Gathering in Solidarity with Political Prisoners in India: 6 June 2021

Gathering in Solidarity on Sunday 6 June 2021 Trafalgar Square, London

It is one year since Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, activists from the Indian feminist collective Pinjra Tod, were arrested and jailed in Delhi following their participation in protests against new citizenship laws which explicitly target Muslims with insecure status. Arrested on various false charges, including under draconian anti-terror laws, they remain in jail without bail.

Natasha and Devangana are among a growing number of activists, writers and trade unionists incarcerated as part of the Modi government’s silencing of dissident voices. Pinjra Tod began in 2015 as a movement against the policing and surveillance of women students in Indian universities, including strict daily curfews in women’s halls of residence. In 2019-20, Pinjra Tod joined women from working class Muslim communities who were organising against the Citizenship Amendment Act. These actions and alliances connected the dots between patriarchal structures which keep women locked up in the name of “safety”, and a border regime that polices people’s right to be in the country, by means of incarceration and deportation.

Inspired by the activism of Pinjra Tod, we will hold a jan sunwai – a public hearing – to mark the anniversary of Natasha and Devangana’s arrests. This is timed to coincide with comrades in India marking the same anniversary.

We will gather to read testimonies, stories, poems, and strategies, and build our understanding of the issues raised by these arrests – which resonate well beyond India’s borders.

What are the effects of the criminal justice system on women, families, and communities?

How can we build resistance when our rights to protest are under attack?

How do colonial legacies influence laws used to criminalise dissent?

What strategies might help us remain hopeful in difficult times?

Join us on Sunday 6 June 2021 at 1pm by the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Please bring any testimonies, stories, poems, and strategies you would like to share.

Organised by a collective of South Asian diaspora and allied activists

Contact:            @DiasporaAf

#ReleaseMyFriends            #FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners