Lawyer and National Secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Sudha Bharadwaj has sent a legal notice to Republic TV and Arnab Goswami for malicious and defamatory statements made against her in a programme.
Yesterday, the news channel carried a story claiming to be in possession of a letter in which Bharadwaj had written about creating a “Kashmir-like situation” in India. Identifying her as “Comrade Sudha”, the letter purportedly states that she has links to Maoists and Kashmiri separatists.
Bharadwaj has categorically denied these allegations, stating in a release that Republic TV has not revealed the source of the letter reportedly written by her.
“I firmly refute all the allegations that the Republic TV has made against me, defaming me, causing me professional and personal injury. In its programme, the Republic TV has not revealed the source of such a letter. I find it curious that a document purporting to contain evidence of such serious crimes should first surface in the studio of Arnab Goswami.”
In her statement, Bharadwaj feels that the channel’s attack on her stems from her participation in protests condemning the arrest of advocate Surendra Gadling and other lawyers in Tamil Nadu and Kashmir.
“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 organisation of lawyers has also strongly taken up the issue of other lawyers such as Advocate Chandrashekhar of Bhim Army and Advocate Vachinathan…Also very recently the IAPL had organised a fact finding into the difficulties faced by lawyers in Kashmir.”
In light of these allegations, Bharadwaj has sent a legal notice to Arnab Goswami and Republic TV.
Ever since she became a lawyer in 2000, Bharadwaj has been working for farmers, adivasis and poor people in the fields of labour, land acquisition, forest rights and environmental rights. She has been practicing in the Chhattisgarh High Court since 2007. She is also a Visiting Professor at National Law University, Delhi, where she teaches Law and Poverty and a seminar course on tribal rights and land acquisition.
Read Sudha Bharadwaj’s statement: