Statement and Signatures Protesting Arrest of Five Human Rights Activists

June 25, 2018

Citizens’ Solidarity with Voices of Democracy

We condemn the arrest of five human rights activists, professors and lawyers in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon clashes early this year.

The alarming arrest of Advocate and General Secretary of Indian Association of Peoples’ Lawyers (IAPL) Surendra Gadling, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) Public Relations Secretary Rona Wilson, Head of English Department Professor Shoma Sen of Nagpur University and member of Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS), cultural activist and founder of Republican Panthers Jaatiya Antachi Chalwal Sudhir Dhawale and anti-displacement activist and Prime Ministers Rural Development Fellow (PMRDF) Mahesh Raut is a clear manifestation of state terror to crush the voices of dissent in this country.

The intemperate use of sections of the IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on all five reveals legal over-reach and exposes the desperation to foist extraordinary and excessive charges on all five to ensure they remain in the clutches of the Fadnavis-Maharashtra government. All the arrested have consistently worked for the assertion of oppressed and marginalised communities against majoritarian forces, spoken out against Brahmanical patriarchy, upheld peoples’ rights to land, life and dignity, and have strived for the release of political prisoners.

Today, after standing for the assertion of dalits, adivasis, Muslims, women, workers, farmers, marginalised sexualities, and oppressed communities, upholding the principles of democracy, and, consequently, being a thorn in the side of a vengeful police force, they are under the custody of impunity. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of violence during the Bhima-Koregaon clashes enjoy the protection of the state, patronage of the RSS and walk free. Now, with concerted efforts to implicate the arrested, egregious narratives of plots of assassinations is being weaved to defame and keep them in jail.

These retributive actions are intended to threaten anyone who speaks out for them and drive a wedge between all struggles for peoples’ rights. In the last few years, wherever people have asserted their rights, the political establishment has clamped down on them with brutal force – be it in Saharanpur or Una, Bhima-Koregaon or Thoothkudi. The assault on the democratic fabric of this country, through the abuse of the legal and judicial process, the stage-managing of media for public trials, and deliberate efforts to build a climate of fear is blatant and pervasive.

Today, more so than ever, it is crucial to reiterate unity in the face of divisive majoritarian politics that uses structural hierarchies to violently suppress different sections of people and communities. We strongly condemn the arrests of these voices of democracy, demand the immediate and unconditional release of all five human rights activists, professors and lawyers and stand united in our opposition to the onslaught of Brahmanical Hindutva fascism.

In Solidarity,


1. Abha Bhaiya, Jagori Rural, Himachal Pradesh and One Billion Rising

2. Abha Dev Habib, Miranda House, University of Delhi

3. Abhay Regi, Department of History, SOAS, London

4. Abhijnan Sarkar, editor, Towards a New Dawn and documentary filmmaker

5. Achin Vanaik, Retired Professor, International Relations and Global Politics, University of Delhi

6. Adil Jussawalla, poet, magazine editor and translator

7. Aditya Shekhar, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi

8. AK Ramakrishnan, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

9. Alok Rai, former faculty, Department of English, University of Delhi and writer and translator

10. Alokananda, alumni, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad

11. Amandeep Kaur, Panjab University, Chandigarh

12. Amar Kanwar, filmmaker

13. Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

14. Amit Bhattacharyya, Professor, Jadavpur University and Secretary General, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP)

15. Anand Patwardhan, filmmaker

16. Anand Teltumbde, writer and General Secretary, Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), Mumbai

17. Ananya Vajpeyi, fellow, Centre for Studies in Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi

18. Aneeb PA, journalist

19. Anirban Kar, Associate Professor, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi

20. Ankit Grewal, advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh

21. Anu Arunima, Professor, Women’s Studies Department, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

22. Anubha Rana, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, SOAS, London

23. Anubhuti Sharma, research scholar, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University

24. Anupama Potluri, Hyderabad Central University, Hyderabad

25. Arijeet Mandal, Assistant Professor, Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

26. Arjun Sheoran, advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh

27. Arun Khopkar, director and actor

28. Ashok Bhowmick, artist

29. Asiya Shervani, Independent Consultant, Diversity and Social Inclusion, Hyderabad

30. Atamjit Singh, Punjabi playwright and Dakshinayan Abhiyan

31. Atul Dodiya, artist

32. Basavaraj Sulibhavi, activist and publisher of Ladai Prakashana, Karnataka

33. Benu Mohanlal, Ramjas College, University of Delhi

34. Bhupinder Choudhry, Maharaja Agrasen College, University of Delhi

35. Biswajit K. Bora, Syama Prasad Mukherjee College, University of Delh

36. Bittu Karthik Kondaiah, Associate Professor, Ashoka University, Sonipat and Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti

