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
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
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
This release was put out by the INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS on 15 January 2012
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is extremely concerned to learn of the criminal charges filed against investigative reporter K.K. Shahina by police in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
Shahina, who currently works with the weekly magazine Open, faces charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including criminal conspiracy and intimidation of witnesses with intent to commit a crime. The chargesheet filed in the sessions court in the district of Kodagu in Karnataka state, also indicts her under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which is most commonly invoked to deal with terrorist offences.
These charges stem from a story published under Shahina’s byline in the weekly magazine Tehelka in December 2010, which appeared to cast doubt on the prosecution of a prominent Islamic cleric and political figure on terrorism charges. Continue reading On the Karnataka Police’s charges against KK Shahina: IFJ
This release was put out by the JAMIA TEACHERS’ SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION on 3 December 2012. Full list of signatories at the end.
It is saddening and surprising that at a time when more and more evidence is surfacing about the extensive abuse of anti-terror laws in targeting minorities, tribals, deprived sections as well as political activists, the government has chosen to move amendments in the present UAPA 2008. These amendments will make the law even more draconian and amenable to human rights violations.
You will remember that the amendments in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967 were passed in December 2008 without any thoroughgoing debate in the aftermath of the horrendous carnage in Mumbai. The Bill was not referred to any Parliamentary committee despite calls by several members for such a scrutiny and consultative process. Whilst the widespread sense of shock and reprehension at the Mumbai killings may have been weighing on the minds of the Hon’ble Members of Parliament then, four years later, surely, there is no reason to push through the amendments without a wider debate. Continue reading Reject amendments to UAPA – An appeal to members of the Rajya Sabha: JTSA
This release comes from the KAZMI SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
The Kazmi Solidarity Committee welcomes the Supreme Court order granting bail to Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi after seven months in custody on charges of involvement in the bomb attack on an Israeli diplomatic vehicle.
The committee deplores the obstructive attitude of the prosecution and the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, which have been perversely attempting to keep Mr. Kazmi in prison despite their inability to file a chargesheet within the extended time granted under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Not only did the prosecution seek an extension of 90 days after the mandated period of judicial custody was over, it also used its inefficiency as an alibi, pleading that it needed more time to send out letters rogatory seeking international judicial assistance. While Mr. Kazmi was in custody, the Special Cell left no stone unturned in orchestrating a media trial to establish his guilt, planting malicious stories of his “confession” (while disavowing responsibility for these in court hearings).
Continue reading Kazmi Solidarity Committee welcomes SC order to grant bail to Syed Kazmi
In September 2001, the central government banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) through a notification. Since then, the ban has become a convenient pretext for the police and investigative agencies to arbitrarily pick, detain and then arrest and frame Muslim youth, ostensibly on charges of carrying on the activities of the banned organization. Sections 3, 10, 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA 1967) have been invoked against scores, if not hundreds of Muslim youth across the country. Some of these men had been active in SIMI prior to its ban; some had outgrown the organization because they had crossed 30 years—the age limit for membership in the organization; some were guilty of having acquaintances, friends or relatives who had been involved or had been office bearers in SIMI. On most occasions, the cases against former members or purported activists of SIMI have rested on seizure of banned literature, namely copies of magazines published by SIMI before the ban. The flimsiness of evidence –and the sketchiness of charges— has resulted in dozens of acquittals; but equally true is the fact that the overwhelming nature of the ‘war on terror’ discourse and its institutional structures has allowed the conviction of many even in face of glaring lack of evidence.
The JAMIA TEACHERS SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION (JTSA) profiles here one such case, which came to be known as the Jaipur blasts case, even though the accused were not charged with either conspiracy or execution of bomb blasts in Jaipur in 2008. So what were these men guilty of? According to the FIR and chargesheet, they were responsible for carrying out activities of the banned SIMI. How and why did these men come to be identified with the Jaipur blasts? Theirs is a terrible and tragic tale of frame up by the Rajasthan police. It is above all testimony to the employment of UAPA against alleged or former members of SIMI and of the manner in which rule of law is subverted, violated and discarded as soon as the ‘T’ word is uttered.
Download the full report here (.pdf, 1.1 MB, 36 pages).