tirsdag 11. januar 2022

Sudha Bharadwaj: The prison life of India's best-known woman activist

After three years in prison, one of India's best-known activists is trying to set up home in a new city and find work. Bail conditions prohibit Sudha Bharadwaj from leaving Mumbai until the end of a trial in which she is accused of a role in a 2018 incident of caste-based violence and alleged links with Maoists. She is also not allowed to talk about the case.

Since June 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP government has jailed 16 people in connection with the violence in Bhima Koregaon village in Maharashtra state. They include some of India's most respected scholars, lawyers, academics, activists and an ageing radical poet. (Tribal rights activist, Stan Swamy, died last year in hospital, aged 84.) They have all been repeatedly denied bail under a sweeping anti-terror law, which many observers believe is now being mainly used to crack down on dissent.

Ms Bharadwaj cannot return to her work as a professor of law at a leading university in the national capital, Delhi, or go home to Faridabad on the outskirts. She is unable to visit her daughter who's studying psychology in Bhilai, more than 1,000km (620 miles) away. (The two were reunited briefly after she was freed on 10 December.)