Monitoring Desk: Hundreds of students, teachers, activists, and concerned citizens of Delhi join the ‘India Behind Bars’ press conference.
Their demands were to repeal UAPA, PSA, NIA, AFSPA, release all Political Prisoners and provide immediate Healthcare to all prisoners. Activists and family members of incarcerated people raise voices for the release of all political prisoners.
On 8th October, despite heavy rains, citizens of Delhi flooded the Press Club of India in solidarity with different political prisoners incarcerated under acts like UAPA, PSA, NIA etc. Along with family members and friends of those incarcerated, teachers and activists spoke against the assault on democratic rights by the BJP regime.
Nargis Saifi, political activist, and wife of Khalid Saifi addressed the gathering, saying, “the injustice inflicted on Khalid is an injustice to the country. Khalid’s fight is the fight for constitution. We shall not rest until all prisoners of BJP’s hate are released.” Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of CPIML said, “this fight against the BJP is of the magnitude of our freedom struggle. We must awake a new political consciousness to fight this regime of hate and violence.” Jenny Rowena, Professor in DU and partner of Hany Babu spoke against UAPA saying, “the UAPA is a way of punishing people when you have no way of silencing them. It is not a law but a tool of violence on democracy.”
Rajya Sabha MP, Manoj Jha addressed the gathering, saying, “I was present in the Parliament when UAPA was introduced. And all the fears and criticisms that we had articulated, today stand vindicated by this brutal attack on democratic forces.” Vasantha, activist and partner of GN Saibaba said, “Saibaba has been battling various health issues for so many years. This government has no basic sense of responsibility and empathy towards its own citizens.”
“Cases, arguments and laws that sound bizarre to our mind have been normalized by this dictatorial government”, said Banojyotsna Lahri, political activist and friend of Uma Khalid. Colin Gonsalves, Senior Advocate stated, “nowhere in the world does a democracy give this absolute power to the police and the political executive in determining whether someone is a terrorist. UAPA is an anomaly for a democratic society.” Nandini Sundar, Professor addressed the gathering saying “now the police is deciding what intellectuals of the country can write and what they cannot write. They are deciding what people can say or not say.”
Neha Dixit, independent journalist spoke of the independence of judiciary, saying “there has been complete politicization of lower and higher level courts in the sense that senior officials of courts are filing cases against independent journalists and activists today. This government and the RSS have destroyed the independent character of the judiciary.” Arfa Khanum, Senior editor of the Wire said, “today, any person who questions the government knows the fear of repression. This normalized fear must be fought with courage.”