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Ilina Sen harassed again. Long live the Republic!

January 25, 2011

FINAL UPDATE: Over a hundred names (113) that were received by 9 am on 27th morning have now been added. Apart from the press, the statement will be sent also to the Union Home Minister, Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Chairpersons NHRC and NCW. Final list of names now posted here.

UPDATE: Close to a hundred endorsements from all over the country have been received from academics, social activists, lawyers, film-makers, theatre persons, students, journalists and office bearers of PUCL and IAWS . This will now be sent to the press, and may be circulated widely. All names received by  3 pm are now listed at the end of the statement.


Below is a statement being circulated by some of us for endorsement. Please endorse by 3 pm tomorrow (26th January)

We strongly condemn the Nagpur Anti-Terrorism Squad’s registering of a case of violating the ‘Foreigners Act’ against Dr Ilina Sen, head of the Department of Women’s Studies at Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University (MGAHV), Wardha.

According to the FIR registered against her, Dr Ilina Sen as organizer of a conference recently held at MGAHV, failed to inform authorities about the presence of foreign delegates – as apparently required by Section 7 and 14 of the Act.

But the truth of the matter is revealed in statements issued to the press by Nagpur ATS in which a senior officer deplored the fact that participants at the conference raised slogans demanding scrapping of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the release of Binayak Sen and the recently arrested Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale.

The conference was in fact the 13th national conference of the Indian Association of Women’s Studies, which has held previous conferences in association with universities all over the country. Ilina Sen is only one of the office bearers of IAWS. The Nagpur ATS has neither taken into consideration the fact that the organizers of the conference are respected scholars and academics, nor the fact that two of the foreign scholars stayed in the Vice Chancellor’s residence. Both these facts (especially since the VC is a well-known former member of the police force), indicate that nothing was done surreptitiously or behind the back of the authorities.

It is clear therefore that this action of the ATS in targeting Ilina Sen is nothing but a further attempt to muzzle dissent in general and to brazenly intimidate a respected academic.

It cannot be a coincidence that such harassment comes at a time when Dr Ilina Sen is in the midst of a legal battle in the Chhattisgarh High Court for the release of her husband Dr Binayak Sen, who has been unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment for ‘sedition’ on trumped up charges.

Further, if the Foreigners’ Act is going to be used in this way to intimidate scholars engaged in legitimate academic activity across universities and academic institutions in the country, it will have a chilling effect on international scholarly exchanges and further damage globally, the already tattered reputation of India as a democracy.

We demand the withdrawal of all charges against Dr Ilina Sen and others mischievously booked under the Foreigners’ Act and the immediate closure of the case 3004/2011 at PS Sewagram, Wardha District. Further, we demand an immediate and impartial inquiry by the Government of Maharashtra into the high-handed behavior of the Nagpur ATS.

Apoorvanand, Professor, Delhi University

Satya Sivaraman, Journalist

Nivedita Menon, Professor, JNU

Aditya Nigam, Fellow, CSDS, Delhi

Udaya Kumar, Professor, Delhi University

Prabhat Patnaik, Professor, JNU

Utsa Patnaik, Professor, JNU

Aruna Roy MKSS,Rajasthan

Nikhil Dey, MKSS, Rajasthan

Anand Patwardhan, Filmmaker, Mumbai

Tripurari Sharma, National School of Drama

Krishna Kumar, Professor, Delhi University

Jayati Ghosh, Professor, JNU

Neeladri Bhattacharya, Professor, JNU

Uma Chakravarti, Feminist Historian

Narayani Gupta, Retired Professor, Jamia Milia Islamia

Veena Das, Professor, Johns Hopkins University, USA

Ram Gopal Bajaj, Theater director and actor

Ritu Menon,Women Unlimited, Delhi

A. Mangai, Theatreperson, Faculty, Dept. of English, Stella Maris College, Chennai

Ganesh Devi, Bhasha, Vadodara

Kalpana Kannabiran, Asmita resource Centre for Women

Amrita Chhachhi, Feminist scholar

Sadhna Saxena, Professor, Department of Education, University of Delhi

Kalyani Menon-Sen, Writer and Activist

Purwa Bharadwaj, Researcher

Janaki Abraham, Associate Professor, Delhi University

Meher Engineer, Former Director, Bose Institute, Kolkata

Naresh Kumar Sharma, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Hyderabad

Tridip Suhrid, Bhasha, Vadodara

Pulin B. Nayak, Professor,Delhi School of Economics

Harsh Mander, Aman Biradari

Kamla Bhasin, SANGAT

Mahipal Singh, PUCL, National Secretary

Kavita Srivastava, PUCL National Secretary

Sudha Bharadwaj, PUCL, Chhattisgarh, General Secretary,

Bela Bhatia,Independent Scholar

Himanshu Kumar, Vanvasi Chetna Ashram

Anand Chakravarti, Retired Professor, University of Delhi

Anita Ghai, President, Indian Association for Women’s Studies.

