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Afreen Fatima says demolition order illegal, demands release of her family

Fatima was an elected student leader of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union and an iconic face of the anti-CAA movement. She is currently a national secretary of the Fraternity Movement. Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

“Most valuable is our home,” says Afreen Fatima, who was informed on Saturday night that the civic body of Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj has put a notice on her house, asking her family to vacate the house for demolition on Sunday morning.

Moving belongings from her home are not her priority as she had not heard from her parents and younger sister in the last 24 hours. Both her parents are diabetic patients.

Her father, Javed Mohammad, a leader of the Welfare Party of India, was called to the police station for questioning on Friday night and later arrested as allegedly one of the key conspirators of violence during an anti-BJP protest over insulting remarks against Prophet Mohammed.

Uttar Pradesh police have said that 68 people were held in Prayagraj in connection with the violence on Friday during a protest against BJP leaders.

The same night, police detained Afreen’s mother and sister, who have been held for questioning in Civil Lines Mahila police station, a detail she received after hours of despair.

“We have been told that they will be released tomorrow [Sunday] morning at 9 am,” Afreen told Maktoob.

The notice that claims the house is an illegal construction states that “notice was sent to the family on the 10th of May and a hearing was to take place on the 24th of May. However, no response was given from the family.”

But Fatima told Maktoob that no notice was given to her family members in the past and it was part of the infamous “bulldozer politics”.

On Saturday, Mrityunjay Kumar, the media advisor to the Chief Minister of UP, in a tweet said, “remember, every Friday is followed by a Saturday” and posted a photo of a bulldozer demolishing a building.

As per the notice, the house is scheduled for demolition on Sunday at 11.00 am.

A video posted by author and activist Suchitra Vijayan shows heavy police presence outside Fatima’s home.

“Will move stay petition”

“We will move a stay petition in the morning,” said the 22-year-old student leader, who has garnered global support following her appeal for protection from arbitrary police action.

Fatima has filed a complaint to the National Women’s Commission following the night raid on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.

Following the outrage, Prayagraj SSP Ajay Kumar told reporters that Javed was “propagating Bharat bandh” and “gave calls to “assemble in Atala area in the city”. Kumar also accused that Javed’s daughter studies in JNU and is “involved in notorious activities.”

“The father-daughter duo together propagate propaganda,” he added.

Remarks by police have triggered an online hate campaign against the Muslim leader.

Fatima was an elected student leader of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union and an iconic face of the anti-CAA movement. She is currently a national secretary of the Fraternity Movement.

Fatima’s friend, Sharjeel Usmani, in a tweet, said,” To set the records straight: Afreen Fatima’s father, Mr Javed Muhammad, who is a community leader in Allahabad was not arrested initially. Dozens of policemen reached his residence in Kareilly area of Allahabad and asked him to accompany them for some ‘baat cheet'”.

Usmani posted a photo saying Javed left the home in his own scooter.

Leaders of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union, Welfare Party of India, and the Fraternity Movement, and several rights activists demanded the immediate release of Javed and his family members while condemning the biased actions of the Uttar Pradesh Police.

Javed has been transferred to jail. The charges against him are unknown as of now, Fatima informed Maktoob.

Shaheen Abdulla

Shaheen Abdulla is the Associate Creative Editor of Maktoob. Shaheen studies convergent journalism in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

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