Delhi Riots: New Charges, Multiple Bail Rejections Keep Gulfisha Fatima Lodged in Jail for 3 Years

Every time the student activist’s bail has been approved by a court, the police slapped new charges against her to prolong her imprisonment. Currently, her bail plea is pending before the Delhi high court.

Tarushi Aswani

“If you remain quiet despite injustices, you will survive. But if you criticise them (government), they will open the gates of prison for you,” says Tasneef Hussain, the father of Gulfisha Fatima.

On April 9, Fatima completed three years in prison, after the Delhi Police arrested (under FIR 48/2020) her for her alleged involvement in the clashes that rocked Jaffrabad in northeast Delhi when the city witnessed riots in early 2020. She took part in the protests that opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). She was charged under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including for rioting and assaulting public servants.

Although the CAA was enacted on December 11, 2019, the rules which enable the real-time enforcement of the law are yet to be framed. Without rules framed, the law cannot be implemented. The Union home ministry was granted an extension for the seventh time by parliamentary committees in January this year since the law was enacted in December 2019 – this time for another six months.

While the law is yet to be implemented, many Muslim political prisoners, like Fatima, continue to languish in jails for protesting against what they called a “religiously discriminatory” law.

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