Tag Archives: Indian Association of People’s Lawyers

India: COPS’ CLAIMS HOLD NO WATER: LAWYERS

June 17, 2018

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The Pune Police’s spiel in court on the threats from ‘urban Maoism’ with regard to the Bhima Koregaon violence is only aimed at creating prejudice and stoking passions, alleged experts in criminal law.

They said the police’s startling claims and the rapidly shifting narrative — from inflammatory speeches at Elgaar Parishad in Pune the day before the violence, to a letter hinting at a plot to assassinate the PM, to a recruitment drive at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) under the garb of a lecture series — have no mention in either the FIR that set the case in motion or the two applications for remand of alleged top urban Maoist operatives Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and Surendra Gadling, who were arrested in a multicity operation on June 6.

Mum on allegations

As per the FIR registered on January 8, members of cultural group Kabir Kala Manch — Sudhir Dhawale, Sagar Gorkhe, Jyoti Jagtap, Harshali Potdar, Ramesh Gaichor and at least six others —made speeches, sung songs, recited couplets and performed street plays at Elgaar Parishad that were divisive and inflammatory in nature, and which incited the violent clashes that broke out the next day.

By the time the police arrested Dhawale, Wilson, Gadling, Sen and Raut, the narrative had begun to shift. They alleged that these five had set up an “urban front” for the banned CPI (Maoist) and made attempts through it to engage in anti-national activities.

The following day, the plot took on more menacing tones. While seeking police custody of these five, district government pleader Ujjwala Pawar told a Pune court that an incriminating letter had been recovered from the electronic devices seized from the accused.

https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/other/cops-claims-hold-no-water-lawyers/articleshow/64617836.cms

http://www.asianage.com/metros/mumbai/170618/nagpur-university-suspends-professor-with-maoist-links.html

https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/civic/prof-held-for-maoist-links-suspended-by-nagpur-varsity/articleshow/64608435.cms

https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/others/sunday-read/portrait-of-a-maowadi/articleshow/64617792.cms

https://www.firstpost.com/india/bhima-koregaon-violence-accused-sambhaji-bhides-supporters-protest-in-pune-for-withdrawal-of-murder-case-4410215.html

https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/up-front/story/20180625-narendra-modi-assassination-rajiv-ganshi-maoist-1259938-2018-06-16

https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/targeting-activists-238366

https://thewire.in/rights/pudr-chattisgarh-maoist-propagandist-police

https://www.firstpost.com/living/arrested-professor-shoma-sens-daughter-koel-says-my-mothers-been-tagged-a-maoist-after-lifetime-of-working-for-others-4533031.html

http://www.tehelka.com/rajiv-gandhi-narendra-modi-assassination-plots-how-similar-how-different/

#FreeSurendraGadling

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India: ‘Plot to kill Modi’ or state propaganda? Here are 5 questions on the probe

June 9, 2018

'Plot to kill Modi' or state propaganda? Here are 5 questions on the probe

‘Plot to kill Modi’ or state propaganda? Here are 5 questions on the probe

Even as twitter is roasting the PM-assassination-plot theory and its proponents, it is important to note that the way this narrative is being built is exactly how state propaganda works.

At first, the state turns a blind eye to allegations leveled against its agents. When the heat begins to rise, a campaign is unleashed to reverse the narrative. Opponents of the regime are hunted, barely-provable evidence is produced from thin air and is labeled incriminating.

The state and its agencies do not wait for public acceptance of the narrative which is swiftly moving from one conclusion to the next. The complainants are eventually branded as enemies of the state, making it easy for the law to swoop down on them and for the state to manufacture public disapproval.

Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, leaders of radical Hindutva outfits, are accused of instigating large-scale violence during a Dalit congregation in Pune’s Bhima-Koregaon on January 1 and 2 this year. The violence killed one man, besides injuring several others.

While Ekbote was arrested but is now out on bail, Bhide continues to be unreachable for the fabled long arm of the law. Meanwhile, an entire bunch of activists dedicated to fighting battles for Dalits and tribals is arrested.

A letter is produced, purportedly recovered from the laptop of the one of the accused. The prosecution lawyer reads out the letter in court after which, only the ruling party’s spokespersons get access to it. They read it out on TV and publish excerpts on social media.

