Three Years Of Incarceration: Feminist Solidarity To Gulfisha Fatima
Set off Warning: Mentions rape
The idea of “freedom” in India is commonly fraught with intense feelings, inflicting discomfort, concern, and doubt for a lot of residents. Whereas India’s rising globalisation is touted as an indication of progress, significantly with the recognition of sure Indian celebrities on the web and media, it will be significant to not overlook the hypocrisy of the Indian state’s response to freedom — of speech, innocence, authorized assist, and life. To have a good time a few of India’s cultural contributions whereas ignoring these systemic points does a disservice to the nation and its folks, and dangers erasing these violations of freedom from the collective reminiscence of the world.
Referring particularly to the blatant bias throughout the authorized and policing establishments of the nation, for example, on one hand, India authorized the early launch of 11 Hindu males sentenced to life in jail for the gang rape of a pregnant Muslim girl and the homicide of 14 members of her household throughout the 2002 anti-Muslim riots.
On the opposite, there’s a chilling sample of unsubstantiated arrests and repression of dissenting voices by the present authorities as they use the Illegal Actions (Prevention) Act towards many like Ishrat Jahan, Tasleem Ahmad, Meeran Haider, Shadab Ahmed, Athar Khan, Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Salim Mallick, Salim Khan, Khalid Saifi, Tahir Hussain, and Shifa-ul-Rahman. Oftentimes, the arrests made utilizing UAPA are with out ample proof and non-bailable.
It isn’t arduous to grasp the obtrusive violation of human rights and dignity in India after we juxtapose the huge distinction within the remedy of those two teams of individuals, that’s, the 11 convicted of gang rape being celebrated and welcomed again to “freedom”, and the a whole lot incarcerated and oppressed based mostly on unfounded suspicion and concern of dissent. Additionally it is strikingly obvious that these focused by the State utilizing UAPA are from minority communities, particularly Muslims, Dalits, and Adivasis.
Gulfisha Fathima is considered one of many activists focused by the Delhi Police for her vocal dissatisfaction with the CAA and the NRC. She was arrested on eighth April 2020 and is but to obtain bail, regardless of her finishing 3 years of incarceration.
The story goes again to 2020; particularly, the anti-CAA and NRC protests and Delhi riots. When the anti-CAA and NRC protests broke out in India, Gulfisha was residing on her personal in North Delhi. She tried to influence her dad and mom to allow her to go to Shaheen Bagh however they have been adamant, “It’s too removed from the place you reside”, they mentioned. Nonetheless, when she heard concerning the Seelampur demonstrations, she was able to take part. Though she wasn’t a part of any pupil teams or political events, she felt included within the vulnerability of the ladies protesting round her.
She discovered her manner of creating a distinction actual fast – by instructing the Hindi and English alphabet to the ladies on the protest web site. Sooner or later whereas strolling again house from the sit-in, she additionally instructed her brother, Atiq, that she needed to pursue a PhD after her MBA.
However none of this mattered to the Delhi Police. Irked by the boldness of a younger Muslim girl talking up towards the federal government, they arrested Fatima for costs of rioting and assaulting a public servant. Earlier than she may apply for bail, they booked her for “conspiracy” below the UAPA, amongst different acts. She was additionally linked to the dying of an 18-year-old Muslim man, Amaan, 5 months after that FIR was registered. Though she obtained bail for all different instances, she stays in jail 3 years later due to the UAPA.
Additionally Learn: Feminist Solidarity To Sharjeel Imam
Like Gulfisha, many vocal activists and journalists have been arrested below the Illegal Actions (Prevention) Act (UAPA). A disproportionate quantity of arrests below the UAPA have focused minorities and in addition intellectuals, political critics, commerce unionists, attorneys, and activists. The UAPA is modelled on the earlier anti-terrorist legal guidelines of India, which have already been discredited as a consequence of their ample misuse by the police and intensely unconstitutional measures.
