Mass protests in Punjab for the immediate release of Prof. Varavara Rao and other rights activists on the call of AFDR

Chandigarh: July 19, 2020

Today on a call given by Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR) Punjab, mass protests were held across the state. Protests were held at more than 30 places in Barnala city and village in the district of Barnala alone. Similarly, protests were held in Nawan-Shehr, Sangrur, Moga, Barnala, Patiala, Bathinda, Jalandhar, Mansa, Muktsar, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana, Jagraon, Mullanpur, Baba Bhan Singh Memorial Sunet (Ludhiana), Longowal, Nagar (Jalandhar), RampuraPhul, Sirsa (Haryana) and many other places against the conspiracy of RSS-BJP Govt to cause a slow and latently creeping death of the eminent pro-people intellectuals by incarcerating them in jails. Besides AFDR (Punjab), leaders and activists of many other mass organisations such as AFDR (Haryana), Rationalist Society Punjab, Pargatisheel Lekhak Manch (Haryana), Punjab Students Union, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Inqlabi Kender Punjab, Lok Sangram Morcha, PLS Manch, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), Varg Chetna, Pendu Mazdoor Union (Mashal), Punjab Radical Students Union, Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union, BKU (Krantikari), Democratic Teachers Front, DMF (Democratic Employees Federation), Technical and Mechanical Union, Inqlabi Mazdoor Kendra, Punjabi Sahitya Sabha, and many other organisations participated in these protests. They raised voice against the repressive policies of Central and Punjab governments.

The speakers mentioned that eleven eminent public intellectuals are falsely implicated and incarcerated by the Maharashtra police in Bhima-Koregaon case. These intellectuals are not released from jails even though there is a spread of coronavirus infection in Maharashtra jails, and there is a growing demand from justice-loving democratic people from India, and all over the world.

Despite his progressively deteriorating health condition and being tested positive for coronavirus infection, 81-year-old revolutionary poet  Varvara Rao was not released and his bail application has been rejected five times by the courts. It is evident that by refusing to grant bail to Professor Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Advocate Surender Gadling, Advocate Sudha Bhardwaj, Professor Vernon Gonsalves, Advocate Arun Ferreira and Professor G.N Saibaba, who is 90 % handicapped,  and anti-CAA women protestors and many other activists and by forcing them to stay in corona-infected jails,  the Government wants to eliminate such people who question its policies physically. The speakers said that keeping in view the critical physical and mental health of Varvara Rao, it is not sufficient to get him admitted to a hospital. He should be released immediately and be treated at AIIMS under the personal care of his close family members. If any physical harm happens to Professor Varvara Rao or any other intellectual or political activist, then the central BJP government, National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the judges, who time and again have declined their bails, would collectively be responsible for such loss.

The speakers demanded that all intellectuals and activists must be released immediately. False cases regarding Bhima Koregaon violence must be cancelled immediately. Those RSS leaders, responsible for the violence, who are real culprits, must be arrested immediately. The UAPA and other draconian laws should be repealed. Attacks on democratic rights of people under the garb of corona pandemic, including the right to organise and right to struggle should be stopped immediately. Cases registered against mass leaders and protestors for violating lockdown provisions should be cancelled and illogical restrictions imposed under the garb of Corona infection should be withdrawn immediately.

Buta Singh, Press Secretary, AFDR Punjab

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