37. Buta Singh Nawanshahr, Association for Democratic Rights, Punjab

38. C. Sadasiva, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi

39. Chaman Lal, professor in Hindi translation at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Punjabi writer

40. Damodar Mauzo, Konkani writer and Sahitya Akademi awardee

41. Deachen Angmo, student, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

42. Debaditya Bhattacharya, Kazi Nazrul University, Asansol

43. Deepak Yatri, mime artist

44. Devika N Menon, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University

45. Farhana Latief, research student, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

46. Feroze Mithiborwala, National Convenor, Bharat Bachao Andolan

47. Freny Manecksha, independent journalist,

48. G Haragopal, Visiting Professor, NLSIU, Bengaluru

49. Ganesh Devy, Dakshinayan Abhiyan

50. Gauhar Raza, former scientist, CSIR

51. Gauri Gill, contemporary photographer, Delhi

52. Ghanshyam Shah, social researcher, Ahmedabad

53. Githa Hariharan, writer

54. Govindi Joshi, Retd. Associate Professor, Ramjas College, University of Delhi

55. Hany Babu MT, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Delhi

56. Hari Sen, Ramjas College, University of Delhi

57. Hemlata Manishwar, Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia

58. Himo Aronno, student, Jawaharlal Nehru University

59. Ila Ananya, journalist and student, Department of Gender Studies, SOAS, London

60. Imran G, Advocate, J & K High Court and Subordinate Courts

61. Indira Jaisingh, Advocate, Supreme Court of India

62. Isha Khandelwal, Advocate, Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group

63. Jagmohan Singh, Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR), Punjab

64. Janaki Nair, Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

65. Jatinder, Assistant Professor, Punjabi University

66. Jawari Mal Parakh, writer

67. Jhelum Roy, activist, Bastar Solidarity Network (Kolkata Chapter)

68. Jhuma Sen, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat

69. John Dayal, human rights and political activist, Secretary-General, All India Christian Council

70. Jose Maria Sison, Chair, International League of People’s Struggle

71. Joyraj Bhattacharjee, theatre practitioner, Kolkata

72. Kalyani Menon Sen, feminist researcher and activist and Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)

73. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, feminist and human rights activist, Mumbai

74. Kanji Patel, poet and novelist in Gujarati and editor of journal Vahi

75. Karuna DW, researcher, Chennai

76. Kavita Srivastava, President, Rajasthan chapter of People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jaipur

77. Keki Daruwalla, poet, writer and former IPS officer

78. Keval Arora, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi

79. Kiran Nagarkar, novelist, playwright, film and drama critic and screenwriter in Marathi

80. Kiran Shaheen, independent journalist and Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS), Delhi

81. Krupa Desai, research student, Birkbeck, University of London

82. Laltu (Harjinder), Hyderabad

83. Laxmi Murthy, journalist, Bangalore

84. Loi, Global Secretariat, International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)

85. Madhu Bhaduri, former diplomat

86. Mala Dayal, author and editor

87. Malem Ningthouja, writer and Chairperson, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Manipur (CPDM)

88. Manasi Pingle, Bangalore

89. Manshi Asher, activist, Himachal Pradesh

90. Marie Boti, International Women’s Alliance

91. Meena Kandasamy, poet, writer, translator and activist

92. Megha Pansare, Assistant professor and head, Department of Foreign Languages, Shivaji University, Kolhapur and District President, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW)

