Image credit: The Indian Express

TDN World Desk: Over 200 eminent personalities that include Noam Chomsky, Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, and Anand Patwardhan came up in solidarity with Umar Khalid and demanded his release.

“We call on the Government of India to free Umar Khalid and all those falsely implicated and unjustly incarcerated for protesting against the CAA-NRC that denies equal citizenship rights and to ensure that the Delhi Police investigates the Delhi riots with impartiality under the oath they took as public servants bound by the Constitution of India,” the statement read.

Umar Khalid was arrested by Delhi Police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act accusing him as one of the conspirator in the North-East Delhi riots that broke in February killing more than 53 people, mostly Muslims. On Thursday, Delhi Court sends Umar Khalid to judicial custody till october 22.

Issuing a joint statement on Thursday the body of intellectuals, academicians, filmakers of international repute has called on the government to release Umar Khalid and “all those falsely implicated and unjustly incarcerated for protesting against the CAA-NRC”.

“Umar Khalid became a powerful young voice of truth in this movement, speaking at close to 100 meetings across India, in small towns and big cities, upholding the values of India’s constitution; articulating the dreams of all young Indians – of freedom from hunger, deprivation, discrimination and fear. He staked his claim to the full measure of citizenship, he spoke for all marginal peoples, and above all Umar spoke for peace,” they said.

After the Delhi violence, Delhi police have arrasted scores of young anti-CAA protesters such as Safoora Zargar, Asif Tanha, Sarjeel Usmani, Sharjeel Imam, Miran Haider and others. Among them some activists have been freed some are still in jail. The statement mentioned those activists who were arrested under the draconian UAPA including Pinjra Tod, activists Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal.

“Currently, 19 of the 21 people falsely accused under terror laws, are Muslim. If we allow their identity to become their crime, India shall stand shamed in the global community of secular nations. These people are not terrorists, and the police investigation into the Delhi riots is not an investigation. It is a pre-meditated witch-hunt,” they wrote in the statement.