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Booked under UAPA, they spent 20 days in jail
NEW DELHI — Four Muslim scholars from Delhi who were detained in Tripura came out of jail on Tuesday after they were granted bail by a court in the state a day earlier, says their counsel, Mahmood Pracha.
The scholars belonging to an NGO called Tahreek-e-Farogh-e-Islam (TFI) spent 20 days in jail. They were arrested and booked under the draconian UAPA while on a fact-finding mission to Tripura following reports of anti-Muslim violence.
The released scholars are: TFI National President Qamar Usman Ghani; National Vice-President Qari Asim; National Secretary Ihsanul Haque Rezavi; and a member, Roshan.
Pracha said they were arrested because they went to Tripura to bring forth the evidence about anti-Muslim violence and expose the BJP government’s inadequacies in stopping violence carried out by Hindutva organisations, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and others.
According to Aqeel Faizi, the NGO’s headoffice in-charge in Delhi, the four scholars were detained by local police claiming that their lives were in danger. “But when they arrived at the police station, they were told that their presence had caused law and order problems in the region.”
They were arrested on November 3rd evening and presented in the court the next day. They were charged under IPC Sections 120 (B), 153 A, 153 B, 503, 504, and Section 13 of UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act).
The TFI published a statement the day after their members, including the organization’s chief, were arrested, calling the police action against them a “violation of human rights”.
More than two dozen hate crimes against Muslims have been documented by media organisations, including mosque vandalism, attacks on Muslim homes, shops, and hawkers, molesting Muslim women, and anti-Muslim and genocidal slogans shouted during rallies taken out by Hindu right-wing.
UAPA Over Social Media Posts
More than a hundred people, including journalists, lawyers, Muslim scholars, politicians, and human rights activists, have been charged with violating the draconian UAPA and several sections of the IPC after conducting fact-finding missions in violence-hit areas and sharing the views on social media about the violence against Muslims in Tripura.
Two lawyers, Ansar Indori and Mukesh, were members of a fact-finding team examining violence against minorities in the state when the first of these UAPA charges was filed, against them.
Following the publication of the fact-finding team’s report, ‘Humanity under attack in Tripura; #Muslimlivesmatter,’ which detailed the vandalism of at least 12 mosques, nine stores, and three homes belonging to Muslims, charges were brought against them.
Tripura Police said 102 social media accounts were involved for propagating “objectionable news items/statements” in another complaint submitted on November 3. The account holders were charged under the draconian UAPA.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind vice president Mohammad Salim Engineer, former Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Zafarul Islam Khan, Popular Front of India General Secretary Anis Ahmed, Students Islamic Organisation of India National President Salman Ahmad, and activist Sharjeel Usmani are among the 102 social media account-holders (68 Twitter profiles, 32 Facebook profiles, and 2 YouTubers) who have been booked.
There are also five journalists on the list including Meer Faisal of Maktoob, freelance journalist Sartaj Alam, Newsclick senior editor Shyam Meera Singh, freelance journalist Arif Shah, and C.J. Werleman of London-based monthly newspaper Byline Times.
The Supreme Court ordered on November 17 that no coercive measures should be employed against lawyers Mukesh and Ansar Indori, as well as journalist Shyam Meera Singh.
The trio filed a court petition to have the UAPA FIR quashed.