Tag Archives: Indian Association of People’s Lawyers

India: Bhima Koregaon violence: Shifting narrative and fading public memory as 2019 approaches

June 27, 2018

On June 6, many of us who knew one or few of the five people arrested, supposedly in connection with the ‘violence’ at Bhima Koregaon, woke up with hasty messages of unexpectedarrests. I received a message that Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale was ‘picked up’ and had been taken to the Govandi police station in Mumbai. A huge crowd gathered outside the police station demanding to know the reasons for his arrest. But for Dhawale, who has been a face of some of the massive protests in Maharashtra in recent times and has similarly been implicatedin false cases earlier, arrests were not so unexpected.Amid protests from the crowd, the Govandi police took Dhawale to Pune from the backdoor.

As the day unfolded the shock meter rose manifold as unexpected and unwarranted arrests followed. While a reputed lawyer Advocate SurendraGadling was almost simultaneously being arrested from his Nagpur residence, one came to know that some Rona Jacob Wilson from Delhi and one Mahesh Raut working in Gadhchiroli had also been arrested. Raids were conducted at ex-Nagpur University Professor Shoma Sen’s house and she too was arrested.

All had been accused of one crime- inciting violence at BhimaKoregaon.

I watched in horror and shock as all these arrests were taking place, as both, an eye-witness of January 1 events at BhimaKoregaon memorial and as someone who broke the news and followed it through the months.

Troubled months after BhimaKoregaon

When Dalits were attacked at BhimaKoregaon, on an occasion meant to be a celebration- the bi-centenary of the battle of BhimaKoregaon – anger spilt out on streets of Maharashtra taking the form of a spontaneous, people’s protests.










https://money.udn.com/money/story/5641/3219222 (CHINESE)



India: Bhima Koregaon violence: Amnesty, Human Rights Watch call activists’ arrests ‘politically motivated’

June 25, 2018

They said the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act should be repealed.

Bhima Koregaon violence: Amnesty, Human Rights Watch call activists’ arrests ‘politically motivated’

India should stop arresting Dalit rights activists, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint statement on Monday. The rights organisations called the recent arrests of five activists by the Pune Police “politically motivated”, and said the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act should be repealed.

Five activists – Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen and Surendra Gadling – were arrested on June 6 for alleged links to the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The police arrested them after raids at their homes and offices while investigating an event held on December 31 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The police claimed that speeches the accused made at the event led to violent clashes between Dalits and Marathas a day later, and that the programme was funded by Maoists.

“This is not the first time that activists working on Dalit and Adivasi rights have been arrested with little evidence,” Amnesty International India chief Aakar Patel said.


Lawyer arrested for ‘Maoist’ links remanded to magisterial custody till July 4






http://www.haribhoomi.com/news/surendra-gadling-has-been-sent-to-judicial-custody-till-4-july-accused-in-bhima-koregaon-violence (HINDI)

https://money.udn.com/money/story/5641/3219222 (CHINESE)


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India: Video: Why Maoist letters found on arrested activists in the Bhima Koregaon case seem to be fake

June 24, 2018

Despite announcing it to the media, the Pune Police have not included the letters in their submissions to the Pune Sessions Court.












http://www.streekaal.com/2018/06/Theory-of-Arban-Maoist-by-the-Neopeshwas.html (HINDI)

https://www.change.org/p/devendra-fadnavis-we-demand-release-of-advocate-surendra-gadling-and-other-human-rights-activists?recruiter=885436142&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_abi.pacific_abi_share_button_ordering_1.abi_featured_fb (SIGN THE PETITION!)



Citizens’ Solidarity with Voices of Democracy

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. Today, after standing for the assertion of dalits, adivasis, Muslims, women, workers, farmers, marginalised sexualities, and oppressed communities, upholding the principles of democracy, and, consequently, being a thorn in the side of a vengeful police force, they are under the custody of impunity. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of violence during the Bhima-Koregaon clashes enjoy the protection of the state, patronage of the RSS and walk free. Now, with concerted efforts to implicate the arrested, egregious narratives of plots of assassinations is being weaved to defame and keep them in jail. These retributive actions are intended to threaten anyone who speaks out for them and drive a wedge between all struggles for peoples’ rights. In the last few years, wherever people have asserted their rights, the political establishment has clamped down on them with brutal force – be it in Saharanpur or Una, Bhima-Koregaon or Thoothkudi. The assault on the democratic fabric of this country, through the abuse of the legal and judicial process, the stage-managing of media for public trials, and deliberate efforts to build a climate of fear is blatant and pervasive. Today, more so than ever, it is crucial to reiterate unity in the face of divisive majoritarian politics that uses structural hierarchies to violently suppress different sections of people and communities. We strongly condemn the arrests of these voices of democracy, demand the immediate and unconditional release of all five human rights activists, professors and lawyers and stand united in our opposition to the onslaught of Brahmanical Hindutva fascism.

