Tag Archives: UAPA

Colours of Trolls and Harassment :Vatya Raina

Guest Post by Vatya Raina

The fight for half the Earth and half the sky is never at rest around the globe. Women of the world are constantly fighting their oppressors in different colours. The debate around #BoisLockerRoom stories on Instagram and the trolls concerned about the marital status of a pregnant woman in jail, for practising her right to protest are of similar nature.

In 2017, The Jawaharlal Nehru University’s administration under the command of Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar arbitarily dismantled the GSCASH (Gender Sensitization Committee Against Sexual Harassment). At the same time, women of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) were leading the movement against sexual harassment.

Today, when a pregnant student activist is fighting for her rights inside the jail, some women are continuing to resist and expose a group of young boys, by revealing the screenshots of an Instagram chat screen, where the participants of the group named ‘Bois Locker Room’ shared some non-consensual pictures of women as well as underage girls. After the screenshots went viral, these boys expressed their anger by suggesting gang-rape of all the women who shared it. On the other hand, Safoora Zargar, a research scholar of Jamia Millia Islamia, who was associated with the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), and was part of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests organised by university students in December and January has been charged under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and is send behind the bars. She has been arrested for allegedly leading the anti-CAA protest at Jaffrabad metro station in February.  Turning a blind eye to the medical condition of the student, the trolls are busy assassinating her character. Continue reading Colours of Trolls and Harassment :Vatya Raina

Jai Bhim, Lal Salam! Anand Teltumbde writes to the people of India

Open letter from Anand Teltumbde, reproduced from The Wire.

I am aware that this may be completely drowned in the motivated cacophony of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh combine and the subservient media, but I still think it may be worth talking to you as I do not know whether I would get another opportunity.

Since August 2018, when the police raided my house in the faculty housing complex of the Goa Institute of Management, my world has turned completely topsy-turvy.

Never in my worst dreams could I imagine the things that began happening to me. Although, I was aware that the police used to visit the organisers of my lectures – mostly universities – and scare them with enquiries about me, I thought they might be mistaking me for my brother who left the family years ago. Continue reading Jai Bhim, Lal Salam! Anand Teltumbde writes to the people of India

Jai Bhim, Lal Salaam! Gautam Navlakha to the people of India

Open letter from Gautam Navlakha 

As I prepare to Ieave to surrender before the NIA headquarters in Delhi I am glad that Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Indira Banerjee gave me another week of freedom when they passed the order on April 8, 2020. A week of freedom means a lot in my condition, even in the age of lockdown. Their order resolved the predicament I encountered in complying with the March 16th order of the apex court, which obliged me to surrender by April 6th before the NIA, Mumbai. The lockdown that followed prevented me from travelling. Also there was no direction from NIA (Mumbai) regarding what I should do under the circumstances. I know now that I have to surrender myself to the NIA Head quarters in Delhi.

Denying Interim Bail To Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha Is Alarming : MRSD

Guest Post by MRSD ( Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy)

Statement by MRSD on Supreme Court’s rejection of pre-arrest bail plea of Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon violence case

Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy (MRSD) is deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s rejection of the plea by Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha seeking anticipatory bail in the cases registered against them in relation to the violence at Bhima Koregaon on 1st January 2018. Their arrest is imminent in next three weeks. Nine other activists and intellectuals who have been accused in this case and charged with sections of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) have been imprisoned since 2018.

The top court’s order to deny interim bail is alarming given that the case against the activists is based on very thin evidence. Moreover, the cyber forensic analysis by credible investigative journalists and technical experts discredit the evidence used by Pune police to incriminate the activists. The analysis reveals that the letters which were allegedly recovered from the hard disk of Rona Wilson, one of the nine activists accused in the case, and used by the police to link the accused to a banned political party are most likely to have been planted in the disk through use of malware which allowed remote access to Wilson’s computer (https://caravanmagazine.in/politics/bhima-koregaon-case-rona-wilson-hard-disk-malware-remote-access). This clearly indicates manipulation of evidence and the fabricated nature of the case.

The government is sparing few chances for truth to emerge in this case. In January 2020, more than a year after the chargesheets were filed by the Pune police, the Union Home ministry got the case suddenly transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and thus brought the case under its control at a time when the Home department in the newly formed Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra had announced a review of the case, setting up of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) and dropping of the false cases against the activists.

While full-blown attempts are being made by the government to incriminate the eleven intellectuals in a fabricated case, the investigation into the role of Hindutva brigade led by Milind Ekbote and Manohar Bhide in carrying out planned organised attacks on Dalits at Bhima Koregaon has come to a standstill. The state government’s failure to set up a SIT shows that the real perpetrators of violence are being shielded from prosecution.

