Yesterday was a big day for everyone in the office. As the press release discussed, a number of HRLN advocates and staff spent the day on-sight of a massive eviction program of the Delhi Development Association (DDA). There were thousands of police, many wearing helmets and riot gear, and there were four bulldozers.
Sukti, my supervisor, is front and center in a video clip I saw today as she explains to the police who are surrounding her how this destruction violated India’s commitment to human rights law. Standing up for human rights in the face of thousands of police officers is awesomeness and the video bits have brought tears to my stinking eyes. But for me and the few others in the office, it meant for a relatively quiet day.
I was somewhat disappointed not to be on-sight for the evictions, but my hands were full preparing for Friday’s extradition hearing. The lead advocates asked me to accompany them to the Tihar Jail near Janik Puri and I was more than happy to do so.
It was iffy whether I would be allowed in to see the client and I actually sat with the guards outside the jail for over an hour. Then, in a blur, Sister came by and grabbed my hand, we had forty minutes or so left and I could join for that little time.
As far as the jail went, I didn’t see much but finally getting to talk face-to-face with the client was super rewarding. The client is super articulate and optimistic, despite being detained now for over two years.
There are no pictures of the jail or my client for obvious reasons. What I am including is how my night concluded—dinner with some Nebraskan friends who were staying in the same neighborhood as the jail (random!).
The friends were returning from three weeks in Orissa where they did research on maternal health and the National Rural Health Mission—exactly what I was looking into!! It was so great to hear about their work and I look forward further collaboration!!