Mumbai demands Maha Vikas Aghadi govt immediately release all 9 arrested activists in Bhima Koregaon case.
Government must also drop the cases against Dalit youth filed in connection with Bhima Koregaon violence.
It has been nearly a year and half since 9 human rights defenders were arrested on the pretext of the violence that ensued on January 1, 2018, when Hindutva mobs attacked Dalit Bahujans marching to Bhima Koregaon to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the battle that led to the defeat of Peshwa rule. In the aftermath of that incident, the homes of the defenders were raided, and false cases foisted on them.
The recent change in government in Maharashtra, with the Maha Vikas Aghadi taking charge has been followed by the withdrawal of cases against those protesting the felling of trees in Aarey forest as well as the 23 people protesting the Rs 3 trillion Nanar oil refinery and petrochemicals complex in Ratnagiri; the government has said it will drop charges against Dalit activists in the Bhima Koregaon case. While we welcome these steps, we strongly urge that the government to allow for the release of the 9 human rights defenders.
It is with this pressing concern that Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy is calling for a press conference ahead of International Human Rights Day (December 10) to remind the new government of the various activists and workers who have been targeted by the previous government and are consequently suffering for their work in raising awareness among, and thereby empowering, the marginalized and ensuring their cause is well represented.
We invite all Mumbaikars, and particularly friends in the media, to attend this Press Conference at 4 pm on 9 December, at Mumbai Press Club, and join us in demanding that the government release the 9 falsely implicated Bhima Koregaon activists and quash all false cases against Dalit youths. We also demand that the pretext of Bhima Koregaon not be used to further target activists and human rights defenders.