Days after the arrest of former JNU student Umar Khalid by the Delhi Police in a case relating to the Delhi riots, several activists have shared a pre-recorded video with the message "they are trying to scare us, and you as well".
Khalid was arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on Sunday. On Monday, a court sent him to 10-day police custody.
In the video he begins, "If you are watching this video, it means that I have been arrested."
He goes on to allege that in the Delhi Police are not arresting those who openly carried out the riots and instigated others in their very presence. "Those who instigated in front of the TV camera. We all watched it happen. The Delhi Police has not even summoned such people for interrogation, let alone file an FIR against them," he says.
On the other hand, critics of the government, and those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and other policies of the government, are being framed in false cases, even though there is no evidence against such people, he alleges.
Watch: Umar Khalid, the courageous son of India, just before being arrested pic.twitter.com/H9nKaGlRQ4
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) September 16, 2020
"Twenty to thirty seconds from my 17-minute speech were made viral, and it was claimed that I conspired and instigated people to come to the streets and riot. Now that I have uploaded the entire 17 minute-long speech, in which I spoke about Gandhi's message of satya and ahimsa, not riots and violence, they have started broadcasting even more false claims by me on TV and in the media," he says.
He further claims that people are being forced to give statements against him, and that the police is intimidating them into make such statements. "They are trying to jail all critics of the government," he adds.
"What is my fault? Is it wrong that I say that this country is as much mine as it is yours? Everyone in India, irrespective of religion or language, are equal in the eyes of the law and before the Constitution. But today, there is an attempt to change this, to divide us," he says.
"They are trying to scare us, as well as you. They are silencing us and putting us behind bars, and also trying to silence you with lies and scare you," he is heard saying.
Finally, Khalid makes an appeal to the viewers to not be scared, to raise their voice against this injustice and demand the release of those who have been framed with false charges.
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) September 16, 2020
Khalid was interrogated by the Delhi Police on September 2 in connection with the riots. He was previously booked under the anti-terror law in a different case pertaining to the riots.
Delhi Police had named CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, economist Jayati Ghosh, Delhi University professor and activist Apoorvanand, and documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy as co-conspirators in the riots last week.
Earlier, JNU student Sharjeel Imam, Pinjra Tod members Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, Jamia Millia Islamia students Asif Iqbal Tanha and Gulfisha Khatoon, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar and Meeran Haider, President of Jamia Alumni Association Shifa-Ur-Rehman, suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain and former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan were booked under UAPA in the riots case.