We, the undersigned, are outraged at the harassment and recent arrests of students and other activists on fabricated charges under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The Government of India (GoI), acting through the Delhi Police, is targeting activists who participated in non-violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the GoI is arresting and throwing activists into crowded prisons. It is criminalizing dissent and has created an atmosphere of terror in Delhi.
Recently, Shifa-Ur-Rehman, the President of the Jamia Millia Islamia Alumni Association was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for alleged involvement in the Northeast Delhi pogrom. The Delhi police seized the mobile phone of Kawalpreet Kaur, the All India Students’ Association (AISA) Delhi President, citing an FIR (that included a slew of charges under the UAPA). The Delhi police also used the UAPA to book former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid for his alleged role in the Delhi pogrom. In an earlier incident, Jamia Millia Islamia students Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar were detained and placed in prison on charges under the UAPA. Each day they are in prison or in police custody increases their chances of contracting COVID-19, especially Safoora Zargar, who is three months pregnant.
In light of the global pandemic, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged all countries to release “every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners, and those detained for critical, dissenting views”.
The students and activists, who participated in the CAA protests and helped people who suffered as a result of the Delhi pogrom have been wrongfully arrested and imprisoned. While the people who actually incited violence and engaged in hate speech, such as Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, and Parvesh Verma, roam free. Is this justice according to the Delhi police?
We demand that:
- All the activists and students who have been arrested should be released immediately and all the charges, including those booked under the UAPA, be withdrawn.
- The Delhi Police must stop arresting and intimidating the peaceful and justice-minded activists, who have participated peacefully in the CAA protests.
- The real culprits of the Delhi pogrom (like Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, and Parvesh Verma) should be charged with inciting violence and making hate speeches and arrested.
The Boston Coalition
Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
Coalition Against Fascism in India
Hindus for Human Rights
Indian American Muslim Council
Students Against Hindutva Ideology