By M M Special Correspondent
New Delhi: In a major setback to the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, the Delhi High Court on Monday set free one of the “Urban Naxals” Gautam Navlakha, from house arrest who was booked under the draconian law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act – UAPA by the Pune police in August this year. After the release, Navlakha did not speak to the media but release a statement thanking judges and his activist friends and lawyers who stood by him like a rock. He said he was humbled by the solidarity, which crossed borders, rallying in their support. He also said that he could not forget his co-accused and tens of thousands of other political prisoners in India who remain incarcerated under UAPA.
Calling himself as “urban naxal”, Navlakha stated: “I wish to thank the majority and dissenting Justices of the Supreme Court for their judgment, which allowed us four weeks to seek relief in this matter, and the public-spirited citizens & lawyers of India for putting up a spirited fight on our behalf, whose memory I will cherish. I am humbled by the solidarity, which crossed borders, rallying in our support.
From Delhi High Court I have won my freedom. It thrills me no end. My dearest friends and lawyers led by Nitya Ramakrishnan, Warisha Farasat, Ashwath, along with others in the legal & logistics team, literally, ‘moved heaven and earth’ to win me my freedom. I don’t know if I can ever repay this debt. Nor to the senior lawyers who argued in our favour in the apex court. The period of house arrest, despite the restrictions imposed was put to good use, so I hold no grudge.”
He, however, said he cannot forget his co-accused and tens of thousands of other political prisoners in India who remain incarcerated for their ideological convictions, or on account of false charges filed against them, and/or wrongful conviction under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act – UAPA. Fellow accused in the same matter have gone on hunger strike against the maltreatment inside the jails and demanded that they be recognised as political prisoners/prisoners of conscience”.
Other political prisoners too have time and again sat on hunger strike and demanded the same. Their freedom and their rights are precious to Civil Liberties & Democratic Rights movement, he added.
He also said the release of Bhim Army’s Chandrashekhar Ravan and his comrades Sonu and Shivkumar from preventive detention is particularly reassuring because it shows the power of indomitable resistance against a socially entrenched casteist tyranny, from ground below.
He also congratulated the JNU students Union for their historic victory as they fought election jointly saying that “united resistance is the need of the hour – only thus can we face persecution and struggle so that it gathers critical mass support.”
Navlakha, who is also heads the right body PUDR, reiterated they would speak up for the enforcement of the constitutional freedoms and against oppression and exploitation in all forms.