Umar Khalid was arrested on 13th September. He was arrested for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to incite the violence that broke out in Northeast Delhi in February 2020.
Words by Editorial Team
September 17, 2020
Illustration by Aarman Roy
Editor's Note: Umar Khalid was arrested on 13th September. He was arrested after several hours of interrogation by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to incite the violence that broke out in Northeast Delhi in February 2020. Khalid has been charged under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, 18 sections of the Indian Penal Code, including charges of murder, rioting and trespassing; two sections of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984; and two sections of the Arms Act, 1959. This is the English transcript of a video message recorded before his arrest.
If you are watching this video, it means I have been arrested.
I want to send you a message with this video. The Delhi Police, through its investigation into the riots in Delhi, is not arresting the rioters who, openly in broad day-light, caused and incited communal violence. They incited violence in front of the police, they incited violence in front of the TV cameras, we all saw it happen. Let alone an FIR, the Delhi Police has not even called them in for questioning. Instead, those who are critical of the government and its policies, especially those who were protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, are being trapped in fabricated lawsuits. They have no proof – many students and young activists have already been arrested, and for the last few months they have been trying to arrest me as well.
They keep telecasting false declarations on TV. First, from my 17-minute-long speech they extracted a 20 to 30 seconds clip and made it viral, alleging that this is the conspiracy behind the riots, that I instigated people to come to the streets and protest. When I uploaded the entire 17-minute-long speech, in which I spoke not of riots and violence, but about Gandhi's message of satyagraha and ahimsa, they started broadcasting even more, new, false claims against me on TV and in the media. The police are threatening and forcing people to give false testimonies. Their aim is that everyone who dissents and criticizes the government is put behind bars.
What is my crime? Is it that I claim this country to be as much mine as it is yours? Our Hindustan, our beautiful country – where people who follow different faiths live together, speak various languages, all different kinds of people – all of us are equal before the law and the Constitution. Today, efforts are being made to change this, efforts are being made to divide us. And anyone who speaks against the divisive politics is threatened, intimidated, put behind bars, and silenced. They are trying to scare us, but they are trying to scare you too. They are stifling our voice, they are imprisoning us in jail, but they are also trying to trap you in their lies. They want to frighten you into silence.
I'll end my message with this one appeal: do not get scared. Raise your voice against injustice. Demand that everyone who has been arrested with fabricated charges is released. Keep raising your voice against every injustice. Thank you very much.