Witch-hunt of Student Activists by Delhi Police Continues Unabated During Lockdown

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Asif Iqbal Tanha has been a known activist in Jamia and was part of the anti-CAA struggle in the university in the last few months.

United Against Hate condemns this ongoing witch-hunt of students and anti-CAA activists and demand that all students and anti-CAA activists be released immediately and unconditionally.

Nadeem Khan | Clarion India

IN YET another attempt to silence a democratic voice, the Delhi Police has arrested one more student of Jamia Millia Islamia, Asif Iqbal Tanha and implicated him in the case related to the Jamia violence. This is in continuation with their relentless witch-hunt of students and activists in the middle of the lockdown caused by the pandemic.

Asif Iqbal is a student of Persian Department at Jamia Millia Islamia. He had been earlier called for interrogation by the Special Cell on 08.04.2020 and he had cooperated with the police. Prior to this, he has been called for interrogation as many as four times by the Crime Branch. He dutifully went there and cooperated as a responsible citizen all the four times. Despite the months long ‘investigation’ and repeated interrogation, the police have found no evidence against him for the simple reason that he has committed no crime.

Asif Iqbal Tanha was taken for interrogation by special cell of Delhi police on Saturday and was arrested by Crime Branch, Chanakyapuri on Sunday and was produced before the Duty Magistrate in Saket court.

Crime Branch requested for a 3-Day Police Custody Remand for Asif which the Magistrate rejected. Asif has instead been sent to 14 days of Judicial Custody. Two days before his arrest, the Delhi Police raided his hostel room near the university.

Asif Iqbal has been a known activist in Jamia associated with Students Islamic Organisation and was part of the anti-CAA struggle in the university in the last few months. This is yet another attempt by the Delhi Police to throttle democratic voices that were vocal against the Citizenship Amendments Act and to implicate them in the false cases, while the real perpetrators of the violence go scot-free.

This is the third student of Jamia Millia Islamia that the Delhi Police has arrested since the lockdown, after the arrest of research scholars Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar under the draconian UAPA. Besides, the President of the Jamia Alumni Association Shifa-ur-Rehman is also under custody. Many other students have been called continuously for interrogation making a mockery of the lockdown and jeopardizing the health of the students. One head constable in that Special Cell Office has been tested positive with COVID 19.

This is a concerted attempt by the Delhi Police to target students of Jamia Millia Islamia, that had emerged as one of the epicentre of the democratic mass upsurge against the unconstitutional CAA. It seems after JNU, the Delhi Police has found a new university to demonise, criminalise and target. A pregnant Safoora continues to remain in prison in the middle of the pandemic at a grave risk to her as well her child’s health and life.

Several democratic forces across the country have expressed outrage at these actions of the Delhi Police. But it seems the Delhi Police is too keen to please its political masters.

The real perpetrators and actors who incited and carried out the violence are being left scot-free. They have found the lockdown as the perfect opportunity to target these democratic voices, when there is no possibility of protests and there would hardly be any coverage of its nefarious witch-hunt.

United Against Hate condemns this ongoing witch-hunt of students and anti-CAA activists in the strongest possible terms, and demand that all students and anti-CAA activists be released immediately and unconditionally.

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Nadeem Khan is a founding member of the United Against Hate 

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