Dissent Is An Essential Service For The Nation
You might have heard of an FIR being lodged against a journalist for a story that was critical of the authorities, or an activist jailed for publicly expressing his opinions online. You might have even read about students being slapped with anti-terror laws for organizing peaceful protests against an unjust law.
These are not isolated incidents.
These are symptomatic of a larger problem in the making: the Government’s active decision to eradicate the Right To Dissent amidst a global pandemic.
Anti-CAA protestors charged with UAPA L to R: Gulfisha Fatema, Natasha Narwal, Shifa ur Rehman, Safoora Zargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Khalid Saifi, Sharjeel Usmani, Sharjeel Imam, Meeran Haider, Devangana Kalita.
While Indians stay at home to flatten the COVID-19 infection curve and the national attention is focused on containing the virus, the Government of India continues to demonise and criminalise anyone who dissents: whether through a social media post, a peaceful protest or their life’s work to demand the rights of the most marginalised communities in India.
As of India’s 74th Independence Day, hundreds of people have been charged and arrested with sedition and the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), all while India races to become the worst COVID-19 affected country in the world. These numbers may continue to rise if we don’t hold the Government accountable now.
The Supreme Court of India stated that ‘dissent is the safety valve of democracy’. Do not let the pandemic, nor the crackdown, stop you from expressing dissent and fighting for your rights. The Indian Constitution guarantees us freedom of expression and no one should be punished for speaking truth to power. It is time to flatten the curve of unfair laws, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions.
Take injustice personally, sign and share this petition to demand:
- The release of those who have been wrongfully imprisoned under the following repressive laws: Sedition, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and National Security Act.
- The repeal of unjust laws that help criminalise our Constitutional right to dissent.