Criminalisation of Vimukta Communities: The Role of Police and Judiciary

In this episode, we speak to Nikita Sonavane and Srujana Bej​ about the criminalisation and policing of Vimukt communities in India. 

The FIRs filed to regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol follow a curious template in Madhya Pradesh, our guests from today’s episode found. An FIR is likely to begin with a tip from an anonymous informant. Police officers would then reach the “crime site” and find that the accused does not have the appropriate licence to sell liquor. On paper, the section they are charged under is about regulating the sale of alcohol. In practice, however, our guests for today’s episode identify how this type of FIRs and subsequent legal proceedings reveal how power and control operate in India.

Nikita Sonavane and Srujana Bej join us in this episode of Research Radio. We will be discussing their EPW Engage article "Construction(s) of Female Criminality: Gender, Caste and State Violence." We recommend reading the two articles “The Anxious State” and “Death by Excise Policing: The Widening Web of Carcerality in India.” Their article was a part of a specially commissioned series of seven articles published in EPW Engage on the state of NT-DNT communities in India. Both researchers refer to the CPA Project's report "Drunk on Power: A Study of Excise Policing in Madhya Pradesh," which offers rich details and insights.

Nikita Sonavane is the co-founder of the Criminal Justice And Police Accountability Project (CPA Project) focused on building accountability against the criminalisation of marginalised communities by the police and the criminal justice system. Srujana Bej is a lawyer and researcher with interests in spatial justice, the rights to food and education, and critical legal studies. 

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