Arrest of Gulfisha is an attack on brave women who protested CAA: Co-protesters demand release of jailed activist

Gulfisha is one of the early threads in the series of the witch-hunt being held by the Delhi Police for the past few weeks. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic controlled national lockdown, the country’s capital is hunting its Muslim minorities with allegations and opaque detentions overnight.

Gulifsha, an MBA student, and a leader of a peaceful protest conducted in the NorthEast part of Delhi against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was arrested on April 9, 2020, imposed with draconian UAPA in connection with North East Delhi violence.

Despite held weeks in Tihar Jail, Gulfisha’s arrest and the accusations are made less transparent to her family.

Being one of the coordinators of the women-led-sit-in in Seelampur-Jafradabad area, Gulfisha was a leader of much tolerance, beholding peaceful protest in the site, say her co-protesters.

“Gul is a fierce and extremely warm person and activist. UAPA charges against her are part of a series of cooked up cases put on anti-CAA protesters to further criminalize dissent and shield the likes of Kapil Mishra and the Hindutva gang responsible for Delhi riots”, tweets her friend Mytree regarding the arrest.

She was accused of instigating violence in the area, whereas her co-protesters and friends share their experiences of peaceful sit-in and gatherings they conducted against CAA, NRC, and NPR.

Police accused Gulfisha and other anti-CAA activists including Jamia Millia students Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, former JNU student Umar Khalid, AAP Councillor Thahir Hussain, former Delhi Municipal Councillor Ishrat Jahan, United Against Hate’s active worker and activist Khalid Saifi, of being the key “conspirators” in the Delhi pogrom that erupted in 2020 February. The pogrom is widely acknowledged to have been sparked by incendiary comments made by Kapil Mishra, a BJP leader, about Muslims peacefully protesting against ‘anti-Muslim and unconstitutional’ citizenship law. Video evidence and witness accounts pointed to police allowing Hindu mobs to roam the streets freely to target the Muslim community.

“The fascist and patriarchal attack on Gulfisha is an attack on thousands of spectacular women who, for months organized and led the peaceful protests against CAA, NRC, and NPR,” Meera Sanghamitra who is working with the National Alliance of People’s Movements said.

Meera added that these brave women are not going anywhere and they will rise brighter and unscathed from this ordeal.

Her family dismisses the charges leveled against her as ‘false’ and ‘baseless’.

Gulfisha’s lawyer, Mehmood Paracha, who is a legal advisor of women protesters of the sit-in told Caravan Daily, “the charges brought against her are patently false and the recent arrests are a part of a larger conspiracy by Delhi Police being done at the behest of the RSS”.

“I know this woman as an extremely hardworking student. We used to exchange ‘hellos’ in the corridors of Central Library, Delhi University. It is disturbing to learn that she too has been booked under the UAPA,” Nandita Goswamee, Gulfisha’s friend took to Facebook to write this.

“Since when did educating people about their rights become an unlawful activity? Since when did standing up for your rights become an unlawful activity? Since when did leading a peaceful protest become an unlawful activity?,” Nandita asks.

“Whereas the Delhi Police enabled blank firing at the peaceful protestors or the hate speech delivered by Kapil Mishra that resulted in the culmination of Delhi Pogrom or the unprecedented circulation of fake news by Godi media channels are not qualified as unlawful activities,” she added.

“Gul was so lovely and incredibly passionate,” remembers her another friend Tanvi.

International human rights watchdogs including Amnesty International and civil society groups, teachers associations, student organizations, and filmmakers across India had issued different statements calling for the release of anti-CAA activists who were ‘targetted by Hindu nationalist government for protesting anti-Muslim laws’ and ‘arrested under false accusations by Delhi Police.’

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