Anandhi.S, Associate Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai and Executive Committee member, Indian Association for Women’s Studies.

Mary John, Director, CWDS, Delhi and Executive Committee member, Indian Association for Women’s Studies

Aditya Sarkar, Lecturer, University of Goettingen

Niharika Gupta, Scholar

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar, Barak Human Rights Protection Committee, Guwahati

Soumya Datta, Asst. Prof., Shyam Lal College (Evening), Delhi University

Naveen Gaur, Associate Professor, Dyal Singh College, Delhi University

Shivam Vij, Writer and journalist, Delhi

Satish Poduval, Dept. of Cultural Studies, EFL University Hyderabad.

Naveen Chander, New Socialist Initiative (NSI) Delhi

A. Chattopadhyay, Washington

Arindam Roy, Journalist, Allahabad

Nowshari, Berlin, German

Akshay Deshmane, Journalist, Mumbai.

Tamal Dasgupta, Asst Professor, Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Delhi University

Pratik Karki,Student, NLSIU, Bangalore

Rijul, Student, Delhi School of Economics

Albertina Almeida,  Advocate, Goa

Surekha , Professor, Sayajirao university

Rabin Chakraborty, Retired Professor, Calcutta University

Chayanika Shah, Researcher and Teacher,Forum Against Oppression of Women, Bombay and Lesbians and Bisexuals in Action, Bombay

Surasri Chaudhuri, Lecturer, Vivekananda College, Kolkata

P.Zachariah, Retired Professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore

Dilip Simeon, Writer/Activist, Delhi

Rohini Hensman Independent scholar and writer

Lata Singh, Associate Professor, Maitreyi College, Delhi University

Vani Subramanian, Film maker and Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, Delhi

Veena Gowda,Advocate,Mumbai

Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Advocate, Mumbai

Jayasree Subramanian, Eklavya, Hoshangabad

Rukmini Datta, Development consultant, Mumbai

Pratiksha Baxi, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Brinda Bose, Associate Professor, Department of English, Delhi University

Shraddha, MASUM, Pune

C S Chandrika, Writer, Trivandrum, Kerala

Shilpa Phadke, Centre for Media & Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

Farah Naqvi, Writer & Activist, Delhi

Ammu Abraham, Journalist, Bombay

Anant Maringanti, Academic

Bindu Menon, Assistant Professor,Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University

Ratna Appnender, Law Student, Bangalore

Shipra Nigam, Visiting Faculty, IIT Delhi

Geeta Seshu, Journalist, Mumbai

Nitya Vasudevan,Researcher, Bangalore

Ponni Arasu, Researcher, Chennai.

Madhu Mehra, PLD, Delhi

Payal Dhar, Bangalore/Delhi

Mahtab Alam, Civil Rights’ Activist and Journalist

S.Sanjeev,writer,Trivandrum

Bhavna Wasnik, Asst. Prof., Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Amravati

Muhammed Aslam.A, Activist, Solidarity Youth movement, Kerala

Sikandar Kumar, Student, Delhi University

Niyati Sharma, Student, Delhi University

Richa Minocha, Shimla

Anusha, Student, JNU

Urvija, Communication Officer, Hyderabad Council of Human Welfare

Maya Subrahmanian, Uni-Freiburg,Germany

Geeta Charusivam, Social Activist, Tamil Nadu

Rajashri Dasgupta, Journalist, Kolkata

Laxmi Murthy, Consulting Editor, Himal Southasian, Kathmandu.

