India: Academic & Cultural Freedoms shrink further as ATS slaps charges on Prof Ilina Sen & assocs Print E-mail

  Tuesday 25 January 2011

Womens Studies Conference, The Latest Victim of India’s War on Terror

Anti terror police file charges against Ilina Sen the conference host

By sacw.net

The 13th IAWS National Conference on Women’s Studies underway in Wardha, Maharashtra has come under attack from over zealous anti terror security police in India.

Professor Ilina Sen, who is the conference convener and also head of the Department of the Women’s Studies at the Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University (MGAHV), Wardha has seen a police case registered against her concerning bureaucratic rules and procedures about police reporting of foreigners participation in Conferences in India. The foreigners participating at the conference have valid tourist visas.

The Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) have slapped charges of violations of Foreigners Act, 1946 and have arrested the owners, managers of two hotels where foreign participants to the conference were staying. The events in Wardha do not protend a healthy future for participation by foreigners attending conferences in India.

Space for academic and cultural freedoms seem to be definitely shrinking in India. Sometimes its the Hindutva thugs or their mirror opposite from the Islamists circuit who strike fear and intimidate by issuing fatwas and sometimes the official powers that be find ways to curb and intimidate. Intimidation of conference organisers on grounds of National security is utterly shocking.

There is an urgent need to register widespread protest against the heavy handed ways of the security agencies. Posted below are news reports giving details so far reported in the media. People should write letters of solidarity to Indian Association of Women’s Studies at:

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Tuesday Jan 25 2011

ATS slaps case against Sen’s wife for foreigners’ presence at meet

by Vivek Deshpande

Nagpur: The Nagpur Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Monday registered a case against Ilina Sen, wife of Binayak Sen, for not informing the local police about foreigners participating in a women’s convention convened by her at Wardha’s Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, where she is a teacher.

A few foreigners participating in the global convention had lodged themselves in a local hotel. The ATS had, on Sunday, arrested the owner, manager and an employee of Hotel Harisons for not informing the police about their arrival.

On Monday, they also arrested manager of Sant Kanwarram dormitory, where a few other foreigners had lodged themselves, for a similar offence.

A senior ATS officer said, “The organisers of any such meets or conclaves have to inform the police about the foreigners participating in the meeting or the convention under Section 7 of the Foreigners Act. Not doing so attracts provision of Section 14, under which we have registered the offence. Ilina Sen was convenor of the meet.”

The foreigners who had lodged themselves at these places, however, had given their visa and passport to the hotel management. “So, the fault lies with the management,” the officer said.

He, however, said, “Some foreigners were part of the protests on the premises of the Hindi University where participants led by Sen raised slogans demanding scrapping of some Acts like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and for release of Binayak Sen and the recently arrested Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawle. All this has been video recorded. Foreigners can’t do this, that too on the premises of Indian government’s institution.”

Asked if action is also contemplated against the foreigners, the officer said, “The local police should be doing it.”

Asked how then foreign observers could be allowed to witness Binayak Sen’s trial, the officer said, “It’s got official sanction of the government and they are not here to raise slogans or protest.”

Inspector General (Nagpur range) Prabhat Ranjan said, “Wardha police have arrested some hotel personnel, but we will have to check whether foreigners participated in protests and if yes, how we can move against them if at all we can.”

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25 January 2011

Binayak Sen’s wife booked by ATS

25 January 2011

Binayak Sen’s wife booked for violating Foreigners Act

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 January 24, 2011

Hotelier held for not reporting foreigners

By Soumittra S Bose

NAGPUR: Local unit of State Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) slapped charges of violations of Foreigners Act, 1946, against a hotel in Wardha city. Offences against owner of a hotel and two others were registered at Wardha City police station on Sunday.

Several foreign nationals are under scanner for their participation in a socio-political conference despite entering India on tourist visa. The foreigners had come to Wardha allegedly to participate in ongoing 13th Indian Association of Women Studies meet at Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University. Ilina Sen, wife of Chhattisgarh physician Dr Binayak Sen, convicted by a Raipur court for sedition, has been a moving force behind the conference.

Sources said Elina too is under watch now for vigorously spearheading the campaign to free Dr Sen and others like Sudhir Dhawale, recently arrested for alleged Naxal link, using the podium of the conference to organize support against the so-called Naxal sympathizers.

ATS sleuths indicated that the University authorities may also be liable for action given the strong rhetoric against government voiced during the conference. The delegates, who had come for the conference, also organized protests against the recent arrests of some alleged Naxal sympathizers. Intelligence agencies had been keeping a close watch on the developments.

ATS sleuths, who were also present undercover, rounded up the key personnel of a prominent Wardha hotel. Offences were registered against owner Murliharan Kruplani, manager Moreshwar Puri and receptionist Purushottam Bhoyar. Police have arrested Puri and Bhoyar.

ATS sources said that the hotel should have informed the local police or Foreigner Registration Officer at special branch after the arrival of the foreign tourists. Two United Kingdom (UK) nationals were staying at the hotel where ATS swooped down.

It is learnt that the local police had been informed about the arrival of foreigners by the security agencies but no action was initiated against them. Apart from two UK nationals, there are other foreigners present at different venues. ATS is gearing up for more action on last day of the conference on Monday.

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XIII IAWS National Conference on Women
21-24 January, 2011
Resisting Marginalizations, Challenging Hegemonies: Re-visioning Gender Politics
in collaboration with Department of Women’s Studies Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAHV), Wardha