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

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".

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

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.

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

Tussle between Modi-led BJP govt, Young India 'key to political battle': NAPM

Counterview Desk  In its month-long campaign, civil rights network National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) carried out what it called Young People's Political Persecution and Resistance in “solidarity with all comrades facing political persecution and remembering human rights defender Stan Swamy…”

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.

Debt bondage, forced labour, sexual abuse in Gujarat's Bt cottonseed farms: Dutch study

By Rajiv Shah  A just-released study, sponsored by a Netherlands-based non-profit, Arisa , “Seeds of Oppression Wage sharecropping in Bt cottonseed production in Gujarat, India”, has said that a new form of bondage, or forced labour, exists in North India’s Bt cottonseed farms, in which bhagiyas, or wage sharecroppers, are employed against advances and are then often required to work for years together “without regular payment of wages.”

Covid: We failed to stop religious, political events, admits Modi-dharmacharya meet

Counterview Desk An email alert sent by one the 11 participants, Prof Salim Engineer, on behalf of the Dharmik Jan Morcha regarding their "religious leaders' online meet" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as offering "support to meet challenges of Corona pandemic", blames religious congregations, though without naming the Maha Kumbh and other religious events, which apparently were instrumental in the spread of the second wave.