By Muslim Mirror Desk
New Delhi , Sep 24: Over 200 intellectuals , educationists, filmmakers and authors, including Noam Chomsky and Mira Nair, issued a joint statement on Wednesday demanding the Centre free Umar Khalid arrested in connection with the northeast Delhi riots.
Besides Chomsky and Nair, the signatories include actor Ratna Pathak Shah, authors Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy, and journalist P Sainath.
“We call on the Government of India to free Umar Khalid and all those falsely implicated and unjustly incarcerated for protesting against the CAA-NRC that denies equal citizenship rights and to ensure that the Delhi Police investigates the Delhi riots with impartiality under the oath they took as public servants bound by the Constitution of India,” the statement read.
Khalid has been arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a case related to the communal violence in northeast Delhi in February this year.
“We stand in solidarity and outrage, with the brave young scholar and activist Umar Khalid, arrested in New Delhi on September 14, 2020, under fabricated charges of engineering the Delhi riots in February 2020,” the statement said.
The statement said that Khalid “used the passion of his commitment to his country, marshalled his education and his voice to join the movement for equal citizenship, against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)” which introduced religion as a criterion for citizenship, and has no place in a secular nation.
“Umar Khalid became a powerful young voice of truth in this movement, speaking at close to 100 meetings across India, in small towns and big cities, upholding the values of India’s constitution; articulating the dreams of all young Indians – of freedom from hunger, deprivation, discrimination and fear. He staked his claim to the full measure of citizenship, he spoke for all marginal peoples, and above all Umar spoke for peace,” the statement read.
“He has been projected as a jihadi, and a figure of hate by sections of a compromised Indian media, not only because he speaks persuasively against government policies that he believes are unjust, but also because he is Muslim,” the educationists and scholars pointed out in the statement.