SAHMAT Condemns Arrest of Activists

We the undersigned are utterly shocked and appalled by the simultaneous arrests of several prominent civil rights activists in different parts of the country, and the raids on their houses and those of many others. The exact nature of the alleged unlawful activities of those arrested has not been made clear though they are booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act; in many instances, even the families are unaware of the charges on which they have been arrested; where some charges have been reported, they appear utterly weird and outlandish; and the documents occasionally mentioned as evidence against them are of highly questionable authenticity. Besides, all those arrested can by no stretch of imagination be said to belong to any one particular group; in fact, the only thing that is common to them is that they have all been in the forefront of the struggle to defend the democratic rights of various oppressed and marginalised sections of society.

The conclusion is inescapable that what is being conducted is a witch-hunt against those who dare to take up the cause of the downtrodden and who dare to criticise the government for trampling upon their rights. While the BJP government in power in the country had until now been implicitly supportive of lynch-mobs targeting minorities and dissident intellectuals, large-scale arrests of critics of the government had been avoided. Even that restraint, it seems, is now being abandoned. The threat that this poses to our democracy is palpable and serious. We condemn these arrests in the strongest and most unequivocal terms, and demand that the arrested civil rights activists be released forthwith.      

Irfan Habib

Amiya Kumar Bagchi

Prabhat Patnaik

Vivan Sundaram

M.K. Raina

Sohail Hashmi

Madangopal Singh

Ram Rahman

Zoya Hasan

C.P. Bhambri

Jayati Ghosh

C.P. Chandrasekhar

Geeta Kapur

Saeed Mirza

Sashi Kumar

Aban Raza

Abhilasha Kumari

Aditya Mukherjee

Ahmar Raza

Amar Farooqui

Amitesh Kumar

Anand K. Sahay

Anil Bhatti

Anil Chandra

Anil Sadgopal

Antara Dev Sen

Anuradha Kapur

Archana Prasad      

Arjun Dev

Arpana Caur

Arunkumar H.G.

Asghar Wajahat

Atlury Murali

Badri Raina

D. N. Jha

Dinesh Abrol

Dushyant

Indira Arjun Dev

Indira Chandrasekhar       

Iqtidar Alam Khan   

K. L. Tuteja

K. M. Shrimali

Kamini Tankha

Keval Arora

Kirti Jain      

Kumar Shahani

Lata Singh

M.M.P. Singh

Madhu Prasad

Mandira Mitra

Manish Agarwal

Mohan Rao

Mridula Mukherjee

Mushirul Hasan

N.K. Sharma    

Nadeem Rezavi

Nilima Sheikh

Nina Rao

O.P. Jaiswal

P.K. Shukla

Parthiv Shah   

Praveen Jha

Radhika Menon

Rahul Roy

Rahul Verma

Raj Chauhan

Rajinder Arora

Rajni Arora

Rakhi Sehgal

Ramakrishna Chatterjee

Rana Behal

Rekha Awasthi

Rimli Bhattacharya

Roop Rekha Verma

Sanjeev Kumar

Shakti Kak

Shalin Jain      

ShernaDastur

Shireen Gandhi 

Shireen Moosvi

Shubhra Chakrabarti

Sudhanva Deshpande

Sudhir Chandra

Sukumar Murlidharan

Sumangala Damodaran

Suvira Jaiswal

V. Ramakrishna

Vasudha Dalmia

Vasundhara Chauhan

Veer Munshi

Vikas Rawal

Vishwamohan Jha