New Delhi: A group of activists and academicians on Wednesday demanded the immediate release of those booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the northeast Delhi riots and setting up of a judicial inquiry commission to punish the "real culprits".
In a joint statement, they alleged that the democratic voices of dissent are being "gradually implicated".
The statement comes after the arrest of former JNU student leader Umar Khalid by the Delhi Police on September 13. Khalid has been charged under the UAPA.
The joint statement was issued by Syeda Hameed, writer and former member of the erstwhile Planning Commission of India, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, former JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar, CPIML politburo member Kavita Krishnan, journalist Pamela Philipose and former DUTA president Nandita Narain.
"All democratic voices of dissent are being gradually implicated. This includes students, academicians, artists, politicians, and activists. We demand an immediate end to this outrageous investigation that is being conducted with prejudice and malafide intent," the statement stated.
"We demand that activists booked under the UAPA be immediately released; and a judicial inquiry commission be constituted to punish the real culprits and ensure justice for the Delhi violence," it stated.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between supporters of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and those against the legislation spiraled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.
At a press conference earlier in the day, Bhushan said they recently requested President Ram Nath Kovind to constitute a commission of inquiry.
On Tuesday, Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava had said the force is serving its oath and the Constitution with conviction and integrity and asserted that its investigations in criminal cases are guided by facts and evidence and not by reputations and personalities.
In response to former IPS officer Julio Ribeiro's recent letter in which he had questioned the police's investigation in the Delhi riots, Shrivastava had said there are several entities who have their reasons to weave a "web of deception" and push a "false narrative of bias and insensitivity" on the part of the police.
The police investigations in criminal cases are guided by facts and evidence, not by reputations and personalities, the police commissioner had said.
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A video where a man talking in Urdu is referring to the demolition of Babri masjid and encouraging the Muslim community to take control over the judiciary, police force, health department, and other professions by increasing Muslim representation is massively viral on social media. It has been shared with the claim that the man is the owner of the Himalaya Drug Company.
The video has been circulated with messages advising against the use of Himalaya products.
Several users posted the video on Facebook and Twitter.
Alt News has received several fact-check requests for this video on its official mobile application.
Alt News used InVid to break down the video into several frames. We reverse searched one of the frames on Yandex and found another YouTube video featuring the same man. The video identified him in Urdu which translates to Naqi Ahmed Nadwi.
Searching for his name led us to his social media profiles. We found the same video posted on August 6, 2020, on Naqi Ahmed Nadwi’s Facebook page with an Urdu caption بابری مسجد کا انہدام اوراسکی جگہ پر رام مندر کا قیام تاریخ ہند کا ایک ایسا موڑ ہے جس کے بارے میں مسلمانوں کو سنجیدگی سے غور کرنا ہوگا! (The demolition of the Babri Masjid and the erection of the Ram Temple on its site is a turning point in the history of India which Muslims must seriously consider!)
The founder of Himalaya Drug Company is Mohammad Manal who passed away in 1986. The incumbent President and CEO is Philipe Haydon. The company tweeted a fact-check report debunking the video in question on September 27.
This isn’t the first time that the multinational company was targetted with misinformation on social media. Earlier in March, a false claim suggested that its founder funds terrorists.