Press Release / 18 June 2021
New Delhi: Popular Front of India Chairman O M A Salam has, in a statement, welcomed the Delhi High Court observation about constitutionally guaranteed right to protest being treated as terrorism.
In its order granting bail to activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita and Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, Delhi High Court made highly relevant observations regarding the rights of citizens to protest. The court suggested that that the line between the right to protest and terrorist activity is getting blurred in the mind of the state, which is anxious to suppress dissent. The High Court also criticized the use of the anti-terror law UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) in a casual manner.
The order is therefore a warning against BJP govt's misuse of draconian laws against political opponents and to silence dissent. The trio given bail by the court were victims of a vicious political vendetta by the Delhi police. They were targeted for protesting against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act and falsely accused of being the "masterminds" of the Northeast Delhi violence. The concerns expressed by the court is further affirmed by Delhi police efforts to delay their release even after being granted bail. The court had to finally issue a warrant for their release. There are scores of other innocents still languishing in jails under similar circumstances. The order has reignited the hope of justice for them all.