Mumbai

Activists release book on Sudha Bharadwaj

The 316-page book has been published by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.  

Human rights activists released a book on Sudha Bharadwaj, the trade unionist and lawyer incarcerated in the 2018 Bhima-Koregaon violence case, on Sunday, the last day of a five-day session, Repeal UAPA, organised by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

The 316-page book, A Life in Law and Activism: Sudha Bharadwaj Speaks, was unveiled during a webinar titled, ‘Why is the State afraid of Sudha Bharadwaj?’. Published by PUCL, the book chronicles Ms. Bharadwaj’s early life and work as an advocate and activist and is based on interviews by lawyers Darshana Mitra and Santanu Chakraborty.

At the webinar, Harsh Mander, activist, author and former IAS officer, said Ms. Bharadwaj “fought through the instrument of law even before she studied it.” Lawyers who worked with Ms. Bharadwaj in Chhattisgarh at Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group recounted stories of her grit, resilience and strength.

Over 100 human rights organisations have been part of the Repeal UAPA campaign, which began on January 15, marking 100 days since Father Stan Swamy, a 83-year-old co-accused in the case, has been lodged at Taloja Central Jail.

On January 21, 22 and 23, several human rights activists, lawyers, and academicians shared instances of how the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been misused in 13 States in the country, targeting protesters and the marginalised.

Mihir Desai, senior advocate and vice-president of PUCL, explained the amendments to the UAPA in 2008 and the role of the National Investigation Agency.

The first chapter of the book, ‘Sudha Bharadwaj and the Right to Dissent’, has been written by Advocate and author Arvind Narrain. The second chapter, ‘Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA): Law as Instrumentality of State Tyranny and Violence’, has been penned by PUCL national general secretary and human rights lawyer Dr. V. Suresh.

The third chapter reveals the details of the Bhima-Koregaon case and includes a series of interviews conducted with Ms. Bharadwaj before her arrest on August 28, 2018. The interviews shed light on the life of Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM) founder Shanker Guha Niyogi, his killing and the subsequent murder trial.

‘A people’s lawyer’

The remaining chapters delve into Ms. Bharadwaj work at CMM, life during Salwa Judum, and being a people’s lawyer by fighting cases dealing with labour rights, land displacement, and gender justice. The other chapters in the book are titled: ‘Challenging arbitrary arrests in a militarised zone’, ‘Filing repeated cases: State’s vindictiveness’, ‘Role of State Human Rights Commission’ and ‘Dangers of the draconian law-Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act’.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 2:32:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/activists-release-book-on-sudha-bharadwaj/article33651887.ece

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