In Solidarity,


1. Abha Dev Habib, Miranda House, University of Delhi
2. Achin Vanaik, Retired Professor, International Relations and Global Politics, University of Delhi
3. Adil Jussawalla, poet, magazine editor and translator
4. AK Ramakrishnan, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
5. Alok Rai, former faculty, Department of English, University of Delhi and writer and translator
6. Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
7. Amit Bhattacharyya, Professor, Jadavpur University and Secretary General, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP)
8. Anand Patwardhan, filmmaker
9. Anand Teltumbde, writer and General Secretary, Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), Mumbai
10. Ananya Vajpeyi, fellow, Centre for Studies in Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi
11. Anirban Kar, Associate Professor, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
12. Anu Arunima, Professor, Women’s Studies Department, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
13. Arun Khopkar, director and actor
14. Ashok Bhowmick, artist
15. Asiya Shervani, Independent Consultant, Diversity and Social Inclusion, Hyderabad
16. Atamjit Singh, Punjabi playwright and Dakshinayan Abhiyan
17. Atul Dodiya, artist
18. Basavaraj Sulibhavi, activist and publisher of Ladai Prakashana, Karnataka
19. Benu Mohanlal, Ramjas College, University of Delhi
20. Bhupinder Choudhry, Maharaja Agrasen College, University of Delhi
21. Biswajit K. Bora, Syama Prasad Mukherjee College, University of Delh
22. Bittu Karthik Kondaiah, Associate Professor, Ashoka University, Sonipat and Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti
23. C. Sadasiva, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi
24. Chaman Lal, professor in Hindi translation at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Punjabi writer
25. Damodar Mauzo, Konkani writer and Sahitya Akademi awardee
26. Debaditya Bhattacharya, Kazi Nazrul University, Asansol
27. Feroze Mithiborwala, National Convenor, Bharat Bachao Andolan
28. Freny Manecksha, independent journalist,
29. G Haragopal, Visiting Professor, NLSIU, Bengaluru
30. Ganesh Devy, Dakshinayan Abhiyan
31. Gauhar Raza, former scientist, CSIR
32. Gauri Gill, contemporary photographer, Delhi
33. Ghanshyam Shah, social researcher, Ahmedabad
34. Githa Hariharan, writer
35. Govindi Joshi, Retd. Associate Professor, Ramjas College, University of Delhi
36. Hany Babu MT, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Delhi
37. Hari Sen, Ramjas College, University of Delhi
38. Hemlata Manishwar, Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
39. Indira Jaisingh, Advocate, Supreme Court of India
40. Imran G,
Advocate J&K High Court Srinagar, Socio-political activist
41. Jagmohan Singh, Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR), Punjab
42. Jatinder, Assistant Professor, Punjabi University
43. Jawari Mal Parakh, writer
44. John Dayal, human rights and political activist, Secretary-General, All India Christian Council
45. Jose Maria Sison, Chair, International League of People’s Struggle
46. Kalyani Menon Sen, feminist researcher and activist and Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)
47. Kanji Patel, poet and novelist in Gujarati and editor of journal Vahi
48. Kavita Srivastava, President, Rajasthan chapter of People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jaipur
49. Keval Arora, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi
50. Kiran Nagarkar, novelist, playwright, film and drama critic and screenwriter in Marathi
51. Kiran Shaheen, independent journalist, Delhi and Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)
52. Laltu (Harjinder), Hyderabad
53. Laxmi Murthy, journalist, Bangalore
54. Loi, Global Secretariat, International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
55. Madhu Bhaduri, former diplomat
56. Mala Dayal, author and editor
57. Malem Ningthouja, writer and Chairperson, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Manipur (CPDM)
58. Marie Boti, International Women’s Alliance
59. Meena Kandasamy, poet, writer, translator and activist
60. Megha Pansare, Assistant professor and head, Department of Foreign Languages, Shivaji University, Kolhapur and District President, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW)
61. MN Ravunni, Vice President, CRPP, Wayanad, Kerala
62. Mohan Rao, Retd. Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
63. Mridula Garg, writer
64. Mukul Kesavan, historian, novelist and essayist
65. Mukul Mangalik, Ramjas College, University of Delhi
66. N Raghuram, Professor and Dean, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi
67. Nalini Nayak, Retd. Associate Professor, PGDAV (M) College, University of Delhi
68. Nancy Adajania, cultural theorist, art critic and curator
69. Nandini Chandra, Department of English, University of Delhi
70. Nandini Dutta, Associate Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi
71. Nandini Sundar, Professor, Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
72. Nandita Narain, St. Stephens College, University of Delhi
73. Narender Thakur, B. R. Ambedkar College, University of Delhi
74. Naveen Gaur, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi
75. Nikhil Jain, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi
76. Nirmalangshu Mukerjee, Retd. Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Delhi
