Journalist, Human Rights Defender, Political Prisoner
Gautam Navlakha has a long history as a human rights defender and civil liberties activist. He has retired as Editorial Consultant of the prestigious Economic & Political Weekly after 32 years of association with the publication. He served as the Secretary of the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), an India-based rights group, and was one of the conveners of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir.
His areas of engagement include struggles for people's rights and justice in Kashmir, for workers' and peasants' rights, and against the persecution of political prisoners and for their right to be recognized as prisoners of conscience.
On 28 August 2018, Gautam Navlakha was arrested at his home and charged under anti-terror legislation. He was among 5 activists-- along with Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, and Vernon Gonsalves-- arrested on the same day across India. Several activist offices were also raided by police on the same day.
The arrests and police raids have been widely condemned by local and international rights organizations as a strategy of the state to terrorize activists, dissidents, and others who work with marginalized peoples. The Delhi High Court has questioned the legality of his arrest.
Here you can learn more about him through videos, his articles, and the solidarity statements from all over the world. He was released for a time, then taken back into custody on April 14, 2020, along with social activist Anand Teltumbde.
See the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's profile on Gautam Navlakha.