New Delhi: As many as 1,100 feminists from all over India – including organisations and individuals across a wide cross-section – have issued a solidarity statement, condemning the targeted crackdown on Muslims and women activists in Delhi who had been visible in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register.
The signatories noted that the Delhi Police, “at the behest of the Union home ministry is brazenly rounding up people under the cover” of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The statement also underlies the harm caused by linking the peaceful protests that began in December to the riots that took place in Delhi in February. It also asks why cases have not been registered against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and Pravesh Verma, who made incendiary statements that are believed to have led to the violence in northeast Delhi.
Among the signatories are feminist rights activists Annie Raja, Medha Patkar, Farah Naqvi, Aruna Roy, Shabnam Hashmi, Lalita Ramdas, Maimoona Moolah, Ruth Manorama, Soni Sori and others.
There are also academics Uma Chakravarti, Kalpana Kannabiran, Zoya Hasan, Pratiksha Baxi, Gabriele Dietrich, Jayati Ghosh, celebrated authors Meena Kandasamy and Gita Hariharan, senior journalists Pamela Philipose, Geeta Seshu, Sajaya K, and Laxmi Murthy and theatre personalities Mangai and Maya Rao.
Advocates Anubha Rastogi, Veena Gowda, Albertina Almeida and film makers Aparna Sen, Mahasweta Burma, Shiba Chachi, Fathima Nisaruddin, Reena Mohan and others are also among signatories.
Student activists from multiple universities across the country and women’s rights groups have also added support to the
Condemning the false cases, arbitrary arrests, detentions and interrogations, as well as UAPA and sedition charges, the statement highlights the cases of three Muslim women: 25-year-old MBA student Gulfisha who was connected with the Seelampur protests, 30-year-old Safoora Zargar who was a member of the Jamia Coordination Committee and Ishrat Jahan, former municipal councillor who was active in the Khureji protest.
All three are in custody.
The signatories make the following demands:
“Delhi Police must immediately make public all FIRs, arrests and detentions with their legal status and conduct a free and fair investigation into all the incidents of violence.
False cases against peaceful anti-CAA protesters must be dropped, and all those arrested on trumped-up charges must be released immediately.
Real culprits of the violence in Delhi must be booked, including the likes of Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and others who instigated hate, sparked and perpetuated the violence.
Detentions, intimidation and harassment of those who assert the democratic right to protest must stop.
Prisons must be de-congested as per orders of the apex court and all political prisoners released.
UAPA and the sedition law must be repealed.”