Berlin, 11 Dec 2021
Through an interactive street performance on 10 December, International Human Rights Day,
at Rathaus Neukölln in Berlin, the India Justice Project called for solidarity with imprisoned
human rights defenders in India. By reconstructing a prison visitor’s room, passbyers were
able to sit down with “prisoners” and query them about the injustice of their incarceration.
This enabled a dialogue about repressive laws in India, such as the Unlawful Activities
(Prevention) Act (UAPA), which are being routinely used to arrest anyone demanding their
rights or dissenting against unlawful actions of the state.
During the event known Indian activists and lawyers spoke on the state of democracy and
shrinking civic spaces in India. A case of particular interest was that of the “Bhima Koregaon
16” (BK16), one of the most blatant examples of the repression of civil society in India. The 16
imprisoned activists, advocates, authors and cultural artists have arbitrarily been accused of
terrorism under UAPA since 2018, because they spoke, acted, and organized in support of the
rights of Dalits, Adivasis (indigenous people), and workers. One of the most prominent
figures of the BK16 was the Jesuite priest Stan Swamy, who died in prison in July 2021 due to
medical negligence. The tragedy of his death was addressed during the event through a
minute of silence.
The protest action was part of a larger campaign – “Speaking up is not Anti-National, Silencing
people is!” organized by individuals and 30+ organizations across 15 countries. The India
Justice Project wants to raise awareness in Germany regarding the situation of political
prisoners such as the Bhima Koregaon 16 in India. Such cases are emblematic for the
injustices perpetrated by the Indian government with absolute impunity. Other manifestations
of the politics of hate by the Indian government are discriminatory laws such as the
Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the anti-conversion law, as well as the revocation of
the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir.
We at the India Justice Protect, demand:
1. The Indian government toGuarantee basic human rights as per international conventions and the Indian Constitution
2. Free all political prisoners and compensate them for mental and physical pain endured
3. Repeal anti-democratic laws such as the UAPA, anti-conversion laws, and the CAA
4. Put indigenous rights, human rights, and environmental and climate considerations above
India Justice Project
India Justice Project