it is now nine months to the date that our dear comrade Seema Azad, editor of the leftist bi-monthly Dastak and a committed social activist was taken into custody on the the 6th of February 2010, along with her husband and fellow-activist Vishwadeepak and lodged in Naini jail. Despite all efforts of the PUCL, Allahabad whose office-bearer Ravi Kiran Jain is appearing on Seema’s behalf, she has not been granted bail. Every fifteen days or so, for the last nine months, she is brought before the judge at Allahabad civil courts and sent back to jail on remand. Even after these long months of incarceration there seems to be no progress in the case.
Under Seema’s able editorship the bi-monthly Dastak achieved a standard of its own, laying bare many injustices, exposing the devious designs of those who wish to perpetuate the exploitation of the common people and inspiring the readers of her journal to stand up and fight injustice. Seema had published some small tracts as well regarding the state of textile workers in Kanpur, the reality behind the Ganga Expressway and the sinister nature of Operation Greenhunt, which earned her the praise of her compatriots as well as the ire of Central and State Governments. So, it came as no surprise when she was arrested on trumped up charges while returning from the World Book Fair in February.
Silencing its critics by fake encounters, long imprisonments without trial and other draconian methods is the usual tactics adopted by tyrannical and anti-people governments all over the world. The Manmohan Singh government seems no different. Seema is fully aware of this. She has recently sent a note to me, through one of her visitors, reiterating her firm stand against all oppression, stating, “…we are both of us alright here and are gathering a whole lot of experiences while waiting for our release. The one thing which I have realised very clearly after coming here, is that oppression makes man stronger and more militant. In this respect governments of any country are operating under a great illusion. I have felt forcefully that suppressing the desire for social change by the government may seem negative at the surface, but it works like the story about Kalidas in which he was chopping off the very branch on which he was sitting….my salaam to all friends and well-wishers.”
I would like to exhort all of you to oppose Seema’s indefinite remand through whatever channels you have recourse to.
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