4th May, 2020: 1100 feminists from all over India – organisations and individuals across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders – issued a solidarity statement today, condemning the targeted crackdown on muslims and women activists in Delhi, who were at the forefront of the peaceful protests against the unconstitutional CAA-NRC-NPR.
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 lockdown. The statement denounces false narratives that try to link anti-CAA protests with the violence in Delhi, demands action against actual instigators and perpetrators of communal violence, including BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra and Pravesh Verma, seeks full disclosure of arrests and detentions from Delhi Police, withdrawal of false cases and immediate release of all political prisoners.
Prominent among the 1100 signatories are:
· well-known feminist rights activists Annie Raja, Medha Patkar, Farah Naqvi, Aruna Roy, Shabnam Hashmi, Lalita Ramdas, Maimoona Moolah, Ruth Manorama, Soni Sori, Hasina Khan, Jagmati Sangwan, Mariam Dhawale, Sadaf Jafar, Sabika Abbas Naqvi, Anjali Bharadwaj, Kamla Bhasin, Teesta Setalvad, Chittaroopa Palit, Chayanika Shah, Mallika Virdi, Arundhati Dhuru, Manjula Pradeep, Ranjana Padhi, Meena Seshu, Madhu Bhushan, Kavita Srivastava, Poonam Kaushik, Aishwarya Rao, Nisha Gulur, Kavita Krishnan, Meera Sanghamitra, Kalyani Menon Sen, Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, Rinchin, Ajitha Rao, Masooma Ranalvi;
· eminent academics Uma Chakravarti, Kalpana Kannabiran, Zoya Hasan, Veena Shatrughna, V. Geetha, Sujatha Surepally, Nalini Visvanath, Pratiksha Baxi, Gabriele Dietrich, Jayati Ghosh, Chaya Datar, Bittu Karthik Kondaiah, Padmaja Shaw, Dipa Sinha, Nandita Narain, Parveen Sultana, Richa Nagar, Karen Gabriele
· celebrated authors Meena Kandasamy, Gita Hariharan;
· senior journalists Pamela Philipose; Geeta Seshu, Sajaya K, Laxmi Murthy;
· theatre personalities Mangai and Maya Rao;
· advocates Anubha Rastogi, Veena Gowda, Albertina Almeida, Lara Jesani, Vasudha Nagraj;
· film makers Aparna Sen, Mahasweta Burma, Shiba Chachi, Fathima Nisaruddin, Reena Mohan, Tina Gill, Divya Bharathi, Vani Subramanian;
· student activists from multiple universities across the country.
· feminists groups from across the country including Saheli, NFIW, AIDWA, AIPWA, WSS, PMS, NAPM, PUCL, Bebaak Collective, LABIA – A queer feminist LBT Collective, Forum Against Oppression of Women (FAOW), Hasratein – A Queer Collective, etc.
While condemning all false cases, arbitrary arrests, detentions and interrogations, as well as UAPA and sedition charges, the statement highlights the cases of three muslim young women who were at the forefront of peaceful democratic protests and not involved with violence in any way, unlike what the Delhi Police is alleging.
Ø GULFISHA, 25, a young muslim woman who emerged a leader in the Seelampur anti-CAA protest. An MBA student, Gulfisha has reportedly been arrested by the police on 9th April, but until this day, the details remain blurry. She has been languishing in judicial custody under false charges of sedition, without proper access to her family or lawyer.
Ø SAFOORA ZARGAR, 30, member of the Jamia Coordination Committee who has been arrested despite being three months’ pregnant, at a time when overcrowding in prisons and have become a huge concern worldwide.
Ø ISHRAT JAHAN, Former Municipal Councillor, active in the Khureji protest has been in jail for over a month now, and been subjected to custodial torture. Her co-accused, Khalid Saifi emerged from police custody with both his legs as well as two fingers broken—indicating brutal torture.
The signatories salute the spirit of thousands of women who were part of the 200+ Shaheen Baghs across the country, who despite numerous attacks and negative propaganda by the right-wing, and who held high the flag of upholding constitutional values and communal harmony. The courage shown by ordinary citizens in the face of the pre-planned communal pogrom, primarily targeting the Muslims in North-East Delhi is exemplary. As feminists, we declare our unflinching solidarity with the muslim women, students and activists who work together as harbingers of peace and will defeat sinister attempts to project them in bad light by the state and vested interests.
Ø 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.
Ø False cases against peaceful anti-CAA protesters must be dropped, and all those arrested on trumped-up charges must be released immediately.
Ø 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.
Ø Detentions, intimidation & harassment of those who assert the democratic right to protest must stop.
Ø Prisons must be de-congested as per orders of the Apex Court and all political prisoners released.
Ø UAPA and the Sedition law must be repealed.