The letter talks about Maoists and openly mentions information about their plans, meetings, funding as well as criminal projects. Those arrested are also promptly labeled Maoists.

http://www.catchnews.com/amp/politics-news/plot-to-kill-modi-or-state-propaganda-here-are-5-questions-on-the-probe-117187.html

http://twocircles.net/2018jun11/423670.html

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/sharad-pawar-dismisses-threat-letter-about-assassinating-pm-as-a-ploy-to-garner-sympathy

http://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/pm-modi-assassination-plot-letter-being-used-to-garner-sympathy-says-sharad-pawar-ncp-chief/238539

http://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/bhima-koregaon-accused-advocate-gets-hospitalized/1293675

https://indiablooms.com/news-details/N/40530/did-not-expect-pawar-to-stoop-to-this-level-fadnavis-on-ncp-chief-s-comment-on-modi-assassination-plan.html

https://www.dailyo.in/politics/bhima-koregaon-violence-plot-to-kill-pm-maoist-letter-urban-maoists-ramdas-athawale-ambedkarite-activists/story/1/24765.html

https://www.dailyo.in/politics/bhima-koregaon-probe-death-threats-to-pm-fake-political-narrative-sinister-plots-by-maoists/story/1/24769.html

https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/110618/after-claim-of-assassination-plot-rajnath-singh-reviews-pm-modis-sec.html

#SurendraGadling

#FreeSurendraGadling

Do attend rally/meeting in Kolkata against fabricated allegations and arrests of civil rights activists, lawyers, academics and others in parts of the country.

Date – June 11
Time – 3 pm
Meet at – Esplanade, front of Lenin’s Statue, walk to Bowbazar Bank of India Junction to attend protest meeting.
Organiser- Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR)

(Facebook)

 

INVITE FOR PRESS CONFERENCE

CONDEMN THE ARREST OF ADV. SURENDRA GADLING, PROF. SHOMA SEN, SUDHIR DHAWALE, MAHESH RAUT AND RONA WILSON BY THE PUNE POLICE!

To condemn these arrests and attack on people’s struggles, the undersigned have organized a “Meet the Press” on Tuesday 12th June 2018 at 3pm at the Press Club, CSMT, Mumbai.

Justice (Retd.) B G Kolse Patil (Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Diwas Prerna Abhiyan), Indira Jaising, former Addl. Solicitor General, Supreme Court of India, Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate (PUCL, Maharashtra), Adv. Maharukh Adenwalla (CPDR), Bilal Khan (NAPM), Abhirr Palat (Amnesty India), Feroze Mithiborwala (Bharat Bachao Andolan), Sadiq Qureshi (B K S D Prerna Abhiyan)

(Facebook)

India: Modi plot: Varavara Rao junks funds mobilisation charge

June 8, 2018

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Revolutionary writer Varavara Rao on Thursday refuted allegations that he had arranged funding for Maoist attacks in the country. His name cropped up in one of three letters that surfaced after an alleged plot by Maoists to eliminate Prime Minister Narendra Modi was revealed.

One of the letters said Varavara Rao was given the responsibility of carrying out attacks and it noted that he had arranged for funds to be handed over to Surendra Gadling (who was arrested by Pune cops). It said in the meetings that were to be held in March-April Rao was to give guidance.

Varavara Rao told TOI, “All the three letters are concocted. My name didn’t figure in so-called assassination plot letter. They fabricated one of the letters (to show) that we’re talking about funds. I know Surendra Gadling as he dealt with the illegal detention of professor Saibaba. Surendra is a senior lawyer fighting so many cases why does he need money? I met him long ago. I know Rona Wilson too. A month ago they said they seized Rona Wilson’s laptop and came out with fabricated letters now.”

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/modi-plot-varavara-rao-junks-funds-mobilisation-charge/articleshow/64518327.cms

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/interrogation-reveals-wilson-wanted-to-pursue-phd-in-uk/articleshow/64524883.cms

https://deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/100618/pm-modi-murder-plot-charge-fabricated-says-family.html

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/doubts-raised-on-pune-polices-pm-assassination-claim-against-dalit-activists

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/shehla-rashid-says-rss-nitin-gadkari-plan-to-kill-pm-modi-rajiv-gandhi-style-1256348-2018-06-10

http://menafn.com/1096982147/Lawyers-say-arrests-of-activists-used-to-silence-dissent

