Protests held in various parts of Punjab for the release of the revolutionary poet, Varavara Rao and 11 other human rights activists (who have been arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case). The protests were organised by the Association for Democratic Rights Punjab (AAFDR) and over a dozen other organisations. The protests saw women and youth participating in large numbers.
The Chief Public Relations Officer of the organisation, Mr. Buta Singh, said that in just the district of Barnala, protests were organised in almost 30 locations. Despite the Coronavirus threat, people came out on the roads to protest against the dictatorial methods used by the government.
The leaders participating in these protests said that the current government was unnecessarily harassing those who are fighting for people’s rights. The protesters also asserted that these poets, intellectuals, and human rights activists were being punished for a crime they did not commit. They condemned the actions of the government and the indifference of the courts as being extremely disappointing.
They strongly expressed that the Modi government has taken the Constitution for granted and has crippled various democratic organisations. If the people who are part of such organisations and the citizens of India do not wake up in time, then it will not be long before this country is turned into an Iraq or Syria, they stated.
The protesters believe that the government is targeting only those who have understood its intentions because the government apprehends that it is such people who will show maximum resistance to their actions. Thus, the government has either jailed such people or is harassing them through other means.
Protests were also held in other places including Nava Sheher, Sangroor, Monga, Patiala, Bhatinda, Jalandhar, Manasa, Muktsar, Hoshiyarpur, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana, Jagraon, Mullanpur, Baba Bhan Singh, Sirsa (Haryana).
The organisations which participated in these protests include the Rationalist Society, Punjab, Pragatisheel Lekhak Manch (Haryana), Punjab Student Union, Naujavaan Bharat Sabha, Inquillabi Kendra, Punjab, Lok Sangram Morcha, PLS Manch, Bharati Kisan Union, Varg Chetna, Pendu Majdoor Union (Mashaal), Punjab Radical Student Union, BKU (Krantikaari), Democratic Teacher’s Front, DMF, and many other organisations.