Press Statement – 5th December 2021

On the granting of bail to Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj by the Bombay High Court CMM(Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee) and other workers unions

On the 1st of December 2021, after having spent three years in jail on fabricated charges in the Bhima Koregaon case, Human Rights activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj was granted bail by the Bombay High Court. We the undersigned unions and workers collectives welcome the judgement. It is a great relief for the working people of Chhattisgarh who have consistently campaigned against the illegal arrest of Sudha Bharadwaj and continuously demanded her release. It is important to note that Sudha Bharadwaj was granted bail because the chargesheet against her was not produced before the appropriate court within the legally specified time limit. There were 8 others along with Sudha Bharadwaj arrested under the same case whose bail was rejected on the same day. We express our deep disappointment at the courts decision to reject their applications for bail. It is amply clear that the 16 Human Rights activists, lawyers, artists and writers were arrested under false and fabricated charges in the Bhima Koregaon case. We the undersigned unions have condemned these arrests from the very beginning.

The granting of bail to Sudha Bharadwaj is most certainly a jolt to the current pro-corporate, brahminical, fascist central government, as is evident from how promptly they moved the Supreme Court to challenge the bail order. The very day after the judgment of the Bombay High Court was pronounced, the National Investigating Agency (NIA) was ready with their appeal to the Supreme Court to act against the granting of bail to Sudha Bharadwaj. They seem determined to ensure she is not released under any circumstance. All recent events have in any case pointed clearly to the fact that the NIA is not an independent invesitgation agency but in fact one that works simply like an arm of the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). The NIA has been indiscriminately wielding the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) legislation against anyone who dares to exercise their democratic right to protest against the BJP. In such a scenario, we place all our hope and faith in the Supreme Court that it will uphold the democratic fabric of the country, uphold the notion of justice and grant Sudha Bharadwaj bail at the earliest.

It must be mentioned that Father Stan Swamy, one of the 16, aged 84, lost his life in custody while awaiting bail. Apart from the aforesaid Bhima Koregaon case, the draconian UAPA legislation was recently used once again to silence the democratic voices of the people of Chhattisgarh by arresting Human Rights Adivasi activist Hidme Markam on March 9 this year, at a program marking International Womens Day in Dantewada, Bastar. Hidme Markam has spent the last several years speaking out against the environmental destruction wrought by the government and large mining companies in Bastar. She has raised her voice against militarization and sexual violence against women in Bastar continuously perpetrated by the police and palamilitary.

The UAPA has been indiscriminately used to incarcerate dalits, adivasis and minorities in the country. Seveal arguments have been made and facts brought to light that clearly indicate why such a draconian legistaltion must be withdrawn. We the undersigned unions strongly and unequivocally support the demand to repeal the UAPA. We sincerely hope that Sudha Bharadwaj will be released from the four walls of prison and that she will be amongst us soon. We shall continue to campaign for the release for all those, who like her, have been arrested for fighting to uphold democratic values in this country, and further resolve to strengthen our campaign to demand the repeal of the UAPA.

Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti), Mahila Mukti Morcha, Nagari Nikay Janvadi Safai Kamgar Union, Pragatisheel Cement Shramik Sangh, Loktantrik Ispat evam Engineering Mazdoor Union, Jan Adharit Power Plant Workers Union, Jan Swasth Karamchari Union

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