Bhima Koregaon: Spyware attacks on rights defenders show continuing attempt to fix case


On Monday, an Amnesty International report, put together with digital activist group Citizens Lab, pointed to targeted spyware attacks last year against nine human rights defenders who were helping the people arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case in Maharashtra.

The report is the latest chapter in a case in which it seems an array of forces are at work to plant evidence against 11 human rights activists and lawyers arrested in connection with violence that erupted between Marathas and Dalits in the village of Bhima Koregaon outside Pune on January 1, 2018.

This violence came a day after an event in Pune called the Elgar Parishad to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818. In this battle, Dalit Mahar soldiers fighting for the British helped defeat the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of the Maratha empire.

The police arrested 11 people they said were responsible for organising the Elgar Parishad, claiming that they were had links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Almost two years later, the activists remain in prison without bail, even as the National Investigation Agency, which abruptly took over the case in January following a unilateral decision by the Union Home Ministry, continues to function at snail’s pace. The NIA has ignored allegations…

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