Former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar on Thursday lashed out at the Centre over the arrests of prominent activists who organised protests against the amendments to the Citizenship Act. In a tweet, the Communist Party of India leader described the government as a “coward and liar”.

“This coward and liar government has arrested Akhil Gogoi, Chandrashekhar Azad, Sadaf Zafar, Deepak Kabir and thousands of other citizens on false charges for opposing the CAA-NRC-NPR,” Kumar tweeted. In perhaps a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Kumar added: “Listen sir, we have seen and will see how much you can oppress. We will also see how much space you have in your prisons.”

The National Investigation Agency on Thursday conducted searches at the home of Assam peasant leader and Right to Information activist Akhil Gogoi. He was arrested by the agency earlier this month for his alleged role in the recent protests in Assam against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Act, which makes undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan eligible for Indian citizenship, was passed in Parliament on December 11. It triggered immediate protests in Assam, as it was perceived to be a threat to the ethnic identity of the state’s people.

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad was on December 21 sent to 14 days’ judicial custody after he led a massive protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act the previous day in Old Delhi. He was detained outside the Jama Masjid in Delhi in the early hours of December 21. He had been inside the mosque since a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act on Friday afternoon, and surrendered around 3.15 am.

The Uttar Pradesh police arrested activist Deepak Kabir and imprisoned him in Lucknow on Friday after he went to a police station to inquire about some people missing since an anti-Citizenship Act protest the day before, his wife Veena Rana claimed. The 48-year-old was arrested on charges of rioting and preventing public servants from performing their duty.

Sadaf Zafar was arrested by the police on December 19 when she was recording a video of the protests in Lucknow. The video shows her asking why she was being picked up even though she did not participate in the protests. Her sister has alleged that Zafar was tortured by the police.