‘We are all prisoners of conscience’, say those facing trial in Bhima Koregaon case on the occasion of fourth anniversary of their arrests

As they complete four years in prison, those accused of instigating violence wonder how much more time the judiciary will take to digest that all the evidence fabricated against them is fake.

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IN a poignant letter from the prisons where they have been languishing for the past four years, those facing trial in the Bhima Koregaon case, have asserted that their suffering is nothing in comparison to many other prisoners, who have spent years altogether with a smile on their face. “Looking at them gives us some a different kind of energy. [sic] Even in these inhuman places, they live with great optimism….”

Written by activists Professor Shoma Sen, Advocate Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhawale, on behalf of themselves and ten others, the letter tells the public that they were jailed to stifle dissent under anti-terror laws, being used rampantly.

“These laws paralyze a person from defending herself. When bail is demanded, same is condescendingly rejected. Statistics will reveal that it takes about 5-10 years in India (and 8-10 years in Maharashtra) to get bail, till then one must languish in jail. This is the elaborate scheme created by the rulers to destroy persons [sic] social, economic, psychological and emotional life”, the letter reads.

The letter claims that they are all prisoners because of their conscience, sensitivity, and feelings, which they did not divorce, unlike the rulers. “Even in the darkness of these fetters, our conscience is wide awake; rather this has helped make it even sharper”, they write.

In these four years, they assert that they have not just kept themselves alive, but lively too. “We are in solitary confines. Be it momentarily each of us, have taken a deep dive in darks of depression; yet we never bowed down. We never begged for release. We never cried. We never wrote any apology petition”, they write.

The letter reminds people that anti-people regimes use the prison as one of their most crucial weapons, and basic human amenities, which are traditionally considered as parameters of development of civilization, are kept away from there. “Thus it has become a routine to raise voice against the injustice, and then agitating against it. Here, you need to create your own space, then the prison life becomes kind of liveable, bearable. This struggle of ours is every day chore [sic]…”, the letter shares, explaining how they make sense of their current agony.

Thanking their well-wishers for their support and all forms of assistance in these trying times, the Bhima Koregaon accused activists and academics express their hope that the unprecedented backing, public outcry and relentless efforts in their support will bear fruit one day.

Read their letter in full by clicking here.