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article7994.html

http://cgbasket.in/?p=15510

Brutal suppression of dissent in the name of curbing anti-national threats and Maoist terror

http://www.sakaltimes.com/pune/unusual-maoist-protocols-wrong-terminologies-jumbled-dates-question-credibility-alleged

https://www.globalresearch.ca/human-rights-defenders-and-the-threat-of-criminalization/5643438

https://thewire.in/caste/meet-the-five-arrested-in-the-bhima-koregaon-case

https://www.facebook.com/IAPLIndia/

#SurendraGadling

#FreeSurendraGadling

For immediate release

 Montreal, 6th June 2018

In India — Widespread Arrests and Harrassment of Civil Liberties

Activists and Lawyers

Demand the release of Advocate Gadling, Professor Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut,

Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale on 6th June 2018[1]

In the early hours this morning, three Dalit rights activists, a professor and a social activist from across three cities – Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi were arrested — Surendra Gadling, who is the General Secretary of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers, conducted a raid on the house of Professor Shoma Sen, Head of Department of English, Nagpur University, Sudhir Dhawale, Dalit activist, Republican Panthers and Editor Vidrohi from Mumbai, Rona Wilson, Public Relations Secretary, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners and Mahesh Raut, anti-displacement activist from Bharat Jan Andolan and former Fellow at Prime Minister’s Rural Development (PMRD) for Gadchiroli District.
The arrests, purportedly made in response to what started out as First Information Report (FIR) filed  with police on 8th January with regard to violence that occurred at a Dalit commemorative event in the Indian state of Maharashtra, on 31st December, 2017.  The event had been organized by the Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan [the Dalit, Campaign for the Celebration of Bhima Koregaon Victory].  The FIR was converted to the much more serious  “conspiracy case” in March 2018 and now has had sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) added to it.  All these are repressive measures that the Indian state has routinely used to suppress democratic and people’s movements.  The arrests today have thus been made under UAPA, which has several draconian provisions which ensure long detention and makes it difficult to obtain bail.

These arrests come in the wake of the mass demand by Dalits, several political parties, human rights organizations and activists for the arrest  of  the leaders of Sangh Parivar [Hindu ethno-nationalist] organizations, Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, who were actually responsible for the violence on 1st January, 2018 at Bhima-Koregaon. However the government of Maharashtra, which is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)] government, has been protecting the actual perpetrators of the violence  and has been attempting to create a false narrative that the violence at Bhima Koregaon was caused by the (Dalit) Elgar Parishad and that banned Maoist organizations are involved.

More importantly, Advocate Surendra Gadling has been defending people in political cases, and has been handling many important, crucial cases. Arrest of Surendra Gadling is clearly linked with case of Profesoor Saibaba[2]. Mr Gadling was constantly being intimidated by police, so as to make him give up doing these cases. Saibaba’s bail matter is listed for hearing this Friday.

The Dalit coalition  — Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan which includes around 260 mass organizations had organized the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima-Koregaon in which Dalits had played a major role in vanquishing Peshwa rule.  The Abhiyan had organized a mass meeting on 31st December, 2017 at the historic Shaniwar wada in Pune, with several prominent speakers. The Elgar Parishad was organised with the stated objective of fighting the Nav-peshwahi (New Peshwas – Hindu ethnonationalists-. The program was hugely successful and attended by thousands from across the state. However on the following day, those commemorating the event at Bhima-Koregaon were attacked by a mob carrying saffron flags (symbol of Hindu-ethnonationalists) and instigated by Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, two right wing activists who are closely connected with the ruling BJP and this attack was part of a pre-meditated plan.

it is also no coincidence that the arrests and repression are happening at a time when there is a judicial enquiry headed by Justice J. N. Patel (Retd) into the January violence, to ensure that submissions from the victims of the Hindutva and State violence are suppressed. It has also happening at the time of forthcoming elections in the State as well as in 2019. The BJP government needs to polarize Dalit and Bahujan [non-Dalit marginalized castes] votes. And also to create a terror narrative thereby protecting the real terror culprits Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote who will ensure votes for the BJP.

We strongly condemn this open show of State terror and complete bypassing of the Rule of Law by the BJP governments in the State and the Centre and demand the immediate release of Advocate Surendra Gadling, Professor Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawle, Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut forthwith .

cerasmontreal@gmail.com

[1] Those arrested have been involved in struggles for civil liberties, in defence of political prisoners and for the end of caste oppression. The arrests come at a time of political manoeuvring by Hindu ethnonationalists seeking to establish their hegemony with a view to sweeping upcoming elections.  These arrests have come in the wake of marginalized and oppressed castes who mobilized for an event of historical importance at the start of 2018.  During the event violence broke out, instigated by Hindu ethno-nationalist leaders.  However the BJP government of the state of Maharashtra where all this is happening , have been protecting the perpetrators and mounting false cases against those who are working for civil liberties, equality and justice.  The government is using the power of the state to suppress popular, progressive movements and bolster their conservative, right-wing, ethno-nationalist agenda. [CERAS]

[2] Professor G..N. Saibaba, is a wheelchair-bound former English professor of Delhi University who was convicted in March 2017 for his Maoist links and for “waging war” against the country.

