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University Must Speak Up: Jamia Body on Students Booked Under UAPA

The Jamia Coordination Committee came out with a press release defending Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar.

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India
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The Jamia Coordination Committee on Friday, 24 April, came out with a press release, urging the Jamia Millia Islamia University administration to speak up against Delhi Police charging two of its students, Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). JNU student leader Umar Khalid has also been slapped with the same charges.

“The two students have been active members of the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) and have stood firm in the peaceful protests against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC),“ the release read.

The committee further said that Meeran and Safoora have been taken into custody on 2 and 10 April respectively. However, it added that the charges against them “seem to have no rhyme or reason.”
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“Meeran, Safoora and Umar have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which allows curbing of fundamental rights in order to protect the sovereignty of India. However, this Act has been used against many activists working to protect constitutional morality, a list which now includes members of JCC, a wholly constitutionalist collective of students and alumni,” the press release added.

Reiterating that the JCC had no role in the Delhi riots that took place in February, the committee said that “organised resistance against construction of genocidal machinery is what is being targeted”.

The committee appealed to all political and civil organisations to speak against the dictatorship.

Further, the Jamia alumni and “other concerned citizens” have written a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, requesting his intervention in the arrests of the students.

Narrating the incident of the police brutality on Jamia students protesting against CAA on 15 December 2019, the letter said, “All this is narrated to you because when the police brutality took place against the students of Jamia, the whole nation stood up for their cause so that they should get justice. But the recent arrest of the Jamia students is done with the ill will of the police authorities and is clearly a violation of the basic legal norm...”

The letter also added that the arrest of the students by the Delhi Police is “with the intention to take revenge” and silence their voices.

Haider and Zargar have been arrested for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to incite the communal violence in February. They are in judicial custody. While Zargar is the media coordinator of Jamia Coordination Committee, Haider is a member of the committee.

However, Khalid has not yet been arrested. He was named in the FIR along with Danish, a resident of Bhajanpura.

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