On the 29th of August, five prominent civil rights activists were arrested by the police in raids across four states. Th jyuese arrests were made in connection to the violence that erupted in Koregaon, Maharashtra, on 31st December last year. The police has alleged that it has found links between the detenues and the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and that they incited the Dalits of Koregaon to violently agitate against the upper-caste Marathas. The detenues have been charged under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and under the Indian Penal Code for promoting disaffection between groups.
The Student Bar Association of Hidayatullah National Law University, Naya Raipur, condemns this seemingly orchestrated witch hunt of activists. This impression is further
fortified by the manner and the grounds of the arrests. The police forces did not follow the
norm of first conducting a thorough investigation, and flouted several procedural conventions while making the arrests. Ms Sudha Bharadwaj, a US-born lawyer, and the general secretary of People’s Union of Civil Liberties in our state of Chhattisgarh, has been serving with insurmountable courageous and sheer grit and determination for over 29 years. Her relentless work towards affording justice to women and poor labourers and raising environmental and developmental issues has been immensely impactful. The shoddy procedure of her arrest, the cognizance of which has also been taken by the National Human Rights Commission, gives a very strong impression that there is a larger political agenda behind the whole exercise. As students of law, we are committed towards the spirit of constitutionalism, and we hereby express our vehement opposition to the use of state machinery for fulfilment of political vendettas, and stand in solidarity with Ms Bharadwaj