Jamia alumnus held as cops make Covid-19 hay
Delhi police have arrested the president of Jamia Millia Islamia’s alumni association on terror charges, accusing him of involvement in the February Delhi riots.
Shafa-ur-Rehman Khan is the third person linked to the university to be arrested during the lockdown after Jamia students Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar.
All of them have been booked in a conspiracy case that links protesters against the new citizenship matrix to the communal violence in northeast Delhi that killed 53 people.
Khan, arrested on Sunday night on the basis of a March 6 FIR, was on Monday sent to 10 days’ police custody by commercial district judge Sanjiv Jain.
The FIR alleges that speeches by rights activist and former JNU student Umar Khalid, calling for protests during US President Donald Trump’s visit, incited women to block a road in Jaffrabad on February 23 to “create tension and riots in the area”.
At the court on Monday, the prosecution alleged that Khan’s name had “surfaced” during the interrogation of “three accused persons of the Popular Front of India”.
“He (Khan) was found actively involved (in) the conspiracy. He visited various protest sites in Delhi to coordinate protests,” the prosecution said.
“He also received funds from other alumni members based in Middle East countries.”
Khan’s lawyer Changez Khan told the court his client had been falsely charged and was not present at the February 23 protest.
The FIR includes several serious charges such as murder and rioting and invokes the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, used to prosecute terrorists. It’s not clear yet whether each of these charges will apply to Khan.
In February, the alumni association had under Khan’s leadership lodged a police complaint against the cop rampage on the Jamia campus on December 15.
The university administration too had moved court seeking action against the cops but the hearing of its plea is pending because of the lockdown.
After a Jamia student was shot and injured in January, the alumni association had complained to the police that remarks by BJP minister Anurag Thakur, MP Parvesh Verma and activist Kapil Mishra had incited the shooter.
A varsity official said Khan had volunteered for post-riot relief work in northeast Delhi. He had for the past several years put up many poor Jamia students on one of the floors at his home, located near the campus.
“It is unfortunate that during the lockdown people are being arrested like this,” Jamia Teachers Association secretary Majid Jamil told The Telegraph.
“Whatever is happening is not a healthy sign for democracy. We condemn it.”
On Monday, the police seized the mobile phone of Kawalpreet Kaur, Delhi unit president of the CPIML Liberation’s All India Students’ Association, who too is being probed in the case.
Members of the Pinjra Tod women students’ group who had participated in the anti-CAA protests in northeast Delhi too had their mobiles seized.
The Popular Front of India has filed 1,015 complaints in eight states against fake news that incites hatred against Muslims. These have led to 19 people being taken into custody so far.