A week after lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj was picked up from her home in Faridabad, the president of District Bar Association, Faridabad, has written to Chairman of Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh, requesting a call be issued for a “strike” to emphasise the “resolve” of the association to “defend our fraternity against witch-hunts”.
“The Faridabad Bar Association stands in solidarity with Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj and the lawyers who have been arrested on unproven charges and strongly protests the attack on the legal fraternity. We request the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana to issue a call for a strike to highlight our resolve to defend our fraternity against witch-hunts,” states the letter, signed by President of the Association, Vivek Kumar, and sent to the chairman Wednesday.
Stating that the association is “deeply concerned” by the police action, the letter also claims that Bharadwaj’s arrest on August 28, along with that of advocates Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves from Mumbai on the same day, and the arrest of advocate Surendra Gadling in June 2018, “indicates an attack on lawyers who are defending the most marginalised and voiceless in society”.
On August 28, Bharadwaj was picked up by Pune police from her home in Faridabad’s Sector 39. She was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, who initially allowed Pune police to take her into “transit remand”. However, following adjournment of the habeas corpus plea filed in High Court of Punjab and Haryana, for two days, the CJM recalled the decision in a midnight hearing and directed that Bharadwaj be kept at her home until the next hearing of the High Court.
On August 30, the Supreme Court, responding to a petition filed by historian Romila Thapar and others against the arrest of Bharadwaj and four other activists picked up on the same day directed Pune police to keep them under house arrest until the next hearing, which is to take place Thursday.