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[India West] Protestors Demand Release of ‘Prisoners of Conscience’

[…] Protests to release Sori and Kodopi were simultaneously held in London Jan. 26 and in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; Boston, Mass.; and San Jose, Calif., last weekend. Demonstrations will be held this weekend in Columbus, Ohio and Dallas, Texas.

“We want to put a stop to torture,” Balaji Narasimhan, one of the organizers of the San Francisco protest, told India-West. “As Indian Americans, we find injustices like this to be a huge blemish on our India, a country we are all otherwise justifiably very proud of,” he added.

“Republic Day is a day to celebrate the Indian Constitution. We use the occasion to remind ourselves and others of the fundamental rights it guarantees – rights like the right to life, personal liberty and the due process of law – to all people, especially the most vulnerable of the people of India,” said Narasimhan.

The small group initially gathered at the entrance to the Palace of Fine Arts, but was asked to move from the public space by consular officials, according to Narasimhan. The group then moved about 150 feet away from the entrance and handed out flyers and gathered signatures on a petition as people walked over to the Republic Day celebrations inside.

Asti Bhatt, another organizer of the San Francisco protest, told India-West that at least one attendee felt the demonstration made India “look bad.” “According to him, the instances of human rights violations in India are not institutionalized or systemic in India but are one-off instances,” she said. […]

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