Vibhuti Patel, Academic, Mumbai

Amar Jesani, Health Activist, Mumbai

Meena Saraswathi Seshu, SANGRAM, Sangli

Vasant Bhosale – Editor, People’s Politics

Mary Thomas

Amit Sinha

Nazrul Haque

Baruk Feddabonn

Priya Jain

Omar Farooq

Sugeeta

Vishnu

Byasa Moharana

41 Comments
  1. Waliullah Ahmed Laskar permalink
    January 25, 2011 9:08 PM

    I endorse the statement. My particulars are

    Name: Waliullah Ahmed Laskar
    Organisation: Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC)
    Address: 15, Panjabari Road, Darandha, Six Mile, Guwahati-37, Assam
    Mobile: +919401942234

  2. Kalpana Kannabiran permalink
    January 25, 2011 9:19 PM

    Pl. add my name to this letter.
    Kalpana Kannabiran, Asmita Resource Centre for Women

  3. rajeev permalink
    January 25, 2011 9:35 PM

    एटीस ने अपने एफ आई आर में कुछ छात्राओ के नाम का भी जिक्र किया है जिन्होंने आए हुए डेलिगेट्स को होटलों, धर्मशालाओं में रुकवाने में मदद कि थी..वस्तुतः उनके एफ आई आर इलीना सेन और आवास समिति के अध्यक्ष के खिलाफ किया गया है.
    यह स्पष्ट है कि एटीस और स्थानीय गुप्तचर विभाग( एल आई बी ) की नज़र काफी समय से वर्धा के स्त्री अध्यन विभाग पर इलीना सेन कि वजह से थी और वे उन्हें आज नहीं तो कल किसी न किसी आरोप में फ़साने वाले ही थे…किन्तु यह काफी दुखद है कि कुलपति महोदय ने इस आयोजन को पूरी तरह से इलीना सेन के ऊपर थोप दिया है जब कि उनके होम गार्ड के अधिकारी श्री घोड़मारे ने आज कहा कि खुद कुलपति के घर पर तीन विदेशी गेस्ट थे जिनके फार्म सी नहीं भरे गए थे..फिर इतना भेदभाव क्यों…

  4. Byasa Moharana permalink
    January 25, 2011 9:48 PM

    Please include my name
    regards
    bm

  5. Soumya permalink
    January 25, 2011 10:08 PM

    I endorse the statement, please add my name.

    Soumya Datta
    Asst. Prof., Shyam Lal College (Evening)
    University of Delhi

    • sadhna saxena permalink
      January 25, 2011 10:25 PM

      I endorse the statement. Please add my name.

      Sadhna Saxena
      Prof. Depart emnt of Education University of Delhi

  6. Muhammed Aslam.A permalink
    January 25, 2011 10:10 PM

    I endorse the statement
    Muhammed Aslam.A
    Activist, Solidarity youth movement, Kerala

  7. I also endorse the statement permalink
    January 25, 2011 10:24 PM

    Naveen Gaur
    Associate Professor
    Dyal Singh College,
    University of Delhi, Delhi

  8. Amrita Chhachhi permalink
    January 25, 2011 10:57 PM

    I endorse this statement- please add my name.
    amrita

  9. January 25, 2011 11:18 PM

    Shivam Vij, writer and journalist, Delhi

  10. January 25, 2011 11:24 PM

    Endorsed.

    – Bhaswati Ghosh/ Bhupinder Singh

  11. Rijul permalink
    January 25, 2011 11:25 PM

    Student, Delhi School of Economics

  12. Anil Sethi permalink
    January 25, 2011 11:39 PM

    I endorse the statement.

    PS: Were the foreigners armed ?

  13. Satish Poduval permalink
    January 25, 2011 11:47 PM

    The arrest of Binayak Sen and Sudhir Dhawle, and the manner in which Ilina Sen is sought to be intimidated, is outrageous. I support the statement.

    Satish Poduval
    Dept. of Cultural Studies, EFL University
    Hyderabad.

  14. Pratik karki permalink
    January 26, 2011 12:05 AM

    I endorse the statement.
    -Pratik Karki
    Student, NLSIU, Bangalore.

  15. Tamal Dasgupta permalink
    January 26, 2011 12:17 AM

    Down with the neo-liberal fascists who are out to destroy academic freedom and democracy in this country.

    Tamal Dasgupta
    Asst Professor, Bhim Rao Ambedkar College
    Uiniversity of Delhi

  16. shelja permalink
    January 26, 2011 1:47 AM

    pls add my name

  17. Akshay Deshmane permalink
    January 26, 2011 2:03 AM

    I endorse the statement.


    Akshay Deshmane, Journalist, Mumbai.

  18. January 26, 2011 2:16 AM

    I endorse the statement. Freelance Journalist, Allahabad

  19. Naveen Chander permalink
    January 26, 2011 2:31 AM

    I endorse the statement.

