Delhi violence: President of Jamia alumni association arrested under UAPA

The president of Jamia Millia Islamia Alumni Association has been arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act over his alleged involvement in the North East Delhi violence, PTI reported on Monday. Shifa-Ur-Rehman, also a member of Jamia Coordination Committee, was arrested on Sunday by the Delhi Police Special Cell.

“We had technical evidence against him which suggests that he incited mobs during the riots,” an unidentified police officer told the news agency. “He was also seen in the CCTV footage which was collected from the riot-affected areas. We have checked his call record details and WhatsApp messages and found more evidence which suggests his involvement in the riots.”

Rehman was remanded to police custody by a Delhi court for 10 days for further investigation in the case.

Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the law and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods. The violence was the worst Delhi saw since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

Last week, the police booked former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid and Jamia Millia Islamia students Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar under the UAPA. The students have also been booked for the offences of sedition, murder, attempt to murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and rioting.

Haider and Zargar, arrested for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to incite the communal riots in February, are in judicial custody. Zargar is the media coordinator of the Jamia Coordination Committee, while Haider is a member of the panel. Haider, a PhD, is also the president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s youth wing in Delhi.

In the first information report, the police have claimed that the communal violence was a “premeditated conspiracy”.

On April 23, a group of intellectuals had criticised the charges filed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act against individuals protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens. The signatories called the use of the UAPA and sedition laws “illegal”.

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