Skip to main content

NAPM demands safety of Umar Khalid amidst climate of 'fear, terror, lies, hate'

Counterview Desk

The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), India’s top civil society network, even as condemning the arrest of former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and youth activist Dr Umar Khalid, has said that the Delhi police must immediately stop coercing ‘confessional’ statements to manufacture evidence and refrain from painting the democratic anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). 
In a statement signed* by top activists, NAPM said the Delhi Police is qualifying all protests as “conspiracy against the state”, even as demanding the repeal of the “draconian” Unlawful Activities (Protection) Act (UAPA), under which most activists have been arrested, insisting on freeing all anti-CAA protestors, and arrest of BJP leader Kapil Mishra and all others who who allegedly incited Delhi riots.

Text:

The spate of repression and arbitrary arrests of anti-CAA activists and students continues in the capital, with yesterday’s late-night arrest of young social justice activist Dr. Umar Khalid, after 11 hours of intense ‘interrogation’. The Delhi Police has arrested him on the basis of manufactured evidence through coerced statements, falsely accusing him of being the ‘master mind’ behind the Delhi riots of February 2020. It is now learnt that the Court has remanded him to “10 days police custody” so that he can be further interrogated over data and documents running into “11 lakh pages”!
As firm believers in a democratic ethos, we are anguished and outraged at the relentless silencing of young and progressive voices by this regime, many of who happen to be Muslims, students, activists and academics. The speeches by all of them during the vibrant women-led anti-CAA mass protests are available for public scrutiny and by no stretch of argument can they be interpreted to be ‘inciting hate or violence’. Quite to the contrary, they all are promoting love, peace and constitutional values.
Notably, anticipating the impending arrest, Umar Khalid had written to the Delhi Police Commissioner on 1st Sep, with regard to the statements being extracted from witnesses in order to frame him under several charges including UAPA, sedition and conspiracy for murder. Following this, on September 4, four senior civil society members including Prof Apoorvanand (Delhi University), Harsh Mander (former IAS officer and peace activist), Yogendra Yadav (National President, Swaraj Abhiyan) and Kawalpreet Kaur (student activist, AISA), along with Umar Khalid addressed a press conference highlighting the “continuing attempt by the Delhi Police to falsely implicate” activists of the anti-CAA movement as the ‘masterminds of the February riots’.
Julio Ribeiro, retired Police Commissioner of Mumbai and DGP Gujarat and Punjab, wrote to the Delhi Police Commissioner in which he spoke out strongly against the clearly biased investigation and said: “The Delhi Police has taken action against peaceful protestors but deliberately failed to register cognizable offences against those who made hate speeches which triggered the riots in N.E. Delhi.”
Another 9 IPS officers from different states have written to the Police Commissioner regarding the flawed investigation into the Delhi riots and requested him to “reinvestigate all riot cases fairly and without any bias based on sound principles of criminal investigations to provide justice to the victims and their families and for upholding the rule of law”.
Despite these interventions and over 1,000 well-known citizens writing to the Delhi Police, the latter, clearly under instructions from the Union Home Ministry has gone ahead with another arrest on false grounds, while ignoring those who have publicly incited violence in Delhi. Most prominent among this is Kapil Mishra, a BJP leader caught on video inciting mobs to violently attack anti-CAA protestors, who is still roaming free.
Mishra has in fact has circulated a fresh video, equating the Delhi violence to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and calling for ‘death penalty to the activists’! We would like to remind the Delhi Police that compromising investigation to serve political dispensations is an act of gross unprofessionalism and an attack on the democratic institutions and values of this country, which they are supposed to uphold.
