Delhi police has begun tightening its noose around suspects who instigated anti-CAA Delhi riot in Feb 2020 and has booked suspended AAP councilor Tahir Hussain under stringent UAPA(Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) along with poster boy of ‘Tukde Tukde gang’ Umar Khalid.
Tahir Hussain, who has multiple FIRs filed against him, is in police custody at the moment. His first FIR was for murder of Intelligence Bureau official Ankit Sharma, under sections 365 and 302 and he has been booked under two more cases (sections 307, 120 B and 34) after witnesses came forward alleging that projectiles were hurled at them by a mob from Tahir Hussain’s rooftop during the riots. The AAP councillor was absconding for many days before he was arrested by Delhi Police. He is also being investigated for money laundering by Enforcement Directorate.
The FIR against Khalid says the plan to organise the riots in Delhi on February 23, 24 and 25 was hatched by him and his friends as part of a conspiracy. Umar Khalid made provocative speeches at two different places and appealed to citizens to come out on streets and block the roads during the visit of the U.S. President Donald Trump – the goal being to spread propaganda at global level about Muslims being oppressed in Bharat. As per the FIR, Danish, a resident of Bhajanpura, was assigned the task to arrange a mob from outside Delhi, while women and children were mobilised to block the road at Jaffarabad metro station that would inconvenience the people living in the vicinity, leading to riots. In this conspiracy, firearms, petrol bombs, acid bottles and stones were collected at numerous homes.
Delhi police has also booked Safoora Zargar & Meeran Haider under UAPA for hatching a conspiracy to incite the communal riots. Both Haider and Zargar are in judicial custody. Haider (35) is a Ph.D student and the president of RJD youth wing’s Delhi unit, while Zargar is an M.Phil student of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) university and media coordinator of Jamia Coordination Committee – Haider is also a member of the same committee. Delhi Police has earlier issued notice to 50 members of the Jamia coordination committee for their role in instigating the Delhi riots.
Haider’s advocate Akram Khan said that Umar Khalid has also been booked under UAPA but a senior police office said that he is not an accused yet and has not been charged under UAPA. The advocate said police has also arrested former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan and activist Khalid Saifi for the north-east Delhi riots.
Umar Khalid is also an accused in the JNU sedition case, along with former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, for allegedly raising anti-national slogans on the campus. The ruling AAP government in Delhi recently gave a go-ahead to prosecute the duo in the case that dates back to 2016.
With UAPA in picture, the problems for Tahir Hussain & others may compound. The UAPA act, with its recent amendments ushered in by NDA overriding the opposition of Congress & other parties on 3rd August 2019, is an anti-terror law which penalises groups by labelling them either as “unlawful associations” or “terrorist organisations.” One of the important changes to the law that the amendment made was that it allowed the central government to label an individual a terrorist. With this act, it will be difficult for the accused to get bail or delay the legal proceeding over frivolous grounds.
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