Jamia Researcher Safoora Zargar Kept in Solitary Confinement in High Security Tihar Jail
Syed Ali Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, APRIL 29—Safoora Zargar, a 27-year-old researcher at the Jamia Millia Islamia, who was arrested on April 10 in connection with the February violence in northeast Delhi, has been kept in solitary confinement in high security Tihar Jail.
Superitendent of Jail(Women’s Cell) Sarita confirmed India Tomorrow that Safoora was kept in a separate room of the woman’s section of the jail. She said that she was kept in a separate room due to Covid-19 infections.
Carrying three month’s old pregnancy, Safoora, who was also media coordinator of the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), a group of Jamia’s alumni and current students to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), was slapped several charges including those under the dreaded Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
A jail official, on conditions of anonymity, said that Safoora was being extended all facilities, medical and food, keeping in view her pregnancy and medical condition. The official said that doctors were also regularly examining her with regard to pregnancy and she would be given all medical facilities that are recommended by the doctors.
The official said that Safoora was also observing fast and she was being provided ‘sehri’, ‘iftar’ and food at proper time.
Safoora was very outspoken and in regular touch with mediapersons, supplying them all the information of JCC activities with regard to anti-CAA protest. Muslims in India have opposed the CAA because it is considered against Muslims, accounting for over 20 per cent of the country’s population. Muslims feel that CAA, combined with the proposed NRC, will reduce Indian Muslims to stateless citizens.
Safoora as an active student and a JCC member had taken part in all anti-CAA protests at Jamia. She had fainted during a clash with the police near Holy Family Hospital on February 10 when the Jamia students and alumni were trying to take out a march to Parliament.
Safoora was initially charged with as over a dozen cases under various provisions of Indian Penal Code in connection with the riots but she had managed to get bail. However, immediately after release, she was arrested under UAPA under which getting bail is very tough.
Her colleagues in JCC describe her as a very intelligent and strong woman. However, her activities had become slow with advancing pregnancy. They say that levelling terror charges against her, specially during advanced stage of pregnancy, was grave injustice with her. Her colleagues say that it amounted to mental and psychological torture to keep a woman in solitary confinement, away from husband and family.
Her colleagues at Jamia said that she has so far made five applications with jail authorities to talk to her husband and family members over phone but jail authorities rejected the request citing restrictions due to Covid-19. One of her colleagues questioned the logic behind preventing one from talking to family members because of Corona infections.
There are a total of 10 persons who have so far been booked under UAPA in connection with northeast Delhi riots.