UAPA will not deter us from our opposition to CAA: Asaduddin Owaisi MP

Home Minister Amit Shah and the Delhi Police Commissioner need to understand the difference between a perpetrator and a victim, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief, and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi said while criticizing BJP government and Delhi Police for arresting Muslim youths and students in the cases related with Delhi pogrom.

Owaisi accused Delhi Police of “arbitrary arrests” and said that the arrests point to deliberate neglect by cops to sincerely investigate the Delhi pogrom.

Coming two months after religious pogroms conducted by Hindu nationalists left 36 Muslims dead in Delhi, the Delhi Police arrested Muslim students and activists under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Many Muslim activists are being accused, arrested, and kept in judicial custody even amidst the present COVID scenario.

“In the Delhi pogrom, Faizan was killed. How many police officers did you arrest? The video of the incident was viewed not just by the Delhi public but by the people of the entire nation. The whole world watched three students who were lying on the ground, injured with the bullet, bruised and battered, and police officers were asking them to recite Jan Gan Mann. And thus, (one of them) Faizan died. How many police officers did you arrest, how many did you suspend, how many were booked under the UAPA?” Owaisi asked in a video message which shared on his party AIMIM’s official twitter handle.

Faizan, the 23-year-old Muslim man who was filmed as he was brutally assaulted by policemen who forced him to sing the national anthem between beatings, died on 26 February after the Delhi Police illegally detained him for over 36 hours and denied him urgent medical attention.

“Would the UAPA not be used on such disgraceful and shameless officers, who make youngsters lie down on roads, shoot them, beat them, and then ask them to sing,” Owaisi questioned the Delhi Police which comes under India’s Home Ministry directly.

Owaisi accused the BJP government of “propagating to the entire world that the students were involved in terrorist activities” and arresting them.

“To raise voices against an unjust or an undemocratic law is a constitutional right,” he added.

“A few days ago another student of Jamia Millia Islamia has been arrested and slapped with the sinister UAPA. The current regime is starting a storm to defame us. They are trying to defame the democratic protest by using these charges,” Owaisi said in a video message about the police arrests of Jamia Millia Islamia students.

On Thursday, the Special Cell of Delhi Police has booked Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha under the draconian UAPA in Delhi violence case.

“We want to tell the world and tell the elected government that this storm created by you will not stop us. We will not change our ways because of this,” Hyderabad MP added.

Earlier Delhi Police arrested Jamia Millia Islamia student leaders Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, former Delhi Municipal Councillor Ishrat Jahan, Gulfisha, an MBA student and a coordinator of the women-led sit-in in Seelampur-Jafrabad against CAA, the president of the Alumni Association of Jamia Millia Islamia (AAJMI) Shifa-Ur-Rehman, Aam Admi Party leader Tahir Hussain, United Against Hate activist Khalid Saifi under UAPA charges.

On Saturday, the Delhi police arrested two Jawaharlal Nehru University students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita accusing their role of organizing an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest in Jaffrabad in North East Delhi. 

International human rights watchdogs including Amnesty International and civil society groups, teachers associations, student organizations, and filmmakers across India had issued different statements calling for the release of anti-CAA activists who were ‘targetted by Hindu nationalist government for protesting anti-Muslim laws’ and ‘arrested under false accusations by Delhi Police.’

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