The Delhi Police special cell arrested Umar Khalid, a human rights activist and ex-JNU student, under the UAPA for allegedly playing a role in the NE Delhi pogrom. On Monday, he will present himself before a Delhi court. Police are yet to file the chargesheet.
Umar Khalid, an activist under the radar since 2016
This is not the first time that Umar Khalid faced serious charges. In 2016, Kanhaiya Kumar, the then-President of JNU Students’ Union, and Khalid faced sedition charges. That year marked the third year since the hanging of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist. JNU students hence held a protest on campus and some of them, including Kumar and Khalid, raised ‘anti-national’ slogans.
Khalid arrested for role in NE Delhi pogrom
The Northeast Delhi pogrom resulted in the deaths of 53 people and injured hundreds. Many were also left without livelihoods and are still trying to return to normalcy. Moreover, some even moved out of Delhi in hopes of starting again.
Delhi Police have so far arrested several people in connection with the pogrom: Tahir Hussain, Natasha Narwal and Gulfisha Fatima, to name a few. Now, they arrested Umar Khalid for the same.
On March 6, an FIR was filed against Khalid, along with another person named Danish. The information supposedly came from a person who informed the Sub-Inspector Arvind Kumar of the narcotics unit of the Crime Branch. According to this FIR, Khalid urged citizens to block streets on February 24, when US President Trump would arrive. He then allegedly spoke at two places to spread propaganda about the persecution of minorities in India. Meanwhile, Danish was to gather more people for the blockade. In June, Khalid denied having such a role.
Last week, Delhi Police questioned Umar Khalid for over three hours before releasing him. According to a senior police officer, the Special Cell office called in Khalid again on Sunday. According to United Against Hate, the special cell questioned Khalid for 11 hours. They then arrested him around midnight and seized his phone as well. His parents are supposedly aware of the developments in the case so far.
Support rises across social media
Following the arrest, a group of activists, lawyers and academicians also released a statement condemning the Delhi Police’s move.
With deep anguish we have no doubt in saying that this investigation is not about the violence in February 2020 in the national capital, but on the completely peaceful and democratic protests across the country against the unconstitutional CAA.
Meanwhile, several prominent voices raised their voice as well, including Prashant Bhushan who stated that it was a conspiracy by the police.
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