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Delhi Police arrest Jamia Millia Islamia student leader Asif Iqbal Tanha 

The Persian Department student was arrested by the Crime Branch, on Saturday. Meanwhile, Gulfisha, Safoora and others remain in jail as they are charged under UAPA

Karuna John 18 May 2020

 Jamia Millia Islamia student leader Asif Iqbal Tanha

Delhi Police has once again added to its growing list of student activists arrested while the nation continues to struggle under yet another extension to the Covid-19 lockdown. Civil rights activists have called these actions an attempt  to silence democratic voices, and quell any attempts by citizens to question the authorities. This weekend, Delhi Police arrested Jamia Millia Islamia student leader, Asif Iqbal Tanha and booked him in the case related to the Jamia violence of December 15, 2019. 

23-year-old Asif Iqbal Tanha, who hails from Jharkhand, is a student of the Persian Department at Jamia Millia Islamia. He was taken for interrogation by a special cell of Delhi police on Friday and was arrested by the Crime Branch, Chanakyapuri on Saturday. He was produced before the Duty Magistrate at Saket court.

According to sources, Asif had been called for interrogation by the Special Cell on April 8 , he had cooperated with the police and answered all questions asked. This was almost the fifth time he had been called by the Crime Branch for questioning. He was told not to come to the police when he developed fever once. “He is sensitive and if overstressed does get fever,” said a close friend of his. 

Over a month later, Asif was arrested, and his mother was informed in Jharkhand.

A joint statement has been issued by numerous activists and human rights groups after Asif’s arrest this weekend, as they stand in solidarity with him and state that the police have not found any evidence against him. “Despite the months-long 'investigation' and repeated interrogation, the police have no for the simple reason that he has committed no crime,” stated activists.

Asif Iqbal is a well known student leader from Jamia, he has been associated with Students Islamic Organisation and was part of the anti-CAA struggle in the university in the last few months. His arrest is in continuation with the police’s “relentless witch-hunt of students and activists in the middle of the lockdown caused by the pandemic,” activists say. 

The Crime Branch had requested for a three days police remand for Asif but this was rejected by the Magistrate. Instead, Asif has been sent to 14-days’ Judicial Custody. According to sources, just two days before his arrest, the Delhi Police raided Asif’s hostel room, near the university. “This is yet another attempt by the Delhi Police to throttle democratic voices that were vocal against the Citizenship Amendments Act and to implicate them in the false cases, while the real perpetrators of the violence go scot free,” the human rights group said in their statement. Asif can now be questioned by the police in the jail premises only.

 

 

Before his arrest Asif was busy helping in the distribution of food etc to the marginalised families in the neighbourhood. His friend Akhtarista Ansari posted this: “I remember last talking to him, he told me that he is distributing food and essentials to poor families in Jamia Nagar. It's really heartbreaking to see your friends and Comrades getting arrested in false cases. #ReleaseAsifTanha "

 

 

Asif is the third prominent student leader of Jamia Millia Islamia that the Delhi Police have arrested since the national lockdown. Earlier they had arrested research scholars Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar and charged them under the draconian UAPA. Police had also taken into custody Shifa-ur-Rehman, the President of the Jamia Alumni Association. 

Other activists, including student leaders have also been called continuously for interrogation say sources. None of these police actions have stopped even though the city has 11 Covid19 red zones so far. A police constable of the  Special Cell has also been tested positive for Covid19. That too has not stopped police from continued action against student leaders. 

This is a concerted attempt by the Delhi Police to “target students of Jamia Millia Islamia, that had emerged as one of the epicentre of the democratic mass upsurge against the unconstitutional CAA. It seems after JNU, the Delhi Police has found a new university to demonize, criminalize and target”, say human rights groups observing the situation in Delhi. The activist groups have expressed their concern as Safoora, now in her second trimester of pregnancy, continues to remain in prison in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic,  “at a grave risk to her as well her child’s health and life.”  

