URGENT: Demand The Release Of The Bhima Koregaon 9 Now!
In 2018, as part of a massive crackdown on human rights defenders in India, nine prominent activists– Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao– were arrested by the Pune Police.
The police claim the nine were allegedly involved in the violence that erupted between Dalits and Hindu nationalists in January 2018 in Bhima Koregaon, Maharashtra.
Following the arrests, a smear campaign was launched against the activists. The government claims they are ‘anti-nationals’ working against the country. However the opinion of communities, where the activists work, is entirely different. In these communities, they are hailed as brave activists, committed to the causes of the poorest and most marginalised communities in the country, like Dalits and Adivasis. Far from being anti-national, the ‘Bhima Koregaon 9’ are for many, national heroes.
The nine activists continue to be imprisoned at Yerawada Jail, Pune, pending their trial. We are concerned that the arrests of such eminent activists and human rights defenders is an attempt to derail the human rights movement in India. Moreover, indefinitely jailing such prominent figures undermines the broader struggles for justice and equality.
Now more than ever, we need you to act. Tell the Indian Prime Minister that attacking activists who are heroes for some of the most marginalised communities in India is not in the nation’s best interest. Call for the immediate release of the Bhima Koregaon 9.
Let’s show Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the world is watching.