Press Conference Invite Wednesday, 21.10.2020 12.00 noon via ZOOM
Political Parties & Eminent persons will jointly address this press conference : • to condemn the illegal arrests of 16 activists implicated in the Bhima Koregaon Conspiracy Case • to demand the release of all the arrested prisoners • and against the brazen misuse of the UAPA against dissentors.
Dear Madam / Sir,
There was nationwide outrage over the recent arrest in Ranchi by the NIA of 83 year old Father Stan Swamy, on 8th October, 2020, in the Bhima Koregaon case. Despite him being a patient of Parkinson’s disease and suffering other health problems, he is now in jail. Similarly writer and poet Sh. Varavara Rao, 80 years has been languishing in Jail for more than two years. Despite being seriously ill and having suffered COVID and subsequent hospitalisation, even bail is being denied to him. Apart from these two, there are five others currently incarcerated in this case who are senior citizens being held without any role in the criminal conspiracy of the Bhima Koregaon violence that happened on 1st January, 2018.
A total of 16 people have been arrested under the UAPA in this case, which include the recently arrested 3 cultural activists of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), Ramesh Gaichor, Sagar Ghogre and Jyoti Jagtap, as well as thinker, writers and academics Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Shoma Sen, Hany Baby, lawyers, Sudha Bharadwaj, Surendra Gadling, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, who are all also trade unionists, and activists Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson, who are all being held in prison in this completely fabricated and motivated case.
This Press conference has been organized by PUCL to condemn the role of investigating agencies in carrying out these illegal arrests, to highlight the humanitarian crisis and misuse of UAPA to criminalise dissent and to demand the release of all 16 activists arrested in this case.
It will be addressed by the following members of political parties and civil society representatives : 1. Mr. Hemant Soren, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Jharkhand. 2. Mr. Sitaram Yechury, Ex-MP, General Secretary, CPI(M). 3. Mr. D. Raja, MP (Rajya Sabha), General Secretary, CPI. 4. Ms. Supriya Sule, MP (Lok Sabha), NCP. 5. Ms. Kanimozhi, MP (Lok Sabha), DMK. 6. Mr. Shashi Tharoor, MP (Lok Sabha), INC.
7. Prof. Jean Dreze, Eminent economist. 8. Fr. Dr. Marianus Kujur, Director, XISS, Ranchi. 9. Ms. Dayamani Barla, well known tribal rights activist. 10. Mr. Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate, Bombay HC and Vice President, PUCL. 11. Ms. Rupali Jadhav, Kabir Kala Manch.
The ZOOM link to the call which will start sharp at 1200 pm (noon) on Wednesday, 21st October, 2020 is:The ZOOM link to the call which will start sharp at 1200 pm (noon) on Wednesday, 21st October, 2020 is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84413261787?pwd=Z25URE9MNlFTQW1OQXl1KzVsSHp1QT09
Meeting ID: 844 1326 1787 Passcode: 247523
We request you to send a reporter to cover the Press Conference. Regards, Dr. V. Suresh, General Secretary, (9444231497) For more details please contact: Kavita Srivastava, National Secretary, 9351562965 Mihir Desai, Vice President, 9821138056 V Suresh, General Secretary, 9444231497
tribune of the people
Solidarity graffiti in support of the People’s War in India as well as Indian political prisoners was documented in Philadelphia, reading, “Support the People’s War in India,” “Free GN Saibaba,” and “Free Varavara Rao.”
Chatra District, October 16: Armed Naxalites set a loader and two dumpers on fire at Bachra railway siding of Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) in Chatra district, police said on Friday.
Tandwa Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Ashutosh Satyam said around 15 Naxalites entered the Bachra railway sliding on Thursday night and to scare away the workers engaged in coal loading fired in the air.
The workers fled the spot in fear after which the Naxalites set a loader and two dumpers on fire, the police said.
The Tandwa SDPO rushed to the spot after getting the information. The fire was extinguished by the fire brigade personnel.
Superintendent of Police Rishabh Jha said police has started an investigation into the incident.
