A Conversation with Safoora Zargar Pregnant for 22 weeks, this student remains in jail on charges that include sedition

Since her arrest on April 10, Safoora Zargar, a 27-year-old student from Jamia Milia Islamia university in New Delhi, has been slapped with more charges, including under the Unlawful Activities [Prevention] Act (UAPA). She has been accused of participating in protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Jaffrabad in north-east Delhi before a spate of communal violence broke out in the area.

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak and her pregnancy of 22 weeks, she continues to be in remand. Rejecting her bail on June 4, Judge Dharmender Rana stated that “...even if no direct violence is attributable to the applicant/accused, she cannot shy away from her liabilities under the provisions of the said Act. When you choose to play with embers, you cannot blame the wind to have carried the spark a bit too far and spread the fire…”

At least 53 people, including an Intelligence Bureau official and a head constable, were killed in Delhi violence in February. Zargar is one of the seven students who were arrested since India’s nationwide lockdown began on 25 March, in connection with the riots.

The CAA offers citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants who fled religious persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan. The proposed NRC would require all Indians to prove that they are legal citizens of the country.

Zargar had met with journalists Ruhani Kaur and Gunjeet Sra earlier this year to talk about the women’s movement, anti-CAA/NRC protests and her idea of activism. Listen to the excerpts from the conversation below.

Ruhani Kaur and Gunjeet Sra are journalists, and  founders of "The Others", an initiative aimed at using storytelling as a tool to amplify the subaltern voice.