Sunday, April 18

Jamia PhD scholar held for ‘conspiring’ in North East Delhi riots

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Delhi Police have arrested a PhD scholar from Jamia Millia Islamia in connection with a case of rioting and criminal conspiracy linked to the February riots in north-east Delhi, officers with knowledge of the development said.

Joint commissioner of police (special cell) Neeraj Thakur confirmed Wednesday’s arrest of the scholar, Meeran Haider, but did not disclose details.

The suspect’s alleged “involvement in the conspiracy to instigate the riots, funding the violence and the agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Shaheen Bagh” is also being probed, the officers cited above said, requesting anonymity..

At least 53 people were killed and more than 400 injured in the February 23-25 rioting in north-east Delhi that started as clashes between supporters and opponents of the CAA before acquiring a communal colour. Shaheen Bagh was the venue of an anti-CAA sit-in protest in December. A senior police officer, one of two cited in the first instance, said Haider was president of the Delhi unit of the Bihar-based Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)’s youth wing, Chhatra RJD. Haider is being interrogated at the special cell’s Lodhi Colony office.

Haider, a resident of Jamia Nagar, was served a notice on March 31, asking him to join the probe in the case that was registered by the crime branch after the riots. He Haider was asked to reach the special cell’s Lodhi Colony office at 10am on Wednesday.

“We arrested Haider as we have evidence to prove the charges against him. His role in funding the riots and anti-CAA protests is being probed,” the officer said. The Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) alleged that Haider was called for interrogation by the Delhi Police’s special cell on Wednesday. “Yesterday around 10pm, men in uniform had approached his residence enquiring about him. He was taken into custody around 10.30pm. The JCC demands that he must be released as charges against him are baseless,” the committee said.

The University administration said it had not been informed about the incident by the police and declined to comment further.

The JNU unit of RJD on Thursday also issued a statement demanding his release. “Delhi Police had asked Meeran Haider, the president of the young RJD, Delhi, to join the investigation and then arrested him without giving any valid reason. We demand his release,” the statement read.