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Notice externing anti-CAA protester from Ahmedabad 'politically motivated'

By Our Representative
 
An online petition, forwarded as an email alert to Counterview by activist-academic Maansi Shah, has termed the Ahmedabad police notice, dated July 17, served to Kaleem Siddiqui, social worker, community organizer and journalist, seeking an explanation as to why he should not be barred from Ahmedabad and neighbouring districts for two years as “malafide and politically motivated.”
Claiming that the notice is the result of Siddiqui's “activism and contribution” to the campaign against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), the petition says, it is based on “two First Information Reports (FIRs) and 10 anonymous complaints” against Siddiqui alleging that “he is not only hot-tempered but has also attacked several individuals with weapons.”
Seeking signatures from supporters, the petition says, “Prima facie, the anonymous complaints against him appear entirely baseless. It is alleged that these complainants wish to remain anonymous as they fear Siddiqui’s influence in the locality. We fail to understand why these ten complainants registered their grievances against him in a matter of just a week in June 2020 amidst a nation-wide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The petition contends that Siddiqui’s track record is of “a committed social worker who has stood by vulnerable members of our society”, underling, “In the last few years, he has actively exposed the nexus between police officials and bootleggers in Ahmedabad -- a mockery of prohibition law in Gujarat.” It adds, “His activism put an end to corruption by some police officials in Ahmedabad.”
“Instead of appreciating his efforts, Ahmedabad Police had registered an FIR to threaten him in 2018. However, Gujarat High Court has acquitted him from all charges in this FIR”, the petition states, adding, “More recently, from December 2019, Siddiqui vigorously campaigned against the anti-Muslim amendment to India’s citizenship law and the proposed national registers of citizens and populace.”
It continues, “His role in organising a sit-in protest in Ajit Mill compound in Rakhial was most crucial in resisting the anti-constitutional and anti-minority nature of the citizenship law. He is also a journalist writing in widely-read web portals, including ‘Down to Earth’ and ‘Jan Chowk’.”
Claiming that he is being “intimidated to silence dissent by civil society actors and the Muslim community”, the petition demands that the “harassment must end, and the police must immediately revoke this notice.”

Sandeep Pandey writes to Police Commissioner

Meanwhile, well-known Magsaysay award winning social activist Sandeep Pandey, in a letter to the Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, has pleaded for the withdrawal of the notice to Kaleem Siddiqui by in charge assistant police commissioner, A Division, Ahmedabad City.
Pandey, who is also vice-president of the Socialist Party (India), said, the externment notice to Siddique, who is national executive committee member of our Socialist Party (India) and has contested the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections from the Vatwa constituency on behalf of our party, is a clear attempt by the government to “suppress the voice of dissent in a democracy”, which is “not a very healthy practice.”
Calling the notice “undue harassment” of Siddique, Pandey said, the “police should desist from such vindictive action”, adding, “The only reason for issuing this notice to him seems to be his participation in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens protests in Rakhiyal in December 2019, which was his Constitutional and democratic right.”

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