A public statement has been issued by Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj, National Secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties, refuting defamatory statements made by Arnab Goswami, news anchor of Republic TV.
The press release pertains to a programme aired by Republic TV on July 4, in which Sudha Bharadwaj was alleged to have links with Maoists. Arnab Goswami claimed in the program that Bharadwaj had written a letter to a Maoist- one “Comrade Prakash”- stating that a “Kashmir like situation” has to be created. It was also claimed in the program that Bharadwaj had confirmed that various advocates had links with Maoists.
In the public statement, the allegations in the program were refuted as “ridiculous, scurrilous, false and completely unsubstantiated”. Bharadwaj denied writing the letter as alleged, and stated that the source of letter was not revealed in the program. She also expressed surprise as to how a document purporting to contain evidence of serious crimes happened to surface first in the studio of Arnab Goswami.
Bharadwaj said in the statement that she had been a dedicated trade unionist for past 30 years and that as part of her work she became a lawyer in 2000. She said that she had fought scores of cases for workers, farmers, adivasis and poor people, and that she was nominated as a member of Chattisgarh State Legal Services Authority. She also stated that she was a visiting professor at the National Law University, Delhi, handling courses on law and poverty, tribal rights etc. She further added that her pro-people position and work as a human rights lawyer was a matter of public record and that the NHRC had sought her assistance in investigation of a case in a village in Chattisgarh.
“In my opinion, the present malicious, motivated and fabricated attack on me is because I recently addressed a press conference in Delhi to condemn the arrest on 6 June of Advocate Surendra Gadling. The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), an organization of lawyers, has also strongly taken up the issue of other lawyers such as Advocate Chandrashekhar of Bhim Army and Advocate Vachinathan arrested after the Sterlite firing. It is clear that in targeting such lawyers, the state is trying to silence those who stand for democratic rights of citizens. The state strategy is to create a chilling effect and deny equitable access to legal system.”, said the public statement.
Advocate Bharadwaj also stated that she had issued instructions for serving legal notice on Arnab Goswami and Republic TV