Delhi Police personnel stand guard at Model Town police colony, identified as a Covid-19 hotspot, during the on 16 April 2020 | Kamal Kishore | PTI
Representational Image of Delhi Police | Kamal Kishore | PTI
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The arrest of former JNU student leader and controversial activist Umar Khalid under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, or UAPA, in connection with the Delhi riots has given a new turn to the heightened security concerns. The Delhi Police’s charge sheet mentions his attempts to gather people to oppose the visit of US President Donald Trump to Delhi early this year. The protests, according to the police, were aimed at drawing international attention to highlight the so-called “persecution of minorities” under the Narendra Modi government.

In the background of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), an untoward incident during a high-profile visit would have certainly shown India in poor light. It now appears that the entire agenda of the anti-CAA protests and the riots were part of a series of conspiracies to defame the Modi government and engineer serious disruptions of normal life resulting in the breakdown of law and order.

It was clear that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) under Amit Shah wasn’t going to forget the issue. The Delhi Police was probably instructed to go into the root of the protests, investigate the real agenda behind the riots, track down the perpetrators and take appropriate action at the right time. It was important for the police to conduct a detailed inquiry and collect as much proof as possible to make a fool-proof case so as to not let the notorious elements get away on technical grounds or for want of sufficient evidence.


Also read: Delhi Police’s riots charge sheet is a parody scripted to prove the Boss is always right


UAPA in Bengaluru too

Umar Khalid, arrested by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell under the stringent UAPA, is also mentioned in a charge sheet filed by the Delhi Police against former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain. The charge sheet suggests that a month before the riots in northeast Delhi, Hussain met with Umar Khalid and another activist. They were reportedly asked to be “prepared for something big/riots at the time of Trump’s visit”. According to the charge sheet, Khalid was also promised financial help.

Going by the leads that the police seems to have got, the Home Ministry appears to be right in asserting that the anti-CAA protests and the subsequent riots were part of a larger design to instigate riots in other parts of the country as well. A fact-finding team that looked into the violence in Bengaluru’s D.G. Halli area in August claimed it its report that there was a “pattern” to the violence and it was “similar” to the Delhi riots.

The Bengaluru Police too had invoked UAPA against 61 people in the DG Halli riot case. The accused were initially booked under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but the Karnataka government later decided to invoke the stringent UAPA. Over and above the use of these laws, the state government is also considering slapping charges under the Goonda Act.

The likes of Amnesty International, which are rushing to advise the government and its various agencies to respect the human rights of the riot-accused should also comment on the brutal killing of the IB officer Ankit Sharma, whose badly mutilated body bearing innumerable wounds due to torture of extreme nature was extricated from a drain in East Delhi, the political stronghold of the local AAP MLA.


Also read: The Delhi pogrom 2020 is Amit Shah’s answer to an election defeat


A herculean task

The general feeling among a section of law enforcement authorities is that many times, riot perpetrators, after causing severe damages to life and property of innocent civilians, manage to go unpunished under political patronage. It is these elements who later form a mafia and a strong politics-underworld nexus. Rarely does a police officer summon enough courage to challenge such sinister nexus and when someone does, s/he is transferred to some “punishment posting”. Ironically the story of some of these rare, unknown, and unsung heroes comes alive on the celluloid and rakes in millions for the actors and their team while the real hero languishes somewhere.

It is unfortunate that a premier educational institution like the JNU should be identified not with excellence in learning and research but with riff-raff elements indulging in nefarious activities. The people at the helm of administration should set right the anomalies, albeit, without curtailing the legitimate democratic rights of the students and faculty.

The Delhi Police appears to be determined to pursue this case earnestly with a view to punish the wrongdoers. Their success in bringing the perpetrators to book will send the right signal across the political and social spectrum. But it will be a herculean task to insulate the case from politics and political pressure, both for and against.

Seshadri Chari is the former editor of ‘Organiser’. Views are personal.

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22 Comments Share Your Views

22 COMMENTS

  1. Now we know who is script writer for all the chargesheets prepared by Delhi Police. Good job Mr Chary, please write some Bollywood stories too, these days Bollywood isnt creating good content and it badly needs people with your level of imagination.

  2. “Law and order” appear to be enforced only upon Muslims.

    Anyway, enjoy few more years of thuggery, soon there will be Shariah in India.

  3. Why should The Print give unlimited space to people whose only objective seems to be to abuse reputed institutions like JNU? Can’t there be anything good in this country unless it is dominated by BJP/ RSS ?

  4. I disagree vehemently with what mr. Chari is saying but applaud print for giving space to all pov. I wish mr. Chari and his party accorded the same right to someone like Umar khalid. This is the cornerstone of democracy. Highlighting differences using protests is not a crime nothing umar khalid said incited violence, on the contrary it appealed for pease and harmony.

  5. Bring shoot at sight law, and the law to confiscate properties of the WHOLE FAMILIES of all accused., speedy trial and no appeal, death sentence executed all within 3 months. Clean up quick, set great example and move on to next target to be exterminated.

  6. ” The general feeling among a section of law enforcement authorities is that many times, riot perpetrators, after causing severe damages to life and property of innocent civilians, manage to go unpunished under political patronage. It is these elements who later form a mafia and a strong politics-underworld nexus. Rarely does a police officer summon enough courage to challenge such sinister nexus and when someone does, s/he is transferred to some “punishment posting”. ” –> Were you referring to Narendra Modi himself?! As in his actions during and after the Gujarat Riots?! Or his actions in protecting Kapil Mishra?!

    If Modi actually thinks that the riots were a conspiracy to create bad publcity during Trump’s visit, he must question Amit Shah and Kapil Mishra. It was their actions that directly triggered the riots. Also, how can anyone provide political patronage to the accused in the Delhi riots cases, when the Delhi Police itself is controlled by the BJP?!

    Modi-Shah have arrested student activists under the UAPA only because they have absolutely no proof or even prima facie evidence to arrested them under any other law. So they’ve been arrested under the law that does not require any proof. What the law does require though, is a judge low on intelligence, yet high on ambition, and these are apparently available in abundance. No evidence has yet been submitted even in the Bhima Koregaon case, yet the human rights activists arrested continue to languish in jail. Why? Simply because Modi is scared of them. Same with the students arrested for the Delhgi riots. The plan is to make them an example, and scare the rest into silence. But it seems has underestimated the people of India!!

  7. I pity sometimes, but also feed proud about the print who has no qualms reporting both sides of the coin. the troll armies always have a field day, though. the tolerance levels of junta have gone down the drain, seriously

  8. UAPA and its cousin NSA should at onec br repealed, as theye are being abused by the government. Thgese undemiocratic laws don’t fit in a democracy like India. A foremost political scientist had written today: “Normally, in a society constituted by the rule of law, we should let the investigation run its course before pronouncing judgment. But we are living in a world where the state, in partnership with the media, does not subscribe to this restraint. In case after case, it runs nightly media trials, destroying people’s lives and reputations. The state uses investigations, leaked evidence, chargesheets as pretexts for establishing narrative dominance and to intimidate. It is not interested in guilt or innocence. It is interested in demonstrating that it can destroy your life with impunity. It can declare you a terrorist, it can declare you a drug lord, and it can charge you under UAPA. In the Delhi chargesheets, dozens and dozens of students and distinguished academics are facing exactly this prospect. “The law will take its own course”, the state wants to say. But, in the meanwhile, let us show you what we can do to you. How we can make an example of you so other intellectuals dare not speak. The law should take its own course when the state is interested in law. But when the state is using law as an instrument of ideological and physical intimidation, the phrase “let the law take its own course” becomes a cover to subvert our constitutional values.”

  9. Vicious. Poisonous. Callous. How come such well educated, learned writer tuned violent through his every word.
    Message is loud and clear, do what ever you want, we will not spare you.

  10. Good to see an article with different view from people like Shivam Vij and Yogendra Yadav. Print has columns from lots of extreme leftists. This perspective gives a different view. May be more articles that shows different perspective cam make people like me to subscribe to print.

  11. Hahaha people going nuts over a post demeaning their position. seems like our liberal friends like Sanghis cant stand another point of view. LOL AND THEY LITERALLY THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN SANGHIS IS THE FUNNIER JOKE.

  12. haha some people are angry cuz the print has an “opinion” page. you clowns this is an opinion page. you may not agree to it but that is quite rare in clowns who go on bashing the other side for being a “sanghi”. Nowadays that expelled congress minister is also called a sanghi lol you idiots are just dumbasses

  13. Amitav Ghosh – who many believe deserves the Nobel Prize for Literature – is one of 200 thinkers who have called for the release of Umar Khalid. They have also expressed disappointment over the conduct of Delhi Police for the better part of this year. A sentiment widely shared by people of good conscience within the country as well. These 200 signatories are widely respected all over the world, help in shaping our global image, reputation, perception in a way that no official machinery can hope to. 2. Some years ago, it was conventional wisdom that the UNSC was incomplete without India’s presence, impeded largely by the prospect of a Chinese veto. Today, both the hard and soft components of India’s power are in decline. Decay is too strong a word, but we will get there as well.

  14. The Print can not seek support for good journalism while also publishing onesided opinion piece of #BJP which already allover the sold out mainstream media.

  15. I feel sad when RSS extremists are allowed to sophisticatedly spew venom on a wonderful platform like The Print.
    This is one reason I always think of paying something to The Print but after seeing such poison being spread I desist….

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