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Would Indians still care about Safoora Zargar or Kerala elephant had they not been pregnant

The media has reduced the identity of a fierce Muslim activist resisting state repression, to a pregnant, subjugated woman.

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Delhi violence: Pregnant Jamia student Safoora Zargar denied bail for third time’, ‘Pregnant Safoora Zargar denied bail again as judge finds ‘no merit’ in plea’, ‘Inside Safoora Zargar’s failed bail hearing, as she completes five months of pregnancy’.

These are some of the headlines that India’s news outlets have used while reporting on the unjust, cruel, and continued arrest of MPhil student and Jamia Coordination Committee member Safoora Zargar for her participation in the anti-CAA protests.

Safoora’s pregnancy does make her more vulnerable to the Covid-19, and raises questions on the state’s apathy in putting her and her child’s life at risk. But the media has completely reduced the identity of a fierce Muslim woman activist being subjected to oppressive laws by the state to a pregnant, subjugated woman.

Her illicit arrest, which took place while she was three month’s pregnant, is definitely a cause for concern but it shouldn’t be the only cause for concern or comprise her entire case.

Invoking her pregnancy and using it as a shock factor in headlines dilutes the reality of the Narendra Modi government arbitrarily silencing dissenting voices through repressive laws such as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA. More often than not, Muslims are at the receiving end of the state’s wrath.

Also read: Delhi riot chargesheets show Modi govt still sees ‘clothes’ of Muslims, not their corpses

The piousness of pregnancy

Cold-blooded murders of pregnant women, brutal extraction of their foetuses to be flung around in sadistic victory are part of India’s gory history — case in point the Naroda Patiya massacre in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Pregnancy is considered sacred, it is the symbol of new life and growth. Perhaps this is why Safoora’s pregnancy is repeatedly invoked to highlight how cruel the state and the judiciary are for not taking mercy on her, despite the fact that she is now five months pregnant. But using her pregnancy as a tool to appeal for her release from jail reduces her identity simply to her ability to reproduce.

Our anger should instead be channeled at the imposition of the charges under the draconian UAPA on numerous activists who protested against the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, earlier this year.

Zargar is among the many anti-CAA activists arrested and chargesheeted while India was in lockdown. She has been booked for allegedly leading the Jaffrabad metro station protests in northeast Delhi.

Under the UAPA, an individual can be labelled a terrorist even before the charges framed against them have been proved in court, with no bail granted as long as a prima facie case can be made against the accused.

The Patiala High Court judge, even while accepting that there was no evidence against her, believed her involvement in a “conspiracy to at least block the roads (chakka jam)”.

The pregnancy pathology

Another pregnant being that has been in the news for falling prey to ignorance and apathy was an elephant in Kerala who died after eating an explosive-stuffed pineapple. That pineapple was originally meant for wild boars.

Once again, a public sense of loss was derived greatly from the fact that the elephant was pregnant. For instance, in cartoonist Satish Acharya’s rendering of the tragedy, the focus was on what the unborn child might have said to his mother. I can’t help but think of how people would have reacted if the elephant’s womb was empty.

Many on social media have been invoking the nationwide rage caused by the death of the elephant, especially by the Right-wing, contrasting it with the lack of sympathy for the pain and risk imposed on a pregnant student lodged in Tihar Jail, whose cries of mercy fell upon deaf ears.

Also read: Police didn’t inform Delhi riots accused of serious charges, violated procedure: Lawyers

Misogynistic attacks

Twisting the narrative in their own interest, the Right-wing first used Zargar’s pregnancy to dehumanise her and slander her reputation. In Indian society, there’s of course no better way to slander a woman than question her character and say abhorring things about her sexual choices.

This is how the disgraceful, deplorable and despicable slut-shaming of Safoora Zargar began on Twitter — and leading from the front was BJP’s Kapil Mishra.

People justified the arrest of a pregnant woman by assassinating her character and falsely alleging that her child was conceived out of wedlock.

While Zargar’s pregnancy has been used as a tool to arouse sympathy by some, it has been used to evoke misogynistic contempt by others. Safoora’s identity was undermined by both.

Views are personal.

Also read: After long silence, Kanhaiya speaks up on student arrests: ‘Lesson to those who raise voice’


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  1. She should not be granted bail. Such anti-nationals should not be allowed to a remain part of society. Just because of such people many people lost their lives in Delhi riots. She should be in jail for all her life.

  2. Theprint completely has the right to earn pennies through writing click baity articles. Even it means vouching for a terrorist blood thirsty vampire who’s hiding behind fake leftist ideas. a failing media website can use all the pennies that it can get.

  3. So “The Print” is advocating for an anti-national, characterless, hate spreading liberal on its platform. This is the finest journalism ever. Kudos to the team.

