By OUR STAFF REPORTER

Welfare Party of India (WPI) has demanded immediate release of political prisoners, repeal of draconian laws like UAPA, Sedition Law, NSA, AFSPA, MCOCA, and GUJCOCA. During a press conference at the Press Club of India on September 1, the party also announced to hold a nationwide campaign against price rise and unemployment in October.

Dr. S.Q.R. Ilyas, national president of WPI, while interacting with media persons, said, “Ever since this government came to power, people who have been raising their voices against human rights violations, CAA-NRC, AFSPA, and sedition, are being targeted and are put behind bars. It shows that this government cannot tolerate dissent.”

Dr. Ilyas added: “The jury made an important observation that the police is trying to convert those arrested into informer of police. The Panel further recommended that the police should be held responsible and that the negligent police officials be punished for implicating innocent persons on false and fabricated charges. He demanded that the victims should be adequately compensated as per his or her profession. In a letter to the President of India, we have demanded release of all political prisoners held under fabricated charges and have also demanded for the repeal of draconian laws such as AFSPA, NIA Act, Sedition, UAPA and others.”  

Earlier, WPI had launched a massive signature campaign during 19-21 August across the country and gathered lakhs of signatures and submitted a memorandum to the President of India demanding:

  1. Unconditional release of the political prisoners charged under fake and fabricated charges;
  2. Direct the government to release a white paper on the political prisoners in the country;
  3. Provide compensation to the political prisoners acquitted based on the number of days incarcerated for no fault of theirs;
  4. Make police department accountable and punish the erring police officers for filing false and fabricated charges on the political dissenters;
  5. Repeal the draconian laws like UAPA, Sedition, NSA, AFSPA, MCOCA, and GUJCOCA, etc. used against political prisoners to silence them and to curb dissent; and
  6. NIA must be scrapped as it is against the federal structure and will weaken the state power to maintain law and order.

On August 31, WPI organised a People’s Tribunal. Through this People’s Tribunal, an effort was made to forge agreement, shape public opinion, increase awareness, develop legal arguments, and serve as consolation by giving the convicted people’s families a forum to be heard.

The jury of the People’s Tribunal was headed by Retd. Justice SS Parkar, and the panel comprised Senior Advocate of Supreme Court Prashant Bhushan, Bombay High Court Advocate Gayatri Singh, Former member Planning Commission Dr. Syeda Hameed, Human Rights Activist & Filmmaker Mr. Tapan Bose, and Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, former Chairman Delhi Minority Commission. The families of victims who presented their case before the jury were Umar Khalid, Khalid Saifi, Safoora Zargar, Athar Khan, Javed Mohammad, Prof. Saibaba, Mr. Haribabu, Shaheer. Case histories of Natasha Narwal, Gulfishan, Gautam Naulaka, Siddique Kappan were also presented before the jury.

The jury, after hearing the case history and pain and suffering and trauma of victims’ families, made some important observations like:

  1. The implication of several people under one charge sheet is prolonging the trial procedure and by making it a conspiracy will extend the period of incarceration and will make the bail more difficult. This practice should be put to an end and one charge sheet per person should be encouraged.
  2. Bail must be made a rule and jail an exception.
  3. The Panel observed that the police is using brutal force to convert those arrested to become police informers and hostile witnesses and forcing them to implicate innocent people and this malicious practice must be put to an end.
  4. The panel suggested that the police should be made accountable and the erring police men should be punished for implicating innocent people on fake and fabricated charges.

Other senior leaders of WPI, Mr. Ravi Shankar Tripathi, Vice President, Mr. Subramani Arumugam, National General Secretary (Org.), Ms. Sheema Mohsin, National General Secretary, Mr. Razak Paleri, National Secretary and Mr. Siraj Talib, National Secretary of the party were also present.

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