Raza, 64, finds it shocking that the charge-sheet relating to the Delhi riots has created a narrative that implicates leaders of opposition parties, students, academics, activists and others who have been vocal in criticising the CAA, the NRC and the NPR
NEW DELHI – Eminent scientist and Urdu poet Gauhar Raza has condemned the alleged partisan role of the Delhi police in the investigation of the February Northeast Delhi riots after he found his name in the chargesheet and demanded that the government stop criminalising dissent.
In a statement released on Sunday, Raza, who is also a documentary maker, said: “The narrative created by the Delhi police can very well qualify for a ‘fictional novel’ on the one hand, and, on the other, an ‘eye opener’ for all justice-loving people of India to understand how state agencies under an authoritarian rule can manufacture facts to target voices of dissent.”
Raza, 64, finds it shocking that the charge-sheet relating to the Delhi riots has created a narrative that implicates leaders of opposition parties, students, academics, activists and others who have been vocal in criticising the CAA, the NRC and the NPR.
“The Delhi police is clearly trying to frame political leaders, academics and activists who are critics of the anti-people policies and programmes of the current regime”, he added.
Leaders of opposition political parties, including Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat, Kavita Krishnan, Salman Khurshid, Annie Raja and academics like Prof Apoorvanand and Jayati Ghosh, activists, including Prashant Bhushan, Anjali Bhardwaj, Yogendra Yadav, Harsh Mander, and film makers Rahul Roy and Saba Dewan have been named in the charge-sheet FIR 59/2020 filed by the Delhi police.
The above-mentioned individuals are being shown in different ways as provocateurs and planners of the Delhi violence but the Delhi police bases its claim on the result of its investigation to unearth the conspiracy behind the riots that had left 53 people dead.
Drawing an inference from the progress of Delhi police in the investigation, he said that this basically served two purposes–one to save the actual perpetrators of the violence and, second, to ensure that all voices of dissent in Delhi were suppressed.
“This false narrative is part of a witch-hunt to take revenge on those who dared to disagree with the government and exercise their democratic right of freedom of speech and expression in a peaceful manner to oppose the discriminatory and anti- constitution CAA”, reads his statement.
“Since coming to power in 2014, the fascist forces have been targeting intellectuals, writers, poets and activists. They have effectively used the media to discredit and malign them. Now they have gone one step further to falsely implicate them in the Delhi riots”, Raza points out the onslaught carried out by the ruling BJP.
While maintaining his disagreement with the policies of the government and asserting the fact that dissent is a constitutionally guaranteed right, he said, “I have always protested against injustices and against the anti people policies and draconian laws including the CAA, NRC and NPR. I will continue to raise my voice against those actions which I find anti-democratic and anti-people. This is what scientific temper demands from me.”
Social activist Raza, who has been working to popularise the understanding of science among the general public, is known for his documentaries like Jung-e-Azadi, on India’s First War of Independence, and Inquilab, on martyr Bhagat Singh.