Be Vocal in Demanding the Release of the Revolutionary Poet Varavara Rao

While India is reeling with Covid-19, the country’s central and state governments are reluctant to release an octogenarian old man from prison. Varavara Rao, a 81 year old revolutionary poet, is in jail on the Bhima Koregaon case. Meanwhile, some inmates of that jail have died due to Covid-19. Prominent personalities of the country and abroad have become vocal in demanding the release of this revolutionary poet. As a thinking, progressive person in the society, we think that it is our moral duty to be vocal in demanding the release of Varavara Rao, at least for humanitarian reasons.

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the victory of the Dalits in the war against the upper caste Peshwas at Bhima Koregaon, Maharashtra, Hindutva forces spread violence and on 28 September 2018 Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha were arrested from Delhi, Pune, Faridabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad on multiple charges. Later Shoma Sen, Anand Teltumbde, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson and many other social workers, lawyers, poets and professors were arrested. They were charged under various unconstitutional laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), sedition and so on.

The list also includes 90 percent physically challenged Professor G N Saibaba, who is being held in the small ‘Anda Cell’ of the Nagpur Jail. There is no infrastructure to keep a physically challenged person like him. As a result, his physical condition is deteriorating day by day. On the other hand, the veteran Maoist theoretical leader Kobad Ghandy, despite suffering from a deadly disease like cancer, is being conspired to block his release from jail with new false charges.

On 28 May, poet Varavara Rao fell unconscious in jail. He was admitted to J J Hospital in Mumbai. Although his condition was just slightly stable, he was brought back to jail on 1 June. Varavara Rao’s family was not allowed to visit the hospital. They didn’t even get a chance to talk to the poet on the phone. In this situation, Varavara Rao’s wife applied for bail in the NIA court but that application was rejected. Although article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to life even if a citizen is imprisoned. on June 26, the NIA court again rejected the bail plea of Varavara Rao regarding illness.

We have seen that in India different national and local parties make different promises during elections, but there is little difference between them in terms of anti-people policies and anti-people laws like UAPA, sedition etc. Almost all parties have been using these laws to suppress dissent. However, in spite of this repressive policy of the state, the protests and movements of workers, peasants, students and social workers in different parts of India have not stopped. And this is where the ruling class fears the octogenarian Varavara Rao, or the physically challenged Professor Saibaba. That is why they have to be kept in jail even during the coronavirus crisis.

In contrast, at least 100 leading intellectuals in the world, such as Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Homi K Bhabha, Partha Chatterjee and Gerald Horne have written letters to the President and Chief Justice of India demanding the release of Varavara Rao. 375 prominent personalities of India including Amol Palekar, Shabana Azmi, Shankha Ghosh, Aparna Sen, Kaushik Sen have written an open letter to the Central Government of India.

Meanwhile, recently 14 Indian MPs wrote a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray requesting that the revolutionary poet Varavara Rao be transferred from Taloja Jail in to a hospital. Several inmates have already died of coronavirus in that jail. Officially, the number of Covid-19 confirmed cases in India is about half a million, more than 16,000 died. Almost every day new records of infections and deaths are being set.

The Indian government is playing tricks on the life of Varavara Rao and others, who were detained fearing mass movement. The Government of India will be held responsible if any of them are infected with the virus during their detention on coronavirus crisis. We once again demand the Government of India to immediately release the revolutionary poet Varavara Rao and other social workers. It is our moral duty today to be vocal in this demand.

