The Prayagraj district administration has invoked the National Security Act against activist Javed Mohammed in a case related to violence that took place in the city on June 10, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.
The violence had taken place during protests against disparaging remarks made by suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma about Prophet Muhammad. The police arrested Javed Mohammed on June 11, and he is presently lodged at the Deoria district jail.
Mohammed’s lawyer KK Roy said that while the Act has been invoked against his client, he was yet to receive documents in that regard from the authorities, The Wire reported.
The law allows for a person to be detained for a year without trial, and the period can be extended if the government provides fresh evidence against the person.
“...What we feel is that the charges are aimed at selectively targeting Mohammed since the police has failed to surface any substantial evidence that he was involved in the violence or that he incited any crowds,” he said.
Roy said that there was no evidence of Mohammed having instigated violence. “Moreover, the law and order situation was maintained in Prayagraj – no curfew was even imposed – so essentially there is no basis for invocation [of the National Security Act].”
Civic authorities razed Mohammed’s house on June 12, a day after his arrest.
While there are no provisions under Indian law to demolish the home of anyone accused of a crime, this pattern has been regularly observed across BJP-ruled states. Most of those whose houses have been demolished in this manner have been Muslims.
The Prayagraj Development Authority claimed that it had given a show-cause notice to Mohammed, on May 10, asking him to appear for a hearing before it on May 24.
However, Somaiya Fatima, the younger daughter of Mohammed, told Scroll.in that the family had not been served any notice about the alleged illegality of their house.
Roy had also questioned the legality of the demolition claiming that the house belonged to Mohammed’s wife, but the order did not mention her name.