14th Nov 2020
NCHRO GOA Chapter
NCHRO demands release of incarcerated in Bhima Koregaon case
NCHRO Goa chapter joins people around the country in including activists, lawyers and literary figures in demanding the release of the human rights activists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy case. We call the charges and case false and an act of political vendetta.
“It’s been over one-and-a-half years since these activists have been arrested and we still don’t know why they have been arrested. We were told this was a conspiracy to assassinate the Prime Minister. However, when the case was heard in the Supreme Court, the solicitor general did not utter one word regarding this. If it was indeed a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister, there was no progress in the investigation.
On June 8, 2018, the Pune police arrested Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Sudha Bharadwaj in connection with the case. All nine have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Activist Gautam Navlakha and academic Anand Teltumbde have also been charged in the same case.
UAPA is a draconian act and against democratic rights. Preventive arrests are in essence the total removal of fundamental rights. It is a use of State power to stifle dissent. All those who had been arrested after Bhima Koregaon incident should be released along with the activists who had been called Urban Naxals. The activists have repeatedly been denied bail. Until they are proven guilty, there should be no problem in giving them bail under certain conditions.
UAPA is essentially a newer version of laws such as Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and Maintenance of Internal Security Act. UAPA was much worse than laws like TADA, because it does not require evidence and allows people with a tenuous connection to the perceived wrongdoing to be charged. We join lawyers, academics, and activists around the country in saying: “Such a law has no place in any democratic country. The fight is against the law itself.”
Ranjan Solomon Iftiyaz Sayed
President General Secretary