Umar Khalid was better known as a former member of the JNUSU, i.e. the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student's Union. The young man who could have had a bright future has been arrested by the Delhi Police for being a participant of the much debated-over and controversial anti CAA/NRC riots. A particular violent protest against the bill had proceeded for 72 hours and also claimed 53 lives and injured over 400 people
Mr. Khalid is not new to the protest and riots against CAA. In another related case, he was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. “On August 1, Delhi Police had questioned Umar over the speeches he delivered at the protest site in Shaheen Bagh along with Khalid Saifi days before the riots.” In the current arrest, his phone has been seized by the police. He was a member of an activists’ group United Against Hate.
After Khalid’s arrest, the activist group gave a statement, “After 11 hours of interrogation, the Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested Umar Khalid as a conspirator in the Delhi Riots case. The fairy tale narrative that DP (Delhi Police) has been spinning and criminalizing protests in the garb of investigating riots, finds yet another victim.”
There are various other factors that are in play with Khalid’s arrest. The most prominent one is the political animosity over CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and Swaraj Abhiyan chief Yogendra Yadav. In the Delhi riots, these political leaders were named in a disclosure statement of an accused.
According to the Delhi Police, several interest groups have used social media platforms and various other online portals to inquire about the fairness and rightness of the investigation process in the Northeast- Delhi riot cases.
This inquiry and probing have even come from higher authorities and officials like retired IPS Officer Julio Riberio. This former Mumbai Police Commissioner, DGP Gujarat and Punjab, and former Indian Ambassador to Romania, has questioned and inquired into the Northeast Delhi Riot cases and, even reportedly wrote to the Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava.
Support for Khalid has been trickling into social media since the arrest. Supporters have taken to online platforms like Twitter to show their support for the young activist with #StandWithUmarKhalid. Khalid’s father has also used Twitter to showcase his anguish over his son’s arrest.
In one of his tweets, he wrote,” My son Umar Khalid has been arrested tonight at 11:00 pm by Special Cell, Delhi Police under UAPA. Police were questioning him since 1:00 pm. He has been implicated in Delhi Riots. #StandWithUmarKhalid”
Khalid’s arrest has turned twitter into a battleground for words, with people holding different opinions engaging in a battle of wits. Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan tweets, “Umar Khalid's arrest by Delhi police after naming Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Jayati Ghosh & Apoorvanand, leaves no doubt at all about the malafide nature of its investigation into Delhi riots. It's a conspiracy by the police to frame peaceful activists in the guise of Investigation.”