Press Release : Condemn Arrest of Lawyers and Activists

August 29, 2018

Press Release

NDLF IT Employees Wing condemns the arrest of leading lawyers and activists by the Modi government which is a direct assault on the democratic rights of Adhivasis, Workers and Intellectuals.

All those arrested on 28th August 2018 are prominent members of society, contributing through their professional skills as teachers, writers, lawyers. This targeting is aimed at maligning these human rights defenders, lawyers and activists. It is also meant to have a chilling effect on all democratic minded citizens, be they journalists, lawyers, writers, academics or thinkers so that they may not critique the policies, programmes of the government and others.

As a trade union, fighting against policies of government such as Fixed Term Employment and protesting against indifference of government to illegal layoffs, we cherish the democratic right to dissent and oppose anti democratic polices of the government. In that spirit, we stand in solidarity with these fighters of democratic rights.

We should keep in mind the cost of silence.

  • First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
  • Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
  • Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
  • Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

– Martin Niemöller

A brief outline of the targeted activists

  • Gautam Navalakha (Human Rights activist and journalist New Delhi). He was the President of the People’s Union for Democratic Rights and has been has been associated with the Economic and Political Weekly.
  • Sudha Bharadwaj (Advocate, Bilaspur High Court, currently residing in Faridabad) Prominent cause lawyer of Bilaspur High Court who has represented workers, poor and marginal farmers and others in Chhattisgarh. She is the national general secretary of PUCL and since 2017 been teaching at the National Law University, Delhi.
  • Varavara Rao (Age 79, based in Hyderabad, political worker, commentator and renowned poet) He was a professor of English and Telegu literature.
  • Arun Ferreira (Mumbai) Practising as a lawyer since 2015 and a Human Rights activist
  • Vernon Gonsalves (Mumbai), Gold medalists from Bombay University in Commerce, accounts officer at Siemens, then lecturer of accounts in Maharastra College, writer and columnist.

NDLF IT Employees Wing

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