93. MN Ravunni, Vice President, CRPP, Wayanad, Kerala

94. Mohan Rao, Retd. Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

95. Monica Sabarwal, Assistant Professor, Punjabi University, Patiala

96. Mridula Garg, writer

97. Mrittika Biswas, MA Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

98. Mukul Kesavan, historian, novelist and essayist

99. Mukul Mangalik, Ramjas College, University of Delhi

100. N Raghuram, Professor and Dean, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi

101. Nachikethas MJ, engineer

102. Nalini Nayak, Retd. Associate Professor, PGDAV (M) College, University of Delhi

103. Nancy Adajania, cultural theorist, art critic and curator

104. Nandakumar KN, activist, writer and freelance journalist

105. Nandini Chandra, Department of English, University of Delhi

106. Nandini Dutta, Associate Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi

107. Nandini Sundar, Professor, Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi

108. Nandita Narain, St. Stephens College, University of Delhi

109. Narender Thakur, B. R. Ambedkar College, University of Delhi

110. Naveen Gaur, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi

111. Navsharan Singh, author and independent researcher

112. Neha Sonawane, advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh

113. Nikhil Jain, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi

114. Nirmalangshu Mukerjee, Retd. Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Delhi

115. Nisha Biswas, scientist and activist, Kolkata

116. Niti Saxena, feminist activist

117. Nivedita Menon, Professor, Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, Jawaharlal Nehru University

118. P K Vijayan, Hindu College, University of Delhi

119. P. Koya, Professor, Calicut, Vice President, CRPP

120. Padma Velaskar, Retd. Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

121. Padmakar Shaw, Retd, Professor, Journalism, Osmania University

122. Pankaj Tyagi, advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court and People’s Union for Civil Rights, Haryana

123. Pargat Singh, teacher, GMSS Sector 26 Model, Chandigarh

124. Patricia Mukhim, social activist, writer, journalist and editor of Shillong Times

125. Paul Zacharia, short story writer, novelist and essayist in Malayalam

126. Pratik Sharma, student, University of Delhi

127. Prithvi, student, University of Delhi

128. Pulin Nayak, Retd. Professor, Department of Economics, University of Delhi

129. Pushpa Achanta, journalist and consultant, Bangalore

130. Radhika, lawyer and independent researcher

131. Rajeev Bhargava, political theorist, former director of CSDS and former professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University

132. Rajesh Azad, Lok Shikshak Manch, Delhi

133. Rajvinder Singh Bains, High Court advocate and human rights lawyer, Chandigarh

134. Rakesh Ranjan, Associate Professor, Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi

135. Ranbir Kaleka, contemporary multimedia artist

136. Ratna Raman, Sri Venketeswara College, University of Delhi

137. Ravinder Goel, Retd. Associate Professor, Satyawati College (E), University of Delhi

138. Ridhima Sharma, Centre for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

139. Rina Ramdev. Associate Professor, Sri Venkataswara College, University of Delhi

140. Rita Kothari, Ashoka University, Sonipat and author and translator

141. Rita Manchanda, writer and human rights activist

142. Rita Sinha, Janki Devi Memorial College, University of Delhi

143. Ritu Dewan, feminist economist and Director, Centre for Development Research and Action, Mumbai

144. Rohini Hensman, writer and independent scholar, Bombay

145. Roopa Dhawan, Ramjas College, University of Delhi

146. Rosemary Dzuvichu, Head, Department of English, Nagaland University, Kohima

147. Rossi D’Souza, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR

148. Rudolf C. Heredia, Indian Social Institute, Delhi

149. Rukmini Bhaya Nair, linguist, poet, writer and critic

150. S Anand, publisher, Navayana

151. Saba Dewan, filmmaker

152. Sachin N, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi

153. Sachinderpal Singh, editor, Mashaal

154. Sadhi Binning, Punjabi writer and activist, Canada

155. Sadhna Arya, Satyawati College, University of Delhi

156. Sagari Chhabra, writer and film director

157. Sagari R Ramdas, Veterinary Scientist and Member, Food Sovereignty Alliance India

158. Samantha Agarwal, PhD student, John Hopkins University

159. Samit Basu, writer

160. Samuel John, actor and cultural activist

161. Sananda Dasgupta, activist, Bastar Solidarity Network (Kolkata Chapter)

162. Sandeep, film editor and writer, Mumbai

163. Sandhya Devasan, Assistant Professor, Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi

164. Sanjay Kak, filmmaker, Delhi

165. Sanjay Kumar, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Motihari, Bihar

166. Sanjeev Kumar, writer and office-bearer, Janwadi Lekhak Sangh

167. SAR Geelani, Professor, Zakir Hussain College, University of Delhi and President, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP)

