The government has made a number of arrests of political activists in recent days. Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha were taken into custody on April 14 on dubious charges relating to the Bhima Koregaon violence in 2018. Several prominent Muslim activists who were at the forefront of the anti-CAA protests such as Gulfisha, Khalid Saifi, Ishrat Jahan, Safoora Zargar and Meeran Haider have been arrested in the last few weeks, some of whom have been slapped with the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Further, it has been reported that over 800 ordinary Muslim residents of Delhi have been picked up by the police in connection with the Anti-Muslim violence which took place there in late February.
At a time when there can be no mass mobilisations or street protests against these repressive actions, and when so many people are distressed, anxious and distracted by the unprecedented challenges our country is facing due to the COVID-19 crisis, this targetting of activists, intellectuals and Muslims appears to be calculated and insidious. Also, needlessly pushing people into already crowded jails when physical distancing and personal hygiene are being held as among the most important measures to be taken against the spread of the coronavirus, is inhumane. These actions are an indication of the government’s contempt for democracy, human dignity and the freedom of expression.
The Socialist Party (India) condemns these arrests and demands that the government release all political dissenters. Further, all prisoners serving short-term sentences for non-serious crimes should be released so that prison conditions may be improved and prisoners and prison staff be protected from the coronavirus. The party also demands that the investigation of Delhi’s anti-Muslim violence be carried out transparently and without a political agenda.
Pannalal Surana, President, Socialist Party (India) | Ph: 9423734089
Sandeep Pandey, Vice-President, Socialist Party (India) | email@example.com
Surabhi Agarwal, Spokesperson, Socialist Party (india)