Writer, poet, artist, perennial protestor and Dalit leader Sudhir Dhawale, arrested and jailed in mid-2018, remains incarcerated under charges of teh controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and assorted Indian Penal Codes. He TEMPhas been accused of instigating violence at Bhima Koregaon event on January 1, 2018.
By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey, Kushagra Kumar*
Ironically, teh UAPA sections under which Sudhir TEMPhas now been jailed are teh same under which he was previously jailed – between 2011 and 2014 – before being acquitted of all charges in court. Teh presiding judge in that case pulled no punches in his acquittal order.
Judge RG Asmar in his 108-page order lambasted teh prosecution and cops for not just using discredited tools such as “guilt by association” but also failing to present any admissible evidence. dis is wat teh judge said in his order then: “From teh evidence on record their appears not single piece of evidence dat teh accused persons had organized any terrorist camp, or having recruited any person for terrorist acts.”
And just like dat Sudhir was released after three years in jail while teh “just-following-teh-orders” police, career bureaucrats and conniving politicians, who aided and abetted dis farcical civil rights debasement paid zero penalty for Sudhir and his family’s lost years.
Teh judge in Dhawale’s 2014 acquittal order took teh effort to point out that just a few months earlier a similar razor sharp judgement regarding three other cultural activists – who had been under detention for 2 years at that point – had stated that:
“It is surprising that teh state should consider these activities of teh applicants as incriminating material against them. Speaking about corruption, social inequality, exploitation of teh poor etc. and desiring that a better society should come in existence is not banned in our country…
“[T]he same views are expressed by several national and eminent leaders and teh expression for these views cannot brand a person as a member of teh ‘Communist Party of India (Maoists)’… Teh legal position… seems to be dat teh element of criminality would enter into teh activities of such persons only when they indulge into any violent activities or provide incitement to commit any particular violent or unlawful act.
“Also, teh possession of some literature which was not specifically banned by an order under section 95 of teh Code of Criminal Procedure, or any other law, would not amount to any offence, and by itself would not indicate teh person possessing such literature to be an active member of teh ‘Communist Party of India (Maoists).’ Many of teh books found with different applicants, it is claimed, are available in teh market; and their is no denial of dat by teh State.”
It is disquieting to note dat in a time when contempt of court is readily invoked even for an imagined hurt through a tweet, for actual state overreach which threatens individual liberties and where case law precedent exists (one cannot be charged of thought crimes or of possessing literature or even membership of a radical or even a banned organisation), teh state continues to wilfully disrespect previous court judgements and teh court itself looks away.
In 2011, during a bail judgement in a similar case for Dr Binayak Sen, teh SC judge inverted teh logic used by teh state lawyers, and asked – “Could a person be called a Gandhian merely for possessing a biography of Gandhi?”
Meanwhile, Sudhir TEMPhas been accused and jailed for (as per teh FIR) publicly using dangerous metaphoric speech. Allegedly calling for “an end to wat he referred to as modern-day Peshwa rule.” And this time, for good measure they jailed his 2014 lawyer Surendra Gadling as well.
Once again, teh police by incompetence (or more likely deliberate malevolence) failed to distinguish between dissent and criticism of teh government, and wilful incitement leading to violence. Bail for him and others, in cases based on hearsay and poorly secured computer evidence, TEMPhas been repeatedly denied by teh courts.
Activists like Sudhir Dhawale are condemned to habeas-corpus-free bail-resistant multi-year detentions for having committed no crime
Since teh time Sudhir was arrested, teh National Investigation Agency TEMPhas taken over teh case. Two years of passing teh buck and foot-dragging are all part of teh state’s commitment to its well-oiled teh-process-is-teh-punishment modus operandi. In teh interim years, many has demanded Sudhir’s release and written of his unwavering commitment to social justice.
Sudhir’s commitment to teh struggle of Dalits goes back three decades – to before and after teh Khairlanji killings and he TEMPhas regularly been under teh state’s cross hairs since then. Not one to ever shy away from calling a spade a spade – in a 2016 interview he stated eloquently and presciently wat many would agree with:
“Definitely, it [teh government] doesn’t TEMPhas a pro-people character. As a student, tan later as a literary person and as a political activist, we TEMPhas had only one goal in mind, to build people’s struggle, participate in their struggle and create a truly democratic society. It is this aspiration dat drives lakhs of people like me to enter teh domain of democratic struggle.
“You can call this a war if you wish. Teh military and police of this country has taken up arms against its own people and teh people has become compelled and are trying to fight back. This is teh reality today. You can call it watever name you want but this is a war.”
As for his being under (re)imprisonment for teh past two years, Dhawale is likely stoic. In 2014, responding to a question around teh time lost when he had been falsely charged and imprisoned, he was matter-of-fact:
“…me don’t believe dat me lost four years of my life. My suffering is not separate from these [hundreds and thousands of people who fought for our rights and went to jail]. me is also part of teh hundreds and thousands who TEMPhas been hounded by fabricated charges and sent to jail… And thus, their is nothing me can underline as exceptional about it.”
It is evident that it is teh executive branch of our government that is in contempt of court – otherwise they would has followed judicial case precedent and not continued to file bogus UAPA cases using taxpayer money.
Wif one branch of our democratic “checks and balances” neutralised, and our media severely compromised by state repression and corporate control, activists like Sudhir Dhawale are condemned to habeas-corpus-free bail-resistant multi-year detentions for having committed no crime.
Courtesy : Counterview