Amidst the bustle of talk and announcements on stage, there is a surprise at Shaheen Bagh. A young, slim girl student in ankle length boots, dark pants and shirt is invited to take the podium. She begins her speech by saying that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has put her in a dilemma. She studies in Jharkhand where many of her close friends are Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members. Their opinions matter to her personally. At the same time, when she comes to Shaheen Bagh she is gripped by the dangers and stakes involved in the CAA.
Joint Statement by Feminists Urging the President of India
to Commute Death Sentence to Life Imprisonment
As individuals and groups who have been engaged in the struggles for women’s rights, safety and justice, it is often presumed that we would support the demand for death penalty for sexual assault. But for decades, even as we have consistently fought to make the world safer for women through changes in policy and law, and social awareness by breaking the silence on these heinous crimes, we have consistently argued against the death penalty for sexual assault, as well as, all other crimes.
The outpouring of solidarity and generosity on the JNU campus, since the attack of 5th January 2020 has been overwhelming.
Hostels have organised guerilla dhabas at Sabarmati. They have sung revolutionary songs while making pans of maggi and distributing jhal muri and peanuts.
Men from the hostel that distributed peanuts, worried about the mess of the peanut shells at our hostel entrance, even offered to sweep up the place, brooms at the ready.
Three women in the women’s wing in Sabarmati threw all the women in the hostel a party two nights ago.
During and after the events of the 5th, neighbours have become friends.
Our teachers have been coming to meet us every day. Some have brought bags full of snacks. Some have organised trauma sessions for us. Some have just held us.
And tonight Brahmaputra hostel organised a Sadbhavna mela for the campus. Free snack stalls all around, dholak music to dance to and a large Lohri bonfire.
As some of us women from Sabarmati were walking back towards Ganga dhaba tonight, discussing how this is the first time our hostel has no Lohri celebrations, the men from Kaveri stopped us to offer popcorn from their Lohri celebrations.
When the idea of citizenship is wielded like a deadly weapon to deprive people of basic rights rather than to empower them, it’s time to think about the basis of rights differently. While in the Preamble to the Constitution, ‘we the people’ resolve to secure to all its ‘citizens’ justice, liberty, equality and fraternity; Article 14 of the Fundamental Rights ensures equality before the law to all “persons”, not only to citizens.
The people of a land precede the creation of “citizens”, and we the people of India must think seriously at this moment in our history, about how justice is to be secured to all persons, and whether citizenship is an emancipatory idea any longer.
Consider the revealing and tragic irony of one of the accused arrested for his alleged role in violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) , in East Delhi’s Seemapuri. Through his counsel, in a Delhi court, he claimed to be a juvenile, and to prove this, produced certificates from the madarsa at which he studies.
Delhi Police, however, claimed that these documents were insufficient to establish his age, and requested permission for a bone ossification test. The counsel of the accused argued that according to central government notifications, madarsa certificates are sufficient to prove age, but the Delhi court permitted police to carry out the ossification test.
(A series of protests have been held in Netherlands against CAA by the Indian diaspora since last few days. There was a protest at International Court of Justice ( ICJ) based in Hague on 30 th December. It was the fifth protest in last ten days. Pasted below a statement issued on the occasion.)
Statement for Press Release: ICJ Protest
In light of the recent events in India, a group of Indian diaspora residing in the Netherlands, deeply disturbed by the turn of events have decided to protest against the Government of India before the Peace Palace. The protest is directed against the enactment of Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (“Act”) followed by gross perpetration of human rights violation against its citizens by the Government of India. Continue reading Statement Issued by ‘Netherlands against CAA’ (Citizenship Amendment Act)→
Uttar Pradesh is dealing with CAA as it dealt with crime : encounters
Image Courtesy: PTI
Seventy-six year old advocate Mohammad Shoaib fought to have innocents branded as terrorists under repressive laws released, and risked multiple assaults by right-wing lawyers as he took these cases through various courts in Uttar Pradesh. His contemporary, former police officer SR Darapuri became a human rights activist and writer after he retired. Neither would have imagined one day they would be lodged in jail, charged with rioting and creating disaffection, under similarly draconian laws.
But as everybody knows, in Uttar Pradesh today Shoaib and Darapuri are not exceptions. They are just two notable figures among the hundreds of socio-political activists, writers and cultural workers—not to forget ordinary folks—who have been packed into various state prisons for opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). These protests are going on across the country, and started peaking after 19 December, when students spontaneously poured out in the streets against the new law and the proposed policy.
Uttar Pradesh’s administration has come down on those protesting with a heavy hand. The Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, tried to project the opposition to the bill as a purely ‘law and order issue: therefore, he sought to justify seeking “revenge” against those who damaged public or private property.
Members of Ritwik Ghatak’s extended family have issued the following statement, responding to reports appearing in the media about the BJP youth wing planning to use bits from Ghatak’s cinema for what appears to be some propaganda film about refugees and migrants.
We, the undersigned, family members of the late Shri Ritwik Kumar Ghatak, strongly condemn the reported misappropriation and misuse of his politics and his cinema by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha to defend the controversial and discriminatory National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Shri Ghatak’s cinema reflected his deep empathy for the underprivileged — in particular, the displaced and marginalised victims of political and social upheavals. He was secular to the bone, as everyone who knew him can attest, and his writings and cinema are proof of this.