June 27, 2021
‘I am fighting for human rights while real goons are being protected’
NEW DELHI — Zakir Ali Tyagi, 22, journalist and human rights activist from Meerut, has been booked under the controversial Goondas Act by Uttar Pradesh Police.
Tyagi who is vice president of National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO) said that on Thursday he received a notice from police informing him that he has been booked under the Goondas Act.
“In the eyes of UP Police I have become a goon,” Tyagi said. “I am fighting for human rights while real goons are being protected.”
He alleges that the notice is an act of retribution and pressure tactic against him after NCHRO had filed a complaint before the state human rights commission over recent custodial deaths.
The notice seen by Clarion India was issued in August 2020 over allegations of cow slaughter against Tyagi. “It is a fake case against me,” Tyagi told Clarion India. He said he was arrested that time in a mid-night raid. He got bail after 16 days.
The FIR, according to media reports of last year, was filed on the complaint of a farmer who had said he found a cattle hide in his farm. The police then arrested Tyagi following a call from a “mystery caller”. The Muslims of the village Aminabad had alleged that they were being targeted and framed over false allegations under a conspiracy.
Tyagi’s tribulations at the hands of police began when he was just 18 in 2017. He had written two Facebook posts criticising the past criminal record of the newly appointed Chief Minister of the state, Yogi Adityanath. He was booked under the Information Technology Act and jailed for 42 days. The case became a trigger for Tyagi to plunge into the field of human rights activism. Since then he has been consistently documenting and raising voice over human rights abuses and Hindutva violence in Uttar Pradesh.
Tyagi actively participated in peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the winter of 2019-20. This earned him a tag of “Shaheen Bagh Activist” in local Hindi channels.
He identifies himself as a freelance journalist and human rights activist. As an office-bearer of NCHRO he approaches human rights commissions as well as media to highlight cases of abuse to demand accountability of the government. “I am being targeted,” Tyagi said.