tells NIA In Bail Pleas Of Accused
Live Law / by Astika Das
Show us where the Bhima Koregaon-accused Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira encouraged others they allegedly ‘recruited’ to pick up arms against the the government, the Supreme Court told the National Investigation Agency on Wednesday. A division bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia was hearing the bail applications of Gonsalves and a co-accused, Arun Ferreira, both of whom have been lodged in jail since August 2018 for charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
… After hearing the submissions of senior advocates Rebecca John (for Gonsalves), R. Basant (for Ferreira), and the additional solicitor-general, the bench decided to adjourn the hearing till Friday, March 3. Read more
Delay In Starting Trial Not Due To Us, NIA Tells Supreme Court
Live Law / by Awstika Das
The National Investigation Agency told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the delay in the trial of the Bhima Koregaon accused could not be attributed to them. Additional Solicitor General for India K.M. Nataraj told the court.
… Notably, the trial in this high-profile case has not yet begun. Senior advocates Rebecca John (for Gonsalves) and R. Basant (for Ferreira) have both pointed out that even charges have not been framed yet, despite the passage of almost five years… In this connection, also relevant are Basant’s remarks on the delay in the process. He pointed out, “They intend to examine a total of 336 witnesses and go through 2,105 documents. Several accused persons have not yet been apprehended.” Read more
In November 2021, the Bombay High Court allowed Father (Dr) Frazer Mascarenhas, SJ, to approach the court to clear the name of Father Stan Swamy, the oldest of the 16 Bhima Koregaon accused, who died in hospital in July 2021 …
Known to speak freely and stand by his principles, Father Frazer, who is now the parish priest at a Mumbai church, tells Rediff.com Senior Contributor Neeta Kolhatkar, “It seems to be a culture now. Anybody dissenting will be treated in this manner. No human rights… It is not limited to any one political party. The evidence shows that a group of political parties seem to be using this in an extensive and deliberate manner.”
At the recent police conference attended by PM Modi, Gadchiroli DIGP Sandip B. Patil claimed in a paper that 15 cultural and rights organisations are actually “active frontal organisations of Naxals.” Behind this claim is little evidence.
In 2017, the artiste couple Shital Sathe and Sachin Mali publicly announced their decision to split from the cultural outfit, Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) after 15 years of association. Read more
The UAPA Law – Curbing Terrorism or Stifling Dissent?
By Hindus for Human Rights
(DESH-VIDESH CONVERSATION SERIES – SPEAKING ACROSS THE DIVIDE) Digital Evidence Planting: New Age Threat to Rights Defenders
Presented by Safa Ahmed of the Indian American Muslim Council on behalf of a broad coalition working to secure the release of all the Bhima Koregaon prisoners
WHY ARE MOST OF THE BHIMA KOREGAON DEFENDANTS STILL IN JAIL DESPITE FORENSIC FINDINGS THAT INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE HAD BEEN PLANTED ON SOME OF THEIR COMPUTERS?
Good evening. Digital forensics is a dry, technical field, but the consequences of digital attacks play out like a vivid, terrifying, and painful movie. With the help of technical experts, journalists, and activists, I have prepared for you this narrative of what was revealed in the forensic analysis of the hard drives of three of the BK-16 – Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, and Father Stan Swamy. Read more
Invite: India’s UAPA law: Curbing Terrorism or Stifling Democratic Dissent?
The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and India’s Prisoners of Conscience (POCs): Targeting terrorism or stifling democratic dissent?
Saturday, January 21, 2023
6 pm PST,
7:30 am IST
The conversation will cover the history and the draconian provisions of the UAPA; how it compares to anti-terror laws in other democracies; the views of the State Department and USCIRF; what are some of the typical charges being made being under UAPA. Do they look unlawful to you? Some statistics: How many people arrested since the amended UAPA; Average time spent w/o trial or bail hearing; How many have gone to trial, etc.
Moderator: Govind Acharya, Amnesty International
Banojyotsna Lahiri, Activist, on Umar Khalid’s story and struggle
Yug Mohit Chaudhry, Author and Criminal Lawyer, on legal strategies on behalf of POCs and hurdles faced
Mihir Desai, Human Rights Lawyer, on the story and struggle of Bhima Koregaon 16 and what’s happening to lesser known detainees
Followed by a Q&A moderated by Govind Acharya Register here
Why Courts Are Ignoring Concerns Of Planted Evidence In The Bhima-Koregaon Prosecution
Independent forensic experts have raised concerns of evidence being planted in the ongoing Bhima-Koregaon prosecution (ongoing for 45 months, with not even charges framed yet). But India’s tightly regulated criminal process severely restricts the right of accused persons to introduce new material. It speaks to many important concerns for the state, such as speedy trial, but a general rule that brooks no exception does more harm than good.
It has been almost 45 months since the police began investigating the theory of a larger conspiracy in the cases emanating out of the Bhima-Koregaon violence of January 2018. Read more
Wives of Khalid Saifi, Hany Babu, GN Saibaba demand release of ‘political prisoners’
Maktoob / by Maktoob Staff
Life partners of jailed human rights defenders Khalid Saifi, Hany Babu and GN Saibaba who gathered in national capital Delhi on Thursday under the banner of Campaign Against State Repression, demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners incarcerated under the Bhima Koregaon and CAA-NRC cases.
This event titled “conspiracy of conspiracy cases” was held to discuss the recent developments in Bhima Koregaon and CAA-NRC case where top intelligence officers have disclosed that there was no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and Bhima Koregano violence, as well as multiple international forensic reports revealing that the evidence was planted on the BK accused. Read more
Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights
Countercurrents / by Our Representative
Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was “no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence.”
Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Read more
On the fifth anniversary of the Elgaar Parishad, on 31 December, NewsClick spoke to former Justice BG Kolse Patil, one of its organisers, on how controversy overtook the event.
Few outside Maharashtra had heard of the Marathi word Elgaar, let alone understood its meaning, until 2018. Elgaar was the name given to a meeting of people, or Parishad, convened at the Shaniwarwada Fort ground, Pune, on 31 December 2017, a day before lakhs of Ambedkarites were to visit Bhima Koregaon village from around the country. The date 1 January 2018 was special, for it marked the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon, which the Ambedkarites frame as their victory over the army of Peshwa Baji Rao II (1775-1851). Read more
Legal experts say that this information becomes useful during the stage of the trial, which is yet to start.
A new report that says that “evidence” on Stan Swamy’s computer was planted would not be of much use to the accused persons in the Bhima Koregaon case until the trial starts, legal experts point out. Read more
The high court noted that the prosecution fails to show that the accused has been involved or has indulged in a terrorist act.
On November 18, a division bench of Bombay High Court, comprising Justices A.S. Gadkari and Milind N. Jadhav, granted bail to Dr. Anand Teltumbde, the 73-year-old Dalit scholar, academic and activist charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (‘UAPA’) for allegedly being a senior member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) (‘CPI (Maoist)’). Read more