NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 14—Several human rights activists have condemned the arrest of former JNU researcher Umar Khalid under provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) that was slapped against him in connection with Northeast Dlhi riots. They have demanded his immediate release.
His arrest came after 11 hours of his questioning by the Delhi Police Special Cell and after a supplementary chargesheet named CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, economist Jayati Ghosh, Delhi university professor Apoorvanand and Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav in the northeast Delhi riot cases and accusing them of provoking and mobilizing anti-CAA protests.
Well-known human rights activist and former bureaucrat Harsh Mander in a tweet with hastag #StandWithUmarKhalid said, “He’s a youth a country should be proud of – idealistic, progressive, brave. We spoke together in anti-CAA protests: he spoke always of non-violence & Gandhi. Today he’s arrested under draconian UAPA on trumped up charges of conspiracy. Cry out, my country”.
Condemning the arrest, activist Biraj Naik tweeted, “Umar Khalid’s arrest is a travesty. Every day, he spends behind bars is a day too many. Another chapter added to one of the most vindictive investigations by @Delhi police”.
Commenting on Umar Khalid’s arrest, former IPS officer Abdur Rahman of Maharashtra cadre said, “Complete mockery of democracy! Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Parvesh Verma etc gave hate speeches & incited Delhi riots. No action on them. But d person who, during CAA rallies, talked about democracy, constitution& justice has been arrested”.
Opposing the arrest of Umar Khalid, Swaraja Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav tweeted, “Shocked that an anti.terror law UAPA has been used to arrest a young, thinking, idealist like @UmarKhalidJNU who has always opposed violence and communalism in any form. He is undoubtedly among the leaders that India deserves. @DelhiPolice can’t detain India’s future for long”.
Pointing out that the arrest of Umar Khalid has exposed the bigotry of the government, All India Muslim Majlis Mushawarat(AIMMM) president Navaid Hamid remarked, “Sarkar be assured! More you arrest Muslims for dissenting against ur unconstitutional & hateful agenda, more you wld expose your bigotry; infuse Muslims & other patriotic forces to confront U to save spirit of democracy & to work for safeguarding Indian ethos. #ReleaseUmarKhalid”.
Earlier, Khalid’s lawyer Trideep Pais had told The Indian Express two days ago that the allegations against Khalid were “completely false, fabricated and procured illegally through duress”.
Academics, lawyers and social activists, within hours of Khalid’s arrest, issued a statement, describing Khalid’s arrest as “witch-hunt”.
“With deep anguish we have no doubt in saying that this investigation is not about the violence in February 2020 in the national capital, but on the completely peaceful and democratic protests across the country against the unconstitutional CAA,” the statement said. Among the signatories include V. Suresh of the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties, academicians Satish Deshpande, Mary John, Apoorvanand, Nandini Sundar and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, lawyers Mihir Desai and N.D. Pancholi, and rights activists Harsh Mander, Aakar Patel, Farah Naqvi and Biraj Patnaik.
“It is very significant that of the 20 arrested, 19 are under the age of 31. Of which 17 have been charged under the draconian UAPA and have been imprisoned on charges of a conspiracy for the Delhi violence whereas those who actually instigated and participated in the violence has not been touched. Of the ones incarcerated, five are women, except for one all are also students,” the activists said in the statement.
Express solidarity with Umar Khalid, may other activists said:
(The story has been written by Syed Ali Ahmed)