Hundreds protest across India demanding unconditional release of Gulfisha and all political prisoners

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By Abdul Bari Masoud

 New Delhi: Scores of  women’s students’ and democratic organisations and collectives across the country  have come together to demand the unconditional release of Gulfisha Fatima and all anti CAA-NPR-NRC protestors who continue to remain incarcerated. Holding protest demonstrations across the country, they demanded that CAA-NRC-NPR, UAPA and the other draconian sedition laws should be scrapped and investigate the real perpetrators who orchestrated the Delhi Riots 2020.

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In the press conference that was held  at  the Press of Club of India in  Delhi, the speakers  not only spoke about Gulfisha but all the other ‘falsely’ accused imprisoned persons as well.

Addressing the press conference, activist and poet Nabiya Khan said, ‘Lets address the title of the event, it’s not a free country for minorities, Muslims, and women. Her imprisonment is an organised attack on Muslims and women. State wants to keep Muslim women in check”.  She underlined that CAA-NPR-NRC was not just a fight against a law, but to create an equal citizen for Muslims, for Muslim women.

 ‘Recently a UAPA accused got bail after 2 yrs, who will be responsible for those two years? Who will take responsibility for Gul’s 18 months?’ Apeksha Priyadarshini of BASO asked.

“Those arrested under UAPA are overwhelmingly Muslim, Dalit or Adivasi. ‘Our faith in the state and even the judiciary has been weakened, “she said.

Kavita Krishnan spoke about how the Delhi HC judgment clearly asks pertinent questions like why put UAPA and other terror charges on protests? Citing the additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav who gave verdicts in almost 12 cases, she mentioned how he emphasised on the accountability of the police. As a result, he has now been transferred.

 Kavita further said that people who fight for democratic rights are inside prison, those who threaten and kill openly are roaming free outside. But it hasn’t scared us, she said.

 Wife of Khalid Saifi, Nargis Saifi highlighted how her husband was brutally tortured in custody, his limbs and legs were broken, and he had to be brought in on a wheelchair. He was the first to be arrested; and when he was almost about to get bail in that case, he was rearrested in FIR 59/20.

‘The only crime of my husband is that he stood for the rights of the oppressed. My husband introduced me to these struggles, I would participate and meet people, and that has given me courage to continue this struggle outside’’ she said.

 Khalid saifi’s struggle, the struggle of Gulfisha and all young people gives me hope, gives me strength, to endure incarceration under such harsh circumstances, she added.

What is the crime of our children who have been waiting for their father for 20 months? I think that today our children are going through this but maybe if Khalid would not have fought, this would be the fate of many others, she asked.

Arfa Khanum said, ‘I have come here today for Gul because Gul fought for me. I was a witness to the Delhi violence, I am not an activist but an active journalist, who hears the zameer ki awaaz, and I want to share my experiences of the CAA NRC movement, why Gulfisha is so important for us, why is Gulfisha so threatening for the state?

Gul’s father spoke about how the shock and trauma of her imprisonment has affected him mentally, emotionally and physically, that he feels he won’t live long, unless they release Gul, perhaps then this pain and strain will go away. He really hopes that the day will come soon.

Noor Jahan, Athar Khan’s mother, said, ‘The movement came to a halt because of the pandemic; but once it ends, I will resume this political struggle. There are so many people that we didn’t know like Umar Khalid, Khalid Saifi and others, but today we all stand in solidarity with each other. This is very important. She stands with her son, and everyone else, who was a part of the anti-caa movement.

Gulfisha was arrested on 9th April ’20. Currently, she stands accused in four FIRs, charged under the anti-terror law UAPA and various serious sections of the IPC such as 302, 307, Arms Act etc. Gulfisha has secured bail in all other cases, but she continues to remain in jail in FIR 59/20 which invokes the UAPA – a law infamous for “subverting” the most basic constitutional and legal rights.

Gulfisha’s imprisonment is not an exception, it is a part of a frightening pattern of repression of all democratic and dissenting voices by the current government. In the same case as hers many like Ishrat Jahan, Tasleem Ahmad, Meeran Haider, Shadab Ahmed, Athar Khan, Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Salim Mallick, Salim Khan, Khalid Saifi, Tahir Hussain and Shifa-ul-Rahman continue to languish in jail.

 Feminists, jan sangathans, mass organizations, collectives, students, trade unionists, farm workers, fisher people, members of Adivasi, Dalit and Muslim communities, displaced persons, civil liberties activists, journalists, academics, youth, as well persons facing political persecution joined the events held across States and expressed their solidarity with Gulfisha Fatima. Numerous cities and towns across the country were part of this solidarity action, held at Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Araria, Patna, Lucknow, Faizabad, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Badwani, Baroda, Jaipur, Pune, Bhopal, Bhilai, Kolkata, Sitapur etc.

They reaffirmed that they will continue to resist the fascist islamophobic and castiest forces to preserve the democratic spirit of the constitution.

Several events simultaneously took place across the country which were jointly organized by  AIPWA, SAHELI, NFIW, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, AIDWA, Bebaak Collective, Parcham Collective (Bombay), PUCL (Rajasthan), Forum Against Oppression of Women, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Habitat And Livelihood Welfare Association, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan(Mumbai), JJSS (Araria, Bihar), Justice Coalitions of Religious(West India), Women and Transgender Organisations (WT-JAC), National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and Narmada Bachao Andolan.

