More than 50 academicians, politicians, civil servants, and student leaders have condemned the arrest of Campus Front of India leaders and a journalist while on their way to Hathras and said the arrests are the latest instances of flagrant violation of law by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
Atikur Rahman, national treasurer of Campus Front of India (CFI), Masud Khan, CFI Delhi general secretary and senior journalist Siddique Kappan, secretary of Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) Delhi unit along with Alam, the driver were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh on 5 October and have been booked under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sedition.
“The police continue a series of rights violation in the case of cruel Hathras rape-murder,” reads a statement endorsed by scholars Nivedita Menon, C Lakshmanan, Zafarul Islam Khan, Vikram Harijan, V Vasanthi Devi, Rosanna, Jenny Rowena, Ghazala Jamil, and Nandita Narain and civil servants Sasikanth Senthil, K. Ragothaman, P. Sivakami, and former MP and Congress MLA in Karnataka B. K. Hariprasad.
The statement was also signed by poets Meena Kandasamy and Leena Manimekala, activists SP Udayakumar, Shwetha Bhatt, and NCHRO’s A Marx, Fraternity Movement national president Ansar Aboobacker, BAPSA founder member Chinmay Mahanand, SIO national president Labeed Shafi, SDPI national secretary Tasleem Rahmani and TN Liberation Movement’s Thozhar Thiyagu.
The statement noted that they were initially taken to custody for 24 hours without any intimation to the family or relatives, seized their mobile phones, laptops and denied communication with their close associates.
“It was observed that the UP government went backfoot when wide criticism was broke out on Hathras case. Public litigation has also been filed in the supreme court demanding the resignation of Yogi Adithyanath. The police intentionally manipulated the incident by formidable allegations and charged serious offenses like UAPA and sedition against them in order to devoid the public discussion that exposed the failure of the UP government,” reads the statement.
They further said that the UP police is infamous for violation of rules and demonizing Dalit and Muslim communities, attained new heights after Yogi Adityanath became Chief Minister of the state.
The collective through its public statment demanded the immediate release of the arrested persons and withdraw draconian charges fabricated against them. They also demanded to withdraw the sedition charges levelled against those who extended solidarity to the rape-murdered 19-year-old Dalit woman.
“The UP police have miserably failed to secure the lives and dignity of the people though they enthusiastically undertake the task of terrorizing the voice of dissent,” it added.
The statement also reads: “In a democracy, real power is vested with the people but the BJP government is creating a totalitarian hindutva nation. However, the concerned citizens of the country should not allow the intimidation tactics to rule over the people.”
The statment also urged the government of UP to deliver justice to the family of Dalit woman in Hathras who was raped and murdered by upper-caste Hindu men.