Safoora Zargar is 27 years old, student of Jamia Millia Islamia, 21-weeks-pregnant and in jail under India’s anti-terrorism law: Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
She was one of the many dissenters who raised their voices against the Citizenship Amendment Act introduced by the government of India, and was arrested in April, 2020.
BREAKING: Jamia Millia Islamia student Safoora Zargar, arrested on 10 April in connection with the Delhi Riots, denied bail by Additional Sessions Court judge Dharmender Rana after four hour long hearing at Patiala Court in Delhi. @HuffPostIndia— Betwa Sharma (@betwasharma) June 4, 2020
Now, what her arrest and quashing of 3 bail pleas have highlighted, are the double standards of the Indian judicial system. A pregnant woman, at the risk of getting infected with Covid-19 is kept in jail for dissenting, a constitutional right.
While many others, facing serious criminal charges, are allowed to roam free. Here is a list of some of them.
1. Manish Sirohi
Get this, Manish Sirohi is a man who was arrested for possession of arms during Delhi riots and it was found that he had been involved in the trade of ammunition for 2 years. He was charged under the Arms Act and recently released on grounds of risk due to coronavirus. Here’s the statement for his release:
Meanwhile, #ManishSirohi who is charged only under Arms Act after found in possession of illegal arms during the Delhi riots is out on bail! https://t.co/dgsObRiob8— kalpana diwan (@kalpana_diwan) June 5, 2020
Keeping in view the above facts and circumstances and also the fact that spread of COVID-19 pandemic is on high rise and there is always a risk of the applicant being infected with the said virus in case he is left to be confined in jail, the applicant is admitted to bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 25,000/- with one surety of the like amount to satisfaction of the Court of Ld, CMM/Ld. ACCMM/Ld. MM on duty as per the roster prepared by the Ld. District & Sessions Judge, PHC, New Delhi.
Same case but different treatment. Safoora, a student of Jamia, with no criminal record & pregnant has been booked under draconian UAPA. Manish Sirohi charged under same FIR of Delhi ‘riots’ for supplying weapons to Delhi, granted bail due to COVID. He was booked under Arms Act.— Kawalpreet Kaur (@kawalpreetdu) May 13, 2020
2. Manu Sharma
A convict in Jessica Lall murder case, Manu was supposed to stay in jail till 2023. But he was released pre-maturely on grounds of ‘good behaviour’ on the recommendation of Sentence Review Board, which comes under Delhi government. Manu is the son of former Union minister Venod Sharma.
#JessicaLalMurderCase convict #ManuSharma released three years early. Source @the_hindu pic.twitter.com/QFytDiMPWz— Dad Of All Trades (@DadOfAllTrades_) June 3, 2020
3. Anurag Thakur
Thakur, who openly shouted the first half of the infamous desh ke gaddaron ko chant, didn’t even get an FIR lodged against him because Delhi Police said it could not find any prima facie offence.
Anurag said he only recited the first line and it was the crowd which chanted the second. “What can I do?” he asked.
Caught prompting “goli maaro” chant, Union Minister Anurag Thakur says “gauge people’s mood”.— NDTV (@ndtv) January 28, 2020
Read here: https://t.co/e8RHutvYqc pic.twitter.com/n1mwf2PXGv
4. Kapil Mishra
The current BJP minister who made it to the news for comparing Delhi elections with an ‘India vs Pakistan contest’ in the light of anti-CAA protests, was charged for violation of the model code of conduct and the Representation of the People Act. He was also banned from campaigning for 48 hours, but that’s about it.
A few days later, he threatened Delhi police by saying that he will have to take matters in his own hands, if they fail to control the protesters. Riots followed soon after.
5. Vijay Mallya
A defaulter of 9000 crores left India in 2016 after committing serious financial crimes, and is out and about in the UK. 4 years on, his extradition is still in process. It’s important to mention here that even if he is brought back, there are high chances that he won’t be able to pay back the money he owes.
6. Nirav Modi
Indian businessman facing multiple allegations, like criminal conspiracy, money laundering and criminal breach of trust has been a fugitive since 2018. While he was arrested in the UK, the Indian government hasn’t been able to get hold of Modi, who faces charges for $2 billion fraud case involving the Punjab National Bank.
7. Pragya Thakur
Prime accused in Malegaon blasts, that claimed lives of 10 people, is a Member of Parliament. She faces a number of charges under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (including terrorism and conspiracy) but was granted bail on health grounds in 2017. After that she was fielded by BJP from Bhopal and has made many offensive speeches since.
8. BJP members who declared they are facing criminal charges.
Last year when BJP came to power for the second consecutive time, 22 members declared that they are facing criminal charges in the court of law. This includes Babul Supriyo, who is currently serving as the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Pratap Chandra Sarangi, serving the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries.
Amit Shah, Minister of Home Affairs of India.
9. Swami Nithyananda
Fugitive godman Nithyananda is facing charges of rape and child molestation and all we know about him is that he has founded his own country named Kailaasa, apparently near Trinidad and Tobago or Ecuador. He remains safe there, with his followers.