Umar Khalid, a former member of Jawaharlal Nehru Student Union (JNUSU), has been arrested by the police due to his alleged connection with February’s menacing Delhi riots that lasted for 72 hours and claimed 53 lives. According to the Delhi Police, it has been alleged that Umar was the key conspirator in the riots. Umar has been arrested by Delhi police under the relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
He was summoned for questioning by the Special Cell and arrested after an interrogation that lasted for several hours. Investigators had seized Umar’s phone. Police questioned Khalid about his speeches delivered along with Khalid Saifi at Shaheen Bagh at the time of Anti CAA protests.
A group of human right activists came forward in support of Umar and stated, “It is very significant that of the 20 arrested, 19 are under the age of 31. Of which 17 have been charged under the draconian UAPA and have been imprisoned on charges of a conspiracy for the Delhi violence whereas those who actually instigated and participated in the violence has not been touched. Of the ones incarcerated, five are women, except for one all are also students.
The essence of our democracy is the freedom of conscience and the strength of any country is in its young minds. We strongly condemn the targeting of Umar Khalid and other young activists, both women and men.”
“United against Hate”, a group that Umar is a part of, also made a statement. They stated, “After 11 hours of interrogation, the Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested Umar Khalid as a ‘conspirator’ in the Delhi Riots case. The fairytale narrative that DP has been spinning criminalising protests in the garb of investigating riots, find yet another victim. The fight against draconian CAA and UAPA will go on despite all these horrid measures of intimidation. Right now, our first priority is that he should be given maximum security and the Delhi Police must ensure his safety by all means possible”.
In the charge sheet, Delhi Police had claimed that Tahir Hussain and Umar Khalid created a conspiracy ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to India. The police had further alleged that Umar had assured the other two that Popular Front of India (PFI) was ready to “provide funds and facilities”. The Delhi Police Crime Branch had registered an FIR against Umar Khalid on March 6. In the FIR, investigating officers had claimed Umar and his associates “conspired” to trigger communal riots in Delhi.
Umar Khalid is a student of PhD in JNU’s Centre for Historical Studies. The 28-year-old resigned from the post of Democratic Student’s Union (DSU) leader in November 2015. He did his M.A. in History and M.Phil from JNU and has been doing fieldwork in Jharkhand.
— RR 🇮🇳 (@RakshaRamaiah) September 14, 2020
It's crystal clear that the arrest of @UmarKhalidJNU has nothing to do with investigating riots, and everything to do with abuse of State power.
This extends to people cheering it: they too know full well that they're cheering the use of State power to jail political opponents.
— Gautam Bhatia (@gautambhatia88) September 13, 2020
I interviewed Umar Khalid days before his arrest. He told me he had been mentally prepared for arrest since March.
— Ayush Tiwari (@sighyush) September 14, 2020
Umar Khalid's arrest by Delhi police after naming Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Jayati Ghosh& Apoorvanand, leaves no doubt at all about the malafide nature of it's investigation into Delhi riots. It's a conspiracy by the police to frame peaceful activists in the guise of Investigation
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) September 14, 2020
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) September 14, 2020