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India/Kashmir/IAPL: Lawyers in Kashmir struggling; media distorting facts: Report

June 1, 2018

Indian police detain a Kashmiri 'Anganwadi', a government sponsored child and mother care worker, during an anti-government protest in Srinagar on May 30, 2018. Tauseef Mustafa/AFP

A team of 15 lawyers from various parts of the country who are members of the Indian Association for People’s Lawyers (IAPL) visited Kashmir for a fact-finding campaign and have come out with observations saying that the national media has “distorted facts” and kept a wrong picture of Kashmir before the country and that the lawyers in Kashmir are facing fatal hurdles while carrying out their duties.

The IAPL is the India chapter of the International Association of People’s Lawyers and was formed in the year 2004 “to uphold justice, equality, human rights and to fight against all undemocratic laws and procedures, not only in the courts but also through the fact-finding mission.” The fact-finding effort in Kashmir was one such effort.

The team of 15 lawyers from different regions of India like Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana conducted the fact-finding from May 23 to May 27, meeting with the bar associations of the Kashmir High Court, Baramulla, Handwara, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Budgam, Shopian, Islamabad (Anantnag), Pulwama and Chairperson of SHRC.

The association, in a statement, claims that in the background of the conflict situation, the fact-finding mission found that the lawyers in Kashmir are “working in very difficult circumstances while trying to bring some semblance of the rule of the law when it comes to human rights violations in various part of the state.”

The team was “shocked to find that the state’s lawyers, apart from facing threats, intimidation, illegal detentions and arrests, have been subject to torture and killings, while discharging their professional responsibilities.”

http://www.sakaltimes.com/nation/lawyers-kashmir-struggling-media-distorting-facts-report-19004

https://www.facebook.com/IAPLIndia/

India/Kashmir: Indian media distorting Kashmir facts, IAPL fact finding after visit to conflict hit areas

May 27, 2018

India map

There has been a large coverage of Kashmir by the Indian media, which has been primarily distorted and contra- factual. IAPL therefore, decided to hold the fact finding focusing on the conditions and experiences of lawyers and functioning of the legal system, in the background of the conflict situation. A team of 15 lawyers, belonging from different regions of India, including Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana has come to Kashmir and conducted a fact finding from May 23 to May 27, 2018. During the course of fact finding, we visited and met Bar Associations of the Kashmir High Court, Baramulla, Handwara, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Budgam, Shopian, Islamabad (Anantnag), Pulwama, and Chairperson of SHRC. The team also interacted with local lawyers, activists, human rights defenders and victims of gross Human Rights violations in various districts. The final report will be prepared and released soon. Some of the preliminary findings of the fact finding are the following:-

(I)          Lawyers in Kashmir are working in very difficult circumstances while trying to bring some semblance of the Rule of Law. We were shocked to find that apart from facing threats, intimidation, illegal detentions and arrests, many have been subject to torture and killings, while discharging their professional responsibilities.

(II)        The Lawyers are exhausting all local remedies available to them in fighting this uphill battle and face little or no success. This is partly due to the interference by executive, police, administration, and armed forces in independent functioning of the judiciary, and also partly due to deliberate non-compliance of judicial orders.

(III)      The extra-ordinary laws in force in J&K give immunity to perpetrators leading to a culture of Impunity, resulting in the collapse of the justice delivery system to victims of Human Rights violations.

Indian Association of Peoples Lawyer (IAPL), part of International Association of Peoples Lawyer was formed in year 2004 to uphold Justice, Equality, Human Rights and to fight against all undemocratic laws and procedures, not only in the courts but also through Fact-finding missions.

http://kashmirwatch.com/43573-2/

https://www.facebook.com/IAPLIndia/

APDP (ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS OF DISAPPEARED PERSONS) AND IAPL ON THE EVE OF INTERNATIONAL WEEK OF THE DISAPPEARED-2018, REMEMBERS DISAPPEARED PERSONS OF J&K

Press Release
27th May 2018

The last week of May every year is recognized internationally as the International Week of the Disappeared. This week provides an opportunity to remember the disappeared, and acknowledge the struggle of their families. It is also an occasion to recommit to the fundamental right not to be subjected to enforced disappearances, the right to know the truth and the right to justice and reparation. It is an occasion to continue to demand that governments sign, ratify and implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and criminalize the practice of enforced disappearances.