  4. If you are commenting on Safoora zargar then you must look behind your sister and mother. Making fake chargesheet and not disclosing the identities of students getting handicapped for lifetime is the reality of This ruling govt., first the police said they dint entrr the college and then they said they dint after the video got viral of theu hitting innocent students when no protest ws there. This govt is corrupt and their force are all corrupt. Facebook ceo Mark zuckerberg said Kapil Mishra encouraged delhi riots yet no FIR against him. Wow nice judicial system. This govt doesnt like criticism so they are misusing their rights. Arresting innocent and strong headed safoora wont help them

  5. Her speech just before the Delhi riots was inciting people to kill and cause bloodshed. If she thought she was so strong to go out and incite violence when she was pregnant then she has to pay the penalty of being in jail for her actions. All jails provide prisoners with medical facilities. Seeking bail and trying to gain sympathy on the ground of pregnancy shows sheer hypocrisy. The article is completely biased and not based on true facts and sad to see the deplorable pits this trashy newsgroup has fallen to

  6. Safura और उस मादा हाथी मे अन्तर है वो हथिनी अपने पेट भरने के लिए चारा तलाश रहीं थीं और उसे बारूद या विस्फोटक पदार्थ खिला दिया गया और Safura पूरे समाज को विस्फोटक बारूद खिलाना चाह रहीं थीं,
    अपने बच्चे की चिंता नहीं थी सिर्फ सुर्खिया और बटोरना और गर्भस्थ शिशु के नाम पर भावनात्मक समर्थन हासिल करना ही उद्देश्य था, ये आंदोलनकारियों ने महिला, g गर्भवती महिला, छोटे बच्चे और बुजुर्ग लोगों को ढाल की तरह इस्तेमाल करते हैं, पूरी दुनिया मे इनकी कौम का यहि वीभत्स इतिहास रहा है, किसी भी कौने में चले जाये ये ही प्रोपेगेंडा करते मिलेंगे,

  7. A meaningless rant against the state and the judiciary. Baseless and patebtly false accusations made on the basis of whimsical assumptions in order to vilify and demonize the administrative machinery. The law enforcement agencies are doing their job just fine and the final chargesheet is what we all should be looking forward to.
    Such ideologically driven outpourings of nonsense does not help anyone. Ms. Zargar has been arrested and her bail plea repeatedly rejected because the charges against her are grave enough. It is up to the investigating agencies to produce a rock solid chargesheet against her in court and obtain a favourable verdict.

  8. Wow I don’t see any inhuman or biasing here ,if she was well enough to protest against caa and conspire in delhi riots during her first and second months of pregnancy then she must not play so called woman card or victim cards here in here judicial custody .. don’t compare her with the mother elephant it’s a complete embarrassing for animals too, being an activist or fierce activist doesn’t gives you privilege to speak and spread hate through out the nation , stop the fake sympathy for her , and if you guys are so concerned about her health then the hospitality of indian jails are so appreciating that they had spended 2.7 crore on ajakal kasab a terrorist so they can have her delivery too ,

  9. Rajiv gandhi killer Nalini was also pregnant when she was jailed.her baby was produced in what’s so special about that characterless women Safoora?

  10. Even you may be dissatisfied by some policies of the government but as a mother it is your duty to be concerned about the child inside you. Inciting violence and then playing the victim card or as in this case pregnancy card won’t help?

  11. I would. There is a special respect we reserve for a mother carrying a pearl in her oyster. Which could also be a tigress or a cow elephant. More poignant because Shehzadi Safoora Zargar is a woman, expecting a child, has health issues that could get greatly complicated in prison. For that matter Ms Sudha Bhardwaj has been in prison for two years although my heart tells me she could not possibly be guilty of the charges proposed to be brought against her. I would extend it to men as well. NGOs, civil society activists, students, these individuals add texture and meaning to our democracy. Quite unlike some others whom it would be better not to name. One would have expected the judiciary to stand by the rights and freedoms of Indians at such a time.

  12. No we won’t. She should be careful while making speech. You The print, seem to have left thinking ideology. Please don’t try to influence the people.
    She should be in jail.

  13. Public sentiment is won when you fight for a just cause. When you use that cause to flame separatist agenda like “azadi for kashmir, bihar, andhra, kerala”, you should not be deserving public sentiment.

    I think left needs to reflect. Its making Safoora look like an innocent activist fighting for just causes. Now pregnant, and denied bail.

    And forgets that people died in the riots. It requires justice.

  14. Its in the hand of a judge to grant bail. Why blame the state? Every incident in India eventually takes a religion shape. Fight the case on its merit. Not because she is pregnant or not because protest against CAA is legitimate.

    • It’s a pity that the Judges are no more Judge on the merit of the case – but on the instructions of the Feku and Tadi Par.

  15. Is she not pregnant when she delivered that speech, if she is not bothered about her pregnancy why you people bother so much

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