India ex-student leader arrested for alleged role in Delhi riots
A former student leader in India has been arrested for his alleged role in the deadly violence that broke out in the capital New Delhi in February, a move activists have dubbed “a witch-hunt exercise”.
Umar Khalid, 33, was arrested on Sunday night under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the violence that left at least 53 people dead, most of them Muslims.
Legal experts have questioned the police’s application of the UAPA on students and activists, as the law reduces the scope for bail, meaning jail terms without trial.
A number of other students and activists behind the nationwide peaceful protests against a controversial citizenship law have been arrested under the UAPA, which was passed last December.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which has been dubbed “fundamentally discriminatory” by the UN, fast-tracks citizenship for religious minorities from three neighbouring countries, but does not include Muslims.
Civil society group United Against Hate (UAH), of which Khalid is a member, said the former Jawaharlal Nehru University student has been “framed”.
“Umar Khalid has been framed in the Delhi riots as a ‘mastermind’ by the Delhi Police. The police instead of doing a fair investigation in the Delhi riots has turned it into an exercise of witch-hunt against anti-CAA protesters,” Nadeem Khan from UAH told Al Jazeera.