Northwestern Events Calendar


The Incarcerations: BK-16 and the Fight for Justice and Democracy in Modern India

When: Tuesday, April 30, 2024
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM CT

Where: Harris Hall, 108, 1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: The Subcontinent Project  

Group: The Subcontinent Project

Co-Sponsor: South Asia Research Forum

Category: Multicultural & Diversity, Academic, Global & Civic Engagement


Dr. Alpa Shah, an anthropologist, BBC correspondent, and ethnographic at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Political Science, will be delivering a talk on her upcoming book, The Incarcerations, which examines the 2018 violence and arrests in the village of Bhima Koregaon in western India. During a New Year’s Day commemoration, 16 human rights defenders (the BK-16)—professors, lawyers, journalists, and poets—were charged with inciting violence, accused of waging a war against the Indian state and plotting to kill Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. They were imprisoned, without credible evidence and without trial, as Maoist terrorists. Shah’s book exposes the use of cyber warfare, including the implantation of electronic evidence, to incarcerate the BK-16—while the actual instigators of the New Year’s Day violence were exonerated. Shah argues that these human rights defenders were working for a more equal, just, and democratic country for some of the world’s most marginalized communities—India’s Muslims, “untouchables,” and indigenous people. The Incarcerations reveals why this case may be a bellwether for the collapse of democracy.

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