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*PUBLIC STATEMENT BY ADVOCATE SUDHA BHARADWAJ*

Visiting Professor, National Law University Delhi and National Secretary,
Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties

I have been informed that Republic TV aired a programme on 4 July 2018, presented by anchor and MD Arnab Goswami as “Super Exclusive Breaking News”.

The programme, which is being repeatedly shown, contains a long list of ridiculous, scurrilous, false and completely unsubstantiated allegations against me. Goswami has claimed that I have written a letter (identifying myself as “Comrade Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj”) to a Maoist – one “Comrade Prakash” - stating that a “Kashmir like situation” has to be created. I am also accused of having received money from Maoists. I am also said to have confirmed that various advocates, some of whom I know as excellent human rights lawyers and others whom I do not know at all, had some sort of Maoist link.

I firmly and categorically deny that the letter referred to by Goswami – if at all such a document exists - has ever been written by me. I firmly refute all the allegations that the Republic TV has made against me, defaming me, causing me professional and personal injury. In its programme, the Republic TV has not revealed the source of such a letter. I find it curious that a document purporting to contain evidence of such serious crimes should first surface in the studio of Arnab Goswami.

I have been a dedicated trade unionist since the past 30 years, working in the organisation of the late legendary Shankar Guha Niyogi, Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, in the working class shanties of Dalli Rajhara and Bhilai, and hundreds of workers are witness to the fact. As a part of my work as a trade unionist I became a lawyer in the year 2000 since when I have fought scores of cases of workers, farmers, adivasis and poor people in the fields of labour, land acquisition, forest rights and environmental rights. Since the year 2007 I am practising in the High Court of Chhattisgarh at Bilaspur and was nominated by the High Court to be a member of the Chhattisgarh State Legal Services Authority. In the last year I have been teaching at the National Law University Delhi in the capacity of a Visiting Professor, where I offered a seminar course on tribal rights and land acquisition; and a part of the regular course on law and poverty. As a part of the programme of the Delhi Judicial Academy, I addressed the presiding officers of labour courts from Sri Lanka. My pro-people positions and work as a human rights lawyer are a matter of public record. I am perfectly aware that they stand in direct opposition to the views so loudly and frequently expressed by Arnab Goswami and Republic TV.

In my opinion the present malicious, motivated and fabricated attack on me is because I recently addressed a press conference in Delhi to condemn the arrest on 6 June of Advocate Surendra Gadling. The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), an organisation of lawyers has also strongly taken up the issue of other lawyers such as Advocate Chandrashekhar of Bhim Army and Advocate Vachinathan arrested after the Sterlite firing. It is clear that in targeting such lawyers, the state is trying to silence those who stand for the democratic rights of citizens. The state strategy is to create a chilling effect and deny equitable access to the legal system. Also very recently the IAPL had organised a fact finding into the difficulties faced by lawyers in Kashmir.

As a human rights lawyer I have appeared in cases of habeas corpus and fake encounters of adivasis in the High Court of Chhattisgarh and also made representations to the National Human Rights Commission in the defence of many human rights defenders. Recently the NHRC had sought my assistance in investigating a case in Village Kondasawali ( Sukma, Chhattisgarh). In all these cases I have acted with the professional integrity and courage expected of a human rights lawyer. This indeed appears to be “my crime” which has earned me the super exclusive attentions of Arnab Goswami.

I have asked my lawyer to send a legal notice to Arnab Goswami and Republic TV for their false, malicious and defamatory allegations against me.

Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj
New Delhi, 4th July

It wouldn't be the first time news stories reporting unfavorably on BJP President Amit Shah vanished from news websites without explanation. At other times, news organizations have been under tremendous pressure to redact stories, transfer editors and otherwise silence inconvenient news from reaching the masses. Here are some notable stories that vanished from several sites without any official redaction or explanation offered:

Journalists and news organizations that faced pressure over journalistic work that shows Amit Shah's potentially illegal dealings:

Please free to suggest stories this list misses in the comments.

(This story will be updated once Prime Minister Narendra Modi actually speaks about theKathua and Unnao rape cases.)

Originally reported by the quint.

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The greatest wonders of all time, the tear drop on the cheek of time and the symbol of undying love has been under a lot of controversy recently with a cloud of political clout hovering over it. The magnificent structure built with ivory-white marble, standing tall at 240 feet amidst the city of Agra has been a bone of contention between various religious and political groups alike with regards to it’s origin for a long time now.

It all started with a writ petition that was filed by the late INA freedom fighter known for his Hindu-centric historical revisionism, Purushottam Nagesh Oak in the Supreme Court to declare that the Taj Mahal was built by a Hindu king. The Division Bench of the Supreme Court dismissed Oak’s petition as being ‘misconceived’ and remarked that he had ‘a bee in his bonnet’. The Allahabad High Court dismissed a similar petition in 2005 brought by Amar Nath Mishra, a social worker who claimed that the Taj Mahal was built by the Hindu king Parmar Dev in 1196. From a judicial standpoint, these theories proved futile and as a consequence, could not attract the court’s attention.

In 2014, another theory stirred up when Laxmikant Bajpai, the ex-State President of BJP from Uttar Pradesh claimed that Shah Jahan bought the land from King Jai Singh in order to build the marble mausoleum. According to his theory, a substantial part of Taj Mahal was actually a part of ancient Tejo Mahalaya temple’s land which was purchased by Shah Jahan from King Jai Singh. This was in fact, in retaliation to the demand of Azam Khan, an MLA from Uttar Pradesh to hand over the Taj Mahal to the state waqf board and appoint him as the mutwalli (caretaker). This controversy raises the question, should we pay any heed at all to these alleged theories of Taj Mahal’s origin or just ignore them like any other political tussle?

