Delhi riots: Activists demand release of Umar Khalid and others booked under UAPA
The activists condemned the Delhi Police’s arrest of student activist Umar Khalid under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act (UAPAA) Act, 2019, calling it an “inquisition of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 protests” and a “witch-hunt against young minds”.
A group of activists and academicians on Wednesday demanded immediate release of those booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the northeast Delhi riots and setting up of a judicial inquiry commission to punish the "real culprits".
In a joint statement, they alleged that the democratic voices of dissent are being "gradually implicated".
The statement comes after the arrest of former JNU student leader Umar Khalid by the Delhi Police on September 13. Khalid has been charged under the UAPA.
The joint statement was issued by Syeda Hameed, writer and former member of erstwhile Planning Commission of India, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, former JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar, CPIML politburo member Kavita Krishnan, journalist Pamela Philipose and former DUTA president Nandita Narain.
"All democratic voices of dissent are being gradually implicated. This includes students, academicians, artists, politicians and activists. We demand an immediate end to this outrageous investigation that is being conducted with prejudice and malafide intent," the statement stated.
"We demand that activists booked under the UAPA be immediately released; and a judicial inquiry commission be constituted to punish the real culprits and ensure justice for the Delhi violence," it stated.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between supporters of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and those against the legislation spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.
At a press conference earlier in the day, Bhushan said that they recently requested President Ram Nath Kovind to constitute a commission of inquiry.
On Tuesday, Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava had said the force is serving its oath and the Constitution with conviction and integrity and asserted that its investigations in criminal cases are guided by facts and evidence and not by reputations and personalities.
In response to former IPS officer Julio Ribeiro's recent letter in which he had questioned the police's investigation in the Delhi riots, Shrivastava had said there are several entities who have their reasons to weave a "web of deception" and push a "false narrative of bias and insensitivity" on the part of the police.
(With PTI inputs)