Zafar Aafaq | NEW DELHI
Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student and anti-CAA activist Umar Khalid’s father SQR Ilyas has said that the case against his son is baseless and police have no evidence against him to back their charges of sedition and unlawful activities as police have invoked UAPA, a controversial anti-terror law.
Ilyas was speaking exclusively with Clarion India from Karkarduma court where Khalid was to be presented before a magistrate for remand.
The police have invoked Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sedition just to make it difficult for him get bail and prolong his detention,” he said. The police have accused Khalid of being a “main conspirator” in Delhi riots along with former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and UAH activist Khalid Saifi.
Ilyas denied the allegation that his son held a meeting with Hussain. “The police are saying Khalid’s phone was tracked close to the network tower located in an area where Hussain’s phone was also traced. But how does this prove the two met.”
Delhi Police Special Cell arrested Khalid late on Sunday night after 11 hours of interrogation. They have also accused him of helping with funds for activities they say instigated riots.
Ilyas said that he was not allowed to meet his son. However, the police let Khalid’s lawyer meet Khalid.
Khalid’s arrest has sparked a massive public reaction as people from across political and social spectrum have come out in support of him. They say that his arrest is a case of witch-hunt against voices of dissent.
Meanwhile, Khalid’s speech on peace and national unity are being widely shared on social media.
The CAA triggered a wave of peaceful protests across India. Muslim women took to streets and began indefinite sit-ins at various places across the country asking the government to revoke the “discriminatory” law which went against the secular and democratic spirit of the constitution of the country. According to the law, migrants from neighbouring countries living in India will be granted citizenship. But it specifically excludes Muslims. Critics say that the law, if coupled with the potential nationwide citizenship test, will enable the disenfranchisement of Muslim citizens. They will be sent to detention centres if they fail to prove their citizenship in accordance with new norms.
Irked by the protests, senior leaders and ministers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in their speeches, exhorted their supporters to shoot the protesters! “Goli maaro salon ko” became the war cry of the mobs supporting the ruling party. This eventually led to outbreak of violence in parts of Delhi. The carnage that followed left behind a trail of death and destruction.
More than 50 people were killed, hundreds of houses set ablaze and many families displaced in three days of violence. The police were accused of siding with the rampaging mobs throughout the violence and arson.
The same Delhi Police has made a series of detentions in the name of investigation and have invoked chosen the UAPA as a weapon against the people detained .
The detainees include student activists, protest coordinators including Meeran Haider, Shafi ur Rehman. Khalid Saifi, Gulifsha, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangna Kalita, Natasha Narwal and ordinary youths from the Muslim community.