While several democratic forces across the country have expressed outrage at these actions, activists say their appeals have fallen on deaf ears. “It seems the Delhi Police is too keen to please its political masters. The real perpetrators and actors who incited and carried out the  violence are being left scot free. They have found the lockdown as the perfect opportunity to target these democratic voices, when there is no possibility of protests and there would hardly be any coverage of its nefarious witch-hunt. We condemn this ongoing witch-hunt of students and anti-CAA activists in the strongest possible terms, and demand that all students and anti-CAA activists be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Meanwhile, select media stories have been doing the rounds with headlines such as: ‘Court grants bail to student arrested in Delhi riots case’. Reported by the Press Trust of India, and carried by some news outlets it states how last week, a Delhi court “granted bail to Gulfisha Fatima, an MBA student and anti-CAA activist associated with women’s collective Pinjra Tod, in a case related to communal violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in northeast Delhi in February.”

However, the truth remains that Fatima, an MBA student, arrested on April 9 remains in jail, say sources. “She got bail in FIR number 48/2020 of Jafrabad Police station, which has ‘lighter’ charges. Many have got bail in that FIR. The main one is FIR number 59/2020, which charges them under UAPA,” said an activist. According to news reports, the FIR has booked the activist for the offences under sections 147 (rioting), 186 (obstructing a public servant from doing his duty), 188 (disobedience to order), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), 283 (danger or obstruction in public way), 109 (Abetment) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

Even though the court granted  “relief” to her, on the ground of “parity” as three co-accused in the case, including Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) member Safoora Zargar, have been granted bail in the case. As is well known Safoora Zargar is still locked up, even though she is at a great risk due her pregnancy and health condition.

News reports have also noted that Fatima was “also arrested in a separate case related to northeast Delhi violence in which JCC member Meeran Haider, Zargar and suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain have been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.” She was arrested for allegedly instigating a crowd of protesters that led to riots in the area, stated the news. It was also alleged in the FIR that she and others “instigated a crowd to block the road near Jaffrabad metro station on February 22 to protest against the CAA and National Register for Citizens (NRC).”


 

Related: 
Policing in the times of Corona has many tones depending on who you are

8 political parties condemn arrest of student and activists

Free Safoora: Indians hold car rally in Canada in solidarity with student activist
Front Line defenders criticizes repression of dissent and arrest of student activists
1100 feminists write to PM against targeting of anti-CAA women protesters

Delhi Police arrest Jamia Millia Islamia student leader Asif Iqbal Tanha 

The Persian Department student was arrested by the Crime Branch, on Saturday. Meanwhile, Gulfisha, Safoora and others remain in jail as they are charged under UAPA

 Jamia Millia Islamia student leader Asif Iqbal Tanha

Delhi Police has once again added to its growing list of student activists arrested while the nation continues to struggle under yet another extension to the Covid-19 lockdown. Civil rights activists have called these actions an attempt  to silence democratic voices, and quell any attempts by citizens to question the authorities. This weekend, Delhi Police arrested Jamia Millia Islamia student leader, Asif Iqbal Tanha and booked him in the case related to the Jamia violence of December 15, 2019. 

23-year-old Asif Iqbal Tanha, who hails from Jharkhand, is a student of the Persian Department at Jamia Millia Islamia. He was taken for interrogation by a special cell of Delhi police on Friday and was arrested by the Crime Branch, Chanakyapuri on Saturday. He was produced before the Duty Magistrate at Saket court.

According to sources, Asif had been called for interrogation by the Special Cell on April 8 , he had cooperated with the police and answered all questions asked. This was almost the fifth time he had been called by the Crime Branch for questioning. He was told not to come to the police when he developed fever once. “He is sensitive and if overstressed does get fever,” said a close friend of his. 

Over a month later, Asif was arrested, and his mother was informed in Jharkhand.

A joint statement has been issued by numerous activists and human rights groups after Asif’s arrest this weekend, as they stand in solidarity with him and state that the police have not found any evidence against him. “Despite the months-long 'investigation' and repeated interrogation, the police have no for the simple reason that he has committed no crime,” stated activists.

Asif Iqbal is a well known student leader from Jamia, he has been associated with Students Islamic Organisation and was part of the anti-CAA struggle in the university in the last few months. His arrest is in continuation with the police’s “relentless witch-hunt of students and activists in the middle of the lockdown caused by the pandemic,” activists say. 

