Kavita Srivastava

This is short note to give you a quick update in the Seema Azad case.
seema1 Update in the Seema  Azad case: Protest on June 26th
At a few hours notice a meeting was called on the 13th of June, 2012 at the Gandhi Peace Foundation against the conviction by a trial court sentencing the Seema Azad and her husband Vishwa Vijay to life imprisonment. the meeting was called to share the travesty of justice in the flawed judgement condemning Ms Seema Azad and her husband Vishwa Vijay for life in prison on ridiculous grounds. Seema Azad the organising secretary of PUCL, Uttar Pradesh is a cultural and literary activist based in Allahabad. She was the editor of Dastak, a monthly magazine.

The Delhi meeting was attended by more than 35 persons who included Justice Rajinder Sachar, ex chief justice of the Delhi and Sikkim high Court, and former president of the PUCL, Ravi Kiran Jain, Vice President PUCL and Senior Counsel Supreme Court & Allahabad High Court and was her lawyer for Seema; Shri Anand Swaroop Varma, Editor of Teesri Duniya and writer; Neelabh, poet and writer, Harish Dhawan of the PUDR, Chhittranjan Singh, Mahipal singh and Kavita Srivastava from the PUCL, Harsh Dhobal from HRLN, Madhuresh from NAPM, Roma and AShok Chowdhary from the National Forum for forest workers and forest people, journalist Bhasha Singh, Literary critic Ajay Singh, Adiyog from Lucknow, ND Pancholi from PUCL Delhi, Mahtab from the FPHRD along with several other activists, lawyers and literary persons.

The meeting began with Mr. Chittranjan Singh welcoming all and stating the two fold agenda of the meeting, which was mainly sharing of the critique of the judgement and planning the campaign activities.
Mr. Ravi Kiran jain presented the critique. the 70 page judgement, showed no evidence. According to Mr Jain the case at no stage went never went beyond the FIR. Infact the incriminating piece of evidence that the police had tried to show, were mainly books and pamphlets and other “Maoist” literature that they were supposed to be carrying and had on their body at the time of their arrest on the 6th of February, 2012, Mr, Jain clarified that under no circumstance any of this could be counted as evidence, as the police had broken the seals of the packets without taking the magistrates permission and therefore tampering and planting of material could not be ruled out.

Secondly, the police had taken Seema’s remand illegally after the completion of ninety days, which is not permissible. During this two day remand they had taken her to her house, where they showed the recovery of two mobiles and some more literature. Apart from the fact that the remand itself was illegal and had been challenged in the Allahabad High Court where a recall application was pending. The proper search was not carried out as according to CrPC rules and therefore planting of material was possible. .

Apart from this there was no other shred of evidence, although the prosecution tried to string together Seema’s case with one other case made out in Gorakhpur and 2 cases of Kanpur, where according to the police they picked up several maoists, who were actively involved with the CPI (maoist) party. They tried to show how they had seized the same literature and there were some confessions of some other prisoners which showed that they were Maoists. Which goes against the Indian jurisprudence where confession in front of police is not addmissable as evidence.

It was shocking to read that Seema had been convicted for sec 13 (punishment for indulging in unlawful), 18( punishment for conspiracy), 20 (being a member of a terrorist gang), 38 (membership of a terrorist gang), and 39 (providing support to a terrorist organisation ) of the UAPA amended 2004 and 2008, and u/s 120, 121 and 121(A) of the IPC.

It also came as a rude shock to all that that Seema had been sentenced to 10 year rigorous imprisonment in most of the above sections along with fines of 5000 to 10 thousand rupees. except in 13 where is it was 5 years rigorous imprisonment. She was also sentenced to life u/s 121, waging war against state.

For those who are not aware rigorous imprisonment means working in either the factory of the jail or in the kitchen

Mr Ravi Kiran Jain shared with all that the criminal appeal would be filed in the Allahabad High Court very soon. although they have sixty days but they would not wait in this case.
Mr Anand Swaroop Varma and Neelabh Ashk shared the possible campaign that we could undertake.
It was decided that

  • 15th June : Press conference exposing the travesty of justice condemning Seema to life, will be addressed by Justice Sachar, Ravi Kiran Jain, Anand Swaroop Varma and Neelabh Ashk will address, Ravi kiran jain will present the legal critique.
  • 26th June: Emergency Day : PUCL Convention against the judgement in the Seema Azad case, all groups will be invited to participate . Along with condemning the judgement a campaign for the release of Seema Azad will also be planned. A poster will also be released for this purpose.  A critique of the judgement will be presented which will be prepared by Ravi Kiran Jain, Harish Dhawan, Neelabh Mishra and Anand Swaroop in English and Hindi and will not be longer than 5-6 pages. 
  • 25th June : Delhi activists to protest outside UP Bhawan.
  • The entire judgement will be translated in english, which is being coordinated by Harish Dhawan.
  • It was also planned that Allahabad and Lucknow must have protests, probably several groups are already planning this. Also a letter to Akhilesh Yadava against this conviction.

 

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