77. Nivedita Menon, Professor, Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, Jawaharlal Nehru University
78. P K Vijayan, Hindu College, University of Delhi
78. P. Koya, Professor, Calicut, Vice President, CRPP
80. Patricia Mukhim, social activist, writer, journalist and editor of Shillong Times
81. Pulin Nayak, Retd. Professor, Department of Economics, University of Delhi
82. Rajeev Bhargava, political theorist, former director of CSDS and former professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University
83. Rajvinder Singh Bains, High Court advocate and human rights lawyer, Chandigarh
84. Rakesh Ranjan, Associate Professor, Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi
85. Ranbir Kaleka, contemporary multimedia artist
86. Ratna Raman, Sri Venketeswara College, University of Delhi
87. Ravinder Goel, Retd. Associate Professor, Satyawati College (E), University of Delhi
88. Rina Ramdev. Associate Professor, Sri Venkataswara College, University of Delhi
89. Rita Kothari, Ashoka University, Sonipat and author and translator
90. Rita Sinha, Janki Devi Memorial College, University of Delhi
91. Rohini Hensman, writer and independent scholar, Bombay
92. Roopa Dhawan, Ramjas College, University of Delhi
93. Rudolf C. Heredia, Indian Social Institute, Delhi
94. Rukmini Bhaya Nair, linguist, poet, writer and critic
95. Saba Dewan, filmmaker
96. Sachin N, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi
97. Sadhi Binning, Punjabi writer and activist, Canada
98. Sagari Chhabra, writer and film director
98. Samit Basu, writer
100. Samuel John, actor and cultural activist
101. Sandeep, film editor and writer, Mumbai
102. Sanjay Kak, filmmaker, Delhi
103. Sanjeev Kumar, writer and office-bearer, Janwadi Lekhak Sangh
104. SAR Geelani, Professor, Zakir Hussain College, University of Delhi and President, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP)
105. Seema Azad, writer, activist, editor of Dastak and Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Uttar Pradesh
106. Shabnam Hashmi, social activist
107. Shanta Gokhale, writer, translator, journalist and social critic
108. Shaswati Mazumdar, Professor, Department of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of Delhi
109. Sheba Chhachhi, photographer, activist, writer, filmmaker and artist, Delhi
110. Shobhana Warrier, Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi
111. Shovon Chowdhury, writer
112. Soumya Datta, South Asian University (SAU), Delhi
113. Sudha Bharadwaj, trade unionist and human rights lawyer
114. Sujato Bhadro, Vice President CRPP, Kolkata
115. Sukrita Paul Kumar, poet, critic, academician
116. Sumangala Damodaran, Associate Professor, Ambedkar University, Delhi
117. Sunil Kumar, Professor, Head, Department of History, University of Delhi
118. Susie Tharu, writer, professor, publisher, editor and activist
119. Suvojit Bagchi, journalist, Kolkata
120. Svati Joshi, Retd. Associate Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi
121. Teena Anil, visiting fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
122. Teesta Setalvad, civil rights activist, journalist and Secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP)
123. TM Krishna, musician and author
124. Venugopalrao Nellutla, Editor, Veekshanam
125. Vidya Rao, Hindustani classical singer and writer
126. Vijay Singh, Retd. Associate Professor, Satyawati College, University of Delhi
127. Vijaya Venkarataraman, Associate Professor, Deparment of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of Delhi
128. Vijender Singh Chauhan, Zakir Hussain Delhi College, University of Delhi
129. Vikas Bajpai, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
130. Vikas Gupta, Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi, Joint Secretary, Sambhavana
131. Vineet Tiwari, National Secretary, All India Progressive Writer’s Association
132. Vinita Chandra, Ramjas College, University of Delhi
133. Vishnu Nagar, writer and poety
134. Vivek Narayanan, writer, poet and co-editor of Almost Island
135. Windel Bolinget, Chairperson, Cordillera People’s Alliance and Co-Convenor of KATRIBU Kalinpunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan sa Pilipinas
136. Xavier Dias, former editor, Khan Kaneej aur Adhikar, Jharkhand
137. Yogesh Puri, Retd. Associate Professor, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi
138. Adv Imran G, Jk High Court Srinagar, Socio-political activist

[Please endorse this statement with your solidarity and your names will be added. It will be issued late evening on 24th of June, on the eve of Emergency Day. If possible, do share with others who may be willing to add their names in solidarity. If endorsements are added in the comments, it will be added to the list.

With sincere appreciation for the waves of support and solidarity.]

(Facebook, 24/6/18)


June 17, 2018

Image result for surendra gadling

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.












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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.












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)





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)


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.”









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







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 .


[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.”