NEW DELHI: On September 5 a protest was held on Parliament Street asking ‘Kis kis ko qaid karogey?’ (Whom will you jail next?) Organised by the Campaign Against State Repression of Rights Activists (CASRRA), the protest marked a year since the ‘brutal, cold-blooded murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh by Hindutvawadis’ and follows on the countrywide arrests and police raids on intellectuals and activists on August 28.

Earlier today the Supreme Court extended the term of house arrest for the five arrested persons until September 12. According to reports Justice D.Y. Chandrachud told the Maharashtra government counsel, “You must ask your police officials to be more responsible. The matter is before us and we don’t want to hear from police officials that the Supreme Court is wrong.” But the bench refused to pass any order restraining the police from sharing information with the media.

Over 500 individuals and several cultural groups and organisations participated in the protest. Amid songs and sloganeering, the public gathering was addressed by several people including sociologist Nandini Sundar, historians Uma Chakravarti and Chaman Lal, documentary filmmaker Sanjay Kak, former Delhi University professor S.A.R. Geelani, journalist-activist Bhasha Singh, and Kavita Srivastava of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

Vasantha, wife of Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba, who was jailed by the previous government, also addressed the protesters.

The organisers pointed to the use of the police by ‘the BJP-RSS regime to enforce its fascist rule over the people’, whether students, teachers, lawyers, intellectuals and human rights activists who ‘recognise the impact of policies that serve the big corporations’, or Dalit, Bahujan and Muslim citizens who resist the attacks on them by ‘Hindutva terror organisations working under the patronage of the present regime’.

The protesters’ demands as put forth by CASRRA are:

• Immediately arrest and punish the real culprits of the Bhima-Koregaon violence, including Shambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, and members of Hindutva groups that led the violence.

• Immediately release Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Shoma Sen, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut, Chandrasekhar Azad ‘Raavan’, GN Saibaba, Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi, Vijay Tirkey, Mahesh Tirkey, Pandu Narote and all such political prisoners.

• Immediately repeal all anti-people, draconian laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the National Security Act and the Public Security Act.