Citizens’ Solidarity with Voices of Democracy – Against the Arrest of Five HR Activists

This is a statement of solidarity endorsed and signed by over 200 intellectuals, artists, academicians, lawyers, journalists, and students in support of the five arrested in connection with Bhima-Koregaon case. In the 43rd year after Emergency was declared in this country, this statement was issued on June 25th 2018 condemning the arrest of such voices of democracy and demanding their immediate and unconditional release.]

Rona Wilson
Rona Wilson

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.)



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