Press Release: Covid-19 a virtual death sentence, new persecution tool against Bhima-Koregaon accused
sabrang / by sabrangindia
Friends and families of undertrial prisoners narrate the worsening condition in Taloja and Byculla prisons, stressing a single fact – jail authorities must allow unconditional bail for all political prisoners!
Families and friends of the 15-accused in the Bhima Koregaon (hereafter called BK-15) case vehemently demanded the immediate release of undertrial prisoners from crowded jails, while talking about jail conditions during a press conference on May 15, 2021. Read more
Press Release: Bhima Koregaon, COVID-19 and custodial apathy in jails
By Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy
On May 15th, several family members of the 15 prisoners accused in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case addressed the press via an online press conference. Some of the arrestees have spent three years behind bars and continue to await trial. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages with greater intensity, several among those incarcerated have contracted the virus. Most of the arrestees are over the age of 60 and most suffer severe comorbidities. Despite the rapidly deteriorating health of the incarcerated, particularly most recently in the case of Prof. Hany Babu basic medical attention has been denied to them. Demanding that those imprisoned be released on bail in light of the looming threat of the pandemic, Prof. Babu’s wife Jenny Rowena, Adv. Surendra Gadling’s wife Minal Gadling, Fr. Stan Swamy’s friend Fr. Joseph Xavier, Mahesh Raut’s sister Monali, activist Harshali Potdar of Republican Panthers Jatiya Antachi Chalwal and friend of Sudhir Dhawale, Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj’s friend Smita Gupta addressed the press.
Harshali told us of conditions within Taloja Jail from Sudhir Dhawale who informed her that majority of the staff including cleaners and cooks inside prison have tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital inside Taloja is currently treating 60-65 people for the virus. No testing facilities are available inside jail. Instead, the jail is testing people who are fit in order to show that there are no cases. Eight persons inside Sudhir Dhawale and Vernon Gonsalves’ barrack have tested positive. Yet the prison staff have refused to test them. Sudhir Dhawale despite being over the age of 45 has been denied the vaccine as he does not have an Aadhaar card. Despite the fact that his documents have been confiscated by the police, being denied the right to be vaccinated while in the custody of the state raises the question, “whose responsibility is it now?” The letters being sent by them are reaching the family with a delay of over a month and video calls are not available. Despite the Prison Act 1894 that ensures that prisoners are entitled to basic medical facilities. However, in Taloja, there are no doctors, nurses, lab technicians, etc. but only three ayurvedic practitioners. Right to proper food and water, right to intermingle with other prisoners, communication with family members and lawyers through letters and calls, speedy trials, etc. – all of these rights are being violated.
By Sukanya Shantha (May 13):
Update: Prof. @hanybabu was hospitalized last night at JJ hospital. His swab sample was collected once again on admission. JJ Dean Dr. Ranjit Mankeshwar has confirmed that Hany Babu has tested positive for COVID-19 this time. He will be shifted either to St. George or GTB hosp +++
Sign Petition: Hany Babu needs urgent medical treatment, release him now: CJP’s plea to Maharashtra CM
By Citizens for Justice and Peace
The professor, who is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, is suffering from acute eye infection that could cost him his vision! But prison authorities appear apathetic to his medical emergency.
Begging for something as essential as health services is heart wrenching: Hany Babu’s family
The Caravan / by Jenny Rowena
Jenny Rowena, Babu’s wife, has released a press statement detailing how Hany Babu’s health has deteriorated after he did not receive proper medical assistance in Taloja Jail. Rowena has requested immediate access to medical assistance for Babu and more transparency from jail authorities. The statement is reproduced below. Read statement
DU Professor Hany Babu Denied Medical Care After Developing Eye Infection
The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha
Babu, 55, was arrested on July 28 last year by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and has since been in Taloja central prison.
Delhi University associate professor of English, Hany Babu M.T, arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad case has been complaining of an acute eye infection, pain, and gradual loss of vision since May 3. His family and lawyers have accused the prison authorities of denying immediate medical treatment to him.
… This is not the first time that frantic appeals have been made to the Maharashtra state government for urgent medical help. Other arrested activists and academics like Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Father Stan Swamy, Shoma Sen, Anand Teltumbde, and Varavara Rao have had to make several representations before the government and courts for basic medical treatments. Read more
Video: Prisoners in a Pandemic – Viral hate and a raging contagion
In the light of Covid-19 outbreak and deteriorating health of civil and human rights defenders in prisons, United Against Hate is organising a conversation addressing the issue, demanding immediate release of political prisoners. The dreadful conditions in overcrowded jails, which lack proper sanitation, hygiene and medical facilities, are conducive to spread of a virus like COVID-19 and have contributed immensely to their deteriorating health condition. Umar Khalid, GN Saibaba, Siddique Kappan, Akhil Gogoi, Jyoti Jagtap, Varvara Rao have already contracted COVID-19 behind bars. Khalid Saifi and Sudha Bhardwaj have also been unwell, as was reported by their families. It must be noted that many of them have comorbidities and have been on medications even before their arrests. It has been long since the arrests of these voices of dissent who fought for democracy, for rights of the people and for freedom from the repressive state. Their only crime is fearlessly speaking the bitter truth to power.
