Rona Wilson

Researcher and human rights activist arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case.


Rona was born in 1972 in the Kollam district of Kerala. After completing graduation in Zoology, he moved to Pondicherry Central University to study for a Master of Arts in Political science and International relations. Subsequently, in late 1990’s, he moved to Delhi at the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He is a researcher and human rights activist and the public relations secretary of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP).

Life and activism

He actively fought for the release of many political prisoners. He was at the forefront of the struggle to release Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani who was initially awarded the death sentence in the 2001 Parliament attack case. In 2003, Delhi High Court acquitted Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani from that charge. After this, he formed the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) with Geelani. He had also worked with activists for the release of G.N. Saibaba who was convicted in 2017 for alleged connections with Maoists.

Circumstances of arrest

He was arrested under fabricated charges of terrorism in 2018 when he was hoping to pursue his PhD in London. He was one among the five social activists and scholars who were arrested on June 6, 2018, in an organised raid carried out by the Pune police in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. Police alleged him of having Maoist links and to have funded the event after violence. The police also alleged that they recovered a letter from his laptop that had details of a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On 30 July 2020, he obtained a cloned copy of his hard disk.
The American Bar Association forwarded this to a Massachusetts-based digital forensic analyst firm named Arsenal Consulting. In February 2021, the firm released a report saying the incriminating evidence against Rona Wilson was placed on his laptop by a yet-to-be-identified attacker using malware named NetWire. It also said that the laptop was compromised for over 22 months and the malware has also affected storage devices that were connected to the system.

Charges & Allegations

Rona Wilson was arrested under the charges of terrorism-related activities by invoking the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). He was charged with organising and participating in the Elgar Parishad event on December 31, 2017, for spreading the ideology of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), besides creating caste conflicts and hatred in the society by spreading controversial pamphlets and delivering hate speeches in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence that broke out in January 2018.

Current Status

In July 2021, he filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court, seeking to quash the charge sheet filed against him, but was opposed by the Pune police.
He is currently lodged in Taloja Central Jail.

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