Signed by-

1. Badruddin Umar; President, Jatiya Mukti Council
2. Prof. Serajul Islam Choudhury; Convenor, Socialist Intellectual Association
3. Prof. Abul Kashem Fazlul Haq; President, Swadwsh Cinta Songho
4. Prof. Anu Muhammad; Member-secretary, National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports
5. Prof. Akmal Hossain; General secretary, National Committee Against Fascism and Imperialism
6. Hasan Fakri; Poet and Writer
7. Prof. Nehal Karim; Former Chairman, Faculty of Social Sciences, Dhaka University
8. Jafor Hossain; President, New Democratic People’s Forum
9. Masud Khan; President, Jatiya Ganotantrik Ganomancha
10. Tipu Biswas; Co-ordinator, Jatiyo Ganofront
11. Faiezul Hakim; General Secretary, Jatiya Mukti Council
12. Altaf Parvez; Writer and Researcher on South Asia
13. Maha Mirza; Writer and Researcher
14. B D Rahmatullah; Energy Expert and Academic, UAP
15. Haider Anwar Khan Juno; Political Figure and Cultural Organiser
16. Salim Reza Newton; Professor, Rajshahi University
17. Gazi Tanjia; Fiction Writer and Columnist
18. Zakir Talukdar; Fiction Writer
19. Souvik Reza; Professor, Rajshahi University
20. Tanzimuddin Khan; Professor, Dhaka University
21. Sayema Khatun; Associate Professor, Jahangirnagar University
22. Maidul Islam; Associate Professor, Chottogram University
23. Anup Sadi; Poet, Writer
24. Boktiar Ahmed; Professor , Rajshahi University
25. Saeed Ferdous; Professor, Jahangirnagar University
26. Syed Abul Kalam; Member, Socialist Intellectual Association
27. Golam Sarwer; Professor, Rajshahi University
28. Samina Luthfa; Associate Professor, Dhaka University
29. Moshahida Sultana; Associate Professor, Dhaka University
30. Dr. Harun Ur Rashid; Professor, Dhaka Community Medical College
31. Taniah Mahmuda Tinni; Lecturer, Premier University
32. Prof. M. Nrunnobi
33. Advocate Jahed Karim
34. Afjalul Basar; Member-secretery, Socialist Intellectual Association
35. Badol Shah Alom, Journalist
36. Shaherin Arafat, Journalist, Activist
37. Hena Sultana, Poet
38. Bijan Sammanit, Activist
39. Avijit Roy, Poet
40. Rois Mukul, Poet
41. Asma Begum, Poet
42. Arifujjaman Tuhin, Journalist
43. Arup Rahi, Vocal, Lila Band
44. Syed Faiz Ahmed, Journalist
45. Eliash Uddin Palash; Editor, Shampratik Deshkal
46. Mofizur Rahman Laltu; Executive Editor, Noya Duniya
47. Dr. Tanmoy Sanyal, Editor, Postcard
48. Ranjan Kumar Dey, Editor,
49. Saeed Bilas, Poet
50. Zaki Sumon, Former Co-Convenor, Revolutionary Student-Youth Movement
51. Jahid Jogot, Writer
52. Wabaidullah Sony, Journalist
53. Nayeem Sinha, Journalist
54. Masud Rana, Journalist
55. Ismail Sarder, Former Banker
56. Purobi Sammanit, Writer
57. Imam Gazzali, Journalist
58. Kabir Sohel, Poet
59. Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury; Editor & Publisher, Shuddhashar
60. Mitrosh Totrach, Poet
61. Mustafizur Rahman Sohag, Member, Postcard
62. Biplab Bhattacharjee; Convenor, Revolutionary Workers Movement
63. Atif Anik; President, Revolutionary Student-Youth Movement
64. Molla Harun, Politician
65. Hasibur Rahman; President, Bangladesh Lekhok Shibir
66. Dr. Kazi Iqbal; General Secretary, Bangladesh Lekhok Shibir
67. Iqbal Kabir; President, Biplobi Chatro Moitri
68. Samiul Alam; Secretary, Jatiya Mukti Council, Chottogram
69. Subinoy Mustafi; Representative, Araj Network
70. Sumaiya Binte Salim, Rastrochinta
71. Jabir Ahmed Jubel, Member, Revolutionary Student Unity
72. Rafsan Ahmed, Independent Researcher and Culteral Activist
73. Abu Naser Anik, General Secretary, Jatiyo Jubo Porisod
74. Ikramul Haq Khan, Translator
75. Shamim Imam, Convener, National Democratic Workers Federation
76. Mujibur Rahman; Genaral Secretary, Bangladesh Krishok O Grameen Sromik Federation
77. Albart Soren; President, Jatisotwa Mukti Songram Porishod
78. Dr. Abdul Hakim; General Secretary, Bangladesher Samyobadi Dol
79. Parvej Lelin; President, Bangladesh Student Federation
80. Dilip Roy; General Secretary, Revolutionary Student Unity
81. Monjurul Haque; Convenor, Stalin Society Bangladesh
82. Rakib Uddin; Convenor, New Democratic People’s Forum, Chottogram
83. Nasima Najnin; Organizer, Revolutionary Women Salvation
84. Sorot Kumar Das, Former Co-president, Revolutionary Student Unity, RU
85. Amirun Nujhat Monisha; Organising Secretary, Biborton Sanskritik Kendro
86. Provat Kumar Das, Postcard
87. Emdad Hossain, Coordinator, Postcard
88. Aniruddho Goswami, Campus Coordinator, Postcard
89. Walid Bari, Member, National Convenor Committee, Revolutionary Workers Movement
90. Bithi Ghosh, Cultural Activist
91. Ahmed Jafor; Organiser, New Democratic People’s Forum, Immigrant Branch Europe
92. Anupam Shaikat Shanto, Activist, Writer, Researcher
93. Sourav Halder, Student
94. Arunav Biley, Activist
95. Tushar Sikder, Student
96. Shamim Ahmed, Member, Postcard
97. Rahul Roy
98. Dhrubo Borua
99. Shoeb Abdullah, Political Activist, Independent Researcher
100. Abdur Rob, Political Activist
101. Alvi, Student
102. Nazmus Sakib, Activist
103. Faizar Muhammad Shaolin
104. Ismael Haque, Revolutionary Student-Youth Movement
105. Munware Alam Nirjhor, Journalist, Activist
106. Abdul Momin, Student, Political Activist
107. Shipra Nabami Sandhya
108. Hazrat Ali, Student
109. Samiul Ehsan Shafin, Student
110. Rezina Ahmed Swarna, Student
111. Mahmudul Hussain Ishadi, Student
112. Rafiqul Amin, Activist
113. Avimanyu Mohanto, Activist
114. Joyonta Kumar Shawon, Activist
115. Shahidul Islam, Politics Activist
116. Hasan Siddique, Teacher
117. Rupok Kumar Das, Student
118. Nri Raha Adrija, Student
119. Kuasha Chowdhury
120. Apu Rozario
121. Animesh Roy
122. Md. Atik Shahriar
123. Sheikh Shamim
124. Moshiur Rahman, Worker
125. Sarthok
126. Shahriar Abedin
127. Hasan Jamil, Revolutionary Student-Youth Movement
128. Tanvir Akand, Student
129. Shahajahan Sarker, Columnist and Writer
130. P K Rajesh
131. Abrar Ifaj, Student, DU
132. Rajat Huda, Poet, Activist
133. Shahadat Sadhu
134. Murshedul Ajadi
135. Mishkat Mohiuddin, Student
136. Kayes Mahmud, Political Activist
137. Sumaya Rahman, Student
138. Nahid Islam, Political Activist
139. Marzia Prova, Activist
140. Dolon Prova, Poet
141. Nibir Kanti Roy
142. Riyad Mahmud, Member, Lampost
143. Refat Bin Salam Rupom, Journalist
144. G H Habib; Associate Professor, Chittagong University
145. Mina Tasmin, Activist

C. Kistler

Also editor of Nouvelle Turquie.