Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis among 200 personalities demand release of Umar Khalid and other anti-CAA activists

The crackdown by Centre on anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has turned into an issue of international importance with academia around the globe condemning the government’s reaction.

Calling it an act of ” incarcerating democratic voices” more than 200 scholars, activists and artists around the globe penned a joint statement expressing solidarity with arrested anti-CAA activists including former JNU student leader and United Against Hate activist Umar Khalid.

Prominent among them are: Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Rajmohan Gandhi, GG Parekh, Admiral Ramdas, Salman Rushdie, P Sainath, Arundhati Roy, Sir Richard Jolly, Partha Chatterjee, Irfan Habib, Jan Breman, Achille Mbembe, David Hardiman, Sheldon Pollock, Suraj Yengde, Prabhat Patnaik, Sumit Sarkar, Meera Nair, Akeel Bilgrami, Raja Vemula, Meena Kandaswami, Amitabh Ghosh, Homi Bhaba, Mahmood Mamdani, Tanika Sarkar, Carlo Ginzburg, Barbara Harris White, Judith Butler, Tariq Ali, Raju Rajgopal and many others.

“As an international community of scholars, teachers, students, artists and film-makers, we have watched with alarm the events unfolding in India. We stand in solidarity and outrage, with the brave young scholar and activist Umar Khalid, arrested in New Delhi on Sept 14, 2020, under fabricated charges of engineering the Delhi riots in February 2020. He is charged with sedition, conspiracy to murder, and under sections of India’s stringent anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). This process of criminalizing all dissent has been underway for a few years and even under a COVID 19 pandemic, relentless political arrests under fabricated charges are punishing the innocent long before they are brought to trial,” reads the statement.

They said that today Umar Khalid joins a long list of those targeted, implicated and unjustly incarcerated under UAPA, only because they were active in the equal citizenship movement, against the CAA-NRC.

“To send its chilling message to all critics, the State has chosen India’s best and brightest; the young, the fearless, the dreamers of a better country, where inequality is not a bitter pill for some to swallow, but a vile aberration to be fought against at all times,” it added.

The signatories called on the Narendra Modi government to free Umar Khalid and all those falsely implicated and unjustly incarcerated for protesting against the CAA-NRC that denies equal citizenship rights.

They also urged Central to ensure that the Delhi Police investigates the Delhi riots with impartiality under the oath they took as public servants bound by the Constitution of India.