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Bombay HC: Varavara Rao’s condition has improved, but will remain in hospital till Dec 14

Bombay HC: Varavara Rao’s condition has improved, but will remain in hospital till Dec 14

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

A bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik also said that the poet’s family can continue to see him at the hospital.
The Bombay High Court on Thursday said that the condition of activist Varavara Rao has improved, but he will continue to remain at Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital till December 14, reported PTI.
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Video: Why is UAPA a draconian law?

Video: Why is UAPA a draconian law?


en | 13:04min | 2020

Newslaundry / by Newslaundry Team

You may lately have come across stories of activists and journalists being charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, or UAPA. The UAPA is an anti-terrorism law which has been used against activists associated with the Bhima-Koregaon movement, the citizenship law protesters, and even a journalist on his way to cover the Hathras rape and murder…
Meghnad S takes you through the history of the UAPA, its evolution from an anti-secession legislation to being an anti-terrorism law, and how it has been misused by successive governments.
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Extreme Hindu nationalists smother dissent in India

Extreme Hindu nationalists smother dissent in India

New Frame / by Alf Gunvald Nilsen

The Indian poet Varavara Rao was arrested in 2018 and is still being detained. His treatment is symptomatic of how the right-wing government is waging war on opposition and minority voices.

“This life in jail is life crippled –
You can no longer
Apprehend your world

Here your mind is an injured eye
That flutters shut”

This is how Varavara Rao, an octogenarian poet, writer and radical activist from the state of Telangana in southeast India, described his experience of imprisonment during the second half of the 1980s, in the essay collection Captive Imagination.
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Scholars at Risk Report Details Bleak State of Academic Freedom in India

Scholars at Risk Report Details Bleak State of Academic Freedom in India

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

The SAR urged authorities to repeal the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act “to ensure compliance with obligations under its constitution and international human rights law”.
Scholars at Risk (SAR), an international network of higher education institutions that aims to defend academic freedom, in its Free to Think 2020 report, has called on authorities in India to “ensure the autonomy and functioning of higher education institutions”… In India, the Free to Think 2020 report, the arrest of activists, including students and scholars, amidst nationwide lockdowns raised concerns that the government was “taking advantage of the crisis in order to crack down on dissent”.
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SC Has Let People Down, Abdicated Duty to Defend Fundamental Rights: Justice A.P. Shah

SC Has Let People Down, Abdicated Duty to Defend Fundamental Rights: Justice A.P. Shah

The Wire / by Karan Thapar

In one of the sharpest criticisms of the Supreme Court made by one of India’s most highly regarded retired judges, the former Chief Justice of the Delhi and Madras high courts has said that “to a large extent the Supreme Court is letting down the people of India”.
Justice Ajit Prakash Shah said the Supreme Court has “completely abdicated its duty to defend fundamental rights” and added that this will “affect the credibility of the Court and its prestige”.
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Video: SC Has Let People Down, Abdicated Duty to Defend Fundamental Rights, says Justice A.P. Shah


en | 51:32min | 2020
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Release the Poet: NO BIAS! JUSTICE FOR ALL!

Release the Poet: NO BIAS! JUSTICE FOR ALL!

By Release the Poet Committee @ FB

Release the Poet Committee’s statement at Kolkata Press Club on 23rd Nov
“…If we look upon the flood of tweets and whatsapp texts, memes and mimics denouncing the highest seat of judiciary – the Supreme Court – in the last few months, we could clearly see that it was unprecedented in the history of India! People are openly getting judgmental and bitterly critical about the so called “temple of justice” discounting the risk that is ‘contempt of court’. The state should lend an ear to this alarm, which is, ACTUALLY, directed to them.

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Nearly 60 Irish writers protest against Varavara Rao’s arrest, express ‘deep unhappiness’

Nearly 60 Irish writers protest against Varavara Rao’s arrest, express ‘deep unhappiness’

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

The signatories said they had noted with ‘alarm the deteriorating condition of poet Varavara Rao, imprisoned without trial in India’.
Nearly 60 Irish writers have sent a petition to the Irish Embassy in New Delhi and the Indian Embassy in Dublin protesting against the incarceration of Telugu poet Varavara Rao.
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Statements by family members of Varavara Rao after meeting him at Nanavati Hospital

Statements by family members of Varavara Rao after meeting him at Nanavati Hospital


May 2020

Mid-day / Chetna Sadadekar

After a wait of four months, the family of Varavara Rao finally got to meet him at Nanavati Hospital. Rao’s wife and elder daughter met him on Friday and Saturday. While he is being treated for a urinary tract infection, his family said that he has contracted a fungal infection on his feet and knees. However, the family is unaware of the tests that have been conducted and the reports of the same as the hospital authorities told them that reports have to be submitted to the court.
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N Venugopal writes after meeting VV Rao at Nanavati Hospital