These developments in the case and now the rejection of pre-arrest bail to two of the stalwarts of the democratic rights movement in the country on the grounds of what is not just flimsy but manipulated evidence shows the desperation of the government to repress democratic voices and spread a sense of fear amongst those who oppose the anti-people policies and actions of the Hindutva Fascist regime. MRSD extends its solidarity to the eleven activists who have been relentless defenders of human rights and people’s movements in this country and who now stand wrongly accused in this conspiracy case. We also reiterate our resolve to continue to struggle for their release and for the pursuit of truth about the violence unleashed on the peaceful Dalit-Bahujan masses at Bhima Koregaon.

  • MRSD

Participating Organisations: People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), National Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI), Student Islamic Organisation (SIO), Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) – IIT Mumbai, Co-ordination Of Science And Technology Institute’s Student Association (COSTISA), LEAFLET, Police Reforms Watch, NCHRO, Bebaak Collective, Forum Against Oppression of Women (FAOW), LABIA- A Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Jagrut Kamgar Manch (JKM), Majlis, Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD), Women against Sexual Violence and State repression (WSS), Bharat Bachao Andolan (BBA), Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), People’s Commission for Shrinking Democratic Spaces (PCSDS), Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Cause Lawyers Alliance, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Nivara Hakk Suraksha Samiti, Kashtakari Sanghatna – Palghar, Sarvahara Jan Andolan – Raighad, Jagrut Kashtkari Sanghatana, students from various colleges in Mumbai including Homi Bhabha Research Centre, St.Xaviers and Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Statement Issued by NSI on the recent arrests : Democracy Under Siege !

A Statement Issued by New Socialist Initiative (NSI) on the recent arrests of human rights defenders and public intellectuals

Democracy Under Siege !

With Ground Slipping Fast Beneath Its Feet, BJP government Resorting to Draconian Measures !

1.

New Socialist Initiative strongly condemns the arbitrary and malicious manner in which the Pune Police, at the behest of its saffron masters, raided the houses of leading human rights activists, lawyers, professors and poets in different cities simultaneously and arrested five of them – Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao – under concocted charges.

Demanding immediate release of all these persons unconditionally and withdrawal of fabricated charges filed against them under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) , it also said that appropriate action should be taken against the guilty policemen as well involved in this act. Continue reading Statement Issued by NSI on the recent arrests : Democracy Under Siege !

Citizens’ Solidarity with Voices of Democracy – Against the Arrest of Five HR Activists

[This is a statement of solidarity endorsed and signed by over 200 intellectuals, artists, academicians, lawyers, journalists, and students in support of the five arrested in connection with Bhima-Koregaon case. In the 43rd year after Emergency was declared in this country, this statement was issued on June 25th 2018 condemning the arrest of such voices of democracy and demanding their immediate and unconditional release.]

We condemn the arrest of five human rights activists, professors and lawyers in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon clashes early this year. The alarming arrest of Advocate and General Secretary of Indian Association of Peoples’ Lawyers (IAPL) Surendra Gadling, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) Public Relations Secretary Rona Wilson, Head of English Department Professor Shoma Sen of Nagpur University and member of Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS), cultural activist and founder of Republican Panthers Jaatiya Antachi Chalwal Sudhir Dhawale and anti-displacement activist and Prime Ministers Rural Development Fellow (PMRDF) Mahesh Raut is a clear manifestation of state terror to crush the voices of dissent in this country.

The intemperate use of sections of the IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on all five reveals legal over-reach and exposes the desperation to foist extraordinary and excessive charges on all five to ensure they remain in the clutches of the Fadnavis-Maharashtra government. All the arrested have consistently worked for the assertion of oppressed and marginalised communities against majoritarian forces, spoken out against Brahmanical patriarchy, upheld peoples’ rights to land, life and dignity, and have strived for the release of political prisoners.

Continue reading Citizens’ Solidarity with Voices of Democracy – Against the Arrest of Five HR Activists

Canada’s intervention sought for the release of Saibaba : Radical Desi

Guest Post by Radical Desi

A letter asking Canada’s Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough to intervene for the release of disabled social justice activist who has been convicted for life in India was submitted at her constituency office on Tuesday, March 28.

Signed by 100 people, the letter asks Canada, which claims to be a human rights leader in the world, to press upon the Government of India to free G.N. Saibaba, a wheelchair bound Delhi University professor who is 90 percent disabled below waist.

