Skip to main content

Unwarranted? Delhi cops 'pick up' activists involved in relief work in lockdown regime

Yogesh Swamy (middle)
Counterview Desk
On April 16, Yogesh Swamy, an activist involved in relief work in North-East Delhi, was alleged to have been arbitrarily picked by Delhi Police's Special Cell. Yogesh, says a network of students’ and civil rights groups, Yogesh is one of those who has been “picked up and detained from all corners of the city, especially in those areas where protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) were underway.
Also involved in giving a helping hand to those affected by the February 2020 violence, a statement by the rights group network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)*, says, “This is happening despite the lockdown enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic”, demanding their “immediate and unconditional” release end to the “climate of fear being created by the Delhi Police.”

Text:

The Delhi Police’s Special Cell picked up Yogesh Swamy On April 16 in the most brazen manner. A national vice president of Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) and member of Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, Yogesh was picked up from Karawal Nagar where he has been providing relief to people affected by the February 2020 violence and those suffering from a lack of food and other essential supplies during the ongoing lockdown.
In the name of interrogation, 8 to 9 police personnel, including several plain-clothed officers arrived at the NBS office in Karawal Nagar this afternoon. Yogesh along with several others of NBS had been preparing and distributing food from the NBS office for the last two months. The police upon arrival quickly surrounded Yogesh and before anyone could intervene, he was forced into the police vehicle and taken away.
None of the police officers identified themselves, nor did they provide any reason for wanting to interrogate Yogesh. Also, no information was provided regarding where he was being taken. Police did not even produce a warrant or notice. This is tantamount to abduction.
It must be noted that during the Central government imposed lockdown to contain the corona Virus outbreak, the actions of the Delhi Police have been disgraceful. Instead of providing relief to the countless workers trapped in the city without food or shelter, the Delhi Police has engaged in wanton brutality against workers and the violence affected people of North East Delhi, particularly those who belong to the minority community.
Moreover, the Delhi Police has engaged in systematic targeting of activists and students, many of whom are engaged in indispensable relief work. This is being done on the grounds that they were involved in the protests against the anti-people and communally charged Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) which till less than a month ago had enveloped the entire city.
News reports have indicated that over 800 persons have been arrested following the violence in North East Delhi, the bulk of whom in a mockery of justice are persons from the violence affected minority community and activists involved the protests against the CAA, NRC and NPR. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Home Affairs under Amit Shah has demanded the Delhi Police continue arrests “under any circumstances” despite the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
The action, instead of helping the people, will further aggravate the dire situation of the lakhs of daily wage workers and their families
Consequently, the Delhi Police is using isolation and immobility caused by the lockdown to target students from Jamia Millia Islamia, members of the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), activists and residents of Chand Bagh, Haus Rani, Jamia Nagar, Kardampuri, Khajoori Khas, Khureji Khas, Seelampur, Shaheen Bagh, etc. 
Not long ago, all these areas were centres of resistance to the CAA, NRC and NPR. Activists have been harassed via threatening phone calls, called in for interrogation and, in some cases, even taken into custody. Not only are these actions a form of state repression but they increase the risks of a COVID-19 infection.
It is clear that instead of addressing the concerns being raised by the people worst affected by the pandemic and its own criminal complicity in the communal violence, the police are using a humanitarian crisis to further target and silence those who are currently involved in relief work for the worst affected. Their actions, instead of helping the people, will further aggravate the dire situation of the lakhs of daily wage workers and their families who are today bordering on starvation.
The Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) denounces these vile actions of the Delhi Police against the activists from the minority community and progressive organisations and demands the release of all persons arrested in connection with the protests against the CAA, NRC and NPR including Sharjeel Imam, Akhil Gogoi, Khalid Saifi, Soneshwar Narah, Pranab Doley, Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar among others. 
CASR also demands an immediate cessation to all activities of the Delhi Police regarding the targeting of students and activists during the lockdown and the immediate release of Comrade Yogesh Swamy and all such persons detained by the Delhi Police.
---
*Signatories for the Campaign Against State Repression: AISA, AISF, APCR, Bhim Army, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, BSCEM, CEM, CRPP, CTF, Disha, DISSC, DSU, DTF, IAPL, IFTU, IMK, Karnataka Janashakti, KYS, Lokpaksh, LSI, Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, Mazdoor Patrika, Mehnatkash Mahila Sangathan, Morcha Patrika, NAPM, NBS, NCHRO, Nowruz, NTUI, PDSU, People’s Watch, Rihai Manch, Samajwadi Janparishad, Satyashodak Sangh, SFI, United Against Hate, WSS

Comments

TRENDING

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

How real is Mamata challenge to Modi? Preparing for 2024 'khela hobey' moment

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  Third time elected West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, meeting everyone who matters within and beyond the government, the Prime Minister, the President, some Cabinet ministers, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, several other opposition leaders, et al.

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

UP arrest of 'terrorists': Diverting attention from Covid goof-up, Ram temple land scam?

By Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Sandeep Pandey* That corruption is rampant in police department is a common experience. However, there is another form of corruption which devastates lives of individuals and their families. It has now emerged as a common phenomenon that police more often than not register false cases because of which individuals have to spend number of years in jail.

Ganga world's second most polluted river, Modi's Varanasi tops microplastics pollution

By Rajiv Shah  Will the new report by well-known elite NGO Toxics Link create a ripple in the powerful corridors of Delhi? Titled “Quantitative analysis of microplastics along River Ganga”, forwarded to Counterview, doesn’t just say that Ganga is the second most polluted river in the world, next only to Yangtze (China). It goes ahead to do a comparison of microplastics pollution in three cities shows Varanasi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – is more polluted compared to Kanpur and Haridwar.

Effluent discharge into deep sea? Modi told to 'reconsider' Rs 2275 crore Gujarat project

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, well-known Gujarat-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, has protested against the manner in with the Gujarat government is continuing with its deep sea effluent disposal project despite environmental concerns.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.