The Crime Branch had requested for a three days police remand for Asif but this was rejected by the Magistrate. Instead, Asif has been sent to 14-days’ Judicial Custody. According to sources, just two days before his arrest, the Delhi Police raided Asif’s hostel room, near the university. “This is yet another attempt by the Delhi Police to throttle democratic voices that were vocal against the Citizenship Amendments Act and to implicate them in the false cases, while the real perpetrators of the violence go scot free,” the human rights group said in their statement. Asif can now be questioned by the police in the jail premises only.

 

 

Before his arrest Asif was busy helping in the distribution of food etc to the marginalised families in the neighbourhood. His friend Akhtarista Ansari posted this: “I remember last talking to him, he told me that he is distributing food and essentials to poor families in Jamia Nagar. It's really heartbreaking to see your friends and Comrades getting arrested in false cases. #ReleaseAsifTanha "

 

 

Asif is the third prominent student leader of Jamia Millia Islamia that the Delhi Police have arrested since the national lockdown. Earlier they had arrested research scholars Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar and charged them under the draconian UAPA. Police had also taken into custody Shifa-ur-Rehman, the President of the Jamia Alumni Association. 

Other activists, including student leaders have also been called continuously for interrogation say sources. None of these police actions have stopped even though the city has 11 Covid19 red zones so far. A police constable of the  Special Cell has also been tested positive for Covid19. That too has not stopped police from continued action against student leaders. 

This is a concerted attempt by the Delhi Police to “target students of Jamia Millia Islamia, that had emerged as one of the epicentre of the democratic mass upsurge against the unconstitutional CAA. It seems after JNU, the Delhi Police has found a new university to demonize, criminalize and target”, say human rights groups observing the situation in Delhi. The activist groups have expressed their concern as Safoora, now in her second trimester of pregnancy, continues to remain in prison in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic,  “at a grave risk to her as well her child’s health and life.”  

While several democratic forces across the country have expressed outrage at these actions, activists say their appeals have fallen on deaf ears. “It seems the Delhi Police is too keen to please its political masters. The real perpetrators and actors who incited and carried out the  violence are being left scot free. They have found the lockdown as the perfect opportunity to target these democratic voices, when there is no possibility of protests and there would hardly be any coverage of its nefarious witch-hunt. We condemn this ongoing witch-hunt of students and anti-CAA activists in the strongest possible terms, and demand that all students and anti-CAA activists be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Meanwhile, select media stories have been doing the rounds with headlines such as: ‘Court grants bail to student arrested in Delhi riots case’. Reported by the Press Trust of India, and carried by some news outlets it states how last week, a Delhi court “granted bail to Gulfisha Fatima, an MBA student and anti-CAA activist associated with women’s collective Pinjra Tod, in a case related to communal violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in northeast Delhi in February.”

However, the truth remains that Fatima, an MBA student, arrested on April 9 remains in jail, say sources. “She got bail in FIR number 48/2020 of Jafrabad Police station, which has ‘lighter’ charges. Many have got bail in that FIR. The main one is FIR number 59/2020, which charges them under UAPA,” said an activist. According to news reports, the FIR has booked the activist for the offences under sections 147 (rioting), 186 (obstructing a public servant from doing his duty), 188 (disobedience to order), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), 283 (danger or obstruction in public way), 109 (Abetment) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

Even though the court granted  “relief” to her, on the ground of “parity” as three co-accused in the case, including Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) member Safoora Zargar, have been granted bail in the case. As is well known Safoora Zargar is still locked up, even though she is at a great risk due her pregnancy and health condition.

News reports have also noted that Fatima was “also arrested in a separate case related to northeast Delhi violence in which JCC member Meeran Haider, Zargar and suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain have been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.” She was arrested for allegedly instigating a crowd of protesters that led to riots in the area, stated the news. It was also alleged in the FIR that she and others “instigated a crowd to block the road near Jaffrabad metro station on February 22 to protest against the CAA and National Register for Citizens (NRC).”


 

Related: 
Policing in the times of Corona has many tones depending on who you are

8 political parties condemn arrest of student and activists

Free Safoora: Indians hold car rally in Canada in solidarity with student activist
Front Line defenders criticizes repression of dissent and arrest of student activists
1100 feminists write to PM against targeting of anti-CAA women protesters

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