3 years of Delhi riots: Solidarity expressed with political prisoners

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Prominent political leaders from the noted political parties have expressed solidarity with the activists arrested in the cases related to Delhi riots 2020.

Janata Dal (United) spokesperson KC Tiyagi, senior Congress leader Salman Khursheed, Member of Parliament and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Kumar Jha, political activist Yogendra Yadav, former Member of Parliament Mohammed Adeeb and jailed activist Khalid Saifi’s wife Nargis Saifi addressed a press conference held at the Press Club in New Delhi to mark the three years of Delhi riots.

While addressing the gathering, RJD MP Manoj Jha said, “Activists like Khalid Saifi and others are suffering because, they are Muslims. In the parliament, I took the names of all these activists. It was necessary because it needs to be in the record of the parliament.”

The meet was organised by the Citizen’s Collective for marking the three years of Delhi riots and extending support for incarcerated Khalid Saifi and other jailed activists who include Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Meeran Haider and Gulfisha Fatima.

Manoj Jha pointed out that political parties are scared to take the names of Muslims when they are subjected to persecution. “I often see that people avoid taking the name of Muslims. They use the word ‘minorities’. Speak up openly as it is not the time to say things in a vague manner,” he said.

Giving an example of the latest lynching incident where two Muslim men were burnt to death in Bhiwani district of the Indian state of Haryana he said, “People avoid taking names of Junaid and Nasir who were killed by the cow vigilantes.”

He further said, “Remaining silent on such issues and adopting a soft-version of Hindutva will not work. If there is an original one, no one will need a fake and photo-copy of Hindutva.”

Former Indian Minister Khurshid maintained that the battle which is being fought against the current dispensation lacks unity even among those who stood up against the current regime. He said, “When CAA-NRC (Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens) protests were going on and the matter went to the court, I saw that we were divided, there should be a strategy as to how to fight these cases. But we could not prepare any strategy.”

Slman Khurshid further said, “It has been three years but basic judgment was not announced. But don’t lose hope and keep doing efforts. Sometimes, we see rays of hope at all levels whether it is in trial court, High Court or Supreme Court….there is not much hope. We are searching for hope”.

Speaking at the event, Yogendra Yadav, said Khalid Saifi and Umar Khalid are the future leaders of India. He said that he had worked with Saifi in the last ten years from anti-corruption movement to anti-lynching protests. “I feel that till the time, people like Khalid Saifi who stand against injustice with courage and honesty are there in this country, there is hope in this country,” he said.

Yadav recalled Saifi as a peace-loving, law-abiding and justice-loving citizen and said, “He was called the conspirator of Delhi riots. This is the most absurd thing.”

Yadav also criticized the charge-sheets filed by Delhi police in the conspiracy case calling it “fairytales”. He cited the observations made by former Supreme Court and high court judges to point out anomalies and absurdity in the charges leveled against the activists.

Nargis Saifi, Khalid Saifi’s wife informed that her husband was beaten up by the police officials in custody and said that they lied in the court saying that Saifi fell from somewhere and got injured. She also said Saifi faces abuses and torture in jail.

KC Tiyagi criticized the media for favoring the government in its coverage. He said, “A very small section of people are ready to stand up and speak because people are scared that if they speak truth to power, they will have to face the political consequences”.

Over 50 persons, mostly Muslims, were killed during the anti-Muslim riots unleashed by the Hindutva goons in February 2020 following massive protests against the CAA introduced by the Modi government. The pogrom occurred at a time when the-then US President, Donald Trump, was in the Indian capital on a visit to India

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