NEW DELHI: A panel of eminent citizens, including author Arundhati Roy, Magsaysay awardee Bezwada Wilson, stressed on the need to peacefully protest on Thursday.
They condemned the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling that public places cannot be occupied indefinitely for protests. The panel of citizens said they would not empty the streets. The panel also consisted of feminist Nivedita Menon, Nadeem Khan, co-founder of United Against Hate, Supreme Court lawyers Prashant Bhushan and Sanjay Hegde, and Yogendra Yadav, president of Swaraj India.
“I want to salute all those people who are behind bars, who spoke up – from Bhima Koregaon, to the students, anti-CAA protests,” said Roy.
Commenting on the recent Hathras case in which a Dalit girl was brutalised and who later died, she said, “If you look carefully what happened in Hathras it shows that every organ of this country has rotten. The police, the medical, the judicial, community erased caste, and now they are claiming that the victim’s family itself is at fault.”
Bhushan said that the young voices who in fact stood against divisive politics and stood for constitutional values are today being framed and put behind bars.
“We have to ask ourselves, are all legislations passed by our parliament sacrosanct? No. Not unless it is consistent with the Constitution. Every person arrested today are people who have stood up for Constitutional rights. They are those who have spoken up and stood up for rule of law, and stood against atrocities on Muslims and brutalities,” said Menon.
The intellectuals said the state and the police were in collusion to criminalise the anti CAA-NRC protests.
“Why do people protest? Because they experience injustice and inequality, and as long as states remain unresponsive and mute, people need to be heard and to be seen. The world over, the power of public protests, rallies, sit-ins, and marches, have affected profound social, political and legislative change,” they said in a press statement.