Hyderabad: Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid was picked up by the Delhi police’s special unit on late Sunday night, subsequently leading to a case booked against him. Khalid has been booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for alleged conspiracy in the riots that rocked Delhi in February 2020.

Many condemned the move of the Delhi Police. The Human Rights Forum (HRF) said charges against Umar Khalid are completely fabricated.

‘Delhi Police have been relentlessly targeting and incarcerating anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) activists, most of them young on bogus charges. While organizations and individuals working for communal harmony are being vilified and booked in false cases, the real instigators and conspirators of the violence this February continue to roam free. They clearly enjoy state patronage. Many of them are active functionaries of the BJP and its affiliates.

The ideological progeny of MS Golwalkar and KB Hedgewar, who are presently ruling us, believe that they can convert the nation into an aggressive and deeply undemocratic power-mongering polity based on a hierarchical and monolithic society. Their project is bound to fail. In the words of Umar Khalid: “The rulers of India have lost one battle – that is the battle over young minds. They came to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.”

Umar Khalid is among the finest of our Republic’s young. He has consistently evoked – in his speeches, writings, and vibrant activism – a peaceful and non-violent defense of the best values of our Constitution and of the freedom to dissent and live without fear. His political life is marked by deep compassion for the poor and the marginalized and he has always espoused the values of equality, justice, and dignity.

HRF demands that Umar Khalid and all anti-CAA activists arrested by the Delhi police be set free immediately and the farcical charges against them be dropped. We call upon democratic forces to build a strong campaign for the repeal of the UAPA and scrapping of the Sedition law.

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