Free Chandrashekhar Azad (Ravan)
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Support Citizens for Justice and Peace's Campaign to Free Chandrashekhar Azad, Chief of Bhim Army by signing this petition to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to drop NSA charges against him.
भीम सेना प्रमुख, चंद्रशेखर आज़ाद की रिहाई और उनके खिलाफ एनएसए के आरोपों को खारिज करने के लिये उत्तर प्रदेश के मुख्य मंत्री योगी आदित्यनाथ के नाम इस याचिका पर हस्ताक्षर कर सिटिज़न फॉर जस्टिस एंड पीस के अभियान का समर्थन करें.
Shri Yogi Adityanath,
Hon’ble Chief Minister,
State of Uttar Pradesh,
Lucknow, UP - 226003
Subject: Regarding extension of Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad’s detention
We, on behalf of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a civil rights organisation, would like to draw your attention to an urgent and pressing matter. Apart from CJP, Justices BG Kolse Patil (retired judge Bombay High Court) and Justice PB Sawant (retired judge Supreme Court of India), Pradeep Narwal (Convenor, Bhim Army Defence Committee) are also signatories to this urgent communication, among others.
The matter concerns the unjust incarceration of Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan, chief of the Bhim Army, a young and dynamic democratic rights activist. He was arrested by the UP police on June 9, 2017. Apart from multiple criminal cases, that we believe are being unjustly foist on him, the draconian National Security Act (NSA) has been also slapped on him since November 2017.
Now, to our dismay, we have learnt that through a shocking order passed on January 23, 2018, the Uttar Pradesh Government has extended application of the National Security Act (NSA) under Section 12(1) of the said Act. His detention has been extended for a period of 6 months starting November 2, 2017 implying that he will be detained till May 2018. The order says that ‘after consideration of all material on board’ and the 'advise of the advisory board (detentions) of the government the period of detention is being extended tentatively.’ Apart from all else, we are concerned about his health and security while in the Saharanpur jail.
This also means that even after this period his detention can be extended. As concerned citizens we fail to understand what materials could have been considered for the passage of such an extension order, under such a draconian law, when there are no fresh cases or even allegations against him. He has already obtained bail in as many as 27 criminal cases. On the day of drafting of this letter, he has already spent nearly eight months in the jail. (He was arrested on June 8, 2017). It must be noted, Sir, that this order comes at a time when he has already obtained bail in other cases against him in January 2018 itself and was about to be freed.
We are also afraid that his life is in danger as communicated to Pradeep Narwal, National Convenor of the Bhim army Defence Committee. Pradeep Narwal met Azad on January 25, 2018. If anything happens to his health, the Uttar Pradesh Government apart from the other signatories of the order namely the Home Ministry, UP State and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), government of India will be held responsible.
To bring to your attention, the background of the cases against Chandrashekhar Azad,on May 5, 2017 anti-Dalit violence broke out against the Dalit community members in Shabbirpur and Rampur villages when they protested a ‘Shobha Yatra’ initiated by Thakur community members to commemorate Maharana Pratap’s birth anniversary. Dalits had alleged that there was no permission for the said Yatra. In this incident 60 Dalit houses were burnt.
On May 9, 2017 mob violence broke out in Shabbirpur village when the police lathi-charged a group of peaceful protesters who had assembled in Gandhi Maidan under the leadership of Bhim Army. Several people were grievously injured in the attacks. While the violence that followed the unprecedented lathi-charge was of course condemnable, it is important to note that no one was killed or even seriously injured in this violence. This violence has led to a calculated witch hunt against Bhim Army activists across Saharanpur. It was on November 1, 2017 that the NSA was first slapped on him despite the fact that he was already in detention since June 2017. In fact given how Azad was already in custody when charges under NSA were brought against him, it appears that the move was just to prevent Azad from being released.
There was absolutely nothing in the nature of the protests that could have warranted the slapping of NSA as noted by a group of senior Judges and Civil Rights Activists in the communication dated May 13, 2017 (Justices PB Sawant (SC retired), Justice Hosbet Suresh (Bombay HC retired), Justice Kolse Patil (former Bombay HC) Ram Punyani , Author and Activist, Teesta Setalvad, Journalist, Author and Activist, Javed Anand, Journalist and Activist and Muniza Khan, Academic and Activist and Khalid Anis Ansari, Academic and leader of Pasmanda Democratic Forum had signed this earlier communication).
The NSA, that gives extra-ordinary powers to the Central and the State governments to detain certain persons under Sections 3(1)(a),(b), (2),(3),(4),(5) if there is a threat to the national security or the security of the State, warrants careful usage and application on reasonable grounds.
In Chandrashekhar’s case, there are reasons to believe that he is not a threat to the security of the state, but simply asserting his democratic and Constitutional rights as a citizen. In fact, here it is important to take note of the exemplary work which was being carried out by Bhim Army under his leadership. The Bhim Army has been working for the education of poor and dis-enfranchised Dalit children, opening 350 schools that were forcibly thereafter shut down in the past nine months. Two such schools are still being valiantly run in Azad's home village of Shabbirpur in Uttar Pradesh.
In light of the above facts, we demand that all charges against Chandrashekha Azad under the NSA be dropped immediately and that he be released on bail. We also urge you to take urgent cognizance of his deteriorating health.
We urge your immediate and comprehensive intervention.
Justice PB Sawant (retired, Supreme Court Judge)
Justice BG Kolse Patil (retired High Court Judge)
Justice Hosbet Suresh (retired High Court Judge)
Teesta Setalvad, Secretary, CJP
Pradeep Narwal (Convenor, Bhim Army Defence Committee)
Ram Punyani , Author and Activist
Javed Anand, Journalist and Activist, CJP
Muniza Khan, Academic and Activist
Khalid Anis Ansari, professor, Glocal University, Saharanpur
Copy: 1. Chairperson Justice HL Dattu,
National Human Rights Commission
2. Shri Rajnath Singh
Ministry of Home Affairs
Government of India
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