No way to verify seized documents, source, Sudha Bharadwaj’s Lawyer tells HC

PTI | Feb 28, 2019:

MUMBAI: Human rights activist Sudha Bharadwaj’s lawyer questioned the veracity of the ‘letters’ that were claimed to have been seized and produced as evidence by the Pune police in the Bhima Koregaon case. Read more

Chomsky, Petras, Davis Join Scholars To Express Concern on “Clampdown on Dissent in India”

NEW DELHI: International scholars including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler amongst others, have signed a statement castigating the Modi led government for creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence. Under the aegis of Fresh Perspectives, USA the academics from the US and UK mostly have expressed deep concern about the current environment in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the “alarming clampdown on every form of dissent in India.” Read more

From toilet breaks to cancer tests, Bhima Koregaon accused in Pune prison forced to fight for basics

Mridula Chari’s piece in The Scroll brings to light the struggles to obtain legally due facilities for prisoners in Yeravada jail. Bhima Koregaon arrestees – Varavara Rao (not given a mattress), Shoma Sen (not given a commode for her arthritis), and Surendra Gadling (not given books he wants as a lawyer representing himself). Read more

Bhima Koregaon: Supplementary chargesheet brings little new information to the case

Mridula Chari’s piece in The Scroll cuts through dubious charges in the supplementary charge sheet filed against Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadhwaj, Arun Ferreira, and Vernon Gonsalves on February 21, 2019. Read more

He is a prominent anti-Modi intellectual. The Indian government wants him behind bars.

Washington Post article by Niha Masih

In his old life, Anand Teltumbde — one of India’s preeminent scholars on caste — would spend his days teaching students and conducting research.

Now he is just trying to stay out of jail.

In recent months, Teltumbde has been swept up in a government crackdown on lawyers and activists.
Read More

In a Bad Week for Civil Liberties, the Courts Haven’t Stepped Up

  • Three Sikh men were convicted by a trial court for “waging war against India,” on the sole basis that they had some pro-Khalistani books and pamphlets in their possession, and had shared some pro-Khalistani content on Facebook (see details here by The Times of India).
  • The Supreme Court allowed Maharashtra authorities to get away with keeping activists arrested on dubious Naxalism charges in jail, despite having played fast and loose with the rules.
  • The police in Aligarh immediately agreed to register a case of sedition against students at Aligarh Muslim University at the behest of a BJP youth leader.
  • In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, several news channels and thousands upon thousands of regular citizens on social media, have used the incident to go after “seculars” and “apologists” – basically anyone who has ever questioned the way the armed forces operate in Kashmir, or suggested violence isn’t the solution. Action is being urged against them and Kashmiris, whether in terms of violence, or stripping them of rights and 

Is it any wonder that the courts are not performing adequate scrutiny of civil liberties cases when there is so much vitriol against anyone suspected of anti-national behaviour? Read more…

Who is Anand Teltumbde, and why was he arrested recently?

Academic and columnist Anand Teltumbde is not only one of India’s foremost public intellectuals, he is also someone known for speaking truth to power. In his column ‘Margin Speak’ in the Economic and Political Weekly, he has been scathing in his criticism of the Narendra Modi government, especially over issues of social welfare, communal harmony, and the persecution of social activists. Read more

Bhima Koregaon: No relief for Surendra Gadling & ors, Supreme Court sets aside Bombay HC order

The Supreme Court today set aside the Bombay High Court’s order that had refused the extension of time for completion of investigation against Surendra Gadling and other activists in relation to the Bhima Koregaon violence…This effectively means that the five activists -Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhavale – will now have to seek regular bail and are not entitled to default bail which is granted at the lapse of the prescribed period of ninety days…Read more

Bhima Koregaon: Academic Anand Teltumbde gets interim protection from arrest

The Bombay High Court on Monday extended academic Anand Teltumbde’s interim protection from arrest until the next hearing of his plea for anticipatory bail on February 22. Teltumbde is being investigated for his alleged connection with violence that broke out at Bhima Koregaon near Pune in January 2018. The High Court added that in the case of arrest, Teltumbde could be released on bail after providing a bond of Rs 1 lakh. Teltumbde has also been directed to appear before the investigating officer of the case on February 14 and 18. …Read more

Suspend Agreements With India Until Activists Are Released: European Parliament Members Tell European Commission

NEW DELHI: Nine members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have sent a hard hitting letter to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, criticising the Indian government for the raids on and arbitrary arrests of nine human and democratic activists across India…Read more