India

One year in jail under UAPA: Families of Hathras political prisoners await justice

Alam’s mother in law and Atiqur Rahman’s wife at Press Club of India on Tuesday. Alam and Rahman were among the four Muslim men arrested on 5 October last year under draconian UAPA in Hathras conspiracy case. Photo: Sahid Faris/Maktoob

Kerala Journalist Siddique Kappan, Campus Front of India leaders and students Atiqur Rahman and Masud Ahmed, and a Delhi-based cab driver Mohammad Alam spent 365 days in jail for the crime never committed, allege family members and colleagues of Hathras political prisoners on Tuesday.

Rahman, a Ph.D. student at Chaudhary Charan Singh University in Meerut, Masud Ahmed, a graduate student at Jamia Millia Islamia and a member of Jamia Coordination Committee and Rauf Shareef, a Chartered Accountant by profession and the fifth accused in the Hathras UAPA case are exuberant young leaders who were at the forefront in Delhi against the divisive politics of Hindu nationalist party and its government, said the speakers Rajya Sabha MP and Congress leader Dr. Lankappa Hanumanthaiah, former Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, Delhi University professors Apoorvanand and Nandita Narain and Campus Front of India general secretary Ashwan Sadique.

Hanumanthaiah MP told the reporters that he urged the Government of India many times to repeal draconian UAPA while he was in Rajya Sabha. “UAPA should be repealed. The police may arrest anyone without trial and reason under this law. This will not happen in a democratic country.”

MP demanded the immediate release of Muslim youths, saying “We should respect the dissenting voice.”

Another Stan Swamy in making?

Family members of prisoners and activists allege that they have been suffering in jail for the past year without adequate medical supports.

Rahman suffers from Aortic regurgitation- a cardiac problem that develops when the aortic valve in the heart does not shut securely enough. Heart failure is the most dangerous consequence that might occur as a result of this condition. He has visited hospitals in Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Aligarh, and AIIMS in Delhi, seeking treatment for this condition.  “A month before his arrest, an AIIMS doctor had advised him to have a Bentall procedure to replace his aortic valve. That’s why we filed a plea for him to be released on interim bail for 60 days so he could get the surgery done,” Mateen- Atiq’s brother earlier told Maktoob.

Rahman’s health condition deteriorated many times in jail. No proper treatment is being provided for Rahman in the prison, alleges kin of Rahman. Family members of Rahman are afraid he is another Stan Swamy in making.

“They think they can finish him in jail,” while demanding an immediate release of Rahman on bail, Congress MP Hanumanthaiah said.

Siddique Kappan is a diabetic patient and suffers from depression in jail. He has been rumbling about ‘dying in prison,’ making wife Raihanath ‘extremely worried’.

“One day he admitted he needs help but it’s not available,” Raihanath had said to Maktoob. “Ever since his mother’s death, he has been in despair.”

Another prisoner Rauf Shareef undergoes health issues after being tested for COVID-19 four times.

Kerala Journalist Siddique Kappan, Campus Front of India leaders and students Atiqur Rahman and Masud Ahmed, and a Delhi-based cab driver Mohammad Alam spent 365 days in jail for the crime never committed, alleges family members and colleagues of Hathras political prisoners on Tuesday. Photo: Sahid Faris/Maktoob

Political arrest

Yogi Adityanath government in an attempt to cover up their face from the crime and suppress the protest, booked Muslim men under draconian UAPA, the panelists who speak at Press Club of India on Tuesday alleged.

“A 5000-page chargesheet submitted before the court filled with imaginary stories and lies,” they said.

“These youths wanted to sympathize with a rape victim,” Hanumanthaiah MP said.

“Policemen are the witnesses in the case. When policemen become witnesses in a case, we will all know what will happen to the accused,” said Hanumanthaiah.

According to UP police, they were on their way to Hathras to ‘incite violence’ in the area, which is rejected by the lower court and closed the case on 16 June this year. But they are in jail due to stringent charges UAPA and sedition.

“All the witnesses are police officials who hard-work to connect their imaginary dots,” according to a press note issued by family members and friends of Hathras political prisoners.

“Policemen are the witnesses in the case. When policemen become witnesses in a case, we all will know what will happen to the accused,” said Hanumanthaiah. Photo: Sahid Faris/Maktoob

“We didn’t get justice.”

“This is one year now. We didn’t get justice,” Bushra, wife of cab driver Alam said on Tuesday at the Press Club of India.

Bushra said that her husband and others were arrested because they are Muslims and poor people.

Sajida Rahman, wife of Atiqur Rahman also came to Press Club with her children, seeking support from all for her “fight to get basic constitutional rights.”

“I am only asking the constitutional rights,” says Sajida.

Maktoob Staff

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