500 prominent citizens address letter seeking bail of activists

Kolkata: A group of 500 prominent Indian citizens , including film personalities Anurag Kashyap, Shabana Azmi, Soumitra Chatterjee and Aparna Sen have penned an open letter to the Centre demanding an immediate release on bail of activists like Varavara Rao and Safoora Zargar at a time when “a pandemic is raging across the country”.

Left leaning poet and writer Varavara Rao is among the 11 rights activists to have been jailed, apart from Sudha Bhardwaj, Shoma Sen, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalvez, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale and Rona Wilson, the letter said.

“In the prisons of Maharashtra where they are being detained, some inmates have died and many others have tested positive for COVID-19,” the letter issued by the Indian Cultural Forum platform on June 16, said.

The letter also expressed dismay over denial of bail to student activist Safoora Zargar of Jamia Millia University and human rights activist of Assam, Akhil Gogoi.

Zargar, a member of Jamia Coordination Committee, was arrested under the anti-terror law –UAPA — in a case related to communal violence in northeast Delhi during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in February.

The statement was signed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Amol Palekar, Onir, Anurag Kashyap apart from around 20 prominent Bengali personalities. The signatories of the letter said, “Gogoi has repeatedly raised his voice against human rights violations by the state,” and Safoora Zargar, the pregnant student from Jamia Millia University….”was arrested for protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.”

Pointing out these activists are “neither convicted criminals nor planning to flee the country”, they said, “We demand that they all be granted bail immediately on humanitarian grounds as their lives are at risk at a time when a pandemic is raging across the country.

“We have learnt that Mr. Varavara Rao who is 80 years old is already ill and has been removed to a police hospital.”

Veteran actor Dhritiman Chatterjee told PTI, “Several personalities from West Bengal, including me, have signed tbe letter. We demand that the liberal space is not encroached and throttled in a democracy.

“We are also worried that the COVID-19 situation in prisons will affect the health of the jailed activists. The Centre and the states concerened should not sit idle over the issue.”

The letter also expressed concern over the health condition of Safoora Zargar and the “unborn baby in her womb”.

“The focus should not be on the suppression of dissent, but on the containment of the pandemic for all, in prison and out of it,” the letter said.

Eleven people, including Rao, were arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case which was transferred to the National Investigation Agency by the Centre in January.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune in December 31,2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial.

The Pune police had claimed that the conclave was backed by Maoists. PTI

Also read-


  1. No mercy to the anti CAA anarchists. Celebrities are misusing their democratic rights by poking their nose in a pre-judice matter, just like anti CAA anarchists

    • Most funny statement, activist worry about jail and its conditions. Its Jail, not a health care department. Independence was never achieved had they were not born during independence fight. Playing victim of being pregnant.

  2. Make enough space for all these signatories to join the activists… Thatbway they would not feel the separation

  3. A forum of like minded self interested politically motivated people. What else can one expect from them. And people like Dhritiman Chatterjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Aparna Sen is completely mum over the ongoing torture, violance, suppression ans deep malice in West Bengal by the rulling party, as these people are well fed and it suits their interest.

    • All signatories are spending their life in such useless things. They are anti nationals. They also be kept with them. If the inmates of jail are facing pandamic then selected people only are cared by them. As they all have common object.

  4. Who told these are prominent people… These are just unemployed anti nationals, working for other countries though eating Indian food….

    • Wish they would also talk of rights of indians,those who fled Kashmir in 1990, of those lynched in Palghar,and against those who lodged complaint against Idol of Bharat mata and ensured it is wrapped in cloth as their religion doesn’t alliw idol worship. I will then accept these people as true liberals.

  5. They must be released. Hope these eminent persons also appeal and take up the issue of the kashmiri pandit exodus,killings in 1990 and demand justice for them,if these people are really bothered about freedom and liberty

  6. Why you call yourself prominent and intelectual. There are lakhs of people who are more educated and important. You film walas canot be considered intellectual.

    • Now they are asking to bail in humantrain ground to this anti national. Especially safora zargaar. Due to her inflammatory speech many died in delhi. And we don’t consider nachnay wale as prominent ppl of this country , they are anti nationals, what you sow you will get in return. No mercy for

  7. Fuck these 500 personalities …India is democracy…come thru elections..commiting violence like murders riots
    .maybe considered good in jihadi world…but not at all in India

    • Fuck yourself, dirty Hindu terrorist. Criminal Hindu gutter rats have no concept of civil society and civilized discourse. India is a Hindu mobocrazy not a democracy, run by hindu extremists and terrorists. Go back to eating cow shit in the gau shalla, monkey worshiper. You RSS turds will be flushed soon.

      • Mr Black
        You are comments show your own background
        I guess your one of those converted rabid animals who sell there mind for money
        You are probably a mixed haramzadeh born to a haramkor , shame on you and your
        Family, go and pray to your pedo god and kiss the arab / turkish ass and eat shit

    • Unconstitutional EVM mockery of fascist elections to make Choupat Raja clown the head of Sanghi chaddi Andher Nagari and his 100 deshdrohi chaatukaars………LOL…..

      WHAT Democracy?

  8. A screen presence does make a person an actor. Not really eminent peopl.
    An actor is only a tool to entertain or fool other people.
    The puppets are not the reality in a puppet show. The string pullers are.
    These people are good showpiece and thats all.

  9. These so called torch bearers of indian democracy are self important multi facet personalities who earn bread & butter by way of being supporters of anarchists and law breakers. These people have nothing to do with freedom of speech, they use the term to create lawlessness in the country.They’ve never spoken for kashmiri pandits, never uttered any words for yazidi treatment by ISIS, never spoken against jihad coming out of jumma namaj to destroy public property and for massacre of people from other faiths. Yes, they’re fringe elements of congress structure of power and wants to be treated as VIP’s of indian democracy but Modi regime has declined to offer them such treatment and hence, for booties they used to get in earlier regimes, they create all hues & cries thru their media network neatly weaved for long.

  10. She deserves harsh punishment no leniency please …law is equal for all …500 prominent personalities
    throw them in the hooghly …crush the Jihadi..we support CAA /NRC …Jai Hind..

  11. Do these 500 prominant citizens (PCs) take responsibily, give gauranty for any similar acts for which those activists are kept in custady? Like me, many in the society fear for their lives.

  12. Deserved to be released with immediate effect and reopen the investigation of gujarat riot’s and proper investigation of Delhi riots by a panel of retired high court judges this trial should be done by a fair panel of agencies.

  13. Who made them prominent people. These people who support anti nationals can be treated like anti nationals. They should not be supported by any print or TV news Media.

  14. You are right muktharji. Hope you and these eminent people will also demand an enquiry and justice for 1990 kashmir exodus,killings,arson,looting. Life is precious.Eveyones.

  15. No way. These so called activists are in fact anti national and also Modi haters. They want to destroy India. They should be tried as traitors and terrorist in the court.

  16. Looking at the names of the signatories I am convinced that police is doing the right thing. It will be good riddance if the urban naxals die in prison due to covid 19.

  17. Voice of reason.. rights.. are far removed and are sadly suppressed violently.. from darkness to light…let my country wake

  18. New breed of so called selective human rights activists and self styled , self certified bullshit intellectuals missing the goodies and good times of yesteryears . Nuisance has no limit.

  19. Kya ooper ke comments padh kar aapko lagta hai ki aap kisi civilized society mein rehte hain. Ya darindon ke beech rehte hain.


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