Today, Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) organised a press conference at the Press Club of India in New Delhi in relation to the recent arrests of Advocate Surendra Gadling, Prof. Shoma Sen , Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut. The arrests took place on the 6th June, 2018, by Pune police at the early Hours of morning. The conference was held at Press Club of India, Delhi and Adv. Nitya Ramakrishna, Supreme Court of India, Adv. Ravikiran Jain, National President,
PUCL, Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj, Vice-President , IAPL, Adv. ND Pancholi (Delhi PUCL), & Adv. Poonam, Secretary (Legal wing), Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, Delhi addressed the press. (Meanwhile the Nagpur District Bar Association has called for an abstention from work tomorrow i.e. 8th June 2018)
These arrests have ostensibly taken place in connection with an FIR registered in January 2018 alleging that dalits had been incited to violence. Whereas actually violence had been incited and unleashed on the dalits by Samabhji Bhinde, leader of Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan and Milind Ekbote of Hindu Ekta Aghadi, in response to the dalit assertion during Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan. Milind Ekbote was arrested for few days and later released on bail, where as Sambhaji Bhinde is yet to be arrested. However, the above named democratic rights activists, professors and lawyers were arrested without any mention in the original FIR.
Adv. Sudha Bhardwaj, condemning the arrest of Adv. Surendra Gadling, National Secretary, Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), said “The arrest of Advocate Surendra Gadling is another example of the intensifying attacks on People’s Lawyers. Recently Advocate Upendra Nayak of Odisha, Advocate Murugan of Tamil Nadu, Advocate Satyendra Chaubey of Chhattisgarh have all been implicated in the cases of their own clients, which is absolutely unacceptable as per United Nations principles on the Role of Lawyers.
Advocate Surendra Gadling was an iconic example to many dalit lawyers defending their oppressed communities. Particularly after the Maharashtra Bandh and the 2nd April Bharat Bandh by dalit communities all over India, hundreds of poor dalit youth have been picked up and incarcerated in patently false cases. Many groups of dalit lawyers started getting together to defend them, even free of cost. No doubt this must have caused great unease for the vindictive state apparatus. The bias of the State is all the more obvious when the leaders of Hindutva organisations named in many complaints and FIRs as instigators of the Bhima Koregaon violence – Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide – whose anticipatory bail applications have been refused by even the Supreme Court, still roam free.”
Drawing the parallel from Advocate and founder of Bhim Army, Chandrashekar Azad ‘Ravan’‘s arrest, Senior Advocate Ravikiran Jain, who represented him, spoke about unfair use of National Security Act (NSA) and other draconian laws, such as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which are used to incriminate activists, Dalit and other minority group for standing up to their rights and speaking up against their oppression. He also said that UAPA goes beyond the provisions that were used for mass arrest during emergency.
Addressing the press, Senior Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, Supreme Court of India, condemned arbitrary arrest and draconian UAPA, which was used in arresting the above-named activists and lawyers. Adv. Ramakrishnan said, “Under UAPA the central government has full freedom to declare any organization as a terrorist organization where membership per say makes it an offence. What the process has become now is merely the presence of Maoist literature has become enough to declare someone as a Maoist which is clearly against the provision of UAPA which already is a draconian act. Automatically a person is charge-sheeted as Maoists. In Binayak Sen’s case, Supreme Court had said, if someone is in possession of Gandhian literature, does that make that person Gandhian?”
Advocate Poonam drawing the pattern across the country said, “what is happening in Saharanpur, Nagpur and people who are fighting for the Dalits and minorities are being attacked.” She also pointed out the ‘dirty game’ of the prosecution, where Advocate Surendra Gadling was also stripped of his basic fundamental rights during arrest and he was produced at Judge’s residence and not in the open court, which is against the procedure laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. Advocate ND Pancholi remarked that in the Emergency people were detained under provisions of CrPC and MISA, but presently the situation is worse than that of an undeclared Emergency.
IAPL strongly condemns the arrest of Advocate Surendra Gadling and others and demands for their immediate release. IAPL also welcomes the support of all civil right organizations which have come together to demonstrate their support against the State which crushing all voice of dissent.
(Vice President, IAPL)
(Joint Secretary, IAPL)
Ilva steel factory in Taranto:
Dr Anand Teltumde (6th June 2018)
Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights,
By Harsh Thakor
Hail historic rally condemning fascist massacre on adivasis in gadricholi staged at Shaheed Nachatar Singh hall in Moga today by 4 revolutionary groups. It shimmered the light of liberation to extinguish the tyranny of fascism. Around 500 people attended and an impactful demonstration was held at its conclusion.Darshan Khatkar of Cpi Ml new democracy narrated how the movement was heading towards the correct path in areas today like Gadricholi. Swaranjeet of inquilabi lok Morcha defended and praised the Maoists stating that they had developed genuine bastions of people’s power as an alternative to the tyranny of the ruling classes He gave examples of the alternative forms of people’s powers built by the Maoists. Sukwinder Kaur of lok sangram manch or revolutionary democratic front explained how the commandos were used to attack Adivasis in all areas and not only Maoists. She gave examples of how even rationing was stopped in Jharkhand hand.Kanwaljeet khanna of inquilabi Kendra referred to the massacre in Tuticon and on attacks on the working class by corporates. N.K Jeet of AFDR spoke about how all norms of civil liberties were violated in gadricholi in a cold blooded massacre.Jagsir Namol of Naujwan Bharat Sabah explained the guidelines of building a genuine revolutionary youth movement to defeat fascism.An event of great qualitative significance which lit. a spark that could turn into a prairie fire.Unity of 4. Trends amongst communist revolutionary forces is of great significance.
