Her 4th Birthday in Prison! WHAT DID SHE DO TO DESERVE THIS?

Sudha Bharadwaj threw off a cushy comfortable life that she could pursue easily being born and grown up to illustrious parents. At the age of 18 she denounced her US citizenship. Being an IIT graduate, she still could have chosen a less risky and easier life. But she opted for walking with the people, stand by the people in their rightful fight. She moved to Chattisgarh to join Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha to work among the mine workers in Dalli-Rajhara. She felt the need to know the law and judiciary in depth as the majority of the population don’t understand these properly and are subject to this System. Hence Sudha graduated from Ravi Shankar Shukla University in Law in 2000.

Sudha, along with other lawyers, formed ‘Janhit’ – a lawyers’ collective. The aim was to give group legal aid to movements. It fought for industrial workers’ rights, for villages fighting land acquisition and mining, Adivasi groups struggling for forest rights, environmental issues and PIL litigation. ‘Janhit’ used to provide legal advice to the ‘Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan’, a platform for anti-displacement movements, to the people in Sarguja fighting a violation of Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) rules and the peasants in Raigarh resisting preventive arrests. It led cases against some most fiercely industrial houses like Jindal, Vedanta, BALCO, Lafarge Holcim, D.B. Power, Vandana Vidyut, SECL, Bhilai Steel Plant, Monnet Steel, Adani, Hindalco, Grasim, Ultratech and others. So, the State, the paid crony of the monopolists, had enough reasons to resent her. As the General Secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Sudha worked on issues like human trafficking. She fought against attacks on minorities. She had always been by the side of families of victims of human rights violations in the conflict zone of Bastar. She has always raised her voice against the State repression in Bastar.

On August 28, 2018, Sudha got arrested by the Pune Police for having alleged links with ‘Maoists’ and was charged under UAPA for her “inflammatory speech and provocative statements” made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held to celebrate the 2nd centenary of Bhima Koregaon battle. Till date NIA or Pune Police couldn’t prove one single charge and NIA even have failed to produce a changesheet to the court. But the ‘Honourable’ court has continuously rejected her bail pleas! She has already spent more than two years as an under-trial prisoner and this is her 3rd birthday that she is spending in the darkness of prison cell.

Why did she devoted her life serving the poorest section of the society? Didn’t she know the risk in challenging the system? She knew it very well! And she took the stand consciously as she says, “If you try to be safe and be in the middle, you will never succeed. I think physically, those of us who took the plunge learn to swim. Many people did that, we weren’t the only ones.”

#ReleaseSudhaBharadwaj #ReleaseBK15 #ReleaseAllPoliticalPrisoners
_ *Release the Poet

*’Release the Poet’ is a campaign by the Poets, Artists, Writers and the Readers of Bengal for the release of Varavara Rao, Indian state’s longest imprisoned poet & author. It has been initiated in Kolkata.

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