Update by Bar & Bench (May 13):
#BombayHighCourt directs State to file medical report of #elgarparishadcase accused Sudha Bharadwaj in her application for interim bail on medical grounds +++
The medical report will be filed by the State on May 17, the application will be heard on May 21. Bench of Justices KK Tated and Abhay Ahuja heard the plea today +++
Update by ayesha arvind (May 13)
Daughter of #SudhaBharadwaj has approached #BombayHC seeking interim medical bail for the activist. HC calls for her medical report on May 17. Bharadwaj will be taken to JJ hospital today. #NIA says there’s no urgency in the matter. Next date of hearing- May 21 +++
Her counsel says #SudhaBharadwaj is in a ward with 50 other women, incarcerated in extremely unsanitary conditions. No possibility of social distancing. Says state must file reply soon. HC- state working on only 15% strength. Will have to give them at least 4 weeks to file reply +++
Video: Release Sudha Bharadwaj!
hindi | 3:07min | 2021
By ground xero
Kaladas, a cultural activist and a long term associate of Sudha Bharadwaj discusses her current medical condition and the political reasons for her arrest. He appeals to all comrades to support her immediate bail and medical treatment. Demand immediate of Sudha Bharadwaj. Demand immediate release of all political prisoners. Watch video
Click to enlarge
Bhilai (Chhattisgarh, May 1, 2021)
Health of Trade Unionist Sudha Bharadwaj deteriorates in Jail
tnlabour.in / by tnlabour.in
Workers demand her immediate release and proper medical treatment
Trade Union leader and Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj’s health condition has deteriorated in Byculla Jail in Maharashtra. She has been complaining of body aches and diarrhoea in the past week. Her union members and family sent messages today saying she is having difficulty breathing. Even though these are typical symptoms of COVID and the jail has over 40 COVID positive patients, she is not being treated as per covid protocol. The Jail authorities claim that her RT-PCR for covid is negative. Read more
Health of Trade Unionist Sudha Bharadwaj Deteriorates in Jail: Workers Demand Release
Ground Xero / by Ground Xero
Workers demand her immediate release and proper medical treatment
Trade Union leader and Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj’s health condition has deteriorated in Byculla Jail in Maharashtra. She has been complaining of body aches and diarrhoea in the past week. Her union members and family sent messages today saying she is having difficulty breathing. Even though these are typical symptoms of COVID and the jail has over 40 COVID positive patients, she is not being treated as per covid protocol. The Jail authorities claim that her RT-PCR for COVID is negative. Read more
Video: Father Stan Swamy’s 84th birthday celebrations online
Through his own writings from the prison, and know why the State fears him and why the Bhima Koregaon case is cooked up, along with messages of solidarity for his release and that of other Prisoners of Conscience.
Father Stan stands as a symbol of struggle and resistance against the repression of Tribals and has been falsely implicated and arrested since October 2020 in the Bhima Koregaon “conspiracy” case. A Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, he has worked in Jharkhand for over three decades on issues of land, forest and labour rights in order to create a world where there is love, peace and justice. #ReleaseFatherStanNOW #ReleaseAllBK16Prisoners
Also watch: Repeal UAPA – Persecution by Prosecution (PUCL, Jan 2021)
In letters, Stan Swamy speaks about co-inmates, life behind bars
The Indian Express / by Sadaf Modak
Swamy, who turned 84 on Monday, was arrested on October 8, last year, from Ranchi by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in the Elgaar Parishad case.
From his daily routine to the experiences of his co-inmates in jail, Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy’s communication through letters and phones calls with his colleagues and friends gives a glimpse into the 200 days spent in jail by the country’s oldest prisoner arrested in a terror case. Read more
Birthday greetings to Fr Stan Swamy: True Meaning of Solidarity / Video: A Caged Bird Can Still Sing
Birthday greetings to Fr Stan Swamy, in jail: You taught us true meaning of solidarity
Counterview / by Fr Cedric Prakash SJ
It is rather unusual and certainly not normal to wish someone who is in prison “A Happy Birthday!” One’s birthday cannot be ‘happy’ in prison; however, in wishing you we celebrate your life: your mission and your message and above all, those whom you have so closely identified with, all these years so “Birthday Greetings to you dear Fr. Stan!
