Gautam Navlakha’s letter on release from custody

May 19, 2024

I wish to thank the Supreme Court for upholding the bail granted to me by the Bombay High Court. It proved to be a long wait but well worth it.

Although happy for myself, I am saddened that the fate of scores of fellow dissidents implicated in a variety of cases, still hangs in balance. Years of our life have been snatched from us as prisoners awaiting trial, which itself will take years to conclude.

Families of UTPs suffer as much, if not more, from this separation from their loved ones and their lives are greatly disrupted. A reality seldom acknowledged and rarely remedied. What disturbs me, as a democratic rights activist, is that justice appears as a distant dream. An over-burdened judiciary finds itself unable to provide a speedy, fair trial. As a captive, I often hoped that the judiciary would deliver on its lofty pronouncement that “Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many”. Because UTPs cling to this as a promise.

So, while I am pleased to breathe freer and finally get to meet my near and dear ones, I am aware that others still languish in a life of uncertainty. It hurts that Father Stan Swamy was denied bail while alive and will find redemption only posthumously.

My eighteen months of house arrest was made possible by the generosity of the Trustees of the BT Ranadive Trust and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). When all other options proved futile, they stepped in to provide shelter to me and my life partner Sahba Husain, for which I am deeply grateful.

I want to acknowledge the courteous and decent behaviour of the staff and officers of the Navi Mumbai police for all these 18 months. Both Sahba and I appreciate this.

Finally, I wish to thank my lawyers, friends, family, fellow activists and the independent media for standing by me. I drew much strength from their love and solidarity to face the ordeal of captivity.

Now that I am free…..

“Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom
‘cause all I ever have
Redemption songs….” (Bob Marley)

Gautam Navlakha
Belapur, May 19th 2024




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