The Delhi Police on Tuesday booked Jamia Millia Islamia students Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, in a case related to communal violence in North East Delhi over the Citizenship Amendment Act in February, PTI reported. They also booked former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid under the Act.
Clashes had broken out between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it in North East Delhi in February, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The violence was the worst Delhi saw since the anti-Sikh violence of 1984.
Haider and Zargar, arrested for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to incite the communal riots in February, are in judicial custody. Zargar is the media coordinator of the Jamia Coordination Committee, while Haider is a member of the panel. Haider, a PhD, is also the president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s youth wing in Delhi.
On April 2, the Delhi Police had arrested Meeran Haider. Days later, Safoora Zargar, an MPhil student at the university was arrested for allegedly obstructing the road near the Jaffrabad metro station. Civil society groups had issued a statement on April 16 calling for the release of the two students.
The police claimed in the first information report that the communal violence was a “premeditated conspiracy” which was allegedly hatched by Khalid and the two others. The students were also booked for sedition, murder, attempt to murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and rioting.
The FIR claimed that Khalid had allegedly given provocative speeches at two different places and appealed to Delhi’s residents to hit the streets in protest during United States President Donald Trump’s visit to India in February, in order to spread “propaganda” at the global level about how minorities in India are being mistreated. The FIR also claimed that the police collected firearms, petrol bombs, acid bottles and stones from several houses, establishing a conspiracy.
Women and children were made to block the roads under the Jaffrabad metro station on February 23 to create tension in the vicinity, the FIR alleged.
After facing a backlash from some in civil society and film personalities, the Delhi Police had said on Monday that they had done their job impartially while investigating the North East Delhi violence. “All the arrests made have been based on analysis of scientific and forensic evidence, including video footage, technical and other footprints,” the police said.