Courts in five different places, including Delhi High Court, Faridabad court, Pune sessions court, Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court, have addressed the police’s recent targeting of lawyers, activists and writers, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence in petitions filed by concerned members of the academic fraternity.
Given the multi-state nature of the raids and the requisite inter-force coordination, it is fair to conclude that the clampdown flowed from the highest echelons of the ruling regime. This campaign of hatred, isolation, and trolling aims at maligning and subverting all dissenters and activists critical of the government (and the BJP) by either false-flagging them as “security threats to India” or labelling them as extended affiliates of militant movements without any solid evidence.
NHRC had issued notice on June 29, 2018 to the Director General of Police (DGP), Maharashtra calling for a report in connection with the illegal arrests of five human rights defenders namely Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut by Maharashtra police on June 6, 2018.
'We the undersigned civil society organisations/ groups/ collectives, have jointly convened this urgent Press Conference to condemn the appalling state actions of reprisals against noted human rights activists and intellectuals, which are clearly politically motivated and an attempt to stifle voices of dissent. The unjustified raids on and arbitrary arrests of the above public spirited individuals who have tirelessly worked for the cause of the poor and marginalized sections of society, are nothing but an attack on Indian democracy and an attempt to undermine the democratic fabric of our society.'
A constitutional republic can only survive if there is a semblance of the rule of law. But yesterday the rule of law broke down. Raids and arrests occurred. Those who were arrested didn't have the charges read out to them. Arrest memos were presented in a language the courts couldn't follow and courts granted remands based on those memos.
‘Sudha Bharadwaj is an embodiment of the best in our profession — a fearless critic of governmental lawlessness, an emphatic and empathetic advocate amplifying the voices of those who are rarely heard within the corridors of power, and a beacon for future generations of lawyers in this country.’
Teltumbde writes: “The entire process is conducted as though I was a dreaded terrorist or a criminal. The police could have enquired with me whatever they wanted to, either by sending a police official or calling me to the Police Station. But the entire intention is to create an atmosphere of terror and project that I had already done some dreaded crime.”