16 September 2020 3:25:32 am
When former JNU student leader Umar Khalid was leaving his home Zakir Nagar on Sunday morning for questioning by the Special Unit, his mother had a piece of land on which he could be arrested. So she woke up his three sisters and made them say goodbye to them, and also asked Khalid to call his other two sisters in the US
On Sunday evening, after a day of questioning, Khalid was arrested under strict UAPA.
In the US, it was dead night, but I hoped they would get up and Umar would talk to them. One could not be sure, but I had a feeling he was very likely to be arrested. We were both trying to give each other strength. I kept telling Umar, darna nahi (do not be afraid) and he kept telling me, Ammi aap ghabraiyega nahi (Ammi, do not worry), Khalids’s mother Sabiha Khanum (53) told The Indian Express at her residence Tuesday.
She said the Delhi Special Cell Police had sent calls for the first time on Friday, but was told Khalid is not in town. When we got the call again the next day for him to show up on Sunday, it made me wonder what the urgency was. Then I had a feeling this could happen. As the clock kept ticking, I realized something was wrong. We were calling (her husband) every hour to get updates, Khanum said.
I think the Delhi Police also know that the people they are taking have no role to play in the Delhi riots, but they want to define a confession. These arrests are being made to break the courage and spirit of anti-CAA protests and to harass anyone who has dared to speak out against the government. If they feel they will succeed, they are wrong, she said with a faint smile.
Khanum said she finds Delhi Police allegations and Khalid news reports that he was linked to the People’s Front of India or the remnants of the SDPI. There is absolutely no truth in this. He is very clear about his policy; we (his parents) even have ideological differences with him when he calls himself an atheist, but we are standing firm behind him. He only ever wanted to help the poor and the downtrodden. He is a man with a very gentle heart, Khanum said.
Khalids’s younger sister was 13 years old when she was first arrested for alleged insurgency in February 2016 for an event at JNU. That arrest formed the basis for me. I became much more politically aware. Others in my class are not so aware. As a sister, I sometimes thought that Umar bhai should not be so politically active to be safe, but my parents always said, Hum koi galat kaam thodi kar rahen hain (they were not doing anything wrong), said Sarah Fatima (17) , who is now in grade 11.
Both Fatima and Khanum said that 2016 had shocked them since they were not prepared, but this arrest was different. This time I was sad, but not shocked. The government is pursuing whoever they consider anti-national. The name Umar bhais and the religious identity associated with it is a major factor. Otherwise why is Kapil Mishra not mentioned somewhere in the FIR or consignment note?
Khanum said the family had not shed a single tear since the last arrest. Umar is strong and we are being strong for him. Our extended relatives are crying, but I am not excited. I am comforting them. This is not the time, she said.
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