Sudha Bharadwaj taken into custody, activists across the country raided by police

Bar & Bench August 28 2018
Sudha Bharadwaj

Activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj has been taken into custody after a police team from Pune conducted a raid at her home in the early hours of Tuesday morning, reports The Wire.

Bharadwaj has been charged under Sections 153a, 505, 117 and 120 of the Indian Penal Code and several sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The police have seized all her electronic devices. She has reportedly been detained at the Surajkund police station in Faridabad.

As per news reports, police teams in different cities across the country raided the homes of a number of activists, lawyers and writers this morning. Some of these have been arrested are currently in police custody. Among those visited by police teams include Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Susan Abraham, journalist Kranthi Tekula, Father Stan Swamy, Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha.

While the reasons for the planned arrests remain unclear, they are being perceived as a crackdown on dissent. Many of those whose homes were raided had spoken out against the arrests of lawyer Surendra Gadling and four others.

Last month, Republic TV had carried a story claiming to be in possession of a letter in which Bharadwaj and others had written about creating a “Kashmir-like situation” in India. Identifying her as “Comrade Sudha”, the letter purportedly states that she has links to Maoists and Kashmiri separatists.

Bharadwaj had categorically denied these allegations, and had sent a legal notice to Arnab Goswami and Republic TV.

The National Secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Bharadwaj has has been working for farmers, adivasis and poor people in the fields of labour, land acquisition, forest rights and environmental rights. She has been practicing in the Chhattisgarh High Court since 2007. She is also a Visiting Professor at National Law University, Delhi.

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