Sudha Bhardwaj who is a trade unionist was one of the five activists that had beeen picked up by Pune police in connection with the Bhima-Koreagaon violence.
Her daughter is Maaysha who has recently written a letter about her mother.
Sudha Bhardwaj has referred to he charges brought ainst her as concocted.
In it she shared her experience growing up with the poor.
She wrote her mother told her that she stayed among the poor because she ‘liked it’, that when her daughter grew up, she’d be able to live her own life.
They do not necessarily always see eye-to-eye.
As a counter to people who claim the children of activists ‘studied in the USA’, she wrote that she had studied in a government school in the worker’s basti in Hindu medium and would often fight with her mother.
She wrote: “Maybe they don’t know about me that I have studied in a government school in a worker’s basti in Hindi medium. And I always used to fight with mumma that you yourself studied in English medium and educated me in Hindi. It is a different matter that I learnt to read and speak English on my own because I was interested to. When I came to the 12th standard, I insisted on being enrolled in the English medium course of NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling)because I wanted to.
“If fighting for the rights of Adivasis, fighting for workers and peasants, fighting against repression and exploitation and giving up one’s whole life for them is being a Naxalite, then I guess Naxalites are pretty good!”
Known as trade unionist, Bhardwaj has worked extensively in the field of human rights and civil liberty. General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Bharadwaj was 11 when she came to India. An American citizen by birth, Bhardwaj gave up her US citizenship at the age of 18. She studied at the IIT-Kanpur. It was after her graduation in 1984 that Bhardwaj started working for the people affected by the land acquisitions done by the private sectors companies.
The Maharashtra Government, in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, mentioned that the five activists arrested in connection with Bhima Koregaon violence case ‘were active members of banned terrorist organistaion Communist Party of India(Maoist).’
In the affidavit, the state government stated, ‘This court is dealing with persons against whom evidence has so far come on record showing they are active members of banned terrorist organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist).’
The affidavit further stated that the activists are ‘involved in not only planning and preparing for violence, but were in the process of creating large-scale violence, destruction of property resulting into chaos in the society as per the agenda prepared by the Communist Party of India (Maoist).’
On September 4, a petition was filed in the Bombay High Court, seeking action against Additional Director General (ADG) of Maharashtra Police, Param Bir Singh, for disobeying the order of the magistrate and disclosing evidence related to the Bhima-Koregaon violence in media.
On Monday, the Bombay High Court came down heavily on the Maharashtra Police for elaborating the evidence against activists arrested in the case through a press conference.
The Maharashtra Police, on August 28, had arrested five activists – Sudha Bhardwaj, P Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, and Vernon Gonsalves, for allegedly being linked to the outlawed CPI (Maoist).
The arrests were made in connection with the violence that erupted between the Scheduled Caste and Maratha groups, in January this year near Pune, during the bicentenary anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle. The clashes killed one person and left several injured, including 10 policemen.