Statement from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Students, Alumni, Faculty and Staff on arbitrary arrests of academics and activists

 

Image courtesy Rebel Politik

Statement from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Students, Alumni, Faculty and Staff

We, the undersigned students, alumni, faculty, staff and other members of the TISS community stand with Mahesh Raut and the four other activists who have been arrested unfairly and demand their immediate and unconditional release.

On the morning of June 6th, 2018, the Pune Police investigating the Bhima Koregaon case arrested Mr. Mahesh Raut. Mahesh is an alumnus of TISS, a former fellow at the prestigious Prime Minister’s Rural Development Programme (PMRD) and an anti-displacement activist working with gram sabhas on implementation of laws like PESA (Panchayat Extension
to Scheduled Areas) and FRA (Forest Rights Act). He was arrested from Nagpur, where he had been staying for his ongoing medical treatment. On the same day, the premises of Mr. Sudhir Dhawale, Dalit activist and editor of Marathi magazine Vidrohi, Professor Shoma Sen, Head of the English literature department at Nagpur University, Advocate Surendra Gadling, general secretary of Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), and Mr. Rona Wilson, secretary of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) were raided and they were arrested too. Even as the police informed that they were being picked up in connection to the Bhima Koregaon case, the media started releasing news about them being ‘top urban Maoist
operatives’.

Subsequently we were also informed, again by the media, that they had been apprehended as a money trail between banned Maoist organisations and them had been discovered, in connection to funding Bhima Koregaon and the Dalit -Bahujan- MarathaMuslim protests that ensued. All the accused have been in police custody since then. The police
have not managed to produce a single piece of evidence in court, except for two letters that they claim were discovered from Mr. Rona Wilson’s laptop, the authenticity of which are yet unverified and which are being considered highly dubious.

These arrests and searches have been purportedly conducted under the FIR registered on 8 January, 2018 at Vishram Baug Police Station, Pune with regard to ElgarParishad organizing the Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan in Pune on 31 December, 2017. This FIR, originally registered u/s 153(A), 505 (1)(b), 117 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),
was turned into a conspiracy case in March 2018 and now has had sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) added to it. The arrests have been made under UAPA, which has several draconian provisions that ensure detention of up to six months without any evidence required and make it difficult to obtain bail. Meanwhile, Manohar Bhide, one of the two chief accused in the violence unleashed on the Dalit bahujan masses marching to celebrate the Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din, remains unarrested.

Mahesh pursued his Masters degree in Social Work from the TISS, Mumbai campus in 2009- 2011. He was popular among students, teachers and staff alike and seen as a bright student as well as an active member of the student body. After graduating from TISS, he qualified for the Prime Ministers Rural Development Fellowship and went back to his home district, Gadchiroli, to work on better implementation of Government programmes. His work required him to visit remote villages and interact with local communities. In 2013, during one of his field visits, he was detained by the police, who did not know about the nature of his job. His sincerity and
commitment shows in his decision to continue working with the people of Gadchiroli, even after the fellowship period was over. He was currently working on strengthening local self governance and Panchayati Raj and for the constitutional and human rights of adivasi communities in the district, in spite of repeated police harassment and surveillance of his family and himself.

Mahesh has always been outspoken about the ground realities of Gadchiroli. In conversation with The Wire, he states,

Whenever people raise any matter of violence, we’re labeled as antinational or doing naxal propaganda. It becomes easy for the police to curb any voice of dissent(…) It’s a matter of who own resources. Whatever is happening in Gadchiroli, ranging from illegal arrests, false cases on people, it has direct relations to the anti-mining protests.

We condemn the flimsy baseless allegations been made to round up these activists, the undemocratic provisions of the UAPA being used on them and the unfair media trials and fake narratives being built around them to poison public opinion. Mahesh and the others were working relentlessly with marginalised communities for their rights and we strongly feel that
they are being persecuted for the same. We condemn the Central and State Governments and the Maharashtra Police for their undemocratic actions. We stand by the friends, family and colleagues of those arrested and for the rights of the arrestees themselves.

We, the undersigned students, alumni and present & past faculty of
the various campuses of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences
1. Condemn the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Mahesh Raut, Mr Sudhir Dhawale,
Professor Shoma Sen, Advocate Surendra Gadling and Mr Rona Wilson.
2. Demand the immediate release of all the five activists at the earliest.
3. Demand that those responsible for the Bhima Koregaon violence be brought to justice and prosecuted for their crimes against Adivasis, Dalits, Bahujans under the SC/ST Atrocity Act. We also demand a repeal of the current amendments in SC/ST Atrocity Act which help protect those who are committing crimes against the SC/ST communities.
4. Repeal of undemocratic laws like UAPA, NSA, AFSPA and the Sedition Law used to silence progressive, pro-people citizens and to give impunity to the police, military and paramilitary forces.