Today on eve of the International Week of the Disappeared Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons in association with IAPL – Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) underlines that Indian State continues to remain in denial of the ongoing international movement against enforced disappearances. Following the commission of widespread and systematic enforced disappearances of more than 8000 persons in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has chosen to protect itself and its own forces by disregarding the very existence of the crime itself. Concerning enforced disappearances, the government has not ensured an alternative independent investigative mechanism and has instead preferred to subject the victims to a system that continues to promote impunity. Moreover, despite repeated recommendations from the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) for a comprehensive forensic investigation into 7000+ unknown, unmarked and mass graves, found across various districts of Jammu and Kashmir, the government seems to be unwilling to initiate any such effective inquiry.

Despite a consistent campaign by the parents and relatives of disappeared persons, no action has been taken. The government has failed to investigate enforced disappearances, bring the perpetrators to justice and provide reparations to the families. The government so far has been disinclined to set up a Commission of Inquiry which has been a recurrent demand of APDP. Due to the continued denial, the families of disappeared particularly half widows and their children continues to suffer endlessly.

Since the Indian government and governments of J&K have ignored the plight of two hundred thousand relatives of the disappeared people, therefore it is the responsibility of Indian civil society as well as international community to intervene and hold the government of India, a claimant for permanent seat in the UN Security Council, accountable for more than 8000 enforced disappearances and existence of 7000 unknown, unmarked and mass graves in J&K.

APDP together with IAPL would like to call upon the government of India to act as per principles of law and justice, enquire into all the cases of enforced disappearances, ensure speedy justice to victims and prosecute the perpetrators of enforced disappearances. The association on the eve of the International week of disappeared once again pledges to continue its struggle and commemoration of the disappeared loved ones until the truth is revealed and justice delivered.

Tahira Begum
Spokesperson APDP Kashmir

(IAPL – Indian Association of People’s Lawyers Facebook)

https://kashmirlife.net/on-eve-of-international-week-of-the-disappeared-apdp-calls-upon-delhi-to-deliver-justice-175864/

India: Bhima-Koregaon case: Pune police searches Nagpur lawyer’s home

April 17, 2018

A Pune police team today searched the residence of a lawyer here in connection with his “provocative speeches” at an event organised to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle which was marred by incidents of violence, officials said today.

The programme, “Elgar Parishad”, was organised at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31 last year to commemorate the battle in which the British Army comprising Dalits had defeated the Peshwas.

Police officials said the Bhim Nagar residence of advocate Surendra Gadling was searched between 6:30 am and 1 pm in connection with an FIR registered in Pune pertaining to the Elgar Parishad.

Gadling had earlier given legal help to a number of leaders suspected to be involved in naxal activities, including suspended Delhi University professor GN Saibaba who was sentenced to life in prison on March 7 last year for alleged Maoist links and anti-India activities.

Talking to reporters, Gadling alleged that the men in uniform were troubling people like him and allowing the perpetrators of the Bhima-Koregaon violence to go scot-free.

“I did not participate in the Bhima-Koregaon event. However, we had collected funds for it like we do for any such programme. The police are troubling us and allowing those behind the violence to go scot-free. These raids are meant to silence people who have stood up to the RSS,” he alleged.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/apr/17/bhima-koregaon-case-pune-police-searches-nagpur-lawyers-home-1802762.html

http://twocircles.net/2018apr17/422640.html

https://www.nagpurtoday.in/bhima-koregaon-riots-pune-cops-raid-lawyers-house-in-nagpur/04171439

https://www.deccanherald.com/national/koregaon-bhima-riots-raids-multiple-locations-665037.html

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/dalit-activists-raided-across-maharashtra-ahead-of-planned-protests/575359.html

https://www.thequint.com/hotwire-text/maharashtra-police-raid-dalit-activists

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/pune-cops-raid-city-lawyer-in-bhima-koregaon-case/articleshow/63806262.cms