In truth, the UAPA is worse than each the sooner counter-terror legislations of India, the Terrorist & Disruptive Actions (Prevention) Act, 1985 (TADA) & Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA). A number of the most harmful elements of the act embrace;
- A broad, subjective, and ambiguous definition of the time period “terrorist act”.
- Chance of arresting a “suspected individual” based mostly on “any doc, article, or every other factor” and informing the suspect “as quickly as could also be”.
- Pre-charge detention of 180 days, even when the general public prosecutor doesn’t furnish ample proof towards the accused.
- The denial of bail based mostly on the courtroom’s discretion.
- Shift within the burden of proof onto the accused and denial of their proper to stay silent.
- The flexibility of the Indian Authorities to freeze belongings or stop the entry of the accused into India based mostly on mere suspicion.
This blatant misuse of energy permits the police to slap bogus costs on anybody they wish to implicate, detain them, and deny them bail with out even an precise conviction. According to a report by the Individuals’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), 97.2% of UAPA accused are arrested for lengthy intervals of time to lastly be acquitted of their cost. Utilizing these loopholes, the Delhi Police has continued to maintain Gulfisha behind bars for costs of “conspiracy” behind the violence of February 2020 in Delhi.
Her household is flabbergasted, as a result of they thought that she was only one amongst 100 different ladies silently making their calls for heard towards the CAA and NRC.
Her father, Tanseef Hussain, in a video circulating on Twitter, instructed folks that he’s depressed and misplaced on the considered his daughter behind bars. He believes solely in Allah’s hukum (God’s regulation) and doesn’t take care of the corrupt authorized system on earth.
Her father’s ache was exasperated additional by Gulfisha’s cries at her default bail listening to. She broke down and complained to the courtroom that she was going through immense harassment by the authorities, who known as her an “educated terrorist” and hurled communal slurs at her. She exclaimed to the decide, “I’m going through psychological harassment right here. If I harm myself, solely jail authorities shall be accountable for it”. Regardless of her pleas, she was refused bail, though, the courtroom mentioned that they may change the jail workers.
Additionally Learn: Agony Of Natasha Narwal And Different Unlawfully Arrested Political Prisoners
Quite a few social media campaigns and hashtags like #FreeGul have since emerged as a response to her arbitrary arrest. A number of organisations have additionally come out in help of Gulfisha and have launched a joint assertion.
The statement raises pertinent questions and zealously asserts that “Her ‘crime’ is that she determined to talk out towards a authorities and an ideology of hate that dehumanises and inflicts probably the most brutal violence on Muslim lives. Her ‘crime’ is that she believed and labored for the training, management, and emancipation of ladies who’ve been traditionally marginalised, that she dreamed of feminist citizenship. Her crime is that she loudly sang “nidaar azaad ho jayegi, woh toh naya zamaana layegi,” (fearlessly, she shall be emancipated, she’s going to carry a brand new tomorrow).
Gulfisha Fatima’s and each Indian’s freedom is at present dictated by the Indian Authorities’s prerogative. These jurisdictions and authorized loopholes, together with issues with administration and abuse of energy, have led to a suffocating chilling impact amongst Indians. It deters everybody, particularly minorities and critics of the ruling Authorities, from exercising their proper to free speech and expression and talking out towards the authoritarian, oppressive, and bigoted realities of the nation. Furthermore, these arrests, harassment, and intimidation techniques outright deny the humanity of these affected by the State’s wrath.
With nearly every day information of one other individual both detained, booked, or threatened with the UAPA, folks can get desensitised to the disturbing tyranny that minorities are at present going through day-after-day. Nonetheless, we have now to recollect, as Safoora Zargar mentioned in one of many experiences, that “The loss that they [the incarcerated people] are going through now won’t ever be compensated. Justice delayed is justice denied”. The traumatizing state of affairs that many, like Gulfisha, are at present going through must repeatedly be denounced and fought towards. We can’t allow them to erase the data of those oppressive techniques from public reminiscence.
Additionally Learn: ‘Take Out The Bugs From Your Meals And Eat It’: Girls Political Prisoners Recount Jail Horror Tales