New Delhi, June 21 (KMS): A group of 500 prominent persons, including film personality Aparna Sen, have sent an open letter to the Indian government demanding the immediate release of activists like Varavara Rao and Safoora Zargar amid the spike in coronavirus cases.

The left-leaning Indian poet and writer Varavara Rao is among 11 rights activists who are in jail on the charges of Maoist links.

“In the prisons of Maharashtra where they are being detained, some inmates have died and many others have tested positive for COVID-19,” the letter issued by the Indian Cultural Forum on June 16 said.

It also expressed dismay over the denial of bail to student activist, Safoora Zargar of Jamia Millia University and human rights activist from Assam, Akhil Gogoi.

Safoora Zargar, who is pregnant, was arrested under the so-called UAPA law in a case in the aftermath of the introducing a new citizenship regime by India.

The signatory to the letters include film personalities Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Amol Palekar and Anurag Kashyap.

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