Protesting the life sentence of Seema Azad

Members of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Bangalore and several other human rights organisations and individuals in the city gathered on Saturday, 16th June 2012 in front of Town Hall, Bangalore to express their outrage at the unjust sentencing of Seema Azad and her husband Vishwavijay Kamal by a sessions court in Allahabad, to life imprisonment and 10 years in jail, respectively. The ruling  passed on 8th June 2012 was based on fabricated charges of 'waging war against the state', 'criminal conspiracy' and various sections of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act [UAPA].

Azad and Kamal were arrested on Feb 6, 2010 under the archaic and abused Sedition law and UAPA. They were charged with carrying 'objectionable' and supposedly Maoist literature. PUCL condemns the prolonged and false incarceration of Seema Azad and Vishavijay Kamal and demands the current travesty of justice be rectified.

Seema Azad is the editor of bimonthly ‘Dastak' magazine and organisation secretary of the PUCL, Uttar Pradesh. It is believed that this post-graduate in psychology from Allahabad University, is being targeted since as she had spoken out against the takeover of farmers' land. She had apparently also written about the witch-hunt of Muslim youths in Azamgarh by the Government and its security establishment.

Pushpa Achanta
(The author is a community volunteer based in Bangalore, India)