lockdown dairies: A Tale of two Hens

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lockdown dairies: A Tale of two Hens

- Swetcha | 15.05.2020 10:13:21pm

My grandmother is very fond of growing hens and one day she bought two chicks and started raising them. As the house had a lot of open space, the chicks were free to roam around and search their own food, climb up the trees to escape from their enemies and instinctively go to rest in a store room after sunset. We used to lock that room after sunset and open it in the morning.

Soon the Chicks got acquainted with the environment of the house. There was nobody to catch them or control them. Their usual practice was to search for food apart from what we fed them. My grandmother used to say that they are capable enough to secure their food and survive by themselves.

But one day I encountered a strange situation at my uncleʹs apartment in a metropolitan city. They also bought a hen. They used to tie its legs to the balcony rods for the obvious reasons of lack of open space. The hen was provided with food and water. It was in complete contrast to what I saw in my house where the hens roamed around freely. Where was the need for it to move when it got its food? But one day my uncleʹs children decided to open the ropes on its leg, for it to move around in the balcony. With hesitation and fear of not being able to catch it if it flies, they slowly untied its legs. To their astonishment, the hen did not move. Not even an inch. It stood there, at the same place where it was tied, not willing to move or may be not knowing to move. The hen lost its nature.

The district where I live is declared as a red zone amid the covid-19 outbreak, with our locality registering more positive cases. Hence we decided to go to a cousinʹs place in another locality. We had the privilege of opting between two, when thousands of workers are stranded without a roof over their head. Now comes the problem. How do we catch hens? They were never used to getting caught. With great difficulty my mother caught one and during the tussle the hen pecked on my motherʹs hand. Later we tied its legs and kept it in a cloth bag. We were busy packing and to our surprise the hen wasnʹt in the cloth bag. It managed to get out of the cloth bag kept on a table and untied its legs, all by itself and escaped outside.

Here we tried to cage its freedom. Identical to the government trying to cage dissent. It is arresting the voices speaking against it. Among them is 27 year old Safoora Zargar, a research scholar from Jamia Millia Islamia who is in the second trimester of her first pregnancy.

The Delhi Police arrested Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar from Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) university under the UAPA Act for their alleged role in religious violence in northeast Delhi. Both of them were part of the Jamia Coordination Committee that organised the anti-CAA protests. Umar Khalid, a former student leader from JNU was also named in the FIR. The arrests and charges under UAPA is often characterised as ʹ the process which is the punishment.ʹ

Two Kashmiri journalists Masrat Zahra and Gowhar Geelani have also been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, (UAPA), 1967, for alleged "anti-national" social media posts by the Cyber Police Station in Kashmir.

Journalist Gautam Navlakha and author-scholar Dr. Anand Teltumbde have been arrested in connection to Bhima Koregaon violence. Advocate Surendra Gadling and Sudha Bharadwaj, activists Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao were already arrested.

Even as all the government offices are shut, even as countryʹs machinery and workforce are engaged in fighting the pandemic, even as the Supreme Court directed to release convicts and under trials on interim bail, the government has very urgent and important tasks to complete in this lockdown amid non functioning of courts and judiciary: targeting its dissenters and critics.

But why? May be because all of them were trying to break their chains!

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