Behind Bars

Finally former JNU student Umar Khalid was on September 14 sent to 10 days in police custody after he was arrested a day earlier in connection with north east Delhi riots in February this year, under the notorious Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)s. 'Where is the crime?' That is how Khalid's counsel Trideep Pais reacted to the Delhi Police's remand demand. Punishment without crime! While opposing the remand application, Mr Pais said Khalid was not even present in Delhi during the relevant time and police's plea didn't disclose anything that deserved even one day of custody. In a country where police highhandedness coupled with ruthless arbitrariness has reached alarming proportions, the persons in authority don't tolerate any voice of dissent, no matter whether it is democratic or peaceful. And justice is a costly commodity in what they call the biggest democracy of the world. In truth it is the largest show-piece of democracy sans democratic rights. The police investigation of conspiracy behind the mob violence in north east Delhi is itself a conspiracy. It is a conspiracy to silence the real opposition. So said the noted intellectual Yogendra Yadav. It is a grand design by the Delhi Police to somehow link anti-CAA protest movements with the north east Delhi riots and silence the Opponents who refuse to accept the Citizenship Law uncritically. In a press statement Prshant Bhusan, Harsh Mander, T M Krishna Rao, Ram Guha and several others, said, 'He (Khalid) was one of the hundreds of voices that spoke in favour of the Constitution, always foregrounding the need for peaceful non-violent and democratic means', The repeated attempts to implicate Khalid in fictitious cases speak volumes about the fascist nature of the present regime. The saffron fascism is very much in action. Those who are vocal against Modi's autocracy across the country really form a large crowd. But the number is not the point. The rulers are scared by the voice of dissent raised by even a tiny community.

Leading intellectuals including Arundhati Roy have condemned the Government and its police establishment for gagging the voices of those who are determined to thwart any move to destroy the Constitution By systematically curbing democratic rights as guaranteed under the constitution they are making a farce of democracy.

Corona virus pandemic has not dampened the spirit of Modi's intelligences agencies to desist from witch-hunting. Hundreds of thousands of people in Assam are stateless, they are passing through agonising days. They know if things are not changed radically in their favour, the possibility of which seems remote, they will have to live in Nazi type concentration camps for ever. The arrest of Umar Khalid, may be interpreted as a strong message to those protesters who won't take discriminatory and communal Citizenship Law lying down. The 'conspirators' who actually participated in the mob violence have not been touched. Modi's storm troopers allegedly hatched the conspiracy to teach the minority community people who challenged the Police at Sahindagh sit-in, a lesson or two. Of the 20 arrested by the police in connection the Khalid case, 19 are under the age of 31 while 17 are charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). It means they will have to spend their prime years of youth in jails.

Strangely enough, political parties are maintaining a guarded silence about Khalid's arrest. Today Khalid is behind bars. Tomorrow many more young men will have to find their place in prisons. Given the 'emergency' conditions, Modi's economy can move only by building more prisons. At the time of writing CPM was protesting in Kerala against the naming of their party secretary Sitaram .Yechury in cases related to north east Delhi riots in which 50 people died. For all practical purposes, it is a police raj. With every passing day the intensity of state repression is on the rise.

Indian Constitution is not for the saffronites—they want to rewrite it to pave the way for making India a hindu rashtra as early as possible. And the controversial Ram temple is very much in news. They have their own Constitution in hindu codes formulated by Manu. The persons in power have launched a sustained campaign to destroy whatever remains of Constitutional democracy and terrorise ordinary people.

Because of the Corona crisis, civil liberties organisations and human rights bodies are unable to take to streets despite unilateral action by the police. This is one reason why police stations across the country are on the rampage, unleashing a reign of terror, subverting the Constitution and punishing those who want to abide by the rules of the Constitution.


Vol. 53, No. 14, Oct 4 - 10, 2020