Mohd Aasif | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Chandan Kumar, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, has been summoned by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police at 2 pm on 13 May 2020 for investigation into riots in Jamia and northeast Delhi. He is the latest among the anti-CAA activists to get summons from the police in such a secretive manner.
Chandan Kumar was in the forefront of the recent agitation against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
The All-India Students Association (AISA), in a statement, called it “witch-hunting”.
Raising concerns over the risk of COVID-19, Chandan cited his ill-health as a reason to avoid the summons, but the cops chose to ignore his reasoning.
He pleaded with the Delhi Police to allow him to join the investigation through video conference or any other mode of communication that doesn’t put his life at risk at a time when the pandemic is in full bloom. All his pleas fell on deaf ears. The police insisted on his physically appearance at the Special Cell headquarters located in a red zone for Covid-19.
“One of the head constables of special cell has contracted COVID-19, yet the Delhi Police didn’t heed to the concerns,” said Balaji, National President of AISA, based on the information he received from the sources.
A notice under section 43 F of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was served on Chandan, but no transport facility was provided to him to reach the station. “I was not provided any assistance to travel to the Special Cell office,” lamented Chandan.
The questioning lasted for eight hours. Chandan told Clarion India that during the questioning, he was not given anything to eat even at the lunch hour. The questions he was asked puzzled him.
This is the second time when Chandan was asked to appear for the interrogation. In the month of January, he was questioned as per the FIRs filed in his name. His phone was seized handing him a seizure memo.
During the course of conversation, Chandan claims that cops intimidated him saying they knew everything. It has come to light that phones of the students are being traced and might be tapped by police. “I took a basic keypad phone to the police station, but they told me that I had another smartphone which I was hiding,” said Chandan while giving an account of a conversation the cops had with him.
“As per the track record of the sim you used, you happened to have another phone,” one of the cops told Chandan.
A cop came to his local residence with him and seized the smartphone. This time, no documentation of any kind took place. “This was the second phone,” said Chandan, feeling helpless about the loss.
Chandan hails from Saharsa district of Bihar and belongs to a humble background. Seizure of one phone after another is a financial toll on him. Though he was an active member of the Jamia Coordination Committee, he never went to address gatherings at northeast Delhi or any other place in the National Capital.
In the Delhi Police crackdown on Jamia Campus in December, he was hit on his head. He was at the receiving end of a brutal crackdown by the police. He said it could have endangered his life.
Questioning the role of Delhi Police, Balaji said, “In order to hide its own violation of law, the police has summoned Chandan in the same way that it has arrested, harassed and intimidated peaceful anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protestors.”
Amid the continuing lockdown, Delhi Police have arrested Ph lD scholars Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, who is pregnant and needs proper medical assistance. Other student activists being incarcerated include Gulfisha, Khalid Saifi, Ishrat Jahan, president of the Alumni Association of Jamia, and Shafa-ur-Rehman. There are many other students who are being repeatedly questioned by the police.
The one-sided action of Delhi Police is attracting criticism from all quarters of life. Academicians and activists have condemned these arrests. “The actual instigators of violence like Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma go scot free, and those who provided weapons, such as Manish Sirohi get bail, but peaceful protesters and students continue to be at the receiving end of BJP’s political vendetta through illegal and vengeful action by Delhi Police,” added Balaji.
The questioning took a toll on Chandan’s mental health. Speaking to Clarion India, he repeatedly expressed concern over his uncertain future. His final semester examinations are due in the next few months.