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Be Vocal in Demanding the Release of the Revolutionary Poet Varavara Rao

While India is reeling with Covid-19, the country’s central and state governments are reluctant to release an octogenarian old man from prison. Varavara Rao, a 81 year old revolutionary poet, is in jail on the Bhima Koregaon case. Meanwhile, some inmates of that jail have died due to Covid-19. Prominent personalities of the country and abroad have become vocal in demanding the release of this revolutionary poet. As a thinking, progressive person in the society, we think that it is our moral duty to be vocal in demanding the release of Varavara Rao, at least for humanitarian reasons.

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the victory of the Dalits in the war against the upper caste Peshwas at Bhima Koregaon, Maharashtra, Hindutva forces spread violence and on 28 September 2018 Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha were arrested from Delhi, Pune, Faridabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad on multiple charges. Later Shoma Sen, Anand Teltumbde, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson and many other social workers, lawyers, poets and professors were arrested. They were charged under various unconstitutional laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), sedition and so on.

The list also includes 90 percent physically challenged Professor G N Saibaba, who is being held in the small ‘Anda Cell’ of the Nagpur Jail. There is no infrastructure to keep a physically challenged person like him. As a result, his physical condition is deteriorating day by day. On the other hand, the veteran Maoist theoretical leader Kobad Ghandy, despite suffering from a deadly disease like cancer, is being conspired to block his release from jail with new false charges.

On 28 May, poet Varavara Rao fell unconscious in jail. He was admitted to J J Hospital in Mumbai. Although his condition was just slightly stable, he was brought back to jail on 1 June. Varavara Rao’s family was not allowed to visit the hospital. They didn’t even get a chance to talk to the poet on the phone. In this situation, Varavara Rao’s wife applied for bail in the NIA court but that application was rejected. Although article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to life even if a citizen is imprisoned. on June 26, the NIA court again rejected the bail plea of Varavara Rao regarding illness.

We have seen that in India different national and local parties make different promises during elections, but there is little difference between them in terms of anti-people policies and anti-people laws like UAPA, sedition etc. Almost all parties have been using these laws to suppress dissent. However, in spite of this repressive policy of the state, the protests and movements of workers, peasants, students and social workers in different parts of India have not stopped. And this is where the ruling class fears the octogenarian Varavara Rao, or the physically challenged Professor Saibaba. That is why they have to be kept in jail even during the coronavirus crisis.

In contrast, at least 100 leading intellectuals in the world, such as Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Homi K Bhabha, Partha Chatterjee and Gerald Horne have written letters to the President and Chief Justice of India demanding the release of Varavara Rao. 375 prominent personalities of India including Amol Palekar, Shabana Azmi, Shankha Ghosh, Aparna Sen, Kaushik Sen have written an open letter to the Central Government of India.

Meanwhile, recently 14 Indian MPs wrote a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray requesting that the revolutionary poet Varavara Rao be transferred from Taloja Jail in to a hospital. Several inmates have already died of coronavirus in that jail. Officially, the number of Covid-19 confirmed cases in India is about half a million, more than 16,000 died. Almost every day new records of infections and deaths are being set.

The Indian government is playing tricks on the life of Varavara Rao and others, who were detained fearing mass movement. The Government of India will be held responsible if any of them are infected with the virus during their detention on coronavirus crisis. We once again demand the Government of India to immediately release the revolutionary poet Varavara Rao and other social workers. It is our moral duty today to be vocal in this demand.

