Mohd Aasif | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Yet another student of Jamia Millia Islamia was summoned by Delhi Police for interrogation on May 2. Md Tasleem, the latest victim of the police crackdown on campus, is a postgraduate student of West Asian studies at the department of International Relations. He was questioned on the northeast Delhi riots.
“I was asked questions related to my involvement and whereabouts in the anti-CAA movement at Jamia and other protest sites and during northeast Delhi riots”, said Tasleem.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police is constantly harassing students of Jamia Millia Islamia in the name of interrogation. Notice or without notice, cops are calling them, asking impregnate questions, slapping with Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and linking them with the riots that happened in the month of February this year. All this is done in the name of cooperation.
Lately, Tasleem has been called for an interrogation by the special cell. He was escorted to Jamia Nagar Police Station and later to Lodhi Road Police Station at the office of the special cell. “I have not been given any chance to talk to any lawyer,” said Tasleem when asked about the legal action from his side. Also, being a student, Tasleem cannot afford a lawyer.
The cops can link with the Delhi riots anyone they like. Tasleem, on December 13 and 15, was writing his examination in the university at that time while his peers were reporting through Facebook live. Rashid Kamaal, one of his friends, said, “His interrogation is meaningless as he was doing the work of journalism like others.”
Also, Tasleem, as a matter of fact, was in his hometown during the Delhi riots. Kamaal said, “His Facebook live from his hometown suffices his whereabouts.”
Post lockdown, the special cell has made several arrests in connection with the riots. Meeran Haider, Safoora Zargar and president Alumni Association of JMI Shifa Ur Rehman have been arrested. All of them have been booked under the stringent UAPA.
Phones and sim cards of other office bearers of Alumni Association of Jamia Millia Islamia (AAJMI), Delhi unit president, Kanwalpreet Kaur, and Md Tasleem have been seized by the Delhi Police without a seizure memo. It is clearly an attack on their privacy. By doing so the police has disconnected them from the world.
The police, as Tasleem told Clarion India, consistently asked about his involvement in the anti-CAA movement. He feared physical assault from trolls as his channel’s popularity was growing. He decided to remain confined to one locality for reporting. “I never went to report at any protest site in northeast Delhi,” he said.
Tasleem hails from West Champaran district of Bihar. He is not just a postgraduate student, but also an independent and fearless mediaperson. Using social media platforms as his tools, Tasleem reports every activity of Jamia and its neighbourhood day in and day out. “Jamia World” is the name of his YouTube channel.
During the anti-CAA protest, Jamia was the epicenter of the movement and Tasleem was one of the online journalists who remained at the spot every single day. Tasleem completed his diploma in TV journalism from the Hindi Department of JMI two years ago. His involvement in reporting of the movement made him a story for the newspapers. The Hindu, highlighting Tasleem, wrote that Young YouTubers, bloggers are playing a huge role in taking anti-CAA protests to the world. The paper, along with others, calls him an ‘Online warrior’.
While talking about the online independent journalist, The Hindu further writes, “One such face of ‘NEW-AGE JOURNALISM’ is Mohammad Tasleem, a Jamia Millia Islamia student, whose YouTube Channel-Jamia World-relays every important event in the university.
Students of Jamia call him by sobriquets like ‘hello everyone’ and ‘Ravish Kumar of Jamia’ because he is always on the ground to cover all the events of the Jamia with his trademark ‘hello everyone’. The only earning he has is the likes, shares and comments on his Facebook page, YouTube channel and handles at Instagram and Twitter.
In an interview with another YouTube channel, ‘The Jhakas’ Tasleem said his channel and pages have been a prey for the IT cell of BJP. The content on his channel has been reported by the trolls and members of the IT cell.
Speaking about the motto of his journalism, Tasleem said that he wants to build a counter narrative against the mainstream ‘Godi (embedded) Media’.
However, he lamented that his interrogation was not over yet. He has been called again at Lodhi Road police station on 4 May 2020.