Why is the State afraid of Rona Wilson?

Bhima-Koregaon witnessed the progressive manifestation of the resistance against dominant Hindutva brahmanical cultural coercion on the vast masses of people in the country…Rona Wilson along with the four other activists were arrested in the attempt by the police to establish possible Maoist connection to the Koregaon violence. (Sanhati, March 13, 2019. Received from U. Punyark) 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

Rona Wilson

Rona Wilson is the 47-year old Public Relations Secretary of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP). He was arrested under the UAPA on June 6, 2018, in Delhi, at the same time as Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, and Mahesh Raut in Nagpur and Sudhir Dhawale in Mumbai, and accused of channeling Maoist funds for the Elgar Parishad and fomenting violence in Bhima Koregaon.

Biography

Rona Wilson came to Delhi, where he is based, from Kolam district in Kerala to study at JNU. Not much is available about his personal biography, except that his friend SAR Geelani mentioned that he had been preoccupied in the months prior to his arrest with working on the research proposal for his application to a Phd programme at a university in the UK.

Work

The CRPP was founded by SAR Geelani, who had been arrested in 2001-02 and accused of having conspiring in the attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. He was held for over a year before being released, and acquitted of all charges in 2005. He and Rona had been close friends and fellow human rights activists since their days as students at JNU, and Rona was active in the campaign for Geelani’s release and acquittal. As Public Relations Secretary of the CRPP, Rona has spoken and written extensively on the history of anti-terror and preventive detention laws in India, and their use against those critical of the government, and Muslims and Kashmiris in particular. Here he can be seen making this argument in his characteristic systematic, and reasoned manner [Link]:

Similarly, the highly-respected Indian journal, the Economic and Political Weekly, carries several letters and obituaries by Rona on political prisoners and leading democratic rights activists.

Even though he has been active for over two decades, this is the first case against him. Since his arrest, Wilson’s family has been inundated with calls and visits by local political leaders.