    Naveen Chander

    New Socialist Initiative (NSI) Delhi

  20. Dr. Nowshari permalink
    January 26, 2011 3:16 AM

    I endorse the statement.
    Dr. Nowshari, Berlin, Germany

  21. Dr. A. Chattopadhyay permalink
    January 26, 2011 3:23 AM

    This is ridiculous, and the fact that it is allowed to go on is a shame for all Indians everywhere. Dissent is the cornerstone of democracy. Sedition is what a corrupt government calls arguments it cannot refute. This must be publicized internationally before something tragic happens to Mr. Sen.

    A. Chattopadhyay, Washington

  22. Bhochka permalink
    January 26, 2011 4:48 AM

    I’d like to add my name to the endorsement. This is truly obscene.

    -Dr Aditya Sarkar, lecturer and post-doctoral researcher, University of Goettingen.

  23. Amit Sinha permalink
    January 26, 2011 5:39 AM

    I support this stand. This is outright harassment by the state. Not only should it be stopped but the guilty be brought to book.

  24. Nazrul Haque permalink
    January 26, 2011 7:23 AM

    On this day, the Republic Day of India, I endorse this. Nazrul Haque.

  25. Baruk Feddabonn permalink
    January 26, 2011 7:55 AM

    I endorse this statement

  26. Anant M permalink
    January 26, 2011 9:01 AM

    Here is an explanation of the Foreigners’ Act and why it doesnt apply to Ilina Sen:
    “The Foreigners Act requires hotel keepers and other persons who own, occupy or control the premises where foreigners are accommodated to submit such information to the authorities in a prescribed format known as ‘Form C’. It is unclear how Prof. Sen, who is a coordinator of the IAWS, has been booked under the Act given that the relevant provisions apply only to persons who furnish lodging to foreigners for payment…
    The Foreigners Act itself places no such obligation on Indians who invite foreigners for conferences or social events. The four Pakistani and Bangladeshi participants named in the FIR were residing on the university campus. The IAWS sources told The Hindu that three of these women scholars were in fact staying in the Vice-Chancellor’s residence as personal guests while the fourth was put up at the university guesthouse. Ironically, full political and security clearance from the Ministries of Home Affairs and the External Affairs had been obtained in advance for the participation of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan scholars as government rules currently prescribe in order for visas to be granted.”
    Full story in The Hindu

    I endorse the statement.
    Anant Maringanti

  27. omar Farooq permalink
    January 26, 2011 9:07 AM

    I endorse this statement

    Omar

  28. Mahtab Alam permalink
    January 26, 2011 9:27 AM

    I endorsed.
    Mahtab Alam, Civil Rights’ Activist and Journalist

  29. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    January 26, 2011 10:14 AM

    Press Statement from the IAWS from Wardha, following the 13th National
    Conference of the Indian Association of Women’s Studies, held from
    21-24 January, 2011.

    25th January 2011

    The IAWS (Indian Association for Women’s Studies) is shocked and strongly condemns the entry of the police into Yatri Niwas, at Wardha at 2.30 a.m. on 24th January 2011, where a large number of women participants, who were mainly students and teachers from Universities across the country, attending the 13th National Conference of the Indian Association for Women’s Studies (IAWS) held from 20-24 January 2011 were staying.

    The conference was hosted by the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAHV), Wardha, with the IAWS as the organiser. The earlier 12 conferences of the association too have been held in
    collaboration with Universities in different regions of the country and hosted by them. The IAWS is currently headed by Prof Anita Ghai, professor in psychology and a noted disability expert from New Delhi, who is the President of the Association, and Prof Samita Sen, historian and Director of the School of Women’s Studies at Jadavpur University, the General Secretary, along with other members of the Executive Committee such as Dr. Uma Chakravarti , Dr. Wandana Sonalkar, from New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Aurangabad, who are all noted academicians and a few student representatives involved in gender studies.

    The preparations for this 13th National Conference has been ongoing for nearly two years now. The members of the Executive Committee of the Indian Association of Women’s Studies have been collaborating with Women’s Studies scholars across the country inviting them to speak at the plenaries, to be coordinators of 10 subthemes and present papers.

    A student pre-conference workshop with enthusiastic participation by students from across the country preceded the conference. Being an academic and professional association of Women’s Studies scholars,
    teachers, students and activists, the conference held once in three years deliberates on the various scholarly and social concerns centring on women’s lives in the country. In all, there were 750
    participants, 3 foreign invited speakers. Among the prominent women present were Prof Saradamoni, Prof Devaki Jain, Dr. Zarina Bhatty , Prof Nirmala Banerjee, Sharmila Rege, Indu Agnihotri.

