Stop criminalising dissent, release protestors immediately: Amnesty International
New Delhi: Amnesty International India on Friday urged the Centre to stop the “criminalisation of dissent” and immediately release all the youths arrested for their participation in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. It said the new citizenship law is a “bigoted law” that discriminates on the basis of religion, and is specifically exclusionary towards Muslims.
“As the country celebrates its 74th Independence Day, the Government of India must stop criminalising dissent and immediately release all the young peaceful protesters who are being subjected to intimidation, harassment and arrests for their participation in anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests,” said a statement released by the group on the launch of its “Right To Dissent” campaign.
The human rights group said that instead of listening to the voices of the country’s youth population, which is the largest in the world, the government was trying to suppress them “through a brutal crackdown” on dissent.
Amnesty pointed out that at least five students remain jailed in Delhi – Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita, Gulfisha Fatima, Meeran Haider and Natasha Narwal – besides many others across India. Several others have either been released on bail or issued notices by Delhi police which accuses them of “murder, attempt to murder and rioting”. Many of them are summoned for interrogation during the Covid-19 pandemic, the statement noted.