Tourists walk in front of the historic Taj Mahal in the northern Indian city of Agra July 8, 2007. The Taj Mahal has been chosen as one of the modern day seven wonders of the world. The Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife and is one of the world's most famous monuments. Picture taken July 8, 2007. REUTERS/Brijesh Singh (INDIA)

The latest remarks by Sangeet Som, the MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Sardhana constituency calling Taj Mahal a blot on Indian culture and history and a symbol of slavery that was built by traitors led to another controversy. The denigrate comments disgracing the 17th century marble mausoleum coupled with the omission of one of the seven wonders of the world from the UP tourism booklet listing popular spots in the state garnered a lot of criticism across the country. The chief minister of the state, Yogi Adityanath supposedly supports the view of his fellow party-worker as evident from his comment made in June while on a tour to Bihar stating that Taj Mahal is not a reflection of Indian culture or heritage.

What exactly is the true story behind the origin of Taj Mahal, I suppose, we’ll never know. So why not just sit back and enjoy the majestic structure’s beauty as it is without raising any further questions and preserving the world-renowned monument. It reminds me of the famous quote by Rick Warren, “We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it”. After all, we do celebrate the architectural monuments built during the British Raj without much reluctance, don’t we?

Anjali Damania reported that she got a threatening call from a number in Pakistan, Karachi asking her to drop all cases against Eknath Khadse.

Transcript of the threatening call to Anjali Damania:

Caller: Anjali bol rahi hai?

Anjali: Haan...

Caller: Anjali, tune jo case kiya na khadse pe

Anjali: haan...

Caller: woh waapas le

Anjali: kaun bol raha hai?

Caller: Main koi bhi bol raha hun, tune jo case kiya hai na khadse pe woh waapis le saare case. nahi to tera main jeena haram kar dunga.

Anjali: bol kaun raha hai ya..?

Caller: [inaudible] tu family waali hai na?

Anjali: are par ye kaun, bol kaun raha hai?

Caller: Main koi bhi bol raha hun. woh jaanna tere liye jaroori nahi hai. theek hai? tune bahut jeena haram kar diya hai sabka

 

True caller shows the number to be from Pakistan.

This is the same number AAP had earlier alleged that Eknath Khadse received calls from Pakistan from. Hacker Manish Bhangale had claimed in a press conference that he had hacked the website of Pakistan Telecommunications to acquire that information. At that time, Eknath Khadse had claimed that his number was inactive and that someone may have cloned his SIM or that the hacker may have planted his number as well. That doesn't explain a call from the number now threatening Anjali Damania to withdraw the case against him.

The number shown in the service request appears to belong to Eknath Khadse.

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Anjali Damania has lodged an FIR and informed the Chief Minister and Jt CP Crime is investigating the matter.

 

Statement by Aam Aadmi Party on threat to Anjali Damania

Khadse Dawood Nexus Exposed Once Again

AAP Condemns threat to Activist Anjali Damania

Press Note 23rd September 2017

In the wee hours of today morning activist Anjali Damania got a call from a Pakistan based number +92 21 35871719. The caller threatened her to withdraw all cases against BJPs Ex Revenue Minisiter Eknath Khadse. Anjali has shared the recorded call in which she and her family have been threatened. Subsequently she informed Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and he has asked Joint Commissioner Crime to investigate the matter.

The Aam Aadmi Party says that this kind of investigation is completely inadequate and the investigation must be handed over specialised agencies like, RAW or IB as this number is said to belong to Dawood Ibrahim.

Ethical hacker Maneesh Bhangale had said this number belongs to Mehjabeen Shaikh, wife of the Dawood Ibrahim and was registered in Karachi. Given below is an attachment that he had shared of a communication between Pakistan Telecom with Mehjabeen Shaikh regarding that same number. Maneesh had said that Eknath Khadse's mobile number was frequently called from this very number - +92 21 35871719. Further, media sources had shown that this number is noted as belonging to Dawood Ibrahim's residence in the files of Indian Intelligence agencies too.

When the AAP demanded that Maneesh Bhangale's claims be investigated the Joint Commissioner Crime had given Ekanth Khadse the fastest in the world - in just 4 hours. How can we expect the same department to do a thorough investigation to the threat to Anjali?! The Joint CP at that time, Atulchandra Kulkarni then moved to ATS where once again he failed to investigate the matter. Instead, on a flimsy complaint by Eknath Khadse's associate Ravi Bhangale, the Cyber Police arrested and is harassing Maneesh Bhangale till date.

This call to Anjali is on Ekanth Khadse's behalf, from Dawood's residence. What more proof is required that Ekanth Khadse and Dawood Ibrahim work together? What is more important is that the state has totally failed to provide safety to Activists and Journalists and we fear for the safety of Anjali Damania and her family. We demand that this investigation be handed over to a national agency which cannot be influenced by Eknath Khadse the way the state Crime Department was influenced in the past. Anjali Damania should be provided police security immediately. The whole state stands with Anjali in her crusade against corruption.

 

Sincerely

Preeti Sharma Menon

National Executive Member & National Spokesperson

Aam Aadmi Party