1 Sohini 2010-12
2 Ujjwal Pahurkar 2009-11
3 Krupa Raghunathan 2009-11
4 Divya Sarathy 2009-11
5 Pramod Kalekar 2008-10
6 Durgesh Solanki 2009-11
7 Sujit Nikalje 2009-11
8 Arindham Banerjee 2009-11
9 Vidya KS 2008-10
10 Charanya 2009-11
11 Baljeet Kaur 2015-17
12 Rama Vedula 1999
13 Anisha Debbarman 2016-18
14 Rajani Singh 2012-14
15 Nilesh Gourkhede 2013-15
16 Rinchin 1997
17 Disha Batra 2010-12
18 Karan Misquitta 2011-13
19 Manasi 2009-11
20 Arundhati Dhuru 1985-1987
21 Rupesh Kumar 2010-12
22 Sravanthi Dasari 2009-11
23 Dyuti 2008-10
24 Aiman Khan 2014-16
25 Suneeta Dhar 1978
26 Nitin Varghese 2016-18
27 Satyaki Banerjee 2016-18
28 Tejasvita Malhotra 2016-18
29 Sohnee Harshey 2010-12
30 Haseeb P P 2016-18
31 Neetika Vishwanath 2014-16
32 Panchali ray 2003-05
33 Saurabh Sinha 2010-12
34 Mrinalini Paul 2011-13
35 Manshi Asher 1996-98
36 Pratibha Sharma 2010-12
37 Amit Kumar 2013-15
38 Marina Joseph 2009-11
39 Shafeef Ahmed 2014-16
40 Ankur Srivastava 2008-10
41 Bharath Kumar Ganji 2012-14
42 Anjali Monteiro Professor and Dean
43 K.P Jayasankar Professor
44 Krupa Desai 2010-12
45 Kritika Agarwal 2013-15
46 Yamini Nibhanupudi 2019
47 Bindhulakshmi Associate Professor
48 Sriram Mohan 2012-14
49 Abhir Dasgupta 2015-17
50 Ritika Gupta 2018-20
51 Nandini Manjrekar Professor
52 Vijaykumar Tate 2010-12
53 Damini Pant 2016-18
54 Radhika Chakraborty 2013-15
55 Nandini Nayak 1999-2001
56 Rajashree Gandhi 2012-14
57 Shobha 2001
58 Vishnu Prakash Kareepadath 2016
59 Jayanth Nataraju 2010-12
60 Radhika Raj 2014-16
61 Jay Prakash Sharma 2009-11
62 Annanya Mitra 2015-17
63 Syed Ruhul Kuddus 2010-12
64 Poushali Basak 2016-18
65 Sangeeta Banerje 2009-11
66 Santosh Mekhale 2015-17
67 Manas Behera 2015-17
68 Rohan Raut 2016-17
69 Vishal Kamble 2013-15
70 Vijay Laxmi 2013-15
71 Kunal Singh 2009-11
72 Aditya Ray 2009-11
73 Sabah Khan 1996-98
74 Roshni Chattopadhyay 2016
75 Ponkaj Sarkar 2012
76 Sunil Yadav 2014-16
77 Dhananjay Khandagale 2017-19
78 Abhishek 2017-19
79 Shruthi Parthasarathy 2012-14
80 Sreejit Murali 2015-17
81 Pranab Dole 2009-11
82 Ajmal Khan 2010-12
83 Vijay 2009-11
84 Savio Carvalho 1995
85 Nagesh Anand 2011-13
86 Jyotirmay Das 2008-10
87 Shubhra Dixit 2013-15
88 Ayesha Mualla 2009-11
89 Timmayo Thumra
90 Papori Bora 2000-02
91 Paroj Banerjee 2009-11
92 Tamanna Chhabra 2009-11
93 Anjali Sharma 2001
94 Arpita Das 2000-02
95 Sachin Chhachhia 2012-14
96 Geetanjoy Sahu Assistant Professor
97 Jeevika 2008-10
98 Archanaa Ramesh 2008-10
99 Melvin Luke George 2009-11
100 Padma Velaskar Retd Professor
101 Prasant Mohanty 2009-11
102 Vijayendra Kadalabal 2013-15
103 Suchismita Goswami 2009-11
104 Rushikesh Kirtikar 2009-11
105 Anita Rego Ex-Faculty
106 Deepa 2016-18
107 Jayakant Singh 2008-10
108 Devaki Purohit 2008-10
109 Shabana Diler 1995-97
110 Kunwar Rajeev Singh 2009-11
111 Deepa Bhalerao 1990-92
112 Vijay Wavare 1995-97
113 Maheen Mirza 1997
114 Nupur Bidla 2008-10
115 Rajratna Sardar 2009-11
116 Chitra Ramaswamy 1999-2001
117 Ditilekha Sharma 2015
118 Brinelle D’Souza Assistant Professor
119 Shomita Kundu 2009-11
120 Mukesh Janbandhu 1996
121 Saumya Ranjan Nath 2009-11
122 Shveta Sarda 1999-2001
123 Juhi Gautam 2009-11
124 Princy Joseph 2009-11
125 Christian Chandran 2002-04
126 Vikash Kumar 2009-11
127 Baiju Thankachan 2009-11
128 Sanika G 2016-18
129 Abdul Qadir 2010-12
130 Dipti Bapat 2009-11
131 Bursenla 2016-18
132 Md Khursheed Akbar 2010-12
133 Shilpa Phadke Associate Professor
134 Sunandita Banerjee 2011-13
135 Shraddha NV Sharma 2016-18
136 Mathew Jacob 2008-10
137 Vinayak Pawar 2007-09
138 Nabarun Sengupta 1990-92
139 Dharmendra Singh 2009-11
140 Noli Nivedita Tirkey 2009-11
141 Vartika Singh 2009-11
142 Bissy Mathew 1990-92
