Artistes Release “Statement Against Witch-Hunt of Students and Activists”

Statement against Witch-Hunt of Students and Activists by Delhi Police! Protesting against CAA is not A Crime!

The country right now is reeling through a grave crisis as a result of the novel Corona Virus and nearly a month long lockdown. We are all being asked to stay home and stay safe in order to break the chain of the deadly virus. We are shocked to know that in this midst of such a grave situation, the Delhi Police has arrested two students of Jamia Millia Islamia and several activists from localities of North-East Delhi who had participated in peaceful protests against the CM. Even as we write this, more students and activists are being called for questioning and interrogation by the police on a daily basis.

In a twisted fairy tale that the Delhi Police is trying to weave, these activists are now being implicated in cases related to the communal violence in Delhi that took place in February. A riot in which the minorities suffered the maximum damage, both in terms of lives and livelihoods, has now become a pretext for the Delhi Police to further witch-hunt activists, most of whom also come from the minority community.

The lockdown cannot be a lockdown of the rights of citizens, and must not be abused by the authorities in this manner. These actions of the Delhi Police are utterly inhuman and undemocratic. Making several people travel to police stations every day and then throwing some of them to jails also defeats the purpose of the lockdown and makes a mockery of social distancing. At a time when various govemments are releasing under-trials from jail to relieve the pressure from the prisons and restrict chances of contamination, the Delhi Police is pushing students and activists into jail.

In a democratic country such as ours, the constitution gives us the right to protest and express our views against the government and its policies. Many people in the country and the world had condemned the draconian Citizenship Amendment Act. Our opposition to the CM continues, as we see it as a bigoted law that strikes at the secular fabric of our country. We condemn this witch-hunt of students and activists because they exercised their constitutional right to protest against CAA/NRC/NPR.

To fight this pandemic the citizens and authorities need to stand by each other. By targeting activists taking advantage of the lockdown, when there is hardly even any media coverage of its actions, the Delhi Police is betraying the civic rights of the citizens. We urge the Delhi Police to stop abusing the lockdown, respect the human rights of our fellow citizens and put an end to this witch-hunt. We demand the release of these students and activists.

Mahesh Bhatt, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bhardwaj, Vishal Dadlani, Ratna Pathak Shah, Sushant Singh, Zeeshan Ayyub, Hansa Mehta, Nandita Das, Ashwini Chaudhary, Onir, Vinta Nanda, Sandhya Mridul, Kumud Choudhary, Neeraj Ghaywan, Vinay Shukla, Sohail Tatari, Kushan Nandy, Ankur Tewari, Aparna Sen, Shashank Arora, Abish Mathew, Andre Borges, Konkona Sen Sharma, Mallika Dua, Saba Singh Azad, Trisha Shetty, Shahana Goswami, Shruthy Menon.

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