On 13 February, 2021 the Delhi Police arrested 21 year old Disha Ravi who was booked for sedition and other offences in connection with the ongoing farmers’ protests. She was accused of editing a toolkit created to help people understand the protests and released 10 days later on bail. Disha’s arrest appears to be part of a massive crackdown on people who have been highly critical of the government’s handling of the protests. For instance, journalists and politicians have been booked for sedition and other offences after they alleged that a protester had been killed by the police.
Disha Ravi’s Arrest
It is important to note that Disha’s arrest was an inter-state arrest as the Delhi Police arrested her from Bengaluru. The Delhi Police had obtained an arrest warrant against her from a court in Delhi. On 13 February, two teams of the Delhi Police arrived in Bengaluru. Soon after she was arrested, one team took her to the airport while the other team went to the local police station to officially inform the local police about her arrest. She was produced before a magistrate in Delhi on February 14, approximately twenty hours after her arrest.
This case symbolises how high-handedness has been corroding the bulwarks of liberty. Apart from the vindictive nature of the arrest, what is worrisome is the ease of arresting a person from another state and taking her away to a distant place, without judicial authorization. The fact that constitutional safeguards are not percolating into everyday lives ought to make us ponder whether the Indian State has transformed the Constitution into a mirage. There is more to this problem than the mere failure to follow the law. We also need to be concerned about the normative dimensions of inter-state arrests and legal reforms to address the faults in the law.
Continue reading “Inter-State Arrests: A Daunting Threat to Personal Liberty | Rahul Machaiah”
भारत की शैक्षिक संस्थाओं ने हमेशा से छात्र आंदोलनों को हतोत्साहित किया है। हालांकि यह अपने में ही शंका के योग्य है, इसका प्रभाव जो की छात्रों की समाज में छवि पर होता है, उसकी क्षति की सीमा उन् छात्र और उस शासन के क्रमशः धर्म और विचारधारा पर निर्भर है। जब नागरिकता (संशोधन) अधिनियम 2019 अधिनियमित हुआ, इससे हिंदुत्व BJP सरकार की मंशा स्पष्ट हो गयी। हर जगह इस कानून के विरोध को कानून प्रवर्तन एजेंसियों ने पूरी कोशिश करी रोकने की, और केवल उत्तर प्रदेश में ही २३ लोगों की मौत गोली लगने के कारण हुई। इस कोशिश का गंभीर रूप सामने आया जामिया मिलिया इस्लामिया (जामिया) और अलीगढ़ मुस्लिम विश्वविद्यालय (ए.एम.यू) के छात्रों के प्रति। जामिआ और ए.एम.यू के छात्रों ने इसका विरोध किया तो उन्हे पुलिस बर्बरता का सामना करना पड़ा। इसके अतिरिक्त, दिल्ली में फ़रवरी २०२० में हुए दंगो से सम्बंधित गिरफ्तारियां भी इसी आंदोलन और ख़ास तौर से मुस्लिम छात्रों द्वारा संचालित आंदोलन से जुडी हुई हैं। इस सब में, छात्रों द्वारा प्रदर्शन में छात्रों की भागीदारी पर शैक्षिक संस्थानों का विरोध और मीडिया और सरकार द्वारा छात्रों को राष्ट्र विरोधी तत्वों के रूप में देखा जाना नजरअंदाज नहीं किया जा सकता है।
भारत में हम शैक्षिक स्थानों के भीतर संवैधानिक स्वतंत्रता पर अंकुश को बढ़ते देख रहे हैं। यह विशेष रूप से भाषण और अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता के संदर्भ में है, जिसमें असहमति दर्शाने का अधिकार सम्मिलित है। 15 दिसंबर 2019 को जामिया और ए.एम.यू के परिसर कानून प्रवर्तन एजेंसियों द्वारा बल के क्रूर उपयोग के स्थल बन गए, जब विद्यार्थी सामूहिक रूप से नागरिकता (संशोधन) अधिनियम 2019 और दो दिन पूर्व हुई प्रदर्शनकारियों पर पुलिस की बर्बरता का विरोध प्रदर्शन कर रहे थे। गवाही और वीडियोग्राफी के रूप में अच्छी तरह से प्रलेखित साक्ष्य बताते हैं कि जब जामिया और ए.एम.यू के छात्र परिसरों के अंदर पीछे हट चुके थे उसके बाद भी पुलिस ने लंबे समय तक बल प्रयोग जारी रखा।
Continue reading “जामिया और ए.एम.यू में पुलिस बर्बरता को एक साल | मधुर भारतीय”
A conversation with Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project (CPAProject) on their 2020 report, “Countermapping Pandemic Policing: A Study of Sanctioned Violence in Madhya Pradesh” & on what motivates their intervention in the criminal justice system, the everyday policing of certain groups (like denotified tribal communites) and the over-reliance on criminal law to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
You can read the full transcript with accompanying audio here.
The CPAProject is a grassroots litigation-research intervention based in Bhopal that particularly focuses on accountability against the criminalisation of marginalised communities across the state of Madhya Pradesh.
On 24 March 2020, India entered into a nation-wide lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID19 pandemic. The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) was invoked to ensure proper state function at a critical time. The majority of the population had very little time to prepare, and initially, guidelines were applied arbitrarily. As a result, for the first week of the pandemic, India effectively became a police state. The police had to assume a range of functions in the foreground of the state’s response to a public health emergency.
The guidelines became clearer over the course of the lockdown, though stories of police violence and overstep were very common. Violence against people performing essential services, like medical care and provisioning, continued. Especially disturbing were stories of violence against marginal groups, such as the homeless, street vendors, and migrant workers who tried to travel back to their villages.
Continue reading “De-essentialising the Police | Kishor Govinda”
The use of force by police officers is a subject that continues to draw constant attention the world over and India is no exception. It is fair to state that police forces across the country have not been transformed post-independence from an autocratic force into a service for citizens. While very few of us question the predominant form of governance where the State has a monopoly on the use of force, police violence brings citizens face to face with the reality of what such a monopoly entails. The ambiguity in response — outrage at the deaths of some, celebration in the case of others — is perhaps only reflective of society’s own troubled relationship with the use of force.
Those musings aside, this short post takes up the issue of police violence from three specific viewpoints. First, I discuss why the abuse of powers by police officers matters and should matter. Second, I describe the excessive use of force as not an episodic problem which we witness only in cases of, say, custodial deaths and encounters, but as something that is deeply ingrained in every fibre of how the coercive state apparatus works in India. Third, I consider some ways in which this overarching coercive apparatus can be made slightly less overbearing each time a citizen enters the police station, in whatever capacity that might be.
Continue reading “On Police and Power | Abhinav Sekhri”
We organised a panel as part of The World Transformed conference, held in the UK, with the help of Tanya Singh and Adrija Dey, that drew parallels between colonialism and the suppression of dissenting voices worldwide. Watch the discussion, read our live tweets and download the transcript below:
State surveillance, anti-terror laws and the rhetoric of ‘national security’ are being used to criminalise progressive activists and marginalised communities across the world. Speakers will discuss the colonial roots of policing and how histories of ‘anti-terrorism’ in the UK and ex-colonies, such as South Africa and India, continue to be linked before and after 9/11. We will also explore other colonialisms, such as China in Hong Kong. As states share and internationalise their repressive methods, we ask how we can build international coalitions of resistance.
Speakers: S’bu Zikode; Radha D’Souza; Gacheke Gachihi; Brian Hioe; Kerem Nişancıoğlu; Shalini Gera
Continue reading “Colonialism(s) and the Global Politics of Dissent – Panel Discussion”
In April, 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, led to shutdown in India, we hosted two tweet chats to discuss the precarious situation in prisons and police’s management of the situation. We invited people to lead a discussion on the topics.
Continue reading “Prisons and Police during COVID-19 – Twitter Curation”
In November 2019, we hosted guest curators on our Twitter to explore the colonial roots, legacy & current issues regarding legislation that declared socially marginalized & nomadic communities as ‘criminals’: Criminal Tribes Act (CTA). Each of the curators took up the detsolnet handle for a week to explain several aspects of CTA.