New Delhi, May 05 (KMS): Family members of arrested Jamia Millia Islamia student, Safoora Zargar, say they are appalled and upset by the attempts made to slander her on social media in Modi’s India.

Safoora Zargar, a 27-year-old M.Phil. student from Jamia, is over three months pregnant, and was arrested by the Delhi Police’s special cell on 10 April. She was later denied bail and, on 21 April, charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

“I don’t even want to dignify these trolls by responding to them, they will do what they have to,” Safoora’s husband said.

Her sister Sameeya released an open letter to her, describing the period of Safoora’s arrest as a “slow death”. “She has had pregnancy related [urinary tract infection] issues. She also has a history of UTI. We were hoping on all these grounds she will be given bail, but hasn’t yet,” Sameeya said.

Safoora Zargar was associated with the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), and was part of the protests against controversial anti-Muslim citizenship law, CAA. The protests were organised by university students in December and January. She was arrested for allegedly leading the anti-CAA protest at Jaffrabad metro station in February.

On Monday, three weeks after her arrest, there were discussions about her on Twitter, hours after Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra commented on her pregnancy.

Congress member Salman Nizami while denouncing Mishra’s comments in his tweet said, “Activist Safoora Zargar (pregnant) is in Jail during Ramadan. Hatemongers like Kapil Mishra who incited riots are free. It is a crime to be a Muslim in Modi’s India. Have some shame!”

Mishra is accused of inciting hate through his speeches before violence erupted in Northeast Delhi in February.

Nabiya Khan, a social media user, said, “I am short of words to express my disgust. Delhi police! If u can’t take action against these shameful trends and people then you are complicit. Commenting on a women’s modesty in a country where women are worshipped as Devis. SHAME.”

“We are extremely appalled and distraught about this. I am shocked at the lengths people are willing to go to in order to malign her image,” her sister Sameeya Zargar told the media. “This is nothing but character assassination.”

Zargar’s continued arrest without bail has received widespread outrage and condemnation, including from Amnesty International. Her arrest, along with that of another Jamia student Meeran Haider, had earlier kicked up a storm of online petitions demanding their release.

Amnesty said in a statement: “She is currently imprisoned in Tihar jail, which is one of the most overcrowded prisons in India, and has not been able to access her lawyer or meet her husband since 14 April. Safoora’s pregnancy is a mitigating factor against her continued detention under UAPA, particularly amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.”


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