Sunday, April 14, 2024

Safoora Zargar’s detention: Activists seek United Nations’ intervention

A group of activists has approached the United Nations requesting an urgent intervention into the “inhumane arrest of Jamia Millia student and anti-CAA protester Safoora Zargar” on Monday.

The activists urged the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to intervene and pressurize the current Government to release Safoor Zargar from the continued judicial custody.

This group consists of advocates and human rights activists living in India and Europe.

Last week, a Delhi court had denied bail to the 27-year old Ph.D. student and a pregnant woman Zargar in a case registered under draconian UAPA, linking her to the conspiracy behind the Delhi riots.

Zargar is among the many students and rights activists who were active in anti-CAA protests arrested and charge-sheeted in connection with ‘the conspiracy behind Delhi riots’ while India was in lockdown.

“Zargar has been, unjustly and with disregard to the legal provisions, precedents and the factual position denied bail on two occasions by the District Court of Delhi vide orders dated 21.04.2020 and 04.06.2020,” activists wrote to UN body.

“The Court has erred in completely ignoring the underlying health conditions of Zargar and the fact that Tihar jail, where Zargar is detained, is at overcapacity and has already reported positive cases of COVID-19. Zargar, being 5 months pregnant and suffering from Poly Cystic Ovarian Disorder (“PCOD”), is most vulnerable to contract COVID-19 in an overcrowded jail where social distancing is impossible. This alone should have been a sufficient ground to grant bail to Zargar, but she continues to be subjected to the inhumane treatment by the government and police, merely, for exercising here fundamental rights,” reads the document.

The activists also wrote to the UN that the imprisonment of Zargar is a violation of many international laws including United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders which say that non-custodial means should be preferred for pregnant women during the pre-trial phase wherever that is possible or appropriate.

The appeal also highlighted how the Indian government has deployed the mightiest weapons including the stringent provisions of draconian UAPA in its arsenal against dissenting students.

“A recent trend of arrests made under the UAPA would give a clear indication as to how the current government has found a new weapon to crackdown dissenting views and silent any voice which tries to vocally oppose its inherently unjust and unconstitutional policy decisions,” the appeal reads.

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 Safoora Zargar and 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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