Gautam Navlakha

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Gautam Navlakha
Navlakha in 2017
Occupation(s)Editorial consultant of economic and political weekly
Organization(s)People's Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi
Known forDemocratic Human rights, civil rights activism and a proponent of democratic rights

Gautam Navlakha (Hindi pronunciation: [ɡɔːt̪ m nʋlkʰaː]) is an Indian human rights activist, journalist, and prisoner.[1] He has written on left-wing extremism and is a critic of army and state atrocities in Kashmir.[2][3][4][5] He is a member of People's Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi.[6] He is also an editorial consultant of the Economic and Political Weekly.[7][8] He resides in New Delhi.[9]


Gautam Navlakha has worked as a secretary of the People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR),[10] and has also been a convener of the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir.[11] He has also worked in Kashmir, and in the recent times, his focus of work has been the areas of Chhattisgarh which are in the Maoists' influence.[1]

He had supported Prashant Bhushan's views that a referendum should take place on the subject of demilitarisation in Kashmir, saying that "a referendum is a peaceful and democratic way of resolving the issues where it is difficult to find a solution."[12]

His writings have appeared in Economic and Political Weekly and[1]

He criticised the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for being too broad and vague, allowing the government to prosecute dissidents and activists, stating "Such Acts turn the normal jurisprudence upside down. No longer is it the axiom that ‘a person is innocent unless proven guilty’. In fact, under such Acts, ‘an accused is guilty unless proven innocent’."[13]

Detention at Srinagar Airport[edit]

"Corruption is a main policy adopted by India to consolidate its occupation in Kashmir. India is buying the people here and give them monetary benefits so as to get their support for maintaining its occupation."


In May 2011, Gautam Navlakha was refused entry at the Srinagar Airport and was made to return to Delhi as the Government of Jammu and Kashmir believed that "his presence could disturb peace and order in the Valley."[14] When asked to produce an order in writing, the police gave him an order signed by the district Magistrate which read that he was "prohibited from entering Kashmir under Section 144 of the CRPC."[15] Farooq Abdullah commented, "what does that writer want – to burn Kashmir? Let them burn some other place in India." Following the incident, the International Tribunal for Human rights in Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (PDP), Khurram Parvez[14] and the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society[16] criticised the government's decision. Navlakha responded by terming his detention a "paranoia unbecoming of the state authorities."[14]

Navlakha was denied entry to Kashmir after the protests in Kashmir during 2010, but in December 2011, he was in Srinagar to join the activists of the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Jammu and Kashmir and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, who had composed a report titled "Alleged Perpetrators – Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir" from police records, judicial, quasi-judicial and government records accusing 3 brigadiers, 9 colonels, 3 lieutenant colonels, 78 majors and 25 captains of the Indian Army, and 37 senior officials of Indian Paramilitary of murder, kidnapping, enforced disappearance and torture. He also addressed a press conference at Srinagar, revealing that the report has been passed on to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the Prime Minister of India, so that those responsible for the crimes be punished.[17]


Navalakha is an accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence.[18] On 8 April 2020, the Supreme Court rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde in the Elgar Parishad-alleged Maoist links case, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. They were instructed to surrender to the National Investigation Agency on 14 April.[19][20] National Investigation Agency in the chargesheet stated that Navlakha met with Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai several times to "unite the intellectuals against government forces to defeat them both physically and otherwise.".[21] Later the Supreme Court allowed him house arrest. [22]


  • Days and Nights in the Heartland of Rebellion. Penguin UK. 2012. ISBN 978-81-8475-654-8.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Jane Addams Hull-House Museum". University of Illinois at Chicago. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Why is India targeting writers during the coronavirus pandemic? | Priyamvada Gopal and Salil Tripathi". the Guardian. 16 April 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020. As a lethal virus scorches its way across continents, the leftwing Indian rights campaigner Gautam Navlakha has been reminding us of the words of Leonard Cohen, urging people to speak up for the right things [...] Navlakha is a longstanding critic of state and army atrocities in the disputed region of Kashmir, which has faced a disgraceful lockdown since August last year and continues to experience unconstitutional — and, in corona-ridden times, dangerous — limits on internet access.
  3. ^ "Pune Court Rejects Gautam Navlakha's Anticipatory Bail Plea". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Judge recuses from hearing on Navlakha's plea". Retrieved 5 August 2020. For the third time in sequence, left-wing activist Gautam Navlakha's — alleged to have links with outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) — plea seeking the quashing of FIR against him in Bhima Koregaon case could not be taken up for hearing as Justice S. Ravindra Bhat recused himself from hearing the matter.
  5. ^ "Bhima-Koregaon case: Maharashtra government challenges activist Gautam Navlakha's release from house arrest in SC". Zee News. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2020. The Maharashtra government on moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court order for releasing Left-wing activist Gautam Navlakha, held in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon case, from house arrest. [...] Navlakha is one of the five Left-wing activists who was arrested by the Pune police in August-end in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima case.
  6. ^ "Hijackers of the Electoral Process : Maoists or the Indian Establishment?". Monthly Review Foundation. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  7. ^ "Conferences/ Workshops/ Panel Discussions since 2005 (International Framework and Efforts to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism (12 March 2012)". Jawaharlal Nehru University. Archived from the original on 15 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  8. ^ Dasgupta, Debarshi (17 May 2010). "My Book is Red : The word is Revolution. Maoists give a leg up to tribal languages". Outlook. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Gautam Navlakha image". India Today Group. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Massachusetts Institute of Technology : India – The War Within – A Conversation with Gautam Navlakha". Sanhati. 22 March 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2014. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Mallika Kaur Sarkaria (22 March 2009). "On trial: human rights in Kashmir". Kennedy School Review.[dead link]
  12. ^ a b Sofi, Afzal (13 January 2014). "Militarization in JK is threat to Indian democracy: Navlakha". Kashmir Reader. Srinagar. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  13. ^ "'My Hope Rests on a Speedy and Fair Trial': Gautam Navlakha Before His Surrender". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  14. ^ a b c "J&K: No entry in Kashmir for activist". NDTV. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  15. ^ Bamzai, Kaveree (4 June 2011). "Out of sight". India Today. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  16. ^ "We are trying to redefine resistance : Telling the story of Kashmir". International Socialist Review. Chicago, Illinois: Center for Economic Research and Social Change (80). Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  17. ^ Ali Fayyaz, Ahmed (7 December 2012). "Top Army, police officials involved in human rights abuse in Kashmir". The Hindu. Srinagar. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  18. ^ "Bhima Koregaon violence case: Five activists will remain under house arrest till September 17, says SC". The Indian Express. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Elgar Parishad case: HC denies pre-arrest bail to Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde". The Indian Express. 14 February 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  20. ^ Singh, Vijaita; Saigal, Sonam (14 April 2020). "Elgar Parishad case | Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha surrender to NIA". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  21. ^ Bhardwaj, Ananya (14 October 2020). "Navlakha sought mercy for ISI spy Fai convicted in US, NIA charge sheet says". ThePrint. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Bhima Koregaon case: SC allows plea by Navlakha, grants house arrest for month". Indian Express Limited. 16 November 2022. Archived from the original on 6 December 2022.

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