CPI-ML New Democracy, Democratic Rights

Release All Political Prisoners on Bail/Parole Immediately!

Immediately Release Unwell Varvara Rao, SaiBaba , Pregnant Zargar !

Scrap UAPA!

The Central Committee of the CPI(ML) New Democracy urges  the Judiciary to take a hard second look at the policy which will end up settling issues of differing political opinions by throwing political prisoners to the mercy of a pandemic! That too when the prisoners are under-trials, are either well known figures who have been active for the exploited sections throughout their lives or are students speaking for Constitution. More so, when it is crystal clear that the Pandemic is no far off threat but is raging in the very jails. The elderly renowned Telugu poet Varvara Rao has been taken so ill in the jail hospital that he has been shifted to an ICU. 90% incapacitated Sai Baba was almost granted bail but denied the same for a lame duck reason of his brother’s house being in a containment area. Zargar was given bail but ‘a well considered case’ was made in just 15 minutes only to harass her and mercilessly subject the unborn Indian to an incompletely understood covid threat and thus was the judiciary pressurized by the Police. Senior citizen with co morbidities, Gautam Navlakha, was whisked away to Mumbai in a train, exposing him to the Covid, just prior to the hearing of his bail application. Two senior women, Sudha Bhardwaj and Shoma Sen, well respected in their fields, are refused bail from a jail where there are covid positive cases.

There are a large number of under-trials under UAPA linked to one of two cases, the highly dubious and patently fabricated Bhima Koregaon case and the women protesters against CAA in Delhi; the latter being sought to be linked to the North East Delhi violence. Both these cases are highly contested in facts, there are demands for Public Enquiry pending for the latter and UAPA has been used in bulk against elderly well known citizens, several lawyers themselves and also students. These two cases have taken a familiar tone of persecution of those opposing the Govt. None of those framed poses any physical threat, none of them with any possibility of evading trial and all have co-operated with police investigations. A Pandemic is an unusual, grave and real threat to life of especially elderly. A world wide medical emergency and threat to humankind of this nature, makes for unprecedentedly sensitive and compassionate judicial response.

It is worth mentioning that all medical bodies have called for humankind to reach out to its elderly with caring and keep them protected. So have many state govts in India, and also so have functionaries of the Central Govt. The WHO has specifically called on Govts. to take only “non custodial measures” for elderly and  especially for those with co morbidities; being concerned about covid spread in overcrowded jails it has also alluded to gender sensitive measures. It is quite disconcerting that the recommendation of WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS, UNHCR with contribution from UNDP has been sidetracked by the Govt. and overlooked by the Judiciary that “release mechanisms for people at particular risk of Covid19..” be provided.

We strongly urge the Govt. and Judiciary, in view of the galloping numbers of cases in India, the widespread reporting of cases from jails and of the severe overcrowding in Indian jails which even so many measures for parole or bail to other categories of prisoners for corona period, have been unable to relieve, to urgently act to free all under-trial political prisoners especially the sick, vulnerable and elderly among them. Immediate bail should be given to Varvara Rao, G.N. Saibaba and bail should be urgently entertained for all elderly, women and especially pregnant under-trial political prisoners.

Central Committee

CPI(ML) New Democracy

June 1,  2020