Case over Elgaar Parishad: Before search operations, A trail of ‘Naxal links’, multiple arrests, convictions & acquittals

http://sanhati-india.org/2018/04/17/iapl-condemns-harassment-of-advocate-surendra-gadling-and-dalit-activists-in-the-name-of-search-operations/

https://sabrangindia.in/article/people%E2%80%99s-organizations-demand-immediate-release-adv-upendra-nayak-odisha

https://www.counterview.net/2018/04/maharashtra-raids-on-dalit-activists.html

http://www.lokmat.com/nagpur/condemned-action-against-surendra-gadling/ (HINDI)

*Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) condemns harassment of Advocate Surendra Gadling and Dalit activists in the name of ‘Search operations’*

_April 17, 2018_

In a shocking development, the Pune (Maharashtra) police today, April 17, 2018 at around 6.00 a.m. conducted simultaneous searches at homes of prominent activists in Maharashtra namely Sudhir Dhavale (Dalit activist, Republican Panthers), Harshali Potdar (Woman activist, Republican Panthers), Ramesh Gaychor, Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe, Rupali Jadhav and Dhawala Dhengle (all Kabir Kala Manch activists) in relation to the violence that ensued on the day of bi-centenary celebrations of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon on January 31, 2018 and the subsequent bandh.

The Pune police also conducted a search at the Nagpur home and office of Surendra Gadling, a People’s Lawyer practicing there. His computer Hard disk, DVDs and other e-storage devices were seized by the police. Surendra Gadling is the General Secretary of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) and has been an active member since its formation in 2004. He has, since the last three decades, been litigating cases of those marginalized in the Indian judicial system, especially Dalits, tribals and workers from various backgrounds. He played a significant role in defending those incarcerated in draconian laws of TADA, POTA and UA(P)A including that of Sudhir Dhavale, Prof. G.N. Saibaba and also in defending rights of tribals arrested by the police under fabricated FIRs. Adv. Gadling has also fought for the rights of dalits in numerous atrocities such as the Khairlanji massacre. He himself has been resisting the anti-people stance of the state as a Human Rights activist and People’s Lawyer and due to this popularity, has even contested Bar Council elections for Maharashtra and Goa.

On December 31, 2017, an Élgaar Parishad was organised in Pune commemorating the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon wherein the Peshwahi rule in Maharahtra was defeated. The Elgar Parishad was organised with the stated objective of fighting Brahminism and Fascism i.e. the neo-peshwahi. The program was hugely successful and attended by thousands from across the state. However on January 1, 2018 the following day, those commemorating the event were attacked by a mob carrying saffron flags and instigated by Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote. These two right wing activists are closely connected with the ruling BJP and the Sangh Parivar and this attack was part of a pre-meditated plan.

Following this attack, the dalit community and sections from the Other Backward Castes (OBC) and Muslim communities participated in a State wide Bandh calling for the arrest of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote. The police, rather than arresting these two instigators of the violence, retaliated by conducting massive combing operations in Dalit bastis and arbitrarily searching homes and arresting up young men. Thousands of people were detained illegally. FIRs under sections 153A, 505(1), 117 and 34 of IPC were registered against activists including Sudhir Dhavale, Harshali Potdar, Ramesh Gaychor, Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe and also against Jignesh Mevani (an elected Gujarat MLA) and Umar Khalid (a student leader) for participating in the Elgar Parishad.

Instead of taking strict and timely action against the inciters of the violence that ensued in Bhima Koregaon, the state machinery has sought to target activists and lawyers who are fighting regressive trends in the society. As for Advocate Gadling, his harassment is a clear case of targeting him for his persistent defence of numerous Rights activist and those arrested in fabricated cases. Gadling’s name was not even mentioned in the FIR, wherein the Pune Police have sought action. Being a dalit lawyer and activist, seems to be the rationale for making him a ‘natural’ target of the Pune FIR.

The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) condemns the search conducted in the home and office of Advocate Surendra Gadling. Such search is nothing but an attempt to prevent Advocate Surendra Gadling from performing his professional duties, and representing clients targeted by the state, and such action amounts to interference with the administration of justice. IAPL also condemns the searches and harassment meted out to other activists and stands with them in this difficult hour of state hounding. IAPL declares that such searches are for the sole purpose of distracting people’s attention from the real culprits of the Bhima-Koregaon violence.

_Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj (IAPL, Vice President), Adv. Ankit Grewal (IAPL, Joint Secretary), Adv. Arun Ferreira (IAPL, Treasurer)_

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Egypt/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Mumbai January 24, 2018

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http://dayoftheendangeredlawyer.eu/

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