Reacting to his name featuring in a chargesheet filed by the Delhi police on the north- east Delhi riots, accusing him of being a part of a larger conspiracy that organised the riots and protests, former JNU student and activist Umar Khalid said that there was not an iota of truth in the police’s claim.
Mr. Khalid said that he had not read the chargesheet so could not comment on the entirety of it but was making his comment from what he had gathered from media reports.
Looking at the way the entire investigation of the riots has unfolded, Mr. Khalid observed that the government has used the lockdown as an opportunity to crackdown on people who disagree with them. “It does not come as a surprise, for it has been a consistent pattern, which has emerged over the last six years. People, who have been critical of the establishment, are being implicated in false and fabricated cases and are jailed,” Mr. Khalid said.
He added that whether it is individuals like Harsh Mander or organisations like United Against Hate that feature in the chargesheet, all of them have worked extensively on issues like communal harmony, secularism and justice for communal violence victims. “It is an upside down world that we are living in, in which these organisations and individuals that have worked for communal harmony are being implicated in communal violence cases,” said Mr. Khalid.
Speaking about the future of the anti CAA-NRC-NRP movement, he said that it depends on a lot of factors due to the crisis that has emerged due to the pandemic like hunger and joblessness. He hoped that the government backtracks on its divisive agenda in its response to a nation that has thrown up so many issues. In the light of activists getting arrested, he feels that over the last six years, there have been many witch-hunts against them but that has not stopped people from stepping up and voicing their opinion.