Jailed rights activists’ release part of charter of demands, say unions - ECAS Punjab

Jailed rights activists’ release part of charter of demands, say unions

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Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11

Amid the row over protesting farmers' demand for the release of intellectuals and human rights activists raised on Thursday, farm unions have said the demand had been there from the very beginning.

On International Human Rights Day, they sought the release of jailed activists, poets, student leaders, including Varavara Rao, Sudha Bhardwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Umar Khalid and others.

"The demand for their release was added in the charter in the very first internal meeting of the 32 farmer organisations held in Moga in the third week of September. It was raised in the meeting with the union agriculture minister on November 16 also," said Rajinder Singh, vice-president, Kirti Kisan Union.

Reacting to the controversy, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh said it was writings of scholars like Gautam Navlakha which helped us understand the economic policies and shape our struggles." He said people like Sudha Bharadwaj have spent decades in service of the poorest. "We can't leave them to lurch in jails," he said.

As per a demand charter submitted to the Union Agriculture Minister on behalf of 32 farmer organisations, the sixth demand read. "Withdraw all cases against the farmer leaders all over India, intellectuals, poets, lawyers, writers and human and democratic rights activists. Those who have been jailed in false cases should be released."

Stressing that attempts are being made to defame the farmers' struggle, the BKU president said photographs of these scholars had been put up at toll plazas and other protesting sites in Punjab for the past two months. "We will keep on raising the issue in the future as well," he added.

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3ndF33V

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