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Tag: Varavara Rao

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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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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How many years can an undertrial languish in jail without trial? HC asks NIA on Bhima-Koregaon Case

How many years can an undertrial languish in jail without trial? HC asks NIA on Bhima-Koregaon Case

How many years can an undertrial languish in jail without trial? Bombay High Court asks NIA on Bhima-Koregaon Violence

19/06/2021

Free Press Journal / by Narsi Benwal

HC says it has too much of respect for Stan Swamy and his work, irrespective of the legal position.
The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Nizamoodin Jamadar on Monday asked the National Investigations Agency (NIA) as to for how many years could an undertrial be languishing in jail without trial. The bench was referring to the fact that several rights activists, some of them senior citizens, arrested in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, have been in prison without charges being framed against them, since last three years.
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We Have Respect For Father Stan Swamy’s Work: Bombay High Court

19/06/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

Justice SS Shinde of the Bombay High Court on Monday said late tribal rights activist and priest – Stan Swamy’s – graceful funeral service after his demise on July 5 2021, had touched him.
“I was informed about the timing of the funeral service. Such a wonderful person. The kind of services he has rendered to the society. We have respect for his work. Legally, whatever is there against him is a different matter…We normally don’t get time for TV, but we saw this funeral, and it was very graceful.”
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You will argue and leave, but we have to answer: Bombay HC to NIA during bail hearing of late Father Stan Swamy

19/06/2021

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

“For how many years without trial can people be asked to languish in jails? Speedy trial is a fundamental right,” the Court said.
The Bombay High Court on Monday lamented at the inordinate delay in concluding trials resulting in accused languishing in jails as undertrial prisoners.
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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)

Rally for jailed Indian scholars held in Surrey, Canada

Rally for jailed Indian scholars held in Surrey, Canada


Surrey, June 27

Countercurrents.org / by Countercurrents

Close to the birthday of George Orwell and the 46th anniversary of Emergency in the world’s so called largest democracy, activists came together in Surrey on Sunday, June 27, to raise their voices against the incarceration of thinkers by the Indian authorities.
Organized by Radical Desi publications, the rally was held right outside the Indian Visa and Passport Application Center. The participants carried placards with pictures of jailed scholars who are being detained under trumped up charges for merely questioning the power and standing up for the poor and marginalized.
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There is freedom, but no mercy

There is freedom, but no mercy

The Indian Express / by T J S George

People are getting arrested as in the days of Indira Gandhi’s Emergency.
Freedom is a funny thing. When it is there, we don’t notice it. When it is not there, we don’t notice anything else. In a country as populous as India, half the people can take their freedom for granted without knowing that the other half is denied basic freedoms. This half-half reality is the defining feature of Narendra Modiji’s India.
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Three years after Bhima Koregaon: How criminal law was violated

Three years after Bhima Koregaon: How criminal law was violated

The Leaflet / by Nihalsing B Rathod

Recalling his bruising experiences with an unjust criminal justice system as part of the legal team of the activists arrested in the questionable Bhima Koregaon violence case three years ago, Nihalsing B Rathod, in this second of a three-part series, recollects how basic tenets of criminal law were violated by the Pune Police in arresting Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Fereira, and Vernon Gonsalves at various points, and extending their detention, as well as that of Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale and Mahesh Raut. All this while, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde exhausted all legal options to evade arrest, as the judiciary looked on, condoning the deprivation of the activists’ liberty and denying their bail applications, sometimes making gestures that filled the activists’ legal team with hope but ultimately continuing the farce that is the Bhima-Koregaon travesty.
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Also read part one: Bhima Koregaon: Marking three years since the first arrest (June 7, 2021)

Telangana govt bans Revolutionary Writers Association, 15 other orgs

Telangana govt bans Revolutionary Writers Association, 15 other orgs

Siasat / by Yunus Y Lasania

The Telangana government on Friday banned 16 organisations, including the Revolutionary Writers Association, known as Virasam, claiming that these are frontal bodies of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and are engaged in “tactics” that “wage war against the state”. The order was passed by chief secretary Somesh Kumar, with effect from March 30 this year.
… The Government Order also clearly states that the organisations are also being banned for demanding the release of Prof. GN Sai Baba, Rona Wilson, and writer Vara Vara Rao (who is from Virasam), who are all currently in prison with regard to the Elgar Parishad case, on allegations of conspiring to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 
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Also read: Andhra govt, Centre ‘collude’ to repeat Bhima Koregaon type case against rights activists (Counterview, April 2021)

Al report slams India / Excerpts: US State Dept Report Records Increasing Use of UAPA in India

Al report slams India / Excerpts: US State Dept Report Records Increasing Use of UAPA in India


Drawing by Arun Ferreira

Amnesty International report slams India

08/04/2021

Pakobserver / by News Desk

The London-based rights watchdog, Amnesty International has slammed India for its clampdown on civil liberties in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir as well as punitive lockdown in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, use of force against the anti-CAA (Citizenship (Amendment) Act) protests, farmers’ protests and handling of Delhi riots.
… On arbitrary arrests and detentions, the Amnesty International said that seven human rights activists – Father Stan Swamy, Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe, Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, Hany Babu, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde – were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for their alleged involvement in violence during the Bhima Koregaon celebrations near the city of Pune in 2018.
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Full report: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT 2020/21: THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S HUMAN RIGHTS (April 2021)


Excerpts: US State Dept Report Records Increasing Use of UAPA by Indian Government

05/04/2021

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

The report cites the conditions in which the incarcerations of a pregnant Safoora Zargar, and ageing activists Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj and Stan Swamy progressed.
The US state department released the 2020 human rights report last week, accompanied by renewed rhetoric of putting emphasis on human rights at the heart of American diplomacy.
From the India chapter, here are excerpts from the report on the use of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) from its section on ‘Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees’.
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In prison, waiting is a habit turning slowly into addiction: Varavara Rao’s older prison diaries

In prison, waiting is a habit turning slowly into addiction: Varavara Rao’s older prison diaries

Scroll.in / by Varavara Rao

An excerpt from Varavara Rao’s ‘Captive Imagination: Letters from Prison’, published in 2010.

A day without toil
A night without love
A waiting on the shores of history…

Of the four days of life for which we have begged, two are lost in hope and the rest in waiting, said Bahadur Shah Zafar. In life outside, there is action to separate the hope from the waiting. Action could, of course, lead you to more hope and more waiting. But, lost in activity, time seems to slip through your fingers, your toes, from before your very eyes. Life in prison is not like that.
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Also read: FRAME UP OF INDIAN POLITICAL PRISONERS REVEALED – New Edition of COLORS OF THE CAGE by Rao’s co-accused human rights activist Arun Ferreira (Feb 2021)