Joint Statement condemning arrest of activists and public intellectuals

We, the undersigned, are shocked by the serial raids across the country on the homes of activists and public intellectuals who are critical of the government and the ruling party at the Centre. The arrests of prominent activists and intellectuals Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Kranthi Tekula and others, are nothing but an attempt by the government to strike terror among those who are fighting for justice for the marginalised. This is also an attempt by the BJP to invent a false enemy and engage in scaremongering in order to polarise the 2019 elections in its favour. Already, the government and the media houses close to the BJP have been trying to spin a false narrative of a Maoist conspiracy since June, 2018. Terms like “urban naxals” are invented in order to stifle any criticism of the government. We have learnt that the Delhi Police, after having arrested Sudha Bharadwaj, waited for Republic TV to arrive before taking her to the court. This simply shows that the arrests are incomplete without the accompanying sensationalist media propaganda to demonise activists, human rights defenders and intellectuals.

The so-called raids carried out on the houses of these activists are aimed at creating a spectacle, as the writings and views of these intellectuals are already publicly known and are well documented. This seems like a conspiracy to divert attention from the gravity of the Sanatan Sanstha conspiracy to carry out serial bomb attacks on Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi! The same Sanatan Sanstha was also involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, as per the ongoing investigations by Karnataka police. Today’s arrests have been carried out in order to give cover to the murderers of Gauri Lankesh. People like Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha and others who have been arrested are friends of the people who have dedicated their entire lives to the betterment of the Indian public. By arresting them, the BJP is only exposing its insecurities and its intolerance to any dissent or criticism of its policies.

The arrests should be seen in continuation with the recent attacks on pro-justice voices such as Swami Agnivesh, Umar Khalid and many other student activists from Delhi to Lucknow. A BJP lawmaker from Karnataka even advocated the murder of “intellectuals.” Both the arrests and the physical attacks on justice loving people must be seen in a series of attempts to stifle dissent and deny social justice.

We demand immediate release of the arrested individuals, dropping of all false and malicious charges, as these arrests are politically motivated and unjustified.

Shehla Rashid Shora, former Vice-President, JNU Students’ Union.

Mohit Pandey, former President, JNU Students’ Union.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Author, Journalist, Publisher.

Neha Dixit, Journalist.

Jignesh Mevani, MLA Vadgam, Gujarat.

Sanam Sutirath Wazir, Human Rights Activist.

Nakul Singh Sawhney, Documentary Filmmaker.

Teesta Setalvad, Journalist and Social Activist.

Harish Iyer, Equal Rights Activist.

Swami Agnivesh, Arya Samaj, Social Activist.

Admiral L Ramdas

Lalita Ramdas

Shabnam Hashmi

Vidyut, blogger.

Ashok Bharati, Dalit Leader

Maj Priyadarshi Chowdhury, SC, ESM Activist & Coordinator Joint Agitation of Farmers, Dalits & ESMs

Shri VM Singh, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sanghatan

Kumar Prashant, Chairman, Gandhi Peace Foundation to the statement

If you agree with the above statement, please add your name in the comments and I will periodically add names to the post.

  • Vidyut
  • Vidyut has a keen interest in mass psychology and using it as a lens to understand contemporary politics, social inequality and other dynamics of power within the country. She is also into Linux and internet applications and servers and has sees technology as an important area India lacks security in.


  • Justice and Peace Commission endorses the above statement.

  • WTF.. that’s typical Hindu Rashtra. Use of state machinery to silence the dissent.

  • Please add my name – P A Azeez

  • The more a government fears that it is losing in every direction, the more the use iof it’s power and authority without reason, responsibility and accountability

  • do add my name – Persis Taraporevala

  • The face of fascism. Desperate attempts to muzzle voices and spread fear psychosis amongst masses.

  • I fully endirse

  • haq baat pe koḌe aur zindāñ bātil ke shikanje meñ hai ye jaañ
    insāñ haiñ ki sahme baiThe haiñ ḳhuñḳhār darinde haiñ raqsāñ
    is zulm-o-sitam ko lutf-o-karam is dukh ko davā kyā likhnā
    zulmat ko ziyā sarsar ko sabā bande ko ḳhudā kyā likhnā – Habib Jalib

  • Fully endorse this.

  • I strongly condemn these vengeful act of this government, which foolishly thinks that by these arrests, democratic Voices can be scared and throttled.

  • Subversion of Democracy

  • I protest and endorse

  • I support the statement and condemn this attack on activists. Instead of nabbing the right wing fringe groups and upper caste violent instigators, the police is targetting and persecuting activists and intellectuals, and skillfully so in an institutional way. This is a state of emergency and gross human rights violation.

    Aritry, Journalist

  • Close ranks…

  • Shalu Nigam, Advocate, Author and an Activist

  • This #MahaEmergency has to end! The Devendra Fadnavis govt cannot be allowed to target activists at whim, while letting Sangh perpetrators continue with their lives undisturbed. We must #DefendDissent, and protest #GovernmentByTerrorism!

  • shocking and worse than the dark days of emergency. The persecution of the intellectuals and human rights defenders is coupled with vilification campaign in a big way.

  • I condemn this. I am also seeking clarity on why the UAPA charge has been slapped.

  • This is pure fascism in the open, the voices of dissenters are being tried to silenced by any way possible. This is the end of freedom in India as we know it, much worse than that so called emergency era…
    We’ve to unite and stand up with those people.

  • I condemn the government’s efforts to use the draconian UAPA law to silence dissent and brand activists and intellectuals as Naxals.

  • .

  • This Govt is doing the same mistake which was done in 1976 by Mrs Gandhi

    We, the undersigned, are shocked by the serial raids across the country on the homes of activists and public intellectuals who are critical of the government and the ruling party at the Centre. The arrests of prominent activists and intellectuals

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