The Indian Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill in December 2019. Soon enough, the protests engulfed the streets challenging the discriminatory nature of the legislation. The anti-CAA protests spread across university spaces and cities. Activists, students, and protesters asserted their dissatisfaction through peaceful demonstrations.
As the protests gathered momentum and reached the pinnacle, the right-wing forces held rallies advocating for the implementation of CAA.
In February 2020, the right-wing protesters clashed with the anti-CAA protesters, and the North East Delhi ‘riots’ erupted.
Delhi Police, in the bulky chargesheet allude to the larger ‘conspiracy’ to throttle the ruling Narendra Modi government and to disturb law and order. The Police framed Muslim activists like Shadab Ahmad for ‘conspiring’ against the state in the infamous FIR 59/2020. He has been slapped with UAPA. The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) seeks to prevent ‘unlawful assemblies’ and protects the integrity of the state. However, it has been blatantly misused by the authorities to curb dissent and opposition.
Life and Activism
Shadab Ahmad, a computer graduate, was one of the youth leaders during the anti-citizenship bill protests in 2019-2020. He was working as a supervisor at a factory when the agitation against the legislation started. He joined the nationwide agitation and volunteered at the protest site. His father, Shamshad, says, “Shadab used to work in Delhi when the CAA-NRC law came, and protests started. Shadab also used to go to the protests and for his job.”
According to his colleague, Shadab vehemently opposed the legislation. He used to go everywhere, including Jama Masjid, Chand Bagh, and other protest sites. In a video shared by his father, Shadab is reciting ‘resistance poetry’ asserting his rights. His father told the reporter, “you can watch any of his videos. Shamshad didn’t make any incendiary speech nor did he participate in any non-democratic activities. Everything was done within the ambit of the constitution.”
According to The Wire, the Delhi Police claimed that Shadab Ahmad named some ‘Delhi Protest Solidarity Group’ (DPSG) members and said they frequently visited protest sites and gave “inciting speeches.” The police also claim in Ahmad’s disclosure statement that many DPSG members advocated the use of violence as a protest strategy.”
However, Ahmad has repeatedly said that those confessions were forged and fabricated. Shadab alleges that he was forced to sign the documents.
The police arrested him in connection with the murder of police constable named Ratan Lal and made him a ‘conspirator’ in North East Delhi riots.
His father argues the Delhi Police has falsely implicated his son.
In 2021, the Delhi High Court granted bail to Shadab Ahmad and other accused in connection with the killing of constable Ratan Lal. The court observed, “It is to be noted that the right to protest and express dissent is a right which occupies a fundamental stature in a democratic polity, and therefore, the sole act of protesting should not be employed as a weapon to justify the incarceration of those who are exercising this right.” Justice Subramonium Prasad
Charges and Allegations
Charged with terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Not yet released