Saibaba was sentenced to life imprisonment early this month under draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for standing up for the rights of the oppressed communities, including Adivasis (Indigenous peoples) and religious minorities.

Saibaba was first arrested in 2014 and incarcerated under inhuman conditions sparking protests across the world. Demonstrations were also held in Greater Vancouver, including one outside the Indian Consulate. Though Saibaba got bail on medical grounds, he has now been convicted after being branded as Maoist supporter. His only fault is that he has been raising voice against repression of the Adivasis, who are being evicted from their traditional lands by the extraction industry in connivance with the state authorities. Often the security forces and the state sponsored vigilantes target Adivasis in the areas under the influence of Maoist insurgents in the name of war on terror. By punishing Saibaba the Indian state is clearly trying to suppress a voice of dissent.

The representatives of Radical Desi submitted a letter asking for Canada’s intervention into the case at the constituency office of the Honorable Carla Qualtrough in Delta.

Continue reading Canada’s intervention sought for the release of Saibaba : Radical Desi

UAPA – A Video Dossier: Media Collective, Arun Ferreira &Vernon Gonsalves

Video by Media Collective, Article by Arun Ferreira and Vernon Fernandes

Fifty Years of Unreasonable Restrictions

Arun Ferreira & Vernon Gonsalves 

Soon after its adoption, the Constitution of India was amended in 1951. At the time several progressive judgements[i] by the Judiciary held that laws which curb fundamental rights are essentially unconstitutional and fundamental freedoms could only be curbed in the most extreme of cases. The First Amendment, countered this by amending Article 19 to add the word ‘reasonable’ before restrictions and to add ‘public order’ as being one more ground for abridging Fundamental Rights.

The evolution of UAPA[ii] has to be seen in the background of this gradual but steady constriction of Article 19 which guarantees the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly, association, etc. Continue reading UAPA – A Video Dossier: Media Collective, Arun Ferreira &Vernon Gonsalves

Much Better to Run Over the Poor Than to Speak Up for Them

Yesterday, the 9th of May, one day after the court granted what must be the fastest bail and suspension of sentence in the history of India to India’s favourite Dabangg, a diminutive woman stood under the blazing Delhi sun and spoke of her husband who had been in jail for the past one year. In May 2014, lecturer in English at Ramlal Anand College, Delhi University, G. N Saibaba was returning home after evaluating answer scripts when he was abducted by unknown men, who later identified themselves as Maharashtra Police.

Professor Saibaba. Image Courtesy FRS Blog
Professor Saibaba. Image Courtesy FRS Blog

Saibaba was not produced before a magistrate in Delhi but taken directly to Aheri, a small town in Maharashtra and then to Nagpur, to be put in solitary confinement in the famous anda cell of Nagpur jail. Let’s call this cell famous instead of the usual epithet “notorious” because all over the country, children are probably playing with each other right now saying to each other, “saale main tujhe anda cell mein daal doonga“, while their parents look on indulgently, congratulating themselves on the kid’s excellent G.K.

Continue reading Much Better to Run Over the Poor Than to Speak Up for Them

Reading Between the Lines – A Critique of the UAPA: Avani Chokshi

Guest post by AVANI CHOKSHI

It seems ludicrous that in a civilised democratic society like India, a citizen may be practically abducted by police, charged with perfunctory offences and incarcerated without bail on mere suspicion for an indefinite period of time.  But this is indeed the situation in present-day India, with duly passed legislation sanctioning the inhumane state of affairs.

The validity of unjust or immoral laws has long been debated, with two major schools of thought emerging- the positivist school and the naturalist school. The positivist school does not recognise any correlation between the legal system of a society and notions of what ought to be justice. The positivist framework mandates that the law is that ordained by the valid legislator, whereas the naturalist school of thought envisages some rights to be inherent by virtue of humanity of a person. Thus, an unjust law, as per the school of naturalist thought, would be no law at all; positivistic thought, on the other hand, would posit such law to be valid by virtue only of being ascribed to the law-making process. The Hart- Fuller debate  devolved around the law made by Hitler; with Hart contending that laws passed using proper procedure would always be valid and Fuller maintaining that no unjust rule could ever be law. India allows “procedure established by law ” to deprive people of their Fundamental Rights; a state of affairs which reflects positivistic thought in the founders of India. India’s judiciary has slowly moved from this strictly positivist setting to a more naturalistic and liberal interpretation  of the term. This shift has placed India closer to the guarantee of “due process of law” in the United States of America. Continue reading Reading Between the Lines – A Critique of the UAPA: Avani Chokshi

