Police Booking Student-Activists Under UAPA To Stifle Anti-CAA Movement, Say Student-Activists
Syed Ali Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, APRIL 25—Student-activists allege that the Delhi police is working on the direction of the higher authorities to suppress the movement against the CAA and the NRC by cleverly linking them with northeast Delhi violence in February and booking them under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA.
The activists feel disturbed after booking of cases under provisions of UAPA against several student-activists including Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) members Meeran Haider, Safoora Zargar, former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, Bhajanpura resident Danish, activist Khalid Saifi and former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan and one Gulfishan.
The activists say that the police was not going to stop at it only. They are now going to expand their net and might arrest more people as the police have registered as many as 750 FIRs in connection with the northeast Delhi violence. They say that as the investigation in the riot cases has been taken over by the Special Cell of the Delhi police, activists say that the police now might book every riot suspect under UAPA as a part of “pre-planned conspiracy” as mentioned in the March 6 FIR in which Umar Khalid and Danish have been made the chief suspect behind the riots.
They say that surprisingly the police was linking the incident of northeast Delhi violence with anti-CAA agitation, indicating that the police might not allow relaunching of the anti-CAA agitation when the lockdown is completely lifted. But the police has carefully avoided taking any criminal action against AAP-turned-BJP leader Kapil Mishra who organised a gathering to oppose anti-CAA agitation in northeast Delhi as majority of the Muslims felt that the CAA and proposed NRC were to harass Muslims.
Rahul Kapoor, a PhD student of Jamia Millia Islamia, who was active in the protest against the CAA and the NRC, told India Tomorrow on Saturday that the government appeared to “clamp down” the student movement by registering cases under UAPA. “This is a kind of threat from the government side though protesting against government policies is our democratic right”, he said.
“We the students have nothing to do with the violence. We are studying in the university. We will protest again because the CAA and proposed NRC against the secular principles of the Constitution of India. Those who have been arrested so far are innocent. Take the case of Safoora Zargar. She is three months pregnant. Is this logical to lodge in judicial custody to such a woman student”, Rahul said. However, the police justified its action through a tweet when it came under severe condemnation from social and political activists.
Yogesh Swami, an activist of Navjawan Bharat Sabha, who was active in protest has also been arrested. “All the students attached with JCC have now switched off their mobile phones for the fear of arrest”, Kapoor said.
Sandeep Saurav, general secretary of the All India Students Association (AISA), said, “This is all political vendetta. Government wants to suppress the student movement against the CAA and the NRC. But this cannot prevent the “Chhatra Andolan” against the anti-people policy of the government. Let the government do whatever it wants. We will not be hiding”, he said.
“The action taken by the Delhi Police is highly condemnable. The students were defending the Constitution and standing tall against a law that discriminates and takes away citizenship of the poor and minorities”, Sandeep said.
A senior office-bearer of PFI said that witch-hunt of student activists who took part in anti-CAA protests by using “draconian laws is nothing but communal and political vendetta”.
Student-activists say that the police was now trying to prove the conspiracy by scanning their WhatsApp messages and finding out if they communicated with each other. They say that as student leaders from different groups, they would naturally communicate with their friends but it did not mean that they communicated to hatch a conspiracy. “Moreover, peaceful and democratic protest is the constitutional right of every Indian citizen”, said Sandeep.