    The teachers, students and the administration of the Mahatma Gandhi
    Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAHV), Wardha, have helped the
    Executive Committee of the IAWS in the organisation not just of the academic proceedings, but also the cultural programmes, the films that were screened and the stalls and exhibitions that displayed books and crafts.

    As part of organising the conference in Wardha, the IAWS expressed its pride and honour to have the opportunity to felicitate prominent senior activists from Vidharbha region, Malti Ruikar, Leelatai Chitale, Seema Sakhare, Nalini Ladke, and Sumantai
    Bang, a practice followed at national conferences. Pushpa Bhave felicitated the activists on behalf of the IAWS. Noted dalit writer, Kumud Pawde delivered the Madhuri Shah Memorial Lecture.

    In the above context, IAWS is shocked that the police entered the premises of the conference and the accommodation venues.

    We also wish to clarify that the media reports that attribute the organisation of the conference to Prof. Ilina Sen (EC member,IAWS) alone is totally erroneous and distorted, and that it is the Indian
    Association of Women’s Studies, that has organized this conference, hosted by the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha.

    Signed

    Dr. Anita Ghai and the members of the Executive Committee of the IAWS

  30. sanjeev permalink
    January 26, 2011 10:30 AM

    i endorse.
    s.sanjeev,writer,trivandrum

  31. Bhavna wasnik permalink
    January 26, 2011 10:37 AM

    endorsed

    Bhavna Wasnik
    Asst. Prof., Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Amravati.

  32. Brinda Bose permalink
    January 26, 2011 10:52 AM

    Endorsed.

    Brinda Bose
    Associate Professor
    Department of English
    Delhi University

  33. Sugeeta permalink
    January 26, 2011 10:52 AM

    Statement seconded.

  34. Sanjeev Chandan permalink
    January 26, 2011 11:18 AM

    इस जिले में पत्रकार होने के नाते, मैंने पूरे घटनाक्रम को बहुत करीब से देखा है, मैंने टाइम्स में पुलिस की संदेहास्पद भूमिका पर रिपोर्ट भी की थी. जैसे हम मीडिया वालों को इंटेलिजेंस एजेंसिआं सोर्स समझती है, वैसे हे उनकी भूमिका हमारे लिए होती है. सारे तथ्य विश्वविद्यालय के कुलपति राय के खिलाफ हैं, उन्होंने इलीना और बच्चों को फंसाने की कोशिश की है, हमारे अखबार से जब उनके घर में विदेही मेहमानों के होने की बात छपी तब वे अपने और दूसरों के बचाव में शक्रिया हुए. पुलिस और उनके कारण विदेशी मेहमान, जो कि लेखक और चिन्तक थे, का वर्धा में होना, एक अपराध बन गया, जबकि यह गर्व का विषय था.
    राय पोलिस में रहे हैं, उन्हें प्रक्रिया की जानकारी थी, वैसे इस पूरे प्रकरण को एक छोटी सी भूल समझ कर छोड़ा जा सकता था. मैं इस मुहीम को अपना हस्ताक्षर देता हूँ, हालाँकि राय को जेंडर समानता के प्रतिक के तौर पर “बोधि वृक्ष” देने के इलीना सेन के निर्णय का मैं, और कई संगठन विरोध कर रहे हैं.
    संपर्क :९८५०७३८५१३

  35. Vishnu permalink
    January 26, 2011 11:23 AM

    I endorse the statement.
    -Vishnu

  36. Priya Jain permalink
    January 26, 2011 1:12 PM

    Endorsed

  37. Sikandar permalink
    January 26, 2011 2:15 PM

    I endorse the statement.

    Sikandar Kumar,
    MPHIL, Student,
    Department of History, Delhi University.

  38. Niyati Sharma permalink
    January 26, 2011 2:50 PM

    Endorsed.

    Niyati Sharma
    Student
    University of Delhi

  39. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    January 26, 2011 3:13 PM

    Close to a hundred endorsements have been received from academics, social activists, lawyers, film-makers, theatre persons, students, journalists and office bearers of PUCL and IAWS from all over the country. This will now be sent to the press, and may be circulated widely. All names received by 3 pm are now listed at the end of the statement.

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