100 days on, justice elusive for those arrested during anti-CAA protests

For over 100 days now, four students from Karnataka who were arrested during the anti-CAA protests are still languishing in jail after the police slapped sedition charges against them.

anti-CAA
Anti-CAA protests were held across the nation when the government of India enacted the citizenship amendment act (File Photo)

After the coronavirus scare put a halt to all protests, around 25-30 students were back on streets, on June 3, to demand justice for those arrested in the wake of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

But since the group did not have requisite permission, the police mull action against them for lockdown violations.

Simultaneous protests were also held in Delhi with students demanding justice for political prisoners arrested in the wake of anti-CAA protests.

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Speaking to The Federal, Deputy Commission of Police Chetan Singh Rathore said they plan to seek action against them for alleged violation of Disaster Management Act. “We are currently seeking legal opinion. NDMA does not attract FIR. So we will file a report to the Court as per the procedure for the violations,” Rathore said.

For over 100 days now, four students from Karnataka who were arrested during the anti-CAA protests are still languishing in jail after the police slapped sedition charges against them.

On Februrary 15 (111 days now), the Hubballi police booked three Kashmiri students– Basit Aashiq Sofi (22), Talib Majeed (20) and Amir Mohiyuddin Wani (20) —under IPC Sections 124 (Sedition), 153(a), and 153(b) for disturbing communal harmony for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogan.

In less than week time, on February 20 (106 days now), the Bengaluru Police arrested Amulya Leona for chanting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’, even as she said “Hindustan…” the line which she never was allowed to complete. The police slapped sedition charges on her too.

RELATED NEWS: CM cautions against infiltration of “extremist” outfits like SDIP in anti-CAA stir

The police haven’t filed the charge sheet yet and their bail applications haven’t been heard to get them justice.

With the sessions courts not listing their cases for urgent hearing as sought by the advocates representing them, they still are awaiting justice. The bail application of three Kashmiri students are pending in the Karnataka High Court and that of Amulya in the Sessions court.

In the Kashmiri students’ case, for two week, the lawyers could not file a bail application as the Hubballi Bar Association had passed a resolution that no advocate would represent the accused. They even prevented Bengaluru-based lawyers from filing the bail application.

But after the Karnataka High Court observed that such an act would tantamount to contempt of court, they withdrew the resolution.

The lawyers could file a bail petition in the sessions court on February 28 and later the court rejected their bail application. Subsequently, the matter was further taken up in the High Court.

On April 16, the Karnataka High Court judge G Narendra while hearing their case said that prima facie, the complaint does not disclose any material that could be considered to constitute the offense (sedition).

The case is ongoing in the court.

In Amulya case, after her arrest some right-wing goons threatened her father subsequent to which he dissociated from her action and said  she wasn’t welcome home.

RELATED NEWS: Shaheen Bagh: 100 days later, CAA protest winds up

The lawyer fighting her case rued the deafening silence by the courts and their lack rigour or urgency expressed in the case. He said their fundamental right to bail is at perils and that the pandemic cannot be the reason to delay justice to the accused.

The Police, which is seeking the court to reject her bail, had submitted to the court that she is an “influential person” who may threaten the witness and she might again resort to repeat what she did before in February.

Leona withdrew her petition for bail application in the Karnataka High Court on June 03. The court while disposing the petition clarified that the petitioner had the liberty to approach the High Court after exhausting the remedy before the Sessions Court.

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