Ever since I was brought here (jail), I have been constantly facing discrimination by the jail staff. They called me an ‘educated terrorist’ and are hurling communal slurs at me.
NEW DELHI — Anti-CAA protester and Jamia Millia Islamia student activist Gulfisha Fatima, booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), alleged before a Delhi court on Monday that she was being subjected to communal slurs and mental harassment by jail authorities.
Fatima, an MBA graduate, is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail. She was booked in a case related to the communal violence in north-east Delhi in February. On September 1, a Delhi court had dismissed her bail application. Fatima had challenged a sessions court’s June 29 order extending the period of investigation in the case, and sought statutory bail on the ground that the charge-sheet has not been filed in the case within the time period of 90 days as provided by the law.
She made her submissions before the Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat during a hearing through video conferencing in the case.
Alleging discrimination against her by the jail staff, she said, “Ever since I was brought here, I have been constantly facing discrimination by the jail staff. They called me an ‘educated terrorist’ and are hurling communal slurs at me.”
While pointing out the degree of the discrimination and mental torture, she hinted of hurting herself. “I am facing mental harassment here. If I hurt myself, only jail authorities will be responsible for it,” she added.
The judge asked her lawyer Mehmood Pracha to file an application regarding this after Fatima made her submissions directly to the court.
The court had earlier taken cognisance of the charge-sheet filed in the case related to the alleged conspiracy in the riots and summoned all the 15 accused to appear before it.
The court on Monday directed that the counsels of the accused be handed over a copy of the charge-sheet and put up the case for further consideration on October 3.
In its charge-sheet, the police have listed 747 witnesses and, of them, 51 have recorded their statements before the magistrate under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
However, the activists, academicians and lawyers have been accusing the police of following the script handed by their political masters in order to silence the dissent. Critics say the police are not investigating a conspiracy; rather, the investigation is a conspiracy itself.
According to the Delhi police’s Special cell, Tahir Hussain, Khalid Saifi and Umar Khalid had allegedly planned to carry out massive violence in the capital during US President Donald Trump’s visit to Delhi during February 25-26.
In the charge-sheet, which discusses the ‘conspiracy’ behind the Delhi riots, the police have claimed that “on January 8, Tahir had met Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi at Shaheen Bagh sit-in protest. Meetings subsequently also took place in the PFI office in Jamia Nagar where Saifi instigated Tahir.”
On the contrary, Khalid denied his connection with PFI. Activists claim that even the government did not have the exact information of the US president’s arrival till mid-February. Activists wonder how the police can claim that the conspiracy was hatched in January.