Skip to main content

Umar Khalid arrest: Erosion of democracy hasn't been as blatant, 'save Emergency rule'

Counterview Desk
Condemning the arrest of formerJawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid by the Delhi Police, the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a platform of over 36 organisations, including students’ and teachers’ groups, trade unions and women's groups, who claim to have come together against “increasing state repression, targeting of academics, activists, journalists, lawyers, trade unionists”, has demanded his release and immediate cessation of “relentless harassment of activists and intellectuals in the name of investigation.”
At the same time, CASR demanded release of all political prisoners and the repeal of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
In a statement, CASR said, “Following the model of the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case, the Delhi Police appears to be determined to target those who have spoken out against the communal discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) instead of those who incited the violence in North East Delhi leading to the death of over 50 persons, injuries to several hundred, loss of livelihood and displacement of thousands, particularly Muslim residents of the area.”

Text:

On September 13, after a lengthy interrogation lasting over 10 hours, the Delhi Police arrested former JNU student Umar Khalid. His arrest under FIR 59/2020 invokes several sections of the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Along with Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita, Gulfisha, Khalid Saifi, Ishrat Jahan, Meeran Haider, Natasha Narwal, Sharjeel Imam, Shifa Ur Rehman and several others, Umar Khalid has been branded as a conspirator in the violence unleashed on the people, particularly the Muslim community of North-East Delhi.
The brutal attacks on those protesting the communally discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registry of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) by the Delhi Police in tandem with right wing mobs incited by BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Ragini Tiwari and Anurag Thakur among others during the peak of the movement against the CAA, NRC and NPR and subsequent targeting of activists and intellectuals by the Delhi Police under the garb of investigating the violence in North-East Delhi constitutes a mockery of justice. 
That the Delhi Police is controlled by the Amit Shah led Ministry of Home Affairs also starkly reveals the partisan character of the state and its police forces and their subservience to the Brahmanical Hindutva fascist agenda.
It must be noted that Umar Khalid was arrested on the 91st anniversary of the martyrdom of Jatin Das, the Indian revolutionary who fought for the dignity of political prisoners under the colonial regime. Jatin Das was martyred after a 63-day hunger strike demanding equality in treatment of prisoners irrespective of their identity.
The legacy of Jatin Das and his struggles are today trampled upon by the Delhi Police that has systematically targeted the Muslim community during and in the wake of the movement against the CAA, NRC and NPR, despite the Muslim community, especially those residing in North-East Delhi suffering the most as a result of the pogrom in late February 2020.
These arrests come at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is surging across the country with almost 47 lakh cases reported, over 77,000 deaths and nearly one lakh new cases emerging every day. The institutions of the state adamantly refuse to prioritise their resources towards public health but appear determined to utilise this dire situation to further clamp down on dissent and continue the witch-hunt of peoples’ academics, activists, artists, teachers, students, journalists, lawyers, poets and trade unionists, particularly targeting those upholding democratic principles.
Umar Khalid's arrest was on 91st anniversary of martyrdom of Jatin Das, who fought for dignity of political prisoners under colonial rule
The summons issued to Rahul Roy and Saba Dewan alongside tens of others in the name of investigation is intended to fuel the fear of incarceration among democratic voices. It also points to the impunity enjoyed by the Delhi Police as it blatantly serves the state’s agenda.
The naming of well-known democratic voices like Prof Apoorvanand, Sitaram Yechury, Jayati Ghosh, Rahul Roy and Yogendra Yadav in the charge-sheet alongside the selective leaking of fabricated ‘disclosure statements’ of the incarcerated to the media is intended to create distrust and spread fear among those who have spoken out against the CAA, NRC and NPR.
The overarching aim is to crush the right to freedom of expression and dissent, rights that are essential for any democracy, and brand those raising concerns as criminal and anti-national. The erosion of democratic principles has never been more blatant save the Emergency rule of 1975.
The state of affairs today demands unity across democratic and progressive forces and particularly across the marginalised and oppressed castes, classes, communities and nationalities. This unity must be the basis of the struggle against state repression as when the latter is normalised, democracy is forfeited and the hold of Brahmanical Hindutva fascism is strengthened.
CASR urges all progressive and democratic sections of our society to unite and condemn these arrests and harassment masquerading as investigation. We also demand action against the real perpetrators responsible for the deaths, injuries, loss of livelihood, damage to property and displacement caused to the people in North-East Delhi in late February 2020. CASR condemns the arrest of Umar Khalid. 
We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners! We stand in solidarity with all voices for people's rights and democracy.
----
*AISA, AISF, APCR, BCM, Bhim Army, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, BSCEM, CEM, CRPP, CTF, Disha, DISSC, DSU, DTF, IAPL, IMK, Karnataka Janashakti, KYS, Lokpaksh, LSI, Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, Mazdoor Patrika, Mehnatkash Mahila Sangathan, Morcha Patrika, NAPM, NBS, NCHRO, Nowruz, NTUI, People’s Watch, Rihai Manch, Samajwadi Janparishad, Satyashodak Sangh, SFI, United Against Hate, WSS

Comments

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

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".

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

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.