Ashoka University teachers, students demand release of Umar Khalid

Photo: Shakeeb KPA/Maktoob

The students, faculty, alumni, and staff of Ashoka University, strongly condemned the recent arrest of United Against Hate activist and former JNU student leader Umar Khalid made under the draconian UAPA and said in a statement that the arrest was based on false accusations. fake news and a conspiracy to clamp down upon dissent.

“We further condemn the Delhi Police for making this arrest under charges that are backed with no evidence,” they said.

While Khalid was first arrested on 13 September under UAPA, he was arrested again in a separate case under charges of rioting, possession of arms, trespassing, mischief, and damage to the public property earlier this month.

The statement noted that Khalid who was at the forefront of protests across the country against the unconstitutional Citizenship Amendment Act has been incarcerated for his courage to challenge a communal and anti-minority government.

They demanded the immediate release of Umar Khalid and all other activists, academics, and students who have been falsely framed by this communal dispensation.

According to the Ashoka University community, Umar Khalid’s alleged involvement in the Delhi pogrom is absolutely fabricated and is in continuation of the farcical investigations and arrests of students and activists by the Delhi Police.

While Muslim youth and other rights activists have all been viciously and falsely framed for allegedly inciting violence in the Delhi pogrom, BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who had delivered numerous speeches calling for violence against Anti-CAA protesters, remains unquestioned by the authorities, said the solidarity statement.

“The Delhi Police, who work directly under the Ministry of Home Affairs, have given up any pretense of a fair investigation into the Delhi pogrom and continue to aid the violent right-wing forces in their attempt to destroy India’s secularism and democracy. Whereas the Government of India, faced with a pandemic and one of the worst economic downturns in the country’s history, continues to target students and activists who have dared to express their fundamental right to dissent,” the statement endorsed by Ashoka University students body reads.

They further said: “In the face of such sustained efforts to clamp down on dissent, the struggle against this majoritarian Government shall persist in the collective strength of students and the youth of our nation.”