After Arrests of Two Students, Spectre of Police Crackdown Looms over Jamia

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Safoora Zargar

Mohd Aasif | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – The arrest of two Jamia students, Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, has sent shockwaves in the student community. Many students are in the grip of fear and insecurity. Kavita Krishnan, a women activist, feels the ongoing lockdown enforced to by the government to check the spread of novel coronavirus has provided Delhi Police an “opportunity” to suppress dissent.

Both the arrested students happen to be members of the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) and leaders of the anti-CAA movement organised at gate no 7 of Jamia Millia Islamia. The duo were invited to address gatherings at different protest sites in Delhi during recent anti-CAA agitation.

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Meeran Haider, a Ph D scholar at the JMI (a Central university), was summoned by special cell of the Delhi Police at Lodhi Colony Police Station. Being an investigative call, Haider was supposed to be released after an inquiry in connection with North East Delhi violence. But he was arrested and sent to judicial custody.

Haider is president of the youth wing of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Delhi.

Jamia Scholar Meeran Haider

In the same manner, Safoora Zargar, was escorted by cops. She has been arrested after due inquiry, but her family was informed about the same in the middle of the night. Zargar was a member of the media team for JCC. According to sources, she is pregnant.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police is contacting other members of JCC and asking them to report at Lodhi Road police station. One of the members told Clarion India, on condition of anonymity, that he is being escorted to and from police station daily in a police vehicle. “Cops repetitively ask the whereabouts of my location on and before the Delhi riots”, he said.

According to the sources, police are trying to link anti-CAA protesters with the Delhi riots. Meeran and Safoora had been slapped with charges of hate speeches at Jafrabad and other protest sites of North East Delhi.

Students of the Jamia Millia Islamia university demonstrate against their Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar and demand enquiry against police action on students following a protest last month against a new citizenship law, in New Delhi, India, January 13, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/File Photo

As per the detainee’s accounts, the inquiry of the cops consume their entire day. Phones of the several members of the JCC have been confiscated. No seizure memo for the same has been given to them. Though, the media has reported about the notice being served on more than 50 students, one of the JCC members vehemently denies it. She said, “The cops are contacting everyone on phone, but no notice has been served on anyone.”

Many of the members believe that their phones are being traced and put on surveillance.

The Delhi Police, according to the sources and reports, is working on basis of suspicion. Ironically, videos of hate speeches by members of pro-CAA group have been circulating on social media. Kapil Mishra, standing beside the then DCP North-East Delhi, threatened to clear the road or else he would do so after Trump’s visit.

Kapil Mishra enjoys the Y-plus security. Ragini Tiwari, another member of the saffron brigade, blocked the road before the clash in the area. The woman can be clearly seen dissuading people from taking the road. “Go via Shaheen Bagh”, she was telling people repetitively. A government official, who opted to remain anonymous, confirmed that ‘no action’ has yet been taken against Ragini Tiwari.

The activists and members of the academic community have expressed serious concern over the arrests calling them “arbitrary”. They demanded immediate release the duo.

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