A letter has been written to NHRC’s Chairman HL Dattu for Intervention in stopping “political vendetta and malicious prosecution of women activists and human rights defenders” like Safoora Zargar, Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, Gulfisha Fatima and Ishrat Jahan .
“We seek your urgent intervention in the continuing persecution and criminalisation of women activists who have supported and participated in the nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the announcement that it would be followed up with a National Register of Citizens (NRC) and a National Population Register (NPR)”, the letter stated.
It is urged in the letter that the pattern of targeted arrests and prosecutions over the last two months, bear out the contention that the Government of India is treating the Covid-19 lockdown as an opportunity to crush the movement against the CAA-NRC-NPR.
The letter further stated-
“These young women represent the latest generation of political activists who stand in defense of women’s human rights. In joining the movement against the CAA-NRC-NPR, they have asserted their rights and freedoms, protected under the Constitution and international human rights laws, of participating in the political life of the country and exercising their freedom of political action as full and equal citizens.
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The arrest and incarceration of these young women is completely unjustified. They have been named in one or more generic FIRs citing an assortment of charges including conspiracy under UAPA. It is noteworthy that they are not accused of participating in violence. In addition, they have been cooperating with the investigation and presenting themselves for interrogation by the police. The insistence on keeping them in custody is disproportionate and illogical.”
The letter sought following directions from NHRC-
1. Direct Delhi Police to make public all FIRs against CAA protestors and FIRs filed in relation to the violence in Delhi between Feb 23-27, along with the status of investigations.
2. Recommend re-consideration of bail pleas of the women activists and granting of bail with any conditions that apply.
3. Recommend unconditional bail on health grounds for Safoora Zargar in view of her pregnancy and aggravated vulnerability to Covid 19.
4. In accordance with your powers under Section12(a)(i) of the NHRC Act, institute an immediate enquiry into the handling of cases against CAA protestors by Delhi Police, to determine whether they involve violation of human rights through partisan investigation and malicious prosecution.
Read the letter here: