Delhi pogrom: Special Branch seizes student leader’s phone

Kawalpreet Kaur. Photo: Facebook

Delhi police special branch on Monday seized All India Students’ Association Delhi president Kawalpreet Kaur’s mobile phone citing the investigation into Delhi pogrom.

“It is deeply shocking and disturbing to know that the police is trying to intimidate me for my activism, for speaking in defence of the constitution.” responded Kawalpreet Kaur, a law student from Delhi University.

The Statement from AISA observes that the seizure memo given to her cites an FIR with a slew of charges including the draconian UAPA. Earlier this week many student protesters in Delhi were booked under UAPA accusing them as conspirers of Delhi pogrom.

Kawalpreet Kaur was active with her organisation in rehabilitation work in affected regions of Northeast Delhi. Kaur is a prominent student face in the civil liberties movement in Delhi.

Police have been targeting Jamia Coordination Committee, a body established to function the anti CAA protest in Jamia, arresting top leaders of the group and intimidating others.

Safoora Zargar, a pregnant PhD scholar from Jamia, is in Tihar jail after being booker under UAPA.

Concerned citizens and legal groups have called the arbitrary student hunt by police ‘Horrific’ and worrying as police remain reluctant to produce substantial evidence.

Many arrests of Muslim youth have been reported from Northeast Delhi but the exact numbers are yet to be released by police. Legal groups are baffled by the police action and say it’s difficult to work during the pandemic without the cooperation from the police.

Kawalpreet Kaur’s detailed statement:

I am writing this to inform you all that on Monday, 27th of April, the Delhi Police Special Branch came to my home to investigate the violence that happened in Delhi in February. To my utter shock, the police seized my phone citing inquiry into the violence. It was really hard to believe that this could happen to me.

As a student activist and a responsible citizen of this country, I have always spoken against all injustices in my full capacity wherever I have been. As a student of Delhi University, I remained active in mobilizing students against the attacks on public funded institutions, movements on social justice and gender equality. Further, as a student of law, I spoke against the attacks on the fundamental values of our constitution through the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) brought by the government. I, along with my organization All India Students’ Association (AISA) participated in peaceful demonstrations against the CAA-NPR-NRC along with thousands of others. We participated in various events where we read out the Preamble of the Indian Constitution. After the North East Delhi violence, we raised voice for peace, democracy and justice. We were active in the relief work for the victims. It is deeply shocking and disturbing to know that the police is trying to intimidate me for my activism, for speaking in defence of the constitution. And last but not the least, practicing what my faith and my parents taught me, which says ‘sarbat da bhala’,i.e. Welfare to all.

Delhi Police action of seizing my phone is outrageous and is an attempt to instill fear among us all. Worse that all this is happening in a time when the entire world is in lockdown faced with a pandemic and it’s difficult to hold mass protests and access legal help.

Dear fellow citizens of India, let us stand united against the intimidating tactics of Delhi Police amidst lockdown. Our struggle to uphold our constitution and democratic rights must go on despite the government’s attempt to intimidate and silence voices of democracy, secularism and justice.

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