AN APPEAL FOR THE RELEASE OF SEEMA AZAD AND VISHWAVIJAYA
as you must have come to know, Seema Azad, a young journalist and organising secretary of the human rights organisation PUCL was arrested along with her husband Vishwavijaya on 6th February 2010 and charged with almost the same sections with which Dr,. Binayak Sen was charged, that is, being a member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and waging war against the State, besides some other sections.
While Dr. Binayak Sen was released, Seema and Vishwavijaya have been awarded a life sentence along with fines. This is probabaly one of the rarest cases where a verdict of life imprisonment has been given to persons charged under these sections. Obviously the Manmohan Singh government is out to wreak vengeance on those who do not agree with their policies. It is to be noted that their is no evidence that Seema Azad and Vishwavijaya at any time indulged in activities involving arms or explosives. Their only supposed "crime" was of opposing the policies of the government through their registered bi-monthly "Dastak" or by publishing booklets against the Ganga Expressway or Operation Greenhunt.
We are giving below a factual list of the contradictions, anomalies and concoctions by the State in order to convict and sentence Seema Azad and Vishwavijaya at any cost :
1. It has been clearly mentioned in the judgement (page-57) that the material recovered during the remand and sealed was opened in police station without any court permission for ‘study purpose’. But unfortunately the court did not find anything objectionable in this process !!!
2. This is also worth noting that twice the remand was refused. And when finally the remand was given it was illegal as it contravened all regulations laid rown by law for the remand of an arrested person. Why did the court allow this blatant illegality ? Was it because the tailored or concocted evidence which the police produced after the FIR had been filed could only be submitted after the so called recovery during remand ?
3. Seema’s mobile call details which were produced in the court are only till 5th Feb, 2010. There was no mention of the calls made or received on 6th Feb, 2010 which was the date of arrest. Now the question is – why call details were tailored intentionally? If call details of 6th Feb would have been provided in the court then it would have supported the fact that Seema & VishwaVijay were arrested immediately after Seema arrived in Allahabad from New Delhi Rewa express at 11.45 am on 6th Feb (much before Heeramani's arrest at 14.30 pm on 6th Feb). Why police is cooking up the story that they arrested Seema & VishwaVijay at 9.30 pm on 6th Feb after Heeramani provided the information about Seema & VishwaVijay to the police. Also what was the compulsion for the police to intentionally hide the call records of 6th Feb 2010?
4. There were many contradictory statements given by the Police witnesses about the place of arrest in the court which has been mentioned in the judgement also (page-58). Judgement says that these are ‘minor contradictions’ so they can be ignored!!!
5. When asked by the court whether police had found any objectionable call detail/phone number/message in Seema’s mobile, police simply said – ‘No’. But the judgement quotes several locations of Seema’s mobile phone on different dates, such as, Lucknow , Barabanki (30-31.08.09), Varanasi (4.10.09), Kanpur, Fatehpur (21-22.11.09)(12-13.01.2010), Mirzapur(4.10.09), Itawa, Khurja and Himachal pradesh(22-23-24.01.2010) (page-55). Are these locations ‘suspicious locations’ ? If so by which logic?
6. Why police did not produce Seema’s mobile during the time of arrest? Why did they produce her mobile after remand (after more than 5 months of the arrest).
7. Why there is no signature of the independent witnesses on the ’26 page letter’ which police is claiming to have recovered from Seema’s house during remand (after 5 month of arrest). Seema’s neighbours and Seema’s father were present during the remand then why their signature were not taken on the so called ‘recovery’?
8. The last witness was examined in the lower court in the first week of Feb 2012. Why was the case dragged till mid April inspite of the Supreme Court instruction not to delay the case and hear it on a day-to-day basis ? Why was Justice Anil Kumar (who had heard the entire proceedings of the case) transferred before he could deliver a verdict? In May, the case was transferred to another judge (Sunil Kumar Singh) who finally delivered the verdict of life imprisonment!!!
9. Another thing worth noting. The verdicy has taken into account a letter written to Annu alias Kanchan as evidence of Seema's involvement with the Maoists because Annu alias Kanchan along with her husband Gopal Mishra was arrested on the same charges in Delhi. Strangely the Delhi Courts have allowed the bail of Kanchan and her husband, while Seema and Vishwavijaya were not only not allowed any bail, but they were convicted of the same offence.
It is clear from the above facts that the State has decided to stifle all forms of protest. The Indian Government has done away with all norms of democracy and the draconian verdict against Seema Azad and Vishwavijay has been given to set an example before the people that whosoever will criticise or protest against the State will have to suffer the same fate as has been meted out to Seema Azad and Vishwavijaya.
It is our firm belief and understanding that keeping silent at this juncture will only strengthen the hands of executioners and oppressors.
We would like to appeal to all of you to raise this matter in all the forums with which you are associated and also by any other suitable means which you can think of. And also forward this appeal to all those who in your view can help us widen the scope and effect of this campaign to rally support for Seema Azad and Vishwavijaya.
Neelabh Seemant Sangita
(Brother and sister-in-law of Seema)