Student activist Gulfisha Fatima, arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for her alleged role in the violence in Northeast Delhi in February, told a court in Delhi on Tuesday that she was subjected to communal slurs and mental harassment in prison, PTI reported. Fatima is currently lodged in Tihar Jail in the national Capital.
“I have a problem in jail,” she told Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat via videoconferencing. “Ever since I was brought here, I have been constantly facing discrimination by the jail staff. They called me an educated terrorist and hurled communal slurs at me. I am facing mental harassment here. If I hurt myself, only jail authorities will be responsible for it.”
The judge asked Fatima’s lawyer to file an application about this matter. Mahmood Pracha, Fatima’s counsel, said he will do so.
On April 9, Fatima was arrested for participating in the Jaffrabad protest, and charged under first information report 48/2020 under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code. She was granted bail under this particular FIR on May 13. However, she remained in jail as she was charged in another case under the IPC, Arms Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on April 18 under FIR 59/20.
The court in Delhi had on Monday directed that the counsels of the accused be handed over a copy of the chargesheet and put up the case for further consideration on October 3. In its over 17,000-page chargesheet, the police had listed 747 witnesses and of them, 51 have recorded their statements before the magistrate.
“The evidence includes WhatsApp chats of February 24, the time when riots were happening,” the police said. “At that point, key conspirators were guiding their foot soldiers about violence in the area. The key conspirators were directly in touch with their foot soldiers. WhatsApp groups were used by conspirators for violence in Seelampur, Jafrabad area.”
The police said there were 25 protest sites and one WhatsApp group was created for each. “The impression was given that they were anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest groups but through these sites conspirators were being guided,” the police added.
The Delhi Police Special Cell has claimed that suspended Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain, former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi planned to carry out “massive violence” in the national Capital. “Umar Khalid reportedly assured that through his contacts logistical support will be provided,” the police said, referring to the Popular Front of India.
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods. The violence was the worst Delhi saw since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.