India

Salman Fights for Human Rights, Let’s Fight for Him: Activists

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

Seeking an unconditional release of human rights activist Salman, B.R.P Bhaskar, Chairperson of the Salman Justice Forum said in a press conference that the charges levied against him are fabricated. Salman, was arrested on August 20 for allegedly insulting the national anthem as he chose not to stand up in a theatre.

“The case against Salman is fabricated. In its instructions about the same, the central government has already clarified that it is not right to broadcast the national song in public spaces like a theatre and that if it is done, then there is no need to stand for it”, stressed Bhaskar.

He added that even in the 1971 Disrespect to National Honor Act, it is said that it is not a criminal offense if you do not stand while the national song is being played. In 2002, during the Independence Day celebration, some people had refused to stand while the national anthem was played. Apart from this, the arguments with which the court dismissed the case against Laloo Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi regarding the issue, the court had made this point clear.

According to the press release, tt is only an allegation that Salman hooted while the national anthem was played. Moreover, many who were in the theatre for the same show, had not stood up while it was played. It was after the song was over that the people who complained against Salman came to pick up a fight with him. Their arguments continued even during the interval time. It is based on this that it has been alleged that Salman hooted while the national anthem was played.

Another allegation the police is bringing up against him is that he put up a status message insulting the national anthem on August 15. Bhaskar however clarified that,Salman is not talking about the national anthem in that post. Instead he is actually doing a parody of the Malayalam song, Bharathamenaal Parin naduvil Kevalamoru Pindi Mannalla and Salman had only created a parody of this song and that too he had done it to foreground the deteriorating living conditions in India.

“How can we view this as treason? In a post following the above discussed post, Salman makes his perspective very clear. Here he argues that it is not just India, but all nations and their hegemonies that are born through violence and lies. Such a political parody, which is also accompanied by a good explanation, should be viewed as a critique. Instead it is being seen as an insult to the national anthem and Salman is being branded a traitor. Surely this is being done with utmost malafide intentions. Surely one does have a reasonable ground here to doubt that it is the Muslimness of his name, Salman, that makes him get branded as a traitor to the country”, said the release.

The speakers in the conference revealed that how Salman was taken into custody from his home, when neither he nor his parents protested; they only felt very bad. Yet he was handcuffed and displayed before the media by the police. In a country where there are strict rules, even for the application of handcuffs on an accused, it is shocking that we are being totally apathetic to that fact that Salman has been handcuffed in violation of all his human rights. Moreover, on the night of his arrest, Salman was taken from station to station and even his parents were not allowed to meet or talk to him. Even the basic norms to be followed while arresting a person have not been followed in Salman’s case. He was eventually been inhumanely charged under IT Act 66A , IPC 124 A.

Salman, who is a student of philosophy is said to be someone who takes part in all the various people’s protests and resistances in Kerala. He is also the one who has taken a strong stand against human rights violations with his active presence in the protest against Capital punishment and many other such issues. His stand on various protests happening in Trivandrum is very significant and he is a figure who is well known to all political and cultural activists, said the release.

Activists alleged that the police is continuously hunting Salman and his friends. According to them, the police is trying to intimidate by harassing and threatening Salman’s friends (and those who stand with him) and by trying to trap them under false charges.

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