Signed by-

1. Badruddin Umar; President, Jatiya Mukti Council

2. Prof. Serajul Islam Choudhury; Convenor, Socialist Intellectual Association

3. Prof. Abul Kashem Fazlul Haq; President, Swadwsh Cinta Songho

4. Prof. Anu Muhammad; Member-secretary, National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports

5. Prof. Akmal Hossain; General secretary, National Committee Against Fascism and Imperialism

6. Hasan Fakri; Poet and Writer

7. Prof. Nehal Karim; Former Chairman, Faculty of Social Sciences, Dhaka University

8. Jafor Hossain; President, New Democratic People’s Forum

9. Masud Khan; President, Jatiya Ganotantrik Ganomancha

10. Tipu Biswas; Co-ordinator, Jatiyo Ganofront

11. Faiezul Hakim; General Secretary, Jatiya Mukti Council

12. Altaf Parvez; Writer and Researcher on South Asia

13. Maha Mirza; Writer and Researcher

14. B D Rahmatullah; Energy Expert and Academic, UAP

15. Haider Anwar Khan Juno; Political Figure and Cultural Organiser

16. Salim Reza Newton; Professor, Rajshahi University

17. Gazi Tanjia; Fiction Writer and Columnist

18. Zakir Talukdar; Fiction Writer

19. Souvik Reza; Professor, Rajshahi University

20. Tanzimuddin Khan; Professor, Dhaka University

21. Sayema Khatun; Associate Professor, Jahangirnagar University

22. Maidul Islam; Associate Professor, Chottogram University

23. Anup Sadi; Poet, Writer

24. Boktiar Ahmed; Professor , Rajshahi University

25. Saeed Ferdous; Professor, Jahangirnagar University

26. Syed Abul Kalam; Member, Socialist Intellectual Association

27. Golam Sarwer; Professor, Rajshahi University

28. Samina Luthfa; Associate Professor, Dhaka University

29. Moshahida Sultana; Associate Professor, Dhaka University

30. Dr. Harun Ur Rashid; Professor, Dhaka Community Medical College

31. Taniah Mahmuda Tinni; Lecturer, Premier University

32. Prof. M. Nrunnobi

33. Advocate Jahed Karim

34. Afjalul Basar; Member-secretery, Socialist Intellectual Association

35. Badol Shah Alom, Journalist

36. Shaherin Arafat, Journalist, Activist

37. Hena Sultana, Poet

38. Bijan Sammanit, Activist

39. Avijit Roy, Poet

40. Rois Mukul, Poet

41. Asma Begum, Poet

42. Arifujjaman Tuhin, Journalist

43. Arup Rahi, Vocal, Lila Band

44. Syed Faiz Ahmed, Journalist

45. Eliash Uddin Palash; Editor, Shampratik Deshkal

46. Mofizur Rahman Laltu; Executive Editor, Noya Duniya

47. Dr. Tanmoy Sanyal, Editor, Postcard

48. Ranjan Kumar Dey, Editor, bangladarpan.com

49. Saeed Bilas, Poet

50. Zaki Sumon, Former Co-Convenor, Revolutionary Student-Youth Movement

51. Jahid Jogot, Writer

52. Wabaidullah Sony, Journalist

53. Nayeem Sinha, Journalist

54. Masud Rana, Journalist

55. Ismail Sarder, Former Banker

56. Purobi Sammanit, Writer

57. Imam Gazzali, Journalist

58. Kabir Sohel, Poet

59. Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury; Editor & Publisher, Shuddhashar

60. Mitrosh Totrach, Poet

61. Mustafizur Rahman Sohag, Member, Postcard

62. Biplab Bhattacharjee; Convenor, Revolutionary Workers Movement

63. Atif Anik; President, Revolutionary Student-Youth Movement

64. Molla Harun, Politician

65. Hasibur Rahman; President, Bangladesh Lekhok Shibir

66. Dr. Kazi Iqbal; General Secretary, Bangladesh Lekhok Shibir

67. Iqbal Kabir; President, Biplobi Chatro Moitri

68. Samiul Alam; Secretary, Jatiya Mukti Council, Chottogram

69. Subinoy Mustafi; Representative, Araj Network

70. Sumaiya Binte Salim, Rastrochinta

71. Jabir Ahmed Jubel, Member, Revolutionary Student Unity

72. Rafsan Ahmed, Independent Researcher and Culteral Activist

73. Abu Naser Anik, General Secretary, Jatiyo Jubo Porisod

74. Ikramul Haq Khan, Translator

75. Shamim Imam, Convener, National Democratic Workers Federation

76. Mujibur Rahman; Genaral Secretary, Bangladesh Krishok O Grameen Sromik Federation

77. Albart Soren; President, Jatisotwa Mukti Songram Porishod

78. Dr. Abdul Hakim; General Secretary, Bangladesher Samyobadi Dol

79. Parvej Lelin; President, Bangladesh Student Federation

80. Dilip Roy; General Secretary, Revolutionary Student Unity

81. Monjurul Haque; Convenor, Stalin Society Bangladesh

82. Rakib Uddin; Convenor, New Democratic People’s Forum, Chottogram

83. Nasima Najnin; Organizer, Revolutionary Women Salvation

84. Sorot Kumar Das, Former Co-president, Revolutionary Student Unity, RU

85. Amirun Nujhat Monisha; Organising Secretary, Biborton Sanskritik Kendro

86. Provat Kumar Das, Postcard

87. Emdad Hossain, Coordinator, Postcard

88. Aniruddho Goswami, Campus Coordinator, Postcard

89. Walid Bari, Member, National Convenor Committee, Revolutionary Workers Movement

90. Bithi Ghosh, Cultural Activist

91. Ahmed Jafor; Organiser, New Democratic People’s Forum, Immigrant Branch Europe

92. Anupam Shaikat Shanto, Activist, Writer, Researcher

93. Sourav Halder, Student

94. Arunav Biley, Activist

95. Tushar Sikder, Student

96. Shamim Ahmed, Member, Postcard

97. Rahul Roy

98. Dhrubo Borua

99. Shoeb Abdullah, Political Activist, Independent Researcher

100. Abdur Rob, Political Activist

101. Alvi, Student

102. Nazmus Sakib, Activist

103. Faizar Muhammad Shaolin

104. Ismael Haque, Revolutionary Student-Youth Movement

105. Munware Alam Nirjhor, Journalist, Activist

106. Abdul Momin, Student, Political Activist

107. Shipra Nabami Sandhya

108. Hazrat Ali, Student

109. Samiul Ehsan Shafin, Student

110. Rezina Ahmed Swarna, Student

111. Mahmudul Hussain Ishadi, Student

112. Rafiqul Amin, Activist

113. Avimanyu Mohanto, Activist

114. Joyonta Kumar Shawon, Activist

115. Shahidul Islam, Politics Activist

116. Hasan Siddique, Teacher

117. Rupok Kumar Das, Student

118. Nri Raha Adrija, Student

119. Kuasha Chowdhury

120. Apu Rozario

121. Animesh Roy

122. Md. Atik Shahriar

123. Sheikh Shamim

124. Moshiur Rahman, Worker

125. Sarthok

126. Shahriar Abedin

127. Hasan Jamil, Revolutionary Student-Youth Movement

128. Tanvir Akand, Student

129. Shahajahan Sarker, Columnist and Writer

130. P K Rajesh

131. Abrar Ifaj, Student, DU

132. Rajat Huda, Poet, Activist

133. Shahadat Sadhu

134. Murshedul Ajadi

135. Mishkat Mohiuddin, Student

136. Kayes Mahmud, Political Activist

137. Sumaya Rahman, Student

138. Nahid Islam, Political Activist

139. Marzia Prova, Activist

140. Dolon Prova, Poet

141. Nibir Kanti Roy

142. Riyad Mahmud, Member, Lampost

143. Refat Bin Salam Rupom, Journalist

144. G H Habib; Associate Professor, Chittagong University

145. Mina Tasmin, Activist

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