‘Horrifying’: UAPA Accused, Jamia’s Safoora Zargar on Life in Jail

“Had made up my mind for a miscarriage,” said Safoora Zargar, recounting the horror of being in jail.

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From being a scholar, activist, and anti-CAA-NRC protester, to being charged with UAPA and serving a jail term during pregnancy, Jamia Millia Islamia's M Phil student, Safoora Zargar has been in the headlines for a year now.

In an interview with The Quint, Zargar opens up on how the events unfolded, the UAPA charges against her and what she had to undergo during her stay in jail.

On 10 April 2020, Safoora was arrested while she was three-months pregnant.

Recounting the horror of serving a jail term during pregnancy, Safoora recollected the days in distress and tears.

“I did not expect this. Don’t think I was doing anything that I should have even been called for an interrogation. I was doing nothing at all... As a Jamia student I was in solidarity with the protests, in fact I never even spoke there.
Safoora Zargar, Jamia Scholar, Activist

The M Phil student at Jamia was accused of instigating riots and of being a key conspirator in the 2020 Northeast Delhi violence, that left several dead. Zargar was later charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

However, Zargar claims she has "never been to Jaffrabad".

Elaborating on her experience when she first saw her cell, Zargar said:

“The most difficult part of it was the isolation, the confinement. I was kept in a separate cell... When I went to the jail I was kept in a separate ward, in the corner of the jail that had huge walls and barbed wires... It was very scary... I thought this is the end.”
Safoora Zargar, Jamia Scholar, Activist

Safoora who wanted to give birth to her child in a hospital amid medical care and attention had lost all hope. She recollects her struggles inside the jail.

“I had made up my mind that I could have a miscarriage any moment. I dreaded going to the washroom. I would panic, and my heart never beat normally.”
Safoora Zargar, Jamia Scholar, Activist

She was released from Delhi's Tihar Jail on 24 June, a day after she was granted bail by the Delhi High Court.

Zargar even shut up trolls who were targeting her for her marital status and pregnancy.

Many social media posts were doing the rounds, with people claiming that she was unmarried and that her pregnancy was discovered when she was lodged in Tihar Jail.

Reiterating that I was married would be disrespectful to all single mothers... I don’t want to prove my marriage.
Safoora Zargar, Jamia Scholar, Activist

A dismayed Safoora also has a message for the government. She said, "The ruling party doesn't know how to deal with dissent...This culture of branding every protest as sedition should stop."

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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