The Third Shahid Azmi Memorial Lecture today evening in Delhi
Democratic rights and political responsibility in a conflict zone
By Bela Bhatia, Writer and activist
Chair: Sanjay Hegde, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India
5th April (Wed) / 4.30 pm onwards
Indian Law Institute, Delhi
Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association
and Shahid Azmi Memorial Lecture Committee
About Shahid Azmi: Shahid Azmi was a noted human rights lawyer, who in his brief and brilliant career defended and secured the acquittal of scores of innocent Muslims accused of terrorism. He was shot down in his office in Mumbai on 11 February 2010. Shahid had received death threats as early as 2006 and had approached the Mumbai police, which failed to provide him any security. The MNS chief Raj Thackeray had also issued threats to lawyers who wanted to defend the accused in the 7/11 2006 local train blasts in Mumbai.
Shahid Azmi was arrested by Delhi police for being a member of SIMI in 1995. In appeal, Shahid was acquitted by the Supreme Court. He graduated while serving his sentence, completing his law course after his release. He began practicing law in Mumbai upon his release from Tihar and took up many criminal cases and raised important legal issues before the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.
He had pleaded in court against the application of MOCOCA as well as POTA for his clients and his successful pleading in the Ghatkopar blasts case of 2002 led to the abrogation of POTA. Shahid had also exposed the violence unleashed by the Arthur Road jail authorities who were torturing the accused in the Mumbai train bombings into confessing their role in the blasts. In his brief life of 32 years, Azmi made a lasting difference, but his untimely and violent death foreclosed rich possibilities that lay before him and, indeed for all of us interested in justice.
Previous Shahid Azmi Memorial Lectures:
The First Shahid Azmi memorial Lecture (11th February 2012): "The Illusion called Secularism" by Mukul Sinha, Human Rights Lawyer and activist.
The Second Shahid Azmi Memorial Lecture (9th February 2013): "Capital Punishment: An Agenda for Abolition" by Dr. Yug Mohit Chaudhry, anti-death penalty activist and lawyer.