In the past six months, under the cover of lockdown, many young students and activists have been arrested under UAPA and most of them including Gulfisha Fatima (Student, Delhi University), Ishrat Jahan (Congress activist), Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal (Students and Feminist Activists of Pinjra Tod), Khalid Saifi (United Against Hate), Meeran Haider (President, RJD Youth Wing, Delhi), Asif Tanha (Jamia student), Sharjeel Imam (JNU scholar), Shifa-Ur-Rehman (President, Jamia Alumni Association) continue to languish in jail.
Kapil Mishra has circulated a fresh video, equating Delhi violence to 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, calling for death penalty to activists
Their bail applications in the UAPA matter has been repeatedly rejected and some of them have reportedly faced severe torture in custody. All of them have been falsely charged with being part of a ‘conspiracy’ to incite the Delhi riots’.
The Delhi police has now issued summons to film makers Rahul Roy and Saba Dewan who appeared for investigation today. A large number of other activists and students in the capital have been questioned in the past few months, phones of many of them seized and all of them put under heavy surveillance.
Sitaram Yechury, Jayati Ghosh, Yogendra Yadav
Others who are under the radar include Sitaram Yechury of CPM, Prof Yogendra Yadav, Prof Apoorvanand, Prof Jayati Ghosh, Adv Mahmood Pracha, Chandrasekhar Azad (Bhim Army), although the Delhi police issued a clarification that Yechury, Yadav and Ghosh have not been ‘arraigned as accused in the supplementary charge sheet’.
During these months, on multiple occasions the trial courts have observed that the media has been peddling false information and making selective leakages, leading to a biased trial by sections of the compromised fourth estate. It is high time we come together and stand up against this colossal injustice, contest the convolution of facts, where innocent people are being arrested on false charges, while those who incited the violence are being let scot-free.
We urge all the peace, justice-loving and democratic-minded citizens of our country to rise in rage against the toxic narrative being spun by this regime to quell all rightful questioning of its unjust policies and such blatant undermining of the rule of law.
Given the overall political context, no amount of ‘urging’ the powers-that-be is likely to make a difference, but we must prepare ourselves to fight this battle of narratives in the true spirit of Satyagraha, as stated powerfully by Dr. Umar Khalid himself, “We won’t respond to violence with violence. We won’t respond to hate with hate. If they spread hate, we will respond to it with love. If they thrash us with lathis, we keep holding the tricolour."
NAPM demands the immediate 
  • Release of Dr Umar Khalid and all the anti-CAA protestors who were part of a completely legitimate and peaceful protest like lakhs of other citizens across India.
  • Safety of Umar and all the anti-CAA activists in both police and judicial custody. 
  • Repeal of UAPA and the sedition law which have become instruments of violation of fundamental freedoms and civil liberties. 
  • Arrest of all right-wing political and other leaders including Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Pravesh Verma, Komal Sharma, Rambhakt Gopal, Ragini Tiwari etc. against who clear evidence of inciting hate and violence is available in the public domain. 
  • Repeal of CAA-NRC-NPR which are, per se, unconstitutional and violative of the principles of just and equal citizenship. 
As representatives of various people’s movements from across India, committed to constitutional values, we call upon the Delhi police and the Home Ministry to end this vicious hounding of peace-loving activists and instead hold the actual culprits of the violence in the capital from Delhi-February accountable and render full justice, compensation and rehabilitation to all families affected by the violence.
We are committed to a continued struggle against this climate of fear, terror, lies and hate.
---
*Click here for signatories 

