Wishing Health to Sudha Bhardwaj here are some things to know about Sudha and how speaking up can form an offence for activists in this country
It is November 1, and it is the third birthday of Sudha Bhardwaj in a row, which she is supposed to spend in Jail and would not really think of wishing her a “Happy Birthday” because a birthday in jail can’t really be a happy one. So, before even beginning, we want to send our regards, we pray for her health and most of all, a fair trial for her and all the activists who have been alleged or put behind the bars for their statements.
Well who is Sudha Bhardwaj?
If you know the infamous Bhima-Koregaon conspiracy case then you must have known about the sixteen activists were arrested in the case. And Sudha is one of them, a human rights lawyer with a specific focus on protecting rights of Adivasis and a trade unionist. She had also served as the General Secretary of the Chattisgarh People’s Union for Civil Liberties. She was born on 1st November 1961 and will now be spending her third birthday in Jail.
On 28 August 2018, five HRDs, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha and Arun Ferreira and the fifth one was Sudha Bhardwaj were charged. The charges imposed on them range from sedition to terrorism under UAPA. As per the authorities, these people had been involved in an event that happened in Pune where hate and inflammatory speeches were made, that had been the reason for the Caste Violence in Bhima Koregaon. The allegations in the investigation stated by the state suggested that police has uncovered evidence of a plot to assassinate PM Narendra Modi (Scroll).
Since the arrest, Sudha had applied for bail on health grounds several times and every time, it got rejected. Recently, her bail plea, amid the COVID crisis wonder health ground also got suspended and the authorities asked her lawyers to appeal for a regular bail instead of the one on health grounds. In the recent plea, Sudha’s Lawyer, Gover pressed in the SC for her intro bail pointing out her age and the fact that she has been in jail for the last two years, that too without any trial. “Even charges have not been framed. I am seeking your indulgence for interim bail on medical grounds,” Said Grover, The Wire reported.
In light of this case, Congress Leader, Shashi Tharoor said, “When I was in school, I learnt that the pen is mightier than the sword. Today, I have seen our country, its politics and its discourse. I am no longer convinced by it” TOI Reported. When those who speak against the wrong, or precisely, anyone who dares to speak or express their views, is convicted or booked under sedition charges and now that UAPA is here, there is very less hope for who those who speak for the right or against the state and minorities. And if they do, they are likely to be treated like Sudha or Varavara.
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