PUDR is shocked to learn of the deteriorating condition of P. Varavara Rao in Taloja Jail. His family has held a press conference on July 12, 2020 drawing attention to his almost delirious and incoherent speech evident in his recent phone calls. His co-accused attendant has informed that Varavara Rao is unable to walk or look after himself.
With the surrenders of Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha on April 14, 2020 in Mumbai and Delhi respectively, the NIA, the investigative agency, has ensured the arrest of all 11 prominent human rights activists in the infamous Bhima Koregaon case under the draconian UAPA.
People's Union for Democratic Rights is aghast at the National Investigating Agency (NIA) surreptitiously whisking away Gautam Navlakha from the Tihar Jail to Mumbai on 25 May 2020, without informing his lawyers or his family. 67-year old Gautam Navlakha was arrested by the NIA in the Bhima Koregaon matter, the infamous case that has become the vehicle to arrest human rights activists: journalists, academicians and lawyers critical of government actions.
PUDR expresses apprehensions over the health status of Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha who surrendered before the NIA in Mumbai and Delhi respectively on 14 April 2020. Both are implicated in the Bhima Koregaon case of January 2018 in which eleven human rights defenders have been arrested.
मानावधिकार कार्यकर्ता आनंद तेलतुम्बड़े और गौतम नवलखा को, देश भर में फैले कोरोना वायरस के संकट के बीच, एन.आई.ए
The attempt to browbeat rights activists, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde to ‘surrender’ to the National Investigation Agency, amidst a nation-wide lockdown on account of Covid-19, marks a deep and scathing new low in the political history of contemporary India.
5th November 2019 marks the 3-month lockdown of Jammu and Kashmir after the BJP government abrogated the special status of the state under Article 370 and 35A. The BJP government at the centre is projecting the transition into the new set up as absolute “normalcy”. Fact findings conducted by various civil society groups point to a terrifying situation.
On 7th March 2017, six persons (Vijay Tirki, Pandu Narote, Mahesh Tirki, Prashant Rahi, G.N. Saibaba and Hem Mishra) were convicted by the Gadchiroli Sessions Court, Maharashtra under provisions of the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. While Vijay Tirki was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, all others were sentenced for life. This case adds to the long list of political prisoners against whom criminal cases have been foisted by the State under the undemocratic UAPA along with various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
A brief background of six political prisoners convicted under the UAPA is provided in the attached file.
One of the foundational demands of the Civil Liberties and Democratic Rights organisations in India was the demand for release of all Political Prisoners. In contemporary India the demand has acquired a new salience as members/supporters of proscribed/banned organisations are being charged under draconian laws and/or under other IPC sections for their politics.