#UnGagDissent: Wear A Dissent Mask To Protect Your Rights
Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian Government continues to arrest human rights defenders and student activists under repressive laws like Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Sedition, for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of expression.
Amnesty International India Calls On You To Protect the Right To Freedom of Expression and Dissent!
It’s been two years since six human rights activists were arrested for their alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence. Five more were arrested in the months to come. Following that, a smear campaign was launched against them. The Government of India claims they are ‘anti-nationals’ working against the country. However, in their communities, they are hailed as brave activists, committed to the cause of the poorest and most marginalised communities in the country, such as Dalits & Adivasis.
Two years on, we have seen the state’s brutal crackdown on dissent each step of the way. From denying bail to the 11 activists, arresting college students in Delhi to interrogating children on staging a school play in Karnataka! The anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests that erupted across the country from December 2019 to March 2020, saw mass arrests of student leaders organizing and participating in peaceful expression of dissent.
Today, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages across India and its prisons, the Government of India, diverted from its responsibility of protecting everyone, continues to arrest student leaders, human rights defenders, and journalists under repressive laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sedition.
As we stay at home, wear a mask outdoors and follow physical distancing norms, we must remind the Government of India that we are watching their actions and will continue to speak up, as is our right!
The ‘new normal’ that we are all adapting to cannot be at the cost of our human rights. We must #UnGagDissent and demand that our right to freedom of expression be upheld now and after this pandemic.
How to Participate
Use our social media stickers and GIFs on social media to send messages to the Union Home Minister, Mr. Amit Shah, urging him to free activists and uphold the right to freedom of expression.
- Use #UnGagDissent Stickers to post a message on Instagram:
Step 1: Click a selfie or upload your picture on Instagram stories
Step 2: Click on the add sticker icon and search for ‘Amnesty India’ or ‘Ungag Dissent’ or ‘Dissent Mask’
Step 3: Add the dissent mask over your nose and mouth
Step 4: Write a message to @amitshahofficial asking him to free dissenters and tag @AIIndia. Also tag other friends to participate and speak up!
- Post The Mask GIF on Twitter and Facebook!
Step 1: Click on the GIF icon
Step 2: Search for ‘Amnesty India’ or ‘Ungag Dissent’ or ‘Dissent Mask’ and post the mask GIF with a message tagging Union Home Minister @Amitshah and @AIIndia
- Make your own Dissent Mask at home!
Step 1: Take a plain mask
Step 2: Use paint or pen to write “#UnGagDissent”
Step 3: Click a selfie with the mask and post it on social media with a message tagging Union Home Minister @Amitshah and @AIIndia