Muslim Journalist Covering Demolitions and Arrests Alleges Police Harassment

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Zakir Ali Tyagi said the police raided his house at a time when he is receiving threats from Hindu extremists on social media because he has been vocal over police highhandedness against Muslims protesting against Nupur Sharma.

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Zakir Ali Tyagi, 23, a journalist from Uttar Pradesh, has alleged that the police raided his home in Meerut on Wednesday in his absence calling it a ‘harassment’ over raising his voice for his community.

 
Speaking to Clarion India, Tyagi said, Police told his family that they were looking for him in connection with a case of cow slaughter. “They left after my mother and sister-in-law told them that he was not at home and lives mostly in Delhi.”


He alleged that the cow slaughter case was an excuse to ‘trap me in a fake case’ and “silence me”.


“If the police wanted to investigate me, they have my number, they could have called me. But they raided my home at 11PM unnoticed,” Tyagi said. “This is harassment.”


The raid took place at a time when, Tyagi alleged, he has been receiving threats from Hindu extremists on social media because he has been vocal over police highhandedness against Muslims protesting against Nupur Sharma.


Last week, when a viral video showing thrashing of Muslim boys in a custody in the Saharanpur district sparked outrage, the police not only denied the episode but also put out a poster on the internet pinpointing Tyagi’s tweet on this as fake.


“A number of journalists had tweeted about the video making allegations against the police, but I was the only one targeted,” he pointed out. “Not only were the police hiding the truth, they were also telling a lie despite clear evidence.”


This is not the first time Tyagi has been in the police crosshair. In August 2020, amidst the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, the police raided his home and picked him up on baseless charges of cow slaughter. He said an FIR was filed against unknown persons. He and another Muslim had to spend 16 days in jail before being granted bail. Tyagi says he was implicated “because I have been a vocal critic of the BJP regime.”


This was the second time Tyagi was jailed in his life. In 2017, he was arrested for posting a joke on social media over the alleged criminal record of the then newly-appointed Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. He was booked under the Indian Penal Code’s Section 420 (cheating), Section 66 of the Information Technology Act (computer-related offences) and also Section 124A (sedition). He was granted bail after spending 42 days in a Muzaffarnagar jail.


Tyagi alleges that the frequent police harassment has had an effect on his personal and professional life. “Since yesterday after the police raid I have not been able to concentrate on my work as my mind is occupied with the thoughts around this incident.”


He said the police are trying to criminalise his image in society. “When people hear that I have been jailed over cow slaughter, it makes them think twice before coming out in my support.”


He, however, asserted that the police won’t be able to silence him. “They have tried every trick in the book against me, but I remained committed to my work.” 

Zakir Ali Tyagi.
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Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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