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The Incarcerations

By Alpa Shah

‘A gripping and rigorous crime story about the murder of a once thriving democracy, exposing an arsenal of lethal weapons, some wielded on the streets, others in the courts and press’ NAOMI KLEIN

‘Essential reading’ YANIS VAROUFAKIS

The world’s largest democracy is facing the greatest challenge since the end of British colonial rule in 1947.

The Incarcerations pulls back the curtain on Indian democracy to tell the remarkable and chilling story of the Bhima Koregaon case, in which 16 human rights defenders (the BK-16) – professors, lawyers, journalists, poets – have been imprisoned, without credible evidence and without trial, as Maoist terrorists.

Alpa Shah unravels how these alleged terrorists were charged with inciting violence at a public commemoration in 2018, accused of waging a war against the Indian state, and plotting to kill the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Expertly leading us through the case, Shah exposes some of the world’s most shocking revelations of cyber warfare research, which show not only hacking of emails and mobile phones of the BK-16, but also implantation of the electronic evidence that was used to incarcerate them. Through the life histories of the BK-16, Shah dives deep into the issues they fought for and tells the story of India’s three main minorities – Adivasi, Dalits and Muslims – and what the search for democracy entails for them.

Essential and urgent, The Incarcerations reveals how this case is a bellwether for the collapse of democracy in India, as for the first time in the nation’s history there is a multi-pronged, coordinated attack on key defenders of various pillars of democracy. In so doing, Shah shows that democracy today must be not only about protecting freedom of expression and democratic institutions, but also about supporting and safeguarding the social movements that question our global inequalities.

Author: Alpa Shah
Format: Hardback
Release Date: 14 Mar 2024
Pages: 672
ISBN: 978-0-00-851880-6
Price: £30.00 (Export Price) , £30.00, €None
Alpa Shah was raised in Nairobi, studied at Cambridge and completed her PhD at the LSE, where she now teaches anthropology. She is the author of \'In the Shadows of the State\' and a co-author of \'Ground Down by Growth\'. She presented the radio documentary ‘India’s Red Belt’ for BBC Radio 4’s \'Crossing Continents\'.

'Shah presents striking evidence, drawing on expert forensic analysis, of the alleged planting of incriminating documents on the laptops of those detailed; cyber trails apparently point both to police officers and to Indian hackers-for-hire happy to do this sophisticated dirty work' -

Daily Telegraph -

'It is the best book I’ve read about the full scale assault on democracy in India, and with the general elections scheduled to conclude in June, it’s essential reading for understanding what’s happening to the country right now' -

New Statesman -

‘Essential reading for anyone who wants to know what is truly happening in India now - and why we have a duty to support those who are sacrificing everything to keep democracy possible across that great country’ -

Yanis Varoufakis -

‘No finer account has been written yet about the collapse of the world’s largest democracy’ -

Pankaj Mishra -

‘A chilling, meticulously documented account of the arrest and ongoing trial of some of India’s most exceptional citizens. The Incarcerations shows us that the BK-16 pose a danger to the current Hindu Nationalist regime not for what they have done, but for daring to have a different dream about what kind of country India should be. Alpa Shah’s book is about the criminalisation and incarceration of dissent itself. It does us a great service’ -

Arundhati Roy -