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Why You Must Know Lawyer-Activist Sudha Bharadwaj

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The daughter of Lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj filed a petition in Bombay High Court for an interim medical bail for her mother. The Bombay High Court then asked the jail authorities of Maharashtra to submit a report on the health condition of the activist by May 17.

According to the petition filed by daughter Maaysha Singh, Bharadwaj is currently lodged in a prison ward with 50 other women. Her lawyer raised concerns about the “unsanitary” state of the Byculla women’s prison during a pandemic. He also told the court that Bharadwaj suffers from comorbidities.

Pune police had arrested well-known human rights lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj from her Sector 39 residence in Faridabad in October 2018 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case of December 31. She was taken to Surajkhand police station. Her laptop and several documents were seized. However, her transit remand has been stayed till August 30. She has been charged under Sections 153a, 505, 117 and 120 of the Indian Penal Code and several sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

 Read on to know more about Bharadwaj and her work

Who is she?

Sudha Bharadwaj is an Indian trade unionist and a civil rights activist against land acquisition. She is also a lawyer who has been working and living in the state of Chhattisgarh for 29 years now.

Her associations

She is the general secretary of the Chhattisgarh People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). She is also the founder of Janhit (a lawyers collective) and is also associated with the late Shankar Guha Niyogi’s Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha.

Birth and return to India

Bharadwaj was born in the United States to Krishna and Ranganath Bharadwaj. She returned to India at the age of 11 and gave up her US citizenship at the age of 18.

Education

She enrolled in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, and graduated from there after five years in 1984. Later, in year 2000, she also got her law degree from a college affiliated to Pandit Ravishankar Shukla University in Raipur.

Work

After her graduation,  she started working for the people affected by the land acquisitions done by private sector companies. She got exposed to horrific working conditions of labourers in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar during her time as a student at the IIT. She then moved to work with Niyogi’s Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha in 1986.
She has also been closely associated with Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha. She also fought against corrupt bureaucrats and ensured that workers in the mines and plants located in Bhilai received fair wages.