Free Aryan Khan

No drugs were found by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Aryan Khan's possession, yet he is in prison. Why? This is a question every decent citizen of India should be asking - because if we silently watch the state make a mockery of the law and Constitution to victimise a citizen today, that mockery will become the law tomorrow and India will be the victim.

The NCB claims that it has no political motive. But this claim is belied by the active role of BJP post-holder Manish Bhanushali and a dubious Malaysia-based businessman KK Gosavi in Aryan's arrest. Both are private citizens, Gosavi is in fact accused in a fraud case by the Pune police, why then did the NCB allow these men to call the shots during the raid and arrest?

A key tenet of India's judicial system is that "bail not jail is the norm". Sadly this norm is often violated, in the case of the poor as well as political prisoners. Why was Aryan denied bail when there is no proof he possessed, consumed, or dealt drugs? The logic offered by the judge is dangerous. The judge admitted that drugs were not found in Aryan's possession; but he said that since some drugs were found in his friend Arbaaz's possession, Aryan could have accessed and consumed the drugs if he wanted to, and so it can be said that Aryan had "conscious possession" of the drugs! If this kind of argument is permitted to prevail in India's courtrooms, it is a sorry state of affairs. It means that we have hit the judicial low that is a hallmark of autocracies, in which a person can be held guilty for something he might do in the future; or held guilty by association!

Is justice really blindfolded, as she should be in India? Or is she peeking through the blindfold to favour some and not others? For perspective, let us ask why the hatemonger who fired at Jamia students got bail, while Aryan did not? Why did Arnab Goswami get bail in one day on the "bail not jail is the norm" principle, while the same principle is denied where, say, Aryan Khan or Siddique Kappan are concerned?

The media houses that are Modi's propagandists are raising a hue and cry over 6 grams of cannabis found in Arbaaz's possession - why is it silent on 3000 kilos of hard drugs (heroin) busted at an Adani port in Gujarat? Is it because Adani is the PM's crony and funder?

No doubt, Aryan should not get any special favours because he is a son of Hindi cinema's tallest figure Shahrukh Khan. But equally, Aryan should not face bias because he is Shahrukh's son. Democratic-minded people all over India are forced to ask today: is Aryan being used by the regime to target his father? Is Shahrukh Khan being targeted because "his name is Khan" (i.e he belongs to the Muslim community that the Modi regime hates) and he enjoys iconic stature in the hearts of Indians? Because unlike so many other Indian film stars, he refused to kneel to power, refused to pose for selfies with the PM or HM to serve and appease the regime? Because in 2015 he called a spade a spade and clearly stated that intolerance was indeed on the rise in India?

We must worry even if we consider Aryan to be an ordinary citizen not Shahrukh's son. If an ordinary young man can be arrested and jailed indefinitely for no fault of his own, merely because his arrest serves the purpose of those in power, then we should all worry, because tomorrow that ordinary citizen could be any of us. The injustice Aryan faces today is not his own, or his family's private problem - it concerns the violation of a citizen's rights and is therefore a problem for every conscientious citizen of India. If we are silent today, it will be too late tomorrow.

issued by
 - All India Progressive Women's Association AIPWA
- All India Students' Association AISA
- Revolutionary Youth Association RYA