Mr Kenneth Roth
The Executive Director
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA Tel: +1-212-290-4700 Fax: +1-212-736-1300
The National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO) is a common platform of various organizations and individuals committed to the cause of human rights in India. The crisis due to Covid-19 is one of the biggest catastrophes we are facing today. The second wave of Covid-19 in India has been found to be more disastrous to the poor and the marginalized people.
We are writing this to invite your attention to a special case.
Mr Siddique Kappan, a prominent journalist based in New Delhi was booked a couple of months ago under the draconian Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act as he was going to a small town in state of Uttar Pradesh to report about the rape and murder of a Dalit (socially, economically backward caste). He has been in prison since October last year (State v. Sidhique s/o Mohammed @siddique Kappan FIR No.0199/dated 07/10/2020.) His incarceration is completely unfair and was done on baseless charges.
Mr. Siddique Kappan was tested positive for COVID19 and admitted in a hospital and the hospital authorities are not allowing him even to go to the toilet. He is chained to the bed and is not allowed to move and also not providing basic food. He was forced to relieve himself in a plastic bottle.
Mr. Kappan is a symbol of what is really happening in India under the rightist regime. Many political prisoners, including the ones who have been jailed in the infamous Bhima Koregaon case, have been languishing in jail since last two years. No crime has been proven and they are kept in jail for political reasons. The fundamental rights of people like Mr. Kappan are trampled upon. Mr. Kappan’s Covid-19 infection was a testament to the condition under which people are kept in jails. In the same prison in which Mr. Kappan is held, around 50 other inmates have also tested positive for corona virus.
The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) demands the international community to intervene urgently for the immediate release of all political prisoners in light of the corona virus pandemic. We request the Human Rights Watch to put pressure on authorities to put an end to the rights violations in the world largest democracy. Also, we take this opportunity to seek your support and intervention urgently to release all political prisoners in the light of spread of the virus among prisoners.
Prof A. Marx,
Prof P. Koya,