JOINT STATEMENT BY DU STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS ON THE RAPE AND MURDER OF A 17 YEAR OLD DALIT GIRL IN RAJPURA GURHMANDI AND FIR AGAINST DETAINED FAMILY, STUDENT ACTIVISTS AND JOURNALIST, 17-10-2020
A 17 year old Dalit girl from Rajpura GurhMandi who was working as a domestic worker at a house in Model Town was found dead in the employer’s house on October 4th. The family has alleged rape and murder of the victim by the employer’s son and driver. The family has stated that the girl attempted speaking to her aunt just hours before her death only to be interrupted by the landlady. Later, the family was called and after a heated exchange with the police, were briefly allowed to see the body of the girl who was found hanging from the ceiling of the drivers room. The body was later whisked away without disclosure of any details about the whereabouts of the body. It was finally on October 8th, that the police allowed the family to briefly view the body after the postmortem and forcefully took it away and cremated it without the consent of the family and in the presence of approximately 300 police officials. This was done despite repeated requests by the family to let them take the body to their house for a short duration of time.
Family members of the victim, including women, were subjected to extreme physical torture by male police personnel, while in police custody for a duration of 8 hours. This had occurred when they reached the police station to enquire about the whereabouts of the body.
On the 16th of October, a protest was called outside Model Town Police Station demanding an immediate registration of FIR, fair and impartial investigation into the incident and action to be taken against police officials involved in the forceful cremation of the girl’s body and custodial torture of the family. At this protest gathering 10 people were detained, taken into police custody and brutally assaulted by the police personnel. The detainees include family members, student activists and a Caravan journalist. The Model Town police have now registered an FIR agianst the detained persons under the Epidemic Act.
The brazenness with which the Delhi police have attempted to cover up, destroy evidence and crush the protesting family into silence shows the extent of state impunity granted to the police and the accused, when they belong to the affluent class or upper caste sections. Ever since the Hathras gangrape case effected massive outrage across the country, several reports of sexual violence and murder of women, especially from Dalit and marginalized sections, have surfaced along with news of Hathras style forceful cremations, procedural lapses, destruction of evidence and cover-ups.
While we recognise that these are not isolated incidents and are located in the larger social reality shaped and defined by caste, patriarchy and class based relations and institutions, it is imperative to recognise the blatant state sanction involved in shielding perpetrators that only serves to embolden such caste based sexual violence.
We have seen in the case of Hathras rape victim how from the local police, medical examiners, district administration to government, the entire state apparatus was in cohorts to distort the statement of the victim and family violating all principles of fairness and justice. This model keeps getting replicated everyday along with rising cases of sexual violence and heavy repression of public outrage and protests by the heavy state machinery. We condemn the illegal cover up, destruction of evidence, forceful cremation and custodial violence and the attempt to criminalize peaceful protesters by the Model Town Police.
1) Immediate registration of FIR against the accused under relevant sections of IPC and SC ST Atrocities Act.
2) Independent and impartial investigation to be carried out into the case.
3) Immediate action to be taken against police personnel involved in committing procedural lapses and forceful cremation of the victim’s body.
4) Action to be taken against police personnel who were involved in the custodial violence of the family members, student activists and a journalist.
5) Withdraw the FIR filed against family members, students and journalist for peacefully protesting.
Pendyala Hemalatha’s petition said the writer and poet should be granted bail, citing various health issues that he is facing.
A file image of Varavara Rao.
New Delhi: The wife of Telugu poet and writer Varavara Rao, arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, moved the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking bail for him, claiming that his continued custody amounted to cruel and inhuman treatment.
The petition, filed by Pendyala Hemalatha, urged the court that during the pendency of the petition, the 81-year-old accused be released on temporary medical bail and be allowed to travel to Hyderabad to be with his family and loved ones.
It sought the immediate release of Rao on the ground that his continued custody amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment, violating Article 21 of the Constitution (life or personal liberty) and violative of his dignity in custody.
The plea said that he has lost about 18 kg and is suffering from various health issues and is “basically bed-ridden”.
The plea said: “The health condition of the Petitioner’s husband is very feeble and he suffers from various co-morbidities. It is submitted that it is well known that COVID-19 patients do not have similar symptoms. It is further known that COVID-19 hampers all organs including neurological or/ and every patient displays different symptoms.”
The petition says that when Rao was arrested on August 28, 2018, he had no neurological problems. “It is therefore highly likely that COVID-19 and the fall that he had in St. George Hospital has led to neurological problems as reflected in the medical report filed by Nanavati Hospital dated July 30,” it adds.
The petition, filed by advocate Sunil Fernandes, said that considering the co-morbidity factors of age, persistent hyponatremia in COVID-19 case, the patient will require close monitoring.