20/11/2020

Release the Poet @ fb

Akkaiah (Hemalatha, Poet’s partner), Sahaja (Poet’s daughter) and I met VV separately in Nanavati Hospital today morning. Akkaiah was allowed twice for 20 minutes and Sahaja and me each 15 minutes once. The first thing VV told Akkaiah was “they are going to discharge me today. They are just waiting for your visit and doctors wanted to speak to you before discharge and sending to hospital!”
It seems after the High Court order on Wednesday, he was hurriedly brought to the hospital and various tests were done till two in the night. “All normal” reports were made by Thursday and waiting for family so that he could be discharged and sent back to jail began.
All this is an attempt to refuse bail, said VV.
He looked weak and fragile. With huge weight loss, age is showing. Still he has not got control over urination. Nails of feet and hands are discoloured. Hands are shivering. But then the hospital thinks he is normal to be discharged!
Only good thing that happened in the hospital seems to removal of catheter and urine bag.
So we don’t know when he will be sent back to jail. Though keeping him in hospital for 15 days was mentioned by judges and reported in press, that did not come into the written order. The court’s direction of allowing family visit is being interpreted by police officials in the hospital as they like.
Amidst such ill-health and so many conspiracies, his spirits are high. He is mentally as strong as he was. He enquired about many friends and said he was quite alright. Tears welled up in his eyes hearing the death news of Seshaiah.
Except RELEASE, nothing is the needed relief.

Govt Too Is Responsible for Rao’s Failing Health / Rao’s Treatment Raises Questions

Govt Too Is Responsible for Rao’s Failing Health / Rao’s Treatment Raises Questions


Drawing by Arun Ferreira

Not Just NIA, Maharashtra Govt Too Is Responsible for Varavara Rao’s Failing Health

21/11/2020

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

While the state government has spoken against the wrongful arrests of activists in the Elgar Parishad case, it did very little to provide timely medical care.
Telugu poet, writer and activist Varavara Rao was 78 years old when the Pune police arrested him in August 2018. At the time of his arrest, Rao was already suffering from several age-related health issues. His prolonged incarceration, coupled with the lack of medical care in prison and the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, has exacerbated his condition even further.
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Podcast: Why Varavara Rao’s Treatment Raises Questions on Civil Liberties

21/11/2020

The Quint / by Mghna Prakash

At a time of a pandemic are states acting responsibly with prisoners?
The Bombay High Court finally allowed 80-year-old Varavara Rao to be shifted from Taloja Jail to Nanavati Hospital for 15 days for medical treatment on 18 November… But why did it take so much active intervention in order for Rao to be treated and transferred to Nanavati Hospital? At a time of a pandemic are states acting responsibly with prisoners?
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Arnab Goswami and Varavara Rao, Unequal Citizens Before the Law

21/11/2020

The Wire / by N Venugopal Rao

While Goswami could move three levels of courts in quick succession within a week to secure his release, Rao has languished in jail in a fabricated case for two years, without trial and without bail.
Article 14 of the Indian constitution that “we, the people of India” conferred upon ourselves proclaims that “the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”
But it seems this proviso is only a lofty goal enshrined in the statute, to be adhered to selectively.
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Article 32: Rights for All or For a Favoured Few?

21/11/2020

The Wire / by M Sridhar Acharyulu

Arnab Goswami’s case seems to have been an exceptional one where the SC felt it needed to intervene. It felt no such compunction in the case of Varavara Rao and countless others.
When the law becomes a weapon of oppression rather than an equalising force, democracy is in danger. Article 32 deals with the ‘Right to Constitutional Remedies’, and affirms the right of an individual to move the Supreme Court (SC) by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred in Part III of the constitution.
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Stan Swamy’s message and letter from Taloja prison

Stan Swamy’s message and letter from Taloja prison

By Fr. Stan Swamy SJ

“Dear friends,
Thank you so much for the solidarity support by so many, for me and my co-accused. I am really grateful.
The Prison administration provides breakfast, tea, milk, lunch and dinner. Any additional edibles are to be purchased from the prison canteen, twice a month. Also, newspapers, toiletries, stationary and other essentials can be purchased through the prison canteen.
My needs are limited. The Adivasis and the Society of Jesus have taught me to lead a simple life. bI had brought with me a “sipper-tumbler”, to drink tea and water. However, the same was disallowed at the prison gate, on entry on 9 October.
Now, I am using a baby-sipper mug, which I purchased through the prison hospital. I have communicated this need to our lawyers. I am still awaiting to receive the sipper-tumbler.
Varavara Rao is very sick. Kindly, pray for him. Listening to the life-narratives of the poor prisoners is my joy in Taloja. I see God in their pains and smiles.”
Fr. Stan Swamy SJ


Jailed Jesuit seeks prayers for seriously ill co-prisoner

20/11/2020

Matters India / by Matters India Reporter

Mumbai: Father Stan Swamy, who is in a Mumbai jail for more than one month, has sought prayers for a fellow prisoner who has become seriously ill.
“Varavara Rao is very sick. Kindly, pray for him,” the octogenarian Jesuit told confrere over phone…
Jesuit Father Arockiasamy Santhanam, secretary of the National Lawyers Forum of Religious and Priests, says they expected the prison authorities would give Father Swamy the sipper tumbler after P Chidambaram, a senior politician tweeted about his need. “He not received the same, at least till yesterday,” he told Matters India November 19.
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Also read: ‘Humanity is bubbling in Taloja prison,’ Stan Swamy says in letter to friends (Nov 15)