143 Ajinkya D 2011-13
144 Tanushree Rabha 2018-20
145 Mayuri Adhav 2017-19
146 Aakritee Kapoor 2009-11
147 Sachin Kamble 2009-11
148 Mridu Markan 2008-10
149 Vineeta Nagar 2010-12
150 Nithila Kanagasabai Assistant Professor
151 Roopa Rathnam 1998-00
152 Nikita Sud 1999-01
153 Dilshad Kapadia 1990-92
154 Chhaya Datar Retd Professor
155 Aarti Mundkur 1999-01
156 Nikhil Titus 2007-09
157 Pinaki Roy 1999-2001
158 Vibhuti Patel Professor
159 Snehal M 2009-11
160 Suchitha Rao 2009-11
161 Sreejita Basu 2009-11
162 Swapnil Barai 2004-07
163 Tushar Ghadage 2009-11
164 Aziz Minat 2016-18
165 Abid Faheem 2015-17
166 SVD Chnadrasekhar 2017-19
167 Aditi Muddali 2013-15
168 Prem Narayan Jat 2009-11
169 Shubham 2009-11
170 Hari 2011-13
171 Akshat Jain 2014-16
172 Farhana 2014
173 Sachin Marti 2009-11
174 Subroto Dey 2009-11
175 Jayakant Singh 2010
176 Joy Daniel Pradhan 2008-10
177 Vivek Anand 2008-10
178 Akhil Vasudevan 2015-17
179 Sumit Mahar 2015-16
180 Swati Narayan 2000
181 Mahima Sukheja 2008-10
182 Avadh Bihari 2009-11
183 Dheeraj 2007-09
184 Priyanka Korde 2009-11
185 Ami Misra 2010-12
186 Ammel Sharon 2007-09
187 Poorvi Priya 2018-20
188 Riya Bhardwaj 2018-20
189 Pranati Bhalerao 2009-11
190 Shailja Nand 2011-13
191 Vinay Damodar 2017-19
192 Soumitra Ghosh Assistant Professor
193 S.Mohammed Irshad Assistant Professor
194 Kulajit Maisnam 2016
195 Harender Singh Happy 2017-19
196 Gayatree Vidhate 2016-18
197 Nikhil D 2010
198 Prerna Gautam 2009-11
199 Menka Jha 2001-03
200 Helen Saldanha
201 Rukmini 2016-18
202 Amrita De 2009-11
203 Anu Salelkar 2013-15
204 Geeta Thatra 2009-11
205 Radhika Desai
206 Fathima 2016-18
207 Ilina Sen Retd Professor
208 Jerome D’Souza 1995
209 Mrinalini Mazumdar 2016
210 Richa Singh 2014-16
211 Anil Horo 2014-16
212 Shreya Sinha 2009-11
213 Bishakha Mishra 2010-12
214 Pankaj Waghmare 2009-11
215 Anoop Hivrale 2009-11
216 Pradeep Jare 2009-11
217 Shiva Chalwadi 2009-11
218 Shruti Mukherjee 2009-11
219 Kamayani Swami 1998-00
220 Jit Hazarika 2015-17
221 Neharika Mahajan 2010-11
222 Pragati 2013-15
223 Anam 2010-12
224 Bipin Kumar 2010-12
225 Anagha Mariya Jose 2015-17
226 Kamayani Swami 1998-2000

9 thoughts on “Statement from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Students, Alumni, Faculty and Staff on arbitrary arrests of academics and activists

  1. Kumar manish

    Dissent is not undemocratic… Absolutely gutted with the response of the state machinery.. YOUTH IS WATCHING AND FEELING THE HEAT…. strength and power to the team…

  2. Suvajit

    I am politically impartial and love calling spade a spade. These arrests make little sense. It pains me to imagine the plights of the arrested and their families. It’s frightening at the same time. Hope we don’t become the Germany of 30s.

  3. Indira Mukherjee

    Thanks so much …I hope this happens all over our country and our five friends get released at the earliest…the most difficult times since independence

  4. Swarnali Das

    Such arrests of those who are genuinely working for the country should be highly condemned by all countrymen. Being a social worker I support the stand taken by TISS and support them demanding the immediate release of the activists.

  5. Madhuri

    It amazing to see the stand and support of TISS alumni towards respective alumni who is facing problem during their work et al. I do support them.

    Madhuri Kumari
    TISS 2011- 13 batch

  6. K SHESHU BABU

    The illegal arrests and tortures of activists who question rulers should be condemned. The arrests of academicians and those who are learned persons is increasing. This is danger for education system to prosper

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