Our prayer today is one of thanksgiving to Almighty God for the Gift of You: to so many people everywhere: particularly the poor and the excluded, the Adivasis and Dalits; to the Country, the Church and the Society of Jesus. Read more
Music video: A Caged Bird Can Still Sing
en | 3:47min | 2021
By Bombay Jesuits
This Rap song is a tribute to Fr. Stan Swamy SJ on the occasion of his 84th Birthday (26th April) Since October 2020 he has been in prison arrested under UAPA in Bhima Koregaon case. He has dedicated his life for the service of the Tribals and marginalized in central India. A true prophet of our times he continues to be a symbol of resistance and a messenger of justice, peace and love not just in the world outside but even in jail. The chorus of this song- “We’ll still sing in chorus, a caged bird can still sing” is taken from one of his letters written from the prison. Watch video
For almost six months, 84-year-old Stan Swamy, S.J., has been held in a Mumbai jail on charges of sedition and contravention of India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act) (U.A.P.A.) of 1967. Repeated requests for his release on humanitarian grounds have been denied. In this episode of Behind the Story, America editor Ricardo da Silva, S.J., is joined by two Jesuits who know Fr. Swamy—Xavier Jeyaraj, S.J., and Cedric Prakash, S.J.—to assess Fr. Swamy’s current situation, why his request for bail has been twice denied and the next steps in his legal case.
A roadmap of our conversation:
02:12 — The situation of Father Stan Swamy, S.J. as of April 2020
04:10 — The accusations brought against him
05:58 — The circumstances that mitigate against his release
08:35 — Links to Bhima Koregaon and Elgar Parishad
12:55 — The evidence the National Investigation Agency alleges to have against him
17:25 — The Maoists; the Naxalites and the Communist Party of India?
22:55 — The campaign for his release #StandwithStan?
25:00 — Father Swamy’s work and ministry to the most impoverished of India
28:25 — What the Vatican knows about the situation and what the Catholic Church is doing
30:00 — The larger politics at play and the threats to democracy in India
34:45 — The future of his case and further attempts to grant bail on humanitarian grounds
Bhima Koregaon case shows ‘deteriorating democracy’ in India: Panelists at US congressional briefing / Watch video
Bhima Koregaon case shows ‘deteriorating democracy’ in India: Panelists at US congressional briefing
Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff
This came after a Massachusetts-based digital forensics firm found further evidence that 22 letters were planted in activist Rona Wilson’s laptop.
A US congressional briefing held by a coalition of Indian American and human rights organisations on Thursday said that the Bhima Koregaon violence case was a clear evidence of “deteriorating democracy” in India. The briefing took place on Thursday after a new report from a United States-based digital forensics firm revealed that a hacker planted 22 additional incriminating documents in activist Rona Wilson’s laptop. Read more
Video: India’s Most Important Human Rights Defenders Incarcerated Without Trial
April 22, 2021
On February 10, Washington Post showed how renowned human rights defenders in India were incarcerated on the basis of forged files planted using malware. Hear experts on digital forensics and human rights speak about the landmark Bhima-Koregaon case, seen as the most significant test case for human rights and rule of law in India.
This Thursday, HfHR and our partners are hosting a Congressional Briefing on the #BhimaKoregaon case, in which Indian human rights activists have been incarcerated on the basis of forged evidence. Watch video
Irish & Canadian Jesuits call for the release of Stan Swamy / Video: Campaigns calling for release continue
Irish Jesuits International / by Irish Jesuits International
Fr Swamy is in poor health. He is hearing impaired and has Parkinson’s disease, and there have been calls from around the world – including from Pope Francis – to free him. He had been harrassed by authorities for some time and anticipated the likelihood of his arrest. He spoke about it in a video he made just two days before it occurred. But he is still in prison, and had his application for bail rejected on 22nd March 2021.
On hearing the news of the bail refusal, the Jesuits’ Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat (SJES) in Rome released a Statement of Solidarity in which Fr Xavier Jeyaraj SJ said: Read more
Canadian Jesuits call for the release of 83-year-old human rights defender
Broadview / by Kiernan Green
Jesuits in Canada and around the world continue to call for the release of Father Stan Swamy, an 83-year-old Indian Jesuit and human rights defender charged and imprisoned under India’s anti-terror laws…
The Indian Jesuit father advocated for the land rights of the Indigenous people of eastern India for five decades. In 2018, he co-filed a public interest litigation on behalf of over 3,000 Adivasi villagers imprisoned without the due process of a timely trial. Read more
Video: Campaigns calling for release of India´s Father Stan Swamy continue
en | 2:36min | 2021
By Rome Reports
This Rome Reports video above features efforts — including those made by the Jesuits — to free Indian Father Stan Swamy from prison. Watch video
Video: Conversations with Family and Friends of the Bhima Koregaon Undertrials