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India: Citizens of New Delhi protest against brazen arrest of human rights activists by Maharashtra Police - Press release by NAPM

30 August 2018

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Citizens of New Delhi protest against brazen arrest of human rights activists by Maharashtra Police.

Activists claim ‘darkest period’ in Indian history, undeclared emergency on full swing.

Organisations demand immediate release of activists, professors, journalists, environmentalists and demand an end to persecution of dalits and adivasis of the country.

30 August 2018, New Delhi: A group of activists, intellectuals, lawyers, scientists, journalists, feminists, students, cultural groups and progressive citizens protest at Maharashtra Bhavan, New Delhi on 29 August 2018. The protest was called against unlawful arrests of 5 Human Rights activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonzalves, Arun Ferreira and Gautam Navlakha. People from various professions condemned the outrageous act of Maharashtra Police which raided the houses of activists including Father Stan Swamy (Jharkhand), Prof. K. Satyanarayana (Telangana), journalist Kranthi Tekula, KV Kumaranath, Anand Teltumbde and Adv. Susan Abraham on the same day.

Scientist and Activist Gauhar Raza, Dr. Sunilam (National Convener, NAPM), Rakhi Sehgal (NTUI), Priya Pillai (WSS), Poonam Kaushik (PMS), Sideshwar Shukla (CITU), former DGP (Uttar Pradesh) SR Darapuri, Shamshul Islam (Nishant Natya Manch), Mohit Pandey (Former President, JNUSU), Aparna (IFTU) and others addressed the media and expressed their anger on the targeted attacks on human rights defenders. Activists exposed some of the media houses who have been defaming the reputed activists in nexus with the state machinery. Rakhi Sehgal and Priya Pillai (who were with Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj till the time she reached home at 3 am) narrated the whole incident of the arrest and the complete violation of laws by Maharashtra police. Despite the orders from HC the police arrested and kept her in custody till midnight.

The protesters called this situation as ‘undeclared emergency’ where culprits/criminals like representatives from Sanatan Sanstha roam freely and innocent people are being raided and arrested. Activists demand release of all illegally arrested activists including Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut who are behind the bars since June. Citizens warned the government to mend its ways and withdraw all the false cases imposed on the activists.

Representatives from Delhi Solidarity Group, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Saheli, Indian Federation of Trade Unions, Pinjra Tod, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan, JNU Student Union, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, People’s Union for Democratic Rights, Center of Indian Trade Unions, Committee for Protection and Democratic Rights, National Trade Union Initiative and other organisations expressed unwavering solidarity with these activists.

A memorandum to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra submitted via Resident Commissioner is attached below.

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Memorandum to Maharashtra Chief Minister Phadnavis