Mainstream

Home > 2021 > Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Feb 20, 2021

Mainstream, VOL LIX No 10, New Delhi, February 20, 2021

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Feb 20, 2021

Saturday 20 February 2021

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Feb 20, 2021

Over the past few years both prominent and little known critics of the Modi government have been targeted by the police at central and state levels in pretty visibly politically motivated cases. There is a growing tendency to file cases under multiple sections of the law and often also on severe charges of sedition. Recently prominent journalists, and a member of parliament, were subjected to harassment when near identical FIRs in several states were filed against them with accusations of sedition and causing social disharmony. The charge of sedition dates back to colonial law and it has been removed from statute books in the UK.

There have been repeated demands for the provision of sedition to be done away with in India. It has been blatantly misused by the authorities in India. The latest is an instance where Delhi Police has arrested an environmental activist from Bangalore on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy in the Greta Thunberg toolkit case. It is perfectly legitimate for committed social activists and citizens to help support the movement of farmers agitating against the farm laws and this cannot be projected as sedition. The so called toolkit at the centre of the case shares information and suggests various protest modes and there is nothing wrong in doing that. Justice Deepak Gupta, a former Judge at the Supreme Court of India, commenting on Disha Ravi’s Arrest said during a panel discussion on NDTV that the ‘Toolkit’ Has Nothing On Violence Or Incitement; Not Seditious. Every citizen of this country has a right to oppose the government so long as the opposition is peaceful".(https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/toolkit-not-seditious-no-violence-justice-deepak-gupta-disha-ravi-169906)

A recent report by the US-based digital forensic firm Arsenal Consulting as reported in the Washington Post has found that incriminating evidence was planted on the computer of one of the Bhima-Koregaon accused. There is urgent need now for a fair investigation into the reported finding that one of the accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, Rona Wilson, was framed as part of a conspiracy, and the evidence that was claimed to have been found against him in the case was planted. According to a petition filed by Wilson in the Bombay High Court, examination by a US forensic audit firm has found that his computer was accessed by unknown hackers who planted documents in it

We hope the courts will take note of the rampant misuse of the sedition law by the police and also of order an inquiry into the way in which evidence was fabricated and planted to arrest some of the people in the Bhima-Koregaon case.

Tributes:

Professor Partha Nath Mukherji, the well known sociologist passed away on February 12, 2021. He had been one of the founders of sociology centre at JNU and was later associated with Institute of Social Sciences (ISS), Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and other institutions

Justice PB Sawant, the former judge at the Supreme Court of India passed away on Feb 15 2021. In 2002, he served with retired justice Hosbet Suresh on an Indian People’s Tribunal headed by justice V. R. Krishna Iyer to investigate the 2002 Gujarat riots. Justice Sawant helped draft of the Right To Information Bill that later became law in India.

Rama Jois, the former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court (1992) and later Governor for the states of Jharkhand and Bihar passed away on February 16.

We pay our tributes to the above figures

February 20, 2021, The Editors

Notice: The print edition of Mainstream Weekly is now discontinued & only an online edition is appearing. No subscriptions are being accepted