Know The Activists Who Were Targeted on Tuesday

(Sudha Bhardwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vara Vara Rao, Arun Ferreira (Top from Left to Right) Vernon Gonzalves, Susan Abraham, Anand Telthumbde, Father Stan Swamy (Bottom From Left to Right))

The Pune (Maharashtra) police has launched simultaneous raids on the homes of several activists in Mumbai, Delhi, Ranchi, Goa and Hyderabad. All are said to have linked with the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January this year. Read who are these activists.

Sudha Bharadwaj

Sudha Bharadwaj as her twitter profile also says is a Trade Unionist and Human Rights Lawyer. She is the general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in Chhattisgarh. She has lived for three decades in Chhattisgarh and fights for the rights of adivasis there.

While being associated with Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, Bharadwaj fought passionately against corrupt bureaucrats to ensure proper wages were paid to the workers in the mines and plants located in Bhilai. She also engaged in issues of Dalit and tribal rights, specifically the right for land, the right for education, health and security against corrupt landlords.

Sudha also wrote a critique of Binayak Sen, Pijush Guha and Narayan Sanyal’s imprisonment with Kavita Srivastava, Ilina Sen. She with others had crticised the judicial decision and condemned it strongly.

She was arrested from Haryana. Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the transit remand of Sudha. Hearing on her transit has been fixed on August 30.

Gautam Navlakha

Gautam Navlakha is a civil liberties, democratic, and human rights activist and a journalist. He is associated with the People’s Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi as a veteran activist. He is also an editorial consultant of the Economic and Political Weekly. He resides in New Delhi.

He has been a convener of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir and in the areas of Chhattisgarh where Maoists have an influence.

Navlakha was denied entry to Kashmir after the protests in Kashmir during 2010, but in December 2011, he was in Srinagar to join the activists of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian Administered Kashmir and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, who had composed a report titled “Alleged Perpetrators – Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir” from police records, judicial, quasi-judicial and government records accusing 3 brigadiers, 9 colonels, 3 lieutenant colonels, 78 majors and 25 captains of the Indian Army, and 37 senior officials of Indian Paramilitary of murder, kidnapping, rape, enforced disappearance and torture. He also addressed a press conference at Srinagar, revealing that the report has been passed on to the then Chief Minister Faruq Abdulllah of Jammu and Kashmir and the then Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, so that those responsible for the crimes be punished.

His book ‘Days and Nights in the Heartland of Rebellion’  is an account of the fortnight he spent in the guerilla zone where the Maoists run their peoples government, the Jantana Sarkar. His book tells another side of the story which is yet covered up.

He was detained from South Delhi. His transit has also been on hold till next hearing on Wednesday.

Varavara Rao

Varvara Rao whose full name Pendyala Varavara Rao is 78 years old social activist. Born to a Telugu Brahmin family, Rao has been writing poems since 1957. Varavara Rao was arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) by the then Andhra Pradesh Congress government in October 1973 for his political and literary activity.

Varavara Rao was arrested again on 26 June 1975, on the eve of proclamation of Emergency. During Emergency, he was a detainee under the MISA. He was one of the few prisoners whose interviews with their relatives were restricted and their mail was subjected to stringent scrutiny.

On 26 December 1985, he was also jailed by the then N. T. Rama Rao government who had come to power after defeating Indian National Congress.

He also became an emissary for the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Peoples War when the TDP government proposed peace talks with Peoples War party in 2001.

Rao has been charged that he has conspired to assassinate PM Narendera Modi.

Vernon Gonzalves

Vernon Gonzalves is described as a “leader of the Altar Boys” and “a strong believer of justice, equality and freedom”. He is a gold medallist from Mumbai University and a former lecturer at Ruparel College and HR College, Gonzalves is alleged to be an ex-central committee member and former secretary of the Maharashtra state committee of Maoists. He was charged in around 20 cases however acquitted in all cases after serving six years in jail.

Vernon Gonzalves has been arrested.

Susan Abraham

Abraham is the wife of Vernon Gonzalves. She a civil rights lawyer. Abraham was born in Kerala to school teacher parents and studied in Zambia. She has been part of protests against demonetisation, fake encounters and for workers and women’s rights.

She has written extensively against the rigourous sentences given to Delhi University professor GN Saibaba, activist Prashant Rahi among others, calling it “misuse of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act”. Her name can be seen in the credits of a film, Court, in which she guided filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane through the intricacies of law.

Susan Abraham’s home has been raided. She has not been detained.

Anand Teltumbde

Anand Teltumbde is a writer and civil rights activist with the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai. He is also a MIS (Management Information System) professional and has authored so many books on the Dalit movement, BR Ambedkar and caste. A harsh critic of the Modi government, he also writes a column for the Economic and Political Weekly called ‘Margin Speak’.

In his latest column about lynchings in India, he wrote, “Politics in India was never really principled but neither had it stooped to such lows, as we experience today. That lies, doublespeak and falsehoods are integral to politicians was always known but rarely were these peddled, in keeping with Goebbels’ maxim, as blatantly as they are today.”

He was vocal on suicide of Rohit Vemula, a research scholar of Hyderabad University whose suicide had sparked a nation wide agitation.  “All those who are mute spectators of the processes under way to restore supremacist Brahmanic rule are responsible for his death.” He had written this in his article ( named ‘Who Killed Rohit Vemula?’ published in Indian Express.

Anand’s house has been raided in Goa but not detained.

Father Stan Swamy

Fr. Stan Swamy is an indigenous people’s rights defender. He is the founder of Vistapan Virodhi Janvikash Andolan (VVJA), an all India platform for different movements that are campaigning against human rights violations caused by displacement of adivasi people, dalits, and farmers from their lands. The platform has supported vulnerable communities faced with displacement from extractive industry projects in securing their land rights and proposing sustainable development models instead.

Swamy was among the 20 people against whom a sedition case was filed in July this year, for posting statements against the Jharkhand government for inciting tension over the Pathalgadi movement.

He has not been detained but his house has been searched today.


Liked it? Take a second to support The TMC Desk on Patreon!