Recall Kalburgi and Shahid Azmi? There are several such unconnected looking incidents in recent times that are part of the same mindset that looks for ‘internal enemies’ in every dissenting voice.
Image for representational use only.Image Courtesy : Siasat
Ram Puniyani, the affable and relentless campaigner for communal harmony and peace, who at the age of 73 displays the enthusiasm of a 25-year-old ever ready to go from place to place with his characteristic bag full of literature, had some unusual visitors in his house a few days ago.
What was rather strange was that the trio that visited his house in plain clothes on March 9, introduced themselves from CID but were reluctant to show their identity cards and supposedly had come to make enquiries regarding a non-existent passport application, as neither Professor Puniyani nor anyone else from his family had applied for the same.
On 12th of May, while I was still trying to cope with the sad demise of noted human rights lawyer Advocate PurushothamPoojary, from Mangalore in Karnataka, I was informed of yet another loss. But this time, the loss was more personal and tragic. “Mukul Sinha passed away,” informed a friend who was calling from Delhi. The news shook me to the core and for a few hours, I went numb with disbelief and was unable to respond properly. In fact, it is still difficult for me to talk of him in the past tense.
Dr. Mukul Sinha, a physicist by training, a trade unionist and human rights activist by passion, and a lawyer by practice, succumbed to lung cancer in Ahmedabad, the former capital of Gujarat. His diagnosis with cancer was revealed to us a year ago. But the news had to be kept under wraps as it would ‘unnecessarily concern’ his distant friends and well-wishers. In the last one year, while he had almost stopped participating in public functions, he was very active on social media, especially Twitter. Continue reading Remembering Adv. Mukul Sihna: Mahtab Alam→
This is the audio of the Shahid Azmi Memorial Lecture delivered on 9 February 2013 byYUG MOHIT CHAUDHRYat the Indian Law Institute in Delhi. While the lecture date and topic – death penalty – were scheduled weeks in advance, it co-incidentally happened that Mohd Afzal Guru was hanged on the morning of the lecture. Shahid Azmi was a lawyer in Mumbai. He was 32 when he was shot dead on 11 February 2010.
Progressive lawyers, social activists and academics have invested much time in trying to puzzle out what is the progressive potential of law. Sometimes, answers to deep philosophical questions emerge from a single life. Shahid Azmi’s life (1977-2010) exemplifies one answer to this perennial question. It was a life which took to the legal profession with the objective of using law as a shield and tool in the quest for justice. It was also a life which was tragically cut short, when Shahid Azmi was assassinated at the age of thirty three.
It must have been around nine pm on 11th February last year. The nightfall and Delhi’s infamous wintry chill ensured that I stayed indoors at the mercy of closed walls and work for company. Sure enough, I was seated warmly in my setting of a cyber cafe of Jamia Nagar in Okhla. Okhla, an area I had migrated to as a 14 year boy from my hometown, to pursue my further education, like many other Muslim students from other parts of this country. As Basharat Peer has rightly observed, ‘India’s Muslims don’t move to Delhi; they move to Okhla’. Continue reading Remembering Shahid Azmi, the Shaheed: Mahtab Alam→
It took Shahid Azmi’s cold-blooded murder on 11th February 2010 at his office near Kurla, for the world to come alive to his importance. Soft spoken and modest, it is the sweep of the cases he fought, challenging the State’s calculated targeting of innocent Muslims, that marked Shahid’s remarkable achievements as a lawyer within a short span of six years in the legal profession.
One of these cases related to the brutal lathi charge in Arthur Road Jail in central Mumbai, on 28th June 2008, by the jail staff along with convicts and undertrials from the so-called `patriotic’ underworld gangs, on a select group of undertrial-inmates. This assault was conducted under the overall supervision of the-then Jail Superintendent Swati Sathe. To the outside world, Ms Sathe was a tough no-nonsense, non corrupt woman officer who probably wished to become the next Kiran Bedi. But underneath her stiff khakhi uniform ruled a tough no-nonsense hindutva heart, no less.