Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Seema and Azadi

Today I have gone around with my heart in the pit of my stomach - a fervent and conscious prayer on my agnostic lips - pushing aside the limits of my faithless belief, leaving nothing to chance - not even the irrational hope that could flip at a mantra, and save her - the one I have never met.

This is what Lena Ganesh wrote on Seema Azad.
" Seema Azad, editor of the left-wing journal DASTAK published from Allahabad, was taken into custody by the police on 6th February 2010, soon after she alighted from the train on her return from the Book Fair at Delhi. She, along with her husband and left-wing activist Vishwa Vijaya Azad, has been detained at the Khuldabad Police Station. Seema Azad just published a collection of articles criticizing the Indian government for its "Operation Greenhunt" - the ongoing massive armed operations by the government in central and eastern India. The booklet contains articles by noted authors and media-persons such as Arundhati Roy, Himanshu Kumar, Anil Chamaria, Punya Prasoon Vajpeyi, Sunita Narayan, and others. Seema is the state secretary of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) for Uttar Pradesh"

This morning's email from Kavita Srivastava(General Secretary) PUCL Rajasthan contained the following:

Seema Azad handed over to UP police for two days by the Allahabad Magistrate - a judgement against the law

Dear Friends,

I just got a call from PUCL Vice President, Ravi Kiran Jain, who has also been Seema's lawyer in the High Court and lower court, told me that the magisterial court where Seema's matter was being heard, granted the UP police two days remand of Seema Azad exparte, without even giving Seema the right of being represented by a lawyer.

On the 7th of July, 2010 the Allahabad High Court had rejected a recall application that had been filed by Ravi Kiran ji against a sec 482 ( CrPC ) application that had been filed by the police after a magisterial court had ruled against granting remand to the police in May, 2010.

After the judgement on the 7th of July, Ravi Kiran jj was still planning the next move, including moving to the Supreme Court when the police moved an application today the 19th of July, 2010 in the magistrate's chamber, demanding the police remand of Seema. Neither was Seema called nor was she given the right of a lawyer. The scandalous part of this decision of the magistrate is that, after 90 days in Judicial Custody" police remand" is not allowed. The law says that if the police wants remand after 90 days then it must apply within 90 days. But then 90 days were up. This application of the police was not maintainable. still an illegal judgement was passed.

Ravi Kiranji will move an application tomorrow that a lawyer's presence be allowed during her two day remand. But the police will take her away at 8am tomorrow and no court judgement will come before the evening.

Seema told Ravi Kiranji when he met her in jail some time ago that the police had humiliated her when she was arrested in February. We fear the same this time.

Friends, the whole system including the judiciary, is helping the illegal ways of the Government, crushing the constitutional and legal rights of the people. If this attack on a persons life, personal liberty and democratic rights is not resisted today it may be yours and my turn tomorrow.

Incase you want to know more the please contact: 09335108309. Please ensure publication of this news.

This morning Seema Azad was whisked away under police custody to an undisclosed location...

Who do we turn to when judiciary makes a mockery of our laws? when police are no longer our protectors but have legal sanction to repress? to quell voices raised in protest at rampant wrong doings by State? When State becomes the oppressor - a violator of our democratic and constitutional rights? Who do we turn to? and how much will we bear? What are our Seemas (boundaries, limits, horizons) and what should we do for our Azadi (freedom)?