By Abdul Bari Masoud

 New Delhi: Scores of  women’s students’ and democratic organisations and collectives across the country  have come together to demand the unconditional release of Gulfisha Fatima and all anti CAA-NPR-NRC protestors who continue to remain incarcerated. Holding protest demonstrations across the country, they demanded that CAA-NRC-NPR, UAPA and the other draconian sedition laws should be scrapped and investigate the real perpetrators who orchestrated the Delhi Riots 2020.

In the press conference that was held  at  the Press of Club of India in  Delhi, the speakers  not only spoke about Gulfisha but all the other ‘falsely’ accused imprisoned persons as well.

Addressing the press conference, activist and poet Nabiya Khan said, ‘Lets address the title of the event, it’s not a free country for minorities, Muslims, and women. Her imprisonment is an organised attack on Muslims and women. State wants to keep Muslim women in check”.  She underlined that CAA-NPR-NRC was not just a fight against a law, but to create an equal citizen for Muslims, for Muslim women.

 ‘Recently a UAPA accused got bail after 2 yrs, who will be responsible for those two years? Who will take responsibility for Gul’s 18 months?’ Apeksha Priyadarshini of BASO asked.

“Those arrested under UAPA are overwhelmingly Muslim, Dalit or Adivasi. ‘Our faith in the state and even the judiciary has been weakened, “she said.

Kavita Krishnan spoke about how the Delhi HC judgment clearly asks pertinent questions like why put UAPA and other terror charges on protests? Citing the additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav who gave verdicts in almost 12 cases, she mentioned how he emphasised on the accountability of the police. As a result, he has now been transferred.

 Kavita further said that people who fight for democratic rights are inside prison, those who threaten and kill openly are roaming free outside. But it hasn’t scared us, she said.

 Wife of Khalid Saifi, Nargis Saifi highlighted how her husband was brutally tortured in custody, his limbs and legs were broken, and he had to be brought in on a wheelchair. He was the first to be arrested; and when he was almost about to get bail in that case, he was rearrested in FIR 59/20.

‘The only crime of my husband is that he stood for the rights of the oppressed. My husband introduced me to these struggles, I would participate and meet people, and that has given me courage to continue this struggle outside’’ she said.

 Khalid saifi’s struggle, the struggle of Gulfisha and all young people gives me hope, gives me strength, to endure incarceration under such harsh circumstances, she added.

What is the crime of our children who have been waiting for their father for 20 months? I think that today our children are going through this but maybe if Khalid would not have fought, this would be the fate of many others, she asked.

Arfa Khanum said, ‘I have come here today for Gul because Gul fought for me. I was a witness to the Delhi violence, I am not an activist but an active journalist, who hears the zameer ki awaaz, and I want to share my experiences of the CAA NRC movement, why Gulfisha is so important for us, why is Gulfisha so threatening for the state?

Gul’s father spoke about how the shock and trauma of her imprisonment has affected him mentally, emotionally and physically, that he feels he won’t live long, unless they release Gul, perhaps then this pain and strain will go away. He really hopes that the day will come soon.

Noor Jahan, Athar Khan’s mother, said, ‘The movement came to a halt because of the pandemic; but once it ends, I will resume this political struggle. There are so many people that we didn’t know like Umar Khalid, Khalid Saifi and others, but today we all stand in solidarity with each other. This is very important. She stands with her son, and everyone else, who was a part of the anti-caa movement.

Gulfisha was arrested on 9th April ’20. Currently, she stands accused in four FIRs, charged under the anti-terror law UAPA and various serious sections of the IPC such as 302, 307, Arms Act etc. Gulfisha has secured bail in all other cases, but she continues to remain in jail in FIR 59/20 which invokes the UAPA – a law infamous for “subverting” the most basic constitutional and legal rights.

Gulfisha’s imprisonment is not an exception, it is a part of a frightening pattern of repression of all democratic and dissenting voices by the current government. In the same case as hers many like Ishrat Jahan, Tasleem Ahmad, Meeran Haider, Shadab Ahmed, Athar Khan, Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Salim Mallick, Salim Khan, Khalid Saifi, Tahir Hussain and Shifa-ul-Rahman continue to languish in jail.

 Feminists, jan sangathans, mass organizations, collectives, students, trade unionists, farm workers, fisher people, members of Adivasi, Dalit and Muslim communities, displaced persons, civil liberties activists, journalists, academics, youth, as well persons facing political persecution joined the events held across States and expressed their solidarity with Gulfisha Fatima. Numerous cities and towns across the country were part of this solidarity action, held at Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Araria, Patna, Lucknow, Faizabad, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Badwani, Baroda, Jaipur, Pune, Bhopal, Bhilai, Kolkata, Sitapur etc.

They reaffirmed that they will continue to resist the fascist islamophobic and castiest forces to preserve the democratic spirit of the constitution.

Several events simultaneously took place across the country which were jointly organized by  AIPWA, SAHELI, NFIW, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, AIDWA, Bebaak Collective, Parcham Collective (Bombay), PUCL (Rajasthan), Forum Against Oppression of Women, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Habitat And Livelihood Welfare Association, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan(Mumbai), JJSS (Araria, Bihar), Justice Coalitions of Religious(West India), Women and Transgender Organisations (WT-JAC), National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and Narmada Bachao Andolan.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Abolishing the fundamental rights of the citizens recognized by the constitution is beyond the jurisdiction of the government. And such an attempt is a sign of dictatorship. By abusing the majority, the Modi government has violated the constitution by passing the CAA. Moreover, protesting against such actions of the government is one of the basic rights of the citizens. The Modi government is torturing many CAA protesters by detaining them without trial. Everyone needs to speak out against this.

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