07, Sep 2018 | CJP Team
Sudha Bhardwaj, long time trade union activist, the general secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and a National Law University (NLU), Delhi visiting professor is under house arrest since August 29, after her house was raided by Maharashtra police on August 28 allegedly in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence and protests.
Pan India raids and arrests took place on August 28 with several other prominent human rights activists and defenders facing the ire of a hostile state machinery, hell bent to silence these diverse voices of dissent. A writ petition was moved by Romila Thapar and others on August 29 in which it was alleged that the arrested activists were being targeted for critiquing the government.
The Supreme Court had ordered house arrest of the activists till the next hearing, September 6. The Maharashtra police, in a counter affidavit filed on September 5 had alleged that the petition wasn’t maintainable because the petitioners were “strangers” and asked for the cancellation of house arrests, but the counsel for the accused had already submitted affidavits in which the accused submitted that they can be considered as the petitioners.
The Supreme Court then extended their house arrest till September 12 and also slammed the Maharashtra police for “being out of line” in conducting press conference and giving public statement about the accused. Several accounts have emerged in the media since, describing how Sudha Bhardwaj dedicated her life for people, her contributions to the legal rights of the most marginalized, her contributions as a teacher, her contributions as a trade union activist, working closely with Shankar Guha Niyogi.
However, in this exclusive hand-written letter, her daughter Maaysha has come out for the first time describing her struggles as the daughter of a human rights defender who dedicated her life to the service of people. Maaysha says, “If fighting for the rights of Adivasis, fighting for the rights of workers and peasants, fighting against repression and exploitation, and giving up one’s whole life for them, is being a Naxalite, then I guess Naxalites are pretty good.”
The entire handwritten letter may be read here: