Updated: Jul 11
The Bhima Koregaon (BK-16) are 16 human rights activists in India who are being imprisoned on charges of “terrorism” that United Nations experts have condemned as an effort to suppress political dissent. Join us in writing solidarity messages to the BK-16. InSAF India will regularly collect the messages and send them to the Taloja and Byculla prisons.
The BK-16, who include scholars, religious clerics and community leaders, are among the 70% of India's prison population who are incarcerated without conviction, while awaiting charging or trial, often on non-bailable offences.
This policy of “undertrial” incarceration has over the decades led to massive over-congestion of prisons. This in turn has resulted in compromised health and a very high risk of infection among the prisoners in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Varavara Rao was released on temporary medical bail in winter 2020 after testing positive and a near death situation.
Father Stan Swamy, whose health declined while in prison and was, after several petitions, finally admitted to hospital in June 2021 passed away on 5 July 2021.
Hany Babu not only tested positive but also developed a life-threatening eye infection. He is currently improving in hospital but the prognosis for his sight remains uncertain.
Following these crises, RT-PCR tests were instituted in the men’s prison (Taloja Jail), and Mahesh Raut, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor have tested positive. In the women’s prison (Byculla Jail) Jyoti Jagtap contracted Covid-19 and although Sudha Bharadwaj tested negative she had Covid-like symptoms.
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