Earlier when he was discharged, he was advised to undergo sodium test, which apparently had not been done by the jail authorities.
The petition says that after Rao was hospitalised on May 27, he was “hurriedly discharged” in June, while his bail plea on the ground of his medical problems and COVID-19 was pending. This was despite the fact that he needed constant follow ups and the move was only to “avoid judicial determination of his bail on medical grounds”, the petition says.
The petition says Rao’s health condition continues to be precarious.
Rao lacks bowel and urine control, the petition says, adding that he has a catheter urine bag and has to use diapers. He is being given swab baths by the co-accused as he is ‘basically bed-ridden’, the petition says, adding that Rao’s mental status is also not sound.
Rao was among several activists and lawyers who were arrested by the Pune Police in the Elgar Parishad case in 2018. The case has been transferred to the National Investigating Agency (NIA), which has subsequently arrested more activists and academics, with Stan Swamy the latest to be taken into custody.
With Swamy’s arrest, 16 people have been arrested in connection with the case. Those arrested earlier were Sudhir Dhawale, a writer and Mumbai-based Dalit rights activist; Mahesh Raut, a young activist from Gadchiroli who worked on displacement; Shoma Sen, who was the head of the English literature department at Nagpur University; advocates Arun Ferreira and Sudha Bharadwaj; Varavara Rao; activist Vernon Gonsalves; prisoners’ rights activist Rona Wilson; Surendra Gadling, a UAPA expert and lawyer from Nagpur; Delhi University professor Hany Babu; and Kabir Kala Manch artists Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap.
The former DU professor’s wife A.S. Vasantha Kumari said he has been denied access to reading material, medicines and clothes.
G.N. Saibaba. Photo: PTI
New Delhi: Professor G.N. Saibaba, who is serving a life term in the Nagpur Central Prison for alleged links with Maoists, has decided to go on a hunger strike from October 21 as he is not been provided with clothes, medicines and books for a month.
According to a Hindu report, Saibaba’s wife A.S. Vasantha Kumari has said he has been denied access to reading material, medicines and clothes. “Saibaba who is lodged in jail since 2014 has been denied all basic human rights where he is not given any letters or allowed any phone calls from me since over a month,” she said.
Kumari has sent letters about “the hardships and harassment Saibaba faces in jail” and the “unfair restrictions” imposed on him to the Maharashtra additional director general of prisons Sunil Ramanand and the superintendent of prisons (Nagpur) Anupkumar Kumre.
“Sometimes all the medicines given by his advocates are not being given to him. He has multiple health problems and needs to take prescribed medicines every day to save his life,” Kumari told The Telegraph.
Advocate Aakash Sarode, who regularly delivers medicines, clothes to Saibaba, said that last month he had delivered a shirt, under garments, medicines, four books and two notepads for him. “However none of it was taken by the prison authorities, without giving any reason for the same. I went back again two weeks back but they refused to take anything I got. I will try going once again before October 21,” Sarode said.
Kumre, however, denied the “baseless allegations” according to The Hindu‘s report and confirmed that Saibaba was going on hunger strike from October 21. “Due to coronavirus we have stopped taking newspapers in jail since March but other than that books and letters are given to him after we go through them and decide on what is ‘right’ and needs to be given to him,” he said.
Clarifying what was considered “right”, Kumre said, “the administration (which includes the SP, Additional SP and another prison official) verifies the books and sees if they are “nice”,” and added that books on Gandhi, freedom fighters or mythology were usually allowed. “A magazine or any other reading matter has to be ‘correct’ for the inmate. As far as clothes are concerned, due to coronavirus we have stopped allowing any civil clothes inside the jail as it spreads the virus,” he said.
ADG (Prisons) Sunil Ramanand said that “the DIG is going to Nagpur jail tomorrow to ascertain the situation.”
In March 2017, a sessions court in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district convicted Saibaba and four others, including a journalist and a Jawaharlal Nehru University student, for Maoist links and engaging in activities amounting to “waging war against the country”.
The court held Saibaba and others guilty under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The ailing activist had recently filed a plea seeking bail on medical grounds as well as to meet his mother, who was suffering from cancer, in Hyderabad. The bail was denied by the Bombay high court four days before his mother passed away.
A collection of poems by revolutionary activist-poet Varavara Rao, giving a peek into his political beliefs and assertion of the primacy of people’s rights, will be translated into English, announced publishing house Penguin Random House on October 10, 2020.
Titled “Varavara Rao: India’s Revolutionary Poet”, the book edited by N. Venugopal and Meena Kandasamy, will be published under Penguin’s ‘Vintage imprint’ next year, they added.
One of India’s foremost revolutionary poets, Rao, who is presently incarcerated for the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, has picked about “two-thirds of the poems” to-be featured in the book himself before the arrest.
“This is like fulfillment of a long-cherished dream, as making Varavara Rao’s work accessible to English readers has been my dream for decades. As a person who has closely watched the making of his poems, as one of the first readers in manuscript form, I believe his poetry is an expression of his complete personality that blended social history, alternative people’s politics, people’s right to self- determination and unceasing urge for freedom,” said Venugopal, co-editor and nephew of the poet.
Rao, 79, has authored 13 collections of poetry and 16 books of prose — including seven books of literary criticism — in Telugu. A collection of his letters from prison, “Captive Imagination”, was also published by Penguin.
According to the publishers, the book, a commemoration of Rao’s immense talent and passion for poetry, will be a first “authentic, representative collection” of his poems coming out in a single volume also including some poems translated into English exclusively for the edition.
“The image of Varavara Rao, smiling and fist raised, as he was taken into custody is imprinted on our minds. He exuded an aura of optimism, fortitude and strength. Who is Varavara Rao? What does he stand for? Where better to turn for answers than to his own words, the poems that convey with such extraordinary power his emotions, his thoughts and purpose,” Elizabeth Kuruvilla, executive editor, Penguin Random House India.
Rao has been in jail since the end of 2018 for alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which, the police claimed, triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.
The CPI (Maoist) have allegedly placed wall posters in agency villages in Eturu Nagaram mandal of Mulugu district against the TRS government. The wall posters are seen in Chinnaboinapalli, Kotthuru and Shapelli villages.
The posters read–“TRS government is trying to grab the lands of the people and for the same it is conducting surveys”, “KCR is looting the state”, “People should not fall prey to his words of betrayal.” The posters also claim that the current state government is taking no action but preaching loud. When any person raises his voice for his needs, false cases are being imposed on them. Police forces, “grey hounds” are combing the agency villages. Innocent people are being tortured, the posters read.
“If the combing is not stopped in Telangana agency areas, we will not spare TRS and BJP leaders. Those who act as police informers will have to face the wrath. Villagers should not go to police stations, but resolve their problems and issues at the village level only. Police may hatch any conspiracies but people will take care of the Maoist party,” the posters read. The wall posters have been released in the name of Eturu Nagaram Bhupalpalli Committee of the CPI (Maoist).
Meanwhile, police have been on high alert after receiving information that a group of armed CPI (Maoist) cadres entered Mulugu district from Chhattisgarh state. P Shoban Kumar, OSD of Jayashankar- Bhupalpally and Mulugu, said that combing operations with 10 teams have begun in forest tracts. They have intensified vehicle checks across Eturunagaram, Tadavai, Wazed and Venkatapuram mandals.
A police constable was injured when he and his cousin, also a constable, were attacked by Naxalites in their village in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Thursday, police said.
Soyam Ramesh and Soyam Kanna, both constables, had gone to their village Kongdam in the Errabor police station limits, a Maoist stronghold, for rituals after the death of the latter’s father, the police said.
“A small team of Naxalites, dressed as civilians, went to the village at around 8 am and tried to round up the two policemen. Sensing their presence, the policemen reacted swiftly and overpowered one of the Naxalites who was about to open fire at them with a country made pistol from a close range,” Sukma Superintendent of Police Shalabh Sinha said.
The policemen snatched the weapon, live cartridges and a bag from the Naxalite, he said.
Meanwhile, three other Naxalites, armed with bows and arrows, charged towards the policemen, who were rescued by some villagers, prompting the Maoists to escape from the scene, Sinha said.
While escaping, one of Naxalites shot an arrow on Kanna, causing him a minor injury on his shoulder, he said.
He was shifted to a hospital in Konta by villagers where his condition was said to be stable. Ramesh, posted in neighboring Dantewada district, escaped unhurt.
Maoist literature and letters were recovered from the bag, the officer added.
Police have launched an operation to trace the attackers.