Allahabad high court on Monday granted bail to human rights activist and journalist Seema Azad and her husband Vishwavijay.
On the 8th of June 2012 Additional District Judge, Sunil Kumar Singh, Presiding officer of the District and Session Court, Allahabad, pronounced life imprisonment to Seema Azad, writer and editor of Dastak (a monthly magazine) and the Organising Secretary of the People\\\’s Union for Civil Liberties, Uttar Pradesh branch, under waging war against the Government of India and for offences related to being a member and supporter of a terrorist organisation. Her husband Vishwa Vijay too was similarly sentenced.
The Judgement came exactly after the two had spent twenty seven months (two years and three months) in Naini Jail.
Seema and Vishwavijay were arrested on February 6, 2010. Seema was on her way back from the International Book Fair in Delhi. It was after her train, Rewa Express, had crossed Kanpur in the morning of the 6th, that she felt that something was amiss when strange tall men all with a police look, got into her coach. Very soon she knew that they were from Andhra Pradesh as she realised they were speaking Telegu.
When she got off at Allahabad she was surrounded by more men, but she continued to move towards the Civil Lines exit, where her husband Vishwa Vijay was waiting for her. When Vishwa Vijay was getting his moped off the parking, they were arrested. The time was 11.30 am.
The police claimed to have found the following material from their cloth bags: Detailed programme of Krantikari Jan Committee from 1 to 26 (month not mentioned); a pamphlet carrying the message of CPI (Maoist); a ‘PLGA\\\’ pamphlet related to the arrest of Kobad Gandhi; agenda of ninth NPB meeting on 30 and 31 January; pamphlet calling for the fifth anniversary of the party; pamphlet pertaining to the arrest of central committee members and five activists of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh; pamphlet related to the oath on PLGA day; and about Rs. 50,000 in cash.
Wish they could have referred to the Supreme Court statement that it made while granting bail to Dr. Binayak Sen- "just as much as carrying Gandhi\\\’s biography doesn\\\’t make you a Gandhian. …"
A large number of academics, journalists, and representatives of various social organisations had pledged their support to campaign for the unconditional release of Seema Azad and her husband
They alleged that Seema Azad was framed by the police for raising her voice against the alleged fake encounters and atrocities on mining workers, the police claimed that they were planning to expand base in North Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Just by these books in her bag she has been convicted of sedition. It has been concluded that she is a traitor…takes part in unlawful activities, are terrorist and traitors," Ravi Kiran, Ms Azad\\\’s lawyer said.
Statement by People\\\’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL):
The PUCL welcomes the suspension of sentence and granting of bail to Seema Azad, UP-PUCL organizing Secretary, today 6th August, 2012 morning from the Allahabad High Court.
Her lawyer Ravi Kiran Jain told us that it took no time for the Honourable Judges to suspend her sentence and grant her bail. The senior judge orally observed when the prosecution was pushing for rejection, that this was a case of the right to hold different views which had space within Indian Democracy and the Indian Law. The names of the Judges were Justice Dharni Dhar Jha and Ashok Pal Singh.
The PUCL is extremely happy that Justice has finally prevailed and that Allahabad High Court restored the Civil Liberties of Seema and her husband Vishwavijay, thus reversing the travesty of justice that the district Court and the prosecution had indulged in using section 121 of the IPC “waging war against State “ along with various sections of the undemocratic law Un lawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA )to detain her in prison.
Seema had been convicted on the basis of heresay evidence, mobile sim and Maoist literature which the prosecution alleged had been found in her bag and her house. It maybe known that Seema was taken on an illegal remand after hundred and eighty days as the police had no evidence to charge sheet her. Also the evidence that was tampered with in the court
The PUCL would like to thank all the progressive groups, fellow citizens and the media which supported the struggle for the justice and release of Seema Azad and Vishwa Vijay and upholding he right to dissent in Indian Democracy.