Muslim Youth Leader Umar Khalid Has Been Jailed On False Witness Statements
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) condemns the Indian Government for putting renowned youth Muslim leader Umar Khalid in prison for over year based on false testimonies. On November 8, Khalid’s attorney told a court hearing his bail application that the statements of the witnesses in the anti-Muslim violence in Delhi, in which Khalid is an accused, were fabricated as police have no evidence.
Khalid and several others have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), a stringent anti-terror law, and are accused of being the conspirators of the north-east Delhi riots in February 2020. However, the Delhi Police’s ‘conspiracy’ angle has been criticised by several quarters and its loopholes have also been examined by The Wire.
Arguing his bail plea before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, senior advocate Trideep Pais read out the statements of three protected witnesses and claimed that they were contradictory and cooked up. During the proceedings, Pais read out a police allegation from the charge sheet regarding an alleged secret meeting in Delhi’s Seelampur area on January 23 and 24 last year in which police claim that Khalid had allegedly directed that the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests should be escalated to riots and result in the spilling of blood of policemen and others.
The IAMC condemns this witch-hunt against Muslims being conducted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. The Delhi Police reports directly to India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, who is a known Islamophobe and had organized extrajudicial killings of Muslims when he was home minister of Gujarat state 17 years ago.
Hindu Extremists Take Christians Captive During Prayers In Karnataka
The IAMC condemns the failure of the Karnataka Police to take action against Hindu extremists belonging to Sri Ram Sena who forcibly took praying Christians captive and locked them up on November 7. The incident occurred in Maratha Colony, a town in Belgavi district, when the extremists stormed the prayer and abused pastor Lema Cherian, accusing him falsely of carrying out conversions. After locking the clergyman and at least 30 Christians in the hall, the attackers called the police, who have refused to bring any charges against the attackers.
Rev. Cherian denied engaging in forced conversions and said he was merely leading the prayers with a group: “We have not forced anyone to come here; we are just practicing the rites of our religion.” Added Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians: “These are the usual false accusations. The only people using force were the right-wing nationalists who locked the pastor and the faithful in a room.”
Assam Minority Students Protest In New Delhi Against Forced Evictions
The IAMC stands in solidarity with the All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (AAMSU) which held a sit-in demonstration in New Delhi on November 8 against the forced evictions of thousands from their homes and lands in Assam. Calling the evictions “selective, arbitrary, illegal and inhuman,” AAMSU demanded that the evictions be ceased immediately and that land deeds be given to the state’s landless people.
An estimated 7% of Assam’s land has been lost to river erosion over seven decades since India’s independence, and everyone who lived there has been forced to migrate to other areas. The same people were now being targeted and victimized as “outsiders” based on their religion, ethnicity or language due to paranoia surrounding illegal Bangladeshi immigrants infiltrating Assam, the AAMSU said.
It also demanded that the process of finalizing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) be completed soon. It is noteworthy that although the Final NRC was published on August 31, 2019, the Registrar General of India is yet to notify it to make it official. Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also rules Assam state, has refused to accept the NRC because it has excluded nearly 1.5 million Hindus. The Assam government has asked for the NRC’s re-verification even though the Supreme court has already denied it. The BJP’s aim is only to turn more Muslims stateless in Assam, which is absolutely unacceptable.