Indian activists languish in jail despite soaring Covid rates
…. As India’s Covid-19 infections have surged recently, the authorities have released prisoners who pose no threat from overcrowded jails. But most dissidents are held under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which lawyers say removes the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the right to bail. As a result, their bail pleas have been repeatedly rebuffed.
“These people have not been proven guilty – there has not been any evidence presented to suggest they are a threat to public security,” says Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch. “Yet because they are being held under these draconian laws, they are not being released.”
India is currently holding two batches of activists under the UAPA…. The first are prominent advocates for marginalised communities, including indigenous tribes and Dalits, who are at the bottom of Hinduism’s caste order…. The second group are university students – mostly Muslims – who spoke out last year at large protests against controversial new citizenship rules seen as discriminating against Muslims….