Statement issued by JNUTA, representing the voices of JNU faculty
The JNUTA condemns the arrest by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police of former JNU student, Umar Khalid, under the draconian UAPA. This is yet another instance of the never ending witch hunt being conducted by the Delhi Police in the name of inquiring into the February 2020 riots in Delhi, an inquiry with which Umar Khalid had been voluntary cooperating. The JNUTA notes that Umar Khalid had also been one of those specially targeted during the vicious slander campaign unleashed against JNU in February 2016 and had then been charged with ‘sedition’. That smear campaign fuelled by sections of the media had put his life in danger and in 2018 he fortuitously survived a murderous attack against him. Since then he was supposed to be under the ‘protection’ of the Police and yet he is accused of having been part of a ‘conspiracy’ for instigating the violence in North-East Delhi. It is clear, therefore, that his safety is at risk even when he is in custody and not just because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The JNUTA adds its voice to those of thousands of citizens protesting against what is not merely a process of criminalization of dissent but also a de facto criminalization of law enforcement itself. The JNUTA reiterates its demand for an end to the use of extraordinary laws to persecute those opposing the CAA and to suppress peaceful protest – the repeated recourse to such laws themselves serving as proof that the Police are punishing without evidence of guilt. The JNUTA demands withdrawal of all the motivated false cases and release of all who have been unjustly incarcerated.
D.K. Lobiyal Surajit Mazumdar
President, JNUTA Secretary, JNUTA