Over the last few months, Saibaba, who suffers 90% disability from a post-polio paralytic condition,
has written missives from his cell in Nagpur Central Jail, detailing his failing health. During his first stint in jail, he was diagnosed with gall bladder stones, the risk of infection in the pancreas, a prior heart condition and breathlessness. He also needed therapy to salvage the use of his arm and spine. His condition is now substantially worse. He suffers from at least 19 ailments, many of which are life-threatening, and an undiagnosed lump is growing in his side. He suffers sharp pain while urinating, and has fallen unconscious from time to time in jail.
On April 2 and April 3, Saibaba was taken to Nagpur Medical College Hospital for diagnostic tests following an order from the Bombay High Court asking for his health reports. He was not allowed to meet his wife either on the way there or on the way back though she had applied for official permission to assist him. He has suffered permanent injury as a result of being mishandled by people who are unable to assist him appropriately when he has to be lifted from his wheelchair, for instance, to access the toilet when there is no wheelchair-friendly toilet available.
One would imagine that any relief for Saibaba after his conviction was entirely reliant on humanitarian intervention or goodwill, but there is a continuous history of legal provisions applicable to any prisoner in India that would suffice if these recommendations and judgments were actually implemented. The All India Jail Reforms Committee (1980-’83), or the Justice Mulla Commission Report on Prison Reforms (1982-’83) provided the most exhaustive list of recommendations and prescriptions to date for the treatment of prisoners. Aside from the physical well-being of prisoners, it asks that prison authorities be appreciative of the perceptions, thinking and emotions of condemned prisoners.
However, Saibaba’s account of being denied access to a toilet he can use during his imprisonment without compromising his dignity or personal hygiene, contravene the Mulla Commission’s recommendations on the need for hygienic conditions in prisons. Chapter 29 of the report in particular has been repeatedly cited in judgments that uphold its recommendations on medical care in prison.
Some of the provisions for prisoners hail from the colonial period. For instance, the medical officer, appointed under the Prisons Act of 1894, has powers to transfer a prisoner whose health is in danger to wherever medical care is available. The officer also has the power to order a change in a prisoner’s diet if needed for medical reasons. Section 39 of the Prison Act and paragraph 547 of the Bombay Jail Manual prescribe the creation of a jail hospital. Recommendations from several committees have also suggested that specialised medical care be made available in jail hospitals. Section 3 of the Gujarat (Removal of Prisoners) Order of 1976 allows for the medical officer to recommend that a prisoner be accommodated outside the prison if their health is endangered.
Article 21 of the Constitution, which upholds the right to life and liberty, is the foundation of various judgments since 1964 that have held that damage to any limb or faculty of a prisoner, including the faculties of thinking and feeling, were a contravention of the right to life. In 2005, the Gujarat High Court cited the Sunil Batra case, particularly the apex court judgment of 1981, which stated that the lives of prisoners could not be reduced to mere animal existence.
In 1996, a bench comprising Justices Kuldip Singh, BL Hansaria, and SB Majmudar detailed judgments that had responded to challenges to prison conditions. Of particular relevance to Saibaba’s case is the opinion of the court disallowing the segregation of prisoners, or solitary confinement of a Naxalite, as a means to curb unfavourable political beliefs in Bhuvan Mohan Pattnaik v State of Andhra Pradesh.
In 2015, when Saibaba was granted bail, the Bombay High Court, with a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice SB Shukre observed, “We are satisfied that if Mr Saibaba is not released on temporary bail for medical treatment and supportive care, there is a risk to his life and health. After having considered his medical condition, this court would be failing in its duty to protect his fundamental right.” Thus there has been no dearth of interventions by the judiciary to ensure Saibaba his rights.
As a person with disability, Saibaba should have been able to call on another set of rights, for instance, those under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities, which India has ratified. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners also urges prisons to ensure prompt medical access in urgent cases.
In March, the Supreme Court of India upheld the right of human beings to die with dignity. The right of people with disability to live, even when they are convicted prisoners, also deserves to be safeguarded.
Video of Historic rally in Moga city in Punjab protesting Gadricholi massacre.Most impressive protest in the whole country shimmering the sacred torch of liberation from fascism .Lit a spark that will turn into a prairie fire.Literally lit the town red.Great to see 4 groups united in combat.Should inspire the oppressed al over the nation to ressurect spirit of resistance from depths of despair says Harsh Thakor.