The UAPA in Madhya Pradesh – The JTSA Report in Perspective, and Beyond: Sharib Ali

Guest Post by SHARIB ALI

REPEAL UAPA: JTSA REPORT IN PERSPECTIVE, AND BEYOND

The state fabricates terror. There is enough evidence to take it to court on that count. Yet, how does one construe ‘fabrication’- what is implied by it? First, that the state has orchestrated elaborate attacks- violence to terrorize its people for certain legal, electoral and political ends. Second, that it has, through the use of laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)  against specific segments of its population has consciously manufactured a state of terror- a collectively imagined perception of threat that the nation faces from a particular people. The ends, always remain the same.

Though there is evidence of the agencies of the state, or actors within them, expressly participating in orchestrating large scale terror attacks (think col. Purohit), it is the latter- where terror within specific communities is manufactured in the eyes of the law and the people- that I deal with here, today. ‘Guilt by Association’The JTSA (Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association) report on UAPA cases in Madhya Pradesh, is a crucial case in point.

Continue reading The UAPA in Madhya Pradesh – The JTSA Report in Perspective, and Beyond: Sharib Ali

Passage of Amendments to UAPA – Further erosion of Constitutional Rights: JTSA

This release was put out today by the JAMIA TEACHERS’ SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION

The pushing through of the amendments to Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the Rajya Sabha, despite protests and calls for further discussion and deferment, indicates the consensus between Congress and BJP on the issue of civil rights. The passage of the amendments, which now bring economic offences under terrorism, and broaden the definition of person to an extent that will criminalize all forms of associations, will provide sweeping powers to the police and security agencies, and create a regime of suspicion.

False Claims of the Government:

Responding to the debate in the RS, Minister of State for Home stated that, “The Act does not give sweeping powers to the police and there are checks and balances that will prevent misuse of the Act.” He further assured the House that the law was “religion neutral” and would not target any particular community.

This is patently false. Continue reading Passage of Amendments to UAPA – Further erosion of Constitutional Rights: JTSA

Ilina Sen harassed again. Long live the Republic!

FINAL UPDATE: Over a hundred names (113) that were received by 9 am on 27th morning have now been added. Apart from the press, the statement will be sent also to the Union Home Minister, Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Chairpersons NHRC and NCW. Final list of names now posted here.

UPDATE: Close to a hundred endorsements from all over the country have been received from academics, social activists, lawyers, film-makers, theatre persons, students, journalists and office bearers of PUCL and IAWS . This will now be sent to the press, and may be circulated widely. All names received by  3 pm are now listed at the end of the statement.


Below is a statement being circulated by some of us for endorsement. Please endorse by 3 pm tomorrow (26th January)

Continue reading Ilina Sen harassed again. Long live the Republic!

Humanise First

There is dismay in some sections that the FIR lodged by the driver of the ill-fated Gyaneshwari Express does not name Maoists as the suspect perpetrators. Within hours of the derailment and death of the passengers, newspapers were already lamenting that the centre did not have guts to take on Maoists. Suggestions have been made that this is an extraordinary situation and vacuous talk of human rights should not be heeded. There is a familiar taunt being hurled at the UPA government for its unmanly response to the biggest threat to the internal security of the country. The principal opposition party, which otherwise very zealously guards the rights of the state and resents any interference by the centre in matters which fall under the state list, even in one of the most extra-ordinary moments of recent history , I am referring to the state sponsored massacre of Muslims in Gujarat , now feels that the nuanced division of the rights and duties of the state and centre is not something which should keep the centre from treating the Maoist threat as a national issue and going for an all out armed intervention against the enemy of the nation.

Continue reading Humanise First

UAPA: Legalising the police state

Guest post by ANUJ BHUWANIA

Recently the clamour for a draconian terror bill came to fruition with rare alacrity. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Bill was introduced and passed within two days by both houses of Parliament – quite a contrast to, say, the Women’s Reservation Bill, gathering dust now for more than a decade. Coming from a government that repealed POTA soon after it assumed power, the Bill unimaginatively mimics POTA almost entirely, revealing that little has been learnt from the recent history of TADA and POTA and the problems leading to their removal. While such statutes giving extraordinary powers to the police are introduced to cater to ‘exceptional’ situations, they can easily be deployed in ‘ordinary cases’ and indeed routinely are. The bleeding of one category into the other is inevitable, when the police alone decide which is which.

Continue reading UAPA: Legalising the police state