Delhi Riots: Groups Demand Release of UAPA Accused Gulfisha Fatima 18 Months On

Gulfisha has been granted bail in all cases but FIR 59, where UAPA has been invoked.

3 min read
Hindi Female

A year and a half after UAPA accused Gulfisha Fatima's arrest, several press conferences were organised in solidarity with her and other political prisoners who have been arrested under the charges of 'conspiring the Delhi riots' by Delhi Police.

These meets were organised across the country, in Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, UP's Sitapur, Bihar's Araria, Mumbai, Patna, Punjab and Bengaluru. Amongst those who spoke were Gulfisha Fatima's parents.

28-year-old Fatima has four cases slapped against her FIR 48 and FIR 50 at Jafrabad police station, FIR 83 at Seelampir Police Station and the conspiracy FIR 59 investigated by the Delhi Police Special Cell. She has been booked for rioting, murder, attempt to murder, Arms Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

She has been granted bail in all FIRs except the FIR 59, her lawyers confirmed. The bail hearing for the case has been ongoing, the last of which was on 19 June. The case is being heard at the Karkardooma court.

Gulfisha has been granted bail in all cases but FIR 59, where UAPA has been invoked.

Calling her arrest arbitrary, the statement issued in solidarity with her read:

“An Urdu Masters student of Delhi University, an MBA graduate, a radio jockey — Gul who belongs to Seelampur area of North East Delhi, was a part of the peaceful and vibrant anti-CAA-NPR-NRC movement… It was the energy and beauty of the movement that facilitated and produced the leadership of young local women leaders like Gulfisha. She was not affiliated with any student group/political party or had any earlier experiences of engaging and organising protests. She learned and emerged organically as the movement progressed and strengthened, overcoming many vulnerabilities and building new solidarities across different communities, to become a powerful voice of collective assertion and democratic resistance."
  • 01/03

    A protest organised at Bengaluru's Azim Premji University for the unconditional and immediate release of Fatima.

    (Photo: Arranged by The Quint)

  • 02/03

    A public meet of democratic groups organised at Hyderabad demanding the release of the student activist.

    (Photo: Arranged by The Quint)

  • 03/03

    a protest orgainsed in Bengaluru to 'free Gulfisha Fatima'.

    (Photo: Arranged by The Quint)

A nationwide solidarity day was announced by feminist students and democratic groups on 9 October.

The organisations behind campaigning for Fatima's release are AIPWA, SAHELI, NFIW, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, AIDWA, Bebaak Collective, Parcham Collective (Bombay), PUCL (Rajasthan), Forum Against Oppression of Women, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Habitat And Livelihood Welfare Association, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (Mumbai), JJSS (Araria, Bihar), Justice Coalitions of Religious(West India), Women and Transgender Organisations (WT-JAC), National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) and Narmada Bachao Andolan.

The organization said Fatima’s case is a “reflection of the painful reality of our country today that these are the moments that have come to mark the lives of young women who dared to dream of a free and just world.”


The joint statement stated that her arrest was not an exception, but "a part of a frightening pattern of repression of all democratic and dissenting voices by the current government.”

Speaking fiercly in favour of her, the statement read:

“Her ‘crime’ is that she decided to speak out against a government and an ideology of hate that dehumanizes and inflicts the most brutal violence on Muslim lives. Her ‘crime’ is that she believed and worked for the education, leadership and emancipation of women who have been historically marginalized, that she dreamed of feminist citizenship. Her crime is that she loudly sang “nidaar azaad ho jayegi, woh toh naya zamaana layegi."

The statement apprised us of how Fatima was indeed helping people in jail to learn how to readn and write, to get their applications and petitions written, to have their charge sheets read, amongst other things.

Her father, who has otherwise been withdrawn from the media arrived at the press conference. Visibly hassled he said he had been in depression ever since his daughter was jailed. That he often forgets things and why he is at a particular palce. "I fall unconcious too. I leave for someplace but reach elsewhere. I do not remember where I am. Then I have to pause and wait," he said.

Other than her father, journalist Arfa Khannum, CPIML Politburo member Kavita Krishnan and poet and activist Nabiya Khan spoke at the event in Delhi.

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