Delhi Police targeting CAA-NRC critics, says Umar Khalid in video recorded before arrest
A video pre-recorded by Umar Khalid, who was arrested on Sunday night by the Delhi Police in connection with the Delhi riots, was released on Wednesday, in which the former JNU student alleged that those who “incited rioters in front of television cameras” were being let off the hook by the police.
“If you are watching this video, it means that I have been arrested,” said Umar Khalid in the two-minute video, which was shown in a press conference organised by activists to condemn the police investigation into the communal riots in north-east Delhi.
“Through this video, I want to give a message that Delhi police is not arresting rioters or those who incited rioters in front of television cameras and police officials. We all saw how the Delhi police did not call these people even once for questioning, let alone register an FIR against them. On the other hand, CAA-NRC critics, including student-activists, are being implicated in false cases without any evidence,” said Khalid.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Kanhaiya Kumar, who was listed as a speaker at the press conference organised at the Press Club, could not attend the meeting, but released a statement on social media.
“Questions must be raised over the investigation of Delhi riots as the purpose of this probe is not to ensure justice but to take political revenge,” Kumar said.
Those who addressed the conference were former member of the erstwhile Planning Commission Syeda Hameed, Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation leader Kavita Krishnan, senior journalist Pamela Philipose and former Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president Nandita Narain.
Participants and supporters, including Khalid’s family, wore masks with faces of arrested student activists.
Bhushan said, “Police said that the members of a WhatsApp group, organised with the objective to support the exemplary peaceful [anti-CAA] protests, are conspirators. But people like Kapil Mishra, who were instigating violence by saying ‘goli maro’, did not face any action.”
Mishra, who had denied allegations of his involvement in the riots, on Monday released a video congratulating Delhi Police for arresting Khalid and “people like him”, and likened the February riots with the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
The attendees later issued a statement. “We have gathered here today to express our collective anguish at the sheer brazenness with which the Delhi Police has turned the investigation into the February violence in the national capital into an inquisition of the anti-CAA protests.”
“We demand an immediate end to this outrageous investigation that is being conducted with prejudice and mala fide intent. We demand that activists booked under the UAPA be immediately released; and a judicial enquiry commission be constituted to punish the real culprits and ensure justice for Delhi violence,” it added.
Delhi Police had contended that an examination of witnesses revealed that Khalid was coordinating between protest sites in Delhi in connivance with other arrested accused.
Delhi Police had claimed that Khalid, along with some other prominent anti-CAA protesters, had used the protest sites to plan and orchestrate the riots.
Responding to a letter by veteran cop Julio Ribeiro questioning the investigation, Delhi Police commissioner SN Shrivastava had said that they were conducting a fair probe backed by evidence without discriminating on the basis of caste or religion.