Comments

TRENDING

Whither Govt of India strategy to reduce import dependence on crude oil, natural gas?

By NS Venkataraman*  India presently imports around 80% of it’s crude oil requirement and around 50% of its natural gas requirements . As the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas are virtually stagnant and the domestic demand is increasing at around 7% per annum, India’s steadily increasing dependence on import of the vital energy source is a matter of high energy security concern. This is particularly so, since the price of crude oil and natural gas are considerably fluctuating / increasing in the global market due to geo political factors, which are beyond the control of India. India has promised to achieve zero emission by the year 2070, which mean that the level of emission has to start declining at slow and steady rate from now onwards. It is now well recognized that global emission is caused largely due to use of coal as fuel and natural gas as fuel and feedstock. While burning of coal as fuel cause emission of global warming carbon dioxide gas and sulphur

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Muslim intellectuals met Bhagwat, extra-constitutional authority 'like Sanjay Gandhi'

By Shamsul Islam*  In a significant development a delegation of five Muslim intellectuals namely former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi; former senior bureaucrat Najeeb Jung; former AMU vice-chancellor and Lt Gen (retd) Zameer U Shah; politician-cum-journalist Shahid Siddiqui (presently with RLD); and businessman Saeed Shervani [Samajvadi Party] met RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat at RSS Delhi headquarters. The meeting was kept secret for reasons known to the participants and was held in August. According to the Muslim intellectuals the meeting held in “a very cordial” atmosphere continued for 75 minutes whereas time allotted was 30 minutes! In a post-meeting justification of the parleys Quraishi stated that their main concern was “the insecurity being increasingly felt by the Muslim community in the wake of recurring incidents of lynching of innocents, calls by Hindutva hotheads for genocide and the marginalisation of the community in almost every sphere”. This delegation consistin

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Why Bose's India Gate statue suggests RSS, BJP need violence-loving ‘Hindu’ Netaji

By Prem Singh*  In a TV channel debate, a BJP spokesperson and anchor shared and served a lie that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's daughter in her letter to the Prime Minister has alleged that the Congress kept devaluing Netaji to further Gandhi's non-violence; because Netaji had taken the path of liberating the country through violence mode by forming the Azad Hind Fauj (INA). They also praised the Bombay Royal Naval Mutiny of 1946 to confirm that the country got its independence through a violent route. I stated that I have read the letter of Netaji's daughter, and there is no such allegation in it. But a lie told in the intoxication of power is bound to be blatant. Netaji's daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, even in the past, has already requested some earlier prime ministers of the country to bring back the mortal remains of her father from Japan to India. In none of the letters she has spoken about devaluation of her father’s role in the freedom movement on the basis of Gandh

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Is coal import dependence of more than 50% by 2047 of any relevance to India?

By Shankar Sharma*  I have read the article " Building Resilience in India’s Power Sector " by N Vedachalam, released by the Observer Research Foundation, with a lot of interest. I expected it to provide few useful recommendations to our authorities in charting out a sustainable pathway to green energy transition much before the climate catastrophe push our communities to the precipice. But I am sorry to say that the overall discussions or the message implied in the article disappointed me. I was expecting the article, coming from an engineer with past experience in the power sector, to discuss the much needed recommendations to put the power sector on a sustainable developmental pathway. But I could notice mostly technical jargon and a lot of statistical information, which may already be available in the public domain.   The article also seems to have simply accepted what some of the official agencies seem to have indicated as inevitable for the power sector in our country;

Government 'fails to take up' Indian migrants' unpaid wages issue with other countries

By Rafeek Ravuther, Chandan Kumar, Dharmendra Kumar*  The migrant workers were one of the most vulnerable sections during the pandemic. India experiences large-scale movement of migrants internally and internationally. After the outbreak of the pandemic, migrant workers continued to face injustice especially in getting wages in expedited manner. In the international context, India, the home of 9 million cross-border temporary labour migrants, carried out the largest repatriation exercise ‘Vande Bharat Mission’. Even though the Indian government addressed the immediate requirement of repatriation, it failed to understand and recognise their post-arrival grievances, like back wages, social protection etc. Recently many workers were deported from the middle- east region. Amidst the establishment of grievance mechanisms such as Consular Services Management System (MADAD) and helplines in Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK), the unresolved grievances remain high. The number of unresolv

'True decolonisation move': Demand to name new Parliament building after Ambedkar

By Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd*  In recent weeks, there has been a demand for the new Parliament building being constructed on the revamped Central Vista in New Delhi to be named after the architect of the Constitution and anti-caste leader BR Ambedkar. On September 14, the Telangana Assembly passed a resolution urging the Centre to name the new Parliament building after Ambedkar. The Bharatiya Janata Party was absent during the debate about the resolution. The next day, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi-led government declared that the new secretariat in the centre of Hyderabad would be named after Ambedkar. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao added that he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to name the new Parliament building in Delhi “Ambedkar Parliament”. The demand is finding resonance among civil society groups too and has led to social media discussions as well as public mobilisation.  But two questions arise: Should a Parliament that makes laws for a nation over a