168. Saswati Ghosh, academic and activist, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Kolkata

169. Satyam Varma, journalist

170. Seema Azad, writer, activist, editor of Dastak and Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Uttar Pradesh

171. Shabnam Hashmi, social activist

172. Shabnam Sengupta, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression

173. Shafey Danish, Assistant Professor, KKM College, Munger University

174. Shailza, International Politics, SOAS, London

175. Shakeel Anjum, research student, School for International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

176. Shanta Gokhale, writer, translator, journalist and social critic

177. Shashank Kela, writer, Chennai

178. Shaswati Mazumdar, Professor, Department of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of Delhi

179. Sheba Chhachhi, photographer, activist, writer, filmmaker and artist, Delhi

180. Shefali Saini, student, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

181. Shinzani Jain, MA Sociology, Ambedkar University, Delhi

182. Shobhana Warrier, Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi

183. Shovon Chowdhury, writer

184. Shreya K, Chhattisgarh

185. Shumona Goel, filmmaker, Bombay

186. Skand Priya, Assistant Professor, Shivaji College, University of Delhi

187. Sohini, activist, Jan Jagran Shakti Sanghathan, Bihar

188. Soumya Datta, South Asian University (SAU), Delhi

189. Sourav Banerjee, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

190. Srijani Kar, student, Department of Mathematics, University of Delhi

191. Sudha Bharadwaj, trade unionist and human rights lawyer

192. Sujato Bhadro, Vice President CRPP, Kolkata

193. Sukrita Paul Kumar, poet, critic, academician

194. Sumangala Damodaran, Associate Professor, Ambedkar University, Delhi

195. Sunil Kumar, Professor, Head, Department of History, University of Delhi

196. Surabhi Singh, freelance journalist

197. Susie Tharu, writer, professor, publisher, editor and activist

198. Suvojit Bagchi, journalist, Kolkata

199. Svati Joshi, Retd. Associate Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi

200. Tamoghna Halder, PhD student, University of California, Davis

201. Tathagata Sengupta, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR

202. Teena Anil, visiting fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

203. Teesta Setalvad, civil rights activist, journalist and Secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP)

204. TM Krishna, musician and author

205. Tultul Biswas, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, Bhopal

206. Ujwal Punyark, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi

207. Ushmayo Dutta, University of Kashmir

208. Venugopalrao Nellutla, Editor, Veekshanam

209. Vidhya, student and activist, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)

210. Vidya Rao, Hindustani classical singer and writer

211. Vijay Singh, Retd. Associate Professor, Satyawati College, University of Delhi

212. Vijaya Venkarataraman, Associate Professor, Deparment of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of Delhi

213. Vijender Singh Chauhan, Zakir Hussain Delhi College, University of Delhi

214. Vikas Bajpai, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

215. Vikas Gupta, Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi, Joint Secretary, Sambhavana

216. Vineet Tiwari, National Secretary, All India Progressive Writer’s Association

217. Vineeta Bal, scientist, Pune

218. Vinita Chandra, Ramjas College, University of Delhi

219. Virginia Saldanha, Secretary, Indian Christian Women’s Movement, Mumbai

220. Vishnu Nagar, writer and poet

221. Vivek Narayanan, writer, poet and co-editor of Almost Island

222. Waseem RS, Secretary, Fraternity Movement

223. Windel Bolinget, Chairperson, Cordillera People’s Alliance and Co-Convenor of KATRIBU Kalinpunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan sa Pilipinas

224. Xavier Dias, former editor, Khan Kaneej aur Adhikar, Jharkhand

225. Yogesh Puri, Retd. Associate Professor, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi

226. Yuvraj RS Singh, Law Student, Raipur

227. Zulaikha Jabeen, social activist, Delhi

(… More names are being added daily.)