Continuing to send notices under UAPA against several members of the Popular Front of India (PFI), the JCC, Pinjra Tod, All India Students’ Association (AISA), former and current students of Delhi University, JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia for sit-in protests against Citizenship Amendment Act, the Delhi Police Special Cell has summoned JMI student Chandan Kumar for interrogation in connection with Delhi riots that broke out in February. Reportedly, the police insisted that he comes down to the headquarters amid lockdown despite a case of COVID-19 being found there. Also Read - We Will Definitely Get Our Growth Back, PM Modi Exudes Confidence
As per a report in the Indian Express, a senior officer of the Special Cell confirmed that they had summoned Kumar for questioning. “In connection with the case – case FIR no 59/2020 – you are requested to join the investigation on May 13 at 2 pm. If you fail to appear, appropriate legal action will be taken against you. This may be treated as urgent” ACP (SIT) Dhram Singh Negi stated in their notice under Section 43F – Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Also Read - After Covid-19 & Measles, Congo Hit By New Ebola Outbreak; 'Can 2020 Get Any Worse' Asks Twitter
Alleging that the Delhi police had assaulted Kumar in December 2019 too, AISA national president N Sai Balaji told the daily, “Chandan was one of the students assaulted by Delhi Police in Jamia near the library on December 15. He has been falsely accused of burning buses at NFC and an FIR was registered against him. It was Delhi Police who was the aggressor and not Chandan.” Also Read - COVID-19: Over 8,000 Cases For 3rd Day on Trot, India's Total Tally Nears 2 Lakh-Mark; Death Toll Stands at 5,598 | Key Points
As per Balaji, Chandan’s request to join the probe through video-conference was denied by the Delhi police who allegedly insisted on him to come physically to the Special Cell headquarters despite a case of COVID-19 being found there. Balaji shared, “Delhi Police, after adding charges of UAPA to the FIR, is targeting and witch-hunting students. Chandan raised concerns about COVID-19 and its spread in Delhi, lack of transportation, and one of the head constables of the special cell contracting COVID-19, but the Delhi Police paid no heed. He wrote to the police about his willingness to join the investigation through video conference or any other method that doesn’t put his health and life at risk during the pandemic, but they insisted on him coming in physically to the Special Cell headquarters, where a case of COVID-19 had been found.”
Last month, over 20 celebrities from Hindi film fraternity, stand-up comics and activists criticised the Delhi Police for its “witch-hunt” of anti-CAA protestors amid COVID-19 pandemic. The signatories included Mahesh Bhatt, Aparna Sen, Ratna Pathak Shah, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bhardwaj, Vishal Dadlani, Nandita Das, Konkona Sen Sharma, Hansal Mehta, Onir, Sushant Singh, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Neeraj Ghaywan, Ashwini Chaudhury, Ankur Tewari, Abish Mathew, Andre Borges, Mallika Dua, Saba Singh Azad, Sohail Tatari, Kushan Nandy among others. The statement came days within the arrest of two Jamia Millia Islamia students and several activists from North-East Delhi localities who had taken part in the peaceful sit-in protests.
Calling the move by Delhi Police “utterly inhuman and undemocratic”, the statement released asserted that “making several people travel to police stations every day and then throwing some of them to jails also defeats the purpose of the lockdown and makes a mockery of social distancing.” Urging the Delhi Police to “stop abusing the lockdown, respect the human rights of our fellow citizens and put an end to this witch-hunt”, the statement demanded the release of the students and activists arrested at a time “when there is hardly even any media coverage of its actions”.
So far six people, including Jamia students Sarfoora Zargar and Meeran Haider, former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan, activist Khalid Saifi and Shifa have been arrested in connection with the Delhi riots since the lockdown was announced on March 22.